POLS 285-3: Introduction to International Relations

Northern Illinois University

Department of Political Science

Fall 2006



  • Prof. Andrea Radasanu


  • Zulauf 408

Phone Number

  • 753-7052

Email Address

  • aradasanu@niu.edu

Office Hours

  • T & Th 1:30pm – 3:00pm or by appointment.


  • DU 459

Class Time

  • T & Th 3:30pm- 4:45pm



Course Description:


After the end of the Cold War, international paradigms shifted, and casual observers, statesmen and academics alike have tried to explain and understand this new world with America as the lone superpower, escalating international terrorism, international responses to domestic oppression in the form of humanitarian interventions, the forces of globalization, and the ever-widening scope of supra-national organizations like the European Union. We live in a world that is intertwined – politically, economically, and culturally – in ways it has never been in the history of human kind.


The purpose of this course is to teach you how to explain and analyze this complex world in which we live. The course aims to provide you with the analytical tools and the conceptual frameworks to make informed judgments about the events that are shaping our world as well as those events that have already shaped our world. We will ask ourselves which theories best help describe and explain the patterns of war and peace, wealth and poverty, and international norms and justice. We will use the analytical tools of international relations to assess the current world system with special attention to America’s crucial role in this system.


This introduction to the field of International Relations has a secondary purpose. It will serve as a venue for the development of your analytical and critical skills as well as your communication skills, both verbal and written. You will assess theories and arguments with the aim of helping you formulate good arguments of your own. Much attention will be paid to your ability to articulate these arguments in a clear, concise and logical manner.









1. The following are REQUIRED texts. They can be purchased at either of the campus bookstores.


2. In addition to acquiring the required books, packets and case studies listed above, you are also responsible for readings mentioned on the course outline (below) that are on library reserve, JSTOR or the Internet. Where articles can be found – packet, JSTOR, library reserve or Internet address – is clearly indicated for each article.


3. You must keep up to date on current international events. You may use whatever source you find useful, but the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) is highly recommended. Despite its name, the CSM is not primarily a religious newspaper. It is one of the most respected international papers and thought to have some of the most balanced reporting of any major paper. Moreover, studies show that the CSM has the highest percentage of international news of any major American newspaper. You might want to subscribe to the newspaper, mail or electronic delivery. The electronic edition can be found at http://www.csmonitor.com. Class discussion will assume knowledge of significant current international occurrences.


Course Requirements:


1. Attendance and Participation:


Your attendance and class participation are important components of the course and will make up 10% of your course grade. Attendance will be recorded every class, and class participation will be monitored. Attendance will be recorded in the first TEN minutes of class. Please do not come in after that hoping to sign your name to the attendance sheet. Four or more classes missed, for whatever reason, will result in an automatic 25% penalty of your participation grade. It is especially important to be prepared to discuss case studies or the application of analytical concepts to the historical cases we will be considering.


2. Reading:


All reading assignments must be completed BEFORE the beginning of the relevant class. In the few cases that topics will be discussed over the course of more than one week, the specific reading responsibilities for each of the classes in question will be clarified the week before. Please keep in mind that your ability to participate effectively will depend on your diligence in completing the readings as assigned. All readings as well as all lecture material are fair game for the two examinations. Not all of the readings will be covered in class, and not all lecture material will be covered in the readings. You must study your readings and take good notes in lectures in order to do well on the midterm and final examinations.


3. Tests and Assignments:


i) One-page comments. You are required to hand in ten one-page comments during the semester. These can be no more and only slightly less than one-page, doubled-spaced papers (1.25 inch margins, 12 point font, Times New Roman font) that will tackle one or more issues, themes, theoretical concepts and the like from the previous week’s readings. Choose something that interests you from the readings, and make one or two salient and well thought out observations about your chosen subject. Take these assignments as opportunities to explore an interesting or difficult point in the readings.


These will be due at the beginning of class on Tuesdays, every week with the exception of the first two weeks of class and the week of the mid-term, up to and including the week before Thanksgiving break. Late assignments will not be accepted; if they are not handed in before beginning of lecture or before attendance has been taken, they will be considered late. You are expected to use correct grammar, full sentences and to express yourself clearly. Your best seven of ten comment papers will count toward your grade.


Here are the dates on which one-page comments will be due: Sept. 12, 19, 26; Oct. 3, 10, 24, 31; Nov. 7, 14, 21.


ii) Midterm Test: October 12, 2006. The mid-term test will be written in class, and will be one hour long. It will cover material from the beginning of the course up to and including material from October 5, 2006. It will consist of key term definitions and short questions.


iii) Term Paper. This paper will ask you to place the Cuban Missile Crisis in an analytic context. You will consider questions of levels of analysis, decision-making models and overall theories of international relations in analyzing this crisis. The primary text will be Cuban Missile Crisis: A Concise History by Don Muncton & David Welch (see required texts). We will go over this text in class, considering some of the issues pertinent to your essay early in the course (September 21). You will be expected to go beyond this text and use other secondary material. The essay should be between 1000 and 1500 words and will be due at the beginning of class on December 5, 2006. It is worth 25% of your final grade. The precise essay question will be provided in September.


iv) Final Exam. This exam, worth 25% of the final grade, will be given in the final exam period. It will cover all the material in the course. It will consists of definitions, identification questions, short questions, and essay questions. More information will be provided as the term unfolds. A review session will be held in the final class of the semester.


If classes or assignments coincide with your religious observance, please let the professor know as soon as possible so that you can be accommodated in the best possible way.


Honors Students. Please note that your work will be graded in a more rigorous manner than students not in the Honors program. Higher standards will apply to your work.


Grading Scheme:


Attendance and Participation: 10%

One-page comments: 20%

Midterm Test: 20%

Term Paper: 25%

Final Exam: 25%


Grading Scale:


93%-100% =


90%-92.9% =


87.5%-89.9% =


83%-87.4% =


80%-82.9% =


77.5%-79.9% =


60%-69.9% =


Less than 60% =





Lateness Policy:


One-page comment papers and the term paper will NOT be accepted late. One-page comments are due in class within the first ten minutes of the beginning of lecture. Those papers that are received late will receive the grade of F.


The term paper is also due in class (Dec. 5) within the first ten minutes of lecture, but it may be handed in to the Political Science Department before noon on December 5 without penalty. The term paper may be handed in late without penalty only under the most extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances, and with adequate documentation. The determination of the suitableness of the excuse and documentation will be at the discretion of the professor. Those papers that do not adhere to these rules will receive a grade of F.


Makeup exams will only be given in extraordinary circumstances. If such circumstances indeed exist, the professor must be notified as soon as possible and prior to the scheduled exam. Supporting documentation is REQUIRED, and a missed examination without prior notification and a documented excuse will result in a grade of F.


Class Decorum:


You are expected to be courteous and collegial in this class. Here are some of the decorum guidelines:

v     Be on time for class.

v     Do not leave during class. Use the restroom, get a drink of water, etc. before class begins or after it ends. If you must leave early or come in late, please provide a reasonable explanation and be as undisruptive as possible when you are coming or going.

v     Respect your classmates. Do not interrupt your colleagues, and make sure that your comments are civil. Discussion is wonderful and encouraged, but it is only possible when we listen to one another and make comments that are courteous.

v     Do not disrupt lectures. No cell phones, no private conversations, no snoring. If you wish to interrupt to ask a question, please put your hand up. Questions are encouraged!


Unannounced Quizzes:


The professor reserves the right to give unannounced quizzes if it becomes clear that students are not doing the assigned reading, and the quality of class participation and discussion is unsatisfactory.


Extra Credit:


Extra credit assignments will not be given on an individual basis to raise final grades.


Students with Disabilities:


NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding provision of reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Moreover, your academic success is of importance to me. If you have a disability that may have a negative impact on your performance in this course and you may require some type of instructional and/or examination accommodation, please contact me early in the semester so that I can provide or facilitate in providing accommodations you may need. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. CAAR is located on the fourth floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303). I look forward to talking with you to learn how I may be helpful in enhancing your academic success in this course.


Plagiarism Policy:


According to the NIU Undergraduate Catalogue “Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.” In short, all ideas that are not your own or well known must be footnoted. A general rule is that if the information cannot be found in three or more commonly available sources it should be footnoted. All direct quotations must be placed in quotation marks. These guidelines will be enforced. If you are unsure as to what should be footnoted either play it safe and footnote, or ask for assistance. Failure to adhere to the University’s plagiarism policy will result in punishments ranging from a failed course grade to suspension and even expulsion, depending on the egregiousness of the infraction.


Political Science Web Site:


Students are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach this site, go to http://polsci.niu.edu


Undergraduate Writing Awards:


The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies.  Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing.  Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28.  All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name.  Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award.  However, papers completed in the spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.


Course Outline and Due Dates:      


August 29

PART I: Analyzing International Relations

A.    Introduction

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 3-21, 24-31

August 31

B.     Key Concepts

·        Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., 691-706 (Glossary)

September 5

September 7

C. Overview of Theories of International Relations: Realism, Liberalism and Constructivism

·         Stephen M. Walt, "International Relations: One World, Many Theories," Foreign Policy110 (Spring 1998), pp. 29-46 (reading packet).

·         Robert Jervis, “Theories of War in an Era of Leading Power Peace,” American Political Science Review (March 2002), pp. 1-14 (JSTOR).

September 12

D. Levels of Analysis

·      Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., 21-23, 33-35, 92-9


September 14

PART II: How Leaders Decide

A.    The individual level of analysis

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 72-90

September 19

B.   Deterrence and Compellence

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 419-433

·         Robert J. Art, “To What Ends Military Power?” International Security 4 (Spring 1980), pp. 4-14 (reading packet)


September 21

C. Crisis case study: the Cuban missile crisis

·         Cuban Missile Crisis: A Concise History by Don Munton & David Welch (Oxford UP).

September 26

PART III: Domestic Determinants of State Action

A.    The unit level of analysis

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 53-72.


September 28

B.    The military as an instrument of statecraft

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 406 (box), 434-440.

·         Barry R. Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine: France, Britain, and Germany Between the World Wars (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984), pp. 47-59 (reading packet).

October 3

C.       Crisis case study: the July crisis

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 203-216, 61 (box)


October 5

October 10

PART IV: International Systems

A.    The system level of analysis: Anarchy and Cooperation

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 35-53, 457-466.

·         Kenneth Walz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1979), pp. 79-101 (Chapter 5) (on reserve).

·         Deborah L. Spar and David A. Welch, “Kenneth Waltz and System ‘Structure’: Why Parsimony Does not Pay” (on reserve).

October 12


October 17

PART V: Transnationalism and Interdependence

B.     Transnationalism, interdependence, and globalization

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 379-389

·         Robert O, Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition, 1st ed. (Boston: Little, Brown 1977), pp. 23-37 (on reserve).


October 19

C.     The international economy

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 97-143, 337-375, 481-527.

October 24

PART VI: Processes of Interaction and Conflict Management

A.    Diplomacy and negotiation

·         Carrots, Sticks & Question Marks: Negotiating North Korean Nuclear Crisis (Kennedy School of Government, #1297 & 1298).


October 26

B. International law, norms and organization

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 529-589.

October 31

C. Reformist visions of world order

·         David A. Welch, “Pacifying International Politics: Contact, Trade, and Institutions” (reading packet).

·         Lee D. Neumann, “World Government,” in Joseph S. Nye, Graham T. Allison, and Albert Carnesale, eds., Fateful Visions: Avoiding Nuclear Catastrophe (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1988), pp. 171-214 (on reserve).

·         Alexander Wendt, “Constructing International Politics,” International Security 20, 1 (Summer 1995), pp. 71-81 (JSTOR).


November 2

D. Conflict Management Case:

·         Establishing an International Criminal Court: The Emergency of a New Global Authority? (PEW 258)

November 7

PART VII: Ethical Dimensions of World Politics

A. Morality and foreign politics

·         Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, Melian Dialogue (Book Five, paragraphs 84-116) (reading packet).

·         George Kennan, “Morality and Foreign Affairs,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 64 (Winter 1985-1986), pp. 205-218 (reading packet).

·         Craig and George, Force and Statecraft, 3rd edition, pp. 275-283 (reading packet).


November 9

B.     Justice and human rights

·         Rhonda E. Howard and Jack Donnelly, “Human Rights in World Politics,” in International Politics (3rd ed. Robert J. Art and Robert Jervis), pp. 505-524 (reading packet).

·         Roger T. Ames, “Continuing the Conversation on Chinese Human Rights,” Ethics & International Affairs 11 (1997), pp.177-205 (on reserve).

·         Jack Donnelly, “Conversing With Straw Men While Ignoring Dictators: Reply to Roger T. Ames,” Ethics & International Affairs 11 (1997), pp. 207-213 (on reserve).

·         Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

November 14

C.     Moral Aspects of the use of force

·         Stanley Hoffman, Duties Beyond Borders: On the Limits and Possibilities of Ethical International Politics (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1981), pp. 45-55 (reading packet).

·         Michael Walzer, “Nuclear Deterrence,” in Just and Unjust Wars 3rd ed. (NY: Basic Books, 1977), pp. 269-283 (reading packet).


November 16

Part VIII: Problems in World Politics

A.    Sovereignty and Humanitarian Intervention

·         Lee Feinstein and Anne-Marie Slaughter, “A Duty to Prevent,” Foreign Affairs 83:1 (January/February 2004), pp. 87-102 (reading packet).

·         Clifford Orwin, “Humanitarian Military Intervention: Wars for the End of History?” in Social Philosophy and Policy, vol. 23, no. 1, winter 2006, pp. 196-217 (reading packet).

November 21

B.     Terrorism

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 440-451.


November 23


November 28

C.     Nuclear Proliferation

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 457-474.

·         Graham Allison, “How to Stop Nuclear Terror,” Foreign Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2004, p.64 (reading packet).

November 30

D.    North-South Issues

·         Review Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., Chapters 3 and 10 (from October 19th readings).

December 5

PART IX: America, September 11th and Beyond

·         Spiegel textbook 3rd ed., pp. 310-319.

·         Neil Ferguson, “A World Without Power,” Foreign Policy (July/August 2004), pp. 32-39 (reading packet).


December 7


December 11-16


Professor retains the right to alter the schedule, with due notice to students. Assignment due dates are firm.