Fall 2009

Northern Illinois University

Christopher Jones


Office: ZH 415                                                             

Phone: 753-7040                                                        

E-mail: cmjones@niu.edu                                          


Class Meetings: T, TH 3:30-4:45 PM

Classroom: AB 102

Office Hours:  Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30-1:00 PM or by appointment in ZH 415


Primary Teaching Assistant: Andrew Foss, afoss1@niu.edu

Office Hours: Wednesdays, 1:00-3:00 PM or by appointment in DU 476


Other Course Assistant: Patrick Homan, phoman@niu.edu




This survey course in U.S. foreign policy making has four basic objectives. The first goal is to provide a solid introduction to the actors, interests, and politics that shape the formulation, implementation, and oversight of American foreign policy. We will begin with a broad overview of the domestic and global contexts of foreign policy making. Then several class meetings will focus on specific players within the U.S. foreign policy process: the president, the vice president presidential advisers, the National Security Council (NSC) and NSC Staff, State Department, Defense Department, intelligence community, Central Intelligence Agency, Congress, interest groups, news media, and the public. In each instance, we will explore the actor’s role, interests, and capacity to influence the direction of contemporary foreign policy.


            The second objective of the course is to understand how these actors interact to make U.S. foreign policy across a range of issue areas. During one class period we will examine interagency processes. Several other sessions will be devoted to analyzing case studies of key foreign policy decisions from recent decades. These cases will illustrate the political and human dimensions of foreign policy making and in doing so provide an opportunity to explore the real world of American foreign policy. Through these critical thinking exercises, we will also uncover the many different decision-making processes that produce foreign policy outcomes.


The case studies will also advance the course’s third aim, which is to gain some appreciation of the substantive issues and challenges confronting present-day policy-makers. Some of the subjects to be discussed include crisis decision making, terrorism, export control policy, trade, nuclear proliferation, and weapons procurement.


            Through lectures, discussions and case analyses, the fourth and final goal is to consider who truly makes American foreign policy. Scholars of U.S. foreign relations have long debated the relative influence of various governmental and nongovernmental actors. Some individuals contend the president primarily shapes foreign policy. Other observers argue the chief executive is just one of a number of important players. Which perspective is more accurate today? Is there one correct explanation or does the answer vary with particular issues or circumstances? We will consider these questions throughout the semester and attempt to reach some conclusions during the final week of class.




This is a fairly challenging 300-level course designed primarily for POLS majors and minors with a serious interest in foreign policy and international relations. Students should hold a junior or senior class standing. This is a prerequisite. It is strongly recommended POLS 285 or an introductory international relations course at another institution be completed before enrolling in this course. Since much of this class deals with government institutions and politics, completion of POLS 100 at NIU or an introductory American government course elsewhere would also be very helpful. Non-majors and POLS majors who have not completed this coursework are very welcome, but should consider themselves warned about these recommendations.


            Good foreign policy students keep up with current events. Staying informed allows one to make better sense of the instructor’s examples and other students’ comments. It will also help draw linkages between the course material and the “real world.” Furthermore, reading news articles may spark ideas for the paper assignment. Lastly, news articles will equip you with examples that you may wish to use on the examinations to highlight class concepts. The two best newspaper sources for developments related to the substance and process of U.S. foreign policy-making are the following.


New York Times (Click on “U.S.” and “World.” Under “U.S.,” also click on “Politics”)



Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com (Click on “News,” then “World,” and “Nation.” Under “Nation” also click on “National Security” for links to articles on intelligence, the military, etc.) Also click on “Politics.”




The class meetings devoted to a specific foreign policy actor will have a lecture component. However, students are always welcome and encouraged to interrupt the instructor to ask questions or make comments about the material. Also members of the class should be prepared to answer the many questions that the instructor will regularly pose concerning a particular day’s material, a past class, or the assigned readings (which are to be completed before class). Thoughtful participation will be rewarded.


            For class meetings devoted to the analysis of case studies, everyone’s active and thoughtful participation is absolutely essential and expected. During these sessions the instructor or teaching assistant will guide the discussion and highlight key points and concepts, but the vast majority of our time will be spent discussing and dissecting U.S. foreign policy making as a group. A good portion of the class participation grade (discussed below) will be dependent on students’ performance during these sessions.


            To ensure the quality of these class periods, everyone is expected to do three things. First, a copy of the assigned case study should be brought to class. Second, the assigned case study should be read carefully before class. Third, any assigned discussion questions should be used as a reading guide.




Two required textbooks are available for purchase at the university bookstore. I have made a conscious effort to keep the material as affordable and update-to-date as possible. Therefore, the books are recently published, used paperback editions. Since I do not want to profit from selling my book to students, I ordered used copies for which I do not receive royalties. If you have purchased a new copy of my book online or elsewhere, please show me the book and I will make a donation (equivalent to the royalty) to the political science student activity fund.


To be successful in this course, I strongly encourage students to have a personal copy:


Eugene R. Wittkopf and Christopher M. Jones with Charles W. Kegley, Jr. 2008. American Foreign Policy: Pattern and Process, 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.


Eugene R. Wittkopf and James M. McCormick. 2008. The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy: Insights and Evidence, 5th Ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.


In addition, a number of important required readings have been placed on library reserve. A print copy can be checked out at the library on a two-hour basis or a complete copy (PDF file) can be downloaded from a website. The address or URL will be distributed to you during the beginning of the semester and this reading list should be accessible through Blackboard.




The first requirement is written examinations. The midterm exam is scheduled for Thursday, October 8 and will be worth 30 percent of the course grade.  The final exam will be administered on Tuesday, December 8 during the university’s examination period and be worth 30 percent of the final course grade. Both examinations must be completed to pass the course. Each test will be composed of a variety of written response short answer questions. Prior to each exam, the instructor will outline the specific exam format, discuss grading standards, and distribute a study guide. 


            The second course requirement is participation. Components of this grade include (a) regular and thoughtful participation in class lectures and discussions, (b) regular attendance (no more than three absences), and (c) regular and thoughtful engagement in case study discussions/exercises or any group work. Failure to fulfill any one these expectations satisfactorily or any additional assignment will significantly reduce the participation grade, which is worth 15 percent of the final course grade.

            In general, relevant in-class participation (a. and c. above) will be evaluated according to the following scale (with plus and minus grades being possible):


A = regular and thoughtful participation                   

B = occasional and thoughtful participation              

C = regular attendance, but little or no participation

D = less than regular attendance

F = little or no attendance


            Attendance is generally taken each class session.  At the end of the semester, the total number of class meetings is divided into the number of times a student was present. The resulting percentage is then converted to a letter grade.  Missing class no more than two or three times will result in an “A” for this portion (one-third) of the participation grade. Please note that a half letter grade deduction will be taken from the overall course participation grade (not just the attendance grade) for each class missed after the fifth absence.


            Quizzes on all case study days are the third course requirement. These relatively easy five-question quizzes are designed to test one’s basic understanding of the assigned case study’s content to ensure that the members of the class have completed the reading and are fully prepared to discuss and analyze it. The expectation is that every member of the class will have at least a C- quiz average (70 percent) by the end of the semester. There will be a half letter deduction in the final course grade for quiz averages in the 60-69 percent range and a full letter deduction for quiz averages in the 0-59 percent range. No make up quizzes will be administered as the lowest quiz grade will be dropped. Thus a student can miss one quiz without penalty.


            The fourth course requirement is a seven to ten page research paper that examines the role and relative influence of an actor within the contemporary U.S. foreign policy process. Unlike the exams, one is not required to complete the paper to pass the course, but failure to submit it will result in a grade of zero percent. To complete this assignment, which is due Tuesday, November 24 at 3:30 p.m. and is worth 25 percent of the final course grade, students should follow the detailed directions provided within this syllabus (see below) and on the first day of class.


            The midterm examination, final examination, and quizzes will be scored on a 0 to 100 percent scale and assigned a corresponding letter grade (with plus and minus designations included when appropriate). For the research papers and participation, letter grades will be awarded. In computing the final course grade, these two components will count as follows: A = 95, A- = 91, B+ = 88, B = 85, B- = 81, C+ = 78, C  = 75, C- = 71, D+ = 68, D = 65, D- = 61, and F = 0 to 50 (depending on extent and quality of work within "F").   



Midterm Examination = 30 percent

Final Examination       = 30 percent

Participation                = 15 percent

Research Paper            = 25 percent




1.      Makeup Exams: Makeup exams will only be given in extraordinary circumstances.  If such circumstances arise, please contact the instructor as soon as possible and before the scheduled exam. To keep the process fair for everyone in the course, students may be asked to support requests for makeup exams with documentation. A missed examination without prior notification and a documented excuse will result in a zero and a course grade of “F” as opposed to an incomplete.


2.      Students with Disabilities: Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework for which they may require accommodations should notify the University’s Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR). CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.


3.      Late Assignments: An assignment submitted after the due date will be penalized by a deduction of ten points or one letter grade per day. Since students will have had several weeks to complete their work, this standard will be waived only in extraordinary circumstances. 


4.      Submitting Written Work: Assignments should be handed-in to me personally or given to a department secretary to be time-stamped.  Assignments placed under my office door or sent with a friend tend to disappear at times.  If a student selects one of these modes of delivery, he or she does so at his or her own risk.


5.      Extra Credit: Extra credit assignments will not be given on an individual basis to raise final course grades.  Like makeup exams, such projects raise serious questions of equity. If a project is made available, every member of the class would be given the opportunity to complete it.


6.      Handouts: Handouts are a privilege for those students who attend class on a regular basis. No student is entitled to supplemental materials simply because they are registered for the course.


7.      Classroom Etiquette: Students are to arrive at class on time. Two tardy arrivals are equivalent to one class absence.  Students are to remain for the entire session unless excused by the professor beforehand or confronted with a serious personal emergency. For instance, it is not acceptable for students to walk in and out of class to answer cell phones, take casual bathroom and smoking breaks, or attend to other personal matters. Cell phones, pagers, or any electronic devices that make noise must be turned off  or set to vibrate during class unless the instructor has been notified beforehand of a special circumstance (e.g., sick family member, pregnant wife, special childcare situation, etc.). It is not acceptable to use an iPod, read a newspaper, surf the web on a personal computer, or engage other behavior that distracts one from the class proceedings once the session has begun. No one should talk while someone else is talking; this includes comments meant for a classmate rather than the entire group. What may seem like a whisper or a harmless remark to one person can be a distraction to someone else. Overall, classroom dialogue and behavior should always be courteous, respectful of others, and consistent with the expectations set forth by the university.


8.      Incomplete Requests: Such petitions will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances. The instructor reserves the right to ask for documentation to verify the problem preventing completion of the course by the normal deadlines. If the student does not present documentation from a university office or official, the matter will be left to the instructor’s discretion.


9.      Academic Dishonesty: Regarding plagiarism, the NIU Undergraduate Catalog states: “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.” The above statement encompasses the purchase or use of papers that were written by others.  Please note that the instructor retains copies of papers written in previous years. In short, students are advised to do their own work and learn the rules for proper quoting, paraphrasing, and footnoting. If you need assistance in this regard, go to: http://polisci.niu.edu/polisci/audience/plagiarism.shtml.


10.  Class Participation:  I recognize class discussion comes more easily for some people than for others. By temperament or habit, some individuals are “talkers” while others are “listeners.” Learning to be both is an important subsidiary goal of this course.  Comments that are not relevant to the ongoing discussion and off the point will not be rewarded. Remarks that are disruptive to the discussion, insensitive to others, or attempt to dominate the discussion will not be tolerated. I strongly prefer students to participate on a voluntary basis. If you are particularly apprehensive about talking in class, or feel closed out of the discussion for another reason, please speak with me. There are some things I can suggest that may be helpful. Remember: communication skills and self-confidence are extremely important assets in the professional world. Thus it is better to develop these things in the collegial environment of this class rather than under more difficult circumstances later in life.


11.  Religious Observances: The University asks instructors to make students aware of the following policy. “Northern Illinois University as a public institution of higher education in the State of Illinois does not observe religious holidays.  It is the university’s policy, however, to reasonably accommodate the religious observances of individual students in regards to admissions, class attendance, scheduling examinations and work requirements.  Such policies shall be made known to faculty and students.  Religious observance includes all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief.  Absence from classes or examinations for religious observance does not relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the period of absence.  To request accommodation, students who expect to miss classes, examinations or other assignments as a consequence of their religious observance shall provide instructors with reasonable notice of the date or dates they will be absent.” The instructor is respectful and fully supportive of students who wish to participate in religious observances. Excused absences will be provided, but students must understand and follow the above policy with respect to reasonable notice and making up work.


12.  Unannounced Quizzes: The instructor reserves the right to conduct pop quizzes (in addition to the case study quizzes), if it becomes grossly apparent through class discussions that students are not completing the assigned readings on a regular basis.  If such quizzes are administered, they will be averaged and used to raise or lower a student’s final course grade by a half a letter grade. Whether a particular student’s grade is adjusted positively or negatively will be dependent on a class average. It will not be done capriciously.


13.  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 can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.


14.  Department of Political Science Web Site: Undergraduates 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 the site, go to: http://polisci.niu.edu



October 1                    - Midterm Review Sheets Distributed

October 8                    - Midterm Examination                      

November 24              - Research paper is due at 3:30 p.m.                             

December 1                 - Course Conclusion and Final Exam Review Sheets Distributed

December 8                 - Final Examination




· Reading assignments are to be completed by the appropriate date before arriving at class.


Week 1

August 25      

Course Introduction

- Introductions: Instructor and Students

- Overview of subject matter

- Discussion of requirements, expectations, and policies

- Explanation of paper assignment


August 27      

The Global Context of U.S. Foreign Policy Making in the Post-9/11 Era  

Wittkopf & Jones, Chapter 6 (pp. 145-163 and 179-194 only)


Week 2         

September 1   

The Domestic Context of U.S. Foreign Policy-Making in the Post-9/11 Era

Wittkopf & McCormick, pp. 1-16


September 3

The President: Foreign Policy Roles, Opportunities, & Constraints

Wittkopf & Jones, pp.327-top of 337

Wittkopf & McCormick, Chapter 9


Week 3

September 8

Presidents as Individuals in the Foreign Policy Process

Wittkopf & Jones, Chapter 14


September 10

Presidents as Crisis Managers

Wittkopf & Jones, pp. 512-514

Case: The American Hostage Rescue Mission in Wittkopf & McCormick, Chapter 19


Week 4

September 15

The President and War Powers: The Peak of Executive Foreign Policy Influence? 

War Powers Act, go to: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/warpower.asp

“War” in Wittkopf & Jones, pp. 423-430


September 17

A Case in Presidential Foreign Policy Making

Ryan C. Hendrickson, “The Clinton Administration’s Strikes on Usama Bin Laden: Limits to Power” In Contemporary Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy: From Terrorism to Trade, Ralph G. Carter, ed., (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2002), pp. 196-216. Library Reserve Reading


Week 5

September 22 

The Vice President and Foreign Policy Making: Does the Second in Command Matter?

Paul Kengor, “The Vice President, Secretary of State, and Foreign Policy,” Political Science Quarterly 115, 2 (2000):175-199. Library Reserve Reading

Note: This reading was purposefully selected, because it does not include the two most recent vice presidents. Cheney and Biden will be discussed in class.


September 24

Presidential Foreign Policy Advisers

Special Assignment with some outside reading and research (details will be discussed in class)


Week 6

September 29

National Security Council and NSC Staff

Wittkopf & Jones, pp. 340-356

Wittkopf & McCormick, Chapter 11


October 1       

The Foreign Policy Bureaucracy        

Wittkopf & Jones, Chapter 13 (pp.462 bottom-486)


Midterm review sheets will be distributed.


Week 7

October 6

The State Department

Wittkopf & Jones, pp. 367-378


October 8       

Midterm Examination

This date was selected in order that all students in the class may have a graded assessment of their work prior to the university’s withdrawal deadline of October 16.


Week 8

October 13

The Defense Department

Wittkopf & Jones, pp. 378-388

Wittkopf & McCormick, Chapter 14


October 15

Interagency Processes and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy

Case: Christopher M. Jones, “Trading with Saddam: Bureaucratic Roles and Competing Conceptions of National Security,” In The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy: Insights and Evidence, 3rd ed., Eugene R. Wittkopf and James M. McCormick (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), pp. 267-285. Library Reserve Reading


Week 9

October 20

Case: The Politics of the V-22 Osprey

Wittkopf & McCormick, Chapter 20


October 22     

The Intelligence Community

Wittkopf & Jones, pp. 388-406 (top)


Week 10                         

October 27

The Central Intelligence Agency

Wittkopf & McCormick, Chapter 15


October 29

Department of Homeland Security

Review Wittkopf & Jones, pp. 396-398

Wittkopf & McCormick, Chapter 16


Week 11

November 3

The Congress

Wittkopf & Jones, Chapter 12


November 5

Interagency Processes and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy

Case:  Christopher M. Jones, “Rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: The Politics of Ratification,” In Contemporary Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy: From Terrorism to Trade, Ralph G. Carter, 2nd ed. (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2005), 181-216.  Library Reserve Reading.


Week 12

November 10 

Interest Groups and Nongovernmental Organizations

Wittkopf & Jones, pp. 283-305 (top)


November 12 

Ethnic Lobbies

Wittkopf & McCormick, Chapters 14 and 15


Week 13

November 17 

The News Media

Wittkopf & Jones, 305-317


November 19 

Public Opinion

Wittkopf & Jones, pp. 250-280


Tentative Movie & Pizza Night: “Thirteen Days”

This “likely” event will take place sometime around 6:00 p.m. in DuSable Hall. More details will be provided in class.


Week 14

November 24 

Open Date

We will use this date to catch up with material (if we are behind), view a foreign policy DVD, listen to a guest speaker, or cover a special topic of interest to the class. Readings may be assigned or distributed.

Papers are due today.


November 26

No Class - Thanksgiving Break


Week 15

December 1    

Course Conclusion: Who Really Makes U.S. Foreign Policy?

Do not miss this class. It is a key session for the course and the final exam.


James M. Scott, “Interbranch Policy Making After the End,” In After the End: Making U.S. Foreign Policy in t he Post-Cold War World (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), pp. 389-407.


December 3    

Finish Course Conclusion (if necessary) and Review for Final Examination

No reading assignment


Week 16

December 8: Final Examination: 4:00-5:50 a.m. in AB 102





Assignment: Evaluate an Actor’s Relative Influence within the U.S. Foreign Policy Process


Do your own work: Please do not make the mistake of using or borrowing some or all of a student’s paper from a previous year. Papers from previous years are kept on file. The course assistant will be checking work submitted this year against work that was submitted in previous years. Also do not waste your time or money buying a paper from a web site or another source. This assignment was designed especially for this particular course. To earn a good grade the guidelines (below) must be followed. A purchased paper will not meet these guidelines. Additionally, all students will submit their papers to NIU’s SafeAssign, which is “a free plagiarism prevention tool that allows instructors to protect the originality of work and ensure a fair playing ground for all their students. SafeAssign is integrated with Blackboard and prevents plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in students’ papers within your existing teaching and learning environment.” In short, the keys to success are start early, follow the directions, do careful work, and ask for help when you need it.


Select an appropriate topic: Choose a specific individual, group, organization, or country that has some impact on the contemporary U.S. foreign policy process. The selection cannot be a specific U.S. president, such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barak Obama. It also cannot be a general subject covered in class, such as the State Department, Congress, or the new media. However, a smaller, more specific topic related to these actors or other class subjects could certainly be explored. Moreover, a paper topic does not have to be limited to the subjects addressed in class. There is a broad range of possibilities. The selected topic must simply be an actor that plays some legitimate role in the contemporary U.S. foreign policy process. “Legitimate” is defined as a legally or politically recognized domestic or international actor that is regularly involved in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. (Please no terrorist organizations, drug cartels, or other actors of this type.) “Contemporary” is defined as the post-cold war era, or 1993 to the present. The paper can encompass this entire time period or a simply a portion of it.


Topic suggestions: Here are some examples of possible paper topics. Use this list if it is helpful, but certainly do not be limited by it. Please feel free to discuss other ideas with the instructor.


-          Examine a bureaucracy or agency not discussed in detail in class, such as the Department of Commerce, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Department of Treasury, Department of Energy, etc.

-          Examine an intelligence agency other than the Central Intelligence Agency.

-          Examine an actor within the CIA, such as the director, inspector general, an office, or one of the four major directorates.

-          Examine an actor within the State Department, such as a the secretary, a specific actor or office, one of the functional or geographic bureaus, ambassadors, embassies or embassy staffs, or a related organization, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

-          Examine an actor within the Defense Department. Examples include the secretary, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Joint Chiefs of Staffs, Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a specific commander in chief (CINC), military command, or a branch or organization of the U.S. armed services.

-          Examine a specific vice president.

-          Examine the director of homeland security.

-          Examine a specific national security adviser (special assistant for national security affairs), NSC staffer, NSC interagency committee, or NSC staff directorate.

-          Examine a specific national economic advisor (special assistant to the president for economic affairs) or the role of the advisor in general, the National Economic Council (NEC) or the NEC staff.

-          Examine a specific congressional leader or the congressional leadership as a whole.

-          Examine a specific U.S. senator or member of Congress.

-          Examine a specific congressional committee, subcommittee, caucus, or staff.

-          Examine a specific member of the congressional bureaucracy (e.g., General Accountability Office, Congressional Research Service, and Congressional Budget Office).

-          Examine a special commission, blue ribbon panel, or group of experts.

-          Examine a specific interest group or lobby, which may be organized around on a policy issue, ethnicity, race, religion, profession, or some other factor.

-          Examine a specific trade association or labor union.

-          Examine a specific foreign lobby (not discussed in class), foreign government or country. Note: Examine a specific foreign country’s influence within the U.S. foreign policy process (not U.S. influence within that country).

-          Examine a specific international (intergovernmental) or nongovernmental organization.

-          Examine a specific consulting or lobbying firm.

-          Examine a specific think tank or public policy research organization.

-          Examine a specific academic institution or academia as a whole.

-          Examine a specific U.S. company, industry, economic sector, or constituency.

-          Examine state or local governments as a whole or specific state or local government entity (e.g., State of Illinois).

-          Examine the judiciary as a whole or a specific court (e.g., U.S. Supreme Court).

-          Examine a specific news organization.

-          Examine a specific U.S. political party or political parties as a whole.

-          Examine the role of president elections.


Goal and substance of the paper: Descriptive, background information or history necessary to understand the actor under study may be included, but this type of information should not dominate the paper. Remember this is a political science paper concerned with the relative influence of an actor within the U.S. foreign policy process. First, an emphasis should be placed on the actor’s formal and, if appropriate, informal roles, functions, or duties. What does he, she, or it do? Second, it should discuss the actor’s interests, broadly defined. What does the actor care about? What motivates or drives the actor’s foreign policy behavior? Third and most important, the paper must offer an evaluation of the actor’s relative influence within the U.S. foreign policy process. In addressing this third point, consider issues like the following. Is the actor generally successful or unsuccessful? What are the actor’s bargaining advantages and disadvantages, or strengths and weaknesses, when interacting with others within the U.S. foreign policy process? When does the actor win or lose? Why?


            To make your analysis more effective and your topic more manageable, it may be helpful to tie or limit your evaluation of relative influence to particular issue, points in time, other actors in the foreign policy process, certain events and relationships, or other pertinent factors. (I will discuss some strategies on the first day of class. Please feel free to ask me again later in the semester.) Whatever approach is taken be sure to present a reasoned argument based on logic, evidence, and examples rather than assertions of opinion.


Format and presentation: The final paper should be properly presented and assembled. Be sure it conforms to the following guidelines:

(a)    Word-processed and double-spaced on white, unlined, 8.5'' x 11'' paper with 12 pt. font

(b)   Stapled in upper left-hand corner with no fancy covers or binders

(c)    Title page

(d)   One-inch margins on all sides

(e)    Page numbers

(f)    Text begins at the very top of page one

(g)   Meet the page minimum of  seven pages and absolutely do not exceed 10 pages


Research and Documentation: The final paper should be carefully and properly documented.

(a)    Do not engage in intentional or unintentional plagiarism (see “academic dishonesty” under “course policies and loose ends” above).

(b)   Use a reasonable number of complete footnotes, parenthetical references, or endnotes to indicate sources, supporting evidence, interpretations, contrary analyses or views, as well as to give credit for quotations or paraphrases

(c)    At a minimum, use at least five different sources, as reflected in the endnotes or footnotes, not merely the bibliography. (More sources are preferable.) Course textbooks may be used, but these materials do not count toward the number of required sources unless it is a chapter that was not assigned during the semester.

(d)   Avoid dependency or overuse of particular sources. Diversify sources and citations throughout the entire paper.

(e)    Use a widely accepted form of citation, such as MLA, APA, APSR, or the Chicago Manual of Style. The specific form is your choice, but use it correctly.

(f)    Use quality source material (e.g., books, scholarly journal articles, interviews, memoirs of decision-makers, speeches, government documents, etc.). Every paper should have some of these types of sources. The university library has a good government documents section and helpful staff on the second floor. Try to visit before 4:30 p.m. for the best assistance. The library also has access to a number of good databases (e.g., JSTOR, EBSCO, LexisNexis, etc.) that will allow you to search for journal articles thoroughly and efficiently. Do not be afraid to ask a librarian for assistance.

(g)   Citations from newspapers and newsmagazines are acceptable, but they will not be counted toward the required number of sources. (Speak to the instructor if this is truly the only type of material that you can find on your subject.) Newspapers of record, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, or other good quality newspapers, such as the Christian Science Monitor, should be employed. Some high quality foreign newspapers also may be acceptable.

(h)   Good quality sources of information from the World Wide Web are acceptable and will count toward the source minimum, but this information is it not an excuse for doing library research and including books, journal articles, or government documents. Use Internet material in moderation and be sure it is well cited so that anyone could locate the same information.


Quality Writing and Structure: The final paper should be well written in formal English.

(a)    Offer a compelling, interesting introduction that draws the reader in and convinces him or her that they should care about the issue under discussion.

(b)   Provide a clear and coherent thesis statement.

(c)    Include a “roadmap paragraph” that explains how the paper will be organized and presented.

(d)   Use subheadings and subsections to organize the paper.

(e)    Have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Be sure the body addresses the key features of the assignment discussed under “goal and substance of paper” (above).

(f)    Use a persuasive, analytical, third person voice. Avoid the use of me, my, I, we, our, you, and your.

(g)   Avoid the use of contractions in formal papers, such as it’s, don’t, can’t and weren’t. Instead use it is, do not, cannot, and were not.

(h)   Avoid spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and awkward sentences. Be sure verbs agree with their subjects and pronouns agree with their antecedents. Grammatical errors include split infinitives, cliches, improper or missing capitalization, improper use of apostrophes, confusing plural and possessive forms of words, double negatives, fluctuations in verb tense, and missing or improper punctuation. Be sure sentences have proper nouns rather than relying on words, such as “this.”

(i)     Use its and it’s, affect and effect, and U.S. and United States properly. On the last point, write out United States when it is a noun and U.S. when it is an adjective.

(j)     Carefully proofread the final paper before submitting it.


Writing Assistance: For writing assistance, please consult with the University’s Writing Center in one of the following ways.

(a)    Drop by the Stevenson Towers South, Lower Level Tower B. The operating hours are posted on the Writing Center’s web site

(b)   Make an individual appointment by calling (815) 753-6636.

(c)    Go to http://www.engl.niu.edu/writing_center/ and e-mail a draft for general feedback.

(d)   Use the other online writing resources on the Center’s web site.


Research and Substantive Assistance: Students are welcome to consult with the instructor and teaching assistant as often as they wish about their paper’s topic, source material, or substance.  Please feel free to talk to me after class, visit office hours, ask brief questions over e-mail, or submit outlines and research design statements for feedback.


Submitting the Paper: Be sure to submit two copies of the final paper at the proper time on the posted due date. Keep a photocopy and computer disk copy of the paper. Students are responsible for supplying an additional copy should the instructor request it.


Paper Grades: The main criteria to be used in evaluating the paper will be the caliber of research, understanding of subject, quality of analysis, quality of writing and overall presentation, degree of independent thinking, and the use of evidence and reasoning to reach meaningful conclusions. It goes without saying that the paper must meet the stated goal of the assignment and the guidelines (discussed above).