POLS 285: Problems of International Relations

(2006 Spring Semester)



Prof. Edward Kwon                                                      Northern Illinois University

Office: Zulauf 402                                                        Department of Political Science

Phone: 753-7055                                                           Class: M & W  2:00-3:15 pm

E-mail: edteaching@yahoo.com                                   Class Room: DU 246                     

Office Hours: W 3:30-4:30 pm                                     

                       & by appointment 



Course Objective


This course is designed to help students’ understanding of the major concepts, significant issues and theories in International Relations, and to broaden their perspective for this subject. It will focus on theoretical frameworks used to analyze change and continuity in international relations with a historical focus. The course is divided into four parts. In the first part, we will explore the main theoretical paradigms of international relations (realism, liberalism, and constructivism) and their empirical applications in world politics. Second, we will consider the change and continuity of international relations with a historical context. The evolution of Cold War and post-Cold War international systems, the two world wars, globalization and regionalism, and North and South relations will be discussed. Third, we will critically analyze instruments and strategies of conflict and cooperation among various international (state and non-state) actors in the international system. This will include a detailed analysis of diplomacy and bargaining, alliance, foreign policy, terrorism, security and war, international regime, and international law. Finally, we will study major areas of international political economy such as international trade, multinational corporations, international money and finance, and development. By the end of the semester, it is expected that students who have successfully completed this course will have a better understanding of the current issues in the field of international relations and will have developed their own critical perspective and research tools for further study.





Most of this course consists of lectures by the instructor, student presentation, and class discussion. In each session, students will have various scholarly papers from major journals in International Relations, and articles from the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, or CNN about the current and historical issues of Global Politics and International Relations. Through the reading, student presentation, and brief discussion, the students will be encouraged to share their opinion and understanding, and help to formulate their own critical viewpoints in comparing other colleagues’ opinion about the various topics in Global Politics and International Relations. 



1) Attendance and Class Participation (30%)

Class attendance and participation is very important for students to accomplish this course objective. In each class, two students will present an overview of an assigned article (book chapter) based on their research concern. During the presentation, the instructor will intervene from time to time to give some comments. Students are expected to attend all classes, so absences without pre-notification to the instructor will affect the course grade adversely. Students who miss more than four classes cannot get credit. Student should read the assigned readings before class meetings and prepare for class discussion and presentation. Contributions to the class discussion including prepared comments and energetic participation will be considered in your grade.


2) In class Examinations (50%)

Two in-class examinations will be administered to test students’ understanding of key concepts and contents covered in assigned materials. The questions in these exams will be a combination of multi-choice, short answers, essay questions, and correct answer selection.


3) Written Assignment (20%)

Students will be assigned several short papers (journal) on important scholarly articles and current hot issues in international relations. From these written assignments, student will improve their academic writing skill.  


Required Texts:


Robert J. Art and Robert Jervis, International Politics: Enduring Concepts and  Contemporary Issues, 7th ed. (New York: Pearson Longman, 2005).


Steven L. Spiegel, Jennifer M. Taw, Fred L. Wehling, and Kristen P. Williams, Reading in World Politics: A New Era (Belmont, CA: Thomson and Wadsworth, 2005).


Optional Books:


Charles W. Kegley, Jr and Eugene R. Wittkopf, World Politics:  Trend and Transformation, 10th ed. (Belmont, CA: Thomson and Wadsworth, 2006).    


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 and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructor. It is important that CAAR and instructor be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.” 

Class Schedule and Topic Outline


I. Theoretical Paradigms of International Relations


Week 1 (Jan 18): Course Introduction

- Course Introduction


Week 2 (Jan 23, 25): Framework for Analysis 

- Analyzing Contemporary International Relations

- International Relations as a Field of Study

- Theories and Methods

- Three perspectives on IR (Conservative, Liberal, and Revolutionary)


Levels of Analysis as an Analytical Tool

- Individual, Role, Government, Society, Relations, and World System


Week 3-4 (Jan 30, Feb 1): IR Theories 


IR Theories I: Realism and Liberalism


Classical Realism

*  Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, translated and with an introduction by Harvey C. Mansfield (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1998).

** Edward Hallett Carr, The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1964).

** Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 5th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1973).



** Kenneth N. Waltz, Man, the State and War: A Theoretical Analysis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1954), Chap. 2, 4, 6, and 8.

** Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1979), Chap. 1-6.

** Kenneth N. Waltz, “Structural Realism after the Cold War,” International Security 25, no. 1 (Summer 2000): 5-41.

** Gideon Rose, “Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy,” World Politics 51, no. 1 (October 1998): 144-172.



** Robert O. Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (New York: Princeton Univ. Press, 1984), Chap. 1-3, and 6.

** Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Power and Interdependence, 3rd ed. (New York: Longman, 2001), Chap. 1-3.

** Robert Jervis, “Realism, Noeliberalism, and Cooperation: Understanding the Debate,” International Security 24, no. 1 (Summer 1999): 42-63.

** Robert Powell, “Anarchy in International Relations Theory: The Neorealist-Neoliberal Debate,” (Review Essay) International Organization 48, no.2 (Spring 1994):313-344.


Week 4 (Feb 6, 8): IR Theories II: Constructivism and others 



** John Gerard Ruggie, “What makes the World Hang Together? Neo-utilitarianism and the Social Constructivist Challenge,” International Organization 54, no. 4 (Autumn 1988): 855-858.

** Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999).

** Peter J. Katzenstein, ed., The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1996), Chap 2, 5, and 8.

** Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink, “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change,” International Organization 54, no. 4 (Autumn 1998): 887-917.

* Jeffrey T. Checkel, “Why Comply? Social Learning and European Identity Change,” International Organization 55, no.3 (Summer 2001): 553-88.



** Immanuel Wallerstein, “The Rise and Future Demise of the World Capitalist System,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 16 (1974): 387-415.

** Robert Cox, “Rramsci, Hegemony, and International relations: An Essay in Method,” in Gramsci, Historical Materialism, and International Relations, ed., Stephen Gill (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993), pp. 59-81. 

** A. Claire Cutler, “Locating ‘Authority’ in the Global Political Economy,” International Studies Quarterly 43, no.1 (March 1999): 59-81.


II. Change and Continuity of International Relations 


Week 5 (Feb 13, 15): Historical Viewpoint of IR 


Historical Viewpoint of IR

- Great Power Rivalries and Relations

- The Quest for Great Power Hegemony

- World War I

- World War II

- The Cold War, 1945-1990

- The Post-Cold War, 1990- present


** Kegley Jr. and Wittkopf, Chap. 2.(Theories of World Politics)

** Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of Cold War: Reevaluating a Landmark Case for Ideas,” International Security (Winter 2000). 

** George Kennan (writing as “X”), “Source of Soviet Conduct,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 25, no. 4 (July 1947), reprinted in Spring 1987 issue: 858-868.

** Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., “The Origin of the Cold War,” Foreign Affairs 46, no.1 (October 1967).



Week 6 (Feb 20, 22) Power Politics, Actors, and the International System 


The State as International Actor

- Sovereignty and the Nature of the State

- The Security Dilemma


Element of Power

- Defining and Estimating Power

- Element of Power


The International System

- Anarchy and Sovereignty

- Hegemony and Power Distribution

- Balance of Power System

- Power and Polarity (Unipolar, Bipolar, Tripolar System)


** Morton A. Kaplan, “Some Problem of International System Research,” International Political Communities: An Anthology (Garden City, NY.: Anchor, 1996).  

** Karl W. Deutsch and J. David Singer, “Multipolar Power Systems and International Stability,” World Politics 16, no. 3 (April 1964).

** Jessica T. Matthews, “Redefining Security,” Foreign Affairs 68, no.2 (1989): 162-77.

** Theodore C. Sorensen, “Rethinking National Security,” Foreign Affairs 69 (Summer 1990): 1-18.


Week 7 (Feb 27, Mar 1): Non-state Actors in the International System

Non-State Actors

- International Organizations

- Non-governmental Organization

- Multinational Corporation

- Substate Actors


Role of International Organization and World Order

- International Norm and Morality

- Role of International Organization


** Robert O. Keohane, “International Institutions: Can Interdependence Work?,” Foreign Policy, Vol. 110 (Spring 1998): 82-96.

** Richard Mansbach, Yale H. Ferguson, and Donald E. Lampert, The Web of World Politics: Nonstate Actors in the Global System (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1976), pp. 32-45.

** Lawrence Ziring, Robert E. Riggs, and Jack C. Plano, The United Nations: International Organization and World Politics, 3rd ed. (New York: Harcourt, 2000).

III. Instruments and Strategies of Conflict and Cooperation among Actors  


Week 8 (Mar 6, 8): Diplomacy, Bargaining, and Foreign Policy


Diplomacy and Bargaining

- Bargaining and Leverage

- Negotiation

- Strategies

- Reciprocity, Deterrence, and Arms Races

- Rationality and Game Theory

- Influence based on Economic Resources


Foreign Policy

- Making Foreign Policy

- Decision Making Models

. The Rational / Organizational Process/ Bureaucratic Model 


** Robert D. Putnam, “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games,” International Organization 42, no. 3 (Summer 1988): 427-60.

** Ole R. Holsti, “Model of International Relations and Foreign Policy,” in G. John Ikenberry, American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays, 3rd ed. (New York: Longman, 1999), 37-64.

** Graham T. Allison, “Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 63, no.3 (September 1969).

** Graham T. Allison and Philip Zelikow, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, 2nd ed. (New York: Longman, 1999).



* Spring Break (Mar 11 – 19)



Week 9 (Mar 20): Mid – Exam



Week 10 (Mar 27, 29): International Conflict: War and Terrorism

The Causes of International Conflicts 

- Territorial Dispute

- Control of Governments

- Economic Conflict

- Ethnic Conflict

- Ideological Conflict


The Quest for Military Capabilities

-Trends in Military Spending

- Changes in Military Capabilities


Means of Leverage

- Types of War

- Terrorism

- Conflict Resolution


** Robert Jervis, “Arms Control, Stability, and Causes of War,” World Policy Journal (Winter 1998).

** Robert Jervis, “War and Misperception,” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History XVIII, no. 4 (Spring 1988): 675-700.

** Donald Kagan, “A Look at the Great Wars of the Twentieth Century,” Naval War College Review (Autumn 2000). 

** Phillip S. Meilinger, “Force Divider: How Military technology Makes the United States Even More Unilateral,” Foreign Policy (January-February 2002).


Week 11 (April 3, 5): The September 11 Terrorist Attack and War against Terror


- Cause of Terrorism

- Extent of Terrorism

- Chemical and Biological Terrorism


The Background of the September 11 Terrorist Attack

- The U.S. and Islamic World

- The U.S. Pro-Israel Foreign Policy

- Islam Fundamentalism

- Usama Bin Laden and the Al Quaeda


War against Terror

- War in Afghanistan

- War in Iraq


** National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
(W.W. Norton & Company, 2004).

**Jonathan B. Tucker and Amy Sands, “An Unlikely Threat,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, Vol. 55, no. 4 (July-August 1999), www.bullatomsci.org/issues/1999/ja99


IV. International Political Economy  


Week 12 (April 10, 12): The Global North and South Conflict


The State of the South

Theory of Accumulation and Imperialism  

Theoretical Explanations of Underdevelopment


The Politics of Marginalization: The Global South in the International Hierarchy

- The Colonial Origins of the Global South’s Plight

- European Imperialism

- Colonialism, Self-Determination, and Decolonization


The Global South’s Foreign Policy Response to a World Ruled by the Great Powers

- In Search for Power and Wealth

- A New International Economic Order


** Theotonio Dos Santos, “The Structure of Dependence,” American Economic Review, Vol. 60 (1970): 231-236.

** James A. Caporaso, “Dependency Theory: Continuities and Discontinuities in Development Studies,” International Organization 39 (Autumn 1980): 605-28.

** Fernando H. Cardoso, “Dependency and Development in Latin America,” New Left Reviews 74 (July-August 1972): 83-95.



Week 13 (April 17, 19): International Trade System

Trade Strategies and Markets

- Autarky

- Protectionism

- Industries and Interest Groups

- Cooperation in Trade


Postwar Trade Regime (GATT)

- The Kennedy Round (1964-1967)

- The Tokyo Round (1973-1979)

- The Uruguay Round (1986-1993)

- The Millennium Round (2000-  )

- The WTO Doha Round


World Trade Organization



** Robert Gilpin, Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001), Chap. 8. (The Trading System)

** Joan E. Spero and Jeffrey A. Hart, The Politics of International Economic Relations, 5th ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997), Chap. 3. (International Trade and Domestic Politics)

** Stephen D. Krasner, “State Power and the Structure of International Trade,” World Politics, Vol. 28 (April 1976): 317-343.  



Week 14 (April 24, 26): International Monetary and Financial System


The International Monetary System

- The Dollar and American Hegemony

- The Bretton Woods System

- The Non-System of Flexible Rates


The U.S. Proponent Role in Financial Liberalization

- The U.S., the Treasury Department, and the IMF

- Neo-liberalism and the Washington Consensus

- The U.S. Role in Strengthen Financial Architecture


** Jeffry A. Frieden, “Exchange Rate Politics,” Review of International Political Economy 1, no.1(1994): 81-98.

** C. Randall Henning, Currencies and Politics in the United States, Germany and Japan (Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 1994), Chap. 2, 3, and 6.



Week 15 (May 1, 3): The Multinational Corporation

Multinational Corporations

- Direct Foreign Investment

- Host and Home Governments relations

- Business Environment

Debate over the MNC and the nation-state


*   Robert Gilpin, U.S. Power and the Multinational Corporation: The Political Economy of Foreign Direct Investment (New York: Basic Books, 1975), 138-197.

** David Fieldhouse, “A New Imperial System”? The Role of the Multinational Corporations Reconsidered,” in Frieden and Lake, 167-179.

** Richard E. Caves, “The Multinational Enterprise as an Economic Organization,” in Frieden and Lake, 145-155.


Week 16 (May 8): Final Examination




Thank You!