Spring 2010

Northern Illinois University

Class Meetings: T, TH 12:30-1:45 p.m. – DU 464


Professor Christopher Jones

Office:             ZU 415                                              

Phone:             753-7040                                            

E-mail:             cmjones@niu.edu                              

Office Hours:  W 1:30-4:30 p.m. or by appointment


Contact Information for Mr. Andrew Foss Teaching Assistant

Office:             DU 476

Phone:             753-1818

E-mail:             afoss1@niu.edu

Office Hours:  TBA   


Contact Information for Mr. Adam Cox, Teaching Assistant

Office:             DU 476

Phone:             753-1818

E-mail:             acox6@niu.edu

Office Hours:  TBA




This survey course in contemporary U.S. national security policy has two basic objectives. Its primary goal is to provide a solid and fairly broad introduction to the concepts, issues, and debates related to this important area of public policy. The first portion of the course will address essential background information, such as national interests, national capabilities, military tradition and strategic culture, America’s global standing, the impact of September 11, 2001, national grand strategy, and force structure.


The second and larger portion of the course will focus on a range of real and potential threats to U.S. national security. Terrorism, of course, will be a key focus. We will discuss it as a general issue as well as explore variants, such as the threat of “dirty bombs” or radiological dispersion devices. Other topics will include nuclear proliferation, ethnic and religious conflict, energy security and dependency on foreign sources of oil, and key geopolitical concerns – NATO and European security, a rising China, the nuclear ambitions of Iran, unstable Pakistan, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


As we examine these many challenges, we will stop to consider several responses. For example, we will discuss and analyze arms control, national missile defense, the best options for addressing terrorism, balancing national security and civil liberties, whether to contain or engage China, collective defense, collective security, deciding when and how to intervene militarily, reinstating a military draft, and how best to wage and exit the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. From a strategic standpoint, we also consider alternative future and  grand strategies for the United States.

Given the time constraints of this course, our treatment of U.S. national security policy must be selective. There are clearly additional subjects that could be included in each part of the course. The choice of topics is designed to demonstrate the diverse nature of security policy as well as identify many (but certainly not all) of the leading issues that challenge U.S. policy-makers today. In particular, the course draws a clear distinction between foreign policy and security policy, placing emphasis on real threats to the safety and survival of the United States. Furthermore, military history, weapons systems, the Department of Defense, the U.S. intelligence community, the mechanics of national security decision-making, and certain regions (e.g., Southeast Asia, Latin America, etc.) are featured in other university courses and, therefore, will not be our focus. This class is concerned with substantive policy issues and responses.


The second course objective is to have some fun putting ourselves in the shoes of national security policy-makers without sharing their ulcers, perhaps with the added benefit of preparing just a bit for a career in public service. We will accomplish this goal in a number of ways. For instance, lecture material will often raise questions where students will be asked to consider which policy direction is most beneficial to the United States now or in the future. There will also be a number of class periods where we will probe a particular issue in depth and actively discuss, as a group, the merits of various U.S. policy options. In addition, everyone should stay on top of breaking national security events and decisions by regularly monitoring a high quality newspaper and referencing relevant information at appropriate junctures in class. Lastly, each member of the class will assume the role of a national security practitioner and write a policy paper that deals with a significant national security challenge.




This is a fairly challenging 300-level course designed primarily for POLS majors and minors with a strong interest in international politics. Students should hold a junior or senior class standing. This is a prerequisite. It is strongly recommended POLS 285 or a solid introductory international relations course at another institution be completed before enrolling in this course. Non-majors and POLS majors who have not completed this coursework are welcome, but should consider themselves warned about these recommendations. Everyone enrolled in the class should have a serious interest in current U.S. national security policy and a willingness to work hard.


Please note that this is an honors section and it will be treated as such. Students are expected to work hard and will be held to high standards in class and with regard to the graded requirements.


Good national security policy students keep up with breaking events. Staying informed allows one to make better sense of the instructor’s examples and other students’ comments as well as participate in class. Monitoring the news will also help students draw linkages between the course material and the “real world.” News articles will provide examples that can be referenced on examinations to highlight class concepts or in a paper to make a reasoned argument. Moreover, current events can be brought into class discussions. While one can draw on articles from papers like the Chicago Tribune or Christian Science Monitor, the two best sources for news developments related to U.S. national security policy are the following.


Washington Post (Go to http://www.washingtonpost.com, click on “News” and then click on “Nation” and “World.” Under “Nation” click on “National Security.”)


New York Times (Go to http://www.nytimes.com, click on “U.S.” and “World”).




Most classes will have a lecture component. However, students are 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, a current event, or the assigned readings (which are to be completed before class). Regular and thoughtful participation will be rewarded.          


For class meetings devoted to the discussion and debate of U.S. policy options, everyone’s active and thoughtful participation is absolutely essential and expected. During these sessions the instructor will guide the class discussion and highlight key concepts and points when appropriate, but the vast majority of our time will be spent discussing and dissecting U.S. national security policy as a group. At times, these class periods may involve group work and exercises.


To ensure the quality of these class periods, everyone is expected to do three things. First, all assigned readings on the issue under discussion should be read carefully before class. Second, copies of these readings should be brought to class as reference material for discussion and group exercises. Third, some time should be spent prior to class considering any questions or guidelines that the instructor may have highlighted at the previous meeting. 




There are no textbooks to  purchase at the university bookstore. In an effort to keep the material as affordable and update-to-date as possible, all readings will be accessible through a library e- reserve list on the course’s Blackboard site. Adobe Acrobat Reader will be needed to open many of the readings, which are in Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Students who do not have this program can download it free of charge. Simply click on the appropriate link on the upper right hand corner of the electronic reserve reading list.


In addition, hard copies of all course readings, including journal articles, book chapters, reports, and Internet material, have been placed on two-hour library reserve. Students may obtain these readings by visiting the library’s reserve reading room.




The first requirement is written examinations. The midterm exam is scheduled for Tuesday, March 2 and will be worth 25 percent of the course grade. The final exam will be administered on Tuesday, May 6 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 identification and short answer questions. Prior to each exam, the specific exam format will be outlined, grading procedures and standards will be discussed, and a study guide will be distributed. An optional outside review session will be offered for students who wish such assistance.


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), (c) regular and thoughtful engagement on class days devoted to discussion and debate. 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) 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 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.  Specifically, it counts for one-third of the participation grade with in-class participation (discussed above) accounting for the remaining two-thirds. Missing class no more than two or three times will result in an “A” range grade for this portion 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.


The third course requirement is a quiz on  “The American Experience,” from Donald Snow’s National Security for a New Era. The chapter provides important information that each student should be exposed to, but it is a subject that does not necessarily warrant an entire class period. Thus one way to ensure that everyone gives it attention is to have a straightforward, short answer quiz of about 15-20 questions. The quiz will be designed to test one’s basic knowledge of the chapter’s central concepts. It will be held on Tuesday, February 16 at the start of class and worth five percent of the course. Please note that there will be no make up quizzes unless there are serious and legitimate extenuating circumstances supported by documentation.


The fourth course requirement is a small number (approximately five) quizzes on assigned journal articles from the course’s library reserve reading list. These quizzes will be unannounced and distributed randomly throughout the semester. These relatively easy five-question quizzes are designed to test one’s basic understanding of the assigned readings to ensure that the members of the class have completed it and are fully prepared to discuss 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 in the final course grade for quiz averages in the 0-59 percent range. No makeup quizzes will be administered and missed quizzes count as zeros. However, each student will be allowed to drop one quiz grade. Thus one quiz can be missed without penalty.


Lastly, students will write a policy paper of 10-12 pages. The paper should correspond to the all guidelines summarized within the last portion of the syllabus. 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 Thursday, April 15 at the beginning of class and is worth 25 percent of the final course grade, students should follow the detailed directions provided at the end of this syllabus and the guidelines offered 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 paper 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.           




Midterm Examination                         = 25 percent

Final Examination                               = 30 percent

Participation                                        = 15 percent

Policy Paper                                        = 25 percent

Quiz on American Military Tradition = 5 percent





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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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




Quiz on American Military Tradition             February 16    

Midterm Examination:                                    March 2

Policy Paper Due:                                           April 15

Final Examination                                           May 6



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


Week 1


January 12: Introduction

•No assigned readings.



January 14: Defining America’s National Interest

•Sam C. Sarkesian. 1995. “National Interests and National Security,” In U.S. National Security: Policymakers, Processes, and Politics, 2nd ed. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. 3-21.


•Snow, Donald M. 2008. “Geopolitics: America and the Realist Paradigm,” In  National Security for a New Era, 3rd ed. New York: Longman. Pages 49-63.



Week 2


January 19: National Capabilities: The Tools of Security

•Walter Russell Mead. 2004. “America’s Sticky Power,” Foreign Policy 141 (March/April):46-53.


•Richard L. Armitage and Joseph S. Nye, Jr.  2007. CSIS Commission on Smart Power: A Smarter, More Secure America

http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/071106_csissmartpowerreport.pdf, pages 1-14 only.



January 21: America’s Global Standing

•Immanuel Wallerstein. 2002. “The Eagle Has Crashed Landed,” Foreign Policy 131 (July/August):60-68.


•Joseph S. Nye, Jr. “Recovering America’s Leadership,” Survival 50 (1):55-68.



Week 3


January 26: Alternate U.S. Futures and Strategies

•Richard N. Haass. 2008. “The Age of Nonpolarity.” Foreign Affairs 87 (3):44-56.           


•Fareed Zakaria. 2008. “The Future of American Power.” Foreign Affairs 87 (3):18-43.



January 28: National Strategy in the Post-9/11 Era

• The National Security Strategy of the United States (September 2002) http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.pdf


• Barak Obama. 2008. “Renewing America’s Leadership.” Foreign Affairs 86 (4):2-16.


• Obama’s Nobel Laureate and Afghanistan speeches, 2009:






Week 4


February 2: Grand Strategy and Force Structure

• Snow, Donald M. 2008. National Security for a New Era, 3rd ed. New York: Longman,

pages 241-255 and  283-287.


• Kathy Gill. 2007. “Military Conscription, Recruiting, and the Draft,” http://uspolitics.about.com/od/electionissues/a/draft.htm



February 4: Terrorism: America’s New Global War

• Snow, Donald M. 2008. “Terrorism,” In  National Security for a New Era, 3rd ed. New York: Longman. 320-351.



Week 5


February 9: How Should America Respond to Terrorism? Part I - Challenges & Policy Making Dilemmas (including the tension between security and civil liberties)

•Henry Munson. 2004. “Lifting the Veil: Understanding the Roots of Islamic Militancy,” Harvard International Review 25(4), http://www.harvardir.org/articles/1184


•Thomas Homer-Dixon. 2002. “The Rise of Complex Terrorism.” Foreign Policy 128 (January/February): 52-62.


• Katya Drozdova and Michael Samoilov. 2002. “National Security: Security and Liberty,” Hoover Digest, http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/4477836.html



February 11: How Should America Respond to Terrorism? Part II – Evaluating Policy Options in the Global War on Terrorism

• David Tucker. 1998. “Responding to Terrorism,” Washington Quarterly 21(1):103-117.


• “Terrorism: How Should We Respond?” Choices for the 21st Century Education Program, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, 1-5. http://www.brown.edu/Research/Choices/resources/documents/terrorism_options_002.pdf



• Daniel Byman. 2007. “US Counter-terrorism Options: A Taxonomy.” Survival 49 (3):121-150.



Week 6


February 16: Terrorists and Dirty Bombs – The Threat of Radiological Dispersion Devices


Quiz on U.S. military tradition and strategic culture. The quiz is based solely on the following reading. Snow, Donald M. 2008. “The American Experience,” In  National Security for a New Era, 3rd ed. New York: Longman. 76-100.



February 18:


•Peter D. Zimmerman with Cheryl Loeb. 2004. “Dirty Bombs: The Threat Revisited,” Defense Horizons 38 (January):1-12. 


Matthew Bunn. 2008. Securing the Bomb 2008 (Cambridge, MA and Washington, DC: Project on Managing the Atom, Harvard University, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative), Executive Summary. 



Week 7


February 23: Nuclear Proliferation and Challenges to Arms Control

• Scott D. Sagan. 1996-97. “Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons? Three Models in Search of a Bomb.” International Security 21 (3):54-86.


Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty http://www.armscontrol.org/documents/npt


Summary of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty





February 25: The Challenge of Iran

•Christopher Hemmer. 2007. “Responding to Nuclear Iran.” Parameters 37(3): 42-53.



•Moshen Milani. 2009. “Tehran’s Take,” Foreign Affairs 88 (4):46-62.



Week 8


March 2: Midterm Examination

No assigned readings.



March 4: Nuclear Proliferation and National Missile Defense

• Steven A. Hildreth. 2007. “Ballistic Missile Defense: Historical Overview.” CRS Report for Congress, 9 July. http://www.cdi.org/PDFs/RS22120.pdf


•Jeff Sessions, “Ballistic Missile Defense: A National Priority,” Strategic Studies Quarterly 2(2):22-30.


•Ivo Daalder and Jan Lodal. 2008. “The Logic of Zero.” Foreign Affairs 87 (6):80-95.



Week 9


March 9 and 11: Spring Break

No assigned readings.



Week 10


March 16: Ethnic and Religious Conflict: An Old Problem in a New Era

• Jerry Z. Muller. 2008. “Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism,” Foreign Affairs 87 (2):18-35.



March 18: Deciding When and How to Intervene

• Snow, Donald M. 2008. “Peacekeeping and State Building: The New Dilemmma,” In  National Security for a New Era, 3rd ed. New York: Longman. 352-381.



Week 11


March 23: America’s Intervention in Iraq

Snow, Donald M. 2008. “The Legacies of Iraq,” In  National Security for a New Era, 3rd ed. New York: Longman. 256-290.



March 25: Iraq: Where to Do Go From Here & Assessing the Legacies of Iraq

Stephen Biddle, Michael E. O’Hanlon, and Kenneth M. Pollack. 2008. “How to Leave a Stable Iraq.” Foreign Affairs 87 (5):40-58.


Carlos Pascual and Ken Pollack. 2007. “Salvaging the Possible: Policy Options in Iraq.” Policy Paper, No. 2 (September). Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.



Week 12


March 30: U.S. Energy Security: Maintaining Access to the World’s Oil Supply

Robert Mabro. 2007. “The Oil Weapon: Can It Be Used Today?” Harvard International Review 29 (3). http://www.harvardir.org/articles/1659/3/


Clifford Singer. 2008. “Oil and Security.” The Stanley Foundation Policy Analysis Brief (January):1-11.


Daniel Yergin. 2006. “Ensuring Energy Security.” Foreign Affairs 85 (2):69-82.



April 1: Responding to America’s Emerging Energy Crisis


Energy Leadership Council. 2008. A National Strategy for Energy Security: Recommendations to the Nation on Reducing U.S. Oil Dependence. http://www.secureenergy.org/files/files/936_Recommendations_2008.pdf




Week 13


April 6: NATO and European Security

•“The Origins of the North Atlantic Treaty,” http://www.nato.int/archives/1st5years/chapters/1.htm

• “The North Atlantic Treaty,” http://www.nato.int/archives/1st5years/chapters/2.htm

• The North Atlantic Treaty, http://www.nato.int/docu/basictxt/treaty.htm


Ryan Hendrickson. 2007. “The Miscalculation of NATO’s Death.” Parameters 37 (1): 98-114.



April 8: The New, Global NATO (with discussion of the War in Afghanistan)

Christopher M. Jones. 2006. “NATO’s Transformation.” In Old Europe, New Security: Evolution for a Complex World, Janet Adamski, Mary Troy Johnston and Christina Schweiss. eds. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited.71-84.


Ivo Daadler and James Goldgeier. 2006. “Global NATO.” Foreign Affairs 85 (5):105-113.



Week 14


April 13: Afghanistan

• William Maley. 2008. “Stabilizing Afghanistan: Threats and Challenges.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Policy Brief (October):1-8       


• Fotini Christia and Michael Semple. 2009. “Flipping the Taliban: How to Win in Afghanistan.” Foreign Affairs 88 (4): 34- 45.



April 15: Pakistan

• Barnett R. Rubin. 2009. “From Great Game to Grand Bargain,” Foreign Affairs 87 (6): 30-44.


• Another reading will be assigned.



Week 15


April 20: China - The World’s Next Superpower?

• David M. Lampton. 2007. “The Faces of Chinese Power, Foreign Affairs 86 (1):115-127.


• Esther Pan. 2006. “The Scope of China’s Military Threat,” Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder, http://www.cfr.org/publication/10824/scope_of_chinas_military_threat.html.



April 22: Should America Contain or Engage a Rising China?

•Jonathan Spence. 2005. “The Once and Future China. Foreign Policy 146

(January/February):44-50. (Focus on Brzezinski-Mearsheimer debate.)


Aaron L. Friedberg. 2005. “The Future of U.S.-China Relations: Is Conflict Inevitable?” International Security 30 (2):7-45.         



Week 16


April 27: Course Conclusion

Michele A. Flournoy and Shawn Brimley. 2008. Finding Our Way: Debating American Grand Strategy (Washington, DC: Center for New American Security).



Only portions of this reading will be assigned. Directions will be given in class prior to this class meeting.



April 29: Final Review

No assigned readings



May 6: Final Examination

12:00-1:50 p.m.





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.


Goal and substance of the paper:

Honors students will write a policy paper of 10-12 pages. The final paper should be at least a full 10 pages and not exceed 12 full pages. The paper should correspond to the following guidelines.


A. General Focus: Policy papers design and advocate a feasible (e.g., policy, strategy, plan, etc.) for a party (e.g., individual, group, organization, nation-state, etc.) confronted with a significant national security problem or issue. Therefore, papers must identify a problem, select an audience that has a stake in the problem, and propose and advocate an intervention to meet the problem. The main thrust of the assignment is advocacy over inquiry. Background information is important. The most important ingredient, however, is the paper’s policy recommendation.


B. Contemporary Focus: The paper should formulate an actual prescription to a current problem. Therefore, the final draft should demonstrate a recognition and understanding of relevant current events. While this course focuses on U.S. national security, the paper can be addressed to a foreign audience. The audience is a matter of individual choice so long as the selected party has a clear interest in the problem under discussion.


C. Structure of Paper: Each student may organize their paper as they wish.  However, it is important to have basic subsections like the following:


Introduction (Problem Identification): This portion must identify the problem under study, state the writer’s view of it, and explain why it is important and demands attention. Be sure to present a policy question to be answered.  Also the audience to which the paper is addressed must be specified. This party should have a major role in solving the problem. In addition, include a “road map” paragraph that briefly describes how the remainder of the paper will unfold.


Background (Documentation Section): This is the most academic part of the paper. It is essentially used to demonstrate credibility and to set the stage for the remainder of the paper.  This is where the writer illustrates knowledge of the problem or issue; shows he or she is attentive to breaking events; and establishes the historical and political context related to the topic. The reader should be provided with any information necessary to understand and accept the policy proposal.


Proposed Solution: This is the most important and challenging component of the paper.  It should be clear, coherent, and creative. While this section’s specific format will depend largely on the problem under investigation and the selected “policy paper model” (discussed below), there are some useful tips to consider. First, the proposal should be desirable and feasible.  It is important to remember the audience’s interests, whether these concerns involve national interests, political concerns, societal needs, or personal agendas. Second, a more detailed proposal is the more likely to be treated seriously and ultimately adopted. Therefore, recommendations should be clear and concrete. Third, the policy should be memorable.  Try to grab the reader’s attention by packaging ideas and plans in a creative or interesting fashion. Fourth, the presentation of the proposal should be cogent and forceful. Members of the class should assume that they are in competition with other officials and want their advice to be adopted. Lastly, be sure the proposed solution is well supported with logic, evidence, and examples. The goal is to persuade the audience that the paper’s recommendation is the best way. 


Conclusion:  Provide a clear, concise, and comprehensive conclusion.  Assume a busy, senior policy maker could skim or ignore the entire paper, but still understand the proposal from reading the conclusion.


D. Policy Design: Beyond the basic structure of the paper -- introduction, background, proposal, and conclusion -- there are a number of ways to design the presentation, particularly the policy section. Here are some examples.


   1. Medical Model 

      - diagnosis, prognosis, treatment (policy)

      - perspective of mediation


   2. Options Model

      - There is agreement on the problem. (It has been around for a long time.)

      - Several options have been available.

      - discuss strengths and weaknesses of each alternative while making a case for your option

      - “shoot down” various options until your course of action is left, then present and substantiate the proposed plan in detail


   3. Difficult Problem Model

      - “first steps” focus

      - offer an approach to simply get started


   4. Discovery Model

      - analyze the problem from the perspectives of the parties involved: what do they see as the problem or the main issue?

      - find complementary interests (based on a review of the parties’ problem)

      - present a treatment or experiment


   5. Principal Obstacle Model

      - focus on overcoming the principle obstacle to either achieving a goal or solving a problem

      - This is a popular approach when dealing with things over an extended period.


   6. Active Opposition by Another Party Model

      - focus on overcoming objectives of an opponent to a current policy or problem

      - find a way to “bridge the gap,” “break the ice,” and win over the opponent


   7. Pure Functional Model

      - recognize commonality of interests (all want the same goal, then work backwards to obtain it)


Selecting a Topic: Use current trends coupled with creativity to arrive at a compelling topic that bears a clear connection to future U.S. national security policy. Students are welcome to discuss their topics with the instructor or course assistant, and may be asked to announce their paper focus during a class session. The Washington Post, New York Times, Economist, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,  Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Washington Quarterly, Survival, Security Studies, International Security, and other high quality newspapers and journals will also have articles that may help generate ideas for paper topics.


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 readings 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.

(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. Unfortunately, my duties as administrator do not allow me to read full rough drafts of papers.


Submitting the Paper: Be sure to submit two hard copies of the final paper at the proper time on the posted due date. Keep a photocopy and computer file of the paper. Students are responsible for supplying an additional copy should the instructor request it. Before bringing the paper to class, remember to upload the paper onto the course SafeAssign site, which is accessible through the course’s Blackboard site.


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).