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Political Science: American Foreign Policy

POLS 151 Z1 (CRN: 60149)

3 Credit Hours

About POLS 151 Z1

Overview of the United States' involvement with the world. Focuses on the domestic political, institutional, and ideological influences on the formation of policy. Prerequisite: POLS 051.



Dates: July 5 - August 12, 2016; Prereq: POLS 051;

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Section Description

This course is a seminar that encourages reading, writing, analytical thinking, and discussion. The concepts of national interest, national security, regional security, stability, international involvement and isolationism, are to be analyzed from various perspectives. Familiarity with the manner in which objectives are defined, evolved, formulated as policy, and implemented, is crucial to understanding of foreign policy. The foreign policy process is never linear, for domestic and foreign politics affect each other continuously. Finally, the means by which foreign policy is implemented influences the outcome. Students should appreciate such nuances, differentiate goal from policy, and, policy from short and long-term results.

Section Expectation

Required Reading: Eugene R. Wittkopf, Christopher M. Jones, with Charles W. Kegley, Jr., American Foreign Policy: Patterns and Process, Seventh Edition (Thomson-Wadsworth). Suggested Reading: John Stoessinger, Crusaders And Pragmatists: Movers of Modern American Foreign Policy (Norton). Attendance is essential as class participation is an important determinant in evaluation. Suggested readings are highly recommended for students who may not have had courses in international politics, and are interested in current U.S. foreign policy challenges. Keeping up with the news and reading a good newspaper daily, enhances thoughtful analytical discussion. As intellectual curiosity is the basic requirement for learning, it is therefore expected and highly appreciated. Please note the date at which the course ends before you plan a vacation or purchase tickets for a family cruise. Please do not ask to shorten the course or request an early exam.


Evaluation of students will be based on class participation, a mid-term, and a final test. Class participation will determine 30 percent of the grade (10% for discussion, 20% for written statements), mid-term 30 percent, and the final test 40 percent. Class participation may involve addressing foreign policy problems ?as the U.S. Secretary of State,? and discussing them. Such problems may be presented once a week, asking students to come to class with a brief three-paragraph statement each, as if a memorandum by the Secretary of State for the President of the United States. The first paragraph should state the problem and the objective; the second clarify the potential challenges and alternatives; and the third specific realistic ?actionable? recommendations. The exercise encourages imaginative and creative thinking in search of innovative yet realistic international solutions.




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