American Foreign Policy

Summer Quarter 2002
M-F 12:00-2:10
CMU 120
Professor Stephen Majeski
Gowen Hall 106
office hours: To be Annonunced and by appointment
Course Webpage - http://faculty.washington.edu/majeski/321.sum.2002
 Reading Assignments  Lecture Outlines  Related Links
About the course: The purpose of this course is to familiarize the student with the process of American Foreign Policymaking so that she/he can critically evaluate current and future foreign policy decisions. I take this to be an essential aspect of being a "good citizen." In any event there is much to be critical of historical and current U.S. foreign policy. We will not criticize policy based upon what are claimed to be or believed to be "good" or "right" objectives and goals. That is a political and moral decision which each of us must make on our own. Rather, we will analyze and evaluate, attempt to understand, and criticize foreign policy on its own terms. That is, given that policymakers perceived the world in a particular fashion and that they have a set of elaborated objectives, how and why did (do) they construct and implement foreign policy.
Foreign policy decisions are the product of an historical context (both individual and cultural), a complex bureaucratic process, and an intertwined domestic and international political and economic environment. In order to criticize, evaluate, and understand those decisions and processes, it is essential to examine all these components. We will try to do so all in the space of one academic quarter. This requires making ruthless choices. My choices unfold below. I apologize at the start for leaving out an awful lot of worthwhile material.
Course requirements: There will be one midterm and one final exam. The first exam will account for 40% of the final course grade and the final exam will account for 40% of the final course grade. The remaining 20% of the final course grade will be based upon individual student contributions to discussions. I intend to lecture for the first part of each class (roughly an hour or so) and then we will have discussion. The discussion sessions have two purposes. The first is to elaborate and/or clarify materials in the reading and the lectures. The second is to provide a structured forum for discussion of current U.S. foreign policy issues. Valued contributions to discussion require being informed. I strongly urge that you read the New York Times or come "comparable: sources on a daily basis. Discount order forms for the New York Times will be distributed in class. You can also view some of the New York Times for "free" on the web at http://www.nytimes.com/
Required reading materials:
All reading materials are available on electronic reserve at the following link electronic reserve
The bulk of the readings come from the following texts;
Stephen Ambrose, Rise to Globalism
George McT. Kahin, Intervention: How America Became Involved in Vietnam
L. Chang and P. Kornbluh, The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
P. Kornbluh and M, Byrne, The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History
Additional readings come from recent journal articles
Course Assignment and Outline
Course Introduction 6/24
I. Constructing America's World: The Blueprint of Post World War II U.S. Foreign Policy 6/25-6/28, 7/1
II. Understanding How Foreign Policy Decisions are Made -
Case 1 "Good" Policymaking - The Cuban Missile Crisis 7/2, 7/3, 7/4 (holiday), 7/5
Case 2 "Classic" Policymaking - Vietnam 7/8, 7/9, 7/10
G. Kahin, Intervention: How American Became Involved in Vietnam pp. 306-401.


Mid-Term Exam 7/11 Study Questions
Case 3 "Poor" Policymaking? The Iran Contra Affair 7/12, 7/15, 7/16
P. Kornbluh and M, Byrne, The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History, pp. xv-xxii, 1-10, 59-65, 122-134, 186-192, 213-219, 243-253, 304-311.


III. The End of the Cold War, and Post Cold War Foreign Policy 7/17, 7/18
M. Mandelbaum, "Foreign Policy as Social Work," Foreign Affairs, 1996, pp. 16-32.
J. Ikenberry, "The Myth of Post-Cold War Chaos," Foreign Affairs, 1996, 79-91.
M. Danner, "Marooned in the Cold War," World Policy Journal, 1997, 1-23.
IV. Contemporary U.S. Foreign Policy -- 7/19, 7/22, 7/23
S. Mallaby, "The Relcutant Imperialist," Foreign Affairs, March 2002.
S. Walt, "Beyond bin Laden," International Security, Winter 2001-2002.
And selected recent articles from the New York Times


FINAL EXAM - 7/24 , Final Study Questions