American Foreign Policy

Winter Quarter 1999
M,W,F 1:30-2:20
Electrical Engineering 1, Room 125
Professor Stephen Majeski
Gowen Hall 39
office hours: M 11-12, F 10-11 or by appointment
Course Webpage - http://faculty.washington.edu/majeski/321
 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 30% of the final course grade and the final exam will account for 40% of the final course grade. The remaining 30% of the final course grade will be based upon individual student contributions to discussions held during the Tuesday -Thursday quiz sections (10%) and assignments organized by the Teaching Assistants (20%). Teaching assistants will discuss their assignments with you early in the quarter. 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:
The following books have been ordered and are available at the University bookstore.
Stephen Ambrose, Rise to Globalism
L. Chang and P. Kornbluh, The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
P. Kornbluh and M, Byrne, The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History
Additional readings will be available toward the end of the course
Course Assignment and Outline
Course Introduction 1/4
I. The Historical Context of American Foreign Policy; "A Fast Tour of the Cold War Era"
A. (1945-1950) Constructing America's World: The Blueprint of Post World War II U.S. Foreign Policy is
Produced -- 1/6, 1/8, 1/11, 1/13
S. Ambrose, Rise to Globalism, pp.52-113.
B. (1950-1960) The Korean War and The "Masters of the Universe" 1/15, (1/18 - holiday)
S. Ambrose, Rise to Globalism, pp.114-170.


C. (1960-1980) - The Hegemon Stumbles and Things Fall Apart 1/20, 1/22, 1/25, 1/27, 1/29
S. Ambrose, Rise to Globalism, pp. 171-253, 281-302.


D. (1981-1988) Return of the Hegemon? 2/1, 2/3
S. Ambrose, Rise to Globalism, pp. 303-351



Mid-Term Exam 2/5 Study Questions
II. Understanding How Foreign Policy Decisions are Made - Case 1
"Good" Policymaking - The Cuban Missile Crisis 2/8, 2/10, 2/12, (2/15, holiday), 2/17
L. Chang, and P. Kornbluh The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962, pp. 1-7, 77-154, 197-232.


III. Understanding How Foreign Policy Decisions are Made - Case 2
"Poor" Policymaking? The Iran Contra Affair 2/19, 2/22, 2/24, 2/26
P. Kornbluh and M, Byrne, The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History, pp. xv-xxxiii, 1-10, 59-65, 122-134, 186-192, 213-219, 243-253, 304-311.


IV. The End of the Cold War, The Gulf War, and Post Cold War Foreign Policy 3/1, 3/3, 3/5, 3/8, 3/10
S. Ambrose, Rise to Globalism, pp. 352-428.
Additional reading on electronic reserve as of 2/26
M. Lindeman and W. Rose The Role of the United States in a Changing World, pp. 35-61.
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.
V. Conclusion 3/12
FINAL EXAM - Monday March 15, 2:30-4:20 P.M. Final Study Questions