FALL 2016 SYLLABUS: Foreign Policy of the United States (for EFL Learners)
Meeting Time & Location: Thursdays 8AM, Rm. 5
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/IRforGradUSFP.html
Office: 4th floor, Rm 401
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com
Jump to: Grading Class Schedule Midterm

OVERVIEW: This class will introduce major approaches to the study of U.S. foreign policy, including theoretical reasons for its importance. The course will attempt to introduce approaches and themes in foreign policy generally before focusing on the U.S. specifically. It will examine foreign policy "doctrines" of individual presidents, presidential candidates, and diplomats, the concepts of isolationism VS. internationalism, unilateralism VS. multilateralism/internationalism, (global) hegemony, Power Transition Theory, neoconservatism. If there is time, we may read about specific issues such as the "Pivot to Asia", Sino-U.S. relations, and others of current relevance or student interest. As this is our second course together, students will be expected to take on greater responsibilities than the previous semester in terms of leading class discussions of assigned readings. A major goal of the class is to give students greater opportunities to become comfortable asking and answering questions in an academic setting where English is the primary mode of communication. Special attention will be paid not only to improving students' conversational fluency but also building vocabulary and a deeper grasp of key concepts, especially those on the U.S. Foreign Policy & Diplomacy reference handout. 讲课的语言是英语。 听/看不懂英语的学生千万要提前安排助学办法。

IN-CLASS PRESENTATIONS & DISCUSSION: Similar to last semester, each student will be required to make a presentation to the class in English. However, in this class, the presentation will be used as an introduction to discussing the assigned readings for the week. Presentations should be about ten minutes long and may or may not include a Powerpoint presentation to be projected on the screen in front of the class. The main purpose of the presentation is to summarize the readings' main points to prepare your classmates to discuss details, assumptions, implications and consequences of the texts. As often as possible, articles with opposing views will be assigned to make it easier to construct an informal debate, which usually results in a more interesting discussion. Note that this session format of students presenting the content and then leading discussion is how a graduate seminar works in the USA. In order for it to work, all students should come to class prepared to discuss, having read the assigned readings. To ensure that everyone has at least read some of the assigned texts, each student who is not presenting in a given week will be required to write three sentences each week for a daily grade. The first sentence should summarize at least one argument or thesis from the text(s). The second sentence should state one example of something you agree with or was well-stated in the text (and why). The third sentence should state one example of something you disagree with or think was weakly stated or not well supported in the text (and why). The instructor will collect these three sentences at the beginning of each class and return them, graded and checked for grammar, the following week. Finally, all students are encouraged to come to class with questions about the assigned text (but wait to ask them until the discussion leaders have finished).

The instructor's role will be to pick up the discussion when students have run out of topics, to provide alternative perspectives challenging the consensus, and generally to supplement the work of the discussion leader(s). Discussion leaders are encouraged to meet with the instructor in advance to clarify any questions s/he may have about the reading(s) s/he will present and suggest how to lead the class.

Each student will lead two weeks of discussion. For most readings (depending on length and difficulty), the two presenters will each choose one reading to present, though the two will share longer and more difficult ones. In addition to presenting the main points of a class reading, discussion leaders should prepare a list of at least five questions to ask the group about the text and/or topic. These questions will help keep the discussion moving, but if the leader does not wish to use them s/he needn't. The instructor will check the list of questions to make sure they have been completed and may also collect them. It is advisable in weeks with two students leading discussion for the two leaders to meet in advance to make sure their questions complement each other and do not overlap. Certain themes and topics between texts will naturally appear and be worth discussing with consideration of all texts, while some will work better in isolation. For two weeks, we will watch the award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary films by Errol Morris, "The Fog of War" & "The Unknown Known." For those weeks a slight adjustment in class routines and how discussions are led may be necessary. These films may be screened for undergraduates later in the semester, and the discussion leaders for them would be strongly encouraged, perhaps required, to speak at the screening to introduce and/or discuss the films with the students.

PRESENTATION/DISCUSSION LEADER SCHEDULE: Student presentations will begin in Week 6, after National Week. WEEK 6: Kristy & Agatha. WEEK 7: Joe & Mike. WEEK 8: ________ & ________.

ASSIGNMENTS: As stated above, students will be required to write three sentences in English about the texts every week for a daily grade. A short paper is an option for an additional grade, though much time would have to be spent in class explaining the format and other requirements.

EXAMS: There will be no exams in this class, as it is intended for graduate students who no longer take exams for course grades.

GRADING: The in-class presentation and leadership of class discussions will be the primary determinants of grades in this class. Participation in discussions (when not leading), attendance, and weekly reading 3-sentence assignments will collectively make up the daily grade.
GRADING STUDENTS' IN-CLASS PRESENTATIONS: Students' presentations will be graded on the quality of their summaries and how well they lead discussion of the texts.

Care to see what Julian's other classes are doing? Visit the NENU landing page for his reading, writing, public administration, and IR theory courses. All classes should have received a copy of EFL student guides to Western music and Western movies. Feel free to share and distribute them.

In Fall 2016, all students interested in the 2016 U.S. elections are invited to attend the Junior PA class on Thursdays at 3:30PM in Classroom 10. The class will focus on listening and speaking with debates and discussion of issues in U.S. media related to the elections. It will have little or no homework and no exams.

Every effort will be made to present class materials in a fair manner which does not unconciously or excessively privilege Western thought and theories over Chinese and other approaches. However, given the instructor's training in a U.S. university, the majority of the material will be presented as closely as possible to an "Intro to IR" class in the USA. Anyone wishing to object officially, of course, has the option of reporting the instructor to the hotline reported below:

http://jlrbszb.chinajilin.com.cn/html/2015-11/01/content_176708.htm

It is hoped that will not be necessary, and we can use this class to learn and discuss collegially how China and the U.S. view international politics!

 

WEEKLY SCHEDULE: Note that READINGS listed are for the following week after they are posted (i.e. those in WEEK 3 are to be read for the WEEK 4, 9-29 session of class)

WEEK 1 (9-8): Instructor returns from USA on Sept. 7th, so it is unlikely we will have class this week.

WEEK 2 (9-15): MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL...NO CLASS. READINGS: Goldstein & Pevehouse, Ch. 4 on Foreign Policy

WEEK 3 (9-22): CLASS INTRODUCTION: Read syllabus together. Distribute U.S. Foreign Policy & Diplomacy handout. Discuss Goldstein & Pevehouse textbook chapter. Key questions: How does FP relate to IR Theory? What are the sources and pathologies of FP? What do undergraduate students in the USA take from a course on U.S. foreign policy? READINGS: "Economy & Pleasure" by Wendell Berry (from What Are People For?, 1990, North Point Press), Review of Perry Anderson's "American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers" , Excerpt from Pillar, 2016, Political Science Quarterly, 131:2: pg.365-385 "The Role of Villain: Iran and U.S. Foreign Policy" , pg. 7-9 only of Milner & Tingley (section "What Is Foreign Policy?" from Sailing the Water's Edge: The Domestic Politics of American Foreign Policy, 2015, Princeton Univ. Press).

WEEK 4 (9-29): Decide on early presenters for weeks 6, 7, 8. A sampling of varied approaches to USFP. Key questions: Which text resonates with your views or is most persuasive? Which of the texts seem most historical, factual/objective, opinionated, humanistic, and "data-driven"? U.S. political scientists naturally claim to be authoritative voices on U.S. foreign policy; compare their authority to actual policy-makers, "average Americans," and non-American observers. READINGS: Read Suri on the End of the Cold War (a long, academic article; pay closest attention to the introduction & conclusion). Watch "The Fog of War 战争迷雾" (To be supplemented with readings, such as the instructor's opinionated handout on Bilateral Interstate Relations) If you don't understand the movie well with English subtitles or want more background information, see McNamara & The Fog of War entries on Wikipedia...they may be in Chinese also. See also Bill Plympton's 1984 short cartoon, "Boomtown"

WEEK 5 (10-6): NATIONAL WEEK...NO CLASS.

WEEK 6 (10-13): The Cold War & Its Enduring Legacy. Kristy & Agatha present on the movie & article, then lead discussion. Key questions: Why did the Cold War end? Will all future conflicts between great powers be limited to cold wars and "proxy wars" as long as nuclear MAD persists? What does "a Cold War mentality" mean, and who (still) has one? READINGS: Chief Joseph's Surrender Speech , Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" , McFarland on why she's "Proud to Be an American" , Chomsky on the U.S. as the world's #1 Terrorist State

WEEK 7 (10-20): American History & Exceptionalism. Joe & Mike present on Chomsky & McFarland, then lead discussion. Key questions: What makes the U.S.A. "exceptional"? Is it really so special & different, or do Americans just think it is? Is the overall role of the U.S. in the world positive or negative? Is the U.S. an empire, a "terrorist state," "neocolonialist," or a "benevolent hegemon"? READINGS: Review pg. 144-148 from last semester's reading Waltz's Neorealism & Scientific IR & American Neoconservatism , Ch. 7 "The Bush Doctrine and Iraq: A Sound Application of a Sound Doctrine" in Kaufman, 2007, In Defense of the Bush Doctrine (Univ. of Kentucky Press) available at the 本部 library (read more if you can), Francis Fukuyama's "After Neoconservatism"

WEEK 8 (10-27): Post-Cold War Unipolarity & The Bush Doctrine. Gigi & May present & lead discussion. Key questions: As IR scholars, how should we treat texts and decisions in international politics with which we fundamentally disagree? What role did a neoconservative ideology play in Bush's decision to declare a global "war on terror" and invade Iraq with a "Coalition of the Willing" more or less unilaterally and against the consensus of the UN? To what extent did this decision weaken the U.S. as a global hegemon? Had "The Arab Spring" gone well (or much better), to what extent would it have justified/vindicated The Bush Doctrine? READINGS: Goldberg on "The Obama Doctrine"

WEEK 9 (11-3): Obama's foreign policy. Green & Anna present & lead discussion. In-class quiz? Key questions: How objective or biased is Goldberg's article? How does the Obama Doctrine differ from the Bush Doctrine, and which do you think is strategically/tactically smarter and better for U.S., Chinese, and global interests? What continuities from the Bush Administration has Obama carried on? READINGS: Milner & Tingley, only pg. _____, on the influence of the president; Wall Street Journal article compares Hillary Clinton's foreign policy positions and statements to Trump's (unfortunately, WSJ isn't accessible in China, and the graphic is difficult to paste into a new page on this website.); Hillary's Neoconservatives ; Trump's foreign policy statements ; Hillary Clinton's foreign policy statements (very long; focus on topics on which trump also comments); Banks on Trump's manufacturing push for U.S. foreign policy; Third-party candidates views on foreign policy: Johnson (Libertarian ...rather lacking in detail), Stein (Green ...see 10th section on "Peace and Human Rights")...Tavis Smiley interviews both in a 3-part "debate" on PBS.

WEEK 10 (11-10): Summer & Agatha present & lead discussion. Contrast the 2016 presidential candidates' views on foreign policy. Discuss likely changes and continuities from Obama's foreign policy, based on the outcome of the presidential election. Key questions: Is neoconservatism really dead? If presidents with widely differing foreign policies represent "agency," how does this factor compare with "structure" in leading to international political outcomes? How useful is it to say that states pursue national interests if their leaders conceptualize interests very differently and use different (military or non-military) means to pursue them? Which policy proposals are "extreme" or highly unlikely to be adopted, and how do we know? READINGS: Zenko & Wickett disagree somewhat on how "indispensable" the U.S. is. Also read about Hegemonic Stability Theory (HST) in excerpts from an IR textbook in the U.S., academic articles, and part of the instructor's paper.

WEEK 11 (11-17): U.S. Kristy & Gigi present & lead discussion. Indispensability & Hegemonic Stability Theory. Key questions: Do you think the USA is still a global hegemon? (If not, was it ever?) How necessary is a global, "benevolent hegemon" to lead a stable, lawful world? (If not necessary, what could do a better job at this goal?). READINGS: Finnemore's constructivist article on unipolarity. Try to answer these comprehension questions: 1. Why can't a "unipole" do whatever it wants? 2. How are hypocrisy & legitimacy related for the unipole? Recommended Reading: Kazin in Foreign Affairs on Trump's populism.

WEEK 12 (11-24): May & Joe present & lead discussion. A constructivist view of U.S.-led unipolarity. Key questions: Why can't a "unipole" do whatever it wants? How are hypocrisy & legitimacy related for the unipole? READINGS: Watch "The Unknown Known," review the conclusion and sections about the Middle East in The Obama Doctrine. Read Hamid's counter-argument about Syrian intervention and an Absent U.S. Military.

WEEK 13 (12-1): Summer & Green present & lead discussion. The U.S. in the Middle East. Key questions: To what extent is U.S. power making the region better or worse? Is Obama correct to de-center the region from U.S. interests or not? READINGS: General article on the War on Terror under Obama. My advisor at the Univ. of California, Irvine, Daniel Brunstetter, recently reviewed a book of arguments for and against the U.S.'s use of drones in counter-terrorism. Gordon reviews another book on how drones change the ethics of war. NY Times on fully-automated, weaponized UAVs.

WEEK 14 (12-8): Mike & Anna present & lead discussion. (Counter-)Terrorism and Drone Strikes. Key questions: Compare the concepts of strategy and tactics in U.S. counter-terrorism. How effective have "decapitation" of terrorist organizations and "signature strikes" by drones against suspected terrorists been at reducing global terrorism and terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its interests? What would a "successful" conclusion to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq look like? What are the advantages and disadvantages of drone strikes in general? Do you think future wars will be fought by drones, and will they require no human guidance someday? READINGS: Short pieces on Sino-U.S. relations... John Pomfret is interviewed by the NY Times about his new book on the history of U.S.-China relations. For some economic optimism, read Patrick Mendis & Sheng Cui's editorial in the South China Morning Post. Tim Worstall on the policy options resulting from Trump's labeling China a "currency manipulator." Get to know Politifact and its analysis of statements by U.S. politicians, such as Donald Trump's 2015 very false statement on China & TPP. Finally, it appears Trump will follow on his campaign promise to withdraw the U.S. from the TPP, which Financial Times reporter, Rob Garver, calls a "huge victory" for China. NOTE: If you need background on global finance and government bond markets, you can probably find and understand Chinese sources better, but this page explains the interdependence clearly in English. The NY Times just published an article about Terry Branstad, the next U.S. Ambassador to China, which also sums up the Sino-American economic relationship.

WEEK 15 (12-15): Sino-U.S. relations 1: Economic. Key questions: How and why are China and the U.S. considered by many observers to be "economically interdependent" on one another? How stable is this relationship? Would the TPP change the relationship for better or worse, and is it effectively dead under a Trump presidency? READINGS: Read about Thucydides' Trap and Brzezinski's interview about Xi Jinping's reference to it. Also, get another dose of Offensive Realism and pessimism from John Mearshimer, as interviewed by Peter Navarro, an outspoken member of the Business School at the University of California, Irvine (where I attended my Ph.D. program).

WEEK 16 (12-22): Sino-U.S. relations 2: Security. Key questions: 1. Why is Thucydides' Trap a "trap"? 2. What evidence is there for the existence of such a trap? 3. What creates the trap? 4. Think of a future where the U.S. and China fall into the trap and another in which the trap is avoided. What is done differently? 5. Why is much of the world, especially Realist political scientists, skeptical of China's claims never to "seek hegemony"? READINGS: None.

WEEK 17 (12-29): FINAL REVIEW GAME (Tentative) Do students want to play the VOCABULARY GAME in class instead of or in addition to a REVIEW GAME?

Possible & likely topics for the 2nd half of class: Iraq/ISIS/Iran & The Middle East, Global Counter-Terror & Drone Strikes, Sino-U.S. relations, Hegemonic Stability Theory, U.S. "indispensability"

 

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