SPRING 2022 SYLLABUS: English Writing for International Politics (Juniors)
Meeting Time & Location: Wednesdays at 10AM & Fridays at 8AM, on DingTalk.
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/OnlineIRWritingS22.html
Office: None. The instructor will be located in Thailand, India, & Sri Lanka, with hopes that China may open its borders before the end of the semester.
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com

Jump to: Grading Essay 1 Essay 2 Essay 3 Class Schedule Midterm

OVERVIEW: This course aims to improve students' English writing skills in general and specifically with regard to topics in international politics, though all language skills will be addressed and topics in all subfields of political science may be discussed. A writing course entitled "English for Academic Purposes" (EAP) may be considered approximately analogous, though again the subject material for research and writing assignments will be focused rather than general.. In each session of class, students should expect to do some writing, so a notebook and pen or pencil are REQUIRED for each class! Students should keep the same notebook throughout class to observe the progress they make throughout the course of the semester. We will do A LOT of writing in this class! Some of the writing will be corrected by your peers, so try to sit next to someone you trust to read and comment on your writing. Writing topics will be provided by the instructor and will require some preparation and previous knowledge of topics such as U.S. global hegemony, specific wars, and current events. The class will include a review of basic grammar concepts, and this will involve many exercises to practice parts of speech, sentence and paragraph structure, improve vocabulary, and translation of basic sentences from Chinese to English. Exercises intended to advance students' writing from Chinese-style English or "Chinglish" toward a more standard, academic style of an American university will be emphasized. As the ultimate goals are to write English essays reviewing other scholarly works and containing some original research, extensive attention will be paid to proper quotation methods to avoid plagiarism. This course will share a similar structure, along with some materials and activities, with a (domestic) political science version. 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 ACTIVITIES: Depending on students' receptiveness, a variety of activities will be employed in this class. Above all, class sessions will be ACTIVE, with lots of student participation and a goal of minimizing lecture time by the instructor. Likely activities will include dictations (covering material from the previous session), individual & team games, grammar exercises, and correction of homework. Occasionally, while students are working on assignments in class, the instructor will meet with students 1-on-1 to read and correct past assignments, with the goals of explaining grading criteria and providing opportunities to make sure students can express their personal ideas precisely and clearly.

ASSIGNMENTS: Most class sessions will assign homework. Homework assignments will consist of both reading and writing. Reading assignments will mostly be to read an article, book chapter, or other text online to be prepared for in-class writing exercises. Some assignments, especially those completed in class, will be handwritten, while others may be either handwritten or typed and printed from a computer. Occasionally the instructor will ask students to turn in writing assignments from in-class exercises or homework to be used as "daily grades" (平时成绩). At least twice in the semester, a dictation will be used for a daily grade.

EXAMS: This class will not have exams, unless students or higher authorities request them.

GRADING (ESSAYS):(Note that some of the prompts & details are from a previous version of the course and may not apply to the Spring 2022 version. As outlined in the ASSIGNMENTS section above, the daily grade will be worth 10% of the final grade. Students have a choice whether to write three essays on three different topics (likely due at the beginning & end of May and the end of the semester as late as July) or two essays & two revisions on two different topics (likely due at the beginning of May & mid-May for the revision, then mid-June for the second and the end of the semester as late as July for the revision). Deadlines for choosing whether to write 3 or 2 revised essays will be announced after the first essay is graded in mid-May. Changing one’s mind to write 3 instead of 2 revised essays would probably go more smoothly than choosing to revise late in the semester, and all students are encouraged to commit to one plan or the other before finishing the first essay. You may make your choice either with a text message on DingTalk or by including your choice in the file for the first essay.

Students writing three essays will have each worth 30% of the final grade (30% x3).

Students revising two essays will have each first draft worth 25% and each revision worth 20% (25% x2, 20% x2). Note that each revision will be required to be longer (adding paragraphs to the first draft) and may require extensive re-writing at the request of the instructor. Part of the graded revision will assess how well the instructor’s comments and suggestions are addressed.

Prompts and requirements for such essays will be presented and discussed in class, then posted below. Students are encouraged to share drafts of essays with classmates before turning them in to the instructor. Essays will be graded on clarity, structure, and how well they meet the requirements in the next section. Addressing (not necessarily following) classmates' and the instructor's suggestions for revision of the rough draft (if applicable) will be taken into account for the final drafts' grades. Self-expression, i.e. being able to express your own, unique thoughts will also be increasingly important as the semester progresses and technical skills improve. Grading standards will become more strict as the semester progresses, and some consideration of overall improvement of writing skills (as shown in the progression from the first to the third essay) may factor into the final grade for the course.

ESSAY GRADING CRITERIA: The instructor will write prompts for the three essays and choose the topics in consultation with students. A student wishing to write ESSAY 2 or 3 in response to a previous prompt should ask first and be aware that standards will be higher and more strict after feedback on other students' writing is available. ESSAY 1: Due Sun., May 15th. Required length: 5-7 paragraphs (at least 1 introduction, 3 body paragraphs, 1 conclusion); not more than 5 double-spaced, typed pages. TOPICS & PROMPTS- See below.

Point Distribution : On Time? 20, Clarity & Cohesiveness 20, Grammar/Punctuation/Spelling/Capitalization 10, Title 5, Format (double-spaced, fonts, margins, paragraphs indented) 5, Evidence & two direct quotations 15, Persuasiveness 5, Analysis (Thesis w/ body paragraphs connected to it, At least two questions in the PROMPT answered, Counter-argument considered) 10, Interesting/Original? 10.

Topic 1: A Return to Realism? A Return to Global Hegemony? Background: Since the unexpected, unpredicted, and possibly refuting end of the Cold War, IR Realists in the West have either adopted Hegemonic Stability Theory (HST) and Power Transition Theory (PTT) and warned the world to “ignore Realism at your peril” until a world of balancing and great power competition returns or moved cautiously towards acceptance of the other paradigms (Liberalism, Constructivism, and maybe even Feminism) as more than just “idealism” and perhaps more useful than structural, neorealism to describe IR in the 21st century. Whether Trump weakened or strengthened the USA with a more isolationist foreign policy may be subject to debate, but since the 2008 global financial crisis and Covid-19, American hegemony has been in greater doubt than at any time since the 1980s. In the 1980s, the Cold War seemed like it might continue indefinitely, U.S. global power was challenged not only by the Soviet Union but also by the rise of its own ally, Japan. A combination of the USSR’s collapse, Japanese economic stagnation, and a technological boom propelled the USA out of “decline” and instead toward the greatest concentration of global power the world has ever known. Pres. Biden may not be a neoconservative, but he certainly intends to return the country to a more active role in the world, and it would be foolish to ignore the fact that the U.S. military still has bases all around the world, arguably still dominant in every region.
PROMPT: Is the world today still unipolar, and if not, was it ever really (Nye & Cooley think not, Kagan thinks so)? Some foresee “a new cold war” between the USA and China and already call the current system bipolar again. Why are they right or wrong? Still others, perhaps emphasizing the rise of the BRICs, believe that we are entering a newly multipolar world which will require us all to dust off our “balance of power” and “balance of threat” concepts and skills. Could you imagine U.S. global hegemony being reestablished yet again if China falters like Japan? Of what use is any particular sub-theory (HST, PTT), variation (i.e. defensive, offensive, classical, structural), or the Realist paradigm as a whole today, given that Realism failed in its primary application to predict the end of the Cold War? If the international system today is multipolar, either the USA would have to be just another great power (no longer a superpower), or there would have to be at least two other superpowers within it. Is the USA no longer a superpower, or which other countries have become superpowers, and what is your evidence?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Kagan, Lee's interview of Cooley, Schweller & Pu, texts on Realist IR theory & U.S. hegemony in Chinese, the Smithsonian picture of U.S. military bases around the world.

Topic 2: "Greedy" States, National Interests, & Self-Defense Background: Both George W. Bush & Vladimir Putin would likely describe their chosen invasions of a sovereign country (Iraq 2003 & Ukraine 2022) as in the (objective, legitimate) interests of the nations they led and lead, perhaps even as "self-defense" rather than offensive. Arguably, both decisions may have made their nations weaker rather than stronger, but certainly both have entailed great military expenditures and cost many lives.

Offensive Realism asserts that states' survival is only really secure (and even then, not guaranteed) if they are hegemonic, therefore ALL states (or at least any state at or above a middle or regional power, which are the only states Realism cares about anyway) should and do pursue regional hegemony in great power security competition. Offensive Realism thereby has no problem explaining expansion, imperialism, or otherwise "greedy" states and avoids the security dilemma entirely. We can and should always assume that military buildups are for offensive purposes--even if they are intended for defensive purposes, others cannot be sure of it, and intentions often change.

Defensive Realism takes on the security dilemma as a real problem but also has difficulty explaining, if all states are primarily concerned with defending themselves, "greedy" states exist & clearly offensive invasions occasionally still occur. Perhaps supporting the counter-intuitive saying, "If you want peace, prepare for war," defensive realists say that there are situations (such as an adversary's relative military weakness) which present opportunities practically inviting invasion and making it in an otherwise defensive state's interest to invade/expand. States should therefore make "costly signals" to show their willingness to defend themselves and practice strategies of deterrence.

Ideologies like neoconservatism (prescribing attacks in "self-defense" to prevent or pre-empt being attacked) & irredentist nationalism (defending national members & territories one sees as wrongly parts of other states) may explain both Bush & Putin's invasions, respectively, but one must assume they are "true believers" rather than coldly calculating realists to ascribe them as the primary reasons to invade in "self-defense". Jason Stanley, for his part, asserts that Putin is the leader of contemporary global fascism, and perhaps no ideology justifies militaristic expansion better than fascism.

A final possibility is to take the Marxist, materialist perspective that these wars are all about competition for natural resources under the imperialism of global capitalist states. It's fairly easy to argue that Bush just wanted Iraq's oil, but Russia doesn't gain that much more natural gas than it had previously if it controls Eastern Ukraine. Putin may well want to regain control of all the territory formerly under control of the USSR, but he does not seem to have much use for Soviet ideology (or opposing the West on ideological grounds of communism resisting capitalist expansion; Russia is widely acknowledged to be a "crony capitalist" regime).

PROMPT: To what extent did these two national leaders misread/misinterpret their own national interests in choosing to invade Iraq & Ukraine? If heads of state make mistakes in IR (and Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union might be added to that list, along with other historical strategic blunders), does this show that national interests aren't knowable even by national leaders, that "groupthink" (or fear of "speaking truth to power" that would result in punishment) leads to military overconfidence, or some other conclusion? Do one or more of the three ideologies (if sincerely believed) or one of the two kinds of Realist IR theory explain these actions & "greedy" states better, and why? To what extent did the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 actually weaken the USA (which was then at the height of unipolarity, closest to truly global hegemony)? Will Putin's invasion of Ukraine strengthen or weaken Russia, and to what extent was this Putin's own personal choice rather than actual self-defense or otherwise Russian national interest (i.e. why invade in Feb. 2022 rather than earlier, before Ukrainian nationalism became stronger & int'l military support for Ukraine became well established)? Besides the UN declaring these invasions to be illegal, how much did/could/should "the international community" (and please define what you mean by this term) punish these great powers for breaking international law? If you want, you may also pre-emptively defend China's goals of "national (re-)unification" against accusations that the PRC may be (now or in the future) another such "greedy" state, but note that your instructor is not interested in a recapitulation of white papers or nationalist polemics. If these invasions were in fact fully guided by national interest, to what extent does this show that national interests of states, traditionally defined to include warfare, contradict and reduce human security?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Brooks & Taliaferro's academic articles on different kinds of realism, Goldberg in The Atlantic on the Obama Doctrine.

Topic 3: Sovereignty, Drone Strikes, and the U.S. Global War on Terror. BACKGROUND: Since 9/11, the USA has called its global counter-terror strategy a “war” in which the “war zone” is anywhere groups and individuals plotting terrorist acts may reside. Pres. Trump’s designation of Iran’s Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Jan. 2020 as an “enemy combatant” or terrorist and thereby a legitimate target for a drone strike was perhaps the most extreme, controversial, and recent example of how thin the line is between “targeted killing” (which the U.S. claims to be legally justified) and assassination (which the U.S. claims is illegal and denies doing). Despite officially retiring the term “Global War on Terror,” Pres. Obama escalated the use of drone strikes as a counter-terror tactic, and despite his expressed disdain for Obama’s foreign policy, Trump authorized even more, without the pretense of increasing transparency and legal justification. As more countries gain armed drone technology, whether from domestic development or sales from countries like the USA, China, and other major arms exporters, different definitions of terrorism and who is a terrorist, along with the relative ease of use, ability to be covert, and low financial costs, could be leading to both a global arms race and an escalation of violence around the world, the use of force as a “first resort” rather than a “last resort.” See, for a recent example, the use of drones in the recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two countries which are not exactly at the forefront of military technology.

PROMPT: Is an objective definition of terrorists and terrorism, standardized all around the world, possible? How long can the U.S. continue its current counter-terror strategy of using drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists in foreign countries without “due process of law”? To what extent do drone strikes outside of traditional, declared war zones undermine the concepts of national sovereignty and international law as a whole? Are drones a revolutionary “game changer” for the use of force or just another conventional weapon that will fall out of fashion when their tactical advantages are neutralized? Does the global proliferation of drones reverse “Pax Americana”? Is interstate drone warfare the future? What might happen if terrorists and other “armed non-state actors” acquire drones armed with “weapons of mass destruction” (WMDs)? To what extent has terrorism eroded the assumption that the primary threats to states come from other states rather than non-state actors?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Herman on drone warfare. Articles from last semester about drones, armed non-state actors, and drone operators. The instructor's paper from 2015 on Chinese drones. Works by Michael Walzer, Daniel Brunstetter, and others on the morality of war (Just War Theory, jus ad vim, etc.).

Topic 4: Categorizing China as a Country. Is China today a developing country, a “middle-income” country, or a developed country with some very poor areas, similar to the USA? (For an example of how poor some areas of the USA are, consider that the UN recently filed a report on poverty in the USA, concluding that 18 million Americans live in “extreme poverty,” which Xi Jinping recently declared to have eliminated in China.) How do you know? Points of Focus: Keep in mind that developing countries are assumed to be poor, pre-industrial (subsistence agriculture economies), and above all, weak in the world. China’s many recent achievements make it antithetical to that definition. China is fully industrialized and has the largest economy in the world at PPP, a space program, a world-class and innovative high-tech sector, the world’s best high-speed rail system, mostly replaced other forms of currency with phone payments, more billionaires and a higher life expectancy than the USA, and a military befitting a global superpower. And you surely know many more.

If you insist that China is still a developing country, state your condition(s) for when it would no longer be. In past years, students have emphasized per-capita income, but note that the World Bank in 2022 declared, "China is now an upper-middle-income country." Past students have argued on those grounds that China will remain a developing country for as many as 20-50 years, but see also this 2022 article from China Daily whose headline is "China to become high-income country in couple of years."

You are also encouraged to argue that the three terms are outdated, no longer applicable to entire countries as they exist today.

For the best grade, carefully consider counter-arguments to your position and evidence. Please don't make the mistake of assuming China must be as rich as the USA to be a "developed" country; it only needs to approximate the least wealthy developed countries like Poland, Slovakia, etc., and most Americans see China today as already well beyond that point.

Extreme poverty in the USA video to be sent via DingTalk.

ESSAY 2: Due Sun., June 12th. GRADING OF ESSAY 2 POINT DISTRIBUTION: On Time? (15); Clarity & Cohesiveness w/ at least two questions from the prompt addressed (15); Grammar/Punctuation/Spelling/Capitalization (10); Title (5); Format (Student’s name in digital file and above title, paragraphs indented, length, margins, font) (5); Evidence (5); Persuasiveness (5); Analysis (10); Two direct quotations of outside sources, cited formally w/ bibliography (15); Interesting/Original? (15).

OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Outside Sources = use (quote directly) at least two sources originally in English. Bibliography = include a bibliography of outside sources at the end of the essay. The format will be discussed in class.

Topic 1: China, the USA, and the LWO

BACKGROUND: Since the end of the Trump Administration, American IR scholars assess the current health of the “liberal world order” differently but seem largely to agree that it requires American leadership to regain vitality and confront the “challenges” posed to it by a rising China. Most of you, by contrast, insist that China is already what Westerners hoped to make it: a “responsible stakeholder” in the order of the 21st century. In recent interviews, the new U.S. Sec. of State, Anthony Blinken, calls it a more neutral, “rule-based” order but still says China isn’t playing by the rules. Joseph Nye seem to think Pres. Trump irreparably damaged the order, that Biden shouldn’t try to reconstruct it, but instead try to rebuild U.S. soft power and find other ways to spread liberal (Western) values like human rights and liberal (Western) democracy, with the implied assumption that Kant’s “perpetual peace” can only attain when all countries are basically the same, tolerating every kind of human diversity but intolerance itself. As Kagan and Brands note, however, most Americans are tired of bearing the responsibility of providing “global public goods” like peace, stability, and advocacy of free trade and feel that other countries (especially China) have benefited far more than it has in “leading” the world. Hillary Clinton said she didn’t want her grandchildren “to grow up in a world led by China,” but if you’re right about China’s support for global governance, perhaps it would not be significantly different from how the 21st century has gone so far, or at least not the “shabby” world of power vacuums and great power competition that Kagan envisions as the only alternative to (near-)hegemonic global leadership from the USA. The Belt and Road Initiative offers a preview of what more ambitious Chinese foreign policy might entail, but Westerners already doubt its benevolence and whether it could (or should) be extended all across the world.

PROMPT: What would a world led by China look like, and how would China lead it while keeping Xi Jinping’s promise not to “seek hegemony”? How would China continue globalization, which has so far been nearly equivalent to Westernization for much of the world? What specific examples can you provide that China wants to keep the liberal world order as it is, rather than seeking to replace its int’l institutions with those such as the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) which are led by China and appear to some to be in direct competition with Western organizations? To what extent do you think the liberal world order is real (i.e. having real influence and interests of its own rather than just a tool of great powers as Realism contends), neutral rather than Western or American, and a positive influence on international relations? To what extent would you agree or disagree that the USA is “indispensable” (no other country can replace it) and “exceptional” (benevolent and putting global interests before its own selfish ones) in leading the liberal world order? Are those using different terms like the LWO, globalization & global governance, the “rule-based” international order, and the American-led international order talking about the same thing or not, and to what extent does the terminological variety indicate that no such thing actually exists?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Brands, Nye, and Kagan on the liberal world order. Schweller & Pu on what China will do with the order once it becomes more powerful than the USA (support it, replace it, or shirk responsibility for maintaining it).

Topic 2: Chinese nationalism

Background: Much as you likely think of Trump supporters (and rightly so, in the instructor’s opinion) who call themselves “patriots” as American nationalists, foreign observers believe that decades of “patriotic education” in the PRC have made younger Chinese generations fiercely proud and possibly nationalistic as a whole. Furthermore, China specialists in the West warn those wanting regime change in the PRC (some to validate a teleological theory of political development, others for imperialist reasons, still others for genuine belief in universal civil/political human rights) that if China were to become a liberal/Western democracy, it would likely be one in which a bellicose, nationalist majority would be much more assertive internationally—in short, full Han chauvinism. Westerners also think that the CCP controls Chinese nationalists, using examples of how relations with Japan under Mao Zedong’s leadership were much less adversarial than they became under “100 Years of Humiliation” and “National Revitalization/Rejuvenation” propaganda since the 1990s, that the Party can turn popular nationalist sentiment on and off like a light switch. Nationalism of rising powers meant very serious problems when Germany and Japan were swept up in theirs, and many worry that China could present the world with a similar challenge, perhaps less intensely fascist but more consequential due to China's immensity.

PROMPT: What does the West, whether average people or “China Watchers,” misunderstand about Chinese nationalism and patriotism? How concerned should the rest of the world be about China of the 21st century being a nationalist superpower intent on taking revenge for the wrongs of imperialism while China was weak under the late Qing and early 20th century? To what extent is it OK to be a cosmopolitan or otherwise not patriotic in today’s PRC, and how do you know? How far might Chinese irredentism and “Great Han Revivalism” go (claiming lands formerly under Chinese control in Outer Mongolia, Siberia, Northern Vietnam, Singapore, Chinatowns across the world)?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Chart on jingoism/nationalism/globalism/cosmopolitanism. Smith & Gellner’s book chapters.

Topic 3 : Climate Change, Pandemics, and Non-Traditional Security Threats Background: Interstate war in the 21st century has so far been rare and at a smaller scale than the great power wars and proxy wars of the 20th century. 2020 has arguably demonstrated that non-traditional security threats such as pandemics are at least as dangerous in terms of killing people as wars are. Environmentalists may finally have the attention of world leaders who had hitherto ignored the possibility that climate change may be an existential threat to the entire human species. Despite the obviously growing importance of these problems, vested interests, especially “the military industrial complex” seem unlikely to relinquish their grip on government purse strings. In 2020, the U.S. military budget was $721.5 billion, while its budgets for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were $9 billion, for climate change research $47.6 billion (including $8.3 billion for int’l assistance), and for global health programs $9.1 billion. Presumably China and other countries mostly have similar budget priorities. If nuclear security, especially with regard to North Korea, may be added to the list of non-traditional threats, that makes three major and specific arenas for greater cooperation between China to offset our competition. Notably, as we discussed last semester, U.S. conservatives (and presumably similarly minded people in other countries) remain skeptical of climate science, epidemiology, and the high levels of spending for global cooperation and governance.

PROMPT: Would it be possible for superpowers and great powers to shift their national security foci to be more like Costa Rica, a small, middle-income country which has no military and spends $100 million (nearly 1/5 of its GDP) on environmental protection? Short of full Costa Rica-ification, what would be a more appropriate spending ratio for the USA (, China, and other great powers)? U.S. protection and recent increases aside, would you argue that Japan’s relatively low military budget since WWII has made the country less secure? Do you agree or disagree that shifting focus to such “non-violent” threats would result in a more “positive-sum game” for international security, as responding to transnational threats requires more International cooperation? How much might such cooperation cool down the competition between China and the USA? What are the practical obstacles to such a shift in priorities, and how specifically might they be overcome in the future (i.e. as a result of climate change becoming more severely and urgently threatening, a more deadly pandemic than SARS or Covid-19, etc.)? How should high-income countries and LDCs share the costs of addressing such non-traditional threats where economic development might be impacted? Are high (and increasing) military budgets a big waste of money? If so, at what specific point will states’ priorities change decisively in favor of addressing these two transnational, non-traditional security threats?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Stewart Patrick in WPR, Robert E. Hamilton, Holmes on Heritage.org, Costa Rica's military abolition anniversary , the UN on Costa Rica's environmentalism example, documents on the Paris Accord on Climate Change, national pandemic prevention documents & those from the WHO. Articles from last semester’s presentations on climate change. Lieven & Prof. Gellers's books.

Topic 4 : Liberal IR Theory in IPE Background: Globalization has been led by the USA since its most recent wave began, but many believe China only wants the free trade part (to the exclusion of economic neoliberalism AKA global capitalism, political liberalization to spread liberal/Western democracy, and a cultural convergence around Western values). Even if China does want free trade, critics still accuse it of mercantilism due to restrictions on access to it domestic market such as technology sharing and the the requirement that foreign MNCs form joint ventures with domestic companies. Kant acknowledges that his "perpetual peace" may require all countries to be made basically the same, while the supposed tolerance of diversity is belied by impositions of Western culture, politics, & neoliberal economics on non-Western countries. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times famously suggested at the turn of the 21st century that all poor countries needed to do was put on "the golden straightjacket" of neoliberal principles outlined in The Washington Consensus, and the magic of the global free market would do the rest (leading to development & eventually wealth), especially through FDI to the most attractive destinations in LDCs with the cheapest labor. Critics, by contrast, see a global "race to the bottom" for wages, worker safety, and environmental protection.

PROMPT: To what extent do you agree that "globalization" is really a package of Westernization, democratization, & global capitalism? How does China's vision for globalization (i.e. under its Belt & Road Initiative) differ from that led by the USA, and to what extent is The Beijing Consensus real and opposed to The Washington Consensus? Does the WTO serve its own interests, those of the USA or China, global interests, or is it too ineffective (i.e. being unable to prevent Trump's trade war) to continue far into the future? Why do states in the 21st century generally compete economically rather than in the military arena, as liberalism predicts & prefers, in pursuit of absolute rather than relative gains (against the predictions of realism) in IPE more than security?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Moravcsik's academic article, in-class presentations on IPE, int'l development, liberal IR theory

ESSAY 3: Due on June 20th for revisers & June 24th for everyone else. Since the prompts came late, the "on time value" has been reduced to five points. Required length: 800 words, but not longer than 7 double-spaced pages. GRADING OF ESSAY 3 (POINT DISTRIBUTION): On Time? (5); Clarity & Cohesiveness w/ at least two questions from the prompt addressed (15); Grammar/Punctuation/Spelling/Capitalization (10); Title (5); Format (Student’s name in digital file and above title, paragraphs indented, length, margins, font) (5); Evidence (5); Persuasiveness (5); Analysis (10); Three citations of outside sources, one direct quotation (w/ original 中文 text) from a Chinese source, cited formally w/ bibliography (20); Interesting/Original? (20).

OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Outside Sources = use (quote directly) at least one source originally in Chinese (to be translated into English while including the original text and citation with page # for academic articles & books). Bibliography = include a bibliography of outside sources, alphabetized by authors'/editors' surnames, at the end of the essay. The format will be discussed in class. TOPIC: Students may choose between Topic 1, Topic 2, OR Topic 3.

Topic 1: Comparison of the major theoretical approaches to IR

Background: We’ve now covered Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism in class, and you’re invited to compare and contrast them in terms of the reasonability of their assumptions, the accuracy of their descriptions and predictions, and their usefulness (or lack thereof) in the 20th and 21st centuries up to the present day. If you don’t want to compare each in the abstract, you are encouraged to speculate about what each of the theoretical approaches would prescribe that one or more specific countries do in terms of national strategies and foreign policy.

PROMPT: Do you consider yourself a realist, a liberal, or a constructivist, and why? If no theoretical paradigm fits you perfectly, as is likely, which assumptions and other parts of each make sense to you, and which seem wrong or too extreme? To what extent is each based on Western ideas and viewpoints, and are they universally applicable, not applicable to China, or only of utility from a Eurocentric perspective?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Articles from each presentation (by Schweller & Pu, Kagan), theoretical texts from your courses in Chinese

Topic 2: Tianxia "All Under Heaven" & Sinocentrism Background: Some argue that the two Opium Wars dragged China out of the traditional "All Under Heaven" cosmology favoring cultured leaders & a virtuous state and into the more violent, much less moral & harmonious Western understanding of competing nation-states. In other words, national strength became most important in the chaotic, "long 19th century" (stretching into the early 20th century) when China was at its weakest. Now, with China risen and still rising but still having vague intentions towards the U.S.-led world order (or perhaps the whole nation-state system itself), many ask whether a return to this traditional worldview or some other value system with different units of analysis derived from Chinese culture and national interests may be in store. You are welcome to speculate. Note also that several Chinese scholars have questioned whether, as you have presumably been taught, the 天下 system really was peaceful & harmonious.

PROMPT: To what extent might a Sinocentric IR theory be an alternative or a supplement to the major theoretical paradigms of Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, & Feminism? How much of traditional 天下 needs to be modernized to be useful today? To what extent have you and your fellow Chinese citizens always maintained a Sino-centric concept of the world, even when China was nowhere near a superpower? (Presumably other countries will not send tribute missions to China for its exalted civilization.) What exactly would be Chinese about a 21st-century return to 天下? Would it be "neutrallY" cosmopolitan (and isn't that what the UN's global governance agenda aspires to anyway?) or more explicitly or implicitly Sinocentric? How desirable is such a re-establishment? What practical challenges are there to re-establishing 天下, and how (& how far in the future) might they be overcome?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: Chinese proponents like Zhao Tingyang & opponents of a return to 天下, works by William A. Callahan's 2011 edited volume "China Orders the World" & his other writing in English on the subject. You may find your instructor's graduate paper from an interpretive methods course also pertinent.

Topic 3: Chinese Foreign Policy in Asia. Background: Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, most Western observers seem to agree that the PRC has become not only more assertive (telling other countries what it believes to be true and what other countries should do) but also aggressive (in topic areas that are probably too sensitive to describe here in detail). Pres. Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” (or “Asia-Pacific Rebalancing”) is likely to have been directed, in part and possibly primarily, at China, in a strategic move to “hedge” in case the PRC ends up as anything less than “a responsible stakeholder” in the regional and global “status quo.” In Realist terms of Power Transition Theory (PTT), the West increasingly doubts that China is a “status quo power” but is instead “revisionist” (seeking to challenge the current order, especially in Asia). U.S. scholars and journalists in particular doubt Xi’s promise to “never seek hegemony,” arguing that China’s increasingly vocal and substantive opposition to U.S. marine patrols in the South China Sea for “freedom of navigation” are adding up to (if not already amounting to) a Chinese declaration akin to America’s own 19th century Monroe Doctrine, which established the USA’s regional hegemony and its own “sphere of influence” by telling other great powers (European powers, specifically) to stay out of the Americas. Obama believed that China’s behavior was even causing its smaller neighbors, especially Myanmar, Vietnam, and other countries making territorial claims in the South China Sea, to fear China and draw closer to the USA. Whether that was still true under the Trump Admin. (or will be again under Pres. Biden) is subject to interpretation and debate. Be aware that your instructor is perfectly capable of reading the official propaganda for the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) by himself and does NOT want you to simply recapitulate it; you are welcome to quote and analyze it, however.

PROMPT: What is your response to Western observations that China since 2010 has become more assertive & aggressive (be sure to define what you think these terms mean, with real-world examples of China’s regional behavior that either illustrate or contradict the terms)? Are Western observers misperceiving an attempt by China to declare its own Monroe Doctrine and establish a “sphere of influence” in Asia like what Russia has in Central Asian and Eastern European countries like Belarus, Ukraine, and others? To what extent is China’s rising power itself driving its expansion of foreign policy ambition? To what extent is irredentist nationalism the driving force to (re-)claim control over people, territories, and waters “taken from China by imperialists while it was weak”? If the standard of areas formerly under Chinese control is used, should Outer Mongolia, Siberian lands north of the Heilongjiang River, and parts of Northern Vietnam (under what nationalist scholars call “Great Ming Revivalism”) also be part of “national reunification” (and if not these, why not?)? Both within and beyond the context of the BRI, how much will Chinese foreign policy (incl. infrastructure projects like building rail lines in Mainland SE Asia) build upon what has historically been called “Chinese economic dominance” of SE Asia? In terms of projecting power regionally and globally, would it be fair today to call China a “superpower” (as Prof. Susan Shirk of the U. of CA, San Diego, did way back in her 2007 book, “China: Fragile Superpower”)? Why/why not?

SUGGESTED TEXTS TO CITE: The Obama Doctrine, BRI analysis in English & Chinese (and sparingly from its official texts), papers on leaving Deng's 韬光养晦 (bide our time & hide our abilities or "Hide & Bide") behind

Topic 4: (may be added on request) TBA Background: TBA



For all essays, you will lose points if... 1. You try to answer more than one prompt/write on more than one topic (don't do it!); 2. You try to address every single thing in the "Background" section or very little (or worse, none) of it; 3. Your essay doesn't have a single, unifying thesis to tie your points together, or you don't directly address each part of the prompt; 4. (Essay 2 & 3 only) You don't have a bibliography/works cited section or citations (in-text or footnootes) for outside sources/direct quotes; 6. (Essay 2 & 3 only) Your Chinese source doesn't include the original text in Chinese; 7. Your essay is too long or short


Care to see what Julian's other classes are doing and have done? 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.

RECOMMENDED FILMS RELEVANT TO INTERNATIONAL POLITICS (EXTENDED FROM CLASS HANDOUT): DOCUMENTARY - The Act of Killing/The Look of Silence; The Age of Stupid; Blue Gold; Collapse; Crossing the Line; The Eleventh Hour; Enemies of the People; The Fog of War; Miscreants of Taliwood; Narco Cultura; No End in Sight; Qatsi series; Religulous; Shake Hands with the Devil; Soundtrack to War; Standard Operating Procedure; The Unknown Known; Water Wars; The Yes Men/The Yes Men Save the World. FICTION/DRAMATIZATION - Ararat; Argo; Blood Diamond; Canadian Bacon; Cloud Atlas; Come and See; Contagion; Dirty Pretty Things; Dr. Strangelove; Europa Europa!; Hotel Rwanda; The Hurt Locker; The International; The Killing Fields; Letters from Iwo Jima; Lilya 4Ever; The Lives of Others; Mammoth; The Mouse That Roared; The Pianist; Quilombo; Sicario; Sin Nombre; Sleep Dealer; Snowpiercer; Star Trek (all); When the Wind Blows; World War Z; Zero Dark Thirty



WEEK 1 (3-2, 3-4): WED.- Course introduction. Distribute glossaries on Reading & Writing, Critical Thinking, Security & IPE, etc. Sentences, Paragraphs, and what they build to. Learn to "extend a sentence" without breaking grammar rules. FRI.- 1-on-1 meetings about "writing sample", goals, topics of interest. HOMEWORK: Winter Vacation Story (Assignment)Sign up for 1-on-1 session to discuss your first assignment (Winter Vacation Story)

WEEK 2 ( 3-9, 3-11): WED.- Nationalism in IR, using this handout & recommended texts by Mclaughlin, Noubel, Pifer & Broers, & Antonopoulos. FRI. - Finish nationalism handout, presentation on irredentist nationalism. READINGS ON RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR: U.S. Sec. of State Albright on Putin's "Historic Mistake"; Noubel in Global Voices on Russian speakers' identities; Kovalev in the New York Times on Russian dissent; Oleinik in Al Jazeera on Putin's Russian victims; Excerpts of Putin's Speech declaring war; Russian media calling Ukraine's regime illegitimate; an interview with an author of a graphic novel about Putin; Left-wing magazine Jacobin on Russian socialists & communists who oppose the war.

WEEK 3 ( 3-16, 3-18): WED. - Key terms in IR: war, invasion. How does the Russia-Ukraine war, euphemized as a "special military operation" illustrate or challenge key concepts in IR theory? FRI.- Exercises on sentence structure

WEEK 4 ( 3-23, 3-25): WED. - Finish sentence structure exercises. FRI.- Discuss media articles on Russia-Ukraine war.

WEEK 5 ( 3-30, 4-1): WED.- Chinglish Elimination exercise based on Russia-Ukraine fascism homework. READINGS: Brooks & Taliaferro academic articles on Realist IR theory. FRI.- Session canceled due to lack of electricity in Sri Lanka

WEEK 6 ( 4-6, 4-8): WED.- Introduce the concepts of IR Theory paradigms & begin presentation on Realism in IR Theory. FRI.- Finish discussion of realism & the two academic articles.


WEEK 7 ( 4-13, 4-15): WED.- FRI.- .

WEEK 8 ( 4-20, 4-22): WED.- . FRI.- .

WEEK 9 ( 4-27 , 4-29): FRI.- Small conversation groups.

WEEK 10 ( 5-4, 5-6): WED.- FRI.-

WEEK 11 ( 5-11, 5-13): WED. - FRI.-

WEEK 12 ( 5-18, 5-20): WED.- FRI.-

WEEK 13 ( 5-25, 5-27): WED.- .FRI.- .

WEEK 14 ( 6-1, 6-3): WED.- FRI.- Dragonboat Festival NO CLASS

WEEK 15 ( 6-8, 6-10): WED.- FRI.-

WEEK 16 ( 6-15, 6-17): WED.- FRI.-

WEEK 17 ( 6-22, 6-24): WED. - FRI.-

WEEK 18 ( 6-29, 7-1): WED. - FRI.-

ESSAY 3 DUE July 14th.


TBA = To Be Announced.

This syllabus is subject to change and will be updated throughout the semester. Check back regularly to be fully informed!

Potential Topics, Readings, Assignments, etc. (Including those suggested by students): Political Psychology; Research Methodology (Quantitative, Positivist);