Washington Semester Program
US Foreign Policy II Seminar
Dr. John Calabrese
AU Tel: 895-4913
MEI Tel: 785-1141 ext. 208
Office Hours W/F (by appointment)
COURSE DESCRIPTION The Foreign Policy Seminar aims to familiarize you with the process and content of US foreign policy. It is intended to help you acquire a sound conceptual and practical understanding of the foreign policy challenges that US policy-makers face, and of the reasons for and implications of their decisions. It is also intended to help prepare you for the professional world of international relations and diplomacy. This eight-credit course is designed to complement your internship and your research project (if you are required to complete one). Generally, there are six seminar sessions per week, totaling approximately eight hours of contact (i.e., excluding commuting time). These sessions take place Wednesdays through Fridays. The seminar consists partly of lectures, class discussions, and simulations. However, the distinctive feature and emphasis of the seminar is direct exposure to the policy process through briefings by public officials, policy analysts, and other professionals who are involved in the shaping of US foreign policy. Briefings will be held both on and off campus.
COURSE OBJECTIVES This course will:
Broaden and deepen students’ knowledge of the contextual factors, elements and challenges
related to the crafting and conduct of US foreign policy.
Sharpen students’ analytic, oral communication and writing skills through student-led discussions, simulations, team briefings, and policy papers.
Introduce students to the Washington policy community by incorporating into the curriculum guest briefings by policy-makers and other practitioners.
At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:
Understand the basic principles and purposes of US foreign policy.
Identify current US foreign policy priorities and the core objectives related thereto.
Identify key actors and forces that inform and constrain US foreign policy decision-making and implementation.
Compare and contrast diverse positions on key issues related to the conduct of US foreign policy.
Articulate their own perspectives on important issues in the field.
Demonstrate active learning and engagement through critical questioning, synthesis and evaluation of course readings and resource materials, active discussion, written and oral presentation, and analytical writing.
BASIC PARAMETERS AND EXPECTATIONS
As previously mentioned, classes will be held on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Weekly schedules containing meeting times, locations and directions, topics, and the names/bios of guest speakers will be distributed over email on the previous Friday. (Schedules will be provided further in advance when possible). This is a reading and writing intensive course. You are expected to read all assigned reading materials in preparation for class discussion (i.e., the full article unless page numbers are provided). You are also expected to be courteous in your interaction with peers and guests, respecting the right of others to express their opinions, whether or not you share them.
1. Attendance and Participation (20 percent)
For this seminar to function effectively and for you to derive the maximum benefit from it, you are required to attend and arrive on time for all meetings. You may not enter a briefing after a guest has begun speaking. The only valid reasons for missing class are personal illness or a family emergency. You are responsible for material covered in all classes. You are required to participate regularly. You will be evaluated on the quality of your comments and questions.
2. Team Background Briefing (20 percent)
Every student must produce a Background Briefing (i.e., an oral presentation followed by an interactive exercise such as a debate, a focused Q/A or discussion period, or a policy options exercise). Students will work in pairs or small teams for this purpose. The sign-up/assignment schedule will be posted on Google Docs. At least one week before the scheduled date of each presentation, I will supply specific guidelines and suggestions for the Background Briefing team.
3. Two Reaction Papers (40 percent)
You are required to write two papers (1,000-1,200 words, typewritten, double-spaced). Each paper should focus on two or more required readings. Reaction Paper #1 should be based on readings from weeks 1–6. Reaction Paper #2 should be based on readings from weeks 7–13. A sign-up sheet with due dates/times will be posted on Google Docs.
These papers are intended to assist you to read the weekly assignments critically and thoroughly, and to help generate questions for guest speakers. You should not simply summarize the readings. You should “respond” to them; for example, by highlighting a point that you think is of particular interest, discussing an argument with which you agree or disagree, comparing the readings, or linking the readings to lectures, briefings, or current events.
The handout Writing the Reaction Paper (available on Google Docs) offers tips on how to prepare your paper. Save your papers in Microsoft Word or rich text format. Electronic copies are due over email by 9:00 a.m. on Monday. Late papers will not be accepted.
4. Final Examination (20 percent)
The final examination is a 90-minute in-class exercise in which you will be asked to write one long essay (20%). A review sheet/study guide containing a list of topics, readings and briefings will be provided during the last week of class. [Note: No early, late, or make-up exams will be given.]
Final Exam: covers material as described above. Held on Monday, December 10.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY CODE
Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the AU Academic Integrity Code which can be found athttp://www.american.edu/academics/integrity/code01.htm. It is expected that all assignments will be completed according to the standards set forth in this code. By registering, students have acknowledged awareness of the Academic code and are obliged to become familiar with their rights and responsibilities as defined by the Code. Violations of the Academic Integrity Code will not be treated lightly, and disciplinary action will be taken should such violations occur. Please see me if there are any questions about the academic violations described in the Code in general, or as they relate to particular requirements for this or any other course or work at AU.
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
If you experience difficulty in this course for any reason, please do not hesitate to consult with me. In addition to the resources of the department, a wide range of services is available to support you in your efforts to meet the course requirements.
Academic Support Center (x3360, MGC 243) offers study skills workshops, individual instruction, tutor referrals, and services for students with learning disabilities. Writing support is available in the ASC Writing Lab or in the Writing Center, Battelle 228.
Counseling Center (x3500, MGC 214) offers counseling and consultations regarding personal concerns, self-help information, and connections to off-campus mental health resources.
Disability Support Services (x3315, MGC 206) offers technical and practical support and assistance with accommodations for those with physical, medical, or psychological disabilities.
If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please notify me in a timely manner with a letter from the Academic Support Center or Disability Support Services so that we can make arrangements to address your needs.
In the event of a declared pandemic (influenza or other communicable disease) (or other emergency), American University will implement a plan for meeting the needs of all members of the university community. Should the university be required to close for a period of time, we are committed to ensuring that all aspects of our educational programs will be delivered to our students. These may include altering and extending the duration of the traditional term schedule to complete essential instruction in the traditional format and/or use of distance instructional methods. All faculty members will design alternative means of completing classes. Specific strategies will vary from class to class, depending on the format of the course and the timing of the emergency. I will communicate class-specific information to students via e-mail, while you must inform me immediately of any absence due to illness or emergency. Students are responsible for checking AU e-mail regularly and keeping themselves informed of emergencies. In the event of a declared pandemic or other emergency, you should refer to the AU Web site (www.preparedamerican<.edu) and the AU information line at (202) 885-1100 for general university-wide information. AND contact your faculty and/or respective dean’s office for course and school/ college-specific information.
Course Outline and Weekly Readings
Week 1: August 29, 30, 31
US Foreign Policy:
Integrating Power and Purposes
What is foreign policy? What are the various approaches to the study of foreign policy? Which individuals and institutions shape, formulate and implement foreign policy? What is meant by the term “national interest”? What principles and values should guide US foreign policy? What are some of the recurring themes and tensions in US foreign policy? What are the principal geopolitical, economic and domestic factors that inform and constrain US foreign policy? What are the most important foreign policy challenges facing the Obama Administration?
●American Strategy: Grand Versus Grandiose Richard K. Betts. In America’s Path: Grand Strategy for the Next Administration. Richard Fontaine and Kristin Lord (eds.) Center for New American Security. [pp. 29–42]
●A Grand Strategy of Network Centrality Anne-Marie Slaughter. In America’s Path: Grand Strategy for the Next Administration. Richard Fontaine and Kristin Lord (eds.) Center for New American Security. [pp. 43–56]
What are the driving forces and emerging features of Transatlantic relations? Is the “European project” adrift? To what extent do American and European perspectives and policies closely correspond? What are the key bilateral and international challenges facing the US and Europe? What are the implications of the respective sides’ preoccupation with internal issues for the current and future direction of Transatlantic relations? What are the implications of the Euro crisis for the United States and for Transatlantic relations?
What kind of course adjustment has the Obama Administration made in fulfilling its pledge to “reset” US-Russian relations? Has the “reset” succeeded or failed? Has progress on arms control, cooperation on counter-terrorism, and the restructuring of NATO-Russian relations dispelled the lingering mistrust between Washington and Moscow? Are US and Russian perspectives and policies with respect to countries that border the Russian Federation congruent? To what extent does Russia’s petro-politics pose a challenge to US interests in Europe and elsewhere? What does the return of Vladimir Putin to serve a third term as President portend for Russia’s future and that of US-Russian relations?
●RussiaCountryAnalysisBriefEnergy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy.
●TheNewSTARTTreaty:CentralLimitsandKeyProvisionsAmy F. Woolf. Congressional Research Service.
●NonproliferationandThreatReductionAssistance:USProgramsintheFormerSovietUnionAmy F. Woolf. Congressional Research Service.
●RussianFederation:Parties&OrganizationsPolitical Resources on the Net.
Week 4: September 19, 20, 21
The United States and Afghanistan:
Towards a Responsible Withdrawal?
Is Afghanistan of “vital” interest to the United States? What were, and are the primary aims of US policy in Afghanistan? What progress has been made in the development of Afghanistan’s political institutions, the strengthening of its military and police forces, and the resuscitation of its economy? What questions and concerns remain regarding the US-Afghanistan strategic partnership? To what extent did the May 2012 NATO Summit chart a course for a responsible exit from Afghanistan?
Is Pakistan a credible ally? Does the United States need Pakistan, or the other way around? What key trends and developments in Pakistan pose a challenge for US policy in South Asia and in the wider campaign against terrorism? What are the sources of mistrust and policy differences between the US and Pakistan? What leverage does the United States have, and what instruments can it employ to advance its interests in Pakistan?
The US–India “Strategic Partnership”:
Parameters, Possibilities and Constraints
Why is it in the long-term interest of the United States to build a multifaceted partnership with India? Are the national interests, strategic objectives and external policies of the United States and India congruent? What tangible progress has been made in the development of US–India relations in recent years? To what extent have domestic politics advanced or constrained the broadening and deepening of US–India relations?
●UnderstandingtheDualityinIndianStrategicThinkingManvendra Singh. German Marshall Fund of the United States.
●IndiaMapsFrom the University of Texas at Austin.
●ProfileofIndiafromtheAsiaSocietyFeatures a map and statistical information.
●TheUS-IndiaNuclearCooperationDealArms Control Association.
●USNuclearCooperationwithIndia:IssuesforCongressPaul K. Kerr.Congressional Research Service.
Weeks 7 and 8: October 10, 11 and 17, 18, 19
China’s Rise and the “Rebalancing” of US Policy toward Asia
What are the rationale, methods, and prospects for success of the Obama administration’s efforts to “rebalance” America’s foreign policy toward Asia? What opportunities and challenges does China’s economic rise and military modernization pose for the United States? How have China’s neighbors reacted to China’s increasing power and external policies? What are the sources of friction and areas of cooperation between the US and China at the bilateral level? What are the main political, socio-economic and demographic changes facing China, and what implications might they have for the United States? How can the US best promote security and stability in Asia and a constructive relationship with China?
● The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Challenges and Potential
Hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, and Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
● “The United States and Asia in 2011: Obama Determined to Bring America ‘Back’ to Asia.” Douglas Paal. Asian Survey[Full text: use Academic Search Premier database AU Bender Library page via http://www.my.american.edu portal]
The United States and the Korean Peninsula:
Linchpin of Stability and Prosperity in Northeast Asia
Does current US policy effectively address the full spectrum of threats posed by North Korean weapons of mass destruction, missiles, conventional forces, and transnational criminal activity? Does US assistance mitigate the suffering of the North Korean people or merely help to sustain a repressive and authoritarian regime? Have South Korean and US attempts to “engage” the DPRK been naive and dangerous? What additional steps can and should the United States take in order to further peace and stability not just on the Korean peninsula but in Northeast Asia as a whole?
The United States and Iran:
Towards Détente or Confrontation?
What are the causes of the animosity that has existed between the United States and Iran since 1979? What are the main obstacles to a positive breakthrough in US-Iranian relations? Has the Obama’s administration’s “dual-track” policy toward Iran worked? What can the United States do to bring about the concessions it demands (particularly with respect to nuclear weapons) and the cooperation it needs (in Iraq and Afghanistan) from Iran?
●Iran:EthnicandReligiousMinoritiesHussein D. Hassan. Congressional Research Service.
Week 11: November 7, 8, 9
The United States and Iraq:
Unfinished Business and an Uncertain Future
With the US completion of the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq, what are the sources of continuing insecurity there? What, if anything, can the US do to foster progress in Iraq on the political front? What are the bright spots and bottlenecks in Iraq’s economic reconstruction? What steps are needed to address the “human security” challenges facing Iraq, particularly with respect to refugee and internally displaced persons (IDPs)?
●IraqIndexFrom the Brookings Institution (regularly updated compilation of statistics on security, the economy and public opinion).
●StruggleforIraqBBC web page with links to special reports, analysis, fast facts.
●USGovernmentReportsonIraqUS Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigative reports on various aspects of US operations in Iraq, including on contractors, reconstruction efforts, etc.
Week 12: November 14, 15, 16
The “Arab Awakening”:
US Policy Challenges and Responses
What are the US interests in the Middle East and North Africa? What opportunities and challenges has the political upheaval across the region — from Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt in North Africa to Syria in the Levant, Bahrain in the Gulf, and Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula — posed for the United States? How, and how effectively, has the Obama Administration reacted to these momentous developments?
The United States and the Republic of Mexico:
Common Interests ― Shared Responsibilities
What are the principal US interests in the Western Hemisphere, and specifically in Latin America? How have counter-narcotics and oil factored into regional politics and into US strategic thinking and policy? The US-Mexico border region serves as a commercial and tourism corridor that is vital to the economies and societies of both countries. The border is also where the bulk of law enforcement activities to counter transnational crime take place. What are the sources, scale, and scope of the security challenges facing the border region? How can US and Mexican efforts to address these challenges be strengthened?
Sudan, South Sudan, and Darfur — Conflicts Unending?
Challenges for US Africa Policy
What are the United States’ principal interests in Africa? Which American interests, if any, are at stake in Sudan? What are the root causes of and key players in Sudan’s internal conflicts? What have been the key recent developments in the Sudanese struggle for peace? What has the United States already done, and what additional practical steps can the United States take to promote a stable and constructive relationship between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan and to forestall the intensification of violence in Darfur and Eastern Sudan?