IR 230 American Foreign Policy
Fall 2014 — MWF 11:50-12:40
This course consists of two parts. First, we will discuss the optimal use of various foreign policy instruments, such as militarized and economic coercion, foreign aid, and mulitlateralism. Second, we will discuss the policy formation process, assessing the relative impact of the general public, interest groups, Congress, and the president. Game-theoretic models will appear throughout the course, but no prior background is assumed or required. Students are strongly encouraged to keep up with current events. (This course was formerly titled "The Tools of U.S. Foreign Policy.")
The United States has left Iraq and is drawing down its forces in Afghanistan, closing the door on a decade of invasion, occupation, and attempted state-building abroad that was intended to increase Americans' security at home. Today, the debate is over how to shape the military and the U.S. national security strategy for an uncertain future. This course analyzes the utility of the tools of U.S. foreign policy in the context of contemporary threats. Students will consider the traditional theoretical elements of Cold War security thinking, including deterrence, compellence, and defense. Students will also analyze the efficacy of other U.S. efforts, including economic and other types of sanctions; the training and arming of foreign militaries; the strengthening of weak states; counter-terrorism efforts from financial interdiction to Special Forces operations; humanitarian intervention; peacekeeping operations; and cyber operations.