POL 408



Winter/Spring 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dr. Margaret P. Karns


Contact Information

Office:    St. Joseph Hall 227

Hours:    Tuesday, Thursday  3:30-4:15 and by appointment at other times

Tel:         937-229-3626

Email:      mkarns1@.udayton.edu

Homepage:  http://academic.udayton.edu/MargaretKarns/


Course Description   


This course is organized around an analytical framework for understanding  the major factors shaping American foreign policy and the processes by which it is made.  It explores how changes in the international system, American society, and domestic governmental institutions have interacted with each other to shape specific foreign policy decisions since the end of World War II.  Five major choice or turning points provide the context for this exploration:  the end of World War II when the United States opted for an internationalist role in shaping the postwar order; the Vietnam War which led to an agonizing debate over American interests and policies; the Cold War’s end when the collapse of the Soviet Union left the United States as the sole superpower in a world of globalization, changing norms, new actors, ethnic conflicts, failing states, and humanitarian disasters; the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the Bush Administration’s decision to invade Iraq; and, finally, the uncertain future with rising powers such as China, India, and Brazil as well as diminished US means to carry out foreign policy.  Along the way, we shall explore debates over the nature of U.S. national interests as well as current policy issues. 


The course will be largely conducted in seminar-style sessions in which students are expected to take responsibility for shaping discussions.  We will use a variety of case studies to explore specific policy-making situations in greater depth.   The course will challenge all of us to explore some fundamental questions about the nature of American foreign policy, to be open to different perspectives, to engage in lively discussion with each other, and to enhance our capabilities to be producers of knowledge.  You will have a fair amount of reading, a lot of writing, and an expectation of active participation.


Course Objectives

·         To develop skills in using a multidimensional framework to analyze various factors shaping American foreign policy, including global, domestic, individual, governmental, and societal factors;

·         To utilize case studies of specific decisions to explore those choices and the factors that shaped them;

·         To develop the ability to evaluate different perspectives on the United States and its policies;

·         To enhance research skills using a variety of different types of sources.


Course Requirements and Grading

Readings, Class Preparation and Attendance policy:  Just as you expect me to be prepared for class, you are responsible for doing all assigned readings prior to the class for which they are scheduled and for coming to class prepared to participate actively and intelligently.   (I reserve the right to give periodic, unscheduled quizzes to check reading.)  You are expected to attend all classes and to let me know if you must miss a class.  The quantity and quality of class participation can positively or negatively impact  borderline grades in particular. 


If you must miss a class, you are responsible for getting notes from other students and for checking on any missed assignments.   Late papers will be penalized ½ grade per day of lateness, unless otherwise specified or unless you have obtained prior permission for late submission.


 Cheating and Plagiarism: Cheating and/or plagiarism will not be tolerated in any form.  Cheating is defined as working with or borrowing from others on exams or quizzes.  Plagiarism is defined as submitting another’s work as your own or using someone else’s words or ideas without proper attribution.  It is particularly easy to plagiarize material from the Internet.  You are responsible for being familiar with the University of Dayton’s Policy on Academic Dishonesty in The Bulletin and and with the Honor Pledge reproduced below.  Any instance of cheating or plagiarism will result in an automatic zero (O) for the assignment and could result in a failing grade for the entire course.


The Honor Pledge


I understand that as a student of the University of Dayton, I am a member of our academic and social community.  I recognize the importance of my education and the value of experiencing life in such an integrated community.  I believe that the value of my education and degree is critically dependent upon the academic integrity of the university community, and so in order to maintain our academic integrity, I pledge to

- complete all assignments and examinations by the guidelines given to me by my instructors

- avoid plagiarism and any other form of misrepresenting someone else's work as my own

- adhere to the Standards of Conduct as outlined in the Academic Honor Code.


In doing this, I hold myself and my community to a higher standard of excellence and set an example for my peers to follow.


Grading:  Your performance in this course will be evaluated on the following basis:

                Two Take-home Exams  (50%)

                Research Paper (approximately 15 pages)  (25%)

                National Interest Paper and revisions (3-5 pages) (15%)

                Class Participation and Assignments (10%)

Extra credit opportunities, including speakers and participation in the Social Science Research

      Symposium – for a maximum of 5 points


Note:  Guidelines on the paper assignments and other exercises will be distributed separately.


Grade Scale:   93-100          A

90-92                 A-

87-89                 B+

83-86                 B

80-82                 B-

77-79                 C+

73-76                 C

70-72                 C-

60-69                 D

Below 60     F


Required Texts

Bruce W. Jentleson, American  Foreign Policy:  The Dynamics of Choice in the 21st Century, 4th edn.


Michael Mandelbaum, The Frugal Superpower (2011)

Two case studies ($3.50 each) purchased and downloaded from the Georgetown University Institute for the

    Study of Diplomacy:  http://guisd.org/  Please note that this is the only way you can obtain these cases

    and it is essential that you have a copy.  The cases are #464 and 293 and are so noted on the syllabus.

Readings on Library Reserve and on the Internet as indicated on the syllabus

Regular reading of a major U.S. newspaper, preferably the New York Times or Washington Post



COURSE SCHEDULE  (subject to change)


Jan. 17                    Introduction


Jan. 19                    America and the World

                                Gideon Rachman, “Think Again:  American Decline,  Foreign Policy (Jan/Feb. 2011)


                                Stephen Walt, “The Myth of American Exceptionalism,” Foreign Policy (Nov. 2011)


“What Ails America?” – essays by Buruma, Khilnani, Smil, and Fan Gang, Foreign

       Policy  (Nov. 2011), available at: 



Jan. 24                    Thinking about Foreign Policy, the International Context, and Dilemmas of Choice

                                Martin Rochester, US Foreign Policy in the 21st Century: Gulliver’s Travails, Ch. 2 -- Handout


Jan. 26                    The National Interest and Dilemmas of Choice

                                Jentleson, American Foreign Policy, Ch. 1   


Jan. 31                    Hilary Clinton, “America’s Pacific Century,” Foreign Policy (Nov. 2011), available at:


Hillary Clinton, Keynote Address at the National Democratic Institute’s 2011 Democracy Awards Dinner, November 7, 2011, available at:  http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/11/176750.htm

Middle East Institute, The Arab Spring:  Implications for US Policy and Interests (Nov. 2011), Selections on Reserve


Feb. 2                     Dilemmas of Choice: Historical Context and Great Debates

                                Jentleson, American Foreign Policy, Ch. 3


                                DUE in class:  First draft of National Interest Paper  (see guidelines)


Feb. 7                     The Domestic Context:  President and Congress Dividing/Sharing Power

                                Jentleson, American Foreign Policy, Ch. 2, pp. 27-40

                                U.S. Constitution, Articles I, II, III Reserve

                                Tonkin Gulf Resolution, War Powers Resolution, Persian Gulf Resolution  Reserve

Iraq War Resolution:  http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/bliraqreshouse.htm

Terry Deibel, “The Death of a Treaty” Foreign Affairs (Sept/Oct. 2002) Reserve and

Available at http://libproxy.udayton.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=7215170&site=ehost-live


DUE in class:  Comments on national interest paper and Proposed Research paper topic (see guidelines)    


Feb. 9                     The President

                                Jentleson, American Foreign Policy, Ch. 2, pp. 41-44 and 324-325

Fred Hiatt, “Obama’s Governing Discipline,” Washington Post (April 26, 2010),

    available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/25/AR2010042502988.html

Peter Baker, “How Obama Came to Plan for ‘Surge’ in Afghanistan,” New York Times

  December 6, 2009, at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/world/asia/06reconstruct.html

Scott Wilson and Greg Jaffe, ”In creating new defense strategy, Obama attempts to

    outflank Congress” Washington Post (January 7, 2012), available at:



Feb. 14                   The National Security Adviser and The President’s Foreign Policy Team

                                Colin Powell, “The NSC Advisor:  Process Manager and More” The Bureaucrat

                                 (Summer 1989)  Reserve

                                Ivo H. Daalder and I.M. Destler, “How National Security Advisers See their Role,” pp.

    185-199 in The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy, Eugene Wittkopf and

    James McCormick eds. (2008)  Reserve

                                Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, “The War against Terrorism,  pp. 268-282 in Fateful

   Decisions:  Inside the National Security Council, Karl Inderfurth and Loch Johnson,

   eds. (2004) Reserve


Due:  Exercise #1


Feb. 16                   The Foreign Policy and Intelligence Bureaucracies

                                Jentleson, American Foreign Policy, pp. 44-49 and 325-327 (study handout)

                                Charles F. Parker and Eric K. Stern, “Bolt from the Blue or Avoidable Failure? 

                                    Revisiting September 11 and the Origins of Strategic Surprise,” Foreign Policy

                                   Analysis 1:3 (Nov. 2005)  Reserve                 

                                Recommended:  The 9/11 Commission Report, Executive Summary.  Available at:   



Feb. 21                   Interest Groups

                                ALL:  Jentleson, American Foreign Policy, Ch. 2, pp. 49-58 (look at table)

                                Individual Assignments TBA:

1. Jason Kirk, “Indian-Americans and the U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement:  Consolidation

    of an Ethnic Lobby?”  Foreign Policy Analysis 4 (2008) Reserve

2. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby,” pp. 81-96 in The Domestic

    Sources of American Foreign Policy, Eugene Wittkopf and James McCormick eds.

    (2008)     Reserve

                                3. Joe  Conason, “The Iraq Lobby”  Reserve

                                4. Holly Burkhalter, “The Politics of AIDS:  Engaging Conservative Activists,” Foreign

Affairs (Jan/Feb. 2004)  Reserve.  Also Available at http://libproxy.udayton.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=11781720&site=ehost-live


                                Due in class:  Draft 2 of National Interest Paper


Feb. 23                   Special Session on Save Darfur with Dr. Budabin

                                Readings TBA

                                Due in class:  Comments on National Interest Paper


Feb. 28                   Public Opinion and the Media

                                Jentleson, American Foreign Policy, Ch. 2, pp. 58-67 and  327-335

Warren Strobel, “The Media and U.S. Policies toward Intervention:  A 

      Closer Look at the ‘CNN Effect” in Jentleson, pp. 677-684

Steven Kull, “Americans and the World in Difficult Times” at http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brunitedstatescanadara/662.php?lb=brusc&pnt=662&nid=&id=

Individual Assignments TBA:

1. Douglas Foyle, “Public Opinion and Bosnia:  Anticipating Disaster,” in Contemporary

                                   Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy, 2nd ed., edited by Ralph G. Carter (2005)  Reserve

2. John Mueller, “The Iraq Syndrome,” Foreign Affairs (Nov/Dec. 2005), available at:


Daniel Yankelovich, “The Tipping Points,” Foreign Affairs (May/June 2006) available at: 


4.  Steven Kull, “Misreading the Public Mood,” Bulletin of the Atomic

Scientists (March/April 1995)  Reserve


Due:  Exercise #2



Mar. 2                    NO CLASS - BREAK


Mar. 6-8             Creating a Post-World War II International Order and Fighting the Cold War

                                Jentleson, American Foreign Policy, Ch. 4

                                Mr. X, “The Conduct of Soviet Foreign Policy” (1947), in Jentleson,

    pp.  259-262

Leffler,  The American Conception of National Security and the Beginning of the Cold

   War, 1945-48,” (1984), in Jentleson, pp. 246-252

                             Individual Assignments:

1. Melvyn, Leffler, “Inside Enemy Archives:  The Cold War Reopened,” Foreign Affairs

(July-August 1996), available at:      http://libproxy.udayton.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9606282471&site=ehost-live

                                2. John Lewis Gaddis, “The Tragedy of Cold War History,” Foreign Affairs (Jan-Feb

1994) Available at:  http://libproxy.udayton.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9404111581&site=ehost-live

3. NSC 68, “Conclusions and Recommendations” available at:  http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsc-hst/nsc-68.htm

4.  Michael J. Hogan, The Marshall Plan: America, Britain, and the Reconstruction of

   Western Europe, 1947-1952, Ch. 1  Reserve




Mar. 13                  Foreign Policy Decision-Making and the Case of the Cuban Missile Crisis

                                Rochester, US Foreign Policy, Ch. 2, Handout pp. 26-34   Reread!!

Jerel Rosati, “The Policy-Making Process  Reserve

                                Individual Assignments TBA: 

Graham Allison, “Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” American Political

     Science Review (Sept. 1969) Reserve

Dina Badie, “Groupthink, Iraq, and the War on Terror:  Explaining US Policy Shift

    Toward Iraq,” Foreign Policy Analysis (October 2010)  Reserve

David Mitchell and Tansa George Massoud, “Anatomy of Failure:  Bush’s Decision-

    Making Process and the Iraq War,” Foreign Policy Analysis (July 2009), Reserve           


Mar. 15                   The Vietnam Watershed

                                Jentleson, American Foreign Policy, Ch. 5, pp. 150-160

                                Neustadt, “Americanizing the Vietnam War” (Parts I, II) Reserve   

                                Do NOT skip class today!  Video


DUE:   Preliminary bibliography for Research Paper


Mar. 20                   The Vietnam Watershed (cont.)                      

All read selections from Vietnam Documents  (Part III)  Reserve

Leslie Gelb, “Vietnam:  The System Worked,” in Jentleson, pp. 263-266

                                Individual assignments TBA

1. James Thomson, “How Could Vietnam Happen?  An Autopsy,” The

   Atlantic Monthly (1968)    Reserve

                                2. Irving Janis, “Escalation of the Vietnam War:  How Could It Happen” 

                                    From Janis, Groupthink (1982)    Reserve

3. Yuen Foong Khong, “Seduction by Analogy in Vietnam:  The Malaya

    and  Korea Analogies”  (1987)    Reserve

                                4. Robert S. McNamara, “Learning from Tragedy:  Lessons of Vietnam for

                                    The Twenty-first Century,” Ch. 8 in Argument without End (1999)  Reserve


Mar. 22       The Cold War’s End, The US as Sole Superpower, and Dilemmas of Intervention

                                Jentleson, American Foreign Policy,  Ch. 9 to p. 506, plus pp. 515-522

                                GUISD Case Study #464 :  Menkhaus with Ortmayer, “Key Decisions in the Somalia  

    Intervention”    See instructions under “Readings” above for obtaining this   

    required reading

Steven Kull, “Misreading the Public Mood,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    (March/April 1995)  Reserve--Reread

Warren Strobel, “The Media and U.S. Policies toward Intervention:  A 

                                  Closer Look at the ‘CNN Effect’” in Jentleson, pp. 677-684  Reread


Mar. 22, 7:30       Program on the Arab Spring One Year On and the Compatibility of Islam

and Democracy—attendance expected unless excused


Mar. 23                  DUE by 4:00pm :  Final revision of National Interest Paper  (NO late papers accepted

except by prior arrangement)


Mar. 27                   Debate on US National Interest and When and How to Intervene

Rochester, US Foreign Policy, pp. 148-154    Handout

Michael Mandelbaum, “Foreign Policy as Social Work,” Foreign Affairs

    (Jan/Feb 1996),  Reserve and available also at:


Stanley Hoffmann, “In Defense of Mother Theresa,” Foreign Affairs

    (Mar/April 1996),  Reserve and available also at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20047564

Individual Assignment:

Alynna Lyon and Chris Dolan, “American Humanitarian Intervention: Toward a Theory

    of Coevolution,”  Foreign Policy Analysis (Jan. 2007) Reserve


Mar. 29                   Case Study of Libya and the Dilemma of Syria

                                Michael Hastings, “Inside Obama’s War Room:  How he decided to intervene in Libya

                                and what it says about his evolution as commander in chief,” Rolling Stone, October 27,

2011, available at:  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-obamas-war-room-20111013

Stewart Patrick, “Libya and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention,  Foreign Affairs online (August 26, 2011), available at:  http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68233/stewart-patrick/libya-and-the-future-of-humanitarian-intervention

Additional reading TBA


Mar. 30                  DUE by Noon:  Updated bibliography and detailed outline for research project


Apr. 3                     Hypothetical Case:  What would happen if Pakistan collapsed?

Reading TBA


Apr. 5                     EASTER BREAK – NO CLASS


Apr. 10                   The Consequences of 9/11:  The War on Terrorism

                                 Jentleson, Ch. 8, pp. 409-418, 442-445                             

                                The Bush National Security Strategy (2002), Section III, available at:


                                Melvyn P. Leffler, “9/11 in Retrospect:  George W. Bush’s Grand Strategy,

                                     Reconsidered, Foreign Affairs (Sept/Oct. 2011)  available at:



Apr. 12                   Jentleson, Ch. 8, pp. 456-473

GUISD Case #293,  David Auerswald and Caroline Shaver, “It’s Not Just the Economy, Stupid:  Linking Free Trade and the War on Terror.”  See earlier instructions on ordering this case.


Apr. 17                   WMD Control:  Case Study of Iran

                                Focus:  Discussion of US interests and options for dealing with Iran

Rochester,  pp. 142-148  Handout

                                Jentleson, pp. 445-448

Council on Foreign Relations Crisis Guide (Overview, Nuclear Program, Options):  http://www.cfr.org/interactives/CG_Iran/index.html

                                Suzanne Maloney, “Obama’s Counterproductive New Iran Sanctions,” Foreign Affairs

   online (January 5, 2012), available at:  http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137011/suzanne-maloney/obamas-counterproductive-new-iran-sanctions

                                William Maclean and Andrew Quinn, “Iran Sanctions Push is Test for West Diplomacy:

                                   Experts Differ on War Risk,” Al-Alarabiya (January 6, 2012), available at: 



Apr. 18                   STANDER SYMPOSIUM – research paper presentations


Apr. 19-26              The US in a Changing World

                                Michael Mandelbaum, The Frugal Superpower

                                Arvind Subramanian, “The Inevitable Superpower:  Why China’s Dominance is a Sure

    Thing,” Foreign Affairs (Sept/Oct 2011), available at:  http://web.ebscohost.com.libproxy.udayton.edu/ehost/detail?sid=4b7d2fea-109c-4642-9bcc-83ea8fb4ca2a%40sessionmgr11&vid=3&hid=13&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=64464656

                                Salvatore Babones, “The Middling Kingdom:  The Hype and the Reality of China’s

    Rise,” Foreign Affairs (Sept/Oct 2011), available at:  http://web.ebscohost.com.libproxy.udayton.edu/ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=13&sid=94c62887-d302-4343-b116-59733512d409%40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=64464663

                                Jack A. Goldstone, “Rise of the TIMBIs,” Foreign Policy (December 2, 2011)


Fareed Zakaria, “The Future of American Power:  How America Can Survive the Rise of

the Rest,” Foreign Affairs (May/June 2008) available at:  http://libproxy.udayton.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=31700472&site=ehost-live

Joseph S. Nye, ‘The Future of American Power,” Foreign Affairs (Nov/Dec 2010) at:



                                Stephen M. Walt, “The End of the American Era,” National Interest (October 25, 2011)

 at :  http://nationalinterest.org/article/the-end-the-american-era-6037


Apr. 27                   Final Deadline for Research Papers (4:30 pm)

                                Take-home Final Exam to be distributed


May 1                     Take-home Final Exam Due at 4:30pm.  NO LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED EXCEPT BY PRIOR ARRANGEMENT