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Course Descriptions

PSCI 565 - International Politics By interlinking the study of international politics, global affairs, and geopolitics, this course aims to provide graduate students with a solid foundation for further study and work in the field. It applies the major theories, concepts, and debates in international politics to “real-world” events and issues to help students fully grasp the nature and relevance of this field of study. It intertwines readings and discussion with students’ own thinking to encourage critical thinking, analysis, research, and communication skills.

PSCI 567 - Conflict Studies What causes war? What causes intergroup conflict short of war? Why do groups of people systematically kill other groups of people? What do we need to know to prevent conflict/war if possible, and prepare for it when necessary? Is it possible to prevent conflict/war (or prepare for it) if it is often caused by accidents, miscalculation, and misperception?

With these questions in mind, this course will develop your ability to analyze the causes, conduct, and consequences of intergroup conflict and war. We will begin by exploring the consequences of war for personal, national, international, and global security. We will then examine theories about the causes of war and apply them to understand the occurrence of World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Next, we will explore the conduct and consequences of these wars at the doctrinal, strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Finally, we will discuss contemporary issues in war, peace, and security, including the causes, conduct, and consequences of the war on terror and the war in Iraq, weapons proliferation, the future of military technology, the rise of new great powers, humanitarian intervention, and alternatives to war.

During the course, you will develop critical reading skills by evaluating other scholars’ theories, arguments, and evidence. As will become apparent, there are numerous theories that attempt to explain what causes war and/or peace. You are encouraged to challenge these theories and arguments.

PSCI 568 - US Foreign Policy This course will address two major topics: (1) the constitutional and structural foundations of the American foreign policymaking process, through a consideration of the presidency, executive institutions (the state department, department of defense, the intelligence community, and Congress, as well as the ongoing dynamic relations among these actors. The role and impact of other relevant actors in the foreign policy formation process (i.e., the media, interest groups, as well as that of public opinion will also be addressed. (2) The second no less important issue we will address is that of globalization on the choices and freedom of action the United States had enjoyed since the end of WW II. The emergence of a transformed geopolitical environment as well will be reviewed.

Students will be guided in analyzing the new context of American foreign policy as follows: (a) engaging in individual and small group analysis and presentation on individual foreign policy cases, to wit., researching how impact of American foreign policy is interpreted by leaders and publics in selected countries; (b) looking at survey research to understand the shaping and role of American public opinion on the foreign policy process; and (3) cross-comparison of the views of various activist elite foreign policy influencers, and the manner in which these views enter the formal foreign policymaking process (for example, the cycling of key policymakers from government to think tanks, the media, and academic institutions.

Students will be expected to complete a comprehensive final exam as well as submit a research paper on a topic derived from the course content. Students with relevant experiences (such as military or government service, may with the instructors permission utilize such documentable experience in their research paper.

PSCI 566 - International Political Economy This course examines the relationship between economic and political behavior and the various ways in which domestic and international “agents” use political processes, institutions, and regimes to influence state policies and the international environment. In doing so, it analyses why and how politics and economics interact to shape the way we live.

The course contains three parts. The first focuses on the major theoretical perspectives on political economy, including mercantilism, liberalism, and Marxism. The second examines some of the major components of the modern world economy: multilateral trade, domestic trade policy, international finance, and monetary policy and exchange rates. Finally, the course investigates current issues in international political economy, such as the North-South gap, the role of multinational corporations, and the effects of globalization.

PSCI 569 - International Organization This course examines the development and growth of international organizations and their relationship between each other as well as their member states. It focuses on the internal dynamics of the organizations as well as their external manifestations in sub-regional, regional, and global policies and programs. The organizations covered in the course are the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the African Union, and the Arab League. The emphasis behind each organization is its origins, growth, and change. The course reviews the establishment of the United Nations and the original attempts by member states to correct the failures of the League of Nations before following the political and economic development of the organization. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is examined in terms of its origins and how the organization continued to modify its purpose and mission as international dynamics altered around it. This will be compared to the defunct South East Asian Treaty Organization with the purpose of understanding why the former succeeded and the later failed. The course covers how and why the African Union was conceived from the Organization of African Unity and the development and progression of its policies to form a continental customs union and common market through the work of regional economic commissions. The Arab League is examined in terms of its original purpose, how and why the organization decreased in effectiveness, the growth of sub-regional organizations to carry out its original purpose, and its recent resurgence as a single voice for its members.

PSCI 570 - Comparative Politics This course introduces students to the core themes, ideological debates, and methodological approaches used in the field of comparative politics. In doing so, it encourages students to examine some of the questions of enduring interest to political scientists, including the origins and influence of the state, the causes and consequences of authoritarian and democratic forms of government. It also looks at variations within regime types and how they may affect the function of key political institutions and overall governance. As students engage with these questions, they will explore the interaction between economic, social, historical, and institutional factors in explaining political developments. Critical thinking and the ability to articulate clearly the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches are stressed throughout the course.

PSCI 571 - Political Theory This course explores major theoretical writing related to international politics from the ancient Greeks to the present day. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on a comparison of ideas and on the relationships between theories and contemporary problems.

PSCI 572 - National Security This course is an examination of the numerous and interrelated components of American national security policy and decision-making process. Factors, both internal and external, affecting US security interests will also be considered. Of note, this course is not a general survey of international security.

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the security policy of the United States. Please note that security policy is not the same as defense policy and is much broader in scope. In order to accomplish this objective, we shall examine the nature of military power, the evolution of American strategic thought, the organization of the US defense establishment, the nature of defense policymaking within the executive branch and its relations with Congress, the continuing concept of deterrence, the new challenges, economic aspects of security, arms control, and a brief examination of the importance for US security of various regions of the world. The political utility of military force in foreign policy will also be examined. By the end of the course, you should have an understanding of the nature of the security problems which face this country.

PSCI 574 - Global Issues The course will review the new context for state interaction and global order. The most significant question is whether the international community can weather the storm of new challenges and threats without a central gatekeeper, such as the United States. Globalization has also given other states (established and newly emerging powers) opportunities to exploit the inability of the United States to foment a new architecture of stability and order. Follower states have found opportunities (many derived from the expanding and deepening global trading system) to undermine American dominance. Also, some states have moved to establish regional political and security alliances that not only speak to their needs (counter-terrorism, immigration, and natural resource exploitation, for example) but also dilute the “traditional” influence of the United States in these matters. At the same time, there has been a proliferation of “non-state actors” who are able to capitalize on the measurable weakening of national authority and the hesitancy of nation-states to coherently identify, define, and deal with the new challenges.

Students will review the impact of global issues from two perspectives: (1) challenges and (2) opportunities within the framework that the traditional role of states as “gatekeepers,” buffering and processing challenges to stability and order has been gradually been transformed. Throughout the course, student groups will take up several issues and proceed to analyze whether international institutions such as the United Nations, and regional and functional non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are in fact dysfunctional when confronted with the challenges of globalization. Student groups will also address the question of whether the Cold War origins and patterning of these NGOs are obstacles to the development of flexible and creative strategies. Finally, although it might be fairly argued that the traditionally conceived state’s influence and role has been diminished, it can also be proposed that the state system will not wither away quietly, and that states will engage in behavior necessary to protect and grow their influence—newly emerging states may resist the influence of older states, but the former seeks similar symbols of power and behave in ways to enhance their own economic and political power on the world stage.

Students will be required to complete a comprehensive final exam and to submit a research paper that may be derived from one or more of the paradoxes and contradictions described above. Students with relevant experiences in the private sector, government, military, or non-governmental organizations may, with the permission of the instructor use such experiences to shape their research paradigms.

PSCI 575 - US Foreign Policy Leadership This course examines the various principles and models of leadership and applies them to US Foreign Policy decision making with an emphasis on the leadership styles exhibited by different US presidents, secretaries of state, and national security advisers. The course covers leadership and decision making from the individual and group level perspectives and includes factors related to personal psychology, group dynamics, models of bureaucracy, evaluation of inputs, and interpretation/misinterpretation of information. The course applies these factors to a series of major US foreign policy decisions covering topics that include deploying the military, political negotiations, and economic bargaining. The case studies also range from those where a leadership decision must be made within hours or days to those where the decision required a year or more for formulation. In each case study, the leadership styles of the US president, secretary of state, and national security adviser (and in some cases the secretary of defense) are analyzed in terms of the principles and models of leadership and decision making.

PSCI 576 - International Law This course is an introduction to public international law for students of international relations. The primary purpose of this course is to enhance students’ understanding of the ways in which international law orders international politics. Why do sovereign states voluntarily forfeit maximum independence and agree to constrain their behavior in the international system? How and to what extent has international law been used in resolving conflicts between nations? How and to what extent has it facilitated the achievement of common goals? What is the relationship between international law and states’ foreign policies? Emphasis throughout the course is on the substantive rules of the law, the relationship between law and politics, and on the historical episodes that illustrate the issues.

Although we will be analyzing a number of historical case studies, a special effort is made to relate the course material to international incidents and conflicts in the past decade: the United States’ and NATO’s use of force in Kosovo, Libya and U.S. use of force in Afghanistan and Iraq; the issue of war crimes and the formation of the International Criminal Court; international legal issues related to international terrorism; the development of the World Trade Organization; and the development of international human rights law and the prohibition of torture.

In addition to the analysis of international law and its relationship to international order and states’ behavior, this course will also investigate the role of ethics and morality in international politics. While related, international law and international ethics represent two distinct influences on states’ actions. Obviously, some forms of activity may be technically legal yet regarded by many as unethical; and vice versa. To what extent do ethics and morality matter in international politics? In an international system comprised of about 200 sovereign states, what exactly constitutes moral or ethical behavior? Should domestic or international audiences be the judge of states’ actions? Even if we can agree that states’ should act morally, what happens if others do not? Who determines what constitutes “morally acceptable” behavior?

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