AMS 391 • America and the World Since 1947: Ideas and Practice
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Note: Taught with Dean J. Steinberg In the aftermath of World War II, the United States rose to become the dominant global power, a position it has retained since its only rival, the Soviet Union, collapsed with the end of the Cold War. How the United States should use its position has been a matter of intense debate over the past 60 years, as practitioners and scholars have offered competing visions of U.S. national interest as an element of U.S. strategy. This course will study how ideas have influenced policy, seen through the eyes of practitioners, and how scholars have assessed the strategies adopted by practitioners. The goal of the course is to understand how and to what degree practitioners draw on strategic thinking, and how their perspectives converge or diverge from thinkers in the academy, think tanks and media. The reading will focus both on key first-hand accounts of influential policymakers (for example, Dean Acheson's Present at the Creation, Henry Kissinger's White House Years, George H.W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft's A World Transformed); and the writings of critics and advocates of alternative approaches, such as Hans Morgenthau, George Kennan, Bernard Brodie, Thomas Schelling, etc. It will also relate the intellectual debates to underlying political developments during this period, as well as enduring trends in U.S. foreign policy.