GOV 388L • Policy Making in a Global Age
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
The United States is and will likely remain the most important actor on the international stage for some time. Understanding how America engages the rest of the world - and how it develops and executes U.S. global policy -- is of fundamental importance. Furthermore, the global landscape has profoundly changed in the past decades. One of the most effective ways to examine U.S. global policy development is through historical analysis. Moreover, because policymakers use their understanding of the past when developing current foreign policies (whether they realize it or not), developing sophisticated historical skills is critical for anyone involved in policy development. Week to week, we will explore the following questions: How does the U.S. foreign policymaking process work? What forces and interests shape the policymaking and implementation process? Who and what are the most important actors and institutions making American foreign policy, and how do they interact? What role does ideology, economics, bureaucratic politics and public opinion play? How does the influence of these forces change over time? How can we evaluate whether particular policies were successes or failures? How do policymakers use the past to understand the present? Furthermore, American foreign policy takes place within an international context. How is the American foreign policymaking process different from that of other countries? How does the US foreign policy apparatus interact with the foreign policy institutions of other states, or with international and non-governmental actors? This course will investigate these issues by exploring how American foreign, foreign economic, and national security policy has been made and implemented in the past. After a broad historical overview of American foreign policy during the 20th century, we will study in depth the development of American policy over time in two specific cases: U.S. policy in Southeast Asia during the Cold War and U.S. nuclear non-proliferation policy. This will allow us to examine how particular policies and processes develop and evolve over time and across administrations. It will also give us a more in-depth understanding of how the foreign policy making process works and why certain policies succeed and other fail.