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Fall 2011 - TBD - TC357 - Perspectives on U.S. Foreign Policy

Instructor(s): Inman, Bobby R.
Unique Number: TBD
Day & Time: Th 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.216/219
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

The Plan II junior seminar requirement is designed with two purposes: to allow our students to explore topics from different academic areas at an advanced level, and to train them in the research methodologies and writing skills needed for their required senior thesis. These are small seminar courses that emphasize discussion, critical thinking, research, student presentations, and writing. Graduate seminars frequently require from their students little more than participation and a massive research-based term paper. Plan II junior seminars sometimes emulate this format with awkward results unless the professor keeps in mind following, that Plan II students have interests and backgrounds in many different fields. Although they should all have good training in writing when they come to you, for most, this will be the first attempt at a research paper of more than 8 to 10 pages. Many will not be well versed in the research methodologies of different disciplines. They will not know what sort of work is expected in your field, and they may not know how to integrate a variety of presentations made by their peers.

Section Description

This course examines US foreign policy, its formulation and execution, from the early days of the republic to the present. We will concentrate on how the different instruments of national power were considered in formulating foreign policy, and how they were leveraged in its execution.

To begin the course, we will examine the historical underpinnings of US foreign policy as it evolved through history, from the colonial period and the early desire to avoid foreign entanglements, to a position of primacy after World War II.

We will then examine the post-World War II era in detail with emphasis on the “pillars’ of foreign policy; national security, economic interests, the application of diplomacy and intelligence in pursuit of national interests, and how they became the basis for foreign policy under successive administrations.

In the first year of a new administration, we will pay particular attention to the contemporary foreign policy environment through consideration of contemporary case studies, and address the question “what is the appropriate role of the US in the world going forward?” This course will place emphasis on individual and group research of policy interests, choices, and decision-making.

Requirements: Students are expected to attend all class sessions. Unexcused absence may result in a letter grade reduction of the final grade. Students are responsible for all readings and for meaningful participation in class discussions. Students should also keep abreast of current events using credible sources such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and reputable policy journals. Several short papers, a mid-term exam, a research paper, and a final group presentation analyzing selected policy issues and recommending solutions will be completed.

This class is offered for grade only.