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This course will help students understand the US role in the world. US wealth and military power force its leaders to make choices that no other leaders in the world confront. Students will learn to evaluate the decisions that US leaders have made on a wide range of difficult foreign policy issues, including: rising Chinese power; Russian moves in Ukraine; nuclear proliferation to Iran; terrorist threats; humanitarian disasters in Syria and Libya; and long-term challenges like climate change. We will not only describe American involvement in various international issues but also seek to understand the reasons why the US perhaps should or should not be involved, and we will see why such careful reasoning only sometimes gains traction in actual US foreign policy debates. Finally, we will assess whether US foreign policy decisions are coherent – that is, whether the US can be said to follow a “grand strategy.” By the end of the course, students will develop their ability to think about foreign policy issues, improving their ability to participate in public life as engaged citizens.
Format: lecture; lecture/discussion
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
first-years and sophomores
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PSCI International Relations Courses