Syllabus for Political Science 357

International Security Policy

MWF, 9-9:50 am, 160 Heady Hall

Fall 2006, Iowa State University

Christopher L. Ball, Lecturer

Dept. of Political Science

Office Hours: MW, 10:10-11:10 & by appt.

517 Ross Hall

Phone: 515.294.4652


This course examines a range of contemporary topics in international military security in historical, theoretical and ethical perspectives. First, we will discuss key principles of military strategy and theories of the causes of wars. Second, we will examine changes in military deterrence as a strategy and policy and its implications for modern warfare. Third, we will discuss the causes and responses to terrorism. Fourth, we will study the causes of genocide and issues of humanitarian intervention and multilateral peace-keeping.


All students must do the assigned reading. I reserve the right to distribute unannounced in-class quizzes on the assigned readings for the week. In addition to course readings, students should follow current events. The New York Times, The Washington Post or National Public Radio (NPR) news broadcasts (on WOI 640 AM and KTPR 91.1 FM) are excellent daily news sources. I will also post items on the course website.


The main course website is at this URL:  <>. I will post slides displayed in class, relevant links, and information about the course. There is a WebCT site as well. This will be used to post assigned articles that are not easily accessible on the Internet and to host a discussion forum.


Class Participation: All students should be prepared to participate in class discussions. Each student has a D as his or her default grade. If students participate well, their grades will be increased. Students who fail to participate or who do so poorly will get a D. I will call on students in class by name on a rotating basis. Responses to these questions count toward class participation.


Students are not expected to perform Periclean orations, but everyone should be prepared to discuss the assigned readings, current events, and question that I pose. Criticisms of points made in readings, by fellow students, and by yours truly are welcome, and debates may emerge among students. Students should respect their classmates’ contributions, and refrain from partisan or parochial philippics. The purpose of these discussions is not to win imaginary debating points, but to learn beyond solitary reading and unexamined listening.


Extra-Class Essays:  During the term, students will write three essays based on topics and rules that I present.  I will divide the class into groups with different schedules, but essays will be due roughly every four weeks. Each essay should be 1200-1300 words (roughly 4 double-spaced pages). The grading is progressive. The first essay is worth 10%, the second 15% and the third 25% of the course grade. The final exam will be a longer essay based on a question that I present. It is worth 30% of the grade.

Penalties: Students must submit take-home assignments on time. Students may not ‘make-up’ papers at will. There are two exceptions. First, for personal emergencies (e.g., a death in the family, medical problems), students should obtain a note from the dean of students or their physician. Second, for students with extra-curricular activities that conflict with deadlines, arrangements for an alternate date and time must be made at least a week in advance. The student must provide verification of the activity in order to be eligible for an alternate deadline. I do not accept notification after the fact (e.g., “I didn’t turn in my paper last week because I had a match/concert”).

A computer mishap will not excuse a late paper. You should make frequent and multiple back-ups of your work (to at least 2 separate floppy disks or other removable media), so that you never lose more than one hour’s worth of work. If you own your own computer, be sure you familiarize yourself with the ISU’s computer labs in case your system breaks down.

Grade Components

Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

·        Participation: 20%

·        Take-Home Essays: 50%

·        Final Exam: 30%


Each component will be assigned a letter grade, converted to a grade point, and multiplied by its percentage weighting. I do not accept make-up assignments, re-writing of papers, or extra-credit work.

Academic Honesty

Iowa State University regulations regarding academic honesty will be enforced. See Iowa State University Catalog, “Academic Dishonesty,” p.38-39. The penalty for plagiarism or cheating on

exams is failure for the course.


ISU advises: “If a student has a disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires accommodations, he/she should contact the Disability Resources (DR) office for information on appropriate policies and procedures. DR is located on the main floor of the Student Services Building, Room 1076; their phone is 515-294-6624.” 



There are three books, in order of assignment, available for purchase for this course at University Bookstore (294.5684) in the Memorial Union and the Campus Bookstore (292.1616), 2300 Lincoln Way.):


  1. Freedman, Lawrence. Deterrence (Polity Press, Cambridge, UK : 2004)
  2. Howard, Michael Eliot. Clausewitz (Oxford University Press, Oxford : 1983)
  3. Mann, Michael. The dark side of democracy. Explaining ethnic cleansing (Cambridge University Press, New York: 2005)
  4. Marten, Kimberly Zisk. Enforcing the peace: Learning from the imperial past (Columbia University Press, New York: 2004)
  5. Pape, Robert Anthony. Dying to win: The strategic logic of suicide terrorism (Random House, New York: 2005)
  6. Shaw, Martin. The new western way of war: Risk-transfer war and its crisis in Iraq (Polity, Cambridge : 2005)
  7. Townshend, Charles. Terrorism:  A very short introduction (Oxford University Press, Oxford : 2002)
  8. Walzer, Michael. Arguing about war (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT: 2005)



The books are also available on reserve at Parks Library. Readings from other sources will be available via WebCT.



21, 23 & 25 Aug.

War, Security and Politics

Arnold Wolfers, “’National Security’ as an Ambiguous Symbol,” Political Science Quarterly 67:4. (Dec., 1952) WebCT


28 & 30 Aug. & 1 Sep.

Strategy and Theory: Clausewitz And His Critics

Howard, Clausewitz, entire


6 & 8 Sep. (No Class on 4 Sep.)

Causes of War: The Case of World War I

Jack Snyder, “Civil-Military Relations and the Cult of the Offensive, 1914 and 1984,” International Security 9:1 (Summer, 1984) WebCT

Scott D. Sagan, “1914 Revisited: Allies, Offense, and Instability,” International Security 11: 2 (Autumn, 1986) WebCT


11, 13 & 15 Sep.


Freedman, Deterrence, chap. 1-4


18, 20 & 22 Sep.

…and Its Discontents

Freedman, Deterrence, chap. 5-8


25, 27 & 29  Sep.

Modern Warfare, I

Shaw, The New Western Way, chap. 1-3


2, 4  & 6 Oct.

Modern Warfare, II

Shaw, The New Western Way, chap. 4-6

9, 11 & 13 Oct.

Ethics of War, I

Walzer, Arguing about war, chap. 1-2 & 11-12


16, 18 & 20 Oct.


Townshend, Terrorism, chap.1-6

23 & 25 Oct. (No class on 27 Oct.)

Strategy and Terrorism

Pape, Dying to win, chap. 1-7


30 Oct. & 1 & 3 Nov.

Ethics of War, II

Walzer, Arguing about war, chap. 4, 10, 5 & 7 

Townshend, chap. 7


6, 8 & 10 Nov.

Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing, I

Mann, The Dark Side…, chap. 1, 3 & 12


13, 15 & 17 Nov.

Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing, II

Mann, The Dark Side…, chap. 13-15 & 17


Thanksgiving Recess


27 & 29 Nov. & 1 Dec.

Peacekeeping, Peace Enforcement, and Security, I

Marten, Enforcing the peace, chap. 1-3  


4, 6 & 8 Dec.

Peacekeeping, Peace Enforcement, and Security, II

Marten, Enforcing the peace, chap.4-6