First Red Essay Topics

Pick one of the topics below. The essay is due at the start of class on Friday, 29 Sep.

  1. Criticize or defend this position: “Pre-emption is not a useful alternative to deterrence in the contemporary era. Terrorists cannot be reliably detected before they are about to strike, and states can launch ballistic missiles too quickly for imminent strikes to be feasible. The choice for defenders is between deterrence or preventive war, and the latter makes them look more like aggressors than defenders to their allies and others.”

  2. Criticize or defend this position: “The ‘New Western Way of War’ is the ideal substitute for the failed strategy of deterrence.”


The essay should be 1200-1300 words (roughly 4 double-spaced pages) in length. Essays must be typed or machine-printed and stapled (no paper clips or folders). Do not use colored paper. Keep a copy of your submitted essay. Use fonts no smaller than 12 points. Use a serifed font, like Times New Roman and not sans serif fonts, like Arial. (While sans serif fonts are easier to read on monitors, they are harder to read, for me at least, on printed paper.) Have a separate title page with 1) your name and 2) your student ID number printed on it. Do not put your name or ID number on the pages of text (I grade “blind”). Text should be double-spaced and have 1-inch margins. Number the pages of text. Put the number of the topic you are answering or the first phrase of the topic at the top of the first page of the essay text so that I know what topic you are answering.