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United States Foreign Policy - Pol S 358

Pol S: 358 United States Foreign Policy

Tue. & Thur., 2:10-3:30 pm, 152 Science Hall

Fall 2004, Iowa State University

Christopher L. Ball, Lecturer
Dept. of Political Science
Office Hours: Tue.& Thur., 4-5 pm
517 Ross Hall
Phone: 515.294.4652


This course examines the political, economic, and social forces that shape US foreign policy. Foreign policy refers to more than the formal statements of aims and interests; it includes the practices in which the United States engages (practices which at times contradict the formal statements and founding myths). We will examine the interplay between the formal and informal institutions, political and economic interests, ideologies and political beliefs, and collective and group identities in the formation and implementation of US foreign policy.


The course is divided into three parts. The first part studies the history of US foreign policy up to the end of the Cold War. The second part examines the domestic institutions, ideas, and actors that enable and constrain US foreign policy. In the third part, we will examine recent debates over US intelligence reform and foreign policy in the wake of the 11 Sep. 2001 terrorist attacks and the on-going war in Iraq.



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 in international affairs. 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 Economist provides a good weekly analysis of world affairs, although with a pro-market slant. The periodicals Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and World Policy Journal, among others, publish articles that mix advocacy and analysis on a variety of topics in international affairs. They are useful sources for keeping up with international issues during and after this course. There are numerous on-line news sources listed at the course website.


The main course website is at this URL:  <http://www.public.iastate.edu/~pol_s.358/>. The WebCT site is used only for participating in the discussion forum, releasing test grades, and posting non-public copyrighted material under fair use provisions. For regular information and relevant links you should monitor the main course website, not the WebCT version.


ISU advises: “If you have a documented disability that requires assistance, you will need to go to the Disability Resource (DR) Office for coordination of your academic accommodations. The DR is located in the Student Services Building, Room 1076. Their phone number is 515-294-6624, TDD 515-294-6335 or email Bea at <Awoniyib@iastate.edu>.”


Class Participation: All students should be prepared to participate in class discussions and in the on-line discussion via WebCT. Class participation on the WebCT discussion forum is worth 10% of the course grade. Each student has a C 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 C.  


Students are not expected to perform Periclean orations, but everyone should be prepared to discuss the assigned readings, current events, and questions 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.


Debates: In addition, there are three in-class debates on 28 Sep., 28 Oct., and 7 Dec. Students will be randomly assigned to a specific role in one debate. Students will defend or criticize a topic I issue based on information from readings and lectures. Debate performance is worth 20% of the course grade.


In-Class Tests: There will be two in-class, multiple-choice tests on lectures and readings. The first will be on 5 Oct. and the second on 9 Nov. Each counts for 20% of the course grade.


Final Exam: There will be a multiple-choice final exam at the date and time determined by the Registrar. It is worth 30% of the course grade.

Penalties: Students must submit take-home assignments on time and sit at the designated in-class tests. Students may not ‘make-up’ tests or 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. Second, for students with extra-curricular activities that conflict with in-class tests, 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 test appointment. I do not accept notification after the fact (e.g., “I didn’t turn in my paper last week because I had a match”).

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: 10%

·        Debate: 20%

·        Tests: 40% (20% each)

·        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 tests or exams is failure for the course.



There are three books 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. Walter A. McDougall, Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776 (New York: Mariner Books, 1997) PLCS


  1. Patrick Callahan, Logics of American Foreign Policy: Theories of America’s World Role (New York: Pearson Longman, 2004) LOGIC


  1. Eugene R. Wittkopf and James M. McCormick, eds., The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy, 4th edition (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004) DOMSO


A boldface abbreviation after a book is substituted for the title in the syllabus. The books are also available on reserve at Parks Library.



24 Aug.



26 & 31 Aug. (No Class 2 Sep.)

From Founding to Great Power Status

McDougall, chaps. 1-5 (pp.15-121) PLCS


7 & 9 Sep.

America and World Wars

McDougall, chaps. 6-7 (p.122-171) PLCS


14 & 16 Sep.

The Cold War

Callahan, Chap.1-6 (p.1-110) LOGIC

21 & 23 Sep.

The Cold War (cont’d)

McDougall, chap.8 & Conclusion (p.147-224) PLCS

Callahan, chap. 7-8 (p.113-142) LOGIC

James C. Thomson Jr., “How Could Vietnam Happen? An Autopsy” in DOMSO


28 & 30 Sep. (Debate #1 on 28 Sep.)

The Political Theory of Foreign Policy

The Federalist Papers #64, 69, 75 http:/lcweb2.loc.gov/const/fed/fedpapers.html

US Constitution, Articles I:7-10; II:2-3, III:2, VI at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/const/ constquery.html


5 & 7 Oct. (Test #1 on 5 Oct.)

The Presidency

Michael Nelson, “Person and Office: Presidents, the Presidency, and Foreign Policy” in DOMSO

Thomas Preston and Margaret G. Hermann, “Presidential Leadership Style and the Foreign Policy Advisory Process” in DOMSO

Miroslav Nincic, “Elections and U.S. Foreign Policy” in DOMSO

12 & 14 Oct.

Executive Bureaucracy

Ivo H. Daalder and I.M. Destler, “How National Security Advisers See Their Role” in DOMSO

Eliot Cohen, “A Tale of Two Secretaries” in DOMSO

Staff Statement  #17: Improvising a Homeland Defense, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States via < http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing12/staff_statement_17.pdf>

Ivo H. Daalder and I.M. Destler, “Advisors, Czars, and Councils” in DOMSO


19 & 21 Oct.


Louis Fisher, “Presidential Wars” in DOMSO  

James A. Lindsay, “From Deference to Activism and Back Again: Congress and the Politics of American Foreign Policy” in DOMSO 

James Goldgeier, “NATO Expansion: The Anatomy of a Decision” in DOMSO 

Bruce Stokes and Pat Choate, “Trade Policy Making: the Changing Context” in DOMSO

26 & 28 Oct. (Debate #2 on 28 Oct.)

Social and Economic Lobbies

Philip Brenner, et al., “Intermestic Interests and U.S. Policy Toward Cuba” in DOMSO

Jon Western, “Sources of Humanitarian Intervention: Beliefs, Information, and Advocacy in U.S. Decisions on Somalia and Bosnia” in DOMSO


2 & 4 Nov.

Public Opinion

Shoon Kathleen Murray and Christopher Spinosa, “The Post-9/11 Shift in Public Opinion: How Long Will it Last?” in DOMSO

Peter D. Feaver and Richard H. Kohn, “The Gap: Soldiers, Civilians, and their Mutual Misunderstanding” in DOMSO

9 & 11 Nov. (Test #2 on 9 Nov.)


Pollack, “Spies, Lies, and Weapons: What Went Wrong.” The Atlantic Monthly (January/February 2004) via WebCT

“Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction Intelligence in Secretary Powell's United Nation's Speech,” Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Assessments on Iraq, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at < http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/13jul20041400/www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/pdf/s108-301/sec7.pdf>


16 & 17 Nov.

Intelligence Reform

Richard K. Betts, “Fixing Intelligence,” Foreign Affairs 81:1 (Jan./Feb. 2002), pp.43-59 via WebCT

John Deutch & Jeffrey H. Smith, “Smarter Intelligence” in DOMSO


Thanksgiving Recess


30 Nov. & 1 Dec.

Pre 9-11, Redux

Staff Statements #5-8, National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States at < http://www.9-11commission.gov/staff_statements.htm>


7 & 9 Dec. (Debate # 3 on 7 Dec.)


Final Exam

Tentatively, 14 Dec.,12:00-2:00 p.m