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Current Topics in U.S. Foreign Policy - Pol S 359

This is the main course-page for Pol S 359: Current Topics in United States Foreign Policy taught by C. L. Ball.

Final Essay Questions

Immigration Policy

Foreign Economic Policy Data

Links on US casualties in Iraq, charts and maps on attacks on coalition forces, the Brookings Institution Iraq index, and  maps of ethnic divisions and oil infrastructure.

Second Essay Questions

NPR Story on Life in the US Foreign Service

Paying to be Evacuated

Prior to 2002,  US law authorized the Secretary of State to "make expenditures, from such amounts as may be specifically appropriated therefor, for unforeseen emergencies arising in the diplomatic and consular service" including "the evacuation of United States Government employees and their dependents and private United States citizens when their lives are endangered by war, civil unrest, or natural disaster." In the FY2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which became law on 30 Sep. 2002, the sentence above was changed to read:

"the evacuation when their lives are endangered by war, civil unrest, or natural disaster of--

(i) United States Government employees and their dependents; and

(ii) private United States citizens or third-country nationals, on a reimbursable basis to the maximum extent practicable, with such reimbursements to be credited to the applicable Department of State appropriation and to remain available until expended, except that no reimbursement under this clause shall be paid that is greater than the amount the person evacuated would have been charged for a reasonable commercial air fare immediately prior to the events giving rise to the evacuation"

 The Congressional Research Service summary of the act mentions the addition of third-country nationals on a reimbursable basis, implying that the change in 2002 was made to enable the US to use funds to evacuate other countries' citizens, but get reimbursement from those citizens, rather than to charge US nationals for emergency evacuations, but the plain-reading of the law indicates that both US citizens and foreigners who are evacuated would be charged the equivalent of a reasonable, pre-emergency airfare. For the current fiscal year, $10 million was appropriated for emergencies. 

Sen. Biden is reported to have released a letter saying that the State Dept. requested this change, but it is not posted on his website.

First Essay Topics


Geneva Conventions for US Detainees

The US has decided to extend Article 3 Geneva Convention rules to all US military detainees. What this will mean in terms of day-to-day treatment and interrogation procedures remains to be seen.

Diplomatic History Links

Yale University maintains a collection of documents on US foreign policy and early political history. This site is useful for looking up early treaties. The Library of Congress has a brief exhibit on US-UK relations. In the reference section of Parks library, you can read the Encyclopedia of US Foreign Relations (E183.7 E53)

The Cold War International History Project collects documents especially those from the former Soviet Union and Soviet allies on the origins and course of the Cold War. The National Security Archive, a non-governmental group, collects US documents through Freedom of Information Act requests.