Political Science 350

POSC 350
U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy

Catalog Entry

POSC 350 U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy (IR)
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisite: POSC 140 for non-POSC majors/minors or POSC 140 and POSC 290 for POSC majors/minors.

POSC 350 surveys the development of the relationship of American foreign policy and its corollary, American strategy from the perspective of political philosophy. Assuming that strategy is the continuation of politics by other means, POSC 350 raises questions about the relation of American regime principles to the diplomacy and strategy which implement these principles in the international milieu.


Detailed Description of Course Content

POSC begins with a brief historical sketch of the general lines of U. S. foreign policy from the time of the founders to the present. This preliminary section raises the questions engendered by the debates over this policy. Then the course shifts to a consideration of the nature of the American military tradition focusing on the tensions inherent in the American constitutional system, and the emergence of American military professionalism.

With this introduction, attention focuses on a more detailed study of American foreign and defense policy since 1945. Primary emphasis is placed on the effect of political realism on the American regime and its diplomatic - strategic thought. A final section looks at alternative futures for the American regime.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

POSC 350 is primarily a lecture course that encourages class dialectic. Emphasis is placed on a large number of in-class and take home essay-type writing assignments.


Goals and Objectives

After successfully completing POSC 350 students will:

1. have a general picture of the formative years of American foreign and defense policy;
2. have a theoretical knowledge of the principal lines of the continuing debate over U.S. foreign and defense policy;
3. have a strong basis for understanding the relation of policy to strategy;
4. be able to identify the major factors underlying the period 1945 to the present; and
5. be able to grasp the principal arguments about the present state of the American regime and its foreign and defense policy.


Assessment Measures

Students will be asked to complete written essays which demonstrate their knowledge of the development of American foreign and defense policy.


Other Course Information

Students will be asked to read analyses of American foreign and defense policy. These readings will vary from semester to semester. Readings from classic texts such as Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War, Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Eric Voegelin, The World of the Polis, Publius, The Federalist Papers, and Brutus, The Antifederalist will be incorporated to illuminate the constantly changing texts.


Review and Approval

April 1998 Reviewed M. J. Franck, Dept. Chair