Political Science | Democracy and National Security
Y311 | 3687 | McGinnis
Democracy and national security -- we all want both, but they can
pull us in opposite directions. In this course we examine the ways in which
tensions between the requirements of national defense and principles of
democracy have shaped (and will continue to shape) U.S. foreign policy.
Topics to be covered include controversies over the Vietnam War (was it
consistent with U.S. national security? were our actions morally
justified?), the CIA (are covert operations consistent with democratic
principles? do we still need it now that the Cold War is over?), the
after-effect of the Persian Gulf War and the recent upsurge in humanitarian
intervention (does media coverage determine when the U.S. decides to
intervene? is it worth risking our soldiers to save starving refugees?).
There will be two exams and a simulation exercise in which students will be
asked to judge whether the U.S. should intervene in an ongoing conflict.
Students will also write a few short memos comparing and evaluating the
democratic and security implications of specific cases. This issue is
fundamental to any working democracy, and this course will help students
understand controversies that are sure to arise in future years.