Political Science | Comparative Foreign Policy
Y363 | 26412 | Spechler
How did the United States get involved in Vietnam, and why did it
stay in the war long after U.S. leaders knew we could not win? Why
did the U.S. give Saddam Hussein the green light to attack Kuwait?
Why is Russia helping Iran acquire nuclear weapons which could be
targeted against Russian cities? States often act in highly
puzzling ways in world politics. This course will help you
understand why they do so. It will examine some of the many factors
that influence foreign policy behavior: the impact of individual
leaders and personalities; the circumstances under which decisions
are made; individual and collective perceptions and misperceptions;
national values, beliefs and experiences; institutional structures
and processes; and political and socio-economic systems. A role-
playing exercise at the end of the semester will give students an
opportunity to apply what they have learned in simulating the
behavior of foreign policy decision makers.
Principal requirements: two exams (short answer and essay
questions), two short papers and participation in class.