Course Syllabus - Georgia State University

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Georgia State University
Department of Political Science
POLS 3400 (CRN 13156)
International Politics
Spring 2012
GCB 531, MW 3:00-4:15
Dr. John S. Duffield
email: [email protected]
Office: GCB 1026, 404-413-6164
Office hours: M 1-2:30, W 9:00-10:30, and by appointment
The United States is perhaps the most insulated of all countries from the outside world. Nevertheless, the well-being
of its citizens depends greatly on conditions beyond its borders, as exemplified perhaps most dramatically by the
events of September 11, 2001. As U.S. residents, we are affected on a regular basis by political, economic, social,
and environmental conditions and developments elsewhere in the world. We may be inconvenienced, for example,
by the impact of a revolution on oil prices. Or an economic downturn in a distant part of the world may lower the
cost of some imported manufactured goods while causing a local factory to close. And in more extreme cases, U.S.
leaders may feel compelled to send American troops into harm’s way in order to prosecute a war or to root out
This situation of inescapable interdependence dictates that individuals possess a solid grasp of world affairs if they
are to participate effectively in processes of democratic governance. Accordingly, this course has several
interrelated objectives:
to introduce students to and familiarize them with basic concepts and models for understanding international
to help students relate these concepts and models to contemporary international political developments in order
to illuminate their underlying causes and significance; and
to foster critical, independent thinking about important issues in global affairs and U.S. foreign policy as it
relates to them and the ability to articulate informed positions on these issues.
POLS 3400 is aimed at political science majors and other students with a strong interest in international affairs.
Although there is no formal prerequisite for the course, it is highly recommended that students have taken POLS
2401 or the equivalent.
POLS 3400 will meet twice a week. Class will involve a combination of lecture, discussion, and other forms of
active learning.
Final grades will be based on the following components:
“Quests” (40%): There will be five quiz/tests, one following each section of the course. They will consist of a
combination of multiple choice and short answer questions. (Please bring a pencil and a good eraser for the
Scantron sheets.) In calculating the overall quest grade, I will drop the lowest score. If you miss a quest,
however, no makeup will be provided.
Mini-Exams (50%): At the end of each of the five sections of the course, you will be given a short take-home
exam that will be due the following week. The mini-exam will typically involve writing a short essay of no
more than 4 pages, double-spaced, on an assigned topic drawn from the material covered in that section of the
course. In calculating the overall mini-exam grade, I will drop the lowest score. No extensions will be
granted, however, and late submissions will not be accepted. See “Guidelines for Examinations” at
Attendance (10%): Regular attendance is expected of all students; I reserve the right to withdraw students who
miss class frequently. In order to take attendance, I will circulate a roll sheet during class on a regular basis.
Absences must be cleared in advance with the instructor. In the case of an emergency that does not permit
advance notification, a written note must be provided after the fact. Each student is allowed one unexcused
absence. Each subsequent unexcused absence will cost one percent of the grade. Thus, for example, 10
unexcused absences will reduce an “A” to a “B.”
General Participation (up to 3% extra credit): Meaningful in-class participation will require careful reading of
assigned materials. To facilitate your comprehension of the readings and participation, I have provided one or
more discussion questions for each week. Each student should be prepared, when called on, to state a position
on the question(s) and defend his or her position drawing upon arguments contained in the readings.
In evaluating student performance, I will employ the grading system described in the GSU Catalog:
A = Excellent
B = Good
C = Average
D = Poor
F = Failure
The Department of Political Science currently uses plus-minus grading. Accordingly, I will award grades on a plus
(+) and minus (-) scale in order to distinguish among performances of differing quality within these broad
I have ordered the following text, which is available for purchase at local bookstores:
Joshua Goldstein and Jon Pevehouse, International Relations, 9th edition or 9th edition (2010-2011) update
(hereafter referred to as G&P)
Any other assigned readings will be available on the internet as indicated:
(E) on ERes ( At this point, no password is needed
(W) on the class website ( under “Readings”
I recommend highly that students keep abreast of current international events by reading on a regular basis a major
newspaper or news magazine, many of which are available on the internet. Valuable internet sources include:
New York Times:
Washington Post
BBC News
This course syllabus provides only a general plan for the course; deviations may be necessary.
Laptops: Laptops may only be used to take notes and consult course materials during class time.
Email: I communicate regularly with students by email. Please email me at [email protected] I will use your
“” email address. Please check your GSU email account on a regular basis or arrange for email to be
forwarded to the account that you normally use. Instructions are available under “Handouts” on the class webpage.
Academic Honesty: The Georgia State University Policy on Academic Honesty. Students are responsible for being
familiar with the policy, which is available at and in the Student Code
of Conduct (section on Academic Conduct Policies and Procedures) at Forms of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to,
cheating on exams, unauthorized collaboration, multiple submissions, and plagiarism. Plagiarism includes any
paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submission of
another student’s work as one’s own. If you are unsure whether a particular use of material constitutes plagiarism,
please ask me. Plagiarism will result automatically in a grade of “F” for the assignment and may result in additional
academic and disciplinary penalties.
Withdrawals: The last day to withdraw from the course with the possibility of receiving a “W” is February 24, the
semester midpoint. After that date, instructors must give a “WF” to all students who are on their rolls but no longer
taking the class. Students who are involuntarily withdrawn may petition the department chair for reinstatement.
“W”s and “WF”s can have serious adverse consequences. Hardship withdrawals may be granted after the midpoint
when nonacademic emergency situations prevent a student from completing their course work. Hardship
withdrawals are subject to restrictions, which are spelled out in the GSU Catalog.
Incompletes: An Incomplete (I) may be given to a student who for nonacademic reasons beyond his or her control is
unable to meet the full requirements of the course. In order to qualify for an I, a student must (a) have completed
most of the major assignments of the course (generally all but one) and (b) be earning a passing grade in the course
(aside from the assignments not completed) in the judgment of the instructor. Further information on Incompletes is
available in the GSU Catalog.
Students with Disabilities: Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering
with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of
Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to
instructors in all classes in which an accommodation is sought.
Student Evaluations: Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at
Georgia State. Upon completing the course, please take time to fill out the online course evaluation.
Part I: Introduction
Course overview
What are international politics?
G&P, 3-25
Thomas Friedman, “Techno-Nothings”(W)
Discuss: What makes international politics distinct from politics in other settings? Who/what are the main political
actors? Has the nature of international politics fundamentally changed since 9/11? Why is it important to
understand international politics?
Evolution of the international system
G&P, 26-38
Discuss: What have been the main phases in the evolution of the international system? What different forms has the
international system taken over the years?
Part II: The Realist Paradigm: States, Anarchy, and Power
Nature of the contemporary international system: the Realist Paradigm
G&P, 43-63
Discuss: What is the essence of Realism? Who are the key actors? What do they want? What factors determine
what states do? What determines how powerful a state is?
Implications of the Realist Paradigm for international politics
G&P, 63-77
Charles Glaser, “Will China’s Rise Lead to War?” Foreign Affairs, 90, no. 2 (Mar/Apr 2011), pp. 80-91 (E)
Edward Wong, “China’s Disputes in Asia Buttress US Influence,” New York Times (22 Sept. 2010) (W)
Discuss: What strategies do states have for achieving their goals? Which strategies, if any, are most effective?
What are the implications of the rise of China for the stability of the international system?
Impact of weapons of mass destruction
G&P, 195-207, and 210-22 (skip section on terrorism)
Eric Edelman, Andrew Krepinevich, and Evan Montgomery, “The Dangers of a Nuclear Iran,” Foreign
Affairs 90, no. 1 (Jan/Feb 2011), pp. 66-81 (E)
Discuss: Do weapons of mass destruction make war more or less likely? Do they make states more or less secure?
Should their spread to additional states be prevented or encouraged?
Critical Perspectives on and Alternatives to Realism
Read: G&P, 83-93 and 121-48
Discuss: Why have people questioned the usefulness of Realism? What alternative theories have been proposed?
Which of them seems most useful for understanding international politics?
Quest on Realist Paradigm
Mini Exam 1 Due
Part III: The Institutionalist Paradigm: International Institutions, Law, and Organizations
Institutional foundation of international politics
G&P, 50-52 (review) and 254-64
“Perejil” (W)
Discuss: What are the basic rules of international relations? Where do they come from? What impact do they have
on states?
Why states should create and maintain international institutions
G&P, 58-60 (review), 75-77 (review), 89-90 (review), 218-22 (review), and 233-36
Laws of war
“How War Left the Law Behind” (W)
“Laws of War” (W)
Anthony Arend, “International Law and the Preemptive Use of Military Force,” The Washington Quarterly
26, no. 2 (Spring 2003): 89-103 (E)
Paul W. Schroeder, “Iraq: The Case Against Preemptive War,” American Conservative Magazine (21 Oct.
2002); available at (stop at section titled “Why a
Preemptive War Would Undermine Our Alliances and World Leadership”)
Discuss: Are there any meaningful legal restrictions on when states can go to war? Is the preemptive use of force
legally justifiable? Should it be?
Collective security institutions: The League of Nations and the United Nations
G&P, 90-92 (review), and 236-54
Michael J. Glennon, “Why the Security Council Failed,” Foreign Affairs 82, no. 3 (May/June 2003) (E)
Shashi Tharoor, “Why America Still Needs the United Nations,” Foreign Affairs 82, no. 5 (Sept./Oct.
2003), 67-80 (E)
Discuss: Does the UN still matter? How useful is the UN to the United States?
Quest on Institutionalist Paradigm
Mini Exam 2 Due
Part IV: The Domestic Paradigm: Internal Sources of International Politics
Introduction/Individuals and foreign policy making
G&P, 153-60 and 103-14
Kenneth Pollack, “Why Iraq Can’t Be Deterred,” New York Times (26 Sept. 2002) (W)
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “Keeping Saddam in a Box,” New York Times (Feb. 2, 2003) (W)
James Risen, “Ex-Inspector Says CIA Missed Disarray in Iraqi Arms Program,” New York Times (Jan. 26,
2004) (W)
Discuss: Was the U.S. invasion of Iraq necessary? Could Iraq have been successfully contained and deterred
without war? Why did people disagree about the feasibility of deterring Iraq?
Governmental structures, societal characteristics, and foreign policy
Read: G&P, 93-95 and 160-78
Discuss: Does the interplay of government agencies and interest groups result in “better” or “worse” foreign policy?
Have ideas made international politics more or less conflictual over the years?
Semester Mid-Point: Last day to withdraw with a “W”
Political regime types and state-society relations
Read: G&P, 95-103
Discuss: Does public opinion influence foreign policy in democracies? Should it?
Implications of the Domestic Paradigm: A democratic peace?
G&P, 92-93 (review)
Thomas S. Szayna, et al, “The Democratic Peace Idea” (W)
Edward Mansfield and Jack Snyder, “Democratization and War,” Foreign Affairs 74, no. 3 (May/June
1995), 79-97 (E)
Discuss: Are democracies more peaceful? Should the United States actively promote democracy as a means of
achieving peace? If so, through what means should the US promote democracy?
Quest on Domestic Paradigm
Mini Exam 3 Due
Part V: International Political Economy
International economic transactions and why they occur
G&P, 281-88 and 339-47
Martin Wolf, ‘Unfettered Finance Is Reshaping the Global Economy,” Financial Times, 18 June 2007 (W)
Schumer and Roberts, “Second Thoughts on Free Trade,” New York Times, 6 Jan. 2004 (W)
Dani Rodrik, “Trading in Illusions,” Foreign Policy (March/April 2001), 55-62 (E)
Discuss: What are the pros and cons of free trade and unrestricted capital flows? Are states better off with or
without them?
State efforts to control international economic transactions
G&P, 288-292, 306-12
Keith Bradsher, “China Is Blocking Minerals,” New York Times, 23 Sept. 2010 (W)
Anatol Kaletsky, “Blaming China Won’t Help the Economy, New York Times, 26 Sept. 2010 (W)
Discuss: Why do states seek to restrict trade and financial flows? Do they gain any significant advantages by doing
Cooperative multilateral institutional responses: Trade
G&P, 293-306
Kyle Bagwell and Robert Staiger, “National Sovereignty in the World Trading System,” Harvard
International Review 22, no. 4 (Winter 2001), 54-59 (E)
Steve Weisman, “After Six Years, Global Trade Talks Are Just That,” New York Times, 21 June 2007 (W)
David Jessop, “WTO Sets Agenda for Negotiations: Will Doha Fare Any Better in 2011?” 2 Jan. 2011 (W)
Discuss: Do the costs of trade promoting organizations like the WTO, such as the constraints they place on national
environmental and labor policies, outweigh the benefits? What are the prospects for further trade
Cooperative multilateral institutional responses: Money and finance
G&P, 319-39
CATO Handbook for Congress, “International Financial Crises and the IMF,” 2003 (W)
“The IMF We Need,” NYT, 25 July 2010 (W)
Sewell Chan, “Debt Crisis Highlights IMF’s Renewed Role,” NYT, 26 Nov. 2010 (W)
Discuss: What functions has the IMF served? Is it still useful? Does it need to be reformed? If so, how and why?
North-South political economic relations and the future of world economic order
G&P, 459-92
Ha-Joon Kang, “Protectionism… the Truth Is on a $10 Bill,” The Independent, 23 July 2007 (W)
G.J. Ikenberry, “The Future of the Liberal World Order,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 3 (May/June 2011), pp.
56-68 (E)
Discuss: What is the best way to promote economic development in developing countries? Should the North give
more aid to the South? Should the poorest countries be granted debt relief?
Quest on International Political Economy
Mini Exam 4 Due
Part VI: Recent Challenges to the Realist Paradigm
Disintegrative tendencies: States versus nations
G&P, review 161-62
Lind, “In Defense of Liberal Nationalism, Foreign Affairs 73, no. 3 (May/June 1994), 87-99 (E)
Gottlieb, “Nations without States,” Foreign Affairs 73, no. 3 (May/June 1994), 100-12 (E)
Discuss: How fundamental a challenge does nationalism represent to state sovereignty? Should state boundaries be
redrawn to reflect better the geographical distribution of nationalities?
Catch Up/Review
Integrative tendencies: The case of the European Union
G&P, 353-69
Leigh Phillips, “Working the Night-Shift in the German Austerity Workshop” (W)
Hugo Dixon, “Can Europe’s Divided House Stand?” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 6 (Nov/Dec 2011), 74-82 (E)
Discuss: What type of entity is the EU? How successful is it likely to be in the long run? What impact will the
recent euro crisis have?
Environmental interdependence and the erosion of state capacity
G&P, 385-407
Rosenthal, "UN Report Describes Risks of Inaction on Climate Change," NYT, 17 Nov. 2007 (W)
Rosenthal, "Biggest Obstacle to Global Climate Deal May Be How to Pay for It," NYT, 15 Oct. 2009 (W)
Broder, “As Time Runs Short for Global Climate Treaty…” NYT, 20 Oct. 2009 (W)
George Dvorsky, “Five Reasons the Copenhagen Climate Conference Failed,” 8 Jan. 2010 (W)
Michael Levi, “Beyond Copenhagen: Why Less May Be More in Global Climate Talks,” Foreign Affairs,
22 Feb. 2010 (W)
Discuss: Will global environmental problems eventually force states to form a world government? Will states ever
achieve a binding treaty on reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Should the US take the lead in negotiating
Human rights and the erosion of state authority
G&P, 264-74
Jon Western and Joshua Goldstein, “Humanitarian Intervention Comes of Age,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 6
(Nov/Dec 2011), pp. 48-59 (E)
Benjamin Valentino, “The True Cost of Humanitarian Intervention,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 6 (Nov/Dec
2011), pp. 60-73 (E)
Warren Hoge, “Intervention Is Shunned in Practice,” New York Times, 20 Jan. 2008 (W)
Discuss: Should military intervention to protect human rights be allowed? Should it be required?
Diffusion of state power: Transnational non-state actors
G&P, 40-41
Jessica Mathews, “Power Shift,” Foreign Affairs 76, no. 1 (Jan/Feb 1997), 50-66 (E)
Stephen Krasner, “Sovereignty,” Foreign Policy, no. 12 (Jan./Feb. 2001), 20-29 (E)
Discuss: Is the nation-state in danger of being eclipsed by non-state actors in world politics?
Special Case: International terrorism
G&P, 207-10
Michael Howard, “What’s In a Name?” Foreign Affairs 81, no. 11 (Jan./Feb. 2002), 8-13 (E)
Clark and Raustiala, “Why Terrorists Aren’t Soldiers,” New York Times (Aug. 8, 2007) (W)
Caleb Carr, “Wrong Definition of War,” Washington Post (July 28, 2004) (W)
Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann, “Washington’s Phantom War,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 4 (Jul/Aug
2011), pp. 12-18 (E)
Discuss: What are the roots of international terrorism? Has the United States responded to terrorism in the most
effective way? How much of a threat does international terrorism still represent?
Quest on Recent Challenges to the Realist Paradigm
Mini Exam 5 Due

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