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COURSE NAME: "International Affairs "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2014

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Driessen
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30 PM 5:45 PM
OFFICE HOURS: TTH 1:30-3:30pm

This course is an introduction to the study of World Politics and International Affairs, also known as International Relations (IR). In its essence, the study of International Relations is concerned with the question of international war and peace. Theories of World Politics spin several distinct stories about how considerations of power drive states towards conflict with one another in the global arena and what, if anything, non-state actors, institutions, ideas and identities can do to mitigate such conflict and promote peace.

The course is divided into five major components designed to expose the student to the broad schools of thought framing international relations scholarship and learn how those theories can be applied to global political events and empirical issues in the field of International Relations. Accordingly, the course will consider 1) the assumptions underpinning theories of World Politics; 2) The three major theories animating World Politics scholarship today (realism, liberalism and constructivism); 3) International History part I (World Wars I & II, the Cold War and its aftermath; 4) Globalization and International Political Economy; 5) New Actors and Dynamics in the Global Arena (Terrorism, Religion, Transnational Networks, International Law, and the Environment).


My pedagogical hope is that students will finish this course able to distinguish and evaluate the three major schools of thought in International Relations scholarship. They will also achieve an informed political reading of international history and be able to name and then apply important conceptual and theoretical considerations to contemporary global events.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Perspectives on International Relations: Power, Institutions, Ideas, 3rd editionHenry NauCQ Press9781604267327  
International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues, 11th ed.Robert Art and Robert JervisPearson9780205851645  

Mid-term Exam 25%
Final Exam 35%
Assignments (5)There will be 5 written assignments required of the students to be completed in units I, III, IV, V and VI. Instructions will be handed out in class. Each is worth 6% of the student’s final grade.30%
ParticipationAttendance and Presence of Mind are mandatory for this class. The goal here is to advance towards the art of asking good questions. Quality, not quantity of participation is what counts, although some quantity is better than no quality. Students will be allowed 2 unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence thereafter will result in the lowering of the attendance grade by 1/3rd a letter grade. More than 12 unexcused absences may result in a failure to pass the course.10%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance and Presence of Mind are mandatory for this class. The goal here is to advance towards the art of asking good questions. Quality, not quantity of participation is what counts, although some quantity is better than no quality. Students will be allowed 2 unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence thereafter will result in the lowering of the attendance grade by 1/3rd a letter grade. More than 12 unexcused absences may result in a failure to pass the course.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Course Calendar (Please note that this is not the final syllabus. A finalized schedule of readings, assignments and office hours will be distributed to students at the beginning of the Fall, 2013 semester).


January 13

Class 1

Course Introduction



Part I: Fundamentals

January 15

Class 2

Theory, Policy, Methods


Nau 1-19


January 20

Class 3

Assumptions and the Security Dilemma (Assignment I)


Nau 22-28


Robert J. Art, “The Four Functions of Force,” AJ


Part II: Theories

January 22

Class 4

Three Traditions


John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “An Unnecessary War,” Foreign Policy no. 134 (2003): http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2003/01/01/an_unnecessary_war


Joseph S. Nye, Jr. “The Future of American Power: Dominance and Decline in Perspective,” Foreign Policy no. 6 (2010): http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66796/joseph-s-nye-jr/the-future-of-american-power


January 27

Class 5

Realism I


Nau 29-36


Morgenthau, “Six Principles of Political Realism,” AJ


Waltz, “The Anarchic Structure of World Politics,” AJ



January 29

Class 6

Realism II


John J. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security 19, no. 3 (1994/5), pp.s 1-14 : http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/A0021.pdf


Walt, “Alliances: Balancing and Bandwagoning,” AJ


Robert Jervis, “Offense, Defense, and the Security Dilemma,” AJ


February 3

Class 7

Liberalism I


Nau 36-44


Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs,” AJ


Hoffman, “The Uses and Limits of International Law,” AJ


February 5

Class 8

Liberalism II

Oye, “The Conditions for Cooperation in World Politics,” AJ


Keohane, “International Institutions: Can Interdependence Work?” AJ


February 10

Class 9

The Realist-Liberal Debate


John J. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security 19, no. 3 (1994/5), pp.s 14-26, 47-49


Robert. O. Keohane and Lisa Martin, “The Promise of Institutionalist Theory,” International Security 20 no.1 (1995): http://people.reed.edu/~ahm/Courses/Reed-POL-240-2012-S1_IP/Syllabus/EReadings/03.2/03.2.KeohaneMartin1995The-Promise.pdf


Sebastian Rosato, “The Flawed Logic of Democratic Peace Theory,” American Political Science Review 97 no. 4 (2003): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3593025?uid=3738296&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103195558851


February 12

Class 10



Nau 45-56


Wendt, “Anarchy is What States Make of It,” AJ


February 17

Class 11



Part III: International History


February 19

Class 12

Melos, Westphalia and World War I


Nau 71-74, 81-93, 103-135


Thucydides, “The Melian Dialogue,” AJ


February 24

Class 13

World War II (Assignment II)


Nau 129-158


February 26

Class 14

The Cold War


Nau 160-197


John Lewis Gaddis, “The Long Peace: Elements of Stability in the Postwar International System,” International Security 10, no. 4 (1986): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2538951?uid=3738296&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103195558851


March 3

Class 15

Film : Dr. Strangelove (Assignment III)


Dan Lindley, “What I learned Since I stopped Worrying and Studied the Movie: A Teaching Guide to Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove,” Political Science and Politics no. 34 (2001): http://www3.nd.edu/~dlindley/handouts/DrS.pdf






March 5

Class 16

Nukes and Weapons of Mass Destruction


Nau 199-216


Sokolsksi, “Getting Ready for a Nuclear-ready Iran” AJ


Posen, “A Nuclear-Armed Iran: A Difficult but not Impossible Policy Problem,” AJ


Recommended: Keir Lieber and Daryl Press (2013). “The Next Korean War,” Foreign Affairs (April):



March 10

Class 17

Civil Wars and Humanitarian Interventions


Ben Barber “Feeding Refugees or War? The Dilemmas of Humanitarian Interventions,” Foreign Affairs 76 no. 4 (1997): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20048117?uid=3738296&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103195558851


Kofi Annan, “Reflections on Intervention,” AJ


Jon Western and Joshua Goldstien, “Humanitarianism Comes of Age: Lessons from Somalia to Libya,” Foreign Affairs 90 no. 6 (2011).



Part IV: Globalization and International Political Economy

March 12

Class 18

International Trade


Nau 328-345


Gilpin, “The Nature of Political Economy,” AJ






SPRING BREAK March17 – 21st




March 24

Class 19


International Finance


Nau 353-360


Hiscox, “The Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policies,” AJ


The Economist, “The End of Monnet: The Debt Crisis is Exposing Problems in the Basic Design of the European Union,” http://www.economist.com/node/21528269


The Economist: Interactive Graph on the Euro-Crisis: http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/05/european-economy-guide


March 26

Class 20



Nau 303-322


Frankel, “Globalization of the Economy,” AJ


March 31

Class 21

The Globalization Debate (Assignment IV)


Rodrik, “Trading in Illusions?” AJ


Scott, “The Great Divide in the Global Village,” AJ


Micklethwait and Wooldridge, “Why the Globalization Backlash is Stupid,” AJ


Part V: Religion, Law, Human Rights and the Environment


April 2

Class 22



Hoffman, “What is Terrorism?” AJ


Pape, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” AJ


April 4

(Make-up for April 21st)

Class 23

Identity Politics and Religion


Nau, pp.s 202-3 & 248-257


Samuel P. Huntington, “Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs Summer (1993): http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/48950/samuel-p-huntington/the-clash-of-civilizations


Olivier Roy. 2012. “The Transformation of the Arab World,” Journal of Democracy. (23) 3.



April 7

Class 24

International Law and Human Rights


Keck and Sikkink, “Transnational Activist Networks,” AJ


Howard and Donnelly, “Human Rights in World Politics,” AJ


April 9

Class 25

The Environment (Assignment V)


Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” AJ


Victor, “International Cooperation on Climate Change: Numbers, Interests and Institutions,” AJ


April 14

Class 26

Global Governance and Justice


Ikenberry, “The Future of the Liberal World Order,” AJ


David Held, “Reframing Global Governance: Apocalypse Soon or Reform!” New Political Economy 11 no. 2 (2006). Jstor


Joseph Nye, “What China and Russia don’t get about Soft Power,” Foreign Policy, (2013): http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/29/what_china_and_russia_don_t_get_about_soft_power?wp_login_redirect=0





April 16

Class 27

The Future of International Relations


Posen, “Emerging Multipolarity: Why Should we Care?” AJ


Subramanian, “Why China’s Dominance is a Sure Thing,” AJ


Zheng Bijian, “China’s ‘Peaceful Rise’ to Great-Power Status,” Foreign Affairs (84)5, 2005. E-journal.


Henry A. Kissinger, “The Future of US-Chinese Relations,” Foreign Affairs March/April (2012).  Jstor


Economist (2013) “Xi Jinping and the Chinese Dream,”



John Kerry. 2013. “Statement on the East China Sea Air Defense Identification  Zone,”: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/11/218013.htm





April 21st Classes Cancelled


April 23

Class 28

Conclusions and Review





Final Exam