Politics 12800-01, -02
Introduction to International Relations
Prof. Chip Gagnon
Spring 2014

Daily Assignments

Go to reading assignments for:
Tu 1/21 - Th 2/13 Introduction and Theory | Tu 2/18 - Th 2/20, Media and IR | Tu 2/25 - Tu 3/25, Security: Terrorism and the Future of War | Th 3/27 - Tu 4/15 The International Economy | Th 4/17 - Th 5/1, Culture and the global community

Updated 1/14/2014

I. Introduction: Thinking about the international

In this first section we pose the questions we hope to answer in the course. We look at the assumptions that underlie how people think about international politics, examine a number of approaches to understanding international relations and world politics, and relate them to issues of interest.

Tu 1/21 Introductions. Questions of War and Peace. Is peace a good thing? How do we come to see the world in particular ways?

Th 1/23 Thinking about the international: The war in Kosovo
In class we'll think about the different ways that the 1999 war in Kosovo, including US involvement, can be explained.
Required reading:
- Madeleine Albright, "US and NATO policy towards the crisis in Kosovo", pp.1-7
- Kucinich, "What I learned from the War", pp.8-14
- Dimitrijevic, "The Collateral Damage is Democracy" , pp.15-16
To think about: According to Albright, why was the US involved in Kosovo? What specific reasons did she give? Are you convinced by them? Why are Kucinich and Dimitrijevic opposed to NATO bombings over Kosovo? How did they differ from Albright's arguments? Can you pick out how their assumpions and / or beliefs differ from Albright's?

Tu 1/28  Poverty and Health as international issues?
Required reading:
- Kidder, "The Good Doctor", pp.17-32
- Johnson, "U.S. Fought To Lower Minimum Wage In Haiti So Hanes And Levis Would Stay Cheap" (online)
Suggested reading:
Web site of Partners in Health; the Zanmi Lasante project run by Paul Farmer (online)
Farmer, "Whither Equity in Health? The State of the Poor in Latin America" (online, pdf)
To think about:
As you read this article, think about how health issues such as AIDS or social issues such as poverty are international issues. Can AIDS or poverty be understood through traditional ways of looking at international relations? Is health care a human right? Why does Paul Farmer believe it is? What kind of framework could help us understand the international politics of AIDS? Does it even make sense to talk about the international politics of poverty? How does Paul Farmer understand these issues? Think about the moral and ethical aspects as well as security aspects of the issues. Does morality have a place in international relations? Do citizens of wealthy countries have moral responsibilities to poor people in other countries? How would one go about establishing those responsibilities?

Th 1/30 Thinking about World Politics: Perspectives and Approaches
Required reading:
- Goldstein, "IR as a Field of Study", pp.34-38
- Also take a look at the table on p.33
To think about:
What is a theory? Why are there competing theories in the social sciences? What is an assumption?
How can we understand the complexity of the international? How do we define the international?

Interview with Mearsheimer
on realism (58 mins)

Tu 2/4 International Politics: Realism
Required reading:
- Mearsheimer, "Anarchy and the Struggle for Power", pp.39-52
- Mearsheimer and Walt, "Keeping Saddam Hussein in a Box", p.53
To think about:
How do Realists see world politics? What do they consider as important, and what do they see as less important? How is Mearsheimer and Walt's argument in the second article an illustration of a Realist world view?

Th 2/6 International Politics: Liberalism
Required reading:
- Russett & Oneal, "The Kantian Peace in the 21st Century", pp.54-64
- Rhodes, "The Imperial Logic", pp.65-70 (just to top of second column; stop at "A dissent")
- Bush, Intro to 2002 National Security Strategy, pp.76-78
- Bush, Intro to 2006 National Security Strategy, pp.79-80
- Obama, Intro to 2010 National Security Strategy, pp.81-83
- Reread Albright, "US and NATO policy towards the crisis in Kosovo", pp.1-7
To think about:
How do Liberals see world politics? What makes a country liberal? How does the liberal view of domestic society influence their view of international relations? How is Albright's argument based on a liberal perspective? What different assumptions do multilateral and unilateral liberals have that lead them to see the world so differently? Think about how Bush's introductions embody a unilateral liberal perspective. How would you characterize Obama's?
Links of interest:
- Debate: Realist vs. Unilateral liberal (neoconservative)

- National Security Strategy of the US, 2002
- National Security Strategy of the US, 2006
- National Security Strategy of the US, 2010 (pdf)
- George Bush's June 1, 2002 speech at West Point


Tu 2/11 International Politics: Global Humanism
Required reading:
- Gurtov, "World Politics in Global-Humanist Perspective", pp.84-92
- Hobden and Jones, "The US, The United Fruit Company, and Guatemala", p.93
- Reread Kidder, "The Good Doctor" pp.17-32, and Johnson "US Fought..." (online).
To think about:
How do Globalist Humanists see world politics? What is more important, and what is less important for them than for Realists and Liberals? How is the worldview of Paul Farmer reflective of a Global Humanist perspective?

Th 2/13 International Politics: Critical theory & Conclusion of Theories section
Required reading:
- "Critical Theory, Constructivism, and Post-modernism", p.94
- Miedzian, "'Real Men,' 'Wimps,' and Our National Security," pp.95-105
- "Threatened men more pro war, SUVs", p.106
To think about:
The ways in which identity, beliefs, experiences affect the way we understand the world and how we interact with others.

II. The Media and International Relations

Most people get most information about international politics and US foreign policy from the mass media, especially television. What is the impact of media on international relations? What gets covered and why? What are the links between government and the media? What is the impact on how we think about the international? What kind of information is available on the world wide web?

Tu 2/18 - Th 2/20 Democracy, the media, and foreign policy
- In class: Film, The Panama Deception
Discussion of film: Democracy, media and foreign policy
Suggested readings:
- Mark Cook and Jeff Cohen, "The Media Goes to War: How TV Sold the Panama Invasion"

Essay #1 Due Thursday 2/20 by 4pm (30 percent of final grade)

III. Security: Terrorism and the Future of War

This section of the course considers the term "security," which is one of the focuses of traditional international relations. We consider several definitions of the term and ways in which it has been extended to cover non-military issues. We discuss in particular the issues of terrorism and the future of war
Links of interest:
- Go to Chip's links on nuclear weapons and military security
- World and US military spending

Tu 2/25 Historical background: The aftermath of the Cold War
Required Reading:

- Klare, "The Geopolitics of War", pp.107-110
- Cooley, Unholy Wars, "Introduction", pp.111-116
- Campos, "Undressing the terror threat," pp.117-119
In class
- Red Dawn trailer
To think about:
- the relationship between how the US fought the Cold War and the challenges it sees afterwards; the comparative power of its identified main adversaries during the Cold War and now; the continuity in the Cold War and post-Cold War eras.

Interview with Robert Pape
not same as reading. 28 mins)

(Link to video)
Th 2/27 Terrorism: Strategic or Pure rage?
Required reading:
- Lemann, "What Terrorists Want: Is there a better way of defeating Al Qaeda?", pp.120-125

- Bush, excerpts from Sept. 20, 2011 speech, pp.126-127
- "The Logic of Suicide Terrorism," Interview with Robert Pape, pp.128-133
Suggested reading:
- Hoffman, "Defining Terrorism,", Chapter 1 of Inside Terrorism, for historical background on the term (online; if you can't access this directly, google "hoffman" and "defining terrorism" and click on the link for "Inside Terrorism" at nytimes.com, it should work for you)
To think about:
What is the definition of terrorism? What are the causes of terrorism? What 2 views of terrorism's causes and solutions does Lemann identify in the article? How does Bush's speech illustrate the "pure rage" view? How does Pape's findings illustrate the "strategic" view?

Tu 3/4 Terrorism in historical and global perspective
Required reading:
- Bergesen & Lizardo, "International Terrorism and the World-System" pp.152-166
To think about:
If we look at terrorism from this perspective, what should or can be done about it? Also think about how this approach to understanding terrorism differs from the others we've read.

Th 3/6 The Future of War: Revolution in Military Affairs
Required reading:
- Lemann, excerpts from "Dreaming About War", pp.167-169
- Williams, "The Great Transformation," pp.170-171
- Morley, "Hatred: What Drones Sow,"
Suggested viewing:
- Clip from 60 Minutes on drones
Suggested reading:
- Schachtman, "Taking Aim at Military Technology" (online)
Link of interest:
Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) resources from the Project on Defense Alternatives
To think about:
What are the underlying assumptions of the RMA proponents about the future of war? What are the threats they assume? How do these assumptions drive their support for RMA? In the 60 Minutes clip we'll watch in class, the perspective is very much a US one. What do you think is missing from this report? We'll also discuss other countries' moves to adopt RMA strategy.

3/11- 3/15 Spring Break
Required viewing:
Over spring break, please watch
Frontline special "Obama's War", with footage from Afghanistan, illustrating US counterinsurgency strategy there. It's also available in the IC library
To think about:
From what you see in this documentary, what are the main challenges to the counterinsurgency strategy? Think about the arguments for it from Lieven and Barnett.

Interview with Lt.Col.John Nagl, one of authors of US Army Counterinsurgency Manual

(Link to video)
Interview with Thomas Barnett
(57 mins)

(Link to video)
Tu 3/18 The Future of War: Counterinsurgency
Required reading:
- Barnett, "The Pentagon's New Map," pp.216-224
- Lieven, "Soldiers before missiles: Meeting the challenge from the world's streets", pp.176-182
- Critique: Yglesias, "The Space Race," pp.225-226
Suggested reading:
- Record, "Why the Strong Lose," (pdf) pp.183-198
Link of interest:
- Barnett's blog
(now shut down but archives are still up)
- US military field manual, US Military Counterinsurgency Manual, Dec 2006
- Office of the Under Secretary of Defense For Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, "Defense Science Board Study on Transition To and From Hostilities"
To think about:
What are the assumptions implicit in Barnett's analysis? What are the main values, priorities, and motivations of key actors in his analysis? How does Lieven's suggested war-fighting strategy fit with Barnett's grand strategy? How do Yglesia's assumptions lead him to such a different conclusion than Barnett?

Th 3/20 War, history, and empire
Required reading:
- Barkawi, "On the Pedagogy of 'Small Wars'", pp.227-245
To think about:
How does Barkawi's approach differ from those we've read already? What are his assumptions regarding wars fought by the US and other great powers? How do his conclusions differ from the ones we've discussed to date?
Link of interest:
- War fighting grid

Tu 3/25 China and the international system: A new international order?
Required reading:
-Cobb, "Good-Bye Counter-Insurgency, Hello Air-Sea Battle" pp.199-201
- van Tol, "AirSea Battle: A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept" pp.202-210
(we will also check out the power point slide show that accompanies this article; this article is an executive summary of a much longer report, for the full report click here.)
- Jacques, "A new sun rises in the east" pp.246-250
- Barnett, "The Chinese are our friends" pp.251-258
To think about:
The different premises and assumptions this strategy is based on and how they differ from the other strategies. How is Barnett's take on China a critique of AirSea Battle, even though it was written in 2005. Think about how the various strategies fit or don't fit into Barnett's take on this issue. Think also about China's perceptions of these US policies, and what srategies you think China should pursue to ensure its own security.

IV. The International Economy

The globalization of the international economy seems to be one of the main features of the international system since the end of WWII, and especially in the past few decades. In this section we look at the development of the international economic system and discuss some issues linked with globalization of the economy.
Links of interest on the global economy

Th 3/27 The Global Economy: Traditional Background
Required reading:
- "International Political Economy," excerpts, pp.259-282

To think about:
Alternative ways of understanding the global economy; the power of multinational corporations.

Note: March 28 is the last to to withdraw from the course

Interview with Thomas Friedman
(23 mins)

(Link to video)
Tu 4/1 The Global Economy: Liberal views
Required reading:
- Rosecrance, "The Virtual State", pp.283-292
- Friedman, "It's a Flat World, After All", pp.293-297
To think about:
Notes/outline of Rosecrance article
Rosecrance is writing in the mid-90s. What does Rosecrance see as the future role of the state?  How does he define security? What is his argument in favor of the liberal global economy? What are the assumptions implicit in Friedman's analysis; do you see how his basic assumptions are the same as Rosecrances? What are the main values, priorities, and motivations of key actors in his analysis? How does his argument differ from and update Rosecrance's?
What changed over the previous 10-15 years?

Th 4/3 Globalization and the Third World
In Class: The New Rulers of the World

To think about:
How and why does the analysis of the film differ from Rosecrance's and Friedman's analyses?

Essay #2 Due Th 4/3 by 4pm (25 percent of final grade).

Tu 4/8 The Global Economy: Other views
Required reading:
- Chang, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree Revisted" pp. 298-311
- Vidal, "Wikileaks: US targets US over GM crops" pp.316-317
- Cable 07PARIS4723, "France and the WTO AG Biotech case" pp.318-319
To think about:
Contrast the claims about the benefits of globalization made by Rosecrance and Friedman with Chang's argument, and with the issues raised in the last two readings. Are states justified in pressuring others to adhere to their notion of free trade? Is protectionism ever justified?

Th 4/10
Global economy: what's missing?
Required reading:
- Gray, "The World is Round", pp.334-337
To think about:
What is Gray saying is important that Friedman (and Rosecrance) is missing? Why does he disagree so strongly with Friedman's analysis?

Tu 4/15 Global economy: China as an economic superpower
Required reading:
- Jacques, excerpts from When China Rules the World, pp.338-345
Jacques, "The citadels of the global economy are yielding to China's battering ram" pp.346-348
- Barboza, "China's Industrial Ambition Soars to High-Tech", pp.349-350
- Seligson, "American Graduates Finding Jobs in China" pp. 351-352
To think about:
If the international economic order is determined by the most economically powerful actor, what might a Chinese-dominated global economy look like?

V. Culture and Conflict

One of the striking aspects of the current international scene is that concurrent with globalization and removing borders, there are also growing numbers of violent conflicts at local and regional levels in which cultural themes (ethnic, religious, etc.) are prominent. Why this apparent contradiction? Is there a relation?

Interview with Samuel Huntington

(Link to video)
Th 4/17
Civilizations and Cultures in Conflict?
Required reading:
- Huntington, "Clash of Civilizations?", pp.371-403
To think about:
What are Hungtington's assumptions about culture and conflict?  Why does he think that the nature of international relations is shifting in such a fundamental way?  Does consuming western goods change a culture? Is that a good thing? What are the causes of violence? To get peace does everyone have to become like us? What would Huntington say about Rosecrance's argument?

Tu 4/22 Clash of Civilizations: Another view
Required reading:
- Sen, "Civilizational Imprisonments", pp.404-409
- Sen, "Universal Truths: Human Rights and the Westernizing Illusion", pp.410-414
To think about:
What is a culture? What do you have in common with those who share a culture with you? Why do we so easily accept arguments ethnicity and cultural diversity cause violent conflict? What does Sen mean by culture?

Th 4/24 TBA

Tu 4/29 Islam: Another view
Required reading:
- Esposito, excerpts from The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?, pp.415-425
- Mehio, "How Islam and Politics Mixed," pp.426-427
- Friedman, "Turkey Wings It", p.428
To think about:
How does the way Esposito, Mehio, and Friedman talk about Islam differ from Huntington's use?

Th 5/1 Ethnic mobilization and conflict
In class showing of excerpt from "Beauty and the Beast"
Required reading:
- "Bystanders," Maas, p.429
- "What Ivan Said," Drakulic, pp.430-435
- Gagnon, "Serbia's Road to War", just read the introductory section (pp.436-437, up to section head "reformists vs. conservatives")
- Bonner, "Rwandans in Death Squad Say Choice Was Kill or Die," pp.444-445
Suggested reading:
- Bowen, "The Myth of Global Ethnic Conflict" 
Suggested viewing:
"Bosnia: We are all neighbors" (DVD)
To think about:
What are the motivations of the participants in this violence? Think about the power of fear.

Essay #3 due Monday May 12, 1pm (25 percent of final grade).
Please note the final exam period scheduled for this class is, for section 1, Tuesday May 6, 1:30-4pm; and for section 2, Monday May 12, 10:30pm to 1pm.

Return to Intro to International Relations syllabus
Return to Chip's page

Last revised 4/3/2014