What is the best way to respond to global nuclear proliferation? Under what circumstances should American soldiers be sent to war? How should U.S. policymakers navigate a global economy? Will a global energy crisis precipitate a third world war? How does history inform contemporary U.S. foreign policymakers, and what issues will challenge future leaders? Such questions can seem beyond the scope of an individual, but they are questions that foreign policy decision makers in the United States must confront. Further, the issues that such questions raise must also be considered by members of the government bureaucracy and any citizen that wishes to be an informed participant in American democracy. The prominent role of the United States and a global leader makes examining and understanding the actions that the U.S. takes toward the rest of the world and how these decisions are made important for both American and citizens of other nations alike. This course will provide history, theory, and perspectives on current foreign policy issues to provide you with a foundation for understanding the study of foreign policy and perspectives to analyze a variety of pressing foreign policy issues.In general, the foreign policy of the United States includes policy decisions regarding international issues and relationships with foreign countries. The phrase “politics stops at the water’s edge” alludes to the way in which foreign policy issues are treated differently from domestic issues in the study and conduct of American politics. While there are many ways in which foreign policy is a unique policy area in the context of politics and governance in the United States and warranting separate study, it is nonetheless important to apply theories of both domestic politics and international relations to understand and analyze U.S. foreign policy. Towards these ends, this class will begin by outlining the constitutional foundations of foreign policymaking in the United States as well as the structure of and interplay between the formal and informal institutions that craft and implement U.S. foreign policy, including the president, Congress, the bureaucracy, the media, and public opinion. Next, you will examine theories of international relations that may inform and explain U.S. foreign policy as well as specific theories of foreign policymaking to better understand the decisions of policymakers as well as the outcomes of these decisions.In order to fully understand contemporary issues in foreign policy, it is important to study how the United States’ relationship with the world has changed over time and how world events and U.S. foreign policy have mutually influenced one another. Units 1-3 of this course provide this overview. Towards these ends, you will gain an understanding of the history of U.S. foreign policy and how American priorities and goals, as well as the means of achieving them, influence foreign policy. In Unit 4, you will then address several issues relevant to current U.S. policymakers in a manner that is informed by the previous units on the foreign policymaking process, the theories used to understand these processes, and historical perspective. In this regard, you will not only consider the most pressing foreign policy issues of the day but also understand how these issues have and will continue to change. For example, the importance of traditional foreign policy issues such as military security, war, and alliances; issues such as food and energy security; environmental issues such as climate change; and human rights have increasingly become part of the agenda of foreign policymakers. In Unit 5, you will step back and consider U.S. foreign policy from a broad perspective by considering issues of grand strategy and projects for the future.
Days of the Week:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
- Level of Difficulty: All Levels
- Size: One-on-One
- Cost: Free
- Institution: Saylor
- Topics: General History