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US Foreign Policy



Objective: 1. In this course students will learn:

  • about the main theories that have been developed to explain US foreign policy;

  • how to apply these theories to understand how US foreign policy is made;

  • to be conversant with past and present US foreign policy problems.
    Objective: 2. Students will acquire the following skills:

  • appraise the strengths and limitations of existing theoretical approaches to US foreign policy making;

  • discuss, analyze, and evaluate the main contours of American foreign policy;

  • write a research paper and select the theories that best explain one specific foreign policy event in US history;

  • Present research findings in a clear, concise and convincing manner.

Content: This course analyzes the formation and conduct of US foreign policy after WWII. The course will be divided in four sections as follows: the first section will cover the main theoretical perspectives on the role of the US as a global leader; the second section will review the main theoretical approaches (e.g., realism, liberalism, neo-conservatism, rational choice, bureaucratic, psychological models) that political scientists have used to explain the patterns of US foreign policy decision-making; the third section will be centered on the domestic sources of U.S. foreign policy; finally, the fourth section will deal with current US foreign policy issues (Pivot to Asia, Arab Spring and the Middle East, Crimean Crisis).

Methods of Instruction


Study Material

Book and articles


Class Participation 10%
Book Review Essay 20%
Research Paper Proposal 20%
Case Study Research Paper 50%


Tuesday 28 October until 16 December, 11.00-13.00 hrs in 5A37
Friday 31 October until 19 December, 9.00-11.00 hrs in 1A24