University of Notre Dame

US Foreign Policy

Course Number: POLS 13181 – 3
Instructor: Dan Lindley

The United States is the most powerful state in the world today. American foreign policy is important for US citizens, but it also affects whether others go to war, whether they will win their wars, whether they receive economic aid or go broke, and whether they will swept by famine and disease. With these issues at stake, we want to know what determines U.S. foreign policy? What is the national interest? When do we go to war? Would you send U.S. soldiers into war? If so, into which wars and for what reasons? How do our economic policies affect others? Does trade help or hurt the U.S. economy and its citizens? To answer these questions, we first study several theories about foreign policy ranging from decision-making to organizational politics. We then examine the U.S. foreign policy process, including the president, Congress, the bureaucracy, the media, and public opinion. To see these theories and the policy process in action, we turn to the history of U.S. foreign policy, from Washington’s farewell address through the World Wars and the Cold War to the Gulf War. We then study several major issue areas, including weapons of mass destruction, trade and economics, and the environment. Finally, we develop and debate forecasts and grand strategies for the future. This course requires a paper about the history of American foreign policy, a paper about a current policy problem, as well as a midterm and a comprehensive final.