Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Readings POLSC 4 — World Politics (Spring 2014)

Dr. Donald Douglas, Long Beach City College, Spring 2014
POLSC 4 World Politics – Take-Home Essay Assignment

Students are to write a 4-6 page essay, double spaced with 10- or 12-point font, stapled in the upper left-hand corner. The topic is for students to use international relations theory to analyze Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea into the Russia state. Students should focus on the following questions: What’s happening now in Ukraine and Crimea and why are events there important to international relations? What’s the problem from the perspective of international security? What are Russia’s interests in the region? (How do IR theories explain those interests?) What are U.S. interests, not just in Ukraine but for America’s global role? And, finally, how should the U.S. and the international community respond? Be sure to place these questions in the context of topics discussed in class, like the use of force, economic and military power, international institutions, and economic statecraft (like sanctions).

Students should use the textbook, James M. Scott et al., IR, for discussions of international theories (and pay attention to Ch. 9 on “Sanctions and Their Consequences,” which we haven’t yet covered). Also, see Daniel Drezner, “Bringing the Pain: Can Sanctions Hurt Putin Enough to Make Him Give-Up Crimea?” Foreign Policy, March 7, 2014; Julia Ioffie, “Putin's War in Crimea Could Soon Spread to Eastern Ukraine," New Republic, March 1, 2014; Jamie Kirchick, “How the ‘Realists’ Misjudged Ukraine,” Daily Beast, March 3, 2014; Victor Davis Hanson, “Putin Is Everything and More — But Not Stupid,” PJ Media, March 9, 2014; Gary Kasparov, “Vladimir Putin and the Lessons of 1938,” Politico, March 16, 2014; Ivan Krastev, “Russian Revisionism: Putin's Plan For Overturning the European Order,” Foreign Affairs, March 16, 2014; Steven Lee Myers et al., “Defying West, Putin Formally Claims Crimea for Russia,” New York Times, “March 19, 2014; Walter Russell Mead, “Red Lines in Ukraine,” American Interest, February 28, 2014 and “Putin Invades Crimea: Obama Hardest Hit?” American Interest, March 3, 2014; Mitt Romney, “The Price of Failed Leadership,” Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2014; and Carol Williams, “Costs to Russia for Crimea Seizure Far Beyond Pinprick Sanctions,” Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2014. (All readings are available online and will be posted at the class blog and announced in class.)

No other outside reading is necessary. That said, additional readings may be used, but only at the discretion of Professor Douglas (i.e., you will need advanced-approval for readings not included on this handout). The assignment is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Late papers are not accepted. Or, to be clear, it’s possible that I would accept a late paper in a genuine emergency, on the scale of personal hospitalization or the death of an immediate family member. A zero grade on the paper assignment will result in a “D” or “F” grade for the entire semester (depending on the student’s outstanding class average). Note that according to college policy, a critical thinking (writing) project is a requirement for all GE transfer classes.

Now, here’s the thing: The assignment forces students to think and write theoretically. Outline the main expectations of the theories you discuss. What theoretical approach provides the best explanation for events? What do you think? How important is Ukraine to American international relations and national security? Why or why not is Ukraine important? Plus, don’t be shy about sharing your opinion. What do you think should happen? How well are U.S. foreign policy leaders handling the crisis? What about Europe? Are the Europeans in tune with the U.S.? Why or why not? These prompts are not exhaustive. What else is important here? Have fun with the assignment and most of all, write a good paper.

*****

Dr. Donald K. Douglas
Long Beach City College: Spring 2014
Office Location: T2361
Office Hours: M-W 10:05-11:05am; T-TH 2:30-4:00pm
E-mail: ddouglas [at] lbcc.edu

Course Outline and Reading Assignments:

I. The Study of World Politics (Feb. 3, 5, and 10)

James M. Scott, Ralph G. Carter, and A. Cooper Drury, IR (Boston: Wadsworth, 2014), Chapter 1.
Jack Snyder, “One World, Rival Theories,” Foreign Policy (November/December 2004).

II. Anarchy, States and Non-State Actors (Feb. 12 and 19)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 2.
Kenneth Waltz, “The Anarchic Structure of World Politics” (1979), in Robert J. Art and Robert Jervis, eds., International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues.
Jessica Mathews, “Power Shift,” Foreign Affairs (January/February 1997).

III. Liberalism and Realism (Feb. 24 and 26)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 3.
Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, “Realism and Complex Interdependence,” Chapter 2, in Power and Interdependence, 3rd edition (2001).


 *** Midterm Examination – March 3 ***


IV. Alternative Perspectives on IR (March 5 and 10)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 4.
Alexander Wendt, "Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics," International Organization (Spring 1992), especially pp., 391-395, 403-407,and the conclusion.
J. Ann Tickner, "Engendered Insecurities: Feminist Perspectives on International Relations," in Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security (1992).

V. Understanding Conflict and War (March 12 and 17)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 5.
Joshua Goldstein, "Think Again: War," Foreign Policy (September/October 2011).


 *** Midterm Examination –March 19 ***


VI. International Conflict Management (March 24 and 26)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 6.
John Lewis Gaddis, "The Long Peace: Elements of Stability in the Postwar International System,” International Security (Spring 1986).


VII. International Institutions and Security Cooperation (March 31 and April 2)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 7.
Charles Kupchan and Clifford Kupchan, "Concerts, Collective Security, and the Future of Europe," International Security (Summer 1991), especially pp. 113-137.
Madeleine Albright, "Think Again: The United Nations," Foreign Policy (September/October 2003).

VIII. Trade, Finance, and Economic Integration (April 7 and 9)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 8.
Helen Milner, "International Political Economy: Beyond Hegemonic Stability," Foreign Policy (Spring 1998).
Benjamin J. Cohen, "Currency and State Power," in Martha Finnemore and Judith Goldstein, eds., Back to Basics: State Power in a Contemporary World (Oxford University Press, 2013).


*** Midterm Examination – April 14 ***


IX. Economic Statecraft (April 16 and 28)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 9.
George A. Lopez and David Cortright, "Containing Iraq: Sanctions Worked," Foreign Affairs (July/August 2004).

X. Political Economy and Development (April 30 and May 5)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 10.
Andre Gunder Frank, "The Development of Underdevelopment," Monthly Review (September 1966).
"The Failure of Economic Development: Interview with William Easterly," Challenge (January/February 2002).
David Dollar and Aart Kraay, "Spreading the Wealth," Foreign Affairs (January/February 2002).
Ruchir Sharma, "Broken BRICs: Why the Rest Stopped Rising," Foreign Affairs (November/December 2012).

XI. Human Rights (May 7 and 12)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 11.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "The Politics of Human Rights," Commentary (August 1977).

*** Midterm Examination – May 14 ***


XII. The Global Environment (May 19 and 21)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 12.
Bjørn Lomborg, "Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now. The Club of Rome's Problem – and Ours," Foreign Affairs (July/August 2012).
Steven Hayward, "In Denial: The Meltdown of the Climate Campaign," Weekly Standard (2010).

XIII. Transitional Advocacy Networks (May 28)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 13.
Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, "Transnational Advocacy Networks in International and Regional Politics," International Social Science Journal (March 1999).

XIV. The Future of World Politics (June 2)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 14.
Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993).
Robert Kagan, "History's Back. Ambitious Autocracies, Hesitant Democracies," Weekly Standard (August 2008).

*** Final Examination – December 11 ***

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Readings POLSC 4 — World Politics (Fall 2013)

Dr. Donald Douglas, LBCC, Fall 2013 POLSC 4 
World Politics – Take-Home Essay Assignment

Students are to write a 4-6 page essay, double spaced with 10- or 12-point font, stapled in the upper left-hand corner. The topic is for students to evaluate possible U.S. military intervention in Syria using international relations theory. Students should focus on the following questions: What’s the U.S. interest in Syria? Is this a “vital national interest” or something else? How will American security be advanced by war in Syria? Apply international relations theories to evaluate those questions from different perspectives. And use the following readings for your essay: Michael Crowley, “The Syria Problem (Printer Version)," Time (Sept. 09, 2013); Erica Borghard “Arms and Influence in Syria: The Pitfalls of Greater U.S. Involvement,” Cato Institute (August 7, 2013); Anthony Cordesman, “U.S. Strategy in Syria: Having Lost Sight of the Objective…”, Center for Strategic and International Studies (September 12, 2013); Charli Carpenter, “Responsibility to Protect — Or to Punish: Morality and the Intervention in Syria,” Foreign Affairs (August 29, 2013); Frederick Kagan, “What to Do About Syria,” Weekly Standard (September 13, 2013); and “Experts to Obama: Here Is What to Do in Syria,” Weekly Standard (August 27, 2013). (All readings are available online and will be posted at the class blog and announced in class.)

*********************************************

Dr. Donald K. Douglas
Long Beach City College: Fall 2013
Office Location: T2361
Office Hours: M-W 10:05-11:05am; T-TH 2:30-4:00pm
E-mail: ddouglas [at] lbcc.edu

Course Outline and Reading Assignments:

I. The Study of World Politics (August 26, 28 and September 4)

James M. Scott, Ralph G. Carter, and A. Cooper Drury, IR (Boston: Wadsworth, 2014), Chapter 1.
Jack Snyder, “One World, Rival Theories,” Foreign Policy (November/December 2004).

II. Anarchy, States and Non-State Actors (September 9 and 11)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 2.
Kenneth Waltz, “The Anarchic Structure of World Politics” (1979), in Robert J. Art and Robert Jervis, eds., International Politics: Enduring Concepts and Contemporary Issues.
Jessica Mathews, “Power Shift,” Foreign Affairs (January/February 1997).

III. Liberalism and Realism (September 16)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 3.
John Mearsheimer, "Structural Realism," in Tim Dunne et al., eds., International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, “Realism and Complex Interdependence,” Chapter 2, in Power and Interdependence, 3rd edition (2001).


 *** Midterm Examination – September 18 ***


IV. Alternative Perspectives on IR (September 23 and 25)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 4.
Richard K. Ashley, “The Poverty of Neorealism,” International Organization (Spring 1984), especially pp. 225-230 and 237-281.
Alexander Wendt, "Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics," International Organization (Spring 1992), especially pp., 391-395, 403-407,and the conclusion.
Andrés Velasco, "The Dustbin of History: Dependency Theory," Foreign Policy (November/December 2002).
J. Ann Tickner, "Engendered Insecurities: Feminist Perspectives on International Relations," in Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security (1992).

V. Understanding Conflict and War (September 30 and October 2)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 5.
Joshua Goldstein, "Think Again: War," Foreign Policy (September/October 2011).


 *** Midterm Examination – October 7 ***


VI. International Conflict Management (October 9 and 14)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 6.
John Lewis Gaddis, "The Long Peace: Elements of Stability in the Postwar International System,” International Security (Spring 1986).
Charles Kupchan and Clifford Kupchan, "Concerts, Collective Security, and the Future of Europe," International Security (Summer 1991), especially pp. 113-137.

VII. International Institutions and Security Cooperation (October 16 and 21)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 7.
Thomas C. Schelling, "The Diplomacy of Violence" in Karen Mingst and Jack Snyder, eds., Essential Readings in World Politics.
Madeleine Albright, "Think Again: The United Nations," Foreign Policy (September/October 2003).

VIII. Trade, Finance, and Economic Integration (October 23 and 28)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 8.
Helen Milner, "International Political Economy: Beyond Hegemonic Stability," Foreign Policy (Spring 1998).
Benjamin J. Cohen, "Currency and State Power," in Martha Finnemore and Judith Goldstein, eds., Back to Basics: State Power in a Contemporary World (Oxford University Press, 2013).


*** Midterm Examination – October 30 ***


IX. Economic Statecraft (November 4 and 6)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 9.
George A. Lopez and David Cortright, "Containing Iraq: Sanctions Worked," Foreign Affairs (July/August 2004).
Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur, "Can Silicon Valley Save the World?" Foreign Policy (July/August 2013).

X. Political Economy and Development (November 13 and 18)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 10.
Andre Gunder Frank, "The Development of Underdevelopment," Monthly Review (September 1966).
"The Failure of Economic Development: Interview with William Easterly," Challenge (January/February 2002).
David Dollar and Aart Kraay, "Spreading the Wealth," Foreign Affairs (January/February 2002).
Ruchir Sharma, "Broken BRICs: Why the Rest Stopped Rising," Foreign Affairs (November/December 2012).

XI. Human Rights (November 20 and 25)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 11.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "The Politics of Human Rights," Commentary (August 1977).
Kathryn Sikkink, "Transnational Politics, International Relations Theory, and Human Rights," PS: Political Science and Politics (September 1998).


*** Midterm Examination – November 27 ***


XII. The Global Environment (December 2)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 12.
Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons," Science (1968).
Bjørn Lomborg, "Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now. The Club of Rome's Problem – and Ours," Foreign Affairs (July/August 2012).
Steven Hayward, "In Denial: The Meltdown of the Climate Campaign," Weekly Standard (2010).

XIII. Transitional Advocacy Networks (December 4)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 13.
Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, "Transnational Advocacy Networks in International and Regional Politics," International Social Science Journal (March 1999).

XIV. The Future of World Politics (December 9)

Scott, Carter and Drury, IR, Chapter 14.
Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993).
Robert Kagan, "History's Back. Ambitious Autocracies, Hesitant Democracies," Weekly Standard (August 2008).

*** Final Examination – December 11 ***

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thank You President Bush

I've been formally studying politics for twenty-five years, but I truly came of political maturity during the G.W. Bush years of 2001-2008.

I have published an essay today, President Bush's last full day in office, at Pajamas Media: "
George W. Bush’s Legacy: Moral Vision."

President Bush, 1-20-05
Readers can read the essay at the link, and the comment thread is certainly an interesting case of Bush derangement syndrome.

But for the present post, let me share the letter to the president by Eric at Tygrrrr Express, "
Dear President Bush" (cited here at midstream):

I could spend hours praising your 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, in addition to your many fine qualities in terms of how you treated every day human beings.

Yet to me you will always be the man that kept us safe. I will always see you through the prism of September 11th, 2001. I will always well up with emotion when I think of you standing with that firefighter on September 14th, three days after the attacks. I still hear your voice exalting Americans. “I hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and pretty soon the people who knocked down these buildings will hear from all of us!” They heard us loud and clear.

I will go to my grave believing that the Iraq War was the legally and morally right thing to do. Reconstruction has been tough, but Saddam is gone. The world is absolutely better off for this. The collateral effects included Khadafi of Libya voluntarily giving up his weapons programs. This was a direct result of your leadership. You labeled Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the “Axis of Evil.” You were right, and one of those three is no longer led by a dictator out to threaten the world. When your critics declared that the Iraq War was lost, you doubled down, ordered a surge, and brought in General David Petraeus. Not only did you hire the best and brightest, you let them do their jobs, and get those jobs done right.

On September 20th, 2001, you told us that America, “would not falter, and would not fail.” You let us know in January of 2009 that we “did not falter and did not fail.”

If anybody wants evidence that America is still a beacon for the world to admire and emulate, just look at your successor. Only in America could his election be possible. As expected, your graciousness and kindness towards him and his family is sincere. Some say you were a divider and not a uniter. This is totally false. You reached out to your critics, and they never accepted your hand of friendship. Your political enemies were the ones who polarized this nation. Your successor mentioned the other day that he thinks you are a good person. His critics need to hear this over and over again. Despite their obsession with division, you remained kind to the end, and were able to unite people that were willing to let decency override partisanship.
Read the whole thing here (and leave a nice word or two in the comments).

Eric makes clear as well that this administration's record in black political inclusion and support for AIDS eradication in Africa, among other areas, is unsurpassed.

Thank you President Bush. You will be deeply missed and our country is better off for having you.

Photo Credit: Wordsmith at Flopping Aces, "
8 Years of 'Failed Policies'."

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Cross-posted from American Power.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Protect Values, Protect America: Vote Life

Cross-posted from American Power:

*********
Via Jill Stanek, here's the powerful video from Catholic Vote 2008:
Life, faith, and family ... now more than any other time in history ... a new generation must stand for truth ...

Vote life in 2008.

**********

Don't miss the moral clarity at American Power!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stop the Palinsanity!

Don't miss the hottest commentary and analysis on Sarah Palin and the GOP presidential campaign, at American Power!

Sarah Palin


What are you waiting for? Get the leading election analysis at American Power!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I've Moved!

I have a new blog, American Power!

It was time to retire the sturdy Burkean Reflections blogging project. What happened? Get the full story from my new blog's initial post, " Welcome to American Power."

Thanks to all those who've visited and commented at this site over this last 18 months.


Don't forget to update your blog links, bookmarks, and subscription feeds! Get moving with American Power!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bush Stays Tough on Terror Interrogation Methods

The New York Times has the story on President's Bush defense of the administration's interrogation tactics I(via Memeorandum):

President Bush, reacting to a Congressional uproar over the disclosure of secret Justice Department legal opinions permitting the harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, defended the methods on Friday, declaring, “This government does not torture people.”

The remarks, Mr. Bush’s first public comments on the memorandums, came at a hastily arranged Oval Office appearance before reporters. It was billed as a talk on the economy, but after heralding new job statistics, Mr. Bush shifted course to a subject he does not often publicly discuss: a once-secret Central Intelligence Agency program to detain and interrogate high-profile terror suspects.
Bush's reponse to critics was the lead story at today's Los Angeles Times as well:

The president's comments came amid disclosures this week of classified opinions issued by the Justice Department in 2005 that endorsed the legality of an array of interrogation tactics, ranging from sleep deprivation to simulated drowning.

Bush's decision to comment again on what once was among the most highly classified U.S. intelligence programs underscores the political peril surrounding the issue for the White House, which has had to retreat from earlier, aggressive assertions of executive power.

It also reflects the extent to which the debate over tactics in the war on terrorism remains unresolved, six years after the Sept. 11 attacks. The limits on CIA interrogators have been particularly fluid, shifting repeatedly under a succession of legal opinions, court rulings and executive orders.

In a brief appearance at the White House, Bush stressed the legality of the CIA program -- even while making the case for continued use of coercive methods.

"We stick to U.S. law and our international obligations," Bush said. But when the United States locates a terrorism suspect, he added: "You bet we're going to detain them, and you bet we're going to question them -- because the American people expect us to find out information, actionable intelligence so we can help protect them. That's our job."
Both articles discuss Democratic Party outrage over not only the hint of coercive techniques, but the idea as well that the administation has an executive interest in keeping internal dicussions on interrogation methods out of the public realm.

The outcry over torture - which is common all over the left wing of the political spectrum - represents a knee-jerk reaction to the issue. The United States needs more firmness in its approach to interrogations and the judicial treatment of terror suspects. This is a nation at war, and a tougher approach - either based on a forward-oriented morality or plain realpolitik - is warranted, and should be generating bipartisan support.

I wrote earlier on the justification of torture,
citing Jerome Slater's Political Science Quarterly article, where he carefully examines the pros and cons of the practice, and comes down advocating aggressive interrrogations. Slater says torture's sometimes necessary:

Put differently, so long as the threat of large-scale terrorist attacks against innocents is taken seriously, as it must be, it is neither practicable nor morally persuasive to absolutely prohibit the physical coercion or even outright torture of captured terrorist plotters—undoubtedly evils, but lesser evils than preventable mass murder. In any case, although the torture issue is still debatable today, assuredly the next major attack on the United States—or perhaps Europe—will make it moot. At that point, the only room for practical choice will be between controlled and uncontrolled torture—if we are lucky. Far better, then, to avoid easy rhetoric and think through the issue while we still have the luxury of doing so.
Read the Slater piece in full to get the full context of the argument. It's a tough call, but circumstances warrant the legality of coercive methods, including torture.