Fall 2010

American Politics/Foreign Policy

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-30


Pavel Machala (Section 01)


[AP, IR] The attacks of September 11, the continuing war in Iraq and America’s growing relative industrial decline, have cast a long shadow over current U.S. foreign policy. But while these events dominate much of the news, the purpose of this course will not be to analyze any specific foreign policies, but, instead, to examine how foreign policy is made in the United States. We will explore the domestic political, socio-economic and cultural forces which have historically shaped major foreign policy debates as well as the grand strategies which have sustained America’s role in world affairs. After familiarizing ourselves with the four main foreign policy ideological traditions (Jeffersonian, Hamiltonian, Jacksonian and Wilsonian), which typically compete for political dominance, we will scrutinize how the rules set in the Constitution structure the foreign policy making process. Special attention will be paid to the shifting and evolving power of the Presidency, Congress, the mass media, public opinion, elections, think-tanks, ethnic, religious and class-based lobbies and grass roots social movements. The course will also examine the rise of the power elite and the national security state, the role of the military and intelligence agencies, the power of secrecy and deception, and the significance of the political psychology of presidents and their key advisors, as well as the function of gender in the making of foreign policy.

Limited to 70 students. Fall semester. Professor Machala.

POSC 30 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM FAYE 115
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM FAYE 115

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Bomb Power Amherst Books TBD
Congress and the Foreign Policy Process: Modes of Legislative Behavior Amherst Books TBD
Divided America on the World Stage: Broken Government and Foreign Policy Amherst Books TBD
Power Elite Amherst Books TBD
Special Providence Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010