PS 82 Syllabus Spring 2011

Submitted by Jon W. Western (inactive) on Tuesday, 1/25/2011, at 10:18 AM

PS 82

Spring 2011

U.S. Foreign Policy, Human Rights and Democracy


Prof. Jon Western

Office Hours: Tuesday immediately following class and by appt.                                                                                                                         


Is the United States committed to promoting democracy and human rights abroad or just advancing its own strategic and domestic corporate interests? What influence does the United States have on the development of democracy around the world and the emergence of--and compliance with--international human rights conventions, protocols and laws? This seminar begins with an historical overview of American democracy and human rights rhetoric and policies and seeks to uncover the range of political, economic, cultural and geostrategic motivations underlying U.S. behavior. We will then examine American foreign policy responses to a broad range of contemporary human rights and democracy issues with special attention given to analyzing and comparing the post-Cold War state-building efforts in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Previous course work relating to international relations, American politics or foreign policy, or political theory required. This course fulfills the requirement for advanced seminar in Political Science.             

Course Requirements:

This course contains a heavy reading load. Grading will be based on class participation (20%), weekly reflection papers (20%); one 5-7 page writing assignment (20%) and a final research project (40%).


            1. Class participation (20%)  For class participation, you will be expected to contribute to class             discussion regularly throughout the semester. This means demonstrating your familiarity with and understanding of the class readings during each session.

            2. Reflection papers. (20%)  Each week you will be required to prepare and be prepared to discuss your reflections on the readings.  You will write a one page summary of the week’s readings which include the major thesis of each reading, the evidence presented, and your thoughts about the persuasiveness/validity of each reading.  You should also discuss how the readings tie together and talk to each other.  I will collect the reflection papers at the end of          each session.

            3. One 5 – 7 page writing assignment.  (20%) I will provide details of this assignment in early             February.

            4.  The research project. (40%)  I would like you to analyze a particular example/case study of   U.S human rights and/or democracy policy toward a particular country or region. The paper should include a description and analysis of the U.S. policy responses, including an analysis of the rationale and political dynamics of policy selection, and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. policy.


Office Hours and Contact Information:

My office hours are from 4:00 – 5:00pm on Tuesday immediately after class and by appt. at Amherst College.  Please feel free to drop by my office hours or schedule an appointment to see me.  I also hold office hours on Friday morning from 10am to noon in my office at Mount Holyoke College.  

Please note, I only check my e-mail messages once a day during the week and I generally respond to student e-mails during or immediately following my office hours on Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning. 


            Feb. 22: Short writing assignment due

            March 8: All research topics must be approved by the instructor.

            April 26:  Final research papers due.  No extensions.

            May 3:  Peer responses due

            May 10: Revised research papers due. 


Readings: All readings can be accessed via the course website. 

Jan 25:  Introduction

Feb. 1:  American Exceptionalism

The Declaration of Independence

Frederick Jackson Turner, The Significance of the Frontier in American History

The Bill of Rights

C. Vann Woodward, "Free Security"

John Winthrop, "City on a Hill"

Read excerpts from President Monroe’s seventh annual address to Congress, December 2, 1823: The Monroe Doctrine

Andrew Bacevich, The Limits of Power:  The End of American Exceptionalism, chapter 1

Anatol Levien, America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism, Introduction

Feb. 8: What are Human Rights?  What is Democracy?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Readings from Diamond and Plattner, The Global Divergence of Democracies,

Readings from Diamond and Plattner, Democracy Reader

Fareed Zakaria, The Future of Freedom:  Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, pp. 13 - 58

Feb. 15: The Emergence of American Global Leadership in the 20th Century:  The Phillipines

Tony Smith, America’s Mission, chapters 2  (E-book at Amherst library)

David Mayers, Dissenting Voices in America’s Rise to Power, chapter 8.

Emily Rosenberg, Spreading the American Dream, chapters 1 – 3

Niall Ferguson, Colossus:  The Price of America’s Empire, chapter 1

February 22:  Constructing a Post-War Order (pt. 1):            Short Essay Due           

Tony Smith, America’s Mission, chapter 5 and 6 (E-book at Amherst library)

G. John Ikenberry, “Creating America’s World:  The Sources of America’s Post-war Liberal Internationalism,”

 Kathryn Sikkink, Mixed Signals, chapters 1 and 2

James Dobbins,, America’s Role in Nation-Building From Germany to Iraq, chapt. 2 and 3

March 1: Constructing a Post-War Order (pt. 2): 

John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment:  A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American             National Security Policy, chpt. 4.

American Cold War Containment Policy Document: NSC-68

Natalie Hevener Kaufman, Human Rights Treaties and the Senate: A History of Opposition (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990) chapters 2 and 3

David Ekbladh, “From Consensus to Crisis:  The Postwar Career of Nation-Building in US Foreign Relations,” in Francis Fukuyama, ed., Nation Buidling Beyond Afghanistan and Iraq

March 8: Congress Resurgent, Carter and Reagan Era             (Research Proposals Due)

Jon Western, Selling Intervention and War, chapter 4;

Kathryn Sikkink, Mixed Signals, chapters 3 and 4;

 U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Staff Report: Covert Action in Chile 1963 – 1973, 94th Congress, 1st Session, 1975.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, Dictatorships and Double-Standards

March 15:  Spring Break

March 22:    Post-Cold War -- Democracy Triumphant?

Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History?” The National Interest, Summer 1989

Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations.”, Foreign Affairs

Michael Doyle, “Liberalism and World Politics,”  APSR, Dec. 1986

Edward D. Mansfield and Jack Snyder, “Democratization and the Danger of War,” International Security, Summer 1995,

Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment” Foreign Affairs

March 29: Paradoxes of the New World Order and Humanitarian Intervention

Thomas Carothers, Aiding Democracy Abroad, ch 2 and 3.

Michael Mann, Incoherent Empire, Introduction and ch. 2

Jon Western, Selling Intervention and War, chapter 5;

Samantha Power, "Dying in Darfur," The Atlantic Monthly, September 2004

Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun, “The Responsibility to Protect,” Foreign Affairs, November/December 2002 in Academic Search Premier

Rwanda Video – We will watch this in class

April 5:  American Exceptionalism and Human Rights

 Michael Ignatieff, American Exceptionalism and Human Rights, selected chapters.

April 12: September 11 and the Iraq War:

 The Bush Doctrine

 President George W. Bush’s 2nd Inaugural Speech

Jon Western, Selling Intervention and War, chapter 6;

George Packard, Assassin’s Gate, selected chapters.

James Dobbins,, After the War, chapter 5 

Larry Diamond, “What Went Wrong in Iraq,” Foreign Affairs, September/October 2004 in Academic Search Premier

Tony Smith and Larry Diamond, “Was Iraq a Fool's Errand?” Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004 in Academic Search Premier

April 19:  Nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan

Thomas Carothers/Paula Dobrianski debate in Carothers, Critical Mission.

Francis Fukuyama, Nation-Building Beyond Afghanistan and Iraq, selected chapters.

April 26: Final Papers Due and Class Presentations

May 3:  Future of Human Rights and Democracy Promotion

Patrice McMahon and Jon Western, “The Death of Dayton:  How to Keep Bosnia from Falling             Apart,” Foreign Affairs, September 2009

Fixing Failed States. By Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart. Chapters 1 and 2.

"Can America Nation-Build?" By Jason Brownlee. World Politics, vol. 59 #2 (January  2007): pp. 314-340. Read

Charles T. Call, ed., Building States to Build Peace, chapters 1 and 15.

Roland Paris and Timothy Sisk, The Dilemmas of Statebuilding, chapters 10 and 13.

May 10: Final Revised and Resubmitted Research Papers Due