PS 545/PS645 U.S. Foreign Policy

Prof Mel Gurtov
Office: 650D Urban Affairs Building
Telephone: (503) 725-5974


Office Hours: M, 2-4; T, 1-2 & by appointment

Objectives of the Seminar:

We will explore the many domestic and international influences on U.S. foreign-policy thinking, decision making, and policy implementation.  Our principal aims are to gain an appreciation of how the U.S. political economy interacts with global forces, how culture and politics influence foreign affairs, which institutions are the most crucial in policymaking, and how power is used and abused.  We apply our insights and information to U.S. policy toward particular countries and regions, particularly since the end of the cold war.

Student Responsibilities:

(1) research paper (see guidelines), due at the last class (March 16); (2) facilitation of one session; (3) footnoted summary of readings for 2 other sessions, due the following Tuesday; (4) 3-page critique of Colossus, due Feb. 7; (5) the comprehensive final examination, Tuesday, March 21 at 10:15 AM; and (5) perfect attendance and class participation.

Please take note: The grade of I (incomplete) will only be given in extraordinary circumstances, and then only if the student has attended class regularly and completed all other assignments. Late papers will be accepted, with penalty, up to the first day of finals week.

Texts to purchase:

Wittkopf & McCormick, eds., Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy (4th ed.)
R. Lieber, ed., Eagle Rules?
G. Herring, ed., The Pentagon Papers
N. Ferguson, Colossus
Required additional readings (*) are available in the Political Science library, 650P UPA, or (**) online at


Discussion Sequence:

  1. Assessing U.S. Foregin Policy
  Readings * R. Hilsman, "Policy-making is Politics"
Lieber, ch1
Wittkopf, Introduction and ch.1
*Layne and Schwarz, "American Hegemony"; E. May, "The Nature of Foreign Policy"

The National Interest and National Security: images, beliefs, patterns, priorities

  Readings Wittkopf, chs. 2-3
*C. Rice, "Promoting the National Interest"; *C. Krauthammer, "The Unipolar Moment"; *J. Mathews, "Redefining Security"; *M. Pei, 'The Paradoxes of American Nationalism"

Grand Strategy
*Bill Clinton, "A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement"
*G. W. Bush, The National Security Strategy of the United States
G. W. Bush Delivers Graduation Speech at West Point


Presidential Power and Congress

  Readings: Presidency: Readings, #2-10, 32; Wittkopf, chs. 9-11, 24-25; * A. George, "The President and the Management of Foreign Policy"; **R. Suskind, "Without a Doubt"
Congress and Elites: Wittkopf, ch. 12; Readings, #23-37, 44; Lieber, chs. 3, 6, 9; ** Resolution Authorizing Use of Force in Iraq, Oct. 2002; *Auerswald and Cowhey, "Ballotbox Diplomacy"; ** R. Toner, "Demands of Partisanship Bring Change to Senate"

War Powers Resolution of 1973

FILM: "Fog of War"


Policymaking and the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy

  Readings: Lieber, chs. 4-5, 10
Wittkopf, ch.14, 18, 21-22
Cases: Herring, Pentagon Papers; G. Allison, "Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis"; * M. Hunt, Crises in US Foreign Policy (Cuba case)

Conference, “On the Brink: The Koreas in 2006,” at PSU Feb. 16, 1-4:30 PM
  5. The Military-Industrial Complex, the Intelligence Community, Transnational Corps., and Other Interest Groups

MIC: *W. Wheeler, Wastrels of Defense; Wittkopf, chs. 6, 20; Lieber, ch. 11; Wayne, "Pentagon Spends Without Bids"; Connecting to India through Pakistan
CIA: Wittkopf, ch. 15; Ackerman and Judis, "The First Casualty"; **Gellman & Pincus, “Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence”; The 9-11 Commission Report; **Loch Johnson, “Supervising America’s Secret Foreign Policy

Business: *J. Garten, “Business and Foreign Policy”; Wittkopf & McCormick, ch. 17; *M. Klare, “The Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy”

Interest groups: Wittkopf, chs. 4-5; Lieber, ch. 13

Cases: **Berrigan & Hartung, U.S. Weapons at War 2005; **Shanker & Chivers, “Crackdown in Uzbekistan Reopens Longstanding Debate”
Video: Bill Moyer (PBS), "Trading Democracy" (NAFTA)
Lieber, chs. 7 (Middle East)


In the Name of "National Security": Domestic and International Implications

  Readings: Wittkopf, chs. 16 and 19
Lieber, ch. 12; *P. Andreas, "US-Mexico"; *Tucker and Hendrickson, "The Sources of American Legitimacy"; ** I. Fisher, "Reports of Secret U.S. Prisons in Europe Draw Ire"

Policy on Global Issues

  Readings: Lieber, part IV
Wittkopf & McCormick, ch. 13
*J. Mathews, “Redefining Security”
  8. Public and "Private" Interests
  Readings: Lieber, ch. 2
Wittkopf, chs. 7-8
*R. Sobel, The Impact of Public Opinion (Bosnia)
*R.W. McChesney, Rich Media, Poor Democracy (ch. 1)
*W. Strobel, “The Media and US Policy Toward Intervention” (CNN Effect)
  9. The Future of U.S. Foreign and National-Security Policy
  Readings: *G. Ikenberry, "America's Imperial Ambition"
*J. Goldberg, “Breaking Ranks”
**D. Hendrickson, "Toward Universal Empire"

Cases (choose one): *S. Harrison et al, Ending the North Korean Nuclear Crisis.; *G. Perkovich, CEIP report on Iran

Instructions for Papers

1. Topic:  Choose any topic within the scope of the course.  Check with me to make certain your choice is appropriate.  The possibilities are many, and include: (1) study of U.S. behavior in a particular event; (2) evaluation of a particular analytical approach (such as bureaucratic politics); (3) application of an analytical approach to an event; (4) analysis of a particular institution's role in foreign policy (such as the Presidency, multinational corporations, the media, Congress, a political party); (5) analysis of how an instrument of foreign policy (such as foreign aid or arms transfers) is used; (6) evaluation of the role of values, ideology, or personality in foreign policy; (7) assessment of U.S. foreign policy in one or more time periods, or comparatively between one administration and another; (8) study of U.S. relations with a particular country or region. 

2. Approach: It is important that your essay make use of (or evaluate) one or more specific analytical approaches.  Thus, your essay should be more than a description of events; it should first and foremost be a foreign-policy analysis that contains a statement of purpose (the issue) at the beginning and your own assessment in the conclusion.

3. The Paper: 15-20 pages, using a minimum of 20 sources, including several primary sources, such as memoirs, newspapers of record, official documents, and first-hand accounts.  You may cite the course texts, but they will not count among your sources.  The Internet may be used for official documents, newspapers, and published, signed scholarly articles.  (In your notes, refer to Internet sources by address and original source.)  Do not use news magazines such as Time or encyclopedias. 

4.  Citing sources:  Use any consistent form for citing sources: footnotes, endnotes, or in-text notes.  A bibliography is not needed; include relevant information (author, article and journal or book title, and page numbers) in your notes.[1]  Learn use of ibid. when referring again to a source.[2]    See examples below.

[1]For example: Morton Smyth, ed., Henry Kissinger=s Diplomacy (New York: Norton, 1995), pp. 1-10; Mary Jones, AClinton=s China Connection,@ Journal of International Security, vol. 50, No. 3 (Summer, 1998), pp. 8-12.

[2]Ibid., p. 10. [Ibid. refers to last-mentioned source.]

5.  Writing Rules: (a) Check spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  A sloppily written paper will count heavily against you. (2) Don't forget to paginate your essay and title it.  (3) double-spaced, 12-point font, please.  (4) Do not rely excessively on any one source.  (5) Avoid lengthy quotations from sources.

6. Questions?  I'm here; and I want to see each of you at some time during your research.

Research Resources


Department of State Bulletin.  Official speeches and agreements.
Foreign Relations of the United States.  Diplomatic correspondence and internal memoranda.
American Foreign Policy: Current Documents.  1956-67; 12 vols.
American Foreign Policy.  1950-55 basic documents, 2 vols.
U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements.  Since 1952.
Public Papers of the Presidents.  Annual.
The Pentagon Papers.  U.S. policy in Vietnam, 1945-1968.  Various editions.
Congressional Record.  Debates in Congress.
Hearings before Senate and House committees/subcommittees. 
Statistical Abstract of the U.S.   Basic statistical source on budgets, trade, etc.  Annual.



All U.S. agencies and NGOs have Internet addresses.  See  A very good source for primary materials is the National Security Archive, available via I have most addresses relevant to foreign and military policy.

Periodicals and Newspapers of Record (*available in PS library)


Foreign Affairs,* Foreign Policy, World Policy, International Security, The Nation, The National Interest, Commentary, Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Defense Monitor, Multinational Monitor, and numerous others.

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times are "newspapers of record" and thus primary research sources.