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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ronald E. Woods
SIS 423
Seattle Campus

Practicing American Foreign Policy

Develops familiarity with tools available to promote international objectives of the United States. International case studies selected to illustrate the diverse considerations inherent in the policy process and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the national institutions involved. Prerequisite: SIS 201.

Class description

The course assesses the formulation and execution of United States foreign policy. What are the roles of the President, the Congress, the press and special interests? When and how are political suasion, economic sanctions, covert action or military force best employed? How important are human rights, democratization, commercial advantage and market economics in the policy process? In what circumstances should the US look to allies or the United Nations? How have US national interests and foreign policy changed in the post Cold War world? How has September 11 affected the policy process?

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The course is taught by the case method. Cold War and post Cold War cases illustrate the factors and players involved in the policy process and how that process has evolved over the past half century. Students lead discussions to assess the national interests at stake in each case and alternative policy responses. The instructor provides context and facilitates discussion. available. The instructor provides context and facilitates discussion.

Recommended preparation

Junior standing and SIS 200, 201 and 202.

Class assignments and grading

Students prepare for class discussions with assigned readings and independent research. Students will prepare six brief case memoranda and a final paper of up to 15 pages on a current issue in US foreign policy. There is no mid-term or final examination.

Final grades are based class participation (30%), case memoranda (30%) and final policy paper (40%).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 01/16/2002