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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Philip Wall
JSIS B 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: JSIS 201.

Class description

This course examines the formulation and execution of American foreign policy from the standpoint of senior policy officials. It analyzes the roles of the President and cabinet officers, Congress, the media, and other interest groups. Using case studies of key events and decisions since World War II, students will seek to understand how and why US foreign policy evolved as it has, and will become familiar with the variety of tools–diplomatic persuasion, public diplomacy, formal negotiations, economic pressure/sanctions, covert action, and military force–Presidents use to achieve foreign policy objectives. The decision-making process will be a key focus of class analysis and of student writing. The role of the instructor–a retired foreign policy professional–will be to provide context, guide discussion, and assess student efforts to understand the foreign policy process.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Each student is expected to attend every class session and participate actively in the discussions. This is not a lecture class.

Recommended preparation

Prerequisite: JSIS 201.

Class assignments and grading

Each student should be prepared every session to brief the class on a current US foreign policy topic, drawn from the required daily reading. Each student will be responsible for one oral presentation, as a member of a team, to analyze and lead class discussion of a designated case study.

Participation (30% of grade) will be evaluated on clarity of expression, depth of understanding and knowledge of the assigned material, relevance and acuity of comments. Each student will write five Policy Memoranda (40% of grade) and a Final Policy Paper (30% of grade).


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 Philip Wall
Date: 02/18/2014