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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Darryl Norman Johnson
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

This course assesses the formulation and execution of American foreign policy from the stand point of senior policy officials. It addresses the roles of the President and cabinet officers, the Congress, the media and various interest groups. It seeks to balance discussion of historic context with consideration of real decisions and real controversies, starting with the origins of the Cold War and continuing to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and the War on Terror. It examines in detail the most effective tools to accomplish the stated objectives in different crises: diplomatic persuasion, economic pressure/sanctions, public diplomacy, development assistance, covert action and military force. It weighs how human rights and values, democratization and free markets, domestic politics, free media and cultural exchanges affect the policy process. It assesses the importance of alliance relationships, the role of the UN and other multilateral institutions, NGOs and public opinion.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The course is taught by the case study method. Students examine key foreign policy decisions since the end of World War II to understand how and why they were made as they were, and to probe realistic alternatives. They also examine how the foreign policy process, including the institutional framework, has evolved over that period. The Instructor provides context and facilitates discussion. Videos are used to illustrate key policy decisions and key players.

Recommended preparation

Prerequisite: SIS 201. Recommended: Junior standing and SIS 200, 201 and 202

Class assignments and grading

Each student is expected to attend each class session and to participate in the discussions. Each student will write five case memoranda, each should be no longer than 500 words. Each student will write a final paper no longer than 3,000 words.

Class Participation 30% of final grade Five Case Memoranda 30% of final grade Final Policy Paper 40% of final 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 M Jane Meyerding
Date: 01/25/2011