Due in class #8
The readings for Class #4 suggest that some serious "deviations" from what we generally consider good, rational, decision-making can occur during times of serious national security concerns.
Write a seven to eight page essay that examines the evidence that elements of the bureaucratic politics model and group-think model are (or, are not) significantly influencing the Bush administration's policy towards war with Iraq. Specifically, build your case around news reports and other empirical evidence.
You may find that some of the elements of one or both models are present, while others are not. But the foundation of your essay (argument) should be either that there is, or is not, a major departure from the rational actor (realist) model.
To be convincing, most of your essay should focus on (a) the things (i.e., indicators, behaviors, pathologies) that the models tell us that you should observe if they are true and (b) the evidence that these things are present or absent. Are the "pathologies" – deviations from a simple national-interest framework – highlighted by these models observable in Bush administration policy and policy-making? [What should I expect to see if this model is true and do I see it?]
Finally, your analysis should discuss the implications of your findings. What does it mean for policy towards war with Iraq compared to the rational (realist) model?
Be sure to footnote both argument and evidentiary citations. Citation form is described at the bottom of this page.
Due in class #11
Please Note: Resubmitted papers that reflect marginal improvements (e.g., merely spelling corrections) will receive a LOWER grade than the first draft.
Due in class #18
James Thompson, Jr., in his How Could Vietnam Happen? An Autopsy, makes a number of compelling arguments about failure points in U.S. national security policy making. Write an essay that examines Bush Administration (i.e., G.W. Bush) national security policy in the light of Thompson's analysis.
This essay is a serious test of your ability to extract "the big picture" from reading materials and then apply the arguments in your own analysis of a new case. Read the Thompson piece carefully. Extract the key arguments. Do any, some, or all apply to the Bush Administration national security policymaking? What evidence is available to support your analysis? [If you have been reading the newspaper all along as required you should already have some good sources of evidence.]
Your essay should focus first on those parts of Thompson's analysis that do apply directly and clearly to the present administration. Then you might turn to more ambiguous connections. Then finally, you might discuss elements of Thompson's analysis that do not apply if you believe and can argue that their absence largely invalidates the comparison. In other words, focus on what really matters and ignore minor differences. [Conversely, if you believe that Thompson's analysis is either irrelevant or that the Bush administration has internalized his analysis and is not making those mistakes, then you should focus your essay on how the Bush administration is not repeating the errors that Thompson highlights.
The key to a solid paper is (1) concise extraction of Thompson's main arguments, (2) application of those arguments to the analysis of Bush administration policy, (3) detailing of evidence to support your analysis, and (4) clear and concise prose.
Due in class #25
In your studies of national security policy you have encounter 3 formative elements. The first is personalities: the individual who occupy the foremost national security positions of the state. You have seen how presidents, cabinet officers, and other "influentials" have crafted arguments, designed policies, and shaped decisions.
Second is events. History shows us that events often overtake administration plans and force the government to act in ways it never contemplated – or prepared for.
Third is institutions. National security policy is more than declarations, pronouncements, and ideas. Things need to get done. American national security policy is put into action by large complex organizations: Congress, the Defense Department (which itself is made up of large complex organizations), the CIA, the State Department, etc. These institutions influence greatly both the inputs and the outputs of national security policy.
Write an clear, concise, and well-documented essay that examines the relative roles of these three elements in national security policy between 1945 and 1999. Which do you believe are the most influential in national security policy?
A well thought-out and sophisticated answer would consider the different "stages" of policy and the different levels of decision-making and how these elements might play differently at each juncture.
This essay should be your argument about what you think matters most, revealing what you have learned this semester.
Many different citation styles exist. One of the easiest and simplest is the "science journal" style, which is what I want you to use in your papers. There are a number of permutations depending on the reference type.
Rule 1: embed the reference with the form (author last name, year) in your text.
President Bush recently stated "...these folks have to be punished...." (Gertz, 2001).
Rule 2: If the same author has more than one reference in a given year (as many journalists do) append a letter -- a,b,c, etc. -- to the year. (Gertz, 1999a; Gertz, 1992b).
Rule 3: You need a bibliography at the end of the paper that gives the full citation to each reference. The bibliography should be alphabetical by author last name. It takes the form:
for a journal article:
Author last name, first name (year) "Article Title," Journal Name [note: newspapers do not require Vol. or No.]
for a book:
Author last name, first name (year) Book Title (Publishing City: Publisher)
for material in an edited book:
Author last name, first name (year of edited book publication) "Chapter Title," in Author(s) of edited volume, ed. Title of Book (Publishing City: Publisher)
Clinton, William (1997) "Advancing our Interests through Engagement and Enlargement," in Peter Hays, Brenda Vallance, and Alan Van Tassel American Defense Policy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press), 284-297.
Gertz, William (2001) "Bush Goes to War," Washington Times (September 12), 1.
Kuconis, John (2002) Flying is Way Cool (Colorado Springs: US Air Force Academy), 200-203.