Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session
This course examines the problems and issues confronting American national security policymakers and the many factors that influence the policies that emerge. But this is not a course about "threats," military strategies, or the exercise of military power.
What threatens those interests? How should the U.S. defend those interests? What kind of military should we build? Should the U.S. enter into alliances with other countries? Do we need a larger Navy? How much should we spend on weapons procurement?
The course has four broad goals:
The course is organized along an historical time line. Beginning with the final days of World War II we follow American national security policy from the first stirrings of confrontation with the Soviet Union and China, into two hot wars in Asia that cost over 100,000 American lives and spawned social upheavals, through a close encounter with nuclear war, stumbling into the era of arms control, and conclude with the collapse of the communism. Selective case studies, memoirs, and original documents act as windows into each period. What were US national security decision makers thinking? What were they worried about? How did they see their options?
The course is organized into two weekly lectures and one-hour weekly recitation sections. Students are required to attend both the weekly lecture and a weekly recitation. Failure to attend class without a valid excuse will result in a failing grade for the class.
The lectures will delve into the primary topic for the week but they will not regurgitate the reading assignment. Lectures will cover theoretical and analytical issues as well as the substantive questions at hand with the expectation that all students have completed the reading for that week. The lectures will emphasize the historical flow of events and alternative ways of interpreting events and decisions.
The recitation sections will explore lecture topics in greater detail and provide the opportunity for broad discussion among the students. Some recitation sessions will focus more explicitly on topics implied, but not directly covered, in the lectures. In particular, the recitation sessions will use current items in the press as a take-off point for class discussion. (One of the requirements for this course is reading of the daily press.) Student discussion should occupy the bulk of the recitation period.
John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, Oxford University Press, 1982.
Peter Hays, Brenda Vallance, and Alan Van Tassel, American Defense Policy, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins, 1997.
The remainder of the readings for this course can be found in the CLASS NOTES PACKAGE.
Students are also required to read the daily press. Students may choose from among: The Boston Globe, The New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal.
Each week’s reading assignments should be completed prior to lecture class for that week.
Criteria for HASS CI Subjects:
Communication intensive subjects in the humanities, arts, and social sciences should require at least 20 pages of writing divided among 3-5 assignments. Of these 3-5 assignments, at least one should be revised and resubmitted. HASS CI subjects should further offer students substantial opportunity for oral expression, through presentations, student-led discussion, or class participation. In order to guarantee sufficient attention to student writing and substantial opportunity for oral expression, the maximum number of students per section in a HASS CI subject is 18, except in the case of a subject taught without sections (where the faculty member in charge is the only instructor). In that case, enrollments can rise to 25, if a writing fellow is attached to the subject.
Grades will be determined by student performance on all of the following:
To summarize, students are required to:
WARNING: Students who miss more than two lectures and one recitation section without prior approval or an accepted medical excuse or who fail to do the reading or fail to turn in well thought out assignments will receive a failing grade for the class. There will be no exceptions.