All of the books are at the GMU bookstore as well as online stores. All other materials will be available on Blackboard.
- Christian G. Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (Penguin 2016) ISBN-13: 978-0143128342
- Ronald R. Krebs, Narrative and the Making of US National Security (Cambridge University Press 2015) ISBN-13: 978-1107503991
- Russell Walter Mead, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World (Taylor and Francis 2002; Routledge 2009) ISBN-13 978-0375412301
- Andrew Bacevich, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press 2013) ISBN-13: 978-0199931767
Course Format and Process
We will meet on Zoom at our appointed time on Monday evenings. We will not go 2.5 hours, however, and other course activities will make up for the additional time. I will record the sessions in case people’s schedules for any reason make attendance impossible.
Each week, students will read the material, respond to the discussion board prompt on Blackboard, and attend class, where I will typically provide a short briefing but most of the time will be spent in discussion.
Note: I do not expect students to have an extensive background in security studies, but I do expect everyone to read the material before class and to share their thoughts and insights with the class. I especially encourage those students who have professional experience with these subjects to share their knowledge.
Enthusiastic seminar participation (15%)
There will be roughly 20 students in our class, making live Zoom sessions a reasonable (if not optimal) proposition for discussion. These will be recorded for posterity and future viewing.
Weekly reading responses (15%)
Short essays responding to provocations posed on our Blackboard discussion board about the readings. Due before class each week in order to encourage everyone to do some processing before we discuss the readings live. You are excused from writing this in the weeks you are turning in a critical response essay.
Critical response essays (25%)
Two short critical response essays, of approximately 3 double-spaced pages, on the week’s readings. Due before the class session in which the readings are discussed. Pick your weeks wisely. More information is available on Blackboard and we will discuss in class.
Research paper (30%)
An analytical research paper of 15+/- pages. For Master’s students your paper will follow either the Public Opinion or the “Politics Of” Case Study template. PhD students may propose alternate topics of their own. Due Dec 12. More information is available on Blackboard and we will discuss in class.
Peer review and weekly accountability groups (15%)
Students will be assigned to three-person writing groups to provide weekly accountability and peer review. Each student will submit a peer review of one research proposal and one rough draft. More information is available on Blackboard and we will discuss in class.
Readings & Lectures
Course introduction, historical context
Mead, Special Providence, (all)
Appy, American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (all)
No class today
Opinion formation and the sources of foreign policy attitudes
· Zaller, Chs 1 and 2, from The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion
· Wittkopf, “On the Foreign Policy Beliefs of the American People,”
· Kertzer, et al, “Moral Support: How Moral Values Shape Foreign Policy Attitudes,”
· Rathbun, et al, “Taking Foreign Policy Personally,”
Will they support the mission? War, presidents, casualties, and public opinion
· Jentleson and Britton, “Still Pretty Prudent,”
· Gelpi, Feaver, and Reifler, “Success Matters,”
· Berinsky, “Assuming the Costs of War,”
· Baum and Groeling, “Reality Asserts Itself,”
Narratives and national security
· Krebs, Narratives and the Making of US National Security, (all)
9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the GWOT
· Jacobson, “A Tale of Two Wars,”
· Mueller and Stewart, “The Terrorism Delusion,”
· Snyder, et al “Free Hand Abroad,”
Tues Oct 13
Congress vs. the Imperial President
· Readings TBD
The military in politics
· Bacevich, The New American Militarism, (all)
The media, the marketplace of ideas, and national security politics
· Hallin, “The Media, the War in Vietnam,”
· Entman, “Framing U.S. Coverage of International News,”
· Kaufman, “Selling the Iraq War,”
· Thrall, “A Bear in the Woods?”
Peace and antiwar movements since Vietnam
Guest Speaker: Kate Kizer, Policy Director, Win Without War (@KateKizer)
· Readings TBD
Flex day: class will vote topic
· Readings TBD
Party politics and the struggle over the future of US foreign policy
· Burns, “Polarized Politics Has Infected American Diplomacy,”
· Schultz, “The Perils of Polarization for U.S. Foreign Policy,”
· Dueck, “What Is Conservative Nationalism?”
· Nexon, “Towards a Neo-Progressive Foreign Policy,”
· Biden, “Why America Must Lead Again,”
China, American decline, and the politics of retrenchment
· Brands, “The Chinese Century?”
· Campbell and Sullivan, “Competition Without Catastrophe,”
· MacDonald and Parent, “Graceful Decline?”
Trump, COVID-19, and the evolution of American internationalism
· Holsti and Rosenau, “Consensus Lost, Consensus Regained?”
· Thrall and Goepner, “New Faces of Internationalism,”
· Brands, “Is American Internationalism Dead?”
Final paper due by midnight Saturday Dec 12