US Foreign Policy in Action: An Innovative Teaching Text


This innovative teaching text on United States foreign policy interprets the foreign policy decision-making process through the lens of political debate and exchange. It introduces historical developments and theories of U.S. foreign policy and engages students in the politics of the foreign policy process through innovative learning exercises.

  • Features critical analysis of contemporary trends in U.S. foreign policy, including debates in the Obama administration, foreign policy...
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US Foreign Policy in Action: An Innovative Teaching Text

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This innovative teaching text on United States foreign policy interprets the foreign policy decision-making process through the lens of political debate and exchange. It introduces historical developments and theories of U.S. foreign policy and engages students in the politics of the foreign policy process through innovative learning exercises.

  • Features critical analysis of contemporary trends in U.S. foreign policy, including debates in the Obama administration, foreign policy and the 2012 presidential election, and reaction to the Arab Spring
  • Written by an award-winning teacher-scholar in international relations, with extensive experience in both policy making and pedagogy
  • Views foreign policy decision making through the lends of political debate
  • Offers fresh perspectives on historical developments as well as surveying prominent foreign policy theories
  • Includes new and innovative participatory learning exercises exploring a range of themes including executive/ legislature conflict
  • Contains extensive teaching and learning applications, including discussion questions, document templates, worksheets, suggested readings, and links to web resources throughout
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“Jeffrey Lantis has written a first rate study of US Foreign Policy in an age of uncertainty, complexity and transition. This comprehensive book, covering both theory and practice, looks at economic, security, environmental, and human rights issues, as well as the US’s relationships with other great powers. In particular, it provides an excellent pedagogical approach for students with a range of active learning frameworks designed to promote engagement with critical issues of international relations and help students experience the real world of policy making.”—John Baylis, Swansea University

"Topical. Innovative.  Engaging.  This textbook will draw students in with a crisp discussion of United States foreign policy history and process and enhances the learning experience with well-designed classroom exercises. If you’ve been looking for a textbook to help you foster a more active learning classroom environment, this is it!"—Douglas Foyle, Wesleyan University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781444331004
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/14/2013
  • Series: POPS - Principles of Political Science Series, #5
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey S. Lantis is Professor of Political Science at The College of Wooster, USA. He teaches courses on U.S. foreign policy, international security, comparative foreign policy, and war and peace on film. A former Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Australian National University, Lantis is author of The Life and Death of International Treaties (2009), and co-editor of Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective: Domestic and International Influences on State Behavior (2012). He is past president of the Active Learning in International Affairs Section of the International Studies Association (ISA), and has directed numerous workshops on active learning approaches. In 2010, he was co-recipient of the Deborah J. Gerner Innovative Teaching Award in International Studies, the highest teaching award bestowed by the ISA.

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Table of Contents

List of Photos ix

List of Figures xi

List of Maps xii

List of Tables xiii

Preface and Acknowledgments xiv

1 Introduction: United States Foreign Policy in Action 1

Historical Foundations 3

Major Actors in the Foreign Policy Process 7

Pedagogical Approach: How to Use This Book 9

Key Features 10

Overview of the Book 11

2 The History of US Foreign Policy 14

Revolutionary Values 15

The Struggle to Defi ne the New Nation 18

Manifest Destiny? 22

The Civil War 24

Rise to Globalism 26

The “American Century” and World Wars 29

Discussion Questions 35

3 Foreign Policy in the Cold War and Post-Cold War Era 38

Introduction 39

The Cold War 40

The Truman Doctrine 42

Korea and Vietnam 45

Redefining Values and Interests? 47

The End of the Cold War 55

Engagement and Enlargement 58

Interests versus Values? The War on Terrorism 59

Discussion Questions 64

4 Key Government Institutions: The President, Congress, and the Courts 68

Section I: Constitutional Authority and the “Invitation to Struggle” 69

The President and the Executive Branch 71

Presidential Influence 72

Instruments of Presidential Power 83

Congress: The Legislative Branch 84

The Courts: The Judicial Branch 95

Conclusion 98

Discussion Questions 99

Section II: Structured Debate: Leadership in Action and the War on Terrorism 100

Guidelines and Rules of Procedure 100

Debate: Executive Dominance and the War on Terrorism 101

Background: The War on Terrorism 101

Framing the Debate: Values and Interests 103

Position 1: YES, The President Should Have Greater Authority in the War on Terrorism 103

Additional Resources 105

Position 2: NO, The President Should Not Have More Foreign Policy Authority 106

Additional Resources 111

5 Bureaucracies: Unelected Actors in the Foreign Policy Process 116

Section I: Bureaucracies and Foreign Policy 117

Key Characteristics of Bureaucracies 117

The Theory of Bureaucratic Politics 119

The Department of Defense 122

The Department of State 129

Intelligence Bureaucracies 137

Discussion Questions 144

Section II: National Security Council Simulation: Bureaucratic Politics in Action 145

Exercise Scenario: Proliferation Threats 147

Iranian Nuclear Ambitions 148

Appendices: Templates and Role Assignments 155

Additional Resources 160

6 Interest Groups and Political Parties 163

Section I: The Power of Unelected Actors 164

Interest Groups 164

What Do You Want? How to Lobby Effectively 168

Types of Interest Groups 171

Political Parties 179

Conclusion: Are All Politics “Local”? 185

Discussion Questions 185

Section II: Interest Groups in Action: Case-Based Learning 186

Pedagogical Approach 186

Environmental Policy: The United States, Interest Groups, and Climate Change 186

A Change of Climate? 193

Legislative Showdown 197

Case Discussion Questions 200

7 Public Opinion and the Media 204

Section I: Reaching the Masses? Public Opinion and the Media 205

Public Opinion 205

Public Attitudes and Foreign Policy: A Direct Line? 214

Media and Foreign Policy 216

The Functions of Media 217

Contemporary Trends in Media Coverage 221

Discussion Questions 224

Section II: Public Opinion and the Media in Action: Problem-Based Cooperative Learning 226

Research Project 1: Alternative News Media and Foreign Policy: Educating the Public? 226

Research Project 2: The Media and National Security: Is There a Public “Right to Know”? 230

8 Grand Strategy: Then and Now 243

Section I: What is Grand Strategy? 244

Alternative Grand Strategy Frames for US Foreign Policy Positions 246

Hegemony/Unilateralism 247

Multilateralism 251

Isolationism/Parochialism 255

Formulating Grand Strategy in the Post-9/11 World 258

Discussion Questions 260

Section II: Structured Debate: A New Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century? 262

Guidelines and Rules of Procedure 262

Framing the Debate 263

Position 1: YES, A New Foreign Policy Should be Strongly Multilateral – Vital Interests are Global 263

What Does Multilateralism Mean for Foreign Policy? 265

Transnational Issues and Multilateral Solutions 265

Additional Resources 270

Position 2: NO, A New Foreign Policy Should be Isolationist/Parochial – Vital Interests are Domestic 270

“It’s the Economy, Stupid” 271

What Does Parochialism Mean for US Foreign Policy? 272

The War on Terror and US Parochialism 274

A Sustainable Foreign Policy Agenda? 276

Additional Resources 278

9 Contemporary Foreign Policy Analysis 282

Fundamental Dynamics of Foreign Policy 283

Obama Foreign Policy 285

The Arab Spring Meets Liberal Engagement 288

Domestic Political Constraints 289

Foreign Policy Continuity versus Change 293

What Can You Do? 295

Bibliography 298

Index 324

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