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PLS 300
International Relations
Saint Martin's University


Dr. Richard L. Langill                                         Fall, 2014
emal:                             Office: Old Main 333
Phone: (360) 438-4588                                          (360) 943-3258
Office Hours:  MWF 9-10 am and 2-3

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the principles and patterns of international relations.  In the first part of the course, we will examine three approaches to the study of international politics - Realism, Liberalism and Marxism.  We will critically analyze the assumptions of these approaches and apply them to a series of case studies. 

Second, we will examine several case studies on war including the Persian Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in 1991 which was triggered by his invasion of Kuwait, the US- Iraq War from 2003 to the present, and the present Afghan War being prosecuted by the Obama Administration.


Third, we will examine the role that power plays in international relations.  Since states have the power and military capability to make war, it is necessary to understand the forces that help regulate this struggle for power.  Balance of power, collective security and world government have been suggested as approaches to the establishment of international peace and security.  We will examine the assumptions that each of these approaches make to promote a more peaceful international order.

Next, we will analyze the process of US foreign policy-making.  Some of the questions we will explore in this section include the following: How is US foreign policy made?  What models have been used to explain the process of foreign policy making?  What is the role of the President, National Security Administration, State Department, and the military in making US foreign policy?  What role does Congress, public opinion and the media play in the process of foreign policy making?  

Finally, we examine the Arab-Israeli conflict.  We will trace the development of this conflict, the major actors, issues, perspectives and policies for dealing with the conflict.  We will also examine the Oslo Peace Accords and the problem of negotiating the final status terms for settling this conflict.  As part of this section of the course, we will simulate a peace conference with students playing the role of the Israeli government, the Palestinian authority and the United States and other important players.  An outline of the simulation will be provided in class.

Middle East Simulation

In this course we will simulate a Middle East peace conference called under the auspices of the United Nations to bring about an end to violence between Israel, the Palestinian authority and various terrorist groups. The conference should address the contemporary cycle of violence between the parties as well as the underlying issues of peace, security and economic prosperity for the region.

We will assume that the UN Security Council has approved of a resolution convening a conference in Geneva, Switzerland with the following participants invited to attend- US, Israel, Palestinian authority, Egypt, Russia, UK, France, and Jordan.

The conference should address the following issues:
  (1)   ending the cycle of violence between Israel, the PA, and  terrorist
  (2)   the nature and status of the Israeli military occupation of the 
           West Bank  and Gaza
  (3)   establishment of secure and recognized boundaries for the states
           of the region;
  (4)   possible creation of a Palestinian state and the conditions under
          which that state might come into existence;
  (5)   the issue of the status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and/or
  (6)   the issue of settlements, water rights, status of refugees and
           displaced persons, compensation for these people;
  (7)    the issue of the wall or fence separating Israel from the West
  (8)   economic arrangements to promote higher standards of living for
           the people of the region
  (9)   establishment of international guarantees to implement the
           peace process.
(10)   the issue of the right of return for Palestinians displaced during
           the 1948 war.

Each delegation will consist of 3-4 students. Students will be responsible for researching the position of their state on these issues and writing a 7-10 paper addressing these issues from the perspective of their country. A shorter draft of this position paper will be due just before the convening of the peace conference with a final the final paper due Dec 3rd.  (The draft only need to outline your country's position on the conflict)   The final paper should consist
of three parts:

(1)   a statement of your country’s position on the issues of the Arab-
         Israeli conflict;
(2)    a statement of your strategy of operation during the conference;
(3)    your own personal evaluation of the simulation itself. Was this a
          useful exercise? Why or why not? To what extent were you able to
          realize your objectives? What factors in the simulation promoted
          or hampered a resolution of the conflict?

At least 5 pages of the paper should be devoted to your country's position; the remainder of the paper should focus on the simulation itself.  This paper MUST be footnoted properly with a bibliography of sources.
Grades for the paper will be based on the amount and quality of research, the quality of the writing, and analysis of the simulation itself.  Your willingness to engage in debate and discussion, to facilitate negotiations, and move the process forward will also influence your grade for this activity.

The instructor will act as the chairperson for the conference. He will function as a non-partisan presiding officer. Students should conduct themselves with proper decorum. Honest disagreement on the issues is one thing, name-calling or personal insults are not acceptable behavior.  Students should be prepared to enter into negotiations outside of class. Politics is the art of negotiation, compromise and finding ways of narrowing differences on issues.

Students should be prepared to use multiple sources of information on the simulation. Obviously, the textbook on the Middle East is a good place to start to gain an understanding of the issues. Most states including Israel and the Palestinian authority have websites that contain good information. The instructor's personal website also has useful links that might aid your research. Finally, the instructor will place issues on reserve in the Library which may be used to facilitate research and discussion.


There will be three examinations in this course. These examinations will be of the essay variety, requiring you to analyze and synthesize information. Great reliance is placed on you ability to express your ideas accurately and forcefully in written form. 

The examinations will be generated form the lectures, textbooks, reserve readings class discussions, and AV programs used during the semester.   When reading the textbooks and reserve readings, students should pay particular attention to the point of view or the author or thesis that is being put forward.  Mere recitation of factual information is useful but not sufficient to do well on examinations.   Each examination will count 20% of your grade.  Class participation based on your willingness to raise and answer questions in discussions will count 20% of our grade.  The final 20% of your grade will be based on your participation and written policy paper on the Middle East simulation


Total of Three Examinations

(300 points)  


Class Participation and Discussion

(100 points)


Middle East Paper and Simulation

(100 points)

    500 points

 Grades for the course are based on the following formula:


500-450 points



450-400 points



400-350 points



350-300 points



300-250 points


There is only one textbook for the class on foreign policy.  The rest of the readings are on the Moodle Webpage for this class.  These are articles and other materials that are required reading.  Questions from these readings will appear on the essay examinations for this course.  Be sure these are read.

Glenn Hastedt.  American Foreign Policy.  Pearson 8th or 9th Edition



8/ 25

Introduction to the Course




The Study of International Relations (1)


     Lecture Outline: The Study of International Relations 




Approaches to the Study of International Relations-


Realism, Liberalism and Marxism (3)


     Required Reading:  Competing World Views- Alan  


     Required Reading:  Six Principles of Political Realist
     Theory- Morgenthau


     PowerPoint Comparison Chart on the Approaches
      to World Politics




Case Studies on the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the Afghan War  (4)


     Required Reading: Stiles- Military Power: The Persian
     Gulf Wars I II

     Film:  Frontline: War Behind Closed Doors


     Film:  Frontline:  Obama's War



Balance of Power  (2)

     Required Reading  “ The Balance of Power System and
      Its Variations"


     Required Reading:  Different Methods of the Balance of


     Lecture Outline:  Balance of Power




Collective Security- League of Nations and United Nations (2)


     Required Reading:  "Collective Security"


     Required Reading:  "United Nations"


     Lecture Outline: Collective Security


     Lecture Outline: League of Nations and UN




World Government  (1)


     Required Reading: "World Government"


     Required Reading: "World Law"


     Lecture Outline: World Government




Funtionalism  (1)


     Required Reading: "Functionalism"


     Lecture Outline: 


     Lecture Outline: Functionalism



Oct 1st

First Examination



Oct 3-6

Models of Foreign Policy Making  (2)

    Required Reading:  Hastedt.  Chpt 9. Policy Makiing



Oct  8-10

The Presidency and Foreign Policy (3)


      Required Reading: Hastedt Chpt 1,2,3,7

Oct 20-27

Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy-  State, Defense,


CIA, and the National Security Council (4)


     Required Reading:  Hastedt Chpt 8,10,11,12, 13,14



Oct 29-31

Congress and Foreign Policy (2)


     Required Reading:  Halstedt Chpt 6



Nov 3

Public Opinion and Foreign Policy (1)


     Required Reading:  Chpt 4,5



Nov 5th

Second Examination







Nov 7-17

Development of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (6)

     Required Reading:  CQ Press- "Arab-Israeli

Nov 19- Dec 1st

Simulation of the Middle East Peace Conference (5)


Middle East Websites for Simulation


Dec 3

 Evaluation of  the Simulation