GOVT-369 International Security
Offered academic year 2010-2011
This course examines international security and the use of military force. Ongoing counterterrorism operations against al-Qa’ida worldwide, the insurgency being fought in Afghanistan, the presence of U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula, fears of a future war with China, and repeated calls for humanitarian intervention all suggest the ongoing and future relevance of security issues.
This course is divided into four parts. The first section is a theoretical review of the causes of wars and the nature of security. Section two looks at how the use of force has evolved in modern history. In the third section, we examine critical issues in using force today, examining nuclear weapons, air power, intelligence, and other elements of military force. The fourth section looks at the problem of sub-state violence, including counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations.
When examining these issues, this course draws on several past and current struggles. They include the first and second World Wars; humanitarian intervention in Rwanda; the Algerian uprising against France; and battling al-Qa’ida. Students will learn about the causes of these various struggles and possible means of ameliorating or ending them.
Students are not expected to have a strong background in military operations, but they are expected to have taken the introduction to international relations class and to be familiar with the subject in general. We will not repeat those readings. Students with personal knowledge of the region or military operations are encouraged to share their knowledge with the class.
Students must attend every class session prepared to participate. Since class discussion will go well beyond the readings, absence severely diminishes what you learn from this course. Accordingly, each absence will require a five page makeup paper on the topic of the week. If you know you will miss class or require an extension because of a religious holiday or school-sanctioned activity, you must notify me in writing during the first two weeks of classes. Unless your religion calls for randomly scheduled holidays to which observers receive no advance notice, this should not be difficult.
Assignments and Grading
Student grades are based on four assignments and class participation: an in-class exam that covers military operations past and present, three papers (seven pages, double-spaced, each), and class participation. All are weighted equally. The book review paper will involve choosing among six books selected by the professor and writing an incisive essay on the work. The exams will involve both short answer questions on key terms and longer essays about important historical, functional, or theoretical issues related to the use of force. Some of the papers will involve limited, but not extensive, additional readings.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '13: Byman D (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
Other academic years
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