BLHV-240 International Relations for the 21st century
Fall for 2017-2018
Spring for 2017-2018
A Danish newspaper publishes a series of religious cartoons and sparks riots resulting in fatalities in Afghanistan. Live reports from an Arab satellite news service stall a U.S. Marine offensive in Iraq. A Chinese government thriving in a global economy empowered by satellite communications successfully tests an anti-satellite missile and destroys a satellite in orbit. Across Western Europe and the United States, waves of immigration stand to challenge traditional perceptions of national identity, culture and religion in those states. In a world characterized by increasing turbulence and unintended effects, is international behavior simply the sum of random interactions between powers and interests, or can traditional theories of international relations continue to describe, explain and predict events? Confronted with the challenges of nuclear proliferation, persistent global poverty, and environmental degradation, does international relations theory provide any intellectual space for a discussion of ethics in global behavior?

This course is designed to provide students with a basic framework for understanding the nature of contemporary international relations. The first part covers the classical theories used for examining the international system (realism, liberalism, idealism, behavioralism). The second part looks at the enduring problems of global security, the problem of war, globalization, and the emerging crises of environmental change and natural resource depletion. Throughout the course, we will take time to discuss the ethical dilemmas we confront when theory meets value-driven national policy. Upon completion, students should be able to identify key concepts, actors, and issues in the modern interstate system and be prepared for advanced coursework in the field of international relations. (Not open to students who have completed BLHV 205.)

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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