Fall 2019 - POL 445W D100

American Foreign Policy (4)

Class Number: 7743

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 2540, Vancouver

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 12, 2019
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    HCC 1520, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    Eight upper division units in Political Science or permission of the department.



Examines US foreign policy in the post World War II era. Topics to be covered will include the formation of foreign policy, 20th century American security issues, alliance relations, crisis management and international economic relations. Writing.


Is it possible to make sense of US foreign policy anymore? US President Donald J. Trump appears to be pushing a drastic reorientation of US policy on the world stage. Trump: praises autocrats, like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, while he argues with democratically elected leaders, like Germany’s Angela Merkel; questions longstanding US alliance commitments and trade partnerships with allies, while seeking accommodation with traditional US adversaries; is reducing the size and role of the US State Department, the arm of the US government most responsible for diplomatic efforts abroad, while increasing funding for the US military. Mr. Trump has also threatened to use nuclear weapons against North Korea and considered invading Venezuela. What’s going on?  

This course introduces students to important ideas about the conduct of US foreign policy and asks whether these traditional ways of understanding US actions and orientations on the world stage remain useful in the era of President Donald J. Trump. Course topics include: the global context confronting US foreign policy makers; market influences on US foreign policy; Domestic political explanations of US foreign policy; national values and mass attitudes in US foreign policy; bureaucratic influences on US foreign policy; and the perceptions of leaders.

There will be a four-hour seminar per week.


  • Seven two-page essays 45%
  • Foreign policy simulation exercise 10%
  • Final exam 25%
  • Attendance and participation in class 20%



Ikenberry, G. John and Peter I. Trubowitz. 2014. American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays 7th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
ISBN: 13: 978-0199350834

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see http://www.sfu.ca/politics/undergraduate/program/related_links.html and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html