Fall 2020 - POL 445W D100

American Foreign Policy (4)

Class Number: 7195

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • 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.


Course material will be delivered using a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities. Access to a reliable internet connection is strongly recommended.

Calendar Description:

This course provides an introduction to US foreign policy. The course focuses on important explanations of US actions and orientations on the world stage. Emphasis will be placed on evaluating US foreign policy during the Presidency of Donald J. Trump.

Course Description:

Is it possible to make sense of US foreign policy anymore? 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, while seeking accommodation with traditional US adversaries; is reducing the size and role of the US State Department while increasing funding for the US military. Mr. Trump has also threatened to use nuclear weapons against North Korea, considered invading Venezuela, and encouraged Ukraine to help him undermine his political rival, Joseph Biden. What’s going on?

This course encourages students to answer questions about current US foreign policy by learning about how the US conducted itself on the world stage in the past and understanding why the US government behaved in these ways. Emphasis is placed on learning how to write clearly and persuasively about US foreign affairs 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.


  • Weekly essays and assignments 60%
  • (Virtual) Foreign policy simulation 15%
  • Research project 20%
  • Participation in class 5%


Notes: Students will be required to submit essays to Turnitin.com to get credit for their assignments.



Kaufman, Joyce P. A concise history of US foreign policy. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017. 


ISBN: 13: 978-1442270459

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).