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Government 1817

Making Sense of World Politics

Prof. Sarah Kreps
Department of Government
Cornell University
Fall 2019

Course Information:
Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:10-11:25am

Contact Information Office Hours

Office: 313 White Hall Tu/Th 2-3pm
Email: sarah.kreps@cornell.edu
Web: http://government.cornell.edu/sarah-kreps

Teaching Assistants:
Cameron Mailhot (Head TA, crm328@cornell.edu); Thalia Gerzso (tg355@cornell.edu), Michael
Kriner (mk2537@cornell.edu), and Darin Self (ds2237@cornell.edu).

Objectives. This course is designed to fulfill two objectives: first, to provide an analytical
perspective with which to understand why actors in global politics make the decisions they do; and,
second, to offer an understanding of key historical and contemporary issues in world politics,
including international security and interstate conflict; global trade and finance; and international
institutions and law. A significant portion of the course involves developing a theoretical
framework with which to understand international politics. We will also apply that framework and
various analytical concepts to recent events and contemporary foreign policy debates. Through
written work and discussion sections, students are encouraged to take an active role in linking
theories with contemporary global politics.

Instructor. Sarah Kreps is a Professor in the Department of Government and Adjunct Professor of
Law at Cornell. She joined the faculty at Cornell in 2008. Kreps’s research is in the area of
international security, with a focus on military alliances, international institutions, and emerging
defense technologies. She has written five books, including the forthcoming book, International
Relations and Mass Media 2.0 (Cambridge University Press). Prior to starting graduate school,
she served in the United States Air Force.

Class Policies and Expectations. Lecture attendance is required for this course. The instructor
reserves the right to take attendance during lecture sessions and to call on students drawn at random
from the class list.

The use of laptops, tablets, or phones is not permitted during lecture or discussion
sections. There is a growing body of empirical evidence that taking notes by hand improves
learning outcomes, as well as that “multitasking” doesn’t really work. Checking social media
sites, surfing the web, texting and the like are distracting not only to you, but also to those sitting
around you and to the instructor. Banning laptop and tablet use also helps to facilitate an
interactive classroom environment, both in lectures and in discussion sections. Lecture slides

will be available before class so that you can print out lecture slides and take notes on those if
you choose.

Students are expected to arrive prior to the start of class so that lectures and sections can begin on
time and without disruption. Students are expected to refrain from distracting behaviors (using their
phone, chatting with those around them, etc.) during lecture. Students are encouraged to ask
questions during lecture. If you do not understand something, please ask questions; others in
the class likely will thank you for doing this! We will not be able cover every reading or idea in
class; if a concept is unclear, please ask questions during lecture, in section, or during office hours.

Grading. Your final grade will consist of four components: The midterm (25%); writing
assignments (25%); final examination (35%); and attendance and participation (15%). If your paper
is late you will be graded down by one grade for every 12 hours (for example from an A- to a B+).
You may appeal any of your grades only after you have handed the head TA a two-page, double-
spaced, neatly typed memorandum that explains why you think that you have been treated unfairly.
As you will soon discover, the Government Department has some of the best TAs who are regularly
winning coveted teaching awards in the Arts College. Your TA is your best teacher, advocate and
mentor. The chances are very small indeed that you will feel aggrieved.

Examinations (60% of final grade): There will be one in-class examination, plus the final exam. The
in-class exam accounts for 25% of the final grade; the final exam counts for 35% of the final
grade. The examinations will evaluate students’ knowledge of key concepts discussed in class
and/or in the assigned readings. The exam will cover material in the first and second part of the class,
respectively. This includes lecture material, lecture readings, section material and section readings. The
final examination multiple choice and essay portion will be comprehensive in scope. Make-up
examinations will be given only in cases of true emergencies; missing an exam because you’re
traveling, for instance, is not an “emergency.” Do not schedule your holiday travel, for example,
before the final exam.

The final exam for this course is on December 14 at 9am. The Registrar sets the exam schedule,
and faculty members are not authorized to change it. You can also check for yourself at

Writing (25%): Each student is required to write two papers during the semester. The papers will
be two different types of writing.

The first is a 2-3 page policy memo. The policy memo requires identifying an issue, making a
reasoned argument in favor of a specific policy action, and addressing counterarguments. The
policy memo is worth 10% of your grade and is due by September 26. Please coordinate the topic
with your TA in advance.

The second assignment is an 8-10 page hypothesis testing paper. Each student will write a paper
over the course of the semester aimed at testing a hypothesis using data she will collect on her
own. The details of the social scientific process, and of formulating and empirically testing a
hypothesis, will be discussed in detail in class and section. A one-page statement of your topic
(more precisely, your research question) will be due the Thursday before fall break (October 10).
The full paper is due in lecture on Thursday, November 21. The paper is worth 15% of your

Apart from family emergencies or illness (the latter certified by Gannett), late papers will be
downgraded. For every 12 hours your paper is late, you will be marked down by one grade (for
example from an A- to a B+).

The professor and TAs will meet frequently to discuss grading rubrics and ensure consistency of

Section Attendance and Participation (15%): Discussion sections are a central part of this class.
They provide an opportunity to apply concepts introduced in lectures and readings to particular issues.
Specific readings are assigned for each week’s sections, and these often introduce new theories and
arguments. These readings are as important as those assigned for lecture; please be sure to read
them prior to your section meeting. Although sections also provide an opportunity to ask questions
regarding the lectures and readings, the main objective is discussion, and the main responsibility for
generating and sustaining discussion belongs to students (rather than to the teaching assistant).
Teaching assistants will circulate questions for discussion prior to each week’s section meeting. These
questions should help to guide your preparation for section. Students also are encouraged to submit
questions – either points from readings that need clarification, or larger policy and theoretical issues
that could be discussed in sections – to their TA prior to the weekly section meeting.

Please keep in mind that in evaluating students’ participation in section, teaching assistants will pay
attention to the quality as well as the quantity of one’s contributions. The student who offers one
well-considered contribution may be evaluated more highly than the student who offers multiple
off-topic or tangential points. This means that listening carefully to the conversation, and to others’
contributions to the conversation, is essential to performing well in section. Teaching assistants will
provide students with a mid-semester participation grade so that students have a sense of their
performance in section.

Attendance, of course, is a prerequisite for class participation. Students who miss two to four
sections, as well as students who attend regularly but do not participate in section, will have
their grade lowered proportionately.

More than four section absences will result in a failing section grade. Any student who
receives a failing section grade (a grade below 60) will automatically receive an F for the
class, regardless of performance on in-class exams, the final exams, or the position papers.

There will periodically be quizzes at the beginning or end of the lecture that are part of the
participation grade. These will be only one or two questions and will gauge whether you
are processing the reading and coming to lecture.

Academic Integrity and Other University Policies. Each student in this course is expected to
abide by the Cornell University Code of Academic Integrity. This means that any written work you
submit in this course will be your own. The Code of Academic Integrity and Acknowledging the
Work of Others is found in the Policy Notebook for the Cornell Community. See https://cornell-
classic.univcomm.cornell.edu/provost/docs/0814-academic-integrity.pdf. An additional document
you may want to consult is posted at http://cuinfo.cornell.edu/aic.cfm. A Cornell tutorial called
Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism can be found at
http://plagiarism.arts.cornell.edu/tutorial/index.cfm. If you are in any doubt about how to cite
material that you wish to use please consult your TA. Your enrollment in this course signifies that

you have granted your permission to submit your written work to services that check the
authenticity and originality of your work. You should also be aware of the fact that you may not
turn in the same piece of work (or part thereof) for credit in multiple classes, either in the same
semester or while at Cornell in general.

I respect and uphold Cornell University policies and regulations pertaining to: the observation of
religious holidays; assistance available to the physically handicapped, visually and or/hearing
impaired student; sexual harassment; and racial or ethnic discrimination.

Students with Disabilities: In compliance with the Cornell University policy and equal access laws,
the TAs and I are available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that may be required
for student with disabilities. Students are encouraged to register with Student Disability Services to
verify their eligibility for appropriate accommodations. Students seeking accommodations should
submit to me an accommodation letter from Student Disability Services within the first two weeks
of the semester.

Religious Observances: Students may ask for reasonable and timely accommodations for sincerely
held religious beliefs. Please review the syllabus closely to determine if your religion will present
any scheduling conflicts with any of the assignments. You must inform the Head TA of any
conflicts within the first two weeks of the semester.

Classroom Behavior: Students and faculty each have a responsibility for maintaining an appropriate
learning environment. Students will treat one another with respect and courtesy.

Required Texts and Articles. Success in this course requires doing the assigned reading, both for
lecture and section. Sometimes, there is substantial overlap between the readings and the lecture;
other days, you are expected to be familiar with the assigned reading, and the lecture will present
different material. Students are expected to read all assigned materials, and to do so before that day’s
class. We will refer to the readings during lecture, as well as in discussion sections; if you’re not aware
of the arguments and facts in the readings, the lectures and recitations will be more difficult to
understand. For the exams, you are responsible for material that is covered in lectures and in the
readings, regardless of whether it is covered in both.

The following book is available for purchase at the Cornell Bookstore and is required for the course. If
you obtain books from another source, please be sure to purchase the correct edition of the book.

Jeffry A. Frieden, David A. Lake and Kenneth A. Schultz. 2018. World Politics: Interests, Interactions
and Institutions, 4th edition. New York: W.W. Norton Company. ISBN-13: 978-0393675108.
Referred to below as “FLS.”

In addition, there are several chapters from the online textbook below. Each is downloadable

Dan Reiter, Understanding War and Peace. Online textbook, 2018 (Chapters on Drones and
Leaders). https://www.understandingwarandpeace.com
Please note that this is only available through Kindle. Be aware that you will need the free Kindle
reader app on your phone, table, or computer to purchase and access the reading.

Reading materials not contained in these two books are indicated with a reference to Canvas ([C]) on
the syllabus or with a link or citation. These readings are as important as those from the texts, so
please be sure to read them – either in electronic or printed form – prior to class.

Keeping up with international news is another important element of this course. The New York
Times and The Washington Post provide good international coverage; they typically are the basis
for current events questions on exams, as well as for class discussions. Both the www.nytimes.com
and www.washingtonpost.com offer some content for free; they also have daily email updates to
which you can subscribe, and reduced student rates for full digital access of home delivery.
Additionally, BBC News, the Washington Post, The Economist, National Public Radio, and The
Wall Street Journal are very useful sources of global news. I would also recommend finding and
following some foreign policy wonks on Twitter.

Please note that the professor reserves the right to make changes to the syllabus,
including paper due dates, test dates, and reading (added when new, relevant readings
surface). These changes, should they occur, will be announced as early as possible so
that students can adjust their schedules.

Course Schedule and Reading Assignments

Lecture Date Topic Assigned Readings

August 29 (Th) -Course Introduction -Course syllabus
-Key concepts in IR -FLS, Introduction, pp. xxiv-
September 3 (T) -Theories, Hypotheses, and the -[C] Jack Snyder, “One World,
Scientific Method Rival Theories.” Also review FLS
-Grand theories of IR (Realism, reading from August 29, which
Liberalism, Constructivism) summarizes grand theories.
-[C] John Mearsheimer,
“Anarchy and the Struggle for
Power,” Tragedy of Great
Power Politics.
-[C] Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy
is What States Make of It: The
Social Construction of Power

September 5 (Th) -Grand theories of IR, continued -FLS, Chapter 1, pp. 2-41.
-The Historical Foundations of IR

September 10 (Tu) -What Matters in IR? Interests, -FLS, Chapter 2, pp. 42-87
Institutions and Interactions (including the “Primer on Game

September 12 (Th) -Why Are There Wars? -FLS, Chapter 3, pp. 88-137.

September 17 (Tu) -Domestic Politics -FLS, Chapter 4, pp. 138-185.

-[C] Kenneth Schultz, “The Perils
of Polarization in US Foreign

September 19 (Th) -Foreign Policy Decision Making -Graham Allison, “The Cuban
Missile Crisis,”
-[C] William Howell and Jon
Pevehouse, “When Congress
Stops Wars”
September 24 (Tu) -Public Opinion -[C] Ole Holsti, “Public Opinion
and Foreign Policy.”
-Walter Russell Mead, “Changing
the Paradigms,” chapter 3 in
Special Providence (library
September 26 (Th) Foreign Policy Decision-Making: In-class Simulation

October 1 (Tu) -Leaders and International Politics -Michael Horowitz, “Leaders,

Institutions, and Foreign Policy.”
(Reiter textbook)

October 3 (Th) -International Institutions and -FLS, Chapter 5, pp. 186-214.

International Law: Alliances -Charles Kupchan, NATO is
Thriving in Spite of Trump:
Adversity Has Made the Alliance
Stronger,” Foreign Affairs, 20
March 2019.

October 8 (Tu) -International Institutions and -FLS, Chapter 11, pp. 462-474.
International Law: Compliance
-[C]Christine Gray, International
Law and the Use of Force,

-[C]Steven Ratner, “Jus ad Bellum
and Jus in Bello after September
11,” AJIL

October 10 (Th) -International Institutions: -FLS, Chapter 11, pp. 215-235.

intervention and peacekeeping
-[C] Martha Finnemore.
“Changing Norms of
Humanitarian Intervention.”
-[C] Samantha Power.
“Bystanders to Genocide:
Why the US Let the
Rwandan Genocide

October 15 (Tu) Fall Break

October 17 (Th) Civil War and Terrorism -FLS, Chapter 6, pp. 236-293.
-[C] Lisa Monaco. “Preventing the
Next Attack: A Strategy for the
War on Terrorism.” Foreign
Affairs November/December
October 22 (Tu) Midterm Exam
October 24 (Th) -Transnational networks -FLS, Chapter 11, pp. 475-497.
-[C] Matt Evangelista, “The
Paradox of State Strength:
Transnational Relations,
Domestic Structures, and Security
Policy in Russia and the Soviet
October 29 (Tu) -International Human Rights -FLS, Chapter 12, pp. 499-539.

October 31 (Th) -The Global Environment -FLS, Chapter 13, pp. 541-583.

November 5 (Tu) -Nuclear Proliferation -FLS, pp. 593-606.

-Kenneth Waltz, “More May be
-Kroenig, “Why a strike is the
least bad option,” Foreign Affairs
-Kahl, “Not Time to Attack Iran,”
Foreign Affairs.
November 7 (Tu) -Proliferation and Governance of -Sarah Kreps, “Drone Warfare.”
New Technologies (Reiter online textbook chapter)
-Michael Klare, “The Challenges

of Emerging Technologies,”
Arms Control Today,
November 12 (Tu) -Economic development and the -FLS, Chapter 10, pp. 424-461.
global economy -William Easterly, “Aid
-Foreign aid Amnesia,”
-Jeffrey Sachs, “The Case for
November 14 (Th) In-Class Debate: Foreign Aid
November 19 (Tu) -International trade -FLS, Chapter 7, pp. 294-339,
-The rationale for trade and for 340-343. Be sure to read the
protection special topics section, which
explains the logic of comparative
-“Unpacking the US-China Tech
Trade War,” 5 June 2019,
November 21 (Th) -International Financial Relations -FLS, Chapter 8, pp. 346-384.
-“Trade-restrictive measures
continue at historically high
level,” World Trade
November 26 (Tu) -Exchange Rates -FLS, Chapter 9, pp. 386-423.
-International Monetary Relations -[C] Kathleen McNamara, “A
Less Perfect Union? Europe after
the Crisis.” Foreign Affairs, July
2015, 9 pp.
November 28 (Th) Thanksgiving

December 3 (Tu) -Information Technology -Herbert Lin, “Cyber Conflict and

Revolution and IR National Security”
-Michael Horowitz, “Artificial
Intelligence, International
Competition, and the Balance of
Power,” Texas National Security

-Sarah Kreps and Miles McCain,
“Not Your Father’s Bot: How AI is
Making Fake News Look Real,”
Foreign Affairs, 2 August 2019.
December 5 (Th) -Identity Politics and Nationalism -Benjamin Barber, "Jihad vs.
-Jonathan Haidt, “When and Why
Nationalism Beats Globalism,”
-Case Mudde and Cristobal Rovira
Kaltwasser, “Studying Populism in
Comparative Perspective,:
Reflections on the Contemporary
and Future Research Agenda,”
Comparative Political Studies,
51.13 (2018), 1667-1693.

December 10 (Tu) -The Future of International -FLS, Chapter 14, pp. 584-593 and
Politics 606-637.

-[C]Larry Diamond, “Democracy in

Decline,” Foreign Affairs (July/August

-Stephen Walt, “The Top 5 Foreign

Policy Lessons of the Past 20 Years,”
Foreign Policy, November 2014, at