Fall 2016 - 60680 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

Foreign Policy Strategy & Decision-making

This advanced graduate course will examine how leaders formulate a coherent and effective strategy for policy-making in a complex and unpredictable global environment. Readings and discussions will focus on planning, organization, persuasion, and adaptation to changing international pressures. The course will focus on case studies in leadership, as well as broader studies of global change in the modern world. Students should gain a greater appreciation for what it means to be an effective strategist, policy-maker, and agenda-setter. They should also acquire a certain humility about the difficulties involved with fulfilling these often inhuman tasks.

Course Reading List:

Chollet, Derek. The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America’s Role in the World (New York: Public Affairs, 2016). 978-1610396608.

Clausewitz, Carl von. On War, edited and translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976). Paperback. 978-0691018546.

Herodotus, The Histories, trans. Robin Waterfield (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). Paperback. 978-0199535668.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince, translated by Harvey C. Mansfield (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998). Paperback. 978-0226500447.

Qvortrup, Matthew. Angela Merkel: Europe’s Most Influential Leader (New York: Overlook Press, 2016). 978-1468313161.

Suri, Jeremi and Benjamin Valentino, eds., Sustainable Security: Rethinking American National Security Strategy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016). Paperback. 978–0190611484.  Available for students on UT Canvas.

Tolstoy, Leo. War and Peace, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (New York: Vintage, 2008). Paperback. 978-1400079988.

Tzu, Sun. The Art of War, translated by Samuel Griffith (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971). Paperback. 978-0195014761.

Varoufakis, Yanis. And the Weak Suffer What They Must? Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future (New York: Perseus Books, 2015).

Course Requirements:

Weekly Response Essays

Each week by 5:PM on the Monday before class, all students should post a short response essay on the course website (available through UT’s Canvas Course Management Website): http://canvas.utexas.edu/.

This response essay should include 3 basic paragraphs. The first paragraph should summarize the key arguments in the readings and their significance. The second paragraph should analyze how the week’s readings relate to other course and outside texts. The third paragraph should offer the student’s critical assessment of the week’s readings: What was most persuasive? What was least persuasive? Which are the issues and questions that need more attention? What kind of new research do the readings inspire?

Students are expected to read each other’s weekly essays before class. They are also expected to comment substantively on each other’s essays. The weekly essays and comments will provide a starting point for each week’s class discussion.

Final Project: Group National Security Briefings

The purpose of this course is to prepare students to become strategic planners, ready to advise and lead large global organizations. This difficult task requires analytical sophistication, historical knowledge, and current awareness. It calls for effective team-work and persuasion of principals.

With this core purpose in mind, students will be responsible at the end of the semester for preparing a strategy briefing on current American national security. Here are the guidelines:

Students will work in teams of 5 or 6, arranged by the middle of the semester.
Each team will prepare a strictly 15-minute presentation.
The presentation will address the new President-elect during her/his post-election and pre-inauguration transition.
The presentation will answer the following questions:

a. What national security strategy should the United States pursue for the next four years?

b. How can the President-elect and her/his administration maximize the security and well-being of the United States?

c. How should the United States define its national security priorities, and how should it pursue them?

d. What can the President-elect and her/his administration expect to achieve in the course of four years?

The teams will present their briefings in class on November 29.
Based on the presentations and feedback, each team will submit a final 15-page written briefing by Monday, December 5 at 5:pm. Please submit final written briefings by email to: suri@austin.utexas.edu


Weekly Response Essays and Comments     30%

Weekly Class Discussion Participation         30%

Final Project                                                  40%


This class is cross-listed with HIS. LBJ is the home department.