Fall 2019 - 59275 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Fall 2019 - 59275 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

International Diplomacy

NOTE: International Diplomacy will be similar but not identical to the Spring 2019 course on Policy Making in a Global Age. I will retain about 75% of this material but will add modules on strategic intelligence and on comparative foreign policies, since I have two new books coming out on those topics, as well as two new modules on the return of great power competition (among China, Russia, Europe, and the U.S.).

This course offers a comparative look at the making and implementation of policy in the global arena.  It explores key concepts and theories concerning national interest, ethics, negotiation, decision making, strategic design, and crisis management, and it applies those concepts via case studies and simulations in diplomacy, trade policy, development assistance, peacekeeping operations, security policy, and transnational advocacy movements.  The course aims to help students learn not only to analyze but also to implement policy: it employs an action-oriented approach that obliges students to react as a policy-maker would and thus gain a better appreciation of how and why states, organizations, and leaders act as they do.

In seeking to bridge the gap between theory and practice, the course is divided into two parts, “Concepts” and “Applications.”  The first focuses on the acquisition of key theoretical and conceptual approaches – a foreign policy toolbox, if you will – on which we will draw in part two as we apply these concepts in different policy environments.  We will employ case studies throughout, but in the first half of the course, they will be used to explicate the concepts, while in the second half we will use cases to apply concepts already learned.  Cases will span every region and every major power (along with several lesser ones and a number of non-state actors), and cover a wide range of issue areas.   

Throughout the semester, we will follow current international issues as a “living laboratory,” exploring breaking developments against the backdrop of our expanding body of conceptual and theoretical knowledge. Students are expected to stay abreast of important international developments and come to class prepared to discuss them.


Students will write two individual policy memoranda, contribute to one group memo, make one formal oral presentation, and submit a final paper in the form of a case study or scenarios paper.  Grades will be weighted roughly as follows: 30% for the three policy memos, 40% for the case study, and 30% for the oral presentation and overall contributions to seminar discussions.  There will be no exams.

Class Schedule: 
T 2:00PM to 5:00PM
SRH 3.214