Fall 2022

PIA 2470. U.S. Foreign Policy and Law Regulating the Use of Force

This seminar examines the role of both domestic and international law in regulating the use of force as a part of U.S. foreign policy. It focuses on the use of covert action by the CIA as an example of a use of force that is regulated both by domestic and international law. The first portion of the course examines the history of the CIA and its use of covert action. It also examines theoretically and empirically why covert activity is an attractive choice for policymakers and the effect of covert action on relations between states. The course then shifts to discuss domestic regulation of the use of force, focusing on Congress’s role in the domestic regulation of the CIA’s activities. The course will feature an in depth analysis of primary documents related to U.S. intervention in the Angolan Civil War of the mid-1970s. Lastly, the course examines the role of international law in regulating the use of force abroad. The course examines the laws of war and how international law applies to covert action. Modern extensions of covert activity are also considered, such as the use of private military contractors and drone targeting.

Spring 2023

PIA 2471. Espionage, Surveillance, and Secret Information in International Affairs

This course will introduce students to the importance of secret information in the conduct of international affairs. Students will first learn about the ways in which states share information, protect secret intelligence, and deceive each other, both in war and peacetime. The course will also delve into how surveillance and espionage are practiced among states and on domestic populations. This includes discussion of the international legal framework for espionage; the development of intelligence sharing between allies (such as Five Eyes); the authority and limits of U.S. domestic and foreign surveillance (such as the role of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court); as well as more recent uses of cyber capabilities to spread misinformation.

PIA 2021. International Affairs

This is an introductory course in the field of International Affairs (IA). It is designed to give students knowledge of the major theoretical approaches and issues in international politics. The course introduces students to basic concepts and schools of thought in IA and examines major institutions and processes through which foreign policies are made and implemented. A major objective is to relate theories and models to major national and international policy debates through the close examination of case studies. Reference will be made throughout to contemporary developments. The interlocking objectives of this course are: 1) to provide a grounding in the nature and characteristics of International Affairs; 2) to develop a broad understanding of the outstanding features of today’s world and how it differs from other periods; and 3) to learn the key concepts for categorizing and analyzing the dynamics of international politics.

Fall 2023

PIA 2362. Leaders & U.S. Foreign Policy Decision-Making

How do U.S. presidents make foreign policy decisions? The class will review the constraints, dilemmas, risks, and opportunities that American presidents face during international crises and wars. It will expose students to alternative explanations for how states make foreign policy, with an emphasis on the decision-making process. We will critically analyze the decision-making process that led to the undertaking of major and historical decisions in the U.S. history and will conduct simulations of potential crisis scenarios. The course will examine rationalist and psychological theories of decision-making, as well as how other characteristics of leaders can create patterns of decision-making in foreign policy.

A key part of this course is the role of advisors and intelligence officials in assisting policymakers. Students will take on the role of members of the federal agencies with seats on the U.S. National Security Council in a roleplaying exercise on how to advise the President in an international crisis. As part of this simulation exercise, students will collaborate on policy options, propose them in a group setting, and draft a debriefing memo on the policy ultimately chosen to address the crisis. Students will also write and present a leadership analysis on current international leaders to assist students in understanding the parties across the negotiating table in policy issues involving the United States.