PS 479/579 Prof. Jane Cramer
Syllabus, Winter 2012 Office: PLC 820
CRNs:25165/25175 Off. hours:Tues. 1-4
Class Location: Condon 330
Time: M, 14:00-16:50 (2:00-4:50 pm)
Description: American empire? Or is the
course examines the causes and consequences of
The history covered includes over 37
1.) Students must attend the seminar and participate. Students are required to read assigned materials in advance of class. Students are required to prepare and hand in reading summaries for each class by Sunday night, as will be explained at the first class. Each student will be required to help lead discussion three times during the term. Each student will help lead discussion twice by preparing the week’s readings in full with discussion questions, and with possible outside research for some topics. A third presentation of an intervention investigated for the first short paper is discussed below. For the two presentations of the week’s readings, a 1-2 page outline of discussion is required, including also preparing discussion questions. Attendance, reading summaries, leading two discussions of readings and participation = 45% of final grade.
2.) A short research paper (4-5 pages), briefly investigating an intervention since 1945 starting from William Blum’s accounts in Killing Hope will be due at the time the intervention is discussed as will be scheduled during the first class. Short paper and presentation = 20% of final grade.
research project of 8-10 pages investigating a case study of a controversial US intervention is
required. Students will be asked to
evaluate leading competing explanations for why the
4.) PS 579: Graduate Student requirements: All requirements will be the same—except a few additional readings from the recommended readings and the research project will be LONGER (15 pages) and structured at a graduate level—STUDENT MUST SEE ME IN OFFICE HOURS TO DISCUSS—come early and often.
1.) Leading two discussions required on days assigned.
2.) First short paper due at time of presentation of the intervention.
3.) Detailed outline for long research project: Monday, week 8, in class.
4.) Research Project due in lieu of final: Wednesday, March 21, 5:15 pm in my mailbox—9th floor PLC on hallway, box marked “Cramer”.
5.) All PAPERWORK must be turned in at the end of the course in a folder--so KEEP ALL PAPERWORK!
1.) William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995)
John Prados, Safe for Democracy: The
Secret Wars of the CIA (
Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men: An
American Coup and The Roots of Middle East Terror (
Recommended for reference:
Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow:
purchase used, on-line: Martha Finnemore, The
Purpose of Intervention: Changing Beliefs about the Use of Force (
C. Hendrickson, The
Many readings available through the library as explained on the Blackboard web site.
*** All required books are also available on reserve at Knight Library.
Recommended: The New York Times.
We will often comment on current
Attendance will be taken, and participation noted. Sign-ups for all presentations the first day—see me if you missed signing up or need to switch.
Late or missed assignments will be severely penalized! If you somehow fail to hand in an assignment on time you will need a valid medical excuse. Late papers will not be accepted without a medical excuse unless prior arrangement has been made because of a known conflict. Arrangements can be made for conflicts with other deadlines—but PLAN IN ADVANCE! Advance planning is essential to being a responsible person.
DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! We will discuss this—but it is your responsibility to understand plagiarism and to make sure you do not do it. Using extensive, excellent footnotes is the best way to avoid plagiarism.
Course Web Site: There will be a Blackboard web site for this course. You will absolutely need to check it regularly for materials and announcements. Please make sure you receive important announcements—I will use e-mail to help you in many ways—make sure you get my e-mails.
Read intro to William Blum’s book, Killing Hope, pp. 7-20, also found on Blackboard for this first week.
foreward and Chapter 1 of John Prados’ book, Safe for Democracy, pp. xiii-27.
This is the best book available on the
Short and provocative—is Lind right? Read Michael Lind, “The Weird Men Behind George W. Bush’s War” New Statesman, April 7, 2003 --on Blackboard or at Lind’s web site linked below. Lind argues this Iraq war is not for oil…but truly a weird story, and he may really know because he knows the guys who planned it…or maybe he is wrong—how to assess? Lind briefly does what we’ll do—he tries to piece together all of the available evidence to really understand what is driving U.S. policy. Study his use of evidence closely. What is he missing? What questions would you ask?
Also see Michael Lind, “Back to the Spanish-American War of 1898?” The Globalist, March 27, 2003.
3.) Diversionary Theory of War
and Domestic Politics more generally as theories of interventions—very popular
theory, very tough to prove—how common really?
This theory is
unlike others and requires special considerations … do you like Hendrickson’s
tests for this theory? We will be
watching for evidence of
See: Ryan C
here—I have a very special interest in this theory and I use Hendrickson’s
tests in my own work: Cramer, “JUST CAUSE or Just Politics?”— see this on
Blackboard. We will read this for real
when we study the
4.) What is a theory? What is a case study?
Recommended and on reserve: If using theories and studying case studies is unfamiliar to you, read selections from Van Evera, Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science, carefully study pp. 1-88—available on Blackboard. This is a very, very, very quick read—a small, user-friendly guide. You need to master these basic ideas to do well in this class. Especially pp. 7-34, but all is useful.
5.) Read over next week--The Purpose of Intervention: Changing Beliefs About the Use of Force
Martha Finnemore, The Purpose of Intervention, read ch. 1.
Finnemore discusses how norms of interventions have changed—what do you think of her proposed hypotheses? Do you like her case studies and evidence? What are “norms”? How powerful are they? Is she convincing? How would you test her arguments? What is going on today that confirms or goes against her arguments?
Week 2: Monday—Jan. 16—MLK Day—No Class
Week 3: Monday, Jan. 23: Imperialism & The First BIG U.S. WAR of imperialism abroad—The US in the Philippines: Spanish-US-Filipino War, 1898-1902/1909.
1.) Why Imperialism: (Compare to Finnemore)
Benjamin J. Cohen, “The Question of Imperialism” (New York: Basic Books, 1973) pp. 3-141, 229-257. Economics? Security? Ideology?
Cohen provides an excellent summary and critical evaluation of theories of economic imperialism offered over the 90 years before his writing in 1973. This reading makes a very interesting contrast to Finnemore. You should read the beginning well for about the first ~75 pages where he reviews Marxists and Hobson and Schumpeter, then skim—then read Cohen’s ideas on why imperialism at the end. Can you arrow diagram any theories discussed? How relevant are his ideas today?
Recommended: Jack Levy, “The Causes of War: A Review of Theories and Evidence” pp. 262-289 only. Found in Philip E. Tetlock et. al.(eds.) Behavior, Society and Nuclear War Vol. I (NY: Oxford U. Press, 1989).
2.) ***Film in class--Savage Acts, 1995 (30 min.) –You could also see Crucible of Empire (117 min.) on your own— both available at Knight Library.
Stephen M Kinzer, “Bound for Goo-Goo Land,” chapter 2 in Overthrow, pp. 31-55.
Ephraim K. Smith, “William McKinley’s Enduring Legacy: The Historiographical Debate on the Taking of the Philippine Islands,” found in James C. Bradford (ed.), Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War & Its Aftermath, (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1993) pp.205-250.
Peter H. Smith, Talons of the
Eagle: Dynamics of U.S.-Latin American Relations, (
Week 4: Monday, Jan. 30: Truman, Kennan, Korea, War Powers and the beginning of the CIA in 1947
John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of postwar American National Security Policy (NY: Oxford University Press, 1982), chapter 2: “George F. Kennan and the Strategy of Containment” pp. 25-53.
excellent explication of the ideas of the prime intellectual architect of
FYI: Who was the late great George F. Kennan? He passed away at the age of 101 in 2005, and Gaddis recently wrote a book on him. There are many very different reviews of this book available—why? Two reviews posted on Blackboard.
Read Prados: Chapter 2-5 on the beginning of the CIA under Truman, pp. 28-96.
2.) Command of Interventions in the US changed with Korea—War Powers discussed:
Ryan C. Hendrickson, The Clinton
Wars, read the Intro and
First part of film in class: CIA: America’s Secret Warriors
Ponder the evolution and constitutional legality of CIA operations. This incredible film has some rare interviews. These guys are proud. Check them out.
Week 5: Monday, Feb. 6: Eisenhower, Iran and Guatemala & more:
2.) Guatemala: Blum: ch. 10 (pp. 72-83); Prados on Guatemala (pp. 107-123) and Read ch. 6 from “Bitter Fruit” on Blackboard.
Also other Eisenhower interventions: Prados: Ch. 7-11 as possible; and Blum, sections 9-15 (pp. 64-107).
Week 6: Monday, Feb. 13: Kennedy, LBJ and the 1960s; Nixon/Kissinger (Chile & more.)
1.) Kennedy’s thinking on
Counterinsurgency: Why did Kennedy and
other civilians get scared in the 1960’s? Why
Charles Maechling, Jr. “Counterinsurgency: The First Ordeal by Fire,” in Michael T. Klare and Peter Kornbluh (eds.) Low Intensity Warfare: Counterinsurgency, Proinsurgency, and Antiterrorism in the Eighties (NY: Pantheon, 1987) pp. 21-48.
2.) Many interventions—we’ll pick several to focus on:
Prados: Ch. 12-17.
Blum: section 16, 19, 20, 21, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 & more.
On Nixon/Kissinger: Selection from Film in class: The Trials of Henry Kissinger.
Week 7: Monday, Feb. 20: Carter, human rights; Reagan and the Reagan Doctrine, Grenada, Nicaragua & Afghanistan & more.
1.) Carter and Containment: What were Carter’s priorities—containment or human rights? Both? What was he doing?
Cottam, “The Carter Administration’s Policy toward
2.) The Reagan Doctrine and intervening for democracy and freedom.
Charles Krauthammer, “The Poverty of Realism: The Newest Challenge to The Reagan Doctrine,” The New Republic, Feb. 17, 1986, p.14-22.
Krauthammer provided the first explication of ‘The Reagan Doctrine’, strangely named since Reagan never enunciated the Doctrine himself. Here Krauthammer dismisses security reasons for intervention altogether, resting his case wholly on other grounds.
Also see: James M. Scott, Deciding to Intervene: The Reagan Doctrine and American Foreign Policy (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996) pp. 14-39.
Prados: Chapter 18-22.
Blum: Sections 41-49.
3.) Why invade
link: R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., “The
Blackboard for link: Maurice Waters, “The Law and Politics of a U.S. Intervention: The Case of Grenada,” Peace and Change, 14:1, January 1989, pp. 65-105.
Week 8: Monday, Feb. 27: Intervention after the Cold War; Bush Sr. & Panama and the Diversionary Theory of War; Any evidence of diversion as a reason for Iraq 2003? (Gulf War I Later!)
***Detailed 1-2 page outline for research project DUE!!!
1.) Intervention considered after Reagan and the Cold War—a DEBATE:
Steven R. David, “Why the
Response: Stephen Van
Evera, “American Intervention in the
Rebuttal: Steven R.
David, “Why the
Short piece of film in class--Please see at Knight library for full film: The Panama Deception, 1993 (90 min.)
juicy film putting forward a number of conspiratorial explanations for
President George Bush Sr.’s invasion of
Eytan Gilboa, “The
Gilboa disagrees with the film—what does he argue?
Blackboard: Cramer, “JUST CAUSE or Just Politics?”—For full disclosure, see this on Blackboard. Is this person delusional? What does she say?
3.) On Iraq 2003: Hints of Diversionary war?
C. Byrd, Losing
Mark Danner, “The Secret way to war,’ The New York Reviewof Books, Vol. 52, No. 10, June 9, 2005. Including the “Downing Street Memo”—What indicates diversion/domestic politics—anything?
Week 9: Monday, March 5: Clinton Wars and The War Powers Act; Bush Sr. & Gulf War I
Cases covered by
These are all BRIEF selections on e-reserve/See Blackboard:
Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf (eds.) The Gulf War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions (NY: Random House, 1991) pp. 21-33; 79-84; 197-220; 243-250.
include historical background, speeches and opinion pieces examining why the
Daniel Yergin, “Oil: The Strategic Prize”
Micah L. Sifry,
“US Intervention in the
George Bush, “In
A.M. Rosenthal, “Saddam’s Next Target”
Alex Molnar, “If My Marine Son Is Killed…”
William Safire, “The Hitler Analogy”
Patrick Buchanan, “Have The Neocons Thought This Through?”
Andrew Kopkind, “EnGulfed”
Doug Bandow, “The Myth of Iraq’s Oil Stranglehold”
“How Close is
Week 10: Monday, March 12: 2003 Iraq War; and Obama and the future of interventions: Why surge in Afghanistan? Iran Next?
TBA and Review these assigned above (week 8) on Iraq 2003:
C. Byrd, Losing
Mark Danner, “The Secret way to war,” The New York Review of Books, Vol. 52, No. 10, June 9, 2005. Including the “Downing Street Memo”—What indicates diversion/domestic politics—anything?
Recommended and on Blackboard: Chaim Kaufmann, “Threat Inflation and the failure of the Marketplace of Ideas”.
Obama and the future of intervention—Readings TBA.
***Research Project DUE in lieu of exam, Wednesday, March 21, 5:15 pm—Place in Cramer’s locked mailbox (there is a slot for papers) on the 9th floor of PLC.