POL S 407 A: International Conflict

Meeting Time: 
MW 11:30am - 12:50pm
Location: 
AND 223
SLN: 
18738
Instructor:
Elizabeth Kier

Syllabus Description:

Spring 2019

POLS 407: INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT

MW 1130-1250, Anderson 223

 

Prof. Kier

office hrs: Wed, 100-230, 129 Gowen, ekier@uw.edu

 

Teaching Assistants:

Megan Erickson (AA & AB): Wed., 930-1130, Gowen 34; meganke@uw.edu

Zhaowen Guo (AC & AD): Tues.,1:00-2:00 & Thurs., 1:00-2:00, Smith 31; zwguo@uw.edu

 

War is a central feature of international politics. After an overview of the development of modern warfare, the course focuses on the causes of war. For example, is war inevitable given the structure of the international system? Can changes in beliefs affect the likelihood of war? Does the spread of democracies eliminate the security dilemma? What role does the military play in the potential for armed conflict and can misperceptions lead countries into war? We will examine these questions by focusing on World War I, World War II, the Persian Gulf War, and the 2003 war in Iraq. The course concludes with a discussion of the ethics of war.

Requirements: A midterm (30%); final (35%); and research paper (35%). Participation in lecture can also positively affect your final grade. No make-up exams unless the student provides a written note from a physician (or other recognized authority) for having missed an exam. Attempts at a fait accompli (“already bought my ticket”) will fail without exception.

Readings: The book is on reserve at Odegaard and can be purchased at the University Bookstore: Michael Howard, War in European History, 1976. The rest of the readings are available on the website.  

Daily reading of the New York Times is required. For digital subscriptions at the college rate: NYTimes.com/UWashington

To request disability accommodation, contact Disability Resources for Students: 448 Schmitz Hall, 543-8924 (voice), 543-8925 (TTY), 616-8379 (Fax), uwdss@uw.edu. With a letter from their office, we can easily arrange accommodations.

Grading Policy: To request a re-grading of your work (outside of tabulation errors):  Within a week of receiving your exam, give your TA your work and a typed statement that explains why you believe the grade should be altered. This must be about the substance of your work, not the effort you put into the class. Your TA will review and return your materials within a week.

For additional departmental and university policies see:  http://www.polisci.washington.edu/Dept_and_Univ_Policies.pdf

 

Copy of the syllabus is available here 

Outline of course content is available here 

For reading assignments, go to "Files" on left and click on "reading assignments." 

Reading questions are available here

Past exams are available here

Description of the research paper is available here

Summary of how your research paper will be assessed is available here

Recommended war films here

 

Mon, April 1:  Introduction

 

Wed, April 3:  The Development of Modern Warfare

Carl von Clausewitz, "What is War?" chap. 1, On War, 1837. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1946/1946-h/1946-h.htm#link2HCH0001

Michael Howard, War in European History, chaps. 1-5, pp. 1-93.

 

Mon, April 8:  The Age of Total War

Michael Howard, War in European History, chaps 6-7, pp. 94-135.

Wilfred Owen, "Dulce et Decorum Est," 1918. Read or listen: http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen1.html or "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen (read by Tom O'Bedlam)

G. Sebald, “A Natural History of Destruction,” The New Yorker (Nov 4, 2002), esp. pp. 67, 70-71.

 

Recommended:

Animated map of the Western Front, including the battles of Verdun, Somme, & Passchendaele. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/launch_ani_western_front.shtml

Movie: All Quiet on the Western Front. The trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiObc2XmVqw

                       

Wed, April 10:  Contemporary Warfare

Michael Howard, War in European History, epilogue, pp. 136-143. 

Recommended: Dept. of the Army, FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency (Washington, D.C.: 2006), esp. pp. 1-29.

http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf

Movie: The Battle of Algiers.  The trailer: Battle of Algiers trailer

 

Mon, April 15:   The International System: Polarity

Kenneth Waltz, "The Origins of War in Neorealist Theory," in Rotberg & Rabb, The Origin & Prevention of Major Wars.

Charles Emmerson, “Eve of disaster: Why 2013 looks like the world of 1913, on the cusp of the Great War,” Foreign Policy (January 4, 2013). 

 

Wed, April 17:   The International System: Power Transitions

The White House, “Prevent our Enemies from Threatening Us, Our Allies, and Our Friends with Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Section V of The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Sept 2002).

David E. Sanger, “Beating them to the prewar: The ‘anticipatory self-defense’ talk,” NYT (Sept 28, 2002).

Lawrence Wilkerson, “I helped sell the false choice of war once. It’s happening again,” NYT (Feb 5, 2018).

 

Mon, April 22:  The International System: The Security Dilemma

Joseph Stalin, "The Hostile Anglo-American Alliance; "Clark Clifford, "American Military Firmness vs. Soviet Aggression;" and Henry A. Wallace, "The American Double Standard," in Thomas G. Paterson, ed., The Origins of the Cold War (Lexington: DC Heath, 1970). 

David Cloud & Jay Solomon, “How U.S., North Korea turned broken deals into a standoff,” Wall Street Journal (March 4, 2003).

Steven Lee Myers, “Bush backs Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, despite Putin’s objections,” NYT (April, 2, 2008); and John J. Mearsheimer, “Getting Ukraine Wrong,” NYT (March 13, 2014).

 

Wed, April 24: The State: Nationalism

Jack S. Levy, “Domestic Politics and War,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History (spring 1988): 653-673.

Paul T. Miller, “How World War III Could Start in Latvia,” Foreign Policy (Nov 16, 2016).

 

Mon, April 29:  The State: Diversionary

Ryan C. Hendrickson, “Clinton’s Military Strikes in 1998: Diversionary Uses of Force,” Armed Forces and Society, winter 2002: 309-32.

Thomas Erdbrink, “Long divided, Iran unites against Trump and the Saudis in a nationalist fervor,” NYT (Nov 26, 2017).

Recommended movie: Wag the Dog (1997).

 

Wed, May 1:  The State: The Democratic Peace

Christopher Layne, “Kant or Cant: The Myth of the Democratic Peace,” in Karen Mingst and Jack Snyder, eds., Essential Readings in World Politics (Norton, 2001).

David Plotz, “Greens Peace,” New York Times Magazine (June 4, 2000).

 

Mon, May 6:  Midterm (bring exam book)

 

Wed, May 8:  The State: Democracies and War

See “Democracies and the conduct of foreign policy” questions posted on website.

No assigned reading. Instead, research possible wars for paper. Gain a general understanding of the situation prior to war and possible explanations for it. Your paper topic is due by 9am on Thurs., May 9. 

 

* Submit paper topic on Canvas by 9am on Thurs, May 9 *

You will discuss your topic in section on May 10

 

Mon, May 13:  The Military: Bureaucratic Interests

Stephen Van Evera, “The Cult of the Offensive & the Origins of the First World War," International Security (summer 1984): 58-107.

 

Wed, May 15:  The Military: Offense-Defense and Stability

Marc Tractenberg, "The Meaning of Mobilization in 1914," in Steven E. Miller, ed., Military Strategy and the Origins of the First World War (Princeton, 1991): pp. 195-225.

Chris Horton, “Airliners have become China’s newest means of pressuring Taiwan,” NYT (Jan. 19, 2018).

 

Mon, May 20:  The Individual: Misperceptions and War

Richard Fontain and Vance Serchuk, “Pick your Prism: How foreign policy makers view pivotal years says a great deal about how they act in 2014,” Politico Magazine Excerpt. (Nov 28, 2014).

Edward Wong & Andrew Jacobs, “U.S. Army seeks better ties with China’s military, NYT (Feb. 22, 2014).

 

Wed, May 22:  The Individual: Beliefs and War

Steven Lee Myers, “In Putin’s Syria intervention, fear of a weak government hand,” NYT (Oct 4, 2015).

Margaret Mead, "Warfare Is Only an Invention--Not a Biological Necessity," ASIA (1940).             

 

Mon, May 27: Memorial Day (no class)

Finish your research. You’re presenting your findings in section on May 31. And recall that there are two (optional) research paper workshops (May 28 and May 29). 

 

Tues, May 28, 2-3pm, Gowen 1A 

Optional research paper workshop led by Sean Butorac, Director of the Political Science Writing Center and Ph.D. student in Political Science.

Students should bring as polished a draft as possible, given time constraints. As a general guideline, at least half of the paper should be written, including a fully-developed introduction and thesis statement. The remainder of the paper should hopefully be outlined for the peer reviewer. That said, the closer the paper is to complete, the more helpful, substantive feedback students should expect to receive. Students should bring one printed copy of the paper, Sean will provide copies of the revision and peer review handouts.

 

Wed, May 29: The Gulf War, 1991

Background: Anthony Cordesman, “The Persian Gulf War,” in John Whiteclay Chambers II, ed., The Oxford Companion to American Military History (Oxford, 1999): 544-546. 

George H. W. Bush, “The Liberation of Kuwait has Begun,” (Speech of Jan 16, 1991), reprinted in The Gulf War Reader, edited by Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf (Random House, 1991).

Thomas Friedman, "Confrontation in the Gulf: U.S. Gulf policy – vague ‘vital interest," NYT (Aug 12, 1990).

 

Wed., May 29, 3-4pm, Gowen 1A .

Optional research paper workshop led by Sean Butorac, Director of the Political Science Writing Center and Ph.D. student in Political Science

Students should bring as polished a draft as possible, given time constraints. As a general guideline, at least half of the paper should be written, including a fully-developed introduction and thesis statement. The remainder of the paper should hopefully be outlined for the peer reviewer. That said, the closer the paper is to complete, the more helpful, substantive feedback students should expect to receive. Students should bring one printed copy of the paper, Sean will provide copies of the revision and peer review handouts.

 

** May 31: Poster session in section **

 

Mon, June 3:  The War in Iraq, 2003

Background:Iraq War, 2003-2011" Encyclopedia Britannica, Iraq War, 2003–2011,  Updated April 2019.

Colin Powell, “We reserve our sovereign right to take military action,” (excerpts from a speech at the World Economic Forum), NYT (Jan 27, 2003); and George W. Bush, “Domestic security,” “Disarming Iraq,” and “The military,” (excerpts from the State of the Union), NYT (Jan 28, 2003).

Jeffrey Record, “The Neoconservative Vision and 9/11,” in Dark Victory: America's Second War against Iraq, (Annapolis, Md., Naval Institute Press, 2004), pp. 17-29.

 

* Wed, June 5: Research paper due  *

submit on Canvas by 9am and provide your TA with a hard copy

 

Wed, June 5:   The Ethics of Warfare

Nicholas G. Fotion, “The Gulf War: Cleanly Fought,” & George A. Lopez, “The Gulf War: Not So Clean,” both in Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Sept. 1991: 24-29, 30-35.    

Eric Schmitt, "US Army buried Iraqi soldiers alive in Gulf War," NYT (Sept 5.1991); Eric Schmitt, "Navy finds fault in Gulf War raid," NYT (Sept 29, 1991); Kramer, "Death highway, revisited," Time (March, 18, 1991).

Jimmy Carter, “Just War - or a just war?” NYT (March 9, 2003).

John McCain, "The right war for the right reasons," NYT (March 12, 2003).

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Statement on Iraq,” Washington, D.C. (Nov 13, 2002).

 

Wed, June 12, 230pm: Final Exam (bring exam book)

 

Catalog Description: 
Examines different theoretical explanations for the causes of war, including the role of international, state, organizational, and individual factors; additional topics vary with instructor. May include the development of warfare, deterring weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, intelligence, and the ethics of warfare.
Department Requirements: 
International Relations Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:08pm