US Foreign Policy in Action
An Innovative Teaching Text
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This book represents a timely exploration of the dynamics of U.S.foreign policy development. It introduces historical developments and theories of U.S. foreign policy and engages students in the politics and debates of the foreign policy process (both directly and by proxy) through innovative learning exercises. This book offers a rich understanding of the politics behind clashing perspectives towards contemporary foreign policy challenges ranging from immigration policy controversies to COVID-19 pandemic responses, climate change to the China trade war. All of these issues are presented in dynamic ways that focus on activism and engagement in the policy process—and so this text speaks directly to a new generation of college students who have mobilized to political activism. The book is intended to serve as a core text for classes on U.S. foreign policy at the 200-level or above and will appeal to a broad audience.
New to the Second Edition:
- Provides insights on contemporary foreign policy challenges facing the Biden administration and future presidents, such as climate change, the rise of China, sanctions and trade policies, and changing U.S. engagement in the Middle East.
- Offers stronger theoretical foundations for the study of domestic constraints in the foreign policy decision-making process, including the power of interest groups and political polarization in Congress.
- Explains pedagogical treatments of online and hybrid learning applications, along with presenting new exercises to engage students both in person in the classroom and online.
- Presents more detailed and critical historical analyses of U.S. foreign policy, including greater attention to the U.S. as an imperial power and its implications for politics and society.
- Creates new and exciting active learning exercises for instructors and students, including role-playing simulations of global public health crisis management and group research projects on cybersecurity and immigration policy.
- Enriches the graphics and illustrations of foreign policy actors and processes in a full-color presentation.
- Analyzes contemporary foreign policy issues in the Trump and Biden administrations.
- Adds new web components and features, some authored by undergraduate students who are becoming experts in U.S. foreign policy.
- Includes new writing exercises and assignments designed to promote creative and critical thinking about foreign policy actors and processes.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Maps and Figures
List of Photos
Preface and Acknowledgments
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy Challenges in the Biden Administration
The United States and the World: Foreign Policy Making in Perspective
Major Actors in the Foreign Policy Process
Pedagogical Approach: How to Use This Book
Overview of the Book
Chapter 2: U.S. Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy
What is Grand Strategy?
Alternative Grand Strategy Frames for U.S. Foreign Policy Positions
Box 2.1 – Case in Point: How the World Views the United States
Formulating Grand Strategy for the 21st Century
Chapter 3: History of U.S. Foreign Policy: A Noble Struggle?
The Struggle to Define the New Nation
The Civil War
Box 3.1 – Learning Through Technology: Foreign Policy and History Online
Box 3.2 -- Case in Point: Revisiting Racism and the Founding of the United States
Rise to Globalism
Box 3.3 – Case in Point: Critical Reflection on U.S. Imperialism: A Student’s Perspective: The "American Century" and World Wars
Chapter 4: Modern History of U.S. Foreign Policy
The Cold War: Values and Interests
The Truman Doctrine
Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam
Box 4.1 -- Exploring Further: Espionage and the Cold War
Box 4.2 -- Exploring Further: Learning Through Popular Culture and Films
The End of the Cold War
Box 4.3 -- Case in Point: President Ronald Reagan’s "Evil Empire" Speech
Enlargement and Engagement
Box 4.4 -- Case in Point: The National Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement
Interests versus Values? The War on Terrorism
Contemporary Challenges: Obama, Trump, and Biden
Chapter 5: Key Institutions: Branches of Government
Constitutional Authority and the "Invitation to Struggle"
The President and the Executive Branch
Box 5.1 -- Case in Point: George W. Bush and the War on Terror
Instruments of Presidential Power
Congress: The Legislative Branch
Box 5.2 -- Learning through Technology: Congressional Hearings—
Charting a Policy Debate
The Courts: The Judicial Branch
Chapter 6: Leadership in Action: Debating American Engagement with the World
Structured Debate Guidelines and Rules of Procedure
Section I: Structured Debate: Leadership in Action and the Use of Military Force
Position #1: YES, The President Should Have Greater Authority in the Use of Military Force Abroad
Box 6.1 – Case in Point: President Obama, Address on Syria
Position #2: NO, The President Should Not Have Greater Authority to Use Military Force Abroad
Section II: Structured Debate: Should the United States Pursue an ‘America First’ Grand Strategy?
Position #1: YES, The United States Should Seek Hegemony + Isolation
Box 6.2 – Case in Point: President Trump Inaugural Address [Excerpts]
Position #2: NO, The United States Should Seek Partnership + Engagement
Box 6.3 – Case in Point: Greta Thunberg, Speech to the United Nations Climate Action Summit
Chapter 7: Bureaucracies and Unelected Actors
Bureaucracies and Foreign Policy
The Theory of Bureaucratic Politics
The Department of Defense
The Department of State
Box 7.1: Learning through Technology: Interview a Policymaker Using Web 2.0 Technology
Box 7.2: Case in Point: Becoming a Foreign Service Officer
Box 7.3: Case in Point: Secret Wiretapping: An Intelligence Debate
Chapter 8: Bureaucracies in Action: A National Security Council Simulation
Simulation Scenario: Pandemic Response and Foreign Policy
Pandemics and Global Health: Background Information
Box 8.1: News Flash: The Crisis
Class Meeting #1
Class Meeting #2
Class Meeting #3
Draft Policy Statement Template
Policy Directive Template
Chapter 9: Interest Groups and Political Parties
The Power of Unelected Actors
Box 9.1: Exploring Further: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower Farewell
What Do You Want? How to Lobby Effectively
Types of Interest Groups
Box 9.2: Case in Point: Latinx Power in American Politics
Box 9.3: Learning through Technology: Hear from the Experts
Box 9.4: Case in Point: Red or Blue Nation?
Chapter 10: Interest Groups in Action: Case Studies
Section I: Environmental Policy: Interest Groups and Climate Change
A Change of Climate?
Paris Climate Agreement
Box 10.1: Exploring Further: President Obama and U.S. Support for the Paris Climate Accord
Case Discussion Questions
Section II: Trade Policy: Interest Groups and the Price of Free Trade
The U.S. Confronts Chinese Accession to the World Trade Organization
The Trump Administration and the U.S.-China ‘Trade War’
Biden’s Early Trade Policies
Case Discussion Questions
Chapter 11: Public Opinion and the Media
Reaching the Masses? Public Opinion and the Media
Box 11.1: Case in Point: Extreme Public Opinion?
Public Attitudes and Foreign Policy: A Direct Line?
Media and Foreign Policy
The Functions of Media
Box 11.2: Case in Point: "Embedded Journalists" and the News
Contemporary Trends in Media Coverage
Chapter 12: Public Opinion and the Media in Action
Public Opinion and the Media in Action: Problem-Based Cooperative Learning
Research Project #1: Alternative News Media and Foreign Policy: Educating the Public?
Box 12.1: Exercise: Worksheet for Research Group #1: Media and Foreign Policy
Research Project #2: The Media and National Security: Is There a Public ‘Right to Know’?
Box 12.2: Exercise: Worksheet for Research Group #2: The Media and Government Secrecy
Research Project #3: Fake News, Social Media, and Political Bias
Box 12.3: Exercise Worksheet for Research Group #3: The Media and Political
Chapter 13: Blended and Hybrid Approaches to Studying Contemporary U.S. Foreign Policy
Introduction to Blended Learning
Cybersecurity and U.S. Interests
Cybersecurity and Grand Strategy
Blended Learning Approaches and Cybersecurity
Box 13.1: Learning through Technology: Researching Cybersecurity Online
Global Health Security
Health Security and Grand Strategy
Key Actors in Formulating Public Health Policy
Blended Learning Approaches and Global Public Health
Box 13.2: Learning through Technology: Progressive Debate on Flipgrid and Classroom Reflection
Jeffrey S. Lantis is Professor of Political Science and Chair of the interdisciplinary Global & International Studies Program at The College of Wooster. He is also an Editor of International Studies Perspectives, an ISA flagship journal. He is author of several books and articles, most recently, Foreign Policy Advocacy and Entrepreneurship: How a New Generation in Congress is Shaping U.S. Engagement with the World (2019) and The Battle for U.S. Foreign Policy: Congress, Parties, and Factions in the 21st Century (2020, co-authored with Patrick Homan). He received the Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Award from the Active Learning in International Affairs Section of ISA in March of 2020.
Patrick Homan is Associate Professor of Political Science at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. He is author of Getting to 67: The Post-Cold War Politics of Arms Control Treaty Ratification (Routledge, 2015) and The Battle for U.S. Foreign Policy: Congress, Parties, and Factions in the 21st Century (2020, co-authored with Jeffrey Lantis). He has worked extensively on pedagogy-related initiatives, including co-teaching courses with other disciplines, teaching with film, and using geography in the classroom, and has received a grant and training from the Interfaith Youth Core for teaching interfaith studies.
Praise for the Second Edition of US Foreign Policy in Action
Lantis and Homan understand the challenge and the craft of teaching contemporary U.S. foreign policy. Consequently, US Foreign Policy in Action is a highly engaging and pedagogically sensitive survey of the actors, interests, and politics that shape U.S. foreign policy decisions, actions, and issues. Through interesting, structured debates, discussion questions, case studies, and other appealing features, US Foreign Policy in Action brings the foreign policy process alive, allowing readers to put themselves in the shoes of policy-makers without sharing their ulcers. Instructors and students will enjoy using this well-written and interactive textbook.
Christopher M. Jones, Bradley University
I love this textbook! While there are many worthwhile texts on the market focused on U.S. foreign policy, this one surveys all the key historical, institutional, and policy process aspects of U.S. foreign policy for an undergraduate-level course. It also incorporates imaginative and highly effective active learning assignments for the classroom on key issues that really engage students and help instructors make important connections between the conceptual and the practical. Smoothly written, highly accessible, with relevant and interesting new cases, Lantis and Homan have done an excellent job with this updated edition of US Foreign Policy in Action. I loved the first edition; I can't wait to use this new edition the next time I teach U.S. Foreign Policy.
Mary K. Meyer-McAleese, Eckerd College
Lantis and Homan enliven U.S. foreign policy with their innovative pedagogical approach. This engaging text is chock-full of activities designed to deepen student learning of concepts and issues as well as promote critical thinking, research, and communication skills. The variety of interactive learning activities will have wide appeal among students and instructors alike. Especially exciting are the Learning Through Technology exercises that employ various platforms to facilitate students' exploration of political issues, actors, and processes. The authors do not disappoint in their promise to bring foreign policy to life!
Kirsten Taylor, Berry College