National Security Policy (DIP 600)

Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce

Fall 2012

Monday 3:30pm-6pm


Dr. Robert M. Farley

Office: Patterson 467

Office Hours: Monday, 1:30-3:30pm

Office Telephone: 859-257-4668



Welcome to DIP 600, National Security.  The goal of this course is to provide students with a foundation in the major debates on national security policy.  In the first third of the course we will study some of the great works on national security, as well as commentaries on those works.  The second third of the course focuses on contemporary policy debates in the United States on grand strategy and national security.  The final third examines the policy process and focuses on specific national security problems facing the United States.


Discussion will take up the bulk of class time.  I expect everyone to attend, have studied the readings, and have a familiarity with current events.  Any major reputable newspaper will suffice for the latter, although I prefer the New York Times.

Student Learning Outcomes:

After completing the course,

                  Students will demonstrate an ability to conceptualize and evaluate grand strategic theory.

Students will be able to discuss and evaluate contemporary national security issues.

Students will be able to trace how foreign policy decisions are made in the US governmental system.  

Students will display a familiarity with the major schools of grand strategic thought.

Students will be able to differentiate and effectively argue for foreign policy positions.

Students will be able to give competent professional oral presentations.    

Academic Integrity

Per university policy, students shall not plagiarize, cheat, or falsify or misuse academic records. Students are expected to adhere to University policy on cheating and plagiarism in all courses.  The minimum penalty for a first offense is a zero on the assignment on which the offense occurred.  If the offense is considered severe or the student has other academic offenses on their record, more serious penalties, up to suspension from the university may be imposed. 

Plagiarism and cheating are serious breaches of academic conduct.  Each student is advised to become familiar with the various forms of academic dishonesty as explained in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.  Complete information can be found at the following website:  A plea of ignorance is not acceptable as a defense against the charge of academic dishonesty. It is important that you review this information as all ideas borrowed from others need to be properly credited.

 Plagiarism includes reproducing someone else’s work, whether it be a published article, chapter of a book, a paper from a friend or some file, or something similar to this. Plagiarism also includes the practice of employing or allowing another person to alter or revise the work which a student submits as his/her own, whoever that other person may be. Students may discuss assignments among themselves or with an instructor or tutor, but when the actual work is done, it must be done by the student, and the student alone.  However, nothing in these Rules shall apply to those ideas which are so generally and freely circulated as to be a part of the public domain (Section 6.3.1).


Grading will be based on class participation (20%), class blog participation (10%), three 4-6 page memos (15% each), and one final examination (25%).  Papers will be graded on an A (4), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3), B- (2.7) and so forth scale.  Final grades above 3.5 will be awarded an A, between 2.7 and 3.5 a B, and below 2.7 a C or lower.

Every student is required to post at least once to the class blog,, in each of five weeks during the course of the semester.  The idea of the blog is to promote serious discussions of the readings and of current events tied to national security. I will monitor blog postings and assign a grade based on quantity and quality of participation. Postings should integrate specific material from class readings and extend class debates. 

Each of the three 4-6 page memos must be typed and double-spaced.  Please do not exceed the page limit.  The point of the assignment is to present information in a cogent and concise manner.  The topic is up to you, but ideally will concern the convergence of a current event or situation with assigned reading from the class day in question.  Memos are due at the beginning of class on the day of the relevant reading.  You will be expected to turn in one memo during each third of the course.  Thus, the last day for turning in your first memo is October 1, and the first day for turning in your last memo is November 12.  The memos will be evaluated on both content and presentation.  Information must be accurate, arguments must be well thought out, and style must be compelling. 

You will be required to make an oral presentation and defense of one of your three memos during class.  Note that this means you will have to write and turn in a memo on the day of your defense.  The strength of your presentation and defense will contribute to your participation grade.  You must indicate to me a preference for which week to present by the second week of the course so that I can stagger the presentations.  The presentation should last about fifteen minutes, and will be followed by a fifteen minute question and answer period.  The presentation will make up 50% of your participation grade, or 10% of the total grade.

A comprehensive final exam will be held on Friday, December 14 at 1:00pm.  The exam will be communicated and completed electronically; thus, there is no need for you to be in Lexington on that date.  The exam will mimic in structure a minor field comprehensive exam. Yes, second year students ARE required to take the exam.   

Class Materials

Purchase of the following books is recommended, but not required.  These texts are best acquired through Amazon or similar service. Edition is irrelevant.

Š       Suzanne C. Nielsen, Don M. Snider eds., American Civil-Military Relations: The Soldier and the State in a New Era. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009

Most of the rest of the class readings are available online.  A few will be available through photocopies.  Note that many of the online readings are available on JSTOR or other secure databases, which requires either a University computer or a properly configured connection.


Week 1, August 27: Values, National Security, and the National Interest

                  Arnold Wolfers, National Security as an Ambiguous Symbol

                  David Brin, Thor meets Captain America

                  Charles Lindblom, The Science of Muddling Through

Week 2, September 10: War, Politics, and Coercion

                  Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence (entire)

                  Joseph M. Guerra, An Introduction to Clausewitzian Strategic Theory

Week 3, September 17: Force, Statecraft, and Morality (this meeting will be rescheduled because of Rosh Hashanah)

                  Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (entire)

Week 4, September 24: Grand Strategy I

                  Mackubin Thomas Owens, Strategy and the Strategic Way of Thinking

                  James Goldgeier, The Fall of the Wall and American Grand Strategy

                  John Lewis Gaddis, What is Grand Strategy?

Week 5, October 1: Grand Strategy II

                  William Kristol and Robert Kagan, Towards a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy (Neoconservatism)

                  Christopher Layne, From Preponderance to Offshore Balancing (Offshore Balancing)

                  Drezner vs. Slaughter Exchange, with commentary (Liberal Internationalism)

                  Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, Reshaping the World Order (Hegemony)

Week 6, October 8: Hegemony?

                  William C. Wohlforth, The Stability of a Unipolar World

                  Joseph Parent and Paul MacDonald, The Wisdom of Retrenchment

                  Andrew Bacevich, The American Century is Over

                  Niall Ferguson, Hegemony or Empire?

Week 7, October 15: The Threat Environment

Micah Zenko and Michael Cohen, Clear and Present Safety

Norman Podhoretz, World War IV: How it Started, What it Means, and Why We Have to Win

National Security Strategy

Week 8, October 22: Friends and Competitors

                  Minxin Pei, Think Again: Asia’s Rise

Nicholas Eberstadt, The Dying Bear

                  Sumit Ganguly, Think Again: India’s Rise

                  Sean Kay, NATO’s Missile Defense:  Realigning Collective Defense for the 21st Century

                  Weitz, Chapter 9

Week 9, October 29: Obama vs. Romney

Remarks by the President on Acceptance of Nobel Prize

Mitt Romney, An American Century        

Week 10, November 5: Public Opinion

                  Dan Drezner, The Realist Tradition in American Public Opinion

                  Chaim Kaufman, Threat Inflation and the Failure of the Marketplace of Ideas: The Selling of the Iraq War

                  Jeffrey Record, Retiring Hitler and Appeasement from the National Security Debate

                  Weitz, Chapter 8

Week 11, November 12: Organizations, Bureaucracy, and Foreign Policy

Morton H. Halperin, The Decision to Deploy the ABM: Bureaucratic and Domestic Politics in the Johnson Administration

Graham Allison, The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50

                  Weitz, Chapter 7

Week 12, November 19: The Architecture of the National Security State

                  Ashton B. Carter, The Architecture of Government in the Face of Terrorism

                  Alan G. Whittaker et al, The National Security Policy Process

                  Weitz, Chapter 1

Week 13, November 26: Congress, the Presidency, and the Courts

Rebecca K. C. Hersman, Friends and Fores: How Congress and the President Really Make Foreign Policy (entire)

John C. Yoo, Judicial Review and the War on Terrorism

Week 14, December 3: Civil Military Relations

                  Suzanne Nielsen, Don Snider eds. American Civil-Military Relations: The Soldier and the State in a New Era (entire)