Area Politics C (Contemporary American Foreign Policy)




Summer Semester; From July 29 to August 8


  • Syllabus (PDF, 18KB) attached on 2009-07-22

This seminar is intended to enhance your understanding of both the process and substance of post-World War II United States foreign and defense policy. We focus throughout on both the domestic and international determinants of U.S. external behavior. First, we will examine the foreign policy process, in particular the roles of the Executive branch and Congress. Second, we will examine various theories and approaches to explaining U.S. policy, focusing on such factors as interest groups, ideology, bureaucratic politics, and the structure of the international system. Third, we will analyze and explain some key developments of the Cold War: the origins of the containment strategy, the war in Vietnam, the grand strategy of the Reagan administration, and the end of the Cold War. We will also examine U.S. foreign policy since the revolutionary changes of 1989 and the shock of September 11, 2001, with attention to current U.S. policy toward Europe and East Asia, and to the problems and opportunities facing the United States as the "lone superpower" in a transformed international setting.

(This lecture is made possible by the generous support from the Shibusawa Ei'ichi Memorial Foundation commemorating the 90 th anniversary of the establishment of the A. Barton Hepburn Professorship in American Constitution, History, and Diplomacy, currently called American Political and Diplomatic History at the Faculty of Law, the University of Tokyo .)

Course materials

  • John Ikenberry, ed., American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays (Fifth edition, Houghton Mifflin, 2005).
  • Walter LaFeber, America , Russia , and the Cold War, 1945-2006 (Updated tenth edition, McGraw-Hill, 2008).
  • Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay , America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy (Updated edition, Brookings, 2005).


(1)Class participation
(2)End of class paper or take home exam

Other resources