Presidential Decision Making in Foreign Policy

The Leader of the Free World—The President of the United States of America. More than any other individual or institution, the President enjoys the greatest overall influence within the world of U.S. Foreign Policy. The impressive array of formal roles and informal powers from Commander in Chief of the largest and best equipped military in the world to the duties as the Head of State allow the President to wield considerable power and allows him to remain the only actor with the potential to impact every type of foreign policy issue.

This course has three overarching objectives. First, students will be introduced to a number of theories, concepts and frameworks related to foreign policy and the role of the president. Second, students will be given a solid foundation of the substance of U.S. foreign policy from 1945-present, meaning students will develop a strong understanding of 11 different presidential leadership styles: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama. The final objective is to identify and analyze how particular factors shape presidential foreign policy management within and across administrations.

This is a challenging upper level course designed primarily for POLS majors and minors with a strong interest in international politics. It is also strongly recommended that students complete the Introduction to International Relations Course before enrolling; completion of the foreign policy course will also prove extremely helpful.

Most Recently Taught: Fall 2015