International Issues

Welcome to International Issues!  This course has two goals. The first goal is to introduce you to the discipline of International Relations in order to provide a framework for understanding world politics both in the past and in the present. We will explore essential questions such as: Why do we fight wars? Is a permanent peace possible? Should foreign policy be conducted to promote the interests of the state (i.e., its power) or according to moral precepts? How do international rules, norms and organizations shape the decisions of states? Should we seek a world government? Why is there such a vast gap in power and resources between the North and South? How does the world and how should the world deal with issues such as global warming, child slavery, poverty, human rights (and violations thereof), and world health?

The second goal is to encourage you to read the newspaper (a practice that will hopefully continue after the life of this class), to learn about the issues and crises that face a particular region of the globe, and to analyze these issues and crises using the general theories and structures we have studied in class. Consequently, in addition to reading the work of classical and contemporary scholars of International Relations, we will also be conducting an on-going current events project.