Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Spring 2018



Course Number

DIPL 2120 AB

Course Description

This course explores central issues regarding the use of military force in international politics. Why do states turn to military force and for what purposes? What are the causes of war and peace? What renders the threat to use force credible? Can intervention in civil wars stall bloodshed and bring stability? How can states cope with the threat posed by would-be terrorists? What is the nature of counterinsurgency doctrine? What is the future of military force in global politics? Through theoretical readings, concrete historical cases, and contemporary policy debates, this course examines these questions and others.

The themes covered in this class are often contentious, and fraught with ethical and moral issues, concerning the proper role of violence, and the value of human existence. Much of the course is discussion based, so civility, respect for others, and a respect for the value of free speech and a frank exchange of ideas are all important. As such, you should expect to hear ideas that may make you uncomfortable. I am responsible for ensuring that that we stick to ideas and not personal attacks, but all viewpoints are welcome as long as the presentation remains civil. That includes viewpoints that some might disagree with, or even find offensive.