This seminar-like course is focused on the Washington policy process in several dimensions: key actors, institutions and principles that influence the formation of US foreign policy and, more broadly, the conduct of and relationship between U.S. domestic and foreign policy. With Washington as its laboratory and testing ground, the course will explore the growing number of players engaged in policymaking and the ever-expanding range of challenges faced in a changing domestic and world order. Topics will range from responding to a pandemic and economic crisis to addressing the nation’s challenges of polarization and racial division and injustice. The course will focus on the opportunities and constraints Washington policy makers encounter on a daily basis. It will explore the dynamic interaction between domestic and foreign policy in the aftermath of the consequential elections of November 2020, the January 6 insurrection and the commencement of the presidency of Joe Biden.
The course to the extent possible will be conducted in seminar form, based on discussions, reflections, debates and interactions between the seminar leader and the students. When possible, outside experts will be invited to address the class. Regrettably COVID-19 limits the ability for in-person meetings and visits to federal buildings, think tanks and other Washington institutions. The hope is, as we return to a classroom setting, that in-person meetings and site visits will resume.
One caveat: This syllabus is not set in stone, especially in a period of rapid developments on the domestic and international scenes. The seminar leader reserves the right to alter readings and assignments and discussion topics in response to emerging policy challenges and significant events.
Walser, Ray PhD, "The Washington Experience: Actors, Institutions and the Policy Process" (2021). Diplomacy Syllabi. 608.