Politics 373: International Security and Cooperation
Fall Semester 2015
Smullin Hall Room 222
MWF 11:30–12:30
Course Web Page: http://www.willamette.edu/~mmarks/poli-373.htm

Prof. Michael Marks
Office: Smullin 332
Office Tel. 503–370–6932
Politics Dept. Tel. 503–370–6060
E-mail: mmarks@willamette.edu
Home Page: http://www.willamette.edu/~mmarks
Office Hours: MWF: 8:00–9:00, 10:15–11:15, and by appointment

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students to important theoretical approaches to the study of international security and cooperation. It also applies these approaches to empirical cases and concrete issues of international harmony and discord. Special emphasis is placed on security and cooperation in a post-Cold War world. The purpose of the course is to help students make sense out of the changes sweeping the nature of war and peace by understanding these changes in historical perspective. Through lectures and discussions, students will explore different ways that conflict and accord are conceptualized by both academic observers and political decision makers.

The course also incorporates active student learning through the “case method”. Classes during most weeks of the semester will revolve around a case study of international security and/or cooperation. In this method of learning, students take the initiative in drawing out the lessons contained in a selection of instances of international security and cooperation that span a range of theoretical questions and policy issues.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of theory for describing and explaining international conflict and reconciliation.
2. Identify major causes for international conflict and reconciliation.
3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competing arguments for international conflict and reconciliation.
4. Explain the sources and manifestations of different forms of international conflict and reconciliation.
5. Write effectively and persuasively analyzing historical trends in international conflict and reconciliation.
6. Use factual evidence to analyze international conflict and reconciliation.

Time Commitment for This Course

Willamette’s Credit Hour Policy holds that for every hour of class time there is an expectation of 2–3 hours work outside of class. Thus, for a class meeting three hours a week such as this one you should anticipate spending 6–9 hours outside of class engaged in course-related activities. For this course you should allocate your time among the following three activities: Reading the assigned case studies (including making notes in response to the suggested questions handed out with each case study and preparing for the assigned role-playing exercise), reading newspapers and/or online news resources on topics relevant to the class, writing the three essay assignments due over the course of the semester.

Writing Assignments

There will be three take-home writing assignments. Questions will ask the students to analyze and evaluate some feature of the preceding weeks’ thematic discussions as covered in the case studies. No research is required for these take-home writing assignments aside from a thorough reading of the case studies.

More About the Case Method

It is my conviction that people learn best when they verbalize new material. Therefore, in the classes I teach I encourage student participation. In the case method of learning, student participation is not only helpful, it is absolutely necessary. Students are responsible for elucidating the lessons contained in each case by talking through problems and even acting out decisions made by political officials and foreign policy makers. I will act to facilitate discussions, but the students will be the engine that moves class discussions along. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that every student should read and prepare for each case before the week for which it is assigned.

Electronic Devices in the Classroom

Laptop computers can assist in note taking and wireless Internet access on campus can aid in organized classroom exercises. However, laptop computers can also be a classroom distraction. Laptop computers are permitted in class for note taking purposes. Additionally, there may be occasions when the class as a whole may want to use the campus wireless network to look things up online. However, please refrain from checking e-mail, online chatting, websurfing, game playing, etc. during class. If you are observed doing so during class time, you will asked to no longer bring your laptop to class. Additionally, cell phones should be turned off prior to class.


Students requiring accommodation should contact the Office of Accessible Education Services (Student Success Hub in Matthews Hall, Phone: 503–370–6737) for consultation and to make the necessary arrangements.


Case Studies

The core of this class consists of the case studies that will provide for the majority of classroom discussion. All of the cases are available online from the Georgetown University Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (GUISD).

Instructions for buying cases: To purchase each case, first go to the GUISD website at:


Click on “Case Studies.” You can then browse by case number, title, or author. When you find the case for each week you can purchase the case with a credit card. You have two choices: Either you can have a paper version of the case mailed to you for $5.00, or you can view the case online in PDF format for $3.50 (if you view the case online you can still print the case and have a hard-copy version of it for your use).

You can also save money by purchasing all nine cases in the form of a case book which I gave created through GUISD. The case book is catalogued by instructor name (Marks) and also by course number (Politics 373) and is designated Case Book 364 (currently not available). The case book if purchased as a PDF file (with each case individually printable) is $27; if purchased as a hard copy it is $45. Make sure to purchase the case book for this semester (as I have taught the course before and GUISD may still have links for previous semesters online). In addition, make sure to purchase the case book for this class (there is also a case book for my American Foreign Policy course which is also listed under my name).

The syllabus for this course is also posted online. You can open up the web page for the case book and for each individual case by clicking on the case number (each listed below for the appropriate week) or the case book number in the preceding paragraph which opens a link in your web browser to the appropriate GUISD web page. From there you can purchase the individual case or the case book.

The first time you purchase a case you will set up an account. Each time you purchase a case you will use your existing account. You will need a credit card to purchase cases. If you do not have a credit card please see the instructor to make alternate arrangements.

Very Important Information: 1) If you choose to have paper versions of the cases mailed to you make sure to leave enough time to have the case delivered. 2) If you choose to view an individual case online (from which you can print up a hard copy) you have seven days from the date of payment to view the case. In some cases computer browser caches are not large enough to view entire cases. Therefore, do not wait until the last minute to view or print a case online in the event your browser cache is experiencing difficulty downloading a case.


Incompletes will only be given under exceptional circumstances such as serious illness. You may appeal any of your grades during office hours only after you have handed in a typed, reasoned memorandum detailing the specific reasons why you think the grade you received is not justified.

Late writing assignments will be assessed a one-third grade penalty per day (e.g., a B+ paper handed in a day late receives a B, two days late a B–, etc.).

Evaluation Criteria

The composition of the final grade will calculated as follows: Each of three essays: 30%; In addition, because the case method requires active student involvement, 10% of the final grade will be comprised of class participation.

Plagiarism and Cheating Policy

All writing assignments turned in must be your own written work. You may not copy, borrow, or appropriate other authors’ work, unless you are doing so in the form of a cited quotation. All references to other authors’ work must be fully documented in the form of citations and/or footnotes, and direct quotes must be indicated as such with quotation marks. Suspected cases of plagiarism will be pursued vigorously and appropriate penalties (including an “F” for the course) will be applied.

Willamette's Plagiarism and Cheating Policy

Attendance Policy

According to CLA policy, students participating in approved university activities (e.g., varsity athletics, Debate Team, theater and other performing arts, Model UN, etc.) are excused from class provided proper notification has been made by the relevant office supervising the event. Additionally, the CLA faculty have adopted a policy whereby students are permitted to be absent from class to observe religious holidays that do not fall on days in which classes are otherwise not in session.

Beyond the above, students in this course are permitted to be absent from class a maximum of 10% of class sessions (which this semester is three class days) due to illness, injury, or other emergency (e.g., death of a family member, flooded dorm room or apartment, hostile roommate interaction, etc.). Notice of a missed class due to illness, injury, or emergency must be made by 5:00 pm on the day that class is missed. Additional absences for students with a contagious disease as documented by a medical professional will be permitted. Students with a prolonged illness should consider petitioning the university for a Medical Incomplete or Medical Withdrawal for some or all of their courses.

Students who exceed the allotted un-excused absences must submit a 750 word essay analyzing the topic of each additional missed class session (students should contact the instructor for specific instructions). Essays are due within 48 hours of a missed class. Failure to turn in these essays will result in a one-third reduction in the course grade for each essay not submitted.

Course Schedule and Weekly Reading Assignments

August 26–28: Introduction

No Readings

August 31–September 11: Conceptual and Theoretical Overview

No readings required prior to class. See handouts to be distributed in class.

September 14–18: “Power” and the Sources of Conflict

Case 139: “The German Question and the Cold War” (Author: David S. Painter).

September 21–25: Causes of Conflict and Reconciliation

Case 135: “Beagle Channel Negotiations” (Author: Thomas Princen)

September 28–October 2: Game Theory and Strategic Interaction

Case 126: “SALT II and the Soviet First-Strike Threat” (Authors: Paul R. Bennett and Jack Snyder)


October 5–9: Regime Theory

Case 172: “Negotiating an International Regime to Mine the Deep Seabed” (Author: Robert E. Bowen)

October 12–16: Deterrence

Case 233: “On the Brink of War: India, Pakistan, and the 1990 Kashmir Crisis” (Author: Tinaz Pavri)

October 19–23: Summary and Review

Discussion of case studies to date.

October 26–30: Nationalism and Regional Conflict

Case 179: “Yugoslavia, 1991–92: Could Diplomacy Have Prevented a Tragedy?” (Authors: James E. Bjork and Allan E. Goodman)


November 2–6: International Norms and Arms Control

Case 266: “India’s Nuclear Tests: The Consequences for International Security” (Author: Dinshaw Mistry)

November 9–13: Globalization and the Changing Nature of Sovereignty

Case 314: “Establishing an International Criminal Court: The Emergence of a New Global Authority?” (Author: Eric K. Leonard)

November 1620: Terrorism and the Changing Nature of War

Case 318: “The Extraordinary Rendition of Abu Omar: Ethics and the War on Terror” (Authors: Daniel R. Kempton and Matthew Rossow)

November 2325: Thanksgiving Week

To be determined.

November 30–December 4: Conclusion

Summing up.