Foreign Policy

Class Syllabi and Agendas:
2013_Foreign_Policy_ForPol # 2

Class with Kevin starts Feb 12th, 2013

Kevin sent out his philosophy and plan: Seeds of Diplomacy #1: Getting Started with Foreign Affairs and Data Building

1.)  Why Conduct Foreign Relations?

  1. Self-Interest

i.    This is THE most important reason. Nations almost always act first and foremost out of their own perceived self-interest.
ii.    That self-interest might be conflicted, contradictory, or compromised, especially in a democratic republic, but what emerges is some reflection of self-interest

  1. (eg.,) Communism  had to be checked during the Cold War because policy makers perceived an aversion to state control of the means of production and the leveling of social classes.
    1. Yes, many workers and intellectuals were critical of capitalism, but those who exercised national political power remained adamantly anti-communist.
    2. (eg.,) Manifest Destiny was seen by almost all US people (but not the Native Americans) as obvious and desirable since the next generation of farmers and craftsmen needed new land on which to grow products and new settlements to process those products and raw materials.
  1. Treaty Obligations

i.    The Executive branch of government is charged with negotiating treaties but to do so with the advice and consent of the Senate, which must have two-thirds agreement vote for an international agreement to be accepted.

  1. Once done, the treaty becomes law and is a reflection of how the US Constitution was understood by representatives at that moment in time even though many citizens will disagree with it.
    1. (eg.,.) NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was negotiated during the Truman Administration and ratified by the Senate due to fear of Soviet military aggression even though many liberals wanted closer connections with our WWII ally, the Soviet Union.
    2. (eg.,) NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, was negotiated by the Bush administration, supported by the Clinton administrations, and ratified by the Senate during the early Clinton years, all with the intention of reducing trade barriers and spreading American values, even though many unionized workers felt threatened by it.
  1. Religion

i.    Spreading Protestant Christianity has been just as important to policy makers prior to WWII as is spreading democracy today. During previous eras, when religion was more part of almost everyone’s life in mainstream America, it just natural to evangelize to the rest of the world.

  1. (eg.) When Missionaries from the US began to arrive in China during the 1830’s, they acted as much as diplomatic officials and trade agents as they did evangelizers.
    1. An important saying in foreign relations is “Commerce Follows the Cross,” meaning that in spreading Protestant Christianity, the volume and regularity of trade would increase, thereby allowing more American businesses to make money and American workers to have more jobs due to increased orders from abroad.

ii.    Protecting the lives of Missionaries while they are living and working abroad.

  1. Many foreigners did not like Christian Missionaries in their country because they feared indigenous national traditions, culture, and sentiments would be undermined by foreign religious ideology.
    1. (eg.) Japanese leaders refused to allow Missionaries into their home islands, so Admiral Perry had to forcibly open Japan to trade with the US in 1853. Even then, it took over a decade to have Missionaries settle in Japan.


  1. Humanitarianism

i.    Coming to the aid of others when they are suffering famine, disease, natural disaster, and war dislocation has been a common theme for our country. In doing so, the US markets itself in a positive way to win the international battle of public opinion. Successful marketing often leads to more business connections and the promotion of American values.

  1. (eg.,) During the 1980’s, a prolonged and vicious drought in East Africa allowed the US to meet the daily food needs of hundreds of thousands of hurting people. In doing so, the US had the opportunity to distinguish itself from international communism while genuinely aiding others in need.
  2. (eg.,) The AIDS pandemic, alarmingly high in Africa where it first appeared, allowed the US to get experimental drugs into the country, as well as to distribute birth control devices to traditional societies in order to limit the spread of the disease. (Similar medical rescue missions were undertaken earlier with the polio and tuberculosis vaccines.)
  3. (eg.,) The recent Tsunamis hitting Indonesia and Japan allowed the US to aid countries whose resources were heavily strained. Here the US military capability proved valuable in transporting supplies and equipment, people and food to the places where the greatest good for the greatest number could be done.
  4. (eg.,) The post-WWII US-occupation of Western Germany allowed the US, first, to provide immediate aid to our former enemy and, later, introduce the Marshall Plan, through which the US poured in $13 billion in economic aid from 1948-52. Doing so simultaneously checked the further westward expansion of communism and allowed the economies of Western Europe to grow again.

2.)  Cornell Notes

  1. Topic Heading: major idea(s) addressed in your researched source
  1. Left Side

i.    Vocabulary: terms stated but not defined
ii.    Above Stated Question (ASQ): WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE questions of the source you are using. (THIS IS YOUR ADJECTIVE SECTION.)Topical terms, such as “political,” “economic,” “cultural,” or whatever other categorical descriptions can be placed here, but not explained here
iii.    Below Stated Question (BSQ): HOW, WHY, WHAT IF questions of the source you are using. (THIS IS YOUR ADVERB SECTION.) Ditto for topical terms.

  1. Right Side

i.    Definitions for vocabulary terms are presented here.
ii.    Answers given to the ASQ’s and BSQ’s

  1. If you are a heavy duty note taker, use the blank opposite side of the sheet to give more thorough answers. Just make sure you use a notation, such as an arrow or an asterisk, indicating that additional data lay on the reverse side.
  1. Summary, Reflection, Analysis Section

i.    This part should instantaneously tell you how valuable this page of notes is to the work you are doing. I can also, however, connect back into earlier notes taken.

  1. Using Highlighting Devices

i.    I very strongly recommend using colored markers of pencil to link similar data over many pages of notes. For instance, any major changes can be covered in pink; political shifts can be marked in yellow; or technological convergence with scientific thought can be blanketed in blue. You decide; anything that enhances your understanding can and should be relied upon.


i.    Notes are meant to be sparse, so only take down the data you really need. If you must return to the same source later, you already have the text, chapter, and page on which the material is located, so that return trek can be done with minimal hassle. However, by limiting your volume of notes taken per source, you save a tremendous amount of time and avoid an abundance of useless work.


i.    Take any sheet of 8.5” X 11” paper, and “hot dog” fold it. Just make sure you go about1/3 on the left side and 2/3 on the right side.
ii.    Way # 1: Figure out the general categories you want to work with (for example, “economic, political, social, military,  religious” OR “self-interest, humanitarian, alliance, imperialism,” OR “literature, factual, memoirs, statistics” OR whatever other way you want to categorize your data.), and insert them on the left side.
iii.    Way # 2: When you find interesting factual data, place it in the right side, and then work backward to the left side categories. (I suggest an experimental combination of Way # 1 and Way # 2 until you find a comfort zone for transcribing information and concepts.)
iv.    Continue to write in the “Topic” at the top of the sheet, AND continue to think through your data AT THE BOTTOM OR ON THE BACK of the page by writing in the “Summary, Reflection, Analysis” stuff.. After all, you are not just collecting notes for the sake of collecting notes; rather, you are doing so to further your learning and provide easier recall when it comes time for writing.
v.    Yes, I know that taking notes in a structured format can be tedious, intimidating, and less-than-artistic. Still, doing so is the proverbial nuts-and-bolts of scholarship. You have to get a highly manageable handle on your sources; otherwise, you data will become unworkable at best or useless at worst. Stay on it

3.)  Terminology

  1. Treaty

i.    An express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations.
ii.    Also known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, and exchange of articles

  1. Embassy

i.    The building or compound housing an ambassador’s offices and staff and located in the national capital, though it can refer to the diplomatic delegation itself

  1. Consulate

i.    These are inferior in rank to an embassy and located in areas of business importance. In fact, its principal role lies in promoting trade-–assisting companies to invest and to import and export goods and services both inwardly to the home country and outwardly to the host country. Other activities include protecting the interests of their citizens temporarily or permanently resident in the host country, issuing passports, issuing visas to foreigners, and public diplomacy.

  1. Extraterritoriality

i.    Being exempt from the jurisdiction of local law, usually as a result of diplomatic negotiations.
ii.    It can also be applied to physical spaces, such as foreign embassies, military bases of foreign countries,  or offices of the United Nations (UN).

  1. Most Favored Nation

i.    Any commercial favors one party gave to another country would automatically accrue to the other signatory

  1. Free Ships Make Free Goods”:

i.    Enemy materials of a peaceful nature should be immune from capture when transported on neutral ships

  1. Imperialism

i.    Extending a nation’s power through military conquest, economic domination, or territorial annexation

  1. Hitch-Hiking” Imperialism

i.    Taking the benefits of a dominating nation while incurring none of the risks

  1. Expatriate

i.    Fleeing from home to live abroad.

4.)  Homework: Research, Writing, and Presentations

  1. Use Cornell Notes (CN) when compiling data

                                          i.    CN must be included with your paper.

  1. Chance: Open Door Notes and Policy
  1. Keenan: US Response to the Boxer Rebellion
  1. Andrew B.: Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
  1. Erik: Dollar Diplomacy, esp. during the Taft Administration
  1. Jordan: Platt Amendment and US Policy toward Cuba, 1900-14
  1. Andrew S.: Economic, Military, Political Significance of the Panama Canal


Email sent by Kevin 14Feb2013

February 15, 2013

Hello Fellow Diplomats and Their Charge d’ Affaires (Parents),

Our initial session went fairly well as far as housekeeping measures go. Now it’s really time to get our individual and group chores moving at a more concerted pace. To do so on this upcoming Tuesday, we shall enter two different literary rooms of the house, both dealing with narrative structure: organizing outlines and constructing three-to-four sentence paragraph introductions. Let me say a bit about the first one.

Many of you Diplomats have expressed an interest in research paper preparedness, most specifically in putting together an outline facilitating the crafting of a coherent, tight ten-to-twenty-page essay. This goal is hardly surprisingly so since university looms for most of you. Kudos and more kudos on your scholastic foresightedness! Now, getting to the narrative level where you are comfortably able to fulfill that goal isn’t the easiest writing task to pull off, but we shall do it. This is how. First, we’ll start with Cornell Notes, and not just the ones you are submitting along with your paper on Tuesday, but also ones we shall do collectively in the Strategy Room of 1033 Rubis. I have a history monograph or period synthesis to distribute to each of you which, while we are all together, each of us (me included) will research the topic he has been assigned for the following week. In other words, we’ll peruse the index and table of contents to find information related to the topic upon which each of you has to write. Do you follow me so far? On this Tuesday, each one of us will do research.

From there, we shall input data that WE DEEM IMPORTANT, not what a general text book thinks is important. This free agency, however, must have thematic categories to organize your data, and I don’t care what they are. You may go with “economic, political, military, cultural,” OR “humanitarian, self-interest, religious, treaty commitment,” OR “newspapers, poems, advertisements, memoirs, short stories,” OR “past, present, what if,” OR ANY OTHER WAY YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE AT CONCEPTUALIZING YOUR DATA. Do you all understand this critically crucial cognitive condition? YOU CHOOSE THE CATEGORIES FOR STRUCTURING YOUR DATA. Obviously, you should consider the context of the times in which the peoples of the period lived, as well as basic human needs and patterns of placing themselves in physical space. That being said, you can’t be afraid to think the unthought or to ask the unasked. (If you don’t believe me on this point, read Thoreau’s Walden. Maybe he can convince you of it validity and usefulness.)

Let me give you some examples. When Jordan is looking at the Teller Amendment and the Platt Amendment, an obvious question to come to his mind might be the following: “Why weren’t the same considerations taken for Puerto Rico that were taken for Cuba?” So in reading through his monograph, after already having researched the issue by having read the basic History text book, Jordan can consider economic connections US companies had invested in Cuba OR newspaper accounts of the Cuban people’s suffering OR how things of today are related to the developments of yesterday. Do you see how questions asked become thematic categories chosen?

Let me proffer another example. When Keenan is examining the US response to the Boxer Rebellion, he might choose to look at the cultural expressions of power to confront the foreigners’ economic interests OR the illustrations of the Fisted Brothers as portrayed in Western and Japanese media contrasted with those drawn in the Middle Kingdom OR ask what impact foreign involvement in 1900 China was responsible for the emergence of Communist China in 1949. Again, do you see what I am getting at? You will pick where pertinence lies—though I most certainly do hope you take into consideration the views of your fellow Diplomats when we think through and talk about issues in the Strategy Room. That pertinence must be labeled consistently on the left (narrow) side of your Cornell Notes. Once labeled, highlight them in a variety of colors, doing so on both the left (all) and the right (just a bit) side.

Having followed the above path will give you a CHUNK OUTLINE in Cornell Notes. Box together your chunk outlines, and you have a traditional Cornell Outline, as in the weekly agendas I craft for your voracious consumption. (I didn’t expect to talk this much; can you tell that I’m a teacher?)

Here are a couple of other things for your plate. If any of you wants to trade weekly research assignments and finds a partner willing to make a deal, that’s fine with me, but not until week four. Up to that time, I want to run a neater kitchen. I raise this issue because as you read more Historical stuff, you’ll probably get a better indication of what topic you want to study for your research paper, and from my side, it’s more efficacious to assign weekly work that can be added as a citation in a semester project. You know, two meals for the price of one. (I’m trying not to mix my metaphors, so I didn’t say “kill two birds with one stone.”) Again, assignments may be traded by not until week four.

Next, adulthood is supposed to mean the embrace of responsible behavior. For you Diplomats that means putting together everything you will need for our gatherings. Consequently, beginning with week four, you must print out your own copies of the weekly agenda, Cornell Notes, and any other documentation that I send your way. Again, I already have everything done and printed for the first three weeks. Beginning with week four, however, you must become a more proactive chef and bring your own ingredients to 1033 Rubis. (Attached is the aforementioned completed documentation, which you do NOT need to photocopy.)

Research well; think well; categorize well; write well; and prepare well.





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