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MSc International Relations of the Americas
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AMERG011: Post-Cold War US Foreign Policy

Course convenor: Dr Tony McCulloch


This course considers how the end of Cold War bipolarity impacted on American foreign policy, both before and after 9/11. The first part of the course considers Clinton’s foreign policy and, especially, the consistency of democratic enlargement as its doctrinal base. The second part of the course concentrates on the US government’s response to 9/11 and the efficacy of the Bush doctrine – sometimes labelled democratic realism and/or globalism – as a prescriptive guide to modern American foreign policy. The final part of the course considers the Obama administration’s foreign policy and assesses its efforts to reposition the US in light of new realities, opportunities and threats.

The course is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, with the emphasis on the latter. Seminars will focus on central case studies of US foreign policy in the post-1991 era, including the more significant American military interventions and bi-lateral relationships.

Assessment is based on a 4,000 word essay.

Introductory Reading

  • Bacevich, Andrew, Limits of Power: The end of American Exceptionalism (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008) Chollet, Derek and James Goldgeier, America between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11 (New York: PublicAffairs, 2008)
  • Cox, Michael and Doug Stokes, eds., American Foreign Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008)
  • Gaddis, John Lewis, Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004)
  • Dumbrell, John, Clinton’s Foreign Policy: Between the Bushes, 1992-2000 (London: Routledge, 2009)
  • Foreign Policy, “Grading Obama’s Foreign Policy,” January 23, 2012, http.//
  • Kagan, Robert, Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (New York: Knopf, 2003)
  • Lindsay, James and Ivo H. Daalder, America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy (Washington DC: Brookings, 2005)
  • Lynch, Timothy J. and Robert Singh, After Bush: The Case for Continuity in American Foreign Policy (2008)
  • Parmar, Inderjeet, Linda B. Miller, Mark Ledwidge (eds), New Directions in US Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2009)
  • Sanger, Richard, The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (New York: Crown, 2009)