This course will focus on an overview of American foreign policy from the end of World War II to the present. Emphasis will be placed on America’s five major wars during this period, its many military invasions and Central Intelligence Agency engineered or sponsored coups, American unilateralism, the Cold War and its aftermath, 9/11 and the challenges posed by Islamic fundamentalism, and the issues of globalization, neo-imperialism, and terrorism.
- ENG 101: English Composition 1
- ENG 102: English Composition 2
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
- Briefly explain and critique the popular notion that World War II was “the good war.”
- Explain the ways in which American ambitions in World War II helped cause and shape the Cold War.
- Identify and explain the main policy characteristics of the Cold War including containment and the Truman doctrine; and deterrence theory (including Eisenhower’s New Look military strategy, Mutually Assured Destruction and Nuclear Utilization Theory).
- Briefly identify some of the reasons for the surprising collapse of the Soviet Union and the central repercussions for the balance of power and for American foreign policy.
- List the major similarities and differences in America’s wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq (both Gulf War and current Iraq War).
- Identify the major findings of the Church Committee/Grimmett Report and list several democracies overthrown by CIA actions
- Briefly explain the meaning of terrorism (including conventional, state sponsored, and state terrorism) and the major problems and weaknesses of counterterrorism and of efforts to limit nuclear proliferation.
- List the major reasons for the marginalization of the United Nations but briefly assess the reasons for its minor ascent since the end of the Cold War.
- Explain some of the trickiest issues posed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ways in which American support for Israel caused and causes anger and resentment in the Middle East and around the world.
- Briefly explain the origins and rapid growth of Islamic fundamentalism and assess the degree of America’s failure to limit its appeal.
Course Activities and Grading
Discussions (Weeks 1-8)
Exam (Week 6)
Research Paper (Week 8)
Available through Charter Oak State College's online bookstore
- Blum, William. Killing Hope: Us Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II - Updated. Common Sense Press, 2016. ISBN-10: 1-78360-177-9 or ISBN-13: 978-1-78360-177-6
- Hook, Steven and John Spanier. American Foreign Policy Since World War II. 21st ed. CQ Press, 2019. ISBN-13: 978-1-5063-8564-8
Additional Required Materials
- Video: The Atomic Cafe (1982) Produced by New Video Group (Students may be able to borrow it from their local library. If not, then students may rent or purchase it from Amazon.)
Readings and Exercises
1, 2, 3, 8, 9
3, 9, 6
5, 3, 6
4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10
(see Assignments Board for listing of key concepts/events for exam preparation)
SLOs 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10
5, 7, 8, 9, 10
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.