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Examine the role of the US in the changing world order, possible responses to present and future geopolitical and geoeconomic threats, and the usefulness of existing and possible future alliances, as well as other international institutional arrangements.


Learn advanced frameworks for thinking strategically about policy, decision-making, history, and statecraft.

Race and Empire: The United States from Independence through World War II

This course analyzes US foreign policy from independence through World War II. What is striking about these first 180 years of US diplomacy is how relevant many of its debates and crises are to US policy today.

Central to the Founding Fathers was the question of the uniqueness, or exceptionalism, of the American experiment. The tension between Jeffersonian idealism and Hamiltonian realism remains the fundamental divide in US foreign policy debates. The intersection between the idea of Manifest Destiny and the institution of slavery opens a window on the powerful influence of racism on the formulation of US policy. The study of US relations with Native Americans and Latin Americans reveals patterns that persist in US relations with weaker states. In the late nineteenth century, the US clash with European imperialism, the conquest of the Philippines, and the opening toward China and Japan lay the foundations for the US global role in the 20th and 21st centuries. Wilsonian idealism continues to inform the present debate, and myths about American “isolationism” between the wars still distort our understanding of the past.

Congress and Foreign Policy

Examines Congress as a legislative and political institution, rooted in the Constitution but adapting to new problems and pressures.

Studies how members perform their legislative and representational roles and respond to political pressures. Devotes special attention to the legislative processes influencing foreign and defense policy, including the key committees, the budget process, foreign economic policy and use of force issues. Taught seminar style, with numerous role-playing exercises. Limited to 14 students.

US Constitutional Law and the International System

The American tradition of judicial review by independent courts has had an enormous influence on the international development of the rule of law in newly emerging democracies.

This seminar, taught by a practicing lawyer, reads some of the classic cases of the American constitutional tradition, including cases on school desegregation, separation of powers, foreign affairs, freedom of religion and speech, control of immigration and the right to be left alone. Looks at the indeterminacy of the original constitutional document and how it has developed through the processes of both political and judicial interpretation.

US Foreign Policy and the New World Order in the 20th and 21st Centuries

The United States and major European powers have long sought to institute varying kinds of political order across borders. This course will provide a critical examination of such attempts in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and their legacies for today.

In particular, the class looks at US and European attempts to compel, institute, or promote “new world orders” as empires waned, Communist regimes assumed power, new forms of European integration emerged, the Cold War unfolded, and technological advances reshaped politics.


Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Charles Doran

Andrew W. Mellow Professor of International Relations

In the News

Don’t Hype the Disinformation Threat

Foreign Affairs, May, 5, 2024


In the Small Wars Journal, Professor Albert J. Marckwardt writes about the authorization for the use of force against Mexican cartels was introduced in Congress. 04/29/24

Q&A with SAIS’ Jonas Nahm, Co-Author of 2024 U.S. Presidential Economic Report

The breadth and depth of the Economic Report of the President…reflects the deep bench of expertise at the Council of Economic Advisers, and the federal government more broadly.

A Closer Look at the Gaza Casualty Data

Good Authority (blog), December 14, 2023. With Marc Lynch.

The Ghosts of Lebanon

Foreign Affairs, November 14, 2023.

The Political Dynamics of Disasters

Arts & Sciences Magazine, November, 2023.

No Comment

Eliot A. Cohen wrote in The Atlantic, 06/01

It’s Not Enough for Ukraine to Win. Russia Has to Lose

Eliot A. Cohen wrote in The Atlantic, 05/19

The Shortest Path to Peace

Eliot A. Cohen wrote in The Atlantic, 02/28