essay

This paper is to serve as the big essay question at the end of the course. It is an opportunity to use the facts, concepts, and theories that we’ve covered over the semester up to this point. The topic of the paper is “National Security Policy under a Trump Administration.” The first thing to do is to describe President Trump’s security policy in the first year and a half of his presidency. What paradigm – realism, idealism, neoconservatism, something else, or some combination of paradigms – in national security thinking does his policy most conform to? This requires you to make an argument both about the elements of the Trump policy and about the policies we’ve reviewed in class, and then make an argument about how particular actions taken by Trump fit into the paradigm or combination of paradigms you have identified. The second thing to do is to assess the security challenges that the United States faces. Our coverage of the contemporary status of Russia and China should be helpful in this regard, as well as our previous discussions of asymmetric warfare (terroism, insurgency, cyber-warfare, etc.), nation-building, failed states. The third thing to do is to put the first two things together. What strategies, policies, means of pursuing national security are likely to be most effective against the challenges that the United States is currently facing. This will require you to drop down from the most abstract level of national security thinking – the paradigms and the very general terms in which they are framed – to more concrete levels. Here one can talk about geopolitical strategies as opposed to globalist policies. Other vocabulary and concepts may be helpful here (such as the “liberal hegemony,” “illiberal hegemony,” and “restraint” concepts introduced by Posen in his article, “The Rise of Illiberal Hegemony”). In putting all of this together, it is important to make a balanced and empirically supported case. Simply stating one’s preferences or ideology is not useful. Various points of view are reasonable, but we have presented two or more sides to most of these issues. You should recognize the different perspectives and give evidence from historical example and/or data to support the perspective you deem best able to provide for U.S. national security. The paper should be from 700-1000 words. If you need to use a little more, you are free to do so, but make the additional words count.
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Writing the Term Paper for Intro to National Security Studies
This paper is to serve as the big essay question at the end of the course. It is an opportunity to
use the facts, concepts, and theories that we’ve covered over the semester up to this point. The
topic of the paper is “National Security Policy under a Trump Administration.”
The first thing to do is to describe President Trump’s security policy in the first year and a
half of his presidency. What paradigm – realism, idealism, neoconservatism, something else, or
some combination of paradigms – in national security thinking does his policy most conform to?
This requires you to make an argument both about the elements of the Trump policy and about
the policies we’ve reviewed in class, and then make an argument about how particular actions
taken by Trump fit into the paradigm or combination of paradigms you have identified.
The second thing to do is to assess the security challenges that the United States faces. Our
coverage of the contemporary status of Russia and China should be helpful in this regard, as well
as our previous discussions of asymmetric warfare (terroism, insurgency, cyber-warfare, etc.),
nation-building, failed states.
The third thing to do is to put the first two things together. What strategies, policies, means of
pursuing national security are likely to be most effective against the challenges that the United
States is currently facing. This will require you to drop down from the most abstract level of
national security thinking – the paradigms and the very general terms in which they are framed –
to more concrete levels. Here one can talk about geopolitical strategies as opposed to globalist
policies. Other vocabulary and concepts may be helpful here (such as the “liberal hegemony,”
“illiberal hegemony,” and “restraint” concepts introduced by Posen in his article, “The Rise of
Illiberal Hegemony”).
In putting all of this together, it is important to make a balanced and empirically supported
case. Simply stating one’s preferences or ideology is not useful. Various points of view are
reasonable, but we have presented two or more sides to most of these issues. You should
recognize the different perspectives and give evidence from historical example and/or data to
support the perspective you deem best able to provide for U.S. national security.
The paper should be from 1600 to 3200 words. If you need to use a little more, you are free
to do so, but make the additional words count.

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