IAFF6168: Coercion in peacetime and war

Seminar for GWU masters students

In the 21st century, governments can use a variety of tools to compel and deter each other, from economic sanctions to nuclear weapons. Decision-makers frequently combine these tools to try to change the behavior of states and other international actors, employing what is often called a “whole-of-government” or “cross-domain” approach to coercion. In this course, students will learn to think systematically about how these tools can be combined to produce more effective foreign policy outcomes in peacetime and war. Using key theories of coercion, and examples from contemporary international relations, we will assess the similarities and differences, and past successes and failures of the following coercive tools: economic sanctions, political influence operations, sanctions in international organizations, cyberattacks, proxies, conventional military power, and nuclear weapons. We will also examine how policy-makers select which tool(s) to use in a specific situation, how to integrate plans to use different tools, and why policy-makers may fail to integrate planning, leading to unintended, negative foreign policy outcomes. Examples will draw primarily from East Asia, in comparative perspective.

Instructor, Fall 2019

PSC2449: INternational security politics

Lecture course for GWU undergraduate students

Will China seek to displace the United States as a global hegemon as its wealth increases? Did Russia annex parts of Ukraine and interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections because of NATO expansion or Russian expansionism? Does the internet make the state irrelevant as an actor in international security politics? Does North Korea’s nuclear arsenal make war in East Asia more or less likely? This course provides upper-level undergraduates with foundational knowledge about the security studies sub-field of International Relations such that they are able to engage with any contemporary and historical debate about international security politics in a sophisticated manner. We will use International Relations theories and empirics to critically analyze arguments about the causes of international security outcomes in areas ranging from U.S. grand strategy to cybersecurity and terrorism. The class will analyze the key causes of security and insecurity in the International Relations literature, how states make themselves secure in their foreign policy choices and actions, and international security actors and influences beyond the state.

Instructor, Fall 2019

17.42 Causes and Prevention of War

Lecture course for MIT undergraduate students

Examines the causes of war, with a focus on practical measures to prevent and control war.  Topics include causes and consequences of mis-perception by nations; military strategy and policy as causes of war; religion and war; US foreign policy as a cause of war and peace; and the likelihood of possible great wars in the future.  Historical cases include World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Seven Years' War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, other recent Middle East wars, and the Peloponnesian War.

Teaching Assistant, Spring 2015, Spring 2017


Photo (above): canals of Beijing in summer.