Fall/Winter Timetable

POL2205H1F L0201

Undergraduate Course Code: POL486H1F L0201

Topics in International Politics I

Grand Strategy: The International and Domestic Sources of National Security Policy


Great power politics have not been relegated to history and in some ways are more important than ever. New technologies, economic globalization, and changes in political fortunes have created a complex and uncertain threat environment in the 21st century. The proliferation of nuclear weapons to new actors, the emergence of autonomous weapons, ubiquitous dependence on cyberspace and satellites, and global terrorism pose major challenges for the formulation of national security policies. Grand strategy is national policy for integrating all instruments of power—diplomatic, informational, military, and economic—to advance national security interests. Even small states and non-state actors have grand strategies, and states have them even if they don’t write about them, and perhaps even if their own policymakers don’t understand them very well.


Singer, P. W., and August Cole. Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War. Mariner Books, 2016.
Posen, Barry R. Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2014.

Format and Requirements

This is a project-based course designed to give you tools to jump into the analysis of a state or region with which you are unfamiliar. The course begins with a survey of the many different factors that influence grand strategy in theory. Student teams then systematically explore competing system level (international) and unit level (domestic) explanations for grand strategy and defense policy in a series of regional case studies. This course is not designed to make students an expert on the strategy or policy of any particular state, but rather to introduce the comparative method of analysis and the determinants of national security policy. Each student will participate in two country teams and produce a term paper.

PLEASE NOTE: All courses with room numbers indicated are DUAL DELIVERY, EXCEPT for courses in SSH3130 unless otherwise indicated.

ONLINE-S = Online Synchronous
ONLINE-A =Online Asynchronous