Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3201: International Security and US Foreign Policy

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Doug Stokes (Lecturer)

Available via distance learning


It is almost impossible to understand the contemporary global security order without also analyzing the United States and its foreign relations in historical context. Whether as the producer of security goods for the ‘liberal order’ during the Cold War; the shift to US unipolarity afterwards or as the lead state in a series of often controversial wars after 9/11, the US continues to remain central to international security and world order more broadly. During the module, you will be provided with a detailed exploration of the centrality of the US to the reproduction of a broad range of international regimes. Themes covered will include the historical legacy of the ‘Pax Americana’; US grand strategy; the durability of US unipolarity; the rise of China and other powers; the interrelationship between US monetary and strategic primacy and the ways in which the US can help stymie decline through strategic mediation, particularly in Asia.   

Key questions the course will cover include whether the US-led western order is being eclipsed in favour of a more multipolar distribution of power? How can great powers, and especially the US, calibrate its grand strategy to help arrest power transition? In what ways does the global security order that the US helps reproduce help bolster its position within world politics? 

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