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Duke University

21st Century American Foreign Policy

Duke University via Coursera

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U.S. foreign policy has a huge impact on the world. That impact is widely debated among Americans and by people in many countries. Our goal in this course is to gain more understanding of what U.S. foreign policy is, who makes it, why is it the way it is, and how it affects the rest of the world. Through lectures, readings, and other course elements we build on the information available from the media and other such sources while delving deeper into the issues, their history, their broader context and major debates. We seek to do so as a community of learning committed not only to the curricular objectives for our course, but seeking to demonstrate to the world how to conduct informed and respectful discourse on subjects which have plenty of room for disagreement.

The first week of the course provides an overview and analytic framework, and focuses in on the process and politics by which U.S. foreign policy is made. Each of the next five weeks is geared to U.S. foreign policy in different regions: Asia with a particular focus on U.S.-China relations; the Middle East and such issues as Iran, Arab-Israeli peace, Syria, and the Arab uprisings; relations with Western Europe and Russia; relations in the Western Hemisphere with Latin America and Canada; and key issues in U.S.-Africa relations. While we cannot cover all issues, we do try for a balance of breadth and depth.


Six weeks organized into six units:

  1. Course Overview, Analytic Framework and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy
  2. Asia’s Rising Strategic Importance: U.S. Relations with China and in the Asia-Pacific Region
  3. War, Peace, Terrorism, Democracy:  Old and New Challenges in the Middle East
  4. Old Friends, Old Enemy: 21st Century Relations with Europe and Russia
  5. The Americas: Relations with Latin America and Canada
  6. Africa: Persisting Old Issues, Pressing Newer Ones

Taught by

Bruce Jentleson


4.0 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

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  • John Hunt
    The 4 P's is a useful tool for thinking about trade-offs in foreign policy (but I wouldn't hang a whole course on it). The lectures were OK, although they don't have any particular underlying world view or special insight, so you could achieve the s…
  • Anonymous
    Many thanks to Professor Bruce W Jentleson, his team and Duke University site for great opportunity to follow the course which for me was very instructive and stimulating. It was also a useful tool for my work. I note with pleasure the quality of the course, technical support and professionals involved in this project. Waiting for the next challenge.
  • Brennan Mccloney

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