West Valley College Spring 2019

Political Science 4
Section 32176
10:55-12:20, LASS 26

Tim Kelly, Ph.D.
Office Hours:  M/W/Th 2:00-2:45 and by appt
Ph: (408) 741-2546


Political Science 4 is a survey of the ways and means by which the contemporary international scene has developed.  Included will be consideration of such subjects as nationalism, imperialism, war, the world economy, the environment and developing nations.  This course teaches you how to analyze political relations between and among nations.  Over the next 15 weeks we will seek to explain international political ideologies and apply these concepts to specific case studies.  This course develops critical thinking skills through observation, analysis, and evaluation of competing theories concerning international politics and the specific challenges facing decision makers.  The student should gain a fuller understanding of the political, social and economic relationships among nation-states.  Particular emphasis is given to the foreign policies of the U.S. and their relationship to foreign powers.  Political Science 4 may be used to meet Social Science Series I or II requirements in the General Education pattern for transfer to the California State University system.


Analyze the elements of the East-West and North-South rivalries.

Explain and discuss the geopolitical significance of international nation-states.

Apply diplomatic techniques to negotiations.

Analyze the history of national and international rivalries between countries and nation-states.

Compare and contrast the cultural and economic aspects of geographic areas studied.

Explain the structure and function of the United Nations.

Analyze issues affecting underdeveloped nations.


Pevehouse and Goldstein, International Relations, 11th (Pearson, 2017) (ISBN 9780134404769)

Additional Required Reading On-Line at Canvas (or you can go directly to the site at http://instruct.westvalley.edu/kelly/PoliSci4_on_campus/Online%20Readings/PS4_readings.htm.)


The success of this class will depend on the active participation of everyone enrolled.  Throughout the semester you will take part in a Model United Nations simulation in which you will role play the part of a specific country.  Your first paper will be related to this exercise.
First Paper:  Each student will be assigned a country the first week of class.  You will research that country (based on criteria posted online) and turn in a 2-3 page essay in the second week. (100 points)
Second Paper:  Each student will write a 3-4 page paper on human rights abuses in your chosen country.  The assignment is posted on Canvas and will be due in Week 10. (200 points)


  1. Cell phones and Computers must be turned off in the classroom.
  2. Save this syllabus as evidence for transfer to a four-year institution.
  3. Class participation and COMPLETING THE ASSIGNED READING by the beginning of each topic are essential to passing this course.
  4. Late work is marked down 1/3 of a grade for each day that it is handed in late after the end of class when it is due.
  5. Tutoring is available at no charge at Tutorial Services.  It is provided by qualified, trained, students who have been recommended by the faculty.  Contact Tutorial Services in the Library Building or call 741-2038.
  6. Plagiarism/cheating will result in automatic failures for the course and offenders will be referred to the CSSO for disciplinary action.  Familiarize yourself with the campus policy on cheating detailed in the College Catalog under Student Conduct Code, 5.8.19 Policy on Cheating.  (You will find examples of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it at http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/plagiarism.html)
  7. West Valley College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. College materials will be available in alternate formats (Braille, audio, electronic format, or large print) upon request.  Please contact the Disability and Educational Support Program at (408) 741-2010 (voice) or (408) 741-2658 (TTY) for assistance.
  8. Student Learning Outcome will be assessed through examination to determine students' knowledge of the application of ideologies used to explain international relations.

Pass/No Pass Option

Students may no longer take Politics 4 with the Pass/No Pass Option.


Your two quizzes over the semester will be conducted on Canvas rather than in class.  These multiple-choice quizzes cover the textbook readings (Chapters 1-4 for Quiz 1, and Chapters 8-9, 11 for Quiz 2) and online/library reserve readings.  (Click HERE for more instructions, as well as how to log on to Canvas.) 

Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and punctuality is required and roll will be taken at the beginning of the class.  Each tardiness will constitute a reduction of 1 point in participation grade.  More than one absence will constitute a reduction of 2 points for each additional absence.  Students missing more than 5 classes in a row before the final drop date may be dropped unless they notify the instructor.

How to Succeed in this Class

Beyond the assigned readings, you must keep up with current events, particularly in the international arena.  Daily newspapers are a great way to do this (Wall Street Journals, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post are all good sources.)  In addition, there are a number of journals you can access at the library (either on-line or in print form).  Two very good sources are Current History and Foreign Affairs.  Even watching the national news (CNN, BBC, the networks, and/or the News Hour on PBS) can keep you well informed.  By staying informed with current events, you can apply the themes we discuss in class as you form your own opinion.

Course Requirements  Grading Policy:   Grades are awarded on a Standard Scale:
1. Two papers
2. Two Quizzes
3. Mid-term Exam 
4. Final examination
5. Class Participation
(300 pts total)
(50 pts total)
(300 pts)
(300 pts)
(50 pts)

1000 - 900
899 - 800
799 - 700
699 - 600
599 and below

Dates to Remember
Last Day to Drop w/out a "W"
First Paper Due
QUIZ #1 Available (Text, Chs 1-4)
Spring Break
Second Paper Due
QUIZ #2 Available (Text, Chs 8-9, 11)
Last day to Drop with a "W"

                         PART II  -  TUESDAY, MAY 21, 9:40-11:40

Course Outline

WEEK 1 (1/28 + 1/31)

Understanding International Relations
Realism ad Power Politics

                Reading:  Goldstein, Chs 1 and 2

WEEK 2 (2/05 + 2/07)

Continue Realism and Power Politics Lecture 
Discuss "Soft/Smart Power" Online articles (Thursday)


                Reading:  Goldstein, Finish Ch 2; Online:  Taylor; Pan; Nye

2/10 Last Day to Drop w/out a "W"

WEEK 3 (2/12 + 2/14)

Liberalism and Other Alternatives

                Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 3; Online:  Stiles, "The National Interest"

WEEK 4 (2/19 + 2/21)

Foreign Policy Decision Making

                  Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 4; Online:  Stiles, "The Cuban Missile Crisis:  Rationality"

WEEK 5 (2/26 + 2/28)

International Conflict

QUIZ #1 (Chs 1-4) Available on Canvas from 2/28-3/02 until 11:59 pm

                Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 5; Online:  Naimark Readings (pdf file)

WEEK 6 (3/05 + 3/07)

Military Force

                Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 6; Online:  This is Exactly How a Nuclear War Would Kill You by Alex Ward

WEEK 7 (3/12 + 3/14)

FILM:  The Fog of War

                Reading:  Online:  The Fog of War:  Synopsis and Reviews (Read 3 of the 5 reviews in the right hand column.)

WEEK 8 (3/19 + 3/21)

Discussion and Catch-up
3/21   MIDTERM

                Reading:  Online:   Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN in 1948 (http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html) 

WEEK 9 (3/26 + 3/28)

International Law and Organizations

                Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 7; Online:  Stiles, "The International Landmine Ban:  NGOs" (pdf file)

SPRING BREAK 4/01 - 4/06

WEEK 10 (4/09 + 4/11)

International Trade
Trade Strategies and the WTO

                Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 8;  Online"Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the WTO" (pdf file); Nikil Saval, Globalisation:  The rise and fall of an idea that swept the world

WEEK 11 (4/16 + 4/18)

Political Economy

                Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 9

WEEK 12 (4/23 + 4/25)

Catch-up and Discussion of "Jihad vs. McWorld"
The Global Environment

QUIZ #2 (Chs 7-9, 11 Available on Canvas from 4/25-4/27 until 11:59 pm)

Reading Goldstein, Ch 11; Online:  Barber, "Jihad vs. McWorld"; Is the Paris Climate Agreement a Good Strategy?  (Choose two articles: a pro- and an anti-Agreement)

 4/25        LAST DAY TO DROP WITH A "W"

WEEK 13 (4/30 + 5/02)

North vs. South

                Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 12; Online:  Stiles, "Sweatshops, Outsourcing, and Global Production" (pdf file)

WEEK 14 (5/07 + 5/09)

Development in the Global South
Assistance to the Global South

                Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 13

WEEK 15 (5/14 + 5/16)

Discussion and Catch-up

                Reading:  Goldstein, Ch 14

FINAL EXAM - PART II       -    TUESDAY, MAY 21, 9:40-11:40