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Robert Zoellick Photo

Robert Zoellick

Adjunct Professor of Public Policy


This course will examine practical problem-solving In diplomacy and foreign policy, drawing upon the study of people and key events in the US experience over 200 years. We will review historical cases to learn how officials perceived problems, made decisions, and tried to execute their plans.

This class will consider the MEANS of diplomacy: negotiation; mediation; use of force; advocacy and speeches; public diplomacy at home and abroad; building and managing alliances and coalitions; crisis management; the development and management of institutions and regimes; the uses of international law; and the roles of transnational actors.

We will also examine a variety of TYPES of problems: deciding on war; moving from war to peace; coercive diplomacy; economic statecraft (especially trade & finance); science and technology; humanitarian intervention; territorial disputes; nuclear threats; arms control and regional security; and building and sustaining support with the US Congress and public.

Along the way, you will learn about major episodes in US foreign policy, involving many people other than traditional diplomats. Our consideration of the events will focus more on the “how” than the “why” of historical questions.

Finally, we will discuss how to apply history to policymaking, drawing from recent experience.