U.S. Presidency in Foreign Affairs
Directions: Students will select a news article no more than 30 days old, and provide a very brief summary (no more than 2-3 sentences) in which you describe the main focus of the story. This should be found in the first paragraph or two of the article.
You should then proceed to analyze the news event and discuss the relevance to something that has been presented in class. Attached to this handout are some key concepts, broken down by chapter and topic, to assist you in identifying major concepts from the text and lecture. You should begin your analysis by clearly identifying a concept from the course and demonstrating that you understand the definition and/or significance of the concept.
Once you have established you understand the concept, the rest of your write-up should demonstrate the connection between your chosen article and the concept you have identified. Do not continue to summarize the news story. Instead, think critically about how the concept relates to the story. The following questions may help guide your analysis:
How does the article reflect or diverge from material covered in class? How does this issue illustrate a key similarity or difference with how politics work in the United States as presented by the textbook, Blackboard readings, or instructor’s lectures? Textbook: American Politics Today (4rd Essentials edition) by William T. Bianco and David T. Canon (W.W. Norton, 2014) ISBN: 978-0-393-93702-2
Does the article support or undermine the theories presented by political scientists?
These questions are not the only way to approach the analysis section. In fact, you may find another connection that you would like to explore that does not answer one of the questions listed above.
The most successful write-ups focus on one aspect of the story and how it relates to the concept. In other words focusing on one question allows you to explore the connection in- depth, rather than a shallow analysis that scrapes the surface of multiple questions.
Formatting: The write-up must be a minimum of one full page (that means one full page, not 1/2 or 3/4) but no more than two pages, single-spaced, use Times New Roman size 12 point font, and have 1 inch margins all around. Do not add extra space between paragraphs. You must conclude your write up with an APA, APSA, Chicago, or MLA style citation for your source article. The citation must include a stable link/URL for your article.
Grammar and Spelling: The write-up should be proof-read and have few (if any) spelling and grammatical errors. Your writing should be clear and concise, and avoid using run-on sentences.
A note on style: students should avoid writing in the first person. Phrases like “I believe,” “I think,” or “in my opinion,” tend to weaken writing and your argument. Take a stance, and stand behind it. You will be a stronger writer for it in the long run. Additionally, contractions should be avoided as well.
Key Concepts: The concepts listed below will help you clearly identify and engage materials from class. These are not the only concepts that could apply or use, but are provided to help you focus your write-ups.
Constitutional Authority for Presidential Power, Statutory Authority for Presidential Power, Vesting Clause, Head of government, Head of state, Presidential appointments and recess appointments, Executive Orders, the President as Commander-in-Chief, the President’s role in treaty making and foreign policy, Executive Agreements, Presidential Legislative power and the State of the Union, Executive Privilege, “Going Public,” Executive Office of the President, The Vice President, The President’s Cabinet, Unilateral Action, Signing Statements.
News Article to Use: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/16/world/asia/obama-troop-withdrawal-afghanistan.html