MDSA 5301: Introduction to Diplomacy and Strategic Policy

Course Department
Credits 3
Course ID
Course Component
This seminar is intended to provide a deeper, graduate-level analysis of the art and practice of diplomacy, and the statecraft fundamental to the formulation and successful pursuit of persuasive strategic policy. The nature of leaders and their leadership, the psychology which underpins the proclivities of individual leaders, and their ability to communicate persuasively to both domestic and international influencers will be a course focus. We will examine the practical dimensions of diplomacy as practiced in the 21st century: the “special” role of the US; changing diplomatic practices; the growing need to manage public, social media; the increasingly powerful influence of non-state actors; the impact of revolutionary and post-colonial states; the need for moral leadership and innovative concepts such as the “responsibility to protect”; and, finally, alternatives to diplomacy as appropriate means for mediating relations between an ever-growing number of groups and states in a more complex world. The course will utilize a largely case study method, taking a deep dive into 4-6 major issues. One to two will be watershed historical events, to examine how diplomatic tools were used in support of an overall strategic policy. How was strategic policy developed, how was diplomacy used to advance that chosen strategic policy, and what blowback was experienced? Another 3-4 case studies will analyze seminal, central current issues; students will prepare both a strategic policy and negotiations talking points, among other activities. How could or can the strategic policy and diplomacy be deployed for a better result?
MDSA Prerequsites: Admission into the MDSA program.