Essay Instructions: These are possible essay questions for a final exam. Of the eight questions listed, please choose only four to answer, and please make each answer 2.5 pages long. Of the four questions you choose to answer, please choose the four you find yourself most capable of answering.
1. What were the initial aims, scope and means of the containment policy? How and why did strategy of containment evolve over time from Truman to Reagan? What were its major strengths and flaws?
2. What were the major reasons for the Cuban Missile crisis? Could the crisis have been avoided? Evaluate the management of the crisis by the U.S. and the Soviet leadership. What were the lessons of the crisis for American, Soviet and European leaders?
3. What were the reasons for American intervention in Vietnam? Why did each president from Truman to Nixon regard Vietnam as important to the United States? What are the lessons of the Vietnam War and what are its consequences
for American foreign policy?
4. Identify and evaluate some of the major contending arguments explaining the end of the Cold War. What role did American containment policy play in the transformation of Soviet foreign policy under Gorbachev?
5. Discuss major international challenges the U.S. faced during the 1990s. What were major achievements and failures of the American foreign policy in that period?
6. Identify and evaluate major features of the Bush Doctrine and the “neoconservative moment” in American foreign policy. How do neoconservatives and the “Vulcans” fit into competing American foreign policy traditions?
7. Since the Cold War’s end, some international relations theorists and strategic analysts have argued that the United States will not fall victim to the fate of past hegemons (who either “overstretched” themselves or caused a counterhegemonic backlash). According to others, the arguments in favor of U.S. “hegemonic exceptionalism” are weak and American “hegemonic” grand strategy is not sustainable. Discuss/evaluate both points of view and their implications for American foreign policy.
8. Evaluate and compare visions of the future American grand strategy articulated by Josef Joffe and Christopher Layne.
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