Spring 2022 Syllabus


U.S. Intelligence and Foreign Policymaking: China, North Korea, and Beyond

EXP-0078 • Monday 4:30 - 5:45 PM
First class: January 24, 2022

Dr. Sue Mi Terry
(Director, Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History
and Public Policy, Wilson Center)

Lane Hall, Room 100A

Zoom info: https://tufts.zoom.us/j/97275934743?pwd=U2tBWFN6UVJnS1pPeVNOUkM0aHdpZz09
Meeting ID: 972 7593 4743
Passcode: 128056


Spring 2022, SYLLABUS

Download in .pdf format here



Course Description and Objectives

How can we make sense of how America makes its foreign policy at a time of turmoil and transformation? What is, and should be, America’s role and interest in addressing myriad complex global challenges? This seminar series will explore the major issues in U.S. foreign policymaking with a particular focus on China and North Korea as case studies. The course will begin by examining the role of the intelligence community in U.S. policymaking and then explore the major institutions and actors in the U.S. foreign policymaking system. We will then examine in-depth U.S. policy towards China and the Korean Peninsula to see how U.S. foreign policymaking works. The course will look at the historical context behind American decision-making, present-day issues, and future challenges. We will conclude by looking more broadly at U.S. policy towards Northeast Asia, one of the most significant and dynamic regions in global politics.


Students are required to do the assigned readings in advance of the class in which they will be discussed, and to actively participate in class discussions. Additionally, students will have an in-class mid-term and are required to write a policy options paper. Students will also give a 15-minute group oral presentation.

Midterm: Students will write three short essays in class. Oral Presentation: Students will give a 15-minute individual or group oral presentation/briefing on a topic of their choice. The topic may relate to any relevant regional or U.S. foreign policy issue regarding Northeast Asia. Students must have their topic approved before presenting.

Policy Options Paper: The policy options paper (6 to 8 single-spaced pages) consists of a thoughtful examination of a current issue related to either China, Taiwan, North or South Korea, or the Northeast Asian region more generally and its implications for U.S foreign policymaking. The policy paper should educate the reader about the nature of the issue being examined, including relevant background information and its current status, and the different alternatives that U.S. policymakers might pursue to resolve the issue. The paper should begin with a succinct historical summary of the issue, followed by a description of key concerns. The paper should conclude with a realistic strategy for addressing the issue and a recommended course of action for policymakers, including practical means of implementing the recommended option. The paper must also weigh the potential risks and opportunities of the recommended policy.

Evaluation methods

The grade distribution for the course will be as follows:

  • Class attendance and participation (15% of the final grade)
  • In-class midterm examination (25% of the final grade)
  • Oral presentation (25% of the final grade)
  • Final Policy Options Paper (35% of the final grade)

Class Policies

Electronic Devices. Cell phones and other communication devices should not be used during in-person or online sessions, except in the case of an emergency. Please keep the ringers off and the phone stowed away. Engaging in activities not related to the course (e.g., gaming, email, chat) that disrupt in-class or online experiences for others will result in a deduction in your participation grade.

Written work. Written work submitted to the instructor must be original and single spaced with 12-point type (Times New Roman font), 1-inch margins all around, and one line between paragraphs. Assignments should not exceed the specified page limit.

Academic Integrity. There will be zero tolerance for academic dishonesty, and we will strictly enforce Tufts University’s Honor Code. Students must do their own work on all exams and other assignments for this course. Students found to have violated the Honor Code through plagiarism or any other act of academic dishonesty can expect a zero on the assignment and referral to the disciplinary process. Please note: We will utilize Turnitin.com to check all written work for plagiarism. Students with questions or concerns regarding these policies, including questions about appropriate citation techniques or avoiding plagiarism, should talk with the professor.

Required Texts

Readings have been selected to provide a range of perspectives on any given topic, enabling students to assess competing arguments and form their own opinions. “Further readings” are not required but are listed in case students would like to delve more deeply into various issue areas. The course will use variety of different publications listed on the below syllabus.


Class Schedule

Monday, January 24

Introduction and course overview (In person)

First class will include the instructor’s introduction of herself and the course, including an overview of the readings and class requirement.


Monday, January 31

The Role of Intelligence (Online)

What exactly is intelligence work and how is it done? How does intelligence--the collection and analysis of the plans and capabilities of our adversaries--fit into the U.S. foreign policymaking process? What goes into preparing the President’s Daily Brief and National Intelligence Estimates? The Intelligence Community is more than the CIA and FBI. It is a group of 18 agencies that includes the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and many others. They collect information (for example, how many nuclear weapons China, Iran, or North Korea possesses), assess its accuracy and reliability, and disseminate the information to decisionmakers. The hardest challenge for the intelligence community is assessing the intentions of adversaries. In this course, we will explore why first-rate intelligence is essential in helping U.S. policymakers both understand and respond to the unprecedented national security threats and challenges the country faces today—and how intelligence is used and not used by senior policymakers.


Monday, February 7

U.S. Foreign-Policy Making (Online)


Monday, February 14

Case Study #1 – China (Historical background 1945-1949: China’s Civil War & the U.S. “Loss” of China) (Online)

Further viewing / reading:

Further reading / viewing:

  • Paul J. Heer, “Mr. X and the Pacific—George F. Kennan and American Policy in East Asia (Itaca: Cornell University Press, 2018), chapter 2 on “China: “Minimum Aid” and “Maximum Flexibility.”


Thursday, February 24 (Instead of Feb 21, President’s Day)

Case Study #2 – the Korean Peninsula (Historical background: The Emergence of the Two Koreas, the Korean War, and International Implications of the Korean War) (Online)


Monday, February 28

China’s Rise and Sino-US Relations, Part I

Oral presentations begin


Monday, March 7

China’s Rise and Sino-US Relations, Part 2

Oral presentations

Further viewing / reading:


Monday, March 14

In Class Mid-term (Online)


Monday, March 21

(Spring Recess). No class.


Monday, March 28

The North Korean Nuclear Threat and US Policy Toward North Korea, Part I


Monday, April 4

The North Korean Nuclear Threat and US Policy Toward North Korea, Part II

Oral presentations

Further reading / viewing:

  • Anna Fifield, The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong
    Un (Public Affairs, 2019)
  • “North Korea’s Deadly Dictator,” Frontline, October 4, 2017 (54 minutes, 47 seconds)


Monday, April 11

Challenges and Opportunities of Korean Unification


Monday, April 18

Past, Present, and Future of US-South Korea Alliance

Oral presentations


Monday, April 25

Historical memory as a driver of tensions in East Asia: Korea-Japan Bilateral Relations and the US Role

Oral Presentations


Monday, May 2

Contemporary Issues in East Asia, Future Projections and Review

Policy Options Paper Due

Finish oral presentations

Further reading / viewing: