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The goal in this paper is to analyze the decisions leaders and others have made when it comes to foreign policy. While some time must be spent on explaining the issue, be careful not to fall into the trap of ONLY explaining the event and neglecting to analyze WHY it occurred or HOW.

When selecting a case, bear in mind you can’t use any which are in our textbook. However, there are many foreign policy events, large and small, to choose from, and they can be from any country. An example might be President Trump’s decision to try to ban refugees from certain countries. Here you might examine what he said during his campaign, how he has faced other similar issues, whether he has any kind of cognitive bias, how he might be trying to play a nested game, both domestically and internationally, and so on.

It is very important to approach this assignment neutrally. Your opinions are not required! What is necessary is to objectively look at why a leader has done something within foreign policy and try to determine why, without your own biases and feelings clouding this research. Your analysis paper should include no opinion statements.

Start out with a strong introduction, which mentions the event, the major players and the outcome, and previews your analysis. You might mention theories which might apply (such as offensive realism, or hegemonic stability), cognitive biases you uncovered (such as a filter or screen), aspects of the major players’ personalities, and so on. This is just a preview of what you’ll cover in the paper itself.

Next, describe the event in neutral terms. You may decide to analyze at that point, or you may save the analysis for after the summary.

In your analysis, you may “test out” several theories and discuss why they do or do not fit the situation. You may not find much information in your research about why the decision makers acted as they did, and in this case you’ll have to hypothesize, or make an educated guess about why they acted this way. Perhaps a certain leader was known for having aggressive tendencies in other situations. Explain those situations and how they apply to your case.

Wrap up your paper with a strong conclusion, which finalizes your analysis and describes what you believe happened in this situation and why.

In the end, the reader should come away believing that you have examined this case to determine why it played out as it did by applying and discussing theories about decision making and how international politics works.

Rely on the textbook to provide you with the tools for analysis, along with sources related to your foreign policy event. Having between 3 and 5 sources will give you a good start. Be sure to cite the textbook!

The paper must be between 1000 and 1500 words, double-spaced, with 1″ margins in Times New Roman font.

Citations are expected both in-text and in Works Cited at the end of the paper, in full APA format. A good resource for this is Purdue OWL ( and a good way to create citations is through

Be very careful not to plagiarize. All quotes must be cited, as should general information you read. A good rule of thumb is if it doesn’t come from your own mind (analysis) it needs to be cited. TurnItIn will be utilized.

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