“Albert Michaels, Histary – If you have been weaned on a diet of liberal politics and ideology, Dr. Michaels’ class will doubtless be an eye opener. He teaches a more contemporary history ranging from Latin American studies to U.S. foreign policy and provides a rare glimpse of the “other side” through biting, funny and sometimes caustic lectures. His grading is tough and there are those who seem to resent the debasement of their high-school ideology, but in time they grow up and realize how much sense his classes make.”
This course is a general survey of the major international problems which have confronted the United States in the three decades following World War I
This course is an introduction to the way the United States' mass media cover major foreign policy problems. First we will look at the general problem, subsequently we will analyze some glaring examples of media bias toward foreign policy since World War II, including: the Vietnam War, Israel, Desert Storm and the role of the US media in the coming to power of Fidel Castro and the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Next we will briefly examine the ways in which PBS and Hollywood distort international reality. At the end of the course, we will compare and contrast what we have learned with the liberal and conservative positions expressed in two major texts. The emphasis will be on the 19080's and the media coverage of Ronald Reagan's foreign policy.
The leaders of newly independent Latin American nations faced a multitude of problems. Geography, culture, economics and political rivalries doomed most Latin nations to chaos and economic under development. The first part of this class will focus on the colonial legacy and 19th century frustration. The class will examine two unique attempts to grapple with those problems in Haiti and Paraguay. Both failed! The next two sections will cover failed attempts at reform in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay and then study equally futile revolutions in Mexico, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua. The fourth section of the course will focus on current problems, including drubs, debt, emigration and the looming pressure of the United States. The professor will conclude with a pessimistic prognosis on the current “successful” experiments in political democracy and market economics. Requirements include attendance and informed participation, three take-home essays (3-4 types pages), a book report (2-3 pages) and an optional fourth take-home essay for extra credit.
The purpose of this course is to give the student the background to understand contemporary foreign policy issues. This class will complete a sequence comprising Great Decisions I (U.S. Foreign Policy from 1945-1968) and Great Decisions II (Mass Media and Foreign Policy from Vietnam to Iran-Contra). This class will provide invaluable background especially to the large number of students taking Great Decision II. Many of our students have no background knowledge of the Carter, Reagan and Bush years. For many of today's students twenty years ago is ancient history.
This course will make a brief inquiry into the subject of the 20th Century Revolutions with an emphasis on Latin America. The class focuses on the general problem of Revolution and the shifts to three case studies, Mexico 1910-1940, Cuba 1959-1968 and Argentina 1946-1952. We will debate the professor's view that revolutions cause more harm than good and are generally an extension of liberal social reforms.
This course will examine the dynamics of international relations by looking at the role played by the first academic Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. The main themes will include: Kissinger's study of history and how this knowledge influenced his strategies of diplomacy, his world view of the Soviet Union and Cuba, his relations with NATO, Japan and the Third World. We will look at some of Kissinger's early writings and analyze his principal ideas. Special attention will be paid to his studies of the careers of Otto von Bismarck and Clemens con Metternick and to the breakdown of the European state system in the 19th century. We will also take a brief look at the competing worldviews of Paulo Jonson and Gabriel Kolko.
The death of President John F. Kennedy remains an enigma. Hundreds of books, articles and films have covered this event. Oliver Stone's film JFK is shown at least monthly on cable TV. This class will examine the events surrounding the tragedy. We will look closely at what Kennedy and his advisers were attempting to accomplish especially in international policy. Topics covered will include, the CIA, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, the Vietnam War, U.S.-Soviet Relations, defense appropriations and Latin American policy. The focus will be on the degree to which Kennedy was attempting to change the world role of the United States and modify the institutions that formulated international policies. The emphasis will be on identifying those who lost and those who gained from the President's death. This class should shed light on the complicated issues of Castro, Vietnam, U.S.-Soviet relations and the partnership between organized crime and the U.S. Intelligence Agencies. It will help the student to evaluate the CIA and the FBI and how they impacted the U.S. Overseas activities. We will ask who really was J. Edgar Hoover and what was his role in the 19060's? Students taking this class should better understand the Cold War, the U.S. Role in the underdeveloped world and the influence of corporate interests in formulating the international role of the U.S. Most of us have seen Stone's JFK; he might be wrong as to who killed Kennedy but might be right in identifying those who gained from the President's death. The death of Kennedy was a clear watershed moment in U.S. History. The student after taking this class should have a better understanding of power in America and the real alternatives that faced our country in the early 1960's. The course's secondary purpose will be to analyze the controversy surrounding the assassination itself. Major interpretations including the Warren Commission Report (1964), the U.S. Congressional House Select Committee Investigation (1974) and the works of Gerald Posner, Peter Dale Scott, Gus Russo and Thomas Reeves will all be examined both as to the logic and author's motivation. The class will view and interpret Oliver Stone's influential docudrama JFK.