In this assignment you will need to develop, research, and write a well thought out position paper that responds to one of the prompts below. In order to develop your paper, you will need to conduct research using academic and non-academic articles, books, policy papers and briefs, and class materials.
As a first step, you will need to submit a 1-page double spaced hard-copy proposal (worth 20 points) on 2/20 that will include your topic, an initial description of your paper and argument, and a list of 2 preliminary sources you may use in your paper (you are welcome to decide to change your preliminary sources and use other sources in the final paper). We will then spend the class sessions on 2/20 and 2/21 in workshops that will help you develop the skills needed for this assignment.
In crafting your final position paper that will be due 3/16 you will need to develop a clear argument around which you will structure your paper, and identify a counter argument. Throughout the paper, you will need to use evidence to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both your argument and the counter argument you are presenting. Make sure to use systematic and not anecdotal evidence. You will need to make sure that you cover all aspects and possible strength and flaws of both arguments. The position paper must be at least 5 double spaced pages 12 font (excluding references and visual data such as figures or charts that you use to support your arguments). However, the position paper must not exceed 8 pages.
In developing your position paper MUST include a total of at least six different sources to evaluate both arguments. At least two of these sources must research articles be from peer reviewed academic journals. Permitted sources include: academic journal articles, think tank reports, government reports, books, subject encyclopedias, and articles from reputable journals and newspapers (but not random websites). In addition, you must also include all relevant information for the lectures, the textbook, and other assigned readings. Dictionaries, general encyclopedias, and Wikipedia DO NOT count as sources, though you may use them while conducting your research. In class on 2/21 we will all attend a session at the library that will help you identify useful and valid sources for your papers. You also must cite all sources in-text where appropriate. You may use any citation style you prefer, but you must use it correctly and consistently. I recommend that you make use of the library’s Citations Guide (http://libguides.greenriver.edu/citations) for instructions and guidance regarding citation styles.
Below are the topics you may choose from and the rubric I will use for grading the papers.
There are ongoing debates regarding whether the international community should intervene in civil wars in countries around the world. Since the end of the cold war, these wars have led to the deaths of millions of civilians in places like Syria, Yemen, Bosnia, Burma, Rwanda, and South Sudan just to mention a few. However, there is broad disagreement regarding the role the international community should play these conflicts. Some argue that the international community must intervene to protect innocent civilians, provide humanitarian aid, and stop the escalation of violence. Other however suggest that such intervention is both costly and ineffective and that it is unclear whether it will promote resolution or just postpone the inevitable violence. In this paper, you will need to choose a current civil conflict and advocate for one of these positions. After briefly reviewing the history of the conflict, choose the position you want to advocate for. In your discussion be sure to use evidence from different conflicts and to critically examine the pros and cons of both your position and the counter position. What can we learn from experiences in other conflicts? What are the possible unintended consequences of intervention? How can international decisions and actions be coordinated? Be sure to provide strong evidence and reasoning to support your arguments.
Some international relations scholars have pointed out that while state borders are becoming more open to flows of information, financial capital, and goods states are increasing restrictions on the flow of bodies (i.e. immigrants and refugees). This debate has become particularly acute following the dramatic increase in refugee flows over the last decade. While some countries have been open to accepting large numbers of refugees, many others have been adopting more restrictive policies. These debates have also had profound domestic ramifications with growing and outspoken anti-migrant/refugee and pro-migrant/refugee camps. While the current refugee regime under UNHCR requires all signatories to grant refugee status to all eligible asylum seekers, both its proponents and opponents agree that it needs to be amended. In your paper you will need to take a stand on whether wealthy states (defined by membership in OECD) can and should be obligated to accept refugees escaping life threatening conditions. In your paper you will need to thoroughly assess both you position and the counter position. Also, make sure to consider the following questions. Should states be obliged to accept refugees? Should there be quotas and how should quotas be defined? How can burden sharing mechanisms be enforced? Which categories of individuals should be considered protected refugees? Should refugee vetting and resettlement be administered by international organizations or by the states themselves? What are the possible consequences of the policy you are advocating? Be sure to provide strong evidence and reasoning to support your arguments.
Since the election of President Trump, the US government has been increasingly advocating that the country should exit or renegotiate several multilateral agreements such as NAFTA, TPP (trade), and the Paris Accords (climate change). You have been hired by the Trump administration to write a non-partisan position paper on whether the US should remain in, amend, or exit one of of these agreements. For the purpose of writing the paper you will need to choose one multi-lateral agreement that the US is or was planning to be a signatory of and to advocate a position on whether the country should remain in (or join) or withdraw from (or not join) the agreement. After providing a brief overview of the agreement you will need to thoroughly assess both your position and the counter position. Be sure to also address the following questions. What are the possible benefits and drawbacks of each of these positions? What would be the possible intended and unintended consequences of US actions? What historical lessons can be learned from past agreements? How would US actions (as world leader) impact other countries preferences and behavior? Be sure to provide strong evidence and reasoning to support your arguments.
If you prefer, you are welcome to develop your own topic. If you chose this option, it must be relevant to the topics discussed in the class and approved by the instructor. If you chose this option, I highly recommend that you speak to me about your topic before the proposal is due. For this option your proposal must also include the prompt (that you will need to write) to which you will respond. Upon my approval you can develop your paper following the general criteria that apply to all papers.