INTL 4265: Global Simulation
Jeffrey D. Berejikian
The primary function of this course is to help students create, implement, and evaluate various foreign and domestic policy strategies. To do this students will work as teams, managing governments in a complex multiplayer computer game. We will be using a version of the game Civilization lV to simulate the international system. You will be asked for create a grand strategy for your country and to implement it, to the extent possible. The primary challenge in this game is that you will be competing and cooperating with other countries, in real time, as they attempt to implement their own strategies.
Throughout the course we will also read and critically analyze the academic literature on foreign policy and international relations. There is currently a fierce debate between academics and foreign policy practitioners. Academics complain that practitioners donʼt adequately incorporate important social science research into their policy decisions. Practitioners complain that the kind of research academics undertake is of little practical use to them. Part of your job will be to use our game to reflect on the degree to which academic research – the kind if writing are regularly exposed to in our major – is useful to real-world policymakers.
We will develop two game scenarios in this class. The first involves the European powers just prior to WWII. Students will be assigned countries with the social, political, and military characteristics of the different European states in that period. This simulation thus accurately captures the incentives of European governments in this era; the major powers have competing interests, the lesser powers will need to seek alliances, increased security for any one country may pose a threat to others. However, the outcome of the simulation is not predetermined. War between Axis and Allied states is possible, but so are other conflicts. Indeed, it may be possible for you, acting as governments, avoid conflict altogether.
The second scenario is called “free for all.” Each country starts with exactly the same, very limited, resource base. As governments, students are then free to create and grow their society as they wish. Initially, there will be room to expand the territory of your civilizations, and time to shape the political, economic, and religious structure of society without worrying about other countries. However, countries will eventually encounter one another, come into conflict, and will need to form trading and security relationships.
General Comments about Class Requirements:
This simulation is intended to be fun, however please understand that this is also a very demanding course. As noted below, there are several analytical writing projects that will require considerable conceptual development. In assigning a grade, emphasis will be placed upon the quality of your analysis rather than on the simple completion of an assignment.
In addition, while the reading burden is not heavy, the assigned readings are very difficult. Many of the articles you will read would be challenging for a graduate seminar on foreign policy so you may have to read them more than once to understand the core arguments. However, donʼt worry. While some of the terminology and much of the statistical analysis will be confusing at first, we will go over it together in class.
There are six graded components in this course:
There will be three unannounced in-class examinations. Each will be worth 15 points. These examinations will focus on the concepts in reading material and will ask you to apply these to your experiences in gameplay. For example, a question might ask you to define the relationship between complex interdependence and interstate conflict, and ask you to explain aspects of your foreign policy in terms of this relationship. MAKEUP: if a student misses an exam for a university approved reason, it can be retaken during the third hour scheduled for the final exam.
National Security Doctrine:
Each team will be asked to create a national security doctrine (NSD) for their countries. NSDs are public documents that serve several purposes. Foremost, they articulate the core values that a country is willing to defend. They also identify major foreign policy challenges, articulate a government’s central objectives, and outline policies intended to secure these objectives. You will draft separate NSDs for each of the scenarios described above. The primary purpose of the simulation will be to execute, as closely as possible, the policies outlined in the NSD. The goals articulated in NSDs will clash. Acting as the government, you will have to find a way to secure your goals despite this fact. Two actual NSDs are included in your first weekʼs reading assignment and can serve as models for your document. Your NSDs will vary from these examples in that you will also have to articulate domestic policy goals. Dedicate about 1/3 of your NSD to domestic policies and the remainder to foreign policy. NSDs will be submitted as a group, will be worth 20 points each, and will be approximately 8 pages (max) in length.
Foreign Policy Log:
Each country will keep a foreign policy log that will be submitted as an attachment to your policy analysis (see below). The log (in the form of a real-time log) documents the choices your country makes in each round of the simulation, as well as describes how these choices were intended to advance the goals outlined in the NSD. Be sure here to include your understanding about how the behavior of other countries affected your team’s ability to execute your NSD. These journals will form the basis of each countryʼs Policy Analysis. The journal can earn 5 points each, and will be submitted as a group.
At the end of each simulation, countries will draft a 10-page (max) assessment report. The purpose of the report is to evaluate your success in executing the NSD. Please note, the grading criteria for this project is not how successful you were in implementing the NSD. Rather, the purpose here is to clearly articulate the reasons why you were successful and/or unsuccessful in fully realizing your goals. Assessment Reports will be submitted as a team and worth 15 points each. IMPORTANT: your function here is to take on the role of policy analyst, rather than to justify the choices you made. Be critical, objective and analytical in your approach. I will provide you with a template. Attach a copy of your log as an appendix to your report.
Group projects comprise a significant component of the course. Therefore, each member of a team will judge the other members on the quality and degree of their participation. These assessments will be delivered to me in confidence. 10 points are possible for each simulation.
The final exam will cover all of the readings and lectures in the class. It will test you both on the content of this material, and ask you to apply it to the behavior of countries in the simulation. The final is worth 70 points.
The final is a two hour exam.
The Principle of “Fair Play”
In order to create a meaningful learning experience, you are required to adopt the principle of fair play. This means that you are asked to play the game as it is set up, and not attempt to alter the play in any fashion whatsoever. Violation of the principle of fair play constitutes cheating in this course, and is a violation of UGAʼs academic honesty code.
For example, one could obtain cheat codes on-line that would allow your empire to skip levels of development, acquire advanced technologies, etc., in order to obtain resources and capacities without having to progress normally through the levels of built into the simulation. In this class, all such tactics are prohibited as they diminish the classroom experience for your fellow students. Please engage the game as intended, without alteration. This will ensure that all students have the same opportunity to learn from the simulation.
“Outside” Game Resources.
Now, research and cheating are two entirely different things. The distinction here is between effectively playing the game as it is designed versus seeking an unfair advantage. Your are encouraged to do as much research as possible into how the game is played and how best to implement your strategies and goals. There are numerous resources on-line that discuss game strategy, tactics, etc. You are fee to research and deploy any strategies intended to help you manage your empire more efficiently, so long as you are not unfairly manipulating the normal course of play.
For example, two resources to get you started:
Civilizations 4 Game Guide
[Caution. This is a 3-party site. Itʼs safe, however, and it will ask you to create a new account. The account is free, and you can deactivate it after you download the guide (as a PDF file). If you do not wish to create an account, the manual is also available via splash screens.]
Introduction Civilizations 4
Finally, I strongly encourage you to become familiar with the game as soon as possible. We will have one class session to familiarize you with the game. However, the simulation is very complex. You are free to practice in the computer lab in Candler Hall where the simulation will take place, or you can buy a copy of the game on-line, for $20.00. If you want to really get started this is perhaps the best way to practice before the simulation begins. If you choose to do this, please make sure you get version 4, not version 5.
Timetable for Readings and Completion of Assignments
As this class meets on a seminar schedule (once a week), complete the readings prior to class. Typically, we will spend the first hour in a lecture format and discuss the readings. We will then break, and spend the remainder of class playing the simulation. All the readings are available via the noted web link or through UGAʼs online journals.
Notice, some of the weeks do not have readings assigned. This is intentional. There are several core concepts that we want to deliver and these readings are assigned below. However because the simulation is unstructured, each class has a different set of experiences (some are characterized by a lot of conflict, others utilize international agreements, etc). I have assembled a set of reading blocks that we will assign each week as the simulation develops. In this way we can match the contemporary scholarship directly to your experiences in gameplay. At the end of each session I will assign a reading block for the following week.
Second Warning! Many of the readings in this class will prove quite challenging, and would typically be found in a graduate seminar. Plan your time accordingly.
* PLEASE NOTE* I MAY MAKE CHANGES TO THE READINGS AS THE SIMULATION EVOLVES
Week 1: Jan 6
Introduction: Explanation of course, responsibilities, and syllabus. Form teams for simulation
National Security Strategy of the United States, 2010: Obama
National Security Strategy of the United States, 2006: Bush
Week 2: Jan 13
Training session and practice game: Familiarize with simulation through game play.
League of Nations Documents: This material is basic historical overview. Its simply intended to (re)familiarize you with the historical context for the first simulation.
The Treaty: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/leagcov.asp
Wilson’s Speech: http://www.examiner.com/article/text-woodrow-wilson-s-league-of-nations-speech
Lodge’s Reservations: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=3909
Wiki on the components and purposes of international treaties. You will need this information for the simulation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty
January 20 MLK Holiday
Week 3: Jan 27
National Security Strategy #1 Due
Begin Simulation WW11 Simulation
+Glen Snyder. “The Security Dilemma in Alliance Politics” World Politics 36:4 1984
Week 4: Feb 3
Conduct WW11 Simulation
+Paul Huth and Bruce Russett “What Makes Deterrence Work?” World Politics 36:4 1984
Week 5 Feb 10
Conduct WW11 Simulation
+ Ron Mitchell (1994) “Regime Design Matters: Intentional Oil Pollution and Treaty Compliance” International Organization 48(3): 425-458
Week 6 Feb 17
Conduct WW11 Simulation
+ James Fearon “Signaling Foreign Policy Interests: Tying Hands versus Sinking Costs” Journal of Conflict Resolution. 1997. 41:1
Week 7 Feb 24
Conduct WW11 Simulation
Robert Jervis “The political Implications of Loss Aversion” 1992 Political Psychology
Week 8 March 3
Conclude WW11 Simulation
March 10: Spring Break
Week 9 March 17
Assessment Report #1 Due
Assessment of team members due.
We will also reshuffle team members for the next round of play.
Week 10 March 24
Begin Free for All Simulation
National Security Doctrine #2 Due
+Alexander Wendt “Anarchy is what States Make of it: The Social Construction of Power Politics” International Organization 1992 46:2
Week 11 march 31
Conduct Free for All Simulation
+ Dryzek and Berejikian “Reflexive Action in International Politics”British Journal of Political Science . 2000. 30:2
Week 12 April 7
Conduct Free for All Simulation
Week 13 April 14
Conduct Free for All Simulation
Renshon and Renshon “The Theory and Practice of Foreign Policy Decision Making” Political Psychology 29:4 2008
Week 14 April 21
Thomas Buergenthal “The Normative and Institutional Evolution of International Human Rights” Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 4 (Nov., 1997), pp. 703-723
April 15: April 28
Policy Analysis Due
Final Exam: April 30 3:30-5:30
(Makeup exams: 5:30-6:30)