Issues that are likely to have a foreign policy impact into the near future


Step 1: Select an issue to write about. The ten issues discussed in the Arbour (2012) article correspond to the states and regions below.

Turkey/ PKK
Syria and Lebanon

Step 2: Use the exercise below to select two instruments that could be used to address this issue, and answer the questions that follow as part Section 2 of your final paper.

On the sim­plest level, the instruments or tools of statecraft may be classified as political, economic, or mili­tary in nature (see Table 1 below). The main politi­cal instruments are negotiations, public diploma­cy (which could include informational, cultural, and exchange programs), international law, organizations, and treaties, and alliances. Economic instruments include foreign aid, financial and trade policy, and sanc­tions. The military instruments can be used either for persuasive purposes (usually short of combat) or in outright warfare, and also include deterrence, and foreign military aid.






The various tools of statecraft also can be distinguished by the manner in which they are used by foreign policymakers.
First, an instrument may be used private­ly or publicly; that is, its primary target may be either the govern­ment of another country or its influential public (includ­ing non-state actors). Virtually all economic instruments work publicly, by having effects on the target state’s economy and people, to which (it is hoped) the government will respond. Among politi­cal instruments this charac­teristic is so important that it gives rise to a sepa­rate tool called public diplo­macy, whose purpose is to affect the public and elite opinion of a foreign society in ways that will facili­tate changes in its government’s policies.
Second, instru­ments may be overt or covert; that is, used in ways that either are or are not attrib­ut­able to the originating govern­ment. Again, covert action is so distinctive in its characteris­tics that it is often considered a separate instrument in itself, but it actually encompasses the hidden forms of all three categories noted at the outset: politi­cal, economic, and military.

The following dimensions of use have to do with whether an instrument is employed in a positive or negative way and whether its use is actual or just proscriptive (see Table 2 below). Although some instruments (like sanctions) may seem to be entirely nega­tive in nature while others (like foreign aid) seem posi­tive, virtually all the instruments can be used in either way.

Table 2





Since instruments are used as part of a specific policy that is executed in a broader policy context, their use should be conceptualized and planned within a broader strategy. In fact, most of the questions decision-makers need to ask about instruments relate to how they fit within a particular strategic context.

Strategy in any field of endeavor has to do with how something is done. More specifically, it is about how resources can be applied to achieve objectives, and therefore about the relationship between means and ends. Deciding on instruments requires reference to the whole strategic setting, including interests, threats to and opportunities for advancing those interests, and the international context in which those threats and opportunities are found; and good sense of the nation’s power and influence, the domestic context which generates, sustains, and makes available the instruments of statecraft, as well as their relationship to each other.

In your research paper, you should address the following overarching questions for each instrument. There are sub-questions included below each question to help guide you along. You should address them, but you need not address every sub-question in the research paper. They should inform your thinking on the overall questions.

Which instruments are available?
a. What instruments exist?
b. Are they in use elsewhere?
c. Can decision-makers control them?
Which instruments will work?
a. How vulnerable to coercion, or open to cooperation, is the target state?
b. Is the objective one of changing intentions, capabilities, or regimes?
How should they be applied?
a. How many instruments should be used?
b. Should instruments be used overtly or covertly?
c. Should the target be the other state’s society or its government?
d. Should their use be threatened or actual?
e. What is the optimal timing and sequencing of instruments?
How much would they cost?
a. What are the opportunity costs of using the instrument?
b. Are the objectives worth the cost of the instrument?
What risks do they pose?
a. What actions and reactions are likely if this instrument is used?
b. What are the effects on third parties?
c. How will the use of the instrument affect the future domestic and international environment?
d. What moral or ethical issues are involved in using this instrument?

(Adapted from Deibel, Terry L. “Instruments of State Power: Towards an analytical Framework.”

Step 3: Conduct your research and write your final paper. The following is a list of possible sources of information to serve as a starting point as you research your issue and foreign policy instruments.

APUS Online Library for journal articles and books
Foreign Policy
The Economist
Foreign Affairs
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Wilson Center
U.S. Department of State


Your paper should be 6 total pages, not including the references page. Include a minimum of 4-6 sources. Please organize your paper in the following way:

Section 1.
Introduction – 1 page

Introduction paragraph and thesis statement (statement of the problem and the proposed solution) – ½ page
Brief background and current state of affairs on the issue you will evaluate – ½ page

Section 2.
Evaluation of two distinct foreign policy instruments, using the exercise and questions below – 3 pages

First instrument – 1.5 pages
Second instrument – 1.5 pages

Section 3.
Recommendation and Conclusions – 2 pages

Recommendation on which of the two instruments would be best suited to address this problem and why – 1.5 pages
Conclusion (wrap up the paper, summarize your main arguments, and address any considerations of future importance) – ½ page

All assignments should be written in Word and uploaded as attachments within the Assignments section of the classroom. Use 12 pt. font and double-space. Use in-text citations and include a references page in Turabian style. Insert page numbers. Be sure to put your name and class information on the document and put your name on the file. Assignments will be graded using a rubric appropriate for your class level.


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