Theories of International Relations
PLSC 345
Dr. Goeckel
OUTLINE
 
 

The outline should entail 1-2 pages. It should have three levels of specificity (see below). It should not be too detailed, nor too spare. Not every point in the paper should have an entry in the outline. Remember that the purpose of the outline is to indicate to the reader, quickly and efficiently, the general direction and overview of the components of the paper. It is not a final compilation of your note cards! DO NOT USE COMPLETE SENTENCES; employ noun phrases and modifiers only, no verbs. It is not necessary to indicate your findings/conclusions at the outline stage, only the areas to be covered. Thus it is possible to complete an outline midway in your research; likewise your outline may change somewhat before the final product.

Sample Outline

Title: The Soviet Decision to Invade Afghanistan

I. Introduction

A. Brief Description of the Case 1. Pro-Communist government collapses in Afghanistan
2. Soviet military intervention under Brezhnev
3. Protracted guerrilla struggle with Western proxies
4. Soviet withdrawal under Gorbachev
B. Type of Case 1. Use of Force by a Superpower
2. Regional instability in Middle East
3. Intrastate War in Modernizing State
C. Significance of the Case 1. Test of Realist approach (bipolarity, proxy wars, power vacuums)
2. Test of Domestic Politics approaches (Communist ideology)
3. Test of Domestic Politics approach (ethno-religious conflict between Islam and Russia)
4. Test of Domestic Politics approach (bureaucratic politics)
5. Test of Radical approach (neocolonialism)
6. Test of Interdependence (energy interdependence)
II. Historical Overview A. International Context of Detente 1. relaxation of tensions between superpowers
2. peaceful coexistence policy and Soviet policy in Third World
3. American policy under Carter
B. Soviet domestic context 1. Soviet ideology and power
2. Soviet economic weakness
3. Islamic dissent in Soviet Central Asia
4. Political power of the military
C. Afghanistan's Role during the Cold War 1. neutral status
2. Soviet and American policy toward South Asia
3. Islamic revolution in Iran
D. Soviet intervention 1. collapse of the monarchy and rise of revolutionary government 1978
2. reaction of Islamic opposition
3. Soviet deliberations and intervention 1979
4. Escalation, Western reaction, and withdrawal
III. Analysis A. Realist interpretation of the case 1. bipolarity and use of force
2. political vacuum in region
3. little cost to relations with US
4. geostrategic value of Afghanistan
5. USSR as unified actor
B. Domestic Politics: Communist ideology 1. Marxism-Leninism on revolutions, Third World
2. Evidence on justification of intervention
C. Domestic Politics: Bureaucratic Politics 1. Soviet military position and power
2. Foreign ministry position
3. Regional leaders
D. Domestic Politics: Ethno-religious conflict 1. Evidence of Islamic dissent in Central Asia
2. Evidence of Iranian effect on USSR
E. Interdependence Approach: 1. Evidence of Soviet economic strength/weakness
2. Importance of oil resources in Afghanistan, region
3. Evidence of Soviet interdependence with West
F. Radical Approach: Neocolonialism 1. Evidence of Afghanistan economic weakness
2. Needs of Russian state capitalism for expansion
3. Changes in Tastes and Consumption from Soviet control
IV. Conclusions and Summary A. Approach, or combination of approaches which best explains case 1. justification for this conclusion
2. justification for rejecting other approaches
B. Generalizations from this Case for International Relations Theory
C. Limitations of ability to generalize from this case
D. Brief summary of findings