KC Johnson

U.S.-Middle East Relations (fall 2022)

Course Requirements:

  • Final exam: 45%
  • NSC-style group presentation: 30%
  • Participation: 15%
  • Quizzes: 10%

Contact Information:

  • email (kcjohnson9@gmail.com)
  • cell (207-329-8456);
  • office hours: via zoom


  • Presentations: Dec. 7, Dec. 12
  • Final:

Course Schedule:

August 29: Introduction

August 31: The Ottoman Decline and Middle East International Relations

Sept. 5: Labor Day (no class)

Sept. 7: World War I & Middle East International Relations

w/o Sept. 12:

lecture snippets: The Interwar Era

discussion section:

w/o Sept. 19:

lecture snippets: World War II & Aftermath

discussion section:

  • Arthur L. Funk, “Negotiating the ‘Deal with Darlan’,” Journal of Contemporary History, pp. 81-117.
  • Deborah Kisatsky, “Voice of America and Iran, 1949-1953: US Liberal Developmentalism, Propaganda and the Cold War,” Intelligence and National Security, pp. 160-185.
  • Melvyn P. Leffler, “Strategy, Diplomacy, and the Cold War: The United States, Turkey, and NATO, 1945-1952,” The Journal of American History, pp. 807-825.

w/o Sept. 26:

[first class: no classes per college schedule]

Lecture snippets: Beyond the Northern Tier

w/o Oct. 3:

[second class of week: no classes per college schedule]

lecture snippets: Eisenhower and the Cold War

w/o Oct. 10:

lecture snippets: Crisis Diplomacy

discussion section:

Martin Thomas, “Defending a Lost Cause? France and the United States Vision of Imperial Rule in French North Africa, 1946–1956,” Diplomatic History, pp. 215-247

Michael Graham Fry, “The Uses of Intelligence: The United Nations Confronts the United States in the Lebanon Crisis, 1958,” Intelligence and National Security, pp. 59-91.

w/o Oct. 17:

lecture snippets: Realigning Middle Eastern International Relations

  • Zaki Shalom, “Kennedy, Ben-Gurion and the Dimona Project, 1962–1963,” Israel Studies, pp. 3-33.
  • James Goode, “Reforming Iran during the Kennedy Years,” Diplomatic History, pp. 13-29.
  • Zach Levey, “The United States’ Skyhawk Sale to Israel, 1966: Strategic Exigencies of an Arms Deal,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 28, pp. 255-276.

w/o Oct. 24:

lecture snippets: Diplomacy of the Six-Day War

discussion sections:

  • Galia Golan, “The Soviet Union and the Outbreak of the June 1967 Six-Day War,” Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 8, pp. 3-19.
  • Zaki Shalom, “Lyndon Johnson’s Meeting with Abba Eban, 26 May 1967: [Introduction and Protocol],” Israel Studies, pp. 221-236.
  • Clea Lutz, “Strike at Samu: Jordan, Israel, the United States, and the Origins of the Six-Day War,” Diplomatic History, pp. 55-76.
  • Nigel Ashton, “Pulling the Strings: King Hussein’s Role during the Crisis of 1970 in Jordan,” International History Review, pp. 94-118.

w/o Oct. 31:

lecture snippets: Regional Instability

discussion sections:

  • Noam Kochavi, “Insights Abandoned, Flexibility Lost: Kissinger, Soviet Jewish Emigration, and the Demise of Détente,” Diplomatic History, pp. 503-530.
  • Fiona B. Adamson, “Democratization and the Domestic Sources of Foreign Policy: Turkey in the 1974 Cyprus Crisis,” Political Science Quarterly, pp. 277-303.
  • Shibley Telhami, “Evaluating Bargaining Performance: The Case of Camp David,” Political Science Quarterly, pp. 629-653.

w/o Nov. 7:

lecture snippets: The Travails of the Reagan Administration

discussion sections:

  • Mitchell Bard, “Interest Groups, the President, and Foreign Policy: How Reagan Snatched Victory from the Jaws of Defeat On AWACS,” Presidential Studies Quarterly, pp. 583-600.
  • Catherine Scott, “Bound for Glory: The Hostage Crisis as Captivity Narrative in Iran,” International Studies Quarterly, pp. 177-88.
  • 444 Days in the Dark: An Oral History of the Iran Hostage Crisis,” GQ.
  • Alan J. Kuperman, “The Stinger Missile and U.S. Intervention in Afghanistan,” Political Science Quarterly, pp. 219-263.

w/o Nov. 14:

lecture snippets: Gulf War and Beyond

discussion sections:

w/o Nov. 21: Beyond the Cold War

[one class only per college schedule]

w/o Nov. 28:

lecture snippets: The W. Bush Years

discussion sections:

Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States:

  • Executive summary
  • Chapter One
  • Chapter Four
  • Kevin Woods, James Lacey, and Williamson Murray, “Saddam’s Delusions: The View from the Inside,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2006.
  • Meltem Müftüler-Bac, “Turkey and the United States: The Impact of the War in Iraq,” International Journal, pp. 61-81.
  • Ronald Bruce St John, “’Libya Is Not Iraq’: Preemptive Strikes, WMD and Diplomacy,” Middle East Journal, pp. 386-402.

Dec. 5:

lecture snippets: Obama & Trump

Dec. 7/Dec.12: presentations

Date TBA: Final Examination

Learning objectives for this course include: (1) ability to read and interpret key historical sources; (2) ability to determine how important themes in U.S.-Middle Eastern relations change over time; (3) ability to present key historical arguments orally. Item (1) will occur throughout the course; item (2) will occur in the midterm and final examination; item (3) will occur in the oral presentation.

This course follows all applicable college policies; see more in: https://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/web/off_registrar/2021-2022_Undergraduate_Bulletin.pdf

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