This activity is designed to demonstrate that the post-1945 U.S. foreign policy is based on many different factors. At some times and in some places it has been shaped by particular events, such as the Islamic Revolution in 1979. In other instances, it is based on philosophical principles such as tolerance, freedom, or equal rights.

List of concepts to aid with your research:

Realism or realpolitik -- a view that, when applied to world politics, assumes that nations preserve their vital interests (such as their security) by whatever means they have (often juxtaposed with idealism).

Idealism or political ideology -- the belief that it is possible to construct an international political system based on mutual cooperation between all nations based on their common interests. Idealism assumes a world in which all nations interact politically, economically, and socially based on a common good.

Bipolar system -- in politics, an international political system that is dominated by two main powers. For example, during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union made up the bipolar system.

Unipolar system -- an international political system that has only one major power. Since the end of the Cold War, it is sometimes argued that the United States makes up the unipolar system.

Multipolar system (multipolarity) -- an international system in which more than two states of roughly equal power dominate the political system.

Various forms of government defined.

You will be working in a small group (3-4) students and will be assigned one of the following countries:

Saudi Arabia

To get started, answer the following questions with your group.(use your laptop to locate answers)

Where in the Middle East is the country you chose? What countries are its immediate neighbors?
How long has this country been an independent nation?
What type of government exists in this country?
How would you characterize U.S. policy toward this country?
Why might the United States have formulated the policy you described?
To the best of your knowledge, has the United States ever had a military presence in this country?
Do we sell this country arms?
How concerned would U.S. leaders be if this country's government fell or changed?
Can you think of circumstances in which the United States might send troops to this country?
Do you believe that U.S. policy toward this country has remained the same or changed over the past 100 years? If it has changed, what influenced the change

Now, using your laptop, answer the following questions with your group.

Research link will be a tremendous help to your group.

Keynote Questions

Between 1945 and today, what have U.S. relations been like with this country? Has the United States changed its position towards this country since 1945?

Prepare a list of important events that took place between the United States and the country since 1945.

What do the events tell you about the overall U.S. foreign policy toward the country? Go to the Department of State Web site (link and URL in Resources section) and click on "Country Information" under Department of State Publications and More. There you can read a U.S. perspective on the history and politics of the country.

Was the country you chose important to the United States during the Cold War? Did this country have better relations during the Cold War with the United States or the Soviet Union? How did this affect U.S. relations with the country? What evidence do you have for your answer?

Is the country you chose a regional power? How would you define its power? Is it economic, military, or something else?

Make a prediction about U.S. foreign policy with this country over the next 10 years. What factors can you think of that might shape that policy? Does the United States engage in trade with that country? Does the country possess an important strategic location or important natural resources.

The End Product

Once your group has completed its research you are to going to share the plethora of interesting information you found with your classmates in the form of a keynote presentation.

Keynote requirements

7-10 slides
Must include images related to you country (flag, location on map, etc..)
Historical background
Answer provided for each keynote question.
This will be completed in class. Presentations will begin Wednesday.


How well did your group present key ideas and concepts related to U.S. relations with country?
How well did your group articulate factors involved in shaping U.S. foreign policy with country?
How well can the group chart changes in U.S. policy with the country over time and recognize and explain connections related to U.S. policy in the region?
How well did the students work with her peer group to research country chosen?