TITLE: FOREIGN POLICY SIMULATION AUTHOR: Michael Sherwin, Crescent Valley HS Corvallis, OR GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: 9-12 / American Government OVERVIEW: This activity is a simulation in which students role play to solve various foreign policy problems. PURPOSE: This activity is intended to help students understand how various elements of the US foreign policy system operate and to give them practice in conflict resolution. OBJECTIVES: To provide an alternative to traditional teacher-centered or book-centered learning. To help students understand how complex foreign policy issues are. To help students test techniques of conflict resolution. To allow students to put what they have learned into practice. RESOURCES/MATERIALS: Reading guide and foreign policy scenarios. See Appendices 1 and 5. ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: Prior to beginning the simulation, we take five weeks to study the presidency, Congress, the press, and the Soviet Union to give students some background that will help them with this task. We also discuss current events, including foreign policy, on a regular basis. To begin this exercise, I hand out a reading guide for the chapter in the text on foreign policy. (Appendix 1) I ask the students to write down enough information so that the reading guide will be a useful tool to help them review the material for this exercise and for the final exam at the end of the semester. Students have time in class on Monday to work on the reading guide. On Wednesday, we begin the simulation. There are nine different roles (see Appendix 2) for students to play and I assign two or three students to each role, depending on the size of the class. It is essential that the students who take the role fo the press be gregarious and somewhat bold since they have to ferret out information that others don't particularly want to give them. I tend to put the sneakiest students in the CIA and the most creative students in the UN or Allies. The presidents need not be brilliant; the advisors will tell them what to do. Start announcing the roles students are to play and then ask them to take five minutes to review the text pages which explain their role to international relations. (Appendix 3). Next ask them to seat themselves around the room according to a chart on the board so that others can find them during the simulation. The teachers desk is the Kremlin. (Appendix 4) Hand out a set of three interrelated foreign policy scenarios. (Appendix 5) These vary from year to year depending on what is realistic, though extreme, foreign policy problems. In the past, problems have concerned the downfall of the Marcos regime, trouble in the Canal Zone, unrest in Eastern Europe, and communists in Nicaragua. I try to have the three problems somehow interrelated and connected to the Soviet Union. I play the Soviet Union so that I can, to some extent, control the pace of the simulation - they can't solve all the problems in a quick and simplistic manner because I throw enough realistic obstacles in their way to keep them thinking. Have students read the scenarios, assume that this is what is in the morning's newspaper, and figure out what they can do to solve these problems. Encourage them to discuss the problems first in their small groups and then to confer with others. While this is happening, talk with the press and explain to them that their role is to gather information for a news broadcast to take place the last five minutes of the period. The press may include editorial commentary in the broadcast as well as reports on the efforts to solve the foreign policy crises. While students are getting started, circulate around the room, making suggestions where needed, reminding Congress that the president must confer with them if we are going to spend any money or introduce troops into a war zone, reminding the allies that they have their own interests at stake and that they are not simply pawns of the US. After a while, several groups will develop plans of action and may wish to negotiate with the Soviet Union. At that point, I retreat to my desk, put on my Soviet Union hat, and meet with either the UN, the allies, or the American president. I refuse to meet with other groups ans am especially wary of the press and the CIA. Usually, I am a tough negotiator because I want them to have to think carefully about their policies. (See Appendix 6 for sample responses to typical student negotiating overtures.) In some classes, students have been unrealistic about what the other side will accept. At the end of the first period, we have a five minute news report on the day's events. This usually demonstrates clearly the communications problems that plague complicated negotiations. At the beginning of the second class, remind students that they have not yet solved all the problems and that they have half an hour to finish. Then students resume the task of solving the problems. With about fifteen minutes left in the second period, stop and have a second news report. TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: Following the second news report, take the last ten minutes to try to draw some conclusions about what went well and what didn't. Also attempt to draw some conclusions about foreign policy and conflict resolution. Students generally have insights about the importance of talking to all parties and communicating clearly. APPENDIX 1 Reading Guide, Chapter 13 (from Richard Remy, Government in the United States, 1st edition) US Foreign Policy Goals 1. 2. 3. President and Foreign Policy 1. Constitutional Powers a. b. c. 2. Head of State 3. Advisors a. b. c. Congress and Foreign Policy 1. Constitutional Powers a. b. c. d. 2. Congress Weaker Than President a. b. c. d. Give one example which illustrates the influence of public on foreign policy. State Department - Functions 1. 2. 3. 4. Defense Department 1. Civilian Control of the Military 2. JCS Means to Achieve Foreign Policy Goals 1. Alliances and Pacts 2. Foreign Aid 3. Economic Sanctions 4. Military Force 5. United Nations Definitions 1. isolationism 2. Monroe Doctrine 3. Cold War 4. containment 5. collective security 6. deterrence 7. detente APPENDIX 2 ROLES FOR FOREIGN POLICY SIMULATION President Presidential Advisors CIA Defense Department and JCS State Department Congress United Nations US Allies (Western Europe and Japan) The Press The Soviet Union (played by the instructor) APPENDIX 3 Foreign Policy Readings (from Richard Remy, Government in the United States, 1st edition) Review the following pages in the text to help you determine what actions your group might take. President 204 - 206, 313 - 316 Presidential Advisors 224 - 225, 315 CIA 241, 315 Dept. of Defense, JCS 321 - 324, 328 Dept. of State 319 - 321, 328 Congress 139, 316 - 318 American Allies 324 - 327 Mass Media 576 - 579 United Nations 328 - 331 APPENDIX 4 SEATING FOR SIMULATION SOVIET UNION PRESIDENT* DEPT. OF DEFENSE PRESS PRESIDENTIAL DEPT. OF STATE AMERICAN ADVISORS ALLIES* CIA CONGRESS UNITED NATIONS* * Can meet directly with the Soviet Union APPENDIX 5 HYPOTHETICAL FOREIGN POLICY CASES THE SOVIET UNION - Mikhail Gorbachev has been removed from office after a coup by Kremlin hardliners. The new president and Communist party general Yegor Ligachev has ordered Soviet troops to crack down on Lithuania, Georgia, and other breakaway republics. In violence reminiscent of that in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Hungary in 1956 Soviet troops massacre thousands of people who demonstrate for freedom. Lithuanian president Landsbergis escapes to the American embassy where he applies for political asylum. The Soviets threaten further reprisals against Lithuania if Landsbergis is not turned over to them, charging that he has committed crimes against the state by heading an illegal independence movement. WESTERN EUROPE - Following the coup to remove Gorbachev from office, Ligachev has ordered Soviet arms control negotiators to take a hardline position in talks with Americans. Despite the fact that some Soviet troops have been removed from Eastern Europe, the CIA reports suspicious troops movements in the former Warsaw Pact countries. And, in what the Soviets refer to as "normal naval exercises" large numbers of ships and submarines are detected on the coasts off NATO countries. Meanwhile, the Soviets complain that the US has not followed its pledge to halt production of chemical and biological weapons and is continuing to produce chemical weapons at what the US refers to as a "fertilizer plant" in Dubuque. MIDDLE EAST - Following the collapse of the Middle East peace conference, Israel decides not to allow a Palestinian state on the West Bank and, with the approval of the US, uses harsher measures (rumored to include chemical and biological weapons) to break down the Palestinian uprising. In response, Arab states threaten an oil boycott of the US (which is already suffering since a second tanker accident completely blocked the flow of oil from Alaska). The Soviet Union is aiding the boycott by purchasing oil from the Arabs. It is reported that, in return for this help, the United Arab Emirates will allow the Soviet Union to construct a major naval base on the Straits of Hormuz, giving the Soviets control of the Persian Gulf, the source of much of the world's oil. APPENDIX 6 SAMPLE RESPONSES BY THE SOVIET UNION UN: We'd like to talk to you about the unrest in the Baltics. USSR: You know that we are a peace-loving nation. We seek freedom, prosperity, and happiness for all peoples of the world. UN: But you are killing people in the Baltics. USSR: That is an internal affair of the Soviet Union. Do I go to the United States and tell them that they are wrong to allow homeless people on the street or to discriminate against blacks? No! So how dare you tell me what to do in my own country? UN: But you say you are for freedom and the Lithuanians want to be free. USSR: Wouldn't you agree that Abraham Lincoln was a great man? And what was he trying to do? Simply preserve the Union. I regret that there has been some minor loss of life in Lithuania, but I, too, like Abraham Lincoln, am simply trying to keep our union together. Those radicals in the Baltics are trying to break our country apart. *********************** Allies: We are very concerned about the ships and submarines massing off our coasts. USSR: Why? They are doing nothing. Allies: But this seems to be a threatening move. Get them out of there! USSR: Listen. You know that international waters start twelve miles off shore. My ships are staying in international waters. They have a right to be there. Don't tell me what to do. Allies: But couldn't they be somewhere else? USSR: Do I demand that the American submarines which ring my country be removed from international waters? No! I simply request the same treatment and consideration which other countries receive.
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