Teaching Modules

Teaching Modules—featuring teaching notes by the authors of CFR publications—are designed to assist educators in creating or supplementing a course syllabus. The modules are customized packages built around a primary CFR text, such as a book or report, and include teaching notes; additional readings; video, audio, and transcripts of CFR meetings; Foreign Affairs articles; and other online resources. Use of these modules is free of charge. They may be used in part or in their entirety.

All Teaching Modules

Teaching Module: A New Beginning: Strategies for a More Fruitful Dialogue with the Muslim World

Author: Craig Charney

The issue of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world offers an ideal case study of the issue of “soft power.”  This involves the aspects of international relations and foreign policy that focus on leadership through prestige, persuasion, and cultural and economic power, rather than hard power, the “bombs and rockets” that make up much of the traditional introductory international relations course or specialized course on US foreign policy. 

Teaching Module: Perspectives on the Postwar Reconstruction "Fiasco"'

Author: David L. Phillips

Why should the United States care about rogue regimes or failed states? Simply put, unstable regimes are a threat to U.S. interests. Terror groups and criminal networks find haven in weak or failed states. They exploit porous borders to move people, money, weapons, and drugs. Human security is affected when government institutions are unable to meet basic needs or provide essential services. Poverty, disease, and humanitarian emergencies have transnational implications. Not only are conflict prevention and nation-building investments in U.S. security, they are also consistent with American ideals.

Teaching Module: Catastrophic Nuclear Terrorism

Author: Charles D. Ferguson

Preventing Catastrophic Nuclear Terrorism makes clear what is needed to reduce the possibility of nuclear terrorism. It identifies where efforts have fallen short in securing and eliminating nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear materials, and it offers realistic recommendations to plug these gaps in the U.S. and international response.

Teaching Module: Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century

Author: Julia E. Sweig

In 1945, the United States was the founding impulse behind the cornerstones of the international community: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations. At that time, American ideals were perceived to coincide with American actions, intended to expand social, legal, and economic protections around the world. Sixty years later, “Anti-America” has spread into a global phenomenon, crossing borders, classes, ideologies, religions, and generations.

Teaching Module: Financial Statecraft: The Role of Financial Markets in American Foreign Policy

Authors: Benn Steil and Robert E. Litan

As trade flows expanded and trade agreements proliferated after World War II, governments—most notably the United States—increasingly came to use their power over imports and exports to influence the behavior of other countries.  But trade is not the only way in which nations interact economically. Over the past two decades, another form of economic exchange has risen to a level of vastly greater significance and political concern: the purchase and sale of financial assets across borders.

Teaching Module: More Than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa

Author: Princeton N. Lyman

This Council-sponsored Independent Task Force Report argues that Africa is becoming steadily more central to the United States and to the rest of the world in ways that transcend humanitarian interests. The module supports the report's comprehensive policy recommendations with multimedia resources that explore in greater detail the most pressing issues facing Africa today.

Teaching Module: The Opportunity: America's Moment to Alter History's Course

Author: Richard N. Haass

The Opportunity: America’s Moment to Alter History’s Course offers a concise and engaging analysis of international relations and American Foreign policy in the post-Cold War era.  A veteran of several presidential administrations, author Richard Haass argues that the United States sits at a unique juncture in world history, one in which much of what it seeks to achieve in the world has the potential to be broadly acceptable to other major powers.  To make the most of this moment, and to help prevent a return to a world of great power rivalry, the United States should rely on the concept of integration as the guiding doctrine for its foreign policy.

Teaching Module: Climate Change: Debating America's Policy Options

Author: David G. Victor

Climate change is one of the most complex issues facing policy-makers today. David G. Victor, a leading expert on environmental policy, takes a fresh look at this issue and persuasively marshals arguments for three distinct approaches to combat the problem, casting each as a presidential speech. A must-read for environmentalists, educators, and anyone else interested in the issue .

Teaching Module: Power, Terror, Peace, and War

Author: Walter Russell Mead

In Power, Terror, Peace, and War, Mead—one of the most original writers on U.S. foreign policy—provides a fascinating and timely account of the Bush administration’s foreign policy and its current grand strategy for the world. He analyzes America’s historical approach to the world, which he describes as not perfect but reasonably moral and reasonably practical. President Bush, according to Mead, is often strategically right but tactically at fault while he attempts to lead a divided nation—and a divided coalition of allies—in a dangerous struggle against ruthless enemies.

Teaching Module: The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future

Author: Elizabeth C. Economy

Selected by The Globalist as one of the top ten books of 2004, The River Runs Black is the most comprehensive and balanced volume to date on China’s growing environmental crisis and its implications for the country’s development. Based on historical research, case studies, and interviews with officials, scholars, and activists in China, this book provides insightful analysis of the economic and political roots of China’s environmental challenge as well as the evolution of the leadership’s response.

Teaching Module: East Asian Economic Regionalism

Author: Edward J. Lincoln

This module examines economic regionalism in East Asia and its implications for U.S. policy in the region, but it also addresses several important themes relevant to university level economic, political economy, international relations or regional studies courses.  

Teaching Module: Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russia After the Cold War

Authors: James M. Goldgeier and Michael A. McFaul

Russia, once seen as America ’s greatest adversary, is now viewed by the United States as a potential partner. This module traces the evolution of American foreign policy toward the Soviet Union , and later Russia , during the tumultuous and uncertain period following the end of the cold war. It examines how American policy-makers coped with the opportunities and challenges presented by the new Russia.

Teaching Module: Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World

Author: Walter Russell Mead

The United States has had a more successful foreign policy than any other great power in history. Council Senior Fellow Walter Russell Mead attributes this unprecedented success (as well as recurring problems) to a vigorous interplay among four powerful political traditions that have shaped foreign policy since the Revolution. The tension among these competing forces guides American foreign policy toward prudent action. Mead argues that the United States is successful because its strategy is rooted in Americans’ concrete interests, which value trade and commerce as much as military security.