Internet Activities



The American Political Science Association’s “Task Force on US Standing in World Affairs”


For this exercise, you will read a report compiled by the American Political Science Association’s Task Force on US Standing in World Affairs. Twenty prominent professors of international relations and foreign policy participated in the task force.

1. Read the brief overview of the task force’s mission. What two causal questions does the task force seek to answer?

2. How does the task force define “standing?” Why is defining and measuring standing – and measuring how it varies over time – important in exploring the causal questions mentioned above?

3. Click on the link labeled “Short Report (PDF),” which links to a PDF. Read the section titled “Standing and its Relevance,” which begins on page 3. What are the two major facets of standing, and which perspective (or perspectives) do you think would emphasize them?

4. What relationship does standing have to material military and economic capabilities? Which perspective would emphasize material capabilities as the most important factor in assessing standing?

5. How are a state’s own citizens and foreign leaders and peoples involved in determining a state’s standing? Which levels of analysis would emphasize the role of factors within a state and relationships among states in determining standing?

6. Read the section titled “Dissenting Views,” which begins on page 18. In what ways does political bias (in the United States as well as internationally) affect views of US standing? In what ways does bias make it difficult for scholars to conduct an objective study of a political issue like US standing? How can the impact of bias be minimized?

7. How do the dissenting authors approach credibility and esteem? In what ways is that approach different than that of the main report? Which perspective do you think each approach takes?

8. How do the dissenting authors see the relationship between standing and material capabilities? Which do they think is more important for policy success?