Presidential Memo Project

Presidential Memo Project


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Overall guidelines: This project is meant to make you learn about an issue you likely don’t know too much about, and to cause you to apply multiple course concepts through the work. Complete each of the five sections outlined below (each is worth an even 20% of the project grade). No section should be shorter than one page or longer than four. You need clear and well cited evidence work in every section. There is no need for an introduction or conclusion beyond the five sections, but do note which candidate you’ve chosen up top. You will need to complete a good amount of research, however, so please include a bibliography with your work.


Prompt: Recently, a second attempt at a truce in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh failed, leading to renewed violence between Armenian and Azeri forces. The United States is now going to become involved in this conflict, with Secretary Pompeo set to meet separately with both sides, opening the door to US led peace talks. For Trump, these talks would be a major feather in his foreign policy cap. For Biden, he is facing the prospect of inheriting an ongoing peace process. Imagine that President Trump or Vice President Biden (choose one, and frame your advice accordingly) has asked for your advice on how to approach this issue, and provide that advice through the five sections listed below.


Section 1. Provide a comprehensive history of this issue, including past conflicts between these powers, and assess how the issue is manifest in the present election.


Section 2. What is public opinion on this issue? Where do relevant interest groups stand? Where do our allies stand? Should the candidate be concerned with these variables?


Section 3. How has the media (across multiple platforms) treated this issue? Give specific examples. Should the candidate be concerned with these variables?


Section 4. What has Congress done and said recently about this issue? How can one expect the next Congress to act on this issue? Should the candidate be concerned with these variables?


Section 5. What is your overall recommendation to your chosen figure about how to approach this issue? I expect you to develop an analysis supporting your recommendation. Use at least three concrete concepts from this class in your analysis.



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