Cadets pursuing the study of Comparative Politics have the
opportunity to analyze the sources of stability or instability in political
regimes, and to examine the conditions that promote either democratic or authoritarian
rule in a number of diverse settings, ranging from Latin America, Europe, the
Middle East, Asia, to Africa, as well as the United States. Not only do
students examine political institutions and policies, but they also explore the
meanings and sources of change that may spring from the ballot box or the
barrel of a rifle.
The West Point Comparative Politics Program provides cadets with
the intellectual tools and knowledge of core theories and concepts to better
understand why some states fail and others remain stable. Cadets have the opportunity to view critical
comparative politics issues in a multi-perspective manner by taking related
courses both in and out of the department. After mastering the core concepts, cadets can
tailor their program towards a regional (e.g., Africa, Middle East, etc.) or
functional (e.g., negotiation, democratization, post-conflict stabilization,
etc.) focus. The comparative politics courses and related electives provide
cadets with the knowledge and framework to apply the core concepts and theories
to relevant case studies and issues.
The capstone integrative experience provides an in-depth study
of the non-US perspective towards the security environment by examining the
security predicaments of developing states. To help understand and anticipate
the behaviors of weak states and non-state actors, cadets study the effects of
non-traditional security issues, appreciate a non-western view of the world,
understand the limitations of these actors’ elements of power, and understand how
they might assess risk. Students examine
questions such as:
the nature of security in weak or failing states?
such states plan for their security?
factors influence their choices?
Cadets address these questions by integrating the literature of
comparative politics and other relevant disciplines into their analyses to
better understand and anticipate state and non-state
behaviors in the changing security environment.
CP major is designed to develop graduates who are able to critically analyze
diverse political systems. Much of this
learning occurs outside of the classroom, through extracurricular activities or
Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) experiences. Cadets are strongly encourage to pursue
opportunities to travel abroad, and the Department of Social Sciences sponsors
many international AIADs that offer the chance to work with non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) in countries such as Thailand, China, Ghana, Tanzania,
Morocco, and Costa Rica.
Cadets who wish to
write a thesis will take the capstone course, SS486 International Security
Strategy, in the fall of their Firstie year as part of a two-course thesis sequence. They will
continue work on their theses in the spring of the first class year by taking
SS498 Senior Thesis in the Social Sciences during which they will finish
writing and defend their theses.