At the start of a new term in 2021, the U.S. president wrestles with whether to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, even though doing so could risk a Taliban takeover.
Pop-up cases are short, one-page scenarios based on issues reverberating in the news today. Use one of the cases below to spark discussion and put your students in the shoes of policymakers.
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Two American citizens have been unjustly detained abroad, and although one was returned, another remains in Russia. The United States needs to decide what action to take when an American citizen’s life is swept up in a geopolitical conflict.
Russia’s War in Ukraine
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Following the deadliest foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil, the president of the United States learns that the terrorist organization al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, are responsible for the 9/11 attacks and are in Afghanistan. How should the United States respond?
Cuban President Fidel Castro has opened the port of Mariel for emigration from communist-led Cuba, causing a mass exodus that is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of Cubans to the United States. How should the United States respond to the mounting number of Cuban migrants arriving at U.S. shores?
Fighting has raged between Ethiopian government forces and a rival political faction in the country’s northern Tigray region since November 2020, threatening to destabilize the region and cause a humanitarian disaster. How should the United States respond?
The United Kingdom has just announced it can no longer support the Greek government in its fight against a communist rebel movement that threatens to bring Greece into the Soviet orbit. How should the United States respond?
With the majority of the world still struggling to get access to COVID-19 vaccines, how should the United States prioritize domestic and global vaccination efforts?
In the early fall of 1918, a second wave of influenza is spreading, and World War I is waning, but not yet over. As the pandemic begins to grow more deadly, how can the United States balance the need to bring the war to an end while responding effectively to an increasingly deadly pandemic? (This case was originally published on 09/09/2020).
British intelligence has decoded a secret German telegram to Mexico that proposes an alliance against the United States and shares Germany’s plans to resume submarine warfare against U.S. shipping in the coming month. How should the United States respond?
After the mysterious explosion of the USS Maine in Havana, Cuba, the United States has decided to go to war with Spain. President William McKinley and his advisors now need to decide how to intervene against Spanish colonial rule in Cuba and what U.S. war aims should be.
At the start of a new presidential term in 2021, the president must decide whether to prioritize a multilateral or unilateral approach to foreign policy over the next four years.
With thousands of American settlers migrating west to the contested Oregon Country and a campaign promise from President James K. Polk to annex the entire territory, how should the United States respond to British naval buildup in the region and a deteriorating U.S.-British relationship?
At the start of a new presidential term in 2021, the United States reassesses its policy toward China in light of the ongoing repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang.
At the start of a new presidential term in 2021, the president grapples with questions about U.S. operations in the Middle East. Should the United States pull troops out of Iraq and end the ongoing campaign to combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State and deter Iranian pressure on Iraq?
The newly independent United States has sought to stay neutral during the Napoleonic Wars between France and the British Empire, but constraints on trade and British attacks on American shipping have left the United States questioning how it can exercise its freedom from European entanglements.
As the United States emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic into a recession, policymakers need to consider another global crisis: climate change. How should the United States pursue environmental sustainability alongside economic recovery?
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic, already a global health crisis, will cause a global recession and risks causing a depression without a robust response. What role can and should the United States play in domestic and global economic recovery?
A hypothetical pop-up case set in 2025: The world has emerged from COVID-19 and is trying to learn the lessons of the pandemic and prepare for the next one. However, a recent report found many countries are still underprepared. What can and should the United States do to secure global health preparedness before the next pandemic arrives?
Intelligence shows that foreign actors are already interfering in the 2020 U.S. election. How should the United States respond?