Regardless of its type, the paper should not exceed 20 double-spaced pages (bibliography is not included) with 1-inch margins and a font size of 12. Note that there is no strict requirement for the minimum number of pages except that the question or issue at hands needs to be sufficiently addressed. Also, there is no requirement for citation style. You can use either footnote or in-text citations. However, you should draw theoretical or empirical support from at least 10 sources. The sources should be credible—for example, not just any Internet source that is churned up by Google will do; instead journalistic sources, academic papers and books, policy memos and reports, and governmental statements/documents are usually considered credible. Wikipedia and Google Scholar are good places to start, but make sure to trace the fact to its original sources. The paper will be graded according to command of the course material (both discussions and readings), analytical skill, originality, and writing style. The ultimate goal of this assignment is to help you develop a quality writing that could benefit you in the future either as a writing sample for graduate/professional school applications or as a seed of a publishable paper.
The policy paper aims to provide a hypothetical group of US policymakers with policy recommendations in one of the following issue areas.
• National Security Law in Hong Kong
• North Korea (de)nuclearization
• South China Sea disputes
•Repression and political violence in Xinjiang
•East China Sea disputes
A good policy paper answers four crucial questions that decision-makers care about. First, what is the issue? A clear and concise introduction of the origin and development of the issue is always welcomed by a non-academic audience. In terms of this specific paper, this section should effectively summarize the nature of the challenge facing the Chinese government, how Beijing perceives this issue, and how they have attempted to solve the problem.
Second, what US interests are at stake? These are foreign affair issues that may or may not directly involve US interests. Thus, the first step to propose any sound policy recommendation is to explain to decision makers why they should (or in some other cases shouldn’t) care about an issue or conflict that is unfolding thousands of miles away from the US homeland. The reason(s) can be about ideology, morality, resources, security, economy, and other strategic values.
Third, what are some policy options? This section should introduce at least two candidate policy options (including the current policy if there is one being implemented) that could advance US
2 interestsatstake,rangingfromno-actiontomilitaryescalation. Duetospacelimit,only“reasonable”
policy instruments need to be addressed. It is necessary to discuss how these policies should be
implemented. For example, if economic sanction is a candidate policy, then the paper may need to address who the target is (e.g., certain government officials or certain industries) and what the purpose of the sanction is (e.g., inflict pain on the target, or signal dissatisfaction and resolve, or induce public rebellion, or a mix of them); if a diplomatic meeting or negotiation should be pursued, then the paper may address at what level the meeting should take place (e.g., between head diplomats, or between high-level cabinet members, or between military officers, or between national leaders) and what offer the US should make (e.g., firmly demand a full concession from China, or propose a deal by compromising in some other issue areas). Note that some creativity and departure from the traditional foreign policy tool box might make the decision-maker’s eyes brightened.
Fourth, why is one certain policy (or a combination of several policy instruments) most desirable? This should be the most crucial part of the report where both theoretical and empirical analyses are required. A persuasive policy recommendation usually rests on critical assessments of how different policies meet a set of explicitly defined criteria for judging policy choices. There is no definite answer, however, in terms of what criteria should be used. Some widely used factors include cost effectiveness, short-term vs. long-term interests, legality and reputational concerns, possible reactions from the other side, etc. Make sure that the comparative analysis consists of a healthy dose of both logics and empirics.
In sum, a good policy paper should demonstrate not only one’s knowledge of the nature and dynamics of these China-related security issues but also their ability to think critically and creatively, and to write persuasively about strategies for balancing American and Chinese interests in these issue areas.
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