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COURSE NAME: "European Security Issues after the Cold War "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Diego Pagliarulo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30-5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PL 209
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

This course will examine how the almost simultaneous collapse of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact and Yugoslavia in 1991 gave rise to a new set of challenges to European security. It will also examine the NATO-EU-Russia relationship and the foreign policies of major European powers, US priorities in the area, nation building, minorities and territorial issues and problems in Central and Eastern Europe, new spheres of influence and related conflicts.

The course explores the key concepts, actors, issues, and organizations that characterize the European security space in the post-Cold War era:

  1. The basics of security studies.

  2. The evolution of NATO and transatlantic relations.

  3. The impact of major regional powers as well as leading international organizations - such as NATO and the EU - on the European security landscape. 

  4. The key security challenges affecting today’s Europe.

The course is divided into three sections. The first part deals with the basic notions of security studies such as the concepts of security, grand strategy, cooperation and conflict, and alliance formation and management. The second part reviews the evolution of the transatlantic security architecture: not just the change from a “passive” defensive shield to a “proactive” security institution, but also the rising contradictions of a political bargain among actors with different interests and preferences. The analysis is compounded by a review of the impact of the EU on the contemporary European security framework. The foreign policies of Europe’s major powers and their contributions to the broader framework of Eurpean and transatlantic security are also taken into account. The last part of the course focuses on the key security challenges concerning today’s Europe: China’s geoeconomic influence; Russia and the Putin regime; terrorism and nuclear proliferation, political instability and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, migration flows, and the challenges posed to the project of European integration by the rise of nationalism and populism.

  1. Knowledge of the key concepts and notions at the basis of international security relations.

  2. A critical understanding of NATO and the transatlantic relationship.

  3. Familiarity with the major transformations, in institutional and military terms, undergone by the Atlantic Alliance in the aftermath of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and September 11, 2001.

  4. A critical understanding of the process of European integration and a capability to assess challenges concerning the EU’s ambitions to become a more coherent and integrated actor.

  5. Knowledge of the most important steps taken by the EU to become a “security provider”.

  6. Ability to analyze and assess the challenges posed by “external” threats and actors to Europe’s security: Russia, the Greater Middle East, secessionist movements, terrorist and criminal organizations.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Defense of the West. NATO, the European Union and the Transatlantic BargainStanley R. SloanManchester University Press978-1526105769UA646.3 .S582 2016 
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The End of Europe. Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark AgeJames KirchikYale University Press978-0300234510D2024 .K57 2017 
The Nationalist Revival. Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt Against GlobalizationJohn B. JudisColumbia Global Reports978-0999745403  

Class attendance and participationAs the course is intended to develop on a seminar-like basis, the grade reflects how often and well-prepared students come to class. Absences, scarce preparedness, passive and poor contribution to class discussion, and inappropriate conduct will negatively affect the grade.10%
Mid-term examThe exam is scheduled for week VIII. The exam will be in-class and closed-book, and will serve to test the improvement of students’ knowledge of the issues covered in the first part of the course (i.e. readings and class discussions).25%
Research projectThe grade is a combination of an oral presentation and a related take-home essay (max 3,000 words) based on a previously assigned topic (only from week V onwards). While the aim of the presentation is to introduce the readings and stimulate subsequent class debate, in the essay students are expected to expand the presentation’s themes and put them in relation to the contemporary European security framework.30%
Final examThe exam will be in-class and closed-book, and will be comprehensive of all the topics covered in the course. The exam will serve to test students’ knowledge as well as their ability to engage in proactive and independent critical thinking. The exam’s day cannot be changed. Hence, organize yourself accordingly.35%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

  1. Attendance is a fundamental component of your class participation grade (which in turn counts for 10% of the final grade). More than two absences will directly affect your class participation grade (and indirectly affect your other assessments).

  2. Particularly active and constructive participation in class can round up your overall grade.

  3. Readings are mandatory assignments and must be done in advance

  4. Very long reads will be assigned as group works. Each student will be asked to focus on a specific part of a long essay and present his or her findings during class. 

  5. Recommended readings and key documents are not compulsory assignments. However, they can be useful sources of inspiration for debates, papers, and independent research projects.

  6. Students are invited to consult leading newspapers, journals and magazines to keep informed with ongoing news related to the European security context. In addition, the institutional websites of the EU, NATO, and other organizations such as OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) provide helpful resources and information.

  7. Group works require active participation. Failure to perform shared tasks or to show up will be considered a sign of disrespect toward colleagues. This kind of behavior is strongly discouraged. It will bring down your grade and may complicate your colleagues’ performances.

  8. The use of traditional notebooks and notetaking is encouraged. Laptops and other electronic devices are allowed for the sole purpose of taking notes and enhancing participation during classes.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until (TBA).
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.



Week I - International Relations and Security  Studies

SEPTEMBER 2 - Course introduction
Recommended Reading

SEPTEMBER 4 - Security, Grand Strategy and International Politics


Week II - Strategy and Security from the Cold War to the Post-Cold War Era

SEPTEMBER 9 - Cooperation, Conflict and Alliances

  • Robert Jervis, “Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Jan., 1978), pp. 167-214, https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/5545760104 . 

  • Sloan, Chapter 1 (pp. 1-19)

Recommended Readings:

  • Stephen Walt, “Why Alliances Endure or Collapse”, Survival, vol. 39:1, 1997, pp. 156-179.

SEPTEMBER 11 - Debate: Competing Visions of the New World Order



Week III - The Cold War and the Rise of the European Security Architecture

SEPTEMBER 16  - Part I: The rise and consolidation of the “transatlantic bargain”   


  • Sloan, Chapter 2-3 (pp. 20-49)

Key Documents (Recommended): 

SEPTEMBER 18 - Part II: Transatlantic relations and the defense of the West through the Cold War.


  • Sloan, Chapter 4 (pp. 50-81)


Week IV - The End of the Cold War and Its Implications for European Security

SEPTEMBER 23  - Part I: Europe, the US, and the end of the Cold War.


  • Sloan, Chapter 5 (pp. 83-99)

SEPTEMBER 25 Debate/Group Work: Did the End of the Cold War Make Europe More Stable?


  • Team Unstable Europe: John J. Mearsheimer, “Back to the Future: Instability in Europe after the Cold War,” International Security, vol. 15, No. 1 (1990), pp. 5-56, https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/5183549055 .

  • Team Stable Europe: Stephen Van Evera, “Primed for Peace: Europe after the Cold War,” International Security, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Winter, 1990-1991), pp. 7-57, https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/7831180820 .

Week V - European Security From 11/9 to 9/11

SEPTEMBER 30 - Part I: NATO’s quest for a post-Cold War role


  • Sloan, Chapter 6 (pp. 103-133) 

Key Documents (Recommended):

OCTOBER  2 - Part II: The Balkan crises and the evolution of transatlantic relations


  • Sloan, Chapter 6 (pp. 134-181)

Recommended Readings:


Week VI - European Security in the Age of Terror

OCTOBER 7 -  Part I: The Atlantic Alliance from 9/11 to the Iraq crisis.


  • Sloan, Chapter 7 (pp. 182-204)

OCTOBER 9  - Part II: Afghanistan and the transformation of the Atlantic Alliance.


  • Sloan, Chapter 7 (pp. 204-257)

Key Document (Recommended):


Week VII - European Security in the 2010s

OCTOBER 14 - Part I: From “Rebalancing” to the Ukraine crisis.


  • Sloan, Chapter 8 (pp. 258-286)

OCTOBER 16 - Part II: Whither the Atlantic Alliance?


  • Sloan, Chapter 8-9 (pp. 286-326)

Key Documents (Recommended): 


OCTOBER 21 - Mid-term review     
Readings: all the above



Week IX - Geoeconomics, Great Power Politics and European Security 

OCTOBER 28 - Debate: China’s Rise and European Security      


OCTOBER 30 - Debate: Is Putin’s Russia a Revisionist Power?


  • John J. Mearsheimer, “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 93, No. 5, (2014), pp. 1-12, https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/5817511681 .

  • Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and Michael Carpenter, “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin,” Foreign Affairs (January/February 2018), pp. 44-47, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2017-12-05/how-stand-kremlin 


Week X -  Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, and European Security

NOVEMBER 4 - Debate: Assessing the threat posed by ISIS and global terrorism.


NOVEMBER 6 - Debate: Assessing the Iranian Nuclear Program.      


Week XI - European Security and the MENA Region

NOVEMBER 11    The Arab Spring and European Security


  • Marc Lynch, “The New Arab Order,” Foreign Affairs, , Vol. 97, No. 5 (Sep/Oct 2018), pp. 116-126, https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/7826445088 ,

  • Niklas Bremberg, “Making sense of the EU’s response to the Arab uprisings: foreign policy practice at times of crisis,” European Security, Vol 25, No. 4 (2016), pp. 423-441, https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/7065559269 -

NOVEMBER 13 - Debate: Libya and the past and future of Western interventionism



Week XII - European Integration and Its Discontents

NOVEMBER 18 -  Part I: The elusive quest for European integration


  • Judis: Chapter 3, (pp. 81-116),   https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/1048611145 .  

NOVEMBER 20 - Debate: European Integration and the Challenges of Nationalism and “Illiberal Democracy”


Week XIII  Immigration, Identity, and European Security

NOVEMBER 25 - Europe and the 2015 Immigration Emergency.


  • Kirchick, Chapter 4 (pp. 109-134)

NOVEMBER 27 - Debate: Is immigration a threat or an opportunity?


Week XIV  - European Security in a Changing World

DECEMBER 2  - Debate: Europe as a “Security Provider”


  • Jakub Grygiel, “Europe: Strategic Drifter,” National Interest, Issue 126 (Jul/Aug 2013), pp. 31-38, https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/7831220351 .

  • Andrew Moravcsik, “Europe Is Still a Superpower,” Foreign Policy, April 13, 2017, http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/04/13/europeisstillasuperpower/ .

  • Sloan, Chapter 9 (pp. 307-329)

DECEMBER 4 - Final Review Session


  • All the above