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COURSE NAME: "European Security Issues after the Cold War"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Diego Pagliarulo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 4:40-6:00 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: PL 209

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 European 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; Putin's Russia; terrorism and nuclear proliferation, political instability and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, migration flows, the impact of pandemics, environmental issues, energy security issues, 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.

  2. A critical understanding of the key institutions underpinning the European security architecture, such as NATO, the EU, and the OSCE.

  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 global 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” actors to Europe’s security: Russia, the Greater Middle East, secessionist movements, terrorist and criminal organizations.

  7. Ability to analyze and assess non-conventional security threats such as economic insecurity, identity issues, and environmental challenges.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
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
Europe’s CrisesManuel Castells et al.Polity978-1509524877 Available in e-book format at: https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/993624071

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Prisoners of Geography. Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the WorldTim MarshallScribner978-1501121470JC319 .M2744 2016 
Contemporary European SecurityDavid J Galbreath, Jocelyn Mawdsley, Laura ChappellRoutledge978-0415473576 Available in e-book format at: https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/1090301755
Security Studies: An IntroductionPaul D Williams (Editor), Matt McDonald (Editor)Routledge978-0415784894TXT JZ5588 .S4297 2018 
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.15%
Midterm EssayThe 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). The exam’s day cannot be changed. Hence, organize yourself accordingly.20%
Midterm Policy BriefThe grade is a combination of an oral presentation and a related take-home essay (max 1,500 words) based on a previously assigned topic. Key guidelines: - Max. 1,500 words/6 double spaced pages - On a previously assigned topic. Grading criteria: Oral presentation, sources, paper. 20%
Final Research Memo and Presentation (Final exam)The grade is a combination of an oral presentation and a related take-home essay (max 3,000 words) based on a previously assigned topic concerning part III of the course. 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. Grading criteria: Oral presentation, sources, paper. 45%
3 Short EssaysMax 700 words per essay. 1st essay: Movie analysis (The Special Relationship). 2nd and 3rd essays: on a previously assigned topic concerning part III of the course. Possible topics include reports on events concerning topics pertaining European security organized by JCU or other institutions. Grading criteria: Extra credit (1 point per essay) to be added to the overall final grade.  

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 15% 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 ____________
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.


The reading list and the selection of topics for Part III might be subject to (limited) changes.


Week I - International Relations and Security  Studies

Lecture 1 - Course introduction
Recommended Reading

Lecture 2 - Security, Grand Strategy and International Politics



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

Lecture 3 - Cooperation, Conflict and Alliances

  • Stephen M. Walt, “Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Power,” International Security, Vol. 9, No. 4 (Spring, 1985), pp. 3-43, https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/7781150388 

  • Sloan, Chapter 1 (pp. 1-19)

Recommended Readings:

  • Robert Jervis, “Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Jan., 1978), pp. 167-214, https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/7831180474 

Lecture 4 - Debate: Competing Visions of the New World Order



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

Lecture 5  - Part I: The rise and consolidation of the “transatlantic bargain”   


  • Sloan, Chapter 2-3 (pp. 20-49)

Key Documents (Recommended): 

Lecture 6 - 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

Lecture 7  - Part I: Europe, the US, and the end of the Cold War.


  • Sloan, Chapter 5 (pp. 83-99)

Lecture 8 - 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. (Excerpts)

  • 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. (Excerpts)

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

Lecture 9 - Part I: NATO’s quest for a post-Cold War role


  • Sloan, Chapter 6 (pp. 103-133) 

Key Documents (Recommended):

Lecture 10 - Part II: The Balkan crises and the evolution of transatlantic relations


  • Sloan, Chapter 6 (pp. 134-181)

Recommended Readings:

Movie Night: The Special Relationship, by Richard Loncraine (2010)


Week VI - European Security in the Age of Terror

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


  • Sloan, Chapter 7 (pp. 182-204)

Lecture 12  - 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

Lecture 13 - Part I: From “Rebalancing” to the Ukraine crisis.


  • Sloan, Chapter 8 (pp. 258-286)

Lecture 14 - Part II: Whither the Atlantic Alliance?


  • Sloan, Chapter 8-9 (pp. 286-326)

Key Documents (Recommended): 


Lecture 15 - Midterm review  and Policy Briefs presentations.  
Readings: all the above

Lecture 16 - MIDTERM EXAM


Week IX - Geoeconomics, Great Power Politics, and European Security 

Lecture 17 - Debate: China’s Rise and European Security      


Recommended Readings:

Lecture 18 - Debate: Is Putin’s Russia a Revisionist Power?



Week X -  Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, and European Security

Lecture 19 - Debate: Europe and the terrorist challenge.


Lecture 20 - Debate: Assessing the Iranian Nuclear Program.      


Week XI - European Security and the MENA Region

Lecture 21    The Arab Spring and European Security


  • Marc Lynch, “The New Arab Order,” Foreign Affairs, , Vol. 97, No. 5 (Sep/Oct 2018), pp. 116-126.

  • 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 -

Lecture 22 - Debate: Libya and the past and future of Western interventionism



Week XII  Immigration, Nationalism, Identity, and European Security

Lecture 23 - Debate: Is immigration a threat or an opportunity?


Recommended Readings:

  • Robert D. Putnam, “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture,” Scandinavian Political Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2 (2007), pp. 137-174), https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/5156766991 .

Lecture 24 - Debate: European Integration and the Challenges of Nationalism and “Illiberal Democracy”


Week XIII - European Integration and Its Discontents

Lecture 25 -  Debate: Europe and Great Britain After Brexit


  • Geoffrey Evans, Noah Carl, and James Dennison, “Brexit: The Causes and Consequences of the UK’s Decision to Leave the EU”, in Manuel Castells (ed.) Europe’s Crises, pp. 380-404.

Recommended reading:

Lecture 26 - Whither European Integration?


Recommended reading: 

  • Judis: Chapter 3, (pp. 81-116). 

Week XIV  - European Security in a Changing World

Lecture 27  - Debate: Europe as a “Security Provider”


Recommended Readings:

  • 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/ .

Lecture 28 - Final Review Session


  • All the above