JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "European Security Issues after the Cold War"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Diego Pagliarulo
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 6:00 PM 7:15 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; Russia and the Putin regime; 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, 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: Transatlantic security from Truman to TrumpStanley R. SloanManchester University Press978-1526146236     
Security Studies: An IntroductionPaul D. Williams and Matt McDonald (eds.)Routledge978-1032162737     
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Contemporary European SecurityDavid J. Galbreath , Jocelyn Mawdsley, et al.Routledge978-0415473576 Available in eBook format at: https://jculibrary.on.worldcat.org/oclc/1090301755

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 ExamThe exam is scheduled for week VIII, 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. 20%
Policy BriefTake-home essay (max 1,500 words) based on a previously assigned topic.20%
Final Exam - Research MemoOral presentation and a related take-home essay (max 3,000 words) based on a previously assigned topic related to part III of the course. The presentation will take place on the day of the final exam. The deadline for the paper is the day before the final exam. Grading criteria: Presentation: 25%. Paper: 75%40%
Optional Assignments3 short essays or short videos. 1 extra point added to the overall grade for each completed assignment. Max 700 words per essay. 1st essay: Movie analysis. 2nd and 3rd essays: on a previously assigned topic concerning part III of the course. Possible topics include reports on events organized by JCU or other institutions on topics pertaining European security.0%
Oral PresentationPrepare an oral presentation on one of the topics listed in Part III of the course. The assignment will be performed during Part III of the course. The aim of the presentation is to introduce the readings and stimulate subsequent class debate.5%

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 ____________

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 might be subject to changes.




Part I - Introduction to European Security Studies


Course Introduction

International Relations and Security Studies


  • David A. Baldwin, “The Concept of Security,” in Review of International Studies, vol. 23:1, 1997, p. 5-26.

  • One of the following:

    • Williams, Chapter 1/2/3/4/5/6/8/15.


Security Challenges: From the Cold War to the Post Cold War Era

  • Cooperation, Conflict and Alliances.

  • Competing Visions of the Post-Cold War Era


  • One of the following:

    • Williams: Chapter 10/13/18/19.

  • One of the following:

  • Recommended: One of the following:

    • Galbreath: Chapter 5/6.

Discussion: Understanding post-Cold War Europe: “The End of History” vs “The Clash of Civilizations.”

Part II: The European Security Architecture - From the Cold War to the 21st Century


The Cold War and the Rise of the European Security Architecture

  • The “transatlantic bargain”

  • Transatlantic relations and the defense of the West through the Cold War


  • Sloan, Chapter 2-3 (pp. 20-49)

  • Sloan, Chapter 4 (pp. 50-81)

Recommended readings:


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

  • Europe, the US, and the end of the Cold War.

  • Theoretical Perspectives on Post-Cold War European Security


  • Sloan, Chapter 5 (pp. 83-99).

  • One of the following:

    • 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)

    • Stephen Van Evera, “Primed for Peace: Europe after the Cold War,” International Security, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Winter, 1990-1991), pp. 7-57. (Excerpts)

Discussion: Did the End of the Cold War Make Europe More Stable?


European Security From 11/9 to 9/11

  • NATO’s quest for a post-Cold War role.

  • The Balkan crises and the evolution of transatlantic relations


  • Sloan, Chapter 6 (pp. 103-133)

  • Sloan, Chapter 6 (pp. 134-181)


  • Declaration on a Transformed Atlantic Alliance, North Atlantic Council, London, July 5, 1990, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_23693.htm .

  • “The Alliance's New Strategic Concept,” NATO, November 7, 1991, https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_23847.htm?

  • Western European Union, Council of Ministers, Petersberg Declaration, Bonn, June 19, 1992, http://www.weu.int/documents/920619peten.pdf

  • Tony Blair, “Doctrine of the International Community,” Speech Delivered at the Chicago Economic Club, April 22, 1999, https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page1297 .

Watch: The Special Relationship, by Richard Loncraine (2010)


European Security in the Age of Terror

  • The Atlantic Alliance from 9/11 to the Iraq crisis.

  • Afghanistan and the transformation of the Atlantic Alliance


  • Sloan, Chapter 7 (pp. 182-204)

  • Sloan, Chapter 7 (pp. 204-257)


Submit: Event analysis.


European Security and the “New Cold War”

  • From “Rebalancing” to the Ukraine crisis.

  • Whither European Security?


  • Sloan, Chapter 8 (pp. 258-286)

  • Sloan, Chapter 8-9 (pp. 286-326)



Midterm Assessment

Midterm Review

Midterm Test

European Security Challenges


The War in Ukraine


Discussion: Dealing with Putin’s Russia


Energy Security and Climate Change: the European Perspective


Discussion: Europe’s energy security: short- and long-term challenges.


Europe and the MENA Region: The Challenge of Human Security


Discussion: Europe and the MENA region: intervention and cooperation.


Identity and European Security


Discussion: Are European values threatened from within?


Global Security Threats and Geoeconomics


Discussion: Is Europe a global actor?


European Security in a Changing World


Discussion: Is Europe a security provider?

Finals Week

Final Exams

Prepare: Presentations on the Independent Research Project.

Submit: Papers on the Independent Research Project.