Colloquium: europe and eurasia

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IAFF 6321.10

Fall 2017
Mondays, 5:10 PM—7:00 PM

Gelman B01A, 2130 H St, NW
Professor: Dr. Olof Kronvall

Office: N/A

Office Hours: By appointment


Phone: 202-701-4781
Course Description

Europe and Eurasia play a crucial role in contemporary world affairs. The ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict has potential ramifications not only for Europe itself, but for the international system as a whole. After the Cold War, European nations have also participated in military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and sub-Saharan Africa; and European allies and partners are working with the U.S. on issues such as the Syrian civil war and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Furthermore, Western Europe represents a large portion of the global economy and is economically interlinked with Russia, China, and the U.S. The course integrates analysis of current developments in Europe and Eurasia with an examination of their roots in the past, going back to 1945.

WW II and the Cold War shattered the international system. In 1945 Western Europe had lost its centuries-long dominance of the international system which was now defined by the emergence of two superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of WW II the Soviet Union carved out a new empire in Eastern and Central Europe, while Western Europe sought security from the Soviet threat by means of regional cooperation and a strategic alliance with the U.S. America’s long-term involvement in European security issues is in many ways a product of WW II and the Cold War, and so are NATO and the EU. The WW II experience is still central to Russia’s national identity. Furthermore, the Cold War legacy has continued to influence Western-Russian relations. For all these reasons, an understanding of WW II and the Cold War is essential to understanding the current European security order.
The next fundamental transformation of the international system was the end of the Cold War. A state of affairs that had lasted for decades, and had come to be perceived by many as permanent, suddenly came to an end. America was now the only superpower, Germany was reunified, and the Soviet dominance of East and Central Europe was broken. The end of the Cold War created the conditions we are facing today, and an understanding of how and why the decades-long conflict ended sheds light on recent and ongoing developments.
The breakdown of the bipolar system inspired hopes as well as fears, and post-Cold War Europe has been characterized by an interesting mix of stability and volatility. On the one hand, Europe has been spared the horrors of a new continent-wide war since 1945, and the fall of the Soviet Union further drastically reduced the prospects of such a conflict. Since the end of the Cold War the countries of Eastern and Central Europe have transitioned to democracy and market economy and become embedded in the EU and NATO. The EU has achieved an unprecedented level of integration between European nations, and economic integration between Russia and Western Europe is also significant.
On the other hand, important aspects of the regional political order are in a state of flux. As the Cold War came to an end the emerging new order was immediately put to the test by the wars in former Yugoslavia, and the issue of Kosovo’s status has been a constant reminder of remaining tensions in the Balkans. The Kosovo issue has also been one of many sources of tension in Russian-Western relations, which have often been strained, and in 2008 the Russo-Georgian War created further tensions in Europe and beyond. Europe faces multiple challenges, including Brexit, the rise of nationalist parties and sentiments, terrorism, and a great influx of refugees. The new international environment – with factors such as political upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East and the rise of China, as well as the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election – creates further uncertainties regarding the future of the transatlantic relationship, NATO, and the EU.
The Russian-Ukrainian conflict presents a severe challenge to the European order. The crisis also highlights many of the fundamental issues of the European and Eurasian security structure, which also have global implications: the overall relations between the U.S., its allies and partners in Europe, and Russia; the degree to which Russian and Western interests and conceptions of security and cooperation can be reconciled; and the utility and role of the EU and NATO. The crisis also offers many opportunities to improve our understanding of current events by linking them to the past. For example, the debate over an alleged “New Cold War” can be analyzed and assessed based on an understanding of the (original) Cold War, and an examination of Russian-Western relations since the end of the Cold War provides context and possible explanations for the current crisis.

Goals of the Course

The goal of the course is to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of European and Eurasian political affairs since 1945, with an emphasis on security issues. Progress towards this goal is measured by participation in class discussions and three written assignments.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to identify and analyze key characteristics and components of the European and Eurasian security environment, as well as the relationship between them.

  • Students will be able to apply a historical and comparative perspective to current European and Eurasian political and security issues.

  • Students will be familiar with key developments, events, and decisions in Europe and Eurasia from the start of the Cold War to the present and how they can be explained.

Grade Computation

  • 25%: Attendance and participation

  • 20%: First short paper, single-spaced, due October 16 by 5:10 PM

  • 20%: Second short paper, single-spaced, due November 13 by 5:10 PM

  • 35%: Research paper, double-spaced, due December 15 by 5 PM

Attendance is mandatory (with certain exceptions; see below), as is informed contributions to class discussion. Students are urged to discuss paper topics with me well in advance. The first short paper should analyze a Cold War era decision, and the second short paper should analyze a post-Cold War decision. More specific instructions on the three papers will be provided in a separate document.

Reading list

The readings are divided into required and recommended readings. Students are expected to come to class having completed the required readings for that day and prepared to discuss them. Recommended readings will be referenced in the lectures, but are not mandatory. The vast majority of the readings (required as well as recommended) will be posted on Blackboard, or links will be provided in the syllabus or distributed in advance of each class. This reading list only includes books that will have to be purchased, borrowed, or in some cases accessed electronically (unless you have access to them already). The books in question are the following:
Tom Buchanan, Europe’s Troubled Peace: 1945 to the Present (Second edition; Chichester, West Sussex, UK & Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012)
Robert J. McMahon, The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
James Graham Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014)
David S. Yost, NATO's Balancing Act (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2014)
The books by Buchanan and Wilson are available electronically via Gelman Library. This option gives you access for a limited time (14 days), but the loan can be renewed when that period expires.
Readings for any class may be subject to change, especially for classes on contemporary and still-evolving issues.

Paper deadlines

  • First Short Paper

    • September 25 (Monday): Proposal for short paper topic due in class.

    • October 16 (Monday): Paper due in class.

  • Second Short Paper

    • October 30 (Monday): Proposal for short paper topic due in class.

    • November 13 (Monday): Paper due in class.

  • Research Paper

    • November 6 (Monday): Proposal for research paper topic due in class.

    • December 15 (Friday): Final research paper due by 5 PM.

Please also submit all proposals and papers to by the deadline!


The course covers three overarching themes, each of which applies a different analytical framework to European security affairs. The first theme is Great Power Politics (classes 2-5). These classes trace and seek to explain the development of the European security architecture since the beginning of the Cold War, addressing issues such as the distribution of power between states; the relations between the dominant powers in the system; the methods and mechanisms used for handling and resolving conflicts; and causes of change and continuity in the system.

Building on this “big picture” of the European security system, the second theme takes a closer look at Western Structures and Institutions (classes 6-9). An analysis of the overall transatlantic relationship is followed by classes on the key institutional components of Western security in Europe: NATO and the European Union. Issues examined include the purpose, characteristics, and inner workings of the two institutions; their respective roles within the broader Western security system; and NATO-EU relations. The third and final theme shifts the focus from the overall European security system and its institutional components to specific Countries, Regions, and Conflicts (classes 10-13).
Classes will typically consist of a lecture by the professor and seminar-style discussion. Questions for discussion will be provided. On at least two occasions (October 17 and December 12) a different format will be used; instructions will be provided.


August 28

Class 1: Introduction

Jerry Z. Muller, “Us and Them – The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008

Selected articles from Foreign Affairs, May/June 2017

Recommended reading:

Francis J. Gavin, “Wonder and Worry in an Age of Distraction: Notes on American Exceptionalism for My Young Friends” (War on the Rocks, July 4, 2017)
Part I: Great Power Politics

September 11

Class 2: Origins of the Cold War

Required readings:

Buchanan, Europe’s Troubled Peace, Introduction and chapter 2

Robert Jervis, “Was the Cold War a Security Dilemma?,” Journal of Cold War Studies, Volume 3, Number 1, Winter 2001
Mark Kramer, “Five Myths About the Cold War” (Washington, DC: PONARS Eurasia, 03-14-2014)
McMahon, The Cold War, Preface and chapters 1-2

Recommended readings:

Buchanan, Europe’s Troubled Peace, chapter 1

September 18

Class 3: The End of the Cold War

Required readings:

James Graham Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014)

Recommended readings:

Buchanan, Europe’s Troubled Peace, chapters 3-7 and 10

McMahon, The Cold War, chapters 3-8, especially chapters 7-8

September 25

Class 4: The Post-Cold War Era

Required readings:

James Goldgeier, “Promises made, promises broken? What Yeltsin was told about NATO in 1993 and why it matters,” War on the Rocks, July 12, 2016

Mark Kramer, “No Such Promise,” and reply by Mary Elise Sarotte, Foreign Affairs, Nov/Dec2014
Ingrid Lundestad, “Turning Foe to Friend? US Objectives in Including Russia in Post-Cold War Euro-Atlantic Security Co-operation,” The International History Review (2015)
Mary Elise Sarotte, “A Broken Promise?” Foreign Affairs, Sep/Oct2014
Lilia Shevtsova, “Humiliation as a tool of blackmail,” The Brookings Institution, June 2, 2015 (
Additional readings will be assigned.

Recommended readings:

Buchanan, Europe’s Troubled Peace, chapters 11-12

October 2

Class 5: Energy Security

Required readings:

Edward C. Chow, “The High Stakes of Ukraine’s Energy Reforms,” The American Interest, October 21, 2016

Andreas Goldthau, Assessing Nord Stream 2: regulation, geopolitics & energy security in the EU, Central Eastern Europe & the UK (London: EUCERS, 2016)

Harald Hecking et al, Final Report Options for Gas Supply Diversification for the EU and Germany in the next Two Decades (Cologne & London: EUCERS, 2016)

Selected sections
Douglas Hengel, “The Next Phase of U.S.-EU Energy Cooperation” (Washington DC: German Marshall Fund of the United States, April 10, 2017)

Chris Miller, “Why Russia’s Economic Leverage Is Declining” (Washington DC: German Marshall Fund of the United States, 2016)

Gerald Stang (ed.), Securing the Energy Union: five pillars and five regions (Paris: EUISS, 2017)

Ilya Zaslavskiy, “The Kremlin’s Gas Games in Europe” ((Washington DC: Atlantic Council, May 2017)

Part II: Western Structures and Institutions

October 16

Class 6: Transatlantic Relations

Required readings:

Jason Bordoff, “An Auspicious Anniversary for the Marshall Plan” (Foreign Policy, blog post, June 5, 2017)
Mathew Burrows & Frances G. Burwell, “Europe in 2022: Alternative Futures” (Washington DC: Atlantic Council, 2017)

Selected sections
Andrew Small, “The Counter-Enlightenment and the Great Powers” (Washington DC: GMFUS, blog post, March 13, 2017)

Additional readings may be assigned.

October 23

Class 7: Simulation Exercise

No readings assigned; instructions will be provided.

October 30

Class 8: NATO

Required readings:

Yost, NATO's Balancing Act, selected sections.

Additional readings will be assigned.

November 6

Class 9: The European Union

Readings may be added. The status of readings in terms of required and recommended may change.
Required readings:

Nicholas Bouchet, “Europe at 60 and at a crossroads” (Washington DC: GMFUS, blog posts, March 2017)

Selected posts
European Council on Foreign Relations:

Josef Janning, “The long road to peace: Europe at 60” (Brussels: ECFR, blog post, March 24, 2017)

Andrew Moravcsik, “Europe is Still a Superpower” (Foreign Policy, blog post, April 13, 2017)

Antonio Missirolli, The EU and the World: Players and Policies Post-Lisbon. A Handbook (Paris: EUISS, 2017)

Selected sections
Florence Gaub & Nicu Popescu (eds.), After the EU Global Strategy: Building Resilience (Paris: EUISS, 2017)

Selected sections

Michael Ruhle, Daydream Believers,” Berlin Policy Journal, November 23, 2016

Recommended readings:

Buchanan, Europe’s Troubled Peace, chapter 9

Part III: Countries, Regions, and Conflicts

November 13

Class 10: Germany

Readings may be added.
Required readings:

Bastian Giegerich & Maximilian Terhalle, “The Munich Consensus and the Purpose of German Power,” Survival, 58:2, 2016

Niklas Hellwig (ed.), Europe’s New Political Engine: Germany’s role in the EU’s foreign and security policy (Helsinki: Finnish Institute of International Affairs, 2016)

Selected sections
Josef Janning, European Council on Foreign Relations:
Matthias Matthijs, “The Three Faces of German Leadership,” Survival, 58:2, 2016
Almut Moller, “What next after the Rome Declaration?” (Brussles: ECFR, 30th March, 2017)

Kaan Sahin, “Germany Confronts Russian Hybrid Warfare” (Carnegie Europe, 2017)

Anna Sauerbrey, Populism, History, and Identity in German Politics and Foreign Policy

(Washington DC: Transatlantic Academy, 2017)

Transatlantic Academy, Suspicious Minds: U.S.-German Relations in the Trump Era (Washington DC: Transatlantic Academy, 2017)

November 20

Class 11: Russia

Readings may be added. The status of readings in terms of required and recommended may change.
Required readings:

Selected articles from Communist and Post-Communist Studies,
Volume 49, Issue 1, Pages 1-112 (March 2016),
 (Special Issue: Between Nationalism, Authoritarianism, and Fascism in Russia: Exploring Vladimir Putin’s Regime)

Gustav Gressel, “Russia’s quiet military revolution” (Brussels: European Council on Foreign Relations, 2017)
Gustav Gressel, “Fellow Travellers: Russia, Anti-Westernism, and Europe’s Political Parties” (Brussels: European Council on Foreign Relations, July 2017)

Marlene Laurelle, “The three colors of Novorossiya, or the Russian nationalist mythmaking of the Ukrainian crisis,” Problems of Post-Communism, Vol. 32, Issue 1, 2016

Kadri Liik, “What Does Russia Want?” (Brussels: European Council on Foreign Relations, 2017)
Olga Oliker, “Putinism, Populism and the Defence of Liberal Democracy,” Survival, 59:1, 2017
Nicu Popescu & Hiski Haukkula (eds.), Russian futures: horizon 2025 (Brussels: European Union Institute for Security Studies, 2016), Introduction, chapters I-IV and VII-VIII
Fredrik Weslau & Andrew Wilson, “Russia 2030: A story of great power dreams and small victorious wars” (Brussels: European Council on Foreign Relations, 2016)

November 27

Class 12: The former Soviet Union

As readings can quickly become outdated due to the fluid situation in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region, readings will be provided closer to the date of the class.

December 4

Class 13: Former Yugoslavia

Further readings may be added, and the status of readings in terms of required and recommended may change.
Required readings:

Ivo Banac, “What Happened in the Balkans (or rather Ex-Yugoslavia)?,” East European Politics and Societies, vol. 23, no. 4, Fall 2009

Philippe Leroux-Martin, Diplomatic Counterinsurgency. Lessons from Bosnia and Herzegovina (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Selected sections; available in “Electronic reserves”

Eviola Prifti (ed.), The European Future of the Western Balkans: Thessaloniki@10 (2003—2013) (Paris: European Union Institute for Security Studies, 2013): Introduction; chapters 1, 2, and 5; and Conclusion.
Jelena Subotic, “Explaining Difficult States: The Problems of Europeanization in Serbia,” East European Politics and Societies, vol. 24, no. 4, Fall 2010
Gerard Toal, “Srebrenica after Twenty Years” (blog post, July 13, 2015)
Gerard Toal and John O’Loughlin, “20 years after Dayton, here’s what Bosnians think about being divided by ethnicity” (New York Times, February 2, 2016)

Recommended readings:

Andrew Cottey, “The Kosovo war in perspective,” International Affairs, vol. 85, issue 3 (2009)

David Hastings Dunn, “Innovation and precedent in the Kosovo war: the impact of Operation Allied Force on US foreign policy,” International Affairs, vol. 85, issue 3 (2009)
Mark Webber: “The Kosovo war: a recapitulation,” International Affairs, vol. 85, issue 3 (2009)


December 11

Class 14: Conclusion and Wrap-Up

No readings assigned; instructions will be provided.

Class Policies, University Resources and Policies


Students are expected to attend all classes and to prepare all assigned required readings before class. Students may be excused from class for religious observances, medical emergencies, or required participation in University events. Any such excuse requires prior notification by the student to the instructor, if at all possible. However, absence from a class must be made up by an additional writing assignment on issues raised by the readings for the missed class; specific instructions will be provided. If you are going to be absent from class, please let me know in advance.

Course Adjustments

New readings may be added, and previously announced readings may be removed. Any such change will be announced in class and sent out as an email message to all students.

Academic Integrity

All work that you hand in for this class must be the product of your own labors for this class. If you are confused about how to properly cite your sources or anything else relevant to academic integrity, please check with me or consult the Code of Academic Integrity (available at

Support for Students outside the Classroom






In case of emergency, if at all possible, the class should shelter in place. If the building that the class is in is affected, follow the evacuation procedures for the building. After evacuation, seek shelter at a predetermined rendezvous location.

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