Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Spring 2011



Course Number

DIPL 6422

Course Description

The transatlantic relationship between Europe and North America has been one of the most peaceful and durable partnership among states in history. It has also been and remains the bedrock of international relations since the end of World War II. Transatlantic relations initially grew of the fears prompted by the old War and focused on security concerns as evidenced by the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which was designed to "keep the Russians out, the Germans down, and the Americans in." They have all along been shaped (and reshaped) by an ever widening range of security as well as non-security concerns prompted by changes in the tectonics of international relations, an evolving balance of power between the United States and Europe and changing global issues of common but increasingly differentiated interest. Conflict and cooperation have in any case been one of the perennial characteristics of transatlantic relations, the latter appearing increasingly to give way to the former, especially since the end of the Cold War. But as shall be seen, there is considerable disagreement among scholars and practitioners as to whether the divide is deep and structural or is simply attributable to the vagaries of partisan politics and dashing personalities in each camp.

Against this broad stroked background and drawing from lectures, class discussions and intensive readings, the purpose of this course is to provide tentative answers to three interrelated questions about transatlantic relations: one, what is the nature and character of the Atlantic political order? Is it a "pluralistic security community? A cooperative security alliance? A reflection and manifestation of United States hegemony?. A political community? An economic region? ... Second: how has that political order functioned and operated over time in dealing with such security economic and human rights challenges as the Cold War, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, the Palestinian question Iraq, globalization, trade and investment, climate change, international criminal justice in the context of broader structural change within the global arena? Three: what are the prospect for the future of the Atlantic order?. Are US-European relations likely to become more divisive and conflict ridden to the point of that they might undo the great 'historical bargains' they were built upon? Or will they simply lead to systemic change and adaptation? The course will accordingly be structured into three parts. The first portion f the course will seek to elucidate the historical and theoretical foundations f the Atlantic political order with particular attention to the Atlantic Charter of 1941, the Bretton Woods Agreements of 1944, the United Nations Charter of 1945, the Marshall Plan of 1947, the Atlantic Pact of 1949 and the parallel process of unification and integration of Europe . The second part of the course will assess the determinants of the transformations of the Atlantic political order through an in depth examination of selected case studies. The final part of the course, blending theory and case study lessons will take stock of the transformations of the Atlantic political order and endeavor to ascertain how it might evolve in the years ahead.