Transatlantic Relations in the 21st Century

Please read carefully the instructions below and author two of the following four essays (50 points each).

The final paper assignment makes up 100% of the final grade.
You may use any additional source (but a good place to start is the class notes and the reading list) and there is no need to cite resources, although you may relate arguments and statements to specific individuals. However, you are expected to author your essays independently – in your own style and voice – without over-using other sources. In other words, please refrain from cut-and-paste with minimal changes, let alone direct plagiarism. Your well-structured essay ought to open with a thesis statement referring to the questions. You should explain, substantiate, and support the thesis statement throughout by elaborating the main and relevant concepts, positions, historical processes and examples, including those discussed in class and in the course readings. Each essay should not exceed 1,200-1,500 words.

Essay #1

“Had the US and the EU devised and implemented a more effective strategy to promote peace, development and regional cooperation in the Middle East, they could have spared the turmoil and violence engulfing the Middle East since the onset of the so-called “Arab Spring.” Discuss and opinionate. In your essay, explain the main features (objectives, mechanisms, and outcomes) of Western engagement in the Middle East in the post-Cold War era (1990-2010). Why did the EU and the US invest so many resources in the Middle East? Why did these efforts fail? With the benefit of hindsight – what could have the EU and US done to prevent the regional turmoil?

Essay #2

The three main theoretical schools/paradigms of IR thought – Realism, Liberalism and Constructivism – offer different readings of the Atlantic Alliance (or community) and of the challenges it faces. These readings reflect dissimilar explanations concerning the basic rationale and driving force of NATO and different expectations concerning its future. For instance, while Realists view NATO as an alliance, Liberals would focus their attention on NATO as an institution (some of them would also highlight the role of domestic politics). Constructivists, on their part, would pay attention to ideas and norms and view NATO as a community.



This theoretical debate has "real world" implications: What do these different theoretical perspectives tell us about how AND why NATO “won” the Cold War? How do these theoretical perspectives view the effect of the ending of the Cold War on NATO’s role? Twenty-five years or so after the end of the Cold War, which theoretical approach offered the best answer? Discuss and opinionate.

Essay #3

“Contrary to President Trump’s repeated statements, the track record of NATO’s European allies’ role in, and contribution to, the War in Afghanistan and the NATO-led operation in Libya, suggests that Europe’s “burden sharing” has actually improved. After all, the operation in Libya was the first NATO operation during which the United States “led from behind”.” Opinionate and discuss. In your essay, refer to NATO's "burden sharing" track record in the

Cold War and post-Cold War periods and discuss the role of the European allies in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya. Has Europe’s indeed “burden sharing” improved?

Essay #4

The United States and Europe have been simply “out of sync” well before President Trump entered office. They find it increasingly difficult to respond to regional and global challenges in a coordinated and timely manner – be it Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and its alleged interference in Western electoral politics, the rise of China, or the turmoil in the Middle East. What are the reasons that have brought the Transatlantic allies to this point? What are the likely drivers of Transatlantic relations? Can Europe and the United States become once again “in sync”? What would it take? In your essay, use current examples to substantiate your assessment.


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