POLSC323: European Politics

Unit 3: Case Studies in European Policies   Unit 3 covers specific case studies in European politics as well as the EU as a whole.  We take as our perspective the classification of Europe as either Old Europe or New Europe (a distinction made popular by U.S.  Secretary of Defense Robert Rumsfeld).  In many ways, other than his context in reference to the lead up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, this division makes sense.  In the post Cold War environment, Old Europe represented the mostly Western European powers that escaped the clutches of the old Iron Curtain and are often considered the traditional centers of power of European governance.  Of "Old Europe,” Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are perhaps the best representative samples of leading powers.  We include Russia in this context because of the very traditional state power role that it has played in European politics, as one of the five great powers since at least the 1800s.

In this context, “New Europe” is a reflection of the many states that have spun off of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  As these states began to find a role of their own in the politics of Europe rather than simply being satellites for the Soviets, they fundamentally changed the balance of power in European politics and within the EU.  We will include Poland in our discussion because of its ascension into the EU in 2004 and the impact its population has made on the distribution of power in EU politics.  Ukraine is another good example to explore, because it is the second largest state in Europe and resides in a place of strategic importance as the gateway of Russian energy supplies into the EU proper.  With both the EU and the government of Ukraine desiring closer ties and eventual integration, Ukraine is an important test case for the relationship between Russia and the EU.  Finally, we will take a look at Turkey, a growing power that seemingly rests both in Europe and the Middle East.  The question of Turkey in Europe and as a potential EU member-state provides an import test case for the role of culture and values in the European experiment.  Its potential inclusion begs the question: "What does it mean to be a European?"  European nationalism has played a paradoxical role in European integration.  French nationalism, for example, has both promoted and hindered European integration, while German political identity has taken a civilian form which the European integration project has facilitated.  It will continue to be a critical political force determining the direction and characteristics of European integration.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 6.25 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 3.75 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 2.5 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Identify Germany’s transition from a military to a civilian power in the post World War II era, including serving as a foundation stone for peaceful European integration. 
  • Describe the political evolution of France as a nation state seeking to restore its grandeur in European and world political affairs to a leader of European economic and political integration. 
  • Assess the so-called ‘special relationship’ between the United States and the United Kingdom and its impact on the regional European and global international behavior of the United Kingdom. 
  • Discuss the impact of the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the USSR upon Russia’s political development into a sovereign nation state. 
  • Assess the reassertion of national sovereignty of Poland since the end of Communism while viewing itself as a nation demanding recognition of its equal dignity and status with the other large, old member states of the European Union.
  • Analyze the challenge of determining Ukraine’s place in a Europe divided between the European Union, on the one hand, and the successor states to the USSR, with Russia claiming a special relationship with countries such as Ukraine, which is itself a national community whose loyalties are divided between East and West.
  • Evaluate the efforts of modern Turkey as a prospective member of the European Union and therefore a community seeking to establish its European identity but which until World War I was the capital of the Ottoman Empire and whose population is overwhelmingly Muslim.

3.1 Old Europe   3.1.1 Germany as a Civilian Power   - Reading: CAIRN.Info: Karen E. Smith’s “Beyond the Civilian Power EU Debate” Link: CAIRN.Info: Karen E. Smith’s Beyond the Civilian Power EU Debate” (HTML or PDF)
Instructions: Please read the article for an overview of German foreign policy since World War II until the wars in the former Yugoslavia, which marked a watershed in German foreign policy.  In Yugoslavia, Germany deployed and threatened the use of deadly force since the Second World War to enforce a peace settlement among the warring parties in Kosovo, an area outside of NATO’s traditional area of operations.  Subsequently, Germany would also deploy forces in Afghanistan as part of NATO, while refusing to deploy forces in Iraq.  Germany now has troops deployed in several ‘out of area’ operations.  Germany’s transition into a ‘civilian power’ has happened under the aegis of European integration, but the author concludes that the EU is no longer a ‘civilian power.’
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.2 The French Exception: The Power of Identity   - Reading: The Political Studies Association: Helen Drake’s “Sarkozy, France, and ‘Political Europe’” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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3.1.3 UK: Transnational Bridge to the U.S.   - Reading: Johns Hopkins University, “The U.S.-U.K. ‘Special Relationship’: The End of the Affair?” Link: Johns Hopkins University, Eric Edelman’s: “The U.S.-U.K. ‘Special Relationship’: The End of the Affair?” (PDF)
Instructions: Please read the text in its entirety (36 pages) by clicking on the arrow keys to move to each subsequent page, or you may click on “download here” to access the PDF file in the paragraph discussing Eric Edelman.  This is a lecture covering the history of the political relationship between the US and the United Kingdom, which developed into a close alliance that has lasted since the early twentieth century.  The lecture was delivered by Eric S. Edelman on November 10, 2009 at Johns Hopkins University, SAIS.
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.4 Russia: The Defense of Sovereignty   - Reading: ISN, Center for Security Studies: Andrei Kokoshin’s "Real Sovereignty and Sovereign Democracy” Link: ISN, Center for Security Studies: Andrei Kokoshin’s "Real Sovereignty and Sovereign Democracy” (PDF)
Instructions: Please click on the PDF icon after “Download” in the middle of the webpage to open the PDF file.  Read the file in its entirety (14 pages).  Written by a Russian author, this article presents the prevailing view among the Russian political authorities of the challenges Russia has faced since the disintegration of the USSR in 1991.  In addition to security challenges to Russia’s territorial boundaries in the Chechnya, it also highlights the challenges from Russia’s comparative economic underdevelopment as a source of weakness in maintaining Russian sovereignty over its vast territory rich in natural resources.  (Note: the reading for Ukraine in subunit 3.2.2 illustrates how powerful nationalist political interests within Russia view Russia as having special access rights to the territory of countries belonging to the former USSR, especially to the territory of the other Slavic states, Belarus, and Ukraine.)
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3.2 New Europe   3.2.1 Poland: an Awkward Partner   - Reading: Lunds Universitet: Alexandra Martin’s “The Importance of History: a Realist Interpretation of Polish Foreign Policy in the European Union” Link: Lunds Universitet: Alexandra Martin’s “The Importance of History: a Realist Interpretation of Polish Foreign Policy in the European Union” (PDF)

 Instructions: Click on the hyperlink titled “Tillgänglig som PDF”
to download the text, and then read the article in its entirety. 
The article, written in English, contains an overview of Polish
foreign policy since joining the European Union in 2004 from a
historical perspective.  
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.2 Ukraine: Europe's Energy Bottleneck   - Reading: CDI: James Sherr’s “The Mortgaging of Ukraine’s Independence” Link: CDI: “James Sherr’s “The Mortgaging of Ukraine’s Independence” (PDF)
Instructions: Please scroll down the webpage, and click on the hyperlink after “Access the Full Briefing Paper Here.”  This briefing highlights Ukraine’s current relationship of increasing economic and political dependence upon Russia for energy supplies.  It highlights the pro-Russian orientation of the eastern portion of Ukraine, which is the power base of the current President, Victor Yanukovich.  In return for subsidized Russian gas supplies, Ukraine has agreed to extend for many years Russia’s current use of the large naval base at Sevastapol, Ukraine as the headquarters for its Black Sea fleet, thereby effectively guaranteeing that Ukraine will not join NATO or the EU in the foreseeable future.
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.3 Turkey: Paradox of Identity   - Reading: Open Democracy: Nora Fisher Onar’s “Turkey's Democracy, Europe's Imperative” Link: Open Democracy: Nora Fisher Onar’s “Turkey's Democracy, Europe's Imperative” (PDF)
Instructions: Read this article.
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Nora Fisher Onar and the original version can be found here.