With the collapse of the communist system and the end of the Balkan wars in the 1990s, it seemed that Europe had finally become an oasis of peace and stability. Against this island of relative peace and prosperity, however, lies a vast territory stretching from the Western Mediterranean through the Near East and into Central Asia – an arc on the edge of Europe – which constitutes an area of inter-state conflict, ethnic and religious tensions and rivalry, economic under-development and political authoritarianism. This course examines this “arc of crises” with its overt and potential conflicts, and analyzes the role of Europe in their possible solution. Topics covered include the rise of political Islam, geopolitical reconfiguration due to the comeback of Iran, failure of democratic uprisings, the emergence of the Gulf, domestic and international challenges to the existing states as well as European and American perspectives and policies on this turbulent region.
Meets with PSC 350.1.