Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 600278-M-6
International Security in Historical Perspective
Course info
Course module600278-M-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryMA (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg Law School; TLS: PLG; Public Law & Governance;
Is part of
M Bestuurskunde
M Public Governance
M International and European Law
prof. dr. R.C.H. Lesaffer
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2020
Starting block
SM 1
Course mode
RemarksCaution: this information is subject to change
Registration openfrom 24/08/2020 up to and including 20/08/2021
  • Reflecting autonomously and critically upon current issues in international politics by considering them in a historical context
  • Gaining familiarity with the major streams in IR theory with relation to US foreign policy.
  • Gaining knowledge and understanding of the determinants of US foreign policy during and after the Cold War.

Required Prerequisites

No prior knowlegde of International Relations is required, as this course is an introduction to IR.
This year, the main theme is American foreign policy since 1945.
After a brief introduction on the major determinants of pre-1945 US foreign policy from the perspective of International Relations theory, the first, and most extensive, part of the course covers the Cold War (1947-1991). Over 7 classes (3-9), the major phases and crises of the Cold War will be studied chronologically. The focus thereby will not so much be on events, but on the analysis of the security policies and strategies behind them. Special attention will be given to the end phase of the Cold War and the unification of Germany and Europe at its end. This will allow for historical reflection on the ensuing crises in Eastern Europe, including the Ukrainian crisis of 2014.
The second part (classes 10-12) covers the American entanglement with the Middle East after the Cold War (1991-2013). Rather than just highlighting American strategy in reaction to 9/11, we will attempt to uncover the longer term strategy of the US with and in the Middle East.
Type of instructions
Lecture (12 classes)
Type of exams
Written exam (open book)

Compulsory Reading
  1. Cohen, Warren I., Challenges to American Primacy, 1945 to the Present. The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, vol. 4, Cambridge University Press, 2013, ISBN 9781107536135.
  2. Lesaffer, Randall, Draft chapter from A New World Order? War, Peace and International Law at the End of History. to be downloaded from Blackboard
Course available for exchange students
Conditions of admission apply
Contact person
prof. dr. R.C.H. Lesaffer
Timetable information
International Security in Historical Perspective
Required materials
Prescribed literature
Title:The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, volume 4: Challenges to American Primacy, 1945 to the Present
Author:Warren I. Cohen
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Recommended materials
Take-home exam

Kies de Nederlandse taal