Center for Global Affairs
International Relations in The Post-Cold War Era
The demise of the Soviet Union and its empire, the legacy of colonialism, resurgent nationalism and new non-state actors have given rise to a period of complexity and rapid change in international relations. The academic debate reflects this uncertainty, with contending theories about what constitutes power in the post cold war environment, how to identify the basic units of international affairs, the nature of globalization, the utility and legitimacy of the use of force, the dynamics of the balance of power, the nature of threats to peace and stability, and the role of international institutions. This course will examine alternative theories and frameworks for understanding post cold war developments, and test these theories against emergent reality. How, for example, do these contending theories explain the origins and consequences of terrorism and other global threats? What importance do they assign to the persistence of poverty and global inequality; to internal ethno/religious conflict and political instability; to 'globalization and its discontents'? How do these theories assess the potential and implications of renewed great power conflict? How do they address the problem of U.S. hegemony and the reaction of others (states and non-states) to this new reality?