International and EU politics: a strategic approach

This course presents the strategic approach to the study of international and EU politics. The course provides a comprehensive review of important topics in international relations, such as rational choice and game theory, conflict and war, co-operation and trade, development and democratisation. It also applies them to the analysis of EU institutions and politics, economic policy, and foreign policy. The course is divided in seven parts. The first part of the course lays the foundations, offering highly accessible coverage of key concepts, introducing students to different ways to think about the national interest and showing them how to use the strategic perspective to better understand what happens in all aspects of international and European politics. Also covered is a basic, intuitive introduction to game theory and other evidence- and logic-based tools for analyzing international relations. The second part focuses on war, and provides a more thorough evaluation of how domestic political incentives and the domestic institutions of governance shape choices about conflict initiation, escalation, and termination. The third part focuses on peace, and builds on the logic of collective action to help students see why it is so difficult to get national governments to do what is right even when they can agree on what is right, with chapters covering the effectiveness of international organizations and international law, as well as a thorough evaluation of environmental issues, human rights enforcement, and the domestic and the international political economy of trade. The fourth part discusses world order, and emphasizes efforts to promote the spread of democracy, alleviate poverty, and fight terrorism, examining which strategies work, which do not, and why. Part five applies these fundamental concepts in order to understand EU politics, covering topics such as EU institutions and policy making, legislative politics (agendas and vetoes), and executive and judicial politics (principals and agents). It also applies the strategic approach to understand public opinion, elections and interest group strategies. The sixth part deals with EU policy, covering selected topics about the the single market, the euro, or the EU budget. Finally, the seventh part deals with the foreign policy of the EU, including topics such as trade, immigration, development aid, and other foreign policies. It ends up with a discussion on the future of the Union: its enlargement and reform.

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You must purchase this course.
Topics: 
1. Evaluating arguments about international politics. The strategic perspective: when foreign policy collides with domestic politics. Tools for analyzing international affairs. An introduction to game theory. 2. Why war: the big picture. Domestic theories of war. 3. How international organizations work, or don’t work. Global warming: designing a solution. Human rights, international law and norms. Free trade or fair: the domestic politics of tariffs. Globalization: international winners and losers. 4. Foreign aid, poverty and revolution. Can terrorism be rational? A democratic world order: peace without democratization. 5. EU government and politics. Institutions and policy making. Legislative politics: agendas and vetoes. Executive and judicial politics: principals and agents. The citizen connection: public opinion, elections and interest representation in the EU. 6. EU policy. The single market, the euro, and other efficiency policies: competition, transport, environment, fisheries. The EU budget and redistributive policies: common agricultural policy, regional policy. 7. The foreign policy of the EU: trade, immigration, development, security and defence, and other foreign policies. Enlargement and reform.
Indicative reading: 

De Mesquita, B. B. (2013). Principles of international politics. Sage; Hix, S., & Høyland, B. (2011). The political system of the European Union. Palgrave Macmillan.

Coordinators: