Northeastern University - Spring 2013
Conflict and security have always been primary concerns of the international community. However, the nature of the dominant security problems facing the world have changed drastically since the end of the Cold War. Traditionally, the major focus of security studies, strategies, and policies was interstate war, particularly between the ``great powers.'' As was brought into focus by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the modern world is defined by massive interconnection, interdependence, and transnational challenges that require a more inclusive definition of international security. In today's world, issues ranging from the economic crisis and climate change to civil wars and organized crime have direct security implications at an international, rather than local, scope and influence the safety and security of individuals throughout the globe. Addressing such issues will require a multilateral approach to security and a truly global paradigm based on achieving human, rather than state, security.
This course will analyze the theoretical and policy components of international security in the modern global landscape, looking at the fundamental problems of security and how interactions in the 21st century are shaping how these problems might manifest themselves in the future. We will look at major forces in the world that impact security, such as civil conflict, terrorism, and nationalism, as well as emerging and long-term issues that have led to an enlargement of the concept of security, such as climate change, global health, and cybersecurity. As special cases we will study the regional security situations in the Middle East and East Asia and the global impact of these complex security dynamics. This course will take an international view of these issues, rather than simply a U.S. perspective, focusing on the role of multilateral institutions, international norms, and widespread interdependence as we seek to understand and strengthen international security.
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