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Lecture | Contemporary History and International Relations Research Seminar (CHIRRS)

Strategic Autonomy or Strategic Cacophony? The Evolution and State of European Defence

Thursday 7 March 2019
Contemporary History and International Relations Research Seminar (CHIRRS) year 2018 - 2019
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague
Wijnhaven 3.46

In recent years, a recurrent theme in the debates over European defense has been that the combination of Brexit, Russia’s increased military assertiveness, American preoccupation with the Asia-Pacific, and the presidency of Donald Trump—who has cast doubts over U.S. transatlantic commitments—have created a unique window of opportunity for the strengthening and integration of European defense and, as a corollary, for the development of Europe’s strategic autonomy. In this talk, we challenge the conventional wisdom and optimism of many European Union (EU) pundits and policymakers over the trajectory and state of Europe’s defense. To do so, we rely on the findings of therecently published The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces(Oxford University Press, 2018). It will be argued instead that, despite an apparent renaissance of European defense integration within the framework of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), Europe has been experiencing a strategic cacophony. European defense continues to be characterized by profound cross-continental geographical divergences. In essence, the root cause of Europe’s current defense fragmentation is the mutually reinforcing dynamics of strategic cacophony and renationalization. These findings haveimplications for European policymakers as well as for the future of transatlantic relations.
Dr Hugo Meijer is CNRS Research Fellow at the Centre for International Studies of Sciences Po and the founding director of The European Initiative on Security Studies (EISS), a network of over eighty universities that share the goal of consolidating security studies in Europe. Previously, he was Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the European University Institute, Lecturer in Defense Studies at King’s College London, and Researcher at the Institute for Strategic Research of the French Military Academy. He received his PhD in International Relations from Sciences Po. Recent publications: The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces(OUP, 2018), co-edited with Marco Wyss. He has also published in such journals as Cooperation and Conflict, Journal of Strategic Studies, European Journal of International Securityand the Journal of Cold War Studies. 

Dr Marco Wyss (FRHistS, FHEA) is Lecturer in the International History of the Cold War at Lancaster University, a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, and an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. He gained his PhD in Politics and International Relations and History from the Universities of Nottingham and Neuchâtel. Currently, he is completing a monograph on Britain’s and France’s postcolonial security roles in West Africa for Oxford University Press. He is co-editor of the ‘New Perspectives on the Cold War’ book series (Brill), and the editor of the International Journal of Military History and Historiography. Together with Hugo Meijer, he recently published The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces (OUP, 2018).


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Please see the website for further information on this year’s events: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/events/2018/series/chirrs-chirrs-serie-2018---2019

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