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Pivots and Partnerships: Transatlantic Relations in a New Era


Admission requirements

This course is part of the minor Global Affairs and can thus only be followed as part of the minor or the track. The minor is accessible for bachelor students who have obtained their ‘propedeuse’ and have a keen interest in global affairs, but the level of teaching is most suitable for third-year students, particularly of Political Science, Public Administration, Law and International Studies. If there are any uncertainties about the suitability of your programme and profile to the minor, please do not hesitate to send an email to


In late 2011 President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton announced an increased engagement by the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. Predicting an ‘Asian Century,’ this ‘Asian Pivot’ on the part of the United States seemed to threaten for the first time the centrality of the transatlantic relationship in US foreign and security policy. Reactions of concern in Europe were the inevitable result – the Americans are turning away from the Western alliance, with potentially damaging or at least challenging consequences. This course will consider the continuing value and importance of transatlantic relations in the context of the Asian Pivot (or Rebalancing, as it has been termed). It will look at the economic dimension, particularly the contest between the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It will extend this analysis to consider the EU’s own role in the Asia-Pacific region, and to what extent the EU can and should itself develop an Asian Pivot of sorts to raise its impact. In this way the course explores how the future of the transatlantic alliance will be played out in the Asia-Pacific and not the Atlantic.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of US foreign policy

  • Describe the basics of international relations and the interactions between geo-politics and geo-economics

  • Conduct independent and group research projects and to make informed judgements on the quality and usefulness of sources

  • Analyse, present and write about the topics above at an academic level


The course will take place from September 22nd till October 24th 2014. In those five weeks, the course will most likely meet once or twice a week for a three-hour lecture: the exact dates and times have yet to be determined.

Mode of instruction

The course will primarily consist of lectures.

Assessment method

Short paper (40%)
Final exam (60%)



Reading list



Students register for the minor and the course in Usis.

Contact information

Prof.dr. Giles Scott-Smith:


This course is part of the minor Global Affairs and can only be taken as part of this minor.