Checking date: 29/04/2019

Course: 2019/2020

Strategic studies, security and defense
Study: Master in Geopolitics and Strategic Studies (346)

Coordinating teacher: VACAS FERNANDEZ, FELIX

Department assigned to the subject: Department of International Law, Ecclesiastical Law and Philosophy of Law

Type: Compulsory
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


Competences and skills that will be acquired and learning results.
- Ability to understand, use and rigorously apply the fundamental concepts of geopolitical and strategic studies. - Ability to understand, use and rigorously apply the main theoretical frameworks formulated recently to explain the structure and functioning of global geopolitics in the context of globalization. - Ability to analyze the military power of the states and the main international blocs and alliances in the area of security and defense, as well as the factors that determine the geostrategic importance of these and guide their policies in this matter. - Ability to understand and analyze the main current conflicts, risks and threats related to international security. - Ability to understand and analyze the geo-economic dimensions and consequences of globalization, and in particular the interests and spatial strategies of the main international geo-economic actors and the rivalries and risks derived from such interests and strategies. - Ability to understand and analyze the causes and explanatory factors of inequalities of wealth and development at international level, as well as their geopolitical implications. - Ability to understand and critically analyze policies implemented at international level to fight against poverty and to cooperate in development. Formative activities.
Description of contents: programme
PROGRAMME STRATEGIC STUDIES, SECURITY AND DEFENSE LESSON 1. DEFINITION AND OBJECT OF THE STRATEGIC STUDIES. CONCEPTS OF PEACE, SECURITY AND ARMED CONFLICT. 1. Strategy, and strategic studies. World order and the international system. Anarchy and the struggle for power. 2. Strategy: what it is, elements, levels and architecture. Strategic Culture and the use of force. 3. General approach to the International Society and International Law: Subjects and actors. Structure and main features of the International Society and International Law. 4. Conceptual approach: The evolution of the concepts of Peace and Security from the Cold War to the Global International Society. Conceptual distinction between tension, crisis, dispute and armed conflict. The so called ¿Grey Zones¿. LESSON 2. GEOGRAPHY AND GEOSTRATEGY: CONCEPTS AND MAIN FACTORS. 1. Geography as an enduring strategic fact. Geography and Strategy (Military Geography). 2. Confronted Strategies. 3. Examples and practice. LESSON 3. GEOGRAPHY AND GEOPOLITICS IN THE WORLD. (Each region would be analised in terms of geography, geopolitical posture and posible future trends) 1. Europe, United States, Russia. 2. China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia. 3. Latin America. LESSON 4. GEOPOLITICS OF THE NUCLEAR. 1. The evolution of the nuclear threat: Cold War evolution, strategies and disarmament initiatives. 2. World order in the nuclear age. The post-Cold War and the risk of proliferation. LESSON 5. MAIN ACTUAL RISKS AND THREATS TO INTERNATIONAL SECURITY. 1. Ideological/political risks and threats: The power of identity in a Globalised World: national-ethnicity, religion. The proliferation of non-State actors. Instable regions and failed States. 2. Environmental risks and threats: climate change and its consequences for peace and security. 3. Economic and social risks and threats: inequality and under-development in a Global International Society. 4. Geo-economic risks and threats: the control over energetic resources, over other scarce resources and over strategic areas or regions. 5. Risk and threats of different nature: terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and cyber-threats. LESSON 6. ARMED CONFLICTS AND THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM OF COLLECTIVE SECURITY. 1. The use of force in International Law: From ius ad bellum to ius contra bellum. The general prohibition of article 2.4 UN Charter. 2. The two exceptions to the prohibition: Self-defense (article 51) and the Security Council powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. 3. Regional collective security: Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. LESSON 7. THE MAINTENANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY: THE MAIN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS. 1. United Nations. 2. I.O in Europe: EU, NATO, OSCE. 3. Rest of the World: AU, OAS, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Arab League, Golf Cooperation Council. LESSON 8. NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGIES. 1. National Security Strategies and White Books; United States; Russia; China; Germany, Spain. 2. International Security Strategies: European Union, NATO, OSCE.
Learning activities and methodology
LEARNING ACTIVITIES. Lectures focusing on the guidelines according to the Program. Preparing the classes requires an advance knowledge of the relevant bibliography and documents in each session. The classes will correspond to the model seminar-workshop, in which the transmission, classification and deepening of the basic knowledge of the subjects will be the result of an active debate between the teacher and students.
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 50
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 50
Basic Bibliography
  • Colin S. Gray. The Future of Strategy. Polity Press. 2015
  • Brownlie, I.. Principles of Public International Law. Oxford University Press. 2008
  • Colin S. Gray. War, Peace and International Relations. Routledge. 2007
  • Colin S. Gray. Hard Power and Soft Power: The Utility of Military Force As an Instrument of Policy in the 21st Century. Strategic Studies Institute. 2012
  • Henry Kissinger. World Order . Penguin Books Limited. 2014
  • John Baylis and others. Strategy in the Contemporary World . OUP Oxford. 2013
  • John Mearsheimer. The Tragedy of Great Power Politic . Norton & Company. 2001
  • Robert D. Kaplan. The Revenge of Geography. Random House Trade Paperbacks. 2013
  • Schachter, O.. International Law in Theory and Practice. Martinus Nijhoff. 1991
  • Shaw, M. N.. International Law. Cambridge University Press. 2008

The course syllabus and the academic weekly planning may change due academic events or other reasons.