Thursday, June 6, 2013

Policy Analysis Topic Proposal

In the course of my internship thus far, I have had the opportunity to attend a number of events related to security and defense issues in the EU.  For example, last week I went to an event called “Safeguarding Defense Technology” with the European Defense Agency and a working group meeting at the EU parliament called “The Future of European Security and Defense Policy.”  I have also been required to do readings related to defense technologies and policies through the internship program.

Of the numerous issues that have come up in the meetings I have attended and readings I have done, one of the ones I find most interesting relates to the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP).  A broad attempt to examine and analyze the policy writ large would likely be beyond the scope of the paper we are required to write.  However, in many cases, I have often encountered a great deal of pessimism and tension when it comes to issues of security, with some officials arguing that there are problems with burden-sharing and identifying what issues are truly “common.”

For my policy analysis paper, I think it would be interesting to examine the extent of the EU’s intervention in Mali.  Specifically, the paper would examine, from a practical standpoint, what challenges the French faced and the successes they have had in spearheading the intervention in Mali within the framework of the EU and CSDP.  As per the Patton and Sawicki article, the paper should have two broad sections, the first a retrospective analysis and the second an evaluation to see if the purposes of the policy were met.  Because the conflict in Mali is still ongoing, the second section may briefly move into the hypothetical and highlight some possibilities for the EU moving forward.

In terms of sourcing for the paper, as the conflict in Mali is a relatively recent event I will likely principally rely on publications from newspapers, think tanks, and research groups rather than academic journals.  I will try to conduct my own analysis and draw conclusions from facts presented in the articles and reports I read.

That said, there have been some journal articles published that may well be of use.  For example, there is an article in a journal called “Survival” entitled “A Surprising Little War: First Lessons of Mali.”  This article provides a good, albeit brief, synopsis of events leading up to the conflict in Mali and will be of use in constructing context for the content of the paper.

With the intervention of Mali as a case study and using the steps outlined by Patton and Sawicki, I will identify and describe the problems states within the EU have and may continue to face in articulating and acting upon “common” security concerns.  I will then evaluate France’s intervention in Mali and identify areas where alternative policies were possible and examine what avenues France pursued in working through the EU.  Finally, I will write a brief analytical synopsis that highlights some potential directions for the CSDP, particularly as it pertains to foreign interventions, moving forward.

1 comment:

  1. Grant -- you're off to a great start here, with a good general topic area as well as a good start at identifying the specific puzzle and problem that you would like to analyze. It might be good to further clarify the puzzle with some reference to theory as well (how does the French/EU response to Mali fit, or not fit, with our theories that help us explain EU actions?).

    You're correct that not much may have been written in academic journals concerning the specific case of Mali (though you might be surprised, as the publication cycle is much shorter now, especially with online journal publications). That being said, academic journals will still be a critical part of your project (as is true for everybody's project). Much has been written about CSFP/CSDP in general, as well as about the EU response to prior crises (e.g. Libya), and those systematic analysis will be critical to developing your general framework for analyzing the Mali intervention.