THE HJS VIRTUAL EVENT SERIES: ‘Is Europe still ‘postmodern’?’

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THE HJS VIRTUAL EVENT SERIES: ‘Is Europe still ‘postmodern’?’

23rd June 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

20 years ago, Sir Robert Cooper’s updated pamphlet – The Postmodern State and the World Order – was published. It focused on the changing strategic situation in Europe. His argument, in a nutshell, was that globalisation and the end of the Cold War had rendered Europe a very different place to what had gone before. In his words: ‘1989 marked a break in European history. What happened in 1989 went beyond the events of 1789, 1815 or 1919…To put it crudely, what happened in 1989 was not just the end of the Cold War, but also the end of the balance-of-power system in Europe.’ For him, 1989 and the years following it marked the emergence of a ‘post-modern system’ of security ‘for mutual interference in each other’s domestic affairs, right down to beer and sausages.’ For much of the decade that followed, Europe seemed to be heading towards a common destination – the European Union.

Since then, Europe has experienced a number of challenges. The power of Germany and the problems with the Euro have gone unremedied. Russia has surged once again to the east, threatening Europe’s more exposed frontiers. Migration from the Middle East and North Africa has fuelled the emergence of so-called populist parties. The United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union. China has risen in power, with a growing presence across the continent. And it is not clear the extent to which the United States, increasingly focused on China, will continue to underpin European security, even in the last instance.

The Henry Jackson Society welcomes you to an online panel discussion to discuss whether Europe is still ‘post-modern’, or whether it is experiencing ‘re-modernisation’. Can the Euro-Atlantic institutions hold, or will they fade? And do European countries still trust one another, or is distrust growing?



Sir Robert Cooper is the former Counsellor to Baroness Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy. Previously, he held a range of positions in Brussels and London, including Director-General of the Department for Politico-Military Affairs in the Council of the European Union and Deputy Director for Defence and Overseas Affairs in the United Kingdom’s Cabinet Office. In 2004 he was awarded the Orwell Prize for his book The Breaking of Nations and in 2005 he was listed among the world’s top 100 Global Intellectuals by Prospect Magazine. He is currently Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE IDEAS.

Prof Francois Heisbourg is Special Advisor of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS) in Paris and Senior Adviser for Europe of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. He has held a range of positions in the French government, including the French Foreign Ministry. He has also been Advisor to the French Minister of Defence and a member of the committees that crafted France’s white papers on terrorism (2006) and defence and national security (2008 and 2013). From 2002 to 2018 he served as Chairman of the IISS and from 1998 to 2018 he was Chair of the Foundation Council at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

Hans Kundnani is Senior Research Fellow in the Europe Programme at Chatham House. Previously, he was Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and Research Director at the European Council on Foreign Relations. He is also Associate Fellow at the Institute for German Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of The Paradox of German Power (2014), which has been translated into several international languages.

Stefani Weiss is a Senior Expert on the Europe’s Future Programme at the Bertelsmann Foundation in Guetersloh, where she also served as Director of the foundation’s Brussels Office from 2007 to 2017. Her expertise is in European Union foreign and security policy. From 2005 to 2010 she was the Project Lead for the Venusberg Group, to look at the future of security on the European continent and Europe’s place in the world.



James Rogers is the Director of the Global Britain Programme at the Henry Jackson Society.




23rd June 2020
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


United Kingdom


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