Espionage and diplomacy: Strategic intelligence as a factor in international relations

Intelligence and espionage affairs are often treated as intriguing yet anecdotal parts of diplomatic history. Nevertheless, a closer look at key junctures of international relations in the last two centuries exposes the central role strategic intelligence plays in international politics. The fate of nations has often been decided on the basis of their ability to gather, understand and act upon information about the international system that surrounds them. The course examines the role of strategic intelligence as a distinct component in the process of foreign policymaking by focusing on two distinct dimensions. First, it focuses on intelligence as a source of information shaping the national leadership’s policy choices. We will explore the manner in which intelligence information and assessments influence the strategic decision-making process of leaders and nations. From Pearl Harbour, through the Berlin 1961 Crisis to the 9/11 attacks, we will analyse the interface between the intelligence analyst and the political leader and its effect on strategic choices nations make in times of conflict and peace. Second, the course investigates the political usage of intelligence as an instrument of influence in international relations. We will examine the practices of disinformation and deception operations and the key developments in the field of cyber warfare.

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.