Master of International Affairs   Master of Public Policy  

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 that 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. In addition, the world of strategic intelligence provides a distinctive setting for international interaction. From the joint efforts to decipher the enigma codes to the current contexts of the “war on terror” and cyber espionage, intelligence affairs has been both a key arena for international conflict as well as a platform for international cooperation.

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 of all, it focuses on intelligence as a source of information which shapes 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. Secondly, the course investigates the political use of intelligence as an instrument of influence in international relations. We will investigate how nations utilise covert information and intelligence capacities as active means to promote their foreign policy goals.

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