HS/IR 320 - Espionage and Diplomacy in International Politics

Intelligence and espionage are often treated as intriguing yet anecdotal parts of diplomatic history. Nevertheless, a closer look at key junctures of international relations in the 20th and 21st century 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 systems that surround them. In addition, the world of strategic intelligence provides a distinctive setting for international interaction. From the joint efforts to decipher the enigma codes during the Second World War, through the espionage competitions of the Cold War, to the current contexts of the “war on terror” and cyber-espionage, intelligence affairs have been both a key arena for international conflict and a platform for international co-operation. This course examines the role of strategic intelligence as a distinct component in the process of foreign policy making with special focus on the role of Berlin as a battleground of strategic intelligence during the Cold War. Utilizing historical and contemporary cases, the course focuses on two distinct dimensions of strategic intelligence. Its first focus is 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. Second, the course investigates the political usage of intelligence as an instrument of influence in international relations. We will investigate how nations utilize covert information and intelligence capacities as active means to promote their foreign policy goals.

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International Relations

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