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Intentions in Great Power PoliticsUncertainty and the Roots of Conflict$
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Sebastian Rosato

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780300253023

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300253023.001.0001

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The Great Rapprochement

The Great Rapprochement

(p.114) 4 The Great Rapprochement
Intentions in Great Power Politics

Sebastian Rosato

Yale University Press

This chapter examines Anglo-American relations during the great rapprochement (1895-1906). The bulk of the chapter draws on the primary and secondary historical record to evaluate how key British and American decision makers thought about each other’s intentions in five episodes: the onset and aftermath of the crisis over Venezuela; the events surrounding the Spanish-American War; the negotiations regarding a trans-isthmian canal; the inception and resolution of a dispute over the Canada-Alaska boundary; and Anglo-American relations in the Far East between the Spanish-American and Russo-Japanese Wars. Were they confident that their counterparts had benign intentions—that is, did they trust each other—as asserted by intentions optimists? Or were they uncertain about each other’s intentions, which is to say that they mistrusted each other, as suggested by intentions pessimism? Having shown that London and Washington were acutely uncertain about each other’s intentions in each episode, the chapter concludes by describing the shape of the resulting Anglo-American security competition in the Western Hemisphere, before examining Britain’s decision to quit that contest in 1904-6.

Keywords:   Great rapprochement, Anglo-American relations, Intentions, Uncertainty, Trust, Security competition, Great power politics

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