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Intentions in Great Power Politics – Uncertainty and the Roots of Conflict - Yale Scholarship Online
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Intentions in Great Power Politics: Uncertainty and the Roots of Conflict

Sebastian Rosato


Can great powers be confident that their peers have benign intentions? States that trust each other can live at peace; those that mistrust each other are doomed to compete for arms and allies and may even go to war. This book offers a theory—intentions pessimism—that says great powers can rarely if ever be confident that their peers have benign intentions, because it is extraordinarily difficult for them to obtain the kind of information that would allow them to reach such a conclusion. Any optimistic assertions to the contrary—and there are many—are wrong. Indeed, even in cases that supposedl ... More

Keywords: Intentions, Uncertainty, Trust, International relations theory, Great power politics, Bismarck era, Great rapprochement, Interwar period, Late Cold War, U.S.-China relations

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780300253023
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2021 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300253023.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sebastian Rosato, author
University of Notre Dame