State officials and policy commentators commonly believe that their own state just "muddles through" when it comes to navigating international politics. Simultaneously, they view other states -- particularly adversarial ones -- as operating according to comprehensive, long-term "grand" plans. These two perceptions cannot, by virtue of their contradictory nature, both be accurate as general statements about international politics. Robert Jervis, in his masterpiece on the subject of misperceptions, argues that the belief that other states have grand plans is much more common than the reality it seeks to describe. Yet, even Jervis admits that "plots are common" in international politics. This seminar addresses the questions of the existence and effects of comprehensive, long term grand plans and their effects on state behavior by examining a least-likely case for finding the existence of effective plans: the US response to the rise of China.
Nina Silove is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. Her research focuses on grand strategy, strategic planning, and U.S. policy toward the Asia-Pacific. She holds a DPhil. (PhD) in International Relations from the University of Oxford and a degree in law with first class honors from the University of Technology, Sydney. Previously, she was (twice) a Research Fellow in the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a postdoctoral fellow at the Clements Center for National security at the University of Texas at Austin, a fellow at the Center for International Politics in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford. Her research has appeared in the journals International Security and Security Studies.