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KINT 3195 - Understanding the Use of Force in World Politics

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies


A basic knowledge of world politics/international relations.

Course Description

The course introduces students to some of the theories and concepts that form the basic of strategic studies as a distinct subfield of international relations (IR). The course is thus an introduction to the key ideas and themes of strategic studies, which deals with the preparation and use of military power to serve the ends of politics but also what are the means to avoid the use of force. Please note that the course is NOT directly interested in ethical and normative problems linked to the use of force. To adopt Robert Cox's terminology, the lecture is much more Problem-Solving than Critical. That is why we do not really address notions like just wars or democratic peace.


  • CALMELS, Christelle M. (PhD student)
  • HATTO, Ronald (Chercheur au CERI, Sciences Po)

Pedagogical format

Formal lecture with open interactions between the lecturer and the students.

Course validation

1) Mid-Term Take-Home Examination (50%). 2) Final Take-Home Examination (50%).

Required reading

BETTS, Richard K. (2000) “Is Strategy an Illusion?”, International Security, Vol. 25, No. 2, Pp. 5-50

Additional required reading

  • ANGSTROM, Jan & WIDEN, J. J. (2015) Contemporary Military Theory: The Dynamics of War, London, Routledge
  • BAYLIS, J., WIRTZ, J., COHEN, E. & GRAY, C. S. (Ed.) (2016) Strategy in the Contemporary World. An Introduction to Strategic Studies, 5th Edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press
  • DAVID, Charles-Philippe (2012) La guerre et la paix. Approches contemporaines de la sécurité et de la stratégie, 3ème édition, Paris, Presses de Sciences-Po
  • JORDAN, D, KIRAS, J. D., LONSDALE, D. J., SPELLER, I, TUCK, C. & WALTON, D. C. (2008) Understanding Modern Warfare, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • SLOAN, Elinor C. (2017) Modern Military Strategy: An Introduction, London, Routledge

Plans de cours et bibliographies

Session 1: Introduction
Required readings:

  • BETTS, Richard K., “Is Strategy an Illusion?”, International Security, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2000, pp. 5-50.

Session 2: Land Warfare
Required readings:

  • SHIMSHONI, Jonathan, “Technology, Military Advantage, and World War I: A Case for Military Entrepreneurship”, International Security, Vol. 15, No. 3, 1990-1991, pp. 187-215.

Session 3: Naval Warfare
Required readings:

  • LAUTENSCHLAGER, Karl, “Technology and the Evolution of Naval Warfare”, International Security, Vol. 8, No. 2, 1983, pp. 3-51.

Session 4: Air Warfare
Required readings:

  • PAPE, Robert A., “The True Worth of Air Power”, Foreign Affairs Vol. 83, No. 2, 2004, pp. 116-130.

Session 5: Weapons of Mass Destruction/Unconventional Weapons
Required readings:

  • McNAUGHER, Thomas L., “Ballistic Missiles and Chemical Weapons: The Legacy of the Iran-Iraq War”, International Security, Vol. 15, No. 2, 1990, pp. 5-34.

Session 6: Asymmetric Wars and Counterinsurgency
Required readings:

  • MAZZAR, Michael J. “The Folly of ‘Asymmetric War’”, The Washington Quarterly, Vol.31, No. 3, 2008, pp. 33–53.

Session 7: Nuclear Weapons Deterrence and Proliferation
Required readings:

  • GRAY, Colin S., “To Confuse Ourselves: Nuclear Fallacies” in The Second Nuclear Age, Boulder, Lynne Rienner, 1999.

Session 8: The Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), Information Technology and Hybrid Warfare
Required readings:

  • SNEGOVAYA, Maria, Putin’s Information Warfare in Ukraine: Soviet Origin of Russia’s Hybrid Warfare, Russia Report 1, Washington D.C., Institute for the Study of War, 2015.

Session 9: Cyberspace and Strategy
Required readings:

  • BETZ, David, “Cyberpower in Strategic Affairs: Neither Unthinkable nor Blessed”, Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 35, No. 5, pp. 689-711.

Session 10: Peace Operations and Privatization of Security
Required readings:

  • TARDY, Thierry, “A Critique of Robust Peacekeeping in Contemporary Peace Operations”, International Peacekeeping, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2011, pp.152-167.

Session 11: The New Agenda for Strategic Studies
Required readings:

  • BRIGGS, Chad M. “Environmental Change, Strategic Foresight, and Impacts on Military Power”, Parameters, Vol. 40, Autumn 2010, pp. 76-90.

Session 12: What Future for Strategy and Strategic Studies?
Required readings:

  • GRAY, Colin S., “New Directions for Strategic Studies? How Can Theory Help Practice?”, Security Studies, Vol. 1, No. 4,1992, pp.610-635.

Biographical Information

Ronald Hatto is lecturer of International Relations at Sciences Po, Paris. He has been involved in peacekeeping operations with United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP). He is the author of Le maintien de la paix : l’ONU en action, Paris, Armand Colin (Coll. U), 2015, “From Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding: The Evolution of the Role of the United Nations in Peace Operations”, International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 95, Nos. 891/892, 2013 pp. 495–515, Les relations franco-américaines à l'épreuve de la guerre en ex-Yougoslavie (1991-1995) and ONU et maintien de la paix : propositions de réformes de l’Agenda pour la paix au rapport Brahimi (2006) and with Odette Tomescu, Les Etats-Unis et la “nouvelle Europe”. La Stratégie américaine en Europe centrale et orientale (CERI-Autrement, 2007).