Intentions in Great Power Politics: Uncertainty and the Roots of Conflict 0300253028, 9780300253023

Why the future of great power politics is likely to resemble its dismal past Can great powers be confident that their

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I N T E N T I O N S I N G R E AT P O W E R P O L I T I C S

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sebastian rosato

Intentions in Great Power Politics uncertainty and the roots of conflict

new haven & london

Published with assistance from the foundation established in memory of Amasa Stone Mather of the Class of 1907, Yale College. Copyright © 2021 by Sebastian Rosato. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, including illustrations, in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press), without written permission from the publishers. Yale University Press books may be purchased in quantity for educational, business, or promotional use. For information, please e-mail [email protected] (U.S. office) or [email protected] (U.K. office). Set in Scala and Scala Sans type by IDS Infotech Ltd. Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Control Number: 2020941587 ISBN 978-0-300-25302-3 (hardcover : alk. paper) A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. This paper meets the requirements of ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (Permanence of Paper). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

For Susan

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CONTENTS

Preface ix

Introduction

1

1 Intentions Pessimism 2 Against Optimism 3 The Bismarck Era

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44 73

4 The Great Rapprochement 5 The Early Interwar Period 6 The End of the Cold War

114 153 193

7 On the United States and China Notes 269 Index 347

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PREFACE

for the best part of two decades, the United States and the People’s Republic of China have engaged in an increasingly fierce competition for arms and allies in the Asia-Pacific region. China has upgraded its nuclear arsenal, expanded its navy, and developed anti–access/area denial capabilities to constrain the deployment of U.S. forces in the area. Its leadership has launched the Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure program meant, at least in part, to strengthen China’s influence over other regional actors. The United States, meanwhile, has shifted the bulk of its naval assets to the Asia-Pacific, developed the AirSea Battle operational concept, and begun to search for a strategic breakthrough known as the Third Offset Strategy. This military buildup is supported by strenuous efforts to bolster its existing alliances, especially with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia, and to initiate or deepen strategic partnerships with states such as Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The critical question now is how the U.S.–China relationship will evolve. Will the current security competition become more intense? What are the odds of a second Cold War, this time between Washington and Beijing, or of the current rivalry developing into something more dangerous? What is the likelihood of a hot war? Conversely, what are the chances that the U.S.– China security competition will attenuate, and that the two powers can remain at peace?

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International relations theory is meant to answer precisely these kinds of questions. Most theorists agree that the likelihood of security competition and war, on the one hand, and of cooperation and peace, on the other, is largely a function of the beliefs states have about each other’s intentions. Briefly, if great powers are confident that their peers are benign—if they trust them—then they can live in peace, but if they do not trust each other, then they are likely to compete for security and may even go to war. My central argument is that 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 be required to reach such a conclusion. In fact, the problems of accessing or acquiring dispositive information are so intractable that most states are more or less acutely uncertain about each other’s intentions most of the time. Any optimistic assertions to the contrary—and there are many—are wrong. An exhaustive review of the historical evidence reveals abundant support for these claims, even where one would least expect to find it. There are several episodes in which great powers are commonly said to have trusted or come close to trusting each other: Germany and Russia in the Bismarck era (1871–90); Britain and the United States during the great rapprochement (1895–1906); France and Germany, and Japan and the United States in the early interwar period (1919–30); and the Soviet Union and the United States at the end of the Cold War (1985–90). Careful analysis of these relationships ought to cast serious doubt on my argument. Yet, on inspection, the opposite is true. The relevant primary and secondary sources make it quite clear that mistrust was deep and ubiquitous. At no point did any of the protagonists conclude, with confidence, that their counterparts meant them no harm. More broadly, these alleged exemplars of interstate trust are hardly different from the rest of the diplomatic record, which is littered with cases of great powers being acutely uncertain about their peers’ intentions. Uncertainty, in turn, made for security competition. In every case, the great powers competed relentlessly for arms and allies, and on occasion became embroiled in war-threatening crises. To be sure, the AngloAmerican and Soviet-American contests did end peacefully, in 1904–6 when Britain withdrew from the Western Hemisphere, and in 1989–90

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when the Soviet Union made massive cuts to its military forces and allowed its Eastern European empire to collapse. But both London and Moscow stopped competing because they were exhausted, not because they trusted the United States. This argument has bleak implications for the future of U.S.–China relations. It is virtually inevitable that information problems will prevent American and Chinese leaders from being confident that their counterparts have benign intentions. Given that China is likely to become especially powerful in the years ahead, this mutual mistrust will make security competition considerably more intense and war more likely than it is today. In other words, the future of great power politics will almost certainly resemble its dismal past. I wish it were otherwise. It is a pleasure to acknowledge the many smart and talented people who helped make this a better book. I owe my greatest debts to John Mearsheimer and Moritz Graefrath. Between them, they discussed virtually every concept and argument in the manuscript with me, often at great length, giving me sage advice and saving me from many errors. In January 2019, after I finished the first full draft of the manuscript, I had a book workshop at the University of Chicago. I am profoundly grateful to Richard Betts, Mariya Grinberg, Robert Jervis, Sean Lynn-Jones, Nuno Monteiro, and Stephen Walt for the seriousness with which they read and critiqued the manuscript. Their comments at the book workshop and in subsequent correspondence were invaluable and caused me to make a number of changes, some of them fundamental. Following the Chicago book workshop, Yale University Press sent a summary of the manuscript out for review and, a few months later, did the same with the full manuscript. I am deeply indebted to both sets of anonymous reviewers, whose excellent criticisms forced me to rethink my central concepts and claims in the final draft, which I finished up in late December. Many other individuals contributed—in big and small ways—to this book. My international relations colleagues at the University of Notre Dame— Michael Desch, Eugene Gholz, Rosemary Kelanic, and Dan Lindley—read and commented on the entire manuscript and on parts of it more than once. So, too, did Joseph Parent, who also listened patiently as I worked through

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some of the problems I confronted along the way. For comments and conversations, in person and in print, that had a significant effect on my thinking, I thank Paul Avey, Sotirios Barber, Sean Braniff, Austin Carson, John Deak, Benjamin Denison, Amitava Dutt, David Edelstein, David Gibson, Charles Glaser, Gary Goertz, Patrick Griffin, Mark Haas, Kyle Haynes, Michael Horowitz, Joshua Kaplan, Seok Joon Kim, Margarita Konaev, Andrew Kydd, Keir Lieber, Richard Maass, Alexander Martin, Oriana Mastro, James McAdams, Sean McGraw, Wilson Miscamble, Jennifer Mitzen, Peter Moody, Michelle Murray, John Owen, Robert Pape, John Petersen, Paul Poast, Pasquale Rosato, John Schuessler, Joshua Shifrinson, Jeff Speaks, Paul Staniland, Yuan-kang Wang, Alex Weisiger, Alexander Wendt, Joel Westra, Keren Yarhi-Milo, and Brandon Yoder. My sincere apologies to anyone I have forgotten to mention here. Portions of this book were presented at the Program on International Security Policy (twice) and the Foundations of Realism Seminar at the University of Chicago; the Institute for Advanced Study, the International Security Center, the Political Theory Colloquium, and the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies at the University of Notre Dame; the Security Studies Working Group at Northwestern University; the National World War I Museum; and annual meetings of the American Political Science Association, International Studies Association, and Transatlantic Studies Association. I am grateful to all of the participants at those workshops, seminars, and lectures for their questions, comments, and suggestions, all of which helped to sharpen my arguments. I have been fortunate to have had first-class research assistants over the past eight years. Special thanks are due to Elyse Boldt and Bridget Simons, who devoted countless hours to improving the manuscript; they are in equal parts brilliant and dedicated. I would also like to thank Louis Bertolotti, Courtney Biscan, Mary Burke, Mary Carroll, Molly Daily, Colleen Keegan, Cecilia Lero, Michael Moss, Michael O’Brien, Daniel O’Connor, Claire Rembecki, Cody Rowe, Camila Sacher, and Ji Hye Shin for all their efforts. Despite these many important intellectual debts, I alone am responsible for any remaining errors. This book simply could not have been written without the financial and logistical support of various institutions. The Earhart Foundation funded a

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year-long sabbatical in 2012–13 when I was just embarking on the manuscript, and the Charles Koch Foundation did the same in 2018–19 when I was finishing it. I was able to hire my many research assistants thanks to a generous grant from Notre Dame Research. The Notre Dame International Security Center covered the expenses associated with my book workshop, and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts in the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame provided research support in the final stages of the project. Greg Endicott, Celeste Lourigan, and Darlene Nowakowski in the Notre Dame Political Science Department, and Anieka Johnson in the Notre Dame International Security Center, provided much appreciated administrative assistance. I could not have asked for a better publishing experience than the one I have had with Yale University Press. My editor, William Frucht, has been unfailingly enthusiastic and encouraging. Karen Olson and Joyce Ippolito expertly and efficiently guided me through the process, and Lys Weiss of Post Hoc Academic Publishing Services did a wonderful job of copyediting. Last but by no means least, I thank my girls. I dedicate this book to my wife, Susan, whose love, support, and patience have been unwavering. We have been blessed with two extraordinary daughters, Anna and Olivia. Not only are they a constant source of pride and joy, but they also made this book easier, not harder, to write. The next one is for them.

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I N T E N T I O N S I N G R E AT P O W E R P O L I T I C S

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Introduction

this book is about intentions in international politics. I examine what great powers can conclude about how their peers intend to behave toward them. Are they doomed to be uncertain about each other’s intentions? Must they always be concerned that other states might be inclined to threaten or attack them? Or are there situations in which great powers can be confident that other states have benign intentions, which is to say that they mean them no harm? In short, is interstate trust achievable, or is mistrust inevitable?1 The real-world stakes could hardly be greater. For more than a decade, American decision makers have echoed former deputy secretary of state James Steinberg’s admonition to the Chinese government that it must “reassure all the countries in the rest of Asia and globally about its intentions.”2 Such statements reflect the belief that if the United States and China can each be confident that the other side has benign intentions, then the international system is “primed for peace.”3 Simply put, the potential for conflict will be limited, the prospects for stability will increase, sustained cooperation on global problems including climate change and transnational terrorism will be more likely, and citizens the world over will lead more secure and prosperous lives. Reversing this logic, many analysts argue that if officials in Washington and Beijing remain uncertain about each other’s intentions, then the future of great power politics will resemble its dismal past. Assuming that China completes its rise and becomes a

1

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INTRODUCTION

genuine peer competitor of the United States, Sino-American relations are bound to be marked by fierce arms racing, competitive alliance building, crises, and possibly even war. The question of whether or not great powers can trust each other is also a matter of enormous significance for international relations theory. There is a great deal of consensus among theorists about fundamental assumptions. Virtually everyone assumes, for example, that the international system is anarchic and that states prioritize their security.4 Yet there is substantial disagreement about the nature of great power politics and, specifically, about the prospects for competition, cooperation, war, and peace. The principal reason is that theorists disagree about the intentions issue. Although there are many different views on the subject, it makes sense to distinguish between realists—to be more precise, structural realists—and optimists. Realists assume that great powers are always uncertain about the intentions of their peers. Therefore, security competition and the potential for war are inescapable features of international life. Genuine peace—that is, a world in which states do not compete in this way—is a pipe dream. The logic was first articulated by John Herz in his discussion of the famous “security dilemma.” According to Herz and subsequent realists, notably Kenneth Waltz and John Mearsheimer, it is a state’s “uncertainty and anxiety as to . . . [its] neighbors’ intentions that places . . . [it] in this basic dilemma.” Fearful that other states may intend to threaten or attack them, and knowing that interstate conflict can have catastrophic consequences, great powers seek to mitigate their insecurity by improving their military capabilities, alone or in concert with others. They develop formidable forces, make alliances with other states, and look for opportunities to weaken their rivals. As soon as one state tries to make itself more secure by enhancing its military strength, however, others are made less secure because they cannot be confident that the first state has and will continue to have benign intentions, and they respond in kind. Security competition ensues as the various parties work to shift the military balance in their favor or at least to prevent it from shifting against them. This is not to say that war is inevitable, but once states compete for arms and allies, it always exists as a possibility in the background.5

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The Cold War (1945–90) is widely considered to be a near-perfect example of realist logic in action. Acutely uncertain about each other’s intentions, the United States and the Soviet Union waged an intense, relentless security competition. For the best part of five decades, Washington and Moscow expanded and improved their conventional and nuclear forces, established and maintained alliance systems centered on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Pact, worked hard to ensure that the other side did not gain exclusive control over strategically vital areas of the world, including Europe, East Asia, and the Persian Gulf, and sought to undermine each other’s military capabilities at every turn. From time to time, this security competition was punctuated by war-threatening crises over Berlin (1948–49 and 1958–61) and Cuba (1962). This does not mean that the superpowers never cooperated with each other. The United States and the Soviet Union negotiated a number of arms control agreements, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1967), the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) Interim Agreement (1972), and SALT II (1979). Nevertheless, these cooperative developments took place in the context of a fundamentally competitive relationship.6 Optimists reject the realist understanding of intentions, asserting that great powers can sometimes be confident that their peers mean them no harm. According to Steven Pinker, the application of reason can yield a “conviction that war is inherently immoral,” at which point it goes the way of other violent “practices that passed from unexceptionable to controversial to immoral to unthinkable to not-thought-about.”7 Alexander Wendt argues that repeated interaction can cause great powers to assume the role of “friends,” which generates a “shared knowledge of each other’s peaceful intentions” and gives states a “real assurance that . . . [they] will not fight each other.”8 Meanwhile, Francis Fukuyama focuses on the inclinations of liberal democracies, declaring that the use of force among them is “not even ‘subrationally thinkable.’ ”9 When states trust each other in this way, optimists argue, security competition and the potential for war are essentially taken off the table and great powers can live in peace. Confident that no one intends to threaten or attack them, states are only trivially insecure, and the security dilemma is virtually eliminated. This, in turn, means that great powers pay scant

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attention to their relative capabilities and see little reason to build up their military and diplomatic positions. Moreover, because security competition is highly attenuated—if not eliminated—there is only a vanishingly small chance of war. To be sure, states continue to have conflicts of interest and to bargain with each other. Optimists do not maintain that international politics will be entirely free of disagreement if great powers are confident that their peers have benign intentions. But there is a shared expectation that other states will not threaten or use force when disputes arise among them. Accordingly, they scarcely compete for arms and allies.10 As one prominent author puts it, mutual trust holds out the “possibility of global peace this side of the grave or world conquest.”11 Proponents of the optimistic view routinely cite post–Cold War Western Europe as a manifestation of their claims.12 It is said that the region’s former great powers—Britain, France, and Germany—trust each other. Above all, decision makers in London, Paris, and Berlin do not worry that their counterparts may intend to threaten or attack them. This is not to say that these states live in perfect harmony. They continue to have sometimes bitter disagreements over a variety of issues, including monetary policy, immigration, and the environment. But no one expects anyone else to resort to violence in order to prosecute their claims. This being the case, security competition is a thing of the past. The states of Western Europe have not armed against their neighbors in years. They are allied with, rather than against, each other. They do not even consider going to war.13 In fact, many believe that the West Europeans have formed what Immanuel Kant described as a “pacific union.”14 It should be apparent by now that the resolution of the debate between realists and optimists regarding the nature of international politics hinges on whether great powers can sometimes be confident that their peers have benign intentions or are all but guaranteed to be uncertain about the matter. Indeed, there is hardly any disagreement among theorists about what follows when states either trust or mistrust each other. It is generally agreed, for example, that “the uncertainty of intentions is . . . [realism’s] Sunday punch,” the basic assumption that underpins its competitive worldview.15 Optimists freely acknowledge that “the high costs of unreciprocated cooperation, together with uncertainty about others’ intentions, fuels sus-

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picion and fosters anxiety to strike first.”16 At the same time, few scholars dispute optimist Bruce Russett’s claim that if and when great powers are confident that their peers have benign intentions, “it may be possible in part to supersede the ‘realist’ principles (anarchy, the security dilemma of states) that have dominated practice to the exclusion of ‘liberal’ or ‘idealist’ ones since at least the seventeenth century.”17 In the words of a well-known realist, if states “could be certain that the others had friendly intentions . . . they would have no need to compete for power or prepare for major war.”18 In short, the debate is not about the implications of trust and mistrust but about the incidence of those states of knowledge in the first place. All of this raises the key question of what “confidence” and “uncertainty” mean. Given that no knowledge is completely certain, a state is confident in its evaluation if it is near certain that it has discerned another state’s true intentions.19 “Governments are ‘confident’ about another state’s intentions when they believe they know with near certainty what that state’s [intentions are] . . . and whether those intentions are likely to change,” explains David Edelstein in an early analysis of the intentions issue.20 Putting a precise number on confidence is impossible, not least because decision makers rarely discuss their opinions on the subject. But if state leaders think about these matters in the same way as intelligence analysts, then near certainty equates to a subjective probability judgment somewhere in the upper 90 percent range.21 Meanwhile, states are “uncertain” if they are less than confident that they have figured out how other states intend to behave.22 Why must a state be confident—and no less than confident—that a rival has benign intentions in order to forego security competition with that state? The reason is simple: because of the horrible consequences that may follow if it does not strengthen its military position and its rival turns out to have malign intentions.23 Most obviously, a great power that fails to build up its arms and allies will stand little chance of deterring an aggressive peer competitor from starting a major war. Such a conflict is likely to involve killing and destruction on a massive scale. The defeated state may even be eliminated from the great power ranks, especially if it is weak and cannot adequately defend itself. One might argue that this is an unlikely scenario, since few conflicts begin as wars of conquest. It is therefore important to

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recognize that there are many reasons for great powers to threaten or use force against each other. Even seemingly minor issues can become military contests as states look to nip security problems in the bud before they become too serious.24 At that point, major war is always possible. As the Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz noted, the potential for escalation, which he called “the tendency toward extremes,” is inherent in any militarized dispute.25 Some theorists assert that the debate between realists and optimists is miscast and, in particular, that confidence is an inordinately high threshold. These rationalists claim that there are conditions under which great powers do not need to be especially certain that their peers have benign intentions in order for security competition to be greatly attenuated and perhaps eliminated. When such conditions obtain, a moderate degree of certainty that other states do not intend to threaten or use force may well be enough. Thus, Andrew Kydd suggests that if the costs of conflict are high and the chances of prevailing in conflict are low, then even states that are uncertain about each other’s intentions can choose to eschew serious arming and alliance building. After all, there is little chance that their rivals will threaten or attack them whatever their intentions may be. When do such conditions obtain? Most obviously when states have nuclear weapons, which dramatically raise the costs of war and appear to make victory impossible. In fact, Kydd claims that nuclear weapons “provide the most extreme example” of his logic.26 Charles Glaser offers a similar argument, explaining that when defense is relatively easy—as is the case when a state has a nuclear arsenal—a conclusion that rival states are “equally likely” to have benign or malign intentions is enough to yield a “mild” security dilemma and thus “eliminate pressures for competition.”27 In other words, trust is not required for peace to prevail. The problem with the rationalist argument is that great powers must always worry about being threatened or attacked, even if they are armed with nuclear weapons. Imagine a case in which both sides in a dispute have robust nuclear arsenals, as all great powers do. Under such conditions, a nuclear war would likely result in mutual destruction. This may reassure a state that it is unlikely to be victimized, since its rival fears that any conflict could escalate to the nuclear level. “The implications of mu-

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tual second-strike capability are many and far-reaching,” writes Robert Jervis, adding, “If nuclear weapons have had the influence that the nuclearrevolution theory indicates they should have, then there will be peace between the superpowers, crises will be rare, [and] neither side will be eager to press bargaining advantages to the limit.”28 But a state existing in a mutual destruction world could equally worry that it is vulnerable to conventional threats and attacks because its rival thinks that nuclear war is so horrible that no conflict would escalate to that level, especially if the aggressor kept its goals limited. Keir Lieber and Daryl Press describe this “stability-instability paradox” as follows: “the more stable that deterrence is at the level of strategic nuclear war, the less stable it will be at the level of limited conventional war.” Consequently, great powers conclude that “deterring conventional aggression under the shadow of nuclear stalemate is anything but straightforward.”29 In fact, it is clear that nuclear-armed states have been quite willing to bully and fight each other. As noted, the superpowers engaged in major crises over Berlin and Cuba in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Fortunately, neither crisis resulted in war, but peace was by no means inevitable. In 1969, Chinese and Soviet forces fought over territory along the Ussuri River, despite the fact that both China and the Soviet Union were nuclear powers.30 India and Pakistan were armed with nuclear weapons when they became embroiled in a serious crisis in 1990 and fought a major border skirmish in 1999.31 Hence the conclusion of nuclear analysts Mark Bell and Nicholas Miller: “the conflict behavior of symmetric nuclear dyads appears much the same as that of non-nuclear dyads.”32 This is not the only evidence that nuclear-armed states must be concerned about being threatened or attacked. China engaged American forces on the Korean peninsula in 1950, even though the United States had a nuclear arsenal at the time.33 Similarly, Egypt and Syria launched an attack on nuclear-armed Israel in 1973.34 More generally, the evidence seems to suggest that nuclear powers are about as likely to be the targets as the initiators in conflicts with nonnuclear powers.35 Given that they are not immune to the threat or use of force, even nuclear powers must be confident that other states have benign intentions in order to let their guard down. If they are uncertain, then they have little

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choice but to compete for arms and allies. It is because they understood this logic that the United States and the Soviet Union competed so hard for military and diplomatic advantage in the Cold War. It is also why India and Pakistan are engaged in an intense and protracted security competition, and why nuclear-armed states such as China, Russia, and Israel pay careful attention to their conventional military capabilities.36 So far, I have outlined the implications of great powers’ assessments of each other’s intentions for the theory and practice of international politics. It is now time to turn to the all-important prior question that is the principal subject of this book: namely, can states be confident that their peers have benign intentions? This means addressing five sets of questions about intentions. First, what are intentions? That is, what exactly are great powers trying to discover when they examine each other’s intentions? Second, what is the argument that says states can rarely if ever trust each other? The answer to this question involves creating a theory from scratch, since realists have merely assumed that uncertainty about intentions is a pervasive feature of great power politics, rather than explaining why this should be the case.37 Third, what are the various arguments to the effect that states can sometimes trust each other? This is a more straightforward matter: although their claims have not been collected in one place, much less organized in a simple fashion, many theorists have identified conditions under which great powers can be confident that their peers have benign intentions. Fourth, how compelling are the causal logics that underpin these competing sets of arguments? Fifth, what does an examination of the historical record reveal? Does it suggest that states are always uncertain about each other’s intentions, or does it show that states sometimes trust each other?

Intentions Pessimism In what follows, I provide a theory of intentions that validates the realist understanding of great power politics. That enterprise involves three tasks. I begin by laying out the theory. In particular, I describe a number of arguments that explain why great powers are all but precluded from estimating the intentions of their peers with confidence. Next, I show that the theory

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tells us a lot about the real world, emphasizing that great powers have invariably been uncertain about each other’s intentions. Finally, I use the theory to make predictions about great power politics in the twenty-first century. The Theory My theory, which I label “intentions pessimism,” holds that great powers can rarely if ever be confident—which, again, means near certain—that their peers have benign intentions, because it is extraordinarily difficult for them to obtain the requisite information. This argument rests on the straightforward premise that certainty and uncertainty in international politics are mainly a function of information. Specifically: the more accessible and reliable the pertinent information, the greater the certainty; and the less accessible and reliable that information, the greater the uncertainty. This means that great powers are highly unlikely to be confident that their peers mean them no harm and, in fact, tend to be more or less acutely uncertain about the matter. Consider that firsthand information about a great power’s current intentions—its actual ideas about how it intends to behave—is virtually inaccessible since it is in the minds of a handful of leaders who keep their opinions to themselves. At the same time, what relevant secondhand information can be acquired about how states mean to conduct themselves—including evidence of their declarations, interests, and actions—is unreliable, which is to say that it is consistent with either benign or malign intent. As for future intentions, there is simply no way to access firsthand information about them as they do not yet exist. Meanwhile, although knowledge of current intentions is connected to, and can therefore serve as secondhand information about, future intentions, it is particularly unreliable since intentions can change for many reasons and in unpredictable ways.38 In order to lend further support to my theory, I also evaluate “intentions optimism,” the view that great powers can, under certain conditions, obtain the kind of information that would allow them to estimate the intentions of their peers with confidence. Therefore, I examine the assertion that some states are open about how they intend to behave, which means that observers can access firsthand information about their intentions. In addition, I

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investigate the claim that a state’s intentions can sometimes be confidently inferred from known facts—including its public and private pronouncements, arms policy, participation in international institutions, domestic regime type, and political ideology—because such secondhand information is reliably linked to how it means to behave. Furthermore, I consider the contention that, even if no single piece of evidence is entirely reliable, great powers can achieve confident estimates of intentions by aggregating many pieces of unreliable or marginally reliable evidence. Finally, I scrutinize the view that information about what great powers intend today is a dependable guide to what they will intend tomorrow because they seldom revise their intentions. My findings can be briefly summarized: all of the arguments that claim to identify situations in which great powers can obtain the information they require to reach confident conclusions about the current or future intentions of their peers are logically and empirically flawed.39 Before going any further, I must define intentions in some detail, since they are the concept at the heart of this discussion. A state’s intentions are its ideas about how it intends to behave. Several aspects of this definition merit further elaboration.40 First, it is a state’s executive rather than the state itself that formulates its intentions.41 A leadership group is, in turn, made up of several officials—typically the head of the government plus a handful of ministers and advisers—all of whom have their own personal opinions. Thus, it follows that a state’s intentions are the product of bargaining among the individuals that make up its executive.42 Second, intentions entail actions: when states intend something, they mean to behave in a particular way. States can, among other things, intend to attack or defend and to precipitate or avoid a crisis. This does not mean that intentions are the same as actions. Rather, they are what philosophers refer to as pro-attitudes about actions; they are mental dispositions to engage in certain kinds of behavior. The line between intentions and actions can become blurred, especially as a great power begins to execute its intended action. Is a state readying for an attack intending to invade or in the process of doing so? Indeed, such situations are sometimes categorized as instances of “intention in action.”43 The conceptual distinction between intention and action holds, however. At the same time, intentions do not guarantee actions, even

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if they entail them. That a state has intentions does not mean it will inevitably carry them out. Third, states have current and future intentions. Of course, all intentions are, by definition, about the future—they are mental commitments to behave in a certain way at a later time. Nevertheless, it is important to distinguish between current intentions (the designs a state has in the present) and future intentions (the designs it will have down the road). Fourth, states typically have conditional intentions, meaning to act only in certain circumstances—for example, if they are militarily superior to their rivals. Fifth, states tailor their intentions toward specific competitors and situations. To simplify, intentions can be categorized according to quality and time frame. With respect to quality, great powers can have malign or benign intentions.44 A state is malign if it intends to behave aggressively—that is, to threaten or use force—against another state or areas that are strategically important to that state, and it is benign if it does not.45 To argue that a great power intends to threaten or use force against another state means that it intends to direct its efforts against that state’s homeland. A great power can also intend to threaten or use force against areas that are either “intrinsically” or “extrinsically” valuable to other states. Areas of intrinsic strategic value are territories beyond a state’s homeland that contribute directly to its military capability because they contain abundant militarily useful resources. Areas of extrinsic strategic value are territories that are not intrinsically valuable, but nonetheless contribute to the defense of a state’s homeland or of those areas that bear directly on its military strength, generally because of their geographic location.46 It is obvious why a great power would fear that a rival may intend to attack its homeland; in the event that the intention is carried out, war ensues. Meanwhile, states also fear that their rivals may mean to threaten their homeland, or to attack or threaten areas of strategic importance to them, since the execution of such intentions meaningfully increases the likelihood of war. What do malign and benign intentions look like? Beginning in 1905, Imperial Germany decided to attack France and Russia when a favorable opportunity arose. Therefore, it had aggressive intentions toward them. It was also malign with respect to Britain. For British decision makers, the European continent was an area of intrinsic value, since Britain would face

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INTRODUCTION

an existential threat from any power that controlled its resources. At the same time, the western half of the region was an area of extrinsic value—a state in control of that territory would be in a position to invade the home islands. It follows that Germany’s malign intentions toward France and Russia were malign intentions toward Britain as well. One can also use this example to conceptualize benign intentions. Briefly, if the Kaiserreich had been benign, then it would not have meant to attack France or Russia in the decade before World War I. Many policy options therefore fall under the rubric of benign intentions. For instance, Germany would have been benign if it had intended to strike arms control agreements or make alliances with France and Russia. After all, arms control and alliance building do not involve the overt threat or use of violence.47 As emphasized, states can be confident or uncertain about their assessments of the quality of each other’s intentions. A focus on benign intentions—the central issue in great power politics—yields two scenarios. First, states can be confident that other states are benign, which is the same as saying they trust them. It should be apparent from this equation that trust does not imply absolute certainty; to trust is to be confident, it is not to know for sure.48 Second, a great power can be uncertain that its peers have benign intentions—to use simpler terminology, it can be uncertain about their intentions—with its degree of uncertainty ranging from mild to acute. In the language of trust and mistrust, the state is anywhere from slightly to deeply mistrustful of other states. To clarify even further, the claim that a great power is slightly or deeply mistrustful of its peers—that is, mildly or acutely uncertain about their intentions—does not mean that it is especially close to concluding that those powers are malign. Instead, these terms describe situations in which states are near to and far from confident that their rivals are benign, respectively.49 Intentions can apply to any time frame, but it is a state’s thinking about how others intend to behave in the medium-to-long term that is most consequential.50 There are important limits to what a great power can do with information about its peers’ short-term intentions, measured in days, weeks, and months.51 When U.S. leaders discovered, in the fall of 1962, that the Soviet Union had placed intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba, they reasoned that Moscow’s immediate intentions might be malign, but

INTRODUCTION

13

they could do little more than get ready for a confrontation. There was not enough time for more far-reaching measures. In contrast, judgments about what others intend to do over the coming years and decades help states to make decisions about major arms and alliance policies.52 For example, NSC-68—the U.S. program for ensuring its security in the face of the Soviet threat during the Cold War—originated as a response to uncertainty regarding Moscow’s medium-to-long-term intentions.53 It may be helpful to compare intentions to grand strategies and military plans, both of which also involve statements about behavior. A grand strategy identifies the objectives that a state must achieve to improve its security and describes the political, military, and economic actions that are thought to lead to those goals.54 Grand strategies are therefore broader than intentions; they are about objectives and conduct, whereas intentions refer only to conduct. Moreover, the various behaviors described in grand strategies are couched in more general terms than intentions. The U.S. National Security Strategy Reports, which are considered to be exemplars of grand strategic planning, talk vaguely about building military strength and being ready to employ it in the service of the national interest.55 They do not reference designs to threaten or use force or, conversely, to eschew such behavior. As for military plans, they are detailed blueprints for executing operations in a conflict. If a great power decides to carry out a malign intention, then it activates the relevant military plan. When German decision makers in 1914 decided to follow through on their longstanding intention of attacking Europe’s other great powers, they initiated the Schlieffen Plan, which envisaged decisive operations against France and Russia.56 This is not to say that knowing a state’s military plans is the same as knowing its intentions. Had Germany’s rivals been able to get hold of the Schlieffen Plan, they would have known how Germany meant to operate if and when it attacked. They would not have known whether or under what circumstances it meant to attack in the first place.57 Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, “intentions” are different from “interests.”58 As noted, intentions are about behavior. Great powers intend to conduct themselves in certain ways. Meanwhile, interests—often called motives or preferences—are about goals; they refer to what states want. Obviously, the two concepts are related. States perform

14

INTRODUCTION

actions in pursuit of their goals. So it follows that intentions are devised to pursue interests. But intentions and interests are not synonymous. To reiterate, intentions are about how states mean to realize their objectives, whereas interests are about what those objectives are.59 More concretely, designs to defend or attack are intentions, whereas desires for security or hegemony are interests. Most scholars think about international politics in terms of interests.60 They begin with the contention that there are two “types” of great powers, identified by their interests: security-seeking states and greedy states. The former are interested only in security; the latter share this interest in security but also have other interests, such as a desire to increase their territory or establish hegemony.61 It is then said that great powers’ conclusions about each other’s interests are the main determinant of their behavior.62 Uncertainty on the matter purportedly leads to security competition and war. As Dale Copeland explains, “uncertainty about the other’s present interests—whether the other is driven by security or nonsecurity motives— can be enough to lead security seeking states to fight.”63 Similarly, Glaser claims that security seekers compete with each other because they “may not know that others are security seekers.” At the same time, confidence that others are interested only in security allows states to forego competition. “If a state knew all others were security seekers,” this would “eliminat[e] the need to compete for security.”64 Kydd concurs: “a world of security seekers, who are known to be security seekers, would be peaceful.”65 This emphasis is wrong. Intentions, not interests, are the proper focus of inquiry. Take a situation in which great powers are confident that their peers are security seekers. They understand that those states may be benign, that they may have no intention of threatening or using force. They also understand, however, that those states may be malign, that they may intend to increase their security by attacking or threatening others.66 Hence, the knowledge that their counterparts are interested only in security is not particularly reassuring. Great powers that find themselves in such circumstances will fear each other and compete. Yet, if they are confident that their peers have benign current and future intentions—that is, that those states do not and will not mean to threaten or use force against them or areas of the world that are of vital strategic importance to them—

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15

then they will be greatly reassured and see little reason for competition. Put a little differently, it is not a world of security seekers that are known to be security seekers, but rather a world of benign states that are known to be benign states, that would be peaceful.67 The Empirical Record Enough about theories and concepts. More needs to be said about how my theory matches up with the empirical record and, specifically, whether it offers a compelling explanation of how states actually think. My focus is on great power relations from 1871 to 1990.68 The reason for emphasizing great powers is twofold. First, they have the most important impact on what happens in international politics. Second, because these states can do each other grave harm, they have powerful incentives to determine each other’s intentions. If it turns out that they can make little headway, then there are reasons to think that confident conclusions about how others intend to behave are particularly elusive. There is actually little debate that great powers have routinely thought as intentions pessimism predicts. Few would disagree that Anglo-German and Franco-German relations were characterized by mutual mistrust from 1871 until the outbreak of World War I. In addition, it is generally agreed that British decision makers were not at all confident that the French and the Russians were benign in the last three decades of the nineteenth century. There is also consensus that Russia and Germany were uncertain about each other’s intentions from 1890 to 1914. Furthermore, it is clear that Britain, France, and Russia did not trust Germany for most of the 1930s, and there is evidence that Germany reciprocated this attitude. Relations between Britain and the Soviet Union were also mistrustful, as were those between France and the Soviet Union. Turning from Europe to Asia, it is well established that Russia and Japan were uncertain about each other’s intentions from the day that the latter became a great power in 1895 until it collapsed in World War II. The same is true of the United States and Japan for most of that period. Finally, no one doubts that the United States and the Soviet Union mistrusted each other for at least the first forty years of the Cold War.69 Some of these cases provide especially powerful support for my theory, because they show great powers being uncertain about each other’s intentions

16

INTRODUCTION

even when there were reasons for them not to have been. Regarding AngloGerman relations before World War I, it is not obvious that mutual mistrust was foreordained. To start with, the two powers were united by dynastic ties— Kaiser Wilhelm II was Queen Victoria’s eldest grandchild—and a common liberal ideology. At the same time, they posed little obvious threat to each other or to each other’s vital interests. They were involved in only a handful of minor colonial disputes and were separated by the North Sea. Nevertheless, London and Berlin were overcome by mutual mistrust.70 The early Cold War provides a further illustration. Although it is hard to believe in retrospect, it was not unreasonable to imagine that the United States and the Soviet Union might trust each other after 1945. They came out of World War II as allies, having just defeated Germany and Japan. Moreover, they were unusually secure. Not only did they have powerful military establishments, but they were also located in different regions of the world and surrounded by weak states. Furthermore, neither of them viewed the other as an economic rival since the Soviet Union was essentially autarkic. Yet they were uncertain about each other’s intentions even before the war ended and remained so in the years that followed.71 My strategy, however, is to focus on historical examples that supposedly contradict intentions pessimism in important ways.72 Specifically, I examine episodes in which states are said to have trusted or come close to trusting each other. As should be clear by now, no one argues that there are many such cases. However, intentions optimists have identified a handful of examples in which they claim that great powers were confident or near confident that their peers had benign intentions. They are: Germany and Russia in the Bismarck era (1871–90); Britain and the United States during the great rapprochement (1895–1906); France and Germany, and Japan and the United States in the early interwar period (1919–30); and the Soviet Union and the United States at the end of the Cold War (1985–90). Many of the factors that purportedly cause great powers to trust their peers were present in these cases. In every one, the rival great powers communicated constantly with each other. Germany and Russia shared an ideology—both were monarchies—and entered into a series of treaties in the 1870s and 1880s. Britain and the United States were both liberal and democratic at the turn of the twentieth century. France and Germany were

INTRODUCTION

17

partners in several institutions in the early interwar period. Meanwhile, the United States and Japan engaged in significant arms control. As for the last five years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union proposed one arms limitation initiative after another. Yet I find powerful support for my theory. In all five cases, the protagonists lacked the information they needed to trust their rivals. To begin with, they never accessed firsthand information about the other side’s intentions; they never entered their rival’s decision-making process. This is not to say that they failed to gather any relevant information. As intentions optimists point out, they acquired a great deal of evidence about each other’s declarations, interests, and actions. Moreover, some of this secondhand information was marginally reliable evidence that a rival had benign intentions. For the most part, however, it was unreliable, the kind of evidence that could indicate that a rival state was benign but that could equally indicate that it was malign. Not to mention that government officials were routinely privy to countervailing secondhand information that suggested their counterparts might not have benign intentions. Then there was the fact that whatever a rival’s intentions might be at the time, they were liable to change. Consequently, none of the great powers even came close to being confident that their peers had benign current or future intentions. Because the great powers remained deeply mistrustful throughout these episodes, they competed for security, as most international relations theorists would expect.73 This is not to say that all the relationships were characterized by fierce security competition from beginning to end. There were moments of attenuation. It is important to note, however, that when security competition eased in a meaningful way, this was mainly because one of the great powers did not have the wherewithal to compete, not because it was confident that its rival meant it no harm. Variation in behavior essentially reflected material rather than informational changes. The Anglo-American contest came to an end in 1906 because Britain reasoned that it could no longer compete with the United States in the Western Hemisphere, not because British officials concluded that they could trust their American counterparts. Similarly, the Cold War struggle ended in 1990 because the Soviet Union could not afford to stay in the superpower arms race, not because Moscow was confident that Washington had benign intentions.

18

INTRODUCTION

The evidence in favor of intentions pessimism is so overwhelming, in fact, that it is hard to see why intentions optimists came up with these cases in the first place. How could they have gotten it so wrong? The answer, it seems, is that none of the five cases that they identify ended in war. World War I was a long way off when the Bismarck era came to a close. So was World War II during the early interwar period. Meanwhile, neither Britain nor the Soviet Union went to war with the United States in the twentieth century. So it is easy to assume that the states involved trusted each other. It is also a mistake. By focusing on the absence of great power war, intentions optimists have ignored the fact that these cases were nevertheless marked by often intense security competition. They also assume rather than establish a causal relationship. True, the great powers did not fight, but it does not follow that this was because they were convinced of each other’s benign intent. My emphasis on great power politics should not be taken to imply that intentions pessimism cannot explain interactions between great and minor powers or among minor powers.74 Regarding relations between great and minor powers, the issue is whether or not the minor power has a feasible opportunity to endanger the great power’s command over an area of strategic value. If the minor power does not have such an opportunity—most cases fall into this category—then the great power does not have much of an incentive to determine its intentions. U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski laid out the logic during the Cold War: “In the past, we could discount Soviet intentions because Soviet capabilities were limited.”75 Today, there is no feasible way for Britain to dominate the European continent, so U.S. officials pay hardly any attention to its intentions. If the minor power does have a viable opportunity to jeopardize a great power’s influence over an area of strategic value, then the great power will attempt to determine its intentions but remain uncertain for the reasons described by intentions pessimism. North Korea has a plausible path to dominating the Korean peninsula, and Iran can conceivably expand its control over the Persian Gulf—especially if it has nuclear weapons—so the United States is interested in estimating their intentions. At the same time, it lacks the necessary information and remains uncertain, which in turn explains why it seeks to contain Pyongyang and Tehran.76 When it comes to relations

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among minor powers, plausible opportunity is again important. The fact that France and Germany have not been in a position to hurt each other since World War II means that Berlin and Paris devote scant attention to estimating each other’s intentions. That said, French and German leaders welcome the U.S. security guarantee to Europe in large part because they are not confident that their counterparts would be and remain benign in the event of an American withdrawal.77 The Future of Great Power Politics My next and final task is to use intentions pessimism to understand the future. The most important issue here is the rise of China. Assuming that the Chinese military and economy continue to grow at their current pace over the next couple of decades, the United States will confront a genuine peer competitor for the first time since the Cold War. Bipolarity will return, and great power politics will be back on the table. At that point, the nature of U.S.–China relations will be shaped in large part by the conclusions the two sides reach about the other’s intentions. If Washington and Beijing trust each other, then they may well live in peace. Conversely, if they mistrust each other, then they will compete fiercely for security and perhaps go to war. My theory generates a depressing prediction. It is almost inevitable that the United States and China will be uncertain about each other’s intentions, much as they are today. American and Chinese officials will not be able to see what their counterparts are thinking. Nor will they be able to take the other side’s foreign policy statements at face value. To be sure, they will likely have some insight into each other’s interests and be able to observe each other’s actions. But there is next to no chance that they will be able to translate such knowledge into confident conclusions about intentions. Meanwhile, they will know even less about how the other will intend to behave further down the road. The likely ramifications are profound. Deeply mistrustful of the other side and keenly aware of its tremendous capabilities, Washington and Beijing will go to great lengths to strengthen their military and diplomatic positions in the Asia-Pacific region, triggering a competitive action-reaction spiral with the potential for crises and war.78

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INTRODUCTION

Plan of the Book The rest of this book proceeds as follows. Chapters 1 and 2 are theoretical. In chapter 1, I provide a detailed description of intentions pessimism. Chapter 2 outlines intentions optimism—the arguments that say great powers can sometimes trust each other—and demonstrates that it is unpersuasive. In chapters 3 through 6, I turn to the historical record and examine the cases identified earlier: Russo-German relations in the Bismarck era; Anglo-American relations at the time of the great rapprochement; FrancoGerman and U.S.–Japanese relations during the early interwar period; and Soviet-American relations at the end of the Cold War. In each case, I show that the protagonists did not trust each other and, in fact, were more or less acutely uncertain about the other side’s intentions, all of which caused them to compete for security. Chapter 7 applies my theory to the future and predicts another round of great power security competition, this time between the United States and China, because officials in Washington and Beijing will be uncertain about each other’s intentions.

1

Intentions Pessimism

my central claim is that great powers can rarely if ever be confident that their peers have benign intentions. In fact, uncertainty—more often than not, acute uncertainty—is endemic in international life. This chapter offers a theory that accounts for this unfortunate state of affairs. In particular, I lay out a causal logic that explains why trust is so elusive in great power politics. Then, having described intentions pessimism, I examine some of its more important implications. I do not, however, consider any counterarguments to my theory, nor do I run it up against the historical record and its competitors. Those tasks are reserved for later chapters.

Information Problems Intentions pessimism derives from a straightforward observation about great powers: they encounter formidable obstacles accessing firsthand information and acquiring reliable secondhand information about each other’s current and future intentions. Because these information problems have such significant adverse consequences for intentions estimation, the rest of this section describes them in some detail. The Access Problem It is particularly difficult for a great power to access firsthand information about another state’s current intentions—that state’s actual ideas about how it intends to behave—because these are in the minds of a handful of leaders 21

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who want to keep their views to themselves. There is little debate that intentions are to be found in people’s minds. Elizabeth Anscombe sums up the common view in her philosophical treatment of the subject: “All this conspires to make us think that if we want to know a man’s intentions it is into the contents of his mind . . . that we must enquire; and hence, that if we wish to understand what intention is, we must be investigating something whose existence is purely in the sphere of the mind.”1 It is also widely agreed that individuals cannot get into each other’s minds. In his analysis of what he terms the “irreducible dilemma” confronting state leaders, Herbert Butterfield observes that another individual “can never have the same assurances of your intentions that you have . . . since he cannot see the inside of your mind,” and you, in turn, cannot know his intentions because the situation holds “on both sides” of the interaction.2 Analysts are acutely aware of the issue. As a member of President Barack Obama’s National Security Council put it, “Anybody who tells you what North Korea wants is lying, or they’re guessing. . . . We don’t know what Kim Jong-un has for breakfast, so how can we know what his real endgame is? We just don’t have great intelligence into his personal thinking.”3 To complicate matters further, only leaders and their closest advisers know what their states intend to do; firsthand information about a great power’s intentions is held in only a few minds. Norrin Ripsman, Jeffrey Taliaferro, and Steven Lobell include the following actors in the discussion: the head of government, ministers charged with foreign policy issue areas, and perhaps some of their advisers. In times of crisis or war, such groups can comprise a dozen members, as was the case with President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Committee during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In peacetime, however, when medium-to-long-term intentions are typically developed, a state’s foreign policy leadership numbers around half a dozen individuals. President Lyndon Johnson’s Tuesday Lunch gathering and Israeli prime minister Golda Meir’s Kitchen Cabinet both had memberships in this range.4 So, too, does the “chiefs” category identified by Graham Allison, which includes those decision makers intimately involved in promulgating U.S. national security policy.5 There are enough examples of heads of government freezing ministers and advisers out of top-level decision making to suggest that even this number is too high.

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Regardless, the point holds: there are not many places to look for a state’s intentions.6 The difficulty of accessing firsthand information about current intentions does not end there. The reason is that states have powerful strategic incentives to conceal how they mean to behave.7 Imagine a state that intends to attack a rival. It understands that its chances of success will be greater if it can hide its designs. Lacking advance warning, the intended victim is less likely to take measures that could thwart the would-be aggressor’s plans. At the same time, a state that has benign intentions will be reluctant to advertise the fact for fear of appearing irresolute, thereby endangering its security.8 In light of these incentives, decision makers have little reason to disclose their ideas about what they intend to do. They share Russian foreign minister Sergei Sazonov’s view that “the whole art of diplomacy is to mask one’s intentions.”9 In such circumstances, the access problem can become virtually insoluble. As legal scholar Richard Posner points out, if “we enter the realm of strategic behavior . . . the potential catastrophists’ concealment of their motives, intentions, plans, number, and capabilities make estimating probabilities particularly difficult and maybe impossible.”10 The Reliability Problem Given that firsthand information about current intentions is all but inaccessible, observers seek to infer how states intend to behave from related secondhand information. In particular, they acquire evidence on a state’s foreign policy declarations, its interests, and its actions, since these are all connected to its intentions in important ways. Alexander Wendt neatly sums up the logic: “It is hard to read individual minds because we cannot see inside them . . . we have to fall back on context and behavior to infer what others are thinking.”11 The problem is that such information is unreliable, which is to say that it is consistent with both benign and malign intent. States can lie or tell the truth about how they mean to behave; they can intend to pursue their interests by aggressive or nonaggressive means; and their actions can be indicative of benign or malign intentions. In short, secondhand information about a great power’s declarations, interests, and actions is only ambiguously related to its intentions.

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declarations of intent Most great powers communicate with their peers most of the time. Occasionally, they go so far as to declare their intentions—publicly or privately— which allows other states to gain secondhand information on the matter. States cannot rely on each other’s declarations of intent as indicators of how they intend to behave, however, because they realize that other states have the same kinds of incentives to misrepresent their intentions as they do to conceal them.12 A malign state may want to persuade another state that it is benign in order to lull it into a false sense of security. Conversely, a benign state may declare that it is malign, reasoning that it is more likely to be left alone if its rivals believe they are confronting an aggressive actor spoiling for a fight. It may also better position itself to extract concessions from those states during negotiations.13 Consequently, great powers sometimes dissemble about how they mean to behave. They follow the admonition of Baron Hayashi Tadasu to his countrymen in 1895: “What Japan has to do now is to keep perfectly quiet, to lull the suspicions that have arisen against her, and to wait, meanwhile strengthening the foundations of her national power, watching and waiting for the opportunity which must one day surely come in the Orient.”14 Of course, declarations of intent would not be especially ambiguous guides to actual intentions if great powers knew that their peers lied to them all the time. Were this the case, they could take it for granted that others were lying about how they meant to behave and factor such information into their thinking. But great powers know that their rivals also have incentives to tell the truth. For instance, a benign state may want to reveal its true intentions for fear of frightening another state into starting a war. Conversely, a malign state may want to make its real intentions known so as to goad a rival into a military dispute. Accordingly, great powers cannot put much stock in what their peers tell them they intend to do. interests and intentions Great powers can acquire some information about each other’s interests— that is, about what they want. States also know that interests and intentions are connected: the latter are designed to achieve the former. Therefore, knowledge of a great power’s interests is secondhand information about its

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intentions. Yet the connection between what a state wants and how it intends to behave is not at all straightforward, so even excellent information about a state’s interests is an unreliable guide to its intentions. Although “the aims of states may be endlessly varied,” great powers can know one thing about the interests of their peers with near certainty—those states, like them, have an overriding interest in security.15 As Thomas Hobbes observes, self-preservation is perhaps the only “precept, or general rule, found out by reason.”16 Hence, great powers are confident that their peers want to preserve the integrity of their physical base and maintain the autonomy of their governing institutions.17 States can also be confident that their rivals rank security as their number one priority because it is a prerequisite for achieving any other interests that they might have. Robert Gilpin makes the point well: “As a species we prize beauty, truth and goodness . . . [but] all these more noble goals will be lost unless one makes provision for one’s security.”18 Yet a great power’s interest in self-preservation is only an ambiguous indicator of its intentions, because it can plausibly look to enhance its security by aggressive or nonaggressive means.19 After all, states are strategic actors—they come up with what they think are the most effective means to achieve their interests regardless of how this will require them to behave.20 “Men use various methods in pursuing their own personal objectives,” explains Niccolò Machiavelli in The Prince. “One man proceeds with circumspection, another impetuously; one uses violence, another stratagem; one man goes about things patiently, another does the opposite; and yet everyone, for all this diversity of method, can reach his objective.”21 A great power has several options if it wants to enhance its security without threatening or using force. To begin with, it can augment its deterrent and defensive assets by arming—bolstering its military spending, weapons production, and troop numbers—by inventing better military technologies, strategies, and doctrines, or by imitating the successful military practices of others.22 Such behavior is, in fact, commonplace. Since the Napoleonic Wars (1803–15), great powers have worked relentlessly to match the military forces and expenditures of their most important rivals. Consequently, enduring mismatches in military capabilities have been the exception rather than the rule. At the same time, states have routinely copied the key military innovations of their time, including the mass army, the Prussian

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system, battlefleet warfare, blitzkrieg, carrier warfare, strategic bombing, and nuclear weapons. And they have tended to justify these moves as attempts to ensure their security against increasingly powerful adversaries.23 German chancellor Otto von Bismarck expressed the core logic in his last public address on foreign affairs: “The pike in the European carp-pond prevent us from becoming carp.”24 Another nonaggressive security-enhancing option is to negotiate institutions—sets of rules that prescribe and proscribe acceptable and unacceptable forms of behavior—that make deterrence and defense easier.25 Alliances are helpful in this regard, especially if they confront a common adversary with superior military strength.26 Perhaps the best example is the Triple Entente (1907), which included Britain, France, and Russia, and was ultimately used to contain Germany.27 Agreements that cap or reduce a rival’s forces or weapons also facilitate deterrence and defense by making it harder for that state to go on the offensive.28 Such thinking at least partly explains why the United States and the Soviet Union concluded a series of arms control agreements during the Cold War.29 Great powers can also seek self-preservation by aggressive means, however.30 War can be a highly effective security-enhancing strategy, albeit one that involves at least some risk.31 A victorious state can augment its resources—which can then be utilized to create deterrent and defensive military capabilities—by levying taxes on a defeated adversary, confiscating its industrial output and plants, seizing its natural resources, impressing its population, and taking control of its colonies, clients, and trading partners. Germany pursued such policies to good effect in both world wars.32 A conqueror can also make itself more secure by occupying strategic territory. In particular, it can create buffer zones, increase strategic depth, and establish more defensible borders. For example, France recovered AlsaceLorraine and considered annexing the Rhineland from Germany after World War I.33 Perhaps most dramatically, victory in war can enhance a great power’s security by eliminating the vanquished state from the great power ranks. A victorious state can achieve such an outcome by deindustrializing, disarming, or dividing the defeated state. Between them, the United States and the Soviet Union employed all of these measures to reduce Germany to a shadow of its former self after World War II.34

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Although threats of force are not as effective as war—mainly because great powers are usually strong enough not to give in to coercion—they can sometimes produce similar results.35 To begin with, states can blackmail their rivals into giving up strategic territory, as Germany tried to do a number of times with occasional success early in the twentieth century.36 They can also use threats to coerce their adversaries into revising their foreign policies. The Soviet Union triggered the Berlin Crisis (1958–61) with a view to persuading the United States not to allow West Germany to develop a nuclear capability.37 Finally, states can intimidate others into altering their military deployments. The best known example occurred in 1962 when the United States compelled the Soviet Union to remove its ballistic missiles from Cuba.38 Of course, a state’s interest in security would be a dependable guide to its intentions if great powers knew how their peers thought. A state that knows exactly how another state defines security, how much security it wants, and how it weighs the costs and benefits of using or not using force would probably be able to infer the second state’s intentions from its interest in selfpreservation. But great powers know none of these things. Instead, they understand that their peers can choose from various different definitions of security, strategies of self-protection, and theories about how the world works.39 actions and intentions Not only can great powers gather information about what their peers are doing, but they also know that a state’s actions—especially its military and diplomatic moves—are related to its intentions. Why? Because states usually take preparatory actions so as to improve their chances of executing their intentions successfully. A state with aggressive intentions will likely build up its military capabilities. At the same time, a state with nonaggressive intentions will likely resolve divisive issues with its rivals. Knowledge about actions is, then, secondhand information about intentions. Yet states encounter significant difficulties in translating observations about actions into conclusions about intentions. Most prosaically, states often hide the very behavior that might allow others to infer their intentions. Military preparations are routinely kept secret. Japan deliberately concealed

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its arming from Russia in the years before the Russo-Japanese War (1904– 5).40 Similarly, the United States and the Soviet Union maintained tight secrecy about the state of their nuclear arsenals during the Cold War, especially in the 1940s and 1950s.41 From time to time, great powers also conceal the exact nature of their diplomatic commitments. Thus Bismarck sought to keep the details of the Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy (1882) and of the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia (1887) from the other European great powers.42 Prior to World War I, Britain’s determination to come to France’s aid in the event of a continental war was firmer than German officials suspected, in large part because the British government played its diplomatic cards close to its vest.43 Moreover, great powers know that their peers sometimes perform actions that are designed to give a false impression about their intentions, or at least to muddy the waters. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin signed the Yalta agreements on the shape of post–World War II Europe even though he did not intend to abide by them.44 Indeed, it is not all that unusual for a malign great power to rein in its military efforts, negotiate arms control agreements, and engage in conciliatory diplomacy so as to persuade other states to let their guard down. Adolf Hitler’s foreign policy in the mid-1930s is an outstanding case in point. Although he was bent on aggression throughout this period, he not only professed a desire for peace and security at every turn, but also proposed a series of accords that were ostensibly designed to limit Germany’s military capability.45 Most important, even if states do not conceal or misrepresent, a significant problem remains: the relationship between a state’s actions and its intentions is unreliable. The key consideration here is that most actions can facilitate the execution of most intentions. Thus, it is not at all clear whether any given action is an indicator of malign or benign intent. As Robert Jervis explains in a detailed analysis of the matter, “Few actions are unambiguous. They rarely provide anything like proof of how the state plans to act in the future.”46 Standard military actions, including changes in weapons production, force postures, and troop deployments, are ambiguous indicators of intent. Consider that a great power that increases its military capabilities could have malign intentions and be attempting to improve its ability to attack, and it

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could equally have benign intentions and be trying to improve its ability to defend itself.47 British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey noted the interpretive issue in a meeting with the German ambassador to London shortly before the outbreak of World War I, explaining that there was substantial disagreement about the meaning of Berlin’s arms increases. Some saw them as “‘preparations’ . . . in the sense of an intention to attack,” and others interpreted them as “‘precautions’ . . . indicat[ing] only the intention to defend.”48 That is, arming has multiple plausible meanings with respect to intentions. A similar logic applies when great powers engage in acts of military retrenchment. Such behavior could indicate that a state sees little need for offensive capabilities and has benign intentions. Alternatively, the state could have malign intentions and be trying to save money or end an arms race that it fears it is in danger of losing.49 This particular ambiguity appears to account for the disagreement within the U.S. foreign policy community over the cause of Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev’s retrenchment in the mid-1980s. President Ronald Reagan and some of his advisers interpreted these actions as suggestive, though by no means dispositive, evidence that Moscow might be benign. Others took a different view, arguing that the Soviet Union could be a malign actor that was attempting to gain breathing space in the superpower arms race.50 Normal diplomatic actions are also ambiguously connected to a state’s intentions. A state that engages in provocative diplomacy could have malign intentions and be seeking a pretext for armed conflict. Or it could have benign intentions and be acting out of fear. In an influential memorandum on the state of Anglo-German affairs before World War I, British diplomat Eyre Crowe argued that Germany’s “acts of direct and unmistakable hostility” might be “evidence that she is consciously aiming at the establishment of a German hegemony . . . in the world.” At the same time, however, he pointed out that most of these events could be explained by a rather different “theory,” namely, “Germany does not really know what she is driving at, and that all her [moves] . . . do not contribute to the steady working out of a well conceived and relentlessly followed system of policy, because they do not really form part of any such system.”51 Thus, Crowe admitted that he did not have a good read on what the Kaiserreich’s provocative behavior said about its intentions. Almost thirty years later, Winston Churchill

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described Hitler as a “grim figure who has performed . . . superb toils and loosed . . . frightful evils.” Yet the meaning of the führer’s policies was not at all clear: “Does he still share the passions he has evoked? Does he . . . still feel racked by the hatreds and antagonisms of his desperate struggle; or will they be discarded like the armour and the cruel weapons of strife under the mellowing influences of success?” Churchill could only answer that this was a “mystery of the future.”52 As regards conciliatory diplomacy, a great power that accommodates a rival could have benign intentions and be looking to resolve divisive issues, but it could just as well have malign intentions and be trying to gain time to prepare for a military showdown. The debate in France over Germany’s diplomatic behavior in the mid-1920s illustrates the point well. Although the Weimar Republic recognized France’s borders, waived its claims to AlsaceLorraine, acquiesced to the demilitarization of the Rhineland, joined the League of Nations, and even proposed a comprehensive Franco-German settlement, the reaction in France was mixed. Some officials suggested that peace and reconciliation might be in the offing. Others disagreed, warning that Berlin was trying to throw off the shackles of the Versailles settlement. And still others admitted that they did not know. When asked by President Raymond Poincaré if Germany was serious about a rapprochement, the secretary general of the French Foreign Ministry, Philippe Berthelot, replied that it was “probably sincere, and also insincere like all other nations whose vital interests were at stake.”53 In sum, secondhand information about intentions—knowledge of what a state says, wants, and does—is unreliable. That is, it is not dependably related to how a state means to behave. Great powers can lie or tell the truth when they declare their intentions to other states; they can mean to enhance their security in an aggressive or nonaggressive fashion; and their military and diplomatic moves can be equally indicative of both benign and malign intentions. The Problem of the Future The problem of the future is one of both access and reliability.54 There is simply no way for states to access firsthand information about each other’s future intentions. The reason is that the future does not yet exist. As one

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author points out, “No man can have in his mind a conception of the future for the future is not yet.”55 This applies to intentions as much as to anything else. When it comes to estimating another state’s thinking years from now, notes Klaus Knorr, the insurmountable “intellectual difficulty . . . is that it concerns the future,” a subject about which “there is no information whatever.”56 Similarly, the historian Donald Cameron Watt observes that Hitler identified three kinds of decisions: “Those which were discussed with another . . . those which he kept to himself; and those which he held in his bosom, not having yet brought his thoughts to any definite conclusion,” before pointing out that “no intelligence could divine what had not yet been decided.”57 To be sure, facts obtained about current intentions can serve as secondhand information about future intentions, since there is a link between what a state intends to do now and what it will intend to do down the road. The problem, however, is that intentions can change.58 Therefore, knowledge about the present is an especially unreliable guide to the future. Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz cut to the heart of the matter in justifying Imperial Germany’s naval buildup early in the twentieth century: “We are building our fleet against no one. We have no grounds to build a fleet against anyone. We are strengthening our fleet because those who are our friends today might become our enemies tomorrow.”59 Or as his contemporary, British politician John Morley, mused, “In the great high latitudes of policy, all is fluid, elastic, mutable; the friend today, the foe tomorrow; the ally and confederate against your enemy, suddenly his confederate against you.”60 What makes this issue particularly intractable is that intentions can change for many reasons and in unpredictable ways.61 They often shift in response to developments at the domestic level. New leaders come to power, sometimes armed with different intentions from those of current incumbents.62 In hindsight, some observers contend that Germany developed malign intentions after Kaiser Wilhelm II fired Bismarck, and that the Soviet Union formulated benign intentions after Gorbachev became general secretary. But no one could have predicted either development years before the fact.63 Alternatively, the same leaders may remain in power but rethink their intentions due to altered domestic conditions.64 British prime minister

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Lord Palmerston was apparently compelled to moderate his bellicose designs by anti-imperialist members of his governing coalition in the middle of the nineteenth century.65 Conversely, unrest at home led Napoleon III of France to look for opportunities to act aggressively abroad.66 State intentions also change in response to developments at the international level. Great powers regularly encounter new opportunities or threats that lead them to alter their foreign policy thinking.67 Revisions of this sort are not predictably related to particular situations. One simply has to look at how states have reacted to military success. Napoleon Bonaparte’s aggressive intentions apparently multiplied as he defeated one rival after another.68 In stark contrast, Bismarck appears to have developed nonaggressive intentions following victories over Denmark (1864), Austria-Hungary (1866), and France (1870–71).69 There is also substantial variation in how great powers respond to military decline. Confronted by a rising Russia, Germany is said to have formed malign intentions before World War I.70 Yet facing the rise of Germany in the 1930s, Britain seems to have adopted benign intentions.71

The Uncertain Intentions of Great Powers Given that there is an inextricable link between information, on the one hand, and certainty and uncertainty, on the other, these problems of access and reliability virtually preclude great powers from trusting their peers. Where conclusions about state intentions are concerned, certainty and uncertainty are largely a matter of information.72 To quote the economist Daniel Ellsberg, “the amount, type, reliability and ‘unanimity’ of information . . . [shapes] one’s degree of ‘confidence,’ ” and uncertainty obtains when information is “perceived as scanty, unreliable, ambiguous.”73 More simply, better information increases certainty and decreases uncertainty, and worse information increases uncertainty and decreases certainty. It follows that a state’s degree of certainty or uncertainty about a rival state’s intentions rests on two issues. First, can the state gain access to firsthand information about its rival’s intentions? Second, can the state acquire reliable secondhand information about its rival’s intentions? Great powers that contrive to enter the actual thinking of other states or manage to obtain

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knowledge that is dependably related to how other states intend to behave can form confident—which is to say near certain—assessments about the intentions of their peers. Conversely, states that lack such information fall short of confidence and are thus uncertain. All of this means that trust is highly unlikely among great powers. Consider that the odds of them being confident that their peers have benign current intentions are minimal. Firsthand information about how other states intend to behave is all but inaccessible, and what secondhand information can be acquired on the matter is routinely unreliable. The chances of states being confident that their counterparts will mean them no harm in the future are even lower. There is no way for them to access firsthand information about each other’s future intentions, and secondhand information about intended behavior years or decades down the road is especially unreliable. Because uncertainty is so common in international politics, the obvious question is how uncertain great powers are that their peers have benign intentions. Taken together, the severe obstacles they encounter in accessing firsthand and acquiring reliable secondhand information mean that their degree of uncertainty tends toward the acute end of the range. In other words, great powers are generally far from confident that their peers mean them no harm. Denied access to the thinking of others and equipped with unreliable relevant evidence, they are hard pressed to do any better than this. Of course, there is some variation. A state may do things that provide marginally reliable evidence of benign intent; for example, it may engage in limited disarmament or withdraw from an area of modest strategic importance. Consequently, great powers can be more or less acutely uncertain in their assessments. The variation usually ends there, however. In particular, more or less mild uncertainty is rare. None of this is to say that confident conclusions about intentions are inconceivable, but the chances are negligible. Take the problem of accessing firsthand information about how a state intends to behave. State intentions are different from individual ones in that they are described, discussed, and agreed among decision makers rather than being locked in people’s heads.74 An observer could, then, be confident that a great power has benign intentions by accessing private conversations or documents that reveal it means

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no harm. One way to do this is to infiltrate a state’s leadership group. Yet this notion is far-fetched. Indeed, there are no well-known examples of a state planting an agent in the uppermost echelons of a rival state’s government. Soviet agents did hold positions in the American and British diplomatic corps and intelligence communities during the Cold War, but not in their executives. So none of these spies was privy to American or British intentions toward the Soviet Union.75 A similar verdict applies to the idea that a great power could acquire unambiguous secondhand information that reveals a rival means no harm. One possibility is that the rival could perform a single action that is a particularly reliable indicator of benign intent, such as complete disarmament.76 In practice, however, states are especially reluctant to resort to such extreme actions for fear of endangering their security if their competitors turn out to be aggressive.77 It is probably for this reason that there are no known examples of great powers voluntarily surrendering their military capability. Another possibility is that a great power could accumulate multiple pieces of secondhand evidence that allow it to update its thinking and ultimately be confident that it is dealing with a benign rival.78 Yet this kind of procedure is unlikely to prompt significant shifts toward mild uncertainty, let alone confidence. If those secondhand clues are unreliable, great powers will simply be more convinced that they are at the acute end of the uncertainty spectrum. In the words of John Maynard Keynes, they will attach greater “weight” to their conclusions but remain uncertain to the same “degree” as before.79 In contrast, if those secondhand clues are marginally reliable, if there are many of them, and if they all suggest that a rival might be benign, then greater degrees of certainty are possible. Such a scenario is implausible, however. Indeed, there appear to be no cases of a great power finding itself in such a position. Take U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski’s attempt to determine the Soviet Union’s intentions from its behavior in the late 1970s. In a memorandum for President Jimmy Carter, he could identify only fourteen actions that said something about Soviet intentions. Of these, three implied that Moscow might be neutral, six implied that it might be benign, and five implied that it might be malign.80 Finally, it is conceivable, but extremely unlikely, that a great power could be confident that a counterpart will have benign intentions in the future.

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For the sake of argument, imagine a scenario in which a state examines factors such as a rival’s domestic characteristics, diplomatic affairs, policy statements, and foreign policy actions, and uses the information it gleans from this investigation to conclude, with confidence, that its rival means no harm in the present. Provided the state believes that there will be no meaningful changes in the rival’s domestic politics or international situation, it is likely to be confident that its rival will continue to have benign intentions in the future. The fact of the matter is, however, that states do not think this way. Instead, they understand that domestic and international political conditions change constantly, thereby creating the potential for all manner of amendments in their rivals’ intentions. Although some international relations theorists disagree that information is the principal driver of certainty and uncertainty in intentions assessment, their claims are unconvincing. Drawing on the cognitive revolution in psychology, these scholars contend that decision makers are seldom “rational.” That is, they rarely form opinions by evaluating information objectively and deliberately.81 In this vein, Keren Yarhi-Milo maintains that leaders tend to rely on prior expectations and the vividness of new facts when developing assessments of the intentions of other states.82 There are, however, good reasons to doubt these kinds of arguments. The key consideration here is that estimating the medium-to-long-term intentions of other great powers is a high-stakes, but at least in terms of time, low-pressure enterprise. Intentions assessors are concerned with estimating threats to national security in the coming years and decades. Accordingly, they have both the incentive and the opportunity to gather as much pertinent information as possible and to analyze it in a careful fashion.83 In short, where estimates of intentions are concerned, it is the nature of information rather than the psychological makeup of decision makers that matters most. To be sure, there do appear to be some famous examples of individuals professing to be confident that they have discerned a great power’s intentions in spite of poor information, but they are rare anomalies. Based on their reading of his war memoirs, Mark Haas and John Owen declare that Churchill understood “the hegemonic intentions of Nazi leaders” as early as 1933. This is a dubious assertion. Simply put, Churchill’s statements and behavior at the time do not suggest a confident belief that Germany had

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malign intentions. Even if he was convinced that Hitler was aggressive, however, Churchill was practically alone. Haas and Owen admit as much, observing that his “was a minority view in British decisionmaking circles.”84 Indeed, Churchill was not a decision maker at all; he sat on the back benches of Parliament. Another example involves George Kennan, an early advocate of the U.S. strategy of containing the Soviet Union. Kennan was confident that he could discern Soviet intentions based on “subjective experience and instinct and judgment.” Yet hardly anyone agreed with him. To his dismay, it was “impossible to get people to set their signatures to anything as risky and as little founded in demonstrable fact as an analysis of Soviet intentions.” His conclusions were deemed “too undependable, too relative, and too subtle to be comfortable or tolerable to people who feel themselves confronted with the grim responsibility of recommending decisions which may mean war or peace.”85

Implications If intentions pessimism is right, then interstate trust is an especially scarce commodity. This raises two further questions. First, what are the effects of uncertainty on great power politics? Second, why do great powers keep trying to estimate the intentions of their peers, and does it make sense for them to do so? Uncertainty and Great Power Politics As emphasized at the outset, great powers that do not trust each other invariably compete for security. Yet, because their degree of uncertainty typically fluctuates within a narrow range—states tend to be more or less acutely uncertain about the intentions of others—it cannot account for meaningful variation in the intensity of their competition. In particular, it cannot explain why great powers compete considerably more fiercely at some times rather than others, nor can it account for their occasional acts of cooperation even as their relations remain fundamentally competitive. What, then, does explain significant variation in state behavior? Once great powers elect to compete with each other, major shifts in the intensity of that competition are primarily a function of material factors,

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including capabilities and geography. Consider the origins and endings of interstate arms races, which involve significant increases and decreases in the intensity of state arming efforts. None of the participants in any of the twelve great power arms races since 1870 became involved in those contests because they became substantially more certain that their rivals had malign intentions.86 Even as Britain countered Germany’s naval buildup at the turn of the twentieth century, British leaders described the Kaiserreich as merely a “conceivable” or “possible” antagonist together with France and Russia.87 Similarly, the French decision to match Germany’s arms increases in the years before World War I was not driven by a newfound conviction that Berlin had formulated aggressive intentions. In fact, French officials regarded the sudden growth of the German army as an essentially defensive response to the European power shift provoked by the First Balkan War (1912–13).88 Rather, great power arms races have broken out in the wake of important material changes. Specifically, states have raced whenever one of them has made quantitative or qualitative improvements in its military capabilities. Britain, France, and Russia raced against Nazi Germany from the mid-1930s onward because Germany was increasing the size of its forces.89 London and Berlin entered the second phase of the Anglo-German naval race in 1906 after Britain developed the Dreadnought, a new, all-big-gun, heavily armored, fast-propulsion battleship. Meanwhile, the U.S.–Soviet arms race followed the development of atomic and then nuclear weapons.90 The historical record also shows that when arms races end peacefully, they do so not because the protagonists trust their rivals, but because one side no longer has the wherewithal to keep up. The first of two FrancoGerman land races came to an end in 1894 mainly because the French concluded that they could no longer rely on their own resources to contain Germany and would do better to forge an alliance with Russia instead. The most important reason for the termination of London’s naval races with Berlin, Paris, and St. Petersburg in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was that Germany, France, and Russia did not have the means to keep competing. Specifically, they needed to redirect resources to build up land forces so that they could deal with more proximate—which is not to say more mistrusted—rivals on the continent. The same is true of America’s various contests with Britain, Japan, and

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the Soviet Union in the twentieth century. London, Tokyo, and Moscow quit through exhaustion. In short, as one study explains, perceptions of intentions appear to have little effect on the termination of arms races. Instead, “such events . . . spring largely from economic circumstances and changes in the larger political order outside the relations between the two states engaged in the arms race.”91 The same logic appears to apply to the termination of strategic rivalries, events that involve significant reductions in the intensity of interstate competition. According to a well-known study of the issue, great powers have ceased to see each other as “competitors” and “enemies” on nineteen occasions since 1870. Fifteen of these rivalries are described as having terminated for material reasons, namely, decisive defeat or exhaustion. Examples of termination through defeat in war include: Austria-Hungary’s rivalries with France, Italy, and Russia, and Germany’s rivalries with Britain and the United States before World War I; and Germany and Japan’s rivalries with Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States before World War II. Meanwhile, exhaustion is said to have played the key role in the termination of the Austro-Prussian and Anglo-Russian rivalries.92 This leaves four cases that are not classified as terminating because one of the parties was defeated or exhausted. On review, however, two cases have been miscoded. The Franco-German rivalry ended when Germany defeated France in 1940, and the Soviet-American rivalry ended in 1990 when the Soviet Union capitulated through exhaustion.93 As for the two remaining rivalries—between Britain and France, and between Britain and the United States—those terminated in 1904 when London decided that it was overextended and should come to terms with the major threats to its empire.94 Variation in state alliance choices is also explained primarily by material rather than ideational calculations. In brief, states tend to ally against more threatening and with less threatening powers, where threat is a combination of military capability and geography.95 Stephen Walt disputes this argument, claiming that great powers select alliance partners based not only on material considerations such as aggregate power, offensive power, and geography, but also on perceptions of intent. Indeed, he highlights the belief that Germany had “aggressive intentions” as an important cause of the anti-German alliances of World War I and World War II.96 Yet there are

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good reasons to doubt his claims. Take the Triple Entente, which was established from 1891 to 1894 when France and Russia contracted an alliance, and from 1904 to 1907 when Britain joined them. In the earlier period, Germany gave its neighbors little reason to believe that it had malign intentions. Indeed, its foreign policy was quite restrained. Instead, Paris and St. Petersburg came together because of the Kaiserreich’s burgeoning military strength.97 Observers did think that Germany might be malign during the Moroccan Crisis (1905–6), but Britain allied with France a year before that crisis and with Russia over a year after it when Anglo-German relations were no longer especially antagonistic.98 Britain’s choices were not, then, driven by perceptions of German intentions in any meaningful way. Rather, Britain made alliances with France and Russia mainly for balance of power reasons. In particular, officials in London understood that Russia was a spent force following its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and that France did not have the military might to put up a good fight against Germany on its own if the need arose.99 Finally, it is worth noting that Britain’s commitment to the Entente solidified—the Cabinet approved military staff talks with France—in the fall of 1911 when Anglo-German tension was waning and there were reasons to believe that détente might be possible.100 Perceptions of intentions also played little role in the formation of the World War II alliance against Nazi Germany. Evidence that the Germans might have aggressive intentions began to mount as early as 1935. In March, Hitler announced German rearmament and the reintroduction of conscription in violation of the Versailles Treaty. A year later, German forces entered the demilitarized Rhineland. In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria. Six months later, Hitler precipitated the Munich Crisis, ultimately getting the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. Yet despite these developments, Britain and France did not ally against Germany until March 1939.101 The main precipitating factor here was Hitler’s conquest of the rest of Czechoslovakia, an event that transformed the military landscape by eliminating a powerful state in Germany’s rear—the Czechs had the sixthranked army in Europe—and making it easier for Berlin to strike in the west should it want to.102 Not that the western powers were convinced that Germany intended to attack. In fact, the French deliberately exaggerated their belief in Hitler’s aggressive intentions so as to galvanize the British

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into action.103 Even then, the Soviet Union did not establish an alliance with Britain and France against the Third Reich.104 Nor did it do so when Hitler conquered France and tried to bring Britain to its knees in 1940. As a matter of fact, London and Moscow only made an alliance after Germany invaded the Soviet Union and looked as if it might become a European hegemon.105 Finally, on the rare occasions when they do cooperate, great powers are driven by the prospect of mutual gain. Although great power relations are fundamentally competitive, states can sometimes have common interests. When they do, they have incentives to cooperate—that is, to coordinate their policies.106 For example, the United States and the Soviet Union negotiated the Antiballistic Missile Treaty (1972), the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) Interim Agreement (1972), SALT II (1979), and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (1987) with a view to limiting the superpower arms race. To be clear, great powers do not overcome their uncertainty in cases such as these. Washington and Moscow did not trust each other in the 1970s and 1980s. But if there are gains to be had and the parties believe they can protect themselves in the event that they are double crossed, they will cooperate to further their interests.107 Effort in Intentions Assessment Great powers pay careful attention to assessing each other’s intentions. The debate within the British government about German intentions in the aftermath of the Moroccan Crisis provides an illustration. As noted, Crowe produced an important memorandum on German designs in January 1907. The document is a model of deliberation, asking what “logical conclusions” could be derived from a detailed survey of German behavior. Crowe’s answer: “two hypotheses . . . fit all the ascertained facts,” and the choice between them “[is not] easy to make with any close approach to certainty.”108 The discussion did not end there. Grey, the foreign secretary, circulated Crowe’s analysis to the Cabinet, asserting that it “contains information and reflections, which should be carefully studied,” and adding that the Anglo-German relationship “involves the greatest issues, and requires constant attention.”109 The following month, Lord Sanderson advanced a different view. As he understood it, German policy “is not the

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unchequered record of black deeds which the [Crowe] Memorandum seems to portray.” Moreover, he had an alternative interpretation of the thinking behind Germany’s actions: Berlin was “flushed with success” and plagued by a “constant feeling of insecurity.”110 Crowe then rebutted Sanderson’s memorandum in detail, and the exchange was forwarded to Grey. Nor was the debate confined to these two well-known memoranda. Other officials weighed in, offering their own interpretations of past events, and suggesting that the Foreign Office examine further issues, including the kaiser’s temperament.111 The failure of British policy makers to reach agreement regarding German intentions clearly supports intentions pessimism. One might argue, however, that this example—and others like it—creates problems for my theory because decision makers should recognize that it is futile to try to estimate intentions with confidence and either not attempt to do so or stop trying at some point. But that is not what happened in the British case. Indeed, there appears to be no historical evidence that policy makers have given up trying to figure out their rivals’ intentions. This raises an interesting question: why do states keep trying? Surely, reasonable actors would eventually give up, would they not? There are several reasons why states remain committed to assessing intentions and rarely if ever abandon that effort. First, although reaching confident conclusions about intentions is an almost impossible task, it is not absolutely impossible, especially where current intentions are concerned. As noted, there are certain rare configurations of secondhand information that would allow for confident conclusions about intentions. To be sure, these configurations do not appear to have obtained in the past. But there is no a priori reason that they could not obtain in the future. Second, the potential benefits of achieving confident assessments of intentions are huge. A great power that is confident that a rival is malign can move to build impressive forces designed to keep that adversary at bay and fight against it if necessary. For example, had Britain, France, and the Soviet Union been near certain that Hitler was malign, they would most likely have balanced earlier and more forcefully and stood a better chance of containing Germany. Conversely, mutual trust is the proverbial silver bullet that promises to eliminate security competition and war. Benign great

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powers that are confident that the other has benign intentions can live in peace. Just think how different the second half of the twentieth century would have been if the United States and the Soviet Union were benign and had been able to convey this fact to each other. In sum, even if states realize that they are highly unlikely to develop confident assessments of each other’s intentions, the enormously beneficial consequences of doing so create a powerful incentive to try. Third, the cost of estimating other states’ intentions is low. That undertaking usually involves gathering secondhand information: studying a rival’s actions, determining what it says about its intended policies, and measuring its capabilities. The cost associated with studying the actions of other states is negligible since so much interstate activity is out in the open. Locating policy pronouncements and ferreting out unofficial comments about another state’s intentions is also not especially costly. The real costs involve monitoring capabilities, but on that front intentions assessors are free riders—that is, they can use information that has been gathered and analyzed for other purposes. Great powers are obsessed with measuring their strength relative to their peers. “In a self-help system,” Kenneth Waltz observes, “states spend a lot of time estimating one another’s capabilities, especially their abilities to do harm.”112 Specifically, they collect and evaluate vast amounts of evidence on other great powers’ political, military, economic, and societal attributes. The monetary cost of developing this evidence is considerable. The United States, for example, spends approximately $60 billion per year on intelligence, an amount equal to 8 percent of the defense budget.113 Roughly half of this money is spent on data collection, and one-quarter of it is spent on processing and analysis.114 There is no question that decision makers use some of this knowledge to help them form assessments of the intentions of other states. There is also no doubt that leaders devote time and effort to examining the facts of each case. But gathering the facts themselves, which is the truly costly aspect of the endeavor, is effectively costless as those facts are gathered for other purposes and would be gathered even if great powers had no interest in divining the intentions of other states. This discussion raises a closely related question: how much effort does intentions pessimism recommend that states should expend to determine

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each other’s intentions? Intentions pessimism is primarily a descriptive theory, which is to say that it explains how states actually think about intentions. Yet it is also a normative theory: it prescribes how states should think about intentions.115 Briefly, great powers should make modest efforts to estimate them. To be clear, the argument is not that they should pay no attention to the issue. Although confident assessments of intentions are quite improbable, they can yield huge benefits. Some effort is therefore warranted. At the same time, however, it would not be reasonable for states to commit significant resources to the task. All of which is to say that great powers seem to have the intentions estimation process about right. They devote time and effort to the task, but do not otherwise incur substantial expenditures.

Conclusion Great powers encounter extraordinary difficulties accessing firsthand information and acquiring reliable secondhand information about each other’s current and future intentions. Thus, they can rarely if ever trust their peers. Although I believe these arguments are obvious, it turns out that they are controversial. Accordingly, the next chapter describes and evaluates the main counterarguments to my theory, all of which fall under the rubric of intentions optimism.

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Against Optimism

most scholars are considerably more optimistic than I am that great powers can overcome the access and reliability problems and thus estimate the current and future intentions of their peers with confidence. This chapter provides an evaluation of intentions optimism, paying particular attention to arguments that say great powers can sometimes obtain the kind of information they require to be confident that their peers mean them no harm. The first argument holds that there are some situations in which states can access firsthand information about each other’s intentions. The next three arguments contend that secondhand information about states’ intentions—evidence of their declarations, interests, and actions—can, on occasion, be a reliable guide to how they intend to behave. The fifth argument maintains that even if single clues are only marginally informative, multiple clues can, in combination, be a dependable indicator of a state’s intentions. The final argument deals with future intentions and contends that knowledge of how a great power intends to behave today can serve as reliable secondhand information about how it will intend to behave tomorrow because states rarely revise their foreign policy thinking. In brief, I find that these arguments are logically and empirically flawed. Intentions optimists have greatly exaggerated the odds that states can access firsthand information or acquire reliable secondhand information about each other’s current and future intentions. Hence, it is almost impossible for great powers to trust each other.1

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Gaining Access According to one popular variant of intentions optimism, there is a significant exception to my argument that firsthand information about state intentions is all but inaccessible. Specifically, it is said that a great power can access another state’s actual ideas about how it means to behave if the second state is a democracy. The premise is simple: not only do democratic leaders describe, discuss, and agree on their intentions, but they also do so in public. Alexander Wendt claims that democratic “‘thoughts’ can often be heard or seen in the public debates and statements of decision-makers.” He continues: “the spread of democracy will only increase this openness in the future. More and more, in other words, states will be able to literally look inside each other’s ‘heads.’ ”2 Democratic transparency derives from several sources. Regular elections provide plentiful evidence about where candidates, parties, and publics stand on matters of foreign policy. In addition, opposition parties know the government’s intentions and have incentives to publicize that information for political gain. At the same time, foreign policy initiatives are debated in legislatures and reported in the media. Even bureaucracies may release information to attract supporters or undermine rivals.3 This transparency, in turn, allows others to reach confident conclusions about a democratic state’s intentions. “For modern democracies,” explains Andrew Kydd, “the policy-making process is transparent enough so that a wealth of information is generated about a state’s motivations.”4 In a similar vein, Charles Kupchan contends that the openness of democracies enables third parties to “assess, with a relatively high degree of confidence, the intentions and motivations that inform behavior.”5 There is little reason to think that democracies are especially transparent, however. When it comes to intentions, democratic executives do not differ from the executives of other kinds of states: they have powerful incentives to keep them secret. At the same time, they do not face meaningful domestic pressure to reveal their thinking. To be sure, there are some cases of democracies enacting legislation that calls on executives to disclose information related to national security. For instance, the War Powers Resolution (1973) requires the president of the United States to consult with Congress before committing military forces abroad. There are, however, no

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examples of legislation that obliges elected leaders to reveal their intentions toward major geopolitical rivals.6 Nor is it plausible that leaders would abide by such requirements if they existed. In fact, the War Powers Resolution has failed to increase transparency. As John Hart Ely observes, “Thanks to a combination of presidential defiance, congressional irresolution, and judicial abstention, the War Powers Resolution has not worked.”7 Absent institutional restrictions, democratic executives have routinely kept national security matters, and especially their intentions, to themselves. Eric Alterman neatly sums up the American experience: “From the earliest days of the republic, the president . . . has restricted the dissemination of information relating to defense and foreign policy. . . . This was true in Philadelphia in 1789, and it remains true today.”8 Indeed, many of the practices that are typically associated with democracies—including lying, deception, and counterfeit diplomacy—are only possible because elected executives have more information than other domestic groups and selectively withhold that information from them.9 Elections do little to increase transparency. Incumbents and challengers alike do not want to reveal their intentions for fear of compromising national security in the event that they are elected. In addition, they do not want voters to think they are irresponsible when it comes to matters of war and peace. Consequently, candidates on the campaign trail speak in general terms about the importance of a robust defense or a firm foreign policy and say little of consequence about their intentions toward peer competitors. What of the claim that secrecy is unlikely in democracies because opposition parties and government bureaucracies know, and have incentives to reveal, what leaders are thinking? It is not at all clear why opposition parties would know their states’ designs. Indeed, it seems more plausible that leaders will prefer to keep their intentions from their domestic opponents because they worry that such information may be used against them for political purposes. This likely explains why proponents of the democratic transparency argument do not cite any cases of opposition parties knowing their leaders’ intentions.10 As for government officials who are not members of the leadership group, they are unlikely to leak a state’s intentions. They are not privy to such facts, and even if they happen to learn them, they

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will be reluctant to publicize them for fear of compromising national security or of being caught and punished.11 Therefore, while leaks about routine defense matters are relatively common, leaks about intentions are almost unheard of.12 Moreover, when leaks do occur, democratic leaders can lie or spin. This is a straightforward matter. Where state intentions are concerned, a leader is more likely to be believed than a domestic political opponent or a lower level bureaucrat. After all, leaders benefit from greater authority in foreign policy and superior access to information.13 Indeed, these advantages have allowed democratic leaders in major democracies, including the United States, Britain, and France, to tell some important lies about their foreign policies over the past century.14

Reliable Declarations Intentions optimists sometimes dispute my argument that a great power’s declarations of intent amount to unreliable secondhand information about how it means to behave. They offer one of two contentions. The first—which has reputation, rhetoric, and regime variants—is that states may reveal their true intentions through communication. The second is that, quite apart from being transparent, democracies also tend to tell the truth. Neither argument withstands scrutiny. Truthful Communication Although there are three versions of the communication claim, they have a common logic: great powers realize that their peers’ foreign policy statements are likely truthful. One reason is that states value reputations. They tell the truth because they want to establish or preserve a reputation for honesty so that rival states will believe them when they announce their intentions in the future. Anne Sartori suggests that “to maintain their ability to use diplomacy in future disputes, state leaders often speak honestly [in the present].”15 This is hardly a convincing argument. Great powers live in the present: they seek to gain immediate advantages and avoid immediate disadvantages. Two considerations drive such thinking. First, a state that suffers a reverse today may not be around tomorrow. John Mearsheimer makes the

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point well: “One step backward in the security realm might mean destruction, in which case there will be no next step—backward or forward.”16 Second, a state that fails to prosper in the present will be in a weaker position and less likely to get its way in the future. As Robert Powell explains, “Making a concession today weakens one’s bargaining position tomorrow and necessitates additional concessions. Thus a single concession may trigger a succession of subsequent concessions.”17 This means that states say whatever they believe they have to say to succeed in the present. If they believe that they are likely to get what they want by telling the truth, then they tell the truth. But if they think that they are likely to get what they want by lying, then they lie. This is not to deny that they would like to establish a reputation for honesty that can be deployed at a later date. States are always on the lookout for ways to improve their negotiating positions. Yet future reputation is secondary to current success. Therefore, reputational concerns do not prompt a marked propensity to tell the truth. Although Sartori does not agree with this particular line of reasoning, she ultimately admits that declarations of intent are not especially reliable indicators of actual intentions. Even as she explains the long-term reputational benefits of truth telling, she acknowledges, “States sometimes do bluff, of course.”18 In other words, great powers cannot be particularly certain that their peers are being honest when those states announce how they mean to behave. Another version of the communication claim invokes the consequences of rhetoric. In this view, declarations of intent are true because the very act of declaring an intention compels a great power to behave in the way that it says it will. Stacie Goddard argues that a rising state that “intends to pursue revolutionary aims,” such as territorial conquest, must galvanize its population to engage in conflict. It follows that public declarations in favor of the status quo demonstrate that a state is not interested in mobilizing domestic support for war. “For these reasons,” Goddard suggests, “language is taken as a credible indicator of restraint in the present: if the rising power eschews a revolutionary language at home, then it cannot possibly mobilize the capacity to challenge [the status quo].”19 There is an important problem with this argument: public declarations in support of the status quo hardly prevent the leaders of rising powers

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from mobilizing their people for war. To begin with, such pronouncements are unlikely to dampen popular enthusiasm for change. After all, the rising state was not involved when the existing order was established. That was put in place by the leading great powers of the day.20 At the same time, status quo rhetoric can be a quite effective mobilization tool. Elite claims that the state is in a struggle to protect its security, ideology, and way of life are often enough to elicit a powerful spirit of self-sacrifice. Indeed, the majority of war justifications in the modern period—almost all of which have met with substantial public support—have invoked status quo aims, including the need to defend the state, respond to treaty violations, or uphold the balance of power.21 In short, there is little reason to believe that rising states that declare their support for the existing international order cannot mobilize for war and therefore have benign intentions. In fact, Goddard provides good evidence that restrained rhetoric rarely convinces leading powers that a rising power is benign. During the Schleswig-Holstein Crisis of 1863–64, she claims, “Prussia’s rhetoric effectively signaled that it would be bound by international norms.” Yet this “never fully convinced Austria that Prussia was a sated power, one that would shy from attempts to upend the status quo.” Similarly, while Berlin’s rhetoric signaled restraint to some British decision makers, others, including the prime minister, Lord Palmerston, “remained convinced that Prussia was an aggressively revisionist state.” Meanwhile, “like Britain and Austria, France was never convinced of [Minister-President Otto Von] Bismarck’s motives.” More generally, Goddard finds that “great powers struggle to manage rising powers because they are uncertain about what these states will do with their newfound might, either in the present or in the future.”22 A final version of the communication claim shifts the focus from state interaction to conversations between professional diplomats in the context of international “regimes.”23 In this view, regimes are sets of rules, principles, and standards of behavior, but they are also processes that require their members to interact on an ongoing basis. Thus regimes increase “transparency— what adversaries know about each other’s intentions . . . and actions.”24 At the same time, diplomats establish “networks of acquaintance and friendship: supposedly confidential documents of one government may be seen by

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officials of another; informal coalitions of like-minded officials develop to achieve common purposes; and critical discussions by professionals probe the assumptions and assertions of state policies.” In this way, argues Robert Keohane, states obtain “high-quality information about what their counterparts are likely to do.”25 It is not at all clear that regimes allow states to acquire reliable information about intentions, however. To begin with, great powers do not want to establish arrangements that require them to reveal their ideas about war and peace. They would like to know what their peers are planning, but not at the cost of revealing their own views.26 Hence, there are no examples of regimes that have forced member states to communicate their intentions. Indeed, it is hard to imagine how such arrangements could be created. Great powers should in some situations be able to establish procedures that compel others to disclose details about their weapons and deployments.27 No agreement, however, can force individuals to say what is on their minds. The reason, of course, is that capabilities are tangible whereas intentions are intangible.28 Given the limitations of regimes, there is little evidence in the historical record that they cause states to transmit dependable information about their intentions. In a detailed study, Dan Lindley finds only “moderate” support for the contention that security regimes furnish states with “information about . . . actions, capabilities, and intentions.” In the case of the Concert of Europe—an agreement that included several great powers—he concludes that although it “was clearly helpful in some instances, [it] . . . did not increase transparency as much as it might first appear.” Even this gives too much credit to regimes. On close inspection, the Concert was somewhat useful in revealing member states’ immediate thinking, but not in revealing their medium-to-long-term intentions.29 As for the notion that regimes create networks of officials who convey information about their states’ intentions to one another, it is implausible. Diplomats are rarely privy to leaders’ intentions. Usually, they only know the message that they are expected to convey. Moreover, in the event that they do know what their state intends to do, they are unlikely to share such information with the representatives of other great powers. Instead, they can be expected to behave as patriotic professionals and lie, obfuscate, or

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feign ignorance. Consequently, proponents of the regime argument have not come up with any signal cases of transnational networks revealing great powers’ intentions. Truthful Democracies The democracy argument holds that democracies tend to be truthful when they declare their intentions. According to audience costs theory, democratic leaders who announce a certain policy and then fail to follow through can be punished by voters for revealing their incompetence or dishonesty. Facing this prospect, executives make their intentions known only if they actually mean to carry them out. Thus, a democracy’s public declarations of intent are generally truthful.30 As Jessica Weeks notes, audience costs enhance a state’s “ability to convey intentions. Just as leaders may generate domestic costs by backing down from a threat, they can also incur costs by reneging on peaceful promises. . . . Thus, higher audience costs may alleviate the security dilemma by reducing uncertainty about whether a promise to keep peace is genuine.”31 Yet democracies are not especially truthful in their declarations. In fact, there are several problems with the assertion that democratic leaders tell the truth because they fear that they will be punished by domestic constituencies if they announce that they intend to take certain actions and subsequently fail to do so.32 First, democratic executives prefer to keep their intentions secret and are therefore unlikely to say anything about them at all. In fact, audience costs theorists describe examples of democratic leaders drawing red lines during crises, but not of them declaring their intentions in peacetime. Second, even if democratic executives do reveal what they are thinking, they have powerful incentives not to do so in unequivocal terms because they realize that they may expose themselves to charges of incompetence if they later reverse course. In other words, they prefer ambiguity to truth telling. In a detailed analysis of major crises, Marc Trachtenberg finds that democracies seldom issue unambiguous threats; “bridge-burning” ultimatums are the exception, not the norm.33 Third, even if they do advertise their positions clearly and then fail to follow through, democratic executives can manage the political fallout by lying or spinning. Thus Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was able to remain in office after

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backing down in the Munich Crisis (1938) by “pretend[ing] to pursue a tougher policy” than he actually did.34 Because democratic leaders have this option, they feel little compulsion to tell the truth in the first place. Finally, it is not clear that democratic audiences care more about the consistency of leaders’ statements and actions—the mechanism at the heart of audience costs theory—than about the substance of foreign policy. Logically, a democratic public is unlikely to punish a government that announces one policy and then pursues another if the second policy turns out to be popular or successful. Jack Snyder and Erica Borghard find exactly this: “domestic audiences . . . care more about policy substance than about consistency between a leader’s words and deeds.”35 Again, the result is that democratic executives do not invariably put a premium on telling the truth.36

Reliable Interests A prominent version of intentions optimism holds that great powers can infer what their peers intend to do from their interests, that is, from what they want. At the heart of this view is the claim that although states surely have an interest in security, they have other, “nonsecurity” interests as well, derived from their guiding ideologies or political systems. These ideological and domestic interests in turn inform their intentions in important ways. In short, knowledge of a state’s nonsecurity interests is reliable secondhand information about its intentions. There are two reasons to doubt these kinds of arguments. First, security considerations loom larger than nonsecurity considerations in the development of a state’s foreign policy. When formulating its intentions, a state asks itself what course of action offers the best prospect of improving its security. Of course, the actions that follow from these calculations may also further its nonsecurity interests. Yet this is mere coincidence. The root cause of the great power’s intentions is its desire to be secure. Accordingly, its nonsecurity interests are not significant drivers of its intentions, and are thus unreliable indicators of them. Second, even if one were to concede that states derive their intentions from their nonsecurity interests, those relationships are ambiguous. As emphasized, states are strategic actors, which makes it hard to tell whether they will pursue security by aggressive

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or nonaggressive means. The same is true of the ideological and domestic interests detailed by intentions optimists. They can plausibly be pursued in a benign or malign fashion. In light of these issues, it is hardly surprising that nonsecurity interests turn out to be unreliably connected to intentions. Ideological Interests According to one set of interests arguments, observers can infer a state’s intentions from its ideology—its beliefs about an appropriate social order and the institutions required to achieve it.37 Some scholars argue that ideological distance—the difference between states’ ideologies—provides important information about state intentions. States categorize their peers into “ingroups” that share their ideology and “outgroups” that do not, and want the former to do better than the latter.38 Therefore, they tend to have benign intentions toward co-ideologues and malign intentions toward ideological competitors. John Owen observes that “adherents to a given ideology will want to treat more kindly a state governed by their ideology . . . and they will be inclined to be confrontational toward a state governed by an enemy ideology.”39 Similarly, Mark Haas declares that states will generally adopt “hard-line policies” against ideological rivals and “engage in policies . . . designed to aid” ideological allies.40 In other words, great powers can presume that ideological enemies are likely malign and ideological friends are likely benign. Although this argument applies to all kinds of states, relations among liberal great powers are especially likely to feature benign intent. Because these states know that they share norms of compromise and nonviolence, they favor nonaggressive solutions when dealing with one another.41 “Fellow liberals,” explains Michael Doyle, “benefit from a presumption of amity.”42 A related proposition says that observers can derive a great power’s intentions from the nature of a specific ideology, nationalism—the belief that the world is composed of distinct nations and that each of these should have its own state.43 According to proponents of this view, nationalism can be fairly benign. As one scholar notes, “Although nationalists often believe that their nation is unique or special, this conclusion does not necessarily mean that they think they are superior to other peoples, merely that they take pride in their own nation.” States imbued with such “benevolent

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nationalism” have little interest in subjugating others and therefore tend to have benign intentions. Problems arise when this nationalism becomes “hyper-nationalism—the belief that other nations or nation-states are both inferior and threatening.” Hypernationalist great powers conclude that other states must be treated “harshly,” which is to say that they have malign intentions toward them.44 In a similar vein, Stephen Van Evera argues that states sometimes espouse “hegemonistic” nationalism, a particular form of the ideology that assumes “a right or duty to rule . . . other nationalities.”45 Once they have these interests, malign intentions are likely to follow. As it happens, great powers are more concerned with enhancing their security than with pursuing any ideological interests that they might have. After all, a state must be secure before it can indulge its ideological views. Kenneth Waltz makes the point well: “In self-help systems, the pressures of [security] competition weigh more heavily than ideological preferences.”46 Similarly, John Lukacs observes that “Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Churchill, de Gaulle were statesmen first of all. They subordinated their philosophical and political preferences to what they thought were the interests of their states.” Security was the foremost of those interests.47 Even Owen agrees, observing that “physical security is a necessary condition” for a state’s “preferred way of life.” This is not to say that ideological considerations do not matter at all. “Rather, ideology will to a greater or lesser extent color [a state’s] perception of foreign threats.”48 This being the case, a great power that believes aggression against another state will increase its security will develop malign intentions toward it even if the second state is an ideological friend. Take Bismarck’s decision to go to war with France in 1870. Completing German unification—essentially a security objective—was considerably more important than maintaining good relations with a fellow monarchy.49 Conversely, a great power that thinks it can become more secure by allying with another state will have benign intentions toward the second state even if it is an ideological enemy. This logic clearly drove President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s calculations during World War II. Confronted with the Nazi threat to Europe, he was willing to set aside his abhorrence of communism and ally with the Soviet Union. As he told Ambassador Joseph Davies, “I can’t take communism nor can you, but to cross this bridge I would hold hands with the Devil.”50

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There is, in fact, ample evidence in the historical record to suggest that ideological distance is not an important driver of intentions.51 There have been ten wars since 1789 in which one or more of the belligerents on both sides were great powers. Pitting all the great powers on one side against all the great powers on the other side of each of these wars makes for 37 warring pairs.52 In 16 cases, the combatants shared the same ideology.53 A review of all great power militarized disputes from 1816 to 1990 yields a similar finding. Of 257 fighting pairs, 81 involved great powers that had the same legitimating principles.54 Assuming that the initiation of a war or military dispute is a reasonable proxy for malign intentions—better measures are not readily available—this evidence suggests that states do not have a marked propensity to harbor benign intentions toward ideological partners and malign intentions toward ideological competitors.55 Even liberal states are not especially peaceful toward their co-ideologues. The outstanding case is World War I, when Germany fought four other liberal powers: Britain, France, Italy, and the United States. There have also been several crises between liberal great powers. Christopher Layne identifies seven such disputes: the Trent Affair (1861) and Venezuela Crisis (1895–96) between the United States and Britain; the Belgian (1830–32), Near Eastern (1838–41), Tahiti-Tangier (1844), and Fashoda (1898) crises between France and Britain; and the Ruhr Crisis between France and Germany (1923).56 At the same time, an analysis of all militarized disputes reveals 42 cases in which liberal great powers threatened or used force against each other from 1816 to 1990.57 It turns out that intentions optimists do not disagree with these conclusions as much as one might think. In a summary of their arguments, Haas and Owen claim only “that state elites tend to trust foreign elites with whom they share an ideology.”58 To make matters worse, ideologies are only ambiguously related to intentions. The core of the ideological distance argument holds that states want to expand their ideological ingroups and shrink their ideological outgroups. More simply, they want simultaneously to spread their own ideologies and to prevent the spread of other ideologies. Such interests do not, however, translate neatly and predictably into intentions. As Nigel Gould-Davies notes, “To characterize a state as ideological is to make a statement about the nature of its goals; it is not to impute comprehensive knowledge about

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how it will achieve them.”59 A state can spread its preferred ideology or prevent the spread of other ideologies around the world by force of example or by force of arms.60 That is, ideological interests are compatible with either benign or malign intentions. Arguments that focus on the ideology of nationalism are subject to the same kinds of criticisms as those that revolve around ideological distance. To begin with, great powers’ intentions follow from their interest in security, not the nature of their nationalism. A great power imbued with a benevolent form of nationalism will have benign intentions only as long as it believes that such an approach does not compromise its security. If it concludes that aggression is more likely to make it secure, then it will develop malign intentions. For example, the United States, which is widely described as exhibiting a benign, “civic” form of nationalism, has been quite willing to threaten and use force to strengthen itself or weaken its rivals.61 This does not appear to be an isolated case. In an analysis of nationalism and war, Gretchen Schrock-Jacobson discovers that in 19 of the 38 cases in which a great power has started a war since 1816, the initiator is best coded as a “non” or “civic” nationalist state.62 By the same token, hypernationalist states will only have malign intentions if they believe that they will be secure by doing so. If they conclude that they are more likely to be secure by acting in a nonaggressive fashion, then they will have benign intentions. Despite being caught up in the “great wave of hyper-nationalism [that] swept over Europe” after 1870, the great powers were unusually peaceful toward each other in the last three decades of the nineteenth century.63 Furthermore, the nature of a state’s nationalism—whether it is best described as being imbued with a benevolent or malevolent form of the ideology—is only ambiguously related to its intentions. Van Evera describes hypernationalism as being marked by three kinds of myths: “self-glorifying” myths that incorporate claims of virtue and competence; “self-whitewashing” myths that involve denials of past wrongdoing; and “other-maligning” myths that describe other great powers as inferior and aggressive.64 Clearly, such myths may be purveyed by malign states to persuade their publics that they must be prepared to threaten or attack their rivals.65 Pre–World War I Germany is a good example. Its leaders routinely proclaimed that the Kaiserreich was a superior civilization hemmed in by rapacious enemies.66 At the same time,

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however, self-glorifying, self-whitewashing, and other-maligning myths may be deployed by benign states to convince their citizens to fight and die in defense of the homeland.67 In the lead-up to World War I, British leaders—who appear to have had benign intentions—asserted that they were the greatest people on earth, endowed with a duty to rule, and assailed on all sides by foreign enemies. The French, too, gloried in their past, even claiming that they were doing God’s work. Boyd Shafer offers a neat summary, explaining that almost without exception European leaders portrayed other great powers as “‘harsh,’ ‘cruel,’ ‘backward,’” and their own states as “‘kind,’ ‘civilized,’ ‘progressive.’”68 Peaceful Democracies Another set of interests arguments focuses on domestic political systems and, specifically, on the difference between democracies and nondemocracies. In essence, proponents of this view argue that, in addition to being more transparent and truthful, democratic states are also more interested in avoiding military conflict—they have a greater desire for peace—than nondemocratic states. The argument begins with the observation that their political institutions, including free speech and periodic elections, make democratic governments accountable to domestic constituencies that may, in a variety of circumstances, oppose the threat or use of military force. These groups include the public, which prefers not to bear the costs of fighting; powerful interest groups that expect to incur losses in the event of war; and opposition parties that stand to gain politically if military action is unsuccessful.69 As a result, democracies are constrained from threatening or using force against other states. According to Bruce Russett, “in democracies, the constraints of checks and balances, division of power, and need for public debate to enlist widespread support will slow decisions to use largescale violence and reduce the likelihood that such decisions will be made.”70 Indeed, these constraints are said to be so tight that they explain why democracies rarely threaten or use force against each other and have established a “democratic peace.” In interactions between democracies, both sides are and know that the other side is also constrained, so they do not fight.71 A great power’s desire to be secure is a more important cause of its intentions than any domestically generated interest it may have. As Layne notes,

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“When important geopolitical interests are at stake, realpolitik—not regime type—determines great power policies.”72 Regarding democratic regimes, one might be able to argue that, all else equal, they would prefer to avoid threatening or using force. But if such behavior would make them more secure—for example, by eliminating a dangerous rival—then they are likely to have malign intentions. “Democracy refuses to think strategically,” writes the geographer Halford Mackinder, before adding that this is true “unless and until [it is] compelled to do so for purposes of defence.”73 Even proponents of the claim that democracies have an interest in avoiding military conflict acknowledge the primacy of security. Russett and his coauthor Zeev Maoz observe that “states put their survival above any other value they seek to promote.” Consequently, “if states come to believe that their application of domestically developed democratic norms would endanger their survival, they will act in accordance with the [violent] norms established by their rival.”74 Doyle concurs, observing that when they confront autocratic states, democracies, “like all other states, are caught in the international state of war Hobbes and the Realists describe.”75 There is abundant evidence that democracies routinely subordinate their purported interest in peace to their interest in security. Indeed, the relevant literature finds that they are as disposed toward aggression as other kinds of states. In a comprehensive evaluation, Stephen Quackenbush and Michael Rudy find “no support” for the “monadic democratic peace,” the assertion that democracies are unusually constrained when it comes to the threat or use of force. They find themselves “hard pressed to understand the empirical basis for claims that democracies are more peaceful in general than other states.”76 Russett summarizes the state of knowledge on the matter: “In neither arena is there strong and robust evidence that democracies are especially peaceful monadically (more peaceful in general).”77 Moreover, democracy is only ambiguously related to intentions. Specifically, it is not at all clear that democracies are systematically predisposed to being benign. To begin with, democratic peace theorists have overdrawn the extent to which democratic elites are restrained by cost-averse publics. The general public rarely feels the costs of war. Even if it does, cost aversion is often trumped by nationalism, which makes individuals willing to fight and die for their state and co-nationals. If they believe that national security

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is at stake—as is the case in most serious conflicts—citizens in democracies are likely to ignore the costs attached to decisions for war. Then there is the fact that democratic elites have wide latitude to shape public opinion and suppress dissent despite their purported obligation to allow free and open debate.78 These mechanisms have often been at work. When democratic leaders have opted for war, their decisions have generally been greeted by a spontaneous nationalistic response; or, in the absence of such a reaction, they have persuaded the public to support the use of force. Indeed, Dan Reiter and Allan Stam find only one instance since World War I “in which a democracy participated in war and its government faced substantial overt political opposition.” As for the United States, which fought in more than half of those wars, “no . . . president has taken the nation into war without indication that there is broad public support.”79 The second explanation for the supposed propensity of democracies to have benign intentions—that decision makers tend to be restrained by antiwar interest groups—is also dubious. Theoretically, groups that are better organized, possess superior information, and have more at stake in a given situation are more likely to influence policy.80 Therefore, there is little reason to believe that pacific groups will routinely prevail over bellicose ones. In matters of war and peace, both international traders and the militaryindustrial complex will have a great deal at stake and will be equally organized and informed. Empirically, prowar constituencies have regularly prevailed in the foreign policy-making process, even in mature democracies. Snyder demonstrates that imperialist interest groups dominated British decision making in the mid-nineteenth century due to their seeming monopoly on foreign policy expertise and their effective organization. At the same time, the United States became embroiled in Korea and Vietnam due to logrolling among prowar groups.81 There are also issues with the third explanation—namely, that democratic leaders are constrained from going to war if opposition parties object. Most important, opposition parties will not routinely oppose the use of force. Of course, they may do so if they believe that military action will be unpopular and unsuccessful. But if they conclude that the use of force will be popular, successful, or both, then they have few political incentives to oppose it. Perhaps this explains Kenneth Schultz’s finding that when democratic

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governments have issued deterrent threats, they have received opposition support 84 percent of the time.82 Furthermore, democratic governments know that even in the unlikely event that opposition parties speak out beforehand and that military action is both unpopular and unsuccessful, they have ample scope to manage the political fallout. In short, objections by opposition parties are unlikely to constrain democratically elected leaders.

Reliable Actions Intentions optimists often contend that great powers can infer the intentions of their peers from specific actions. To their minds, some actions are “costly,” where cost refers to the impact a given move would have on a state’s ability to execute its intentions.83 A measure that reduces a state’s ability to threaten or use force, for example, is less costly for a state with benign intentions than for a state with malign intentions. Two kinds of actions in particular are said to be less costly for benign than malign great powers: moves that curb or shrink a state’s fighting strength; and moves that deepen involvement in agreements designed to restrict or prohibit the recourse to violence. More simply, states that limit or reduce their military capabilities or that create or join peace-promoting security institutions are likely to have benign intentions. Knowledge of such actions is not reliable secondhand information about intentions, however. The reason is that the same action can be performed by a state that is benign and by a state that is malign. To be sure, states may sometimes perform actions that are slightly more reliable indicators of their intentions than are others. But there are serious limits here. In particular, they will be reluctant to act in ways that are truly costly—that is, to make moves that significantly affect their ability to carry out important tasks, such as attacking others or defending themselves. Being strategic actors, they do not voluntarily create situations that prevent them from taking advantage of other states or that allow those other states to take advantage of them.84 Arms Policies The proposition that great powers can infer intentions from others’ arms policies takes two forms.85 One relies on the quantity of military capabilities that states build and deploy. For Kydd, “while buildups provoke fear, re-

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fraining from a buildup can reassure.”86 Charles Glaser clarifies the logic. If a state launches a “buildup to gain an advantage in force size,” then others can increase their estimate that it has malign intentions, because a malign state is more likely to want larger forces than a benign one. Conversely, if a state “agrees to limit the size of its forces,” then others can be more certain that it has benign intentions, since a benign state will be more willing than a malign state to accept such limits. Increases and decreases above and below what is required for security are especially informative. States that “deploy forces that are larger than required to defend” likely have malign intentions. Meanwhile, a state that engages in “unilateral restraint,” which is to say that it reduces its “military capability below the level that it believes would otherwise be necessary for adequate deterrence and defense,” likely has benign intentions.87 A second arms policy claim rests on the distinction between offensive and defensive military capabilities. A state that restricts its offensive capabilities or prioritizes defense limits its prospects for aggression, thereby allowing others to increase their estimates that it is benign. Glaser identifies two arms policies that can have this effect: a state can enter into an “arms control agreement . . . limiting offense,” or it can opt for “defense emphasis . . . [and give] priority to meeting its military requirements with a defensive strategy.”88 In contrast, a state that procures offensive capabilities or prioritizes offense enhances its prospects for aggression, thus allowing others to increase their estimates that it has malign intentions. As Robert Jervis observes, states “obtain advance warning when others plan aggression. Before a state can attack, it has to develop and deploy offensive weapons.”89 On inspection, observers learn little about a state’s intentions when it makes modest changes to the quantity of weapons at its disposal. As is often noted, great powers may build weapons because they are malign and want to be better positioned to hurt their rivals, or because they are benign and hope to improve their deterrent and defensive prospects.90 At the same time, states may limit their weapons because they have benign intentions and see little need for an offensive capability, or because they have malign intentions and want to lull their rivals into a false sense of security.91 Then there is the fact that a state’s arms policy may be largely unrelated to its

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intentions. For example, arms buildups may reflect a determination to meet the demands of big industry or to boost economic growth.92 Similarly, arms limitation may reflect a desire to conserve resources or to avoid an arms race that is thought to be unwinnable.93 This ambiguity is compounded by the fact that there is no common understanding of the requirements for security. Were there a universal standard, a state could know whether another state had more or less than it needed to preserve itself and its strategic interests. This would, in turn, allow the first state to get a sense of the second state’s intentions. It could presume that a malign state would arm in excess of the standard and that a benign state would arm short of it. Even arms policy theorists admit, however, that states can have different understandings not only about how much security is enough, but also about the size and type of forces they require to defend themselves.94 Raymond Garthoff noted the problem at the height of the Cold War: “We do not know what size or mix of forces the Soviet leaders regard as necessary for deterrence (nor for such other objectives as internal control in Eastern Europe, or matching numbers of American strategic warheads, or various political purposes).”95 Although substantial changes in weapons and forces would go a long way toward resolving these issues by providing fairly unambiguous information about intentions, great powers rarely, if ever, opt for these kinds of policies. The consequences are simply too great. Take unilateral restraint. Were a great power to reduce its forces below the level required for adequate deterrence or defense, an observer could reasonably conclude that it had benign intentions. A state is highly unlikely to entertain such a policy, however, for fear of compromising its security. Glaser admits as much: “Of course, this security risk will make states reluctant to adopt an ambitious policy of unilateral restraint.”96 In fact, an analysis by George Downs, David Rocke, and Peter Barsoom finds that the major Cold War arms control agreements— including the Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty (1972), the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) Interim Agreement (1972), SALT II (1979), and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (1987)—were instances of limited rather than significant restraint on both sides.97 Intentions optimists dispute this argument, claiming to have identified two cases in which a great power agreed to significant quantitative limits on

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its military capabilities: the U.S. accession to the Washington Naval Treaties (1922); and the Soviet Union’s declaration that it would reduce its conventional forces in Europe (1988). Yet neither case supports their claims. Regarding the Washington accords, optimists assert that the United States accepted meaningful constraints on its naval power by agreeing to a 10:6 advantage in battleships over Japan even though it had the resources to establish a larger lead, and by committing not to build further fortifications in the Philippines and Guam.98 It is not at all clear, however, that this arrangement made it impossible for the United States to launch a successful offensive against Japan. Indeed, the Japanese believed that a 10:7—not 10:6—ratio together with a nonfortification agreement was the minimum requirement for them to defend against an eventual transoceanic attack.99 Although U.S. negotiators agreed with this assessment, they forced their Japanese counterparts to accept the inferior ratio.100 In short, the United States engaged in only limited arms control at Washington. Nor was General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev’s announcement that Moscow would reduce its conventional forces in Europe an unequivocal case of unilateral restraint.101 To begin with, the proposed reductions were not particularly significant from a military point of view. Gorbachev’s proposal did not promise to take away the Warsaw Pact’s ability to overrun North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in Central Europe. In the mid- to late 1980s, most U.S. government officials and military experts believed that NATO was “in reasonably good shape or, at worst . . . not far from the point where it could stand up to a Pact offensive.”102 At the same time, the proposed cuts were not substantial enough to leave the Soviet Union vulnerable to a NATO offensive. Indeed, civilian and military leaders noted that even after the proposed reductions, Warsaw Pact forces would still outnumber NATO forces by a significant margin.103 Then there is the fact that Moscow began to negotiate mutual reductions with Washington soon after Gorbachev’s declaration.104 In other words, even the prospect of limited unilateral restraint was short-lived. Before demonstrating that qualitative arms policy claims are vulnerable to similar criticisms, it is important to note that it is hard to differentiate offensive from defensive weapons. Take the common claim that firepowerenhancing systems are defensive because they enable defenders to prevent

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attackers from concentrating their forces. Such weapons also have offensive uses, including suppressive fire, preparatory bombardments, and the thinning of defensive lines. Conversely, mobile weapons systems, which optimists generally consider to be offensive, have obvious defensive uses. The mobility they provide allows defenders to move forces quickly to the theater and seize the tactical counteroffensive.105 Given these conceptual difficulties, Samuel Huntington’s judgment is widely shared among military experts: “Weapons may be usefully differentiated in a variety of ways, but the offense/defense distinction is not one of them.”106 Great powers have encountered precisely these kinds of problems in attempting to distinguish between offense and defense. At the 1932 World Disarmament Conference—the only major meeting at which states made a serious effort to categorize weapons—the participants quickly chose not to “formulate a general definition of aggressive armaments.” Three features of the ensuing discussions are worth noting. First, negotiators sought to categorize specific weapons and “avoid the pitfalls of generality.” Second, there was little consensus even on specific armaments. Marion Boggs observes that although a majority agreed that heavy tanks and artillery were offensive, this agreement “did not . . . approach unanimity . . . And in every case . . . [the] minority included one or more of the Great Powers.”107 The authors of another study reach a similar conclusion: “Although they were able to agree that heavy tanks were clearly offensive weapons, the states that were represented at the conference disagreed about the character of every other weapon.”108 Third, the offense-defense distinction fell victim to strategic considerations. Each great power declared that those weapons most useful to it or in which it was superior were defensive, and that those most useful to its rivals or in which those states were superior were offensive.109 Distinctions were made, then, for reasons having little to do with the offensive or defensive features of the weapons in question. Even if one were to concede that weapons are distinguishable, arms policies are still ambiguous indicators of great powers’ intentions. The reason is that, regardless of how they intend to behave, it makes good sense for states to deploy both offensive and defensive weapons and forces. States that have no intention of starting a war must still procure sturdy offensive

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forces to deter potential aggressors or show resolve. They are also likely to require an offensive capability if they have interests beyond the homeland or commitments to third parties, as most great powers do. And they need formidable offensive forces in the event that they end up being attacked, either to regain territory lost in battle or because some states will quit only if they suffer great pain. Meanwhile, states that have malign intentions must deploy defensive forces to ensure that their rivals do not attack them first, as a prelude to acquiring offensive forces, to protect some fronts as they attack on others, or for insurance purposes in case a war goes badly.110 More generally, all great powers must prepare for multiple missions and multiple rivals, which inevitably means that they must have a robust mix of offensive and defensive weapons, thereby conveying unreliable information about their intentions.111 There would, of course, be less ambiguity if states were to emphasize heavily some kinds of weapons and forces over others. For example, an observer could assume that a state that takes serious steps to privilege defense or forego offense is likely to have benign intentions. Great powers are unlikely to engage in such behavior, however, since this would limit their military options. And, in fact, there is little evidence that states act this way. When it comes to defense emphasis, intentions optimists can cite only hypothetical examples, asserting that Germany would have adopted this approach had it “replaced the Schlieffen Plan . . . with plans to remain on the defense on both the Western and Eastern fronts” in the run-up to World War I.112 As for foregoing offense, they identify a single case: the ABM Treaty.113 This is not an example of significant offensive arms control, however. Because the superpowers could overwhelm each other’s missile defense systems with relative ease, they did not surrender a great deal of offensive capability when they negotiated the treaty. Glaser acknowledges the point, explaining that the “signal” generated by the treaty “was relatively small because defense . . . dominated offense.”114 Institutional Policies A different actions argument focuses on peace-promoting security institutions, which is to say, agreements that limit or prohibit the threat or use of force and provide mechanisms for punishing rule breakers.115 John

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Ikenberry claims that signatories to such arrangements can “know that competition between them will remain contained within an institutionalized political process and not lead to war or the threat of war.”116 It follows that a great power’s stance toward a peace-promoting security institution provides reliable information about its intentions.117 Consider that a benign state is more willing than a malign state to create, join, or remain in an institution that limits or prohibits aggression. Simply put, the benign state, unlike its malign counterpart, does not view the relevant limitations and prohibitions as especially onerous since it does not intend to threaten or use military force. Nor does it expect to act in ways that will cause it to be punished. As Seth Weinberger explains, a state “that is aware of the likely costs of an institution will only accede to those institutions that it perceives to be commensurate with its interest. Institutions that codify or internalize undesirable rules, obligations, and norms will be either rejected, or entered into and not complied with.”118 By the same logic, a great power that withdraws from a peace-promoting institution likely has malign intentions. To quote Kydd, malign states find the constraints embodied in such institutions “irksome.”119 In short, Celeste Wallander suggests, peace-promoting security institutions function as “informational and signaling mechanisms that permit states to get more information about the interests, preferences, intentions, and security strategies of other states.”120 Peace-promoting security institutions only provide reliable information about state intentions if they are especially strong—that is, if they outlaw force under all circumstances and provide mechanisms to impose harsh punishment on rule breakers. States that create, join, or remain in them are obviously benign. The problem is that great powers do not establish arrangements of this kind. Because they are strategic actors, they do not voluntarily give up the right to threaten or use force to achieve their goals; nor do they accept that they will face severe punishment in the event that they resort to aggression. Indeed, if an agreement promises to limit their freedom of action and impose significant costs on them, then great powers stick to the institutionless status quo ante.121 Thus, on the rare occasions that they do establish peace-promoting security institutions, those arrangements are weak, and the information generated by their stance toward them is correspondingly weak.

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There are, in fact, no historical examples of great powers establishing strong peace-promoting security institutions. The accords that they have managed to negotiate have failed either to require an explicit renunciation of force or to provide for stiff penalties against rule breakers. Matthew Rendall observes that the Concert of Europe (1815) did not have “concrete rules and procedures” prohibiting the use of force.122 Even those who view it as a kind of institution describe it as a “conceptual norm” that “gradually came to embody a code of conduct.”123 Nor were there procedures for punishing violators. Charles Kupchan and Clifford Kupchan find that “mechanisms for implementing collective action” against a rule breaker “were left unstipulated.”124 The historian Paul Schroeder, who does detect a punishment mechanism, acknowledges that “reckless or unlawful behavior would cost the offending state” little more than “its status and voice.”125 Indeed, the only reassurance the great powers had about intentions was an informal understanding that they would not threaten or use force against each other directly, in each other’s spheres of influence, or without the approval of their peers.126 The Hague Convention (1899) also placed few constraints on great power behavior. Member states did no more than “agree to employ all their efforts to bring about by pacific means the solution of international differences.”127 To be sure, the Convention did establish a tribunal to arbitrate disputes, but its remit did not extend to matters in which the threat or use of force might be at stake. As Barbara Tuchman notes, “any suggestion of giving it authority over disputes involving ‘honor or vital interest’ caused it to totter toward collapse.”128 Instead, the signatories merely agreed to “have recourse, as far as circumstances permit, to the good offices or to the mediation of one or more friendly powers” before resorting to force. Nor was mediation final. If and when mediators became involved, their conclusions would be “advisory” rather than having “obligatory force.” Finally, there was no provision for penalizing states that rejected mediation. If conflict broke out, nonbelligerents were expected to do no more than take “advantage of every opportunity to reestablish peace.”129 A similar conclusion applies to the Covenant of the League of Nations (1919). Article 10 required signatory states to “respect and preserve as

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against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members.”130 Yet it did not specify particular sanctions in the event of a breach of peace. This decision was left to the Council, whose pronouncements were purely advisory and had to be unanimous. The other key articles—12, 13, and 15—required members to engage in third-party resolution when disputes arose. But they were not obliged to accept the outcome of these processes and could go to war three months after any decision. States that did not submit their disputes to the League or failed to observe the waiting period would be subject to economic sanctions for which no initiation or enforcement mechanisms were stipulated. The Council would also consider whether military action was warranted in these cases, but again could only make recommendations and had to do so on the basis of unanimity (Article 16).131 There is also little in the Charter of the United Nations (1945) to suggest that it can constrain great powers. Article 2.4 requires signatories to refrain from threatening or using force. In addition, the U.N. Security Council has the authority to decide when members have broken the rules, and the means to punish transgressors (Articles 39–51). At the same time, however, the Charter granted veto power to the United States and the Soviet Union, thus exempting them from the rules. Hence Hans Morgenthau’s indictment of the accord: “The most important task of any such system is the imposition of effective restraints upon the struggle for power. This task the United Nations is incapable of performing . . . with respect to the great powers.”132 The same verdict applies to the major nonaggression treaties of the modern period: the German Confederation (1820), and the Rhineland (1925), Franco-Soviet (1932), Soviet-Italian (1933), and Molotov-Ribbentrop (1939) pacts.133 Although these accords prohibited the use of force—the members agreed not to attack each other—none included meaningful provisions for sanctioning rule breakers.134 The Rhineland Pact, a Franco-German treaty guaranteed by Britain and Italy, is a case in point. Anthony Adamthwaite explains that “the guarantee was only half a guarantee. The guarantors, Britain and Italy, were sole judges of what constituted unprovoked aggression. There was no military machinery for implementing the guarantee nor inspection procedures for monitoring demilitarization.”135

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In sum, observers cannot obtain reliable information about a state’s intentions from its stance toward peace-promoting security institutions. Because they are designed so that membership is neither constraining nor costly, malign states are as likely as benign states to establish or join them. This point is not especially controversial. Weinberger admits that institutional membership says little about a great power’s intentions if the institution in question does not require explicit promises or guarantee penalties: “Not all institutions matter equally as a signal of preference. Careful attention must be paid to the design of the institution. How strong is it? How are its rules and obligations enforced?”136

Multiple Pieces of Information As should be clear by now, intentions optimists acknowledge that great powers are rather unlikely to acquire reliable secondhand information that says their peers are benign. At no point, in fact, do they identify a particular piece of evidence as being an unambiguous indicator of benign intent. Nevertheless, some intentions optimists have a fallback position, claiming that great powers can manufacture reliable information by combining multiple pieces of evidence. Thus, although they concede that “individual signals” may be “only ‘marginally’ informative” or “quite ‘noisy,’ ” Brandon Yoder and Kyle Haynes suggest that “states can glean significant information about each other’s intentions . . . by aggregating information from many observations across many contexts.”137 Similarly, Glaser and Kydd maintain that “multiple channels of information could, in combination, provide information sufficient to change a state’s policy, even if each source on its own would not.”138 David Edelstein also believes that states can overcome the fact that “domestic characteristics and behavioral signals are of only limited value as indicators of intentions.” In his opinion, decision makers “assess a portfolio of the many available indicators” and “interpret the array of information that is available to them,” thereby occasionally forming confident beliefs about intentions.139 It is important to note that these requirements are far more demanding than they might appear at first glance. To begin with, each clue must be

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marginally reliable. Unreliable clues—that is, pieces of evidence that are consistent with either benign or malign intentions—simply cannot be aggregated to yield reliable information. Moreover, there must be many marginally reliable clues. How many is not clear. But if states employ an aggregation procedure known as Bayesian updating—as several intentions optimists claim they do—then they are likely to require between ten and twenty such clues.140 In addition, if a state is to be confident that a rival has benign intentions, all the relevant clues must point in the same direction— they must all suggest that the rival is benign. The evidentiary demands are so significant, in fact, that intentions optimists provide only one historical case to back up their claims: the last years of the Cold War. According to Glaser and Kydd, the Soviet Union adopted a series of policies, “including a moratorium on nuclear testing, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the start of withdrawal from Afghanistan, large reductions of Soviet forces in Central Europe, and steps toward democratization,” that together “produced a significant positive shift in U.S. assessments of Soviet intentions.” Their conclusion is a bold endorsement of the multiple clues argument: “Although it is possible that none of these moves on its own would have been sufficient to generate a large revision of U.S. assessments, their combined effect was substantial.” So substantial, in fact, that the United States changed course, ramping down its military competition with the Soviet Union.141 On inspection, it is hard to see how even this case supports intentions optimism. To begin with, note the limited nature of Glaser and Kydd’s contention: the United States acquired a total of five marginally reliable clues. Moreover, they ignore the many countervailing clues that existed at the time, thereby stacking the deck in favor of intentions optimism. For example, there were reasons to believe that foreign policy hard-liners might seize power in Moscow. Of course, Glaser and Kydd might argue that the Soviet policies they mention were highly rather than marginally reliable. Were this the case, a significant revision of American views might be possible. But they do not do this. “The test moratorium,” Kydd writes, “is perhaps best seen as a signal that is not quite cheap, but not quite costly enough; an inexpensive signal.”142 As for the INF Treaty, Glaser concludes that “argu-

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ably the United States traded away the strategically more important systems.” Similarly, Soviet conventional force reductions “had only begun and were reversible.”143 It is probably for this reason—and in stark contrast to Glaser and Kydd’s understanding of the matter—that the United States did not become certain enough that the Soviet Union had benign intentions to eschew competitive policies. As has often been noted, U.S. leaders exploited the Soviet Union’s evident weakness in 1989 and 1990 to establish a dominant position in Europe.144

Information and the Problem of the Future Intentions optimists share my view that the problems of access and reliability apply with greater force to future rather than current intentions.145 That said, some of them suggest that I have overstated the problem of the future. Most of their claims can be summarily rejected because they are simply asserted without logical or empirical support. Glaser does little more than declare that “although judgments about future motives are difficult to make (even more so than for current motives), states can and do make them.”146 Meanwhile, Wendt asks whether “intentions are highly unstable over time,” and insists, “not as far as I can tell.” Worse still, he then backs away from his declaration, admitting that although interests rarely change, “how those interests are pursued varies more.”147 That is, intentions are, in fact, changeable.148 There is, however, one optimistic argument that merits more careful investigation. Kydd posits that knowledge of what great powers intend today serves as reliable secondhand information about what they will intend tomorrow because, in contrast to my claims, great powers rarely change their intentions in important ways. “There are,” he contends, “reasons for believing that preference change from security seeking to expansionist, the most troubling case, is rare.” Domestic factors lie at the heart of his stability of intentions explanation. In democracies, executives represent the “median voter,” whose interests tend to be stable, and in other kinds of states, “political institutions can impose a certain inertia on policy, along with other domestic constraints.”149 Although they make no effort to back up their thinking, Yoder and Haynes make a similar point: “Domestic attributes are

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often quite stable, as national culture and socioeconomic structure generally change gradually and/or infrequently. And although leadership change can occur, new leaders will likely face similar domestic constraints as their predecessors.”150 Kydd’s argument is ultimately unpersuasive. Most important, the underlying causal logic is flawed. The median voter’s views in a democracy are not especially stable; they can and do change as a result of wars, crises, economic upheavals, and the like. In addition, democratic executives have considerable scope to use their authority and information advantage in foreign affairs to change the median voter’s mind. This privileged position also means that executives need not be especially responsive to voters: they can formulate intentions and take actions that they believe are necessary, reap the political rewards if they are successful, and conceal, lie, or spin if they are not. Thus, even if the median voter has stable intentions, this does not mean that the state will as well. As for nondemocracies, their political institutions surely exert some constraints on executives. They do not, however, prevent them from modifying their intentions as their circumstances change. Nor do they prevent other leaders with different ideas from coming to power. Then there are empirical reasons to doubt Kydd’s claims. Crucially, he provides no evidence that shows great power intentions are stable over time.151

Conclusion None of the arguments that say great powers can sometimes access firsthand information or acquire reliable secondhand information about each other’s intentions withstands real scrutiny. Accordingly, confident conclusions on the matter are highly unlikely. Faced with this conclusion, intentions optimists contend that even if their theories are flawed, there is good evidence in the historical record of states assessing intentions with confidence and, specifically, being confident that other states are benign.152 Thus, it is time to turn to these cases and ask whether great powers have trusted or come close to trusting each other in practice.

3

The Bismarck Era

according to british conservative party leader Benjamin Disraeli, the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 radically transformed Europe’s political landscape: “You have a new world, new influences at work, new and unknown objects and dangers with which to cope. . . . The balance of power has been entirely destroyed.”1 The question was: how would the other great powers respond? Many, including German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, expected a fierce security competition with the potential for war. To his mind, Germany would now face the inevitable consequences of the “bad feeling which has been called out through our growth to the position of a real Great Power.”2 Some intentions optimists suggest that Bismarck’s fears did not materialize for the two decades that he remained at the helm of German foreign policy. David Edelstein offers a neat summary of this view: “the response of other European great powers was not to pursue assertive, competitive strategies against Germany.”3 Mark Haas is more specific, remarking that relations between Russia and Germany—the most obvious potential antagonists on account of their formidable military capabilities and proximity to one another—met the “requirements of a security community.” Members of such communities, he explains, “rule out the use of force as a means of settling disputes, and instead possess stable expectations of peaceful change. They neither fight one another nor expect to do so, and instead engage in security cooperation.”4 Especially where Russo-German relations

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were concerned, then, the Bismarck period was characterized by the serious attenuation, if not the absence, of security competition. These scholars have a simple explanation for this era of apparent peace: Europe’s great powers trusted each other. A number of them credit Bismarck’s skills as a diplomat. Henry Kissinger describes the Iron Chancellor as a “genius” who “preserved the peace and eased international tension with his moderation and flexibility.”5 Similarly, Avery Goldstein highlights Bismarck’s determination to ensure that Germany’s “newfound strength did not provoke foreign powers to combine against it.” To that end, he attempted “to win the confidence” of the other powers and persuade them that the Kaiserreich was a “peaceful . . . [and] saturated power.” Importantly, Goldstein finds that diplomacy worked: “Bismarck’s strategy was strikingly successful during the latter decades of the nineteenth century.”6 Edelstein reaches a similar conclusion in his examination of the Congress of Berlin, which was held in the summer of 1878 and ranks as the most important diplomatic gathering of the era. In his opinion, Bismarck used the conference “to reassure others about Germany’s intentions.” There was a “remarkable shift” in how other states viewed Germany; it came to be seen as “a kind of guarantor of the European order.”7 In the case of Russia and Germany, the trust-inducing effects of adroit diplomacy are said to have been strengthened by monarchical solidarity and intensive treaty making. Mark Haas and John Owen assert that Germany was confident that “Russia’s intentions were benign” due to “the high level of ideological similarities uniting” the two powers. These “ideological ties” began to fray in the 1890s, but “for the better part of a century” after the Napoleonic Wars, Berlin and St. Petersburg “anticipated highly cooperative relations based on their shared ideology.”8 At the same time, Edelstein describes the various Russo-German treaties of this period as “an extended effort by Bismarck to allay concerns about German intentions.” The process began when Russia and Germany, together with Austria-Hungary, negotiated “the Schönbrunn Convention, creating the League of the Three Emperors,” or to use its German name, the First Dreikaiserbund, in 1873. Its successor, the Second Dreikaiserbund, contracted in 1881, had an even greater effect, addressing the “security con-

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cerns of Europe’s conservative powers, especially Russia.” Finally, the Russo-German Reinsurance Treaty of 1887 assured St. Petersburg “that it would not face an opposition coalition that included Germany.”9 Berlin was equally reassured: “Each of these agreements tied Russia to Germany and signaled that Russia would not enter into an anti-German alliance with France.”10 These claims are wrong. As intentions pessimism predicts, Russia and Germany did not even come close to trusting each other at any point from 1871 to 1890. To begin with, decision makers in Berlin and St. Petersburg did not view diplomacy, treaties, or ideology as reliable evidence that their counterparts had benign intentions. Statements by one side or the other that it was benign were discounted as cheap talk, the kinds of comments that could be made by a state that was either benign or malign. As for the various Russo-German treaties of the period, both parties realized that they involved no real commitments or constraints, not to mention that they were unenforceable. Meanwhile, only the German and Russian monarchs felt any ideological solidarity; other officials gave the matter short shrift. Moreover, to the extent that conciliatory declarations, interstate agreements, and common legitimating principles suggested benign intent, they were offset by other factors that did not. German and Russian officials frequently employed aggressive language in their interactions. They also found themselves on different sides of the various disputes that arose among Europe’s great powers. Perhaps most important, Germany worried that Russia would force it into war by attacking Austria-Hungary, and Russia feared a similar scenario playing out with respect to France. All of this was compounded by the problem of the future: German and Russian decision makers understood that whatever the other side’s intentions might be in the present, there were many reasons that these could change. Consequently—and in contrast to the claims of intentions optimists— Germany and Russia engaged in an intense security competition in the 1870s and 1880s. This fact is sometimes obscured by what came later, namely Russia’s anti-German alliance with France (1894) and World War I (1914– 18). It is worth emphasizing, however, that Russo-German relations were by no means peaceful during the Bismarck era. Berlin and St. Petersburg

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worked particularly hard to improve their military capabilities, repeatedly increasing the size and quality of their forces and updating their war plans. Furthermore, both powers went to great lengths to strengthen their diplomatic positions: Germany contracted an alliance with Austria-Hungary against Russia in 1879, and Russia responded by drawing closer to France. Of course, security competition did not devolve into open conflict. But the Russo-German relationship was punctuated by frequent talk of war and several war-threatening crises. The rest of this chapter elaborates these arguments. The bulk of it is devoted to examining German and Russian perceptions of each other’s intentions from 1871 to 1890. I focus on the periods before and after the making of the First Dreikaiserbund (May 1871–June 1875), the Congress of Berlin (July 1875–October 1879), the creation of the Second Dreikaiserbund (November 1879–September 1884), and the formation of the RussoGerman Reinsurance Treaty (September 1885–March 1890). Then, having shown that Berlin and St. Petersburg were far from confident that the other side had benign intentions throughout the Bismarck era, I describe the resulting Russo-German security competition.

The First Dreikaiserbund, May 1871–June 1875 The Franco-Prussian War officially ended with the signature of the Treaty of Frankfurt on 10 May 1871. Its aftermath saw a flurry of diplomacy and treaty making between Germany and Russia. At the meeting of the three emperors, a high-level diplomatic encounter held in Berlin in September 1872, Kaiser Wilhelm I and Tsar Alexander II, together with Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, announced that they were committed to European peace and stability. The following May, Germany and Russia signed a military convention when Wilhelm visited St. Petersburg, though it was never ratified. Then, in October 1873, Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary established the First Dreikaiserbund. Although this agreement was meant to improve relations among its signatories, it did not inaugurate a period of calm. Instead, Bismarck initiated a series of war scares, beginning in January 1874 and culminating with the War in Sight Crisis between Germany and France in the spring of 1875.11

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German and Russian Views of Each Other through the Creation of the Dreikaiserbund Germany was acutely uncertain about Russia’s intentions in the early 1870s. To be sure, Berlin was grateful that St. Petersburg had remained neutral in the Franco-Prussian War. “Prussia will never forget that she owes it to you that the war has not taken on extreme dimensions,” Wilhelm wrote Alexander in February 1871. As if to reassure the kaiser further, the tsar replied by referencing “the friendship which unites us.”12 Yet this had little effect on German thinking. As Bismarck explained, “The sincere esteem and friendship of Alexander II for his uncle [Wilhelm] concealed the uneasiness already felt in official circles.”13 In fact, only a month after Wilhelm sent his note to Alexander, Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst informed Austro-Hungarian decision makers that the Germans were interested in some kind of union because they “feared Russia” and had “great anxiety over Slav expansionism.” The German ambassador to Vienna, General Hans von Schweinitz, made a similar point the following year, writing in his diary that Berlin must reach an accord with Austria-Hungary so as to be secure against its powerful eastern neighbor: “only when mounted were we as tall as the Russian giant. . . . Austria was intended to be our mount.”14 Although the meeting of the three emperors in September 1872 was a spectacular moment in European diplomacy, it did little to alleviate Germany’s uncertainty. Bismarck’s account of the proceedings explains why: “I wanted these emperors to form a loving group, like Canova’s three graces. I wanted them to stand in a silent group and allow themselves to be admired, but I was determined not to allow them to talk, and that I have achieved, difficult as it was.”15 Indeed, the chancellor observed that “no agreements were made at this meeting.”16 Although Bismarck had incentives to claim that little happened at Berlin, his summary of the proceedings appears to be truthful. According to Lord Russell, the British ambassador to Germany, the participants “confirmed in private conversation the official announcement that no special policy, beyond a common agreement to avoid in future a breach of the peace, had been discussed during the meeting of the three Emperors.” To make matters worse, the information that Germany did manage to acquire was not reassuring. In a

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private meeting with Bismarck, Russian foreign minister Aleksandr Gorchakov declared that, unlike Germany, “Russia had no interest in the weakness of France; on the contrary, he wished for a strong and prudent France.”17 German officials were therefore far from confident that their Russian counterparts had benign intentions on the eve of the First Dreikaiserbund. Bismarck made the point in a memorandum of June 1873 for Wilhelm about a potential change of regime in France. The document “painted a dark and threatening picture of Europe’s political landscape.” In Bismarck’s view, France would eventually seek to unite “the Latin part of Europe . . . against Germany.” There was a chance that even “Austria might soon join in this coalition.” The result would be German isolation, because, and this was the key point, “Russia, its only ally, could not be depended upon.”18 St. Petersburg reciprocated Berlin’s deep mistrust. Following the FrancoPrussian War, Russian minister of war Dmitry Miliutin thought it wise to prepare for the possibility that Russia might “be attacked by Germany sooner or later,” and the Russian military began to plan for war.19 Other leaders feared the prospect of some kind of German-Austrian understanding at Russia’s expense.20 Thus, in the aftermath of several high-profile conversations between German and Austro-Hungarian officials, Alexander declared that it was unpleasant “when his best friend . . . gets together with someone else and he must wait outside his friend’s door, as it were, while the other two consort within.”21 In fact, it was precisely because they worried that Berlin and Vienna might forge a separate agreement that the Russians invited themselves to Berlin in September 1872, turning what was meant to be a two- into a three-emperor meeting.22 Russell explained: “Gorchakov, seeing the danger to which an Austro-German alliance and the consequent isolation of Russia with no other ally but bleeding France exposed his country, persuaded [Alexander] . . . to travel five days and nights . . . to neutralise the exclusive character of the Austro-German meeting.”23 The encounter hardly allayed Russian uncertainty, however. “It was a work of peace and reconciliation,” asserted Gorchakov. “Nothing was written, no protocols; no positive obligations which might limit our liberty of action; in a word nothing for the diplomatic archives.”24 What the Russians did learn was cause for alarm. In a conversation with Gorchakov, Bismarck implied that

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Austro-Hungarian foreign minister Gyula Andrássy had offered Germany an offensive and defensive alliance against Russia.25 Russian uncertainty about German intentions is also apparent in the text of an agreement negotiated between St. Petersburg and Vienna in June 1873. In part, the accord committed the two powers to maintain the status quo in the Balkans. “In the event of the interests of Their countries appearing to diverge over particular questions,” they were “to concert together to ensure that these divergences do not prevail over the considerations of a higher order that are Their chief concern.” Yet it also envisaged joint action in the event of German aggression. Russia and Austria-Hungary agreed “to safeguard, and, if necessary, to enforce the maintenance of European peace against all disturbances from any quarter whatever.” Crucially, “in the event of a threat to the peace arising from the aggression of a third Power,” they would work to establish “an understanding with each other first of all and, without seeking or contracting new alliances, to agree on a line of action [including military action] to be pursued in common.”26 The creation of the First Dreikaiserbund a few months later did little to resolve this Russo-German mistrust. The problem—as had been the case for the previous exchanges between German and Russian leaders—was that the discussions and the final agreement involved no serious commitments. The most consequential clauses merely required the signatories to “concert action even when the interests of their states were divergent” and engage in “mutual consultation . . . to decide on a line of action” in the event of an attack by a third party.27 Hence the uncontroversial verdict of historian Gordon Craig: the League of the Three Emperors was “essentially nothing but a declaration on the part of its signatories of their belief in the importance of maintaining a close association.”28 German and Russian Views of Each Other during the War Scares Berlin and St. Petersburg remained acutely uncertain about each other’s intentions during the war scares period that followed the formation of the First Dreikaiserbund. Only a few months after the treaty’s signature, Bismarck intimated, through the German semi-official press, that Russian imperialism represented a real threat, and even suggested that a Russo-German war might be in the offing. These concerns took on some urgency early in

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1875, when Germany discovered that Russia was massing an army in Poland. Indeed, Russian troop movements led the German General Staff to order a special alert, and prompted Bismarck to send a personal emissary, Joseph Maria von Radowitz, to St. Petersburg. The ensuing negotiations “reduced the threat of war, but the Prusso-Russian relationship remained quite bad.”29 So much so that in a March conversation with HohenloheSchillingsfürst, Bismarck stated that of all the coalitions that could possibly be arrayed against the Reich, he most feared the prospect of an alliance between France and Russia.30 German mistrust peaked during the War in Sight Crisis. In its early stages, Bismarck feared that Russia or Austria-Hungary might form an antiGerman alliance with France.31 He reiterated the point emphatically to the Russian ambassador to London, Petr Shuvalov, when the latter passed through Berlin in May 1875. Bismarck, the ambassador reported, was in a high state of anxiety: “He appeared to think that all Europe was inclined to coalesce against Germany.”32 General Helmuth von Moltke spoke along similar lines in a conversation with Russell: “Germany required more than any other nation an army organised for defence, because she was placed in the centre of Europe and could be invaded from all sides.” Berlin, the general continued, “must ever be ready to anticipate hostile intentions and alliances on the part of her neighbors. . . . Germany, for reasons he could not account for, since the foundation of the Empire, appeared to inspire hatred and suspicion rather than confidence to her former friends and allies.”33 The Germans were less agitated, though no less mistrustful, after the crisis passed. In a frank conversation with liberal politician Karl Braun, Bismarck declared, “I have two powerful dogs [Russia and Austria-Hungary] by their collars. I am holding them apart: first, to keep them from tearing each other to pieces; second, to keep them from coming to an understanding at our expense.”34 St. Petersburg’s support for Paris during the war scares period shows that Russo-German uncertainty was a two-way street. Because they doubted that Germany had benign intentions, the Russians reasoned that a powerful France was their best guarantee of security. A constellation of this kind would stand a good chance of deterring Berlin by confronting it with a twofront war problem. Therefore, just before he negotiated the First Dreikais-

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erbund, Gorchakov assured French diplomat Jean-Baptiste de Chaudordy that the other European great powers would not allow Bismarck to attack France.35 He followed up with the French ambassador to St. Petersburg, Adolphe Le Flô, in 1874: “Bismarck cannot make war upon you when he has the moral opinion of Europe against him, and he will have.” Later that year, he made the same point with emphasis, arguing, “France, strong and powerful, is necessary to Europe. . . . I can say only one thing, be strong, be strong.”36 These assurances continued well into 1875. Alexander told Le Flô that Russia would stand by France in the event of a confrontation with Germany: “The interests of our two countries are common, and if, which I refuse to believe, you should some day be seriously threatened, you would know of it very quickly, and . . . you would know of it from me.”37 For his part, Gorchakov promised to do everything in his “power to restrain Berlin’s impatience and to see that moderate and peaceful ideas prevail.”38 Russia was prepared to be quite confrontational on the issue with Germany. In May 1875, at the height of the War in Sight Crisis, Shuvalov was dispatched to Berlin to warn Germany that Russia opposed a German attack on France.39 Bismarck was impressed by the severity of the rebuke, complaining that he was already having sleepless nights before St. Petersburg’s démarche.40 A week later, Alexander and Gorchakov followed up in person. Russia would not tolerate another German war against France, Alexander insisted in a meeting with Wilhelm.41 Gorchakov went further, demanding a categorical assurance from Bismarck that Berlin was committed to peace.42 In fact, such was the aggressiveness of the Russian intervention that Andrássy viewed it as presaging a rupture in Russo-German relations: “Bismarck will never forgive [Gorchakov]!”43 Bismarck gave Russia even more reason to mistrust Germany in the aftermath of the crisis. “You certainly will not have much room for congratulation on what you have been doing in risking our friendship for an empty satisfaction,” he admonished Gorchakov. “I frankly tell you that I am a good friend with friends and a good enemy with enemies!”44 Or as he recalled the incident in a conversation with Lord Salisbury: “When . . . [Gorchakov] chose in 1875 to invent that French scare, climbing on my shoulders in order to pose as peacemaker before Europe, I told him that, though I should continue to value the alliance of Russia, all confidence was at an end between us.”45

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The Congress of Berlin, July 1875–October 1879 Beginning in July 1875, revolts against Ottoman rule broke out all over the Balkans. Turkey fought back and had the upper hand by late 1876. At this point, Russia intervened, finally imposing the Treaty of San Stefano on the Turks in March 1878. This was not the end of the affair, however. Austria-Hungary immediately objected to the terms of the treaty, arguing that it violated earlier agreements, and together with Britain, threatened war, whereupon Russia agreed to revise the accord. Then, at the Congress of Berlin, held from June to July 1878, the great powers redrew the Balkan map along the lines favored by Austria-Hungary and Britain. A little more than a year later, on 7 October 1879, Germany again sided with Austria-Hungary against Russia, establishing the German-Austrian Dual Alliance.46 German Views of Russia through the Congress of Berlin Bismarck was far from confident that Russia had benign intentions in the early stages of the Balkan Crisis. To begin with, there was the ever present chance that St. Petersburg might gang up with Vienna against Berlin. As the chancellor explained to Russell in January 1876: “Germany could not well afford to let Austria and Russia become too intimate behind her back.” Moreover, even if Russia was not malign in the present, it could become so in the future, especially if Berlin were to take Vienna’s side in a clash between Russia and Austria-Hungary. “In the event of a quarrel between them [Russia and Austria-Hungary],” Bismarck predicted, “popular opinion and sympathy would probably side with Austria, which would make a rancorous and dangerous enemy of Russia, who would then find a willing ally in France to injure Germany.”47 Bismarck’s mistrust of Russia, and, for that matter, Austria-Hungary and Britain, was hardly alleviated as the Balkan Crisis escalated. Facing the prospect of presiding over a conference to resolve the dispute in August 1876, he demurred, arguing that the other great powers could turn against Germany. “Day after day Germany would be called upon to be the arbitrator between the two hostile groups of the Congress, the most thankless task that can fall to our lot,” he told Bernhard von Bülow, the attaché to the

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embassy in Paris. After all, the Germans were “not disposed, firmly and from the outset to attach ourselves to one of the two groups,” which raised “the prospect . . . that our three friends, Russia, Austria, and England, will leave the Congress with ill feeling towards us, because none of them has had the support from us that he expected.”48 Bismarck returned to the theme two months later, noting his desire that Germany not “end up on permanently bad terms with Britain, even more with Austria, but most of all with Russia.” This was “of infinitely greater importance for the future of Germany than all Turkey’s relations with its subjects and with the European powers.”49 At times, German uncertainty was especially acute. When Alexander told Wilhelm, “I like to count on you, as you will always be able to count on me,” Bismarck retorted, “The only question is how far?”50 He was even more direct in talks with the Austro-Hungarians, revealing that he distrusted Alexander and looked forward to concluding an alliance with them at an appropriate time.51 Bismarck’s attitude hardened in January 1877. “I much fear that there are influential people in Russia, who would sooner fight with the Parisian government against Germany,” he wrote Schweinitz. “I fear especially that the efforts of Prince Gorchakov are aimed at destroying the sympathy of the Emperor Alexander for his uncle [Emperor Wilhelm] and for Prussia, at upsetting our relationship as far as possible with Austria and England, and . . . at overthrowing the Andrássy government and clearing the way for one which would aim at a diplomatic anti-German coalition, which with the addition of France would grow stronger every day.”52 Meanwhile, he warned Salisbury that “the peace of the world was threatened by the ambition of France and Russia.”53 To complicate the issue, the Germans were also acutely uncertain about St. Petersburg’s future intentions during this period. Because Russia might be aggressively inclined down the road, they reasoned, it could not be allowed to eliminate Austria-Hungary from the ranks of the great powers in the present. Germany could not side with Russia in the Balkans, Bismarck argued, since “the consequences might be fatal to the very existence of Austria, who would go to pieces like a ship on a sandbank.”54 Berlin could “endure that . . . [Austria-Hungary] should lose . . . battles,” but not that it “should be so severely wounded and injured that its position

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as an independent great power, taking its part in the councils of Europe, would be endangered.”55 Schweinitz concurred, observing that “in the case of a major war we should see to it that [Austria-Hungary did not] suffer . . . a loss of power.”56 Bismarck continued to view the Russians with deep mistrust in the period between Russia’s declaration of war on Turkey and the Congress of Berlin. His ideas come through clearly in the Kissingen Dictation, recorded by his son Herbert in June 1877. “A French newspaper said of me recently that I had a ‘coalition nightmare,’ ” he remarked. “This kind of nightmare will long (and perhaps always) be a legitimate one for a German minister.” Importantly, he thought it eminently plausible that Russia could join such groupings: “Coalitions can be formed against us, based on the western powers with the addition of Austria, even more dangerous perhaps on a Russo-Austrian-French basis; great intimacy between two of the last-named powers would always offer the third of them a means of exerting very effective pressure on us.” As for what he hoped to gain from the ongoing crisis, Bismarck again revealed his uncertainty about St. Petersburg’s intentions. Among other things, he wanted “Russia to be obliged to take up a strong defensive position in the East and on its coasts, and to need our alliance . . . [and] relations between Russia and Austria which would make it difficult for them to launch . . . [an] anti-German conspiracy.” Since he could imagine all of Germany’s rivals, including Russia, ganging up on Germany, he wanted to create a “situation . . . in which all the powers except France had need of us, and would thus be deterred as far as possible from coalitions against us by their relations with each other.”57 There was little change in Germany’s perceptions of Russia in 1878. “The insincerity with which Prince Gorchakov has acted toward us for at least three years, and his unaltered love for France,” Bismarck declared in February, “strengthen us in the obligation to nurse our relations with other powers carefully and considerately.”58 To be sure, Gorchakov was in illhealth and unlikely to exert a meaningful effect on Russian policy going forward. But Russia’s leadership was divided, which meant that its intentions were especially opaque and subject to change. As the historian William Medlicott observes, “the divisions in the Russian Government were sufficiently obvious to throw real doubt on its ability to follow a consistent

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policy and consequently to carry out its treaty obligations or to make itself an attractive ally for another power.”59 Bismarck’s handling of the Balkan negotiations testifies to this acute uncertainty. Most important, he was determined not to antagonize any of the great powers. When the idea of the Congress of Berlin was first mooted, he quickly stated that he did not intend to “play the arbitrator.” Rather he “imagine[d] a more modest role, indeed . . . more that of an honest broker, who really intends to do business.”60 The reason: he did not want to give Russia or, indeed, any other great power a pretext to turn against Germany. He was concerned that any friendship for Germany was so fragile that if the relevant parties did not secure what they wanted from the Congress, they would “make a note of this and charge it [to Berlin].”61 He reiterated the point when pressed by the Reichstag to adopt a stronger position in the negotiations. Taking sides, as Tsar Nicholas I had done in 1851, could only create enemies: “I am simply asking, was this role that Tsar Nicholas played, in which he took one side, ever repaid in gratitude? Certainly not by us in Prussia! . . . Was Tsar Nicholas thanked by Austria?”62 Bismarck was also determined to prevent Russia from drawing closer to Austria-Hungary, lest the two powers unite against Germany. “It does not lie in the German interests to bring about a lasting peace in the Balkans,” he told Bülow after the Congress of Berlin. “With reference to our geographical position, our great neighbors—who all hate us—would very probably seek and find a rallying point with the apex against Germany as soon as they all had their hands free.” As a matter of fact, the chancellor thought it would be a “triumph” of statecraft to keep “the Balkan sore open and thereby frustrate the union of the other Great Powers and secure our own peace.”63 Russian Views of Germany through the Congress of Berlin Russia reciprocated Germany’s acute uncertainty during the Balkan Crisis. Early in 1876, a German diplomat perceptively described the Russian government’s attitude as “everyone against us.” At approximately the same time, Alexander suggested to Miliutin that Russia’s Balkan intervention could have dire consequences. “We must not forget,” he warned, “that the secret alliance I concluded with Germany and Austria is exclusively a defensive union; our allies bound themselves to take our side if we are

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attacked, but they have not bound themselves to support us if we initiate, in the case of an offensive of our own undertaking, and in such a case, it may turn out as was the case in the Crimean war: again all of Europe capsizing on top of us!” Miliutin observed that the foreign minister took a similar view: “Gorchakov himself sees in the present state of affairs nothing rosy, and is already pronouncing the word, isolation, for which Russia must be ready; an isolation—very close to war.”64 The Russians remained deeply mistrustful through the fall. Initially, they had reason to think that Germany might be supportive of their foreign policy. In a letter to Alexander in September, Wilhelm wrote, “The memory of your attitude towards myself and my country from 1864 to 1870–1 will govern my policy towards Russia, come what may.”65 This message and others like it prompted the Russians to ask if they could count on German support in a war with Austria-Hungary.66 Bismarck dashed their hopes. When it came to Berlin’s attitude toward St. Petersburg, he was prepared to say only that Germany would not “be a party to hostile . . . manoeuvres against Russia.”67 As for the prospect of a war between Russia and AustriaHungary, it would pose a threat to German interests “if the position of the Austrian Monarchy in Europe or its independence were so threatened that one of the factors which ensured the balance of power should henceforth be eliminated.”68 Gorchakov was dismayed. “We expected great things from you,” he informed Bismarck, “[and] you have brought nothing that we have not long since known.”69 Events toward the end of the year did little to change St. Petersburg’s thinking. In an after-dinner address to members of the Reichstag in December, Bismarck went public in his support for Vienna, announcing that Germany would intervene to protect Austria-Hungary if the latter found itself in serious danger in a war with Russia. It is true that he took a more positive stance toward Russia in a speech to the Reichstag a few days later. He was, he assured his audience, attached to Russian friendship, and he hoped that the League of the Three Emperors would survive the current crisis.70 Yet this hardly persuaded St. Petersburg that Berlin was pro-Russian. Alexander complained to Schweinitz that Germany’s support for Russia was too “platonic.”71 Most others were even less impressed. Sir William White, the British ambassador to Constantinople, expressed the common

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wisdom in January 1877: “Bismarck is aiming at upsetting every pacific solution and involving Russia in an expensive and dangerous war . . . he will thus prepare two great results: the weakening of Russia and the partitioning of Turkey.”72 The Russians remained acutely uncertain about Germany’s intentions following the Congress of Berlin, where they had to surrender the gains of San Stefano. The most extreme reactions came from the Russian press and public, which made the chancellor their “chief scapegoat” and directed their “animosity . . . at a German power which had previously been regarded as a friend and ally.”73 Russian leaders were equally irate. A month after the Congress, Shuvalov reported that Alexander described the event as “a European coalition against Russia under the leadership of Prince Bismarck.”74 The tsar considered Bismarck a “loathsome scoundrel,” though he continued to hold Wilhelm in high esteem.75 Similarly, Gorchakov “and his satellites—like Baron [Aleksandr] Jomini—remained convinced that Bismarck was a false and dangerous friend who was best kept at arm’s length.”76 Even Shuvalov, who was the most pro-German of all, admitted that the German leadership “does not always exert an energetic goodwill towards us.”77 Petr Saburov, soon to be the Russian ambassador to Germany, summed up the prevailing view: “We were dissatisfied with the Treaty of Berlin, and consequently with Bismarck, of whom we had expected more.”78 Disraeli, now the prime minister, thought the breach at the Congress more severe: “Our great object was to break up, and permanently prevent, the Alliance of the Three Empires, and I maintain there never was a general diplomatic result more completely effected.”79 German Views of Russia through the Dual Alliance Germany became even less certain about Russia’s intentions in 1879. Part of the reason lay in St. Petersburg’s military preparations. Although Berlin did not fear an imminent attack, these maneuvers were hardly reassuring.80 To make matters worse, Bismarck doubted the tsar’s ability to rein in the Russian military. He was “an autocrat without the capacity to rule, a plaything of the armchair generals.”81 In addition, Russia appeared to be drawing closer to France. “Gorchakov is not carrying on a Russian policy, which takes us into account as friends,” the chancellor complained to his

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press agent Moritz Busch in February. “As far back as 1874 the threads of the Gorchakov-Jomini policy are to be found in the foreign press . . . towards an intimacy between Russia and France of ‘la revanche.’ ”82 A few months later, Bismarck alerted Moltke to the imminent danger of a FrancoRussian rapprochement.83 For Bülow, the signs of an entente between Paris and St. Petersburg meant that “from now on we will keep our eyes wide open.”84 By the spring, these military and diplomatic developments had crystallized German thinking. Schweinitz suggested that Bismarck was increasingly uncertain about Russia’s intentions: “the constant flirting with France by Gorchakov, the endless preparations for war by Miliutin, the advanced position of Russian cavalry at our frontier, the raving language of the Petersburg and Moscow press, have convinced the Chancellor that he can no longer rely on Russia nor even on its rulers to the same extent as before.” Germany had a “doubtful friendship with Russia.” Thus it “could not afford to have a breach with the other powers, particularly not with England or Austria-Hungary.”85 It was at this point that Alexander adopted a particularly threatening tone, thereby giving his German interlocutors even more reason to doubt that Russia was benign. Early in August, he warned Schweinitz that Germany must be more solicitous toward Russia if it wanted the RussoGerman friendship, such as it was, to endure. Otherwise, “this will end in a serious way.”86 He followed up with Wilhelm a week or so later in the “box on the ears” letter, complaining that Germany had been acting in a hostile manner, an approach that he attributed directly to Bismarck.87 The letter ended on an ominous note: “the situation is becoming too serious for me to be entitled to conceal from you fears of which the consequences could be disastrous for both our countries.”88 The chancellor was especially alarmed by the whole affair. “The present attitude of Russia,” he told his son Herbert, “forces me to reckon anxiously with the future.”89 To be sure, he had long been uncertain about Russian intentions, but now, in a series of memoranda for Wilhelm, he professed to being more uncertain than ever. Prior to the tsar’s intervention, Bismarck argued, “dynastic links” and “the personal friendship” of the emperors gave reassurance. This “advantage” was now “uncertain.”90 A week later, he

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declared that “the security, which earlier we thought to have found in the person of Emperor Alexander, is destroyed, including in form. . . . I no longer believe in the reliability of the Emperor Alexander.” Indeed, absent a German alliance with the Austro-Hungarians, he feared that Russia could “break the peace in the foreseeable future.”91 The problem went deeper, however. There were, Bismarck asserted, powerful anti-German forces at work in Russia. Even if the tsar changed his mind and retracted his comments, “the Russian armies would still remain on our border and the influence of our enemies upon Tsar Alexander would remain the same.” For the better part of two years, Alexander had been forced to “put Russian policy and his Imperial power into the service of the Slav revolution” and “conduct his diplomacy in the same spirit.” Nor was it “likely that the tsar—and perhaps far less the crown prince—will free himself once again sufficiently from these influences, in order to defy the hatred of Germany of his subjects which has been artificially created by his government.” This being the case, Russia would probably resort to intimidation once more: “Attempts of this kind will happen again, perhaps in a few months or years, as soon as the situation in France or Austria has improved for such a policy.”92 Exaggerating only slightly so as to persuade the kaiser to endorse an Austro-Hungarian alliance, Bismarck wrote that Russia must be regarded as a threat to peace. “Ever since Russia has overcome the effects of the Crimean War and, at the same time, the Pan-Slav revolutionary party obtained influence,” he noted, “Russia’s policy has become even more dangerous to the peace of Europe. Since Napoleon’s fall European peace has only been endangered by . . . Russia. It is as though Russia . . . has taken over the heritage and mission of Napoleon . . . to become the dark clouds on the horizon of European peace.” Then, for emphasis, he went on to claim that Russia could well be malign: “The menace is becoming greater by the daily increase of the Russian army, already enormous in numbers, although Russia is in no way threatened. Her aggressive intentions are thus being made clear beyond any doubt by the building up of such an army.” Accordingly, Germany must look to defend itself. “In my view,” Bismarck declared, “the only certain safeguards against these dangers are: not to have confidence in Russia’s uncertain friendship, but to

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remain firmly determined to help ourselves; and the agreement of Russia’s threatened neighbours to organize their mutual defence.” If such preparations were not undertaken, “peace would be uncertain and always dependent on Russia’s chances of finding allies for wars of aggression.”93 Most German officials continued to view Russia in such terms even after Alexander walked back his comments in early September, assuring them that “there was no barrier between their countries and that war between them was clearly impossible.”94 Wilhelm gave him the benefit of the doubt, but was “alone in this respect at Court.”95 For his part, the chancellor remained deeply mistrustful. “We regret this state of affairs,” he informed a Russian diplomat, “but the question daily occurs to me whether I can bear toward my emperor the responsibility for a policy which renounces every other association except the one with Russia and which places us in a situation whereby our complete isolation in the future depends solely on the will of Russia.” The real issue, he continued, rehearsing arguments he had made to Wilhelm, was that his uncertainty was now more acute than in the past: “Until the congress [of Berlin], firmly trusting in Tsar Alexander, I did not fear this eventuality. But the present character of Russian policy forces me to take this into account in the future.”96 At the same time, he wrote Nikolai Orlov, the Russian ambassador to France, the great powers “may be compared to travellers, unknown to each other, whom chance has brought together in the same railroad coupé. They watch each other, and when one of them puts his hand into his pocket, his neighbour gets ready his revolver in order to be able to fire the first shot.”97 German officials occasionally became quite agitated. To Bismarck’s mind, Russia’s military preparations could “only be intended as a menace to Austria or Germany. . . . The War Minister has also, in the presence of the technical commissions, unreservedly declared that Russia must prepare for a war ‘with Europe.’ . . . In these circumstances I cannot resist the conviction that in the future, perhaps in the near future, peace is threatened by Russia, and perhaps only by Russia.”98 The Russians, he maintained, were “conquest-hungry and bellicose.”99 Meanwhile, from St. Petersburg, Schweinitz alerted Berlin that the tsar’s positive inclinations were gone and that he could turn on Germany under the right circumstances.100 “Russia is preparing to attack Austria; the peace of the world will be disturbed,” the German

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ambassador to London warned Disraeli, before adding, “Peace is necessary to Germany; no country desires or requires peace more. To secure it she proposes an alliance between Germany, Austria, and Great Britain.”101 Bismarck put these matters to Saburov when the latter visited Berlin in September 1879 with a mandate to assure German officials of Russia’s “good and peaceable intentions” and to inform them that St. Petersburg’s “policy would in future be purely defensive.”102 There was, the chancellor asserted, considerable evidence of Russian hostility: “The series of personal attacks on him. The new disposition of Russian troops along the frontier— a matter without importance at ordinary times, but which assumes a gravity of the first importance when suspicion enters into the minds of Governments . . . [and] a confidential communication from Paris on the subject of a proposal for an alliance which seemed to have been made there by [Russia].”103 Nor did Bismarck revise his thoughts after hearing what the Russian diplomat had to say. Although he considered Saburov’s visit a success, he did not have “much faith in the assurances of the Russians. He still believed them liars.”104 Russian Views of Germany through the Dual Alliance The Russians remained quite mistrustful of Germany following the Congress of Berlin. Early in 1879, Shuvalov noted that Bismarck seemed determined to draw closer to Austria-Hungary at Russia’s expense and suggested that what support the chancellor expressed for St. Petersburg was merely pro forma.105 Saburov was no more hopeful in a report about a meeting with Bismarck at Kissingen in July. “There was a time,” he declared, “when the idea of an Entente between the two Empires, with a view to mutual preservation against the danger of coalitions, seemed practicable.” Now, however, “a regrettable misunderstanding . . . makes the development of that political conception difficult in our future relations with Germany.” Indeed, given that Bismarck’s “confidence in the friendship of Russia was shaken,” the chancellor was “considering to-day the best means of re-uniting the elements of stability which his work still lacks.” These means included both an “alliance with Austria” and a “reconciliation with France,” neither of which “would suit us, for they would change the present conditions of equilibrium in Europe to our detriment.”106

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The realization that Germany was likely to form an alliance with AustriaHungary did little to alter these views. Saburov was keen to reach some kind of agreement with Germany, but only as a means to keep it at odds with France and to weaken its emerging friendship with Austria-Hungary.107 To his mind, St. Petersburg should try to perpetuate the Franco-German antagonism so as to make it hard for Germany to gang up on Russia.108 Jomini was more skeptical about Berlin’s attitude. His chief concern, he told Nikolai Giers, who was now running the Foreign Ministry for Gorchakov, was that “the day France is eliminated as a political factor, we will find ourselves faced with a powerful and intractable Germany, which will be a particularly dangerous neighbor.”109 It was not that the Germans were likely to attack any time soon, but they were “adversaries,” and they would “focus on canceling us out, and consolidating and developing the predominance of Central Europe over the two disunited extremities [France and Russia].”110 The signing of the Dual Alliance only heightened Russia’s mistrust. A confidential Foreign Ministry memorandum concluded that the AustroGerman agreement “had all the appearances of an offensive and defensive alliance against Russia.”111 More dramatically, Jomini lamented that Bismarck had made himself the “arbiter of Europe.” For what it was worth, he admired this feat in the abstract, but he deplored “it as a Russian because it cancels out or menaces us.”112 Taking the matter further, he explained that St. Petersburg should not be lulled into thinking that Bismarck’s talk of a Russo-German agreement was born of any affection for Russia: “Bismarck is a practical man. He wants to make an alliance in order to guarantee the security of Germany.” Not to mention that he was unpredictable: “The change of face of the German chancellor is very serious and we should not be swayed by his words.” Orlov chimed in from Paris, urging Giers to “use extreme caution in dealing with the Germans.”113

The Second Dreikaiserbund, November 1879–September 1884 Even as Austria-Hungary and Germany were finalizing the Dual Alliance, Russia broached the subject of reviving the Dreikaiserbund. A flurry of meetings followed in 1880, the most important of which involved Bismarck,

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Saburov, and Austria-Hungary’s foreign minister, Heinrich Haymerle. Negotiations continued in the first half of 1881, and the Second Dreikaiserbund was established on 18 June. Most important, the treaty stipulated that if any member of the league found itself at war with a fourth power, except Turkey, the others were to remain neutral. In this way, all members were safeguarded against hostile coalitions, at least in theory. Although the alliance was to remain in force for three years, Germany, Russia, and AustriaHungary were back at the negotiating table by late 1883, and it was renewed, ahead of schedule, in March 1884. Six months later, there was a second meeting of the three emperors at Skiernewice: this time, Wilhelm, Franz Joseph, and the new Russian Tsar, Alexander III.114 German Views of Russia Germany had three reasons to doubt Russian intentions before the formation of the Second Dreikaiserbund. One was that domestic developments in Russia might lead it to be aggressive. Even as Berlin and St. Petersburg began to sketch out the contours of a triple agreement, Bismarck feared that “a treaty with the emperor . . . today commits only one part of the Russian power; the other remains refractory and makes a policy of its own.”115 By the end of 1880, he worried that there might be a revolution in Russia that could lead it to change its policies. In an important set of instructions to German diplomats, he warned, “Panslavism with its revolutionary aims is a danger to both the Germanic Powers, to Austria even more than to us, and in the greatest measure of all, to the Empire and Dynasty of Russia. The Slav world in revolution, whether or not it is led by the Russian Emperor, will always be allied with republican elements, not only in France, but in Italy, Spain and perhaps even in England.”116 Accordingly, Bismarck defended the revived League of the Three Emperors to Wilhelm at least partly on the grounds that it would make it harder for Russia to engage in aggression. “As a result of the assurance that the . . . Emperor has given,” he explained, “the ground will be taken from under the feet of the anti-German war party in Russia, who have been trying to influence his decisions.”117 There was also evidence that Russia continued to be tempted by the prospect of an anti-German coalition. Just a month after Russia first approached

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Germany about reviving the Dreikaiserbund, Bismarck complained to Orlov regarding “the reputed soundings in Paris.”118 Not only were the Russians aware of this concern, but they were also prepared to exploit it. In a memorandum of February 1880, Saburov observed, “Therefore—and I do not hesitate to say it—the most conclusive argument which I have employed when talking with Prince Bismarck has been drawn from the uneasiness inspired in him by the possibility of a rapprochement between France and ourselves.”119 In April, it was the specter of a Russian understanding with Britain that exercised the chancellor.120 When the Second League of the Three Emperors was established, however, a Franco-Russian entente was once again the main concern. Overstating the case to gain Wilhelm’s approval of the treaty, Bismarck assured him that because of it “the danger for Germany of a Franco-Russian coalition is completely removed.”121 Russian military moves accentuated German mistrust. In January 1880, Bismarck made the point to Saburov, noting, “During the war in the East, the cavalry was withdrawn. We hoped that it would not come back again. But it has come back, and the [German General] Staff has again become uneasy.” Then, to impress the seriousness of the situation on the Russian, he added, “Moltke spoke about it to the King, and said to him that if a similar disposition had taken place on the Austrian or French frontier, it would have been necessary to mobilise a part of the army immediately.” The chancellor returned to the issue two months later. It was not the military buildup per se that worried him, since Russia could not really hurt Germany: “The danger to us is not great.” But Russia’s actions raised questions about its attitude. “For me the question does not lie” in the military realm, Bismarck explained. “I consider it important rather as a symptom of the psychological attitude of which this particular regrouping of troops has been the result. Whatever one may say, cavalry regiments on the frontier have the appearance of a threat. . . . Your cavalry, I grant you, is no real danger to us; but those who put it there assuredly did not mean to give us a token of confidence.”122 This remained the German opinion at year’s end, when Giers met with Schweinitz. To the Russian’s claim that German “mistrust . . . which had been so obvious last year, seemed to have disappeared,” the ambassador replied that “this was not the case; the mistrust persisted and would do so as long as the increase in the Russian army organization

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continued uninterrupted.”123 St. Petersburg was building “an overmighty war machine, which in the wrong hands would be a menace to her neighbours.”124 Given these issues, the Germans were acutely uncertain about Russia’s intentions in the period leading up to the Second Dreikaiserbund. As Bismarck explained to the Russian negotiators, it was their fear of Russia that led the Germans to contract the Dual Alliance: “I regarded you as a dear friend with whom I was taking a solitary walk and who suddenly had gone mad. I rushed off to provide myself with a pocket pistol, and now I am come back to continue my walk with you in the same amicable manner, but in a more comfortable state of mind as to my own safety.”125 It was his “hope and desire to remain at peace with Russia,” he told Heinrich Reuss, the German ambassador to Vienna, but he could not rule out a Russian attack: “If Russia makes this impossible by attacking us or Austria, there will follow a struggle, accompanied by very serious consequences, with Russia alone or else with Russia in alliance with France and Italy.” Consequently, “we are increasing our military strength.”126 Bismarck expressed his unease directly to Saburov during their conversations. “Whether rightly or wrongly,” he noted, “I do not think that Prince Gorchakov is a sincere friend of Germany.” Given Russia’s actions, “and distrustful as I have become, judge for yourself whether I shall be able to sleep quietly.” Not that Gorchakov was the only problem: “You come to us and say, ‘Let us be friends and ‘allies,’ and behind you stands your War Minister with a pistol levelled at us. I believe your words, which represent your Sovereign’s mind; but the unpleasant sight of the pistol makes me hesitate.” The message was not lost on the Russian ambassador. “The real source of the distrust which has made its appearance in Germany with respect to us,” Saburov concluded, “lies in the fact of her geographical position between two great military States, of which one [France] is animated by a desire for revenge, whilst the intentions of the other [Russia] remain unknown.” Moreover, were Russia to behave aggressively, “the mistrust, of which we already had a foretaste last summer, would arise again on both sides with redoubled intensity.”127 Little changed as the negotiations progressed. In the spring of 1880, Bismarck assured Haymerle “that Germany will not be lacking in all necessary caution” with regard to Russia.128 He expressed a similar sentiment during

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a meeting at Friedrichsruhe. According to Haymerle’s notes, “Bismarck finds mistrust very understandable.” It was for this reason, in fact, that he was insisting on stationing German troops “not on the western but on the eastern boundary.”129 A few months later, the chancellor returned to a common theme, telling Saburov that Germany wanted a powerful Austria-Hungary as a counterweight in case Russia turned out to be aggressive: “Our interest demands that neither Russia nor Austria should be completely crippled. Their existence as Great Powers is equally necessary to us.”130 At the same time, he viewed Russian protestations of friendship with skepticism. When Giers reminded Schweinitz that Russian officials favored an alliance with Germany, Bismarck retorted, “I don’t believe it.” He was equally dismissive of the claim that the only difference between Giers and Miliutin was that “the latter had apprehensions” of being attacked: “I don’t believe that either.”131 Meanwhile, he wrote Reuss: “We want to oppose Russian chauvinism, which à la Louis XIV could occur against [Germany or Austria-Hungary].”132 The advent of the Second Dreikaiserbund had hardly any effect on German thinking. Russian domestic politics continued to be a major concern. Not only did Panslavist agitation reach new heights in January 1882, when the popular general Mikhail Skobelev informed a French audience that there was an “inevitable conflict between Teuton and Slav,” but St. Petersburg refused to disavow him.133 Accordingly, Busch indicated to Reuss that although Wilhelm’s “confidence in the intentions of Emperor Alexander” was “unimpaired,” recent events in Russia “leave it unfortunately doubtful how the struggle between the opposing forces in Russia will end.”134 Furthermore, St. Petersburg was persisting in its attempts to draw closer to Paris. So much so that Bismarck told Schweinitz he feared the possibility of a war against Russia and France.135 Then there were the ongoing Russian military preparations. In March 1882, Bismarck remarked that “at the present time Russia appears to be ahead of France on the precipitous path to war.” Two months later, he claimed that only its unbalanced budget restrained Russia: “good Russian finances mean war.”136 Germany’s thoughts in 1883 scarcely differed from those of the previous year. “The Emperor is himself well-intentioned . . . [and] his ministers are prudent and inclined to a conservative policy,” Bismarck surmised, “but

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will they have the strength to resist the pressure of popular passions, if they are once unchained? The party of war is stronger in Russia than elsewhere.”137 In addition, he continued to be concerned about Russia’s military policy.138 As he put it, Russia’s protestations of benign intent were “contradicted by the pistol she pointed at Germany.”139 He did not believe an attack was imminent, “but the fact remains that the role which France used to play, to worry Europe through peace disruptions, has been passed on to Russia.”140 Russian Views of Germany The Russians were far from confident that Germany was benign when they initiated the negotiations that would lead to the Second Dreikaiserbund. To be sure, Saburov urged his colleagues to give Bismarck the benefit of the doubt. But others, including Jomini and the Russian ambassadors to London and Vienna, warned that caution was the order of the day. Giers was not sure one way or the other.141 Uncertainty mounted in the final weeks of 1879, when Russia learned that Bismarck had emphasized the anti-Russian character of the Dual Alliance in a meeting with the French ambassador to Berlin.142 Nevertheless, St. Petersburg saw no option but to press on with the re-creation of the Dreikaiserbund, reasoning that it would be better to mollify than to antagonize Berlin. As Jomini put it, Russia was set on “appeasing this wicked man [Bismarck] and paving the way for a better relationship.”143 It was important to “cultivate the sympathy of Emperor Wilhelm and to coax his terrible Chancellor—but be careful not to let ourselves be fooled or lulled by all this sentimentality. Let us if we must rejoin the triple entente but let us take it for what it is, that is a means to gain time to rebuild.”144 The Foreign Ministry came to a similar conclusion in December, urging that Russia must reach some kind of agreement with Germany and Austria-Hungary, because the Dual Alliance was an “eventual menace.” Failure to effect a rapprochement would mean an increase in the hostility of Germany “and of all our other adversaries.”145 The Russians scarcely changed their minds once negotiations began in earnest in the second half of 1880. Jomini hoped to take advantage of Bismarck’s conciliatory policy, while noting that “he is a man of steel that one cannot bend to one’s will. We must take him as he is and keep our eyes

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wide open.”146 Indeed, most officials were so wary that Saburov complained to Giers: “There are limits to mistrust. . . . I wonder what other proof could still be demanded by those amongst us who persist in dreading being taken in, and denounce the German chancellor as a Minotaur devouring all those who have the temerity to treat with him as an equal.”147 Still, the Russians continued to think that it was better to appease than to alienate Germany. Giers laid out the logic in a long memorandum for the Russian ambassador to Paris, Arthur von Mohrenheim. “The intimacy established in Vienna between Prince Bismarck and Count Andrássy was characterized by a marked hostility toward Russia,” he wrote. Consequently, Russia must “choose between a serious and solid rapprochement with England . . . or our reentry into the triple alliance with Germany and Austria.” Were St. Petersburg to take the first option, it would “envenom our relations with these two powers [Germany and Austria-Hungary].” The danger was clear: Germany and Austria-Hungary were neighboring states that could place “two million men on their frontiers” and launch “this force against us.” Conversely, Britain was “far away.” Therefore, almost every important official “preferred a restoration of the triple entente between the imperial courts.”148 Jomini summed up the decision well in a note to Giers: “It is a negative alliance, we must cultivate it because it replaces . . . the absence of an alliance which would be very inconvenient for us. . . . We must do all we can to conserve and develop it, but without being duped.”149 The formation of the Second Dreikaiserbund did not cause Russia to reevaluate in any significant way. As had been the case since the beginning of the negotiations, the new agreement was regarded as “a particularly nastytasting draught of medicine that Russia had to take temporarily to ensure itself ‘the repose of which she has the most imperious need.’ ”150 In August 1882, Giers notified Mohrenheim that the thinking behind Russia’s accession to the agreement was the same as it had been in 1880: Germany was a dangerous potential antagonist that had to be appeased. He made a similar point a year later, noting that by joining the league, Russia had succeeded in giving the Dual Alliance a “negative and defensive character.”151 At the same time, he continued to mistrust Germany and Austria-Hungary. When Russia “takes the initiative,” he observed, “a coalition of the Powers tends

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to form against her.” The natural state of affairs was for Russia’s neighbors to be “joined by their common hate for us.”152 Similar considerations guided Russia’s thinking as it contemplated the renewal of the Second Dreikaiserbund in 1884. St. Petersburg’s instructions for Orlov, who had replaced Saburov as ambassador to Berlin, stressed that a refusal to renew the treaty or a proposal to renew it for only a short time could engender animosity and might even lead Germany to turn on Russia. Accordingly, the success of the negotiations was imperative.153 Not that renewal was any kind of guarantee against German aggression. Even after the Skiernewice meeting, explains George Kennan, Giers “had no illusions about [the] . . . permanency [of the Second Dreikaiserbund]. . . . For his imperial master it was, he knew, a means only of gaining time.”154

The Reinsurance Treaty, September 1885–March 1890 Great power attention—which had been focused on colonial matters for most of 1884 and 1885—returned to Europe with the outbreak of the Bulgarian Crisis in September 1885.155 Although Vienna and St. Petersburg initially agreed on the need to restore the status quo in the Balkans, AustroRussian relations broke down in the fall of 1886 and there was no prospect that the Second Dreikaiserbund would be renewed. To remedy the problem, Bismarck forged separate agreements with Austria-Hungary and Russia. In February 1887, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy renewed the Triple Alliance of 1882. Then, in June, Germany and Russia signed the Reinsurance Treaty, committing to maintain a policy of benevolent neutrality should the other become involved in a war with a third power, unless Germany started a war with France or Russia started a war with AustriaHungary. This was the last treaty Bismarck made with Russia. Wilhelm II, who ascended the throne in June 1888, fired the Iron Chancellor on 20 March 1890, thereby bringing the Bismarck era to an end.156 German Views of Russia Germany had two concerns about Russia in the late 1880s. The first was that the Russians might be interested in joining forces with the French. In October 1886, Berlin received reports that St. Petersburg had approached

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Paris about a possible entente. Even when Giers denied the reports, Germany remained skeptical.157 This view was exacerbated by a Russian press campaign, which German officials interpreted as an attempt to steer Russia into a French alliance. Bismarck spotted Russian “duplicity.”158 Bülow went further, arguing that he did not anticipate an immediate Russian attack because “the Russians, thank God, fear us greatly,” but could not exclude the possibility of the Russians “spurring the French on behind the scenes.”159 St. Petersburg only added to this uncertainty, declaring during the Reinsurance Treaty negotiations that it would defend France in a Franco-German war. It wanted “to see France preserved from any mortal blow that might be inflicted under certain circumstances.”160 The second concern was that Russia might force Germany into a fight over Austria-Hungary. It was common knowledge that Germany would come into an Austro-Russian war if it looked as if Russia was about to defeat Austria-Hungary. Bismarck said as much to the Russian ambassador, Pavel Shuvalov: “If the two Powers, Russia and Austria, which are on terms of friendship with us, were to engage in war, we could at best calmly look on and see a battle lost by one or the other. But we could not tolerate that one of them . . . should be dismembered or otherwise so greatly weakened that it ceased to be a Great Power. Such an event we should have to prevent.”161 Yet Russia gave Germany reason to believe that it might cause exactly this situation to arise. “Our hatred is directed against Austria,” Giers noted in November.162 Meanwhile, Bülow warned, “The immediate object of Russian anger is Austria. I hear from every side . . . that Russia should extract herself from the Bulgarian swamp by a confrontation with Austria.”163 All of which led Germany to think that Russia might be about to foment a clash. “I am convinced,” wrote Kuno zu Rantzau from the Foreign Ministry, “that a definite policy of hostility by Austria against Russia in such a case would not avert war, but would cause it to break out immediately, for Russia, conscious of her superiority, will seek war with Austria, as soon as she can be certain that Austria is entering it without allies . . . The probability of finding Germany behind Austria would not necessarily deter Russia from attacking Austria, for Russia rightly calculates on Germany’s power being paralysed by a simultaneous attack by France.”164

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As a result, Germany expressed acute uncertainty about Russia’s intentions. In the fall of 1886, Bülow advised from St. Petersburg: “To be sure, we are hated here, and the Russians are not to be trusted. . . . ‘It is more from sentiment than for political reasons that we are against the Germans,’ is what they often say.”165 Bismarck was similarly mistrustful, telling his personal banker, Gerson von Bleichröder, that he no longer had any confidence in the continuation of good relations with Russia.166 Of course, he was not so candid in public. In a speech of January 1887 to the Reichstag, Bismarck commented that he did not “believe that the Russians are looking around for alliances in order to attack us in company with others, or that they would be inclined to take advantage of the difficulties that we might encounter on another side, in order to attack us with ease.” Behind the scenes, however, he confessed to his aides that “he had presented the picture, in these passages of the speech, in much rosier colors than he himself saw it.”167 Great powers, he mused, were like two strangers in the forest, “neither of whom trusts the other completely.”168 He did not deem an attack from Russia “likely . . . but I deem it possible there as well.”169 Then there was the fact that Russian intentions could change. The current situation, unsatisfactory as it was, Bismarck argued, would obtain only as long as Alexander’s views were “immutable.” But those views “can be influenced and shifted by internal and external processes.”170 Similarly, the chancellor cautioned Busch that while Russia “will in all probability not adopt a hostile attitude towards us . . . [in] the immediate future . . . a change may occur in the situation.”171 Were the Russians to become particularly powerful, for example, they “do not possess the kind of self-restraint that would make it possible for us to live alone with them and France on the Continent. . . . We know from experience that they would become so domineering towards us that peace with them would be untenable.”172 For these reasons, Berlin reached out to London. In Bismarck’s words, “equilibrium and peace” could reign in Europe as long as Germany, Britain, Italy, and Austria-Hungary sought to “prevent Russia from disturbing the peace.”173 The key, Bismarck told Radowitz, was to “adopt a more proEnglish attitude” given the “uncertainty of the Russian attitude towards the threats of France.”174 None of this was lost on Russia. In March 1887, the Russian ambassador to London, Egor Staal, observed that Berlin’s

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“confidence in the invariable continuity of our policy toward Germany appeared to have weakened.” To be sure, Bismarck and other German officials continued to stress the interests that Germany and Russia had in common, but Staal noted that “doubt, I would almost say anxiety, pierced every word they said.”175 The Reinsurance Treaty did little to mitigate German uncertainty. “The secret treaty is fairly anodyne,” commented Herbert Bismarck. It did no more than give Germany “a certain means of pressure on the tsar,” and were the situation to deteriorate, it might keep the “Russians off our necks some six or eight weeks longer than would otherwise be the case.”176 His father was scarcely more impressed, declaring, “Nothing in the world is permanent, neither peace treaties nor laws. They come and go; they change.” Germany would do its “duty in the present. . . . Whether it lasts is up to God.”177 The best that could be said about the treaty was that it “gives increased opportunity to hold Russia on the path of peace.” Without it or without an Austro-Russian treaty, “we would lack any control of the paths which Russian politics might take.”178 That said, “with and without a treaty, we need to remain prepared for a break.”179 As it turned out, Germany’s mistrust of Russia remained acute over the next year. In July 1887, a month after the signature of the Reinsurance Treaty, Bismarck decided that his “judgement of the curability of the evil had been false, and that our efforts to win Russia over to recognition and acceptance of our friendly approaches are hopeless.”180 Russia must “be treated as an elementarily present danger against which we could maintain protective dikes, but which we could not get rid of.”181 Meanwhile, Italian prime minister Francesco Crispi reported that the chancellor had been “obliged to admit that two Powers, and two Powers only, France and Russia, are likely to disturb . . . [the peace].”182 Later in the year, the German Foreign Ministry advised that “the battle was . . . being deliberately waged from our side [against Russia].” This policy was driven by a desire to “deprive a hostile government of the means for the development of armaments directed against us.”183 Bismarck elaborated his thinking in a brief for Wilhelm in advance of Alexander’s visit to Berlin in November. Alexander and Giers, he wrote, were perhaps the only individuals in Russia who did not hate Germany,

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“but their pacific disposition remains unknown to the world at large . . . whereas the hatred of all the other Russians against us is ostentatiously proclaimed in all quarters.” Hence, German officials “have lost the confidence we were once accustomed to place, up to 1879, in the intimacy and firmness of the mutual friendship between Russia and Germany.” Germany must “envisage the moment when we may have need for the help of other Powers in order to defend ourselves against a Russian-French coalition.”184 The meeting between the emperors hardly improved the situation. Alexander declared that “his sentiments are entirely peaceful, and that it is his firm determination never to join any aggressive coalition and never to attack Germany.” Yet the chancellor was conscious that the “monarchs have not entered into any engagement.” Indeed, only the “future will show whether we are to be relieved of the anxiety caused by ever increasing unrest both in Russia and France. . . . The future will also show whether this unrest is to be allowed, sooner or later, to become a menace to peace.”185 Bismarck became especially uncertain in the winter of 1887–88. Privately, he told Salisbury that France and Russia were “threatening us . . . Russia by adopting today vis-à-vis Europe the attitude, disquieting for European peace, which characterized France during the reigns of Louis XIV and Napoleon I.” Consequently, he “regard[ed] as permanent the danger that our peace will be disturbed by France and Russia,” and was determined “to secure what alliances we can in view of the possibility of having to fight our two powerful neighbours simultaneously.” His hope was that “powers who have interests to safeguard in the east which we do not share will, both by alliance and military force, become strong enough to keep Russia’s sword in its scabbard, or to resist, if circumstances lead to a rupture.”186 Similarly, he cautioned Reuss that “in response to the unpredictability of Russian politics, we . . . need to be heavily armed against a Russian assault.”187 Bismarck saw things more darkly when discussing the matter with Prussian war minister Paul Bronsart von Schellendorf: “I can only include the calculable events of politics in my calculations, which suggest to me that within three years we will have the Russian war . . . on which our very existence depends.” He hoped that “politics will succeed in delaying the onset of the catastrophe until then.”188 In February 1888, the chancellor went public with his concerns in a speech to the Reichstag designed to gain support for

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an expansion of the army: “God . . . has placed by our side the most warlike and restless of all nations, the French, and He has permitted warlike inclinations to grow strong in Russia. . . . Thus we are given the spur, so to speak, from both sides, and are compelled to exertions which we should perhaps not be making otherwise.”189 Little changed after Wilhelm II ascended the throne. In a conversation of June 1889 with the German ambassador to London, Paul von Hatzfeldt, Bismarck worried that Russia might attack Austria-Hungary, thereby forcing Germany into war. “All our differences with Russia rest not on difficulties between the two countries,” he noted ruefully, “but solely on the fact that we are ready to protect Austria against Russian aggression, because Austria’s continued existence as a strong and independent Great Power, is essential to the balance of power in Europe. Hence our refusal to leave Austria in the lurch against Russian attacks remains the sole reason for Russo-German differences.”190 At the same time, Italian sources reported that German officials “believe and openly declare the Austrian alliance to be indispensable on account of Russia.”191 Bismarck was more explicit after leaving office: “It is in our interest to maintain peace, while without exception our continental neighbors have wishes, either secret or officially avowed, which cannot be fulfilled except by war.”192 Russian Views of Germany Germany gave Russia little reason to conclude that it had benign intentions during the Bulgarian Crisis. In January 1887, Bismarck publicly admitted what had been rumored for some time, namely, that German leaders had been debating the merits of a preventive war against Russia. To be sure, he argued that he had always opposed the idea of waging “a war because later on it might become inevitable and would have to be waged under less favourable conditions,” but that the debate was happening at all was alarming.193 Bismarck’s follow-up with Grand Duke Vladimir Aleksandrovich of Russia was hardly more reassuring. “Germany,” he warned, “is perfectly capable of waging a war on two fronts. She can spare a million men for the defence of her eastern frontier.”194 Then, in a conversation with Staal, the chancellor claimed that the current situation reminded him of the period after the Congress of Berlin, when Alexander’s letter to Wilhelm had

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“obliged him to go to [ally with] Vienna.”195 A subsequent Franco-German war scare in the spring of 1887 raised further doubts. After all, it signaled that Berlin was open to going to war with St. Petersburg since Germany knew that Russia would feel compelled to come to France’s defense.196 To make matters worse, the Germans then made it clear that they would fight Russia in the event of an Austro-Russian war. As Bismarck explained, “German policy will always be obliged to enter the line of battle if the independence of Austria-Hungary were to be menaced by Russian aggression.”197 The Russians were, in fact, quite open about their mistrust of Germany. In a letter to Petr Shuvalov in November 1886, Giers noted that Alexander “continued to attach value to the understanding with Germany,” but he added a crucial caveat: he “wished that it should be serious, sincere, and complete.”198 A month later, when Bismarck sent the tsar a historical overview designed to put a positive gloss on the formation of the Dual Alliance, the latter simply replied, “What is said in this document about the past is too one-sided.” Alexander expressed greater uncertainty early the following year. When Giers assured Paris that there was little evidence that Germany was about to demand French disarmament, Alexander retorted, “How can we reassure the French? We know nothing about Prince Bismarck’s intentions.” This was not to say that he thought the Germans were about to attack Russia. But he was not convinced that Germany would not attack France, thereby forcing a Russo-German war.199 The Franco-German war scare only made such concerns more salient.200 Then there was the matter of Germany’s future intentions. “So long as Kaiser William is alive,” Alexander told Schweinitz when the two met in St. Petersburg, “we will have no war.” But the kaiser was in ill-health, and the tsar had no such belief in his successor.201 Thus, Russia agreed to the Reinsurance Treaty not due to “any confidence in Bismarck’s friendship . . . but [due to] . . . the conviction that it was unwise to allow so formidable a neighbour to become an open enemy.”202 The Germans did little to assuage these fears in the aftermath of the treaty. Through Bleichröder, Bismarck informed the Russian government that it was “deluding” itself if it thought “that we are afraid of a Russo-French attack and that [it] . . . can therefore make impertinent demands on us.” Germany wanted to avoid war, “but we are not afraid of war, we have 3 million trained soldiers.”203 Toward the end of the year, he took an aggressive

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stance in public. “We no longer sue for love either in France or in Russia,” he announced in the Reichstag. Then, in a passage that cast serious doubt on the value of the new treaty: “No great power can in the long run be guided by a treaty which conflicts with the real interests of the country.”204 Early the following year, St. Petersburg began to suspect that Germany was inciting Austria-Hungary to war with Russia.205 Meanwhile, Bismarck continued his campaign of intimidation, declaring that “we Germans fear God but otherwise nothing in the world. . . . Whoever attacks the German nation in any way will find it uniformly armed and every soldier with the firm belief in his heart: God will be with us.”206 Consequently, Russia remained acutely uncertain about Germany’s intentions. After a meeting in November 1887, in which Bismarck had repeatedly reassured Alexander of his benign intent, the tsar notified his advisers, “I didn’t believe a word Bismarck said.”207 A month later, Pavel Shuvalov shared his understanding of the Reinsurance Treaty with the French: “You need not worry. We shall not allow Germany to dominate us. The era of illusions is past. We know full well the value of our freedom of action.”208 Perhaps the main concern was that Germany was looking to incite Austria-Hungary to war with Russia.209 Such thinking persisted as the Bismarck era drew to a close. “As always,” wrote Giers, “the question remains how Germany intends to reconcile its fidelity to its alliances [with Austria-Hungary and Italy] with its desire to maintain good relations with Russia.” To his mind, any conclusions would be “premature” at this point. Russia must “wait for Germany to act.”210 A few months later, Alexander told Bismarck that he had come to “believe Germany intends to attack him.”211 Then, in May 1889, the tsar went public with his views, pointedly referring to Montenegro as Russia’s “only sincere and true friend.”212 His fear, one observer noted, was that Germany had joined with the other great powers “in order very soon to unite in suddenly falling on the tsar, destroying his empire, and annihilating himself and his house!”213

The Shape of Russo-German Security Competition, 1871–90 Mutual uncertainty led to an intense Russo-German security competition, which, from time to time, appeared to be on the verge of devolving into war.

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Germany: Arming and Alliances The German military grew dramatically during the Bismarck era. In 1874, the Reichstag passed the first Septennat, an army bill calling for a force of 401,659 men. When this bill expired in 1880, legislators agreed to a further increase to 427,274 men. A third Septennat, raising the size of the German army to 468,409 men, was passed in the spring of 1887. The 1887 army law was immediately deemed inadequate, however, and another bill reorganizing the reserves came before the Reichstag in December 1887, to be followed by yet another one in 1890, raising the army’s strength to 486,983 men.214 These troop increases were accompanied by significant increases in military expenditures. Germany spent almost 35 percent more on its military in the early 1880s than it had in the early 1870s, and almost 70 percent more on its military in the late 1880s than in the early 1880s.215 Berlin complemented these efforts by working to impede Russia’s military development. Toward the end of 1887, Bismarck ordered the Reichsbank to issue a Lombardverbot, which prevented Russian access to German capital markets.216 Even as it augmented its military strength, Germany developed plans for a two-front war against Russia and France. The earliest plans, which were developed during the Franco-Prussian War, called for an offensive against Russia in alliance with Austria-Hungary and a defensive strategy against France until Russia had been defeated. After the Treaty of Frankfurt, however, the General Staff believed that Germany’s strength should be mobilized in the west at the outset of a major war, because France was still politically and militarily disorganized and unlikely to put up much of a fight. By the end of the 1870s, Moltke and others reversed course again. Given that France’s military had been revived and reorganized, a quick and decisive victory in the west was now considered unlikely. Therefore, Germany would fall on Russia first. To be sure, Russia’s size meant that it could not be annihilated. But the Germans judged that a series of hammer blows against the Russian armies, combined with insurrections by the Poles and other subject peoples, would lead Russia to sue for peace, at which point Germany could turn on France.217 Berlin supplemented its own efforts with an impressive set of anti-Russian alliances. The most important of these was the Dual Alliance of 1879

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with Austria-Hungary. Although this agreement had several purposes, it was principally designed to defend against Russia. By its terms, Germany and Austria-Hungary committed to assist each other if either was attacked by Russia or a state supported by Russia. Hence historian Hajo Holborn’s verdict: “The Austro-German Alliance thereafter was for Bismarck the most important instrument for making central Europe secure against Russian inroads, and since a French attempt at revenge was unlikely unless undertaken with Russia, the alliance also served to strengthen Germany against France.” Germany was acutely aware, however, that Austria-Hungary would be an ineffective ally against Russia if it had to worry about fighting Italy. As a result, Bismarck engineered the Triple Alliance between Germany, AustriaHungary, and Italy in 1882, and ensured that it was renewed in 1887.218 One might argue that the Kaiserreich’s alliance policy poses a problem for intentions pessimism. In particular, Germany’s decision to side with Austria-Hungary against Russia seems to suggest that Berlin trusted Vienna. This is not the case: the Germans were acutely uncertain about AustriaHungary’s intentions in the years before the Dual Alliance. The 1877 Kissingen Dictation reveals Bismarck’s fear that Austria-Hungary could join with Russia and “launch against us the anti-German conspiracy.” The Austro-Hungarians and the Russians must be “deterred as far as possible from [forming] coalitions against us.” Alternatively, Vienna could make an alliance with “the western powers.”219 “To my mind,” the chancellor observed in a memorandum to the Foreign Ministry, “the most uncomfortable symptom lies in the undeniable demonstrations of sympathy which from the very beginning have been heaped upon the new French government by the [Austro-Hungarian] semiofficial newspapers—and not merely by those of the ultramontanes and the court party. The suspicion instinctively emerges that, even outside of these circles, there are certain Austrians who silently wish for an alliance with . . . France.”220 Then there was the fact that even if Vienna currently had benign intentions, it could change its mind. In the fall of 1877, Bismarck insisted, “We cannot be certain that Andrássy’s successor will not belong to one of the anti-German parties in Austria.” This being the case, he wanted “to maintain Count Andrássy in office.” He made a similar point to Bülow the following year: “Austria could very easily undergo a change in government

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and in system in a surprisingly short time, which would bring the Germanophobe and clerical elements there into power: under archducal auspices the rapprochement with France would doubtless lead to an Austro-French alliance.”221 These concerns played an important role in Germany’s decision to establish the Dual Alliance. As emphasized, its primary purpose was defense against Russia. But it also fulfilled two other important purposes. First, it averted an Austro-Russian alliance. As Bismarck put it to Saburov, he feared that Austria-Hungary could “ally herself secretly with Russia under the influence of the military party, and fall upon us.”222 Meanwhile, he explained to Busch: “I was extremely anxious on account of Russia, and feared an alliance between her and Austria.”223 The agreement of 1879 warded off this possibility. Second, and equally important, the alliance prevented AustriaHungary from allying with France.224 If Germany did not offer AustriaHungary a security guarantee against Russia, Bismarck warned the kaiser, Vienna might turn to Paris.225 Alternatively, Austria-Hungary might “dream of making Russia give ground in the Orient, by allying herself first with England, then with France, so creating a situation like that of 1854.” At best, Germany would then be “two [with Russia] against three.” The solution to all of these problems was an alliance with Vienna. It would allow Berlin to “dig a ditch between . . . [Austria-Hungary] and the Western Powers.”226 As Alexander observed in a conversation with Schweinitz, “from the German standpoint, the alliance with Austria had become an absolute necessity, not only for her own protection against Russia, but also for the purpose of preventing Austria from drifting into the arms of France.”227 Bismarck confirmed the intuition in the fall of 1879: “I have succeeded in carrying out what I would like to call the first stage of my security policy by erecting a barrier between Austria and the western powers.”228 In the aftermath of the Dual Alliance, Bismarck appears to have been fairly certain that Austria-Hungary would not act aggressively against Germany, at least in the short term. Crucially, however, he put this down to Vienna’s weakness, not to its benign intentions. “Austria needs us,” he explained to Wilhelm.229 Similarly, he told Busch that because AustriaHungary was “weaker” than Russia, it understood that Germany could “be of great assistance.”230

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At the same time, Bismarck remained quite uncertain about AustriaHungary’s future intentions. That the Dual Alliance “would stand the actual strain of events may reasonably be doubted,” he remarked in a post hoc analysis. Were changes “to occur in the political situation of Europe of such a kind as to make an anti-German policy appear [to be in the national interest],” then the treaty would not prevent Austria-Hungary from turning on Germany. Nor did the new accord dispel the chancellor’s longstanding fears about Austria-Hungary. He worried about the “anti-German fits and starts of Austro-Hungarian feeling.” It was “even today an error to exclude the possibility of a hostile policy.” Although Franz Joseph would likely ensure that the “tendency toward a similar policy will for the present be suppressed,” this was “only a personal guarantee, which disappears so soon as another succeeds in his place, and the elements which from time to time have served to support a policy of rivalry with Germany may acquire fresh influences.” Then there was the danger that Vienna might move closer to Paris: “In the event of the possible restoration of monarchy in France the mutual attraction of the great Catholic Powers . . . would induce enterprising politicians to try the experiment of reviving the old alliance.” Bismarck also feared that Austria-Hungary might engineer a rapprochement with Russia. He wanted to ensure that “our union with Austria” was not weakened by “a Russo-Austrian understanding.” In fact, it was mainly this possibility that led him to negotiate the Second Dreikaiserbund. To keep Austria-Hungary and Russia apart, Germany must take “care that the road from Berlin to St. Petersburg is not closed.” Worst of all, there was the possibility of “an anti-Prussian coalition like that of the Seven Years’ war between Russia, Austria and France.” All of which led Bismarck to a mistrustful conclusion: “We cannot abandon Austria, but neither can we lose sight of the possibility that the policy of Vienna may willy-nilly abandon us.”231 Russia: Arming and Alliances Russia had already been making strenuous efforts to increase its military strength for some time when the Franco-Prussian War broke out. Following the humiliation of the Crimean War (1853–56), Miliutin presided over a series of improvements in military organization that included the creation

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of a general staff, as well as changes to field administration, mobilization procedures, force structures, weapons systems, officer recruitment and education, and tactics.232 After 1871, Russian leaders decided that these efforts should be targeted specifically at Germany. As General Nikolai Obruchev explained in an important document produced in January 1873 and entitled “Considerations on the Defense of Russia,” Prussia’s victory over France had transformed Russia’s military situation. Russia now confronted a new threat that was “too disturbing to ignore.” To make matters worse, in the event of a full mobilization, Germany now possessed numerical superiority. As Obruchev put it, “The armed forces of Russia in their present condition [are] insufficient for the defense of her security.” St. Petersburg moved swiftly to address the situation. In January 1874, Russia introduced a universal military service obligation for the first time. Over the next four years alone, the draft yielded some 800,000 conscripts.233 Russia continued to improve its military forces in the 1880s, despite the extreme financial stringency imposed by the recent Russo-Turkish War, which precluded significant increases in force size and military expenditures. As had been the case in the 1870s, military planners prepared “on the basis of unrelieved anxiety and suspicion of Germany.” Their main solution was Russia’s first fully articulated mobilization and deployment plan, drafted by Obruchev and the new war minister, Petr Vanovsky, in 1880, and subsequently revised in 1883, 1887, and 1890. Designed explicitly to defend against an attack by the Central Powers, the plan sought to compensate for Russia’s technological backwardness with a higher state of readiness. Specifically, Russian decision makers committed a greater proportion of the regular army to continuous active duty in the western regions of the empire. Thus, whereas Russia had 227,000 troops stationed in its three westernmost military districts in 1883, that figure had risen to 610,000 (45 percent of the active army) by 1893. In the meantime, senior military officers continued to improve the army’s organization, mobilization procedures, transportation system, intelligence, field leadership, weaponry, and training.234 St. Petersburg also responded to Bismarck’s creation of the Dual and Triple Alliances of 1879 and 1882 with diplomatic moves of its own.235 To

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be sure, the negotiations that would lead to the formation of the FrancoRussian alliance did not begin until July 1891. But the stage was set considerably earlier than that. In August 1885, only a year after the renewal of the Second Dreikaiserbund with Germany and Austria-Hungary, Alexander wrote Giers, “I suggest that you henceforth maintain a friendly attitude toward France with a view to being able, at the proper time and in case of necessity, to negotiate a formal alliance with her.”236 The following year, the semi-official newspaper, Novoye Vremya, noted the importance of nurturing a firm relationship with France. When it came to Russian diplomacy, “Germany represents for us the present, France, the probable future.” Then, in November 1886, Alexander bluntly informed the French ambassador that “Russia should be able to count on France and France on Russia.” France’s policy was inconsistent, but “we have a need of a strong France. We need you and you need us.” Momentum toward an alliance slowed after that, due to fears of antagonizing Germany and impeding the negotiation of the Reinsurance Treaty, but much progress was made toward the end of the decade. The French and Russian militaries began to discuss collaborative arrangements in earnest in 1888. The following May, Novoye Vremya, in an article that reflected the views of both Alexander and Giers, announced that the Franco-Russian alliance “is an alliance without treaty or written instrument, but one founded on a mutual necessity; perhaps this sort of alliance is, of all the possible varieties, the most solid.”237 These developments were not lost on Bismarck. As early as his famous Reichstag speech of February 1888, the chancellor felt compelled to state that Germany did not fear a Franco-Russian alliance and to boast about Germany’s ability to place a million soldiers on each border.238 War-Threatening Crises Security competition often gave way to war-threatening crises. Indeed, the Bismarck era was unusually liable to disputes, featuring no fewer than four war scares. The first of these—the War in Sight Crisis of 1875—was nominally a Franco-German affair. Yet St. Petersburg intervened against Germany, making it clear to Berlin that it would not stand by and allow the Kaiserreich to crush France and strengthen its already impressive military position in the center of Europe. Less than two years later, Germany and Russia were again

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involved in a crisis, as Berlin reacted angrily to the simultaneous deployment of Russian and French troops on its eastern and western borders, and prepared for war. Early in 1887, Germany and France became embroiled in the Boulanger Crisis, and many expected war to break out in the near future. Again, there was little doubt that the Russians could not afford to see Germany destroy France, thus turning the Franco-German dispute into a RussoGerman one as well. At the same time, Germany and Russia were involved in the Bulgarian Crisis. When it appeared that Russia might attack AustriaHungary, Berlin informed St. Petersburg that it could not see its ally defeated and was therefore determined to stand behind Vienna in the event of war.239

Conclusion In sum, Russo-German relations in the Bismarck era provide powerful evidence in favor of intentions pessimism. Although they communicated regularly, shared an ideology, and entered into a number of common alliances, Berlin and St. Petersburg never even came close to trusting each other. Accordingly, they competed fiercely for security.

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The Great Rapprochement

by most accounts, the fact that the United States surpassed Great Britain as the mightiest state in the Western Hemisphere at the turn of the twentieth century should have triggered a security competition and perhaps led to war. “Dominant states hold their position by force for as long as possible,” writes Kori Schake, until they are “eventually defeated by challengers in the form of a fresh rising power or a collection of lesser powers working together.” Yet the Anglo-American power transition is said to have passed peacefully. As Schake puts it, “the exception to that pattern—and there is only one—is the transition that occurred from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth as dominance in the international order shifted from Great Britain to the United States.”1 Michael Doyle offers a similar interpretation: “Despite the fact that the United States constituted Britain’s greatest challenger along all the dimensions most central to the British maritime hegemony, Britain and the United States accommodated their differences.”2 Indeed, this development is considered so unusual that historians have given the period from 1895 to 1906 its own label: “the great rapprochement.”3 Intentions optimists have a ready explanation for the great rapprochement. Simply put, Britain and the United States trusted each other. One purported reason is that both powers were democratic and hence open about how they intended to behave. “Democratic rule in an ascendant United States reduced risk and bolstered trust,” explains Daniel Kliman. Be-

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cause the United States was “an open society, the British could accurately survey U.S. intentions.” Thus “trust permeated . . . the Anglo-American power transition.” In particular, there was a real “depth” to Britain’s “confidence in American goodwill.”4 Similarly, Charles Kupchan asserts that “the transparency afforded by democratic debate . . . enabled both sides to assess with confidence the intentions and motives of the other. . . . Transparency thus helped reassure . . . [London and Washington] that the other did not have predatory intent, but could instead be trusted to reciprocate gestures of good will and . . . restraint.”5 Britain and the United States are also said to have been confident that the other was benign because they engaged in “acts of reciprocal restraint” and “mutual accommodation.” These actions, Kupchan argues, ultimately led the two powers “to attribute to each other not just benign intent with respect to the specific disputes that had troubled their relations, but also benign motivation with respect to their overall objectives on the global stage.” Especially from 1898 onward, Britain developed a “benign perception of America’s ascent,” and “similar changes took place in American perceptions of Britain’s geopolitical motives.”6 Finally, intentions optimists argue that Britain and the United States trusted each other because they shared an Anglo-Saxon culture. According to Stephen Rock, the belief that they were part of a single civilization “colored the perceptions of both Englishmen and Americans, causing them to underestimate the importance of the conflict of geopolitical . . . interests between the two countries and to discount the significance of the concessions necessary to achieve an understanding.” Britain, especially, “simply could not see the United States as a menace.” Moreover, Anglo-Saxonism “led many persons to conclude that the benefits of avoiding a fratricidal war with ‘racial’ kin outweighed the costs of the sacrifices required for this to be accomplished.”7 David Edelstein makes the argument more explicitly, albeit only from Britain’s perspective: “Shared identity contributed to confidence in long-term American intentions.” Britain did not compete with the United States because it “felt it could trust the United States’ intentions.”8 It is hard to square these claims with the historical record. As intentions pessimism predicts, Anglo-American relations were characterized

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by acute uncertainty throughout the period from 1895 to 1906. Although London was conciliatory, backing down in the face of American demands, making concessions, professing its friendship, and identifying areas of common interest, Washington did not regard such behavior as reliable evidence of benign intentions. Rather, Britain’s actions were interpreted as signs of weakness, and its appeals to Anglo-Saxonism were dismissed as attempts to curry favor with the United States. Meanwhile, London was deeply mistrustful of Washington, in large part because the United States acted remarkably aggressively throughout the great rapprochement. As a result, and contrary to the conventional wisdom, Britain and the United States competed for security from 1895 to 1903. Washington was especially combative, relentlessly growing its military and going to great lengths to destroy British influence in the Americas. Then, between early 1904 and late 1906, even as it remained acutely uncertain about American intentions, Britain effected an almost complete military withdrawal from North America and the Caribbean, thereby bringing the Anglo-American security competition to an end. London’s reasoning was simple: Britain was suffering from imperial overstretch and no longer had the means to continue competing with the United States in its own backyard. The remainder of this chapter is mainly devoted to examining American and British perceptions of each other’s intentions in five episodes: the onset and aftermath of the crisis over Venezuela (July 1895–May 1897); the events surrounding the Spanish-American War (April 1898–July 1899); the negotiations regarding a trans-isthmian canal (January 1900–December 1901); the inception and resolution of a dispute over the Canada-Alaska boundary (September 1901–February 1904); and Anglo-American relations in the Far East between the treaties of Paris and Portsmouth, which ended the Spanish-American and Russo-Japanese Wars, respectively (December 1898–September 1905). To sum up, I find that Washington and London were acutely uncertain about each other’s intentions in each case. A final section describes the resulting Anglo-American security competition in the Western Hemisphere, before examining Britain’s decision to quit that contest in 1904–6.

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The Venezuela Crisis, July 1895–May 1897 In July 1895, Secretary of State Richard Olney inserted the United States into a long-drawn-out boundary dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana, insisting that Britain agree to arbitrate the matter. In December, British prime minister Lord Salisbury flatly denied Washington’s right to intervene, whereupon President Grover Cleveland submitted a message to Congress in which he proposed to establish an appropriate line of demarcation and compel Britain to observe it, by force if necessary. Briefly, it appeared that an Anglo-American war might be in the offing. In January 1896, however, the Salisbury government backed down, and late in the fall, Olney and Sir Julian Pauncefote, the British ambassador to the United States, agreed to a treaty of arbitration largely along the lines demanded by Washington. At the same time, the two governments also negotiated a general arbitration agreement, the Olney-Pauncefote Treaty. The treaty met opposition in the Senate, which amended and then rejected it in May 1897.9 American Views of Britain The United States was acutely uncertain about British intentions at the time of the Venezuela Crisis. Speaking at a Loyal Legion banquet in Detroit two months before Olney’s note, Donald Dickinson, a well-known friend of the president, warned that London had begun to “take an interest, not altogether born of curiosity or of a Christianizing spirit, in this hemisphere” and was guilty of various “extraordinary claims and movements . . . in Nicaragua and Venezuela.”10 Such actions, he continued, fit with what was known about British inclinations. It was “the settled policy of Great Britain to make Englishmen richer and her power greater, even at our cost.” In fact, it was “her unvarying policy . . . first and last and always, to advance British interests and retain British supremacy.” This was a cause for grave concern: if the United States resisted British encroachments, London might resort to aggression. In Dickinson’s words, “whoever gets in the way . . . is the enemy of England, and will be so treated—whether it be the United States as a great commercial rival who may be intrigued against and encroached upon and even crippled in some time of her distress, or when off guard, or by [any other power] in the way of her colonization schemes.”11

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That Cleveland agreed with Dickinson is clear. He reported that he had read his friend’s speech “with much interest” and was “glad you wrote it.”12 Senate Republicans were equally mistrustful. In March 1895, Henry Cabot Lodge, their spokesman for foreign affairs, described Britain’s “aggressions . . . upon the territory of Venezuela” as part of a worrying pattern. London was interfering in Hawaii, which was “essential to us, both commercially and from a military point of view,” and “reaching out for every island in the Pacific.” In addition, Britain was aligned with a Canadian government that was “hostile to us,” and had “studded the West Indies with strong places which are a standing menace to our Atlantic seaboard.”13 Were this not bad enough, London was “now turning her attention to South America.”14 Such fears became quite prevalent after British marines forcibly occupied the port town of Corinto, Nicaragua, in April.15 According to Shelby Cullom, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it was dangerous for Britain to control so much territory in and around the Caribbean, an area he referred to ominously as a British “lake.”16 Worse still, he feared that Britain would look to tighten its grip on the region by controlling Venezuela.17 Cullom was so concerned about Britain’s presence, in fact, that he advocated “using force, if necessary, to get her out” of Nicaragua.18 As the Venezuela Crisis peaked, U.S. observers expressed still greater mistrust of the British. In a widely read New York Times article, the eminent historian John Bach McMaster declared, “Of all the nations in the world [Britain] is the most progressive and the most aggressive.” This was as true in the Western Hemisphere as anywhere else: “Take a map of the world and mark on it England’s possessions in 1800, in 1825, in 1880, in 1896. Then take a map of the British claims in Venezuela and see that history repeated. Are we to consider this of no moment?”19 Similarly, Thomas Bayard, the U.S. ambassador to London, described “the fear that there was an indefinite plan of British occupation in the heart of America, involving a purpose of extensive domination originating in private possessions, and backed up by imperial force in the end.”20 The Americans were even more uncertain about Britain’s future intentions. Indeed, it was precisely because U.S. decision makers could not be confident that London would be benign in the future that they were pre-

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pared to go to war over Venezuela. Such calculations are explicit in Olney’s note. To his mind, Britain’s behavior violated the Monroe Doctrine, which held that European great powers “ought not to interfere in American affairs.” The doctrine was supremely important because it assured “the safety and welfare of the United States.” If Washington failed to uphold it in the face of British pressure, the old world powers would eventually partition South America, whereupon “our only real rivals in peace as well as enemies in war would be found located at our very doors . . . permanently encamped on American soil.” This would then force the United States to arm “to the teeth” and “convert the flower of our male population into soldiers and sailors.” The reason: it could not be confident that the Europeans would always have benign intentions. Washington would succumb to “just apprehensions” that could not “be allayed by suggestions of the friendliness of European powers—of their good will towards us—of their disposition, should they be our neighbors, to dwell with us in peace and harmony.” After all, everyone knew that those states—and Britain was no exception— had considered aggression in the past and would be guided by “selfish interest,” not “sentiment” or “principle.”21 Lodge expressed almost identical views. He, too, believed that Britain was violating the Monroe Doctrine, which he described as holding that Europe must not “establish itself in the Americas.”22 And, like Olney, Lodge also saw upholding the doctrine as crucial to U.S. security: it was the U.S. equivalent of the “balance of power and rests on the great law of selfpreservation.”23 Were Washington to allow London to “take the territory of Venezuela, there is nothing to prevent her taking the whole of Venezuela or any other South American state.” South America, Lodge wrote, would “pass gradually into the hands of Great Britain and other European powers,” at which point the United States would be “hemmed in by British naval posts and European dependencies.”24 It would be surrounded by rivals “armed to the teeth with great armies and navies,” and be forced to “become a great military nation.”25 Washington would have to contend with the “constant danger of war.”26 The United States did not convert to the view that the British were benign when the Salisbury government backed away from the brink, mainly because there were other, more plausible explanations for Britain’s behavior.

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The first was that a militarized dispute over Venezuela would distract London from more important issues elsewhere, with potentially devastating consequences. Britain simply did not have a great deal at stake in Venezuela. As British parliamentarian James Bryce told Theodore Roosevelt, soon to be assistant secretary of the navy, “Not one man out of ten in the House of Commons even knew there was such a thing as a Venezuelan question pending.” Meanwhile, former prime minister Lord Rosebery depicted the matter as a mere “frontier squabble in a small South American republic.”27 Moreover, were Britain to be tied down in South America, it would be vulnerable in areas where the stakes were considerably higher. One of those was Southern Africa, where it was feared that Germany might side with the Boers in their ongoing struggle against London. In fact, Kaiser Wilhelm II offered his support to President Paul Kruger of the Boer Republic just before the British Cabinet decided to yield to Washington.28 Britain was also concerned—and U.S. decision makers knew this—that if it became embroiled in the Western Hemisphere, then Russia would attack India.29 In other words, the British decision to accommodate the United States could easily be explained in straightforward strategic terms. A second eminently plausible explanation was that Britain backed down for fear of being defeated in an eventual war. It is easy to see how this idea gained traction. To begin with, the United States was confident in its military capabilities and assumed that Britain had made similar calculations.30 In his diplomatic note, Olney asserted that the “infinite resources [of the United States] combined with its isolated position render it master of the situation and practically invulnerable as against any or all other powers.”31 At the same time, U.S. leaders believed that they had a trump card in the form of Canada. Everyone knew, they argued, that if war broke out, the United States would seize Canada from Britain.32 Lodge preferred to avoid a war but was sure of the outcome: “At the end of the war, Canada would have passed from British control and the British empire on this continent would have ceased to exist.”33 American military planners concurred, estimating that they could take Canada if given ten days to prepare.34 Were this not enough, the British would be working under serious military constraints. Specifically, it was not clear that Britain would be able to muster more than a token force because of its worldwide responsibilities. As early

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as 1890, naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan had surmised that the necessity of protecting its colonies and commerce, as well as the danger of weakening its position in home waters, would keep Britain from dispatching any more than a limited flotilla to the Americas.35 Bryce confirmed that the British saw things much the same way in a letter to Roosevelt during the crisis, arguing that the British did not plan to interfere in the Western Hemisphere because “our hands are more than sufficiently full elsewhere.”36 All of this led to the conclusion that Britain backed down because it had little choice in the matter, not because it meant the United States no harm. Secretary of State John Hay summed up the common view a few years later: “We . . . put forth our entire force and compelled—there is no other word for it—England to accept arbitration in the Venezuela matter.”37 British Views of the United States For its part, Britain had ample reason to be uncertain about U.S. intentions. Perhaps most important, it was subjected to a barrage of hostile commentary. Lodge set the tone in June 1895: “The American people are not ready to abandon the Monroe Doctrine, or give up their rightful supremacy in the Western Hemisphere. On the contrary, they are as ready now to fight to maintain both.” Lest there be any misunderstanding, he concluded, like Cullom, that the United States must be prepared to use force to expel Britain from the Americas. “The supremacy of the Monroe Doctrine should be established and at once,” he proclaimed in the North American Review, “peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must.”38 Cleveland was equally direct in his December message to Congress, asserting that once his proposed commission had decided on an appropriate boundary, it would “be the duty of the United States to resist” any British encroachments “by every means in its power.” He did not make this threat lightly: “In making these recommendations I am fully alive to the responsibility incurred, and keenly realize all the consequences that may follow.”39 Perhaps even more unsettling for Britain, Congress approved the money for Cleveland’s commission unanimously, and several members came out in support of the government position.40 Senator William Chandler suggested that a war was inevitable and that the United States should start it.41 Senator William Stewart opined

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that although war was “a great calamity,” it was “nothing to the sacrifice of honor.” Then, for emphasis, “I want American manhood asserted.”42 This was the consensus view. As Leonidas Livingston, a member of Congress from Georgia, pointed out, if the British refused to renounce property that was deemed to belong to Venezuela, then all Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans would favor declaring war.43 British officials were of two minds about whether or not the United States was truly prepared to go to war. Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain reminded his colleagues in the Cabinet that the Americans “are great people for bluffing.”44 Meanwhile, Pauncefote recommended that Salisbury not rush to any conclusions about U.S. intentions. “We must wait until the noise has subsided,” he advised, “to judge of the real attitude of the country.”45 Other decision makers were more fearful. The leader of the Liberal Party, Sir William Harcourt, professed to having “very little doubt that there are plenty of malign influences at work in the U.S. to promote war.”46 Regardless, the Venezuela Crisis caused London to be acutely uncertain about Washington’s intentions going forward. Even Chamberlain was “afraid that a large number, and probably a majority, of Americans would look forward without horror to a war with this country.” He was convinced that this hostility had deep roots: “At bottom, I believe it is due to the extreme sensitiveness and vanity of the Americans as a nation.” Specifically, he judged that they “are jealous of this country . . . [and] suspect us always of an assumption of superiority,” and would therefore “not be sorry to prove that they are bigger and stronger and better than we are.”47 In a similar vein, Sir Cecil Spring Rice, a British diplomat who had spent a great deal of time in Washington, declared that “underneath all the jingoism” triggered by the crisis, “there is a very bad feeling. It is partly from the miserable and unsettled state of the country. . . . If the rain falls out of season, it is put down to England.”48 In addition to revealing an undercurrent of animosity toward Britain, the boundary dispute also showed that the United States could quite easily be moved from indifference to what First Lord of the Treasury Arthur Balfour described as “simply incredible” hostility.49 Pauncefote notified Salisbury that the “Venezuela crisis which is raging here makes all other questions

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appear ancient history. . . . Nothing is heard but the voice of the Jingo bellowing defiance to England.”50 Cleveland’s bellicose message, the ambassador averred, had thrown the United States into an “extraordinary state of excitement . . . a condition of mind which can only be described as hysterical.”51 Consequently, former home secretary Herbert Asquith thought it “very important to avoid saying anything that can stiffen the backs of the American jingoes—as, e.g. anything that would seem to admit that a case had actually arisen in Venezuela affecting the interests of the U.S. and so coming within the Monroe doctrine; or anything that would exclude the question of the character and extent of the actual occupation on both sides from the proposed arbitration.”52 Given these considerations, British decision makers were deeply mistrustful of the United States. Lord Dufferin, who had served as governor general of Canada, made the point neatly to Queen Victoria: “Even if peace is assured for the present, America is sure now to set about strengthening her navy; and, when once she has a powerful fleet, she will be tempted to use it. . . . Of course, there is a great body of American opinion, probably a large majority, entirely friendly to England. . . . Unfortunately these are not the people who control American politics.”53 U.S. behavior “will have . . . taught us what we may expect, and what we must be prepared for.”54 Britain, he argued, should look to deter “American hostility” by persuading the Americans “that they might get the worst of the contest.” Similarly, Salisbury told Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Michael Hicks Beach that “recent events have introduced a new element into the calculation. A war with America—not this year but in the not distant future—has become something more than a possibility: and by the light of it we must examine the estimates of the Admiralty. It is much more of a reality than the future Russo-French coalition.”55 Although Salisbury may have been inflating the threat so as to persuade the chancellor to increase military spending, Hicks Beach’s reply is revealing: “I agree—with present feeling in U.S., and the Emperor telegraphing to Kruger, we have to think of other matters besides a Franco-Russian alliance against us.”56 Little had changed when the director of military intelligence, Sir John Ardagh, surveyed the situation. “I fear it must be admitted,” he wrote, “that a war with this country [Britain] would be popular [in the United States].”57

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One might argue that the peaceful resolution of the crisis persuaded the British that the United States was benign. After all, as soon as London gave in to Washington’s demands, prominent officials began to refer to the United States in quite positive terms. Their statements made hardly any reference to U.S. intentions, however. In some cases, decision makers indicated that Britain was keen to avoid war in the future. Speaking to his constituents in January 1896, Chamberlain announced that “war between the two nations would be an absurdity as well as a crime.” Likewise, in a speech authorized by Salisbury, Balfour contended, “The idea of war with the United States carries with it some of the unnatural horror of a civil war. . . . The time will come, the time must come, when someone, some statesman of authority . . . will lay down the doctrine that between English-speaking peoples war is impossible.” In other cases, British decision makers sought to improve the tenor of Anglo-American relations. Hence, Chamberlain stressed that “the two nations are allied and more closely allied in sentiment and in interest than any other nations on the face of the earth,” and that he looked “forward with pleasure to the possibility of the Stars and stripes and the Union Jack floating together in defense of a common cause sanctioned by humanity and justice.”58 The following month, Balfour suggested that it was time for Britain and the United States to establish an alliance “for the propagation of Anglo-Saxon ideas of liberty, government, and order.” They should unite to “carry out the duties which Providence has intrusted to us.”59 In still other cases, the British tried to reassure U.S. leaders that Britain had no designs on the Western Hemisphere. “We are entire advocates of the Monroe Doctrine,” maintained Salisbury, adding that the United States would “not find any more convinced supporters of it than we are.”60 Balfour followed up in Parliament, noting that “there never has been, and there is not now, the slightest intention on the part of this country to violate what is the substance and the essence of the Monroe doctrine . . . a principle of policy which both they [the Americans] and we cherish.”61 Chamberlain went even further in Birmingham: “We do not covet one inch of American territory.”62 If the British did not back down because they were confident that the United States was benign, then why did they? The first reason is that they faced myriad threats elsewhere in the world, especially from Germany in

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Southern Africa, Russia in the Near East and South Asia, and France in North Africa and Southeast Asia.63 This meant that London simply could not spare assets for a conflict in the Americas; the chances that other great powers would take advantage of the situation were too great. In fact, the Cabinet decided that Britain could not take even precautionary measures against the United States. There was little dissent from the Admiralty. As it noted in response to an inquiry of February 1896 about how many additional ships could be sent to North America and the West Indies in the event of an Anglo-American war, “this contingency would produce entirely exceptional conditions for which no provision can be made even approximately beforehand.”64 The second reason is that the British were not convinced that they would prevail in a war even if they were able to divert forces to North America. Such a war would inevitably involve Canada, which could not be adequately defended.65 At the height of the Venezuela Crisis, the Military Intelligence Division in the War Office warned that the Dominion would be difficult if not impossible to defend.66 Part of the problem was that the Canadian militia was poorly organized and thoroughly unprepared for war.67 More important, however, was the military capability of the United States. As Ardagh explained, even if Britain and Canada were to win the initial exchanges, something that was by no means guaranteed, “we should eventually be swept out of the country by mere superiority of numbers, and Canada would be overrun and occupied.” In his opinion, “a land war on the American Continent would be perhaps the most hazardous military enterprise that we could possibly be driven to engage in.”68 It was therefore best to avoid one.

The Spanish-American War, April 1898–July 1899 On 20 April 1898, President William McKinley approved a joint congressional resolution that authorized the use of force to free Cuba from Spanish control. Although the ensuing Spanish-American War lasted less than four months, its effects were considerable. By the terms of the Treaty of Paris, signed in December, Cuba became an American protectorate and the United States acquired Spain’s colonies of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and

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Guam. That is to say, it became a colonial power. Britain was officially neutral throughout the affair, yet it effectively supported the United States before, during, and after the war.69 American Views of Britain U.S. officials consistently referred to the British in glowing terms during the Spanish-American War. Hay, who was serving as the ambassador to Britain at the time, was the most fulsome of all. In a celebrated speech at the Lord Mayor of London’s Easter Banquet in April 1898, he insisted that “the reasons of a good understanding between us lie deeper than any considerations of mere expediency.” The two states were “bound by a tie which we did not forge and which we cannot break.”70 This kind of rhetoric was fairly widespread. Olney, who was no Anglophile, asserted that, “from the point of view of our material interests alone, our best friend as well as most formidable foe is that world-wide empire whose navies rule the seas and which on our northern frontier controls a dominion itself imperial in extent and capabilities.” There was, he remarked, “a patriotism of race as well as of country—and the Anglo-American is as little likely to be indifferent to the one as to the other.”71 Yet the fact of the matter is that the United States remained acutely uncertain about British intentions during this period. Consider that, although U.S. officials were surely pro-British in their statements, they never claimed that Britain was benign. This is hardly surprising. From an American perspective, London’s stance toward a dispute between the United States and Spain said little about its intentions toward Washington.72 Washington’s Anglophile commentary derived from other considerations. For one thing, the United States was grateful for Britain’s support and determined to retain it for the duration of the war. In the spring of 1898, Hay admonished Lodge that good relations with Britain were crucial “in the present state of things, as it is the only European country whose sympathies are not openly against us.”73 Lodge agreed, replying that “the heart of America” went to Britain in thanks for its support.74 Once the war was won, however, and Britain’s support was no longer essential, Washington ceased to profess its affection for London. As Charles Campbell puts it, “the more closely one examines the wartime rapprochement, with its declarations of undying

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friendship . . . the more clearly one sees that it had a forced, hothouse quality resulting from wartime emotionalism.” It is striking that American “enthusiasm for things British began to wane as soon as the war lost its perils.”75 For another thing, U.S. officials hoped that they could persuade Britain to be a helpful partner, now that the United States was going to be a colonial power in the Far East.76 This theme was central to Hay’s London speech. There was, he informed his British audience, “a sanction like that of religion which binds us to a sort of partnership in the beneficent work of the world.” The Anglo-Saxon powers were “joint ministers of the same sacred mission of liberty and progress, charged with duties which we cannot evade by the imposition of irresistible hands.”77 Olney concurred, declaring that the emerging Anglo-Saxon “community, and . . . that cooperation in good works which should result from it [are] . . . the best hope for the future not only of the two kindred peoples but of the human race itself.”78 British Views of the United States British leaders were even more effusive than their American counterparts. The key figure was Chamberlain, who made a series of highly publicized references to a common Anglo-Saxon identity. Speaking in Birmingham in May 1898, he publicly claimed that Britain had a duty “to establish and to maintain bonds of a permanent amity with our kinsmen across the Atlantic,” adding, “they speak our language, they are bred of our race.”79 The following month, in a speech to the House of Commons, he referenced Anglo-Saxonism explicitly, calling for the defense of “AngloSaxon liberty and Anglo-Saxon interests,” and hoping that “blood will be found thicker than water.”80 At the end of the year, he laid out his vision in an article for Scribner’s magazine: “So far as the United Kingdom is concerned, it may be taken as a fact that the British nation would welcome any approach to this conclusion, that there is hardly any length to which they would not go in response to American advances, and that they would not shrink even from an alliance contra mundum, if the need should ever arise, in defence of the ideals of the Anglo-Saxon race—of humanity, justice, freedom, and equality of opportunity.”81 One might think that these professions of Anglo-Saxonism reflected a belief that the United States had benign intentions. But they did not. Rath-

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er, Chamberlain’s rhetoric is best understood as a bid for American support in maintaining the British empire, especially in the Far East.82 The Birmingham speech was a textbook call for such an alignment: “I do not know what the future has in store for us. I do not know what arrangements may be possible with us, but this I know and feel—that the closer, the more cordial, the fuller, and the more definite those arrangements are, with the consent of both peoples, the better it will be for both and for the world. And I even go so far as to say that, terrible as war may be, even war itself would be cheaply purchased if in a great and noble cause the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack should wave together over an Anglo-Saxon alliance.”83 As for the rhetoric of Anglo-Saxonism, it was little more than that. Even as Chamberlain called for an “alliance” with the United States, he told his audience—as he had told his Cabinet colleagues before the war—not to dismiss the idea of a similar alliance with Germany. He went further the following year, after the Spanish-American War had faded into the background, contending that “at bottom the main character of the Teutonic race differs very slightly from the character of the Anglo-Saxon. . . . If the Union between England and America is a powerful factor in the cause of peace, a new Triple Alliance between the Teutonic race and the two great branches of the Anglo-Saxon race, will be a still more potent influence in the future of the world.”84 At the same time, British decision makers judged that any U.S. affection for Britain was unlikely to outlast the Spanish-American conflict. Soon after the United States declared war, Pauncefote remarked to Salisbury that “the most astonishing feature of the present time is the sudden transition in this country from Anglophobia to the most exuberant affection for England and ‘Britishers’ in general,” while observing that “how long the fit will last no wise man would venture to predict.”85 For his part, Salisbury was convinced that “the present honeymoon will not last.”86 Britain became quite despondent once the Treaty of Paris was signed. Arthur Lee, the military attaché at the British embassy in Washington, complained that “the gratitude for our support during the Spanish difficulty seems sadly evanescent in certain quarters.”87 Meanwhile, Admiral Sir John Fisher doubted that the new Anglo-American friendship could survive.88 “The Admiral,” observed a German navy captain, “attaches no

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importance to the present trend of British public opinion in favor of close connection with North America and thinks their artificial friendship cannot be permanent, as there are so many points on which their interests clash.”89 In a similar vein, Salisbury concluded that little had changed in Anglo-American relations. As he indicated to Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, the British ambassador to Madrid, in July 1899, “My doctrine is briefly this, that you cannot build up in any desirable form an influence or popularity among the governing classes of another country. . . . The benefits of today are forgotten tomorrow. The popularity of today disappears. . . . ‘Influence’ disappears.”90

The Isthmian Canal, January 1900–December 1901 In January 1900, the United States inquired with Britain about the possibility of amending the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850) as a prelude to constructing a canal across the Central American isthmus. Although the British had turned down previous advances, saying that the treaty must remain in force, this time they relented. By the terms of the Hay-Pauncefote Convention, signed in February 1900, the United States was authorized to construct and maintain a neutralized canal. At that point, the Senate eviscerated the draft treaty with a series of amendments. The most important of these, the so-called Davis Amendment, stipulated that the neutrality provision did not apply to measures the United States might deem necessary to defend itself and ensure order. Months of negotiation ensued before the two sides reached an agreement largely along the lines demanded by the Senate. The Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, which effectively gave the United States license to build and control an isthmian canal, was signed in November 1901, and ratified a month later.91 Its passage, notes the historian John Grenville, “marked . . . the conscious British recognition of the eventual United States supremacy in the Western Hemisphere.”92 American Views of Britain Two features of the American attitude during the negotiations reveal that the United States was acutely uncertain about Britain’s intentions. The first is that U.S. policy makers refused to consider anything other than complete

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American control of the waterway. This view was clear even before discussions got under way. In December 1898, McKinley announced that a canal was indispensable to the United States and “that our national policy now more imperatively than ever calls for its control by this Government.”93 Congressional leaders endorsed the president’s position. A year after McKinley’s speech, with the British insisting that the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty must remain in force, Representative William Hepburn introduced a bill that empowered the president to acquire territory for a canal route, and directed the secretary of war not only to construct a canal, but also to make provision for its protection. The bill was quickly approved by the relevant committees in both houses.94 The following month, Lodge warned Britain in no uncertain terms, “The American people mean to have the canal and they mean to control it.”95 Perhaps no one captured the American desire to control an eventual canal better than Roosevelt, now the governor of New York. In a private memorandum produced at the time of the Hay-Pauncefote Convention, he hoped that the draft treaty would be rejected “unless amended so as to provide that the canal, when built, shall be wholly under the control of the United States, alike in peace and war.”96 In other words, American control was of paramount importance. The reason appears to be that decision makers could not discount the chance that the United States would one day be involved in a war with a great naval power, such as Britain, in which case control of the canal would be crucial. Roosevelt explained to Hay, “If that canal is open to the war ships of an enemy it is a menace to us in time of war; it is an added burden, an additional strategic point to be guarded by our fleet. If fortified by us, it becomes one of the most potent sources of our possible sea strength. Unless so fortified it strengthens against us every nation whose fleet is larger than ours.”97 The other element of the American attitude that suggests uncertainty about British intentions is Washington’s eagerness to exclude all of Europe’s great powers from the isthmus. Here the logic of the Monroe Doctrine came to the forefront once again. Writing in February 1900, Roosevelt thought it “vital” that the draft treaty, which provided for a neutral canal, be rejected “from the stand point of the Monroe Doctrine.”98 He elaborated in a letter to Hay the same month: “As to the Monroe Doctrine. . . . If

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we invite foreign powers to a joint ownership, a joint guarantee, of what so vitally concerns us but a little way from our borders, how can we possibly object to a similar joint action say in Southern Brazil or Argentina, where our interests are so much less evident? . . . To my mind, we should consistently refuse to all European powers the right to control, in any shape, any territory in the western Hemisphere which they do not already hold.”99 This was a popular view. As Roosevelt argued in a letter to Lee the following year, “Most of the Senators sincerely dislike any loss of control . . . in the Isthmus, and wish no continental European power to appear there.” Their fear was that without the Senate amendments, the draft treaty gave the European great powers “a certain right to qualified intervention in Central American affairs. To this they strenuously object; and so do I.”100 This mistrust was deep enough for the United States to take a no-holdsbarred approach to the canal negotiations. Hay, who was often accused of being too much of an Anglophile, was no exception. In a dispatch that the U.S. ambassador to London, Joseph Choate, shared with the British, the secretary of state asserted that “nothing in the nature of the ClaytonBulwer prohibition will finally prevent the building of the canal.” Nor was there anything Britain could do: “It would be a deplorable result of all our labor and thought if . . . England should be made to appear in the attitude of attempting to veto a work of such world-wide importance; and the worst of all for international relations is that the veto would not be effective.”101 In closing, Hay took advantage of his reputation to push the British even harder. If Britain did not capitulate, he informed Salisbury, he might resign, which would mean that London would have to deal with someone far less accommodating.102 Hay was a comparative moderate. In a message to Balfour, Lodge emphasized that the U.S. course was fixed: “If England should reject the Senate amendments it is just as certain as the coming of the day that we shall abrogate the treaty by resolution of Congress and go on with the building of the canal.” Then, to highlight how seriously he took the situation, the senator suggested that he was prepared to go to war to affirm the U.S. position. “Now England does not care enough about it to go to war to prevent our building it, and it would be ruinous if she did make war on us,” he wrote. “As she is not prepared to go to war, why is it not better that the canal

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should be built under the Hay-Pauncefote treaty with her assent to the amendments than to have her refuse the amendments and force the United States to abrogate the treaty and build the canal?”103 This does not appear to have been a bluff. Privately, Lodge told Roosevelt that he had accepted the possibility of war, noting, “that the English should undertake to go to war about the canal seems impossible although, I admit, they have done a good many impossible things lately.” In any event, now was as good a time to fight as any: “If, however, there is any danger of that kind, now is the time to take the step [of abrogation], for England is too exhausted by the African war to enter on any new struggle.”104 A few months later, Lodge visited Balfour and Lord Lansdowne, the foreign secretary, and left them in no doubt that the United States would build and control a canal, with or without a treaty.105 Roosevelt, too, was undeterred by the prospect of war if it resulted in exclusive U.S. control of the canal. Upon becoming vice president in March 1901, he noted that “before we abrogate the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty we want to be sure of the position we intend taking should Germany and England combine against us.” Although such an eventuality would “be one of utmost folly for England, because she is certain to have her paws burned, while the nuts would go to Germany,” he had come to think that Britain was capable of the “wildest follies.” Three months later, he was still entertaining the possibility that the United States might have to fight Britain, noting that victory was all but assured because the U.S. military would take Canada.106 As he put it, “I do not care whether [Britain] . . . subscribes to the Monroe Doctrine or not because she is the one power with which any quarrel on that doctrine would be absolutely certain to result to our immediate advantage.”107 British Views of the United States Britain’s acquiescence to Washington’s demands is a puzzle because it saw little if any benefit in a canal being built and controlled by the United States. As the Hay-Pauncefote Convention was being negotiated, the Cabinet worried that an isthmian canal would effectively double the strength of the American navy, which would be able to move quickly between the Pacific and Atlantic theaters.108 Military planners were also concerned. Ar-

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dagh warned that a canal would impair Britain’s naval supremacy and insisted that London could not agree to sole U.S. control without some kind of compensation.109 Similarly, Captain Charles Ottley, the naval attaché in Washington, declared that “it needs little consideration to show how profoundly the balance of sea power, not only in the Gulf, but also upon the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America would be influenced in favour of any country which possessed an unfettered control of the canal in war time.”110 Little had changed a year later when London and Washington began negotiations on the basis of the Senate amendments to the draft treaty. The Admiralty was concerned about a canal in any form. In a memorandum of January 1901 for the Foreign Office, it argued, “To sum up the situation from a purely naval and strategical point of view, it appears to my Lords that the preponderance of advantage from the canal would be greatly on the side of the United States, and that, in case of war between Great Britain and the United States, the navy of the United States would derive such benefits from the existence of the canal, that it is not really in the interests of Great Britain that it should be constructed.”111 Lansdowne worried about the effects of the Davis Amendment. Were this “new clause” to be added, he wrote Pauncefote, “the obligation to respect the neutrality of the Canal in all circumstances would, so far as Great Britain is concerned, remain in force,” whereas “the obligation of the United States . . . would be essentially modified.” The consequences would be profound. “The result would be a onesided arrangement under which Great Britain would be debarred from any warlike action in or around the Canal, while the United States would be able to resort to such action to whatever extent they might deem necessary to secure their safety.”112 Yet London gave in to Washington’s demands for pressing strategic reasons. It is no accident that the negotiations leading to the Hay-Pauncefote Convention were conducted while Britain was mired in the Boer War. Suffering one defeat after another—the series of military disasters known as Black Week began just two days after Hepburn introduced his bill—and fearing that France, Germany, and Russia might seek to exploit the situation, British officials decided that they could not afford a rupture with the United States, especially as it appeared to be the only great power that

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supported Britain.113 As Pauncefote explained, “national feeling here [in Washington] about the canal is almost as intense as that regarding the Monroe Doctrine and the opposition of Britain to its construction would undoubtedly impair very seriously the good relations now existing between the two countries, and probably bring back that state of tension which existed at the time of the Venezuelan boundary trouble. America seems to be our only friend just now and it would be unfortunate to quarrel with her.”114 American support was deemed so important, in fact, that Britain rejected Canada’s request to hold up the Hay-Pauncefote Convention until progress had been made on the Canada-Alaska border dispute. “If Her Majesty’s Government further delay or refuse to proceed with [the Convention],” Chamberlain informed Governor General of Canada Lord Minto, “such refusal would be regarded as an affront to the U.S. Government, and would tend to shake [the] position of President [McKinley] whose friendly attitude is in the present condition of public affairs of great importance.”115 This logic applied with even greater force during the negotiations on the final Hay-Pauncefote Treaty. By then, the Boer War had exacted such a price that Balfour described Britain as a “third-rate Power.” Meanwhile, the War Office doubted its ability to muster the forces needed to fight France and Russia.116 American amity was therefore more important than ever.117 London’s surrender on the isthmian canal issue was not simply a reaction to events in Southern Africa; it was part and parcel of “an agonized reappraisal of foreign policy.”118 By the turn of the century, most decision makers agreed that Britain was strategically overextended. The expansion of the French, German, Russian, Japanese, and American navies meant that Britain could no longer maintain a navy that would simultaneously ensure supremacy—and therefore British security—in European waters, and safeguard its imperial interests and possessions around the globe. The growth of the U.S. navy was a major part of the problem. Lord Selborne, the First Lord of the Admiralty, bemoaned the fact that “it has not dawned on our countrymen yet . . . that, if the Americans choose to pay for what they can easily afford, they can gradually build up a navy, fully as large and then larger than ours and I am not sure they will not do it.”119 At the same time, he was convinced that “if the United States continue their present naval policy and develop their navy as they are easily capable of developing it if

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they choose, it will be scarcely possible for us to raise our navy to a strength equal to that of both France and the United States combined.”120 The First Lord’s solution, which he put to the Cabinet with Lansdowne’s backing in the fall of 1901, was to look for supremacy in Europe—where “the final issue will be fought out”—while accommodating the United States in the Americas.121 His colleagues approved, and, within a matter of months, Britain moved to accept a U.S.–controlled isthmian canal. Military conditions in the Western Hemisphere further incentivized Britain to capitulate. For one thing, British decision makers knew that they were unlikely to be able to prevent the United States from building and controlling the canal. Ottley made the point explicitly as early as March 1900: “It cannot be questioned that the [United States] . . . is in favor of a fleet . . . strong enough for all purposes. Closely connected with this question is the proposal for the construction of the Isthmian Canal. . . . That such a canal will eventually be built now seems almost certain.”122 By the following year, Pauncefote, who had earlier indicated that Washington was “firmly set upon the construction of the canal at whatever cost as a national duty,” was advising Salisbury along similar lines. “The canal will certainly be made by the U.S. in the face of our opposition,” he noted.123 In light of this, Britain decided that the best course of action was to give in gracefully in the hope of gaining some measure of U.S. friendship.124 As Admiral Lord Kerr, the First Sea Lord, explained, “It seems to me that our policy should be in the direction of meeting the U.S. claims half way, and avoid a non possumus attitude. Our interests would be better served if the U.S. carry us with them instead of getting what they are sure to get in spite of us.”125 In a similar vein, Pauncefote reassured Lansdowne that Britain had “saved for the world at large the great principle of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, which Congress would undoubtedly have scattered to the winds, had we not come to terms. There is a general feeling also that our attitude has been generous and friendly and that the Treaty will do much to keep up our good relations.”126 For another thing, the British understood that they would lose little by giving in to Washington’s demands. At the end of the day, naval capabilities, not treaty provisions, would determine who controlled the canal, and in that respect the United States had a marked and growing advantage. In

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January 1901, the Admiralty calculated that, “unaided,” Britain did not have the means to “maintain in the West Indies, the Pacific, and in the North American stations, squadrons sufficiently powerful to dominate those of the United States and at the same time to hold the command of the sea in home waters, the Mediterranean, and the Eastern seas.” This meant that Britain would have to shift naval forces from other theaters if it wanted to gain local superiority around the canal. But this was impossible, because London could not be “absolutely assured” of the “neutrality of the European powers.” Therefore, the United States had effective supremacy in hemispheric waters. Moreover, the U.S. advantage was bound to grow going forward. “With the navy that they are creating, and with the management of the Canal which they seek,” Kerr wrote Selborne, “the United States will have the means, whatever we may say or think, or make a treaty about, of controlling the traffic that passes through it whether in peace or war.” An Admiralty memorandum for the Cabinet offered a similar diagnosis: “With reference to the first condition [control of the canal] it is believed to be the firm intention of the United States to provide herself with a fleet sufficiently powerful to insure to her the command of the Caribbean Sea and of American waters on the Pacific Coast. It is difficult to see how Great Britain can prevent this if the latent resources of the United States are considered.”127 It followed that ceding formal control of the canal to the United States was of little practical import. As Pauncefote put it, the British ultimately “surrendered no right worth keeping.”128 Not everyone agrees that Britain acted out of strategic considerations, however. In particular, some intentions optimists view Britain’s withdrawal as evidence that the British trusted the United States. To their minds, London was confident that Washington “had benign intentions.” This being the case, Britain “did not simply abandon its interests in the western hemisphere,” but rather “entrusted them to the United States.”129 This view, which intentions optimists contend is based on the work of the historian Lionel Gelber, is unconvincing. To begin with, Gelber views Britain’s capitulation as being strategic: “This was done primarily to placate the United States; but with the deepening complexity of international affairs it became doubtful whether . . . [Britain] could in any case protect by herself all her far-flung interests.” Moreover, he describes the notion that

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the United States could be counted on to protect British interests as merely “a prospect of which the Foreign Office had not altogether been oblivious when the final canal treaty was signed.”130 It was by no means a primary consideration. Even more telling, Gelber’s analysis does not touch on the intentions issue. He simply argues that Britain was convinced that the United States would enforce the Monroe Doctrine against all comers.131 Furthermore, there is little if any direct evidence that Britain trusted the United States. On the rare occasions when U.S. intentions came up, decision makers in London confessed to being more or less acutely uncertain. This was clearly the view in February 1899. It was precisely because Britain and the United States were involved in a number of disputes, Salisbury told Pauncefote, that London was reluctant to simply allow Washington to build and control a canal that would add immeasurably to its naval power. “The Cabinet,” he explained, “fear that if they yield a point so entirely to the advantage of the U.S. without some diminution at least of the causes which might bring the two countries into conflict, there would be serious dissatisfaction here.”132 This remained the British position after the Senate amended the draft treaty. In December 1900, Pauncefote warned Lansdowne that minor disputes still had the potential to “disturb the entente cordiale” with the United States.133 Early the following year, Lee worried that the United States might become even more aggressive if Britain backed down. He wondered if it would be “good policy . . . to make any further concessions to that section of American feeling represented by the majority in the Senate.” After all, “would it not perhaps develop hatred into contempt?”134

The Alaska Boundary Dispute, September 1901–February 1904 Soon after Roosevelt became president, in September 1901, he decided to force a resolution to an outstanding dispute between the United States and Britain over the border between Canada and Alaska. Extended negotiations eventually resulted in the signature of the Hay-Herbert Treaty in January 1903, which referred the dispute to a judicial tribunal composed of “six impartial jurists of repute.” The tribunal met for the first time in September, and the following month the three U.S. representatives and

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Lord Alverstone, the British jurist, signed an agreement awarding nearly all of the disputed territory to the United States. Once again, this time against Canada’s wishes—the two Canadian members of the tribunal abstained— Britain had given in to U.S. demands.135 All that remained was the approval of Parliament, which came in February of the following year. American Views of Britain As the Alaskan boundary dispute heated up, the United States was not particularly interested in Britain’s intentions. In fact, the Roosevelt administration was determined to resolve the boundary dispute unequivocally on its own terms with little regard for any effect that this might have on British attitudes. From the outset, American negotiators were adamant that the United States was in the right and that Canada—and, by extension, Britain—was in the wrong. The president, Hay told Pauncefote in March 1902, considered the U.S. claim “manifestly clear and unanswerable.” Roosevelt followed up in a letter to the British, declaring that the Canadian position was “an outrage pure and simple.”136 Canada “has not a leg to stand on,” and “compromise is impossible.” Little changed in the aftermath of the signature of the HayHerbert Treaty. Roosevelt informed Chamberlain that he viewed “the attitude of Canada, which England has backed, as having the scantest possible warrant in justice.”137 Meanwhile, Hay relayed the American view to the British through the chargé d’affaires, Henry White, in no uncertain terms. The United States “never had the slightest doubt of our right.” He was convinced “that there is not an intelligent Englishman who does not know they have no case.” The British had an opportunity to “reced[e] from an absolutely untenable position.”138 Even as it asserted the rightness of its position, the United States refused to engage in a true negotiation. Hay’s suggestion of a six-man tribunal that would decide matters by a majority vote “was a travesty of the method of genuine arbitration.” As the secretary of state confessed to Roosevelt, his proposed mechanism meant that the United States could not possibly lose—the three U.S. commissioners would axiomatically support Washington’s claim—and quite probably might win.139 The president would not concede even this much. To his mind, the tribunal’s role would merely be to delineate the U.S. claim with precision, and its decisions were not neces-

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sarily binding. Then, when the time came to nominate the U.S. commissioners, he selected Lodge, Secretary of War Elihu Root, and former senator George Turner—three men who, as Canadian prime minister Wilfrid Laurier rightly noted, could not “with any fairness be styled ‘impartial jurists.’ ”140 Worse still, Roosevelt then followed through on his longstanding threat to instruct the American representatives “that they are in no case to yield any of our claim.” They would judge the relevant issues impartially, he instructed them, but “in the principle involved there will of course be no compromise.”141 The United States was so determined to get its way that it was prepared to entertain the use of force if necessary. In March 1902, when George Smalley, a correspondent for the London Times, asked Roosevelt what he would do in the event of unrest on the Alaska-Canada border, the president replied, “I know very well what I shall do. I shall send up engineers to run our line as we assert it and I shall send troops to guard and hold it.” If this sounded drastic, “I mean it to be drastic.”142 Soon thereafter, Root was ordered to send troops to southern Alaska.143 A few months later, Roosevelt alerted Hay that they might well be used: “Root has been quietly strengthening the garrison. . . . [The Canadians] now say that trouble may come if [their claim] is not acted on. I feel like telling them that if trouble comes it will be purely . . . their own fault; and although it would not be pleasant for us, it would be death for them.”144 Roosevelt was equally bellicose the following year. In July, he reminded Lodge that if the judicial tribunal did not return the verdict he wanted, he would ask Congress for permission to settle the dispute “on our own theory.”145 To Root, he said he hoped Britain “could understand that this is the last chance” to capitulate “and that though it will be unpleasant for us, if they force me to do what I must in case they fail to take advantage of this chance, it will be a thousandfold more unpleasant for them.”146 London’s capitulation had little effect on American views of British intentions. To be sure, the relevant officials were happy with the outcome of the dispute. The day after the tribunal rendered its verdict, Lodge wrote his daughter, “It has been a great transaction, more momentous perhaps than the world thinks. The decision is a great victory for us.”147 Several years later, Roosevelt informed Mahan that “the settlement of the Alaskan

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boundary” led him to “feel very differently towards England from the way I feel towards Germany.”148 These conclusions did not, however, stem from a newfound conviction that Britain had benign intentions. Rather, the Americans concluded that with the resolution of the Alaska-Canada border dispute, there were simply no issues remaining that might lead to an Anglo-American confrontation in the Western Hemisphere. The 1903 award, Lodge observed, meant “the final removal of the one dangerous question from the relations of two great nations.” Roosevelt agreed: “the settlement . . . settled the last serious trouble between the British Empire and ourselves.”149 British Views of the United States From Britain’s perspective, the Alaska-Canada dispute provided a sharp reminder that U.S. intentions could easily change for the worse. As early as May 1902, Roosevelt told Arthur Raikes, Britain’s chargé d’affaires in Washington, “Your people were good to us in 1898 and I have not forgotten it, so I do not want to raise the Alaskan question until your troubles in South Africa are over for then I am going to be ugly.” Then, in an exchange that was meant to be relayed to the British, Lodge remarked that “the President had recently declared in the presence of two Senators that if any trouble arose in the territory in dispute he would occupy it with United States troops. To which one of the Senators rejoined ‘If you would make that declaration, sir, from the steps of the White House, your nomination for the next Presidency would be assured.’ ” London was dismayed. As King Edward VII put it, “this is not pleasant reading.”150 Following the signature of the Hay-Herbert Treaty, American threats became even more explicit. In April 1903, Hay notified the British that the tribunal was their last chance to back down gracefully without a fight.151 Roosevelt followed up in the summer in a letter conveyed “privately and unofficially” to Chamberlain. He wanted it “distinctly understood” that if the British did not come to terms, he would “take a position which will prevent any possibility of arbitration hereafter . . . [and] which will render it necessary for Congress to give me the authority to run the line as we claim it, by our own people, without any further regard to the attitude of England and Canada.” Once that happened, the prospect of war would be on the table. Of this Chamberlain had little

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doubt, complaining that Roosevelt’s comments were “exceedingly grave and to be regretted.”152 Britain’s capitulation—Alverstone was instructed to side with the U.S. members of the tribunal—was partly inspired by the fear of military defeat in the event that the Alaska dispute became militarized.153 By 1903, decision makers in London had no doubt that Britain would be defeated in a war on the North American continent, and perhaps lose Canada in the process. As early as November 1899, the permanent under-secretary at the India Office wrote, “I will confess to you that there are two Powers, and two only, of whom I am afraid, viz. the United States and Russia, for the simple reason that they have or (in the case of Russia) must soon have better military access to an important part of our dominions, than we have ourselves. It is to be regretted that Canada and India are not islands, but we must recognize the fact, and must modify our diplomacy accordingly.”154 In 1901, in a memorandum for the director of military intelligence, Colonel Herbert Lawrence repeated Ardagh’s four-year-old dictum that war on the North American continent would be “the most hazardous enterprise in which the Empire could be driven to engage.” Captain J. Aylmer Haldane, the individual tasked with bringing War Office plans for the defense of Canada up to date in March 1902 and again in January 1903, was even more direct, concluding that a war in North America would mean the loss of Canada.155 The deeper cause of Britain’s capitulation, however, was a desire to eliminate one of the few remaining matters of contention in Anglo-American relations. Simply put, London concluded that if the Alaska boundary dispute was settled on U.S. terms, then there would be no outstanding issues between Britain and the United States and therefore no reason for conflict. This view surfaced early on. “I care very little for the points in dispute,” argued Chamberlain in a letter about the Alaska issue in December 1898, “but I care immensely for the consequential advantages of a thorough understanding between the two countries and the removal of these trumpery causes of irritation.”156 Similarly, in December 1901, soon after the resolution of the isthmian canal issue, Pauncefote advised Lansdowne that the Alaska-Canada border was “the last of the . . . great disputes which have been for so many years a source of constant menace to our good relations,” and urged that London do what it could to resolve the matter. Lansdowne

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needed little persuasion, replying, “How delightful it would be if you [Pauncefote] should be able . . . to give us that clean slate which we all so much desire,” by settling the boundary dispute. In fact, he quickly asked Spring Rice to inform Roosevelt privately that he was anxious to see what could be done to settle the matter. His concern, he told Raikes, was that “so long as the question remained open, there was a risk of serious trouble arising.” Later, when Roosevelt nominated his three commissioners, Lansdowne feared that were Britain to reject them, it would “sow the seeds of lasting ill will between the two countries,” which would be a “grave misfortune in the interests of both countries.” As Pauncefote’s successor Sir Michael Herbert explained, “The settlement of the Alaska question is of . . . paramount importance in connection with the improvement of . . . relations.” Likewise, Balfour stated that as far as the Alaska boundary negotiation was concerned, “I have no wish, public or private, nearer my heart than of securing and preserving genuinely good relations with the U.S.A.”157 This kind of thinking came through even more clearly after the dispute was settled. Believing, wrongly as it turned out, that the January 1903 HayHerbert Treaty was the end of the matter, Lord Roxburghe declared, “Any steps towards the settlement of a question which might have involved us in serious difficulty with the United States must be welcomed.” When the tribunal handed down its decision and the matter was finally resolved, other decision makers joined in. In a speech of February 1904, King Edward rejoiced that “misunderstandings, in which ancient Boundary Treaties . . . are so fertile, have in this case been finally removed from the field of controversy.” Lord Hylton concurred in an address to the House of Lords: “it is for the benefit of all parties that this question, which might at any moment have given rise to serious international differences, should have been set at rest.”158 Lansdowne was perhaps the most effusive, telling an approving Parliament that “any serious clashing on the spot between the settlers belonging to Canada, on the one hand, or to the United States, on the other, might at any moment have brought about an incident of the utmost gravity. It is therefore most fortunate that we should have been successful in removing that question from the path of our diplomacy.”159 He repeated the point to Lodge, remarking “how advantageous” it was “that this rock of offense should have been removed from our path.”160

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Anglo-American Relations in the Far East, December 1898–September 1905 With its acquisition of the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American War, the United States became an East Asian power. Over the next seven years, two issues dominated the diplomatic agenda in the region. The first was the fate of China—specifically, whether it would remain unified and open to trade or be split into closed spheres of influence. The second was the Russo-Japanese War, which began in February 1904 and formally ended with the Treaty of Portsmouth in September 1905.161 Britain and the United States were never going to learn much about each other’s intentions from their experiences in East Asia. After all, they understood that their actions toward third parties, especially China, Japan, and Russia, over issues such as freedom of commerce were at best loosely connected to the question of whether or not they meant each other harm. There is, however, a substantial literature that identifies an Anglo-American “community of interest” in East Asia at the turn of the twentieth century.162 In this reading of the situation, Washington and London believed that they had common interests in East Asia from the beginning, and this belief was reinforced as they supported one another in pursuing those interests over the years. As Edelstein puts it, Britain became convinced that the United States was “generally favorable to British interests.”163 Even this claim is dubious, however. Whatever community of interests Britain and the United States detected when the latter defeated Spain, their experiences revealed that it lacked any real depth. British and American Views of Each Other British decision makers welcomed the United States into East Asia, believing that it would support them in maintaining the territorial integrity of China and the commercial “open door.” As Salisbury explained in November 1898, “No one can deny that [the] appearance [of the United States] among the factors of Asiatic . . . diplomacy, is a grave and serious event, which may not conduce to the interests of peace, though I think that in any event it is likely to conduce to the interest of Great Britain.”164 Chamberlain was more effusive, remarking that it was “hardly . . . necessary to say that

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the British nation will cordially welcome the entrance of the United States into the field of colonial enterprise.” He expected London and Washington to “find that our interests are identical and, while we shall prosecute them separately, we shall inevitably be drawn into closer union if they are threatened or endangered.”165 Spring Rice was equally enthusiastic in a letter to Roosevelt, commending the U.S. decision to retain the Philippines. He felt “as if a nightmare was over. It means possibly that our race and civilisation is safe.”166 The British were repeatedly disappointed. In March 1898, the United States refused to join Britain in “opposing action by foreign Powers which may tend to restrict freedom of commerce of all nations in China either by imposing preferential conditions or by obtaining actual cession of Chinese coast territory.”167 A little less than a year later, Washington rejected Britain’s call for “conjoint action” to prevent France from enlarging its concession at Shanghai.168 The United States was scarcely more supportive of British interests when it did become involved in East Asia. Hay’s “Open Door” note of September 1899, which called on the other great powers to allow equal commercial opportunity for all in their spheres of influence, was aimed as much at Britain as at its peers; indeed, the secretary of state’s adviser, William Rockhill, considered Britain “as great an offender in China as Russia itself.”169 Worse still, the United States made it clear that it would do nothing to enforce its request. The same verdict applies to Hay’s followup telegram of July 1900, which stated that the United States supported Chinese territorial and administrative integrity.170 Lansdowne was soon complaining about “the half hearted and inconsistent support of our friends” in the Far East.171 The most he would grant was that the British government “had every reason to believe that [the United States] desired the maintenance of the status quo.”172 Given this state of affairs, Britain turned elsewhere to safeguard its position in East Asia. The belief that there was an Anglo-German community of interests in the region went back to early 1898. In Balfour’s view, “British interests and German interests are absolutely identical [in China]. . . . Fundamentally the interests of the two countries are the same . . . and I certainly believe we shall be able without difficulty to work hand in hand towards carrying out these general commercial objects.”173 The following

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year, Chamberlain noted that the “natural alliance is between ourselves and the great German Empire” in East Asia.174 When the Anglo-German agreement to maintain the open door and the integrity of China foundered on the issue of Manchuria, however, Britain turned to Japan.175 By the terms of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, signed in January 1902, the parties pledged their devotion to the open door and Chinese territorial integrity, recognized one another’s special interests in China, and acknowledged Japan’s predominant position in Korea.176 Even now the United States refused to give Britain any meaningful support. In April 1903, London inquired whether it could count on Washington in the event of a war with Russia over Manchuria and Mongolia, but to no avail. The United States would try to keep Russia to its promises and protect U.S. commerce, but would not go to war. Three months later, as the situation in East Asia was deteriorating, Lansdowne again approached the United States, with the same result. Washington showed no inclination to intervene and moved unilaterally to sign a commercial treaty with China to protect its interests.177 Then, in February 1904, the United States issued what amounted to a third “open door” note, asking Russia and Japan to respect China’s neutrality and administrative integrity, but refusing to back up its request with a threat of intervention.178 The cumulative effect was to persuade the British that they could not count on the United States. “Are the Americans prepared to help us by force?” Balfour queried Lansdowne on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War. He thought not. It was unlikely that the Americans would “violate their traditions” by joining an alliance to preserve the integrity of China. Were they to do so, it would “open a new era in the history of the world,” and Balfour did not expect that to happen.179 If the British had reason to lament the lack of American support before the Russo-Japanese War, the reverse was true during the war. From the moment he assumed the presidency, Roosevelt saw Russia as the greatest threat to U.S. interests in East Asia. It was for this reason that he declared he “should not in the least mind going to ‘extremes,’ with Russia” and assured Tokyo that the United States would take a benevolent position toward Japan in the event of a Russo-Japanese War.180 Yet, although the president wanted Russia defeated once war broke out, he did not want it destroyed. He hoped that Japan would “win—but not in too crushing a manner.” Such

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a result, he feared, would upset the balance of power in East Asia and threaten the territorial integrity and commerce of China.181 There was some reason to think that Britain would be supportive. On the eve of war in East Asia, Spring Rice told Roosevelt, “I should think you could be certain that we will follow your lead and that you will find us ready and anxious to take any action which you suggest beforehand.”182 Similarly, Lansdowne wrote Sir Mortimer Durand, who had replaced Herbert in the Washington embassy, that the British “earnestly desire to remain in line with the United States and we believe that in certain eventualities concerted action between us might have the best results.”183 As it happened, and to Roosevelt’s manifest dismay, Britain proved to be obstructive rather than supportive. Most important, London refused to pressure Japan into complying with the president’s demands for a peace conference in 1904. This elicited an angry response from the White House: “England has not a man I can deal with. . . . I do not think much of Balfour and less of Lansdowne. Chamberlain is quite unreliable.”184 Matters hardly improved once Japan decided to seek peace with Russia through the United States. Although Britain publicly backed the peace negotiations, it consistently refused to put pressure on Japan to moderate its peace terms, especially after the renewal of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in early August 1905.185 Roosevelt expressed his displeasure repeatedly, going so far as to compare Britain unfavorably with the other European great powers. “I wholly fail to see the difference in position which makes it proper for France, the ally of Russia, to urge Russia to make peace and which yet makes it improper for England, the ally of Japan, to urge Japan to make peace,” he wrote Spring Rice.186 A few weeks later, he complained to White that the British “government has been foolishly reluctant to advise Japan to be reasonable, and in this respect has not shown well compared to the attitude of the German and French governments in being willing to advise Russia.”187 To be sure, he could afford to be more generous after he had secured the Treaty of Portsmouth, telling Whitelaw Reid, “I did not get much direct assistance from the English government, but I did get indirect assistance.”188 The truth was, however, that the British had failed to support the United States throughout. There is, then, little evidence for the contention that the Anglo-American bond was greatly strengthened by events in East Asia. Alexander

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Campbell renders a damning verdict: “As a basis for effective political action, then, the idea that the Anglo-Saxon nations had interests in common proved useless. . . . In the Far East it concealed the fact that neither Britain nor the United States had interests that they were prepared or able adequately to protect. . . . When the time came to demonstrate its cohesiveness and vigour, the Anglo-Saxon race proved a fiction.”189 Iestyn Adams is equally dismissive, arguing, “If the Anglo-American bond had been more solid, a joint policy should have emerged. . . . As it was, practical considerations wrecked the chances of agreement. . . . Such, unhappily, were the limits of friendship.”190

The Shape of Anglo-American Security Competition, 1895–1906 There is little doubt that Britain and the United States competed for security from 1895 to 1903. Consider that the United States had a military force of 42,000 men at the beginning of the period and 106,000 men at the end of it. Over the same time span, U.S. military spending almost tripled, from $74.2 million to $211.7 million.191 The expansion of the American navy was even more impressive. In 1896, Washington had five battleships in service and seven under construction; by 1903, it had eleven battleships in service and fourteen under construction.192 Meanwhile, the 1904–5 naval building program envisaged the construction of fourteen battleships and thirteen armored cruisers.193 Britain also greatly enhanced its military strength, increasing the size of its forces from 309,000 to 416,000 men, its military spending from £35.7 million to £66.4 million, and its fleet from 41 to 48 battleships from 1895 to 1903.194 These efforts were not directed exclusively at Washington, but the United States was one of Britain’s principal targets, along with France, Germany, Japan, and Russia. At the same time, the Anglo-American relationship was punctuated by a series of crises over Venezuela, an isthmian canal, and the Alaska-Canada boundary. The underlying issue at stake was simple: would the United States reign supreme, or would Britain continue to retain some influence in the Western Hemisphere? In each case, Washington took an aggressive line, and Britain submitted. This is not a controversial point. Edelstein

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observes that “it is often underappreciated just how aggressively the United States asserted its interests at the turn of the twentieth century,” before adding that “the British simply capitulated.”195 Balfour indicated the decisiveness of the U.S. victory in a speech to an audience in Liverpool in February 1903: “The Monroe doctrine has no enemies in this country that I know of. We welcome any increase of influence of the United States . . . upon the Great Western Hemisphere. We desire no colonization. We desire no alteration in the balance of power. We desire no acquisition of territory. We have not the slightest intention of interfering with the government of any portion of that continent.”196 There is also no doubt that Anglo-American competition in the Western Hemisphere came to an end between early 1904 and late 1906, as Britain pulled out of the region. The first troop withdrawals occurred in April 1904, just two months after the resolution of the Alaska boundary dispute. Then, in the fall of 1905, Britain began a major troop withdrawal from the islands of Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica, and St. Lucia. A few months later, it did the same in Canada, also handing over formal control of its bases at Halifax and Esquimalt to the Canadian government. By the end of 1906, the withdrawal was complete: there were no British infantry units stationed in the Americas and the Royal Navy’s presence amounted to a six-cruiser training squadron that would visit the West Indies and South America once a year.197 Britain’s withdrawal was dictated largely by the same strategic calculations that had caused it to acquiesce to U.S. demands in the isthmian canal negotiations in 1901.198 Selborne described the basic logic in a memorandum of December 1904 for the Cabinet, entitled “Distribution and Mobilization of the Fleet,” that became the blueprint for Britain’s worldwide naval policy. “A new and definite stage has been reached,” he wrote, “marked . . . by changes in the strategical position all over the world arising out of the development of foreign navies.” The expansion of the U.S. navy was a significant element of this development: “In the Western Hemisphere the United States are forming a navy the power and size of which will be limited only by the amount of money which the American people choose to spend on it.” Accordingly, Britain could no longer simultaneously defend the home islands and the empire. This situation “necessitated a review and readjustment of this distribution of ships and arrangement of stations.”

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London had to choose, and Selborne, as he had done three years earlier, prioritized the defense of the British Isles. Most of the Royal Navy was to be concentrated in European waters. A final decision on the Far East was deferred until later, but the China Station could expect an allotment of battleships and a cruiser squadron, named the Eastern Group. Another squadron would be assigned to the Cape of Good Hope Station. As for the Western Hemisphere, it would have the lightest British naval presence of all. Indeed, the commander in chief of the North American and West Indian Stations would have to make do with his flagship, a single first-class protected cruiser, and occasional visits from the newly formed Particular Service Squadron.199 It is important to note that British decision makers did occasionally seem confident that the United States had benign intentions. In February 1905, Selborne asked himself whether or not Washington would succumb to a moment of “criminal folly . . . [and] confront us with the dilemma of having to choose between war with them and the unspeakable disgrace of abandoning our fellow-countrymen in Canada,” and concluded, “I expect no such criminal folly.” In his opinion, the prospect of the United States starting a war was a “dim . . . contingency,” though he also reminded his colleagues, “history teaches us that peoples, as well as individuals, have attacks of frenzy.” Lee, now the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, followed up, commenting, “I cannot for a moment contemplate the possibility of hostilities really taking place” between Britain and the United States. He viewed a war between the two countries over Canada as “scarcely within the bounds of possibility.”200 Yet the overwhelming theme in British commentary at the time was not that the United States could be trusted, but that Britain was bound to lose an Anglo-American war and must do whatever it could to avoid one. Even as he dismissed the possibility of a war with the United States, Lee explained, “I should regard a war between this country and the United States as the supreme limit of human folly. . . . In such a war we could not possibly win—no combination of Powers could successfully invade and conquer the United States—and the contest if persisted in could only result in the destruction of the British Empire and the downfall of the English-speaking race.”201 Fisher, who had been tasked with implementing the reorganization

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of the fleet, was equally blunt about Britain’s prospects in the event of hostilities breaking out: “The more carefully this problem is considered, the more tremendous do the difficulties which would confront Great Britain in a war with the United States appear to be. . . . That [such a war] . . . would be unpopular and that the outcome of the struggle could only result sooner or later, in the loss of Canada, are the conclusions difficult to avoid.” Preparing for a war in North America was “an utter waste of time.”202 Later, he concluded that “whenever the United States wants to annex Canada she can do it.” Such conclusions led ineluctably to a determination to appease Washington. Given that Britain could not “escape an overwhelming and humiliating defeat by the United States,” naval strategists recommended that London “use all possible means to avoid . . . war.”203 Selborne was equally determined to keep the peace: “There is no party in the United Kingdom nor even in the British Empire which does not contemplate a war with the United States of America as the greatest evil which could befall the British Empire in its foreign relations. There is no statesman of any party who does not consider cordial friendship with the United States of America as the principal aim and object of British foreign policy.” Similarly, noting the “tremendous . . . difficulties which would confront Great Britain in a war with the United States,” the Admiralty “hoped that the policy of the British Government will ever be to . . . avoid such a war.”204 Several scholars disagree with my argument, claiming that perceptions of intentions played a significant role in Britain’s strategic reorganization. Specifically, some intentions optimists suggest that the British decided to withdraw from the Western Hemisphere and focus on European waters because they judged that Germany might well have malign intentions whereas the United States did not. According to Rock, British foreign policy was “strongly influenced by the ideological and cultural affinity between the United States and Britain on the one hand, and the ideological/cultural disaffection . . . between these and other powers (especially Germany) on the other.” The contrast between British perceptions of the danger emanating from the United States and British “perceptions of Germany in this regard is striking.”205 Brandon Yoder and Kyle Haynes make a similar point, contrasting the fact that “Wilhelmine Germany sent numerous signals that allowed British leaders to update their beliefs that German intentions were

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hostile,” with “the concurrent Anglo-American rapprochement that occurred as British leaders positively updated their beliefs [about the United States].”206 These arguments are wrong. There is little evidence that British officials were convinced that Imperial Germany had malign intentions even after the 1901 decision to redistribute the fleet. Describing his concerns to the Cabinet in that year, Selborne merely suggested that Kaiser Wilhelm appeared to be “determined that the power of Germany shall be used all the world over to push German commerce, possessions, and interests.” Perhaps more telling, he warned that the German navy was becoming powerful enough that it would be in a “commanding position” should Britain find itself at war with more likely adversaries, such as France and Russia. A few months later, he described the question of whether Germany’s naval development was aimed at Britain as a “conundrum” worth studying. Meanwhile, Kerr declared that he was not “so much impressed as some . . . with the view that Germany is building against us.”207 Britain’s ambassador to Germany, Sir Frank Lascelles, was scarcely more concerned, regarding the German fleet as merely a diplomatic tool that Berlin might use to exploit Anglo-Russian and Anglo-French antagonisms.208 Hugh Oakley ArnoldForster followed up in the summer of 1902, observing that Germany was “a formidable naval power, and will soon be much more formidable,” but conceding only that it ought to be counted “among our possible enemies.”209 Uncertainty remained the watchword in London as Britain began to concentrate the fleet. According to Lascelles, “the German fleet . . . was concentrated in home waters, and was continually growing in size and power. It was conceivable that it might one day become hostile and England was bound to take every precaution for her protection.”210 At the same time, naval planners noted “the development of the German Navy, and the uncertain attitude of that Power.”211 Fisher would only say that Germany was “undoubtedly . . . a possible enemy.”212 As for American perceptions of British intentions between 1904 and 1906, the United States does not appear to have thought much about how Britain intended to behave in the Western Hemisphere at this time. This is hardly surprising. To begin with, there were no outstanding issues that might lead to a clash. Because all the disputes between the United States

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and Britain had now been resolved, Roosevelt explained in 1905, “I regard all danger of any trouble between the United States and Great Britain as over, I think forever.”213 Moreover, Britain was now withdrawing from the region. On the few occasions when U.S. officials did comment on British intentions, however, they seem to have harbored some lingering uncertainty. “I feel a sincere friendliness for England,” Roosevelt confided to Finley Peter Dunne in late 1904, adding, “I do not in the least misunderstand England’s attitude, or, for the matter of that, the attitude of any European nation as regards us. We shall keep the respect of each of them just as long as we are thoroughly able to hold our own, and no longer. If we got into trouble, there is not one of them upon whose friendship we could count to get us out; what we shall need to count upon is the efficiency of our fighting men.”214 This idea—that Britain was acting peacefully out of necessity rather than choice—was, in fact, a common refrain in Roosevelt’s private correspondence. “If we quit building our fleet,” he warned, “Britain’s friendship would immediately cool.”215 Indeed, the president only ever expressed confidence when it came to American intentions, professing to be sure that the United States was benign. “You need not ever be troubled by the nightmare of a possible contest between the two great English-speaking peoples,” he assured Lee in June 1905. “I believe that is practically impossible now, and that it will grow entirely so as the years go by. In keeping ready for possible war I never even take into account a war with England. I treat it as out of the question.”216

Conclusion In sum, the great rapprochement offers powerful support to intentions pessimism. Not only did the United States and Britain communicate regularly and share a common culture, but they also managed to resolve a number of crises peacefully. Yet they did not trust each other. As a result, they waged a protracted security competition until Britain quit because it could no longer sustain the effort.

5

The Early Interwar Period

it is commonly agreed that the early interwar period—that is, the years from 1919 to 1930—was an unexpectedly peaceful interlude between the two world wars. The historian Akira Iriye observes that the international situation in 1919 appeared “very precarious, little different from the situation on the eve of the Great War.” Only contemporaries “with unusual optimism or foresight could have been sanguine about the postwar international order.” Yet peace broke out. The 1920s were “far more stable and oriented to international peace and goodwill than anyone could have dared to hope.” This so-called “peace of the 1920s” is said to have been built on two great power relationships in particular. In Europe, France reached a “solid understanding” with Germany, and in Asia, the United States and Japan “established a framework for cooperation and stability.” In both cases, leaders had a “clear, shared perception that the world had changed, [and] that history had entered a new phase, to be characterized more by peace than by war.” This was a period marked by “hope and determination that the world should never have to face another major war.”1

France and Germany Intentions optimist David Edelstein clearly subscribes to the conventional wisdom about great power relations in Europe during the early interwar period. “What is surprising,” he writes in his analysis of the Franco-German

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case, “is the extent to which even France, with its history of conflict with Germany, engaged in cooperation with Germany or at least abstained from any aggressive effort to balance against it.” Especially in the mid-1920s, Paris repeatedly elected “to postpone any more aggressive (and costly) efforts to curtail German growth.” France was pushed “in the direction of deferring competitive behavior until later.”2 In short, relations between France and Germany were characterized by the serious attenuation, if not the absence, of security competition. Edelstein has a straightforward—albeit one-sided—explanation for this period of apparent peace: Paris trusted Berlin. In part, this was due to the quality of German foreign minister Gustav Stresemann’s diplomacy. Edelstein explains that Stresemann had a “patient strategy that made his intentions appear benign.” Perhaps more important was Germany’s willingness to establish or join a series of international institutions. The Rhineland Pact and other treaties signed at the Swiss town of Locarno in December 1925 “had the effects of relieving short-term pressure and providing reassurance about German intentions.” In particular, the agreements were seen as a reliable “signal of Weimar Germany’s willingness to negotiate a revision of Versailles peacefully.” At the same time, Berlin’s decision in 1926 to join the League of Nations, and its decision in 1928 to adhere to the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war, strongly suggested it “would be interested in a cooperative route for Germany to return to its status as a European great power.”3 These assertions are wrong. As intentions pessimism predicts, France did not even come close to trusting Germany at any point from 1919 to 1930. Consider that leaders in Paris did not regard diplomacy or treaties as reliable evidence that their counterparts in Berlin had benign intentions. Germany’s declarations that it was benign were discounted as statements that could be issued by a benign or malign state. Meanwhile, the French realized that the various treaties of the era did not constrain the Germans in any significant way. Furthermore, to the extent that diplomacy and treaties indicated benign intent, they were offset by other factors that did not. German leaders sometimes adopted a hostile tone in diplomatic interactions. It was also apparent that there was considerable opposition in Germany to Stresemann’s generally collaborative foreign policy. As for the

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future, there was the possibility that a hard-liner could come to power, or that Berlin would be alienated by France’s efforts to execute the punitive terms of the post–World War I settlement. German perceptions of French intentions—which Edelstein does not address in his analysis—were scarcely different. Much like the French, the Germans put little stock in declarations and agreements as indicators of benign intentions. Moreover, they were struck by France’s insistence on keeping Germany weak. Mutual uncertainty, in turn, caused the two powers to compete for security. After Germany was defanged, France worked hard to maintain its substantial military advantage over its eastern neighbor. In response, Germany went to great lengths to build a military instrument far more powerful than the one that it had been granted in the aftermath of its defeat. In addition, Paris and Berlin looked to make alliances with states in Eastern Europe. In stark contrast to the conventional view, then, there was no meaningful “peace of the 1920s” in Western Europe. The rest of this section proceeds as follows. The bulk of it is devoted to examining French and German conclusions about each other’s intentions from 1919 to 1930. I focus on three important episodes: the negotiation, signature, and aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles (January 1919–December 1922); the onset, development, and resolution of the Ruhr Crisis (January 1923–December 1924); and the “Locarno era,” which began with the negotiations that would ultimately lead to the Rhineland Pact and ended with the complete withdrawal of French troops from the Rhineland (January 1925– June 1930). Then, having shown that Paris and Berlin were far from confident that the other had benign intentions throughout the early interwar period, I describe the resulting Franco-German security competition. Versailles, January 1919–December 1922 On 28 June 1919, a little over five months after the opening of the Paris Peace Conference, the German Cabinet signed the Treaty of Versailles. According to its terms, France gained Alsace-Lorraine from Germany and was given use of the coal fields of the Saar for fifteen years. The east bank of the Rhine was demilitarized to a depth of 50 miles, and the territory west of the great river—known as the Rhineland—was placed under allied administration and occupation, also for fifteen years. Germany was disarmed, save for

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a defense force of 100,000 men. Finally, the Germans accepted responsibility for causing the war and agreed to pay reparations. The next three years saw a series of conferences and meetings devoted to pressing political and economic issues, principally disarmament and reparations. Then, in April 1922, during the abortive Genoa Conference on European reconstruction, Germany and the Soviet Union concluded the Treaty of Rapallo, an agreement to establish diplomatic relations, renounce outstanding financial claims, and give each other most favored nation treatment.4 Prior to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, France was acutely uncertain about Germany’s intentions. French president Raymond Poincaré was fixated on determining how to deal with “the event of German aggression.”5 Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau was no less concerned, telling the Chamber of Deputies that France “above all doesn’t want to see invasion again.” Reflecting on the conflagration of 1914–18, he warned, “We must see that it does not happen again.”6 In conversations with British and American delegates, he explained that it was the obligation of the victorious powers “to do something to spare the world from German aggression for a long time.”7 To his mind, the mere suggestion that the Germans might be allowed to rearm in the future was “an invitation to Germany to prepare for another attack by land after an interval of three, ten, or even forty years.” In a similar vein, Clemenceau’s adviser André Tardieu cautioned that “France would never feel safe or protected so long as it was possible for a German army to cross the Rhine.”8 For his part, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the commander in chief of the French armies, judged that war between France and Germany would recur within a generation.9 France, he argued, must rely on its own efforts “in order to frame its destiny and secure itself against the possibility of a renewed German aggression.” Berlin was “a menace to peace.” Weimar Germany might be democratizing, but he worried that “a revulsion of feeling, a sudden reaction, may once again hurl against us in a fresh war vast numbers of men, trained to arms, and capable of being transformed at a moment’s notice into a mighty army.” Few doubted the sincerity of these fears. According to Henry White, an American peace commissioner at the Paris Peace Conference, the French truly believed that “in a few years Germany would once more fall upon them.”10 France was so uncertain about German intentions, argued Colonel Edward House, an ad-

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viser to U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, that it was attempting to create military conditions that would make “future invasions by Germany . . . absolutely impossible.”11 Similarly, the British ambassador to France, Lord Derby, reported that “the French are still in a mortal funk over Germany,” a condition that meant they wanted “a big buffer between them and Germany.” Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour was less sympathetic, but no less aware of France’s fears, claiming that Paris had a “lurid” view of the potential threat posed by Germany.12 The Treaty of Versailles had hardly any effect on French thinking. After the text had been drafted and presented to the Germans, French negotiators sought pacts of guarantee that would require the British and the Americans to render immediate assistance “in the event of any unprovoked movement of aggression against [France] . . . being made by Germany.”13 Once the treaty was signed, Foch declared, “This is not peace, it is an armistice for twenty years.”14 Incoming prime minister Aristide Briand reckoned that security was “a vital question” and that the French should make sure to “retain enough force to prevent a renewed aggression.”15 To make matters worse, France now had to carry out the terms of the treaty, a process that could alienate Germany even further. As former prime minister Léon Bourgeois put it to the French Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, France “will remain for Germany the ever present symbol of defeat, and it is on us that it will concentrate its desires of revenge.”16 This concern was so significant, in fact, that many French leaders wanted to weaken Germany permanently by turning it into a decentralized federal state. “Between the mortal danger of a unitary Germany and the rich promise of a federalist Germany,” exclaimed General Joseph Degoutte, the commander of the French Army of the Rhine, “there can be no hesitation. For some time yet the federalist solution will be possible; let us hasten to profit from it.” Others wanted to strengthen France by seizing Germany’s industrial heartland, the Ruhr. The assistant director for commercial affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Jacques Seydoux, noted that this was “a violent solution, but it will settle everything. We will become the masters of Germany, independent of England, and an industrial power of the first rank. There are many in France who consider it the only solution.”17

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France continued to be especially uncertain about Germany’s intentions during the series of conferences and meetings following the Paris Peace Conference. In August 1921, Marshal Hubert Lyautey observed, “What dominates everything are the awful threats that hang over France. . . . She has not known such in all her history. Alone, exhausted, ruined, without government, without compass, living from day to day, haphazardly. The future is terrifying. I believe German revenge inevitable, unavoidable and close.”18 Briand was equally concerned, if less emotional, in a speech to the Chamber. “If we make enormous budgetary efforts to maintain an army,” he insisted, “this is because of a perfectly natural concern for our security.” He was determined that “everything be done so that [France] . . . will not be threatened in the future.” The French must have tangible “guarantees” so that they would have “nothing to fear.” These were simply “essential. France must demand them for herself and for the world.”19 Briand was more forceful in discussions with the British. Because France had “suffered so much from the proximity of Germany,” he argued, it could not “contemplate without horror the possibility that such havoc may be experienced again.” Nor could the French ignore the fact that the Germans were imbued with a “spirit of aggression” and “desire for revenge . . . [which] may someday render vain the disarmament provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.”20 All of these considerations led to an obvious conclusion: France demanded Britain’s support “in the event of a possible aggression by Germany.”21 The Treaty of Rapallo only served to accentuate French mistrust. Poincaré, now the prime minister, regarded the agreement as “an indirect menace to ourselves,” and a “direct menace” to France’s principal East European ally, Poland.22 A few months later, at an Allied conference in London, he declared, “We are in the presence of a Germany where the spirit of revenge is awakening every day, where reactionary militarism is still possible and where disarmament is insufficiently carried out. If we disarm further, these bad seeds will germinate once more.”23 Poincaré was something of an extremist when it came to Germany, but his concerns were widely shared. Just a month after Rapallo, a delegation of French socialists told their British counterparts that France was “dominated by the fear of the rapid economic recovery of Germany.” After all, “Germany would then regain her military strength and might be bent on revenge.”24

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Meanwhile, French diplomats at the League of Nations claimed that France ought to be included in a list of states that “for historical, geographical, or other reasons . . . [are] in special danger of attack.”25 Tardieu sounded a similar note, contending that “an unprepared and defenceless France would be a real temptation to those Germans who still firmly believe in war. We are convinced of this because the kaiser’s generals are not alone in preaching revenge, because the professors preach it in the universities and the teachers in the schools.”26 Therefore, as the year came to a close, it was hard to disagree with Professor Harold Laski’s summary of the French mood after his brief visit to France in the spring: “Few seem to doubt the approach of a new war; at least be it made certain that France will fight from a position of advantage. Germany is still a figure uniquely evil, the origin of all wrong and suffering.”27 German officials reciprocated this thinking. Their early conclusions were summed up by Foreign Minister Wilhelm Solf in a public address to representatives of the German state governments just two weeks after the armistice. Berlin must “pursue . . . thoroughly pacifist policies,” he declared, and it must “support all wishes for the creation of an association of nations, for disarmament, for the establishment of tribunals of arbitration, for freedom of the seas, etc., openly and honestly.” In his opinion, this was the only way to “restrain the imperialism of our . . . enemies.” This view that France was an aggressive power bent on dominating the Weimar Republic was, in fact, fairly widespread. Right-wing German politicians described the League of Nations—from which Germany had been excluded—as “a syndicate of victors bent on exploiting the peace treaty.” It did not look to provide for the “impartial settlement of international disputes,” and offered little to no protection against “military, political, and economic oppression.”28 Germany was hardly less mistrustful as time passed. In March 1921, Stresemann informed the British chargé d’affaires in Berlin, Lord Kilmarnock, that French militarism was “the greatest peril which menaces Europe today.”29 Former foreign minister Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau was concerned enough to advise that Germany look to secure “a Russian pledge to come to our aid in case of an Allied attack against Germany’s frontiers.”30 Then there was the well-documented suspicion that Paris might be

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planning to dismember Germany by creating a separate “free Rhineland” under French control.31 As the Centrist Party leader Wilhelm Marx put it, “The French policy seeks the Rhine as a frontier and the annexation of the Left Bank. If such is Poincaré’s will, it is because those to whom he owes his power demand it.”32 The Ruhr Crisis, January 1923–December 1924 On 11 January 1923, France occupied the Ruhr, claiming that Germany had failed to honor agreements regarding the payment of reparations. Berlin’s response was to institute passive resistance, an attempt to bring Ruhr industry to a standstill through noncooperation with the occupying forces, strikes, and outright sabotage. France, in turn, resorted to draconian measures, going so far as to expel 100,000 Germans from the area. Then, in late September, the German government called off passive resistance. The following month, the French endorsed an American proposal to establish a committee of experts tasked with crafting a reparations settlement. The resulting Dawes Plan was approved at the London Conference on reparations in August 1924. Its terms were entirely favorable to Germany: Berlin was to pay a reduced reparations bill and receive an international loan. France agreed to evacuate the Ruhr within a year.33 Although it is unclear what exactly prompted France to occupy the Ruhr, there is little question that the French were especially uncertain about German intentions and remained so throughout the period of passive resistance.34 Observing the relatively relaxed view of the German threat that prevailed in London in early 1923, Poincaré complained that Britain “takes no thought for the future; she recks not the truly terrifying danger which threatens, not France and Belgium alone, but England and the whole of Europe. . . . It is impossible to enter into the views of the British Government without risking our independence.”35 Tardieu made a similar point to former British prime minister David Lloyd George, noting that “the Britisher, behind his sea rampart, is blind to the state of mind of the Frenchman, with his open frontier, twice violated in fifty years.”36 Foch went further than both of them in explaining why he favored the creation of a neutral Rhineland state. “Was the constitution of a buffer state ever more justified than when faced by a country which, although defeated in its battle

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against world freedom, talks only of revenge?” he asked. “And is it not elementary prudence to build such a state at the expense of this country?”37 The Germans were well aware of French thinking. Soon after France occupied the Ruhr, Stresemann referenced his desire to alleviate France’s “nightmare of a German attack.”38 Similarly, after the French accepted the proposal for the creation of the Dawes committee of experts, he told the German Cabinet that “French policy is based on a great fear of Germany.”39 France’s mistrust of Germany mounted during the Ruhr occupation. The secretary general of the Foreign Ministry, Philippe Berthelot, was concerned that if the French did not “succeed in helping to create a German Republic hostile to war, we are condemned. Far from gaining ground with German democratic opinion we will stir up its hatred.” His colleague at the Quai d’Orsay, Jules Laroche, voiced similar doubts. “Is it wise to destroy German unity?” he asked. After all, “who knows what will happen in twenty years. . . . After a crisis Germany will pick herself up again and a reconstitution of her unity in a spirit of revenge might be the programme of a Reich more dangerous to us than that whose ruin we have sought.”40 A few months later, Stresemann emphatically confirmed the French Foreign Ministry’s worst fears: “If we say that this faith in the State is turning more and more into a feeling of hatred against France, I believe we shall not be far wrong.” He elaborated that “this hatred has not always existed. It did not even exist in the War. This hatred is the product of the policy which, since the peace, France has practised against Germany.”41 There was little change in French thinking after the Weimar government terminated the policy of passive resistance. Poincaré informed the British that Germany remained an aggressive power that would one day swallow Poland and then turn on France.42 If Britain did not offer France a security guarantee and the Allies evacuated the Rhineland, the consequences “might be fatal to the peace of the world.”43 At the same time, Poincaré cautioned soon-to-be prime minister Édouard Herriot that the only language the Germans understood was the language of force. France could not rely on German goodwill. If it was to prevent another war, it must form an alliance with Britain and Belgium, and enforce the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.44 Meanwhile, France’s ambassador to Berlin, Pierre de Margerie, was anxious about domestic developments in Germany. “Rumours

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of what was happening . . . [in Germany] were causing a great deal of anxiety in France,” he explained to Stresemann. In particular, France feared that Germany would succumb to a “dictatorship of the Right” that would quickly work for “the repudiation of the Treaty of Versailles, and, in due course, a war of revenge against France.”45 The German foreign minister understood the issue: “France is afflicted by a serious uneasiness, I might say nervousness, regarding Germany.” French decision makers were behaving “as though Germany were proposing to attack France.” Poincaré had a “nightmare of German nationalism.”46 The Herriot government, which came to power in June 1924, was no less uncertain about Germany’s intentions. In an address to the Chamber, the incoming prime minister warned against an “offensive return of nationalist pan-Germanism” and “those in Germany, who have not given up violating the Treaties, in order to foster ideas of restoration of the monarchy, with a spirit of revenge.”47 He was more colorful in a meeting with British prime minister Ramsey MacDonald: “My country has a dagger pointed at its breast, within an inch of its heart. . . . I think that I should not have done my duty towards my country if I did not place Germany in a condition to do no harm. . . . If there was a new war, France would be wiped off the map of the world. . . . One takes precautions against common criminals.”48 The future was even more uncertain. Herriot feared that “on the day that Germany finds herself strong enough to refuse to pay us she would inevitably bring about a new war.”49 In fact, all that “Germany lacked at the actual moment was leaders. . . . If a new [Otto von] Bismarck appeared, there would be a good reason to fear that a war-like policy would instantly make its reappearance. . . . That was what it was the duty of a French Government to think of. That was the peril against which it had to forearm itself.”50 This acute uncertainty about Germany’s future intentions came to the fore following the signing of the London accords. “If I do not yet see the light of day,” mused Poincaré, “it is because the scaffolding of London still blocks my view of the rising sun. And what worries me most is that this scaffolding rests upon quicksand: the good faith of Germany, the good faith, not only of the present government in Berlin, but of all those governments that will follow it.”51 Socialist politician Joseph Paul-Boncour was succinct in an address to the Chamber: “The dangerous years are not the

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present ones; they are the ones that will come after.”52 Briand, now the foreign minister—a position he would hold until 1932—explained to Stresemann that the French feared the ongoing enlargement of Germany’s police force and military associations because “they were regarded as constituting an army of millions that would supplement the Reichswehr when the moment came.”53 For Germany, the French occupation of the Ruhr was a clear example of aggression; France had crossed the threshold from malign intent to malign behavior. In a meeting with the Russians, Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno implied that the Third Republic was “the most dangerous disturber of peace, not only in Europe, but in the whole world.”54 Stresemann concurred, arguing in front of the Reichstag that “with the invasion of the Ruhr begins the attempt by France to establish her claim to the political and economic hegemony of Europe.” The current French government was little different from “Napoleon and . . . French rulers of earlier centuries,” expansionist leaders who “succumbed to the temptation to ignore the spiritual claims of other nations in the consciousness of . . . [their] power.” He wished he “could trust those French statesmen who are always assuring us that they have never thought of annexations and conquests,” but now realized that “such protests are a mere play upon words.”55 The occupation, he told British foreign secretary Lord Curzon, was an obvious “prolongation of the war.”56 France had conclusively “forfeited the right to be believed when she speaks of peaceful missions.”57 Furthermore, France’s behavior suggested that it might mean Germany harm in the future. Specifically, officials in Berlin feared that Paris might seek nothing less than the dismemberment of Germany. In an address to the Reichstag, Cuno reminded the German people of the existence of the Dariac Report, a document prepared by the president of the Finance Committee of the French Chamber that envisaged the separation of the Rhineland from Germany.58 Stresemann laid out the logic two days after French troops moved into the Ruhr, arguing, “France’s object is the destruction of Germany. It is hoped that by prolonged occupation of German soil, and the strangulation of German industry, either German unity will collapse, or the German people will be forced to acquiesce in these measures.”59 Later in the year, he referred to an explicit “policy of disintegrating Germany which

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is pursued by those beyond our frontiers.”60 It was possible, of course, that the French were interested in getting Germany to meet its reparations obligations rather than dismembering the country. Stresemann understood that there was a clear distinction between a “policy of Reparations” and a policy “which aims at depriving us of the Rhine and the Ruhr.” He was “extraordinarily suspicious,” however, and believed “that this is no policy of Reparations that France is practising.”61 It seemed increasingly clear that “France did not want the Rhine gold—she wanted the Rhine.”62 Germany continued to be acutely uncertain about French intentions after the end of passive resistance. In October 1923, a German secret report cited evidence from British sources suggesting that Poincaré was determined to bring about the political destruction and economic disintegration of Germany.63 Stresemann was clearly affected. He “was of the opinion that France was pursuing the deliberate policy of bringing Germany to financial ruin, and thus arousing political disorders that would dissolve the Reich.” Moreover, he had “already heard some talk of a possible dismemberment of Germany, and I believe there is some reason to regard this as the aim of French policy.” The French might protest that this was untrue, but the “facts” belied the claim that “France has done nothing to break down the unity of the Reich.”64 The president of the Prussian State Council, Konrad Adenauer, took an identical line, noting that “the impression had too often been created that France was aiming for Germany’s ruin, notably by supporting all Separatist movements.”65 There was almost no change in German perceptions of French intentions in 1924. In a speech to the Reichstag, Stresemann claimed to see a “comfortless” future and cautioned his listeners about “the whiplashes” of French imperialism.66 The question for Germany, he announced soon after the publication of the Dawes Report, was whether the famously bellicose “policy of Louis XIV is to be carried out in the twentieth century, whether France is to remain on the Rhine and continue to own the whole economic area of the Ruhr, the greatest armourer’s workshop in the world, and exploit it for her own imperialistic purposes, or whether this French imperialism is to be broken.” This was not to say that he viewed France as unalterably aggressive. Indeed, if France wanted to “live with Germany in peaceful neighbourliness, her desire will be welcomed by everyone in Germany who

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regards such peaceful relations as an indispensable condition of the steady development of affairs in Europe.” Germany would treat France “without prejudice.” At the same time, however, Berlin would not succumb to “illusion.” The French government must prove that it had benign intentions with tangible “acts.” Stresemann was more despondent as the year drew to a close. There were “indications of feeling that show us how much War hatred still survives in France.”67 The Locarno Era, January 1925–June 1930 On 20 January 1925, Stresemann proposed a West European security pact. The discussions that followed culminated in the negotiation of the Rhineland Pact at Locarno in October. In signing the treaty, France and Germany recognized their existing borders—including the Rhineland—as permanent, and promised never to attack each other. Then, in September 1926, Germany was admitted to the League of Nations. Just days later, during a one-on-one encounter in the village of Thoiry, Stresemann offered Briand a comprehensive Franco-German settlement. Although Thoiry proved to be a disappointment, diplomacy continued. In August 1928, France and Germany, together with thirteen other states, concluded the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war. A year later, at the so-called Hague Conference on the Final Liquidation of the War, they endorsed a new reparations accord—the Young Plan—and agreed that France would evacuate the Rhineland by 30 June 1930.68 France remained deeply mistrustful of Germany even after Stresemann’s démarche. As Herriot put it to British foreign secretary Austen Chamberlain in March 1925, “I tell you I look forward with terror to her [Germany] making war upon us again in ten years.”69 He was not alone. As Chamberlain recalled after a series of meetings with French leaders, “all of them distrust Germany to the point of regarding it almost as an insult to suggest that they should make a pact with her.”70 A few months later, he pointed out that “the attitude of France, it must be observed, has been consistent throughout. Her refusal to disarm is not as a result of military fever but of deep-rooted fear, arising from past history, in regard to her future safety.”71 Similarly, Winston Churchill detected a “brooding fear” of Germany in the French political class.72 Balfour was, as always, less sympathetic, but no less

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impressed by French fears. They were “so dreadfully afraid of being swallowed up by the tiger, but yet they spend all their time poking it.”73 The negotiation and signing of the Rhineland Pact had little, if any, effect on French thinking. During a debate in the Chamber, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Henry Franklin-Bouillon, accepted the treaty, but “without conviction . . . there was not one German in a million who was inspired by the spirit of Locarno.” To be sure, he thought “it would be folly not to vote for the Treaty” since there was nothing better on offer. But it would be “greater folly to believe in it.” He did not put much stock in Germany’s good faith. Another speaker made a similar point, to widespread approval. France had little choice but to reach an agreement with Germany because it was “oppressed by political and financial pressures.” Yet the situation was far from reassuring: “France was as threatened today as in 1914.”74 Meanwhile, Poincaré complained, “we are obtaining a commitment from the Reich worth only what the reigning mood in Germany is worth.”75 Briand was more positive in a statement before the Chamber Foreign Affairs Committee, arguing that the agreement allowed France to “breathe a bit more easily and to live with a bit of confidence.”76 His optimism had little to do with German intentions, however. Rather, it was the British security guarantee that was the “spirit of Locarno.”77 Moreover, the problem of the future remained in effect. France must guard “against the eventuality of a turning-of-the-tide, the reversal to a more aggressive German policy in the future.”78 Hence the conclusion of a high-ranking British diplomat in December 1925: “There is in fact an increasingly strong undercurrent of distrust of Germany in official circles here, or an undercurrent which has gathered strength since, and in spite of, the Locarno conference.”79 This continued to be the predominant French view in the months after Germany joined the League of Nations. Although decision makers hoped that France and Germany could be reconciled, they still harbored doubts about German sincerity. Therefore, Senator Henry de Jouvenel explained, they were determined to occupy the Rhineland until they had built up France’s defenses and German goodwill was beyond doubt.80 Foch took precisely this approach. In his opinion, it was impossible to tell whether the Germans would ultimately be animated by “good” or “bad instincts,” which was to say, whether they would seek reconciliation or revenge. Any sugges-

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tion that involved evacuating the Rhineland was, then, a “crime against the country” since the time would surely come when Germany would be strong enough to destroy France if it wanted to.81 To be sure, Foch was a militant. His arguments were, however, hardly different from those in position papers being produced at the Foreign Ministry.82 Briand was, at best, only slightly less mistrustful than other French decision makers. Reflecting on his meeting with Stresemann at Thoiry, he observed that “a talk between two Ministers in the dining-room of an inn cannot at one blow alter the position of France and Germany, and wipe out a blood-stained past.” At this point, it was enough that there was “good will on both sides,” and that people could say “at last they are getting together.”83 Of course, peace would be better, but “any kind of peace? No! A guaranteed peace, after the indispensable measures of precaution have been taken.” He was determined to “prevent another clash between the nations, though in doing so I never lose sight of my anxiety for the security of France.”84 Briand was equally cautious during an appearance before the Chamber Foreign Affairs Committee, claiming that he hoped for a gradual improvement of relations with the Weimar Republic, what he called a “policy of possibilities.”85 At the same time, he stated that Germany was “a country little solidified and violently militarized, which knew its glory under the regime that created these [military] castes. I certainly would not claim that the [militarist] category . . . which has run Germany and has been specifically Prussian . . . would become republican and democratic in a few months as the result of Locarno. If I had such pretensions, I should be abysmally stupid.” The best that the French could do was look to prevent the number of militarists in Germany “from increasing, and prepare the rest of the country to think about its fate and defend itself little by little against their control.”86 His critics, he noted at another point, might accuse him of “having sold the towers of Notre Dame, and a good deal else as well,” to Berlin, and he might well be “a little naïve, but not to that extent.”87 France’s attitude changed little as time passed. In a conversation with Stresemann in April 1927, Briand indicated that although “public opinion in France had become considerably calmer . . . there was still a fear of Germany and a certain feeling of mistrust.” It was because “the fear of Germany still persisted,” he maintained, that Paris was bent on “strengthening

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the fortifications on the eastern frontier of France.”88 This unease was abundantly apparent to the British. According to the ambassador to Paris, French officials were “not convinced that the gap between the political institutions and practice of the Germany of 1914 and those of the Germany of today is necessarily a wide one.”89 The chargé d’affaires at the British Embassy, Eric Phipps, was more emphatic: France was gripped with “Fear, with a capital F.”90 If this was an overstatement, it was a slight one. From the Quai d’Orsay, Berthelot notified Poincaré that Germany might commit to a rapprochement for another fifteen years, but only to gain a military advantage that would then make revanche possible.91 In another dispatch, the secretary general worried that there were key individuals in Berlin who were hostile to or doubtful about Stresemann’s conciliatory policies. There was more than one view in Germany, and it was not at all clear which would win out.92 Early in 1928, Briand expressed a greater degree of uncertainty about Germany’s intentions in a public response to Stresemann’s demands that France end the Rhineland occupation. The German foreign minister, he remarked, liked to talk about the “spirit of the treaty [of Locarno] rather than concrete realities.” But the French could not let their guard down just because Germany had promised its goodwill. Instead, France had to pay careful attention to its security. As French foreign minister, he could not “turn his eyes away from the security problem . . . [or] neglect any precautions.” Indeed, as far as he was concerned, “the Locarno accords are not independent of the Treaty of Versailles.” The two agreements were part of the “same framework,” and the former was merely designed to “humanize” the draconian constraints of the latter. As for the occupation of the Rhineland, it offered France a physical “guarantee.” Not to mention that German intentions could change. “I do not lack confidence in you,” Briand informed Stresemann from the rostrum of the Senate, “but you are no more immortal than me.” No one could be confident that a German nationalist would not eventually “come to power.”93 The French remained deeply mistrustful of Germany even as Berlin embraced the Kellogg-Briand Pact. When the Cabinet met to discuss the treaty, concerns about German intentions pervaded the session.94 Then, on the day the pact was signed, Poincaré met with Stresemann and, as Briand had

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done a few months earlier, rejected the latter’s demand that France evacuate the Rhineland. Reflecting on the encounter, Poincaré was persuaded that Stresemann was a “German nationalist” of “remarkable ingenuity” who had exploited the Locarno agreements to Germany’s great benefit. Meanwhile, he told Belgian foreign minister Paul Hymans that he had been warned against the German foreign minister’s “deceit” and “falsehood.”95 Stresemann’s public support for détente concealed suspicious views; he must be treated with mistrust.96 Briand was hardly less uncertain. When a German delegate at the League of Nations asserted that the French must choose between armament and occupation or understanding and conciliation, Briand retorted that France could not disarm and evacuate without sufficient tangible guarantees of its security. After all, Germany had the wherewithal to launch an “attaque brusque,” that is, a sudden and damaging attack on France.97 This remained his position until the end of his ministry. As Tardieu explained in a retrospective analysis, “Briand neither allowed, nor counseled, nor desired any sacrifice of military guarantees. . . . Security first was his maxim.”98 The Germans did little to disabuse France of these notions and, in fact, raised further questions in French minds, especially about Berlin’s future intentions. In talks with the British that were meant to be relayed to France, Stresemann cautioned that the ongoing occupation of the Rhineland was “driving everybody back to the German Nationalists. . . . The ground here is slipping away under my feet.” Similarly, in a meeting with Briand at The Hague, he suggested that if evacuation was postponed and protracted, he would be powerless to stop German public opinion from turning against France. At times, he even threatened to incite domestic opposition to France himself by declaring that the “spirit of Locarno” was dead.99 Even if none of these events came to pass, he added, he did not know how much longer he had to live, and there was no guarantee that his successor would maintain his policy of understanding, at which point “peace in Europe will not last long.”100 Consequently, Stresemann’s premature death in October 1929 panicked the French. The concern that his successor would reverse his policies “was clearly recognizable” among officials at the Foreign Ministry. Briand was particularly discouraged: “Everything is done for!”101

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Germany mirrored France’s acute uncertainty from 1925 to 1930. As the Rhineland Pact was being negotiated, Stresemann observed that “among the Parties of the Right [in Germany], indeed, it had long been said that France would never abandon the policy of Louis XIV.” Then, rhetorically, “Is all this a fairy-tale? Has France become so pacific that we need not trouble about the left bank of the Rhine? How could we repel such an attack if it were made? Appeals to the conscience of humanity and all the rest of it may help us to a moral victory, but we should in fact have to submit.” Similarly, he wondered whether the French were determined “to go on playing the Napoleonic role of dictator on the continent of Europe.” Then, in a warning about flirting with Moscow, he claimed that not only might the Soviets take Berlin, but the French would be ready to “devour” the rest of Germany. Two months later, in September 1925, in an anonymous article for the Hamburger Fremdenblatt, he wrote, “The task of German foreign policy consists, in the first instance, of contending against the aggressive policy of France, and, by means of allies, against French invasions, sanctions, and attacks on her integrity, therewith securing her practical independence, and equality of rights.”102 Berlin’s specific fear was that the French might intend to detach the Rhineland from Germany. “The Rhineland,” Stresemann declared soon after he proposed the security pact, “is continually threatened by French Imperialism, which will not suffer a withdrawal from the Rhineland.” The German foreign minister was acutely “aware of the intentions of the French Nationalists, which were never to evacuate the Rhineland,” and, if possible, “get the left bank of the Rhine for France.” As a matter of fact, this was believed to be a longstanding French goal. It was “common knowledge,” Stresemann argued, that France had wanted to move the German border “back to the Rhine” as early as 1919. Now, six years later, Foch pursued a “policy of conquering the left bank of the Rhine for France,” and aimed at the “penetration of the Rhineland, the alienation of the Rhineland from Germany and the inclination of the territory towards France.”103 In short, there was reason to think that France sought to dismember the Weimar Republic. Accordingly, the Rhineland Pact was meant to be a hedge against French aggression. Stresemann was quite clear about this early on in the negotiations, arguing that as a result of his policy, “it would be decided that the

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Rhineland belongs to Germany,” not France. As he put it to the German ambassador to Washington, Adolf Georg von Maltzan, he was looking to secure the Rhineland “from the consequences of a French policy of persecution.”104 The proposed agreement would also provide some limited insurance against a French invasion: “It contained an alliance with England against an attack by France.”105 It would frustrate any plans for “an aggressive and offensive alliance against Germany,” and erect a barrier against a future invasion by the French.106 Some provision had now been made for the Rhineland’s “permanent adherence to Germany and its safeguarding against external force.” Stresemann reiterated the logic following the Locarno meeting: “The main point is the political effect. . . . If there should be a French Government which again planned an invasion of Germany and attacked Germany, England . . . would stand at Germany’s side.” For him, the Locarno system meant “the preservation of the Rhineland.” In other words, the Rhineland Pact reflected the fact that Germany was far from confident that France had benign intentions. No one should think, admonished the foreign minister, that “under the sunshine of Locarno, we had stumbled into a fresh alliance of friendship.”107 As it happened, the signing of the Rhineland Pact had hardly any effect on German perceptions of French intentions. On its face, Stresemann argued, Locarno was “the basis of great developments in the future.”108 Yet he also warned that such agreements were little more than words and that “the wording of treaties” was no substitute for the right “political constellation.”109 The ideals embodied in the Rhineland agreement, he cautioned, “will only become a reality if behind them stands the will to create new conditions in Europe.” In the meantime, it was important that Britain become an “arbitrator whose interest was the suppression of French hegemony.” If it did not, then Germany might have to succumb to “a French hegemony and Poincarism.” This was not to say that the foreign minister had “any love of England.” But he had to “find someone who helps us to shake off the strangle-hold upon our throat.”110 Little changed after Germany entered the League of Nations. To Stresemann’s mind, much still remained to be done. “We in our circle, we have the sober task of bringing the peoples closer together, to bridge their differences,” he declared. “Do not doubt it: they are not as close to each other as

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one would wish.” Then, with emphasis: “Do not doubt it: there are differences. It is a matter of hard work. . . . This work cannot be solved by élan and hurray alone.”111 The foreign minister confessed to similar uncertainty in a private address to officials of the government information service, asserting that “no one of us could guarantee that this . . . turmoil in the development of relations between nations has reached a conclusion in the period in which we live.”112 This kind of thinking persisted well into 1927. In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, delivered in June, Stresemann bemoaned the fact that “in the history of nations words are not always promptly followed by deeds.” For all the rhetoric surrounding Germany’s entry into the League of Nations the previous fall, little of substance had occurred. As he saw it, the year since that great event had “brought mountainous seas and deep abysses.” It appeared that the “snow of mistrust and war-psychosis” had fallen on Europe, and there was now a “crisis of confidence in the whole attempt to establish peace.” Stresemann was more conceptual, but hardly less uncertain, in a major speech marking the anniversary of Bismarck’s birth. Quoting the Iron Chancellor at length, he remarked that international politics “constitute[s] a task what may well be compared to navigation on unknown seas.” Worse still, statesmen were “dependent on the decisions of others” and must contend with the fact that “the friends, on whose support one is relying, change their views.” All in all, he shared Bismarck’s skepticism “of the possibility of seeing into the immediate future” and refusal “ever to say what might be going to happen next.”113 One reason for German uncertainty at this time was that the French decision-making elite was deeply divided. Even before the fall of 1926, Briand had explained that, although he meant Germany no harm, there was a strong anti-German faction in France. “There are people in my country,” he remarked, “who gaze into the past and remember that we once held the Palatinate, that Mainz [the capital of the Rhineland] was once French, and that the Rhine policy was once the historic policy of France.” He found himself having to “fight against these people in France.” Stresemann clearly got the message. In a detailed statement on recent events at Geneva and Thoiry before the Reichstag Committee on Foreign Relations, he observed that “the old atmosphere of hatred . . . certainly survives in some [French]

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circles” and that there had not been “much change in . . . [Poincaré’s] own mind.” Significant elements existed in France that were “the natural enemies” of Briand’s policy. “It is the soldiers of France who are our wholehearted enemies.” Germany must therefore work hard “to encourage a better atmosphere in France.”114 Then there was the fear that France meant to occupy the Rhineland— which was to say “engage in an aggressive policy” against Germany—indefinitely.115 In a speech to the German People’s Party soon after his return from Thoiry, Stresemann announced that French leaders opposed his efforts to “secure a real peace for Europe, by which I mean one that is no longer threatened by the perils of military occupation.” He elaborated the following month, claiming that, as far as he could tell, “an evacuation of the Rhineland was not to be so much as thought of before many years had elapsed.” Indeed, he suspected France of trying to create a situation that would allow “the Military Control Commission . . . [to] go on for ever.” This kind of thinking persisted into the summer of 1927. In a speech to the Reichstag, Stresemann proclaimed that the Germans wanted to “be a peaceful but free people on free German soil. . . . Let peace be given to the German Rhineland.” Yet the foreign minister was left asking: “Is the deathly spirit of war psychosis to prevail” in France? Berlin was still “waiting for an answer.” At the same time, describing the occupation as a “policy of suspicion, force, and oppression,” he insisted that peace could not win out if “on the soil of a country that . . . has renounced revenge and offered allegiance to peace, there are to be foreign bayonets for years to come.” The matter remained unresolved in March 1928. Commenting on a League of Nations meeting in Geneva, Stresemann complained bitterly about France’s “attempt to prolong the occupation indefinitely.” The French were simply “beyond understanding.”116 The foreign minister was equally dismayed at the end of the year: “The Treaty of Locarno ensures peace between France and Germany. Why, then, do the troops stay in the Rhineland? Through the Kellogg Pact, nations have renounced war as a political instrument. Why, then, do the troops stay in the Rhineland? In the Dawes Agreements of London, Germany has given all the guarantees for the reparations requested by the creditor states. Why, then, does France still consider the guarantee of territorial occupation necessary?”117

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Finally, German mistrust was exacerbated by France’s refusal to limit its armaments even after Germany had been disarmed. As early as 1925, Stresemann pointed out that France, due to its “excess of armaments,” could “realize any political aspiration without the risk of effective resistance.” Therefore, Germany had a right to “demand the protection of its borders.”118 By the time he addressed the Assembly of the League of Nations in the fall of 1927, he was adamant that “armaments cannot and should not be the foundation of security. They are no longer even the best safeguard.” More important, “they have the unavoidable effect of presenting a menace to a nation’s neighbours.” This was “a natural and necessary fact, which, even by a peaceful attitude on the part of Governments concerned, cannot be entirely dispelled.” Germany was tempted to ask, rhetorically, “who will be allowed to fear?” At another point, the foreign minister informed his listeners that France was seeking a “superiority in armament which Imperial Germany,” a state “branded with instituting an armament race . . . and thus provoking war,” had “never thought of in her wildest dreams.”119 Events in 1928 and 1929 had only a marginal effect on Stresemann’s perceptions of French intentions. The Kellogg-Briand Pact inspired the same kind of conclusions as the Treaties of Locarno and Germany’s entry into the League of Nations. On the one hand, it represented a “fresh foundation that, with the good will of all nations,” could ultimately conduce to peace. On the other hand, it was only a beginning: “We all know that by the conclusion of this treaty we have not once and for all achieved our purpose of finally safeguarding the peace of the world.” Stresemann was, if anything, more reticent after the Hague Conference. “We here have the modest task of bringing the nations together, and bridging over their antipathies,” he remarked in one of his last speeches on foreign affairs. Yet the great powers were falling short. “Let us make no mistake: they are not so near to each other as could be wished; and let us not mistake: antipathies exist.” In fact, a great deal remained to be done: “We have a hard task before us, to get forward, and to approach that condition which we all hope to see.”120 Then, in a speech of September 1929 that surveyed FrancoGerman relations, Stresemann likened “international understanding” to a “labor of Sisyphus. The rock which one thought one had pushed to the summit rolls to the bottom once more, and one feels close to despair.”

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Some progress had been made, but there was a long way to go: “This progress must continue.”121 The Shape of Franco-German Security Competition, 1919–30 Contrary to the claims of intentions optimists, Franco-German relations were by no means peaceful in the early 1920s. Instead, mutual uncertainty caused the two powers to compete for security. Clemenceau provided the early blueprint for France in an address to the Chamber on 29 December 1918: “There was this old method of solid and well-defended frontiers, armaments . . . [and] an old system of alliances, which I am not for giving up—I tell you that openly.”122 Where arms were concerned, the French worked hard to maintain as large an advantage as possible over the newly disarmed Weimar Republic, calling for the strict enforcement of the disarmament provisions of the Versailles settlement, while refusing to consider meaningful disarmament themselves. To be sure, the size of the French military slowly declined over the course of the 1920s, from 547,000 men in 1921 to 411,000 men in 1929. Yet, even at the end of the decade, France had three and a half times more men under arms than Germany. Military spending exhibited a similar pattern: with the exception of the year 1923, France outspent Germany by a margin of two to one or more throughout the 1920s.123 The occupation of the Rhineland was designed to reinforce this military advantage by depriving Germany of a platform for future aggression. As Tardieu explained in February 1919, Allied control of the area would deprive the Germans of their natural invasion route.124 In addition, occupation meant that, in the event of war, western Germany would be immediately and directly accessible to the French army. Accordingly, once French forces occupied the Rhineland, Paris refused to withdraw them at every turn, even under severe pressure from the Germans. Of course, France did ultimately agree to pull out at the Hague Conference in August 1929. This is not evidence of a decision to stop competing with Germany, however. Rather, French officials understood that the occupation was only temporary— according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, France would be obliged to withdraw in 1935—and had prepared what they believed was a suitable alternative, namely, a line of fortifications known as the Maginot Line.125

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French decision makers also went to great lengths to find allies against Germany in the early interwar period. Britain was the prime candidate in Western Europe, and in 1925, after five years of unstinting effort, France finally gained a formal British guarantee of its security at Locarno. The Rhineland Pact obliged Britain to intervene militarily in the event of a German attack on France.126 The Locarno Treaties, in turn, required Germany to enter the League of Nations, which Briand had long envisaged as a permanent coalition to contain Germany.127 Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe, France formed alliances with Poland (1921) and Czechoslovakia (1924), and signed treaties of friendship with Romania (1926) and Yugoslavia (1927).128 By the end of the 1920s, then, Germany was diplomatically encircled. In response, Germany competed for security as vigorously as its situation allowed. It had little military capability to speak of at the beginning of the period. In the words of one study, “the reduction of the army, the elimination of general conscription . . . the prohibition of mobilization planning, the restrictions on modern weapons systems, and the exacting limitations on heavy weapons crippled the army as a military instrument.”129 Over the course of the next decade, however, the Germans went to great lengths not only to evade their Versailles disarmament obligations, but also to increase the size and fighting power of their military forces, a process that was greatly facilitated by close collaboration between the Reichswehr and the Red Army.130 Consequently, argues the historian Gordon Craig, in a close analysis, “the German army was transformed from an aggregation of disparate and ill co-ordinated units with a resentful and demoralized officer corps into a homogeneous and perfectly disciplined force which, in quality at least, had no equal in Europe. . . . Before the end of the decade, it had laid the foundations for its later expansion under [Adolf ] Hitler.”131 Although there is little doubt that it was German military leaders who drove the secret rearmament process, they were supported by highranking civilian officials. Stresemann’s attitude “ranged from passive acceptance to active assistance,” a stance that was not “unique.”132 Berlin supplemented these arming efforts with diplomatic agreements. As noted, Stresemann regarded the Rhineland Pact as involving a British commitment to come to Germany’s defense in the event of French aggression. It was also meant to forestall the consummation of a hostile Anglo-

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French alliance.133 Furthermore, even though it was particularly weak and therefore had little to offer as an ally, Germany managed to establish a partnership with the Soviet Union. The Treaty of Rapallo was followed, in April 1926, by the Treaty of Berlin, a pledge to remain neutral in the case of war involving a third power and to refrain from concluding any treaty directed against the other party.134

The United States and Japan In keeping with the conventional wisdom, intentions optimists describe relations between the United States and Japan in the early interwar period as being quite peaceful. Observing that Washington and Tokyo engaged in a major naval buildup during World War I, Charles Glaser claims that the intensity of their security competition was greatly diminished in the 1920s. Although the United States had the resources “required to gain an offensive naval capability,” he writes, it made the “decision not to acquire this capability.” Similarly, “instead of continuing with naval competition, Japan agreed at the Washington Conference of 1921–22 to significant limits on its naval forces, including force ratios that fell below those required by Japanese doctrine.”135 Intentions optimists attribute this period of apparent peace to mutual trust, which was, in turn, a consequence of American and Japanese arms policies. Robert Jervis explains that at the Washington Conference, the United States “agreed not to fortify its Pacific Islands” and allowed Japan “unlimited numbers of cruisers, destroyers, and submarines that could weaken the American fleet as it made its way across the ocean.” This constituted reliable evidence that Washington was benign, since an attack on Japan would now be “more difficult.”136 Glaser argues that the same was true of the American decision to accept “a ratio of naval forces that was much smaller than its power advantage over Japan.” This purposeful limitation of U.S. naval capabilities was an especially “costly signal” of benign intentions. In fact, Japan realized “that the United States was not a greedy state bent on dominating East Asia.”137 Such reassurance went both ways. Even as Washington made concessions, Jervis writes, Tokyo limited its navy in such a way that it “would not be large enough to defeat America’s [navy]

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anywhere other than close to the home islands.” In other words, Japan proved itself willing to “guarantee the security” of the United States, a move that clearly indicated it meant no harm.138 These claims find little, if any, support in the empirical record. In keeping with the predictions of intentions pessimism, the United States and Japan were acutely uncertain about each other’s intentions from 1919 to 1930. Neither Washington nor Tokyo viewed the other’s willingness to engage in naval arms control as especially reliable evidence that it was nonaggressive. Moreover, both powers acquired countervailing evidence that implied the other side might not have benign intentions. American officials were struck by the powerful influence of military factions in Japan’s domestic politics and by the intensity of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s military preparations. Meanwhile, Japanese decision makers noted the relentless efforts of the United States to secure an advantage in naval capabilities, both in the shipyards and at the negotiating table. This mutual lack of trust, in turn, gave rise to a fierce security competition. Not only did Washington and Tokyo go to great lengths to enhance the size and quality of their navies in the 1920s, but they also planned actively for a future conflict. The remainder of this section proceeds as follows. Most of it is devoted to examining American and Japanese conclusions about each other’s intentions in three periods: the aftermath of World War I (January 1919–October 1921); the creation and operation of the Washington Treaty system (November 1921–December 1926); and the three years from the calling of the Geneva Naval Conference to the conclusion of the London Naval Conference (February 1927–April 1930). Having shown that leaders in Washington and Tokyo remained acutely uncertain about each other’s intentions throughout the early interwar period, I then describe the resulting U.S.–Japanese security competition. The Aftermath of World War I, January 1919–October 1921 Despite fighting on the same side in World War I, the United States and Japan were antagonists in its aftermath. At the Paris Peace Conference, the two powers clashed on a variety of issues, including policy toward China, Shantung, Siberia, and Germany’s former Pacific colonies. Diplomatic

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tensions only deepened over time, culminating in a serious war scare in 1920–21.139 Japan’s acute uncertainty about American intentions in the early interwar years is reflected in its designation of the United States as a “hypothetical enemy.” This phrase first appeared in the 1907 Imperial National Defense Policy: “of all hypothetical enemies the most important from the viewpoint of naval operations is the United States.” At the time, it was merely a budgetary device, a justification for building a massive fleet. During World War I, the term took on a more adversarial connotation. In an important memorandum produced in March 1916, Rear Admiral Takeshita Isamu wrote that “the nation with whom a clash of arms is most likely in the near future is the United States.” Washington, he asserted, was “rapidly expanding its naval armaments” and building “military installations in the Pacific, thereby trying forcibly to impose its national policy on Japan.” These opinions, in turn, found their way into the 1918 Imperial National Defense Policy, which defined the United States as the “hypothetical enemy” with which a clash was likely “in the near future.” Experts at the Naval Staff College took an identical line, declaring that “the rivaling nation with which the clash is most probable on account of the China question, in other words the hypothetical enemy, has become the United States.” This was not public knowledge. The Japanese government “has never openly indicated which nation is our hypothetical enemy.” Yet if “the question is raised, it will not be unreasonable to state that the United States is the foremost hypothetical enemy.”140 What information it acquired about the United States only served to accentuate Japan’s mistrust. Toward the end of the war, the Naval Staff College concluded that “the United States is rapidly expanding its navy, carefully preparing for [a Pacific] campaign. These facts obviously bespeak its policy of intimidation in the Orient.”141 Indeed, Japanese officials soon learned about the U.S. Navy’s emerging plan for conducting a war in the Pacific, War Plan Orange. Then, in October 1920, they obtained a copy of a confidential memorandum produced by three U.S. planners outlining a transoceanic offensive.142 As a result, Foreign Ministry officials recommended that the government do what it could to repair its relations with the United States. As one report put it: “Necessity to shift our policy.

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Otherwise, the fear of total isolation and a Japanese-American war.”143 Naval leaders came up with a different solution, arguing for a strategy of _ deterrence. In a stirring defense of naval expansion, Rear Admiral Sato _ Tetsutaro advised, “Our armament may be sufficient if it is just strong enough to make America think it impossible to wage an unjust war against Japan, or even if she did, that she must expect very serious loss.”144 None of this was lost on the United States. The special counsel to the State Department, J. Reuben Clark, urged that at the upcoming conference in Washington, U.S. delegates must do whatever they could to decrease Japanese mistrust of the United States.145 Washington reciprocated Tokyo’s acute uncertainty. From Paris, Secretary of State Robert Lansing reported that Japan’s stance was “extremely disquieting.” In his opinion, it was time to “have it out once and for all with Japan” in order to curb its “Prussian militarism.” Paul Reinsch, the U.S. minister to China, agreed. Referencing “Japanese militarism,” he judged that “if this force remains unopposed there will be created in the Far East the greatest engine of military oppression and dominance that the world has yet seen. Nor can we avoid the conclusion that the brunt of evil results will fall on the United States.”146 At a series of meetings in the spring of 1919, Navy Department war planners quickly concluded that Japan was Washington’s most likely foe and observed that the Asia-Pacific brimmed with potential conflicts and unresolved problems.147 Director of Naval Intelligence Albert Niblack was more specific in a report prepared for the navy’s General Board in 1920: “During the past year Japan has been making strenuous preparations for war. These preparations are frankly directed at the United States.” Niblack’s office had “conclusive information” that Tokyo was “exerting every endeavor to prepare for war at the earliest possible date.”148 Senator William Borah took a longer term, but no less alarmist position, predicting that “war with Japan could easily come within the next quarter of a century should we get into a great naval competition, accompanied with threats and denunciation; that is, indeed, the path of war.”149 For American decision makers, the main concern was that Japan might look to seize U.S. strategic possessions in the Pacific, by force if it deemed it necessary. This fear was already evident during the war. As early as February 1916, the Navy Department stated, “Of all the powers interested in the

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Far East, the United States will probably clash with none of them except Japan upon questions concerning interests in that region.” Tokyo was “generally credited with a desire to extend her dominion to the Philippines, Guam and Honolulu, and possibly to . . . other U.S. possessions in the Pacific.” Washington only became more apprehensive after the war. A memorandum prepared by the General Board posited that Japan ultimately sought to annex the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands. To make matters worse, officials worried that if the United States tried to intervene, Japan might well threaten or use force. As General Leonard Wood explained, “We could not expect to be blocking Japanese aspirations in all directions indefinitely unless we were really prepared for war.”150 Given this state of affairs, Washington came to believe that Japan would only be dissuaded from aggression if confronted by overwhelming power. In January 1921, military leaders reckoned that “no Senate, no Administration, not ourselves as a nation, can wholly read the future.” There was some evidence that other powers favored a “reduction in armament,” but no one could “determine when economic conditions or self-interest may tempt some nation to seek to evade . . . any agreement on the subject of disarmament.” Consequently, the United States must “be prepared . . . to meet any eventuality that may arise,” and, specifically, must have a navy “powerful enough to win in any field of battle a naval war into which this nation may be drawn,” even in the Western Pacific.151 Experts in the Far Eastern Division of the State Department took a similar view, advising that the United States must stake out a clear position and be prepared to back it with superior force. This was the only way to confront Japan’s “imperialistic policy” and “dangerously aggressive temper.”152 Meanwhile, the General Board counseled against excessive arms limitation. Such a move “would reduce our Navy to a point where Japan would feel that the United States would be impotent to restrain her aggressive plans in the Far East.”153 If Washington was to maintain peace in the region, it must achieve such a level of “domination” as to make Japan shy away from war.154 Senator Henry Cabot Lodge agreed that war could best be avoided if the United States built a formidable navy so “Japan understands that she cannot get control of the Pacific.”155 There was little change in American thinking as the 1920–21 war scare ran its course. A military intelligence report prepared in April 1921 declared

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that the world’s “war centers” had shifted from Europe and the Near East to the Pacific and the Far East. At the same time, Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes worried about the unintended consequences of the AngloJapanese Alliance. If Japan felt confident of Britain’s support, it might “at the instance of the militaristic party . . . be led to take positions” that would engender “a state of irritation” between Tokyo and Washington. Such a situation, he added, “would be fraught with mischief.” Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was particularly direct: “The best authority whom I have met say that Japan is preparing for war in time of peace more systematically and more thoroughly than any other nation in modern history. . . . With the Philippines and our Asiatic relationships, I can easily imagine how, even with Asiatic dominance as her sole policy, unavoidable friction might ensue.”156 For its part, the General Board warned that Japan was “an aggressive essentially autocratic nation, situated close to the theatre of operations, [that] would, with equal armaments, be able to pursue a selfish policy regardless of the views of the democratic non-aggressive [United States].” Indeed, “it was only by an unchallenged superiority of force that a democracy such as the United States could hope for consideration of its policies by a military oligarchy” like Japan and prevent the latter from behaving in an expansionist fashion.157 The American naval attaché in Tokyo followed up in blunt terms, reporting that “whether rightly or wrongly, there existed a war psychology and consequential war talk.”158 The Washington Treaty System, November 1921–December 1926 The Washington Naval Conference opened on 12 November 1921. Over the next three months, negotiators produced three treaties that had significant ramifications for the U.S.–Japanese security relationship. The FivePower Treaty established a 10:6 ratio in capital ships between the United States and Japan, and imposed a ten-year moratorium on the construction of such vessels. The ratio was supplemented by a nonfortification agreement: neither power would further fortify any of its island possessions except for Hawaii and the Japanese home islands. By the terms of the Four-Power Treaty, the United States, Japan, Britain, and France promised to respect each other’s rights in relation to their insular holdings in the Pacific and to consult with their partners in the event of a future crisis.

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Finally, the Nine-Power Treaty affirmed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, and gave its signatories the right to do business with Peking on equal terms. The spirit of Washington was not to last long, however. In May 1924, the United States enacted the Johnson-Reed Act, which effectively banned all immigrants from Asia. Tokyo protested the new law, triggering another U.S.–Japanese war scare.159 For the Japanese, accepting a 10:6 inferiority in capital ships meant accepting military vulnerability; planners had long argued that Japan required a 10:7 ratio in order to defend effectively against an eventual American offensive.160 One might think that Japanese negotiators agreed to this ratio because they trusted the United States. But this is not the case. Japan agreed to limit its naval capabilities for other reasons. One was that it could no longer afford to continue building up its navy. In 1920, Vice Minister of Finance Nishihara Hajime implored naval officials, “Our financial position is fast becoming hopeless; whether it will be ruined or not is entirely up to you navy people. . . . We’ll have to give up in despair. Please put your heads together about this.” Japan’s chief negotiator at the Washington Conference, Admiral Kato– Tomosaburo–, was equally concerned. “Our national wealth has simply not increased in proportion to naval expenditure,” he explained, “and we cannot proceed at the present pace. I am at my wit’s end.” Therefore, when the opportunity for drastic mutual armament reductions presented itself, Kato– seized it. As he noted in a conversation with –ro–, “there was no chance of building an Foreign Minister Shidehara Kiju eight-eight fleet, so I want to scrap it when given a chance.”161 Shidehara understood the point well. Reflecting positively on the Washington Treaties, he argued that “competition in naval armament, ruinous to national welfare and harmful to international peace is now a matter of the past.”162 Japan also accepted a 10:6 ratio because it feared triggering an arms race that it believed it was bound to lose. An important Naval Opinion produced in November 1921 advised that should the Washington Conference break up as a result of Japan’s insistence on a 10:7 ratio, “naval building competition, far keener than at present, will inevitably ensue. It is obvious that the Empire cannot compete with the United States numerically.” Indeed, Kato– feared that if the naval race were to accelerate, Japan would be left with a ratio far worse than 10:6.163 “A continued competition,” he observed, “will

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progressively widen the gap between the two navies, posing an enormous threat to Japan.”164 American negotiators purposely reinforced these fears. Ambassador Charles Warren was instructed to inform Japanese foreign minister Uchida Yasuya that Japan must accept a 10:6 ratio or “go back to competitive building.” Were that to happen, “there was no hope for Japan to better the existing ratio.”165 Finally, Tokyo agreed to Washington’s terms in order to appease a far superior rival. The Japanese government’s instructions to its delegates at the Washington Conference exhorted them to do all they could to ensure “the maintenance of friendly and smooth relations with the United States.” To achieve this outcome, “the plenipotentiaries shall endeavour to bring about closer relations with her at the conference.”166 Kato– took an identical position. “What intuitively governed my thinking at the conference was [the importance of ] improving Japanese-American relations,” he recalled. “It was from this viewpoint that I made ‘my final decision’ on any question.” To be sure, he understood that a 70 percent ratio was crucial “from the standpoint of naval defense.” Yet it was more important “to improve the Empire’s international position and promote cooperation with the United States.”167 Similarly, Tokugawa Iesato, the president of Japan’s House of Peers, concluded that the military sacrifices made at Washington were offset by improvements in Japan’s relationship with the United States.168 Some influential decision makers were especially mistrustful of the United States. Their views were best expressed by Vice Admiral Kato– Kanji, Japan’s chief naval expert at the Washington Conference. In his estimation, the United States was working to “deprive the Imperial Navy of its supremacy in the Far East” and establish its own “hegemony” in the region. Were Japan to agree to a 10:6 ratio, this would constitute “the most serious threat” to Japan’s security. The reason was straightforward: there was simply no “guarantee that war between Japan and the United States would never materialize.” It was true that the major source of friction—the China question—appeared to be “settled for the moment.” That said, “there is no telling what will happen tomorrow.” The Vice Admiral ended on a desperate note: “How lamentable for Japan’s future! Unspeakable agony!”169 The Washington Treaties failed to move these pessimists in any meaningful way. Just days after the conference, General Tanaka Kunishige feared

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that “while the black clouds which used to exist between the U.S. and Japan have certainly been dispelled,” Washington’s “satisfaction over the success of the conference is no more than a short-lived phenomenon. In the course of time she will return to her former posture and assume the mantle of the hegemonic power in the region.”170 Kato– Kanji took a similar line in a major public address, declaring that “the present condition of the world fails to convince him that permanent peace may be obtained outside of Paradise.” Contrary to the claims of the United States, the notion of “ending warfare is quite remote.” Worse still, “it is quite evident that very often war comes through a struggle for economic rights,” which was to say, precisely the kind of struggle Japan and the United States were engaged in. The powers may have limited their armaments, but the “apples of discord” remained.171 By the time Japan sanctioned the new Imperial National Defense Policy in February 1923, this skeptical view of U.S. intentions was dominant. According to the document’s authors, the United States was now the “primary hypothetical enemy” for both the navy and the army. Washington was a major current and future threat to Japanese interests: “The United States, as a result of a policy of economic invasion of China, menaces the position of our Empire and threatens to exceed the limits of our endurance. Longstanding problems, rooted in economic problems and racial prejudice . . . are extremely difficult to solve.” Accordingly, “a clash with our Empire will become inevitable sooner or later.”172 The new policy must be directed against the United States, not only because it “possesses the greatest national strength and armaments,” but also because it was the “power which is most likely to come to clash with us.”173 The contrast with Anglo-Japanese relations was stark. In that case, “friendly relations between the two nations are mutually advantageous from both economic and security viewpoints.” As a result, “conflict of interests in certain limited areas is quite unlikely to lead to a commencement of hostilities.”174 The United States was as uncertain about Japanese intentions at the time of the Washington Conference as Japan was about U.S. intentions. Hughes, who headed the American delegation, opposed what he called Japan’s “aggressive” policy of “political domination.”175 It was important, he urged, that “nothing should be done in such a way as to offer a pretext for Japan to enter upon any further acts of aggression.” For his part, Lodge

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worried that the Anglo-Japanese alliance caused “a distinct tendency toward war-like preparation” in Japan and therefore presented “fruitful causes of serious trouble.” It was, he told Lord Charnwood, a “seed plot for threatening controversies” in the Far East.176 For that reason, Lodge wanted U.S. negotiators to do all they could to destroy the alliance. Elihu Root, a senior member of Hughes’s delegation, preferred a more nuanced approach, suggesting that the United States could encourage Japan to eschew aggression by strengthening moderate elements in Tokyo. The United States, he argued, must “show friendliness to Japan in order to give strength to the party in Japan which wanted to establish better foreign relations.”177 It was crucial to “strengthen those liberal elements . . . that are now engaged in an unequal struggle to loosen the grip of the militarists upon the throat of Japan.”178 Little changed following the signing of the Washington Treaties. Lodge was an exception, declaring triumphantly, “I think we have done much to remove the dangers of war-breeding controversies in the Far East.”179 Some officials claimed that the treaties were important, but cautioned that much remained to be done. According to one diplomat, decision makers in Washington and Tokyo now had a “mutual duty to see that this mental attitude is maintained and bettered on both sides of the Pacific.”180 Others, including former under-secretary of state Norman Davis, noted that the agreements were of scant practical value. In a conversation with Shidehara, he referenced “the danger of creating the impression that all difficult questions have been settled and that means have been provided whereby without further effort peace will be maintained.” Senator William King was more dismissive, calling the treaties “a sort of magnificent international gesture, and that is all.” Still others doubted that there had been any appreciable change in Japan’s outlook. John MacMurray, the chief of the Far Eastern Division, wrote Secretary of War John Weeks that the Washington proceedings would have little effect on Japan’s East Asian policy. Senator Hiram Johnson agreed: “Do not blind yourselves with the delusion that following the Washington Conference Japan is going to reverse her policy.” Meanwhile, navy spokesmen feared that Japan would continue to act aggressively and identified the Pacific as “the place for the immediate source of trouble.”181 A year later, the General Board concluded despondently that the

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United States was now “impotent to restrain [Japan’s] aggressive plans in the Far East.”182 The 1924–25 war scare exacerbated U.S. mistrust. Lodge interpreted Japan’s official response to the Johnson-Reed Act as a “veiled threat” of war, “a very serious threat couched in the language agreed upon by diplomacy.” Reporting from Peking, Minister to China Jacob Schurman warned that Japan might now “play the role of sole active friend and protector of China” and lead a “Pan-Asiatic movement against the West.” This would, in turn, open a “new chapter in the relations of the East to West” with “grave consequences.” Then, in June 1924, Rear Admiral Bradley Fiske announced that “the Japanese and Americans have taken attitudes that are irreconcilable. They have virtually broken off diplomatic relations. . . . Such attitudes and such acts have usually preceded war.” Six months later, the ranking Republican member of the House Naval Affairs Committee introduced a resolution calling for a “defensive policy” with regard to Japan’s massive “war-like preparations.”183 The war scare passed, but mistrust remained. Reflecting on the ongoing arms race in auxiliary ships in 1926, Hughes lamented that “competitive armaments is an outward sign of political distrust and will go on until confidence replaces fear and suspicion. It is said that there must be mental and moral disarmament, by which is meant that nations must feel secure and cease to think of war.”184 Geneva and London, February 1927–April 1930 On 10 February 1927, President Calvin Coolidge invited the world’s leading naval powers to a conference in Geneva in the hope of extending the Washington ratios to auxiliary ships, especially cruisers. During the negotiations, Britain and Japan came up with a “compromise formula” that would have given the United States a 10:6.5 advantage over Japan in surface auxiliary vessels. Ultimately, however, the meeting ended in failure, mainly due to Anglo-American differences over heavy cruisers. The great powers met with more success at the London Conference, which ran from January to April 1930. The London Naval Treaty—the product of another compromise, this one brokered by Senator David Reed and Ambassador Matsudaira Tsuneo—effectively provided for a 10:7 heavy cruiser ratio between the United States and Japan until the end of 1936.185

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Japanese decision makers split into two factions in the late 1920s, though neither was close to confident that the United States had benign intentions.186 Members of the “Treaty” faction supported both the Geneva and London compromises. They did not do so because they trusted the United States, however. Rather, they feared that they would be saddled with a worse ratio in the absence of an agreement. Thus, Japan’s co-chief delegate at Geneva, Admiral Saito– Makoto, recommended acceptance of the “compromise formula” on two grounds: failure to agree would trigger an arms race that Japan would likely lose; and a more favorable opportunity for naval limitation was unlikely to recur in the future.187 A few months after the conference, a committee of experts produced the Nomura Report, a document that provided the basis for Japan’s future naval policy. Its authors contended that the Washington accords were “on the whole advantageous” to Japan. A future war “would be decided by an all-out contest of national strength,” and because Japan’s strength was “vastly inferior” to that of the United States, “it will be to our advantage to keep them tied down to the ratio of . . . 10:6, even though Japan was assigned an inferior strength.” This argument was rehearsed one last time at the London Naval Conference. Recalling his support for the Reed-Matsudaira compromise, Japan’s chief delegate, Wakatsuki Reijiro–, wrote, “I fully knew that Japan’s financial power could not stand the burden of naval building. So at bottom my belief was that it was to Japan’s advantage to stop competitive building by naval arms limitation.”188 Admiral Okada Keisuke concurred: “No matter how many arms are piled up, there never comes a point of saying, ‘That’s enough, with that much we are safe.’ . . . No matter how dogged our efforts, that sort of thing is impossible for a country like Japan whose national resources are inferior to those of the major powers.” This being the case, “it would be better to go easy.”189 Japanese officials who sided with the “Fleet” faction were more forthright in their uncertainty about American intentions. When Saito– recommended accepting the “compromise formula” at Geneva, Navy Vice Minister – Osumi Mineo rebuked him “as if he were a traitor who endangered Japan’s – national defense.” Osumi’s reaction was not as emotional as it might seem. Prior to the conference, U.S. Rear Admiral Hilary Jones had announced that failing agreement on a 10:6 ratio, “the United States will achieve it through

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a naval race backed by its unlimited wealth.” The reason, he continued, was that the United States could not allow Japan to have naval superiority in what was thought to be a future theater of hostilities.190 Similarly, a dissenting opinion attached to the Nomura Report maintained that conflict over China could “lead to the outbreak of war between Japan and the United States.” After all, Washington was “showing its true colors as an economic imperialist in China,” and “frontally obstructed” Japan’s policy in East Asia. Should such interference continue, “eventually war will break out.”191 No one expressed this kind of thinking better than Kato– Kanji in the runup to the London Conference. Now the chief of the Naval General Staff, he left no doubt as to his deep mistrust of the United States. In a meeting with Shidehara, he suggested that “American ambitions regarding economic penetration in . . . [China] will not easily permit a compromise since Japan is an obstacle for them. Therefore the struggle for (economic) rights will become a political problem giving rise to a smouldering strife behind the scenes. I do not think that the posture of the die-hards on the American side, of clamouring for obtaining a forcible settlement of the China problem by naval power, will ever cease at all.”192 He was more direct in a subsequent conversation, arguing that “the real intention of the United States is to impose on Japan a naval ratio that spells defeat for Japan, thereby becoming a hegemon in China.” A month later, he told Makino Nobuaki, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, that Washington “is persistently insisting on construction of eighteen . . . cruisers precisely because it is preparing for offensive operations against Japan.”193 Therefore, all Japan could do now was hope to deter American aggression. As Kato– put it to Prime Minister Hamaguchi Osachi, “if Japanese strength is not respected then peace in the Far East could not be upheld.” Japan needed a 10:7 ratio indefinitely—not just until 1936—so as to “avoid the dangers of inducing a war.”194 At this point, the United States was only held at bay by “Japan’s armament and . . . America’s lack of offensive capability.”195 Such views were widely held. As Wakatsuki put it during the London negotiations, if “America held that ten percent advantage [10:6 versus 10:7], it was possible for her to attack. So when America insisted on sixty percent instead of seventy percent, the idea would exist that they were trying to keep that possibility, and the Japanese people could not accept that.”196 Then, after the conference,

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the navy maintained that the treaty, “seriously jeopardizing national defence, must not be allowed to last long.” Vice Admiral Suetsugu Nobumasa was especially alarmed, describing the London accord as “the fatal treaty.”197 The United States remained acutely uncertain about Japanese intentions after both the Geneva and London conferences. In 1927, the General Board declared that Japan aimed at “the political, commercial, and military domination of the Western Pacific.” Hence, war was still possible. At the same time, U.S. admirals noted that “the desire of Japan for the security of her sea lines of communication is in conflict with the American desire for security of sea lines of communication to China and the Philippines.” Moreover, they worried that any further weakening of the American position in the Pacific “would not conduce to peace but would have the opposite effect by giving greater security to Japan in furthering of her policies and plans adversely affecting the United States.”198 Washington was only a little less mistrustful of Tokyo following the London Conference. In a tacit admission that he remained uncertain about Japanese intentions, Secretary of State Henry Stimson, who led the U.S. delegation, argued that, going forward, treaties such as the one negotiated in London were “the most practical measures for producing international goodwill.”199 In addition, he saw the London negotiations at least in part as an opportunity to support members of the Treaty faction—especially Hamaguchi, Shidehara, and Wakatsuki—in their ongoing struggle with the Fleet faction. Admiral William Pratt was less sanguine, endorsing the London Conference as a step toward “eliminating friction between ourselves and Japan,” but acknowledging that “mistrust, lack of confidence and suspicion” would only be “partially allayed through the medium of treaties for limitation of competitive armaments,” and even then only “in the course of a few years.”200 The General Board went considerably further, doubting that the London proceedings had any discernible effect. More colorfully, Senator Johnson described the idea that the London Treaty was a step toward peace as the “veriest twaddle.”201 The Shape of U.S.–Japanese Security Competition, 1919–30 Mutual uncertainty caused Japan and the United States to engage in an intense security competition from 1919 to 1930. Robert Kaufman summarizes the situation neatly: “The American and Japanese navies . . . look[ed]

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on each other as the primary antagonist. Each oriented their naval planning and programs accordingly.”202 When World War I ended, Washington was already in the middle of a major naval buildup in the Pacific. In 1916, Congress had enacted the Big Navy Act, the opening step in a bid to create the most powerful navy in the world, a “Navy Second to None.” Three years later, U.S. decision makers established a Pacific battle fleet. In the meantime, the navy’s Plans Division worked out the details of a new war plan—the precursor to Plan Orange— that involved concentrating U.S. naval forces in the Eastern Pacific, seizing Japanese mandates, recapturing the Philippines and Guam, and, finally, defeating the Imperial Navy. Japan responded in kind, almost tripling naval spending from 1918 to 1921. The 8–8 Fleet Expansion Program, proposed in 1918 and approved by the Diet in the summer of 1920, was designed to give the empire a fleet of eight super-dreadnoughts and eight giant battlecruisers, all less than eight years old. Meanwhile, planners reformulated the General Plan for Strategy. In the event of war with the United States, Japan would take the offensive immediately, establish command of the Western Pacific, and defeat the U.S. fleet in a climactic encounter once it reached Far Eastern waters.203 Relations remained highly competitive throughout the decade. For the United States, the various naval conferences were exercises in coercion. U.S. officials repeatedly threatened that the United States would start an arms race—a race that it would almost certainly win, given its significant resource advantage—unless Japan capitulated to its ratio demands. As a result, Washington obtained favorable ratios in battleships and auxiliary ships, and secured the dissolution of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance.204 The United States supplemented these treaty advantages with significant quantitative and qualitative improvements to its Pacific fleet. In 1922, the U.S. Navy concentrated its most powerful ships in the Pacific theater and began modernizing its battleships. To be sure, Washington did fall behind Tokyo in the crucial heavy cruiser category in the mid-1920s. By 1929, however, the United States was building thirteen cruisers, and had appropriated or authorized ten more. By comparison, Japan had eight cruisers and was in the process of building four more.205 All the while, American planners readied for a U.S.–Japanese war, updating Plan Orange in 1924 and 1929.206

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Japan worked considerably harder than the United States in the 1920s. Immediately after the Washington Conference, Tokyo embarked on a major battleship modernization program. Even as it did so, it placed a special emphasis on increasing its heavy cruiser and submarine capability. In 1921, Japan had no heavy cruisers—though it did have four armored cruisers— and twenty-three submarines. Eight years later, it had eight top-of-the-line heavy cruisers and was building four more, and had sixty-eight submarines. Technical innovations and relentless maneuvers and exercises further augmented Japan’s combat power.207 Planners complemented these material improvements with a significant strategic reorientation. In particular, the 1923 General Plan for Strategy introduced an attrition stage of operations in the event of a war with the United States. Having established command of the Western Pacific at the outset of a conflict, Japan would employ attrition tactics prior to the final encounter with the U.S. fleet.208

Conclusion In sum, great power relations in the 1920s lend powerful support to intentions pessimism. Many of the conditions that are said to cause states to trust each other were present in the Franco-German and U.S.–Japanese cases. Yet officials in Paris and Berlin, and those in Washington and Tokyo, never even came close to being confident that their counterparts had benign intentions. Consequently, both relationships were marked by more or less fierce security competition.

6

The End of the Cold War

the end of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union is one of the most surprising events in the history of international relations. John Lewis Gaddis points out that nobody predicted it: “The end of the Cold War . . . was of such importance that no approach to the study of international relations claiming both foresight and competence should have failed to see it coming. None actually did so.”1 What makes this development all the more remarkable for many analysts is the suddenness and magnitude of the change in the nature of great power politics. “In 1984 the Cold War was alive and kicking,” writes one scholar, explaining that the superpowers were engaged in an intense security competition. Then, “in 1990, the Cold War was over. The Eastern bloc regimes had abandoned communism and the Warsaw Pact, Germany was reunified. . . . Arms control was bursting out all over.”2 Intentions optimists attribute these developments to mutual trust. To be clear, their explanation for why the Soviet Union became confident that the United States was benign is superficial. Charles Glaser merely declares that the Soviet leadership “started to argue that the United States did not pose a threat to the Soviet Union, which reflected a reassessment of the foreign policies of capitalist systems.”3 Yet intentions optimists have developed two full-fledged arguments to explain why the United States came to trust the Soviet Union. The first focuses on Moscow’s arms policy. According to Andrew Kydd, the Kremlin’s willingness to engage in arms control, withdraw its

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forces from Afghanistan, and reduce its conventional forces in Europe “provided conclusive evidence that Soviet motivations had changed for the better and they played a central role in ending the Cold War.” These actions ultimately “convinced” the United States that the Soviets were “security seekers.” So much so that, “by 1990, most observers viewed the Soviet Union as a state that . . . could be trusted to abide by arms control agreements and play a constructive role in world politics.”4 Similarly, Glaser finds that the Soviet Union’s arms policies “led the United States to favorably change its assessment of Soviet motives.” In fact, “by the end of the Cold War a strong consensus had emerged [in Washington] that the Soviet Union was unlikely to be greedy.”5 The second argument focuses on ideology, and contends that Washington came to trust Moscow once it was clear that the Soviets were committed to liberalization. As soon as U.S. officials believed that the Soviet leadership “was dedicated to core tenets of liberal ideology . . . and that these liberal values would likely be made durable,” writes Mark Haas, “the Americans tended to view their Soviet counterparts as much more trustworthy individuals whose interests were likely to be largely supportive of American interests rather than threats to them.” Moscow’s decision to embrace “political liberalism” caused Washington to acquire “greater trust of the Soviets to the point where they believed the two states were no longer enemies.”6 These claims cannot be squared with the historical record. As intentions pessimism maintains, the United States and the Soviet Union were far from confident that the other was benign from 1985 to 1990. There is little debate that Soviet leaders liberalized at home and were restrained abroad. Their actions are best interpreted as a response to economic necessity rather than a belief that the United States meant no harm, however. In fact, Moscow was acutely uncertain about Washington’s intentions, primarily because the United States acted in ways that implied it might not be benign. For their part, U.S. decision makers did not view the Soviet Union’s domestic and international policies as reliable evidence of benign intent. To their minds, these actions could be the product of various other factors, including military and economic weakness. Furthermore, whatever Soviet intentions might be in the present, they could change. Consequently, the United States and the Soviet Union competed fiercely for security from 1985 to 1988, growing their conventional and nuclear

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forces, and maintaining their alliance systems. Indeed, competition between the superpowers was as intense in these three years as in the forty that preceded them. In the course of 1989 and 1990, however, the shape of their relationship changed. The United States continued to compete just as before, ultimately establishing a dominant position in Europe. The Soviet Union, however, made massive cuts to its military forces and allowed its East European empire to collapse, reasoning that it no longer had the means to match the United States. The rest of this chapter proceeds in five sections. The first four examine the period from 1985 to 1988, focusing on the Soviet Union’s early unilateral arms control initiatives (March–August 1985); Moscow’s efforts to forge a “grand compromise” (September 1985–January 1987); the negotiation and aftermath of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (February 1987–January 1988); and Moscow’s retrenchment, including its withdrawal from Afghanistan and announcement that it would make significant cuts to its conventional forces in Europe (February–December 1988). I find that the superpowers were acutely uncertain about each other’s intentions throughout the period. The fifth section begins by briefly showing that this mutual lack of confidence caused Washington and Moscow to compete vigorously for security through 1988. It then turns to the last two years of the Cold War and demonstrates that although neither side came close to trusting the other, only the United States continued to engage in security competition, because the Soviet Union could no longer afford to sustain the effort.

Unilateral Initiatives, March–August 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev ascended to the post of general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) on 11 March 1985 and immediately made his mark by engaging in unilateral arms control. In April, he declared a six-month freeze on the deployment of intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) in Europe, indicating that the freeze would become permanent if the United States followed suit. Then, in the summer, he announced a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons until the end of the year. The United States dismissed both initiatives.7

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Soviet Views of the United States Gorbachev was far from confident that the United States had benign intentions. In his first interview with Pravda, the official newspaper of the CPSU, he claimed that “confrontation is not an inborn defect in . . . [superpower] relations,” but also admitted that “there is no simple answer. Some things give a basis for hope, but as before there is more than a little that raises alarm. . . . On the whole, relations remain tense.” He rendered a similar judgment in a discussion with an American congressional delegation, asserting that “the world situation is disquieting, even dangerous, and a kind of ice age is being seen in relations between the USSR [Union of Soviet Socialist Republics] and the United States (at least until recently).”8 These public claims appear to have accurately reflected his private thinking. Meeting with the Soviet ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Dobrynin, Gorbachev noted that he did not doubt U.S. president Ronald Reagan’s “anti-Soviet predisposition, but was the president open to persuasion or was he just hopeless? Was he an anti-communist fanatic or a pragmatist? Could one come to terms with him or would it be worthless to try?”9 Nor did Gorbachev believe that mitigating this uncertainty would be a simple matter. His first letter to Reagan suggested that creating “an atmosphere of greater trust between our countries” was “not an easy task.” It would require significant “deeds” as well as “words.”10 Most Soviet decision makers shared Gorbachev’s thinking. Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze characterized superpower relations as “nervous, suspiciously hostile, [and] vengeful,” adding that “we and the Americans declared the anomaly of antagonism to be the norm.” The problem was that the Soviet Union and the United States “were divided by walls built out of the rubble of distrust and the stones of ideology.” Both parties were “guilty of extremely ideologized attitudes.”11 In a memorandum prepared for Gorbachev in March, his senior adviser Aleksandr Yakovlev warned that Washington was bent on continuing its militaristic policies.12 Meanwhile, Dobrynin judged that relations were back to “business as usual,” which was to say, “not very good business.”13 Gorbachev’s interpreter, Pavel Palazhchenko, described the Soviet attitude as “quite pessimistic about the prospects of U.S.–Soviet relations, at least while Ronald Reagan was in office.”14

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American Views of the Soviet Union The United States reciprocated the Soviet Union’s acute uncertainty. Reagan did not expect that “Gorbachev was going to be a different sort of Soviet leader.” According to his diary entry, he believed that the general secretary was going to “be as tough as any of their leaders.” After all, “if he wasn’t a confirmed ideologue, he never would have been chosen by the Politburo.”15 The president reiterated the point in June 1985: he was “too cynical to believe” that Gorbachev was “a different type than past Soviet leaders and that we can get along.”16 Indeed, he was quite open about his skepticism. On the day that Gorbachev was elected, Reagan cautioned, “I think there is a great mutual suspicion between the two countries . . . ours is more justified than theirs.”17 He also did not believe that the changing of the guard in Moscow would have a meaningful effect on Soviet policy toward the United States. “I can’t see,” he told the London Times, that “there would be a great change of direction.”18 Reagan continued to mistrust the Soviets even after Gorbachev altered the tone of superpower relations. In May, he mused that “the Soviet Union does not share our view of what constitutes a stable nuclear balance. It has chosen instead to build nuclear forces clearly designed to strike first and disarm their adversary.” The following month, in an address to the nation, he stated, “We are in a longterm twilight struggle with an implacable foe of freedom.”19 Reagan’s views were widely shared in Washington. Asked if the general secretary was “good for the West,” Vice President George H. W. Bush replied, “That depends on us. We clearly want the Soviet Union to change. Here’s a man who wants to change it. But how he does so depends in part on how we interact with him. The challenge is not to ‘help’ him but to put forward U.S. interests in a way that affects his policy the way we want.”20 Secretary of State George Shultz was “positive but wary.”21 Accordingly, he advocated firmness: the United States must give “the Soviets a growing stake in better relations” by strengthening its military and alliances.22 The intelligence community was more pessimistic. Director William Casey’s cover note to a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report insisted that Gorbachev and his allies were “not reformers and liberalizers either in Soviet domestic or foreign policy.”23

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Gorbachev’s unilateral arms control initiatives did little to allay these doubts. From Washington’s perspective, it was conceivable that the freeze on the deployment of IRBMs was a sincere attempt to negotiate reductions in this class of weapons. At the same time, however, U.S. officials found two other explanations to be equally, if not more, plausible. The first was that Gorbachev might be goading the United States into rejecting his offer so that he could paint it as an aggressive state and “split the Western alliance.”24 The second was that Moscow could be trying to lock in its military advantage. Given that the Soviet Union had already deployed all of its IRBMs and the United States was only starting to deploy its own weapons, the Reagan administration charged that a mutual freeze would leave Moscow with a large advantage in missiles.25 A similar verdict applies to the test moratorium. On its face, Gorbachev’s initiative could have indicated that Moscow supported arms limitation. But it was also logical to think that the Soviet Union, having already conducted accelerated tests on a new generation of strategic weapons, was now trying to disrupt U.S. tests, which were still ongoing. “What history has taught us,” claimed a spokesman for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, “is that these devices, invariably, are self-serving and designed to lock in areas of Soviet advantage.”26 Alternatively, there was reason to see the move as a propaganda stunt. In this view, Gorbachev “was trying to occupy the high ground of public opinion without altering any . . . fundamental Soviet policies.”27

Grand Compromise, September 1985–January 1987 Beginning in the fall of 1985 and continuing late into 1986, Moscow repeatedly proposed what came to be known as the “grand compromise.”28 In essence, the Soviet Union would agree to substantial mutual reductions in strategic weapons, and the United States would shelve its proposed missile defense system, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The earliest version of the Soviet offer, delivered by Shevardnadze during a visit to Washington in September 1985, called for the superpowers to cut their strategic arms by 50 percent and agree not to develop, test, or deploy missile defense systems. Gorbachev repeated the offer, with some modifications, at the Geneva summit in November. On 15 January 1986, he floated a more ambitious

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proposal: the Soviet Union and the United States would eliminate all their nuclear weapons by the year 2000, and the latter would also halt the development, testing, and deployment of SDI. Finally, at the Reykjavik summit in October, the Soviet Union agreed to 50 percent cuts in all categories of strategic arms, as well as the elimination of all U.S. and Soviet IRBMs in Europe. These reductions were contingent on Washington abandoning its pursuit of missile defense, though Gorbachev now conceded that the United States could conduct relevant research if it was confined to the laboratory. None of these proposals yielded an agreement.29 Soviet Views of the United States The Soviet Union was willing to make significant cuts to its strategic arsenal for material reasons. Most important, the arms race was a drain on the Soviet economy, which was in dire straits. Soviet leaders were acutely aware that the economy was in trouble in 1985. As Anatoly Chernyaev, the general secretary’s foreign policy adviser, recalled, “When the leaders looked reality square in the face it turned out that the country was on the verge of collapse.”30 According to one of Gorbachev’s economic advisers, Vadim Medvedev, the Soviet leadership “proceeded from the assumption that . . . the growth of industrial production had stopped, and the real income of the population had actually declined.”31 A detailed review of thinking at the time reaches the same conclusion: most party officials and military officers believed “that the economy was in serious trouble.”32 By 1987, Gorbachev admits, the “economy was unstable and . . . renewal processes were going badly. . . . Our intense efforts had largely foundered.”33 The economic crisis was a matter of national security. Absent a significant revival, the Soviet Union would cease to be a great power. “Only an intensive acceleration of the economy,” Gorbachev announced, “will allow our country to enter the new millennium as a great and flourishing power.”34 In April 1985, he received a report from the Committee for State Security (KGB) confirming his worst fears. If Moscow did not implement fundamental reforms, it argued, “the Soviet Union could not continue as a superpower into the twenty-first century.”35 Then, at the Twenty-Seventh Congress of the CPSU in February 1986, the assembled delegates concluded that,

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barring an improvement of the economy, “it will be impossible to maintain our positions on the international scene.”36 Officials were virtually unanimous that the Soviet Union’s high levels of military spending were a major cause of its economic woes. “We were . . . aware of how heavily our exorbitant military expenditures weighed on the economy,” observed Gorbachev.37 Shevardnadze agreed: “The bloated size and unrestricted escalation of [our] military might was reducing us to the level of a third-rate country, unleashing processes that pushed us to the brink of catastrophe. Our military expenditures as a percentage of gross national product were two and a half times greater than those of the United States.”38 Of course, there were disagreements about the exact size and effect of the defense burden, but there was “a consensus that whatever the burden was, it was too high.”39 It was also agreed that the economy could not recover unless these expenditures were brought under control. Gorbachev thought it undeniable that the Soviet Union “need[ed] drastically to reduce our defence budget— an indispensable condition for improving our economy.”40 Although he did not share the general secretary’s reformist inclinations, Politburo member Yegor Ligachev saw the issue in much the same way: “After April 1985 we faced the task of curtailing military spending. Without this, large-scale social programs could not have been implemented: the economy could not breathe normally with a military budget that comprised 18 percent of the national income.”41 William Odom summarizes the prevailing view at the time: “A rather wide and informal consensus was taking shape among all sectors of the party that . . . dramatic action, particularly reductions in military spending, was imperative to deal with the impending [economic and social] crises. The officer corps shared this view with party conservatives and reformers alike.”42 This, in turn, meant that it was imperative to halt or at least slow the arms race. As Gorbachev explained to the Central Committee in March 1985, only nuclear disarmament would allow the Soviet Union to secure the resources it needed to rebuild its economy.43 The following month, he informed Dobrynin that the Soviets “could not solve our domestic problems without ending the arms race.”44 And in a major speech to the Foreign Ministry, he declared that Soviet diplomacy “must contribute to the domes-

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tic development of the country.” The primary goal was to “create the best possible external conditions” for internal growth. Moscow had to “stop the nuclear arms race” and do anything it could to “loosen the vise of defense expenditures.”45 A few months later, as he prepared for the Reykjavik summit, Gorbachev worried that “the arms race overburdens our economy. That is why we need a breakthrough; we need the process to start moving.”46 Above all, Moscow had to avoid an acceleration of the race: “If the new round begins, the pressure on our economy will be unbelievable.”47 Few disagreed. His colleagues in the Politburo readily accepted the need to curb the arms race with a view to shifting resources from the military toward the economy.48 Meanwhile, Yakovlev feared that, failing an arms control agreement, “we would have to start our own [missile defense] program, which would be tremendously expensive and unnecessary . . . [and bring] further exhaustion to our country.”49 The other material consideration that led the Soviet Union to propose the grand compromise was the fear that it would lose the superpower arms race. In a meeting with Dobrynin, Gorbachev confessed that “he strongly believed we could not gain victory ‘over imperialism’ by force of arms.”50 Addressing the Politburo before the Reykjavik summit, he was convinced that defeat was inevitable: “Our goal is to prevent the next round of the arms race. If we do not accomplish it, the threat to us will only grow. We will be pulled into another round of the arms race that is beyond our capabilities, and we will lose it, because we are already at the limit of our capabilities.”51 He made an identical point to his assistants, arguing, “Our fundamental objective is to foil the arms race. Unless we do this, the threat will certainly grow. We will be drawn into an arms race we cannot afford, and we are sure to be defeated because we are exhausted to the very uttermost.”52 In making these arguments, Gorbachev was echoing the views of the Soviet military. As Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev put it, “The Soviet Union could no longer continue a policy of military confrontation with the United States and NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization] after 1985.” Moscow no longer had the wherewithal to keep pace: “The economic possibilities for such a policy had been exhausted.”53 The grand compromise—specifically, Gorbachev’s insistence that the United States shelve SDI—was also born out of acute uncertainty about

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U.S. intentions. For officials in Moscow, Washington’s pursuit of missile defense implied that it might not be benign. Some feared that SDI research could lead the United States to develop and then deploy space-based offensive weapons capable of striking Soviet targets.54 The head of the Soviet space program depicted a “worst-case scenario” in which “the real intention of SDI was to deploy hydrogen bombs in space, masquerading as innocent SDI assets.”55 Others worried that a missile shield would allow the United States to attack the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons and not have to fear retaliation.56 Aleksandr Bessmertnykh recalled the concern that “by creating this strong defense [the United States] . . . denied the Soviet Union the possibility for retaliatory response if we [were] . . . attacked. That was very strongly felt by everyone. We thought that if the United States feels secure from a second strike, then it might be prompted to make the first strike.”57 Finally, Soviet officials worried that the United States would use SDI to blackmail the Soviet Union on other issues.58 In fact, Gorbachev’s briefing book for Reykjavik maintained that the sooner the United States developed a missile shield, the more likely it would be tempted to turn to coercion.59 Accordingly, Washington’s refusal to give up the missile defense program at every turn only heightened Soviet mistrust. When Shevardnadze first suggested reducing strategic arms and shelving SDI during his visit to Washington in September 1985, Reagan was “adamant” that he would not give up his pursuit of a missile defense system.60 Gorbachev’s reaction was to tell a meeting of Warsaw Pact leaders that the United States was “planning to win over socialism through war or military blackmail.” The missile defense system’s “militaristic nature is obvious.”61 Then, in a meeting with Shultz in November, he explained that Moscow was “very suspicious of what’s going on. SDI is not compatible with the ABM [Antiballistic Missile] Treaty. The Soviet Union isn’t trying for unilateral advantage, and you shouldn’t either. . . . If you want superiority through your SDI, we will not help you.”62 This kind of thinking was on full display at the Geneva summit. When Reagan tried to argue that SDI was a defensive system, Gorbachev replied, “Do you take us for idiots?”63 The United States, he charged, was “plotting” to gain a “one-sided advantage.”64 If SDI was implemented, “then layer after layer of offensive weapons . . . would appear in outer space and only

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God himself would know what they were. In this connection, I would note that God provides information only very selectively and rarely.”65 Nor did Gorbachev believe Reagan when the latter promised to share SDI research with him: “You don’t even share your advanced technology with your allies.”66 Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Kornienko exclaimed, “Unfortunately, we knew from history examples of treaties which were signed and then thrown into the wastebasket.” Besides, how could the Soviets know that Reagan’s successors would honor his commitments? The notion was simply “naïve.”67 Bessmertnykh sums up the Soviet view, saying of Reagan’s promise, “We didn’t trust it at all. . . . It was considered as a ploy, basically.”68 The failure to reach any kind of agreement at Geneva—Reagan would not be moved on SDI—hardly alleviated the Soviet Union’s uncertainty about U.S. intentions. Following the summit, Gorbachev described Reagan as “not simply a conservative, but a political dinosaur” and derided his “crude primitivism, caveman views and intellectual impotence.” Worst of all, “the essence of his policy—the policy of the military-industrial complex—has not changed.”69 As Chernyaev put it, “Gorbachev still saw Reagan as a representative of imperialism and a foe.”70 The general secretary made the point starkly in a letter to Reagan shortly after the Geneva summit. “We agree that it is the duty of the leaders of both sides to evaluate the actions of the other in the area of the creation of new types of weapons not in terms of intentions, but rather in terms of the potential capability which might be achieved due to the creation of a new weapon,” he wrote. This being the case, “the Soviet leadership inevitably arrives at one conclusion . . . the ‘space shield’ is needed only by the side which is preparing for a first . . . strike.” Reagan should be aware that the Soviets had “a real and extremely serious concern over US nuclear weapons.”71 Gorbachev’s views were widely shared. Akhromeyev warned that “the commitment undertaken by the United States at the Geneva meeting not to seek military superiority over the Soviet Union is as yet only words.”72 For its part, the Politburo noted that “Reagan was still Reagan and we should be vigilant in dealing with him.”73 Washington’s response to the Soviet proposal that both sides eliminate their nuclear weapons by the year 2000 likewise did little to allay Moscow’s

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mistrust. In his address of February 1986 to the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress—a speech in which he described the tenets of Soviet “new thinking” in foreign policy—Gorbachev announced that the West “has not abandoned the ideology and policy of hegemonism.” He could not detect “any serious readiness by the U.S. administration to get down to solving the cardinal problems involved in eliminating the nuclear threat.” Worst of all, the United States was determined to keep the “Star Wars” missile defense program. The Reagan administration was focused on “military strength” rather than “détente,” endorsed “doctrines that reject good-neighbourly relations,” and had been captured by the military-industrial complex, which “remains the locomotive of militarism.” As to whether Washington was likely to embark on a more “sober” and “constructive” course, Gorbachev could only conclude “maybe yes and maybe no.”74 The Soviets continued to be acutely uncertain about U.S. intentions in the months after the Party Congress. Gorbachev began to suspect that Washington’s relentless pursuit of SDI might be designed to exhaust the Soviet Union. The United States counted “on the fact that the USSR is afraid of SDI morally, economically, politically, and militarily. They are going ahead with it in order to wear us out.”75 At best, there was “ambiguity in our relations with the United States.”76 Reagan’s letter of July 1986 suggesting that the United States would not withdraw from the ABM Treaty for at least five years, as opposed to the fifteen-to-twenty-year commitment that the Soviet Union was looking for, did nothing to address Moscow’s fears.77 The proposal was deemed “nonserious and cosmetic.”78 In September, Gorbachev rendered his judgment: “one has to conclude that, in effect, no start has been made in implementing the agreements which we reached in Geneva on improving Soviet-American relations . . . and renouncing attempts to secure military superiority.”79 Little changed at the Reykjavik summit. Just as he had at Geneva, Reagan assured Gorbachev that SDI was a defensive system and that he would share missile defense technology with Moscow, and just as he had been at Geneva, Gorbachev was doubtful. Toward the end of the summit, the general secretary protested that he was being asked to allow the United States to develop a system that could destroy his state’s nuclear weapons potential. He simply could not agree.80 Nor could he understand why the United

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States would want to deploy a missile shield in a world free of nuclear weapons unless it was secretly planning a first strike.81 As for Reagan’s assurance that he would share the fruits of SDI research with the Soviet Union, “I cannot take your idea . . . seriously.” To his mind, “sharing SDI would provoke a second American revolution,” and he exhorted Reagan to be “realistic and pragmatic.”82 Furthermore, even if he were to believe Reagan, he had no way of knowing whether the president’s “successors [would] repeat the offer.”83 Indeed, by the end of the grand compromise negotiations, the Soviet Union was as mistrustful of the United States as it was before them. At a Politburo meeting immediately following the Reykjavik summit, Gorbachev fumed that Reagan was “a class enemy,” and an “extraordinarily primitive one” at that.84 He worried that the president could not control his “gang” of militaristic advisers, and he was concerned that “the normalization of Soviet-American relations is the business of future generations.”85 The following week, he told the Politburo that he had learned two lessons from the U.S. attitude toward SDI, namely, that it had “not given up the goal of gaining [military] advantage,” and that it was controlled by “the military-industrial complex.” Then, in a conversation with Chernyaev: “What does America want? They are distorting, revising Reykjavik, backing away from it.”86 Shevardnadze was even more blunt in his assessment of the post-Reykjavik period: “there was a lack of trust in relations between East and West based on . . . the perception of the intentions of each side and the predictability of its behavior.”87 American Views of the Soviet Union The various iterations of the grand compromise did little to allay Washington’s mistrust of Moscow. The United States understood that the Soviet economy was in dire straits. A State Department report produced after Gorbachev’s election was titled “USSR: A Society in Trouble.”88 In the meantime, the CIA characterized the Soviet economy as “backward.”89 In September 1985, analysts observed that, despite his best efforts, “Gorbachev still faces an economy that cannot simultaneously maintain growth in defense spending . . . invest amounts required for economic modernization and expansion, and continue to support client-state economies.”90 Crucially,

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the intelligence community believed that the Soviets had “a clear understanding of these limitations.”91 Gorbachev was enacting the kind of reforms that suggested he sought long-term serious change even if he was aiming for more modest goals in the short term.92 By 1986, however, it was generally agreed that Gorbachev’s reforms were not working. There were, analysts reckoned, “clear indications that the plan for economic revitalization is faltering.”93 Indeed, Reagan judged that the general secretary was well aware of his country’s “great economic problems.”94 For many U.S. officials, it was these economic problems that accounted for Moscow’s arms control initiatives. After meeting with Shevardnadze’s predecessor, Andrei Gromyko, in May 1985, Shultz surmised “that the Soviets were preoccupied with their domestic problems, and this was forcing them to alter—for the better—the way they dealt with us.”95 The CIA followed up, arguing that Gorbachev’s attempts to deal with his internal problems were bound to have an effect on his foreign and defense policies.96 Reagan was of the same opinion, writing just before the Geneva summit that the Soviets did not “want to face the cost of competing with us” and were determined to “reduce the burden of defense spending that is stagnating the Soviet economy.”97 As he explained in an interview, the Soviets had a profound interest in reducing “these great stores of arms and ending an arms race, which is so costly to them that it has been the principal cause of their economic problem.” At the same time, a Special National Intelligence Estimate (SNIE) concluded that the Soviet Union sought to reduce its offensive nuclear weapons at least in part out of a desire for “cost avoidance.” Similarly, a report forwarded by national security adviser John Poindexter to Shultz on the eve of Reykjavik noted, “Gorbachev’s goals are clearenough: to . . . stabilize U.S.–Soviet relations in a way that gives him greater latitude in his domestic policies.”98 Other officials in Washington suspected that the Soviet Union was proposing the grand compromise because it was bowing to U.S. strength. National security adviser Robert McFarlane made the point in a speech after the Geneva summit: “What was achieved,” he argued, “would simply not have been possible without the firm foundation of [our] foreign policy as a whole, put in place over the last five years.”99 Shultz reached much the same conclusion after Gorbachev proposed eliminating all nuclear weap-

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ons by the turn of the century. The Soviets were focused on reducing their strategic forces because they feared SDI.100 As time passed, Shultz became more convinced that Moscow was succumbing to the pressure. “We have the advantage everywhere,” he remarked in April 1986.101 The following month, he assured Reagan that the Soviets “are not an omnipotent, omnipresent power gaining ground and threatening to wipe us out. On the contrary, we are winning. In fact, we are miles ahead.”102 Accordingly, when Gorbachev made a series of concessions at Reykjavik, Shultz declared, “Fine, let him keep making them. His proposals are the result of five years of pressure from us.”103 There was also a more sinister way to read the grand compromise—it might reflect a Soviet desire to gain an advantage over the United States. Several decision makers saw the various initiatives as attempts to weaken the Reagan administration by painting it as a militaristic actor, thereby alienating it from its domestic constituency and its allies in Europe. Prior to the Geneva summit, Reagan was convinced that Gorbachev’s chief goal was to wean “our European friends away from us” by “making us look like a threat to peace.”104 Gorbachev’s proposal to eliminate nuclear weapons elicited a similar reaction. Jack Matlock, soon to be the ambassador to the Soviet Union, observed that “the way Gorbachev made his proposal raised suspicions that his intent was propaganda rather than agreement.”105 Little had changed by the time the United States prepared for Reykjavik. Poindexter feared that the Soviet Union was looking to “unravel the Western consensus behind tougher policies toward the Soviet Union.”106 Events at the summit seemed to confirm this view. One official suspected that the Soviets “are trying to lay the foundations for a public relations campaign that will denigrate the United States.”107 Shultz summed up the situation for Reagan, alerting him to the fact that the Soviets could “be seeking to convey an image of reasonableness as they seek to build pressure on us through our allies and congressional/public opinion in this country.” Therefore, the U.S. government must deny them “the opportunity to drive wedges between ourselves and our allies, and between the Administration and Congress.”108 Moscow’s initiatives were also interpreted as an attempt to weaken the United States more directly by shifting the military balance in favor of the

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Soviet Union. When Shevardnadze first proposed the grand compromise in September 1985, U.S. analysts quickly realized that it would require reductions in American intermediate-range missiles, cruise missiles, and weapons carried by bombers, but not Soviet intermediate-range missiles targeting the European allies of the United States.109 Gorbachev’s proposal to eliminate all nuclear weapons would also work to Moscow’s advantage, since the Soviet Union had conventional superiority.110 An SNIE of September 1986 raised the possibility that Moscow was not using the grand compromise to “suspend the competition,” but was rather seeking to advance the Soviet Union’s “international influence and its relative military power.”111 Poindexter was especially concerned about the dangers of a nuclearfree world, fearing that “the Soviet ability to coerce our allies . . . will increase and our security decrease.”112 Washington’s fears peaked at Reykjavik when it became clear that the Soviets would only reduce their strategic weapons if the United States simultaneously abandoned SDI. In the course of the summit, Poindexter became convinced that the Soviets “really want to kill SDI.”113 Likewise, Reagan recalled that Gorbachev “had brought me to Iceland with one purpose: to kill the Strategic Defense Initiative.”114 Since the president would not agree, the summit ended. But U.S. concerns did not end with it. In his post-summit analysis, Reagan worried that the Soviets wanted to force the United States to make deep cuts without “a reciprocal response on their part.”115 Meanwhile, analysts concluded that Moscow’s suggestion on the second day of the summit that the superpowers eliminate all strategic weapons within ten years was meant to leave a conventionally superior Soviet Union in a commanding position.116 Given these considerations, the United States remained acutely uncertain about Soviet intentions throughout the grand compromise period. Reagan was especially pessimistic in the fall of 1985, remarking that the Soviet Union had “declared that the United States is the final enemy,” a conclusion that was driven, at least in part, by Moscow’s military buildup.117 As the president told Shevardnadze in September, the Soviet Union had built up its arsenal to the point that it now seemed to have an offensive rather than defensive purpose.118 Shultz’s thinking ran along the same lines: “In the past twenty years the Soviet Union has continued a relentless military buildup, nuclear and conventional, surpassing any legitimate need

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for self-defense.” Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle was concerned that “they have constructed forces capable of attacking and destroying our ability to respond because I do not think they believe in mutual destruction.”119 There was hardly any change in U.S. thinking as the Geneva summit approached. In a secret memorandum, Reagan reasoned that Gorbachev was “dependent on the Soviet Communist hierarchy and will be out to prove to them his strength and dedication to Soviet traditional goals.” Moreover, his read of an analysis by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board convinced him that the Soviets could use their real or perceived military superiority to blackmail the United States: “They would like to win by being so much better prepared we could be faced with a surrender or die ultimatum.” The forthcoming summit was therefore an opportunity to address the “prevalent suspicion and hostility between us.”120 Except that Reagan took no such opportunity. When Gorbachev attacked SDI, the president retorted, “As I said to you, I have a right to think you want to use your missiles against us.” He rejected the prospect that the two sides could “abolish the threat . . . with mere words,” and revealed that he could not “say to the American people that I could take you at your word if you don’t believe us.”121 McFarlane neatly summarizes the U.S. attitude toward the Soviets at Geneva: “We were still thinking in terms of the traditional Soviet stance of unyielding confrontation.”122 In the wake of the summit, Reagan announced, “The United States cannot afford illusions about the nature of the USSR. We cannot assume that their ideology and purpose will change. This implies enduring competition.”123 Shultz was barely more positive. The Soviets, he warned, were “skilled and determined to protect the legacy they inherited” from their predecessors. He thought it a “long leap” to think that Moscow would exploit its superiority to coerce the United States, but “one shouldn’t dismiss it.”124 In the meantime, intelligence experts were telling him that the “Soviets wouldn’t change and couldn’t change, that Gorbachev was simply putting a new face on the same old Soviet approach to the world.”125 The Soviet Union’s initiative of January 1986 scarcely alleviated this uncertainty. Again, Reagan dwelled on the Soviet military buildup, writing Gorbachev that “we are concerned that the Soviet Union for some reason

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has chosen to deploy . . . weapons suitable for a disarming first strike . . . There may be reasons for this other than seeking a first strike advantage, but we too must look at capabilities rather than intentions and we feel you have an advantage in this area.” In another letter, he suggested that “if we are to move toward a world in which the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons will be possible, there must be far greater trust and confidence between our two countries than exist at present. We cannot simply wave away the suspicion and misunderstandings which have developed over the past four decades between our two countries.”126 Reagan expressed similar views in private. At a National Security Planning Group meeting on arms control, he reasoned that the United States needed SDI for insurance.127 After all, “the Soviet Union is expansionist. They have a belief that their purpose must be to bring about world revolution to a one-world communist state.” Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger went further, asserting that the United States must not “be overcome by a childlike hope for détente with a country whose sole aim is, and always has been, world domination.”128 At the same time, Robert Gates, soon to be deputy director of the CIA, thought that, “on fundamental objectives and policies, [Gorbachev] so far remains generally as inflexible as his predecessors.”129 The president’s talking points for a meeting with his foreign policy team stressed that the United States “cannot be sure of Soviet intentions.”130 Little, if anything, changed at Reykjavik. Reagan’s refusal to compromise on SDI was largely due to his mistrust of Soviet intentions. “The SDI,” he recalled, “was an insurance policy to guarantee that the Soviets kept the commitments Gorbachev and I were making at Reykjavik. We now had enough experience with Soviet treaty violations to know that kind of insurance was necessary.”131 Meanwhile, Poindexter explained to Akhromeyev that the United States was “concerned about [the Soviets]. . . . They had very large conventional forces and were building elaborate strategic forces.” The marshal must understand “that we had to be very suspicious of what their motives were.”132 Following Reykjavik, Reagan authorized an internal study that spoke volumes about his administration’s continuing acute uncertainty about Soviet intentions. It was predicated on the need to ensure that “Soviet assessments of war outcomes [are] so uncertain as to remove any incentive for

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initiating attack.”133 Then, in January 1987, the White House published the U.S. National Security Strategy Report (NSS). The document could have been written at the height of the Cold War. According to its authors, Moscow was bent on executing “expansionist policies,” altering the “international system,” and establishing “Soviet global hegemony.” Furthermore, the Soviet Union’s massive military buildup posed a “continuing threat to the United States and our allies.” All in all, the superpower relationship remained “essentially adversarial.”134

INF, February 1987–January 1988 In 1987, the United States and the Soviet Union negotiated and signed the INF Treaty. Gorbachev initiated the process in February, proposing the elimination of all U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range missiles in Europe, this time without the proviso that the United States abandon SDI. In doing so, he accepted Reagan’s “zero option,” first mooted in 1981. Two months later, the Soviets declared that they were also ready to eliminate all shorter range INF (SRINF) systems in Europe. That is, they were prepared to embrace a “double zero option.” And, in July, Moscow extended the proposal to all INF and SRINF missiles in Asia and the United States, as well as Europe. Following intense negotiations in the fall, the two sides signed the treaty at the December Washington summit, committing to destroy all of their intermediate and shorter range land-based missiles and their launchers.135 Soviet Views of the United States Moscow’s determination to secure an agreement on intermediate-range nuclear forces was driven largely by economic reasoning. Soviet officials were deeply concerned about the state of the economy in 1987. During a Central Committee Plenum in January, Gorbachev for the first time used the word “crisis” to describe the economic situation.136 Official documents circulated to Politburo members three months later made the same point and called for major changes.137 From the Ministry of Finance, officials reported that the Soviet Union’s “financial position” had “reached the point of crisis.”138 Subsequent testimony confirms the point. Medvedev recalls that “extremely acute economic problems” emerged “some time after

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Gorbachev came to power.”139 Yakovlev paints a similar picture. It was “time to recognise that the building was rotten internally in all its most important parts. To reconstruct them was in fact impossible. It was necessary to build on new foundations.”140 This meant that it was imperative to cut military expenditures. Medvedev notes that the economic crisis made “the scales fall from our eyes. It became obvious that without a reduction in the burden of military expenditures it would not be possible to resolve the urgent socioeconomic problems. This, to a large extent, stimulated the development of a new military doctrine and a new foreign policy aimed at stopping the arms race.”141 As Shevardnadze put it in a major speech to Foreign Ministry officials, “the goal of diplomacy is to create a favourable environment for domestic development. . . . Our principal duty is to ensure that our state does not incur additional expenses for the maintenance of defence capabilities. . . . We must search for ways to limit and reduce the military rivalry . . . [and] to reach a situation where our interrelations with other states put the least possible burden on our economy.”142 It was this kind of thinking that prompted the Soviet Union to come to an agreement on INF. “The main reason the negotiations broke through and agreement was achieved on intermediate-range missiles,” asserted Nikolai Ryzhkov, a key member of the Politburo, “was our excessively high expenditures on defense.” Soviet leaders understood that they could not continue to devote so many resources to the military without risking economic catastrophe. “We clearly understood that the country could not bear the share of state expenditures that existed at that time.”143 Economic concerns were so important, in fact, that even conservatives, including Gromyko and Ligachev, became ardent supporters of improved relations with the United States in general and of an intermediate-range forces agreement in particular.144 As Akhromeyev put it to Shultz, “My country is in trouble, and I am fighting alongside Mikhail Sergeyevich [Gorbachev] to save it. That is why we made such a lopsided deal in INF, and that is why we want to get along with you.”145 Even as the Soviet Union made concessions, however, it remained acutely uncertain about Washington’s intentions. Thus, despite delinking the INF and SDI issues, Gorbachev continued to regard the missile defense

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program with suspicion. The Soviet Union, he told Shultz in April, would always view weapons in space as an unnatural development. “This would permit no trust of any kind between the two great powers,” he maintained. And he reminded the secretary of state that President Lyndon Johnson had described space weapons as being designed for aggression: “He who rules space rules the world.” Meanwhile, in September, in his book Perestroika, Gorbachev revealed that the reason he was insisting on mutual weapons reductions was his fear of the United States. “Bearing in mind the bitter lessons of the past,” he explained, “we cannot take major unilateral steps.”146 He was less acutely uncertain when he addressed the issue of socialistcapitalist relations in a public address on the seventieth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in November. It might be possible, he argued, to influence imperialism in such a way as to avert its most dangerous consequences. There was a chance that capitalist and socialist states could cooperate to avoid nuclear catastrophe.147 There was hardly any change in Soviet thinking following the signature of the INF Treaty. Although Gorbachev described the agreement as a “sapling, which may one day grow into a mighty tree of peace,” he warned that it was “still too early to bestow laurels upon each other.”148 Chernyaev was more pessimistic, claiming that the “Treaty was signed in an atmosphere that I would still describe as a rather high level of mutual mistrust.”149 This came through clearly in internal discussions after the Washington summit. According to Gorbachev, the treaty was designed to reduce the U.S. capacity for harm. It made a “major contribution to the strengthening of the security of the Soviet Union because it pushed the American nuclear presence away from the Soviet borders.”150 Ligachev agreed, observing that reductions in intermediate-range forces would “win over public opinion without weakening our defenses.”151 American Views of the Soviet Union The Reagan administration was well aware that the Soviet Union’s economy was in crisis by 1987. An intelligence assessment written in February judged Gorbachev’s reforms “insufficient to achieve [his] goals.” Accordingly, a “sharp upturn in economic performance” was thought to be “unlikely.” The following month, analysts noted the “consensus among a

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sizable portion of the Soviet political elite that the need to revitalize their economy was reaching a critical stage,” and pointed out that Moscow was “running into the kinds of systemic problems we anticipated.”152 By the summer, Matlock observed that “the prospects were not bright that . . . [Gorbachev’s] reforms would improve the economy.” The ambassador “foresaw serious troubles ahead in three to four years.”153 Consequently, Gorbachev’s accommodating behavior was seen by many U.S. officials as a bid for “breathing space” that would allow him to reduce defense spending, revitalize the economy, and strengthen the Soviet Union in its competition with the United States. Reagan’s talking points for a meeting with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher stated that “Gorbachev may be seeking an international ‘breathing space’ to pursue his domestic program.” What made this a concern was the fact that the Soviet leadership’s “initial period of domestic relaxation in the mid-1950s was . . . followed by some of the most dangerous behavior we’ve ever seen from Moscow in Berlin, Cuba, and elsewhere.” Ultimately, then, “nothing has changed the Soviet military threat to the West.”154 Just before the Washington summit, Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci claimed that Gorbachev was looking for “an accommodation that buys a breathing space from competition on our side while he revives the communist system at home, enhances its ability to project power (including military power) in the long run, preserves past Soviet gains as a superpower, and continues to allow expansion of Soviet influence at low cost.”155 Gates saw things the same way, arguing that the Kremlin was desperate for “breathing space.” It was seeking “a period of dampened tensions,” while reviving itself internally and preparing for a new round of competition.156 Moscow was still committed to “the further consolidation and expansion of Soviet power abroad.”157 There was also good reason to believe that Moscow was making concessions on the intermediate-range nuclear forces issue because it was capitulating to U.S. strength. When Gorbachev announced that the Soviet Union would accept the zero option, Reagan credited the change to American intransigence, and congratulated the U.S. allies for their firmness on the issue. He continued to hold this opinion throughout the ensuing negotiations.158 As he told former president Richard Nixon, Soviet leaders knew “that any kind of arms race would be one they would lose” because

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the United States and its allies had “enormous superiority.”159 Reagan’s advisers shared his perspective. In April, Shultz informed him that “the Soviet Union is changing, and the strong policies you’ve kept in place—and the pressure—have made a real difference.”160 Washington should feed Soviet fears of decline with respect to the United States to maximize their incentives to concede to American interests.161 As for the INF Treaty, Reagan thought that it “demonstrates that realism, strength, and unity with our allies are the prerequisites for effective negotiations with Moscow,” though he cautioned that “the nature of the Soviet regime . . . sets limits to what we can achieve with Moscow by negotiation and diplomacy.”162 Shultz concurred: “Gorbachev comes to Washington to address an agenda you have defined, against a backdrop of American strength and consistency you have created.”163 Weinberger, who rarely saw eye to eye with Shultz, viewed the treaty and negotiations in the same way: “The lesson of the INF Treaty is that we can secure our own modest agenda, which is simply peace and freedom, only if we are militarily strong.” Like Reagan, he remained cautious: “Further, we must be militarily secure enough to be able to resist Soviet aggression. It can flame into action very quickly.” In fact, he did not believe Gorbachev was different from his predecessors. The Soviets had not given in because of “changes in their leadership. . . . My feeling has always been that no general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union will be allowed to alter in any fundamental way the basically aggressive nature of Soviet behavior.”164 There was also the possibility that Moscow’s moves were designed to give the Soviet Union a military advantage. After all, the fewer nuclear weapons there were in Europe, the more important the conventional force balance, an area in which the Soviet Union had a significant lead. Moscow might simply be trying to establish superiority in the European theater. Furthermore, although the Soviet Union was committing to destroy many more weapons than the United States, the INF deal also meant that the United States would surrender its Pershing II missiles—accurate weapons capable of hitting targets in the Soviet Union—while leaving Europe vulnerable to Soviet intercontinental and short-range missiles.165 As the CIA put it, “Gorbachev and his advisers know that the initiative would remove a significant US military threat to the USSR itself . . . while simultaneously

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rolling back a significant US political/security initiative in Europe.”166 The intelligence community concluded that the Soviets would still “be able to satisfy their critical tactical, theater and intercontinental targeting requirements as effectively as with their current arsenal.” That is, the accord did not reduce Moscow’s ability to wage war.167 Given that Moscow’s concessions on INF were open to multiple interpretations, the United States remained deeply mistrustful of the Soviet Union in 1987. After Gorbachev endorsed the zero option, Reagan advised the National Security Council (NSC) that no one should doubt the threat that the Soviet Union posed to the free world. He feared that the United States “would be isolated and fall into their hands like overripe fruit. These are the stakes we are talking about today.”168 He was hardly more positive in public, declaring that if he was forced to “characterize U.S.–Soviet relations in one word, it would be this: proceeding. No great cause for excitement, no great cause for alarm.” This was, he added, perhaps the way that “relations with one’s adversaries should be characterized.”169 Thus, his administration would continue negotiating “not based on false hopes or wishful thinking,” but “on a candid assessment of Soviet actions and long-term understanding of their intentions.”170 Meanwhile, Shultz noted that when it came to “EastWest relations,” the United States knew “that change is taking place in the USSR, but we will want to maintain a realistic appraisal of events there.”171 For his part, Carlucci warned Reagan, “We remain unsure what course Gorbachev is on.”172 This continued to be the U.S. view after Gorbachev embraced the double zero option and agreed that it would extend to Asia as well as Europe. “The Soviets don’t want to win by war but by threat of war,” Reagan announced in September. “They want to issue ultimatums to which we have to give in.”173 He also did not believe that Moscow had abandoned its “objective of promoting its Communist ideology throughout the world.” After all, the Soviets had “built up a massive military force that far exceeds their requirements for defense.”174 Concerns such as these led him to reiterate his commitment to SDI even if the superpowers reduced their arsenals. An effective missile defense system would “underwrite all of us against Soviet cheating.” Conversely, if the Soviet Union were to get ahead and gain “a monopoly in this vital area, our security will be gravely jeopardized.” Reagan

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appeared to soften his views at the end of the year, noting that Gorbachev was the first “Russian leader who has never reiterated . . . that the Soviets are pledged to world expansion [and to] a one-world communist state.” Nevertheless, he pointed out that there was a difference between failing to mention expansion and actually abandoning it as an objective: “as to whether it was an oversight [on Gorbachev’s part] or he didn’t think it was necessary or not, I don’t know.”175 Reagan took a harder line at the Washington summit, informing Gorbachev that whatever his personal feelings might be, there was a wider “legacy of mistrust because of Soviet expansionism.”176 The president’s opinions tracked those of his advisers. A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) produced a month before the Washington summit claimed that Gorbachev “adheres to traditional objectives,” namely, “expanding Soviet influence worldwide; and advancing Communism at the expense of capitalism around the globe.” Given Moscow’s “ambitions, military power, and ideological predilections,” it would “remain the West’s principal adversary.”177 At the same time, the president’s secret policy guidance for the summit cautioned, “While seeking concrete agreements in arms reductions which serve our national interests, we must not foster false illusions about the state of US–Soviet relations.” Negotiators must not agree to anything that might “complicate our efforts to maintain a strong defense.”178 Carlucci was more pessimistic, arguing that Gorbachev was intent on undermining “the competitiveness of the US and its allies by creating a new détente environment.” Soviet goals, he believed, were “antithetical to ours.”179 Shultz took a similar position: “there is nothing in the ‘new political thinking’ that suggests that the end of the adversarial struggle is at hand.”180 Although the “winds of change blowing from Moscow may prove . . . revolutionary,” he was skeptical about the “ultimate impact” of these developments.181 Or, as he put it to the allies, it was “too soon to tell” whether Soviet behavior signaled a “profound change in the nature of the Soviet Union and how it deals with the world.”182 Meanwhile, Gates wrote, “It is hard to detect fundamental changes, currently or in prospect, in the [Soviet Union’s] . . . principal objectives abroad.” Moscow appeared committed to “further increas[ing] Soviet military power and political influence.”183

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There was next to no change in American thinking after the summit. According to a new NSS, released in January 1988, the United States heard “talk of ‘new thinking’ and of basic changes in Soviet policies . . . abroad,” but had seen few “real changes” and little evidence of “any slackening of the growth of Soviet military power, or abandonment of expansionist aspirations.” Whether the changes in question “constitute a real opportunity for more fundamental improvements in relations with the Soviet Union remains to be seen.”184 The NSC took a more skeptical line. Gorbachev’s “peace offensive” was judged to be “deceptive,” while the idea that the United States faced a “more benign new Soviet leadership” was mere “wishful thinking.”185 Gates concurred, arguing that Gorbachev was determined to “make the USSR a more competitive and stronger adversary in the years ahead.” Washington must not be “misled into believing otherwise.” There was a danger that the United States would soon confront an even more powerful Soviet state “whose aggressive objectives abroad and essential totalitarianism at home remain largely unchanged.”186 Although Shultz subsequently claimed not to share these views—he wrote that the Washington summit convinced him that a “profound, historic shift” was on the horizon—there was little daylight between his conclusions and those of his colleagues. In a major speech, he asserted that he found it “difficult to believe that relations with the Soviet Union will ever be ‘normal’ in the sense that we have normal relations with most other countries.” He thought it “unlikely that the U.S.–Soviet relationship will ever lose what always had been and is today a strongly wary and at times adversarial element.” Nor did he believe that the spate of U.S.–Soviet agreements would “result in a quantum leap to a qualitatively different kind of relationship.”187 Indeed, the notion that the Soviet Union would turn to dialogue rather than intimidation was a prospect for the “distant” rather than “foreseeable” future.188

Soviet Military Retrenchment, February–December 1988 In 1988, the Soviet Union began to retrench. On 8 February, in a statement broadcast on the evening news, Gorbachev told the Soviet people that Moscow would withdraw its military forces from Afghanistan, where it had

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been fighting a bloody war for almost a decade. The pullout began three months later, after the signing of the Geneva accords on Afghanistan. Gorbachev signaled that Moscow would retrench even further in a December speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations (U.N.), announcing that the Soviet Union would unilaterally cut its forces by 500,000 men. Of particular note, six tank divisions, numbering 5,000 tanks and 50,000 troops in total, would be withdrawn from Eastern Europe, the central front of the Cold War. The United States reacted cautiously. Although Reagan visited Moscow in June, the summit was short on substance. As for Gorbachev’s proposed conventional force reductions, the Soviet Union would have to wait until the following year to get a meaningful response from the United States.189 Soviet Views of the United States The Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was driven largely by a desire to stop expending tremendous resources in a losing effort. As early as May 1986, Gorbachev insisted that “this is a total defeat,” and announced that he had decided to pull out. His colleagues in the Politburo agreed.190 Defense Minister Sergei Sokolov was convinced that “we can’t win this war militarily.”191 The Soviets were, in fact, quite open about these calculations. In a meeting with U.S. national security adviser Colin Powell early in 1988, Dobrynin explained that Moscow no longer wanted to waste money supporting revolutions abroad. Instead, the leadership wanted “to fix the Soviet Union at home.”192 Ryzhkov, now the prime minister, made a similar point: “The country cannot give up such a quantity of finances. . . . We understand that we must help, but we must reckon with the real situation.”193 The Soviet Union’s decision to make unilateral cuts to its conventional forces was also driven by material considerations. Early in 1988, Gorbachev reminded the Politburo that the achievement of military parity had been prohibitively costly. It was clear “that without substantially cutting military expenditures we cannot solve the problems of perestroika [economic restructuring].” Hence, “we also have to disarm.” Gorbachev made the same argument a month before his U.N. speech, to the approval of the rest of the Politburo, when discussing the prospect of unilateral reductions: “Our military expenses are 2.5 times larger than those of the United States. . . . We

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won’t solve the problems of perestroika if we leave the army as it is.”194 The military burden was now unbearable. “In no other country is it so bad,” observed Gorbachev, except “perhaps . . . in poor countries, where half of their budget goes for military spending.”195 Ryzhkov was equally alarmist, arguing that without significant cuts in military spending, “we can forget about any increase in the standard of living.”196 Then, following Gorbachev’s speech in New York, Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov “forcefully implemented the policy of reducing the military forces, and set forth the reasons—mainly economic—why we needed to go forward with disarmament.”197 In his estimation, “We had to seek a dénouement. . . . We had to find an alternative to the arms race. . . . We had to continually negotiate, and reduce, reduce, reduce—especially the most expensive weaponry.”198 The Soviet leadership made these decisions even though it remained uncertain about American intentions. To be sure, Gorbachev did argue that unilateral disarmament was now feasible “because we’ve reached a new political plane in our relations with the United States.” He also expressed caution, however. Military “parity is parity, and we have to sustain it.” What the Soviet Union should do was “make a thorough analysis of what a strong modern army is, what ensuring security means, what the quality of security consists of.” Then, “when we know how much all this costs, we can cut out the rest.” In the same way, while proposing unilateral reductions, he cautioned, “There is no question about it, we can’t afford not to be militarily strong.” All he was suggesting was that the Soviet Union arm itself for the “purposes of security, not intimidation.”199 American Views of the Soviet Union The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan had next to no effect on Washington’s estimate of Soviet intentions. “We cannot simply assume that the Soviet Union will be other than a powerful, dictatorial, and threatening state five or ten years from now,” asserted Reagan at the NATO summit in March 1988.200 At the same time, he kept returning to familiar themes. SDI must be retained as “vital insurance against Soviet cheating.”201 If the United States wanted to persuade the Soviet Union to “negotiate seriously and reach agreements that actually add to our security, it is imperative that we negotiate from strength.”202 Were the Soviets allowed to do as they wished,

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there was no telling how they would behave. “The least indication of weakened resolve on our part,” Reagan warned, “would lead the Soviets to stop the serious bargaining, stall diplomatic progress, and attempt to exploit this perceived weakness.”203 Others in the administration shared the president’s basic view. National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 305, produced in April 1988, stipulated that the United States “must guard against exaggerated expectations on the future pace and achievement of U.S.–Soviet relations.”204 Similarly, the State Department was convinced that Soviet-American “differences are still very real; the danger of conflict is still out there.” It was incumbent on U.S. leaders not to “get captivated by the hope that this sense of change is generating.”205 Meanwhile, Powell criticized U.S. allies for holding to a “more optimistic view of Gorbachev than we do.”206 At first glance, he revised this opinion after meeting Gorbachev and hearing about the reform process under way in the Soviet Union. Powell observed that Gorbachev was saying, “in effect, that he was ending the Cold War.” Upon review, however, Powell’s meeting did not persuade him that the Soviet Union was benign, but rather that it was bankrupt. In his words, the Soviets admitted that “the battle between their ideology and ours was over, and they had lost.”207 American views of Soviet intentions did not change at the Moscow summit. Reagan’s rhetoric surely suggested that the relationship had entered a new phase. When asked if he still believed that the Soviet Union was an “evil empire,” he replied, “No, I was talking about another time, another era.”208 It is worth noting the origins of this statement, however. In February, Dobrynin had asked U.S. representatives whether, if Reagan believed the Soviet Union was no longer an evil empire, perhaps he could “state this prior to the Moscow summit.”209 At the time, Reagan ignored the request, and Powell only said that the United States would consider how to respond. When Reagan did respond, in Moscow, his comment had been scripted by the NSC and contained a key addendum: “Our relationship is still an adversarial one.”210 In fact, Reagan appeared less convinced that the Soviet Union was benign when he addressed the European allies in London following the summit. “Quite possibly,” he declared, “we’re beginning to take down the barriers of the postwar era,” before adding, “we will have to see.”211 NSDD 311, produced in July, advocated greater circumspection, urging that

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Washington “must be prudent about the serious and continuing threat that the Soviet Union represents to us and our Allies, and be determined to develop the new relations with caution.”212 Vice President Bush also cautioned against a “naively optimistic view about what comes next.”213 To his mind, the Cold War was not “over.” Gorbachev might be “stylistically different,” but when it came to substance “the jury is still out.”214 This kind of reasoning continued into the fall. Shultz, who had come to believe that “the world had changed” and that the superpowers were no longer engaged “in a Cold War,” acknowledged that “many in the United States seemed unable or unwilling to grasp this seminal fact.” This was clearly true of Carlucci, who continued to stress that the United States “must be guided by realism, not wishful thinking.” Rather than relying on the Soviet Union’s declarations, Washington’s “security preparations must be based . . . on actual Soviet military capabilities.”215 Likewise, Gates remained convinced that Gorbachev was exploiting the relaxation in international tension to revamp the Soviet military and that “the dictatorship of the Communist party remains untouched and untouchable.”216 As for the incoming Bush administration, Shultz concluded that it “did not understand or accept that the cold war was over.”217 Gorbachev’s U.N. speech hardly improved American perceptions of Soviet intentions, because it was open to at least two alternative interpretations. The first was that the Soviet Union was reducing its conventional forces out of dire economic necessity. This view was prevalent before December 1988. A joint report by the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency noted that, given economic conditions in the Soviet Union, the Soviet leadership would have to siphon off resources from defense, which “claims 15–17 percent of GNP.” The CIA’s Office of Soviet Analysis (SOVA) was more specific, suggesting that “the meager progress so far in the industrial modernization program . . . creates powerful incentives for at least a shortterm reduction in military procurement and construction, and perhaps even in the size of the active-duty forces.” Intelligence analysts predicted that “there is a good chance that Gorbachev will, by the end of the decade, turn to unilateral defense cuts.”218 Armed with such facts, Reagan attributed Gorbachev’s conventional force reductions to economic constraints. When asked to comment on the general secretary’s speech, the president

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responded, “I think that he is sincerely dealing with the problems that he has in his own country.”219 A Pentagon official went further, maintaining, “the guy is weak, a little desperate. His economy is in shambles. We can pressure him to do more before we have to come around.”220 Gorbachev’s policy shift could also be interpreted as a token gesture that did little to reduce the Soviet Union’s capabilities. General John Galvin, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, calculated that even after the proposed reductions, “the Warsaw Pact will continue to outnumber NATO 2.5:1 in tanks, 2.4:1 in artillery and nearly 2:1 in combat aircraft.”221 Similarly, Bush judged that the anticipated cuts did not significantly affect the conventional military balance in Europe.222 Consequently, argued national security adviser designate Brent Scowcroft, Gorbachev’s declaration was “rhetoric” and “speechifying.” It hardly changed the “facts on the ground.”223 The proposal “had little military significance,” though it won the Soviet leader “much approbation, putting the West on the psychological defensive.”224 Reagan picked up on these points, announcing that he needed more reliable evidence of Moscow’s benign intentions. Specifically, he hoped “to see the day when all countries of Eastern Europe enjoy the freedom, democracy, and self-determination that their people have long awaited.”225 Furthermore, U.S. officials reasoned that, whatever the Soviet Union’s intentions might be in the present, they could change. “Swings between glasnost and gulag,” remarked Reagan in March 1988, “are not new or even peculiar to the Soviet regime. In history they recurred again and again. . . . We cannot afford to mortgage our security to the assessed motives of particular individuals or to the novel approaches of a new leadership, even if we wish them well.”226 The specific fear was that Gorbachev might be replaced by a hard-liner. Reagan worried that the general secretary was “running into opposition, that there are those who want to cling to what are more Stalinist policies.”227 Meanwhile, a SOVA analysis warned that “there is a good chance that [Politburo members] will move against Gorbachev or that Gorbachev himself will risk a preemptive move to consolidate his power.”228 As it happened, the Soviets did next to nothing to calm these fears. In November, Dobrynin told the Americans that “the danger is whether Gorbachev can survive.”229

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The Shape of U.S.–Soviet Security Competition, 1985–1990 Mutual uncertainty led the United States and the Soviet Union to compete fiercely for security between Gorbachev’s ascension to the post of general secretary and his celebrated U.N. speech. In 1989 and 1990, however, Moscow abandoned the superpower competition, not because it trusted Washington, but out of sheer exhaustion. As for the United States—where Bush succeeded Reagan in January 1989—it remained quite mistrustful of the Soviet Union and, accordingly, continued to compete with it for security. Superpower Arming and Alliances Hardly anyone doubts that the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in an intense security competition through 1988. Consider that U.S. military spending increased by an average of 4.7 percent per year between early 1985 and late 1988. The Soviet Union worked even harder, increasing its military spending by 5.1 percent per year over the same period.230 From 1985 to 1987, Soviet spending increased faster than at any time since the 1960s.231 At the same time, Washington and Moscow remained committed to NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Union: Capitulation It is equally well known that the Soviet Union stopped competing quite abruptly in 1989 and 1990. For one thing, Moscow agreed to surrender its longstanding conventional advantage in the European theater, signing the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty (1990), an agreement that essentially equalized the number of Soviet and U.S. troops in the central region of Europe.232 Soviet military spending cratered.233 For another thing, the Soviet Union stood by as its alliance system fell apart. Between June and December 1989, Moscow watched Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Romania throw off Communist rule. By the fall of 1990, East Germany, which had been a Soviet satellite state throughout the Cold War, had been reunified with West Germany, and the new German state had been incorporated into NATO.234 The Soviet Union’s decision to drop out of the Cold War security competition was driven largely by material factors. Thus, Moscow agreed to the

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asymmetric force reductions required by the CFE Treaty out of economic necessity. Georgy Arbatov, Gorbachev’s foreign policy adviser, laid out the logic at the Malta summit in December 1989, arguing that the Soviets needed “to substantially reduce military expenditures. We need it badly. One of the worst manifestations and products of stagnation was that the military and defense industry got a free hand. They launched numerous costly and often unjustified military programs. . . . Now they are a heavy burden on the national economy. Our economy has been literally eviscerated by military spending.”235 Not that force reductions were taken lightly. In April 1990, Akhromeyev complained that the Americans were “taking advantage” of the Soviets and that he was “getting sick and tired of the Americans’ always having their way.”236 Oleg Baklanov, the Central Committee secretary for military-industrial affairs, worried that Moscow was “getting ahead of itself” on disarmament and not getting a “positive response” from the West, which was exploiting the situation. Yazov went so far as to announce that the United States still saw the Soviet Union as the “enemy” and was seeking to disarm it.237 Ultimately, however, the economic emergency gave Moscow little choice in the matter. As Gorbachev explained to the Supreme Soviet after the June Washington summit where he and Bush agreed to sign the conventional forces agreement, the two sides “took upon themselves the responsibility for dismantling, as soon as possible, the existing mechanisms of military confrontation between the East and West, in order to employ the resources freed by disarmaments to improve the well-being of the [Soviet] people.”238 Moscow decided to allow its former allies to go their own way for the same reasons. In mid-1989, Gorbachev warned that if the economy did not rebound within two years, “we’ll have to resign.”239 In a conversation with U.S. secretary of state James Baker, Shevardnadze admitted, “Our country’s social and economic problems are enormous. The financial situation is in very grave condition. There are big imbalances in our markets and money supply, and goods are also vastly out of balance. Sometimes we say we have a real crisis.”240 Over the next few months, the economy was the principal subject of discussion at every high-level policy meeting. The facts discussed at these sessions were unremittingly “depressing.”241 When Gorbachev met with Bush at Malta, Shevardnadze’s chief adviser Sergei Tarasenko claimed

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that the Soviet leadership “felt that the Soviet Union was in free fall, that our superpower status would go up in smoke.”242 Any attempt to intervene in Eastern Europe would only have made these problems worse and was therefore out of the question. One reason was that the Soviet Union’s East European satellites were a significant economic drain. By the late 1980s, “Soviet subsidies to the region were becoming an intolerable burden.” Moreover, intervention would imply assuming responsibility for Eastern Europe’s foreign debt, whose servicing would have placed massive burdens on the Soviet economy. “What can we do?” exclaimed Gorbachev. “Poland has a $56 billion debt. Can we take Poland on our balance sheet in our current economic situation? No. And if we cannot—then we have no influence.”243 The same was true of East Germany, the Soviet Union’s most important ally. When Gorbachev met with East German leader Egon Krenz in November 1989, he learned that the country was deeply in debt, a debt that Moscow could not possibly service.244 Even more important, however, the use of force in Eastern Europe would have ended the emerging détente with the United States, which would, in turn, increase defense costs and close off Western credits and markets to a Soviet economy in desperate need of them.245 This logic even applied to the future status of Germany, the most consequential security issue of the time. At first, the Soviets rejected the prospect that Germany would be reunified and incorporated into NATO. As soon as the Berlin Wall fell, Gorbachev informed Bush that he wanted two Germanies, at least in the short term.246 Shevardnadze also had no desire to accommodate the West. “Even when we were forced to face facts by the pace of events,” he recalled, “none of us dared to ignore the inborn wariness of our people about German unity.” This fear came from “the memory of the two world wars unleashed by Germany, especially the last war, which cost our country 27 million lives.”247 The idea that a united Germany would be a member of an American-dominated NATO was even more alarming. Germany should be contained in an institution, remarked Gorbachev, but this institutional structure “should be provided not by NATO but by . . . a pan-European framework.” At one point, he mused that “Germany could be in both alliances or neither. Either would be acceptable to the Soviet Union, but a Germany only in NATO would unbalance Europe.”248 She-

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vardnadze took a similar line, telling Baker that it “would be a big problem” if Germany were to be a member of NATO.249 As the Politburo put it, if a unified Germany joined the Western alliance, this would destroy “the balance of power and stability in Europe.”250 As in the case of the other East European satellites, however, the Soviets capitulated on the German question out of economic necessity. As the situation spiraled out of control in 1990—Ryzhkov described it as “hopeless” in February—Moscow decided to acquiesce to American and German wishes in exchange for desperately needed aid.251 Shevardnadze explained that were the Soviet Union to oppose reunification, Moscow would not receive the financial bailout offered by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and Germany would reunite anyway.252 “We cannot stop the unification,” he said in July 1990. Soviet obstructionism might “lead to conflict with the United States and others,” which was out of the question in the current “catastrophic . . . economic situation.”253 Similarly, when Gorbachev threatened to take a tough stance on Germany’s membership in NATO, Chernyaev reminded him that “blackmail” was “too risky, above all from [an] economic viewpoint.”254 Obstructionism was the worst option: “Germany would have been united anyway—without us and against us. And we would not have received the compensation that the Germans gave us—both material and political.”255 The United States: Mistrust and Competition From the outset, the Bush administration was far from confident that Moscow had benign intentions. A briefing paper for a Cabinet meeting soon after Bush’s inauguration urged that the United States must act with “prudence” as the Soviet Union was still a dangerous adversary.256 The president voiced precisely these concerns in an address to a joint session of Congress: “The fundamental facts remain that the Soviets retain a very powerful military machine in the service of objectives which are still too often in conflict with ours. So, let us take the new openness seriously, but let’s also be realistic. And let’s also be strong.”257 There was little question in Bush’s mind that relations had improved. In fact, he said that he did not like the term “Cold War” because it ignored “the advances that have taken place in this relationship.” Nevertheless, when he asked himself,

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“Do we still have problems, are there still uncertainties, are we still unsure in our predictions on Soviet intentions?” he concluded, “I’d have to say, ‘Yeah, we should be cautious.’ ”258 According to a directive approved by the president, Moscow was presenting a more “benign face” to the West, but remained “an adversary with awesome military power.” Soviet leaders “say they seek to change the decades-old premises of Soviet domestic and foreign policy.” Yet the question remained: “Should we take this seriously?” In addition, Bush announced, the Soviet Union “remains an adversary . . . whose interests conflict in important ways with our own.”259 Moreover, Gorbachev might be an important historical figure, but he was “still a Russian and a Communist, which counts for more in the final analysis.”260 Baker shared this basic view. On the “theological” issue of whether Moscow was simply seeking breathing space or had embarked on a fundamentally different foreign policy, he claimed to be agnostic.261 At most, he believed that “realism demands prudence.” The Soviet Union was still “a heavily-armed superpower hostile to American values and interests.”262 What he did know with conviction was that the Soviets gave in to strength. Gorbachev “made a choice in Afghanistan because he saw the need for it. He made a choice in arms control because there was a need for it.” The Soviets had to be forced into making “hard choices.”263 Baker wanted “to go slow enough to see whether or not the Soviet side would follow up on these pronouncements that showed so much promise.”264 Scowcroft was more uncertain than his colleagues: “I was suspicious of Gorbachev’s motives . . . I believed Gorbachev’s goal was to restore dynamism to a socialist political and economic system and revitalize the Soviet Union domestically and internationally to compete with the West.” Consequently, he was adamant that the United States must stay on its guard.265 He simply could not tell whether “we were seeing a sincere change on the part of President Gorbachev or whether this was a return to détente,” which was to say, a period marked by reassuring rhetoric but little else.266 Scowcroft summarized his thinking in a January interview, suggesting that Gorbachev wanted to make trouble within NATO and secure breathing space so as to become a more formidable adversary in the future. “I think the Cold War is not over,” he mused. “There may be, in the saying, light at the

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end of the tunnel. But I think it depends partly on whether the light is the sun or an oncoming locomotive.”267 There was little change in American thinking as the Bush administration performed a thorough review of superpower relations.268 National Security Review (NSR) 3, authored by the State Department, contended that the Soviet Union aspired to be “a more competitive superpower.” Gorbachev’s efforts to secure a relaxation of tensions was a “double-edged sword” that could weaken the Western alliance.269 The CIA followed up, asserting that Gorbachev’s strategy remained in the “Leninist tradition. It calls for weakening the main enemy—the United States—by exploiting ‘contradictions’ between it and other centers of capitalist power.” Only the tactics had changed. Gorbachev still meant to “promote the interests of the USSR at the expense of the United States.”270 Meanwhile, intelligence analysts were divided. According to an NIE produced in April, some detected a “serious risk of Moscow returning to traditionally combative behavior,” whereas others thought its policies were “likely to have sufficient momentum to produce lasting shifts in Soviet behavior.”271 Bush emerged from the review in mid-1989 as uncertain as ever, observing that, although Moscow “says that it seeks to make peace with the world . . . a new relationship cannot be simply declared by Moscow or bestowed by others; it must be earned. It must be earned because promises are never enough.”272 After all, “the Soviet Union has promised a more cooperative relationship before, only to reverse course and return to militarism.”273 Rather than pursue a policy “predicated on hope,” Washington must pursue one “based on deeds, and we look for enduring, ingrained, economic and political change.”274 The United States, he advised, must not get carried away: “In an era of extraordinary change, we have an obligation to temper optimism . . . with prudence.” It was “clear that Soviet ‘new thinking’ has not yet totally overcome the old.”275 Bush made similar arguments in private. He told his fellow NATO heads of government that, although they were living in a “time of great hope,” they must be careful not to “blur the distinction between promising expectations and present realities.”276 As late as July 1990, he warned that the Soviet Union was “undergoing rapid and fundamental change” and that no one could “know where that journey will end.” Prudence therefore dictated that the Western allies “preserve our

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own enduring strengths” and “protect the institutions and the relationships [such as NATO] that guarantee peace and stability.”277 Bush’s advisers shared his conclusions. Baker thought that it would be a “great blunder” for the United States to fail to “put perestroika’s promise to the test,” but quickly added, “We must not succumb to false optimism.”278 To be sure, “the Soviet Union is saying and acting in a way that does indeed make it harder to argue the threat.” Nevertheless, “the threat itself, in terms of military power, is still there.” Consequently, Washington “should not disarm, if you will, until the time comes to do so in light of actual Soviet actions.”279 Scowcroft was more pessimistic: “I still believed that Gorbachev remained a communist, [quite] prepared to take advantage of us whenever the opportunity arose.”280 As he told Bush in December 1989, “No one can predict how Moscow will adapt to this tumultuous environment. Given the significant Soviet military presence in Europe—a presence that will be maintained in any event by virtue of geography—Moscow’s unpredictability carries significant dangers for the West.”281 Privately, he thought “it would be dumb if we decided the Cold War is over, or that the Soviets aren’t a threat anymore, or that we don’t need NATO,” and he resolved to be “skeptically hopeful.”282 Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney echoed these sentiments, observing that “there are those who want to declare the Cold War ended. . . . But I believe caution is in order.” Of course, he hoped “the Soviet changes are sincere and permanent.” Nevertheless, it would be “extremely dangerous . . . to believe we should abandon a policy that works, just because we have some reason to hope.” As far as he was concerned, “the Cold War may not be over . . . [and] it would be supreme folly to quit the struggle on what may well be the eve of a less threatening world.”283 At the same time, U.S. officials were acutely uncertain about the Soviet Union’s future intentions. When Bush authorized NSR 3, he asked the State Department to evaluate whether changes in Soviet foreign policy were likely to “survive Gorbachev.”284 It was, he insisted in a conversation with Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, dangerous to base “our policy on one leader.”285 For his part, Scowcroft noted that, although Gorbachev was “less threatening than his predecessors . . . [so] in its day, was the Weimar Republic,” that is, the government that preceded the Nazis.286 Cheney was

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more direct, claiming that if Gorbachev failed to revitalize the Soviet Union, he could be replaced by someone “far more hostile” to the West.287 It was imperative, he argued, that Washington “guard against gambling our nation’s security on what may be a temporary aberration in the behavior of our foremost adversary.”288 In making these claims, government officials were mirroring the views of the intelligence community. A CIA document produced in April 1989 predicted that as the crisis gripping the Soviet Union deepened, “the prospects would increase for a conservative coup involving a minority of Politburo members supported by elements of the military and the KGB.”289 This continued to be the U.S. view as the Soviet Union’s East European empire began to collapse. Gates worried, “The odds are growing that in the next year or two there will be popular unrest, political turmoil, and/or official violence in the USSR on such a scale as to affect Gorbachev’s position, his programs, or his current western policies.” In his opinion, “we should not be confident of Gorbachev remaining in power, [or] of the continuation of reform as presently structured (with or without him).”290 He became more alarmist shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall: “Gorbachev might be succeeded not by another Gorbachev but by another Stalin.” Alternatively, the current “Gorbachev might become a very different Gorbachev, one much less to our liking.”291 These concerns took on more urgency in 1990. U.S. officials began to fear that they “might find themselves dealing with a different kind of Soviet government and a more dangerous international environment.”292 As Bush confided to NATO secretary general Manfred Wörner, he could imagine “Gorbachev’s departure,” and he worried that “if the hard-liners take over, all bets are off. There could possibly be an iron fist.”293 Similarly, he warned Douglas Hurd, Britain’s foreign secretary, that keeping Germany in NATO was essential because “there could be a reversal in the Soviet Union.”294 Baker was also concerned, explaining: “The odds have got to be against [Gorbachev’s] survival, although we aren’t allowed to say that in public. . . . They’re not on track to cure their economic problems or their ethnic problems.”295 Meanwhile, Scowcroft observed that “the conservatives wanted Gorbachev to put on the brakes—hard. Even Shevardnadze was showing his teeth, if more in sorrow than anger. It posed a serious dilemma for us. Gorbachev was unquestionably in danger.”296

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The CIA summed up the issue in June: “The recent acceleration of political events in the USSR could soon produce major discontinuity in Soviet policy and substantial changes in the top leadership.”297 Because it was acutely uncertain about Moscow’s intentions, Washington competed ferociously for security. The United States understood that the Soviet Union was on its last legs. Soon after entering office, Baker read a planning paper that described the Soviet Union as “a Great Power in decline. By virtually every indicator, Soviet power is waning.”298 A CIA study produced at the time found that the Soviet Union had “an economy that in many ways is like that of a developing country,” and predicted that Moscow would henceforth “have difficulty maintaining its [present] position relative to the West, much less closing the gaps in technological development, productivity, or living standards.”299 Scowcroft said it more succinctly, referencing “the awesome problem . . . [Gorbachev] has at home of trying to restructure that economy.”300 A few months later, Cheney speculated that Gorbachev would “fail,” by which he meant that the Soviet leader would “not be able to reform the Soviet economy to turn it into an efficient modern society.”301 As for Baker, he described Gorbachev and Shevardnadze as “men in a hurry,” running out of time and quite open about their domestic problems.302 All of this was before the Berlin Wall fell. At that point, Powell remarked, even “the most hard-shelled anticommunist had to see that the old order was not simply changing; it was falling apart.”303 As SOVA put it, the Soviet Union faced a future marked by continuing crises and “instability,” which would “prevent a return to the arsenal state economy that generated the fundamental military threat to the West in the period since WWII.”304 The Bush administration’s response was to work hard to exploit the Soviet Union’s evident weakness and establish a dominant position in Europe. Its thinking was summarized in National Security Directive 23, a document written in March 1989, but not formally signed until September. According to the paper’s authors, the United States was now prepared to “move beyond containment to a new US policy that actively promotes the integration of the Soviet Union into the international system.”305 This integration was to be entirely on American terms, however. There would have to be “fundamental alterations in Soviet military force structure, institutions, and practices which can only be reversed at great cost, economically

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and politically, to the Soviet Union.” The United States was determined to encourage “political and economic reform . . . in East-Central Europe, so that states in that region may once again be productive members of a prosperous, peaceful, and democratic Europe, whole and free of fear of Soviet intervention.” Moreover, the United States wanted a favorable military balance because it needed “to provide a hedge against uncertain long-term developments in the Soviet Union and to impress upon the Soviet leadership the wisdom of pursuing a responsible course.”306 In practical terms, the integration policy involved rolling back Soviet influence in Central and Eastern Europe, incorporating a reunified Germany into the NATO alliance, and maintaining a significant military presence on the continent. As far as Eastern Europe was concerned, the Bush administration was prepared to be quite aggressive in ensuring that it moved out of the Soviet orbit. In July 1989, for example, Baker alerted Shevardnadze to the fact that serious problems would arise in U.S.–Soviet relations if the latter were to use force in the region.307 The United States was also determined to establish a “new European order” so as to “quarantine . . . [Eastern Europe] from the probable collapse of perestroika.”308 By the summer of the following year, Baker was referring to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe as a “‘half-way house’ for governments who want out of the Warsaw Pact . . . but can’t join NATO and EC (yet).”309 Washington was equally insistent that Germany be reunified and incorporated into NATO. Bush and Baker immediately endorsed reunification, and assured Kohl that he could count on U.S. support. Then, in February 1990, Washington made it clear that it wanted a reunified Germany in an American-led NATO.310 Scowcroft explained the logic, noting that this would facilitate a “more robust and constructive U.S. role in the center of Europe.”311 At the same time, the Soviet Union would not be allowed to prevent U.S. preponderance on the continent. “The Soviets are not in a position to dictate Germany’s relationship with NATO,” declared Bush. “What worries me is talk that Germany must not stay in NATO. To hell with that! We prevailed, they didn’t. We can’t let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.”312 The plan, as finally formulated, was to exploit Moscow’s economic weakness and “bribe the Soviets out of Germany.” The new Germany would effectively pay the Soviet Union to withdraw from its territory.313

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As for the matter of conventional forces, the United States drove a hard bargain. The agreed force size of 195,000 men each required the Soviet Union to cut 370,000 men and only required the United States to cut 60,000. Furthermore, the United States retained the right to maintain 30,000 men outside the central zone. “The practical effect,” noted Baker, would be to turn “a Soviet advantage in conventional forces into a disadvantage.”314

Conclusion In sum, U.S.–Soviet relations at the end of the Cold War offer powerful evidence in favor of intentions pessimism. The Soviet Union behaved in a remarkably conciliatory fashion, but not because it was even close to trusting the United States. By the same token, Moscow’s behavior hardly alleviated the acute uncertainty that American decision makers had about its intentions. As a result, the superpowers engaged in an intense security competition until the Soviet Union quit out of exhaustion.

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the rise of the people’s republic of china (PRC) has the potential to transform the balance of power in Asia. If the Chinese military and economy continue to grow at their current pace over the next couple of decades, the United States will confront a genuine peer competitor for the first time since the Cold War. To be sure, there is no guarantee that the Asia-Pacific will become a bipolar region.1 There are reasonable arguments for and against the claim that China will complete its rise and join the United States in the great power ranks.2 But assuming that the PRC does reach that lofty position, interested observers want to know what U.S.–China relations will look like. Will the two powers engage in an intense security competition with the potential for war, or will they remain at peace?3 For international relations theorists, the answer to this question hinges largely on how they think about the intentions issue. According to Susan Shirk, “whether China is a threat to other countries cannot be answered just by projecting China’s abilities . . . into the future as many forecasters do. . . . Intentions—how China chooses to use its power—make the difference between peace and war.”4 Richard Betts and Thomas Christensen take a similar line in their recommendations for how to evaluate the future of U.S.–China relations. Analysts must not only determine whether China will become a military and economic heavyweight, but they must also estimate whether Beijing is likely to “become aggressive” or, conversely, to be

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“pacified by globalization . . . [and] liberalization.”5 On this matter, theorists split into two distinct camps.6 Structural realists assume that interstate trust is unachievable, and they are therefore deeply pessimistic about the future course of U.S.–China relations.7 Writing in the summer of 2000, Kenneth Waltz argued that whatever the United States did or said, other states, including China, would “worry about its future behavior.” This would, in turn, lead those powers to “strengthen their positions.” In fact, Waltz suggested that Beijing was already competing for security, albeit in a cautious fashion. It was adhering to “the balancing imperative” and making “steady but modest efforts to improve . . . [its] forces.” Because the United States was equally uncertain about China’s intentions, he added, Washington was reciprocating Beijing’s efforts: “Americans see a future threat to their and others’ interests . . . [and] speak of preserving the balance of power in East Asia through their military presence.” Therefore, if China continued its rise, the United States and the PRC would be no exception to the iron law of great power politics: “Countries have always competed for wealth and security, and the competition has often led to conflict.”8 Ten years later, John Mearsheimer made a closely related argument. To his mind, “there is no good way to define what China’s intentions will be down the road or to predict its future behavior.” Nor did he think there was any “way China’s leaders can know who will be in charge of American foreign policy in the years ahead, much less what their intentions toward China will be.” This being the case, both sides would conclude that they confronted a rival “with significant offensive capability and unknowable intentions,” and would reason that they must “behave in aggressive ways” to ensure their security. In short, “China’s rise . . . is likely to lead to an intense security competition between China and the United States, with considerable potential for war.”9 Optimists are more sanguine about the prospects that the United States and China will remain at peace, mainly because they think that the two powers can find a way to trust each other. Although Christensen admits that managing Beijing’s rise is a “challenge” for Washington, he contends that the two sides have benign intentions: “the United States wishes China well,” and China has good “reasons to avoid military . . . conflict with the United States.” Consequently, Washington can enhance the likelihood of

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regional and global stability by simultaneously deterring Beijing with “a strong presence” and indicating that it means China no harm through a “reassuring diplomatic mission.” Given that the two states “have ridden these often choppy waters successfully since the end of the Cold War,” Christensen sees “no reason to think that they cannot do so in the future.” Hence, China’s rise “can be managed in a way that preserves . . . peace and stability.”10 For Charles Glaser, it is material conditions that provide the United States and China with incentives to have benign intentions and allow them to act in ways that communicate this fact to each other. The existence of nuclear weapons and the geography of Asia, he argues, give China little reason to “push the United States out of Northeast Asia.” Similarly, the United States will not face pressures “to launch a preventive war.” More generally, both sides will manage “to avoid military competition that could signal malign motives and strain their political relationship.” Therefore, Glaser does “not find a general tendency for intense security competition.”11 Finally, John Ikenberry suggests that the United States and China will likely interact within a “liberal” international order that “creates incentives for China—as well as the United States—to exercise restraint.” It also gives Beijing good reasons “to signal . . . peaceful intentions.” Moreover, it will force Washington “to pursue a ‘not too hot and not too cold’ strategy” that will both deter and reassure the PRC. Taken together, these facts make a peaceful outcome “more likely.”12 Intentions pessimism resolves this debate in favor of realism. My argument, in brief, is that there is hardly any chance that the United States and China will trust each other in a future bipolar Asia. The consequences are likely to be profound. Unable to conclude, with confidence, that the other side is benign and painfully aware of its tremendous capabilities, Washington and Beijing will go to great lengths to strengthen their military and diplomatic positions in the Asia-Pacific, yielding dangerous action-reaction spirals with the potential for arms racing, competitive alliance building, crises, and possibly even wars. The rest of this chapter proceeds as follows. The first section is about intentions and great power politics. It begins with a review of my theory, intentions pessimism, which is laid out in detail in chapter 1. I then summarize the case studies described in chapters 3–6. It is clear from the

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accounts in those chapters that great powers have invariably been acutely uncertain about each other’s intentions. In other words, intentions pessimism is borne out in the historical record. I also recapitulate the evidence that mutual mistrust caused the protagonists in each case to compete with each other for security. The following section focuses on U.S.–China relations from 2000 to 2020 and shows that the United States has already begun to compete with China because Washington is acutely uncertain about Beijing’s intentions. The final section addresses the all-important issue of the future. Most important, I demonstrate that U.S. decision makers will in all likelihood be far from confident that their Chinese counterparts have benign intentions.13 Assuming, as I do, that China will be especially powerful at that time, this will make for a considerably more intense security competition and a higher chance of war than is the case today.14

Intentions and Great Power Politics In a nutshell, intentions pessimism maintains that information problems all but preclude great powers from being confident that their peers have benign intentions. The theory begins with a straightforward observation: states encounter formidable obstacles obtaining dispositive information about each other’s intended behavior. To start with, it is particularly difficult to access firsthand information about current intentions. The reason is that this kind of information—a state’s actual thinking about how it intends to behave—is in the minds of a handful of decision makers who want to keep their ideas to themselves. Of course, it is easier to acquire information about phenomena that are related to a state’s current intentions, including its declarations, interests, and actions. Yet secondhand information of this kind is unreliable, which is to say that it is consistent with both benign and malign intent. Great powers can lie or tell the truth when they declare how they intend to behave; they can intend to pursue their interests by malign or benign means; and their actions can be interpreted as preparations for aggressive or nonaggressive behavior. These problems loom larger when states ponder the future. There is no way for great powers to access firsthand information about each other’s future intentions, since these ideas do not yet exist. Moreover, although knowledge about current

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intentions can serve as secondhand information about future intentions, the link between what a state intends to do today and what it will intend to do tomorrow is especially unreliable because intentions can change, for many reasons and in unpredictable ways. Given that certainty and uncertainty are largely a function of information— broadly speaking, better information makes for greater certainty and worse information makes for greater uncertainty—these access and reliability problems have significant implications for great powers’ conclusions about how their peers intend to behave. First, there is hardly any chance that they can be confident that their rivals have benign current intentions. Second, the odds that states can be confident that other states will mean them no harm in the future are even lower. Third, great powers are typically condemned to be far from confident—that is, more or less acutely uncertain—that their peers have or will have benign intentions. There is abundant support for these arguments in the historical record, even where one might least expect to find it. Intentions optimists have identified five—and only five—cases in which they believe that great powers trusted each other or came close to doing so: Germany and Russia in the Bismarck era (1871–90); Britain and the United States during the great rapprochement (1895–1906); France and Germany, and Japan and the United States in the early interwar period (1919–30); and the Soviet Union and the United States at the end of the Cold War (1985–90). Yet there is scant evidence that the protagonists in these cases trusted each other. At no point did the leaders of any of these great powers conclude, with confidence, that their counterparts meant them no harm. In fact, they routinely claimed to be deeply mistrustful of each other. In this sense, these five cases are no different from the rest of the modern diplomatic record, which is shot through with examples of great powers being acutely uncertain about the intentions of their peers. Uncertainty, in turn, made for great power security competition in every case. To be sure, Germany and Russia did not compete with each other as vigorously in the Bismarck era as they did in the years immediately preceding World War I, though their rivalry was quite intense. It is also undeniable that the Franco-German and U.S.–Japanese security competitions were not as fierce in the 1920s as they were in the late 1930s. But this does

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not mean that these relationships were peaceful in any meaningful sense of the word. The protagonists competed hard for arms and allies, and, on occasion, became involved in war-threatening crises. The same is true of Anglo-American relations from 1895 to 1903 and of U.S.–Soviet relations from 1985 to 1988. Of course, these two contests did end abruptly, in 1904– 6 when Britain withdrew from the Western Hemisphere, and in 1989–90 when the Soviet Union made major cuts to its military forces and allowed its Eastern European empire to collapse. It is important to note, however, that the British and Soviet decisions were driven largely by material rather than informational factors. Ultimately, Britain and the Soviet Union capitulated not because they trusted the United States, but because they concluded that they no longer had the wherewithal to compete with it.

U.S.–China Relations, 2000–2020 Relations between Washington and Beijing have not been immune to this grim logic over the past two decades. In particular, acute uncertainty about the PRC’s intentions has caused the United States to compete with an increasingly powerful China for security. American Perceptions of Chinese Intentions As intentions pessimism predicts, Washington has not trusted Beijing ever since it began giving the issue of Chinese intentions serious attention in the early 2000s.15 The George W. Bush administration’s worries were described by deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick in an address that famously urged Beijing “to become a responsible stakeholder” in world politics. “China’s actions—combined with a lack of transparency—can create risks,” he declared. In addition, “uncertainties about how China will use its power will lead the United States . . . to hedge relations with China.” Of course, U.S. officials hoped that Beijing would turn out to be benign, “but none will bet their future on it.” Consequently, if the PRC wanted to improve U.S.–China relations, it must “openly explain its defense spending, intentions, doctrine, and military exercises.” The mere “idea of a ‘peaceful rise,’ ” Zoellick noted, was not enough to allay American mistrust. Rather, Washington would “look to the evidence of actions.”16 The Department of

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Defense took an identical position in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR): “The outside world has little knowledge of Chinese motivations and decision-making. . . . The United States encourages China to take actions to make its intentions clear and clarify its military plans.”17 The Barack Obama administration was equally uncertain about China’s intentions. In the first major speech on U.S.–China relations by an Obama official, deputy secretary of state James Steinberg urged Beijing to clarify its intentions and reassure the United States that it was benign: “China must reassure the rest of the world that its development and growing global role will not come at the expense of [the] security and well-being of others.” Beijing had a “responsibility to reassure others that . . . [its military] buildup does not present a threat.” Indeed, the United States encouraged China’s government “to increase its military transparency in order to reassure all the countries in the rest of Asia and globally about its intentions, averting instability and tension in its own neighborhood.” Moreover, like their predecessors, Obama officials made it clear that comforting Chinese rhetoric was not enough. “We will be open to China’s growing role,” Steinberg declared, “but we will also be looking for signs and signals of reassurance from China. If China is going to take its rightful place, it must make those signals clear.”18 Meanwhile, the Pentagon was as uncertain as it had been during Bush’s presidency, claiming that a “lack of transparency and the nature of China’s . . . decision-making processes raise legitimate questions about its future conduct and intentions within Asia and beyond.” If matters were to improve, the two states would have to initiate a “process of enhancing confidence and reducing mistrust.”19 There was little meaningful change in American thinking under President Donald Trump. To be sure, the 2017 National Security Strategy Report (NSS) cast China as a “revisionist” power that “seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region . . . and reorder the region in its favor,” thereby suggesting that, in contrast to their predecessors, Trump officials considered China to be malign. On inspection, however, this was more a change of rhetoric than one of substance. Even as they accused China of being “revisionist,” the document’s authors suggested that its “intentions . . . are not necessarily fixed.”20 Similar uncertainty permeated the Department of Defense’s 2019 Indo-Pacific Strategy Report. On the one hand, the

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PRC was described, much as it was in the NSS, as a “revisionist power” determined to achieve “regional hegemony” by any means necessary. On the other hand, military officials appeared to believe that it was not beyond decision makers in Washington and Beijing “to set the military relationship between the United States and China on a long-term path of transparency and non-aggression.”21 American Policy toward China Given this mistrust of Beijing, the United States has competed with China for security in the Asia-Pacific. To be clear, Washington has made nowhere near the effort that it did against the Soviet Union after World War II. After all, China is not yet at the point militarily where it would make sense for it to threaten or attack U.S. interests in the Western Pacific region, although it could stumble into a crisis or war. Nevertheless, the United States has steadily built up its arms and allies with a view to deterring Chinese threats or uses of force against its strategic interests and defeating them should deterrence fail. Occasionally, this security competition has devolved into minor disputes. Even before winning the presidency, then-candidate Bush announced that he was determined to compete with China. Whereas President Bill Clinton referred to China as a potential “strategic partner,” Bush identified it as a “strategic competitor.”22 Condoleezza Rice, soon to be the national security adviser, laid out the implications during the 2000 presidential campaign. “China is a rising power . . . [and] a potential threat to stability in the Asia-Pacific,” she noted. Accordingly, Rice argued that Washington must emphasize both arms and allies. The United States must be so strong as “to make it inconceivable for . . . China to use force because American military power is a compelling factor in . . . [its] equation.” At the same time, it was crucial that Washington not take its “friends . . . for granted.” Rather, “the United States must deepen its cooperation with Japan and South Korea and maintain its commitment to a robust military presence in the region.” Only such a policy stood a chance of preventing the Chinese from “controlling the balance of power.”23 Actions mirrored rhetoric. The Bush government moved to enhance American military capabilities almost immediately after assuming office.

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The Defense Strategy Review, drafted before the “9/11” terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, argued that the United States must maintain superiority in a number of “advantage areas” and improve the “suitability of [U.S.] capabilities to the Asian theater broadly understood.”24 In the same way, the 2001 QDR sought to ensure U.S. “influence through the conduct of its research, development, test, and demonstration programs” and the maintenance or enhancement of “advantages in key areas of military capability.”25 Even as it decided to upgrade its capabilities, the United States began to shift military forces toward the Asia-Pacific. Beginning in 2004, Washington expanded its bases on U.S. territories adjacent to Asia in Guam, Alaska, and Hawaii, and reallocated naval assets to the region. The principal goal, according to the Global Posture Review of that year, was to establish U.S. military superiority in the region and thus dissuade the PRC from developing hegemonic ambitions.26 Washington also worked hard to build an anti-Chinese balancing coalition. Initially, the United States planned to bear most of the costs. As the QDR put it, the U.S. goal was “assuring allies and friends of the United States’ steadiness of purpose and its capacity to fulfill its security commitments.”27 Over time, however, the Bush administration sought to share the burden with regional states. The main goal was to encourage Japan to be a more equal alliance partner. In late 2005, Washington and Tokyo signed the Alliance Transformation and Realignment Agreement and decided to upgrade their cooperation on missile defense. The next year, they announced the U.S.–Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation, thereby improving the interoperability of U.S. and Japanese military forces. More ambitious multilateral projects followed. In 2007, Washington supported a Tokyo initiative to form a quadrilateral security dialogue among Australia, Japan, India, and the United States, and took steps to upgrade the Trilateral Security Dialogue among Australia, Japan, and the United States. Then, in 2008, the Bush administration established an annual security dialogue with Japan and South Korea.28 Occasionally, the emerging U.S.–China security competition was punctuated by minor disputes. In April 2001, a Chinese fighter collided with a U.S. EP-3 surveillance plane that was monitoring military developments in China, triggering a diplomatic standoff.29 Tense exchanges also took place

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in October 2006, when a Chinese Song-class submarine surfaced near the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk as it was undergoing exercises near Okinawa, Japan, in the East China Sea.30 Meanwhile, U.S. announcements of arms sales to Taiwan sparked considerable criticism in Beijing. The last of these, in fall 2008, led the Chinese to cancel military-to-military dialogue between China and the United States.31 The Obama administration took up where its predecessor left off. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton set the table in a Foreign Policy article entitled “America’s Pacific Century.” The United States, she announced, was “vital to Asia’s future” and determined to “stay” in the region. To anyone who questioned “whether we can make—and keep—credible economic and strategic commitments, and whether we can back those commitments with action . . . the answer is: we can, and we will.” Arming and alliances were to be the hallmarks of this “pivot” to Asia. Washington planned to “pursue a more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable force posture,” while also “strengthening bilateral security alliances” and ensuring that they could “deter . . . provocation.”32 The 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance Document substituted the word “rebalance” for “pivot,” but proposed an essentially identical strategy, declaring that “while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region. Our relationships with Asian allies and key partners are critical to the future stability and growth of the region.”33 Although the pivot was criticized for lacking real substance, it represented a major effort to enhance U.S. capabilities in the Asia-Pacific.34 Three initiatives are especially noteworthy. In 2010, the Defense Department unveiled the AirSea Battle operational concept, which was designed to counter the challenge posed by China’s burgeoning anti-access assets to U.S. power projection capabilities in the region.35 Two years later, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced a Pentagon plan to deploy 60 percent of the U.S. Navy to the Pacific theater by 2020, which amounted to a 5 percent increase over the previous administration’s naval deployment. Finally, in 2014, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel initiated the search for a strategic breakthrough, known as the Third Offset Strategy, that would allow the United States to neutralize the advantages accruing to adversaries that acquired anti-access capabilities.

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Washington also strengthened its regional alliances and partnerships. In 2009, in a reversal of President Bush’s policy, the Obama administration signed the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. The following year, it joined the East Asia Summit.36 Washington did not merely restrict itself to greater diplomatic engagement with its allies and partners, however. The United States conducted military exercises with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in 2009, and with Australia and Japan in 2012. In addition, Washington established new facilities to host rotating U.S. forces in Australia and Singapore in 2011 and regained access to naval and air facilities in the Philippines in 2014. In April 2015, the United States and Japan further updated the terms of their relationship, signing the Guidelines for U.S.–Japan Defense Cooperation.37 The United States engaged in several disputes with China during President Obama’s term in office. In some cases, decision makers sought to signal America’s determination to retain command of the seas. In 2009, U.S. officials lodged an angry protest in Beijing after Chinese ships harassed the U.S. Navy ship Impeccable in the South China Sea. Then, in 2013, the United States flew two B-52s off disputed islands in the East China Sea to emphasize that it would not be deterred from operating in international waters or air space near China. Two years later, the president ordered the U.S. Navy to sail near a series of Chinese manmade islands in the South China Sea to assert American rights under international law. For the most part, however, disputes arose because Washington moved to back its allies and partners in the region. Thus, the United States repeatedly warned Beijing not to use force in its territorial disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea, and even monitored a standoff between the Chinese Coast Guard and Filipino Marines on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in 2014. Washington also supported South Korea in its various disputes with the Chinese-backed North Korean regime in 2010, going so far as to conduct joint military exercises with Seoul in the Yellow Sea. In addition, the United States supported Japan in its dispute with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in 2013. When the PRC declared an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea to include the air space over and around the islands, the United States reminded Beijing that it

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recognized Japanese administrative control over the contested islands, which meant that they fell under the auspices of the U.S.–Japan Defense Treaty.38 The Trump administration was also bent on prosecuting a security competition with China. In January 2018, Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that “great power competition between nations [is] becoming a reality once again . . . [and is] the primary focus of U.S. national security.”39 Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence warned Beijing that the United States would oppose any expansionist activity, declaring “that empire and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific.”40 A few months later, Kiron Skinner, the director of policy planning at the State Department, called for the United States to revive the strategy of containment that it had used to combat the Soviet Union during the Cold War.41 Then, in October 2019, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo ominously referenced the U.S. desire to ensure “that China retains only its proper place in the world.”42 To that end, Washington stressed the importance of enhancing its military capabilities and alliances. According to the 2017 NSS, “the United States must retain overmatch—the combination of capabilities in sufficient scale to prevent enemy success.” To do so, it “must restore [its] . . . ability to produce innovative capabilities, restore the readiness of [its] . . . forces for major war, and grow the size of the force so that it is capable of operating at sufficient scale and for ample duration to win across a range of scenarios.”43 Similarly, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Elbridge Colby of the Center for a New American Security declared that “our forces must be exceptionally lethal and capable, optimized to defeat China,” adding that the United States must adopt a fundamentally new “approach to warfighting.”44 The White House also reiterated the need to build a powerful balancing coalition with regional states, indicating that the United States “will redouble [its] . . . commitment to established alliances and partnerships, while expanding and deepening relationships with new partners.”45 Nor was this emphasis on competing with China entirely rhetorical. During Trump’s presidency, the United States increased its diplomatic and military support for Taiwan, deepened political and military relations with India and Vietnam, and revived the Bush era quadrilateral security dialogue with Australia, Japan, and India.46

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In one instance, competition flared into a dispute. In October 2018, U.S. and Chinese naval vessels came within yards of colliding as they patrolled contested waters in the South China Sea. In the wake of that incident, Chinese officials demanded that the United States stop threatening its sovereignty, whereupon Washington canceled upcoming security talks with Beijing.47

The Future of Great Power Politics There is every reason to believe that the intensity of the U.S.–China security competition and the likelihood of war between the United States and China will increase in the future. Consider that it is almost inevitable that Washington will be uncertain about Beijing’s current and future intentions for a long time to come. Given the extraordinary difficulties it will face accessing firsthand information and acquiring reliable secondhand information on the matter, it can hardly reach any other conclusion. Therefore, if China continues to grow more powerful, the United States will conclude that it is confronted by a peer competitor that can, and may want to, do it harm, and compete fiercely with it for security. Once that happens, war will always loom as a possibility in the background. China’s Inaccessible Intentions As is the case today, it will always be extraordinarily difficult for the United States to access firsthand information about China’s intentions. To begin with, Beijing’s ideas about how it intends to behave are in the minds of only a handful of individuals. The most important of these is President Xi Jinping. Andrew Nathan and Andrew Scobell explain, “In the case of the PRC, the institution that has shaped foreign policy most decisively has no formal existence: the post of supreme leader.” The rest are members of a small decision-making group: “Today the policy center . . . consists of a small, authoritarian, party-state-army elite that has the advantage of compactness and insulation from other government institutions, media, and civil society.”48 To make matters worse, Chinese leaders keep their intentions secret. As two authorities on the matter note, discerning how China intends to behave “is of necessity a highly speculative inquiry, since the

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Chinese decision-making process is shrouded in secrecy.” Even experts can do no more than take “stabs at guessing what the real discussion might be behind the closed gates of Zhongnonghai.”49 Given that the relevant “debate is largely held behind closed doors . . . the Chinese elite’s long-term strategic intentions are secret.”50 China’s Declarations of Intent The United States has and will continue to have little trouble acquiring evidence of China’s declarations of intent since these are out in the open. Yet such statements are unreliable guides to Beijing’s intentions, because China may or may not be telling the truth. Over the past two decades, China has routinely declared that it has benign intentions. In 2002, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) theoretician and adviser to President Hu Jintao, Zheng Bijian, articulated the concept of “peaceful rise” to describe Chinese foreign policy. Two years later, officials abandoned the term on the grounds that it was too aggressive, and replaced it with “peaceful development.”51 Zheng explained its meaning in an interview with a U.S. foreign policy magazine: “China has blazed a new strategic path . . . called ‘the development path to a peaceful rise.’ . . . [It is] pursuing the goal of rising in peace.” Determined to “transcend the traditional ways for great powers to emerge . . . [it will] strive for peace, development, and cooperation with all countries of the world.”52 Although this formulation had some critics in China, they were officially rebutted by State Councilor Dai Bingguo. “Peaceful development,” which he contrasted with the Western “practice of invasion, plunder, war, and expansion,” was “a strategic choice China has made.”53 Confirmation that this was the official position came in China’s defense white paper of 2013: “It is China’s . . . strategic choice to take the road of peaceful development . . . China will never seek hegemony or behave in a hegemonic manner, nor will it engage in military expansion.”54 More recently, President Xi has used different language to make the same point, declaring that China has consistently “advocated the building of a new type of international relations underpinned by win-win cooperation” and promoted “a new vision featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security.”55 At the same time, he has claimed that China “lacks the gene” that leads states

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to seek domination.56 It is hard to dismiss these claims as empty rhetoric. Chinese leaders have offered a series of logics to account for their benign inclinations, noting, among other things, that China has a Confucian culture, that it has been the victim of imperialism in the past, and that it needs a stable international environment to develop its economy.57 There is, however, no way for the United States to know whether these declarations are an accurate reflection of China’s true designs. Indeed, several skeptics have argued that “peaceful rise” is little more than a smokescreen to distract from what are, in fact, malign intentions. In particular, they suggest that the Chinese government is following former leader Deng Xiaoping’s well-known maxim that China should “hide our capacities and bide our time,” a phrase that could be interpreted as an admonition not to engage in threatening behavior, but that they read as an injunction to feign benign intent until a more opportune moment.58 None of this is to say that Beijing’s rhetoric of peaceful rise is a ruse. But because it is a smart strategic actor, the possibility cannot be ignored. One might argue that Beijing’s declarations will be more reliable indicators of its intentions in the future if it commits to energetic diplomacy or becomes a democracy. In this view, a diplomatically engaged or democratic China is likely to be truthful. Neither claim is persuasive. Note that U.S.– Chinese communication is already at an all-time high with little apparent effect on Washington’s conclusions about Beijing’s intentions. Rosemary Foot points out that Presidents Obama and Xi met more than twenty times during their terms in office. At the same time, the United States and China engaged in an unprecedented amount of military-to-military conversation. More generally, both sides made repeated “attempts at dialogue and at routinizing the discussions of difficult issues” and showed “a willingness to keep talking about the serious topics that often divide [them].”59 Yet the Obama administration did not come close to trusting China. “Despite each government’s repeated pledges to seek a stable and collaborative relationship, and despite the numerous bilateral dialogues convened to clarify intentions, provide reassurance, and build trust,” writes one analyst, “mutual suspicion . . . continued to increase.”60 There is also little reason to think that observers will be able to put stock in China’s declarations of intent if it democratizes. After all, the United

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States is a democracy and has repeatedly professed its benign intentions, but Chinese officials have been unmoved. Washington has hewed to a remarkably consistent public position toward China for decades now. As President Obama put it in his greeting on President Hu’s arrival at the White House in 2011, the United States welcomed “China’s rise as a strong, prosperous and successful member of the community of nations.”61 China has not been reassured, however. In fact, according to Yuan Zheng, director of the American Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, “the two-faced and oscillating nature of U.S. China policy has increased China’s anxiety about U.S. strategic intentions.”62 Similarly, Nathan and Scobell find that “Chinese policymakers puzzle over whether the United States intends to use its power to help or hurt China. . . . [They] have a hard time determining U.S. intentions.” In fact, Beijing sees an “inscrutable America.”63 Michael Chase offers a neat summary of the situation, observing that while “the overall message is that the United States welcomes the emergence of a more prosperous and powerful China. . . . Beijing appears to be hearing a different message.”64 China’s Interests and Its Intentions Although there is no question that the United States can and will be able to acquire a great deal of information about China’s interests, the connection between Beijing’s interests and its intentions is unreliable, since the PRC can pursue its undoubted interest in security by aggressive or nonaggressive means. Some intentions optimists assert that this focus on security is too narrow, and that Beijing also has—or may develop—nonsecurity interests, including a desire to promote harmony, avoid conflict, and pursue prosperity. Moreover, they say that the link between these nonsecurity interests and benign intentions is unambiguous. There are good reasons to doubt these claims, however. For starters, security considerations loom larger than nonsecurity considerations in the formulation of China’s foreign policy. Hence, nonsecurity interests are not major drivers of its intentions and are poor indicators of them. It is also not at all clear that the various nonsecurity interests attributed to Beijing are bound to cause it to have benign intentions. All of them can be pursued by aggressive or nonaggressive means.

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chinese security Beijing is interested in security not only for its own sake but also because its achievement will allow China to pursue other interests, such as greater prestige or prosperity. Many observers argue that Chinese leaders will look to achieve this objective by driving the United States out of the Asia-Pacific.65 In their view, Beijing is committed to President Xi’s dictum: “In the final analysis, it is for the people of Asia to run the affairs of Asia, solve the problems of Asia and uphold the security of Asia.”66 The logic is simple: in the event of an American withdrawal, China would be far more powerful than any other state in the region and therefore as secure as any state can be. Although this seems plausible, it is hard to know if Chinese leaders will seek to exclude the United States from the Asia-Pacific by aggressive or nonaggressive means. According to some analysts, China’s past behavior indicates that it is unlikely to resort to aggression. Taylor Fravel observes that Beijing has used force in only six of the twenty-three territorial disputes that it has been involved in since 1949.67 In the other seventeen cases, China has compromised, sometimes making substantial concessions in the process.68 Perhaps even more important, it has not become more aggressive as its power has grown.69 Others claim that China will prefer diplomatic to military instruments to drive the United States out of the region. Thus, Stephen Walt suggests that the PRC will likely avoid a “clash of arms,” and instead “persuade its Asian neighbors to distance themselves from Washington.”70 China could, for example, exploit the fact that other states depend on it economically to wean them from the U.S. alliance system and drag them into its own orbit. In doing so, it would validate “America’s fear, sometimes only indirectly expressed . . . of being pushed out of Asia by an exclusionary bloc.”71 There are indications that China is already pursuing such a policy. Over the past few years, Beijing has sponsored various Chinese-led economic institutions, including the New Development Bank (2014), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (2015), and the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Notably, all three initiatives exclude the United States, as do numerous economic deals between China and its neighbors, including its free trade agreements with Australia, Singapore, South Korea, and

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ASEAN. Furthermore, Beijing has launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive infrastructure project that involves building a system of railroads, pipelines, roads, and ports linking China more closely with the rest of Asia.72 It is not unreasonable to think that all of this is meant to give Beijing the economic leverage it needs to exclude the United States from the region. As one analyst explains, “More robust engagement of the entire Eurasian continent through BRI is intended to enable China to better use its growing economic clout to achieve its ultimate political aims. . . . [It is] a grand strategy that serves China’s vision for itself as the uncontested leading power in the region.”73 Indeed, Beijing has already used its economic might to punish South Korea for cooperating with the Americanbuilt Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program, to loosen the U.S.– Philippines alliance, and to demand allegiance from regional states on a number of issues, including the nonrecognition of Taiwan.74 In contrast, China may intend to push the United States out of the AsiaPacific by aggressive means. There is a well-known historical precedent: in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Washington repeatedly considered or threatened military action to drive the European great powers out of the Western Hemisphere and then to keep them out in order to preserve its security. The United States twice threatened war against the French, in 1802 to dissuade them from taking control of Louisiana, and again in 1865 to compel them to evacuate their military forces from Mexico.75 Washington behaved in a similar manner toward Britain, threatening war in disputes over Oregon in 1845, Venezuela in 1895, and Alaska in 1902.76 In the years that followed, U.S. decision makers considered using force against Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union to prevent them from establishing a military or diplomatic presence in the Americas.77 One can find some evidence that China may be attracted to this more militarized approach even now when it is considerably weaker than the United States. In 2010, immediately after the United States and South Korea announced joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, the deputy chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), General Ma Xiaotian, warned that “the location of the upcoming drill is very close to the Chinese sea area, and China will strongly oppose it.” The PLA Navy (PLAN) subsequently conducted a series of exercises in the area.78 The following

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year, when the United States called for the peaceful resolution of China’s disputes with Vietnam over control of the Paracel Islands and with Vietnam and the Philippines over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cui Tiankai suggested that “some countries are now playing with fire. And I hope the U.S. won’t be burned by this fire.”79 Then, in the fall of 2012, Chinese ships began patrolling the waters around the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, which Beijing claims belong to China, but which Washington and Tokyo regard as falling under Japanese administrative control. It is telling that China’s Foreign Ministry described the patrols as an “enforcement action” designed to “reflect the Chinese government’s jurisdiction over the Diaoyu Islands and safeguard China’s maritime rights and interests.”80 More generally, Beijing appears to be interested in developing the military capability it needs to force the United States far from China’s shores. As Vice President Pence asserted in a heavily publicized address on U.S.–Chinese relations, “Beijing has prioritized capabilities to erode America’s military advantages. . . . China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies.”81 All of this means that China’s obvious interest in security is not an especially reliable guide to its intentions. Assuming for the sake of argument that Beijing wants to reach that goal by driving the United States from its neighborhood, this may cause the Chinese to be benign and may equally cause them to be malign. chinese culture Intentions optimists sometimes suggest that China is obviously benign because it is deeply imbued with a Confucian culture. Confucianism, argues Henry Kissinger, is “concerned . . . with the cultivation of social harmony,” and demands the creation of a “just and harmonious society.”82 Similarly, Yan Xuetong declares that a commitment to Confucianism inclines “Chinese rulers to adopt benevolent . . . rather than hegemonic governance.”83 Elsewhere, he writes that Confucianism advocates the implementation of “benevolent government as the foundation of humane authority.”84 These interests are, in turn, said to inform China’s intentions in a rather straightforward way. According to John Fairbank, Confucian thought exhibits a “disesteem of physical coercion,” involves a “pacifist

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bias,” and calls for the “downgrading of warfare.” Indeed, it maintains that warfare “should be a last resort.”85 It is doubtful that China’s interest in establishing international harmony— if that is in fact a key objective—has a meaningful effect on its intentions. The reason is that Beijing is more interested in ensuring its security than in establishing a just and harmonious international society in the Asia-Pacific. After all, it must first be secure if it wants to establish a new order, just and harmonious or otherwise. To be clear, this is not to argue that national security and international harmony are mutually exclusive. My claim is simply that security is China’s primary interest and that this rather than Confucianism guides China’s intentions. Indeed, the evidence suggests that Confucianism hardly affects China’s intentions. Rather than behaving in a nonaggressive manner, as one might expect if Confucianism was at work, China has been just as aggressive as non-Confucian states over the course of its long history. “No one even with only a casual interest in Chinese history,” writes Hans Van de Ven, “can be unaware that China’s capacity for war in the last few centuries has proved truly awesome. . . . Leaving aside the issue of what a Chinese cultural essence might be or if such a thing exists, it is plain that China’s history has in fact been at least as violent as Europe’s.”86 Similarly, Victoria Tin-bor Hui explains that a review of the historical record reveals “the primacy of brute force rather than ‘humane authority.’ ” In her opinion, “it is difficult to understand such prevalence of military conflicts throughout Chinese history from only the perspective of Confucian thought.”87 Meanwhile, Yuan-kang Wang closes his study of China’s historical behavior as follows: “Chinese leaders have preferred to use force to resolve external threats to China’s security. . . . Confucian culture did not constrain the leaders’ decisions to use force; in making such decisions, leaders have been mainly motivated by their assessment of the balance of power.”88 Even if one were to concede that there is a connection between China’s culture and its intentions, Confucianism does not invariably prescribe benign behavior. Yan admits that “Confucius and Mencius . . . are not opposed to all war, only to unjust wars. They support just wars.” Moreover, pre-Qin philosophers “hold that to speak of morality does not imply a total rejection of violent force to uphold order. . . . The way of war should be

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employed to punish the princes who go against benevolence and justice.”89 What this means is that Confucianism can justify malign as well as benign intentions. As Hui notes, “just war principles are easily abused by the powerful to justify any use of force.”90 Peter Perdue concurs: “[Chinese] sources frequently use the term . . . ‘righteous extermination’ . . . to justify the elimination of rival states and rebels.”91 In this way, Confucianism is no different from ideologies such as liberalism and communism, both of which contain a warrant for aggressive as well as nonaggressive behavior.92 Furthermore, Confucianism competes with and often loses out to other cultures as a potential driver of China’s intentions. According to Alastair Iain Johnston, Confucian culture coexists with a “parabellum” strategic culture, which maintains that “violence is highly efficacious for dealing with the enemy” and “translate[s] into a preference for offensive strategies.” Crucially, the two cultures “cannot claim separate but equal status in traditional Chinese strategic thought. . . . The parabellum paradigm is, for the most part, dominant.”93 In a similar way, Scobell asserts that China has a “dualistic strategic culture,” composed of both Confucian and “Realpolitik” strands, which interact to produce “offensive military operations” that are “rationaliz[ed] . . . as being purely defensive and a last resort.”94 chinese democracy Some intentions optimists claim that China may become a democracy, at which point it will have an interest in avoiding violence and hence will develop benign intentions.95 In this vein, Bruce Gilley claims that a switch “to a democratic system” would have two salutary effects. The first is that “China’s external policies would become less aggressive and expansionist,” that is, it would become benign. The second is that a transition of this kind would convince observers of China’s benign intent. “Suddenly, talk of a ‘China threat’ would be so much nonsense,” Gilley notes, before adding that China could “be trusted to share the burden of Asian regional security.”96 This is, in fact, a popular opinion. Aaron Friedberg, for example, views China’s democratization as the only development that could reassure the United States that Beijing does not pose a threat. To his mind, “the United States can learn to live with a democratic China as the preponderant

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power in East Asia.” Were the Chinese to embrace democracy, this would alleviate “uncertainty, mistrust, and tension.”97 It is hard to see why a democratic China is especially likely to be benign. The reason is that any interest it might have in nonviolence would be subordinated to its interest in security. To be sure, it would want to avoid the costs of war if it could, but if it judged that the threat or use of force would make it more secure—for example, by driving the United States out of the Asia-Pacific—then it would likely develop malign intentions. There is abundant historical evidence to suggest that a democratic China would not be especially inclined to be benign. Take the Cold War, the last time there were two great powers in the world. The democratic United States was involved in 172 militarized disputes and the nondemocratic Soviet Union was involved in 154 such disputes. Data on dispute initiation reveals a similar pattern: the United States initiated more disputes than the Soviet Union by a margin of 142 to 133.98 As noted, it is also clear that the United States did not hesitate to consider or threaten the use of force when it had the opportunity to expel other states from its region of the world in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Importantly, it was prepared to confront democracies and nondemocracies alike. Moreover, and contrary to the claims of intentions optimists, even if China does generate its goals through a democratic process, it is unlikely to have a powerful interest in avoiding war.99 Those claims rest on the assumption that China’s citizens will not want to expend blood and treasure on military adventures and that elected officials will therefore refrain from fighting. That assumption is wrong. China’s citizens, like the citizens of most modern states, are imbued with nationalism.100 They take “pride in China’s national heritage” and are “dedicate[ed] to making China a leading power in the world.”101 This, in turn, means that they are prepared to incur significant costs in the name of the state and their co-nationals. If they believe that the national interest is at stake, then they will not prevent Beijing from engaging in military conflict. Indeed, the Chinese public may push the government toward aggression. William Callahan observes that Chinese nationalism contains an increasingly powerful strand that calls for “revenge against foreign devils,” including the United States, that made the Chinese suffer grievously during the so-called “century of national humili-

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ation” (1839–1949) and that continue to harbor “nefarious schemes . . . to ‘deny the right of a Chinese renaissance.’ ”102 Ian Buruma concurs: “Chinese nationalism . . . increasingly rests on that most explosive of goals: wiping out the national humiliations of the past.” The oft-cited “Chinese Dream . . . is nationalist through and through: hatred of Japan is officially encouraged, and so is resentment of the United States.”103 A case can even be made that a democratic China may be prone to having malign intentions. As is often noted, China’s authoritarian government has proved quite adept at resisting popular demands to act aggressively abroad. Jessica Chen Weiss points out that the Chinese government is skilled at “curtailing popular mobilization” and “has repeatedly stifled popular nationalism when street protests would have jeopardized the government’s efforts to improve diplomatic relations and defuse a potential crisis.”104 A democratically elected Chinese government might not be willing or able to impose such moderation on its citizens. According to Fei-Ling Wang, “a ‘democratic’ regime in Beijing, free from the debilitating concerns for its own survival but likely driven by popular emotions, could make the rising Chinese power a much more assertive, impatient, belligerent, even aggressive force.”105 Even Gilley acknowledges the point, observing that “China’s nationalism . . . would continue to affect foreign policy. . . . China could easily find itself swept up in anti-U.S. protests over one slight or another.”106 chinese prosperity Several observers argue that China has a keen interest in prosperity that inclines it to have benign intentions. All states want to be wealthy. Given that the CCP’s legitimacy is bound up in its ability to deliver economic growth, this may be even more true for China than it is for other states.107 Intentions optimists argue that this will, in turn, cause China to seek good relations with the United States and its allies, especially Japan. The reason is that it is interdependent with those states and relies on continued economic intercourse with them to sustain and enhance its prosperity. Given that military conflict would have disastrous economic consequences, Beijing will go to great lengths to avoid it.108 It makes little sense to argue that Beijing’s interest in prosperity has a significant effect on its intentions. Like any other state, China views

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security as a more important goal than prosperity, reasoning that it cannot maximize its wealth if it is not secure. Chinese leaders surely subscribe to Adam Smith’s contention that “defence . . . is of much more importance than opulence.”109 Accordingly, when China formulates its intentions it will ask itself what course of action is likely to make it secure, not what course of action is likely to make it prosperous. There are good reasons to think that security trumps prosperity as a driver of a great power’s intentions when the two come into conflict. Perhaps the most famous example is World War I. Although there was substantial economic interdependence among the great powers prior to 1914, Imperial Germany was determined to establish its hegemony in Europe, by force if necessary, so as to enhance its security.110 Similarly, Japan traded heavily with the United States in the interwar period, but this did not stop it from attacking Pearl Harbor in 1941 when officials in Tokyo concluded that U.S. policies threatened their very survival.111 China appears to be no exception to this kind of thinking. Take the fact that it views an independent Taiwan as a national security threat of the first order. Were such a situation to come about, China would be confronted by what General Douglas MacArthur referred to as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” from which an outside power such as the United States could threaten the Chinese coastal periphery.112 This being the case, Beijing has repeatedly stated that despite the huge economic cost of doing so—Thomas Friedman has described the consequences as tantamount to “mutual assured economic destruction”—it will go to war if Taipei declares independence.113 Furthermore, even if China’s interest in prosperity somehow turns out to be the principal driver of its behavior, this goal will not invariably generate benign intentions. There are two reasons to doubt that the desire for prosperity will cause China to eschew aggression come what may. First, expansion can be quite profitable if it allows a state to control, or establish secure access to, natural resources. It is widely believed, for example, that there are abundant natural resources on the floor of the South China Sea. Moreover, control of those waters would grant China more secure access to Persian Gulf oil, which is essential to its continued economic growth. Second, the monetary costs of fighting and breaking off interdependence need not be severe, especially if a state contrives to keep the war limited and to win it

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quickly. In the event that China believes that it can win a quick and decisive victory, and concludes that the United States lacks resolve or is deterred by the prospect of nuclear retaliation, then Beijing may well opt for war.114 In other words, while an interest in prosperity may dampen China’s inclination to threaten or use force, it will not come close to eliminating it. China’s Actions and Its Intentions Gathering evidence of China’s actions is a relatively simple task, given that many of its military and diplomatic moves are out in the open. Yet this evidence is an unreliable guide to Beijing’s intentions, since China will perform these actions whether it is benign or malign. Intentions optimists have a ready response: some actions are especially reliable indicators of intent. Specifically, observers can be confident that Beijing is benign if it joins regional security institutions or procures defensive weapons. Only a state with benign intentions, so the argument goes, would act in these ways. The problem is that Beijing will embrace institutions and build defensive capabilities even if it is malign. In fact, China would have to take extreme measures—for example, join a truly binding security institution or adopt a purely defensive military stance—to provide unambiguous evidence of its benign intent. But the Chinese will not do this for fear that it might allow other states to take advantage of them or prevent them from taking advantage of other states. ambiguous actions One need not look far to find evidence that the connection between how Beijing acts and how it intends to behave is unreliable. Over the past decade, China has gone to great lengths to increase the size and quality of its navy. This much is known. At the same time, however, there is considerable disagreement about what this development says about Beijing’s intentions. For some, China simply means to defend itself. Remarking that China’s 2010 defense white paper discusses the PLAN strategy in terms of “the requirements of offshore defensive operations,” Bernard Cole concludes, “China’s ‘maritime strategy’ is traditional: it is concerned primarily with defense of the homeland.”115 Sam Roggeveen also interprets Beijing as being benign, though he bases his conclusion on different reasoning. As he

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sees it, China believes that the United States will ultimately withdraw from Asia of its own volition, and is building a navy not “so much to challenge U.S. maritime supremacy as to inherit it.”116 In stark contrast, Robert Kaplan interprets China’s naval buildup as a signal of malign intentions. “China’s naval leaders,” he suggests, “are displaying the aggressive philosophy of the turn-of-the-twentieth-century U.S. naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan, who argued for sea control and the decisive battle.”117 Nor have officials been able to form confident assessments of Beijing’s intentions by tracking its diplomatic actions. During President Bush’s second term, China was, by most accounts, conciliatory. To begin with, Beijing agreed to establish two important dialogues during this period, namely, the U.S.–PRC Senior Dialogue on Security and Political Affairs, and the Strategic Economic Dialogue. At the same time, it cooperated actively with the United States and its major allies—Japan and South Korea—during the Six Party Talks on Korean denuclearization. China also moved to repair its relations with U.S. allies and friends in the region. In 2008 alone, President Hu made the first trip to Japan by a Chinese leader in more than a decade, and Beijing concluded a series of agreements with Taiwan.118 All of this appears to have done little to alter U.S. uncertainty about Chinese intentions, however. In an article written at the time, Secretary of State Rice warned that “China’s lack of transparency about its military spending and doctrine and its strategic goals increases mistrust and suspicion,” and demanded that Beijing “move beyond the rhetoric of peaceful intentions toward true engagement . . . to reassure the international community.” This despite her belief that China was moving “to a more cooperative approach on a range of problems,” and appeared to understand that with “membership in the international community comes responsibilities.”119 In the wake of the 2008–9 global financial crisis, China’s diplomacy took on a more truculent cast.120 In some cases, it clashed openly with Washington. Chinese leaders reacted harshly when the United States sold arms to Taiwan, and they stood by North Korea as it faced off against the United States, Japan, and South Korea. In other cases, China confronted U.S. allies and partners. Notably, it became more aggressive in prosecuting disputes with the Philippines and Japan in the South and East China Seas.

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Although this “new assertiveness” had some effect on U.S. perceptions of Chinese intentions, it did not prompt a significant reevaluation. In a 2011 statement on U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific, Secretary of State Clinton declared “we have sought clarity as to [China’s] . . . intentions.”121 Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Hagel was keen “to talk with the Chinese about all of that, particularly transparency—a key dimension of relationships. Transparency, intentions, what governments are doing, why.”122 regional security institutions Although intentions optimists do not dispute these particular claims, some argue that China’s actions toward multilateral arrangements— specifically, its willingness to form or join a number of regional security institutions that require member states to refrain from threatening or using military force—are especially reliable indicators of benign intent. For Ikenberry, China’s participation in these accords “convey[s] restraint and leadership. Indeed, to the surprise of many states in the region, China has actively engaged in regional institutions, such as ASEAN plus 3, ARF [ASEAN Regional Forum], and the Asian Summit. These regional groupings give Beijing tools to signal what it hopes will be seen as its non-belligerent intentions. To avoid being seen as a disconnected and increasingly powerful regional wild card, China uses institutions to reassure and engage.” The PRC “is now actively seeking to reassure and co-opt its neighbors by offering to embed itself in regional institutions.” Ikenberry suggests that the strategy has worked: “Neighboring states . . . seek to bind China within regional institutions—and they pursue this goal because they realize that binding has some impact on Chinese behavior and the prospects for conflict.”123 On close inspection, however, China is not especially restrained by its membership in regional security institutions. The ARF, which is thought to be the most important of these institutions, is a case in point. It is true that members are expected to act in a peaceful fashion. Johnston writes that “cooperative security,” which is the “normative core of the ARF . . . embodies a number of principles: the non-legitimacy of military force for resolving disputes, security through reassurance rather than unilateral military superiority, non-provocative defense, and transparency.”124 There are no

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explicit rules prohibiting the threat or use of force, however. According to Amitav Acharya, the “Asia-Pacific way” that characterizes the ARF exhibits a preference for “non-binding commitments.” Procedures within the ARF are “informal and non-legalistic.” Nor can states be punished for violating the peaceful norms that they have signed up to. The consensus decisionmaking procedure means that a state would have to agree to its own punishment, which seems unlikely. As Acharya explains, the “consensus approach remains hostage to the imperative of national interest.”125 And, in any event, there are no provisions for punishing recalcitrant states. The ARF, Johnston concludes, looks to foster “‘habits of cooperation’ in the absence of material threats and punishments.”126 One might concede that Beijing is not particularly restrained by its participation in regional security institutions today, but argue that it may establish truly binding accords—arrangements that prohibit the use of force and provide stiff sanctions for rule breakers—in the future, thus confirming that it has benign intentions. Ikenberry gestures toward such an argument: “Going forward, there will be growing reasons for regional cooperation. Since the security dilemma . . . will continue to create insecurity, regional security dialogues and mechanisms will be useful. . . . Regionalism will grow because the demand for it will grow.”127 This is highly unlikely, however. Powerful states such as China do not willingly impose significant constraints on their freedom of action. defensive weapons Other intentions optimists argue that China’s adoption of a defensive arming policy is clear evidence that it has benign intentions. It is widely recognized that China is pursuing an “assured retaliation” nuclear strategy. Fiona Cunningham and Taylor Fravel describe such an approach as seeking to “maintain the smallest possible force capable of surviving a first strike and being able to conduct a retaliatory strike that would inflict unacceptable damage on an adversary.” Such a force is useful for two and only two purposes: “deterring a nuclear attack and preventing nuclear coercion.”128 Moreover, there is little indication that Beijing wants a nuclear force that can do anything more than this. Chase observes that “China has shown it is determined to maintain the secure, second-strike capability

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that is required to ensure a credible strategic-deterrence force.” Chinese strategists believe “that going much beyond what is required for an unquestionably credible assured-retaliation capability would lead to diminishing returns at best and strategic instability at worst.”129 Intentions optimists draw what they think is an obvious inference: China has benign intentions. Indeed, Glaser goes so far as to argue that the PRC should be considered benign even if it seeks to enhance its retaliatory capability. “There is no question,” he asserts, “that China’s conventional and nuclear buildups will reduce some U.S. capabilities. . . . But the United States should not rush to impute malign motives to those buildups and should instead be sensitive to the possibility that they simply reflect China’s legitimate desire for security.”130 It is not at all obvious, however, that China’s assured retaliation posture means that it has benign intentions. Christensen notes that while there appears to be little change in China’s strategy—it remains committed to assured retaliation—the recent modernization and expansion of its strategic forces means that what has long been a vulnerable retaliatory capability is now a much more secure one.131 This, in turn, raises the possibility that China could choose to be more aggressive in the Asia-Pacific. “Chinese leaders,” Christensen surmises, “might become much bolder in defending their perceived regional interests in the face of resistance by the United States and regional U.S. allies and security partners than they have been in the past.” The logic is simple: “under the expectation that the conventionally superior United States would not want to run the risks of nuclear escalation by challenging China’s important interests at the conventional level, a China with a newly established second strike capability might prove more aggressive.”132 In fact, Avery Goldstein finds evidence of this kind of thinking in an analysis of China’s public statements and official policy. Chinese decision makers, he writes, appear to believe that “adversaries readily understand that the likelihood of mutual devastation precludes resort to general nuclear war” and therefore both sides have “an interest in restricting [themselves] . . . to conventional conflict or only very small, carefully calibrated nuclear strikes.”133 In theory, there is an arming policy that China could select that would identify it unequivocally as having benign intentions: Beijing could adopt a

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purely defensive posture. Specifically, it could continue to pursue assured retaliation but reduce its conventional capabilities to a bare minimum. Were it to do so, observers would be hard pressed to argue that China’s nuclear deterrent was simply a shield that would allow it to threaten or attack the United States and its allies with conventional forces. It is unlikely that China would ever do this, however. Even if Beijing has benign intentions, it still makes good sense for it to deploy offensive as well as defensive forces. For example, it will need offensive forces to deter aggression, show resolve, or defend interests beyond the homeland. It is also likely to require offensive forces in the event that it is attacked by the United States and its allies, either to regain territory lost in battle or because those states will quit only if they suffer great pain. The evidence suggests that Chinese thinking runs along these lines. Christensen finds that China’s “nuclear modernization is occurring at the same time that China is developing, for the first time, credible conventional options to use in a coercion campaign against U.S. friends and allies in East Asia and, perhaps, against forward deployed U.S. forces.”134 There is a further problem with this argument: the capabilities states develop and deploy to defend themselves also have significant offensive potential. Consider China’s current approach. For more than twenty years now, it has been fielding a series of missile, sensor, and other technologies designed to constrain the deployment of hostile forces in the air and waters off its coast and to limit their freedom of maneuver once they enter those areas. These anti–access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities enhance China’s ability to keep adversaries from intervening in conflicts off China’s coast or from attacking China itself. In these respects, they aid the defense. At the same time, however, they also improve China’s offensive prospects. Stephen Biddle and Ivan Oelrich make the point starkly, pointing out that A2/ AD may ultimately give China the option of coercing Taiwan, while Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, and even the continental United States will not be “wholly invulnerable to Chinese coercion.”135 As the 2010 QDR puts it, “anti-access strategies seek to deny outside countries the ability to project power into a region, thereby allowing aggression or other destabilizing actions to be conducted by the anti-access power.”136

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China’s Future Intentions The principal impediment to divining China’s future intentions is that they have not yet been formulated. It is impossible to access thinking that does not exist. Some intentions optimists suggest that there is a way around the issue: take what is known about how China intends to behave today and apply that knowledge to predicting how it will intend to behave tomorrow. The problem is that China’s intentions are liable to revision. Goldstein admits that his read of Beijing’s current thinking “ultimately leaves open the important question of China’s strategic intentions in the more distant future.” Why? Because even if one were to hazard a guess as to China’s current attitude, it can change: “there is simply no way to know whether . . . [it] will be forsaken . . . [or] might eventually become China’s preferred choice.”137 Jeffrey Legro tries to go further and predict what the Chinese “might want tomorrow,” but is compelled to acknowledge “the contingent nature of China’s future intentions.” Specifically, he finds that “future intentions will depend on the degree to which the expectations of particular dominant ideas are defied by events, negative consequences result, and some socially viable replacement idea exists.”138 In other words, any knowledge about China’s current intentions is an especially unreliable guide to its future intentions. The Coming U.S.–China Security Competition This uncertainty, coupled with an awareness of Chinese capabilities, will lead the United States to compete ferociously with China for security. What will that security competition look like? American officials are likely to depict Beijing in increasingly threatening terms. At the same time, China will be identified as an especially dangerous competitor that needs to be contained. As far as military capabilities go, the United States can be expected to step up its arming efforts. Washington will also go to great lengths to innovate new military practices and to imitate or offset any technologies and doctrines invented by Beijing. Therefore, arms races could become a central feature of the rivalry. This emphasis on its own efforts notwithstanding, the United States is also likely to strengthen its existing alliances and form new ones with minor powers in the Asia-Pacific. At the same

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time, U.S. leaders will exploit opportunities to weaken China’s influence over, and ties to, its allies and partners. Given the chance, they are also likely to limit China’s capabilities by denying it access to discoveries, technologies, and goods that have military applications. In short, the United States is likely to behave toward China in much the same way it behaved toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War. As the intensity of U.S.–Chinese security competition ratchets up, the two sides are more likely to find themselves involved in war-threatening crises. A powerful Beijing may be tempted to threaten or use force to make Taiwan an integral part of China once again. If that were to happen, there is a good chance that the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense, not only to prevent the Chinese from shifting the balance of military capabilities in their favor, but also to preserve Washington’s reputation. Such a move would trigger a significant crisis and could conceivably drive the two sides to war. One can also imagine scenarios in which a war breaks out between North and South Korea, and both China and the United States get dragged into the conflict, again out of a desire to create a favorable balance of capabilities and to preserve their reputations. For the same reasons, it is also possible that Washington might intervene in a crisis or war between China and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. American intervention in a conflict between China and the Philippines or between China and Vietnam over the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea is also not unthinkable. Finally, Beijing and Washington could conceivably fight over control of the South China Sea or East China Sea, or the major sea lines of communication in the region. To be clear, the odds of any of these events happening are not high, but nor are they insignificant. The fact that both the United States and China will possess large nuclear arsenals is likely to reduce the chance of war, but not eliminate it. Clearly, Washington and Beijing will be extremely cautious about going to war with each other for fear that they may end up in a devastating nuclear exchange. But war is not beyond the realm of possibility. Consider that the stakes in many of the potential disputes are likely to be relatively low. For example, control of the Spratlys or of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands will not in and of itself bring about a seismic shift in the balance of military capabilities. Indeed, even a change in the status of Taiwan will not be enough to flip the

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military balance one way or the other. Therefore, leaders on both sides may doubt the willingness of their counterparts to escalate to the nuclear level and may thus be prepared to risk a conventional war.139 If China completes its rise, then, Washington and Beijing are on a collision course in the Asia-Pacific. All indications are that the two sides will engage in an intense security competition with the potential for war. This will be true even if the United States and China both have benign intentions. Therein lies the real and ongoing tragedy of great power politics.

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NOTES

Introduction 1. To be clear, I am interested in whether great powers believe that they have figured out the intentions of others, not in whether their estimates are in fact correct. The reason is that states act based on how they see the world, not on how it actually is. For an analysis of whether or not great powers assessed each other’s intentions correctly, see Ernest R. May, “Conclusions: Capabilities and Proclivities,” in May, ed., Knowing One’s Enemies: Intelligence Assessment before the Two World Wars (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 503–42. 2. James B. Steinberg, “Administration’s Vision of the U.S.–China Relationship,” keynote address at Center for a New American Security, Washington, DC, 24 September 2009. 3. Stephen Van Evera used the term “primed for peace” to describe Europe following the end of the Cold War. Asia was instead described by Aaron L. Friedberg as “ripe for rivalry.” See Van Evera, “Primed for Peace: Europe after the Cold War,” International Security 15, no. 3 (1990–91): 7–57; Friedberg, “Ripe for Rivalry: Prospects for Peace in a Multipolar Asia,” International Security 18, no. 3 (1993–94): 5–33. 4. An early statement of these assumptions can be found in Kenneth N. Waltz, Man, the State and War: A Theoretical Analysis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959), 187–88, 198–210. 5. John H. Herz, Political Realism and Political Idealism: A Study in Theories and Realities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), 1–16, at 3. Although the assumption that states are invariably uncertain about each other’s intentions is central to their own realist logics, Waltz and Mearsheimer are not as clear as Herz. Waltz makes only passing reference to intentions and never makes the assumption explicit. See Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979), 105, 118–19, 127; Ken Booth and Nicholas J. Wheeler,

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11. 12. 13.

14. 15. 16.

17. 18. 19.

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The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 36. Mearsheimer does explicitly assume uncertain intentions. Once this assumption is combined with his other assumptions, however, he argues that great powers invariably have malign intentions, and because they all think the same way, they know this about each other. See John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, updated ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2014), 2–3, 29, 30–36, 424n7. For a narrative history of the Cold War, see Martin Walker, The Cold War: A History (New York: Henry Holt, 1993). Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (New York: Penguin, 2011), 291–92. Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 299. Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992), 264. Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, 264–65, 276, 283; Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature, 255–61, 291–92; Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, 297–302. Michael W. Doyle, “Liberalism and World Politics,” American Political Science Review 80, no. 4 (1986): 1156. See, for example, Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, 264–65, 276– 77, 282–83; Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, 297–302. For a typical description of this state of affairs, see Jeremy Rifkin, The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream (New York: Penguin, 2004), 297–303. Immanuel Kant, “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch,” in Kant, Political Writings, ed. H. S. Reiss (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 104. Robert D. Kaplan, “Why John J. Mearsheimer Is Right (about some things),” The Atlantic 309, no. 1 (2012): 80. Charles Lipson, “International Cooperation in Economic and Security Affairs,” World Politics 37, no. 1 (1984): 15. For the argument that competition arises from conflicts of interest rather than uncertainty about intentions, see Jeffrey W. Legro and Andrew Moravcsik, “Is Anybody Still a Realist?” International Security 24, no. 2 (1999): 13–16; Randall L. Schweller, “Neorealism’s Status Quo Bias: What Security Dilemma?” Security Studies 5, no. 3 (1996): 91, 119. Bruce Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post–Cold War World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 24. See the first edition of John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001), 367. For the point that no knowledge is completely certain, see Bertrand Russell, Atheism: Collected Essays, 1943–1949 (New York: Arno, 1972), 3–6. A few words are in order to head off terminological confusion. I define “confidence” as a judgment that something is near certain, which is to say, true with a probability somewhere

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in the upper 90 percent range. Therefore, confidence is a shorthand for more cumbersome probability terms such as “near certainty” and “upper 90s.” Some scholars use the term “confidence” differently. For them, it describes the extent to which actors believe they have a sound basis for making probability judgments. On this point, see Jeffrey A. Friedman, War and Chance: Assessing Uncertainty in International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 14, 61. 20. David M. Edelstein, “Managing Uncertainty: Beliefs about Intentions and the Rise of Great Powers,” Security Studies 12, no. 1 (2002): 4. 21. For intelligence community products that equate near certainty with a probability in the upper 90 percent range, see Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), “Analytic Standards,” Intelligence Community Directive 203 (Washington, DC: ODNI, 2015), 3; ODNI, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” ICA 2017–01D (Washington, DC: ODNI, 2017), 13. See also the results in David R. Mandel, “Accuracy of Intelligence Forecasts from the Intelligence Consumer’s Perspective,” Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2, no. 1 (2015): 115. For the claim that foreign policy officials view near certainty as 93 percent certainty, give or take 6 percent, see Sherman Kent, “Words of Estimative Probability,” Studies in Intelligence 8, no. 4 (1964): 49–65. Outside the intelligence and national security realms, near certainty is taken to mean somewhere in the low 90 percent range. See, for example, Ruth BeythMarom, “How Probable Is Probable?” Journal of Forecasting 1 (1982): 257–69; Frederick Mosteller and Cleo Youtz, “Quantifying Probabilistic Expressions,” Statistical Science 5, no. 1 (1990): 2–12. For a good discussion of subjective probability, see Friedman, War and Chance, 51–68. 22. Edelstein, “Managing Uncertainty,” 4. 23. A number of scientists use a similar logic to condemn human efforts to make contact with beings beyond earth. See Stephen Johnson, “Greetings E. T. (Please Don’t Murder Us),” New York Times Magazine, 28 June 2017. 24. John J. Mearsheimer, The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018), 208, 289–90n55. 25. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, ed. and trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), 75–81, at 80. As other military experts have pointed out, even nuclear use is not out of the question. On accidental nuclear escalation, see Scott D. Sagan, The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993); and on inadvertent escalation, see Barry R. Posen, Inadvertent Escalation: Conventional War and Nuclear Risks (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991). 26. Andrew H. Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 34–41, at 41. 27. Charles L. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics: The Logic of Competition and Cooperation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 9, 87. 28. Robert Jervis, The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution: Statecraft and the Prospect of Armageddon (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989), 1–46, at 45.

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29. Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, The Myth of the Nuclear Revolution: Power Politics in the Atomic Age (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020), 95. On the stability-instability paradox, see also Glenn H. Snyder, “The Balance of Power and the Balance of Terror,” in Paul Seabury, ed., Balance of Power (San Francisco: Chandler, 1965), 184–201. 30. Harrison E. Salisbury, War between Russia and China (New York: W. W. Norton, 1969). 31. Sumit Ganguly, The Crisis in Kashmir: Portents of War, Hopes of Peace (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997). 32. Mark S. Bell and Nicholas L. Miller, “Questioning the Effect of Nuclear Weapons on Conflict,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59, no. 1 (2015): 74–92, at 86. 33. William Stueck, The Korean War: An International History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995). 34. Shai Feldman, Israeli Nuclear Deterrence: A Strategy for the 1980s (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982). 35. Paul C. Avey, Tempting Fate: Why Nonnuclear States Confront Nuclear Opponents (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2019), 1–2, 181n4. Avey analyzes the 1950 and 1973 cases in the same work, 63–113. 36. On these points, see Lieber and Press, The Myth of the Nuclear Revolution, 1–4, 16–25. 37. For the argument that Waltz and Mearsheimer merely assume uncertain intentions, either implicitly or explicitly, see note 5, above. It is also worth noting that their version of the uncertainty assumption—states cannot be 100 percent certain that others are benign—is unrealistic for the purposes of explaining state behavior, since decision makers do not think in terms of absolute certainties. On these points, see Stephen G. Brooks, “Dueling Realisms,” International Organization 51, no. 3 (1997): 446–50; Robert O. Keohane, “Institutional Theory and the Realist Challenge after the Cold War,” in David A. Baldwin, ed., Neorealism and Neoliberalism: The Contemporary Debate (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 276, 282–83; John Maynard Keynes, “The General Theory of Employment,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 51, no. 2 (1937): 214. 38. It should be apparent that I use the term “intentions pessimism” to reflect my doubt that states can reach confident conclusions about each other’s intentions. It is not meant to suggest that states routinely conclude that other states have malign intentions. By the same token, the term “intentions optimism” is reserved for arguments that are bullish about the ability of states to reach confident conclusions about each other’s intentions. 39. For an earlier critique of intentions optimism, see Sebastian Rosato, “The Inscrutable Intentions of Great Powers,” International Security 39, no. 3 (2014–15): 48– 88. 40. My understanding of intentions is largely informed by the work of philosophers, including G. E. M. Anscombe, Intention (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957), 1–9; Michael E. Bratman, Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason

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(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 1–49; Jack W. Meiland, The Nature of Intention (London: Methuen, 1970), 7–96; Kieran Setiya, “Intention,” in Edward N. Zalta, ed., The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2014), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2014/entries/ intention/. 41. For an example of this kind of thinking, see Norrin M. Ripsman, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, and Steven E. Lobell, Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 61–62, 123–29. 42. Alexander Wendt, “The State as Person in International Theory,” Review of International Studies 30, no. 2 (2004): 296–301. Ernest May disputes the notion that states can have intentions, arguing that “‘intentions’ suggests a single brain: does ‘the United States’ ever really have intentions?” See May, “Conclusions,” 503; emphasis in original. Clearly, I disagree with him. The point may be moot, however. Whether or not great powers actually have intentions, they form conclusions about the intentions of their peers and act accordingly. At the same time, most theorists of international politics assume that states actually have intentions and theorize on that basis. 43. John R. Searle, Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 83–87, 94. 44. There is no accepted terminology for the quality of a state’s intentions. For the benign-malign and aggressive-nonaggressive dichotomies that I use here, see Edelstein, “Managing Uncertainty,” 4; Robert Jervis, The Logic of Images in International Relations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970), 84. 45. For a similar conceptualization, see Nicholas J. Wheeler, Trusting Enemies: Interpersonal Relationships in International Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 17, 75–76. As should be apparent, I use the terms “malign state” and “benign state” to refer to states that have malign and benign intentions. I do so for brevity. These shorthand terms are not supposed to imply that the great powers in question are intrinsically aggressive or nonaggressive. 46. On “intrinsically” and “extrinsically” valuable areas, see Michael C. Desch, “The Keys That Lock Up the World: Identifying American Interests in the Periphery,” International Security 14, no. 1 (1989): 97–99. 47. For a brief account of this case, see Dale C. Copeland, The Origins of Major War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000), 56–78. 48. For similar definitions of trust and the contention that trust does not imply complete certainty, see Peter Schröder, Trust in Early Modern International Political Thought, 1598–1713 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 9; Steve Chan, Trust and Distrust in Sino-American Relations: Challenge and Opportunity (Amherst, NY: Cambria, 2017), 9, 12, 16, 47. Other scholars use different definitions of trust. See, for example, Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 6–12; Wheeler, Trusting Enemies, 2–9. 49. On degrees of certainty and uncertainty, see Frank H. Knight, Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1921), 226–27. For a different view from

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mine, namely that uncertainty does not vary and that uncertain states simply “make worst-case assumptions” or “assume the worst” about the intentions of others, see Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 45, 345. 50. Other scholars of intentions also focus on medium- to long-term intentions, but do not explain why. See, for example, Edelstein, “Managing Uncertainty,” 4; Keren Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), 14. 51. For a useful discussion of time spans, see Ripsman, Taliaferro, and Lobell, Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics, 80–90. 52. The U.S. intelligence community has a slightly different understanding of time spans from mine, describing “short term” as six to twenty-four months and “midto-long term” as two years or more. See Thomas Fingar, Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011), 75–76. 53. John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 89–126. 54. Nina Silove argues that the term “grand strategy” encompasses three distinct concepts: grand plans, grand principles, and grand behavior. Here I use “grand strategy” to mean “grand plans.” See Silove, “Beyond the Buzzword: The Three Meanings of ‘Grand Strategy,’ ” Security Studies 27, no. 1 (2018): 27–57. 55. The U.S. National Security Strategy reports are available at www.nssarchive.us. 56. John Keegan, The First World War (New York: Vintage, 2000), 24–47. For a summary of the claim that the Schlieffen Plan did not exist, see Keir A. Lieber, “The New History of World War I and What It Means for International Relations Theory,” International Security 32, no. 2 (2007): 155–91. 57. The historian A. J. P. Taylor makes the same point about the run-up to World War II, arguing, “it is dangerous to deduce political intentions from military plans.” To be sure, Nazi Germany’s military plans could have been taken as a signal of malign intent, but they could equally be seen as “precautions.” Thus, German intentions remained obscure; military plans “revealed nothing of [Germany’s] . . . real intentions.” See Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, 2d ed. (New York: Atheneum, 1983), xvi, 220. 58. On this point, see Jeffry A. Frieden, “Actors and Preferences in International Relations,” in David A. Lake and Robert Powell, eds., Strategic Choice and International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), 39–47; Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 35–40. 59. On the distinction between preferences over strategies (intentions) and preferences over outcomes (interests), see Robert Powell, “Anarchy in International Relations Theory: The Neorealist-Neoliberal Debate,” International Organization 48, no. 2 (1994): 318. 60. Some scholars conflate intentions and interests. See, for example, Ken Booth, Nicholas J. Wheeler, and Michael Williams, “Conversations in International Rela-

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tions: Interview with John J. Mearsheimer (Part II),” International Relations 20, no. 2 (2006): 231. 61. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 35–37. 62. For the explicit claim that the debate is better framed in terms of interests rather than intentions, see Dale C. Copeland, “The Constructivist Challenge to Structural Realism: A Review Essay,” International Security 25, no. 2 (2000): 199n19; Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 38–39; Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 11–12. 63. Copeland, “The Constructivist Challenge to Structural Realism,” 188. 64. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 55–56. 65. Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 29; emphasis removed. 66. Curiously, scholars who privilege interests over intentions in their theories make exactly this point. See, for example, Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 36; Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, “Security Seeking under Anarchy: Defensive Realism Revisited,” International Security 25, no. 3 (2000–2001): 145. 67. Technically, it would not be enough for all of the states to be confident that others were and would remain benign. They would also have to be confident that others knew that they themselves were and would remain benign. See, for example, Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 56n13. 68. A great power is a state whose power—or militarily relevant resources—is roughly on a par with the most powerful state in the world. For this definition, see Joseph M. Parent and Sebastian Rosato, “Balancing in Neorealism,” International Security 40, no. 2 (2015): 56. It yields the following list of great powers since the Franco-Prussian War: Austria-Hungary, 1871–1918; Britain, 1871–1945; France, 1871–1940; Germany, 1871–1945; Russia/Soviet Union, 1871–1990; Italy, 1871– 1943; Japan, 1895–1945; United States, 1898–. 69. For historical overviews, see Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994); Brendan Simms, Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, from 1453 to the Present (New York: Basic, 2013); A. J. P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848–1918 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954). For the claim that all the protagonists in these relationships perceived each other as threats and adversaries, see William R. Thompson and David R. Dreyer, Handbook of International Rivalries: 1494–2010 (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2012), 11–12, 46–50, 53–56, 62–65, 80–83, 109–14, 198–201. 70. Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, 1860–1914 (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1980); T. G. Otte, The Foreign Office Mind: The Making of British Foreign Policy, 1865–1914 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011). 71. John Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941–1947 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972); Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992); Marc Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement, 1945–1963 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999); Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov, Inside the

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73.

74.

75.

76.

77.

78.

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Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996). On the use of “least likely” cases to test theories, see Harry Eckstein, “Case Study and Theory in Political Science,” in Fred I. Greenstein and Nelson W. Polsby, eds., Handbook of Political Science, vol. 7: Strategies of Inquiry (Reading, MA: AddisonWesley, 1975), 113–20; Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005), 120– 23; John Gerring, Case Study Research: Principles and Practices (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 115–21; Aaron Rapport, “Hard Thinking about Hard and Easy Cases in Security Studies,” Security Studies 24, no. 3 (2015): 433–57. For data-gathering efforts that code these episodes as cases of security competition, see Michael P. Colaresi, Karen Rasler, and William R. Thompson, Strategic Rivalries in World Politics: Position, Space and Conflict Escalation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 25, 38–50; Gary Goertz, Paul F. Diehl, and Alexandru Balas, The Puzzle of Peace: The Evolution of Peace in the International System (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 23–55. For the argument that theories about great powers can be applied to minor powers, provided they are amended appropriately, see Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 73; Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 413–14n5. Memorandum from the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski) to President Carter, 29 May 1979, in Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–80, vol. 1: Foundations of Foreign Policy (Washington, DC: GPO, 2014), 612. For the claim that variation is explained by conclusions about intentions, see Charles L. Glaser and Andrew H. Kydd, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” International Security 40, no. 3 (2015–16): 198; Mark L. Haas and John M. Owen IV, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” International Security 40, no. 3 (2015–16): 208; Alexander Wendt, “Constructing International Politics,” International Security 20, no. 1 (1995): 73. For the assertion that Germany and France know each other to be benign, see Glaser and Kydd, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” 198. On French and German thinking about the future, see Robert J. Art, “Why Western Europe Needs the United States and NATO,” Political Science Quarterly 111, no. 1 (1996): 1–9, 35–39; David S. Yost, “Transatlantic Relations and Peace in Europe,” International Affairs 78, no. 2 (2002): 292–96. An earlier version of this argument appears in Sebastian Rosato, “Why the United States and China Are on a Collision Course,” Policy Brief, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, May 2015.

Chapter 1. Intentions Pessimism 1. G. E. M. Anscombe, Intention (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957), 9. 2. Herbert Butterfield, History and Human Relations (London: Collins, 1951), 21. This issue goes by various names, including “the problem of other minds” and

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3. 4.

5. 6.

7.

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9. 10. 11. 12.

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“the fundamental problem of reason attribution.” See, for example, Martin Hollis and Steve Smith, Explaining and Understanding International Relations (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), 171–76, 185–89; Joseph O’Mahoney, “Why Did They Do That? The Methodology of Reasons for Action,” International Theory 7, no. 2 (2015): 237–39; Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 222. A number of scholars make a similar claim about states’ interests, arguing that they are unobservable. See, for example, Jeffry A. Frieden, “Actors and Preferences in International Relations,” in David A. Lake and Robert Powell, eds., Strategic Choice and International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), 40. Motoko Rich and David E. Sanger, “Motives of North Korea’s Leader Baffle Americans and Allies,” New York Times, 3 September 2017. Norrin M. Ripsman, Jeffrey W. Taliaferro, and Steven E. Lobell, Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 123–26. Graham T. Allison, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971), 164. For a similar point, see David R. Gibson, “Enduring Illusions: The Social Organization of Secrecy and Deception,” Sociological Theory 32, no. 4 (2014): 286, 295. On concealment or what he calls secrets, see Gibson, “Enduring Illusions,” 286. For the claim that political actors have strategic incentives to conceal information, see Jon Elster, Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 61; James D. Fearon, “Rationalist Explanations for War,” International Organization 49, no. 3 (1995): 395–96. For similar scenarios, see Fearon, “Rationalist Explanations for War,” 395–96; Stephen Van Evera, Causes of War: Power and the Roots of Conflict (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999), 45–47, 83, 137–40. Quoted in Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), 54. Richard A. Posner, Catastrophe: Risk and Response (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 261. Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, 222. On this point, see also Frieden, “Actors and Preferences in International Relations,” 57–61. On misrepresentation or what he calls lies, see Gibson, “Enduring Illusions,” 286. For the claim that political actors have strategic incentives to misrepresent information, see Elster, Explaining Social Behavior, 61; Fearon, “Rationalist Explanations for War,” 395–96; Robert Jervis, The Logic of Images in International Relations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970), 3–8; John J. Mearsheimer, Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 7–8, 21, 24; Robert Powell, In the Shadow of Power: States and Strategies in International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), 12–14.

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13. For similar scenarios, see Fearon, “Rationalist Explanations for War,” 395–96; Andrew Kydd, “Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing: Why Security Seekers Do Not Fight Each Other,” Security Studies 7, no. 1 (1997): 140; Mearsheimer, Why Leaders Lie, 34–37, 40–42. 14. Quoted in John Albert White, The Diplomacy of the Russo-Japanese War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1964), 135. 15. Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979), 91. 16. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. J. C. A. Gaskin (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 86–87, at 86. 17. My definition follows Stephen D. Krasner, Defending the National Interest: Raw Materials Investments and U.S. Foreign Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), 41; Arnold Wolfers, Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1962), 92, 154. On the components of a great power’s base and institutions, see Barry Buzan, People, States, and Fear: The National Security Problem in International Relations (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983), 53–65. 18. Robert G. Gilpin, “The Richness of the Tradition of Political Realism,” International Organization 38, no. 2 (1984): 290–91. See also Buzan, People, States, and Fear, 177; Charles L. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics: The Logic of Competition and Cooperation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 37; John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, updated ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2014), 31; Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 126. 19. See, for example, Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 35–36; Robert Jervis, “Dilemmas about Security Dilemmas,” Security Studies 20, no. 3 (2011): 421; Richard Rosecrance, International Relations: Peace or War? (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973), 175–77. 20. For a summary of the strategic choice approach, see David A. Lake and Robert Powell, “International Relations: A Strategic Choice Approach,” in Lake and Powell, eds., Strategic Choice and International Relations, 3–38. 21. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. George Bull (New York: Penguin, 1999), 80. 22. On arming, innovation, and imitation, see Matthew Evangelista, Innovation and the Arms Race: How the United States and the Soviet Union Develop New Military Technologies (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), 6–49; Emily O. Goldman and Richard B. Andres, “Systemic Effects of Military Innovation and Diffusion,” Security Studies 8, no. 4 (1999): 82–83; Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 157, 166–67; Barry R. Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine: France, Britain, and Germany between the World Wars (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984), 29–33, 54–57; Joao Resende-Santos, Neorealism, States, and the Modern Mass Army (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 9–13; Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 118, 124, 127–28. 23. On these points, see Joseph M. Parent and Sebastian Rosato, “Balancing in Neorealism,” International Security 40, no. 2 (2015): 60–79.

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24. Quoted in A. J. P. Taylor, Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman (Gloucester, U.K.: Sutton, 2003), 229. 25. This definition is based on Robert O. Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 57–61; John J. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security 19, no. 3 (1994–95): 8–9. 26. An alliance is a firm military commitment to join forces and deter or defend against a common rival. For a similar definition, see Glenn H. Snyder, Alliance Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 4. For a definition that includes looser arrangements, see Stephen M. Walt, The Origins of Alliances (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987), 12–13. The logic of alliance formation is described in Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 156; Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 118. 27. On the formation of the Entente, see Brendan Simms, Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, from 1453 to the Present (New York: Basic, 2013), 259–91; A. J. P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848–1918 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954), 325–45, 403–56. For other examples of defensive or deterrent alliances contracted in peacetime, see Parent and Rosato, “Balancing in Neorealism,” 80– 81. 28. On arms control, see Thomas C. Schelling and Morton H. Halperin, Strategy and Arms Control (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1961); Donald G. Brennan, ed., Arms Control, Disarmament and National Security (New York: Braziller, 1961). 29. For accounts of the negotiation and terms of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty (1972), the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks Interim Agreement (1972), and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (1987), see Raymond L. Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1985), 146–223; Garthoff, The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1994), 300–337; John Newhouse, Cold Dawn: The Story of SALT (Washington, DC: Pergamon-Brassey’s, 1989), 133–272; Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era: The United States and the Soviet Union, 1983–1991, updated ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 211–62; Mason Willrich and John B. Rhinelander, eds., SALT: The Moscow Agreements and Beyond (New York: Free Press, 1974), 20–33; Thomas W. Wolfe, The SALT Experience (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1979), 8–14. 30. See, for example, Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 36; Jervis, “Dilemmas about Security Dilemmas,” 421–22; Shiping Tang, “The Security Dilemma: A Conceptual Analysis,” Security Studies 18, no. 3 (2009): 607–9; Wolfers, Discord and Collaboration, 92–93. 31. The claim that war is a “strategy for survival” appears in Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 147–52. 32. Peter Liberman, Does Conquest Pay? The Exploitation of Occupied Industrial Societies (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 36–86; Alan S. Milward, War, Economy and Society, 1939–1945 (Berkeley: University of California Press,

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1977), 132–68, 208–93; John W. Wheeler-Bennett, Brest-Litovsk: The Forgotten Peace, March 1918 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1963), 311–71. For examples involving Napoleonic France and the Soviet Union, see David E. Kaiser, Politics and War: European Conflict from Philip II to Hitler (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 203–70; Norman M. Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945–1949 (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1995), 141–250. 33. Walter A. McDougall, France’s Rhineland Diplomacy, 1914–1924: The Last Bid for a Balance of Power in Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), 15– 96; David Stevenson, French War Aims against Germany, 1914–1919 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 94–215. For examples involving Britain, Prussia, and the Soviet Union, see T. C. W. Blanning, The Origins of the French Revolutionary Wars (New York: Longman, 1986), 131–72; Robert Edwards, The Winter War: Russia’s Invasion of Finland, 1939–1940 (New York: Pegasus, 2008), 13–107; Geoffrey Wawro, The Franco-Prussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870–1871 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 227, 230, 303–4. 34. James McAllister, No Exit: America and the German Problem, 1943–1954 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002), 26–120; Marc Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement, 1945–1963 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), 3–65. For examples involving Germany in Russia and the Soviet Union, see Wheeler-Bennett, Brest-Litovsk, 311–71; Alexander Dallin, German Rule in Russia, 1941–1945: A Study of Occupation Policies (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1981), 84–103. 35. On blackmail, see Daniel Ellsberg, “Theory and Practice of Blackmail,” RAND Paper P-3883 (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1968); Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 152–53; Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1966), 1–34. 36. Christopher M. Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (New York: Harper, 2013), 155–57, 204–14; David G. Herrmann, The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 37–58, 113–72, 199–224. For an attempt by France, see Darrell Bates, The Fashoda Incident of 1898: Encounter on the Nile (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), 111–68; and for an attempt by Germany in the 1930s, see Daryl G. Press, Calculating Credibility: How Leaders Assess Military Threats (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), 42–79. 37. Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace, 78–86, 251–402. 38. Press, Calculating Credibility, 117–41. 39. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 70–71; Robert Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics 30, no. 2 (1978): 174–76; Jonathan Kirshner, “The Economic Sins of Modern IR Theory and the Classical Realist Alternative,” World Politics 67, no. 1 (2015): 168–77. 40. Fearon, “Rationalist Explanations for War,” 398–99; Ian Nish, The Origins of the Russo-Japanese War (New York: Longman, 1985), 241.

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41. Van Evera, Causes of War, 138; McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival: Choices about the Bomb in the First Fifty Years (New York: Random House, 1988), 172–73, 200–201, 203, 339. 42. Erich Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire (New York: George Allen & Unwin, 1950), 289–97; William L. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 1871–1890, 2d ed. (New York: Vintage, 1964), 217–50, 411–25; Alfred Francis Pribram, The Secret Treaties of Austria-Hungary 1879–1914, vol. 2 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1921), 64–73; Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 315–21. 43. Clark, The Sleepwalkers, 203–4, 214, 488–98, 533–47; John W. Coogan and Peter F. Coogan, “The British Cabinet and the Anglo-French Staff Talks, 1905–1914: Who Knew What and When Did He Know It?” Journal of British Studies 24, no. 1 (1985): 110–31; Sean M. Lynn-Jones, “Détente and Deterrence: Anglo-German Relations, 1911–1914,” International Security 11, no. 2 (1986): 137–45. 44. Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace, 10. 45. For Hitler’s statements about peace and security, see Norman Rich, Hitler’s War Aims: Ideology, the Nazi State, and the Course of German Expansion (New York: W. W. Norton, 1973), xii; Van Evera, Causes of War, 83. On his arms control proposals, see David M. Edelstein, Over the Horizon: Time, Uncertainty, and the Rise of Great Powers (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017), 102–3. 46. Jervis, The Logic of Images in International Relations, 9. See also Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics, 33; Robert Jervis, “Signaling and Perception: Drawing Inferences and Projecting Images,” in Kristen Renwick Monroe, ed., Political Psychology (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002), 297–99; Arthur A. Stein, “The Justifying State: Why Anarchy Doesn’t Mean No Excuses,” in John Mueller, ed., Peace, Prosperity, and Politics (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2000), 243. 47. Ken Booth and Nicholas J. Wheeler, The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 42–45; Wolfers, Discord and Collaboration, 158. 48. Viscount Grey of Fallodon, Twenty-Five Years, 1892–1916 (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1925), 87–88. 49. For a list of reasons why a state might engage in arms reduction or limitation, see Charles L. Glaser and Andrew H. Kydd, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” International Security 40, no. 3 (2015–16): 200–201. 50. Keren Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), 206–12, 232–35. 51. Eyre Crowe, Memorandum on the Present State of British Relations with France and Germany, 1 January 1907, in G. P. Gooch and Harold Temperley, eds., British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898–1914, vol. 3: The Testing of the Entente, 1904–6 (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1928), 408, 414–17. 52. Winston S. Churchill, Great Contemporaries (London: Thornton Butterworth, 1937), 261, 268.

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53. Quoted in Anthony Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery: France’s Bid for Power in Europe, 1914–1940 (New York: Arnold, 1995), 125. The case is summarized in Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery, 110–23; Arnold Wolfers, Britain and France between Two Wars: Conflicting Strategies of Peace since Versailles (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1940), 55–66. 54. The term “problem of the future” is from Dale C. Copeland, “Rationalist Theories of International Politics and the Problem of the Future,” Security Studies 20, no. 3 (2011): 441–50. 55. Thomas Hobbes, The Elements of Law, Natural & Politic, ed. Ferdinand Tönnies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1928), 11. 56. Klaus Knorr, “Threat Perception,” in Knorr, ed., Historical Dimensions of National Security Problems (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1976), 112. 57. Donald Cameron Watt, “British Intelligence and the Coming of the Second World War in Europe,” in Ernest R. May, ed., Knowing One’s Enemies: Intelligence Assessment before the Two World Wars (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 264. 58. This is a common claim in the literature. See, for example, Dale C. Copeland, “The Constructivist Challenge to Structural Realism: A Review Essay,” International Security 25, no. 2 (2000): 200; David M. Edelstein, “Managing Uncertainty: Beliefs about Intentions and the Rise of Great Powers,” Security Studies 12, no. 1 (2002): 7; John H. Herz, International Politics in the Atomic Age (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959), 235; Knorr, “Threat Perception,” 79; Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 31; Kenneth N. Waltz, “Structural Realism after the Cold War,” International Security 25, no. 1 (2000): 10. 59. Quoted in Peter Padfield, The Great Naval Race: The Anglo-German Naval Rivalry, 1900–1914 (New York: D. McKay, 1974), 180. 60. Quoted in John Charmley, Splendid Isolation? Britain, the Balance of Power and the Origins of the First World War (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1999), 295–96; emphasis removed. 61. Jervis offers a classic summary, albeit with reference to interests: “Minds can be changed, new leaders can come to power, values can shift, new opportunities and dangers can arise.” See Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” 168. 62. Butterfield, History and Human Relations, 24; Copeland, “The Constructivist Challenge to Structural Realism,” 200; Joseph M. Grieco, “Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation: A Realist Critique of the Newest Liberal Institutionalism,” International Organization 42, no. 3 (1988): 500; Herz, International Politics in the Atomic Age, 235; Knorr, “Threat Perception,” 79; Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 363. 63. On Germany, see Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack, “Let Us Now Praise Great Men: Bringing the Statesman Back In,” International Security 25, no. 4 (2001): 121–25. On the Soviet Union, see Archie Brown, The Gorbachev Factor (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 220–25. 64. For an argument to the effect that leaders make foreign policy decisions primarily in response to domestic pressures, see Andrew Moravcsik, “Taking Prefer-

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ences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics,” International Organization 51, no. 4 (1997): 516–20. 65. Jack Snyder, Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 207–8; Winfried Baumgart, The Peace of Paris, 1856: Studies in War, Diplomacy, and Peacemaking (Santa Barbara, CA: ABCClio, 1981), 31–37; Lawrence D. Steefel, The Schleswig-Holstein Question (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1932), 171–79. 66. On the logic of diversionary conflict, see Amy Oakes, “Diversionary War and Argentina’s Invasion of the Falkland Islands,” Security Studies 15, no. 3 (2006): 433– 34. On Napoleon III, see Alain Plessis, The Rise and Fall of the Second Empire, 1852–1871 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 146–47; Arno J. Mayer, “Internal Crisis and War since 1870,” in Charles L. Bertrand, ed., Revolutionary Situations in Europe, 1917–22 (Montreal: Interuniversity Center for European Studies, 1977), 201–33. For an example involving Russia at the turn of the twentieth century, see White, The Diplomacy of the Russo-Japanese War, 38; Richard Ned Lebow, Between Peace and War: The Nature of International Crisis (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), 66. 67. My argument that changes in circumstance cause changes in intentions is known as the “time inconsistency problem” in economics. See Finn E. Kydland and Edward C. Prescott, “Rules Rather than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans,” Journal of Political Economy 85, no. 3 (1977): 473–91. 68. Byman and Pollack, “Let Us Now Praise Great Men,” 125–28; Alistair Horne, How Far from Austerlitz? Napoleon, 1805–1815 (Armonk, NY: St. Martin’s, 1996), 69, 235; Alan Schom, Napoleon Bonaparte (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), 400; David G. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon (New York: Scribner’s, 1966), xxix–xxx, 865–1004. 69. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 16; Lothar Gall, Bismarck: The White Revolutionary, vol. 2: 1871–1898 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1986), 40; Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire, 187–88. 70. Clark, The Sleepwalkers, 326–34; Fritz Fischer, War of Illusions: German Policies from 1911 to 1914 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1975), 38, 45, 88, 262, 371–73, 402; Herrmann, The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War, 161, 165–66; David Stevenson, Armaments and the Coming of War: Europe, 1904– 1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 201–2; William C. Wohlforth, “The Perception of Power: Russia in the Pre-1914 Balance,” World Politics 39, no. 2 (1987): 362. 71. Norrin M. Ripsman and Jack S. Levy, “The Preventive War That Never Happened: Britain, France, and the Rise of Germany in the 1930s,” Security Studies 16, no. 1 (2007): 45–48, 54–58. 72. Several scholars of international relations point out the connection between information, on the one hand, and certainty and uncertainty, on the other. See, for example, Brian C. Rathbun, “Uncertain about Uncertainty: Understanding the Multiple Meanings of a Crucial Concept in International Relations Theory,”

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74. 75.

76.

77.

78.

79.

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International Studies Quarterly 51, no. 3 (2007): 533–57; Jennifer Mitzen and Randall L. Schweller, “Knowing the Unknown Unknowns: Misplaced Certainty and the Onset of War,” Security Studies 20, no. 1 (2011): 2–35. Although Ellsberg and I use the same language, there are important differences in our understanding of information, uncertainty, and the connection between the two. For the quotation, see Daniel Ellsberg, “Risk, Ambiguity, and the Savage Axioms,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 75, no. 4 (1961): 657, 661; emphasis removed. For a similar point, see Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, 222. For the British case, see Christopher Andrew, Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), 168–74, 420–41; and for the American case, see Michael J. Sulick, Spying in America: Espionage from the Revolutionary War to the Dawn of the Cold War (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2012), 193–210. The prospect of placing a spy inside another state’s leadership group is so remote, in fact, that it is the stuff of fiction. In The Manchurian Candidate, China attempts to use a brainwashed agent to assassinate the president of the United States and install a China-controlled senator in the White House. The plot fails. See Richard Condon, The Manchurian Candidate (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959). This is the logic of costly signaling, where cost refers to the impact a given action would have on a state’s ability to carry out its intentions. For example, a measure that eliminates a great power’s capability to take the offensive is extremely costly for a state that has malign intentions but not especially costly for one that has benign intentions. On costly signaling, see James D. Fearon, “Signaling Foreign Policy Interests: Tying Hands versus Sinking Costs,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 41, no. 1 (1997): 68–90; James D. Morrow, “The Strategic Setting of Choices: Signaling, Commitment, and Negotiation in International Politics,” in Lake and Powell, eds., Strategic Choice and International Relations, 86–91. For a similar point about interests, see Evan Braden Montgomery, “Breaking Out of the Security Dilemma: Realism, Reassurance, and the Problem of Uncertainty,” International Security 31, no. 2 (2006): 158–59. See also Dale C. Copeland, The Origins of Major War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000), 40; Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 67–68; Robert Jervis, “Was the Cold War a Security Dilemma?” Journal of Cold War Studies 3, no. 1 (2001): 37; Andrew H. Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 188, 196–97; Nicholas J. Wheeler, Trusting Enemies: Interpersonal Relationships in International Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 30. There is substantial disagreement about how states update their thinking as they acquire more pieces of information. Even scholars who argue that decision makers use statistical methods differ as to whether they employ a “frequentist” or “Bayesian” approach. See Jonathan Mercer, “Rationality and Psychology in International Politics,” International Organization 59, no. 1 (2005): 86, 88. John Maynard Keynes, A Treatise on Probability (London: Macmillan, 1921), 71–78.

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80. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977–1981 (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983), 188. 81. For a review of the literature on psychology and threat perception, where threats are a function of capability and intentions, see Janice Gross Stein, “Threat Perception in International Relations,” in Leonie Huddy, David O. Sears, and Jack S. Levy, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, 2d ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 364–94. 82. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 16–23. 83. On these issues, see Dennis Chong, “Degrees of Rationality in Politics,” in Huddy, Sears, and Levy, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, 114–16; Daryl G. Press, “The Credibility of Power: Assessing Threats during the ‘Appeasement’ Crises of the 1930s,” International Security 29, no. 3 (2004–5): 138–39; Jonathon Renshon and Stanley A. Renshon, “The Theory and Practice of Foreign Policy Decision Making,” Political Psychology 29, no. 4 (2008): 511–16; Leaf Van Bowen et al., “Judgment and Decision Making,” in Donal Carlston, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Social Cognition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 393–95; and for evidence that great powers are objective and deliberate in assessing intentions, see Moritz S. Graefrath, “How Rare Are Rational Thinkers in International Politics? Revisiting the ‘Guilty Men’ of Interwar Britain” (unpublished manuscript, University of Notre Dame, 2019). 84. Mark L. Haas and John M. Owen IV, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” International Security 40, no. 3 (2015–16): 207. For the claim that Churchill was not as certain that Germany had aggressive intentions as it might appear, see David Reynolds, “Churchill’s Writing of History: Appeasement, Autobiography and ‘The Gathering Storm,’” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 11 (2001): 221–47. 85. George F. Kennan, Memoirs, 1925–1950 (New York: Pantheon, 1967), 499. 86. The arms races are as follows: France-Germany (land, 1874–94); Britain-France (naval, 1884–1904); Britain-Russia (naval, 1884–1904); Britain-Germany (naval, 1898–1912); France-Germany (land, 1911–14); Britain–United States (naval, 1916–30); Japan–United States (naval, 1916–22); France-Germany (land, 1934– 39); Soviet Union–Germany (land, 1934–41); Britain-Germany (air, 1934–39); Japan–United States (naval, 1934–41); and Soviet Union–United States (nuclear, 1946–90). See Samuel Huntington, “Arms Races: Prerequisites and Results,” Public Policy 8, no. 1 (1958): 43. 87. For some examples, see Ruddock F. Mackay, “The Admiralty, the German Navy, and the Redistribution of the British Fleet, 1904–1905,” Mariner’s Mirror 56, no. 3 (1970): 344; Arthur J. Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: The Royal Navy in the Fischer Era, 1904–1919, vol. 1: The Road to War, 1904–1914 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1961), 125; T. G. Otte, The Foreign Office Mind: The Making of British Foreign Policy, 1865–1914 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 298–99; Matthew S. Seligmann, “Switching Horses: The Admiralty’s Recognition of the Threat from Germany,” International History Review 30, no. 2 (2008): 244–46.

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88. On this point, see Herrmann, The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War, 191–92; Gerd Krumeich, Armaments and Politics in France on the Eve of the First World War: The Introduction of Three-Year Conscription, 1913–1914, trans. Stephen Conn (Dover, NH: Berg, 1984), 74; Stevenson, Armaments and the Coming of War, 249, 304, 309–10. 89. For the data, see Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 317, 320. 90. On these technological developments, see Parent and Rosato, “Balancing in Neorealism,” 66–67, 69. 91. George W. Downs, David M. Rocke, and Randolph M. Siverson, “Arms Races and Cooperation,” in Kenneth A. Oye, ed., Cooperation under Anarchy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), 119. 92. Karen Rasler, William R. Thompson, and Sumit Ganguly, How Rivalries End (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 1–11. 93. Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of the Cold War: Reevaluating a Landmark Case for Ideas,” International Security 25, no. 3 (2000–2001): 5–53. 94. Aaron L. Friedberg, The Weary Titan: Britain and the Experience of Relative Decline, 1895–1905 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988), 135– 208; Paul K. MacDonald and Joseph M. Parent, Twilight of the Titans: Great Power Decline and Retrenchment (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018), 95–113. 95. For the argument and evidence, see Parent and Rosato, “Balancing in Neorealism,” 51–86. 96. Walt, The Origins of Alliances, 25–26. See also Stein, “The Justifying State,” 242. 97. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 213–15. 98. Clark, The Sleepwalkers, 158. 99. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 213–15, 301–4. 100. Clark, The Sleepwalkers, 326; Coogan and Coogan, “The British Cabinet and the Anglo-French Staff Talks,” 111. 101. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 306–9. 102. Milan Hauner, “La Tchécoslovaquie en tant que facteur militaire,” Revue des études slaves 52, nos. 1–2 (1979): 182; Talbot Imlay, “The Making of the AngloFrench Alliance, 1938–39,” in Martin S. Alexander and William J. Philpott, eds., Anglo-French Defence Relations between the Wars (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 93; Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 318–19; Williamson Murray, The Change in the European Balance of Power, 1938–1939 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 281–94. 103. Imlay, “The Making of the Anglo-French Alliance,” 93, 108. 104. Derek Watson, “Molotov’s Apprenticeship in Foreign Policy: The Triple Alliance Negotiations in 1939,” Europe-Asia Studies 52, no. 4 (2000): 695–722. 105. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 310, 315–16. 106. For the claim that cooperation is policy coordination, see Keohane, After Hegemony, 51–52. Glaser offers an unconventional definition: cooperation means

NOTES TO PAGES 40–45

107.

108. 109. 110. 111.

112. 113.

114.

115.

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avoiding arming and alliances. That is, cooperation is the opposite of competition. See Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 51. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” 12–13. Mearsheimer argues that there are two impediments to cooperation: a cheating problem and a relative gains problem. For the claim that the relative gains problem is a cheating problem, see James D. Fearon, “Bargaining, Enforcement, and International Cooperation,” International Organization 52, no. 2 (1998): 296–97. Crowe, Memorandum on the Present State of British Relations with France and Germany, 417. Minutes, 28 January 1907, in Gooch and Temperley, eds., British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898–1914, vol. 3, 420. Sanderson Memorandum, 21 February 1907, in Gooch and Temperley, eds., British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898–1914, vol. 3, 428–29. See, for example, Minutes, 28 January 1907; Mallet Memorandum, 25 February 1907, in Gooch and Temperley, eds., British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898–1914, vol. 3, 420, 431. Waltz, Theory of International Politics, 131. For the data, see Michael E. DeVine, “Intelligence Community Spending: Trends and Issues,” CRS Report 7–5700 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2018), 8. These conclusions are based on a leaked version of the 2013 intelligence budget. See Matt DeLong, “Inside the 2013 U.S. Intelligence ‘Black Budget’ ” and “2013 U.S. Intelligence Budget: Additional Resources,” and Dylan Matthews, “America’s Secret Intelligence Budget in 11 (Nay, 13) Charts,” all in Washington Post, 29 August 2013. On the normative implications of descriptive theories, see Christian Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal, “Between Utopia and Reality: The Practical Discourses of International Relations,” in Reus-Smit and Snidal, eds., The Oxford Handbook of International Relations (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 3–33.

Chapter 2. Against Optimism 1. For two earlier critiques of intentions optimism, see Sebastian Rosato, “The Inscrutable Intentions of Great Powers,” International Security 39, no. 3 (2014–15): 48–88; Sebastian Rosato, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” International Security 40, no. 3 (2015–16): 208–15. The data and analyses referenced in this chapter are available at sebastianrosato.com/data.html. 2. Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 222–23. 3. For a trenchant statement, see Andrew Kydd, “Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing: Why Security Seekers Do Not Fight Each Other,” Security Studies 7, no. 1 (1997): 129– 39. See also Kurt Taylor Gaubatz, “Democratic States and Commitment in International Relations,” International Organization 50, no. 1 (1996): 121–23; G. John

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4.

5. 6.

7. 8. 9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

NOTES TO PAGES 45–47

Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of International Order after Major Wars (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), 76–77; Daniel M. Kliman, Fateful Transitions: How Democracies Manage Rising Powers, from the Eve of World War I to China’s Ascendance (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), 1–2, 17, 24–27. Kydd, “Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing,” 117. See also Bernard I. Finel and Kristin M. Lord, “The Surprising Logic of Transparency,” International Studies Quarterly 43, no. 2 (1999): 315–22; Charles Lipson, Reliable Partners: How Democracies Have Made a Separate Peace (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), 7, 53–55, 87–93, 104–7. Charles A. Kupchan, How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 56. On the United States, see John M. Orman, Presidential Secrecy and Deception: Beyond the Power to Persuade (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1980), 33–64; Francis E. Rourke, Secrecy and Publicity: Dilemmas of Democracy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1961), 43–110. On Britain and France, see David Banisar, Freedom of Information around the World 2006: A Global Survey of Access to Government Information Laws (London: Privacy International, 2006), 72–75, 154–58; Itzhak Galnoor, ed., Government Secrecy in Democracies (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), 157–75, 234–54, 285. John Hart Ely, War and Responsibility: Constitutional Lessons of Vietnam and Its Aftermath (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 49. Eric Alterman, When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences (New York: Viking, 2004), 15. These behaviors are discussed in John J. Mearsheimer, Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Evan Braden Montgomery, “Counterfeit Diplomacy and Mobilization in Democracies,” Security Studies 22, no. 1 (2013): 33–67; John M. Schuessler, Deceit on the Road to War: Presidents, Politics, and American Democracy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015), 8–26. See, for example, Kydd, “Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing,” 133–37; Kenneth A. Schultz, “Domestic Opposition and Signaling in International Crises,” American Political Science Review 92, no. 4 (1998): 832. On what he calls “barriers to telling” secrets, see David R. Gibson, “Enduring Illusions: The Social Organization of Secrecy and Deception,” Sociological Theory 32, no. 4 (2014): 296–97. It is also worth noting that observers cannot be confident that the leak is not, in fact, a “plant,” that is, an authorized leak that is designed to fool them. On leaks and plants, see Elie Abel, Leaking: Who Does It? Who Benefits? At What Cost? (New York: Priority, 1987), 1–6, 17–60. On this point, see Chaim Kaufmann, “Threat Inflation and the Failure of the Marketplace of Ideas: The Selling of the Iraq War,” International Security 29, no. 1 (2004): 32–46.

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14. Mearsheimer, Why Leaders Lie, 64–67, 78–80; Schuessler, Deceit on the Road to War, 117–22. 15. Anne E. Sartori, Deterrence by Diplomacy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 43–72, at 43. The theory is developed in the context of deterrence, but Sartori claims that it applies to diplomacy more broadly (123–27). For an analysis of diplomacy and the communication of what he calls intentions, but which is actually short-term resolve, see Robert F. Trager, Diplomacy: Communication and the Origins of International Order (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017). 16. John J. Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” International Security 19, no. 3 (1994–95): 19. 17. Robert Powell, “War as a Commitment Problem,” International Organization 60, no. 1 (2006): 185. 18. Sartori, Deterrence by Diplomacy, 43. 19. Stacie E. Goddard, When Right Makes Might: Rising Powers and World Order (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018), 2, 12–13, 16–27, at 23. 20. Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 9–10. 21. Oona A. Hathaway et al., “War Manifestos,” University of Chicago Law Review 85, no. 5 (2018): especially 1202–5. 22. Goddard, When Right Makes Might, 104, 106, 112, 115, 185. 23. John S. Duffield, “NATO’s Functions after the Cold War,” Political Science Quarterly 109, no. 5 (1994–95): 774–75; Ikenberry, After Victory, 65–67; Robert Jervis, “From Balance to Concert: A Study of International Security Cooperation,” World Politics 38, no. 1 (1985): 73–76; Dan Lindley, Promoting Peace with Information: Transparency as a Tool of Security Regimes (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 1–10, 17–19, 22–24, 35–38. 24. Lindley, Promoting Peace with Information, 1. 25. Robert O. Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 101. 26. For a similar argument in the context of great powers revealing their capabilities, see James D. Fearon, “Bargaining, Enforcement, and International Cooperation,” International Organization 52, no. 2 (1998): 290–91. On the tradeoffs between gathering and revealing information in regimes, see also Charles Lipson, “Are Security Regimes Possible? Historical Cases and Modern Issues,” in Efraim Inbar, ed., Regional Security Regimes: Israel and Its Neighbors (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 9; Ronald B. Mitchell, “Sources of Transparency: Information Systems in International Regimes,” International Studies Quarterly 42, no. 1 (1998): 113. 27. See, for example, Kenneth W. Abbott, “‘Trust But Verify’: The Production of Information in Arms Control Treaties and Other International Agreements,” Cornell International Law Journal 26, no. 1 (1993): 30–53; Abram Chayes and Antonia Handler Chayes, The New Sovereignty: Compliance with International Regulatory Agreements (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), 135–96.

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28. For more on this point, see Mitchell, “Sources of Transparency,” 121–22. 29. Lindley, Promoting Peace with Information, 17, 62–85, at 80, and 182–83. 30. On audience costs, see James D. Fearon, “Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes,” American Political Science Review 88, no. 3 (1994): 577–92; Kenneth A. Schultz, “Looking for Audience Costs,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 45, no. 1 (2001): 32–60; Alastair Smith, “International Crises and Domestic Politics,” American Political Science Review 92, no. 3 (1998): 623–38. 31. Jessica L. Weeks, “Autocratic Audience Costs: Regime Type and Signaling Resolve,” International Organization 62, no. 1 (2008): 60. 32. The arguments in this paragraph rely on Joe Clare, “Domestic Audiences and Strategic Interests,” Journal of Politics 69, no. 3 (2007): 735–37; Alexander B. Downes and Todd S. Sechser, “The Illusion of Democratic Credibility,” International Organization 66, no. 3 (2012): 485; Jack Snyder and Erica D. Borghard, “The Cost of Empty Threats: A Penny, Not a Pound,” American Political Science Review 105, no. 3 (2011): 439–41; Marc Trachtenberg, “Audience Costs: An Historical Analysis,” Security Studies 21, no. 1 (2012): 37, 39–40. 33. For a summary of his findings, see Trachtenberg, “Audience Costs,” 40. See also Snyder and Borghard, “The Cost of Empty Threats,” 439. 34. Trachtenberg, “Audience Costs,” 36. For the argument that democracies are especially well placed to lie and spin, see Jonathan N. Brown and Anthony S. Marcum, “Avoiding Audience Costs: Domestic Political Accountability and Concessions in Crisis Diplomacy,” Security Studies 20, no. 2 (2011): 147–49. 35. Snyder and Borghard, “The Cost of Empty Threats,” 455. 36. The analysis here suggests that democracies are not especially adept at signaling their thinking during a crisis. I take this approach because audience costs theorists tend to focus on crises in their work. But my real interest is in signaling during peacetime. In this regard, it is worth noting that James Fearon, a prominent audience costs theorist, argues that it is harder to signal intentions well ahead of time than it is to signal resolve during a crisis. See James D. Fearon, “Signaling Foreign Policy Interests: Tying Hands versus Sinking Costs,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 41, no. 1 (1997): 71, 82–83. 37. For similar definitions, see Mark L. Haas, The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 1789–1989 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), 5; John M. Owen IV, “When Do Ideologies Produce Alliances? The Holy Roman Empire, 1517– 1555,” International Studies Quarterly 49, no. 1 (2005): 74. 38. Haas, The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 9. See also Stephen R. Rock, Why Peace Breaks Out: Great Power Rapprochement in Historical Perspective (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 9–11. 39. John M. Owen IV, “Transnational Liberalism and U.S. Primacy,” International Security 26, no. 3 (2001–2): 124–25. 40. Haas, The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 16–17. 41. Michael W. Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 1,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 12, no. 3 (1983): 213–15, 225–32; John M. Owen IV, Liberal Peace,

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Liberal War: American Politics and International Security (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 22–41. This is the normative logic used by some theorists to explain the finding that liberal democracies rarely fight each other. For arguments and evidence to the effect that communist states are unlikely to fight each other, see Margot Light, The Soviet Theory of International Relations (New York: St. Martin’s, 1988); Ido Oren and Jude Hays, “Democracies May Rarely Fight One Another, But Developed Socialist States Rarely Fight at All,” Alternatives 22, no. 4 (1997): 493–521. And for the claim that monarchies are likely to remain at peace with each other, see Stephen M. Walt, The Origins of Alliances (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987), 36–37. 42. Michael W. Doyle, “Liberalism and World Politics,” American Political Science Review 80, no. 4 (1986): 1161. 43. This definition relies on Stephen Van Evera, “Hypotheses on Nationalism and War,” International Security 18, no. 4 (1994): 6. 44. John J. Mearsheimer, “Back to the Future: Instability in Europe after the Cold War,” International Security 15, no. 1 (1990): 21. 45. Van Evera, “Hypotheses on Nationalism and War,” 13. 46. Kenneth N. Waltz, “Reflections on Theory of International Politics: A Reply to My Critics,” in Robert O. Keohane, ed., Neorealism and Its Critics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 329. 47. John Lukacs, The Last European War, September 1939/December 1941 (Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1976), 327. 48. Owen, “Transnational Liberalism and U.S. Primacy,” 124. 49. On the Prussian decision for war, see Quintin Barry, The Franco-Prussian War, 1870–1871 (Solihull, U.K.: Helion, 2007), 17–32; Geoffrey Wawro, The FrancoPrussian War: The German Conquest of France in 1870–1871 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 16–40. 50. Quoted in John Lewis Gaddis, Russia, the Soviet Union, and the United States: An Interpretative History (New York: J. Wiley, 1978), 149. 51. My ideology coding follows Alex Weisiger, “Ideology, Ideologues, and War” (unpublished manuscript, University of Pennsylvania, 2011), with two exceptions. First, I used Weisiger’s criteria to code Japan, which is not coded in his dataset. Second, I coded Weisiger’s “constitutional monarchies” as either liberal states or monarchies, using Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 1,” 209–17. For the most part, Doyle’s codings are clear. But he equivocates on Germany, coding it as liberal in domestic affairs—a coding confirmed by an analysis of the Varieties of Democracy dataset—but not in foreign affairs before World War I. See Varieties of Democracy, “V-Dem Data Set (v8),” http://www.v-dem.net; Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 1,” 216n8. I designated Germany as liberal for several reasons. One is that the ideological distance argument is based on states’ domestic ideologies (Haas, The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 1, 5). Another is that imperial Germany was perceived to be a liberal state before World War I (Ido Oren, “The Subjectivity of the ‘Democratic’

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Peace: Changing U.S. Perceptions of Imperial Germany,” International Security 20, no. 2 [1995]: 178–79). Yet another is that the Reichstag’s limited control over foreign policy made Germany little different from Britain and France, which are classified as liberal states (Christopher Layne, “Kant or Cant: The Myth of the Democratic Peace,” International Security 19, no. 2 [1994]: 42). This procedure yielded the following codings: Austria-Hungary, monarchy 1789–1918; Britain, monarchy 1789–1831, liberal 1832–1945; France, monarchy 1789, 1805–48, 1852– 71, liberal 1790–95, 1849–51, 1872–1940; Prussia/Germany, monarchy 1789– 1871, liberal 1872–1933, fascist 1934–45; Italy, monarchy 1861–78, liberal 1879–1922, fascist 1923–43; Japan, monarchy 1895–1945; Russia/Soviet Union, monarchy 1789–1917, communist 1918–90; United States, liberal 1898–. 52. For the wars and great power participants, see John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, updated ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2014), 349–50 (for 1789–1815); Correlates of War (COW), “Inter-State War Data Set (v4.0),” http:// www.correlatesofwar.org/ (for 1816–1990). 53. Mark Haas and John Owen find only ten cases of co-ideologues going to war against each other. Our results differ because Haas and Owen claim that France was not perceived as a monarchy in 1805 and that Germany was not perceived as a liberal state in 1914. See Mark L. Haas and John M. Owen IV, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” International Security 40, no. 3 (2015–16): 203–4. For reasons to doubt their methodology and their claims, see Frank McLynn, Napoleon: A Biography (New York: Arcade, 2002), 297; Oren, “The Subjectivity of the ‘Democratic’ Peace,” 147–84. It is worth noting that even if they are correct, shared ideology is still not a reliable indicator of benign intent. By their measure, well over one-quarter of the wars pitted co-ideologues against each other. 54. For the militarized disputes and participants, see COW, “Militarized Interstate Disputes (v4.0),” http://correlatesofwar.org/. 55. Note that my analysis of the interests arguments relies on data about actions (aggression or nonaggression) rather than intentions. The reason is that the former are available and the latter are not. I simply assume that actions reflect intentions. Although this will not always be the case, it is unlikely that there are enough anomalies to impact the findings in a significant way. 56. Layne, “Kant or Cant,” 5–49; Christopher Layne, “Lord Palmerston and the Triumph of Realism: Anglo-French Relations, 1830–48,” in Miriam F. Elman, ed., Paths to Peace: Is Democracy the Answer? (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997), 61–100. 57. COW, “Militarized Interstate Disputes (v4.0).” 58. Haas and Owen, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” 203; emphasis added. 59. Nigel Gould-Davies, “Rethinking the Role of Ideology in International Politics during the Cold War,” Journal of Cold War Studies 1, no. 1 (1999): 95. 60. Both liberals and communists, for example, allow that their ideologies can be spread and protected with or without violence. See Frederic S. Burin, “The Communist Doctrine of the Inevitability of War,” American Political Science Review 57,

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no. 2 (1963): 334–54; Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 1,” 232–33; Michael W. Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 2,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 12, no. 4 (1983): 324–37; Light, The Soviet Theory of International Relations, 131–32, 228, 330. 61. For the presumed hallmarks of civic nationalism, see David Brown, “Are There Good and Bad Nationalisms?” Nations and Nationalism 5, no. 2 (1999): 282–88. 62. Gretchen Schrock-Jacobson, “The Violent Consequences of the Nation: Nationalism and the Initiation of Interstate War,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 56, no. 5 (2012): 825–52. The data are available at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/suppl/10.1177/0022002712438354. To be clear, because nonnationalist and civic nationalist states have been more common in the historical record, this means that ethnic, revolutionary, and counterrevolutionary nationalist great powers are more likely to initiate wars. The fact remains, however, that nonnationalist and civic nationalist states have proved quite willing to go to war. 63. Stephen Van Evera, “Primed for Peace: Europe after the Cold War,” International Security 15, no. 3 (1990–91): 23–24, at 23. See also Mearsheimer, “Back to the Future,” 25. My claim that great power relations were unusually peaceful during this period relies on an analysis of all militarized disputes between 1840 and 1990. Not only were militarized disputes relatively infrequent from 1871 to 1900, but those disputes that did break out tended to be less severe than in other periods. For the relevant data, see COW, “Militarized Interstate Disputes (v4.0).” 64. Van Evera, “Hypotheses on Nationalism and War,” 27–28. 65. Schrock-Jacobson, “The Violent Consequences of the Nation,” 827–31. 66. Stephen Van Evera, “Why Cooperation Failed in 1914,” World Politics 38, no. 1 (1985): 85–87, 93–95. 67. On this point, see Barry R. Posen, “Nationalism, the Mass Army, and Military Power,” International Security 18, no. 2 (1993): 81–82; Jack Snyder, “The New Nationalism: Realist Interpretations and Beyond,” in Richard Rosecrance and Arthur A. Stein, eds., The Domestic Bases of Grand Strategy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), 185–86, 193–94; Van Evera, “Hypotheses on Nationalism and War,” 30–33. 68. Van Evera, “Why Cooperation Failed in 1914,” 85–87, 93–95. Shafer is quoted at 94. 69. On these points, see Owen, Liberal Peace, Liberal War, 41–43; Bruce M. Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post–Cold War World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 38–40; Schultz, “Domestic Opposition and Signaling in International Crises,” 831–32. 70. Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace, 40. See also Andrew H. Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 20–21. 71. Sebastian Rosato, “Explaining the Democratic Peace,” American Political Science Review 99, no. 3 (2005): 467. The constraint argument described here is one of the “institutional” logics used by theorists to explain why democracies rarely fight

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each other. For a summary of the various logics, see Sebastian Rosato, “The Flawed Logic of Democratic Peace Theory,” American Political Science Review 97, no. 4 (2003): 587. 72. Christopher Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion Revisited: The Coming End of the United States’ Unipolar Moment,” International Security 31, no. 2 (2006): 26. 73. Halford J. Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction (New York: H. Holt, 1942), 23. 74. Zeev Maoz and Bruce Russett, “Normative and Structural Causes of Democratic Peace, 1946–1986,” American Political Science Review 87, no. 3 (1993): 625. 75. Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 2,” 324. 76. Stephen L. Quackenbush and Michael Rudy, “Evaluating the Monadic Democratic Peace,” Conflict Management and Peace Science 26, no. 3 (2009): 282. 77. Bruce M. Russett, “Democracy, War and Expansion through Historical Lenses,” European Journal of International Relations 15, no. 1 (2009): 13. 78. Rosato, “The Flawed Logic of Democratic Peace Theory,” 594–96. 79. Dan Reiter and Allan C. Stam, Democracies at War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002), 19–25, at 21, and 144–63, at 162. 80. Andrew Moravcsik, “Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics,” International Organization 51, no. 4 (1997): 518. 81. Jack Snyder, Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 153–211, 255–304. 82. Kenneth A. Schultz, Democracy and Coercive Diplomacy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 167. 83. On costly signaling, see Fearon, “Signaling Foreign Policy Interests,” 68–90; James D. Morrow, “The Strategic Setting of Choices: Signaling, Commitment, and Negotiation in International Politics,” in David A. Lake and Robert Powell, eds., Strategic Choice and International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), 86–91. 84. For a similar argument, see Janice Gross Stein, “Reassurance in International Conflict Management,” Political Science Quarterly 106, no. 3 (1991): 443. Intentions optimists acknowledge the problem, at least implicitly. See, for example, Andrew H. Kydd, “Trust, Reassurance, and Cooperation,” International Organization 54, no. 2 (2000): 337–38, 340. 85. Intentions optimists theorize the effect of arms policies on states’ abilities to infer interests, not intentions. See Charles L. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics: The Logic of Competition and Cooperation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 37–39; Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 11–12. Here I modify their arguments so that they apply to intentions. 86. Andrew H. Kydd, “Game Theory and the Spiral Model,” World Politics 49, no. 3 (1997): 387. 87. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 66–67, 69–70. See also Robert Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics 30, no. 2 (1978): 200. 88. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 65–66.

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89. Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” 199. 90. Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), 64; Shiping Tang, “The Security Dilemma: A Conceptual Analysis,” Security Studies 18, no. 3 (2009): 594; Nicholas J. Wheeler and Ken Booth, “The Security Dilemma,” in John Baylis and N. J. Rengger, eds., Dilemmas of World Politics: International Issues in a Changing World (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 39. 91. Robert Jervis, “Dilemmas about Security Dilemmas,” Security Studies 20, no. 3 (2011): 420. 92. For a brief list of several possible interpretations of arming, see Robert Jervis, “Signaling and Perception: Drawing Inferences and Projecting Images,” in Kristen R. Monroe, ed., Political Psychology (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002), 302. 93. Charles L. Glaser and Andrew H. Kydd, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” International Security 40, no. 3 (2015–16): 200–201. 94. See, for example, Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 70–71; Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” 174–76. 95. Raymond L. Garthoff, “On Estimating and Imputing Intentions,” International Security 2, no. 3 (1978): 27–28, at 27. 96. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 68. See also George W. Downs and David M. Rocke, “Tacit Bargaining and Arms Control,” World Politics 39, no. 3 (1987): 298–99, 322; Evan Braden Montgomery, “Breaking Out of the Security Dilemma: Realism, Reassurance, and the Problem of Uncertainty,” International Security 31, no. 2 (2006): 158–60. Although arms policy theorists have tried to explain how this problem can be overcome, their arguments are unconvincing. One approach has been to assume that the state engaging in restraint—the signaler—is convinced that its counterpart is benign, so making itself vulnerable is not an especially dangerous move. But there is no explanation for the origins of this assumption. Indeed, it is at odds with the contention that aspiring signalers are uncertain about the intentions of others. See Montgomery, “Breaking Out of the Security Dilemma,” 161; Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 55–57. Another approach has been to say that signalers understand that large concessions will make them vulnerable to malign competitors, but make them anyway because this allows them to signal other benign states and avoid unnecessary conflicts with them. See Kydd, “Game Theory and the Spiral Model,” 388. It is not clear why this should be the case. It is equally likely that a benign state would prefer to be well prepared for a war with a malign state, even if this means an unnecessary conflict with another benign state. 97. George W. Downs, David M. Rocke, and Peter N. Barsoom, “Is the Good News about Compliance Good News about Cooperation?” International Organization 50, no. 3 (1996): 389–90. See also Joseph Kruzel, “From Rush-Bagot to START: The Lessons of Arms Control,” Orbis 30, no. 1 (1986): 203. 98. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 66, 247–50; Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” 195–96, 201.

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99. Sadao Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2006), 60–61, 89; Roger Dingman, Power in the Pacific: The Origins of Naval Arms Limitation, 1914–1922 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), 188; Ian Gow, Military Intervention in Pre-War Japanese Politics: Admiral Kato¯ Kanji and the ‘Washington System’ (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), 86–90; Ian Nish, Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002), 36. 100. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 74–79, 81; Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 248; Harold Sprout and Margaret Sprout, Toward a New Order of Sea Power: American Naval Policy and the World Scene, 1918–1922, 2d ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1943), 167–68. 101. For the claim that it was, see Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 67–68, 211–12; Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 232–33. 102. John J. Mearsheimer, “Numbers, Strategy, and the European Balance,” International Security 12, no. 4 (1988): 174–85, at 180n8. See also Frances M. Lussier et al., “U.S. Ground Forces and the Conventional Balance in Europe,” CBO Report (Washington, DC: GPO, 1988), xv, 36; William Mako, U.S. Ground Forces and the Defense of Central Europe (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1983), 101. 103. George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), 8, 14; Alan R. Collins, “GRIT, Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War,” Review of International Studies 24, no. 2 (1998): 210–11. 104. Richard A. Falkenrath, Shaping Europe’s Military Order: The Origins and Consequences of the CFE Treaty (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), 46–48. 105. Keir A. Lieber, War and the Engineers: The Primacy of Politics over Technology (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), 40–45. 106. Samuel Huntington, “U.S. Defense Strategy: The Strategic Innovations of the Reagan Years,” in Joseph Kruzel, ed., American Defense Annual, 1987–1988 (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1987), 36. See also Lieber, War and the Engineers, 34–45; John J. Mearsheimer, Conventional Deterrence (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983), 24–27. 107. Marion William Boggs, Attempts to Define and Limit “Aggressive” Armament in Diplomacy and Strategy (Columbia: University of Missouri, 1941), 44, 60. 108. George W. Downs, David M. Rocke, and Randolph M. Siverson, “Arms Races and Cooperation,” in Kenneth A. Oye, ed., Cooperation under Anarchy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), 138; emphasis removed. 109. B. J. C. McKercher, “Of Horns and Teeth: The Preparatory Commission and the World Disarmament Conference, 1926–34,” in McKercher, ed., Arms Limitation and Disarmament: Restraints on War, 1899–1939 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992), 173–201. See also E. H. Carr, The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919–1939 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1939), 74; Geoffrey Wiseman, Common Security and Non-Provocative Defence: Alternative Approaches to the Security Dilemma (Canberra: Peace Research Centre, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, 1989), 48–49.

NOTES TO PAGES 65–66

297

110. For these arguments, see Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 78; Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” 201–2; Stephen Van Evera, Causes of War: Power and the Roots of Conflict (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999), 152–60. 111. For a similar point, see Keir A. Lieber, “Mission Impossible: Measuring the Offense-Defense Balance with Military Net Assessment,” Security Studies 20, no. 3 (2011): 457–59. 112. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 67. 113. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 66, 265–67; Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” 201. 114. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 66. See also Downs, Rocke, and Barsoom, “Is the Good News about Compliance Good News about Cooperation?” 389. Kruzel notes that “what made ABM systems . . . ripe for arms control in the early 1970s was the growing realization that development of an effective ABM at least in the near future seemed out of reach for both the United States and the Soviet Union.” See Kruzel, “From Rush-Bagot to START,” 198. 115. On international institutions, see Keohane, After Hegemony, 57–61; Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” 8–9. As should be clear from this description, peace-promoting security institutions have much in common with collective security institutions. On the latter, see Richard Betts, “Systems for Peace or Causes of War? Collective Security, Arms Control, and the New Europe,” International Security 17, no. 1 (1992): 9–10; Charles A. Kupchan and Clifford A. Kupchan, “Concerts, Collective Security, and the Future of Europe,” International Security 16, no. 1 (1991): 116–20; Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions,” 28–30. 116. Ikenberry, After Victory, 69. 117. The institutionalist argument described here is based on Seth Weinberger, “Institutional Signaling and the Origins of the Cold War,” Security Studies 12, no. 4 (2003): 86–93. Although Weinberger offers the most comprehensive statement, others do gesture toward the argument. See, for example, G. John Ikenberry, “Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Persistence of American Postwar Order,” International Security 23, no. 3 (1998–99): 45, 51, 54–55, 59–62, 67–68; Charles A. Kupchan, “After Pax Americana: Benign Power, Regional Integration, and the Sources of a Stable Multipolarity,” International Security 23, no. 2 (1998): 45–50; Celeste A. Wallander, Mortal Friends, Best Enemies: GermanRussian Cooperation after the Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999), 24–27, 32–34; Celeste A. Wallander and Robert O. Keohane, “Risk, Threat, and Security Institutions,” in Helga Haftendorn, Robert O. Keohane, and Celeste A. Wallander, eds., Imperfect Unions: Security Institutions over Time and Space (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 30–32. 118. Weinberger, “Institutional Signaling and the Origins of the Cold War,” 88. 119. Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 203.

298

NOTES TO PAGES 66–68

120. Wallander, Mortal Friends, Best Enemies, 25. I am not interested in the information sent by states breaking institutional rules, only in the information that is transmitted by them in joining or exiting institutions. The reason is that if a state breaks the rules, then it engages in aggression, at which point it is actually acting, not merely intending to act. For the related argument that a state’s decision to channel its actions through an international institution signals benign intentions because the state is accepting constraints on its behavior, see Alexander Thompson, Channels of Power: The UN Security Council and U.S. Statecraft in Iraq (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009), 27–31. 121. On this point, see Fearon, “Bargaining, Enforcement, and International Cooperation,” 279, 285. Several analysts have noted that membership in security institutions has not required great powers to act in ways that are antithetical to their interests. See Charles Lipson, “Is the Future of Collective Security Like the Past?” in George W. Downs, ed., Collective Security beyond the Cold War (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994), 119; Susan Pedersen, “Back to the League of Nations,” American Historical Review 112, no. 4 (2007): 1095; Brian C. Rathbun, Trust in International Cooperation: International Security Institutions, Domestic Politics, and American Multilateralism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 112. 122. Matthew Rendall, “Russia, the Concert of Europe, and Greece, 1821–29: A Test of Hypotheses about the Vienna System,” Security Studies 9, no. 4 (2000): 87. British foreign secretary Viscount Castlereagh was particularly disappointed that the Treaty of Vienna did not contain a formal guarantee of peace. See Lipson, “Are Security Regimes Possible?” 9. 123. Richard B. Elrod, “The Concert of Europe: A Fresh Look at an International System,” World Politics 28, no. 2 (1976): 163. 124. Kupchan and Kupchan, “Concerts, Collective Security, and the Future of Europe,” 123. 125. Paul W. Schroeder, “Did the Vienna Settlement Rest on a Balance of Power?” American Historical Review 97, no. 3 (1992): 699. 126. Elrod, “The Concert of Europe,” 163–67; Korina Kagan, “The Myth of the European Concert: The Realist-Institutionalist Debate and Great Power Behavior in the Eastern Question, 1821–41,” Security Studies 7, no. 2 (1997–98): 18–20; Paul W. Schroeder, “The 19th-Century International System: Changes in the Structure,” World Politics 39, no. 1 (1986): 12–13. 127. International Peace Conference, The Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes (Boston, MA: American Peace Society, 1899), 2. 128. Barbara W. Tuchman, The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World before the War, 1890–1914 (New York: Macmillan, 1966), 264–65. 129. International Peace Conference, The Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, 2–3. 130. Lloyd E. Ambrosius, Wilsonianism: Woodrow Wilson and His Legacy in American Foreign Relations (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 53.

NOTES TO PAGES 68–71

299

131. On these points, see Ambrosius, Wilsonianism, 51–73; F. S. Northedge, The League of Nations: Its Life and Times, 1920–1946 (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1986), 46–69. 132. Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 5th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1973), 303–4. 133. This list includes all the nonaggression pacts that appear in both the COW and Alliance Treaty Obligations and Provisions (ATOP) datasets. See COW, “Formal Alliances (v4.1),” http://correlatesofwar.org; ATOP, “ATOP Data,” http://atop .rice.edu. I excluded the 1887 pact between Germany, Austria, and Italy, because it was restricted to the Mediterranean. 134. For details of the treaties, see Michael Hurst, ed., Key Treaties for the Great Powers, 1814–1914, vol. 1 (Newton Abbot, U.K.: David & Charles, 1972), 149–67 (Confederation); Secretariat of the League of Nations, League of Nations Treaty Series (Geneva: League of Nations, various), vol. 54 (1926–27), 289–301 (Rhineland), vol. 148 (1934), 319–29 (Soviet-Italian), vol. 157 (1935), 411–19 (Franco-Soviet); J. A. S. Grenville, The Major International Treaties, 1914–45 (New York: Methuen, 1987), 195–96 (Molotov-Ribbentrop). 135. Anthony Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery: France’s Bid for Power in Europe, 1914–1940 (New York: Arnold, 1995), 121. 136. Weinberger, “Institutional Signaling and the Origins of the Cold War,” 114. 137. Brandon Yoder and Kyle Haynes, “Always Inscrutable or Context-Dependent? A Critique of Sebastian Rosato’s ‘The Inscrutable Intentions of Great Powers,’ ” H-Diplo|ISSF Article Review 45 (2015): 6–7, https://issforum.org/ISSF/PDF /ISSF-AR45.pdf. 138. Glaser and Kydd, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” 199. 139. David M. Edelstein, “Managing Uncertainty: Beliefs about Intentions and the Rise of Great Powers,” Security Studies 12, no. 1 (2002): 10–12, at 10, 11. 140. On Bayes’s Rule, see James D. Morrow, Game Theory for Political Scientists (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 163–66. This 10–20 number assumes that a state has a prior belief that there is a 50:50 chance that a rival is benign or malign and then accumulates further pieces of evidence, each of which suggests that there is a greater than 50:50 chance that the rival has benign intentions. If all of those pieces suggest that there is a 60:40 chance that the rival is benign, the state would need 8 pieces of such evidence to be confident—that is, 95 percent certain—of the fact. It would need 15 pieces of 55:45 information and 37 pieces of 52:48 information. My thanks to Moritz Graefrath for these calculations. To be clear, I am skeptical that decision makers update their beliefs in the way described by Bayes’s rule. On this point, see Stephen M. Walt, “Rigor or Rigor Mortis? Rational Choice and Security Studies,” International Security 23, no. 4 (1999): 17–18. 141. Glaser and Kydd, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” 199–200. 142. Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 226. 143. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 9, 211.

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144. For these arguments, see chapter 6. 145. Optimists who note that future intentions are harder to divine than current intentions include David M. Edelstein, Over the Horizon: Time, Uncertainty, and the Rise of Great Powers (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017), 19–20; Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 111; Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 202; Alexander Wendt, “Social Theory as Cartesian Science: An Auto-Critique from a Quantum Perspective,” in Stefano Guzzini and Anna Leander, eds., Constructivism and International Relations: Alexander Wendt and His Critics (New York: Routledge, 2006), 211; Nicholas J. Wheeler, Trusting Enemies: Interpersonal Relationships in International Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 88–91, 276–80. 146. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 111. 147. Wendt, “Social Theory as Cartesian Science,” 211. 148. For an explicit statement that interests are fairly stable but intentions are changeable, see Jeffrey W. Legro, “What China Will Want: The Future Intentions of a Rising Power,” Perspectives on Politics 5, no. 3 (2007): 517. 149. Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 203–4; Kydd, “Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing,” 147–48. 150. Yoder and Haynes, “Always Inscrutable or Context-Dependent?” 7; emphasis removed. 151. The evidence he provides purports to show that great powers do not launch preventive wars for fear that others will change their intentions. It is not meant to show that states rarely change their intentions, which is the issue at stake here. See Kydd, “Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing,” 148–52. 152. See, for example, Glaser and Kydd, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” 197–202; Haas and Owen, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” 204–5, 207–8; Yoder and Haynes, “Always Inscrutable or Context-Dependent?” 2, 6.

Chapter 3. The Bismarck Era 1. Imanuel Geiss, German Foreign Policy, 1871–1914 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976), 26. 2. Bismarck, Dictated note, n.d., in W. N. Medlicott and Dorothy K. Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe (London: Edward Arnold, 1971), 178. 3. David M. Edelstein, Over the Horizon: Time, Uncertainty, and the Rise of Great Powers (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017), 40. 4. Mark L. Haas, The Ideological Origins of Great Power Politics, 1789–1989 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), 215–16. 5. Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), 146, 166. 6. Avery Goldstein, Rising to the Challenge: China’s Grand Strategy and International Security (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005), 205, 207. 7. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 47–48. 8. Mark L. Haas and John M. Owen IV, “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” International Security 40, no. 3 (2015–16): 205.

NOTES TO PAGES 75–80

301

9. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 42, 49–50, 56. 10. David M. Edelstein, “Managing Uncertainty: Beliefs about Intentions and the Rise of Great Powers,” Security Studies 12, no. 1 (2002): 21. 11. This description relies on George F. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order: Franco-Russian Relations, 1875–1890 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979), 11–23; William L. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 1871– 1890, 2d ed. (New York: Vintage, 1964), 3–58. 12. Barbara Jelavich, St. Petersburg and Moscow: Tsarist and Soviet Foreign Policy, 1814– 1974 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974), 157. 13. Otto von Bismarck, Bismarck, the Man and the Statesman: Being the Reflections and Reminiscences of Otto, Prince von Bismarck, vol. 2 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1899), 253. 14. Bascom B. Hayes, Bismarck and Mitteleuropa (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1994), 251, 279. 15. Otto Pflanze, Bismarck and the Development of Germany, vol. 2: The Period of Consolidation, 1871–1880 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990), 259. 16. Schweinitz, Commentaries, n.d., in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 82. 17. Winifred Taffs, “Conversations between Lord Odo Russell and Andrássy, Bismarck and Gorchakov in September, 1872,” Slavonic and East European Review 8, no. 24 (1930): 704–6. 18. George Kent, Arnim and Bismarck (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), 121. 19. Dietrich Geyer, Russian Imperialism: The Interaction of Domestic and Foreign Policy, 1860–1914 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977), 58. 20. Erich Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1950), 193. 21. Lothar Gall, Bismarck: The White Revolutionary, vol. 2: 1871–1898 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1986), 43. 22. Pflanze, Bismarck and the Development of Germany, 259. 23. Taffs, “Conversations between Lord Odo Russell and Andrássy, Bismarck and Gorchakov in September, 1872,” 707. 24. A. Meyendorff, “Conversations of Gorchakov with Andrássy and Bismarck in 1872,” Slavonic and East European Review 8, no. 23 (1929): 401. 25. William C. Fuller, Jr., Strategy and Power in Russia, 1600–1914 (New York: Free Press, 1992), 293. 26. F. R. Bridge, The Habsburg Monarchy among the Great Powers, 1815–1918 (New York: Berg, 1990), 381. On this point, see Hayes, Bismarck and Mitteleuropa, 298. 27. William A. Gauld, “The ‘Dreikaiserbündnis’ and the Eastern Question, 1871–6,” English Historical Review 40, no. 158 (1925): 212. 28. Gordon A. Craig, Germany, 1866–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 104. 29. Hayes, Bismarck and Mitteleuropa, 300–301, 304–5, at 305. 30. Joseph V. Fuller, “The War-Scare of 1875,” American Historical Review 24, no. 2 (1919): 200.

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31. E. Malcolm Carroll, Germany and the Great Powers, 1866–1914: A Study in Public Opinion and Foreign Policy (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1938), 114. 32. Jonathan Steinberg, Bismarck: A Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 351. 33. Winifred Taffs, “The War Scare of 1875 (II),” Slavonic and East European Review 9, no. 27 (1931): 635nn12–13. 34. Pflanze, Bismarck and the Development of Germany, 491. 35. Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 79. 36. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 39, 43. 37. Fuller, “The War-Scare of 1875,” 205. 38. Carroll, Germany and the Great Powers, 116. 39. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 43. 40. Fuller, “The War-Scare of 1875,” 209. 41. Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire, 219–20. 42. Katharine A. Lerman, Bismarck (Harlow: Pearson Longman, 2004), 210. 43. F. R. Bridge, From Sadowa to Sarajevo: The Foreign Policy of Austria-Hungary, 1866–1914 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972), 66. 44. Moritz Busch, Our Chancellor: Sketches for a Historical Picture, vol. 1, trans. William Beatty-Kingston (London: Macmillan, 1884), 271. 45. Nicholas Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 1870–1879: From the Battle of Sedan to the Dual Alliance (London: Associated University Presses, 1976), 242. 46. This description relies on Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 27– 73; Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 59–197. 47. Russell to Derby, 2 January 1876, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 95–96. 48. Bismarck to Bülow, 14 August 1876, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 97. 49. Gall, Bismarck, 49–50. 50. Pflanze, Bismarck and the Development of Germany, 422. 51. Hayes, Bismarck and Mitteleuropa, 320–21. 52. Bismarck to Schweinitz, 24 January 1877, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 100. 53. Gyula Andrássy, Diplomacy and the War (London: John Bale, Sons & Danielsson, 1921), 116. 54. Russell to Derby, 2 January 1876, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 95–96. 55. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 97. 56. Schweinitz, Commentaries, n.d., in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 99. 57. Bismarck, Dictated note, 15 June 1877, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 102–13. 58. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 219.

NOTES TO PAGES 85–88

303

59. W. N. Medlicott, “Diplomatic Relations after the Congress of Berlin,” Slavonic and East European Review 8, no. 22 (1929): 72. 60. Bismarck, Speech to the German Reichstag, 19 February 1878, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 103–4. 61. Gall, Bismarck, 54. 62. Kissinger, Diplomacy, 156. 63. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 283. 64. David A. Rich, The Tsar’s Colonels: Professionalism, Strategy, and Subversion in Late Imperial Russia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 120, 134–35; emphasis removed. All translations from French are my own. 65. Gall, Bismarck, 50. 66. Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 93; Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire, 247. 67. Gall, Bismarck, 50. 68. Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire, 247. 69. Carroll, Germany and the Great Powers, 138. 70. Carroll, Germany and the Great Powers, 139. 71. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 208. 72. Steinberg, Bismarck, 357. 73. Barbara Jelavich, A Century of Russian Foreign Policy, 1814–1914 (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1964), 185–86. 74. Craig, Germany, 113. 75. William H. Brennan, “The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Alliance with Germany, 1878–1884: A Reappraisal,” Russian History 1, no. 1 (1974): 20n6. 76. W. N. Medlicott, “Bismarck and the Three Emperors’ Alliance, 1881–87,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 27, no. 1 (1945): 64. 77. Shuvalov to Giers, 7/19 June 1878, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 105. 78. J. Y. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1929), 56. 79. Gall, Bismarck, 58. 80. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 274. 81. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 71. 82. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 277. 83. Hayes, Bismarck and Mitteleuropa, 347. 84. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 292. 85. Schweinitz, Commentaries, n.d., in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 113–14. 86. Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire, 263. 87. Pflanze, Bismarck and the Development of Germany, 502. 88. Gall, Bismarck, 117. 89. Patricia A. Weitsman, Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004), 68.

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NOTES TO PAGES 88–93

90. Geiss, German Foreign Policy, 36. 91. Bismarck to Wilhelm, 31 August 1879, in Michael Stürmer, ed., Bismarck und die preußisch-deutsche Politik, 1871–1890 (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch, 1978), 144–45. All translations from German are my own. 92. Bismarck to Wilhelm, 7 September 1879, in Geiss, German Foreign Policy, 183–84. 93. Bismarck to Wilhelm, 7 September 1879, in Geiss, German Foreign Policy, 185. 94. Brennan, “The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Alliance with Germany,” 20n6. 95. Moritz Busch, Bismarck: Some Secret Pages of His History, Being a Diary Kept by Dr. Moritz Busch during Twenty-Five Years’ Official and Private Intercourse with the Great Chancellor, vol. 2 (New York: Macmillan, 1898), 222. 96. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 274. 97. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 193. 98. Bismarck, Bismarck, the Man and the Statesman, 262–63. 99. Bismarck to Wilhelm, 15 September 1879, in Stürmer, ed., Bismarck und die preußisch-deutsche Politik, 149. 100. Brennan, “The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Alliance with Germany,” 20n6. 101. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 186. 102. Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire, 267. 103. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia, 72. 104. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 192. 105. Medlicott, “Bismarck and the Three Emperors’ Alliance,” 64–65. 106. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia, 61–62. 107. Brennan, “The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Alliance with Germany,” 22. 108. Medlicott, “Bismarck and the Three Emperors’ Alliance,” 65. 109. Jomini to Giers, 17 September 1879, in Charles Jelavich and Barbara Jelavich, “Jomini and the Revival of the Dreikaiserbund, 1879–1880,” Slavonic and East European Review 35, no. 85 (1957): 535. 110. Jomini to Giers, 23 September 1879, in Jelavich and Jelavich, “Jomini and the Revival of the Dreikaiserbund,” 536. 111. Fuller, Strategy and Power in Russia, 330. 112. Jomini to Giers, 28 October 1879, in Jelavich and Jelavich, “Jomini and the Revival of the Dreikaiserbund,” 540. 113. Brennan, “The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Alliance with Germany,” 24. 114. This description relies on Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 73–82; Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 197–250, 323–45. 115. Hajo Holborn, A History of Modern Germany, 1840–1945 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969), 242. 116. Draft of a General Instruction for the Attitude of German Policy in Eastern Affairs, 7 November 1880, in E. T. S. Dugdale, ed., German Diplomatic Documents,

NOTES TO PAGES 93–97

117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125. 126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133. 134. 135. 136. 137. 138. 139. 140. 141. 142.

305

1871–1914, vol. 1: Bismarck’s Relations with England, 1871–1890 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1928), 154. Bismarck to Wilhelm, 15 June 1881, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 126. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 193. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia, 125. Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 109. Bismarck to Wilhelm, 15 June 1881, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 126. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia, 100, 103–4. Schweinitz to Bismarck, 5 December 1880, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 122–23. W. N. Medlicott, Bismarck, Gladstone, and the Concert of Europe (London: Athlone, 1956), 244. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 195. Bismarck to Reuss, 29 January 1880, in Dugdale, ed., German Diplomatic Documents, 106–7. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia, 104, 116–17, 125. Haymerle, Memorandum, 30 May 1880, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 121. Haymerle to Franz Joseph, 9 September 1880, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 121. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia, 173–74; emphasis removed. Schweinitz to Bismarck, 5 December 1880, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 122–23. Ernst Engelberg, Bismarck: Sturm über Europa (Munich: Pantheon, 2017), 663. Bridge, From Sadowa to Sarajevo, 129; George Kent, Bismarck and His Times (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1978), 115. Busch to Reuss, 28 February 1882, in Dugdale, ed., German Diplomatic Documents, 115. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 240. Medlicott, Bismarck, Gladstone, and the Concert of Europe, 331; emphasis removed. A. J. P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848–1918 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954), 278. Hayes, Bismarck and Mitteleuropa, 390. Carroll, Germany and the Great Powers, 169. Christoph Nonn, Bismarck: Ein Preuße und sein Jahrhundert (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2015), 307. Brennan, “The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Alliance with Germany,” 24– 25. Fuller, Strategy and Power in Russia, 330–31.

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NOTES TO PAGES 97–101

143. Kálnocky to Haymerle, 5 November 1879, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 119. 144. Jomini to Giers, 31 October 1879, in Jelavich and Jelavich, “Jomini and the Revival of the Dreikaiserbund,” 541. 145. Fuller, Strategy and Power in Russia, 331. 146. Jomini to Giers, 7 September 1880, in Jelavich and Jelavich, “Jomini and the Revival of the Dreikaiserbund,” 546. 147. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia, 169. For the argument that Saburov was in a minority, see Medlicott, Bismarck, Gladstone, and the Concert of Europe, 38, 242. 148. Medlicott, “Bismarck and the Three Emperors’ Alliance,” 78. 149. Jomini to Giers, 7 September 1880, in Jelavich and Jelavich, “Jomini and the Revival of the Dreikaiserbund,” 546. 150. Fuller, Strategy and Power in Russia, 331. 151. Medlicott, “Bismarck and the Three Emperors’ Alliance,” 78. 152. Giers to Mohrenheim, 6 August 1883, in Alexandre Meyendorff, ed., Correspondance diplomatique du Baron de Staal (1884–1900), vol. 1 (Paris: Librairie Marcel Rivière, 1929), 15. 153. Serge Gorianov, “The End of the Alliance of the Emperors,” American Historical Review 23, no. 2 (1918): 328–29. 154. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 81. 155. For the argument that the European great powers were focused on colonial matters in 1884 and 1885, see Lerman, Bismarck, 214–17; Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 132–36. 156. This description relies on Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 120–54, 170–219, 239–410; Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 345– 506. 157. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 242–44. 158. Geyer, Russian Imperialism, 119. 159. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 214. 160. Gorianov, “The End of the Alliance of the Emperors,” 336. 161. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 278. 162. Schweinitz to Bismarck, 23 November 1886, in Dugdale, ed., German Diplomatic Documents, 233. 163. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 214. 164. Rantzau, Memorandum, 27 November 1886, in Dugdale, ed., German Diplomatic Documents, 263–64. 165. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 214. 166. Fritz Stern, Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichröder, and the Building of the German Empire (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977), 441. 167. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 258. 168. Hans-Christof Kraus, Bismarck: Größe—Grenzen—Leistungen (Stuttgart: KlettCotta, 2015), 290.

NOTES TO PAGES 101–105

307

169. Bismarck to Schellendorff, 24 December 1886, in Stürmer, ed., Bismarck und die preußisch-deutsche Politik, 217; emphasis removed. 170. Engelberg, Bismarck, 740. 171. Busch, Bismarck, 402. 172. Craig, Germany, 125–26. 173. Bismarck to Hatzfeldt, 3 January 1887, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 160. 174. Bismarck to Radowitz, 17 February 1887, in Dugdale, ed., German Diplomatic Documents, 236. 175. Staal to Giers, 3 March 1887, in Meyendorff, ed., Correspondance diplomatique du Baron de Staal, 334. 176. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 337–38. 177. Gordon A. Craig, From Bismarck to Adenauer: Aspects of German Statecraft, rev. ed. (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1965), 19. 178. Bismarck to Wilhelm, 28 July 1887, in Stürmer, ed., Bismarck und die preußischdeutsche Politik, 239. 179. Franz Herre, Bismarck: Der preußische Deutsche (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1991), 422. 180. Joseph V. Fuller, Bismarck’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1922), 202. 181. Engelberg, Bismarck, 753. 182. Francesco Crispi, The Memoirs of Francesco Crispi, vol. 2: The Triple Alliance, trans. Mary Prichard-Agnetti (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1912), 212. 183. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 344. 184. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 351–52. 185. Crispi, The Memoirs of Francesco Crispi, 262–63. 186. Bismarck to Salisbury, 22 November 1887, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 166. 187. Bismarck to Reuss, 15 December 1887, in Stürmer, ed., Bismarck und die preußisch-deutsche Politik, 245; emphasis removed. 188. Bismarck to Schellendorf, 30 December 1887, in Stürmer, ed., Bismarck und die preußisch-deutsche Politik, 248–49. 189. Kuno Francke, ed., The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, vol. 10 (New York: German Publication Society, 1913–14), 257–58, 270–71, 274– 75. 190. Bismarck to Hatzfeldt, 30 June 1889, in Dugdale, ed., German Diplomatic Documents, 386. 191. Crispi, The Memoirs of Francesco Crispi, 410. 192. Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 178. 193. Geiss, German Foreign Policy, 54. 194. Fuller, Bismarck’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 167. 195. Staal to Giers, 9 March 1887, in Meyendorff, ed., Correspondance diplomatique du Baron de Staal, 331.

308

NOTES TO PAGES 105–109

196. Geyer, Russian Imperialism, 173–74. 197. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 57. 198. Gorianov, “The End of the Alliance of the Emperors,” 332. 199. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 253, 273. 200. Geyer, Russian Imperialism, 173–74. 201. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 251. 202. Medlicott, “Bismarck and the Three Emperors’ Alliance,” 81. 203. Stern, Gold and Iron, 311–12. 204. Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire, 296. 205. Fuller, Bismarck’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 289. 206. Steinberg, Bismarck, 431. 207. Fuller, Bismarck’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 263. 208. Eyck, Bismarck and the German Empire, 295. 209. Fuller, Bismarck’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 289. 210. Giers to Shuvalov, 15 June 1888, in Meyendorff, ed., Correspondance diplomatique du Baron de Staal, 429. 211. Crispi, The Memoirs of Francesco Crispi, 345. 212. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 398. 213. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 496. 214. Gordon A. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army, 1640–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964), 219–43; Martin Kitchen, A Military History of Germany from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), 149–50. 215. These figures are based on German military expenditures in 1872–74, 1882–84, and 1888–90. For the data, see Correlates of War (COW), “National Material Capabilities Data Set (v5.0),” http://www.correlatesofwar.org/. 216. Volker R. Berghahn, Imperial Germany, 1871–1914: Economy, Society, Culture, and Politics (Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1994), 265. 217. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army, 273–76; Kitchen, A Military History of Germany from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day, 136–39. 218. Holborn, A History of Modern Germany, 240–41, at 241, and 243, 247–48. 219. Bismarck, Dictated note, 15 June 1877, in Medlicott and Coveney, eds., Bismarck and Europe, 102–3. 220. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 213. 221. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 176, 213, 219, 283. 222. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia, 74. 223. Busch, Bismarck, 226. 224. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 72. 225. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 180. 226. Simpson, The Saburov Memoirs or Bismarck and Russia, 74. 227. Weitsman, Dangerous Alliances, 68. 228. Steinberg, Bismarck, 386. 229. Bagdasarian, The Austro-German Rapprochement, 295.

NOTES TO PAGES 109–117

309

230. Busch, Bismarck, 223. 231. Bismarck, Bismarck, the Man and the Statesman, 273–82. 232. Bruce W. Menning, Bayonets before Bullets: The Imperial Russian Army, 1861–1914 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), 6–50. 233. Robert F. Baumann, “The Russian Army, 1853–1881,” in Robin Higham and Frederick Kagan, eds., The Military History of Tsarist Russia (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 140–44; Fuller, Strategy and Power in Russia, 285, 295–308, at 296; Menning, Bayonets before Bullets, 18–23, at 19. 234. Fuller, Strategy and Power in Russia, 338–50; Menning, Bayonets before Bullets, 87–122; Rich, The Tsar’s Colonels, 161–91, at 161. 235. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 155–410; Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 323–506; Laurence B. Packard, “Russia and the Dual Alliance,” American Historical Review 25, no. 3 (1920): 391–410. 236. Packard, “Russia and the Dual Alliance,” 394. 237. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, 157, 209–10, 405. 238. Packard, “Russia and the Dual Alliance,” 401. 239. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 31–55, 109–10, 365–407.

Chapter 4. The Great Rapprochement 1. Kori Schake, Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017), 1. On this point, see also Srdjan Vucetic, The Anglosphere: A Genealogy of a Racialized Identity in International Relations (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011), 24. 2. Michael W. Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 1,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 12, no. 3 (1983): 234. 3. Bradford Perkins, The Great Rapprochement: England and the United States, 1895– 1914 (New York: Atheneum, 1968), 6. 4. Daniel M. Kliman, Fateful Transitions: How Democracies Manage Rising Powers, from the Eve of World War I to China’s Ascendance (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 32, 42–46, at 42, 45–46. 5. Charles A. Kupchan, How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 105–6. 6. Kupchan, How Enemies Become Friends, 78–85, at 79, 81–82, 84, 102–7. 7. Stephen R. Rock, Why Peace Breaks Out: Great Power Rapprochement in Historical Perspective (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 48–56, at 54, 56. 8. David Edelstein, Over the Horizon: Time, Uncertainty, and the Rise of Great Powers (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017), 88–92, at 91, 92. 9. This description relies on A. E. Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 1895–1903 (London: Longmans, 1960), 11–47; Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 12–30. On the Olney-Pauncefote Treaty specifically, see Nelson M. Blake, “The Olney-Pauncefote Treaty of 1897,” American Historical Review 50, no. 2 (1945): 228–43.

310

NOTES TO PAGES 117–120

10. Walter LaFeber, The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion, 1860– 1898 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1963), 251; David A. Wells, “Great Britain and the United States: Their True Relations,” North American Review 162, no. 473 (1896): 388. 11. Wells, “Great Britain and the United States,” 388. 12. LaFeber, The New Empire, 251. 13. Henry Cabot Lodge, “Our Blundering Foreign Policy,” Forum 19, no. 2 (1895): 9, 12, 17. 14. Henry Cabot Lodge, “England, Venezuela, and the Monroe Doctrine,” North American Review 160, no. 463 (1895): 658. 15. On the Corinto affair, see Nelson M. Blake, “Background of Cleveland’s Venezuela Policy,” American Historical Review 47, no. 2 (1942): 263–65. 16. Marshall Bertram, The Birth of Anglo-American Friendship: The Prime Facet of the Venezuela Boundary Dispute: A Study of the Interreaction of Diplomacy and Public Opinion (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1992), 28. 17. Wells, “Great Britain and the United States,” 388. 18. Blake, “Background of Cleveland’s Venezuela Policy,” 265. 19. John Bach McMaster, “The Origin, Meaning, and Application of the Monroe Doctrine,” New York Times, 2 January 1896. 20. Stephen R. Rock, Appeasement in International Politics (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2000), 39. 21. Olney to Bayard, 20 July 1895, in Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1895, vol. 1 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1896), 545–62, at 554, 555, 558. 22. Lodge, “Our Blundering Foreign Policy,” 16. 23. Edward Crapol, America for Americans: Economic Nationalism and Anglophobia in the Late Nineteenth Century (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1973), 211. 24. Lodge, “England, Venezuela, and the Monroe Doctrine,” 658. 25. John A. S. Grenville and George B. Young, Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy: Studies in Foreign Policy, 1873–1917 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1966), 230. 26. Howard K. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1956), 86. 27. Stuart Anderson, Race and Rapprochement: Anglo-Saxonism and Anglo-American Relations, 1895–1904 (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1981), 97–98. 28. Thomas A. Bailey, A Diplomatic History of the American People, 5th ed. (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1955), 488–89. 29. Allan Nevins, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1932), 648. 30. Ernest R. May, Imperial Democracy: The Emergence of America as a Great Power (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1961), 41; LaFeber, The New Empire, 262. 31. Olney to Bayard, 20 July 1895, in FRUS, 1895, vol. 1, 558.

NOTES TO PAGES 120–125

311

32. George T. Davis, A Navy Second to None: The Development of Modern American Naval Policy (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1940), 83, 97. 33. Grenville and Young, Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy, 228. 34. Schake, Safe Passage, 159–60. 35. Davis, A Navy Second to None, 97–98. 36. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 85. 37. H. C. Allen, Great Britain and the United States: A History of Anglo-American Relations (1783–1952) (New York: St. Martin’s, 1955), 599. 38. Lodge, “England, Venezuela, and the Monroe Doctrine,” 658. 39. Message of the President, 2 December 1895, in FRUS, 1895, vol. 1, 545. 40. Bailey, A Diplomatic History of the American People, 485–86. 41. Bertram, The Birth of Anglo-American Friendship, 28–29. 42. Rock, Appeasement in International Politics, 38. 43. Blake, “Background of Cleveland’s Venezuela Policy,” 274–75. 44. Grenville and Young, Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy, 174. 45. Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 16. 46. Iestyn Adams, Brothers across the Ocean: British Foreign Policy and the Origins of the Anglo-American “Special Relationship,” 1900–1905 (London: I. B. Tauris, 2005), 12. 47. Crapol, America for Americans, 192, 209. 48. T. G. Otte, The Foreign Office Mind: The Making of British Foreign Policy, 1865–1914 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 232. 49. Jennie Sloan, “Anglo-American Relations and the Venezuelan Boundary Dispute,” Hispanic American Historical Review 18, no. 4 (1938): 494–95. 50. Anderson, Race and Rapprochement, 97. 51. Charles S. Campbell, The Transformation of American Foreign Relations, 1865–1900 (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 210. 52. Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 26. 53. Kenneth Bourne, Britain and the Balance of Power in North America, 1815–1908 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), 340. 54. Anne Orde, The Eclipse of Great Britain: The United States and British Imperial Decline, 1895–1956 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1996), 23. 55. Bourne, Britain and the Balance of Power in North America, 339–40. 56. Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 31. 57. Orde, The Eclipse of Great Britain, 24. 58. Bertram, The Birth of Anglo-American Friendship, 82–83. 59. Anderson, Race and Rapprochement, 101. 60. Sloan, “Anglo-American Relations and the Venezuelan Boundary Dispute,” 499. 61. Rock, Appeasement in International Politics, 27. 62. Bertram, The Birth of Anglo-American Friendship, 83. 63. Rock, Appeasement in International Politics, 30–31; Grenville and Young, Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy, 170–71. 64. Arthur J. Marder, The Anatomy of British Sea Power: A History of British Naval Policy in the Pre-Dreadnought Era, 1880–1905 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1940), 255–56.

312

NOTES TO PAGES 125–129

65. Rock, Appeasement in International Politics, 30. 66. May, Imperial Democracy, 50. 67. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 81–82. 68. Grenville and Young, Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy, 173. 69. This description is based on Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 127– 55; Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 31–63. 70. Charles S. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 1898–1903 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1957), 125. 71. Richard Olney, International Isolation of the United States (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1898), 11–12. 72. For a similar point, see Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 127. 73. Kenton J. Clymer, John Hay: The Gentleman as Diplomat (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1975), 120. 74. Anderson, Race and Rapprochement, 118. 75. Charles S. Campbell, “Anglo-American Relations, 1897–1901,” in Paolo E. Coletta, ed., Threshold to American Internationalism: Essays on the Foreign Policies of William McKinley (New York: Exposition, 1970), 229. 76. On Anglo-Saxonism and colonialism, see Paul A. Kramer, “Empires, Exceptions, and Anglo-Saxons: Race and Rule between the British and United States Empires, 1880–1910,” Journal of American History 88, no. 4 (2002): 1315–53. 77. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 125. 78. Olney, International Isolation of the United States, 12. 79. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 47. 80. Orde, The Eclipse of Great Britain, 31–32. 81. Allen, Great Britain and the United States, 566. 82. John Charmley, Splendid Isolation? Britain, the Balance of Power and the Origins of the First World War (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1999), 261–62; J. A. S. Grenville, Lord Salisbury and Foreign Policy: The Close of the Nineteenth Century (London: Athlone, 1964), 202. 83. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 47. 84. Anderson, Race and Rapprochement, 152–53. 85. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 49; R. G. Neale, Great Britain and United States Expansion, 1898–1900 (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1966), 158. 86. Campbell, “Anglo-American Relations,” 227. 87. Anderson, Race and Rapprochement, 130–31. 88. Lionel M. Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship: A Study in World Politics, 1898–1906 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1938), 61–62. 89. Report by Captain Siegel, 28 June 1899, in E. T. S. Dugdale, ed., German Diplomatic Documents, 1871–1914, vol. 3: The Growing Antagonism, 1898–1910 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1930), 80. 90. May, Imperial Democracy, 32. 91. This description relies on Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 48–88; Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 173–85.

NOTES TO PAGES 129–135

313

92. J. A. S. Grenville, “Great Britain and the Isthmian Canal, 1898–1901,” American Historical Review 61, no. 1 (1955): 48. 93. Grenville, “Great Britain and the Isthmian Canal,” 56. 94. Campbell, “Anglo-American Relations,” 242; Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 48. 95. Orde, The Eclipse of Great Britain, 18–19. 96. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 103. 97. Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 54. 98. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 103. 99. Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 54–55. 100. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 109–10. For the claim that these comments were a classic statement of Senate reasoning, see Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 55. 101. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 102. 102. Allen, Great Britain and the United States, 600; Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 48–49. 103. Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 56; Orde, The Eclipse of Great Britain, 18–19. 104. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 107. 105. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 108. 106. Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 88, 90. 107. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 143. 108. R. B. Mowat, The Life of Lord Pauncefote: First Ambassador to the United States (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1929), 277–78. 109. Orde, The Eclipse of Great Britain, 17. 110. Aaron L. Friedberg, The Weary Titan: Britain and the Experience of Relative Decline, 1895–1905 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988), 165. 111. Bourne, Britain and the Balance of Power in North America, 348. 112. Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 62. 113. David H. Burton, British-American Diplomacy, 1895–1917: Early Years of the Special Relationship (Malabar, FL: Krieger, 1999), 30–31; Grenville, “Great Britain and the Isthmian Canal,” 60–61. 114. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 190. 115. Grenville, “Great Britain and the Isthmian Canal,” 61. 116. Rock, Why Peace Breaks Out, 34. 117. Anderson, Race and Rapprochement, 144–45. 118. Grenville and Young, Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy, 307. The argument in this paragraph is based on Friedberg, The Weary Titan, 168–70, 205–6; Grenville and Young, Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy, 307–8; Schake, Safe Passage, 163–64. 119. George Monger, The End of Isolation: British Foreign Policy, 1900–1907 (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1963), 72. 120. Friedberg, The Weary Titan, 173. 121. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 83–84, at 83.

314

NOTES TO PAGES 135–141

122. Friedberg, The Weary Titan, 165. 123. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 190; Rock, Appeasement in International Politics, 33. 124. Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery (New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1976), 212. 125. Bourne, Britain and the Balance of Power in North America, 350. 126. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 238. 127. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 357. 128. Anderson, Race and Rapprochement, 144. 129. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 79–82, 88–93, at 88, 91. 130. Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 102–3. 131. Interestingly, the source Gelber (The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 103) cites simply says that the United States can be counted on to keep Germany out of the Western Hemisphere. See Bertie Memorandum, 9 November 1901, in G. P. Gooch and Harold Temperley, eds., British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898–1914, vol. 2: From the Occupation of Kiao-Chau to the Making of the Anglo-French Entente, December 1897–April 1904 (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1928), 75. 132. Grenville, “Great Britain and the Isthmian Canal,” 59. 133. Otte, The Foreign Office Mind, 272. 134. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 107. 135. This description relies on Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 89–126; Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 162–73. 136. Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 166–67. 137. Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 138, 150. 138. Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 111, 115. 139. Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 45, 140. 140. Clymer, John Hay, 191–92. 141. Thomas A. Bailey, “Theodore Roosevelt and the Alaska Boundary Settlement,” Canadian Historical Review 18, no. 2 (1937): 125. 142. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 114. 143. Alan Dobson, Anglo-American Relations in the Twentieth Century: Of Friendship, Conflict and the Rise and Decline of Superpowers (London: Routledge, 1995), 24. 144. Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 139. 145. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 85. 146. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 115. 147. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 341. 148. Allen, Great Britain and the United States, 567. 149. Campbell, Anglo-American Understanding, 341, 347. 150. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 99. 151. Beale, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rise of America to World Power, 130. 152. Bailey, “Theodore Roosevelt and the Alaska Boundary Settlement,” 128–29. 153. On Alverstone’s instructions, see Bailey, “Theodore Roosevelt and the Alaska Boundary Settlement,” 129; Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 158.

NOTES TO PAGES 141–146

315

154. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, 211; emphasis removed. 155. Richard A. Preston, The Defence of the Undefended Border: Planning for War in North America, 1867–1939 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1977), 153–54, at 153. 156. Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 164. 157. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 98–100, 102, 109, 122. 158. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 105, 121. 159. Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 121. On Parliament’s approval, see Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 171. 160. Clymer, John Hay, 196. 161. For an overview of Anglo-American relations in the Far East, see Campbell, Great Britain and the United States, 156–85. On the Russo-Japanese War, see Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 187–222. 162. The phrase is from A. E. Campbell, “Great Britain and the United States in the Far East, 1895–1903,” Historical Journal 1, no. 2 (1958): 154. Campbell disagrees with this characterization. 163. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 88. 164. Richard H. Heindel, The American Impact on Great Britain, 1898–1914: A Study of the United States in World History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1940), 74. 165. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 91. 166. Anderson, Race and Rapprochement, 127. 167. Gelber, The Rise of Anglo-American Friendship, 13. 168. Neale, Great Britain and United States Expansion, 170–71. 169. Charles S. Campbell, From Revolution to Rapprochement: The United States and Great Britain, 1783–1900 (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1974), 198–99. 170. Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 213, 215–16. 171. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 172. 172. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 88. 173. Campbell, “Great Britain and the United States in the Far East,” 161. 174. Monger, The End of Isolation, 14. 175. Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 216–17. 176. Marder, The Anatomy of British Sea Power, 427. 177. Monger, The End of Isolation, 124–25, 131. 178. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 185. 179. Charmley, Splendid Isolation? 310. 180. Anderson, Race and Rapprochement, 170–71. 181. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 191. 182. Allen, Great Britain and the United States, 616. 183. Monger, The End of Isolation, 181. 184. Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 223–24, at 223. 185. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 205–22. 186. Burton, British-American Diplomacy, 49. 187. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 218.

316

188. 189. 190. 191.

NOTES TO PAGES 146–151

Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 227. Campbell, “Great Britain and the United States in the Far East,” 175. Adams, Brothers across the Ocean, 221. Correlates of War (COW), “National Material Capabilities Data Set (v5.0),” http://www.correlatesofwar.org/. COW reports military expenditures in British pounds. For the relevant exchange rates in 1895 and 1903, see Susan B. Carter et al., Historical Statistics of the United States (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), hsus.cambridge.org/. 192. Friedberg, The Weary Titan, 153. 193. Bourne, Britain and the Balance of Power in North America, 381. 194. COW, “National Material Capabilities Data Set (v5.0)”; Friedberg, The Weary Titan, 153; Marder, The Anatomy of British Sea Power, 548. 195. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 72, 89. 196. Davis, A Navy Second to None, 110. 197. This description relies on Bourne, Britain and the Balance of Power in North America, 352–401; Samuel F. Wells, Jr., “British Strategic Withdrawal from the Western Hemisphere, 1904–1906,” Canadian Historical Review 49, no. 4 (1968): 335–56. 198. Friedberg, The Weary Titan, 136–37, 190–204. 199. Cabinet Memorandum by Lord Selborne, 6 December 1904, in D. George Boyce, ed., The Crisis of British Power: The Imperial and Naval Papers of the Second Earl of Selborne, 1895–1910 (London: Historians’ Press, 1990), 184–90. 200. Bourne, Britain and the Balance of Power in North America, 381, 383. 201. Wells, “British Strategic Withdrawal from the Western Hemisphere,” 351. 202. Friedberg, The Weary Titan, 197. 203. Wells, “British Strategic Withdrawal from the Western Hemisphere,” 348–50. 204. Bourne, Britain and the Balance of Power in North America, 381, 385. 205. Rock, Why Peace Breaks Out, 40–42, at 41–42, and 54–55, at 54. 206. Brandon Yoder and Kyle Haynes, “Always Inscrutable or Context-Dependent? A Critique of Sebastian Rosato’s ‘The Inscrutable Intentions of Great Powers,’ ” H-Diplo|ISSF Article Review 45 (2015): 2–3, https://issforum.org/ISSF/PDF /ISSF-AR45.pdf. 207. Matthew S. Seligmann, “Switching Horses: The Admiralty’s Recognition of the Threat from Germany,” International History Review 30, no. 2 (2008): 242, 243, 252. 208. Otte, The Foreign Office Mind, 275. 209. Seligmann, “Switching Horses,” 246. 210. Otte, The Foreign Office Mind, 298–99. 211. Ruddock F. Mackay, “The Admiralty, the German Navy, and the Redistribution of the British Fleet, 1904–1905,” Mariner’s Mirror 56, no. 3 (1970): 344. 212. Arthur J. Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: The Royal Navy in the Fisher Era, 1904–1919, vol. 1: The Road to War, 1904–1914 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1961), 125.

NOTES TO PAGES 152–157

317

213. Perkins, The Great Rapprochement, 172. 214. Joseph B. Bishop, Theodore Roosevelt and His Time: Shown In His Own Letters, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1920), 348. 215. John B. Brebner, North Atlantic Triangle: The Interplay of Canada, the United States and Great Britain (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1945), 262. 216. Theodore Roosevelt, The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, vol. 4: The Square Deal, 1903–1905, ed. Elting E. Morison (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1951), 1207.

Chapter 5. The Early Interwar Period 1. Akira Iriye, The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, vol. 3: The Globalizing of America, 1913–1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 74–75, 80, 82. 2. David M. Edelstein, Over the Horizon: Time, Uncertainty, and the Rise of Great Powers (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017), 106, 110, 118. 3. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 98, 100, 107. 4. This description relies on Zara Steiner, The Lights That Failed: European International History, 1919–1933 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 15–70, 131– 75, 182–222. 5. Anthony Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery: France’s Bid for Power in Europe, 1914–1940 (New York: Arnold, 1995), 40. 6. W. M. Jordan, Great Britain, France, and the German Problem, 1918–1939: A Study of Anglo-French Relations in the Making and Maintenance of the Versailles Settlement (New York: Oxford University Press, 1943), 37. 7. Patrick O. Cohrs, The Unfinished Peace after World War I: America, Britain and the Stabilisation of Europe, 1919–1932 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 56. 8. Jordan, Great Britain, France, and the German Problem, 149, 186. 9. Conan Fischer, A Vision of Europe: Franco-German Relations during the Great Depression, 1929–1932 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017), v. 10. Jordan, Great Britain, France, and the German Problem, 36–37. 11. Cohrs, The Unfinished Peace after World War I, 54. 12. Michael J. Dockrill and J. Douglas Goold, Peace without Promise: Britain and the Peace Conferences, 1919–23 (Hamden, CT: Archon, 1981), 36–37. 13. Arnold Wolfers, Britain and France between Two Wars: Conflicting Strategies of Peace since Versailles (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1940), 15. 14. Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery, 59. 15. Maurice Vaïsse, Sécurité d’abord: La Politique française en matière de désarmement (Paris: Éditions Pedone, 1981), 34. All translations from French are my own. 16. Wolfers, Britain and France between Two Wars, 35. 17. Walter A. McDougall, France’s Rhineland Diplomacy, 1914–1924: The Last Bid for a Balance of Power in Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), 115, 136.

318

NOTES TO PAGES 158–162

18. Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery, 64. 19. J. Néré, The Foreign Policy of France from 1914 to 1945 (London: Routledge, 1975), 273. 20. Brian C. Rathbun, Diplomacy’s Value: Creating Security in 1920s Europe and the Contemporary Middle East (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014), 61. 21. Néré, The Foreign Policy of France from 1914 to 1945, 277. 22. McDougall, France’s Rhineland Diplomacy, 189. 23. John F. V. Keiger, “Raymond Poincaré and the Ruhr Crisis,” in Robert Boyce, ed., French Foreign and Defence Policy, 1918–1940: The Decline and Fall of a Great Power (London: Routledge, 1998), 56. 24. Jordan, Great Britain, France, and the German Problem, 51. 25. Wolfers, Britain and France between Two Wars, 168. 26. André Tardieu, “The Policy of France,” Foreign Affairs 1, no. 1 (1922): 17. 27. Jordan, Great Britain, France, and the German Problem, 48–49. 28. Cristoph M. Kimmich, Germany and the League of Nations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), 11, 25. 29. McDougall, France’s Rhineland Diplomacy, 149. 30. Hans W. Gatzke, European Diplomacy between Two Wars, 1919–1939 (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1972), 46. 31. Royal J. Schmidt, Versailles and the Ruhr: Seedbed of World War II (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1968), 115. 32. McDougall, France’s Rhineland Diplomacy, 245. 33. This description relies on Steiner, The Lights That Failed, 223–50. 34. Steiner, The Lights That Failed, 222. 35. Jordan, Great Britain, France, and the German Problem, 130. 36. André Tardieu, “A Defense of French Policy: Reply to Lloyd George,” Current History 18 (1923): 261. 37. Nicole Jordan, “The Reorientation of French Diplomacy in the Mid-1920s: The Role of Jacques Seydoux,” English Historical Review 117, no. 473 (2002): 871n16. 38. Stresemann, Political survey, 1 February 1923, in Eric Sutton, ed. and trans., Gustav Stresemann: His Diaries, Letters, and Papers, vol. 1 (New York: Macmillan, 1940), 40. 39. Jonathan Wright, Gustav Stresemann: Weimar’s Greatest Statesman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 252. 40. Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery, 89, 92. 41. Stresemann, Speech, August 1923, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 1, 77. 42. Vincent J. Pitts, France and the German Problem: Politics and Economics in the Locarno Period, 1924–1929 (New York: Garland, 1987), 33. 43. Stephen A. Schuker, The End of French Predominance in Europe: The Financial Crisis of 1924 and the Adoption of the Dawes Plan (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976), 217. 44. Pitts, France and the German Problem, 33. 45. Stresemann, Note, 9 November 1923, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 1, 201.

NOTES TO PAGES 162–166

319

46. Stresemann, Speech, 28 February 1924, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 1, 301–2. 47. Néré, The Foreign Policy of France from 1914 to 1945, 280. 48. Rathbun, Diplomacy’s Value, 74. 49. Edelstein, Over the Horizon, 105. 50. Rathbun, Diplomacy’s Value, 74. 51. Schuker, The End of French Predominance in Europe, 393. 52. Wolfers, Britain and France between Two Wars, 12. 53. Jordan, Great Britain, France, and the German Problem, 144. 54. F. L. Carsten, The Reichswehr and Politics, 1918–1933 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966), 145. 55. Stresemann, Speech, 6 March 1923, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 1, 44–45, 47. 56. Schmidt, Versailles and the Ruhr, 141. 57. Stresemann, Diary, 13 January 1923, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 1, 36. 58. Schmidt, Versailles and the Ruhr, 125. 59. Stresemann, Diary, 13 January 1923, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 1, 36. 60. Schmidt, Versailles and the Ruhr, 108. 61. Stresemann, Speech, 16 April 1923, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 1, 59. 62. Schmidt, Versailles and the Ruhr, 138. 63. Schmidt, Versailles and the Ruhr, 148. 64. Cabinet meeting minutes, 7 November 1923; Stresemann, Letter, 1 December 1923; Stresemann, Speech, 19 January 1924, all in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 1, 196, 256, 266. 65. Schmidt, Versailles and the Ruhr, 156. 66. Wright, Gustav Stresemann, 255. 67. Stresemann, Speech, 29 April 1924; Stresemann, Speech, 19 June 1924; Stresemann, Article, 31 December 1924, all in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 1, 339, 352–53, 493. 68. This description relies on Steiner, The Lights That Failed, 387–493. 69. William J. Newman, The Balance of Power in the Interwar Years, 1919–1939 (New York: Random House, 1968), 88. 70. Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery, 120. 71. Carolyn Kitching, “Locarno and the Irrelevance of Disarmament,” in Gaynor Johnson, ed., Locarno Revisited: European Diplomacy, 1920–1929 (New York: Routledge, 2004), 171–72. 72. Pitts, France and the German Problem, 17. 73. Schuker, The End of French Predominance in Europe, 388. 74. Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery, 122; Pitts, France and the German Problem, 112. 75. John Keiger, “Poincaré, Briand and Locarno: Continuity in French Diplomacy in the 1920s,” in Johnson, ed., Locarno Revisited, 103. 76. Edward D. Keeton, Briand’s Locarno Policy: French Economics, Politics, and Diplomacy, 1925–1929 (New York: Garland, 1987), 90.

320

NOTES TO PAGES 166–171

77. Vaïsse, Sécurité d’abord, 32. 78. Cohrs, The Unfinished Peace after World War I, 262. 79. Jon Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy: Germany and the West, 1925–1929 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972), 79. 80. Pitts, France and the German Problem, 207–8. 81. Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy, 109. 82. Pitts, France and the German Problem, 168. 83. Rathbun, Diplomacy’s Value, 170. 84. Briand, Speech, 29 November 1926, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 3, 72. 85. Pitts, France and the German Problem, 174–75. 86. Keeton, Briand’s Locarno Policy, 246. 87. Briand, Comment, January 1927, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 3, 84. 88. Stresemann, Note, 9 April 1927, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 3, 139– 40. 89. Kimmich, Germany and the League of Nations, 197. 90. Cohrs, The Unfinished Peace after World War I, 447. 91. Pitts, France and the German Problem, 210. 92. Wright, Gustav Stresemann, 408. 93. Briand, Speech, 2 February 1928, in Assemblée Nationale, Journal officiel, débats parlementaires: Sénat (Paris: Direction de l’information légale et administrative, 1928), 64–72. 94. Pitts, France and the German Problem, 248. 95. Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy, 193. 96. Pitts, France and the German Problem, 252. 97. Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy, 196–97, at 197. 98. Vaïsse, Sécurité d’abord, 34. 99. Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy, 249–50, at 250, and 329–30. 100. Wright, Gustav Stresemann, 477. 101. Keeton, Briand’s Locarno Policy, 325. 102. Stresemann, Note, 1 July 1925; Stresemann, Letter, 4 June 1925; Stresemann, Article, 14 September 1925; Stresemann, Letter, 7 September 1925, all in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 2, 100, 159, 247, 504–5. 103. Stresemann, Press statement, 7 March 1925; Stresemann, Speech, 18 May 1925; Stresemann, Note, 1 July 1925; Stresemann, Letter, 4 June 1925; Stresemann, Note, 15 April 1925, all in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 2, 66, 82, 98, 247, 469. 104. Wright, Gustav Stresemann, 306. 105. Stresemann, Note, 2 April 1925, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 2, 79. 106. Kimmich, Germany and the League of Nations, 68. 107. Stresemann, Speech, 22 July 1925; Stresemann, Speech, October 1925; Stresemann, Speech, 14 December 1925; Stresemann, Letter, 27 November 1925, all in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 2, 147, 204, 216, 231. 108. Stresemann, Speech, 1 December 1925, in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 2, 239.

NOTES TO PAGES 171–176

321

109. Gustav Stresemann, Reden, 1925, ed. Wolfgang Elz, Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, 406, https://neuestegeschichte.unimainz.de/files/2018/07 /Text_1925.pdf. All translations from German are my own. 110. Stresemann, Speech, 14 December 1925; Stresemann, Speech, 1 December 1925, both in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 2, 225, 239. 111. John Birkelund, Gustav Stresemann: Patriot und Staatsmann (Hamburg: Europa, 2003), 449. 112. Jonathan Wright, “Stresemann: A Mind Map,” in Johnson, ed., Locarno Revisited, 154. 113. Stresemann, Speech, 29 June 1927; Stresemann, Speech, 1 April 1928, both in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 3, 304, 499–500. 114. Stresemann, Speech, 14 December 1925; Stresemann, Note, 7 October 1926, both in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 2, 224–25, vol. 3, 41–42. 115. Gustav Stresemann, Reden, 1926, ed. Wolfgang Elz, Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, 104, https://neuestegeschichte.unimainz.de/files/2018/07 /Text_1926.pdf. 116. Stresemann, Speech, 2 October 1926; Stresemann, Note, 1 November 1926; Stresemann, Speech, July 1927; Stresemann, Note, 17 March 1928; Stresemann, Speech, 29 June 1927, all in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 3, 38, 51, 54, 179, 368, 506–7. 117. Michael-Olaf Maxelon, Stresemann und Frankreich, 1914–1929: Deutsche Politik der Ost-West-Balance (Düsseldorf: Droste, 1972), 264–65. 118. Stresemann, Reden, 1925, 194. 119. Stresemann, Speech, 24 September 1927; Stresemann, Speech, 25 January 1928, both in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 3, 218, 521. 120. Stresemann, Press release, 27 August 1928; Stresemann, Speech, 9 September 1929, both in Sutton, ed., Gustav Stresemann, vol. 3, 377, 620. 121. J. B. Duroselle, “The Spirit of Locarno: Illusions of Pactomania,” Foreign Affairs 50, no. 4 (1972): 758. 122. Jordan, Great Britain, France, and the German Problem, 37. 123. These figures are based on Steiner, The Lights That Failed, 825–26. 124. Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery, 54. 125. Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy, 361–62, 373–74; Keeton, Briand’s Locarno Policy, 239, 252. 126. Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy, 26–35; Keiger, “Poincaré, Briand and Locarno,” 102; Steiner, The Lights That Failed, 398–401. 127. Keeton, Briand’s Locarno Policy, 107, 114. 128. Robert A. Doughty, “The Illusion of Security: France, 1919–1940,” in Williamson Murray, MacGregor Knox, and Alvin Bernstein, eds., The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States, and War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 476–77; Sally Marks, The Illusion of Peace: International Relations in Europe, 1918–1933 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1976), 40, 87. 129. Wilhelm Deist, “The Road to Ideological War: Germany, 1918–1945,” in Murray, Knox, and Bernstein, eds., The Making of Strategy, 357.

322

NOTES TO PAGES 176–181

130. Gordon A. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army, 1640–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964), 382–426; Deist, “The Road to Ideological War,” 358–71; Hans W. Gatzke, “Russo-German Military Collaboration during the Weimar Republic,” American Historical Review 63, no. 3 (1958): 565–97; Williamson Murray, “German Army Doctrine, 1918–1939, and the Post-1945 Theory of ‘Blitzkrieg Strategy,’ ” in Carole Fink, Isabel V. Hull, and MacGregor Knox, eds., German Nationalism and the European Response, 1890–1945 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), 75–79; Barton Whaley, “Covert Rearmament in Germany, 1919–1939: Deception and Misperception,” in John Gooch and Amos Perlmutter, eds., Military Deception and Strategic Surprise (London: Frank Cass, 1982), 7–17. 131. Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army, 382. 132. Hans W. Gatzke, Stresemann and the Rearmament of Germany (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1954), 4, 107. See also Craig, The Politics of the Prussian Army, 407–8. 133. Jacobson, Locarno Diplomacy, 40. 134. Steiner, The Lights That Failed, 406. 135. Charles L. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics: The Logic of Competition and Cooperation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 247, 249. 136. Robert Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics 30, no. 2 (1978): 196, 201. 137. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 66, 249. 138. Jervis, “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” 196, 201. 139. This description relies on Sadao Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2006), 47–65; Roger Dingman, Power in the Pacific: The Origins of Naval Arms Limitation, 1914–1922 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), 34–104, 122–59, 178–95. 140. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 47, 52–53; emphasis removed. 141. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 53. 142. Sadao Asada, “From Washington to London: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the Politics of Naval Limitation, 1921–1930,” Diplomacy & Statecraft 4, no. 3 (1993): 149. 143. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 63. 144. Dingman, Power in the Pacific, 135. 145. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 64. 146. Sadao Asada, “Japan and the United States, 1915–25,” PhD diss., Yale University, 1966, 74–75, 79. 147. Dingman, Power in the Pacific, 98. 148. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 59. 149. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 124. 150. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 123–24, 193, 214.

NOTES TO PAGES 181–186

323

151. Harold Sprout and Margaret Sprout, Toward a New Order of Sea Power: American Naval Policy and the World Scene, 1918–1922, 2d ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1943), 83–84. 152. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 198. 153. Robert Gordon Kaufman, Arms Control during the Pre-Nuclear Era: The United States and Naval Limitation between the Two World Wars (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), 55. 154. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 219. 155. Dingman, Power in the Pacific, 147. 156. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 125–26, 148. 157. Kaufman, Arms Control during the Pre-Nuclear Era, 49–50. 158. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 68. 159. This description relies on Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 65–111. On the Washington Conference, see Thomas H. Buckley, The United States and the Washington Conference, 1921–1922 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1970), 63–171. 160. See, for example, David C. Evans and Mark R. Peattie, Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887–1941 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997), 141–44, 187–97. 161. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 57–58. 162. Sprout and Sprout, Toward a New Order of Sea Power, 257. 163. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 79, 83. 164. Sadao Asada, “Japanese Admirals and the Politics of Naval Limitation: Kato– Tomosaburo– vs Kato– Kanji,” in Gerald Jordan, ed., Naval Warfare in the Twentieth Century, 1900–1945: Essays in Honour of Arthur Marder (London: Croom Helm, 1977), 152. 165. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 77–78. 166. Ian Nish, Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002), 34. 167. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 83–84. 168. Sprout and Sprout, Toward a New Order of Sea Power, 262. 169. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 86–92. 170. Nish, Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period, 39. 171. Ian Gow, Military Intervention in Pre-War Japanese Politics: Admiral Kato– Kanji and the ‘Washington System’ (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), 152–53. 172. Gow, Military Intervention in Pre-War Japanese Politics, 151. 173. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 102. 174. Asada, “Japanese Admirals and the Politics of Naval Limitation,” 159. 175. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 64. 176. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 148, 203, 258. 177. Buckley, The United States and the Washington Conference, 150. 178. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 198–99. 179. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 360.

324

180. 181. 182. 183. 184. 185.

NOTES TO PAGES 186–192

Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 68. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 357, 359–63. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 95. Asada, “Japan and the United States,” 391–92, 396, 399. Kaufman, Arms Control during the Pre-Nuclear Era, 45. This description relies on Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 111–57; Richard W. Fanning, Peace and Disarmament: Naval Rivalry and Arms Control, 1922–1933 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1994), 47–80, 106–40; Nish, Japanese Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period, 66–70. 186. On the “Treaty” and “Fleet” factions, see Asada, “Japanese Admirals and the Politics of Naval Limitation,” 141–66. 187. Asada, “From Washington to London,” 166. 188. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 122, 132. 189. Kobayashi Tatsuo, “The London Naval Treaty, 1930,” in James William Morley, ed., Japan Erupts: The London Naval Conference and the Manchurian Incident, 1928–1932 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), 36. 190. Asada, “From Washington to London,” 165, 167. 191. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 123. 192. Gow, Military Intervention in Pre-War Japanese Politics, 191. 193. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 129–30. 194. Gow, Military Intervention in Pre-War Japanese Politics, 192, 201. For the claim that the Fleet faction opposed the London Treaty on the grounds that it did not provide for a permanent 10:7 ratio, see Fanning, Peace and Disarmament, 127. 195. Asada, “From Washington to London,” 175. 196. James B. Crowley, Japan’s Quest for Autonomy: National Security and Foreign Policy, 1930–1938 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966), 49. 197. Asada, “From Washington to London,” 183. 198. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 112. 199. Fanning, Peace and Disarmament, 137. 200. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 152–53. 201. Fanning, Peace and Disarmament, 137. 202. Kaufman, Arms Control during the Pre-Nuclear Era, 73–74. 203. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 47–58, 297. 204. Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor, 77–78, 81–82, 117–18, 148–49. 205. Emily O. Goldman, Sunken Treaties: Naval Arms Control between the Wars (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994), 156–80, 320–21; Kaufman, Arms Control during the Pre-Nuclear Era, 78–92, 96–108. 206. William R. Braisted, “The Evolution of the United States Navy’s Strategic Assessments in the Pacific, 1919–1931,” Diplomacy & Statecraft 4, no. 3 (1993): 102–23; Kaufman, Arms Control during the Pre-Nuclear Era, 73–78. 207. Evans and Peattie, Kaigun, 205–32; Goldman, Sunken Treaties, 156–80, 320–21; Kaufman, Arms Control during the Pre-Nuclear Era, 78–92, 96–108. 208. Evans and Peattie, Kaigun, 201–5; Goldman, Sunken Treaties, 181–84.

NOTES TO PAGES 193–197

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Chapter 6. The End of the Cold War 1. John Lewis Gaddis, “International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War,” International Security 17, no. 3 (1992–93): 6, 18. 2. Andrew H. Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 214. 3. Charles L. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics: The Logic of Competition and Cooperation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 3. 4. Kydd, Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, 3–6, 214–44, at 215, 221, 244. 5. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics, 9–11, at 10, and 207–12, at 211. Glaser and Kydd reiterate the argument in “Can Great Powers Discern Intentions?” International Security 40, no. 3 (2015–16): 199–200, 201. 6. Mark L. Haas, “The United States and the End of the Cold War: Reactions to Shifts in Soviet Power, Policies, or Domestic Politics?” International Organization 61, no. 1 (2007): 146, 155. 7. This description relies on Raymond L. Garthoff, The Great Transition: AmericanSoviet Relations and the End of the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1994), 203–4, 213–14, 222; Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era: The United States and the Soviet Union, 1983–1991, updated ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 107–11, 114–15. 8. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 213–14. 9. Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents (1962–1986) (New York: Random House, 1995), 571. 10. George P. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993), 534. 11. Eduard Shevardnadze, The Future Belongs to Freedom (New York: Free Press, 1991), 79, 81. 12. William D. Jackson, “Soviet Reassessment of Ronald Reagan, 1985–1988,” Political Science Quarterly 113, no. 4 (1998–99): 621. 13. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 118. 14. Pavel Palazhchenko, My Years with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze: The Memoir of a Soviet Interpreter (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997), 38. 15. Ronald Reagan, An American Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990), 614–15; emphasis original. 16. James Graham Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014), 92. 17. Keith L. Shimko, Images and Arms Control: Perceptions of the Soviet Union in the Reagan Administration (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1991), 117; emphasis removed. 18. Keren Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), 194. 19. Shimko, Images and Arms Control, 109, 107.

326

NOTES TO PAGES 197–200

20. Michael R. Beschloss and Strobe Talbott, At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War (London: Little, Brown, 1993), 7–8. 21. Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 334. 22. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 216. 23. Gates, From the Shadows, 332. 24. Richard A. Bitzinger, “Gorbachev and GRIT, 1985–1989: Did Arms Control Succeed Because of Unilateral Actions or in Spite of Them?” Contemporary Security Policy 15, no. 1 (1994): 72. 25. Jack F. Matlock, Jr., Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended (New York: Random House, 2004), 116. 26. Bitzinger, “Gorbachev and GRIT,” 72–73, at 73. 27. Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev, 117. 28. John Lewis Gaddis, The United States and the End of the Cold War: Implications, Reconsiderations, Provocations (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 127. 29. This description relies on Garthoff, The Great Transition, 228, 238–48, 252–53, 287– 89; Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 129–30, 144–54, 156–57, 190–205. 30. Anatoly S. Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), 28. 31. Vadim Medvedev, “The Changing View from the Top: Under Andropov and Gorbachev,” in Michael Ellman and Vladimir Kontorovich, eds., The Destruction of the Soviet Economic System: An Insider’s History (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1998), 95–96. 32. William E. Odom, The Collapse of the Soviet Military (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), 91. 33. Mikhail Gorbachev, Memoirs (New York: Doubleday, 1995), 226. 34. Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of the Cold War: Reevaluating a Landmark Case for Ideas,” International Security 25, no. 3 (2000–2001): 21n35. 35. Dale C. Copeland, “Trade Expectations and the Outbreak of Peace: Détente 1970– 74 and the End of the Cold War 1985–91,” Security Studies 9, nos. 1–2 (1999): 43. 36. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 162. 37. Gorbachev, Memoirs, 215. 38. Shevardnadze, The Future Belongs to Freedom, 54. 39. Michael Ellman and Vladimir Kontorovich, “The Collapse of the Soviet System and the Memoir Literature,” Europe-Asia Studies 49, no. 2 (1997): 261–62. 40. Geir Lundestad, “‘Imperial Overstretch,’ Mikhail Gorbachev, and the End of the Cold War,” Cold War History 1, no. 1 (2000): 5. 41. Yegor Ligachev, Inside Gorbachev’s Kremlin (New York: Pantheon, 1993), 329. 42. Odom, The Collapse of the Soviet Military, 91, 115. 43. Anatoly S. Chernyaev, “Gorbachev’s Foreign Policy: The Concept,” in Kiron K. Skinner, ed., Turning Points in Ending the Cold War (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2008), 116. 44. Dobrynin, In Confidence, 570.

NOTES TO PAGES 201–204

327

45. Copeland, “Trade Expectations and the Outbreak of Peace,” 45; Vladislav Zubok, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007), 289. 46. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 111. 47. Brooks and Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of the Cold War,” 29. 48. Melvyn P. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War (New York: Hill & Wang, 2007), 387. 49. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 186. 50. Dobrynin, In Confidence, 570. 51. Brooks and Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of the Cold War,” 29. 52. Chernyaev, “Gorbachev’s Foreign Policy,” 123. 53. Brooks and Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of the Cold War,” 46– 47. 54. Beth A. Fischer, “The United States and the Transformation of the Cold War,” in Olav Njølstad, ed., The Last Decade of the Cold War: From Conflict Escalation to Conflict Transformation (New York: Frank Cass, 2004), 234. 55. William Taubman, Gorbachev: His Life and Times (New York: W. W. Norton, 2017), 296. 56. Fischer, “The United States and the Transformation of the Cold War,” 234. 57. William C. Wohlforth, ed., Witnesses to the End of the Cold War (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 48. 58. Fischer, “The United States and the Transformation of the Cold War,” 234. 59. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 112. 60. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 228. 61. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 380. 62. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, 593. 63. Taubman, Gorbachev, 286. 64. Deborah Welch Larson, Anatomy of Mistrust: U.S.–Soviet Relations during the Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 204. 65. Robert C. McFarlane, Special Trust (New York: Cadell & Davies, 1994), 320. 66. Dobrynin, In Confidence, 589. 67. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 384. 68. Wohlforth, ed., Witnesses to the End of the Cold War, 59. 69. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 100. 70. Wohlforth, ed., Witnesses to the End of the Cold War, 14. 71. Reagan, An American Life, 643, 646–48. 72. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 242. 73. Dobrynin, In Confidence, 593. 74. Mikhail Gorbachev, Political Report of the CPSU Central Committee to the 27th Party Congress (Moscow: Novosti, 1986), 7, 87, 81–82, 26. 75. Chernyaev, “Gorbachev’s Foreign Policy,” 119. 76. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 389. 77. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 174. 78. Jackson, “Soviet Reassessment of Ronald Reagan,” 629.

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79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89.

90. 91. 92.

93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101.

102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108.

109.

NOTES TO PAGES 204–208

Reagan, An American Life, 670. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 204. Larson, Anatomy of Mistrust, 214. Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev, 222. Larson, Anatomy of Mistrust, 214. Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev, 237. Lundestad, “‘Imperial Overstretch,’ Mikhail Gorbachev, and the End of the Cold War,” 8. Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev, 87–88. Shevardnadze, The Future Belongs to Freedom, 89. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 381n173. Kirsten Lundberg, “CIA and the Fall of the Soviet Empire: The Politics of ‘Getting it Right,’ ” Kennedy School of Government Case Program C16-94-1251.0 (Cambridge, MA: President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1994), 8. Douglas J. MacEachin, CIA Assessments of the Soviet Union: The Record versus the Charges (Langley, VA: Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1996), ref. 14. Lundberg, “CIA and the Fall of the Soviet Empire,” 8. Douglas F. Garthoff, “Analyzing Soviet Politics and Foreign Policy,” in Gerald K. Haines and Robert E. Leggett, eds., Watching the Bear: Essays on CIA’s Analysis of the Soviet Union (Langley, VA: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 2003), 86. Lundberg, “CIA and the Fall of the Soviet Empire,” 9. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 198. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, 564. MacEachin, CIA Assessments of the Soviet Union, ref. 16. Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev, 151. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 198, 229. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 250. Larson, Anatomy of Mistrust, 207. Hal Brands, What Good Is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014), 132. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, 716. Zubok, A Failed Empire, 293. Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev, 151. Jack F. Matlock, Jr., Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union (New York: Random House, 1995), 94. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 198. Alan Collins, The Security Dilemma and the End of the Cold War (New York: St. Martin’s, 1997), 177. Shultz to Reagan, 14 November 1986, in Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1981–88, vol. 6: Soviet Union, October 1986–January 1989 (Washington, DC: GPO, 2016), 59. Larson, Anatomy of Mistrust, 203.

NOTES TO PAGES 208–212

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110. Alan R. Collins, “GRIT, Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War,” Review of International Studies 24, no. 2 (1998): 205. 111. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 229. 112. Poindexter to Reagan, “Why We Can’t Commit to Eliminating All Nuclear Weapons within 10 Years,” 16 October 1986, Keel Files, box 91636. Citations to all unpublished documents were provided to me by Joshua Shifrinson. I am grateful to him for bringing them to my attention. Unless otherwise stated, these documents are to be found in the archives of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California (for the period from 1986 to 1988), or the George Bush Presidential Library, College Station, Texas (for the period from 1989 to 1990). 113. Collins, “GRIT, Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War,” 207n29. 114. Reagan, An American Life, 679. 115. National Security Decision Directive 250, “Post Reykjavik Follow-Up,” 3 November 1986, 9, http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB203/Document25.pdf. 116. Collins, The Security Dilemma and the End of the Cold War, 178. 117. Shimko, Images and Arms Control, 104, 107. 118. Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev, 141–42. 119. Shimko, Images and Arms Control, 70, 85. 120. Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev, 151–53. 121. Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), 751–52; emphasis original. 122. McFarlane, Special Trust, 321. 123. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 247. 124. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 195, 212. 125. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, 703. 126. Reagan, An American Life, 653, 656–57. 127. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 104. 128. Shimko, Images and Arms Control, 66, 104. 129. Gates, From the Shadows, 377; emphasis removed. 130. Matlock to Poindexter, “Talking Points on ‘Channel,’ ” and “Talking Points for President: Meeting with Shultz, Weinberger, Casey, Poindexter,” 10 April 1986, Matlock Files, box 44. 131. Reagan, An American Life, 677–78. 132. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 192. 133. National Security Decision Directive 250, “Post Reykjavik Follow-Up,” 7. 134. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 308. 135. This description relies on Garthoff, The Great Transition, 300–337; Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 211–71. 136. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 215. 137. Ellman and Kontorovich, “The Collapse of the Soviet System and the Memoir Literature,” 262. 138. Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev, 108. 139. Medvedev, “The Changing View from the Top,” 96.

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NOTES TO PAGES 212–216

140. Ellman and Kontorovich, “The Collapse of the Soviet System and the Memoir Literature,” 270–71. 141. Medvedev, “The Changing View from the Top,” 96. 142. Jacques Lévesque, “The Messianic Character of Gorbachev’s ‘New Thinking’: Why and What For?” in Njølstad, ed., The Last Decade of the Cold War, 173n1. 143. William C. Wohlforth, “Realism and the End of the Cold War,” International Security 19, no. 3 (1994–95): 113. 1 44. Zubok, A Failed Empire, 299–300. 145. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, 1012. 146. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 224–25, 319. 147. Collins, The Security Dilemma and the End of the Cold War, 149–50. 148. Gorbachev, Memoirs, 443. 149. Barbara Farnham, “Reagan and the Gorbachev Revolution: Perceiving the End of Threat,” Political Science Quarterly 116, no. 2 (2001): 238. 150. Andrei Grachev, Gorbachev’s Gamble: Soviet Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War (Cambridge: Polity, 2008), 98. 151. Taubman, Gorbachev, 393. 152. MacEachin, CIA Assessments of the Soviet Union, refs. 22, 23. 153. Matlock, Autopsy on an Empire, 108–9. 154. Carlucci to Reagan, “Meeting with Prime Minister Thatcher,” and enclosure, “Talking Points,” 16 July 1987, NSC Executive Secretariat System I Files, box 137. 155. Carlucci to Reagan, 20 November 1987, in FRUS, 1981–88, vol. 6, 535–36. 156. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, 1003. 157. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 399. 158. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 305, 332, 339. 159. James Mann, The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War (New York: Viking, 2009), 54. 160. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, 896; emphasis removed. 161. Non-paper prepared by Shultz, 18 November 1987, in FRUS, 1981–88, vol. 6, 530. 162. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 219–20. 163. Shultz to Reagan, “The Washington Summit,” 1 December 1987, Duberstein Files, box 4. 164. Caspar W. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace: Seven Critical Years in the Pentagon (New York: Warner, 1990), 347–48, 350. 165. Larson, Anatomy of Mistrust, 221. 166. Paper prepared in the CIA, undated, in FRUS, 1981–88, vol. 6, 89. 167. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 183. 168. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 128. 169. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 311–12. 170. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 199. 171. Meeting of the National Security Council, 21 May 1987, 8, http://www. thereaganfiles.com/870521.pdf.

NOTES TO PAGES 216–220

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172. Carlucci to Reagan, 6 April 1987, in FRUS, 1981–88, vol. 6, 125. 173. National Security Planning Group Meeting, “Review of U.S. Arms Control Positions,” 8 September 1987, 8, http://www.thereaganfiles.com/870908.pdf. 174. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 200. 175. Shimko, Images and Arms Control, 105, 216, 217. 176. Nicholas J. Wheeler, Trusting Enemies: Interpersonal Relationships in International Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 169. 177. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 230. 178. Frances Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), 433. 179. Carlucci to Reagan, 20 November 1987, in FRUS, 1981–88, vol. 6, 535–36. 180. Farnham, “Reagan and the Gorbachev Revolution,” 239. 181. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 202. 182. State to All Diplomatic Posts, “Secretary’s 12/11 NAC Briefing on Washington Summit,” 12 December 1987, 11, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAE BB238/usdocs/Doc%2022%20(Telegram%20briefing%20on%20Wash%20 Summit).pdf. 183. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 135. 184. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 339. 185. “The State of the Atlantic Alliance,” enclosure from Ermath, and Ledsky to Powell, “President’s Weekend Reading,” 12 February 1988, Ledsky Files, box 92164. 186. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 339–40. 187. Haas, “The United States and the End of the Cold War,” 159–60. 188. Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue, 451. 189. This description relies on Garthoff, The Great Transition, 338–72; Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 273–326. 190. Chernyaev, “Gorbachev’s Foreign Policy,” 129. 191. Taubman, Gorbachev, 376. 192. Colin L. Powell, My American Journey (New York: Random House, 1995), 369. 193. Wohlforth, “Realism and the End of the Cold War,” 113. 194. Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev, 192, 194. 195. Vladislav Zubok, “Why Did the Cold War End in 1989? Explanations of ‘The Turn,’ ” in Odd Arne Westad, ed., Reviewing the Cold War: Approaches, Interpretations, Theory (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2000), 356. 196. Taubman, Gorbachev, 420. 197. Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, “From Old Thinking to New Thinking in Qualitative Research,” International Security 26, no. 4 (2002): 109n40. 198. Brooks and Wohlforth, “Power, Globalization, and the End of the Cold War,” 46. 199. Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev, 192, 195. 200. “Intervention for Second Day of NATO Summit,” enclosed with Powell to Reagan, “Your NATO Intervention in Brussels,” 2 March 1988, Ledsky Files, box 92164.

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NOTES TO PAGES 220–224

201. Weinberger, Fighting for Peace, 327. 202. “Intervention for Second Day of NATO Summit.” 203. Shimko, Images and Arms Control, 114. 204. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 352n32. 205. State to Valletta Embassy, “Moscow Summit Briefing Materials,” 8 June 1988, 3–4, http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB251/27.pdf. 206. “Points for General Powell on NATO Summit at Cabinet Meeting,” enclosure to Ledsky to Powell, “NATO Summit—Cabinet Meeting Presentation on March 8, 1988,” 7 March 1988, Ledsky Files, box 92164. 207. Powell, My American Journey, 375. 208. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 9. 209. Mann, The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan, 283. 210. “President’s Soviet TV Interview,” enclosure to Powell to Griscom, “The President’s Soviet TV Interview,” 17 May 1988, Ledsky Files, box 92158. 211. Farnham, “Reagan and the Gorbachev Revolution,” 240. 212. National Security Decision Directive 311, “U.S.–Soviet Defense and Military Relations,” 28 July 1988, 1, https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsdd/23–3161a.gif. 213. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 9. 214. Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue, 461. 215. Farnham, “Reagan and the Gorbachev Revolution,” 241. 216. Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue, 466. 217. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, 1138. 218. MacEachin, CIA Assessments of the Soviet Union, refs. 27, 28. 219. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 209. 220. Bitzinger, “Gorbachev and GRIT,” 75; emphasis removed. 221. Collins, The Security Dilemma and the End of the Cold War, 181. 222. George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), 8. 223. Mann, The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan, 324. 224. Bush and Scowcroft, A World Transformed, 14. 225. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 371. 226. Yarhi-Milo, Knowing the Adversary, 208. 227. Shimko, Images and Arms Control, 115. 228. MacEachin, CIA Assessments of the Soviet Union, ref. 30. 229. James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989– 1992 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), 63. 230. For the raw data on military spending, see Correlates of War (COW), “National Material Capabilities Data Set (v5.0),” http://www.correlatesofwar.org/. 231. Noel E. Firth and James H. Noren, Soviet Defense Spending: A History of CIA Estimates, 1950–1990 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1998), 102. 232. On the CFE Treaty, see Garthoff, The Great Transition, 432–34. 233. COW, “National Material Capabilities Data Set (v5.0)”; Firth and Noren, Soviet Defense Spending, 102.

NOTES TO PAGES 224–228

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234. This description relies on Garthoff, The Great Transition, 398–444; Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 353–430. 235. Georgi Arbatov, The System: An Insider’s Life in Soviet Politics (New York: Times, 1992), 350. 236. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 203. 237. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 429. 238. Gorbachev, Memoirs, 539. 239. Taubman, Gorbachev, 434–35, 449–50, at 450. 240. Baker, The Politics of Diplomacy, 138–39. 241. Taubman, Gorbachev, 450–51. 242. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 153. 243. Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, “Economic Constraints and the End of the Cold War,” in William C. Wohlforth, ed., Cold War Endgame: Oral History, Analysis, Debates (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003), 289, 292. 244. Vladislav Zubok, “With His Back against the Wall: Gorbachev, Soviet Demise, and German Reunification,” Cold War History 14, no. 4 (2014): 624. 245. Brooks and Wohlforth, “Economic Constraints and the End of the Cold War,” 292. 246. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 365. 247. Mary Elise Sarotte, 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 59. 248. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 443, 445. 249. Sarotte, 1989, 144. 250. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 417n19. 251. Taubman, Gorbachev, 503; Vladislav Zubok, “German Unification from the Soviet (Russian) Perspective,” in Skinner, ed., Turning Points in Ending the Cold War, 263–64. 252. Robert Service, The End of the Cold War, 1985–1991 (New York: Public Affairs, 2015), 449. 253. Zubok, “With His Back against the Wall,” 642. 254. Zubok, “German Reunification from the Soviet (Russian) Perspective,” 264. 255. Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, “Economic Constraints and the Turn towards Superpower Cooperation in the 1980s,” in Njølstad, ed., The Last Decade of the Cold War, 103. 256. Untitled document annotated in Baker’s handwriting, 23 January 1989, James A. Baker III Papers, box 108, Seeley Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton, NJ. 257. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 424. 258. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 19. 259. Bush, “Comprehensive Review of U.S.–Soviet Relations,” 15 February 1989, 1, https://bush41library.tamu.edu/files/nsr/nsr3.pdf. 260. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 24. 261. Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue, 468.

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NOTES TO PAGES 228–231

262. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 151. 263. Sarotte, 1989, 23; emphasis removed. 264. Derek H. Chollet and James M. Goldgeier, “Once Burned, Twice Shy? The Pause of 1989,” in Wohlforth, ed., Cold War Endgame, 153. 265. Bush and Scowcroft, A World Transformed, 13. 266. Chollet and Goldgeier, “Once Burned, Twice Shy?” 153. 267. Collins, The Security Dilemma and the End of the Cold War, 193. 268. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 375–79; Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 327–34. 269. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 44. 270. Grachev, Gorbachev’s Gamble, 177. 271. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 152–53. 272. Bush and Scowcroft, A World Transformed, 53. 273. Larson, Anatomy of Mistrust, 227. 274. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 427. 275. Jeffrey A. Engel, “A Better World . . . But Don’t Get Carried Away: The Foreign Policy of George H. W. Bush Twenty Years On,” Diplomatic History 34, no. 1 (2010): 41. 276. No author, “President’s Afternoon Intervention on the Future of Europe,” 4 December 1989, Wilson Files, CF00292. 277. Talking Points, “President’s Intervention on the Transformation of the Atlantic Alliance,” undated, Lowenkron Files, CF01526. 278. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 387. 279. Interview of the Honorable JAB III on ABC-TV’s “This Week with David Brinkley,” 12 November 1989, Department of State PR, no. 226. 280. Chollet and Goldgeier, “Once Burned, Twice Shy?” 164. 281. Scowcroft to Bush, “U.S. Diplomacy for the New Europe,” 22 December 1989, Scowcroft Files, 91116. 282. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 123. 283. Jeffrey A. Engel, When the World Seemed New: George H. W. Bush and the End of the Cold War (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), 129, 138. 284. Bush, “Comprehensive Review of U.S.–Soviet Relations,” 2. 285. Memorandum of conversation, “President’s Meeting with Prime Minister Mulroney,” 10 February 1989, 4, https://bush41library.tamu.edu. 286. Scowcroft to Bush, “The NATO Summit,” 20 March 1989, Kanter Files, CF00779. 287. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 54. 288. Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind, 425. 289. Lundberg, “CIA and the Fall of the Soviet Empire,” 35. 290. Gates, From the Shadows, 526. 291. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 99. 292. Philip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), 241.

NOTES TO PAGES 231–235

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293. Memorandum of conversation, “Meeting with Manfred Woerner, NATO Secretary General,” 11 October 1989, 4, https://bush41library.tamu.edu. 294. Memorandum of conversation, “Meeting with Douglas Hurd, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom,” 29 January 1990, 2, https://bush41library.tamu.edu. 295. Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, 182. 296. Bush and Scowcroft, A World Transformed, 275. 297. Gates, From the Shadows, 518. 298. Baker, The Politics of Diplomacy, 41. 299. MacEachin, CIA Assessments of the Soviet Union, ref. 32. 300. Engel, When the World Seemed New, 85. 301. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 154. 302. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 370. 303. Powell, My American Journey, 439. 304. Lundberg, “CIA and the Fall of the Soviet Empire,” 37. 305. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 377. 306. Bruce D. Berkowitz, “U.S. Intelligence Estimates of the Soviet Collapse: Reality and Perception,” International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 21, no. 2 (2008): 247. 307. Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era, 360. 308. Rice to Scowcroft, “Showdown in Moscow,” 1 February 1990, Rice Files, CF00719. 309. Joshua R. Iskowitz Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security 40, no. 4 (2016): 37. 310. Sarotte, 1989, 78–79, 110–11. 311. Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal?” 36. 312. Brooks and Wohlforth, “Economic Constraints and the End of the Cold War,” 307. 313. Sarotte, 1989, 151. 314. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation, 175.

Chapter 7. On the United States and China 1. For the argument that the Asia-Pacific is already bipolar, see Øystein Tunsjø, The Return of Bipolarity in World Politics: China, the United States, and Geostructural Realism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018), 23–95. 2. For two analyses that share similar premises but reach starkly different conclusions, see Michael Beckley, Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World’s Sole Superpower (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018); Hugh White, The China Choice: Why We Should Share Power (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 28–61. 3. Although some scholars have made predictions about the future of U.S.–China relations, not everyone considers prediction a worthwhile enterprise. See, for ex-

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4. 5. 6.

7.

8. 9.

10.

11.

NOTES TO PAGES 235–237

ample, David C. Kang, China Rising: Peace, Power, and Order in East Asia (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 11. I am acutely aware of the perils of forecasting. Nevertheless, I proceed on the basis that predictions serve important scholarly and practical purposes: they allow for tough tests of the theories that underpin them; and they help to inform policy discourse. Susan L. Shirk, China: Fragile Superpower (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 10. Richard K. Betts and Thomas J. Christensen, “China: Getting the Questions Right,” National Interest 62 (2000–2001): 17–29, at 22–23. For previous attempts to separate scholars who are optimistic about the future course of U.S.–China relations from those who are not, see Thomas J. Christensen, “Fostering Stability or Creating a Monster? The Rise of China and U.S. Policy toward East Asia,” International Security 31, no. 1 (2006): 81–126; Aaron L. Friedberg, “The Future of U.S.–China Relations: Is Conflict Inevitable?” International Security 30, no. 2 (2005): 7–45. It is worth noting that several of the arguments discussed by Christensen and Friedberg rely, either implicitly or explicitly, on judgments about whether or not the United States and China can overcome their mutual uncertainty about the other’s intentions. For an overview of the realist position, see Stephen M. Walt, “Rising Powers and the Risks of War: A Realist View of Sino-American Relations,” in Asle Toje, ed., Will China’s Rise Be Peaceful? Security, Stability, Legitimacy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 14–19. Kenneth N. Waltz, “Structural Realism after the Cold War,” International Security 25, no. 1 (2000): 27–41, at 28, 29, 33, 36, 37. John J. Mearsheimer, “The Gathering Storm: China’s Challenge to U.S. Power in Asia,” Chinese Journal of International Politics 3, no. 4 (2010): 382, 385, 387. For a more detailed version of the argument that pays less attention to intentions, see Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, updated ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2014), 360–411. Thomas J. Christensen, The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power (New York: W. W. Norton, 2015), 39, 62, 114, 288–89, 291. Christensen makes similar claims in “The Advantages of an Assertive China: Responding to Beijing’s Abrasive Diplomacy,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 2 (2011): 54–67; “Obama and Asia: Confronting the China Challenge,” Foreign Affairs 94, no. 5 (2015): 28–36. Charles L. Glaser, Rational Theory of International Politics: The Logic of Competition and Cooperation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010), 272–75. See also Glaser, “Will China’s Rise Lead to War? Why Realism Does Not Mean Pessimism,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 2 (2011): 80–91. Glaser is not entirely optimistic. In particular, he notes that disagreements over Taiwan have the potential to escalate to war. Thus, he recommends that the United States should negotiate a grand bargain that ends its commitment to defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression in exchange for China peacefully resolving its disputes in the South China and

NOTES TO PAGES 237–242

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East China Seas and accepting the U.S. security role in the Asia-Pacific. See Glaser, “A U.S.–China Grand Bargain? The Hard Choice between Military Competition and Accommodation,” International Security 39, no. 4 (2015): 49–90. 12. G. John Ikenberry, “A New Order of Things? China, America, and the Struggle over World Order,” in Toje, ed., Will China’s Rise Be Peaceful? 43, 53. For an earlier version of the argument, see Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), 342–60. 13. It should be apparent from this summary that I focus mainly on U.S. perceptions of Chinese intentions. I do so for two practical reasons. First, I have better access to Western claims about China’s intentions than to Chinese claims about U.S. intentions. Second, a full analysis of thinking on both sides would be unwieldy. Given that one-sided uncertainty is enough to cause security competition between two states, I do not consider this a major limitation. It is also worth noting that the evidence on Chinese thinking—some of it presented in this chapter— clearly suggests that China is acutely uncertain about U.S. intentions. 14. For an earlier version of this argument, see Sebastian Rosato, “Why the United States and China Are on a Collision Course,” Policy Brief, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, May 2015. 15. I restrict my analysis to major official statements about China on the grounds that these likely reflect the reasoned views of U.S. officials. It would add little to my case to show that officials have been uncertain in the wake of disputes or confrontations. How else would one expect them to react? Nevertheless, it is important to note that such events have routinely generated uncertainty. For example, when the Chinese began to pursue land reclamation and infrastructure projects in the South China Sea, U.S. secretary of defense Ashton Carter asserted that these “expansive and unprecedented actions . . . have generated concerns about China’s strategic intentions.” Ashton Carter, “Remarks by Secretary Carter,” Shangri-La Dialogue, 4 June 2016. 16. Robert B. Zoellick, “Whither China? From Membership to Responsibility,” Remarks to National Committee on U.S.–China Relations, New York, NY, 21 September 2005; emphasis removed. 17. U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2006), 29. 18. James Steinberg, “Administration’s Vision of the U.S.–China Relationship,” keynote address at Center for a New American Security, Washington, DC, 24 September 2009. 19. U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2010), 60. 20. President of the United States, National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington, DC: White House, 2017), 25. 21. U.S. Department of Defense, Indo-Pacific Strategy Report: Preparedness, Partnerships, and Promoting a Networked Region (Washington, DC: Department of

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NOTES TO PAGES 242–246

Defense, 2019), 7–10, at 7, 8, 10. See also U.S. Department of Defense, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America: Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2018), 1–2. 22. Thomas W. Lippman, “Bush Makes Clinton’s China Policy an Issue,” Washington Post, 20 August 1999. 23. Condoleezza Rice, “Campaign 2000: Promoting the National Interest,” Foreign Affairs 79, no. 1 (2000): 52, 54–56. 24. Nina Silove, “The Pivot before the Pivot: U.S. Strategy to Preserve the Power Balance in Asia,” International Security 40, no. 4 (2016): 56. 25. U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2001), 12. 26. Christensen, The China Challenge, 248; Silove, “The Pivot before the Pivot,” 58– 61, 67–69. 27. U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (2001), iii. 28. Silove, “The Pivot before the Pivot,” 63–65, 75–76, 78–79. 29. Christensen, The China Challenge, 205. 30. Matthew Hickley, “The Uninvited Guest: Chinese Sub Pops Up in Middle of U.S. Navy Exercise, Leaving Military Chiefs Red-Faced,” Daily Mail, 10 November 2007. 31. Christensen, The China Challenge, 205, 215. 32. Hillary Rodham Clinton, “America’s Pacific Century,” Foreign Policy, 11 October 2011. 33. U.S. Department of Defense, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2012), 2; emphasis removed. 34. For the details, see Silove, “The Pivot before the Pivot,” 69–74. 35. U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (2010), 32. 36. Christensen, The China Challenge, 249. 37. Silove, “The Pivot before the Pivot,” 75–79. 38. Christensen, The China Challenge, 247–66, 313–17. 39. “Remarks by Secretary Mattis on the National Defense Strategy,” Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, 19 January 2018. 40. John Geddie and Aradhana Aravindan, “Pence Says ‘Empire and Aggression’ Have No Place in Indo-Pacific,” Reuters, 14 November 2018. 41. Odd Arne Westad, “The Sources of Chinese Conduct: Are Washington and Beijing Fighting a New Cold War?” Foreign Affairs 98, no. 5 (2019): 87. 42. Iain Marlow, “U.S. Security Bloc to Keep China in ‘Proper Place,’ Pompeo Says,” Bloomberg, 23 October 2019. 43. President of the United States, National Security Strategy of the United States of America (2017), 28. 44. Elbridge A. Colby, “Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Implementation of the National Defense Strategy,” Washington, DC, 29 January 2019, 5.

NOTES TO PAGES 246–249

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45. President of the United States, National Security Strategy of the United States of America (2017), 46–47. 46. Elbridge A. Colby and A. Wess Mitchell, “The Age of Great-Power Competition: How the Trump Administration Refashioned American Strategy,” Foreign Affairs 99, no. 1 (2020): 124. 47. “Chinese Warship Sails within Yards of U.S. Destroyer in ‘Unsafe’ Encounter,” Guardian, 1 October 2018. 48. Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell, China’s Search for Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 37–38. 49. James Steinberg and Michael E. O’Hanlon, Strategic Reassurance and Resolve: U.S.–China Relations in the Twenty-First Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), 44. 50. Nathan and Scobell, China’s Search for Security, 91. 51. Steinberg and O’Hanlon, Strategic Reassurance and Resolve, 30; David Shambaugh, China Goes Global: The Partial Power (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 21. 52. Zheng Bijian, “China’s ‘Peaceful Rise’ to Great-Power Status,” Foreign Affairs 84, no. 5 (2005): 20–22. 53. Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner, “The China Reckoning: How Beijing Defied American Expectations,” Foreign Affairs 97, no. 2 (2018): 66; Bernard D. Cole, “What Do China’s Surface Fleet Developments Suggest about Its Maritime Strategy?” in Peter A. Dutton and Ryan D. Martinson, eds., China’s Evolving Surface Fleet (Newport, RI: China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College, 2017), 26. 54. Quoted in Steinberg and O’Hanlon, Strategic Reassurance and Resolve, 29–30. In a 2013 interview tailored to an American audience, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, declared: “We are still on the path of peaceful development.” Cui Tiankai and Jonathan Tepperman, “Beijing’s Brand Ambassador: A Conversation with Cui Tiankai,” Foreign Affairs 92, no. 4 (2013): 16. 55. Quoted in David Shambaugh, China’s Future (Malden, MA: Polity, 2016), 191n1; see also 146. Note also Xi’s comment to the effect that the United States and China “need to think creatively and act energetically so that working together we can build a new model of major country relationship” (quoted in Steinberg and O’Hanlon, Strategic Reassurance and Resolve, 215n3). President Hu used the term “harmonious world” to make the same point. Shambaugh, China Goes Global, 25. 56. Quoted in Oriana Skylar Mastro, “The Stealth Superpower: How China Hid Its Global Ambitions,” Foreign Affairs 98, no. 1 (2019): 31. 57. Denny Roy, Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), 154–55. 58. Quoted in Suisheng Zhao, A Nation-State by Construction: Dynamics of Modern Chinese Nationalism (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004), 36. There is some debate about what Deng said at the time. This does not matter for my purposes because I am interested in U.S. perceptions of the statement. See

340

NOTES TO PAGES 249–252

Shambaugh, China Goes Global, 18–19. For a summary of the skeptical view, see Roy, Return of the Dragon, 31; Steinberg and O’Hanlon, Strategic Reassurance and Resolve, 31. 59. Rosemary Foot, “Restraints on Conflict in the China–U.S. Relationship: Contesting Power Transition Theory,” in Toje, ed., Will China’s Rise Be Peaceful? 84–87, at 87. See also Steve Chan, Trust and Distrust in Sino-American Relations: Challenge and Opportunity (Amherst, NY: Cambria, 2017), 203. 60. Harry Harding, “Has U.S. China Policy Failed?” Washington Quarterly 38, no. 3 (2015): 100. 61. Barack Obama, “Remarks by President Obama and President Hu of the People’s Republic of China at Official Arrival Ceremony,” Washington, DC, 19 January 2011. 62. Quoted in Michael S. Chase, “Chinese Suspicion and U.S. Intentions,” Survival 53, no. 3 (2011): 138. 63. Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell, “How China Sees America: The Sum of Beijing’s Fears,” Foreign Affairs 91, no. 5 (2012): 33, 34. They also point out in their book: “In the pluralist American system, long-term strategic intentions may not actually exist in a stable sense because power is so divided, and the top leadership changes at least every eight years.” See Nathan and Scobell, China’s Search for Security, 91. 64. Chase, “Chinese Suspicion and U.S. Intentions,” 133. 65. This expectation characterizes works as diverse as Graham Allison, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), 107–9; Aaron L. Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia (New York: W. W. Norton, 2012), 2, 7–8; Ikenberry, “A New Order of Things?” 53; Walt, “Rising Powers and the Risks of War,” 23; White, The China Choice, 49, 58–61. 66. Quoted in Allison, Destined for War, 126. 67. M. Taylor Fravel, “Power Shifts and Escalation: Explaining China’s Use of Force in Territorial Disputes,” International Security 32, no. 3 (2007–8): 44. 68. M. Taylor Fravel, “Regime Insecurity and International Cooperation: Explaining China’s Compromises in Territorial Disputes,” International Security 30, no. 2 (2005): 46–83. 69. Fravel, “Power Shifts and Escalation,” 45. 70. Walt, “Rising Powers and the Risks of War,” 23. 71. Henry Kissinger, On China (New York: Penguin, 2011), 541. 72. For a brief description, see Thomas Cavanna, “Unlocking the Gates of Eurasia: China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications for U.S. Grand Strategy,” Texas National Security Review 2, no. 3 (2019): 13–15. 73. Nadège Rolland, China’s Eurasian Century? Political and Strategic Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative (Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2017), 177. 74. Jennifer Lind, “Life in China’s Asia: What Regional Hegemony Would Look Like,” Foreign Affairs 97, no. 2 (2018): 72–75; Mastro, “The Stealth Superpower,” 32–33; Cavanna, “Unlocking the Gates of Eurasia,” 32–36.

NOTES TO PAGES 252–255

341

75. Jon Kukla, A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003), 225–34, 249–54; Frederic Bancroft, “The French in Mexico and the Monroe Doctrine,” Political Science Quarterly 11, no. 1 (1896): 30–43. 76. Stephen R. Rock, “Anglo–U.S. Relations, 1845–1930: Did Shared Liberal Values and Democratic Institutions Keep the Peace?” in Miriam Fendius Elman, ed., Paths to Peace: Is Democracy the Answer? (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997), 106–12; Allison, Destined for War, 96–104. 77. Michael C. Desch, When the Third World Matters: Latin America and United States Grand Strategy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 33, 35–39, 63, 101, 104–8. Jonathan Kirshner doubts that a rational China will seek regional hegemony, since most bids to do so end in catastrophic failure. Note, however, that the failed bids were all launched in regions that contained multiple great powers. In the future scenario considered here, China will not face such an imposing task. Thus, a bid for hegemony might be reasonable. See Jonathan Kirshner, “The Tragedy of Offensive Realism: Classical Realism and the Rise of China,” European Journal of International Relations 18, no. 1 (2012): 59–65. 78. Quoted in Japan National Institute for Defense Studies, NIDS China Security Report, 2012 (Tokyo: National Institute for Defense Studies, 2012), 28. 79. Jason Dean, “China Warns U.S. to Stay Out of Regional Disputes,” Wall Street Journal, 23 June 2011. 80. Austin Ramzy, “Tensions with Japan Increase as China Sends Patrol Boats to Disputed Islands,” Time, 14 September 2012. 81. Mike Pence, “Remarks on the Administration’s Policy towards China,” address at Hudson Institute, Washington, DC, 4 October 2018. 82. Kissinger, On China, 14. 83. Yan Xuetong, “The Rise of China in Chinese Eyes,” Journal of Contemporary China 10, no. 26 (2001): 37. 84. Yan Xuetong, Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power, ed. Daniel A. Bell and Sun Zhe, trans. Edmund Ryden (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), 52. 85. John K. Fairbank, “Introduction: Varieties of the Chinese Military Experience,” in Frank A. Kierman, Jr., and John K. Fairbank, eds., Chinese Ways in Warfare (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974), 7–8. 86. Hans J. Van de Ven, “War in the Making of Modern China,” Modern Asian Studies 30, no. 4 (1996): 737. 87. Victoria Tin-bor Hui, “History and Thought in China’s Traditions,” Journal of Chinese Political Science 17, no. 2 (2012): 127, 131. 88. Yuan-kang Wang, Harmony and War: Confucian Culture and Chinese Power Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), 181. 89. Yan, Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power, 35, 41. 90. Hui, “History and Thought in China’s Traditions,” 137.

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NOTES TO PAGES 255–257

91. Peter C. Perdue, “The Tenacious Tributary System,” Journal of Contemporary China 24, no. 96 (2015): 1008. 92. On this point, see Sebastian Rosato, “The Inscrutable Intentions of Great Powers,” International Security 39, no. 3 (2014–15): 63–64. 93. Alastair Iain Johnston, Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 249; emphasis removed. 94. Andrew Scobell, China’s Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall and the Long March (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 15. 95. There is some debate about whether China can become a democracy. For the claim that efforts to democratize China have failed, see Campbell and Ratner, “The China Reckoning,” 63–65; and for the claim that China could still democratize, see Yu Liu and Dingding Chen, “Why China Will Democratize,” Washington Quarterly 35, no. 1 (2012): 41–63. For simplicity, I assume that China becomes democratic overnight. I do not explore what might happen in what would likely be an extended democratization process. It is worth noting, however, that most analysts think that states are especially likely to have malign intentions as they transition from autocracy to democracy. See, for example, Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy, 51; Bruce Gilley, China’s Democratic Future: How It Will Happen and Where It Will Lead (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 231–33. 96. Gilley, China’s Democratic Future, 227–28. 97. Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy, 51–52, 249–52, at 251. See also Christopher Layne, “The Sound of Distant Thunder: The Pre–World War I Anglo-German Rivalry as a Model for Sino-American Relations in the Early Twenty-First Century,” in Toje, ed., Will China’s Rise Be Peaceful? 132. 98. For the disputes, see Correlates of War, “Militarized Interstate Disputes (v4.0),” http://correlatesofwar.org/. 99. For a similar argument to the one that I make in this paragraph, see Denny Roy, “China’s Democratised Foreign Policy,” Survival 51, no. 2 (2009): 25–40. 100. The current version of Chinese nationalism originated in the 1990s in the wake of the military crackdown at Tiananmen Square as an elite-driven “patriotic education” campaign. See Zhao, A Nation-State by Construction, 209–47, at 218. It is now as much a popular as an official phenomenon. See, for example, Peter Hays Gries, China’s New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 20, 136. 101. Zhao, A Nation-State by Construction, 261. 102. William A. Callahan, China: The Pessoptimist Nation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 191–205, at 197, 199. See also Gries, China’s New Nationalism, 142; Suisheng Zhao, “Foreign Policy Implications of Chinese Nationalism Revisited: The Strident Turn,” Journal of Contemporary China 22, no. 82 (2013): 535–53. 103. Ian Buruma, “Are China and the United States Headed for War?” New Yorker, 12 June 2017. For an analysis of the memory of national humiliation and Chinese

NOTES TO PAGES 257–260

104.

105.

106. 107.

108.

109. 110.

111.

112.

113.

114. 115. 116. 117. 118.

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nationalism, see Zheng Wang, Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012). Jessica Chen Weiss, Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 3, 220. See also Kai Quek and Alastair Iain Johnston, “Can China Back Down? Crisis De-escalation in the Shadow of Popular Opposition,” International Security 42, no. 3 (2017–18): 7. Fei-Ling Wang, “Self-Image and Strategic Intentions: National Confidence and Political Insecurity,” in Yong Deng and Fei-Ling Wang, eds., In the Eyes of the Dragon: China Views the World (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 35. Gilley, China’s Democratic Future, 230. See also Chan, Trust and Distrust in SinoAmerican Relations, 114. Allison, Destined for War, 123–26; Steve Chan, Looking for Balance: China, the United States, and Power Balancing in East Asia (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012), 92–124; Roy, Return of the Dragon, 18–20. Christensen, The China Challenge, 40–49; Rosemary Foot, “Constraints on Conflict in the Asia-Pacific,” Political Science 66, no. 2 (2014): 136–39; Jia Qingguo and Richard Rosecrance, “Delicately Poised: Are China and the U.S. Heading for Conflict?” Global Asia 4, no. 4 (2010): 72–81. Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Cannan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), 487. Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy, 47; John J. Mearsheimer, The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018), 207; White, The China Choice, 51. Robert J. Art, A Grand Strategy for America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), 66; Scott D. Sagan, “The Origins of the Pacific War,” in Robert I. Rotberg and Theodore K. Rabb, eds., The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 323–52. Quoted in Robert D. Kaplan, The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us about Coming Conflicts and the Battle against Fate (New York: Random House, 2012), 217. Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), 202. On China’s willingness to go to war, see Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy, 47; Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 408. Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy, 46–47. Cole, “What Do China’s Surface Fleet Developments Suggest about Its Maritime Strategy?” 18–19. Sam Roggeveen, “China’s New Aircraft Carrier Is Already Obsolete,” Foreign Policy, 25 April 2018. Robert D. Kaplan, “The Geography of Chinese Power,” Foreign Affairs 89, no. 3 (2010): 34. For a summary of these events, see Christensen, The China Challenge, 212–32.

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NOTES TO PAGES 260–264

119. Condoleezza Rice, “Rethinking the National Interest: American Realism for a New World,” Foreign Affairs 87, no. 4 (2008): 4. 120. For a summary of these developments, see Christensen, The China Challenge, 251–66. Whether or not China was in fact newly assertive beginning in 2010 is a matter of debate. See Alastair Iain Johnston, “How New and Assertive Is China’s New Assertiveness?” International Security 37, no. 4 (2013): 7–48; Aaron L. Friedberg, “The Sources of Chinese Conduct: Explaining Beijing’s Assertiveness,” Washington Quarterly 37, no. 4 (2014): 133–50. 121. Clinton, “America’s Pacific Century.” 122. David Stout, “Hagel to China: Respect Your Neighbors,” Time, 7 April 2014. 123. G. John Ikenberry, “Asian Regionalism and the Future of U.S. Strategic Engagement with China,” in Abraham Denmark and Nirav Patel, eds., China’s Arrival: A Strategic Framework for a Global Relationship (Washington, DC: Center for a New American Century, 2009), 101, 105. See also David C. Kang, “Why China’s Rise Will Be Peaceful: Hierarchy and Stability in the East Asian Region,” Perspectives on Politics 3, no. 3 (2005): 552. 124. Alastair Iain Johnston, Social States: China in International Relations, 1980–2000 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), 160. 125. Amitav Acharya, “Ideas, Identity, and Institution-Building: From the ‘ASEAN Way’ to the ‘Asia-Pacific Way’?” Pacific Review 10, no. 3 (1997): 332, 334, 336. 126. Johnston, Social States, 166. 127. Ikenberry, “Asian Regionalism and the Future of U.S. Strategic Engagement with China,” 107. 128. Fiona S. Cunningham and M. Taylor Fravel, “Assuring Assured Retaliation: China’s Nuclear Posture and U.S.–China Strategic Stability,” International Security 40, no. 2 (2015): 12, 14. See also M. Taylor Fravel and Evan S. Medeiros, “China’s Search for Assured Retaliation: The Evolution of Chinese Nuclear Strategy,” International Security 35, no. 2 (2010): 57–66. 129. Michael S. Chase, “China’s Transition to a More Credible Nuclear Deterrent: Implications and Challenges for the United States,” Asia Policy 16 (2013): 93. 130. Glaser, “Will China’s Rise Lead to War?” 91. 131. Thomas J. Christensen, “The Meaning of the Nuclear Evolution: China’s Strategic Modernization and U.S.–China Security Relations,” Journal of Strategic Studies 35, no. 4 (2012): 447. For details of the modernization, see Chase, “China’s Transition to a More Credible Nuclear Deterrent,” 88–91. 132. Christensen, “The Meaning of the Nuclear Evolution,” 463, 466. 133. Avery Goldstein, “First Things First: The Pressing Danger of Crisis Instability in U.S.–China Relations,” International Security 37, no. 4 (2013): 66. 134. Christensen, “The Meaning of the Nuclear Evolution,” 467. 135. For a detailed description of these capabilities, see Stephen Biddle and Ivan Oelrich, “Future Warfare in the Western Pacific: Chinese Antiaccess/Area Denial, U.S. AirSea Battle, and Command of the Commons in East Asia,” International Security 41, no. 1 (2016): 7–48, at 14.

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136. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (2010), 31. See also Mastro, “The Stealth Superpower,” 33. 137. Avery Goldstein, Rising to the Challenge: China’s Grand Strategy and International Security (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005), 212–13. 138. Jeffrey W. Legro, “What China Will Want: The Future Intentions of a Rising Power,” Perspectives on Politics 5, no. 3 (2007): 518, 524. 139. See, for example, Cunningham and Fravel, “Assuring Assured Retaliation,” 10, 31, 34–37; Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 395–98; Tunsjø, The Return of Bipolarity in World Politics, 126–49. For a sobering analysis that explains how a conventional war could escalate to the nuclear level, see Caitlin Talmadge, “Would China Go Nuclear? Assessing the Risk of Chinese Nuclear Escalation in a Conventional War with the United States,” International Security 41, no. 4 (2017): 50–92.

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INDEX

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (2015), 251 Asquith, Herbert, 123

Acharya, Amitav, 262 Adamthwaite, Anthony, 68 Adenauer, Konrad, 164 Akhromeyev, Sergei, 201, 203, 210, 212, 225 Alaska boundary dispute, 116, 137–42, 147, 252 Aleksandrovich, Grand Duke Vladimir, 104 Alexander II, Tsar of Russia, 76–78, 81, 83, 85–90, 109 Alexander III, Tsar of Russia, 93, 101–3, 105–6, 112 Allison, Graham, 22 Alterman, Eric, 46 Alverstone, Lord, 138, 141 Andrássy, Gyula, 79, 81 Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902; 1905), 145, 146, 182, 186, 191 Anscombe, Elizabeth, 22 Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty (1972), 40, 62, 65, 202, 204 Arbatov, Georgy, 225 Ardagh, Sir John, 123, 125, 141 Arnold-Forster, Hugh Oakley, 151 ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), 261–62

Baker, James, 225, 227–28, 230–34 Baklanov, Oleg, 225 Balfour, Arthur, 122, 124, 131–32, 134, 142, 144–45, 148, 157, 165 Balkan Crisis (1875–78), 82 Balkan War, First (1912–13), 37 Barsoom, Peter, 62 Bayard, Thomas, 118 Belgian Crisis (1830–32), 55 Bell, Mark, 7 Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), ix, 252 Berlin, Congress of (1878), 74, 76, 82–87, 104 Berlin, Treaty of (1926), 177 Berlin Crisis (1948–49; 1958–61), 3, 7, 27 Berthelot, Philippe, 30, 161, 168 Bessmertnykh, Aleksandr, 202, 203 Betts, Richard, 235 Biddle, Stephen, 264 Bismarck, Herbert von, 84, 88, 102 Bismarck, Otto von, 26, 28, 31; military victories, 32; Russia relations, 73–113

347

348

INDEX

Bleichröder, Gerson von, 101, 105 Boer War (1899–1902), 120, 133–34 Boggs, Marion, 64 Borah, William, 180 Borghard, Erica, 52 Boulanger Crisis (1887), 113 Bourgeois, Léon, 157 Braun, Karl, 80 Briand, Aristide, 157–58, 163, 165–69, 172, 173, 176 Britain, security competition with United States in great rapprochement, 116, 147–48; views of German intentions in great rapprochement, 150–51; views of U.S. intentions in great rapprochement, 121–25, 127–29, 132–37, 140–42, 143–45, 146–47, 148–51 Brockdorff-Rantzau, Ulrich von, 159 Bryce, James, 120–21 Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 18, 34 Bulgarian Crisis (1885–88), 99, 104, 113 Bülow, Bernhard von, 82–83, 85, 88, 100, 101, 108–9 Buruma, Ian, 257 Busch, Moritz, 88, 96, 101, 109 Bush, George H. W., 197, 222–33 Bush, George W., 240–41, 242–43, 245, 260 Butterfield, Herbert, 22 Callahan, William, 256–57 Campbell, Alexander, 146–47 Campbell, Charles, 126–27 Carlucci, Frank, 214, 216, 217, 222 Carter, Jimmy, 34 Casey, William, 197 Chamberlain, Austen, 165 Chamberlain, Joseph, 122, 124, 127–28, 134, 138, 140–41, 143–44, 145 Chamberlain, Neville, 51–52 Chandler, William, 121 Charnwood, Lord, 186

Chase, Michael, 250, 262–63 Chaudordy, Jean-Baptiste de, 81 Cheney, Richard, 230–31, 232 Chernyaev, Anatoly, 199, 203, 205, 213, 227 China, People’s Republic of: actions and intentions of, 259–64; arming policy and intentions of, 262–64; Confucianism and intentions of, 253–55; declarations and intentions of, 248–50; democracy and intentions of, 249–50, 255–57; diplomacy and intentions of, 249, 260–61; disputes with U.S. allies and partners, 252–53, 260–61, 266– 67; future intentions of, 265; inaccessible intentions of, 247–48; interests and intentions of, 250–59; naval policy and intentions of, 259– 60; peaceful rise and intentions of, 248–49; prosperity interest and intentions of, 257–59; security competition and war with United States in future, xi, 19, 247, 265–67; security competition with United States, ix, 243–44, 245–46, 247, 252–53; security institutions and intentions of, 261–62; security interest and intentions of, 251–53; views of U.S. intentions, 249–50; views of U.S. intentions in future, xi, 19, 237 Choate, Joseph, 131 Christensen, Thomas, 235–36, 236–37, 263, 264 Churchill, Winston, 29–30, 35–36, 165 Clark, J. Reuben, 180 Clausewitz, Carl von, 6 Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850), 129, 130 Clemenceau, Georges, 156, 175 Cleveland, Grover, 117–18, 121, 123 Clinton, Bill, 242 Clinton, Hillary Rodham, 244, 261 Colby, Elbridge, 246

INDEX

Cold War (1945–90), arms control, 26, 62; competition, 8; dispute initiation, 256; exemplar of realist logic, 3; military secrecy in, 28; mistrust, 15–16; Soviet espionage, 34 Cole, Bernard, 259 Comprehensive Economic Partnership, 251 Concert of Europe (1815), 50, 67 confidence, cause of U.S.–Chinese peace in future, 1–2; defined, 5; in realist-optimist debate, 4–5; relation to information, 9, 32–33, 35–36, 239; requirement for peace, x, 5–6; trust and, x, 1, 12 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty (1990), 224–25 Coolidge, Calvin, 187 Copeland, Dale, 14 Craig, Gordon, 79, 176 Crimean War (1853–56), 110–11 Crispi, Francesco, 102 Crowe, Eyre, 29, 40–41 Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), 3, 7, 12–13, 27 Cui Tiankai, 253 Cullom, Shelby, 118, 121 Cunningham, Fiona, 262 Cuno, Wilhelm, 163 Curzon, Lord, 163 Dai Bingguo, 248 Davies, Joseph, 54 Davis, Norman, 186 Davis Amendment (1900), 129, 133 Dawes Plan (1924), 160, 161, 164 Degoutte, Joseph, 157 Deng Xiaoping, 249 Derby, Lord, 157 Dickinson, Donald, 117–18 Disraeli, Benjamin, 73, 87, 91 Dobrynin, Anatoly, 196, 200, 201, 219, 221, 223 Downs, George, 62

349

Doyle, Michael, 53, 58, 114 Dreikaiserbund, First (1873–78), 74, 76–79 Dreikaiserbund, Second (1881–87), 74, 76, 92–99 Drummond Wolff, Sir Henry, 129 Dual Alliance (1879), 82, 87–92, 107–12 Dufferin, Lord, 123 Dunne, Finley Peter, 152 Durand, Sir Mortimer, 146 Edelstein, David, 5, 69, 73–74, 115, 143, 147–48, 153–55 Edward VII, King of Great Britain, 140, 142 Ellsberg, Daniel, 32 Ely, John Hart, 46 Fairbank, John, 253–54 Fashoda Crisis (1898), 55 Fisher, Sir John, 128–29, 149–50, 151 Fiske, Bradley, 187 Foch, Ferdinand, 156, 157, 160, 166– 67, 170 Foot, Rosemary, 249 France, interwar, security competition with Weimar Germany, 155, 175–76; views of Weimar German intentions, 156–59, 160–63, 165–69 Franco-Czech Alliance (1924), 176 Franco-Polish Alliance (1921), 176 Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), 54, 73, 76, 107 Franco-Russian Alliance (1894), 111–12 Franco-Soviet Pact (1932), 68 Frankfurt, Treaty of (1871), 76, 107 Franklin-Bouillon, Henry, 166 Franz-Joseph, Emperor of AustriaHungary, 76, 93, 110 Fravel, Taylor, 251, 262 French friendship treaty, with Romania (1926), 176; with Yugoslavia (1927), 176

350

INDEX

Friedberg, Aaron, 255–56 Friedman, Thomas, 258 Fukuyama, Francis, 3 Gaddis, John Lewis, 193 Galvin, John, 223 Garthoff, Raymond, 62 Gates, Robert, 210, 214, 217, 218, 222, 231 Gelber, Lionel, 136–37 Geneva accords on Afghanistan (1988), 219 Geneva Naval Conference (1927), 178, 187–90 Geneva summit (1985), 198, 202–3, 204–5, 206, 207, 209 Genoa Conference (1922), 156 German Confederation (1820), 68 Germany, Imperial, relations with Austria-Hungary, 108–10; security competition with Russia, 75–76, 107–8, 112–13; views of Russian intentions, 77–78, 79–80, 82–85, 87–91, 93–97, 99–104 Germany, Weimar, security competition with interwar France, 155, 176–77; views of interwar French intentions, 159–60, 163–65, 170–75 Giers, Nikolai, 92, 94, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 102–3, 105, 106, 112 Gilley, Bruce, 255, 257 Gilpin, Robert, 25 Glaser, Charles, 6, 14, 61, 62, 65, 69–71, 177, 193–94, 237, 263 Goddard, Stacie, 48–49 Goldstein, Avery, 74, 263, 265 Gorbachev, Mikhail, 29, 31, 63; United States relations, 195–232 Gorchakov, Aleksandr, 78–81, 84, 86, 87, 92, 95 Gould-Davies, Nigel, 55–56 Grey, Sir Edward, 29, 40–41 Gromyko, Andrei, 206, 212

Haas, Mark, 35–36, 53, 55, 73, 74, 194 Hagel, Chuck, 244, 261 Hague Conference (1929), 165, 175 Hague Convention (1899), 67 Haldane, J. Aylmer, 141 Hamaguchi Osachi, 189, 190 Harcourt, Sir William, 122 Hatzfeldt, Paul von, 104 Hay, John, 121, 126, 127, 130–31, 138, 139, 140, 144 Hayashi Tadasu, 24 Hay-Herbert Treaty (1903), 137, 138, 140, 142 Haymerle, Heinrich, 93, 95–96 Haynes, Kyle, 69, 71–72, 150–51 Hay-Pauncefote Convention (1900), 129, 130, 132, 133, 134 Hay-Pauncefote Treaty (1901), 129, 134 Hepburn, William, 130, 133 Herbert, Michael, 142, 146 Herriot, Edouard, 161, 162, 165 Herz, John, 2 Hicks Beach, Sir Michael, 123 Hitler, Adolf, 28, 30, 31, 36, 39–40, 41 Hobbes, Thomas, 25 Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, Chlodwig zu, 77, 80 House, Edward, 156–57 Hughes, Charles Evans, 182, 185, 186, 187 Hu Jintao, 248, 260 Hui, Victoria Tin-bor, 254, 255 Huntington, Samuel, 64 Hurd, Douglas, 231 Hylton, Lord, 142 Hymans, Paul, 169 Ikenberry, John, 65–66, 237, 261, 262 information, access problem, x, 9, 21–23, 238; actions as unreliable, 9, 27–30; confidence and uncertainty as function of, 9, 32–33, 35–36, 239; declarations as unreliable, 9, 24;

INDEX

firsthand and access problem, 9, 21, 33, 238–39; firsthand and secondhand defined, 9, 21, 23, 238; interests as unreliable, 9, 24–27; problem of the future, 9, 30–32, 238–39; problems and intentions pessimism, x, 9, 21, 32–35, 238–39; reliability problem, x, 9, 23, 238; secondhand and reliability problem, 9, 21, 23, 33, 238–39 intentions, compared to grand strategies and military plans, 13; current vs. future, 11; defined, 10–15; and great power politics, x, 2; and interests, 13–15; in international relations theory, 2, 4–5; malign vs. benign, 11–12; in optimism, 3; in realism, 2; time spans, 12–13; and U.S.–Chinese relations in future, xi, 1–2, 19, 235–36 intentions optimism, 9–10, 44; access problem overcome, 45–47; actions as reliable information, 60–69; and Bismarck era, 73–75; and Cold War end, 193–94; criticisms of, 44–72; declarations as reliable information, 47–52; and early interwar period, 153–54, 177–78; great power historical record contradicts, 16–18; and great rapprochement, 114–15; interests as reliable information, 52–60; multiple clues as reliable information, 69–71; problem of the future overcome, 71–72; reliability problem overcome, 47–69; and U.S.–Chinese peace in future, 236–37; and U.S. views of Chinese intentions in future, 249, 250, 253– 54, 255–56, 257, 259, 261, 262–64, 265 intentions pessimism, x, 9, 32–35, 238–39; applied to minor powers, 18–19; and Bismarck era, 75, 113;

351

and Cold War end, 194, 234; and early interwar period, 154–55, 178, 192; effort in intentions assessment, 40–43; great power historical record supports, x, 15–17, 239; and great rapprochement, 115–16, 152; information problems and, x, 9, 21, 32–35, 238–39; realism supported by, 8–9, 237; and U.S.–Chinese security competition and war in future, xi, 19, 237, 247; and U.S. views of Chinese intentions, 240–42; and U.S. views of Chinese intentions in future, 247–65 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (1987), 40, 62, 70–71, 195, 211–18 Iriye, Akira, 153 Isthmian Canal dispute, 116, 129–37 Japan, interwar, security competition with United States, 178, 190–92; views of U.S. intentions, 179–80, 183–85, 188–90 Jervis, Robert, 6–7, 28, 61, 177–78 Johnson, Hiram, 186, 190 Johnson, Lyndon, 22, 213 Johnson-Reed Act (1924), 183, 187 Johnston, Alastair Iain, 255, 261–62 Jomini, Aleksandr, 92, 97–98 Jones, Hilary, 188–89 Jouvenel, Henry de, 166 Kaplan, Robert, 260 – Kanji, 184, 185, 189 Kato – Tomosaburo –, 183–84 Kato Kaufman, Robert, 190–91 Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928), 154, 165 Kennan, George, 36, 99 Kennedy, John F., 22 Keohane, Robert, 50 Kerr, Lord, 135, 136, 151 Keynes, John Maynard, 34

352

Kilmarnock, Lord, 159 King, William, 186 Kissinger, Henry, 74, 253 Kliman, Daniel, 114–15 Knorr, Klaus, 31 Kohl, Helmut, 227, 233 Kornienko, Georgy, 203 Krenz, Egon, 226 Kruger, Paul, 120 Kupchan, Charles, 45, 67, 115 Kupchan, Clifford, 67 Kydd, Andrew, 6, 14, 45, 60–61, 66, 69–71, 193–94 Lansdowne, Lord, 132, 133, 135, 137, 141–42, 144, 145, 146 Lansing, Robert, 180 Laroche, Jules, 161 Lascelles, Sir Frank, 151 Laski, Harold, 159 Laurier, Wilfrid, 139 Lawrence, Herbert, 141 Layne, Christopher, 55, 57–58 League of Nations, Covenant (1919), 67–68; Germany admitted (1926), 165 Lee, Arthur, 128, 131, 137, 149, 152 Le Flô, Adolphe, 81 Legro, Jeffrey, 265 Lieber, Keir, 7 Ligachev, Yegor, 200, 212, 213 Lindley, Dan, 50 Livingston, Leonidas, 122 Lloyd George, David, 160 Lobell, Steven, 22 Locarno era, 155, 165–75 Lodge, Henry Cabot, Britain relations, 118, 119, 120, 121, 126, 130, 131–32, 139–40, 142; Japan relations, 181, 185–86, 187 London Conference on reparations (1924), 160 London Naval Conference (1930), 178, 187–90

INDEX

Lukacs, John, 54 Lyautey, Hubert, 158 MacArthur, Douglas, 258 MacDonald, Ramsey, 162 Machiavelli, Niccolò, 25 Mackinder, Halford, 58 MacMurray, John, 186 Mahan, Alfred Thayer, 121, 139–40, 260 Makino Nobuaki, 189 Malta summit (1989), 225–26 Maltzan, Adolf Georg von, 171 Maoz, Zeev, 58 Margerie, Pierre de, 161–62 Marx, Wilhelm, 160 material factors, and Cold War end, x–xi, 17, 224–27, 240; and great rapprochement, x–xi, 17, 148–50, 240; influence on alliances, 38–40; influence on arms races, 36–38; influence on cooperation, 40; influence on security competition, 36–40; influence on strategic rivalries, 38 Matlock, Jack, 207, 214 Matsudaira Tsuneo, 187 Mattis, James, 246 Ma Xiaotian, 252 McFarlane, Robert, 206, 209 McKinley, William, 125, 130 McMaster, John Bach, 118 Mearsheimer, John, 2, 47–48, 236 Medlicott, William, 84–85 Medvedev, Vadim, 199, 211–12 Meir, Golda, 22 Miliutin, Dmitry, 78, 85–86, 96, 110–11 Miller, Nicholas, 7 Minto, Lord, 134 mistrust, uncertainty and, 1, 12 Mohrenheim, Arthur von, 98 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (1939), 68 Moltke, Helmuth von, 80, 88, 107

INDEX

Monroe Doctrine (1823), 119, 130–31, 137 Morgenthau, Hans, 68 Morley, John, 31 Moroccan Crisis (1905–6), 39 Moscow summit (1988), 219, 221 Mulroney, Brian, 230 Munich Crisis (1938), 39, 52 Napoleon I, Emperor of France, 32 Napoleon III, Emperor of France, 32 Napoleonic Wars (1803–15), 25, 74 Nathan, Andrew, 247, 250 Near Eastern Crisis (1838–41), 55 New Development Bank (2014), 251 Niblack, Albert, 180 Nishihara Hajime, 183 Nixon, Richard, 214–15 Non-Proliferation Treaty (1967), 3 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 3, 63, 201, 224; unified Germany in, 224, 226–27, 233 NSC–68, 13

353

Panetta, Leon, 244 Paris, Treaty of (1898), 116, 125–26 Paris Peace Conference (1919), 155–56, 178 Paul-Boncour, Joseph, 162–63 Pauncefote, Sir Julian, 117, 122–23, 128, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 141–42 Pence, Mike, 246, 253 Perdue, Peter, 255 Perle, Richard, 209 Phipps, Eric, 168 Pinker, Steven, 3 Poincaré, Raymond, 30, 156, 158, 160, 161, 162, 164, 166, 168–69, 173 Poindexter, John, 206, 207, 208, 210 Pompeo, Michael, 246 Portsmouth, Treaty of (1905), 116, 143 Posner, Richard, 23 Powell, Colin, 219, 221, 232 Powell, Robert, 48 Pratt, William, 190 Press, Daryl, 7 Quackenbush, Stephen, 58

Obama, Barack, 22, 241, 244–45, 249–50 Obruchev, Nikolai, 111 Odom, William, 200 Oelrich, Ivan, 264 Okada Keisuke, 188 Olney, Richard, 117, 119, 126, 127 Olney-Pauncefote Treaty (1897), 117 optimism, great power peace prediction, 3–4; intentions in, 3; post–Cold War Western Europe as exemplar of, 4; U.S.–Chinese peace prediction, 236–37 Orlov, Nikolai, 90, 92, 94, 99 – Osumi Mineo, 188 Ottley, Charles, 133, 135 Owen, John, 35–36, 53, 54, 55, 74 Palazhchenko, Pavel, 196 Palmerston, Lord, 32, 49

Radowitz, Joseph Maria von, 80, 101 Raikes, Arthur, 140, 142 Rantzau, Kuno zu, 100 Rapallo, Treaty of (1922), 156, 177 rationalism, 6; criticisms of, 6–8; nuclear weapons in, 6–8 Reagan, Ronald, 29, 196–98, 202–11, 213–23 realism, Cold War as exemplar of, 3; great power security competition and war prediction, 2; intentions in, 2; supported by intentions pessimism, 8–9, 237; U.S.–Chinese security competition and war prediction, 236 Reed, David, 187 Reed-Matsudaira compromise (1930), 187, 188 Reid, Whitelaw, 146

354

INDEX

Reinsch, Paul, 180 Reinsurance Treaty (1887), 28, 75, 76, 99–106 Reiter, Dan, 59 Rendall, Matthew, 67 Reuss, Heinrich, 95, 96, 103 Reykjavik summit (1986), 199, 204–5, 207–8, 210 Rhineland Pact (1925), 68, 154, 165, 170–71, 176–77 Rice, Condoleezza, 242, 260 Ripsman, Norrin, 22 Rock, Stephen, 115, 150 Rocke, David, 62 Rockhill, William, 144 Roggeveen, Sam, 259–60 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 54 Roosevelt, Theodore, 120, 121, 130–31, 132, 137–42, 144, 145–46, 151–52 Roosevelt, Theodore, Jr., 182 Root, Elihu, 139, 186 Rosebery, Lord, 120 Roxburghe, Lord, 142 Rudy, Michael, 58 Ruhr Crisis (1923), 55, 155, 160–65 Russell, Lord, 77, 78, 80, 82 Russett, Bruce, 5, 57, 58 Russia, Imperial, relations with France, 111–12; security competition with Germany, 75–76, 110–13; views of German intentions, 78–79, 80–81, 85–87, 91–92, 97–99, 104–6 Russo-German military convention (1873), 76 Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), 27–28, 39, 143 Russo-Turkish War (1877–78), 82 Ryzhkov, Nikolai, 212, 219, 220, 227 Saburov, Petr, 87, 91, 92–93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 109 – Makoto, 188 Saito Salisbury, Lord, Germany relations, 81, 83, 103; United States relations, 117,

119, 122–23, 124, 128, 129, 131, 135, 137, 143 Sanderson, Lord, 40–41 San Stefano, Treaty of (1878), 82 Sartori, Anne, 47–48 – Tetsutaro –, 180 Sato Sazonov, Sergei, 23 Schake, Kori, 114 Schellendorf, Paul Bronsart von, 103 Schleiffen Plan, 13 Schleswig-Holstein Crisis (1863–64), 49 Schönbrunn Convention (1873), 74 Schrock-Jacobson, Gretchen, 56 Schroeder, Paul, 67 Schultz, Kenneth, 59–60 Schurman, Jacob, 187 Schweinitz, Hans von, 77, 83, 84, 86, 88, 90, 94–95, 96, 105, 109 Scobell, Andrew, 247, 250, 255 Scowcroft, Brent, 223, 228–29, 230, 231, 232, 233 Selborne, Lord, 134–35, 136, 148–49, 150, 151 Seydoux, Jacques, 157 Shafer, Boyd, 57 Shevardnadze, Eduard, 196, 198, 200, 202, 205, 208, 212, 225, 226, 227, 232, 233 –ro –, 183, 186, 189, Shidehara Kiju 190 Shirk, Susan, 235 Shultz, George, 197, 202, 206–7, 209, 212, 213, 215, 216, 217, 218, 222 Shuvalov, Pavel, 100, 106 Shuvalov, Petr, 80, 81, 87, 91, 105 Skinner, Kiron, 246 Skobelev, Mikhail, 96 Smalley, George, 139 Smith, Adam, 258 Snyder, Jack, 52, 59 Sokolov, Sergei, 219 Solf, Wilhelm, 159 Soviet-Italian Pact (1933), 68

INDEX

Soviet Union, capitulation to United States, 224–27; grand compromise, 198–211; intermediate-range nuclear forces policy, 211–18; military retrenchment, 218–23; security competition with United States, 194–95, 224; unilateral arms control, 195–98; views of U.S. intentions, 196, 199–205, 211–13, 219–20 Spanish-American War (1898), 116, 125–29 Spring Rice, Sir Cecil, 122, 142, 144, 146 Staal, Egor, 101–2, 104–5 Stalin, Joseph, 28 Stam, Allan, 59 Steinberg, James, 1, 241 Stewart, William, 121–22 Stimson, Henry, 190 Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) (1972; 1979), 3, 40, 62 Stresemann, Gustav, 154, 159, 161–77 Suetsugu Nobumasa, 190 Tahiti-Tangier Crisis (1844), 55 Takeshita Isamu, 179 Taliaferro, Jeffrey, 22 Tanaka Kunishige, 184–85 Tarasenko, Sergei, 225–26 Tardieu, André, 156, 159, 160, 169, 175 Thatcher, Margaret, 214 Thoiry meeting (1926), 165 three emperor meeting, Berlin (1872), 76; Skiernewice (1884), 93 Tirpitz, Alfred von, 31 Tokugawa Iesato, 184 Trachtenberg, Marc, 51–52 Trent Affair (1861), 55 Triple Alliance (1882; 1887), 28, 99, 108, 111 Triple Entente (1907), 26, 39 Trump, Donald, 241, 246 trust, confidence and, x, 1, 12

355

Tuchman, Barbara, 67 Turner, George, 139 Uchida Yasuya, 184 uncertainty, acute, x, 9, 12, 33; cases of security competition resulting from, x–xi, 17, 239–40; cause of AngloAmerican security competition, 116, 147–48; cause of Franco-German security competition, 155, 175; cause of Russo-German security competition, 75–76, 106; cause of U.S.–Chinese security competition, 240, 242; cause of U.S.–Chinese security competition and war in future, xi, 1–2, 19, 247, 265; cause of U.S.–Japanese security competition, 178, 190–91; cause of U.S.–Soviet security competition, 194–95, 224; defined, 5; influence on alliances, 38–40; influence on arms races, 36–38; influence on cooperation, 40; influence on strategic rivalries, 38; mistrust and, 1, 12; in realistoptimist debate, 4–5; relation to information, 9, 32–33, 35–36, 239; security competition and war as consequence of, x, 2, 5–6, 36–40 United Nations, Charter (1945), 68; Gorbachev speech (1988), 219 United States, security competition and war with China in future, xi, 19, 247, 265–67; security competition with Britain in great rapprochement, 116, 147–48; security competition with China, ix, 242–47; security competition with interwar Japan, 178, 190–91; security competition with Soviet Union, 194–95, 224, 232–34; views of British intentions in great rapprochement, 117–21, 126–27, 129–32, 138–40, 145–47, 151–52; views of Chinese intentions,

356

INDEX

United States (continued) 240–42; views of Chinese intentions in future, xi, 19, 237, 247–65; views of interwar Japanese intentions, 180–82, 185–87, 190; views of Soviet intentions, 197–98, 205–11, 213–18, 220–23, 227–32 U.S.–Japanese war scare (1920–21; 1924–25), 179, 183 Van de Ven, Hans, 254 Van Evera, Stephen, 54, 56 Vanovsky, Petr, 111 Venezuela Crisis (1895–96), 55, 116–25, 147, 252 Versailles, Treaty of (1919), 30, 39, 155–60 Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, 123 –, 188, 189, 190 Wakatsuki Reijiro Wallander, Celeste, 66 Walt, Stephen, 38–39, 251 Waltz, Kenneth, 2, 42, 54, 236 Wang, Fei-Ling, 257 Wang, Yuan-kang, 254 War in Sight Crisis (1875), 76, 79–81, 112 War Powers Resolution (1973), 45–46 Warren, Charles, 184 Warsaw Pact, 3, 63, 224 Washington Naval Conference (1921– 22), 177, 182 Washington Naval Treaties (1922), 62–63, 178, 182–87 Washington summit (1987; 1990), 183, 225

Watt, Donald Cameron, 31 Weeks, Jessica, 51 Weeks, John, 186 Weinberger, Caspar, 210, 215 Weinberger, Seth, 66, 69 Wendt, Alexander, 3, 23, 45, 71 White, Henry, 138, 146, 156 White, Sir William, 86–87 Wilhelm I, Kaiser of Germany, 76, 77, 78, 81, 83, 86, 87, 88–89, 90, 93, 102, 104, 109 Wilhelm II, Kaiser of Germany, 16, 31, 99, 104, 120, 151 Wilson, Woodrow, 157 Wood, Leonard, 181 World Disarmament Conference (1932), 64 World War I (1914–18), 38–39, 55, 75, 258 World War II (1939–45), 38–40 Wörner, Manfred, 231 Xi Jinping, 247, 248–49, 251 Yakovlev, Aleksandr, 196, 201, 212 Yalta agreements (1945), 28 Yan Xuetong, 253, 254 Yarhi-Milo, Keren, 35 Yazov, Dmitry, 220, 225 Yoder, Brandon, 69, 71–72, 150–51 Young Plan (1929), 165 Yuan Zheng, 250 Zheng Bijian, 248 Zoellick, Robert, 240