Description: Description: Description: École supérieure d'affaires publiques et internationales


Graduate Seminar


The return of geopolitical rivalry


API 6339

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

University of Ottawa

Winter 2020


Prof. Roland Paris

Office: FSS 6053

Office hours: By appointment


Course Description

This course will examine the causes, characteristics and possible consequences of the recent intensification of major-power rivalry in international politics, including in the military, economic and cyber domains.


Response papers (3)


Midterm exam (Feb. 26)


Final exam




Response papers

You will write three response papers during the semester. Deadline: 12 noon the day before the relevant class meeting. Late papers will be subject to penalties (see lateness policy below). Detailed instructions will be provided in class.

Midterm exam

The midterm exam will cover all the course material up to the date of the exam. Duration: 2 hours.

Final exam

The final exam will cover the entire course. Duration: 3 hours. You must write the final exam to pass the course.


The participation grade in this course is significant. It will be based not only on your involvement in seminar discussions, but also on evidence that you have completed and understood the weekly readings.


Click on the links in the course schedule, below. To access subscriber-only material, you may either: (1) connect to the library website from a University of Ottawa-networked computer, or (2) follow these instructions for off-campus access:

Cheating and Plagiarism

Academic fraud – including plagiarism, submitting work that was produced by someone else, or submitting the same work in more than one course – may result in a failing grade for a particular assignment, a failing grade for the course, and/or suspension for various lengths of time or permanent expulsion from the university. The onus is on each student to know and comply with the university’s regulations on academic fraud.

Lateness Policy

There will be a penalty for late submissions. Exceptions are made only for illness or other serious situations deemed as such by the professor. University regulations require all absences from exams and all late submissions due to illness to be supported by a medical certificate. The Faculty reserves the right to accept or reject the reason put forth if it is not medical. Reasons such as travel, work and errors made while reading the exam schedule are not usually accepted. In the event of an illness or related complications, only the counseling service and the campus clinic (located at 100 Marie-Curie) may issue valid certificates to justify a delay or absence. Each day of late submission will result in a penalty of 5% (weekends included). This also applies to assignments sent by email (time of receipt of the email indicates the time of delivery). Please notify the professor as soon as possible if a religious holiday or event forces your absence during an evaluation.

Mental Health and Wellness

The University of Ottawa is committed to the wellbeing of its students and to ensuring that every student can experience good mental health in order to complete their work and participate fully in university life. For more information, visit,

Sexual Violence

The University of Ottawa does not tolerate any form of sexual violence. Sexual violence refers to any act of a sexual nature committed without consent, such as rape, sexual harassment or online harassment. The University, as well as student and employee associations, offers a full range of resources and services allowing members of our community to receive information and confidential assistance and providing for a procedure to report an incident or make a complaint. For more information, visit




Course Schedule

Jan. 8             Introduction to the Course


Walter Russell Mead, “The Return of Geopolitics,” Foreign Affairs 93:3 (May 2014), pp. 69-79.


G. John Ikenberry, “The Illusion of Geopolitics,” Foreign Affairs 93:3 (May 2014), pp. 80-90.


Jan. 15          Power and Change


Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1981), chapter 1, “The Nature of International Political Change.”


Alexander Cooley, Daniel Nexon and Steven Ward, “Revising Order or Challenging the Balance of Military Power? An Alternative Typology of Revisionist and Status-Quo States,” Review of International Studies 45: 4 (Oct. 2019), pp. 689-708.


Michael Barnett and Raymond Duvall, “Power in International Politics,” International Organization 59:1 (Winter 2005), pp. 39-75.

Jan. 22          Ideology and Identity


J. David Singer, “The Level-of-Analysis Problem in International Relations,” World Politics 14:1 (Oct. 1961), pp. 77-92.


Mark L. Haas, “Ideological Polarity and Balancing in Great Power Politics,” Security Studies 23:4 (2014), pp. 715-753.


Bentley B. Allan, Srdjan Vucetic and Ted Hopf, “The Distribution of Identity and the Future of International Order: China's Hegemonic Prospects,” International Organization 72:4 (Fall 2018), pp. 839-869.


Jan. 29          The United States


Joseph S. Nye, “The Rise and Fall of American Hegemony from Wilson to Trump,” International Affairs 95:1 (Jan. 2019), pp. 63-80.


Rubrick Biegon, “A Populist Grand Strategy? Trump and the Framing of American Decline,” International Relations 33:4 (Dec. 2019), pp. 517–539.


Daniel W. Drezner, “This Time Is Different: Why U.S. Foreign Policy Will Never Recover,” Foreign Affairs 98:3 (May 2019), pp. 10-17.


Patrick Porter, “Why America's Grand Strategy Has Not Changed: Power, Habit, and the U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment,” International Security 42:4 (Spring 2018), pp 9-46.

Feb. 5            China


Oriana Skylar Mastro, “The Stealth Superpower: How China Hid Its Global Ambitions,” Foreign Affairs 98:1 (Jan. 2019), pp. 31-39.


Maximilian Mayer, “China’s Historical Statecraft and the Return of History,” International Affairs 94:6 (Nov. 2018), pp. 1217-1235.


Xuetong Yan, “Chinese Values vs. Liberalism: What Ideology Will Shape the International Normative Order?” Chinese Journal of International Politics 11:1 (Spring 2018), pp. 1-22.


Hal Brands, “After the Responsible Stakeholder, What? Debating America’s China Strategy,” The Strategist 2:2 (Feb. 2019).

Feb. 12          Midterm Exam

Feb. 19          No Meeting (University Break)

Feb. 26          Russia


Andrew Radin and Clint Reach, Russian Views of the International Order (RAND, 2017).


Bettina Renz, “Russian Responses to the Changing Character of War,” International Affairs 95: 4 (July 2019), pp.  817-834.


Nadège Rolland, “A China–Russia Condominium over Eurasia” Survival 61:1 (2019), pp 7-22.


Thomas Graham, “Let Russia Be Russia: The Case for a More Pragmatic Approach to Moscow,” Foreign Affairs 98:6 (Nov. 2019), pp. 134-146.

March 4        Europe


Erik Jones and Anand Menon, “Europe: Between Dream and Reality?” International Affairs 95:1 (Jan. 2019), pp. 161-180.


Alina Polyakova and Benjamin Haddad, “Europe Alone: What Comes After the Transatlantic Alliance,” Foreign Affairs 98:4 (July 2019), pp. 109-120.


Magnus Ekengren, “A Return to Geopolitics? The Future of the Security Community in the Baltic Sea Region,” Global Affairs 4:4-5 (2018), pp. 503-519.


Andrew Small, “Why Europe Is Getting Tough on China,” Foreign Affairs (April 3, 2019).


March 11      Geoeconomics


Robert D. Blackwell and Jennifer M. Harris, War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft (Harvard University Press, 2016), chapters 1-3. (click on “Content” to read or download chapters 1-3)


Branko Milanovic, “The Clash of Capitalisms: The Real Fight for the Global Economy’s Future,” Foreign Affairs 99:1 (January 2020), pp. 10-21.


Henry Farrell and Abraham L. Newman, “Chained to Globalization: Why It’s Too Late to Decouple,” Foreign Affairs 99:1 (Jan. 2020), pp. 70-80.


Susan Lund, James Manyika and Michael Spence, “The Global Economy’s Next Winners: What It Takes to Thrive in the Automation Age,” Foreign Affairs 98:4 (July 2019), pp. 121-130.

March 18      Techwar


Warren Chin, “Technology, War and the State: Past, Present and Future,” International Affairs 95:4 (July 2019), pp. 765-783.


Rory Cormac and Richard J. Aldrich, “Grey is the New Black: Covert Action and Implausible Deniability,” International Affairs 94:3 (May 2018), pp. 477-494.


Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron, “Deepfakes and the New Disinformation War: The Coming Age of Post-Truth Geopolitics,” Foreign Affairs 98:1 (January 2019), pp. 147-155.


Paul Scharre, “Killer Apps: The Real Dangers of an AI Arms Race,” Foreign Affairs 98:3 (May 2019), pp. 135-144.

March 25      International Rules and Institutions


Jack Goldsmith and Shannon Mercer, “International Law and Institutions in the Trump Era,” German Yearbook of International Law (forthcoming).


James R. Holmes, “Goodbye Grotius, Hello Putin,” Foreign Policy (Nov. 29, 2018).


Roland Paris, “The Right to Dominate: How Old Ideas about Sovereignty Pose New Challenges for World Order,” International Organization (forthcoming).


David Petrasek, “Not Dead Yet: Human Rights in an Illiberal World Order,” International Journal 74:1 (March 2019), pp. 103-118.

April 1           Future International Order(s)?


John J. Mearsheimer, “Bound to Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Liberal International Order,” International Security 43:4 (Spring 2019), pp. 7-50.


Roland Paris, “Can Middle Powers Save the Liberal World Order?” Chatham House (June 18, 2019).


Michael Mousseau, “The End of War: How a Robust Marketplace and Liberal Hegemony Are Leading to Perpetual World Peace,” International Security 44:1 (Summer 2019), pp. 160-196.


Amitav Acharya, “After Liberal Hegemony: The Advent of a Multiplex World Order,” Ethics and International Affairs 31:3 (Fall 2017), pp. 271-285.



Final exam date and location: To be confirmed.