Course description

Carl von Clausewitz famously defined war as “an act of violence to compel our opponent to fulfil our will”. Political warfare is about influencing the behaviour and thinking of other nations using instruments and methods that transcend the realm of traditional diplomacy and soft power, and yet fall short of open kinetic conflict.

This course explores political warfare and its implications in contemporary international relations. It examines the strategic use of political warfare as an instrument of statecraft that lies in the “grey area” between traditional diplomacy and military conflict. The course will delve into the historical context, theoretical underpinnings, and practical applications of political warfare in times of crises of the relations between two or more states.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will (1) comprehend the historical evolution and theoretical foundations of political warfare; (2) develop the ability to critically analyse instruments and methods of political warfare used by different nations; (3) gain insights into the current trends and future challenges in political warfare, especially in the context of the digital age.


Attendance and active participation (10% of final grade)

Seminar presentation (25%)

One op-ed (20%)

Final essay (45%)