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Geopolitical Scenario Planning: National Security, Geo-Economics and Foreign Policy Strategy

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 611 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €600.00 per programme


The rise of China, increased uncertainty about US foreign policy and growing concerns about natural resources scarcity underline the relevance of geopolitical complexity in international relations. This course teaches you the skills to study geopolitical drivers of inter-state conflicts, write scenarios for these conflicts and assess the impact of these scenarios on the foreign policy strategy of the states involved. Why are safeguarding national security and projecting power abroad often seen as essential national interests? What is the difference between geopolitics and geo-economics, and what are their respective roles in foreign policy? And how can scenario planning help you define plausible futures for territorial/maritime conflicts, and likely responses to them by the states involved? To answer these questions, you first do an analysis of the foreign policy strategy of a state that is involved in an inter-state conflict about a particular area. Then follows an assignment in which you analyse the geopolitical risk drivers of the disputed area and write scenarios for this area. The final assignment concerns an assessment of the possible responses of a particular state to each scenario. You present all your findings in class. Interactive lectures and roundtable discussions help you prepare for your assignments.

Course Leader is dr. Leonhardt van Efferink (PhD defence in December 2017). He worked as country risk analyst for 12 years, before doing a PhD that straddles the boundary between geopolitics and media studies. Students of his 2017 Summer Schools gave him an average of 9.5/10 for his teaching skills. Former Summer School student Casper from Denmark recommends him because “Leonhardt brings with him a wealth of knowledge in Country Risk Analysis, Geo-politics, Economics and Scenario Thinking. He always taking into consideration cultural differences and individuals learning styles of his students. More importantly, Leonhardt understands the importance of linking theoretical models with practical examples from the real world.”

Related Summer School courses from Leonhardt: ▪ Political Risk Analysis: Domestic Factors, International Relations and Economic Impact Assessment ; ▪ Country Risk Analysis: Growth Potential, Economic Policy and External Finances of Emerging Markets ; ▪ Geopolitical Framing Analysis: National Images, World Views and Global Dividing Lines.

▪ Understanding how national security as a key national interest can be defined by states;
▪ Designing an analytical framework to study the role of geopolitical, geo-economic and geostrategic factors in foreign policy;
▪ Writing scenarios for areas that are contested by multiple states and exploring plausible responses by these states;
▪ Finding, selecting and interpreting open-source data;
▪ Developing your critical thinking skills by productively combining knowledge, assumptions and questions;
▪ Boosting your employability by acquiring valuable skills required for positions in business, government and academia.

M.J.M. van Eck
L.A.S. van Efferink
S. van der Laan

Recommended literature
▪ Beasley, R.K., Kaarbo, J., Lantis, J.S. and Snarr, M.T. (2013) Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective – Domestic and International Influences on State Behaviour. SAGE;
▪ Breuning, M. (2007) Foreign Policy Analysis – A Comparative Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan;
▪ Buzan, B., Waever, O. and De Wilde, J. (1998) Security. A New Framework for Analysis. Rienner;
▪ Fierke, K.M. (2015) Critical approaches to international security. 2nd Edn. Polity Press;
▪ Flint, C. (2017) Introduction to Geopolitics. 3nd Edn. Routledge;
▪ Jarvis, K. and Holland, J. (2015) Security. A Critical Introduction. Palgrave;
▪ Gray, C.S. and Sloan, G. (eds., 1999) Geopolitics. Geography and Strategy. CASS;
▪ Kelly, E. (2006) Powerful Times. Rising to the Challenge of our Uncertain World. Wharton School Publishing;
▪ Lindgren, M. and Bandhold, H. (2009) Scenario Planning. The Link between Future and Strategy. Palgrave;
▪ Nye, J. S. Jr. and Welch, D.A. (2016) Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation: An Introduction to Theory and History. 10th Edn. Pearson;
▪ Smith, M.A. (2012) Power in the Changing Global Order. Polity Books;
▪ Smith, S., Hadfield, A. and Dunne, T. (eds., 2016) Foreign Policy – Theories, Actors, Cases. 3rd Edn. Oxford University Press;
▪ Schwartz, P. (1996) The Art of the Long View – Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World. Wiley;

You are further recommended to read some of these posts on Leonhardt’s website: Please note that it is not required to do some reading before the course. If you like to read something, select a book that is closest to your research interests or ask Leonhardt for personal reading advice. For more suggested reading materials, check the following reading lists:

Apply now!
Application start
Feb 1, 2019
Application deadline
Jul 6, 2019 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States