US Foreign Policy

Secret Wars: Insights from the Backstage of Covert Conflict

Why and how do great powers participate in foreign wars covertly rather than overtly? In a new book, Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics, Austin Carson unpacks the politics of secrecy in war, revealing the incentives for keeping an intervention covert, including escalation control, and what happens when major powers collude in secret. In this book discussion, Carson, Sameer Lalwani, and Melanie Sisson will apply the lessons of Secret Wars to conflicts ranging from the Afghanistan war, the recurring India-Pakistan conflict, and U.S. competition with Russia and China.


Austin Carson is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago.

Sameer Lalwani is a senior fellow and director of the South Asia program at the Stimson Center.

Melanie Sisson is a senior fellow and director of the defense strategy and planning program at the Stimson Center.

The event will be livestreamed and light refreshments will be served.

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