By: Steve Chan
Trust is a concept that ought to be at the front and center of international relations research. It is pivotal to how states interpret the actions of others and decide their own policies. Mutual distrust can set off a spiral of competitive dynamics as a consequence of reciprocal misinterpretation of each other’s intentions. At the same time, misplacing one’s confidence in a state that is actually untrustworthy can seriously jeopardize a country’s security. Yet despite its analytic and policy importance, only a few books have given systematic attention to this pivotal concept.