Over the past four decades, scholars and policymakers have learned a great deal about the conditions under which states can assess others’ intentions and the implications for states’ foreign and security policies.1 In “The Inscrutable Intentions of Great Powers,” however, Sebastian Rosato argues that there has never been much to learn, because states cannot acquire useful information about others’ intentions and therefore pay them little attention.2 In this letter, we argue that Rosato's argument is deeply flawed, on both theoretical and empirical grounds, and should not be used as a guide for policy. Owing to space limitations, we restrict our response to three points—the mismatch between Rosato's argument and the real world, the analytically misleading benchmark on which he rests his entire analysis, and his overstated claims about states’ inability to...

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