Michael Poznansky

U.S. Foreign Policy and International Security Fellow
David and Cindy Edelson Postdoctoral Fellow

Michael Poznansky is Assistant Professor of International Affairs and Intelligence Studies in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. His research sits at the intersection of security and intelligence studies, with a particular focus on secrecy in world politics. Michael earned his Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and has previously held fellowships with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School and the Modern War Institute at West Point. His work has been published or is forthcoming in the American Journal of Political Science​, European Journal of International RelationsInternational InteractionsInternational Studies QuarterlyJournal of Global Security Studies​, Journal of Peace Research​, and Journal of Strategies Studies. Michael has also written for a variety of policy outlets, including Lawfare, Political Violence at a Glance, The Diplomat, War on the Rocks, and Washington Post.

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Michael’s first book, In the Shadow of International Law: Secrecy and Regime Change in the Postwar World (Oxford University Press, 2020) investigates why states frequently turn to covert action when overthrowing foreign governments. Analyzing a number of prominent U.S.-led regime change operations during the Cold War, the book highlights the surprising role that international law has played in shaping how great powers intervene abroad.


During his year at the Dickey Center, Michael will be starting a second book project focused on how the rise and fall of great power competition helps explain America’s engagement with the liberal international order from 1945 to the present.

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Curriculum Vitae Personal Website
B.A. University of Delaware
M.A. University of Virginia
Ph.D. University of Virginia

Selected publications

Michael Poznansky (2020). In the Shadow of International Law: Secrecy and Regime Change in the Postwar World. New York: Oxford University Press.

Michael Poznansky (2020). "Revisiting Plausible Deniability." Journal of Strategies Studies. Online First.

William Spaniel and Michael Poznansky (2020). "Bad-Faith Cooperation." International Interactions. 46(4): 579-605.

Michael Poznansky (2019). "Feigning Compliance: Covert Action and International Law." International Studies Quarterly 63(1): 72-84.

William Spaniel and Michael Poznansky (2018). "Credible Commitment in Covert Affairs." American Journal of Political Science 62(3): 668-681.

Michael F. Joseph and Michael Poznansky (2018). "Media Technology, Covert Action, and the Politics of Exposure." Journal of Peace Research​ 55(3): 320-335.

Michael Poznansky and Evan Perkoski (2018). "Rethinking Secrecy in Cyberspace: The Politics of Voluntary Attribution."  Journal of Global Security Studies 3(4): 402-416.

The John Sloan Dickey Center