Any Western policymaker working in the field of national security over the past decade has had to grapple with the same disheartening reality: the structures and processes that governments created decades ago to analyze threats and coordinate policy responses are ill-equipped to cope with today’s fast changing geostrategic landscape. These days governments must play what international relations scholar Joe Nye calls “three-dimensional chess,” requiring policymakers to address military, economic, and transnational challenges simultaneously. Whether it is Chinese anti-access/area-denial strategies and capabilities in the South China Sea or the Russian use of energy and cyber-attacks as instruments of coercion, asymmetric warfare is presenting unique challenges not only to national security professionals but also to government ministries, which were designed for a different era.
National governments have responded to these changes by developing new strategies, policies, and tools. The homepages of Western foreign offices and ministries of defense are awash in white papers and national security strategies that outline how the world of foreign policy is evolving and why a pan-governmental approach that draws from the respective strengths of multiple government agencies is needed. Less has been done, however, in regards to statecraft. National security professionals know full well that even the best, most innovative strategies and policies will fail if they aren’t accompanied by a process that enables them to be realized. Yet statecraft—the machinery that ensures that national governments can efficiently and effectively execute policy—rarely garners as much attention.
Read the full article in Berlin Policy Journal.
More from CNAS
PodcastPopulist Politics and the COVID-19 Pandemic with Daphne Halikiopoulou and Paul Taggart
Daphne Halikiopoulou and Paul Taggart join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Carisa Nietsche to discuss the populist response to the crisis and what type of political blowback we can ...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche, Daphne Halikiopoulou & Paul Taggart
CommentaryHow China Is Exploiting the Pandemic to Export Authoritarianism
The Chinese Communist Party is now undertaking its most audacious effort yet at shaping international perceptions....
By David Shullman
PodcastChina, Europe, and COVID-19 with CNAS’s Ashley Feng and Kristine Lee
Ashley Feng and Kristine Lee join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to explain China’s response to COVID-19 on the latest episode of Brussels Sprouts. Feng is a Research ...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Kristine Lee & Ashley Feng
PodcastMacron and France's National Security Policy with Benjamin Haddad and Alice Pannier
Benjamin Haddad and Alice Pannier join Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend on the latest episode of Brussels Sprouts to discuss France’s foreign policy and Emmanuel Macron’...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend, Dr. Alice Pannier & Benjamin Haddad