June 11, 2014

Linking U.S. Statecraft to Grand Strategy

By Julianne Smith and Jacob Stokes

Americans – both elites and the public – are currently engaged in a heated debate about the future direction of U.S. foreign policy. As we outlined in our previous piece, the country faces a long list of strategic challenges. Furthermore, past experience has demonstrated that even when an administration succeeds in designing a grand strategy, the best-laid plans often go awry when it comes time to turn policy into practice. U.S. strategists should therefore ensure that any effort to address today’s strategic challenges examines American statecraft in order to ensure that the country has the right mix of existing and new tools to implement U.S. policy. The six most pressing statecraft challenges are as follows:

First, the United States suffers from a long-standing civilian response gap. For the last 20 years, every conflict America has tried to address– from the Balkans to Afghanistan to the Arab Spring – has exposed a gaping hole in U.S. statecraft. Both the State Department and USAID lack the capability needed to strengthen civilian institutions either before, during, or after conflict. Despite a bipartisan policy consensus in its favor, funding for capacity building rarely, if ever, makes it through the budget process.

Read the full article from The Diplomat.