Moving Foreign Policy Into A Networked Age

Through the kind invitation of my friend, columnist and former FPRI analyst, Bruce Kesler, the well-regarded blog, Democracy Project, is running my guest post “Modern Foreign Policy Execution” subtitled “Instead of Crowning a New Czar, Bush Should Ignite A Revolution“, where I offer some suggestions for changing the decidedly broken, interagency process for foreign policy. A brief excerpt:

“Secretary Rice rattled cages at Foggy Bottom by prioritizing Iraq assignments over the “old boy” network and PC concerns that dominated past FSO assignments, making official the informal practice that prevailed under Secretary Powell. Resistance by diplomats and bureaucrats to working in dangerous locales that are critical national security priorities remains unacceptably high. This is partly due to reasonable safety concerns but also stems from political opposition to administration policy and simple resistance to a synergistic mindset that requires housing “other agencies” in “their” embassies. Even the DIA has been credibly accused of holding back Arabic linguists from Iraq duty and of having managers who retaliate against analysts with Arabic skills who volunteer for Baghdad duty and of enforcing a “groupthink” company line in analysis. Frankly, this is no way to run a foreign policy in a time of peace, much less one of war. “

Read the rest here.

A personal aside: Bruce is a veteran of the Vietnam War and he has both an interest and some healthy skepticism toward the many newer military theories. One of those is 4GW, which I believe has utility for analysts, historians and statesmen as well as for military professionals. While I write about 4GW with some frequency, it is properly associated with William Lind, Martin van Creveld, Chet Richards, Thomas X. Hammes, “Fabius Maximus” and other writers featured at the excellent and always thought-provoking Defense and the National Interest.

Cross-posted at Zenpundit.

4 thoughts on “Moving Foreign Policy Into A Networked Age”

  1. I think our people need to learn First Generation Warfare.

    Unless we’re going to be dropping nuclear bombs , our mechanized weapons are not going to count for squat in urban warfare, especially against Muslims who have no qualms with using innocent human shields.

    Hugh Hewitt had a months-long series by the guy who wrote Pentagon’s New Map. I had the hardest time taking any of it seriously.

  2. James,

    What do you mean by First Generation Warfare? As I understand the concept…I have no idea what good that would be. The US military is primarily a 2GW/3GW hybrid force with some (hopefully growing) 4GW capabilities. I am guessing you are using some other definition of 1GW (not this –> )

    Is there anything in particular by the Pentagon’s New Map Guy (aka Thomas Barnett that you don’t like? His ideas are attempting to be an alternative to having to drop nuclear bombs on the Muslims (well the “Gap”).

  3. Purple: I admit to using the term ‘first generation warfare’ without knowing anything about what it might mean. I meant to mean we’re fighting people with absolutely no firepower, industrial base, siginificant weapons (cept of course the chance they get WMD which I think is a real possiblity), we’re fighting a cultural , ideological virus.

    I dont remember very many specifics from Barnett’s radio shows but I just recall a lot of thinking to be sorta pointless. That is because I think the future will be consumed fighting Islamic forces.. and they dont give a hoot about our technology, culture, society that might make them want to compromise.

  4. I remember when people were certain that the future was going to be fighting communists. That turned out to be a fantasy based on wild overestimations of the appeal of communism and undestimations of the natural political and social appeal of freedom.

    More or less the same political faction is now busily inflating the threat of Islamic radicalism, tiny by comparison with the past threat of communism, which itself turned out to be a massive, self-destroying dud.

    Radical Islam is not only smaller, narrower and weaker than communism, it’s also far less broadly appealing and far more literally suicidal. The damage being done by Islamic extremists is real and needs to be taken seriously, but American history shows indisputably that ideological radicalism is no match for liberalism and freedom.

    Supporting freedom and the institutions that nurture it is really all that is necessary. Radical ideologies such as Bin Ladenism destroy themselves more quickly when left alone to follow their own prescriptions.

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