New Thinking about Strategy, Power and Victory in the Twenty-First Century


It is normal to talk about foreign policy strategy, in the sense of achieving the national interest, but the language of strategy is often implicitly linked to the language of the military: achieving power over enemies and defeating them. While this conceptualization of strategy was perhaps relevant as recently as the Cold War, it is fundamentally inadequate to dealing with the challenges of the twenty-first century, even in the realm of international security. For the United States, dealing with potential threats from such sources as China, Russia and North Korea is not about achieving victory over them in any traditional sense. Even a threat like ISIS, which is being engaged militarily, cannot be defeated through the exercise of brute military power. Yet much of the thinking about foreign policy, including the way that policies and leaders are judged, still relies on thinking of foreign policy strategy as a path to power and victory. This article problematizes this approach, focusing on the United States case, and suggests new models of understanding power and strategy that reflect the ways the world is changing.

Author Information
Daryl Bockett, Yonsei University, South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: APSec2015
Stream: Foreign Policy and Diplomacy

This paper is part of the APSec2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon