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jerryking : statecraft   13

Russia Looks to Exploit White House ‘Turbulence,’ Analysts Say - The New York Times
FEB. 27, 2017 | The New York Times | By NEIL MacFARQUHAR.

The Kremlin, increasingly convinced that President Trump will not fundamentally change relations with Russia, is instead seeking to bolster its global influence by exploiting what it considers weakness in Washington, according to political advisers, diplomats, journalists and other analysts.

Russia has continued to test the United States on the military front, with fighter jets flying close to an American warship in the Black Sea this month and a Russian naval vessel steaming conspicuously in the Atlantic off the coast of Delaware.....“They are all telling each other that this is great, he created this turbulence inside, as we wanted, and now he is focused on his domestic problems and we have more freedom to maneuver,” Mr. Venediktov said. “Let them deal with their own problems. There, not in Ukraine. There, not in the Middle East. There, not in NATO. This is the state of mind right now.”...“The main hope is that the U.S. will be preoccupied with itself and will stop pressuring Russia.”....Any turbulence that Russia foments also gives the Kremlin leverage that it can try to trade in the global arena at a time when it does not have much that others want....Analysts say the Kremlin is keenly aware that the tactic of creating and exploiting disarray can become self-defeating, in that prolonged instability in the world order could allow threats like the extremist group Islamic State to flourish.....The Middle East provides examples of both vectors, analysts say, a moment of chaos to exploit and concerns about achieving stability for the long-term future.
Russia  White_House  Kremlin  Vladimir_Putin  chaos  power  influence  statecraft  rogue_actors  geopolitics  Ukraine  improvisation 
february 2017 by jerryking
What Comes After Acheson’s Creation? - WSJ
By PEGGY NOONAN
Feb. 9, 2017

The U.S. military needs to know what the U.S. government seeks from it. The White House need to communicate an overarching plan because if there’s no higher plan they, in turn, can’t make plans to meet the plan.....like tornado victims, those interested in foreign policy have been [shellshocked]—staring in shock at the wreckage of the post-War II international system.

But something has to be rebuilt. Everyone now has to be an architect, or a cement-pourer, or a master craftsman carpenter.

It’s been instructive the past week to reread a small classic of statecraft, “Present at the Creation” by Dean Acheson, published in 1969. As undersecretary and then secretary of state he was involved in the creation of the postwar order.

What is inspiring about Acheson’s first-rate second-rateness is that he’s like a lot of those we have developing foreign policy right now.

Acheson, though he did not present it this way, provides useful lessons for future diplomats in future crises.

• Everyone’s in the dark looking for the switch.
• Don’t mess things up at the beginning.
• Be able to see your work soberly. Keep notes so history will know what happened.
• Cheer up. Good things can come of bad times, great things from fiercely imperfect individuals.
• Even though you’ll wind up disappointed. All diplomats in the end feel frustrated over missed opportunities and achievements that slipped away. “Alas, that is life. We cannot live our dreams.”

Still to be answered: What is America’s strategy now—our overarching vision, our big theme and intent? What are the priorities? How, now, to navigate the world?

That soldier needs an answer to his question: What do you need from us? What’s the plan?
questions  U.S.foreign_policy  post-WWII  diplomacy  Dean_Acheson  Marshall_Plan  Peggy_Noonan  priorities  change  statecraft  books  Cold_War  international_system  rebuilding  dislocations  The_Establishment  crisis  crisis_management  Communicating_&_Connecting  grand_strategy  statesmen  imperfections  U.S._military  note_taking  missed_opportunities 
february 2017 by jerryking
How Saudi Arabia Turned Its Greatest Weapon on Itself - The New York Times
By ANDREW SCOTT COOPERMARCH 12, 2016

The 1973-74 oil embargo was the first demonstration that the House of Saud was willing to weaponize the oil markets. In October 1973, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia abruptly halted oil shipments in retaliation for America’s support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The price of a barrel of oil quickly quadrupled; the resulting shock to the oil-dependent economies of the West led to a sharp rise in the cost of living, mass unemployment and growing social discontent.

“If I was the president,” Secretary of State Henry Kissinger fumed to his deputy Brent Scowcroft, “I would tell the Arabs to shove their oil.” But the president, Richard M. Nixon, was in no position to dictate to the Saudis....In recent years, the Saudis have made clear that they regard the oil markets as a critical front line in the Sunni Muslim-majority kingdom’s battle against its Shiite-dominated rival, Iran. Their favored tactic of “flooding,” pumping surplus crude into a soft market, is tantamount to war by economic means: the oil trade’s equivalent of dropping the bomb on a rival.

In 2006, Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi security adviser, warned that Riyadh was prepared to force prices down to “strangle” Iran’s economy. Two years later, the Saudis did just that, with the aim of hampering Tehran’s ability to support Shiite militia groups in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere.

Then, in 2011, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former chief of Saudi intelligence, told NATO officials that Riyadh was prepared to flood the market to stir unrest inside Iran. Three years later, the Saudis struck again, turning on the spigot.

But this time, they overplayed their hand.
Saudi_Arabia  petro-politics  tools  economic_warfare  Iran  geopolitics  statecraft  Yom_Kippur_War  economic_policy 
march 2016 by jerryking
Aiming Financial Weapons From Treasury War Room - NYTimes.com
By ANNIE LOWREYJUNE 3, 2014

“The United States needs to remain involved in the world, but does not necessarily need to remain involved just through military power,” said David S. Cohen, Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, who is sometimes described within the administration as President Obama’s favorite combatant commander. “There are other ways of projecting U.S. power that are consequential.”

Mr. Cohen oversees the obscure Office of Foreign Assets Control, the engine that creates and administers the steadily increasing number of financial sanctions. They are a policy tool once considered largely ineffectual but are now used against a wide range of actors, from Iran’s revolutionary guard to Mexican drug traffickers to cronies of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia....Sanctions have also become a central policy lever with Iran, Syria, South Sudan and North Korea — as well as drug cartels, arms traders and terrorists. In no small part, their swelling number is because of their improved potency, analysts said: Today’s sanctions tend to be “smart,” narrow rather than broad, and designed to pressure elites rather than squeezing average citizens....Legal changes during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations bolstered the tool. Analysts started focusing on travel bans and asset freezes, rather than whole-country or whole-industry sanctions. The interconnectedness of the global economy has also made sanctions stronger.

“We’re very nuanced about how to use the tool and, I think, very thoughtful about it,”
Iran  geopolitics  U.S.Treasury_Department  statecraft  21st._century  travel_bans  asset_freezes  sanctions  North_Korea  interconnections  economic_warfare  economic_policy  specificity  hard_power  rogue_actors  policy_tools  potency  global_economy 
june 2014 by jerryking
Josef Joffe: Dear Vladimir: Congratulations. You Read My Book - WSJ.com
By
Josef Joffe
March 6, 2014 | WSJ |

Be both ruthless and prudent—just what I prescribed in "The Prince." You Russians have distilled my wisdom into a pithy phrase: Kto kovo—who dominates whom? And you have beautifully executed my central idea. I never preached violence to the max, but the "economy of force"—how to get more with less. The Crimean caper was a masterpiece of smart power politics.

Grab opportunities when you saw them. First, you calculated the "correlation of forces," to use a Soviet term....Then, you assessed political geography correctly. The rule is never to take on a superior enemy like the West on his own turf. You test his mettle on his periphery...Next, factor in geography proper. Globally, the West is far superior to Russia, but regionally, you were the Man. You had the "interior lines," as the great Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz put it; the West was a thousand miles away. And your troops were already in place in Crimea—tanks, planes and all....Now to the balance of interests, a more subtle concept. The EU has been contesting you over Ukraine, but more as a confused afterthought. Your country had more compelling fish to fry: Ukraine as former Russian heartland plus an ethnic majority in Crimea, a strategic gem that Khrushchev had absentmindedly given away to Ukraine 60 years ago.

So you also held the psychological advantage that comes with having more skin in the game. Khrushchev blithely ignored the balance of interests in the Caribbean. Otherwise he would not have moved his missiles into Cuba in 1962, 90 miles off the U.S. coast.....Best of all, you are a true Machiavellian when it comes to the economy of violence. Just enough, never too much, and with minimal risks. So you didn't grab eastern Ukraine, which might have really riled the West and triggered a costly insurgency. You merely harvested the low-hanging fruit of Crimea, and with a fabulous profit. ....Here, my pupil, beckons the biggest payoff. You need not fear the democratic contagion of the Maidan spilling over into your own country. Not for a long time.

What a boost to your "street cred" in the rivalry of nations! With a small investment, you have amassed what Mr. Obama no longer has and what the Europeans lost long ago: a reputation for ruthlessness and the readiness to use force.

Power is when you don't have to wield it—when you don't have to threaten, let alone execute, to get your way.....We live in a split world. In Asia and Africa, mayhem is as present or possible as ever. Call this the "Damascus-Pyongyang Belt." Yet in the "Berlin-Berkeley Belt," force as a tool of statecraft has virtually disappeared....the U.S.—is now loath to resort to the ultima ratio. And that offers you wondrous opportunities. When the supply of force contracts, even a little bit goes a long way, as you have proved in Crimea.
Niccolò_Machiavelli  Vladimir_Putin  Crimea  Russia  power  power_plays  influence  statecraft  geopolitics  Ukraine  improvisation  rogue_actors  skin_in_the_game  political_geography  ruthlessness  large_payoffs  Carl_von_Clausewitz  stratagems  strategic_geography  hard_power 
march 2014 by jerryking
In ‘Treasury’s War,’ Missiles for a Financial Battlefield - NYTimes.com
August 31, 2013 | NYT | By BRYAN BURROUGH.

THE 21st century has ushered in new kinds of warfare that don’t involve soldiers wielding weapons. One type, cyberwarfare, seems to have drawn the most commentary and analysis. A less publicized type of attack, financial warfare, is covered in “Treasury’s War,” a useful new book by one of this strategy’s architects, Juan C. Zarate, a former assistant Treasury secretary. ... “Treasury’s War” chronicles an array of the department’s enforcement efforts, from corralling informal Middle Eastern money-transfer networks useful to Al Qaeda to tracking Saddam’s missing millions. But the heart of the book is the emergence and evolution of Section 311 of the Patriot Act, which allows the Treasury Department to designate any bank in the world as a “primary money-laundering concern” and prevent it from doing business with any American bank.

In today’s financial world, where every bank wants to do business with every other bank, and where New York and the United States dollar remain of paramount importance, “hitting” a bank with a Section 311 order has the effect of transforming it into an overnight pariah. Mr. Zarate cites example after example in which 311’s have all but destroyed rogue banks that had been important conduits for money flows involving, for example, Al Qaeda or Iran....“Geopolitics is now a game best played with financial and commercial weapons,” Mr. Zarate writes. “The new geoeconomic game may be more efficient and subtle than past geopolitical competitions, but it is no less ruthless and destructive.”
books  book_reviews  Iran  al_Qaeda  geopolitics  U.S.Treasury_Department  statecraft  money_laundering  21st._century  interconnections  sanctions  economic_warfare  economic_policy  banks  policy_tools 
september 2013 by jerryking
An Economic Statecraft Model - NYTimes.com
By DAVID ROHDE
Published: May 7, 2013

The Obama administration’s efforts in the region should be more economic than military. “The United States government has done a terrible job of focusing on economic issues in the Middle East,” Thomas R. Nides, a former deputy secretary of state, told me recently. “You have huge youth unemployment and no hope.”

This argument is hardly new. “To succeed, the Arab political awakening must also be an economic awakening,” Mrs. Clinton said, more than a year ago. “Economic policy is foreign policy,” her successor, John Kerry, said this week.

Last month he asked Congress to approve the creation of a $580 million “incentive fund” that would reward countries in the Middle East and North Africa for enacting reforms that foster market-based economies, democratic norms, independent courts and civil societies.
Africa  statecraft  foreign_aid  foreign_policy  economic_policy  Arab-Muslim_world  Junior_Achievement  economic_warfare 
may 2013 by jerryking
Hillary Clinton’s Last Tour as a Rock-Star Diplomat - NYTimes.com
By STEVEN LEE MYERS
Published: June 27, 2012

rld.

Clinton dismissed this when I asked her about it in an interview in her large office on the seventh floor of the State Department. She started by noting that NATO and the military alliances with Japan and South Korea have been bedrocks of national security through every Republican and Democratic administration since World War II. In “21st-century statecraft,” though, “the general understanding, which cuts across parties, is that the United States can’t solve all of the problems in the world,” she said. “But the problems in the world can’t be solved without the United States. And therefore, we have to husband our resources, among which is this incredibly valuable asset of global leadership, and figure out how we can best deploy it.” She cited the role of the Arab League — once marginal and mostly dysfunctional — in forging international consensus for the intervention in Libya. “The Arab League was not prepared to work with NATO, work with the United States,” she explained of nudging others to the forefront of international action. “But we’ve worked very hard, and I certainly have worked hard, to create an openness to that, and I think it’s in America’s interest.”
diplomacy  U.S.foreign_policy  Hillary_Clinton  indispensable  superpowers  21st._century  statecraft  alliances  NATO 
july 2012 by jerryking
In History Lies All the Secrets of Statecraft - WSJ.com
October 9, 2009 | WSJ | By CON COUGHLIN.

In History Lies All the Secrets of Statecraft
First Official Account of MI5 Released to Celebrate U.K. Security Service's Centenary
security_&_intelligence  book_reviews  United_Kingdom  statecraft  spycraft  espionage  MI5  organizational_culture  commemoration  archives  history 
may 2012 by jerryking
What Went Wrong
June 2007 | WSJ | By Dennis Ross. Statecraft is essentially
matching objectives (or purpose) and means. Start with assessments that are grounded in reality, and not in wishful thinking. Don't shape policy on erroneous assessments. Statecraft is often about working to transform current realities so what is not possible today becomes possible over time. Before you can change an unacceptable reality, understand what it is in the first place...When negotiating or serving as a peace keeper, it is imperative to know the power limitations of
the parties you are assisting. Good statecraft means testing the parties on their individual willingess to compromise on issues BEFORE trying to resolve them. E.g. announce that neither side will get 100% of what they want. Such an announcement not only conditions the publics, it also prepares leaders for what would be required of them: an ability to withstand withering criticism. Such ability is a measure of seriousness in tackling core issues.

If one party is unwilling or unable to take such step, then you need to adjust your objectives. Create conditions that you want (e.g. peace-making) so that they might take hold after one of the weak decision makers leaves the scene.
Dennis_Ross  statecraft  compromise  preparation  seriousness  leaders  public_opinion  negotiations  wishful_thinking  assessments_&_evaluations  policymaking 
may 2011 by jerryking
For U.S. foreign policy, it should be all about the economy - The Globe and Mail
Dec. 03, 2010 |G&M| CHRYSTIA FREELAND. The most
significant revelation from WikiLeaks isn’t what is in the documents –
it`s what is missing from them. The financial crisis of 2008, and its
agonizing aftermath, changed the world profoundly. It didn’t change the
State Dept. The most important take-away from the Wikileaks is that the
U.S. needs a new foreign policy paradigm to deal with the post-crisis
world. The starting pt. for that paradigm must be to put the economy at
the heart of foreign policy. Some of the savviest wise men in the U.S.
are making that pt., in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, with two
essays on the importance of the economy for statecraft.....The country
needs a new paradigm because: (1) it has run out of $ to be the world’s
police officer; (2) the recession requires everyone – including
diplomats – to pitch in to put the country back to work; and (3)
national security & int. relations – the classic concerns of
diplomacy – are now driven by economic concerns.
foreign_policy  Chrystia_Freeland  U.S.foreign_policy  economy  economic_policy  WikiLeaks  diplomacy  statecraft 
december 2010 by jerryking

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