The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward An American Information Strategy

By John Arquilla; David Ronfeldt | Go to book overview
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Chapter Two


Information and communications have always been important to strategy. But they are moving from being subsidiary to becoming overarching concerns—“information” matters more than ever, for reasons that did not exist even 20 years ago.

One reason is technological innovation: the growth of a new information infrastructure that includes not only the Internet, but also cable systems, direct broadcast satellites, cellular phones, etc.—in which the balance is shifting from one-to-many broadcast media (e.g., traditional radio and television) to many-to-many interactive media. A huge increase in global interconnectivity is resulting from the ease of entry and access in many nations, and from the growing, though varied, interests of so many actors in using the new infrastructure for economic, social, diplomatic, military, and other interactions.

Thus, a second reason is the proliferation of new organizations: Vast new arrays of state and nonstate organizations are emerging that directly concern information and communications issues. The new organizational ecology is the richest in the United States, with such nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)1 as the Electronic Freedom

A word of clarification: NGOs are, for the most part, civil-society organizations. The point has been made to us several times by devotees of economic power that private, for-profit, commercial corporations are powerful NGOs. But this is incorrect usage. Such corporations are nonstate actors but are not NGOs—that term (and acronym) apparently dates from the early years of the United Nations and was not meant to include commercial corporations. Neither was a related term, international nongovernmental organization (INGO), which we do not use here.


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