The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward An American Information Strategy

By John Arquilla; David Ronfeldt | Go to book overview

Chapter Three
EMERGENCE OF NOOPOLITIK

GRAND STRATEGIC SHIFTS AT THE TURN OF THE
CENTURY

The end of the Cold War has brought two major shifts that appeal to grand strategists. The first concerns political and military dynamics. The bipolar international system has expired, and the world appears to be returning to a loose, multipolar, balance-of-power system, with possibilities for U.S. dominance in key military areas. Since this shift is largely about interstate relations, it arouses the theorists and practitioners of realpolitik. The second shift is mainly economic: the enormous growth of liberal market systems woven together in global trade and investment webs. This shift began long before the Cold War ended and is now ascendant. Its dynamics appeal especially to the liberal-internationalist or global-interdependence schools of strategy, whose proponents argue, contrary to realists and neorealists, that statist dynamics matter less than in the past, and that the prospects for peace depend on multilateral cooperation through international regimes that transcend the state.

The result of these shifts is not only a changing world, but also a continuing interplay between America's two main schools of grand strategy: realpolitik and liberal internationalism.1 Meanwhile, a

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1
Informative manifestations of this appear in the Spring 1998 issue of Foreign Policy, whose cover theme is “Frontiers of Knowledge: The State of the Art in World Affairs,” and in the Autumn 1998 issue of International Organization, whose theme is “Exploration and Contestation in the Study of World Politics.” While these (and other) journals emphasize the interplay between the academic schools of realism and liberalism, they have also, in just the past few years, begun addressing the emergence of a third school known as constructivism (or social constructivism). It holds that ideational factors—e.g., social identities, and norms—determine the nature of international reality, as much as do material factors. Thus, the concepts behind constructivism are much like those behind our notion of noopolitik. However, we do not discuss constructivism in this study, mainly because, unlike realism and liberal internationalism, this new academic school does not yet figure in the worlds of policy analysis. For good overviews of constructivism, see Ruggie (1998), and Hopf (1998).

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The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward An American Information Strategy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Figure vii
  • Tables vii
  • Summary ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Chapter One - Whither “Information Strategy”? 1
  • Chapter Two - Recognition of the Noosphere 7
  • Chapter Three - Emergence of Noopolitik 27
  • Chapter Four - International Cooperation and Conflict 55
  • Chapter Five - Moving Ahead 71
  • Bibliography 77
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