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Ambassador Stephen Krasner's Orienting Principle for Foreign Policy (and Military Management)ŚResponsible Sovereignty


Ambassador Stephen Krasner's Orienting Principle for Foreign Policy (and Military Management)ŚResponsible Sovereignty - Cover

Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.

April 2012

56 Pages

Brief Synopsis

The principle security threat of the past several centuries—war between or among major powers—is gone. Two new types of threats have been introduced into the global security arena. Violent nonstate actors and other indirect political, economic, and social causes of poverty, social exclusion, corruption, terrorism, transnational crime, the global drug problem, and gangs are a few examples of these “new” threats to global security and stability. More and more, national security implies protection—through a variety of nonmilitary and military ways and means—of popular interests that add up to well-being. This broadened definition of the contemporary security problem makes the concept so vague as to render it useless as an analytical tool. The genius of Ambassador Stephen Krasner, however, helps solve the problem. His orienting principle for foreign policy and military management (responsible sovereignty/legitimate governance) focuses on the need to create nation-states capable of legitimate governance and to realize stability, security, and well-being for citizens. This concept has serious implications for the transition and relevance of armed forces and other instruments of power, as well as foreign policy. Thus, we: 1) define the contemporary security dilemma and the larger principle of Krasner’s responsible sovereignty; 2) outline the major components of a legitimate governance paradigm; 3) discuss some considerations for foreign policymaking and military management; and, 4) argue that substantially more sophisticated security-stability concepts, policy structures, and decision and policymaking precautions are necessary if the United States is to play more effectively in the security arena now and in the future.

Summary

Ambassador Stephen D. Krasner reminds us that policymakers in great power nations such as the United States can aspire to realizing grand strategies based on a rational ends, ways, and means formula. They rarely succeed, however. It has proved too hard to align vision, policies, and resources. Moreover, multiple state and nonstate actors, conflicts, interests, changing technological dynamics, and exposure to unexpected political, economic, and social shocks are too complex for such a rational process. The most obvious alternative to a grand strategy is no strategy at all, or a simple “wish list.” Nevertheless, Krasner argues that reliance on one or more orienting principles is a second—better—alternative to a grand strategy.

The principle of responsible sovereignty focuses on the need to create nation-states capable of legitimate governance within their own borders, and to realize stability, security, and well-being for their citizens. Moreover, responsible sovereignty would have rhetorical traction; would point to the policy objective (i.e., goal, end, or aim) toward which resources might be directed; could accept different views about the threats to security; and would accommodate different policies and approaches to state-building. If that were successful, Krasner argues that the principle of responsible sovereignty would provide a viable foundation for a reasonable foreign policy and military management architecture, and a safer and more just world. Krasner’s responsible sovereignty concept, thus, has serious implications for the transition and relevance of contemporary and future armed forces and other instruments of state power, as well as foreign policy.

To help civilian and military leaders, opinion makers, and interested citizens come to grips analytically with the implications and realities of the contemporary security environment, this monograph seeks to do four things. First, we briefly define the contemporary security dilemma and put the doctrines of the responsibility to protect and the responsibility to prevent into the context of the larger principle of responsible sovereignty. Second, we outline the major components of a legitimate governance paradigm as the basis for Ambassador Krasner’s orienting principle for foreign policy and military asset management. Third, we discuss some considerations for foreign policymakers, and those individuals responsible for military management, in dealing with indirect and implicit threats to stability and human well-being. Fourth, we discuss some considerations for military management, and those responsible for foreign policymaking, in dealing with indirect and implicit threats to stability and citizen well-being. Last, we argue that substantially more sophisticated security-stability concepts, policy structures, and decision and policymaking precautions based on Krasner’s orienting principle of responsible sovereignty are required for the United States to play more effectively in the security arena now and in the future.


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