April 11, 2016—“Despite having the most powerful economy on earth, the United States too often reaches for the gun instead of the purse,” contend Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Senior Fellows Robert D. Blackwill and Jennifer M. Harris in a new book, War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft. Instead, argue Blackwill and Harris, the United States must strategically integrate economic and financial instruments into its foreign policy—what they define as geoeconomics—or risk losing ground as a world power.
“Russia, China, and others now routinely look to geoeconomic means, often as a first resort, and often to undermine American power and influence,” the authors observe. China for example, curtails the import of Japanese cars to signal its disapproval of Japan’s security policies, while Russia periodically suspends gas supplies to Europe. “The global geoeconomic playing field is now sharply tilting against the United States,” write Blackwill and Harris, “and unless this is corrected, the price in blood and treasure for the United States will only grow.”
Drawing on their combined foreign policy experience in both Republican and Democratic administrations, Blackwill and Harris urge the United States to give geoeconomic endeavors with allies and partners the same attention given to security cooperation. In a detailed set of policy prescriptions, they recommend that the United States use its position as an “energy superpower” to help allies like Poland and Ukraine, and to secure the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deals to help balance Chinese and Russian geoeconomic policies.
Blackwill was formerly deputy assistant to the president, deputy national security advisor for strategic planning, and presidential envoy to Iraq under President George W. Bush, as well as U.S. ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003. Harris was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State in the Obama administration and was a lead architect of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s economic statecraft agenda.
Read more about the book at www.cfr.org/WarByOtherMeans.
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