Policymakers and the Intelligence Community in This Global EraRichard N. Haass, Director, Office of the Policy Planning Staff
Remarks to CIA Strategic Assessments Group Annual Conference: "The United States in the Third World Century"
November 14, 2001
The task before this conference is daunting. I confess I rarely have the opportunity to contemplate what the world might be like in 20 years, let alone in 50. As a policymaker, I often feel as though long term is later in the week. On those rare occasions when I can expand my time horizon, 3 years and 2 months from now -- or perhaps 7 years and 2 months -- is about as far into the future as this political appointee can imagine.
A successful foreign policy, however, depends upon bridging this intellectual gap between the imperatives of the present and the potential of the future. In turn, this often depends upon bridging the gap between policymakers and the intelligence community. Policymakers need to ensure that you in the intelligence community are not working in a vacuum, that you know what is on our minds and what questions we need answered. At the same time, you in the intelligence community have the responsibilities of seeking out policymakers, understanding their concerns, and telling them what they -- we -- should be paying attention to. It is important to tell policymakers what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
Tonight, I want to attempt in a small way to help bridge these gaps between both the present and future and policymakers and the intelligence community. I want to sketch the main forces that I see shaping international relations in roughly the next 3 -- hopefully 7 -- years. Then I will outline what I consider to be some of the most important questions for American foreign policy in this period. I doubt you'll be surprised that once again a policymaker will leave you with more questions than answers.
The terrorist attacks of September 11th and our response to them have inevitably drawn the lion's share of policymakers' attention. Nonetheless, our foreign policy should be based upon an appreciation of the fundamental dynamics shaping the international environment -- and not just the events of the past 9 weeks no matter how traumatic or significant they may be. Many of you here tonight have contributed to the identification and analysis of these forces. Undoubtedly, you will recognize the influence in what I say this evening of such studies as the National Intelligence Council's Global Trends 2015 and the Strategic Assessments Group's Long-Term Demographic Trends.
Tonight, I want to discuss four forces shaping the future of international relations: globalization, the fate of democratic governance, the evolution of our alliances and relations with other major powers, and the changing face of warfare.
Let me begin with "globalization." I prefer to conceive of "globalization" broadly, beyond merely economic exchange or the sum of interactions between and among nation states. It is something more and something very different. Globalization is the totality and velocity of connections and interactions -- be they economic, political, social, cultural -- that are sometimes beyond the control or even knowledge of governments and other authorities. Globalization is characterized by the compression of distance and the increasing permeability of traditional boundaries to the rapid flow of goods, services, people, information, and ideas. It is a multifaceted, transnational phenomenon.
Anyone reading The Education of Henry Adams -- let alone recent academic analyses of the late 19th century -- recognizes that globalization is not a new phenomenon. Nonetheless, since the end of the Cold War, it has unmistakably accelerated and extended its reach because of the spread of open markets and societies, because of greater mobility of mankind and microbes, and because of new technologies.
The essential drivers behind globalization are thus economic, demographic, and technological. I now want to discuss them each in turn.
The global capitalist economy remains the most important transnational force in the world today. Global trade and investment, the diffusion of corporate "best practices," the freeing of labor markets, and the efficiencies achieved by global economies of scale are remaking the world every day. The overall benefits of the past decade's expansion of open economies and societies are indisputable. Market economies promote growth that in turn sustains better education, health, social equality, and quality of life. At the same time, the market economy acts as a disruptive force, demanding institutional and intellectual innovation while unsettling the work patterns of everyday life. And it carries with it the risk of international economic contagion. Joseph Schumpeter was right to label capitalism's dynamic "creative destruction." Those of you who invested heavily in the NASDAQ will undoubtedly agree.
Those countries that cannot or will not integrate themselves into the globalized economy risk isolation and stagnation. North Korea is only the most dramatic example. Other countries, though, are attempting to insulate themselves from globalization more selectively, through protectionism or targeted restrictions on the free flow of information.
Disparities will increase between citizens living in the wealthiest countries that are the best integrated into the international system and those living in the poorest, least integrated ones. Those who participate in the modern world will have radically different experiences, qualities of life, and perspectives than those who do not or cannot. Tensions between the two groups of people are inevitable -- but how these tensions play out is not.
Demographic factors are no less critical. The most basic facts of life and death will continue to matter to international relations. The vast majority of the population increase in the coming years -- on the order of 95% -- will take place in the developing world. The prospects for better jobs tied to the globalized economy will continue to draw people from rural areas; therefore, the developing world's citizenry will concentrate more and more in urban areas. Soon the majority of the world's population will live in urban areas, straining state infrastructures and services sometimes to the breaking point. "Youth bulges" will too often result in widespread unemployment that simultaneously increases instability within the developing world and the pool of migrants eager to escape it. At the same time, the developed world will become grayer with each passing year as its population's average age creeps upwards. The issue of immigration promises, therefore, to expose fault lines both within countries and between them.
And as people move, so do microbes. The spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases will not only pose a health risk, but also threaten to destroy societies, devastate economies, and destabilize entire regions.
The third central driver of globalization is technology. The revolution in information and communications technologies has helped integrate the world and its economies as never before. While helping accelerate the economic dynamism of the past decade, these same technologies facilitate the coordination of transnational criminal and terrorist networks. Other technologies also have their own good and dark sides. Developments in biotechnology, for instance, hold promise for medical and agricultural breakthroughs. However, the same trends allow new actors to inflict unprecedented destruction. In these days of anthrax and terrorist threats to use nuclear and chemical weapons, the specter of weapons of mass destruction now hangs over us as never before.
Only 18 months ago, citizens of the United States could view globalization for the most part as a positive phenomenon. Every year more people than ever before benefited from speedy long-distance travel, email, cellular telephones, fax, household satellite dishes, and the unprecedented flow of trade, investment, and information. But globalization always did have -- and will continue to have -- a dark side. The same networks that allow the free flow of commerce and communication can also carry from one continent to another drugs, refugees and illegal immigrants, diseases like HIV/AIDS, financial volatility and contagion, traffic in men, women, and children, and, as we have seen, terrorists.
The future of international relations will be shaped to a large extent by how the good and dark sides of globalization interact and how nations and peoples respond.
In addition to globalization, the second major force defining the international environment is the democratic wave that swept the world over the past thirty years. The 20th century ended with the most democracies in history -- 119 of 192 countries. The spread of democratic institutions in turn has promoted the spread of fundamental democratic values such as freedom of the press and expression, the rule of law and equality before the law, respect for private property rights, and a dynamic civil society.
In many places, however, democracy has not yet grown deep roots so it remains vulnerable to disappointment and backlash if it does not steadily provide tangible material gains. Moreover, the spread of democratic institutions and values can be seen as a threat by some established social and political orders. Democracy will continue to be resisted.
Whether democratic progress has reached its high watermark will be a defining issue in this era.
The third force shaping the international environment will be how our alliances and relations with the other major powers develop. Maintaining our alliances across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans will be critical to our future success just as they have in the past. But these alliances cannot be taken for granted. They must evolve to meet the demands of this new era while also reflecting changes in each party's power and outlook. Furthermore, as we have seen dramatically since the horrific events of September 11th, we now have the opportunity to recast our relationships with many nations, including Russia, China, and India. Indeed, today we don't see a serious danger of a war between any of the great powers.
We want to ensure that this historic development becomes a permanent feature of our world, but such success is by no means foreordained.
Lastly, the changing face of warfare will be the fourth basic force defining the international context for our foreign policy. The terrorist attacks of September 11th and our ongoing campaign against terrorism -- in Afghanistan and beyond -- highlight this reality. The United States will remain the world's preeminent military power without a "peer competitor" in sight. But this overall dominance will stimulate potential adversaries to develop so-called asymmetrical doctrines and capabilities tailored to deter or neutralize U.S. intervention or inflict massive damage on the home front. As part of this trend, countering the proliferation and possible use of weapons of mass destruction will become increasingly important.
This change will be manifest in the blurring of the distinction between law enforcement and military operations in issues ranging from airport security to national security.
Taken individually, each one of these four basic forces suggests a range of general questions such as "What policies do we need to integrate the world so that we will expand the reach of globalization's benefits while protecting ourselves and others from its dark, destructive side?" or, "How should we maintain democratic governance's forward momentum?"
As a policymaker, though, I find that foreign policy is typically local. In other words, foreign policy is not designed to deal with these forces separately on a global scale, but rather with how they come together and interact to create concrete problems or opportunities in specific regions and countries.
Accordingly, I would like to suggest briefly, moving region by region, what questions I see arising for U.S. policymakers from these forces' interactions in the years ahead.
I will start with our neighborhood, the Western Hemisphere. With our two most important trading partners lying to our north and south, the Western Hemisphere's importance to our economic well-being is obvious. But our regional neighborhood's importance can be captured another way. Imagine for a moment the impact on the United States and on U.S. foreign policy if we confronted a hemisphere that was a cauldron of instability. Just remember how demanding the task of coping with instability in one small Caribbean country -- Haiti -- has been over the past decade. The health of our hemisphere is therefore both essential to our domestic well-being and a prerequisite for action abroad.
Here we have seen the promise of economic integration in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA,) along with the remarkable success of democracy as demonstrated by the recent elections in Mexico, Peru, and Nicaragua. But we are also witnessing in the northern Andes, as well as in parts of Central America and the Caribbean, how the dark side of globalization can threaten democratic rule, increase uncontrolled immigration, and multiply the spread of illegal drugs and crime syndicates. Argentina's economic woes might spread economic contagion and undermine faith in economic openness throughout the region. Confidence in basic institutions seems to be faltering in the midst of the current economic slowdown. Will Colombia be the exception or the trendsetter for the region?
Looking to our traditional allies in Europe and Japan, we see a different set of challenges. On a daily basis we see evidence of both Europe and Japan acting more assertively in the international arena. On the other hand, both face significant institutional challenges that could preoccupy them -- Europe in its movement toward further deepening and expansion of the European Union (EU) and Japan in its need for basic political and economic reform. Both Europe and Japan also have to confront the aging of their populations with its wide-ranging implications. How will the interaction of these forces affect our alliance relations with Europe and Japan, as well as their ability to act on the world stage?
Russia has weathered the recent global economic slowdown better than most and it now has a measure of domestic stability. However, the economic, political, demographic, and environmental legacies of 70 years of Communist rule risk shackling Russia to its past well into the 21st century. Will Russia be able to integrate itself successfully into the international order -- for instance, by transforming its relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) -- and thereby fundamentally alter the trajectory of its development? Will Russia's demographic, economic, and geopolitical decline be reversed or is it systemic?
China and India count among their citizens one out of every three people on the face of the earth. They will, therefore, inevitably have much to say about the future of humanity. China and India face similar challenges. Both are vast multiethnic countries conscious of their own rich history and searching for international status commensurate with their size. They are both rising powers, which have experienced remarkable economic growth as they have opened their economies. At the same time, their development has been uneven, with some regions falling significantly behind those better integrated into the globalized economic order. And both populations' sheer size will continue to strain their environment as well as the capacities of state institutions. How will India and China manage their future development internally and internationally?
In answering this question, one ought to take into account the basic differences in their systems. India is an established, vibrant, multi-party democracy whose openness promises to smooth its development. China, on the other hand, faces the dilemma of attempting to promote economic growth without corresponding political reform. Will China succeed in squaring this circle or will it have to chose between economic development and political reform?
Finally, in Africa, the Middle East, Persian Gulf, and Central Asia, states often lack robust civil society, democratic institutions, and integration into the global order. At the same time, they will confront demographic shocks posed by urbanization, youth bulges, and, in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa, the devastating HIV/AIDS pandemic. Their economic development is oftentimes limited by dependence upon the exploitation of natural resources. The continued importance of fossil fuels to the international economy insures the strategic significance of these regions. Chinese and Indian attention to Persian Gulf will most likely increase in lockstep with their growing dependence on its oil. Can the states of these regions withstand the challenges of globalization and integrate themselves into the international order? What will be the implications of their possible failure?
I will not attempt to answer these questions tonight. I will leave that to you.
But I want to highlight that these questions do share a common character. They do not center upon predicting certain events, such as the onset of a financial crisis, a country's negotiating position, or a surprise attack. Nor do they center upon identifying and detailing certain trends, like the rate of China's GNP growth or the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS, and how others perceive them, and might act in light of them. Instead, these questions center upon the complex dynamics of how different forces interact to generate oftentimes unexpected results.
While I am a great believer in having only one hand hold the pen writing a report, comprehending the complexities of this global era will require bringing together different types of expertise in novel ways. If not involved in the writing of a particular analysis, diverse groups of area studies experts, economists, demographers, scientists, military experts, and other specialists should be involved in the framing of the research program as well as in reviewing its final product.
And it is precisely this task of analyzing complex international dynamics that demand the skills of organizations like the Strategic Assessments Group -- with its experience in modeling complex phenomena, scenario building, and tapping talent from both inside and outside the intelligence community to help us appreciate the spectrum of possible futures.
This brings me to my final point. Robert Bowie, one of my predecessors as Director of the Policy Planning Staff, was fond of saying that in government "we should produce results, not literature." (Parenthetically, I should note that Bowie was also later a Deputy Director of the CIA.) You in the intelligence community must not produce literature. You must produce results. And, in order to produce results, you have to get much closer to the policymakers.
I appreciate the tradition in the intelligence community that insists analysis should be insulated from policymaking in order to prevent the politicalization of intelligence. But, in my experience, an even greater danger to intelligence analysis is irrelevancy. Your product can be less relevant than it should be because you don't understand what is really on the policymaker's mind, so you address the wrong questions; or, when you do have the right questions, because your answers do not reach the policymaker in a timely fashion or digestible form. Therefore, in order to help produce results in our foreign policy, you must overcome at least some of your scruples. You must constantly, persistently, and, if need be, annoyingly press to get close to policymakers and peer over their shoulders to see what is on their agenda. And when you see that something critical is missing from that agenda -- when policymakers are neglecting an issue that you know to be relevant and significant -- then you must market your product and impress upon policymakers why they should pay attention to it.
This is especially true with analyses having a long-term or over-the-horizon focus. Typically, policymakers have a hard time seeing how their current decisions relate to longer-term developments, so they tend to ignore or discount them. You must help the policymaker avoid this mistake. They certainly won't come looking for you. And to produce results, your analyses of the sort of complex, long-term questions that I have suggested this evening must connect the dots, pointing out to the policymaker why and how long-term trends and their dynamics matter -- and why and how what he or she does will shape these developments.
It is a tall order. I wish you all the best -- not just for your sake, but also for mine.
Released on November 28, 2001