Once again, Peace, War, and Diplomacy appear to have only a tenuous link to out subject; but that is not quite true. Later, when we get to studying the political economy of wars, the link will become obvious. Carl Von Clausewitz, a Prussian general of the 18th century, who based almost his entire study of wars on Napoleon [perhaps the greatest practicing architect of modern warfare], concluded in his study of modern warfare that, “War is an extension of policy”.
These words mean that a state opts to use force only when it has, either failed to achieve its national interests by other means, or “other means [of policy]” will cost the state more than a war could. Moreover, no state can be sufficient unto itself in all matters. Foreign policy, therefore becomes a critically significant part of state functioning, acting directly, or indirectly, on every aspect of domestic state functioning.
And, nations go to wars, not merely employing their armies and, nations pay the price of wars, not merely their militaries. And, if wars are undertaken to fulfill national interests, it implies that diplomacy [the art of negotiating through foreign policy] has failed.
Earlier, when I expressed my views in these very pages, on subjects of geography and foreign policy, I attempted to explain in geography, what geographical aspects can add to the significance of [any] state A to state B and; in foreign policy, what shapes foreign relations; essentially an assessment of how much harm [or benefit] the other state can do to your state; the equivalent of the oldest means of coercion which work even in religions; “the carrot and/or the stick”.
This assessment, of harm or benefit, is effectively, the “National Power” capability of the nation being assessed and basically depends on its economic capability [including natural resources, goods, and services] assessed in its entirety, and its military strength, in its entirety. In modern terminology, the foregoing national power capabilities are referred to respectively, as “soft and hard Power”.
You will have adverted to the fact that I went to some pains to add the words “assessed in its entirety”, to both elements of national power referred to in the foregoing paragraph. That is to emphasize the fact that neither of these two elements of national power, not even the two of them together are sufficient in negotiations or wars; all elements have their roles.
These are the two principal elements, the use of which can help negotiations and succeed in serving national interests, without the use of hard or soft power aggressively [so as] to do damage to the state being targeted for negotiations.
However, when diplomacy fails and aggressive use of these elements of power becomes necessary, all other elements of national power are employed in support. Another recently coined term applied to the employment of all elements of national power for the achievement of national interests is “Hybrid Wars”; on which too I have written earlier.
Wars were always hybrid but, to a less significant extent. Today, technology has multiplied the effects of hitherto [supporting] elements of national power to an extent that, in modern warfare, states can be destroyed economically, without firing a shot and; hard power can be disabled without a pitched battle.
The first systematical use of propaganda was its employment in WW 11 by the Allies and the Axis powers; Germany most noticeable, since Hitler had a full-time Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels’ principal for propaganda was, to repeat the news so frequently that it would be believed. The Allied forces were less effective to start with, but refined their abilities with time. The modern term for propaganda is “Perception Management” not merely a more subtle term but a more apt term; since perceptions can now be managed such that different people infer the same facts differently.
Hackers and Space power has added new dimension to the application of soft power in a manner that it can be far “harder” than Hard Power.
The point here is that, it is the combined capabilities of all elements of national power, whether applied to destroy [hard-ly] or to remain soft in its application and coerce, without too much damage, which is the sum of any nation’s power. And, it is the sum total of these powers that can strengthen negotiations [and relations; or alliances] between nations.
Pakistan, despite its benighted state is blessed with many natural gifts; it’s much touted “strategic location” [so far, more a curse than boon] which provides commercial linkage in multiple directions, natural resources, abundant land and water [if not wasted] to support our agriculture and, a military well respected globally, and capable.
But, from the provision of Badaber to the US, to date we seem incapable of utilizing opportunities and continue repeating errors. CPEC is the sole glimmer of hope but, I apprehend its continuous mismanagement may turn that also into a curse.
They say, “one lives on hope”. I search for it unendingly.