The Emergence of Noopolitik

The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward An American Information Strategy

John Arquilla
David Ronfeldt
Copyright Date: 1999
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 102
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1033osd
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  • Book Info
    The Emergence of Noopolitik
    Book Description:

    Strategy, at its best, knits together ends and means, no matter how various and disparate, into a cohesive pattern. In the case of a U.S. information strategy, this requires balancing the need to guard and secure access to many informational capabilities and resources, with the opportunity to achieve national aims by fostering as much openness as practicable. The authors' term to represent such strategic balancing is guarded openness. They go on to describe noopolitik (nu-oh-poh-li-teek)--an emerging form of statecraft that emphasizes the importance of sharing ideas and values globally, principally through the exercise of persuasive soft power rather than traditional military hard power. This study discusses the opportunities that may be raised by the emergence of noopolitik--ranging from construction of a noosphere (a globe-spanning realm of the mind) to recommendations that, for example, the U.S. military should begin to develop its own noosphere (among and between the services, as well as with U.S. allies). In the area of international cooperation, the authors offer strategic approaches for improving the capacity of state and nonstate actors to work together to address transnational problems. In addition, the authors recommend specific doctrinal developments, implied by the emergence of information strategy--including the pressing need to deal with such ethical concerns as the first use of information weapons, concepts of proportional response, and the need to maintain the immunity of noncombatants. Ultimately, the authors call for an innovative turn of mind as policymakers and strategists rethink how best to adapt to the epochal transformations being wrought by the information revolution.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4827-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
    John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figure and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. SUMMARY
    (pp. ix-xii)

    Information and communications have always been important to strategy. But they are changing from subsidiary to singular concerns—“information” matters more than ever for reasons that did not exist even 20 years ago. One reason is technological innovation: the growth of a vast new information infrastructure—including not only the Internet, but also cable systems, direct broadcast satellites, cellular phones, etc.—in which the balance is shifting away from one-to-many broadcast media (e.g., traditional radio and television) toward many-to-many interactive media. In many nations a growing, though varied, population is enjoying an ease of entry and access to the new...

  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Chapter One WHITHER “INFORMATION STRATEGY”?
    (pp. 1-6)

    Something unsettling is happening to grand strategy. National security experts have long based their calculations on the traditional political, economic, and military dimensions of power. Now they see that a new field is emerging: “information strategy.” Although still inchoate, it promises to redefine these three traditional dimensions. Moreover, it promises to seed the creation of a fourth—the “information” dimension, which is broadly understood to include technological conduits and conceptual contents. The world is turning anew into a highly charged battleground of ideas; it is not just a world in which material resources are the objects of protracted, often violent...

  8. Chapter Two RECOGNITION OF THE NOOSPHERE
    (pp. 7-26)

    Information and communications have always been important to strategy. But they are moving from being subsidiary to becoming overarching concerns—“information” matters more than ever, for reasons that did not exist even 20 years ago.

    One reason is technological innovation: the growth of a new information infrastructure that includes not only the Internet, but also cable systems, direct broadcast satellites, cellular phones, etc.—in which the balance is shifting from one-to-many broadcast media (e.g., traditional radio and television) to many-to-many interactive media. A huge increase in global interconnectivity is resulting from the ease of entry and access in many nations,...

  9. Chapter Three EMERGENCE OF NOOPOLITIK
    (pp. 27-54)

    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...

  10. Chapter Four INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND CONFLICT
    (pp. 55-70)

    This chapter considers selected policy-relevant implications of the emergence of noopolitik that are likely to influence the development of American information strategy. The analysis first examines various ways in which the traditional political, economic, and military domains of grand strategy may be affected, especially in terms of the prospects for broadening and deepening international cooperation. Next, the role of information strategy in crisis and conflict is examined, both in terms of the importance of new forms of public diplomacy and the need to craft an integrated strategic information doctrine (SID) to guide the management of informational capabilities and resources in...

  11. Chapter Five MOVING AHEAD
    (pp. 71-76)

    This report has argued for the development of an American information strategy based on noopolitik. The information revolution has already deepened and diffused to such a degree that other actors—both state and nonstate—have begun to incorporate informational elements into their own strategies. The spread of the information revolution beyond the United States foreshadows an era in which many actors will be competing over who has an “information edge” (Nye and Owens, 1996), as well as over who is “bound to lead” the international system (Nye, 1990). There is no assurance that the United States will necessarily assume or...

  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 77-90)