Mac Owens is Editor of Orbis: FPRI’s Journal of World Affairs, and Senior Fellow in our Program on National Security. Orbis is published for the Foreign Policy Research Institute by Elsevier. For subscription or other information, visit the Elsevier website. FPRI members at the $150 level or above receive a complimentary subscription (for individuals, not institutions). For membership information, please click here. To view this issue online, please click here.
Philadelphia, PA – We begin our summer issue of Orbis with Colin Dueck’s fine essay on how the next U.S. President can use strategic planning as a way to negotiate the difficult tradeoffs that he or she will face. He argues on behalf not only of a shift in the overall direction of U.S. foreign policy but also a different presidential decision-making style. Dueck begins by describing problems with the national security decision-making process under the current President, then he outlines specific recommendations for an improved National Security Council strategic planning process.
Next, Amit Gupta looks at the way that U.S. demographic changes may affect the future thrust of American foreign policy. If by 2044, as the U.S. Census Bureau indicates, “minorities” in America become a majority, there may be some major reorientations of American foreign policy with a shift in emphasis to Asia and Latin America. As a result, the U.S.-EU relationship may undergo some fundamental changes. Moreover, shifting demographic trends will allow the United States to compete more effectively within the international system and allow it to remain innovative, economically wealthy and militarily effective.
We present two article “clusters” in this issue: one on China and another on cyber security. In our first article for the China cluster, Richard Maher examines the effect that China’s rise has had on the Atlantic Alliance. He contends that the rise of China will most likely reveal divergent strategic interests and priorities among the members of the Atlantic Alliance, with a real possibility that America’s rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific could intensify perceptions on both sides of the Atlantic that NATO’s geopolitical value and relevance is declining.
In our second essay on China, Kai He contends that China’s rise is essentially a bargaining process between China and the outside world—especially with the United States. He discusses two strategies that a rising power can employ to convince the existing hegemon to accommodate that rise: “socialization” and “legitimation.” He examines the way in which China employed these two strategies to reach bargaining deals on the arms control regimes and anti-separatist movements in Xinjiang with the outside world. The author argues that the United States needs to take China’s bargaining efforts seriously in order to achieve a peaceful accommodation with China.
In the first article of our cyber-security cluster, Erica D. Borghard and Shawn W. Lonergan examine the nature of actors operating within the cyber domain: economically developed states on the one hand and private actors on the other. What are the implications of a state’s employment of private actors as “cyber proxies”? The authors argue that states employing cyber proxies are confronted with two dilemmas. The first is “Promethean” in that a state that equips cyber proxies provides the latter with tools that could be turned against itself. The second is that by empowering proxies with expansive political agendas, a state actor risks inadvertent crisis escalation. The authors explore how states can manage the risks associated with these dilemmas and the conditions under which they are likely to backfire.
In the second of our cyber articles, Christopher Whyte observes that although much of the literature on cyberspace and national security has backed away from the idea that cyberwar presents an imminent threat in world politics, there remains great concern about the potential for broad-scoped economic disruption prosecuted through digital means. He discusses the vulnerability of developed states to cyber economic warfare, addressing the possibility that a concentrated cyber economic attack could result in a crippling disruption on a large scale. But in the end, he concludes that large, advanced industrial states are only superficially more vulnerable to disruption than are other types of systems.
Finally, David G. Haglund and Deanna Soloninka discuss the meaning of “Wilsonianism,” contrasting it with the international relations theory of “realism” as a way of understanding the deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations over the past two-and-a-half decades. What role does Wilsonianism play in the continuing debate about whether the United States and its Western allies “lost” Russia following the ending of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Union?
The summer issue concludes with two thought-provoking book review essays. Jeremy Friedman reviews three recent books on China and James Cameron reviews two books that address the future trajectory of U.S. nuclear policy at a critical time.
On January 16, 2016, Tsai Ingwen, from the Democratic Progressive Party, won the presidency in Taiwan. The DPP also won its first majority in Taiwan’s legislature. What will be the ramifications for Taiwan and mainline China in this new political era? To address this important question, we are planning a special issue of Orbis devoted to Taiwan in fall 2016. And in our winter 2017 volume, we are pleased to be producing a Special Issue on “Advice to the New President” from a panel of experts representing various disciplines.