(Repeats item first run on Thusrday)
* Increasing attention played to global "grand strategy"
* Rise of China and emerging powers changing priorities
By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent
LONDON, May 12 As China and other new powers
rise, foreign ministries, think tanks and international
relations schools are focusing once again on interstate "grand
strategy" in a way not seen since the Cold War.
A few years ago, a savvy graduate looking to make a career
in foreign service, intelligence or national security would
focus on militancy, terror and state building, the buzzwords of
the "war on terror" and the Iraq and Afghan conflicts.
But now insiders say they need to show a reasonable
understanding of an increasingly complex game of geopolitical
chess between the great powers in which economic power and the
media narrative can be as important as armies and tanks.
While the United States is pulling back its military
involvement in Iraq, the Arab Spring has shown that no one can
afford to neglect the Middle East and North Africa. Neither does
the death of Osama bin Laden mean that the West will disregard
militant groups. Nevertheless, the Middle East, Afghanistan and
al Qaeda are no longer a sole focus of Western concerns.
"The war on terror really pushed grand strategy to one side,
but as that seems to be winding down there is much more focus on
it," said Robert Farley, professor of international relations at
the University of Kentucky.
"Students know they will need it in their careers, whether
in public service or the private sector. We've recently failed
students for failing to be able to answer questions on the rise
of China, for example."
Numbers of international relations students taking intensive
summer courses in languages such as Arabic or Farsi -- which is
spoken in Iran and parts of Afghanistan -- were falling off,
Farley said. This was partly on expectation that there would be
fewer military or diplomatic roles in the region.
The number learning basic Chinese was rising, he said, but
students were keen to show they had knowledge of a broad range
of topics from economics to cyber warfare and the effect of
social media on politics.
As well as China, they need to show knowledge of a host of
rising new powers including India, Brazil and South Africa -- in
contrast to their counterparts from the Cold War era, many of
whom built entire careers on deep knowledge of narrow areas of
"It's much more complex than in the Cold War, when they were
only really two sides," says Farley.
When Israeli-based political risk consultancy Wikistrat
launched a month-long online grand strategy competition between
universities, military colleges and similar institutions around
the world, it was taken aback by the level of interest.
The contest, which begins this month, will cover the next
two decades of global history with teams representing roughly a
dozen countries needing to form alliances and adapt to shocks
such as revolutions and conflicts.
"I really think it's caught the spirit of the moment," says
Wikistrat CEO Joel Zamel. "There is much more interest in a kind
of 'grand strategy' approach.
"We've had much more interest from around the world than we
expected -- Indian universities will be representing India,
Israeli universities Israel, Singaporean Singapore, Japanese
Japan, U.S. schools the U.S.. We've had to keep adding
Much of the new struggle for power between states will take
place largely out of sight, experts say, with confrontation in
cyberspace or over economic issues such as currency strength
largely replacing military conflicts or colonial struggles.
But as well as facing off against each other, many experts
say nation states must also manage relations with a rising range
of non-state groups, from militants such as Al Qaeda to
international corporations. The leaderless social media-fuelled
revolutions of the Middle East suggest public opinion may become
more important than ever before -- and perhaps harder to manage.
"There are two power shifts happening at present," said
Joseph Nye, a former U.S. deputy undersecretary of state and
assistant secretary of defense, now professor of international
relations at Harvard and author of one of several new books on
shifting 21st-century global power structures.
"One is a transition of power between states, primarily from
west to east and the other is a shift of power from nation
states -- both West and East -- to non-state actors ... You have
to manage both," he said.
It's not that anyone expects the field of counterterrorism
and counterinsurgency -- and its associated jobs -- to disappear
with the death of bin Laden in the Pakistani town of Abbotabad
and the withdrawal of Western troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
But there are those who publicly worry that the "war on
terror" meant attention was focused on the wrong places, and
that there is an urgent need to build wider expertise both
amongst young graduates and the most senior policymakers.
"The idea that the main geopolitical threat to Western
security came from a guy in a compound in Abbotabad who spent
most of his time watching television is frankly preposterous,"
says Niall Ferguson, professor of history and international
relations at Harvard and author of another book and television
series on the power shift from West.
"The main geopolitical issue for the United States is the
rise of China. You need a strategy to deal with it and if it's
not a strategy to build regional alliances that include
countries like India and Japan, you have no choice but to face
(editing by David Stamp)