UK diplomat Tom Burn, an old friend of Londonstani's from the days they both studied Arabic at university, has started blogging on Her Majesty's Service. This, in Londonstani's view, is to be encouraged because 1) Tom is very clever and needs to be listened to, 3) It's not common to hear what clued-up people working in government are thinking about the evolving nature of how governments and people interact, and 3) Tom has good taste in Hip Hop music. (So please, drop him a line and ask him what OutKast and The Pharcyde can teach us about power relationships).

Tom's latest post makes some very interesting points about governance:

"What I think is interesting about the Arab Spring and the broader impact of change driven online across the world, is the potential it has not only for changing the relationship between citizens and government, but also for changing government itself. A government that simply changes how it delivers its messages might be missing the point. Might online society also change government itself?"

And then the killer line at the end;

"We cannot just go on governing in the same way, but communicating digitally. We also have to think about how to govern digitally."

In Londonstani's experience, sensible grown up types sometimes get a little incredulous at the idea that interwebs can change the world, and so dismiss the whole discussion outright. In Londonstani's view, the point here is that the online world, social media and the rest, is just a new tool for disseminating and sharing information. This by itself is not a new phenomenon, but a continuation of a process that started with people drawing on cave walls before progressing to print, radio and television. However, it does change the relationship people have with information; where does it come from, who controls it, how much are you willing to share, how much do you get to know etc. This in turn affects the relationship between people, and between people and power.

Mubarak's end didn't come when Facebook and Twitter arrived in Egypt, but when al Jazeera showed Egyptians that US warships were moving through the Suez Canal on the way to attack Iraq.

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Middle East expert Marc Lynch has a policy brief out over at the Center for New American Security (CNAS) arguing for more diplomatic pressure on Syria rather than armed intervention.

Two recommendations that caught Londonstani's eye were what Marc calls "counter regime propaganda" and "support and encourage unity amongst opposition groups".

On the communications approach, Marc suggests that an effort that would publicise the regime's atrocities to effectively disabuse supporters of the convenient falicy that the government is not massacring civilians to cling to power, but rather fighting a militant insurection.

Londonstani hasn't been in Syria since the uprising, but keeping in mind what he remembers of the media environment there, he suspects that Syrians who want to know what's happening are likely to be able to find out. What the regime is relying upon is the desire not to know. This may be because people have a personal link to the establishment, or a personal stake in the status quo (which could, but not necessarily, have an ethnic/sectarian element).

An effective communications campaign against the Syrian regime would start where all effective communications begin; figuring out what the regime is saying and trying to understanding what emotions/fears/hopes it's trying to tap into.

The most obvious regime line of argument - as seen time and again in other Arab states - is the claim of "Western conspiracy"and the appeal to Arab/national pride. Addressing, disproving and defusing this narrative is key. Marc's point about reassuring minorities that the fall of the regime might actually be a good thing for them, makes sense within this approach.

The point about the Syrian opposition could also be linked to diplomacy and communications. Yes, the opposition needs unity. One way to encourage that would be to leverage Syrian civil society groups, diaspora communities and individuals inside the country to press their would-be representatives to shoulder their responsibility more effectively.

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Steven A Cook at the Council on Foreign Relations says it's time to cut aid to Egypt.

"I say we oblige [Egyptian Minister] Aboul Naga and wind down the aid program—including military assistance—as soon as practical."

Londonstani finds himself in agreement with Steven, but not exactly for the same reasons - well not this one anyway:

"It’s hard to run against the “foreign hand” if there is no foreign hand."

Whereas Steven might have gone too far in thinking local perceptions of US influence follow a simple linear logic, he doesn't go far enough in his labelling of US-Egyptian relations as a "psycho-drama".

It's way worse than that. It's more of a zombie horror movie - before the days zombies became funny.

At the crux of the aid issue is a dilapidated, clapped out, Egyptian self image manufactured a long time ago by leaders who saw the Soviet Union as an exemplary model of social control. This self image has taken a serious battering in the modern information age. 

As Londonstani remembers it, before about 2000, the Egyptian state wasn't too keen to talk about the aid it got from the US for two reasons: 1 - It wanted to avoid discussion around it's core reason for moving rfrom the Soviet to the US camp (its economy was a shambles and it needed help). 2 - The aid issue got in the way of the state's defence of its ideological frontiers. 

Londonstani would go as far as to say that existence of the aid was not common knowledge to most Egyptians. The reason why he'd go out on a limb with that last statement, is because US aid to Egypt was one of the first stories he covered as a journalist in Cairo. Thomas Friedman had published a mock letter from Bill Clinton to Mubarak asking, rhetorically, what the US got for its money. That evening, Londonstani did a bit of polling in the local coffeeshops and found that not one person could tell him how much aid Egypt got or when it started flowing. Most were openly surprised.

That changed. Over the next five years, as opposition to Mubarak grew more vocal, US news organisations mentioned the aid more frequently, and US officials became more comfortable with flinging around threats to cut it off. The end result was that many more Egyptians came to hear about the aid.

Mubarak's response was to carry on like before. The sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who was first arrested in 2000 for accepting foreign funds without permission, was dragged through the courts for nearly a decade in a case that drew local and international attention. A number of other democracy activists were prosecuted for similar offences.

The US, which was never popular in the Arab world past about 1967, was on an unpopularity high in the run up to 9/11 due to Israel's reaction to the the Palestinian uprising and continuing sanctions against Iraq. Then of course came the invasion of Iraq. As bad became worse, the Egyptian state capitalised on the US's public image misfortunes by insinuating (or outright stating) that all sorts of domestic irritants (from dodgy businessmen, to partying homosexuals to blaspheming false prophets) were part of a foreign (ie Western) plot to destabilse Egypt.

But the reason why Londonstani doesnt agree with Steven that taking away the foreign hand will end the cries of conspiracy is based on the reason why the Egyptian state thought it was such a great play to begin with; people want to believe it.

The military men who run Egypt realised a long time ago that conspiracy theories made people feel important. It made them feel that they were worth being conspired against. As someone clever once said, "There's nothing worse than being ignored".

Egypt's slow fall from prominence under a regime that came to power on the promise of restoring pride was easier to hide because it was too painful to accept.

Apart from that Londonstani is totally in agreement with Steven.

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Since 2009, Londonstani has been working on developing and applying communications strategies in the UK and abroad. While most of his time is spent on the nitty gritty of making things happen in places like Pakistan, Londonstani is also very interested in the theory behind the practice.

However, there doesn't seem to be much out there about building, maintaining and leveraging influence in a rapidly changing world. What thinking and discussion does exist on this tends to be American. Which isn't  surprising in light of the events of the past 10 years. But consider the UK for a moment. Britain has the advantage (and liability) of historical connections and associations, the English language - which ties together entertainment and information (BBC, Reuters). Add to this a relatively large global investment footprint as well as a domestic culture that is globally connected. Also, there are a number of UK thinkers and practioners who operate in this area; very competent people like Robin Brown (@rcmb), Aaron Ellis (@thinkstrat) and Emrys Schoemaker (@emrys_s). Last but not least, the UK has been trading on its soft power for several decades, and is quite good at it.

The aim of this blog is to collate and, where possible, add to discussions about developing realistic, successful policies and methods in the new global environment. It's in that vein that Londonstani thought readers, particularly British ones, might be interested in a recent discussion between high-profile US figures on exactly these issues. 

Anne-Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning at the State Department, wrote an article back in July titled The New Foreign Policy Frontier. In it she argued that diplomacy is no longer just government-to-government, but also government-to-society and society-to-society. This new dynamic (or dynamics), she points out, opens up the potential for groups or individuals, not necessarily connected to a government, to undertake actions that affect countries in a way previously only governments could.

Equally clever person Dan Drezner (@dandrezner), professor of international relations at Tufts, took Anne-Marie to task over the point that micro-level, non-governmental initiatives - networked or not - had questionable impact on the general scheme of things. And that what networked interaction there was, had been there for a long time anyway.

Leaving the details of the discussion aside, the central point - are we moving from an era of the big men of state to one where "regular" people impact international relations - is one that Londonstani has had on-and-off with journalist and diplomat friends since 2003.

Al Qaeda's 9/11 attacks are often cited as the ultimate example of a game-changer enacted by a small group of people without government ties. But the reason Londonstani started thinking about this in 2003 is because that was when he, as a young reporter, noticed that the dynamics of how people in the Middle East see themselves and the world had fundamentally changed. 

As the US geared up for war against Saddam many US-allied Arab nations had tacitly fallen in behind the US, but continued to express public opposition to the impeding war. Egypt under Mubarak was a tightly controlled information environment. State media organisations reinforced for Egyptians a worldview of their leader as an Arab champion and their country as a bulwark against US designs in the region. These were messages that had first been inculcated at school by the government education system.

Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab news channel made plain that the collective deception would not hold. In early 2003, US warships started passing through the Suez Canal, and al Jazeera set a camera up on the banks of the international waterway. As state television showed Mubarak fulminating about Arab solidarity, the highly popular news channel showed US warships passing through Egyptian territory on the way to invade Iraq. At about the same time, Egypt was showing triumphant military marches on state television during its annual war commemoration. Predictably, the contrast between bluster and compliance brought out demonstrators on to the streets asking, "Where is the Egyptian army".

This isn't to say that new media technology changed the way the world works. It's just a new way of disseminating information. And information has been the key to social and political change for a long time. In fact, Egypt has seen it all before. During British rule in Egypt the likes of Ahmed Lutfi el Sayed were distributing leaflets calling for revolution. In the 1970s, Ayatollah Khomeni was using taped speeches to build support and turn people away from the shah. As today, technology was making it possible for people to connect with each other and unite around a common cause. 

It seems to Londonstani that this discussion should be less about the world changing and more about changing the methods of those who try and deal with it. Anne-Marie seems, in essence, to be arguing that it's no longer possible (for whatever reason) to do deals with important men in foreign places and expect them to enforce your agreement on their own people. Londonstani would argue that approach never actually worked. If you take the long view of history, Western powers' dealings with Iranian shahs in the era of capitulations had an influence on the evolution that led to relationship the West and Iran have today. In more recent times, Israel and the West's dealing with the autocratic and corrupt PLO leadership has been a factor in the support Hamas can command.

What has changed is powerful peoples' ability to manipulate emotions in order to maintain their privileged positions. The tools they used grew accustomed to using don't work anymore.

So, the question is if you do decide that government-to-society or society-to-society connections provide the more stable relationships, what tools can you use, and how do you use them?

 

UPDATE: Anne-Marie responded to this post via twitter:

To , the question u pose at the end of your piece is EXACTLY my research agenda. Look forward to more convo"

Definitely...

 

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Good NYT article by Roger Cohen making the point that firms moving operations abroad isn't necessarily a bad thing.

“A General Electric or a Goldman or a Twitter tries to work in each country in culturally appropriate ways, but at their base these companies hold an American set of values. And that is what influence is,” Xenia Dormandy, a senior fellow at Chatham House, told me. “Power viewed in state terms alone, or even primarily, is a false premise these days.”

In Londonstani's experience, that last sentence is key, and has been true for British influence abroad for quite a few years already. Wherever Londonstani has worked in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, job seekers want to work for foreign (ie Western) companies not solely because of the money on offer, but because they think their employers will operate a fairer set of standards. British organisations, in particular, retain a powerful association with values such as meritocracy, fairness, honesty. Londonstani isn't saying these are true (sadly in his experience, they often aren't) but the connotation is a powerful asset.

Speaking in a US-specific context, Cohen goes on:

"The conspicuous failure of American hard power — in Iraq and Afghanistan — has tended to obscure the way American soft power has flourished over the past decade. For a while soft power was undercut because the U.S. reputation was tarnished, but the Arab awakening has demonstrated how powerful American-driven social media are in opening up closed societies. Facebook and Twitter have been conspicuous. But when I.B.M. invests massively in Africa — which it has identified as the next major emerging growth market — it is also investing in an openness that advances U.S. interests."

Trade and communicate - It's the way forward

UPDATE: There's saying drummed into you if you do journalism training that seems to apply equally well to public diplomacy and strategic communications; "Show don't tell". This seems to be the crux of Cohen's point here.

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Being a voice of reason when irrationality is the only game in town is not easy. On Tuesday, the Taliban killed Pakistani journalist Mukarram Khan Aatif, a correspondent in the Tribal Areas for Voice of America radio. 

The killing of reporters working for foreign, often Western, state-funded broadcasters tragically makes the point that they are often key frontline actors in conflict zones. Despite the fact that the influence they wield is enough to get them killed, it's not always understood by the people who fund their activities in the first place. 

Alex Belida, long-time US news professional, suggests over at the Mountainrunner blog that there are two lines of argument when it comes to justifying US public-funded broadcasting overseas.

Whereas Alex and other professionals believe that what they do should be about good journalism, he suggests that law makers in Congress (who approve funding for these organisations) feel their mission should be propaganda, in that it should feature "content which aggressively criticizes our perceived opponents around the globe while downplaying our own national faults."

While Alex has a bunch of proposals for re-organising and funding the multitude of radio and television station stations that make up the US international broadcasting world, he rightly stresses a core concern:

"I believe any discussion of the future structure of U.S. International Broadcasting must first address a more fundamental question: what is its purpose?"

Londonstani sympathises with Alex's position on this. As a journalist who has been lucky enough to work abroad for one of the world's best broadcasters, the BBC, Londonstani has seen seen first hand what sort of return a country gets on its investment in good public-service broadcasting overseas.

In many, many countries where Londonstani has worked, the BBC will be the one (or one of a very few) trusted sources of objective information. This generates the kind of positive vibe around the UK that you just can't buy.

(One example that comes to mind occurred when Londonstani rolled into the one-donkey central Chadian town that is Mongo. Suspicious and curious townspeople crowded round. When Londonstani explained that he was a journalist with the BBC, moods immediately lightened, "Ah yes, the BBC!... You must know Mohammed Abdullahi" (who Londonstani had never heard of but suspects is the local language correspondent). Cans of Pepsi were passed around and the Ak47s put away.)

There is also a utility beyond image building. In many countries in conflict or political crisis, local media will often be a party to the problem. And local people will be aware of that. Non-partisan media that doesn't need the patronage of a local powerbroker to survive can afford to challenge violent narratives. For example, making the point that a country's or community's problems are not going to be solved by the sort of zero-sum arguments that become more attractive in times of conflict. 

Again, this plays a role in improving conditions and positioning the country seen as responsible as a potential parter, arbitrator etc. 

Propaganda broadcasting on the other hand is likely to be counterproductive. Audiences, even those in the most remotest of places, quickly catch on when they are being lied to or patronised. They usually then either switch off or take what they want from the broadcaster and ignore the underlying message. (Like say al Hurra). 

If like the US or the UK, you seek to draw international legitimacy on the basis of a set of values. Public-funded broadcasting is very cost-effective way of showing you mean what you say.

As a British taxpayer rather than an American one, Londonstani is no position to offer comment on how the US organises its affairs, but would agree with Alex's point on this:

"I would argue that to enhance a mission of accurate, objective and comprehensive journalism, it is time to remove USIB altogether from government control and funding."

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US scholar of public diplomacy, Philip Seib, wrote on the Huffington Post a couple of days ago:

"Those designing U.S. public diplomacy must quickly recalibrate their work to better reach the newly empowered and assertive mass publics."

Seib suggests:

"A key element of U.S. public diplomacy is the reflection of American political values in outreach efforts. These values are not antithetical to the tenets of Islam, and so that is where public diplomacy programs should focus. Those designing cultural, educational, and business-related ventures should themselves be familiar with the Quran and other elements of Islam and should involve clerical and lay Muslims in the project creation process. This will help avoid the accidental cultural clashes that can be interpreted as purposeful assertion of anti-Islamic policy."

Londonstani agrees in principle with Seib on this, but would suggest digging a little deeper in the search for an approach. 

Often, Islamists (which encompasses many different trains of thought) are cut from a very similar cloth to their domestic opponents. Looking at Pakistan; the head of a network of madrassas is the theological equivalent of a feudal landlord or industrialist. All are looking to nurture a solid constituency based on patronage. Often the religious overlaps with the temporal. Sometimes the supporters of the most avowedly secular parties act like religious devotees. Egypt; Mubarak's cronies displayed the same xenophobic, small minded, despotic, socially conservative tendencies that their liberal opponents feared they might face from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Better than focusing immense effort on one particular area of study, (which might be axed at will in the next round of cuts) Londonstani feels that governments would be better served by looking at their bureaucratic structures and figuring out how to build up institutional knowledge of how Arab and Muslim societies work.

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Over the weekend, Pakistani English-language daily Express Tribune published an interview with scholar Stephen Cohen, who knows a thing or two about Pakistan.

Londonstani particularly likes Cohen (and quotes him in the background section of papers he's written) due to his dispassionate insight. It's rare when discussing Pakistan to find someone who combines deep knowledge with a cool, objective approach. Check out the whole article, otherwise here are the highlights (according to Londonstani).

"...the army can’t govern the country effectively but it won’t let others govern it either. This is the governance dilemma."

"... with the obvious breakdown of law and order, the decline of the economy, as well as a dysfunctional civilian-military relationship — change seems to be in the wind — but few of us can be precise about what that change will be. Pakistan is muddling through, but change and transformation are coming, I just don’t know when or how."

"...Weakness in governance, education, and the absence of land reform made Pakistan a victim of contemporary globalisation. It doesn’t make much that anyone wants to buy, and it is cut off from its natural regional trading partners."

"...the negative aspects of Islamist globalisation have hit Pakistan hard. Some of the weirdest ideas in the Islamic world have found rich soil in Pakistan, and the country is regarded as an epicentre of terrorism. Pakistan, which was once held up as the most moderate of the Islamic states, seems to be embracing extremists and their dysfunctional violent ideas."

(As a student and long-time resident of the Middle East, Londonstani would deeply concur with this. Everyday religiosity in Pakistan is very similar to the Middle East and some parts of Muslim Africa, but the religious-political public rhetoric is, as Cohen says, weird to behold if you are a non-Pakistani Muslim)

"The Indians tend to be bullying when it comes to their neighbours, but Pakistanis are capable of defending their interests. Many Indians are ready for a change now. India sees itself as a major rising Asian state and Pakistan is a drag on it."

"...their dilemma is that they cannot live with each other and they cannot live without each other. They need to cooperate along several dimensions, there is no military solution for the problems each has with the other."

"So, looking ahead at Pakistan’s future, we don’t know what is going to happen to Pakistan but we know something alarming is happening to it. Pakistan will remain, but its identity is changing."

"the US should have provided trade opportunities, instead of only military aid, to Pakistan after 9/11. There was a serious Pakistani interest in increasing trade, not just receiving military aid; the US did not respond to this."

"Pakistani governments have been cowardly in dealing with those who oppose modernity and try to push the country back to the seventh century. Perhaps the cowardice comes from the fact that the state uses some of these groups for its own strategic purposes, a fatal and self-defeating miscalculation."

"The long-term key to normalising Pakistan is India. The fear of India drives the Pakistan army and the army drives Pakistan. If India can normalise with Pakistan in one way or the other, then Pakistan can devote its resources and energy to becoming a more attractive and respected country."

"The US should provide aid to Pakistan but link it to more concrete reforms in education, administration, and democratisation."


Cohen makes two important points that deserve repeating:

1 - Pakistan's present status quo is unstable and unsustainable. There are two main views when it comes to Pakistan; "Oh my God, extremists are about to take over." And, "Nothing will really ever change." Cohen is saying extremists not about to militarily take over the country, but it plainly will not continue as it is. The question is, what form will that change take?

2 - Pakistan's identity is changing. There's an oft repeated factoid that Pakistan's population is 65 percent under 35. The people presently running the country are in a minority not due to their religion, race or even gender, but rather because of the generational outlook gap between them and the people they rule. Londonstani spends his non-blogging days working on Pakistani media, and one thing that comes up time and again is that young Pakistanis see the world through a different lens than their elders.

Keeping in mind Cohen's reputation as a clear-eyed, non-sensationalist academic, perhaps it's best to end with summing up of Pakistan's present predicament.

"Never in history have we seen a country so big with so many nuclear weapons in this kind of trouble."

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Look at this photo.

Seriously, if the British royal family came from North West London along the banks of the A40 and not Windsor, this is what you would expect to see.

The lady in the photograph is Emma Sky.

Emma Sky is an Oxford graduate who speaks Arabic and Hebrew. After graduating she spent a decade working in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. While opposed to the war, she volunteered to put her skills to use in post-invasion Iraq, where she was appointed the civilian representative of the CPA in Kirkuk. In 2006 she was made political advisor to General Odierno, the second most senior US military official in Iraq. Emma has also toured Walthamstow with Londonstani and Abu Muqawama.

In addition to all those accomplishments, Emma has been one of a very limited number of British officials working high up in the US military structure.

Presently, she's a visiting professor at the War Studies department at Kings College, London. Read about her Iraq (post US withdrawal) tour for Foreign Policy here.

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Interesting article by Clyde Prestowitz over at Foreign Policy continuing with the "economics of defence" and the rise of China theme by drawing attention to a little-noticed strategy that came out at about the same time as the defence guidance.

The commerce department's report on US competiveness, says Prestowitz, misses significant hindarances to US trade with emerging countries:

"At the moment, four great incentives are continuing to pull the production and provision of tradable goods and services out of the United States. These are foreign currency manipulation that overvalues the dollar, subsidization by many foreign governments of the offshoring of U.S. production capacity, the "buy national" policies and attitudes of many governments that force U.S. companies (and the corporations of other countries) to produce in a particular country if they want to sell there, and the subsidization of and risk reduction for capital investment by state-owned or indigenous private companies in designated "strategic" or "pillar" industries by a number of foreign governments. As long as the report doesn't even mention these elements, let alone address them, there is no hope for a shift in the downward arching American economic, industrial, and technological trajectory."

For the UK, trading with the rest of the world is even more important to the country's well being (the UK doesn't have the US's huge internal market). MP Kwasi Kwarteng, who has a Cambridge doctorate in economic history, offered this take a while ago on government's role in promoting manufacturing and trade. Acknowledging that it's a little surprising to hear a Conservative MP take positively about government support for the private sector, Kwarteng ends with this.

"Of course, we can’t mention the P-word, Protection, in polite company, but everyone is doing it. They always have. Once we recognise this, we realise that it makes sense to harness our excellent universities and scientists and our manufacturing traditions to preserve and grow our industrial base. Nothing could be more conservative than that." - Flashman would be proud!

As ever, Londonstani finds it difficult to resist a little econ geekery

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There are many, many people more qualified to talk about last week's US defense strategic guidance than Londonstani (particularly a certain East Tennessean). From a UK perspective, what struck Londonstani was the similarities, and differences, to the UK defence strategic review last year.

(Well, that and the fact that the US is talking about "savings" that would swallow the total UK annual defence budget several times over)

Differences:

1 - The US's review was actually strategic, in that it addressed a changing environment (Chinese power and Arab Spring) and how to re-position itself in order to address it.

2 - Related to the first point, the US is talking about alliances with new powers (ie India) to help it achieve its aims.

Similarities included:

1 - The fact it's supposed to save money

2 - The rebalancing away from the infrastructure of large-scale deployments to more special operations type stuff.

There was also a third - slightly more stretched - similarity. Both US and UK approaches to defence in the future include significant elements that you wouldn't - strictly speaking - consider to be in the "defence" sphere of government. The US talks quite specifically about India serving its economic (and therefore security) aims in the region. While the UK version spoke of a £3.8 billion increase in aid from the development budget.

There is actually no sensible way to discuss where you stand in the world today (and tomorrow) without discussing China and the global economy. (Simon Tisdall at the Guardian thinks its all about China)

So it that sense, Londonstani feels, its definitely a good thing that foreign/defence matters are taken out of their boxes and looked at in their wider context - in terms of causes, effects and potential solutions.

Actually, China itself provides a useful example.

Londonstani has spent the last 2-1/2 years being based out of Pakistan, which - in case anyone missed it - is a key Chinese ally on the quiet. Sometime before that, Londonstani spent a fair amount of time living and reporting from Sudan - another Chinese ally. (In fact, one project involved looking exclusively at China's role in fueling the Darfur conflict)

In both cases, China's influence is due to its economic clout rather than its military strength. In both cases, wealthy decision makers in the host country do personally well out of the alliance. (Londonstani once met with an ex-Pakistani official who used to work at a regulatory body who was aghast at how a recent trade pact with China was potentially ruinous for the country but was passed because of the pockets it would line in Pakistan.)

The point here is that Chinese influence will not go away, in fact it will probably grow, but that in itself will probably cause challenges for China itself. In Pakistan for example, a market increasingly tied up by China, consumers murmur about the inflated prices and low quality of the goods they get.

For the US, and even more so for the UK, meeting the challenge will involve doing business in places like Pakistan, engaging publics and projecting soft power (particularly relevant to the guidance's point on the Arab Spring). This will involve more than than one department of government, and a number of non-government actors.

As a little aside, Londonstani can't resist mentioning Paul M. Kennedy's comment in his The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery*:

"For maritime strength depends, as it always did, upon commercial and industrial strength: if the latter is declining relatively, the former is bound to follow. As Britain's naval rise was rooted in its economic advancement, so too its naval collapse is rooted in its steady loss of economic primacy. We have come full circle."

To see what people much more clued up on this sort of thing have to say read Adam Elkus here, David Barno here, and a whole bunch of clever people.

*Taken from J.E. Peterson's Defending Arabia, 1986 (Chapter 3; Postwar Policy: British Retreat and Imperial Vestiges)

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