Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nonstate Actors: Impact On International Relations And Implications For The United States (NIC)

The National Intelligence Council has just made public its report on the impact of nonstate actors on international relations (see full text here). The report is based on the outcome of some discussions between the NIC and the Eurasia Group in 2006 and 2007. The whole report is quite interesting but the NIC summarized the Key Points up front (bold in original):

  • "A globalization-fueled diffusion of finance and technology has enabled nonstate actors to encroach upon functions traditionally performed by nation-states, facilitating their evolution into forms unheard of even a few years ago. For example, “philanthrocapitalist” charities such as the Gates Foundation have greatly expanded notions of what a charitable NGO should look like."
  • "Estimates of their impact should be made cautiously, however, for few nonstate actors are completely independent of nation-states, and they do not have uniform freedom of movement. Although nonstate actors have a great deal of latitude in both weak and post-industrial states, modernizing states such as China and Russia—home to the bulk of the world’s population—have been highly effective in suppressing them and in creating their own substitutes, some of which have demonstrated their power to counter US objectives and even to challenge global rules of engagement."
  • "Most benign nonstate actors originate in the developed world, work within the framework provided by Western institutions and regimes, and act as propagators of “western values” such as free markets, environmental protection, and human rights. From that standpoint, a key concern for the United States may be not that these actors have become too powerful, but that in many parts of the world their influence is limited—a factor that is contributing to the tilting of the global playing field away from the United States and its developed-world allies."

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