The Resilience Doctrine

Alex and I have a new article published  today by World Politics Review, as part of their special on risk and resilience in a globalized age. The other piece is by John Robb of Global Guerrilla’s fame.

In The Resilience Doctrine (also available in our library here), we argue that globalization is both unstable and inevitable, and that governments have little choice but to build collaborative platforms to manage risk. We conclude with a dozen guidelines for building an international system fit for the 21st century.

  1. Develop a doctrine with resilience at its heart, using it to create a unified narrative about how to manage the risks the world will face between now and 2030.
  2. Start with the ultimate objective of building and protecting global systems, cultivating a new constitution for the society of states.
  3. Create incentives for connecting to the international system and increase penalties for exclusion. Avoid disrupting the global order for short-term gain.
  4. Focus on function (what systems need to deliver in order to manage risk) over form (the organogram that devotees of international politics obsess over).
  5. Build the global institutions (rules, norms, markets, organizations, etc.) needed to deliver these functions. Aim for a shared operating system capable of managing each key risk.
  6. Invest in mechanisms that create, analyze and debate solutions, delivering the shared awareness that underpins successful reform.
  7. Build shared platforms on which state and non-state actors can work together to re-engineer systems. Sustain them over the long periods needed to battle for systemic change.
  8. Use open standards to foster interoperability, allowing networks of organizations to work together and achieve elevated rates of innovation and learning.
  9. Develop a theory of influence tailored to the modern age and use it to bind together all the instruments of international relations (diplomacy, development, military).
  10. Apply a rigorous principle of subsidiarity, devolving responsibilities to regional, national and local levels where possible, thus maximizing resilience throughout the system.
  11. Use the opportunity to reform national governments, increasing their openness, while reducing the scope of their mission so that they do less, better.
  12. Be accountable for outcomes, using shared metrics and external assessors to report publicly on whether resilience is increasing for those risks that will mean most to the future of our civilization.