Foreword for Active Measures

by John Lenczowski  |  May 24, 2012  |  ARTICLES

The following is the foreward for the first edition of Active Measures, a IWP's student journal.  Please click here to read the whole journal.  

I am delighted to introduce the maiden issue of The Institute of World Politics' new student journal - Active Measures.  This journal is named after an expression from the lexicon of the former Soviet KGB, which refers to disinformation, forgeries, and covert political influence operations.  This expression is symbolic of an entire field of statecraft which is but one of those neglected fields which we at IWP have been dedicated to addressing.

Active measures are conducted by hostile foreign intelligence agencies, and have historically constituted a significant threat to the national security of the United States.  It is noteworthy that the conduct of, and strategic conceptions underlying, American statecraft have rarely acknowledged the existence of such activities, and have even more rarely done anything to counter them.  Since active measures are conducted principally by foreign intelligence agencies, they logically are the object of U.S. counterintelligence policy and practice.  Yet all too often, counterintelligence has been equated in the United States with counter-espionage, and has ignored this critical and time-honored instrument.  

The Institute of World Politics was founded for several important purposes, one of which is to study all the arts of statecraft, and how they should be prudently, ethically, and effectively conducted.  This means the study, not only of those arts which are proper to the culture of the United States, but also those which are undertaken by foreign powers, and which exceed the bounds of what is diplomatically acceptable.  

This means that we at IWP seek to look at the world the way it really is, rather than the way we wish it to be, and we prepare our students to address whatever challenges may be thrown at us as we attempt the defense of American liberty and, when it comes to our foreign students, decent civilization everywhere.  

So much of this mission involves studying neglected subjects, which are ignored partly for intellectual reasons, and partly due to moral failures, like willful blindness and wishful thinking.  The mission also involves the cultivation of moral leadership qualities, such as having the courage to see the truth when all about you are willfully blind, and then to tell the truth to power.  Hence, active measures and those policies that must be taken to address them are emblematic of that larger collection of subjects addressed by IWP whose neglect has yielded great damage to our national security.

IWP's focus on the arts of statecraft necessarily involves attention to "American culture": in other words, solicitude to those values and principles which are part of the genetic code of that nation which America's founding fathers established it to be.  Those founders specifically warned us about the unique vulnerability of the republican form of government - in contrast, say, to monarchy - to what they called the "insidious wiles of foreign influence."  That the architects of the American constitutional system would alert us to such an Achilles heel is just one of those many object lessons about the relationship between American founding principles and the ongoing conduct of American statecraft.  

In studying neglected subjects such as active measures, not to mention public diplomacy, strategic influence, cultural diplomacy, political warfare, many elements of economic strategy, and other subfields too numerous to mention here, IWP's students have been making signal, original contributions to knowledge in the fields of foreign policy and national security.  They are taking the lessons of their study here to their many places of work in our foreign policy and national security communities.  

I only regret that so much of their intellectual production thus far has not been sufficiently publicized, but I am enormously gratified that, with this first issue of Active Measures, America and the world will get a glimpse of our students' original thinking that is grounded in American founding principles and eternal philosophical truths.

John Lenczowski
Founder and President