On Tuesday October 22, IWP interns had the opportunity to sit down with Professor David Glancy for a lunch lecture to discuss economic statecraft.
Economic statecraft, he explained, is often overlooked due to the perceived lack of overlap between national security and economics. Often, people who work in these two different fields have separate objectives and do not always work together. However, a nation’s military strength is directly affected by economics, and economics can be used as a tool of war or influence.
Prof. Glancy described how nations use economic factors to exert influence on other regions of the war when they are at peace, at war, or somewhere on a spectrum in between. When nations are at peace, for instance, their economic relationship often revolves around monetary aid and military assistance. As relations become more hostile, this relationship consists more of actions of war with sanctions and embargos.
Professor Glancy discussed foreign aid as a tool of influence and how, over time, the amount of money needed to have an influence has greatly increased. In the past, one billion dollars may have had a significant impact; in modern day, the same amount may not have much influence for a developing nation. He illustrated this point through a comparison of the Chinese and American presence in Africa. Africa is full of “up and coming economies,” yet without foreign aid, the growth of these economies would be stunted. The extensive amount of Chinese foreign aid flowing into Africa allows China to maintain a sphere of influence inside Africa, especially in terms of African economic activity. China’s activity in Africa characterizes the powerful effects of economic statecraft.
Professor Glancy touched upon many of the main points of economic statecraft including: energy and resource security, industrial policy (defense), and economic espionage. It is through energy security that a nation maintains productivity and economic stability. With regards to industrial policy and defense, he discussed ship and submarine building and the connection between economic and military strength.
He also explained that economic espionage is a form of covert economic statecraft. This practice can allow a country to close the technology gap at an exceedingly faster rate than in the past. This rapid advancement in technology, even in countries with more underdeveloped economies, characterizes the speed with which the international economy is evolving.
In addition, he noted that economics can exacerbate an already tense conflict. Globalization has made for a highly intertwined global community and has allowed countries to use the tools of economic statecraft to manipulate the pressure points of this international system to spread their influence.