The Resilience Doctrine

by Limbic on July 10, 2009

David Steven and Alex Evans have a new article out in World Politics Review where they present “The Resilience Doctrine“. They argue that ” globalization is both unstable and inevitable, and that governments have little choice but to build collaborative platforms to manage risk…[and] conclude with a dozen guidelines for building an international system fit for the 21st century”.

Here are the guidelines summarised by the authors:

  • 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.
  • Start with the ultimate objective of building and protecting global systems, cultivating a new constitution for the society of states.
  • Create incentives for connecting to the international system and increase penalties for exclusion. Avoid disrupting the global order for short-term gain.
  • Focus on function (what systems need to deliver in order to manage risk) over form (the organogram that devotees of international politics obsess over).
  • 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.
  • Invest in mechanisms that create, analyze and debate solutions, delivering the shared awareness that underpins successful reform.
  • 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.
  • Use open standards to foster interoperability, allowing networks of organizations to work together and achieve elevated rates of innovation and learning.
  • 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).
  • Apply a rigorous principle of subsidiarity, devolving responsibilities to regional, national and local levels where possible, thus maximizing resilience throughout the system.
  • Use the opportunity to reform national governments, increasing their openness, while reducing the scope of their mission so that they do less, better.
  • 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.


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