The real failure of imagination?

Interesting thoughts by Hew Strachan:

“Strategists, for all their pontifications about the future, have failed on two counts. First, they have become too politically aware in their views. Politicians need to buttress current institutions, and in doing so feed the narrative that the institutions are robust and reliable, despite their need for reform and reinvigoration. Strategists need to be tougher, and to speak truth to power. Since the end of the Cold War, geopolitical pressures have taken the common ideologies of the “west” — democracy and liberal capitalism — in divergent geographical directions. Globalization, for all its rhetorical flourishes, has mattered less than regionalism. The United States has turned from the North Atlantic and the Middle East to the Pacific and East Asia. Meanwhile Europeans are driven by an opportunistic Russia and a flood of refugees to look to their eastern marches and the Mediterranean.

Secondly, strategists have failed because they have allowed their understanding of strategy to be dominated by their commitment to the status quo. Strategy has become obsessed with the mitigation of risk and the minimization of threats, rather than with the exploitation of the opportunities which risk presents. Strategy has to respond to and even initiate contingency, not to be fearful of it. Both the Brexit vote and the election of Trump amplify the risks which we face, but they also — like Hans Christian Andersen’s child — expose the emperor’s nakedness. We shall not master risk if we do not also embrace it.

What Gen. Mattis’s favorite strategist thinks about the election of Trump


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