Last weekend, the Munich Security Conference 2016 convinced me again that we cannot continue our foreign policy like in the past and what the main tools should be to save our world with a fresh foreign policy World 3.0.
For many years I have been observing this large gathering of defense experts from all over the world. Now the official booklet asked the speaker to present solutions, not only a nice description of the problems. This is a good new navigation tool, together with a much broader definition of security, including energy, water, health and several official side events with NGOs like Globalo. The approach to foreign affairs is changing – but slowly.
What are the 10 core elements of a successful new foreign policy World 3.0?
- The most important tool is to focus on options and solutions and write detailed 500 page long action papers. We need a much better long-term planning, not just vague wordings. We need an advanced management and control system in all our foreign and defense ministries and international organizations. We must learn from the planing of global companies.
- Better timing. We still focus on crisis management and usually come too late. We need to look and plan forward.
- Actions are needed, not nice window-speeches and conferences. We talk too often in wishful wordings, hardly actions on the ground. Conferences must focus on options and solutions much more than ever before in a globalized and thus complicated world 3.0.
- Large cash-pools for quick actions must be established. We must collect huge amounts of money for quick action in advance, not too late. We missed to fund the Syrian refugee-camps in Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan. The people left to Europe to survive.
- We need to be optimistic. U.S. Senator John McCaine was in a doomsday mood during his speech in Munich. Such a world view is paralyzing the West with pessimism, which is self-fulfilling and counter productive. We won the Cold War, dismantled the Russian SS-20 nuclear missiles in the INF Treaty and reduces strategic weapons- and now no victory in sight any more?
- Fresh double strategies, of hawk and dove, power and reconciliation are needed. Like NATO’s Harmel report from 1967 or NATO’s Two Track Decision 1979. The West needs enough military power and the toolbox of soft factors of peacemaking at the same time. Unfortunately I missed this basic strategic double-approach even in the speeches of the NATO Secretary General or the foreign ministers of NATO member states. A basic mistake. Most probably their speechwriters are now too young to remember.
- We need to build all peace- strategies button-up based on the will of the locals, and not us or their central governments. This is true for Syria or Ukraine. Still we stick to our small limited world in Washington or Brussels. You still hear almost nothing what the simple people need and want on the ground. Thus many concepts miss a fundament.
- We must focus on the young generation and the tiny elites and give them a positive vision for the future and leadership. Experts agree on it, but hardly any actions or tools are mentioned or implemented.
- We need to stabilize with jobs and support for small businesses in crisis regions. Much talk, but where are the plans, actions on the ground and where are the billions ready to promote?
- We have to breed creativity. Let us follow the advice of Albert Einstein who said: “Creativity is more important than knowledge” or “You cannot solve the problems on the same level of thinking where we have created them.” Here you can watch too many black holes. The West knows how to design and sell Porsche or iPhones or Google and Facebook, but not foreign policy plans.The fresh new thinkers and creative people in the ministries are isolated or even eliminated. We need to promote them and open the windows to get fresh air. Most institutes, professors and politicians miss to present detailed creative solutions and stick to endless descriptions. To change this old narrow-minded mentality and working-style is the essence of a better foreign policy for tomorrow.
In a nut shell:
When we only react when it is too late and the costs are high, just with nice words but not with detailed, creative and well funded long-term plans and actions on the ground; when we only use hard military rather than a combination of soft and hard instruments from day one – when we continue this old style – the West will, it must lose.
It is not working any more in a globalized world.
The design of an old foreign policy is a mission impossible.
See Iraq, Syria, Libya or Somalia.
It is an inefficient system which cannot save our world.
Only with a fresh foreign policy World 3.0 we can, we will win.
Let’s start it today and everywhere.