By P. Vishnupreeth
Edited by Michelle Cherian, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist
In the movie, “Independence Day”, the hero as usual wins the war, against the aliens byinstalling a software bug inside the alien’s computer system. A country’s monetary system isnothing but its economy’s software and financial power. It is possible to put a bug in themonetary system of a potential enemy and destroy its entire economic capacity. So, we have become accustomed to thinking of national security in almost purely military terms. In a fractious, conflictual, and heavily armed world, there is a little doubt that military force has a role to play in protecting the national sovereignty and furthering national interests. But we are living in a world where destructiveness of such force has grown immensely and has become highly dangerous, that it is worth considering the possibility that other less threatening routes may become more effective and useful. Economic strength has always been a component of national power and influence. Perhaps it is better to fully integrate economic considerations into national security policy. Economics has much to offer in development of any nation. Over the years, many economists have applied the rules of mathematics and economic analysis to understanding arms races, military strategy and other issues of national security. When it comes to war, fighting is the core competency of the soldier. He is a specialist in violence. While armed forces can serve many purposes, what defines them uniquely is their ability to damage things, national property and injure, kill people. The frequency with which history shows a liking for irony suggests that future context for military power may be unlike that of today, in good part because military force has less utility as an instrument of policy in the 21st century than it did in times past. Times change, as history is chronological, but it isn’t reliably linear.
A new era has begun. After the Cold War, some experts and economists claimed that the term of Geopolitics has evolved into the term, Geo-economy. Thus, according to these academicians, economic power is the key of success for International Relations. Economy is more essential than military power as all other powers in the nation, including politics are forms of the economy. Furthermore, there is communication between these two Power Factors. It is unavoidable for an Effective Military Power to need a Strong Economy. When the Basic Economic Interests are threatened, States do not hesitate to use military power cards. Remember in this context, the reaction and the declaration of using military power by Western countries against Iran’s threats of closing Hormuz Strait. On the other hand, Economic Power can be evaluated on the Soft Power Context. The strong Economic Model can be evaluated as a pattern for other countries and can be an attractive factor for them. Economic Power can also be defined as an ability to control behaviours of other political actors by economical tools to appropriate political expectations. But Economic power substantially is not discretionary and the concept is more likely to mislead than to enlighten like the bug mentioned in the first line of this article. Economic power lends itself too easily to mischaracterization. The domain for policy utility of economic power typically is either structurally permissive of easy success, or is unduly resistant to such influence.
Hence both powers should be complementary, but unless one is strategically competent, neither will have high utility for policy, either alone or in a combined way. An inherent and unavoidable problem with economic power is that it is near certain to be misused by the politicians who attempt to govern the soft power’s societal owners and carriers. Military power and economic power are more mutually enabling than they are fungible. In short, military power isn’t an anachronism. It is and will long remain as an essential instrument and component of national security policy. Military power isn’t under threat of obsolescence because of the availability of the smart economic power as an alternative. Economic power tends to co-opt the readily co-optable, while military power is very much necessary for more demanding missions. But there are cases in which both powers are not able to deliver advantage. Without currency, a nation cannot build its warships and army. Without an army, a nation cannot build its financial status. A combined power is required for any nation to emerge as a super power.
P.Vishnupraneeth is studying at the Indian Institute of Technology at Guwahati, India, an Institute of National Importance. He is pursuing his undergraduate studies in ECE & Physics departments simultaneously. Apart from his engineering side, his interest lies in writing articles about sports, special ops around the world, war, politics & their consequences on economy, Income tax etc. His favourite writers are Rabindranath Tagore & APJ Abdul Kalam.