Foreign Policy Bake Sales. Or, be Careful What You Wish For.

Maybe it won’t be a great day for you–be careful what you wish for… In recognition of the success that Kony2012 had in rasing money for a niche geopolitical cause, students at MIT created a faux webpage “Kick Starter” pretending to raise money for things on the opposite side of use of force continuum – a mobile black site for intensive interrogations, among other things.

The reason for doing this was to demonstrate the ability to crowsource funding for initiatives that are championed by ideologies that are on the hard-power end of foreign policy.

As the last blog I posted demonstrates, the ability for motivated individuals to become active in a conflict exists and is very real.  What amounts to DIY intervention can have an impact upon the course of World events (similar to the warning given to us service members from the SECDEF).  To me, what this says is that citizens no longer only vote for a foreign policy with their ballots, but they can also–directly–do so with their wallets, time and skill-sets.

The conditions are right, and the historical precedent is now set for the ‘memetic stew’ to bring forth a Non-Governmental Organization as a third option that takes elements from Kony2012, private security firms, and Kiva for those who wish to see some sort of change in the World.

What strikes me as ironic, is that the words typically espoused towards supporting World peace, are now the intellectual foundation under which we may see a new method for hard power applied in the World.  This is not to say that the end goals of those who see the utility of hard power is all that different from those who see greater utility in soft power.

Rather, in the long-term, I am interested to see if the potential I’ve outlined here coalesces to incorporate both hard and soft power elements.  Such a coalescing would amount to a private sector analog to a nation’s foreign policy.  Which would, arguably, be the tipping point for the replacement of the Westphalian era, where an organizational paradigm like a government is no longer required to bring together the ends, ways and means to execute foreign policy.

[Cross-posted at USNI]