Getting Smart in the 21st Century: Exploring the Application of Smart Power in Deterring Insurgencies and Violent Non-State Actors

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Virginia Tech

In the 21st Century, violent non-state actors continue to pose an asymmetric threat to state actors. Given the increasing proliferation of lethal technologies, growing global social connectivity, and continued occurrences of failed or failing states, the quantity of violent non-state actors posing threats in global hotspots is likely to increase. The United States, already facing strategic overreach due to conflicts in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, will face enormous difficulties in engaging militarily against a multitude of violent non-state actors. Smart power, a selective employment of hard and soft power applications, presents an opportunity to limit and deter violent non-state actors in a resource-constrained environment. Smart power, previously viewed through a largely state-on-state lens must be looked at through the paradigm of containing and engaging violent non-state actors.

hard power, soft power, smart power, violent nonstate actors, insurgency, diplomacy