chapter  45
36 Pages

The Continuing Promise of the Noosphere and Noopolitik

20 Years After
WithDavid Ronfeldt, John Arquilla

Twenty years ago we proposed noopolitik as a new approach for American information strategy. We urged strategists to rethink the concept of “information” and realize that a new realm is emerging—the noosphere, a global “realm of the mind”—that will profoundly affect statecraft. The information age will continue to undermine the conditions for realpolitik strategies based on material “hard power”; new strategies are needed for emphasizing noopolitik and its preference for ideational “soft power.” A decisive factor in the new global wars of ideas will be “whose story wins”—the essence of noopolitik. This update clarifies the origin and nature of the noosphere concept, and illuminates how America’s adversaries are deploying dark forms of noopolitik against us, quite effectively. The future of the noosphere and noopolitik may depend on what happens to the “global commons.” This construct has long had strong support in civilian environmental, social-activist, and military-strategy circles—but it is now viewed dismissively in some high-level government circles. Policy making would benefit from instituting a formal requirement for periodic reviews of our nation’s “information posture.”