Integrated statecraft: an idea whose time has come: Tom Barber comments on a change of approach he detected in the prime minister's NZIIA speech.

AuthorBarber, Tom

Speaking to the NZIIA in July, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the 'emerging global threatscape' meant that 'shaping the international environment' would require 'marshalling all of the tools of statecraft in a concerted, integrated way'. (1) This framing was echoed in the new Strategic Foreign Policy assessment, which warns that New Zealand's 'ability to marshal its foreign policy efforts and resources behind the set of issues that really matter' will be critical in maintaining its 'influence and mana in this shifting world'. (2)

Hipkins's counsel that 'We cannot be passive' and the assessment's judgment that 'foreign policy will need to change' indicates a shift in New Zealand's approach. (3) That in turn begs the question: what is driving this?

Put simply, the 'traditional' siloed approach to statecraft is no longer viable as previously discrete facets of international engagement increasingly interact and amalgamate. (4) The same challenges that preoccupy Wellington reverberate globally, and there is growing recognition from governments across the world of the need for more holistic and coordinated approaches to international policy. In this sense, the Strategic Foreign Policy Assessment is symptomatic of a broader global trend.

An early adopter in this space was the United Kingdom, which in 2021 released 'Global Britain in a Competitive Age, the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy'. (5) As its title suggests, the integrated review collates what were previously distinct white papers into a single, over-arching policy document. It makes the case for deeper integration across government to bring together the strands of international policy 'in pursuit of cross-government, national objectives' and in response to a 'more contested international environment'. A 'refresh' of the review in 2023 tilted the balance toward defence and national security, but assessed that the broad direction set by the 2021 integrated review was right. (6)

The Biden administration's 2022 National Security Strategy likewise commits to an approach that 'encompasses all elements of national power', stressing the need to 'modernize and adapt our tools of statecraft for today's challenges'. (7) This builds on earlier US examples such as the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, which outlined how US 'authorities and structures assume a neat divide between defense, diplomacy, and development that simply does not exist', (8) and advocacy...

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