STYMIEING LEVIATHAN • Diplomatic and worldwide reputational damage • Outcomes inthe media and public diplomacy • Geographical distances and topographical intractability • Police and other government organisational competencies • Military force-to-space ratios, risks, and predicted casualty rates Strategic Culture The relative importance and public salience of these vulnerabilities will help to frame national strategic culture—“a distinctive body of beliefs, attitudes and practices regarding the use of force, which are held by collective (usually a nation) and arise gradually over time, through a unique protracted historical process.” 8 Strategic culture is a difficult and evolving concept, 9 but it is likely to be affected by the size, prestige, unity, and interconnectedness of different constituencies and interest groups and their relative influence over national decision makers. Significant groupings likely to influence the stream of decisions relating to competitive NSAs would typically include intelligence, police and military institutions, nationalist or liberal politicians and opinion formers, free and government-controlled media, ethnic or religious groups, antiwar or antimilitary organisations, the judiciary, foreign ministries, and business interests concerned about external condemnations, disinvestment, and boycotts or sanctions. Further relevant variables affecting NSA-related strategic culture might be the degree of economic dependence on aid, trade, or military assistance and the extent of public awareness or cultural acceptance of external comment or criticism. Two illustrative types of strategic culture appear in figures 2 and 3. In softer strategic cultures, adherence to the legal process guarantees significant, though not infinite, forbearance. And, despite publicly voiced misgivings, nations with a highly legalistic character may be unable to prevent themselves from taking up hard positions by insisting on prosecuting offenders or refusing to enter into hostage deals. But democracies can also flip over into extreme and surprisingly disinhibited determination, as with the United States after 9/11. 219
Impact of External Information Aid & Trade Dependencies Nationalist Politicians and Opinion Formers Foreign Ministry Judiciary Ethnic Minorities National Security Decision Makers Intelligence Formers Liberal/Left Commentariat Liberal Opposition Armed Forces Figure 2. A hard-boiled, difficult-to-deter strategic culture. Impact of External Information and Comment Aid and Trade Dependencies Foreign Ministry Nationalist Politicians and Opinion Formers Judiciary/ Human Rights Lawyers Ethnic Minorities Anti Military Groups National Security Decision Makers Liberal Commentariat/ Independent Investigative Media Liberal Parties Armed Forces Intelligence Services Figure 3. A softer, more deterrable strategic culture.