30 April 2013
Because of a bureaucratic quirk dating back to 1789, the United States’ international economic and security policies continue to be debated in distinct spheres. The Department of State is responsible for the former, and the Pentagon for the latter. This tangible division in specialties and interest continues among policymakers despite increasing evidence that some of today’s most pressing foreign policy issues take place at the nexus of security and economy. Of course, facing a national security threat is a priority over forming economic policy, but in many modern cases national security issues arise only because economic issues were ignored for too long. Thus, security and economy should not be considered in distinct policy realms--as snapshots of a challenge at a precise moment. Rather, they should be considered as elements of the same foreign policy challenge, linked and variably influential over time.