Statement at the “Launching of Strategic Thought journal”

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Statement by Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry,
Director General Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad,
On 30 August 2019 at ISSRA, NDU

At the launching of Strategic Thought journal

I wish to thank the National Defense University and its management for inviting me to this important event.

The last few years have witnessed the world around us change at a breathtaking pace. The United States, the pre-eminent power in the world, is on the cusp of a new Cold War with China and Russia. The role accorded to India by the US in its so-called Indo Pacific Strategy has emboldened the Indian leadership to pursue an aggressive and belligerent agenda. Strong heads are emerging with little to no regard for international legality. The principles which underpinned the Post WWII world order are being thrown into the dustbin of history. Free international trade is being replaced by protectionism. Migrants are perceived as economic or social threat. Narrow nationalism, xenophobia are weaving an environment of mutual suspicion, even hatred, and potential conflict. Non-traditional security threats, like climate change, water insecurity, unsustainable demographics, complexities of the cyber space, lawfare, and fifth generation hybrid warfare are all making the world ever more complex.

How do we make sense of what’s happening? how is it affecting us? and how do we protect ourselves and succeed in pursuit of our goals?

Can the public policy practitioners, who are mostly tied with day to day work, deal with this ever complex geo politics on their own?

Can the social scientists, who rarely intersect with the public policy makers, produce sustainable policy choices alone?

Increasingly, we are learning that strategic thought processes can only become effective if strategic perspectives are researched and debated on in sync with policy making circles.

The other day a book landed on my table, courtesy General Zubair, Cult of the Irrlevent. The book makes an important point: the gap between what the social scientists think or work about and what the policy makers practise is acute and ever so wide. There is now a growing consciousness that this gap between theory and practice of statecraft must be bridged in order to produce sustainable solutions of governance and inter-state relationships.

I am glad that this new journal titled “Strategic Thought” is an attempt to help bridge this gap, deepen our understanding of the complex issues of regional and global politics, and also produce policy choices through fresh and out of box strategic thinking.

I am further pleased to note that General Zubair, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is serving as the patron in chief of this journal. I have seen General Zubair speak to intellectuals and scholars in multiple settings. From the thinktanks in the US, where I was honored to be his host once, to meeting social scientists and academics every time a serious issue confronts our country, General Zubair has a remarkable quality of engaging in an intellectual and scholarly discourse and lead the discussion to concrete and measurable outputs. He is indeed a soldier scholar who can make you understand the complexities of the world around you in simple and crisp narratives. I am so honored to be part of this event and look forward to hearing him soon.

I would also like to thank General Aamir Riaz, whom I have known since the time he was DG MO. He has earned for himself the reputation of a strategic thinker in Pakistan Army, and certainly most deserving of the present post that he is occupying.

We at the Institute of Strategic Studies are seeking to play a similar role in harmonizing what we research on and debate about with the issues of relevance and importance to foreign and security policy agenda of our country. Our main interlocuter of course is Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but we do like to serve all other stakeholders. We would remain open to any suggestions for collaboration with ISSRA in the pursuit of our shared national interests.    

Once again, let me congratulate on the concept of publishing Strategic Thought, and wish the editorial team every success for the good of our country.