The Strategic Benefit of Instability to Elements of National Power

  • Mr. Robert E. Spoo

Instability deserves more extensive study regarding its use as a strategic tool for accumulating and executing the elements of national power. While theorists spend significant effort to study and promote political, military and economic stability, they invest little time to the study of instability. Theorists generally ignore instability's positive impacts in stimulating growth, change and innovation, or its possible contributions to orchestrating national power. Because of this, strategists generally see instability as a disruptive state with little strategic benefit. Although stability is necessary for social order and market confidence, overly stable conditions can also result in complacency, lowered economic resiliency, and even greater risk. Overly restrictive control measures aimed at preserving stability often worsen political, military or economic outcomes. While instability can have troublesome, negative effects, it is a recurring transformative state that offers potential strategic advantage to the United State's national interests.