The evolving relationship between geo-economics, innovation and national security

May 25, 2022 @ 9:00 am – May 26, 2022 @ 6:00 pm Europe/Rome Timezone
Sala Europa, Villa Schifanoia
Mia Saugman

This research workshop examines the relationship between geo-economics, innovation, national security, and great power strategic competition at a time of deepening and accelerating change to the global security order. The primary long-term national security challenge between the United States, China, and Russia and other major powers is strategic competition. The features of this twenty-first century strategic competition are significantly different from previous eras of great power rivalry, especially the US-Soviet Cold War in the second half of the twentieth century. Key factors include:

• Blurred domains: Many areas of competition now cross domains, the boundaries of which have become increasingly indistinct and porous. The most obvious are the military-civilian divide, the role of the state versus private actors in foreign investment, and gray-zone confrontations below the threshold of war. More broadly, however, the problem can also be seen in the ways that economic competition affects defense capabilities. This blurring of domains poses major challenges for the United States and its alliance partners as much of the current international security architecture, such as export control regimes, is antiquated and inadequate to cope with these changed circumstances. Moreover, the US system is designed to be specialised, with institutional safeguards that protect the independence of different agencies, which may make it more difficult to cover blurred domains.

• Economic interdependence: The economies of the great powers have become increasingly enmeshed with each other, especially those of the United States and China. Although this may mitigate some types of risks, interdependence may provide benefits to strategic rivals, and it makes the costs of the breakdown of cooperation higher.

• The primacy of geo-economics: Geo-economics, which can be defined as the use of economic instruments to promote and defend national interests and to produce beneficial geopolitical results; and the effects of other nations’ economic actions on a country’s geopolitical goals, is arguably the primary arena of great power competition, especially between the United States and China.

• Technology and innovation: One of the central areas of competition is for global technological and manufacturing supremacy, especially with the emergence of new and potentially revolutionary technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and high-performance computing.

By invitation only.