Today, nations increasingly carry out geopolitical combat through economic means. Policies governing everything from trade and investment to energy and exchange rates are wielded as tools to win diplomatic allies, punish adversaries, and coerce those in between. Drawing from her newly released book, War By Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft (co-authored with Robert Blackwill), Jennifer M. Harris discussed how America and its allies in Europe and Asia could better utilise economic and financial tools to advance their shared geopolitical interests – what Jennifer and her co-author call 'geoeconomics'.

Geoeconomics has long been a lever of America's foreign policy. But factors ranging from US bureaucratic politics to theories separating economics from foreign policy leave America and its European allies ill prepared for this new era of geoeconomic contest, while rising powers, especially China, are adapting rapidly. The rules-based system Americans set in place after World War II benefited the United States for decades, but now, as the system frays and global competitors take advantage, America is uniquely self-constrained. Its geoeconomic policies are hampered by neglect and resistance, leaving the United States and its allies overly reliant on traditional military force.

Jennifer M. Harris presented the core analysis of her book on geoeconomics and spoke on the US presidential election and how the prospects for reviving geoeconomic statecraft could change dramatically depending on who is elected this November.


Jennifer M. Harris is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to joining the Council, Harris was a member of the policy planning staff at the US Department of State responsible for global markets, geo-economic issues and energy security. In that role, Harris was a lead architect of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 'economic statecraft' agenda, which launched in 2011. Before joining the State Department, Harris served on the staff of the US National Intelligence Council, covering a range of economic and financial issues.

This event was chaired by Adam Ward, IISS Director of Studies. It will take place in the fourth floor Trafalgar Room at Arundel House, 13–15 Arundel Street, Temple Place, London WC2R 3DX*


*All first time visitors to Arundel House are required to provide photographic ID (Passport, European ID card or Driver's Licence) and have their photograph taken upon arrival. This will be stored on our security system to streamline access on future visits. If you would prefer that your details are not stored, please inform reception as you exit the building. Photographic ID will be required again on your next visit to IISS.

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Event details

Discussion Meeting
Jennifer M. Harris, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Arundel House, London
Wednesday 8 June 2016, 12.30–1.30PM BST

Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

August–September 2016

This issue of Survival features Kristin Ven Bruusgaard on Russia's approach to strategic deterrence, James E. Doyle critiquing US plans to modernise the country's nuclear arsenal, and much more.