Small Wars Journal

It’s Not Personal, It’s Just Business

Mon, 04/18/2016 - 4:19pm

It’s Not Personal, It’s Just Business

Morgan Smiley

President Calvin Coolidge once said that “the business of the American people is business”.  Given the current strength and global reach of American businesses, from McDonalds to Raytheon, there is much to be said for that.  Maintaining and expanding American business is a cornerstone of US dominance.  With that in mind, a 2014 publication from the National Defense University discusses “grand strategy” as using power to “secure the state”.  If our “grand strategy” involves securing the state from more than simply a military, or narrowly focused strategic, perspective, then one might be able to make some sense of what & why we are doing, or not doing, certain things in various parts of the world. 

Though this may smack of excessive cynicism, our strategy may be interpreted as “securing the state through business”…..pivoting towards the Pacific, with its huge expanses of sea and airspace, means generating business for companies associated with aircraft production and shipbuilding; lifting sanctions against Iran motivates our Gulf allies (Saudis, Emiratis, Qataris…) to go on a buying spree of aircraft and missile defense systems; limiting US response to Russian aggression in Ukraine (and other areas of traditional Russian influence) spurs the countries of Eastern Europe (Poland, Baltic states) to buy Patriot missile systems and armored vehicles; forcing Iraq to deal with ISIS on their own (albeit with minimal US & allied advisory support) impels them to buy more US ammunition and equipment to sustain their fight and preserve their positions in government; yadda, yadda, yadda…..

The post-GWOT period will be our time for “masterly inactivity”.  Our foreign policy efforts, if involving some sort of active intervention, will likely see limited-duration “small footprint” approaches consisting of small teams, usually special operations types, providing focused counter-terror/ counter-insurgent training.  The bulk of our foreign policy efforts will probably be comprised of passive endeavors, favoring “show-of-force” theatrics designed to reinforce the image of US engagement but with an eye towards exploiting opportunities for American businesses.  The latter is what will sustain US global influence in the long run and help “secure the state”.


It's not personal, it's just business is often used to justify tough decisions and actions taken in the corporate world. However, building and maintaining strong relationships is crucial in business, and trust is the foundation upon which these relationships are built. While business decisions may not be personal, they can still have a significant impact on people's lives and livelihoods. Therefore, it's essential to approach business dealings with a sense of responsibility and empathy, and to prioritize building and maintaining trust with clients, partners, and colleagues. In the end, a Business Trust is essential for long-term success and sustainability in any industry.


Tue, 02/07/2023 - 5:33am

President Calvin Coolidge once said that “the business of the American people is business.” This statement underscores the importance of business in the American economy and Buy patents the importance of the government’s role in promoting it. The government must provide a stable regulatory environment and a fair playing field for businesses so that they can thrive.


Mon, 08/22/2022 - 10:23am

It's not personal, it's just business. There will be times when you feel a bit like a roadkill bear on the side of the road, with all the things that could go wrong and the people who could ruin your day. Must you check this and get more new steps related business. But then there will also be times when you feel amazing and realize that your resilience has allowed you to enjoy more of life than most people.


Mon, 06/20/2022 - 7:16am

The Lead Market have years of experience under our belt with msp lead generation and appointment setting. Our first client was an MSP based in British Columbia, Canada. We soon expanded and are now working with companies based in the US as well. 

If, as our author above says, the "business of America is business,"

And if, as he says, "securing the state through business" should, indeed, be the cornerstone of our grand strategy,

Then does it not make perfect sense -- in stark contrast to the author's suggestions above -- that our foreign policy efforts should be directed at "expansion" -- of the number of states and societies that are organized, ordered and oriented more along modern western political, economic and social lines?"

Herein to suggest that states and societies that ARE NOT organized, ordered and oriented more along modern western political, economic and social lines; these such otherwise ordered states and societies would seem to provide far fewer opportunities for the necessary expansion of American businesses, from "McDonalds to Raytheon."

(Note, for example, the opportunities for American business in the Old Cold War of yesterday, as compared to the opportunities for American business today in the post-Cold War world; wherein, in the latter case, many states and societies -- and a number of very populous ones -- have adopted certain "business-friendly"/"business-welcoming" aspects of our way of life, our way of governance, and/or our values, attitudes and beliefs, etc. These, allowing for the exceptional expansion of American business opportunities and activities post-the Old Cold War.)

Also, in this regard, consider the following from Andrew Bacevich's 1999 "National Interest" article entitled "Policing Utopia: The Military Imperative of Globalization:"


With good reason: the administration has convinced itself that expanding markets abroad is essential to sustaining American prosperity. The President himself has bluntly declared that “growth at home depends upon growth abroad.” But there is more at stake here than mere economic considerations. Market expansion is not an opportunity; it is a necessity. Thus, for example, the administration’s blueprint for national security—A National Security Strategy for a New Century, released in 1998—states categorically that “we must expand our international trade to sustain economic growth at home." ...

The drive to sustain domestic prosperity by creating a world that, in Madeleine Albright's words, is “open to our exports, investments, and ideas” is by no means unique to this administration. Enhancing openness has long been a central aim of American statecraft.


Thus, to understand U.S./Western militaries' recent deployments and activities -- for example those undertaken for the purpose of transforming those still outlying states and societies of the world more along modern western political, economic and social lines -- as being entirely consistent with our policy of "securing the state through business?"

"Masterly Inactivity," in stark contrast, as a means and/or rationale for "securing the state through business?" Not so much?