Can zombies communicate

United StatesZombie apocalypse as exercise For strategic Think

There is a document in the US about what to do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. The US Strategic Command, based in Nebraska, has a contingency plan for an undead invasion in its drawer. Right at the beginning of the document is the note: "This plan was not intended as a joke." Thomas Jäger, professor of political science and USA expert at the University of Cologne, explains what this plan has to do with strategic thinking and the approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

The document comes from strategic planning, explains Thomas Jäger. It is generally planned how the state can react to dangers or threats that are not yet known. If, on the other hand, one were to work concretely with the idea of ​​an attack from Russia or China, then that would be dangerous because such a scenario would communicate that the USA sees a concrete threat.

"You took zombies in order to have an opponent, so to speak, who you don't have to name, but who leads you to think completely out of the box."
Thomas Jäger, political scientist at the University of Cologne

Institutional limitations and restrictions that realistic threat scenarios would bring with them are also eliminated in the zombie apocalypse. The political scientist explains that this document allows completely new and unconventional approaches. Depending on this, the zombies can then be replaced by a real threat - for example by states or currently by the corona virus. "Of course it is something completely different. But this strategic thinking - how do you come to control your opponent - you can really understand it on the basis of this document," explains Thomas Jäger.

USA: acceptance of the military

The Americans are currently taking very strict action against the corona virus: Vaccinations are taking place en masse in parking lots and exhibition halls, and even the military is deployed. Thomas Jäger explains that the military in the United States is the state institution that receives the greatest approval: "Between us, it's the only one that receives approval. Americans are really extremely skeptical about everyone else." That is why the metaphor of war is quickly used in the USA when problems arise - regardless of whether it is a war on terrorism, drugs or a virus. On the one hand it is a bit weird, says Thomas Jäger: "But they call it that and on the one hand combine it with strategic thinking, which we so completely lack."

Pragmatism and strategic thinking

The political scientist explains that in the United States, strategic thinking and pragmatism are closely linked to the military. There are strategic studies and strategic thinking is taught in universities. This way of thinking and solving problems is implemented and practiced.

"I would advocate cutting off a large slice of it"
Thomas Jäger, political scientist at the University of Cologne

On the other hand, here in Germany there is talk of a strategy against the virus and in the pandemic. But: "I've always wondered why nobody asked Ms. Merkel and Mr. Altmaier or Mr. Spahn what a strategy is? They don't know that. We don't have any. And that's because we simply don't have a strategic culture in Germany Thinking. "

No culture of strategic thinking in Germany

In Germany, strategic thinking is not taught or rehearsed for emergencies. That is why we are not in a position to use it - neither in the pandemic, nor in foreign policy or in other areas.

"We are not in a position - and not only in the case of the pandemic - this applies to foreign policy and much else as well - to proceed strategically, because that is a very special way of thinking."
Thomas Jäger, political scientist at the University of Cologne

The document in which the zombie apocalypse is played out as a threat scenario is typical of American strategy thinking - in a very serious and fun way at the same time.