March 28, 2011

Diplomacy is changing!! Repeat, Diplomacy is changing and will continue to do so!!

This week’s readings pertained to transformational diplomacy. That is, the process by which traditional diplomacy is being altered due to information and communication technologies (ICTs). Anthony Deos and Geoffrey Allen Pigman articulate,

“Diplomatic communication itself has been disintermediated by global media that bring information from around the globe to policymakers and general publics alike, often in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Increasingly, governments seeking to implement and legitimate a foreign policy seek to commu­ nicate and promote their policies directly to the affected foreign pub­ lics (as well as domestic publics) and must be prepared to react to and act on the responses of these publics. Just as publics have come to be participants in the escalation of conflict and hostility between govern­ ments, they have come to playa role in the use of diplomacy to mediate estrangement between actors (Oer Oerian, 1987).”

While this change is very exciting and gives individuals throughout the world a voice like they have never had before, it is also terrifying. Today’s world, in terms of national security, is very different than it once was. In light of global tensions caused by terrorism such as the US embassy bombings in Kenya, 9/11, and the March 11th bombings in Madrid, it is evident how media creates and perpetuates uncertainty in the international system based on the news story. Deos and Pigman go on to say, “there has been an increase in both number and influence of non-state actors, including multilateral institutions, global corporations, not-for-profit groups and other NGOs in the international diplomatic discourse”. The point is that more actors have more ability to render attention toward selected issues of importance. So communicating a clear identity in the midst of an overwhelming amount of information available to societies is inherently difficult because public diplomacy is constantly changing with every news update. It is relentless, which is why the more voices there are, the more fascinating, vital, and chaotic (at the same time) public diplomacy becomes. The alternative to public diplomacy, use of hard power, is simply not desired if conflicts can be calmly diffused through public diplomacy.

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