Is diplomacy better off with the Internet? This question was on my mind as I was following the Twitter exchange between President Trump and the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. Each tweet escalated the rhetoric and moved us further from a peaceful solution – to conflict – and a resolution of differences, the main purpose of diplomacy.
I am a little late to this particular party; however, in the middle of last year, a very interesting debate broke out between the blogs of Shaun Riordan, Katharina Hone and others on the subject of ‘new’ diplomacies. Does the proliferation of new ‘kinds’ of (or prefixes for) diplomacy serve an intellectual, analytical purpose, or is it just another case of academics hankering after scholarly turf?
Brazil is about to welcome a new submarine cable linking Latin America to Europe: ELLALINK. In addition to strengthening digital inclusion on the continent and reducing access costs, ELLALINK may offer an innovative model of governance that will protect Internet global infrastructures as common goods, thanks to the allocation of indefeasible access rights to non-commercial backbone providers.
The purpose of this blog is to give a new impulse to the discussion on the role of private business in today’s public diplomacy and to open the question on what exactly private public diplomacy means, and whether it should exist as a concept. If there is such a thing as private public diplomacy, what exactly does it imply? Can we simply describe it as the involvement of private businesses in the process of building and maintaining a country’s (city’s, region’s) image abroad, or in the process of advocating for an internationally important cause such as climate change or human rights?
In our December WebDebate, we focused on digital diplomacy. We discussed the following questions: how have ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) adopted social media as part of their public diplomacy efforts? Is digital diplomacy more than simply being on Twitter or Facebook? Should diplomats even be on Twitter or Facebook, or is it time to abandon these as outdated fashion trends? We also explored how digital diplomacy can empower new actors and how they interact with more traditional diplomatic players.
When the conference organizers asked for a quick title for this talk, I came up with “Diplomacy in the Age of Trump”. But no matter how you measure it, an age is longer than this administration is likely to last, and a thorough discussion of the follies of the current chief magistrate of our venerable Republic would take up all the time we have tonight and more. In the end we might be angrier, but little the wiser.