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DiploNews – Issue 11 – 5 November 1999

DiploNews – Issue 11 – November 5, 1999

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Diplomatic Studies Programme (DSP) Newsletter No 5 (1999) – announcement

The Centre for the Study of Diplomacy, University of Leicester, is pleased to announce the publication of the fifth edition of the Diplomatic Studies Programme Newsletter, edited by Paul Trickett. The latest edition of the Newsletter examines topics as diverse as the role of information technology in diplomacy and the use of diplomatic language in the Maastricht negotiations. The Newsletter also contains regular features such as articles on diplomatic resources in different countries, a book review section, the noticeboard and conference reports.

The newsletter opens with a plea from Erik Goldstein to maintain the link between the practitioners of diplomacy and the academics that study it, a feature that greatly strengthens diplomatic studies. Paul Sharp follows with a passionate defence of the academic subject of diplomatic studies arguing that it has to promote what it has to offer in order to have a fruitful future and to avoid ‘the perils of the broad church.’ Information Technology (IT) is rapidly changing the way we live our lives and its influence is touching even the hallowed groves of diplomatic studies. Simon Kear examines the impact that IT has had on practical diplomacy and issues a warning that organisations that study diplomacy must improve their IT provision or be rendered obsolete. The precise use of language is central to diplomacy. Alasdair Blair writes on the use of language in the negotiations that surrounded the Maastricht negotiations.

The DSP Newsletter continues its acclaimed series on resources for the student of diplomacy in various countries as Neville Wylie looks at archival sources in Switzerland. Meanwhile, Esin Yurdesev provides a detailed examination of the sources available in Turkey, with special emphasis on the Ottoman period. In complete contrast, ex-South African ambassador David Tothill examines one of the more unusual, but practical, problems facing a diplomat: the difficulty in finding accommodation in the host country and the legal minefield that results when relations break down between diplomat and landlord. The return of Vietnam into the international fold concerns Margaret P. Karns. Her article concerns her experiences as part of a team that was sent to advise Vietnamese diplomats on the United Nations.

Leicester’s DSP Newsletter is an invaluable resource for both practitioner and student of diplomacy. Subject to availability, hard copies can be ordered from Lucia De Vido, Centre for the Study of Diplomacy, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, UK, LE1 7RH, csd@le.ac.uk. The next issue of the Newsletter will be edited by Prof. Paul Sharp, Alworth Institute of International Studies, University of Minnesota, Duluth, psharp@d.umn.edu.

Professor Geoff Berridge’s website

Professor Geoff Berridge of Leicester University, a leading academic in the field of diplomatic studies, has just launched his own website. Prof. Berridge is completing a second, Revised edition of DIPLOMACY: THEORY AND PRACTICE, which will be published online before the end of November at an address to be announced shortly. Watch his website!

Robert Kaplan: “Technology as Magnifier of Good and Evil”

Excerpt from Robert Kaplan’s “Technology as Magnifier of Good and Evil”, available at this website.

You can provide computers, but you cannot provide habits like maintenance, record-keeping, and returning messages on time–habits upon which a postmodern society depends. In a world where wealth will be less and less determined by muscle labor, technology’s advance will further expose some racial and ethnic fault lines. Information technology will certainly bring the middle classes of Asia and the rest of the world closer together, but they will become like the aristocrats of medieval Europe, who had more in common with each other than with their own peasant populations. As the state withers, corporations grow in relative power because corporations–which are run by clusters of individuals committed to financial gain, and thus to efficiency and talent rather than to “politics” and “hiring quotas”–make better use of information technologies than do governments or universities. But corporations have yet to establish a moral framework to the degree that Western governments have.

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