Hands of a guy on laptop keyboard

DiploNews – Issue 9 – 22 October 1999

DiploNews – Issue 9 – October 22, 1999

« | list | »  

Mobile Telephony and the Internet: Hope for the Developing World?

A recent Economist article discusses the proliferation of mobile phones and the extension of their use to cover much of what has been done, up to now, by computers. The article also briefly addresses the possible impact of the mobile phone on developing countries:

Mobiles will bring the Internet to places that have been slow to adopt the computer-based version, which may reduce America's hold over the Internet economy. Oddly, the country that accounts for about half of all Internet users (and 90% of the most-visited sites) is imping behind both Europe and Japan in the uptake of mobile phones. On the other hand, the wireless revolution will spread an American phenomenon to other countries: high-tech mania….

The biggest impact of mobile phones, however, may not be in the rich world at all but in the poor. Mobile phones have already brought basic telephone services to areas that had little hope of getting landlines in the foreseeable future, if ever. Soon they will start bringing a whole world of information to such places too.

Italian President Ciampi on some Negative Impacts of Globalisation and the Internet on Human Society

Excerpt from La Stampa article (22.10.1999):

Yesterday at the Louvre, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the Italian President, denounced "the purely commercial instrumentalisation of culture". Notwithstanding the "extraordinary opportunities opened through globalisation", he denounced the risks. By globalising ideas one may obscure and dim knowledge.

Complete text of this article is available at La Stampa.

Language and Diplomacy: Bismarck – Ems Telegram

In 1870, during the last phase of his plan for the unification of Germany, Bismarck needed a war between Prussia and France, preferably initiated by a French attack. The overall context was provided by the crisis in relations between France and Prussia over the question of the successor to the Spanish throne. Within that frictious relationship Bismarck was looking for an event that could trigger war. The opportunity came with the famous telegram message from the German city of Ems in which the Prussian king informed Bismarck about his meeting with the French Ambassador. The king left it to Bismarck to inform the press about this meeting. Bismarck saw his chance. He condensed the original text of the Ems cable, in the process managing to imply that the king was more hostile to the French requests than was really the case. Publicising of Bismarck's interpretation of the Ems cable provoked strong public reaction in both France and Prussia and eventually led to the French attack on Prussia.

This is an interesting example from our research of the importance of text in diplomacy. First, through the process of re-editing, Bismarck managed to convey a different message from the one intended by the Prussian king. Second, it is one of the first examples of the use of the press and public opinion in foreign policy.

DiploEdu: Open Classroom

You can contribute comments about the Ems Telegram and other issues in the follow-up discussion to a classroom session held with students at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies on 20th October 1999. This is practical example of our attempt to promote DiploEdu teaching methodology based on:

a) A two hour classroom session initiating the exploration of a particular topic; during the session students, in cooperation with the lecturer, develop their "story" on this topic.

b) Discussion should be continued via the Internet during the academic year, and later on whenever any of the students find it important to reflect on some topics that were discussed "a few years ago at the Academy in Malta" (for full access to the text of the discussion you have to use Internet Explorer 4.0+)

If you need additional information about how to join the discussion please e-mail us at diploedu@diplomacy.edu.

Subscribe to Diplo's News