tjir5-4a - Diplomacy in a Changing World Said Saddiki* We...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No.4, Winter 2006 93 Diplomacy in a Changing World Said Saddiki* We have witnessed, since the end of the Cold War, a dramatic shift in the way which international actors manage their diplomacy and foreign policy. Two key factors have fundamentally influenced the contemporary international relations. The cornerstone of these factors is the fast development of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and its impact on diplomacy practices. New ICTs have effectively threatened the official diplomats’ central position in the conduct of foreign affairs, and they have undermined some of diplomats’ principal functions as well. The new ICTs, especially global television channels and Internet, have replaced in many cases ambassadors as a main resource of foreign information. The other face of the coin is the obvious emergence of new diplomatic actors, particularly Non-State Actors (NSAs) that become a principal part in new international relations. Thus, state actors are not today the only actors in world politics; as long as NSAs are increasingly playing many diplomatic functions beside nation-states, as we will see bellow. I- Diplomacy and New ICTs Diplomacy is now undergoing a major transformation in response to the recent development in ICTs that they not only play a great impact on diplomatic decision-making, but they produce some new forms of diplomacy as well. A- Impact of New ICTs on Diplomacy Diplomacy has always interacted well with progressive innovations in ICTs, despite the doubtful reaction of diplomats to any new invention, as reflected in the well-known words of the
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No.4, Winter 2006 94 former British Foreign Minister Lord Palmerston when he received in his desk the first telegraph in 1840s, he cried “my God, this is the end of diplomacy”. The telegraph was the first step in this long way of innovations in ICTs 1 ; telegraph, and later, the telephone and the radio were regarded as the first generation of ICTs. The innovation of television, early generation of computer, and satellite were the starting point of second generation, whereas the symbol of the third information revolution is the internet, which is distinguished by a high speed of information exchange. There is a great debate about the interaction between the new ICTs and diplomatic (and foreign policy as well) decision-making process. Two theses attempt to explain this matter, the so-called “CNN effect” and “Manufacturing Consent” theses. a) “CNN Effect” Thesis “CNN effect” thesis is based on assumption that the news can make policy 2 , or at least shape the environment of political decision-making 3 . The major influence of new ICTs, especially TV channels, due to their wide coverage distinguished by these five following characteristics 4 : 1. It is broadcast around the clock 24 hours a day; 2. It is transmitted in real-time,
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course GENBUS 304 taught by Professor Greed during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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tjir5-4a - Diplomacy in a Changing World Said Saddiki* We...

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