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Posts Tagged ‘Alec Ross

IT’S NOW’T TO DO WITH ME!: Social Media and International Diplomacy

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“There is a good Yorkshire saying: Hear all, see all, say now’t.”

In regards to the US-UK ambassadors bet on the World Cup game that ended in a tie, the HD suggested they go for Thai food.

Be sure to check out the recent New York Times article on Digital Diplomacy about State Department diplomats Jared Cohen (on Colbert) and Alec Ross.

Select quotes:

To hear Ross and Cohen tell it, even last year, in this age of rampant peer-to-peer connectivity, the State Department was still boxed into the world of communiqués, diplomatic cables and slow government-to-government negotiations, what Ross likes to call “white guys with white shirts and red ties talking to other white guys with white shirts and red ties, with flags in the background, determining the relationships.” And then Hillary Clinton arrived. “The secretary is the one who unleashed us,” Ross says. “She’s the godmother of 21st-century statecraft.”

“Diplomacy is, perhaps, one element of the U.S. government that should not be subject to the demands of ‘open government’; whenever it works, it is usually because it is done behind closed doors. But this may be increasingly hard to achieve in the age of Twittering bureaucrats.”

“The 21st century is a really terrible time to be a control freak,” Cohen said.

“The loss of control you fear is already in the past,” he told me. “You do not actually control the message, and if you believe you control the message, it merely means you no longer understand what’s going on.”


And also from the article: “In July 2009, there was China’s regional-information blockade, including a total shutdown of the Internet, following the Uighur uprisings (‘full’ Internet usage was restored to Xinjiang 10 months later).”

In other words, freedom is on the march!

And in conclusion, governments need to realize that losing control of the message is OK.

More on America and the networked world we live in from the State Department’s Director of Policy Planning, Anne-Marie Slaughter.


Written by hybriddiplomat

July 25, 2010 at 14:40