How to Re-integrate #Digital into Diplomacy

The Challenge of Digital Diplomacy I often say that like Woody Allen, I was born into the Hebrew faith but later in life converted to pessimism. And indeed, I often have a pessimistic view of digital diplomacy. Yet I recently attended a conference in The Hague that filled me with optimism as more and more…

The Evolution of WhatsApp as a Diplomatic Tool

In December of 2014, I conducted a series of interviews with Geneva based Ambassadors hoping to understand how smartphones had influenced the conduct of diplomacy. Through these interviews I learned that  Ambassadors were increasingly using the messaging application WhatsApp to communicate with their peers. Such communication influenced diplomacy in three ways. First, the Ambassadors stated…

Should Diplomats Dump Social Media?

During World War 2, the US 101st Airborne Division took part in what would be known as the Battle of the Bulge. Encircled by the German Military, pounded by German artillery and freezing in the winter’s snow, members of 101st were told to hold their positions near the municipality of Bastogne at all costs. By…

The Digital Disruption of the Two Level Game

In 1988 Robert Putnam conceptualized diplomacy as a two level game. At the first level lies the world of domestic or national politics. At the second level lies the world of international politics. Putnam argued that these two levels continuously collide with one another. For instance, a government’s ability to negotiate treaties is limited given…

The New Network Gatekeepers

Last month I had the pleasure of reviewing Anne Marie Slaughter’s recent book ‘The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World’. Slaughter’s book encourages academics and policymakers to view the world through two metaphors- that of the chessboard and that of the web. The chessboard metaphor has long since inspired diplomats…

2017: A Year of Digital Uncertainty

In many respects, 2017 was a year of digital uncertainty. It was a year in which digital platforms were used to weaponize uncertainty. It was a year in which the societal role of digital platforms became uncertain. It was a year in which the relationship between states and tech gaits became uncertain. And it was…