martes, 15 de mayo de 2012

Is there a "New" Public Diplomacy?

I believe that Public Diplomacy has evolved in recent years basically in terms of tools, through new ICTs. As Gilboa, Melissen and Cull try to explain, there has been a change in Public Diplomacy, but I think that change can be found also in the change that Diplomacy has suffered in the last fifty or sixty years. Traditional or Old Diplomacy has been evolving because the international arena has turned into a "polyteral" world, with a multiplicity of actors and voices different than State actors. This has been more evident in recent years with States dealing and even negotiating with NGOs and transnational corporations, media, etc. but has accelerated because of the fast speed of technological change, especially the Internet, social media and new platforms and tools - what many call Digital Diplomacy or Diplomacy 2.0-. Public Diplomacy - the ability to reach broader audiences around the world different that the classic State actor and its official representatives -, has become more relevant but if a recent progress must be identified I would tend to associate it with the technological progress rather that with new diplomatic objectives or goals.

In this regard, Diplomacy itself is suffering an identity crisis in which diplomats - that had to inform about other countries gaining a perspective that only could be obtained "on the field" - have many competitors in an ultra-connected globalized world where almost everyone can dispatch information from everywhere in real time. This has not changed the traditional way of making diplomacy but I believe has brought many difficulties and new challenges to this old métier. Thus, citizens are also reporting and informing in a better and more efficient manner than diplomats, thanks to the better utilization of new tools. I personally found Cull's comparison between Old and New Public Diplomacy (figure 1) extremely useful, although more under a theoretical than a practical approach since diplomats are still doing basically what they have been always doing, as some stereotypes of the Diplomat as a bon vivant spy still survives.

What Diplomacy is about

Coda: Although it is related to another question, I have doubts about a real difference between Propaganda and PD. Propaganda earned a bad name as Black explains, but I believe only through examples we will be able to understand why is so. Nowadays, there is an extraordinary exhibition at the Holocaust Memorial Museum on Nazi Propaganda. I was able to go and I would recommend everyone to visit it in order to understand better what Propaganda - maybe an old banned name for PD - is.
Nazi Propaganda 

1 comentario:

  1. I'm beginning to think that the institutional transformation question is starting to get seriously considered. I.e. - does the prevalence of tech in diplomatic practice challenge the purpose and objectives of diplomacy and diplomatic theory. From Alec Ross's "21st Century statecraft" to PD 2.0, there is something I think to our changing definition of diplomacy as something that "diplomats" do. I don't mean to sound determinist or sensationalist. This is a subtle evolution.