21st century statecraft: Technology meets diplomacy

Tuesday - 9/21/2010, 8:01pm EDT

Sam DuPont, policy analyst, NDN and the New Policy Institute

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As world leaders meet this week at the United Nations in New York, DorobekINSIDER asked Sam DuPont, policy analyst at NDN and the New Policy Institute, how technology is changing foreign policy.

NDN refers to this technology-driven diplomacy as "21st century statecraft" in a report.

"What's different here isn't the goals or the objectives of American foreign policy, but it's the world we live in that's changed," DuPont said. "We now have a global network that pretty much connects almost everybody on Earth."

Where diplomacy in the past was defined by governments talking to other governments, now the US government can communicate directly to not-for-profits, businesses and individuals in other countries.

DuPont cites the use of mobile phones after the Haiti earthquake as an example of 21st century statecraft. Through cell phones, the US government was able to raise money for victims, and victims were able to send text messages for help.

Another example was President Obama's YouTube address to the Iranian people during Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.

With a direct address from Obama, the Iranian people could decide for themselves about what they thought about the American government and President -- instead of relying on messages filtered through their government.

"The mobile network is putting incredible power into individuals around the world," DuPont said.