The Impact of the Internet and ICT on Contemporary Diplomacy
"My God, this is the end of diplomacy." Such was the reported reaction of Lord Palmerston, British Prime Minister, on receiving the first telegraph message in the 1860s. Diplomacy has survived the telegraph as well as subsequent technological innovations, such as radio, telephone, television, and faxes. Every new major technological device has prompted reactions similar to that of Lord Palmerston. With the introduction of cell phones and computers, and the Internet in particular, academics, diplomats, journalists, and the general public are again analyzing how these more recent technologies, many of which are the foundations of globalization, are changing diplomacy. This chapter contributes to this discussion. It argues that the Internet is changing both the environment in which diplomacy is conducted and the diplomatic agenda. It is also a new tool that is changing the practice of diplomacy. Cumulatively, the Internet is having a profound effect on the two cornerstones of diplomacy—information and communication.