Newspapers all over the world were unanimous in praising the legacy of reforms and peace-making efforts by the late King Abdullah. All noted his efforts at giving Saudi women a greater role in society by having better educational and professional opportunities, and highlighted the fact that he extended the right to vote to women.
This month’s summit, held in Beijing, certainly moved the bloc further in that direction. Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to double Chinese trade with the Celac countries over the coming decade and to invest $250 billion across the region. Ecuador’s Rafael Correa left the summit with more than $7 billion in new Chinese aid and credit, while Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro received much-needed pledges of investment from China’s state-run Bank of China and China Development Bank.
In his State of the Union address, the President’s core message was that the US has emerged strong from the twin crises caused by the 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2008 global recession. And the challenge he posed to Congress on foreign policy is this. Do we want to continue to operate in crisis mode – being fearful, reactive, and prone to overuse military force in ways that exacerbate security problems and contradict basic values?
In a world in which diplomacy has expanded from government-to-government contacts into public and cultural diplomacy and in which nations are ranked as much on their performance in high-profile international tournaments as on other attributes, autocratic abuse of sports and its impact on soccer, including performance, is nowhere more prevalent than in the Middle East and North Africa.
Despite the widespread adoption of digital diplomacy, few studies have investigated how governments use SNS in order to frame foreign countries and themselves. Self-framing is practiced by countries as part of nation branding activities.
Digital diplomacy is therefore part of the state’s attempt to remain relevant and to assert power in the digital space. And while the goals of any one initiative might be lauded (as this one can), we need to view and ultimately assess it as only one component of a wider suite of digital foreign policy actions. Taken as a whole, digital foreign policy is fraught with challenges and hypocrisies.