21st century statecraft

December 8, 2010

Today, they are just as apt to be out in the field meeting with village elders or local citizens and supervising development projects. Globalization has increased their work to include economic and environment regulations, drugs, disease, organized crime, and world hunger.

Before the WikiLeaks crisis, the State Department began a new initiative called "21st Century Statecraft", which includes a drive to expand openness and combat government censorship in cyberspace. As part of that initiative, the State Department announced on Tuesday that it will host UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, meant to champion the free flow of information on the Internet. The event will be held at the Newseum in Washington from May 1 to 3, and the theme will be "21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers."

There was an odd tweet yesterday from Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It reads, "We can't leave the digital playing field to Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. This... shows need for 21st Century Statecraft."

As the history of past U.S. efforts to use technology to bring progress to other nations reveals, the United States should focus its current digital diplomacy efforts on small wins, not transformative victories.