Six days after taking office, President Donald Trump is facing the first international crisis of his administration. And it’s unfolding on Twitter. Following through on campaign promises to crack down on immigration, Trump signed executive orders to both kick-start the construction of a border wall with Mexico and block federal grants for “sanctuary cities“ - jurisdictions that offer safe harbour for undocumented immigrants.
Taiwan’s president didn’t meet with President-elect Donald Trump during her closely watched U.S. stopover this weekend. But she did visit his favorite communication outlet. Tsai Ing-wen posted photos of her tour of Twitter Inc.’s headquarters in San Francisco on her verified account on the social-media site. It was her first tweet in more than two years, and it appeared directed to a global audience.
Digital Diplomacy is the new radio. Ever since politicians figured out that they could speak directly to ‘the masses’, we have had the phenomenon of public diplomacy. It became possible, via radio, to speak directly to people without having to go through official government channels. In the early 20th century, the Nazis and the Bolsheviks effectively used the radio to stoke revolutions in neighbouring countries.
Beijing’s diplomats have been remarkably quiet after the election of Donald Trump, even though the president-elect has signaled his administration will pursue policies fundamentally disadvantageous to China.
In politics, words matter. [...] But with a growing number of national governments using Twitter to communicate, a head of state can signal a major policy shift in a mere 140 characters. President-elect Donald Trump's use of Twitter has been a case study in how a short message by an influential figure can potentially change the global landscape.
Building the systems and structures to manage that, particularly in managing a potentially messy and dangerous confrontation in the Baltic states or South China Sea, is going to be a challenge. Other more subtle forms of communication -- unacknowledged direct telephone calls, messages delivered through spies, envoys and allies -- have also not gone away. But they will now be taking place at the same time as what could be frantic social media changes.