Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Leading through civilian power: an overview

Last year I purchased a copy of the journal 'Foreign Affairs', whilst expensive, a must have in my opinion. In this particular volume (November/December 2010) there was an article written by Hillary Rodham Clinton, entitled Leading through civilian power, redefining American Diplomacy and development.

In her article Mrs Clinton outlines that "increasing global interconnectedness now necessitates reaching beyond governments to citizens directly and broadening the US foreign policy portfolio to include issues once confined to the domestic sphere". In her suggestion it is clear that this is a reference to a new understanding of the importance of public diplomacy in a new world within which a realisation has occurred, that groups must work together in solving problems. Whilst Mrs Clinton's article was interesting it focused little however on public diplomacy and predominantly on the benefits to the USA's development agenda in utilising this new form of interaction however it did highlight the importance of this evolution in diplomacy reinforcing the idea of the Canadian ambassador Allan Gotlieb who stated "the new diplomacy, as i call it is to a large extent public diplmomacy" (CSIS, Reinventing diplomacy in the information age, p35).
This shift, as even Mrs Clinton accepts is largely due to Globalisation, which, through the growth of NGO's and MNC's, the rise of new technologies, notably the internet, and increased interconnectedness, that it has developed have provoked diplomats and diplomatic institution to rethink their approach to the diplomatic process as a whole, as Berridge stated "international society keeps changing and diplomacy keeps evolving".


  1. If you wish to view the articles mentioned for your own research, the names of them have links attached which will take you to them

  2. It is not typical for a serving Foreign Secretary to write for Foreign Affairs. There have been observations that this magazine is strongly pro-US, neo-liberal lead and a useful public diplomacy/propaganda tool of US Foreign Policy. In globalisation terms it is often referred to in partial way and in terms of IR research, which itself is very US guided, is referenced as if it were the first place to go to. This article came out at the time of the wikileaks data explosion so references to technology in diplomacy are an interesting parallel commentary on the effect that wikileaks had on perceptions of the US at the time. Bradley Manning who was solely responsible for the extraction of the wikileaks data leak is just about to be transferred from a prison where he was kept in solitary confinement for 10 months. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/20/bradley-manning-moved-virginia-kansas