You never know with these Foreign Affairs articles, how significant they will be for actual policy making. But they reveal at least what is being discussed in US foreign policy circles. Google’s ties with the US administration and the Department of State became visible for a larger audience in the course of the China-Google showdown earlier this year. The publication of Eric Schmidt’s and Jared Cohen’s article “The Digital Disruption – Connectivity and the Diffusion of Power” in the forthcoming issue of Foreign Affairs only stresses this special relationship.
Foreign Affairs continues its tradition of articles on the strategic usage of information technology for US foreign policy. Back in 1996, Nye/Owens called for an “information umbrella” as a future means to allow the US to further lead an alliance of like-minded states in a post-“nuclear umbrella” world. Schmidt/Cohen discuss in a diplomatically sterile language the effects of “connection technologies” on politics, governments, and the diffusion of power among different actors. They have retained some techno-optimism:
In an era when the power of the individual and the group grows daily, those governments that ride the technological wave will clearly be best positioned to assert their influence and bring others into their orbits. And those that do not will find themselves at odds with their citizens.
But also within Western states, the notion of governance will further flourish:
Instead, governments, individuals, nongovernmental organizations, and private companies will balance one another’s interests.
Looks like multi-stakeholderism gone ubiquitous.
If you don’t want to register with the foreignaffairs.com website, Stefaan Verhulst has the complete article.