The Great Debate UK
-Andrew Hammond is a Director at ReputationInc. The opinions expressed are his own-
The WikiLeaks release last month of around a quarter of a million classified U.S. State Department documents has, by critics, been variously characterised as the “September 11 of world diplomacy” (Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini); an “attack on the international community” (U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton); and a threat to “democratic sovereignty and authority” (French Government Spokesman Francois Baroin).
Debate will long continue, across the world, about the rights and wrongs of WikiLeaks’ actions. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that the episode has, highly regrettably, caused not inconsiderable damage to the United States.
Underlying many of these issues is the fundamental question of what the Wikileaks affair reveals about the changing map of influence and power in a world that continues to be transformed by the information revolution and economic globalisation. To date, these forces have generally reinforced U.S. pre-eminence for several reasons, including the country’s relative technological edge over much of the rest of the world (which will decrease over time); the fact that its dominant culture and ideas are very close to prevailing global norms; and its multiple channels of communication which help to frame global issues.
from The Great Debate:
As Senate confirmation hearings approach, America’s next public diplomacy leaders will get abundant advice about how to improve America’s standing in the world. The Obama administration’s nominees (an under secretary and at least two assistant secretaries in the State Department alone) would be wise to listen.