Late last month I released the first of a two part report on the State Department’s use of ediplomacy. To follow up on some of the questions it raises, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Senior Adviser for Innovation Alec Ross was kind enough to come into the Brookings studio for a chat.
This is the first of three short videos from that discussion. (Watch the second and third videos as well.) In this first clip, Ross looks at defining ediplomacy, explains how far reaching it will be for foreign ministries and responds to whether it’s now time to start better conceptualizing what ediplomacy is all about.
The background to this conversation is the spread of ediplomacy at State. The first report mapping this found there are now over 150 people working on ediplomacy at State Department headquarters and more than 900 are using it to some degree at U.S. missions abroad.
While much of the public focus has been on State’s use of social media for communicating, the report found this was just one way ediplomacy was being used and identified 25 different work areas at State’s headquarters using ediplomacy for everything from disaster response to arms control.
I think some people are overreacting — the people who say, oh this is the end of the U.S.-China relationship as we know it. That’s not necessarily true. They could be lenient to Trump and treat Taiwan differently. We need to know a lot more and we shouldn’t pre-judge the situation but we shouldn’t trivialize it either.
I think the scratches on the oracle bone suggest that they may be more lenient with Trump than with Tsai Ing-wen. We have already seen examples of ways that Beijing is pressuring the Tsai administration because it has not complied with Beijing’s demands about the 1992 consensus.