In This Review

Digital Diplomacy: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Information Age
Digital Diplomacy: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Information Age
By Wilson Dizard, Jr.
Praeger, 2001, 215 pp.

An informative book on what the information age means for foreign policy. Rather than settling for banalities about a world in which knowledge crosses frontiers, Dizard rolls up his sleeves and explains the practical issues involved. These include the addition of information technology and software issues on policy agendas in trade or defense cooperation. He also offers an analysis of the U.S. government's own systems for global communication and processing of data. He points out, for example, that until recently the State Department has been saddled with four separate internal communications networks, none of which were compatible with each other. Public diplomacy today is more powerful and vastly more complicated, especially as transnational networks and nongovernmental organizations become major players. Domestic telecommunications policy is now a critical foreign policy topic as well. Directly and indirectly, some American decisions are helping wireless phone services and Internet access providers offer novel opportunities for poorer countries to jump the digital divide.