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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article develops the following arguments: (1) globalization, that is, the sustained increase in trans-border flows of goods, services, capital, images, and data has changed many things in our interaction with the international environment. (2) These changes are partly related to technological changes in communications and transport, and are also due to the changing nature of the international system under the twin pressures of the compression of time and space created by globalization. (3) The disconnect between these increased international flows and the lack of suitable global governance institutions and mechanisms to deal with the challenges created by them has added numerous issues to the international agenda, with which often understaffed and underfunded foreign ministries find it increasingly hard to cope. (4) Paradoxically, at a time when these international challenges appear to be especially urgent, foreign ministry budgets are being cut, thus making it even more difficult to cope with these challenges. (5) One reason for this is the lack of institutional and behavioural adaptation by foreign ministries and diplomats themselves to this new environment. (6) The main features of ‘network diplomacy’ are elaborated on, as are the conditions under which they are especially pertinent.

Keywords: globalization, international system, technological change, foreign ministries, diplomats

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