FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Twitter as the New Nuke and the Convergence with Technology

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

Twitter as the New Nuke and the Convergence with Technology

         Constructivists eschew the realist notion of the absolute importance of security and material power.  Instead they argue that it is ideas and beliefs that drive the forces within the world.  To better understand the value of constructivist theory it is useful to examine the relationship between these ideas and different technological breakthroughs.

           Two divergent technological advances to investigate are the employment of nuclear weapons and mobile smart phones.  Tannewald cogently reasons that a “nuclear taboo” developed due to the wellspring of ideas within the general public that influenced both institutions and states in such a way that effectively prevented their use after WWII.  The power of these ideas served as a necessary check valve against realist and liberal tendencies toward use/non-use of nuclear weapons.    In a parallel way, the Arab spring was realized not because of mobile smart phone technology itself, but because the technology serves as a nearly infinite amplifier of the wellspring of ideas.  Furthermore, this technology breaks down traditional identity barriers of state, socioeconomic class and ethnicity.  It is the dissolution of these impediments that allows a global transparency that has never been possible.  This transparency itself becomes an idea—realized communicatively through the idea of social justice. 

Questions for discussion:
1.  Is Twitter the new nuke, inverted?  Instead of an all-destructive nuclear weapon that no one will ever use, Twitter (and I’m using Twitter as a symbol for all social media conducted through mobile phones) is a non-violent weapon that everyone uses.  How powerful is a weapon that will never be used in comparison?   
2.  As new emerging powers develop nuclear weapons, will the current global “nuclear taboo” actually be proved to be global?  In other words, would a nation whose public has never had to grapple with the idea of the employment of nuclear weapons develop the same taboo? 
3.  What do liberals, realists and constructivists have to say about political/scientific assassination (aka the Israeli method)?  I know this one has nothing to do with what I wrote; I just wanted to have it here to examine at a later date.  

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