Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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August 02, 2011
interpersonal diplomacy

For purposes of (pointless) record-keeping:

In the midst of the WikiLeaks hubbub last winter, here was the passage from an interview that triggered the exact moment at which TiR grudgingly halted its applause in mid-clap, for a moment at least, and wondered whether it should think afresh and perhaps applaud Assange's effects more critically, or only with one hand:

There is, on the other hand, an obvious difference between that which is said publicly by diplomats for reasons of caution, respectfulness or calculation, and that which they say in private. . . .

In diplomacy, as in whatever negotiation, or in the decision-making of a collective organization . . . one must have the ability to exchange one's arguments frankly, and confidentially. If that's not guaranteed, and those present speak as if they were in public, the debate won't be the same.

The above from Hubert Védrine, here.

Not being in a position to render much judgment on the substantive merits of the above claims, given TiR's lack of deep experience in international diplomacy, we pivoted our attention to ponder instead our own feelings of internal torsion, and the potentially parallel objections to the principles of total personal openness and transparency, circulated and glibly valorized more than ever during the prior weeks in the wake of the box office smash, "The Social Network." Though differences of context and scale (international diplomacy vs. friends/family/business associates networks) make parallels here far from perfect, even if aligned momentums of change in information technology might be having similarly homologizing effects on openness in both realms.

Is/should be the global chessboard reducible to a diplomat's own personal "friends network"? Should international diplomacy be conducted only via FB? Conversely: Do/should I view myself in the role of a "diplomat," ever in negotiation within my network of friends? If so, should a WikiLeaks site unlike the original one be created, where "leaks" about private individuals can be exposed?

Bigger question: Does the world really need another blog post about any of the above? Probably not.

Biggest question: If one could perfectly combine the panopticon keeper's favorite powers of x-ray vision (full, instant transparency of info about others) and invisibility (my own secret cables could never be leaked), who would one be? The answer, it seems: "The Greatest American Hero." Apparently, one then also would enjoy having the power of "superbreath."