How the ‘Post-Truth’ Phenomenon Harms Political Dialogue between States

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy

Summary

The post-truth phenomenon harms political dialogue between nations. Our collective approach to news and to ‘truth in the news’ has been blown off course by a combination of factors, described by twelve statesmen and diplomats in interviews, which this practitioner attempts to explain here by drawing on his perspective as a communicator at NATO. Post-truth has made political dialogue unattractive and unpleasant for many leaders. It has given wider credence to the notion that the truth is unimportant and that the search for truth is unnecessary and pretentious. This has proven costly to stable international relations, because truth speaks of what is just, accepted and therefore stable. Dialogue is devalued today on account of its association with the search for truth. To have any chance of restoring a functioning European security system, dialogue must be restored. This can be achieved by considering anew George Orwell’s famed concept of ‘common decency’.