This article demonstrates how digital diplomacy strategy has been devised, developed, and executed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Spain. Since 1995, digital initiatives have taken place without a joint plan of action, but as a result of individual impulses. Until 2008, public diplomacy is developed without a model, planning, or evaluation. However, the global financial crisis has accelerated interest in this issue. The first steps were taken to face the reputation crisis and the bases of action were established. Since 2012, the digital response has been systematized through the communication of diplomatic missions. The Spanish model has evolved toward consular services and issues of language and culture, showing a case study of digital transformation in the field of public administration.
Renaissance diplomatic relationships between sovereigns can often be understood vis-à-vis the gifting of portraiture. Such presentations enacted exchanges of an essential part of the individual portrayed – their presence. Hence, portraiture as a diplomatic gift served as an exchanged acknowledgement between rulers of their respective political authority. Using this mode of political messaging, Cosimo I de’ Medici (r. 1537–74) sought to bolster his reign by commissioning a portrait series of historical and contemporary, Mediterranean-wide potentates. When installed alongside maps and globes of the known terrestrial and celestial universe within the Guardaroba nuova, the painted effigies dissimulated multi-generational Medici involvement in international diplomacy because displaying the portraits en masse suggested that Cosimo and his predecessors had continuously received the paintings as diplomatic gifts, and thus recognition as masters of Florence.
This article examines the state-private network binding cultural diplomatic institutions, East Coast establishment elites and US psychological operations against Soviet Russia in early Cold War (1945–60) Syria. It outlines the role of the State Department, the United States Information Agency (usia), and the short-lived Psychological Strategy Board (psb)’s efforts to coordinate a coherent US psychological strategy to influence Syria’s elites and to make connected constituents of them via the “long-established instruments” of the state-private network. Among these instruments were the Near East Foundation (nef), the Franklin Books Program, and the Committee of Correspondence (CoC). A key argument of this article is that the “Eisenhower escalation” of the Cold War, which culminated in the 1957 attempted coup in Syria, was not a radical departure that ruined the previous “century of friendship” between Syria and the US. Instead, it was a risky and frustrated gamble seeking to reverse the pre-existing loss of US influence.
This article presents anti-communism as a flexible, chameleon-like phenomenon that took on various guises in different countries, depending on their specific domestic circumstances. Historical scholarship remembers both the Netherlands and the United States as strongly anti-communist. However, in the 1950s Dutch officials contrasted their own supposedly sober-minded approach to communism with what they regarded as emotional responses to communism in America. Based on the private correspondence of Dutch ambassador in Washington, Herman van Roijen, and his interactions with The Hague, it is argued that the Red Scare in the United States (1947–54) unsettled Dutch policymakers and diplomats. The initial phase of the transatlantic alliance was complicated by disagreements between allies about geostrategy and budgetary questions, but also by anti-communism, which revealed a deep cultural divide between Europe and the United States and tested allied relations from the outset.
Most foreign ministries use a rotational system in deploying personnel abroad, with diplomats moving between foreign posts every few years and earning salary premiums based on the risks, dangers, and hardships associated with different foreign posts. We examine rotationality and hardship in diplomacy, identifying these as spatial and institutional practices for managing a global network of diplomatic personnel and sites. These are institutionalized in foreign ministries’ processes for assessing and compensating hardship and danger, and embodied in the design, function, and locational contexts of embassy buildings in foreign capitals. We rely on empirical examples from the US and Canadian foreign services, looking at US embassies in Berlin and Baghdad, and “Havana syndrome” among American and Canadian diplomats and their family members. We conclude that security-heavy forms of hardship assessment and management can limit diplomats’ ability to build local knowledge and constrain the interaction and openness usually prized in diplomatic practice.