Date of Award

Winter 2003

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Studies

Committee Director

Steven Yetiv

Committee Member

Regina Karp

Committee Member

Mona Danner


The dynamics of international relations are constantly changing, and the origin of an extraordinary amount of that change can be traced to what has been coined the ‘Information Revolution.’ It is a revolution as profound and as significant as Gutenberg's invention of moveable metal type, and may result in social and political consequences of comparable magnitude. One of the most significant and far-reaching implications of this phenomenon is the emergence of the Internet. Since its inception, there have been many claims and assertions about existing and potential repercussions of the Internet within the diplomatic realm.

The purpose of this work is to study the role of the Internet in American diplomatic conduct. One is left with many questions. For example, has the Internet had any substantial effect on US diplomacy? More specifically, in what ways has it affected and/or modified traditional procedures? Has this technological marvel simplified or complicated existing diplomatic initiatives? What are the ramifications for public diplomacy? With diplomats typically playing a crucial role in decision-making efforts for international affairs practitioners and policymakers, how has the Internet transformed their role in the process?

As the literature on the subject is in its nascent form, finding the answers to the aforementioned queries relies upon first-hand knowledge of those in the field of diplomacy. Hence, I combined a diachronic application of the comparative method with qualitative interviewing methods. From Ambassadors to academics to a vast array of individuals within the diplomatic hierarchy, extensive interviews were conducted in the attempt to address the inquiries.

This study finds that the Internet has indeed impacted US diplomacy to a considerable degree. It has modified and reconstructed the protocol of diplomatic communications, enhanced the reach and effectiveness of public diplomacy initiatives, sharpened diplomatic accountability, and optimized the influence and role of non-state actors in diplomatic and foreign policy endeavors. The transformations that have taken place as a result of the Internet have forever changed American diplomatic conduct.