Friday, April 22, 2011

Return of the Blogger

Salad is pretty much the most hilarious thing women can think of: Source
As I mentioned in my last post, my life has been a little hectic lately and shows no sign of calming down until my thesis is bound, my oral comps passed and my final paper submitted. So you can expect sporadic posting until then.

In the meantime, die-hard fans of the blog can check out some of my inspired posts for the bizarro blog I've been keeping for my PD class (with help from the group 4 bloggin' corps, of course). Last night's class was my last ever as a graduate student, and after a stressful week of job interviews I was a wee little bit punchy, as you could probably determine by taking a quick look at the live blog I maintained during the lesson (part I, part II).

Last night in class, Prof. Hayden raised the question of whether or not we dilute the concept of diplomacy by constantly sticking a hyphen in front of it. It's a great question, although in the interest of grammatical and syntactical accuracy, I feel compelled to point out that most instances of hyphen diplomacy tend to eschew the hyphen in favor of compound words or portmanteaus, as in the case of sports diplomacy, arts diplomacy, panda diplomacy and gastrodiplomacy.

(Speaking of gastrodiplomacy, perhaps Paul Rockower could investigate the diplomatic and branding potential of salad, which women everywhere find irresistible, as evidenced by these photos. Failing that, perhaps we could harness the manic appeal of yogurt.)

OK, gastrosnarkiness aside, let's look at that question: have we diluted the concept of diplomacy, or does this verbal expansion represent a fundamental shift in the nature of diplomacy itself? Or perhaps the shift hasn't affected diplomacy so much as our understanding of it? Hayden promised to reveal his own take in a forthcoming essay, but I'm going to start the ball rolling now. I think the nature of diplomacy has changed. 

Diplomacy today is less tied to the rigid state-emissary-to-state-emissary structure of the past. Today's diplomacy involves multiple stakeholders, multiple interests and multiple agendas, all competing in a fast-pasted technology-enabled environment that introduces agendas and issues faster than most bureaucratic structures can respond to them.

States have adapted--some by suppressing the technology that they view as enabling dangerous dissent, others by promoting that same technology in the interest of promoting democratic ideals. And most are working to improve the speed and effectiveness with which they communicate. That means new technology, new tactics, new blood -- and it's all making for a new diplomatic environment.

So what is the impact of this generally hyphen-less hyphen diplomacy? I think we still haven't fully seen it, but I do believe it reflects a more diverse, more open, more democratic diplomatic environment. And I'm looking forward to watching its continual evolution.


  1. Just wait, I will have a Bulgarian yogurt gastrodiplomacy entrée someday. Salad diplo? Not so sure. Other than Greek Salad, which is already a known quality, I am not too sure of any other salad nation brands.

  2. It seems to me that the Greeks have a lock on the salad AND the yogurt.

    Could we make an argument for Taco Salad, or is it too TexMex?

    You raise a good point, though. Almost all of the nationally distinctive dishes I can think of involve meat, dessert or beverages. It looks like the field is wide open for some entrepreneurial vegetarian nation brander....

  3. Taco salad is way too gringo. Another Paul (McCartney) and I are pushing the Indians on such veg biz.