For Pheidippides' run from Marathon to Athens, to Paul Revere's ride through the Massachusetts countryside, to the installation of the so-called "Hot Line" from Washington to Moscow during the Cold War of the 1960s, diplomacy has continued to adapt itself to the latest developments in technology. Information, whether confidential or public, is the lifeblood of diplomatic negotiation -- whatever the medium.

Introduction

Information technologies are having a sweeping impact not only on how we do business, but on what our business is.

For Pheidippides' run from Marathon to Athens, to Paul Revere's ride through the Massachusetts countryside, to the installation of the so-called "Hot Line" from Washington to Moscow during the Cold War of the 1960s, diplomacy has continued to adapt itself to the latest developments in technology. Information, whether confidential or public, is the lifeblood of diplomatic negotiation -- whatever the medium.

But the most important long-term trend is the change in the pace of the game. Where we could once rely literally on sending diplomatic "pouches" on a "slow boat to China", in a world running on "CNN time", responses must now be almost instantaneous. Delays could mean loss of international goodwill, or loss of life.

About the Author

Presented by Gordon Smith, Deputy Minister of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade at the session: "What Does It Cost and Who Pays?"

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