Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can Social Media Connect People across the Globe and Reduce Enmity between Nations?

We have seen the eruption of public anger in many countries, especially the Middle East during the last couple of weeks. Part of the "partial successes" of the uprisings has been ascribed to the connectivity provided by the social media. It can be inferred, with some reservations, that the social media have helped democratic values and have given voice to the people.
Can there be enough transparency in the handling of foreign policies so that the common people of the global social media community feel that they have a say in what their elected or otherwise Governments are doing to their brethren in other countries. It has been the case that quite often the wars have been fought on very frivolous grounds or on personal whims of the rulers ignoring the popular opinion. The same trend continues despite the fact that within decades of such wars, when the post mortem of the circumstances leading to war is carried out, more often than not, it is found that the war could be avoided and lives of soldiers and civilians spared.
What was and is needed is that the war policies and circumstances leading to war are discussed before engaging in it, and peoples' voice across the globe be heard and valued. It may not have been possible earlier but now with better communication infrastructure, it may be easy to evaluate peoples' will. If we can predict weather to a great exactitude (leaving apart earthquake generated Tsunamis), it may also be possible with the help of computing skills to simulate the post war scenarios. A peep into the future may avoid sacrifice of many innocent people.
The important thing is the transparency in Government business and foreign policies. Gopal Krishna Gandhi in his comment in the Hindustan Times quotes an incident of early 1950s. it is being reproduced here:
“The time is the early 1950s. The scene, our embassy The time is the early 1950s. The scene, our embassy in Cairo. Our ambassador sends a cable, in cipher, of course, to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who is then minister for external affairs as well, saying that a staffer in the Pakistani embassy there has `offered' to sell his embassy's cipher code to India with promise of regular supplies of their despatches. This, our ambassador explains, can enable us to access secret despatches from Pakistan's embassy in Cairo to the government of Pakistan. The ambassador seeks Pandit Nehru's instructions in the matter. The reply is as fast as it's terse: “Reject Offer. Tell Person Be Loyal To His Government“.”
Can such ethical times be back?

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