Foreign policy in global information space : actualising soft power
The contemporary practice of the internal-external divide in foreign policy is being challenged by globalization's non-territorial logic. This challenge is reformulated as information globalization; a border-crossing trend of social exposure to alternative ideas jointly precipitated by the global reach of information and communication technologies, global capitalism, and post-Cold War geopolitical fluidity. The agents and processes associated with it confound any orderly delineation of 'the foreign'. This can be understood as an ideational threat to the nation-state in terms of generating a public 'global information space' that reopens all borders to political struggle. For the nation-state to survive in this space, a reformulation of foreign policy as discourse is needed. This thesis argues that the ideational, in the form of information, is endowed with power relations in spite of its abstraction, hence creating a tangible enough 'target' for 'offence/defence' by foreign policy. In this regard, information is defined as the socially patterned relationship of events and symbols capable of politically inducing action, identity or community. Thus 'soft power', or the ability to produce outcomes through attraction instead of coercion, becomes a central focus of this examination of informational challenges to statist foreign policy. Two central research questions are posed. Firstly, how can foreign policy defend or project statist political communities using soft power within a global information space. Secondly, does soft power, when exercised in turn by non-state actors, affect foreign policy by undermining statist community within the same global information space. An answer to the first question is to actualise soft power through forms of Leadership, whether from 'Inside-Out' or 'Outside-In', which are derived from domestically proven communitarian discourses worthy of emulation abroad. Alternatively soft power can be exercised by non-state actors to the detriment of state interests trough processes I label the 'Intermestic Correlation of Forces', 'Socialisation' and the 'Demonstration of Ideas'. In this second hypothesis, foreign policy retains relevance by learning to accommodate itself to the demands of external parties with interests in the welfare of domestic political constituencies. Exercising soft power in the sense in a conflation of the international and the domestic (intermestic) spheres. The case studies of Singaporean and Chilean foreign policies respectively provide analytical illustrations of both hypotheses.