2012-01-28-05.59.29-pmEditors’ Note:
Language determines, to a large extent, who we are and how we relate to others. Clay Shirky has claimed that the way in which we communicate, and thus interact with others, is currently undergoing the most dramatic revolution in history. The nature of communication networks is shifting from a one-way method of convey- ing policy to a dialogue among governments, non-state actors, and any individual who is eloquent enough to portray compelling messages. Joseph Nye believes that power is the ability to achieve desired outcomes, and for this definition, language that inspires intended action is power. Diplomatic practitioners convey mean- ing through careful selection of words, but in engaging more entities than ever before, they must ensure that their words effectively support their national inter- ests. Language and the subtlety of effective communication have never been more important for international actors.

The domestic politics of language carry profound international implications. The Forum considers how the rapid disintegration of powerful governments throughout the Middle East has demonstrated the political potency of people who do not simply receive government messages, but possess the ability to speak back and engage each other with relative impunity. Historical dialogue over the poli- tics of language in India, Belgium, and the United Kingdom has shaped national character and the priorities that diplomats place on their interactions with other nations. The importance of language and usage of words to carry out diplomacy is also emphasized in other articles beyond the Forum. Dahal and Ghimire explain how a model of ethnic federation may not be feasible in Nepal, where language plays a critical role in the fragmentation of the population. Senator Hagel, com- menting on tough U.S. foreign policy challenges, hints at the importance of responsible dialogue in the context of fragile U.S.-Pakistan relations.

This issue of the Journal covers a range of topics with lasting importance to these tense times in international relations. Zielonka suggests that, in Europe, the Westphalia system itself may hang in the balance as new, complex political and economic relationships emerge from the euro zone crisis. Ciorciari and Weiss focus on the South China Sea as a key to the future of international influence in Asia, and one which requires the leadership of a skilled mediator. Wadhwa describes the difficult decisions the United States must face as it seeks to balance political opinions on immigration with the need to attract and retain innovative, energetic people who can contribute to the country’s global competitiveness.

We hope that this issue of the Journal entertains and informs our readership. We have undertaken a number of initiatives this year to supplement the Journal’s print issue. Readers can now enjoy reading up to five articles from previous issues online. Further, through our blog and various online sections on the revamped website, we hope to provide a constant platform for timely analyses and discussion on issues that shape our world. – Sikander Kiani & Michael Brannagan

Forum: Language, Identity & Politics

  • Orwell and the Diction of War: Language, Rhetoric and the Linguistic Properties of Violence by Andrew N. Rubin | Buy
  • The Welsh Language: Devolution and International Relations by Diarmait Mac Giolla Chríost | Buy
  • The Flemish Movement: On the Intersection of Language and Politics in the Dutch-Speaking Part of Belgium by Jeroen Dewulf Buy
  • The Arab Digital Vanguard: How a Decade of Blogging Contributed to a Year of Revolution by Jillian York | Read More
  • The Effectiveness of Establishing Hindi as a National Language by Lakhan Gusain | Buy

Politics & Diplomacy

Conflict & Security

Culture & Society

  • Ethnic Federalism in Nepal: Risks and Opportunities by Dev Raj Dahal and Yubaraj Ghimire | Buy

Law & Ethics

  • NGOs, IGOs and International Law: Gaining Credibility and Legitimacy through Lobbying and Results by Sigfrido Burgos Cáceres | Buy

Business & Economics

Science & Technology

  • Seeing Like a Slum: Towards Open, Deliberative Development by Kevin P. Donovan | Buy


View from the Ground

  • Thanksgiving in a Place Called Chiapas by Michael Meaney | Read  
  • American Aid and Human Rights in the Philippines by Christian Pangilinan | Read  

A Look Back

  •  On Political Virtue: A Discussion of Prudence and Fortitude in U.S. Governance Interview with Chuck Hagel | Read More