In international affairs, diplomacy, Economy and technology are the essential tools for any nation. Historically Science and Technology(S&T) have played an important role in the dialogue between human societies and sovereign governments. In modern times, it is the techno-economic power that will shape the changing dynamics of international relations and global affairs.
There are many spheres where this technology and diplomacy often interwind each other. However, here are few instances where I would like to focus.
- Technology and Economic Prosperity
- Technology and Security
- Defence Technologies
- Cyber Space
- Outer Space
- Climate Change
In the past, around 1500 BCE, the excavation of new resources and forging new and more challenging tools led to economic prosperity. However, as time passed, human societies have discovered almost every existing metal on the Earth, and the Economy has stagnated. Empires and Coalition states fought for existing resources and to concur labour. And colonisation is the end of this.
The discovery and innovation to make more goods quickly with short labour led to the first industrial revolution. This is when the usage of technology to replace human work and errors has started. However, this situation deprived every country that relied more on human labour, be it India, China, or any other populous country, in exchange for the prosperity of the technologically improving countries.
The fundamental of trade changed with the introduction of the steam engine and the second industrial revolution. Transportation which is not even considered as a part of trade now playing an important role.
Seemless communication led to interconnectivity, and the collected data used for producing more intuitive goods have changed the dimensions of the third industrial revolution.
All these three industrial revolutions are based upon the introduction of technology at places it never visited. It changed the dimensions of trade, interconnectivity, globalisation and diplomatic stands.
The USA's involvement in World War 2 and the Paral Harbour episode with the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved that technology had passed the threat level of humans. It is no more the war between humans; it is all about the destructive power of the adversaries.
Time and time, the superpowers have proved this again and again. The introduction of nuclear technology made the World unipolar. The advancement of physics and replicating nuclear technology made the World bipolar. Uranium and Thorium enriching techniques and research in non-weapon grade nuclear technology moved the World towards multipolar.
In the recent past, we have seen the fallback of the USA in the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan with Iran, which created a lot of unrest. Just the introduction of Nuclear technology is changing the stand of a country in the global sphere. A deal related to nuclear technology is creating stability issues.
Nuclear technology is not the only technological part of military-grade. There are way more; in fact, almost every highly funded technical project has some innate progress towards defence technology. Be it the self-owned GPS, tracking devices, automatic targeting weapons, supersonic grade missiles, torpedos, nuclear-powered submarines, and the list goes on.
These technologies create a sense of security for people living in the country and the government ruling it. Rather than focusing on real wars, this makes sense in the strategic advantage to mitigate the necessary conflicts and provide a platform for diplomatic dialogue.
In recent times, there is no need for introducing the term cyber space and how much it can damage. Till now, we discussed technology and its advancements, but cyberspace provides an entirely different perspective. It focuses on the lack of knowledge and advances. Be it an individual or a nation, the lack of knowledge and continuous research in cyberspace will expose vulnerabilities and provide a place to exploit.
This exploitation will result in loss of money, privacy, data and constant anonymous surveillance. Any of these is not the desired outcome. If there is a considerable gap between the cyber knowledge of the two countries, it can eliminate the need for diplomatic talks when the times are crucial. The country with the upper hand can dictate the negotiations, which is not a desired international affairs.
Till the 14th Century, global relations are based on the continental landmass, and then the trend shifted toward expansion of territory based on sea routes. Presently nations are fighting for their share in Oceans. If technology reaches a state of stagnation, it is the resources that fuel technology, and outer space is one such place—a place where there are infinite resources if one can gather.
Imagine a country that can mine asteroids, and it doesn't take much time for such a country or nation to become the next super global power on the Earth. Proving the World that there exists such technology can change international trade, relations and power balance.
It is clear from the data that climate change is real and not a hoax; we can't deny it. The problem is not that climate change exists; climate change is continuously accelerated with the involvement of humans.
Climate change is not an issue for a single country; it is a global issue, and nations should solve this issue. So yes, not all countries can indeed become carbon-free country in few decades. But with the help of developed countries research and technology distribution, even underdeveloped countries can also do their part of being carbon-free.
Rather than finding monetary help and providing funds, investing money in creating open-source technology will make things faster. But to make technology open source, nations should come together to solve the issue.
It is hard to find any global forum without mentioning at least one of the issues discussed above. The reason is quite simple because technology makes us move forward, provides us solutions scientifically and resolves our problems in various dimensions.
Technology is not just to project ones destructive power or advancements; it can also be a part of diplomatic dialogue, economic prosperity, human development, and global togetherness.