Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Media Diplomacy vs. Secret Diplomacy

In the three major news-programmes tonight on Danish television channels the Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller and Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen both stressed that the media couldn't be informed about the coming day's diplomatic manouvers, as it was going to be conducted as "secret diplomacy". The Foreign Minister even had a gleeful smile when he fended off a journalist saying "I won't tell you anything".

This is quite an interesting move. "Secret" diplomacy is far the most established and practiced form of diplomacy - especially in Denmark, where the public diplomacy has only recently been instituted formally. So why do so much to signal that "we are switching into secret-mode - so you can't get anything unless we give it to you". Is it to pacify the media and galvanize the population by hinting that great machinations are going on behind the scenes that we mortals should place our trust and faith in? Is it because there are real contacts to the Saudis or Egyptians (the hard-hitters here) and the government want's to signal that it is loyal in the negotiations?

The government has shown before that it is willing to utilize the media in a foreign-policy mode - remember the documentary from the EU summary in Copenhagen that created quite a stir (well, maybe that was actually meant for domestic consumption now I come to think about it)? The clearly coordinated message that the government has gone into secret diplomacy is certainly going to be the expression of a calculated policy. But why?


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