Hillary Clinton Is 'the Godmother of 21st-Century Statecraft'?

In a New York Times Magazine feature on two young State Department Twitterers, one of them praised the Secretary of State for her role in opening up the agency in the Internet age.

To hear [Alec] Ross and [Jared] Cohen tell it, even last year, in this age of rampant peer-to-peer connectivity, the State Department was still boxed into the world of communiqués, diplomatic cables and slow government-to-government negotiations, what Ross likes to call "white guys with white shirts and red ties talking to other white guys with white shirts and red ties, with flags in the background, determining the relationships." And then Hillary Clinton arrived. "The secretary is the one who unleashed us," Ross says. "She's the godmother of 21st-century statecraft."

The piece's author, Jesse Lichtenstein, caught some great details, and he spared no "dude" in transcribing Ross and Cohen's quotes. But he's telling a deeper narrative, too, about how governments can -- or cannot -- control information in our time.

You might recognize some of the debate from the on-going sharp exchange between Georgetown's Evgeny Morozov and NYU's Clay Shirky about the relationship of the Internet and political freedom. Our own James Fallows has also been watching these issues closely and has written and moderated panels about them. In June, he spoke with Ross, Google's Eric Schmidt, and Timothy Wu of Columbia Law School and Slate about whether the Internet favors dictators or dissenters. It's embedded below.
 

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