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In Saudi Arabia, a BBC-WGBH program on "The Death of a Princess," banned by the Saudi government as subversive, was smuggled into the country by means of videotapes the day after its premier showing on television in London.In China, despite severe media censorship, the democracy movement in Tiananmen Square spread its message around the world in 1989 via the fax machines.
The Persian Gulf War provided a glimpse of what future wars might look like.
The emergence of an international politics of cultural identity organized around religious, ethnic, or racial fetishisms suggests what the future issues in international relations might be.
On the other, they are imposing a new cultural hegemony through the "soft power" (Nye 1990) of global news, entertainment, and advertising.
Globalizing the local and localizing the global are the twin forces blurring traditional national boundaries.
In the Soviet Union, computer networkers who opposed the Moscow coup of 1991 and were sympathetic to Yeltsin, transmitted his messages everywhere despite severe censorship of the press and broadcasting (Ganley & Ganley 1987, 1989; Ganley 1992).
In Mexico, the Zapatista movement managed to diffuse its messages of protest against the government worldwide in 1994 through the Internet.In Iran, it facilitated the downfall of a monarchical dictatorship in 1978-1979 through the use of cheap transistor audiocassette recorders in conjunction with international telephony to spread the messages of Ayatollah Khomeini to his followers within a few hours of their delivery from his exile in Paris (Tehranian, 1979, 1980, 1993).In the Philippines, the downfall of the Marcos regime in 1986 was televised internationally for all to witness while alternative media were undermining his regime domestically.E-mail has been used to achieve rapid global mobilization for withdrawal of Western companies from Myanmar in protest against the government's repressive policies (The Economist, August 10, 1996: 28). However, they demonstrate that accelerating technological advances in telecommunications and their worldwide dissemination are profoundly changing the rules of international relations.On the one hand, they are facilitating transfers of science, technology, information, and ideas from the centers to the peripheries of power.The conduct of foreign relations through traditional diplomatic channels has been both undermined and enhanced by information and communication resources available to non-state actors.The emergence of a global civil society in the form of over some 30,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) alongside nearly some 200 state actors as well as intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), transnational corporations (TNCs), and transnational media corporations (TMCs), has added to the complexity of international relations (Commission on Global Governance 1995).Global communication is thus redefining power in world politics in ways that traditional theories of international relations have not yet seriously considered.More specifically, it is bringing about significant changes in four major arenas of hard and soft power (Nye & Owens 1996; Cohen 1996).Global communication, particularly in its interactive forms, has created immense new moral spaces for exploring new communities of affinity rather than vicinity.It is thus challenging the traditional top-down economic, political, and cultural systems.