Making Foreign Policy Through Twitter: An Analysis of Trump's Tweets on Iran

Making Foreign Policy Through Twitter: An Analysis of Trump's Tweets on Iran

Duygu Dersan Orhan (Atılım University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3201-0.ch022
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Abstract

Through the development of technology, the understanding of traditional foreign policy has changed. Foreign policy making, which was shaped by diplomatic correspondence, visits, agreements, and notes between countries, is carried out today via messages sent over the Internet. Twitter is the most frequently used internet tool in the hands of institutions, decision makers, and leaders in foreign policy making. US President Donald J. Trump is one of the leaders who use Twitter most effectively. Twitter was the center of Trump's messages, both during the presidential campaign and after his election. Trump is not just using Twitter as a platform for meeting his supporters and announcing the country's official policies. Twitter has also been an important way for Trump to challenge and send harsh messages to certain countries, companies, and individuals. Iran is one of the countries that Trump targets through Twitter. This study aims to examine the use of Twitter as a platform in foreign policy making by using content analysis method through Trump's tweets about Iran.
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Digital Diplomacy As A Tool Of Public Diplomacy

Social media has penetrated the world culture far more than we possibly thought.The scope and breadth of new forms of communication, especially social media, has created vital changes in the way individuals, groups, governments, businesses and nations communicate, which greatly affects their thinking and behavior. Foreign policy making and diplomacy as the main tool of conducting foreign policy of a nation have also been affected with the changes in the communication technology. Foreign policy refers to the general objectives that guide the interactions of a state with other states. Diplomacy is the main instrument of foreign policy, which consists of wider goals and strategies that direct a state's interactions with the rest of the world. Today, most of the state institutions and the leaders have a presence on digital media platforms.

The use of digital technologies and social media platforms by the states in their interactions with the other states is called as “digital diplomacy. Digital diplomacy did not replace traditional diplomacy rather it complements and coexists with each other . (Adesina, 2017: 1). According to Manor (2015), digital diplomacy is the process by which a country uses social media more widely to achieve its foreign policy goals and proactively manages its own image and reputation. Hanson (2012) states that digital diplomacy has eight political goals which are knowledge management, public diplomacy, information management, consular communications and response, disaster response, Internet freedom, external sources and policy planning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Diplomacy: Use of the Internet and new information communication in diplomatic activities.

Public Diplomacy: International public relations activities that are carried out by the states in order to create public opinion among foreign states.

Soft Power: The ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: An agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (permanent members of United Nations Security Council plus Germany).

Twiplomacy: Is the use of social network and microblogging website, Twitter, by heads of state, leaders of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), and their diplomats to conduct diplomatic outreach and public diplomacy.

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