Carnegie's Pick

Picked by Taylor Boas, Project Associate, Project on the Information Revolution and World Politics

While the information revolution has the potential to fundamentally transform the contours of world politics, there has been little attention paid to the issue in mainstream foreign policy journals. It is laudable, therefore, that Current History has chosen to examine the information revolution's political impact in its seven-part series "Globally Wired: Politics in Cyberspace." Running from January to November 2000, the series presents case studies that are fresh, insightful, and authoritative.

In "How the Internet Did Not Transform Russia" (November 2000), Rafal Rohozinski critiques the common notion that the Internet causes democratization, arguing that today's Russian Net has been largely shaped by legacies of the Soviet past. Kathleen Hartford makes a similar case in her analysis of China ("Cyberspace with Chinese Characteristics," September 2000), highlighting Chinese government efforts to build an Internet that is both politically safe and economically dynamic. In "Information-Age Terrorism" (April 2000), John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt, and Michele Zanini examine the national security implications of "netwar," an emerging form of conflict in which protagonists (such as Osama bin Laden's Arab Afghans) adopt networked organizational structures and use new technologies for decentralized communication. Others pieces in the series look at the impact of the Internet in Yugoslavia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. Together, the articles in "Globally Wired" make a significant contribution to the debate on the political impact of the information revolution and cut through much of the hype that has dominated discussion of this important issue.