Gaining Global Perspective

Gaining_Global_PerspectiveI wrote several weeks ago about my expanding involvement in issues overseas. This week presents a few further examples.

First, I received two invitations from abroad following up on some of work last year. The government of Estonia invited me to come meet with the country’s Chief Information Officer, the director of the country’s “e-residency” program, and various actors from Estonia’s cutting-edge high-tech sector (including Skype). This is the result of an article I wrote a year ago for Foreign Affairs discussing e-residency and its implications for the future of government, citizenship, geographic boundaries, and the coming ability of people the world over to “buy” the government services they want from the provider they choose. There are several innovations there I want to investigate further in person, including Estonia’s more recent efforts to put its entire government in “the cloud” – not just so citizens can more easily access services but so the government can provide those services anywhere, from anywhere, rendering any geographic connection of the “nation-state” superfluous.

I’ve also been invited to head up a panel on the role of policy in politics at the annual conference of the European Association of Political Consultants next month in Copenhagen. The panel will include experts on campaigns and democracy from three continents and will focus on the role that similar issues – the economy, immigration, and terrorism – are playing today in the politics of countries around the world. That’s a subject I’ve been writing about a lot recently for US News & World Report, such as this article from last year.

Both of these themes – the migration of the nation-state to the virtual world and the unity of threats facing voters across the world – come together in the US News piece I wrote yesterday. As the piece argues:


Isis may not need a state to terrorize.

The closer one gets to each side’s core – whether Ramadi and Raqqa, or Brussels and San Bernardino – the more vulnerable that side is…. As in the strange world of subatomic physics, some forces exert more sway at a greater distance, requiring the discarding of traditional, common-sense physical concepts. All of this adds up to a world very different from what Trump, the Islamic State or conventional thinkers recognize…. Walls and borders won’t keep anything out forever; what works, instead, is penetrating enemies abroad while – in seeming contradiction – assimilating them simultaneously at home.

I’ll be reporting on these, and other issues, from abroad next month. As always, I would love to know your thoughts. Please feel free to leave your comments below.