Opened and Closed Doors: An Inside Look at How the Internet Changed Middle East Policy
Freedman, Allyson Sara
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From the mainstream media to citizen journalism, and from politicians to activist groups, the rise of social media and the new Internet age has changed the dynamics of global diplomacy, international decision-making and large-scale movements. The Internet age has altered how individuals interpret foreign relations, mobilize movements and influence policy decisions. In the Middle East especially, social media users have demonstrated the power to propel uprisings on authoritarian regimes, stimulate diplomacy and impact relationships between nations. In three chapters, this thesis explores how the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Arab Spring and the Iran nuclear deal were all impacted by the rise of the digital age. Specifically, this thesis explores how communications technology has changed over time, how foreign policy is shaped, how international movements rise, how countries’ reputations are formed and how the Internet can ultimately impact the outcome of major world decisions. After examining several case studies, this thesis concludes that the Internet Age has changed how the world receives information. Moreover, the proliferation of social media has provided individuals with more access to news with just a click of a button. Politicians, journalists and activists now have the ability to communicate directly to the public through their 21st Century technology. In conclusion, this thesis is a snapshot of time regarding how the Internet permanently transformed how the way the international community obtains information.