ByFraming the Discussion of Globalization, Diversity, and U.S. International Affairs
Pages 18

The new millennium presents a host of new challenges to the women and men charged with managing our international relations. Whether a brand manager for a multinational corporation, a relief worker with the Red Cross, an assembly line mechanic, an ambassador, or an educator, Americans today simultaneously confront a changed international order and a very different domestic order as well. And in this era of globalization, one of the most complex challenges facing those who care about international affairs is understanding and acting responsibly upon the shifting realities of culture, ethnicity, and race. Some commentators raise race and culture to central positions in their conception and conduct of foreign affairs, and the definition of the national interest.1 Other intellectuals from Japan to Afghanistan to Singapore also insist upon the uniqueness of their own culture and its distinctiveness in the international community.2 Some elements in the major communities of faith demand that the faithful conduct their foreign policies in accordance with the tenants of their religions, which they define as inseparable from their national cultures, whether Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or Islam. These views of a culture-based foreign policy are being articulated at a historical moment when the salience of culture, ethnicity, and race seems to be on the rise publicly.3 From Bosnia to Rwanda, cultural and ethnic ties exert strong pulls on the conduct of domestic and regional politics, not always with positive consequences for nations, their peoples, or their global partners.4 These new politicized assertions of identity express themselves in a variety of ways.