Week 14 – Emily Thibodeau

Both Cohn and Abdo explore American international politics.  Cohn’s news article “State Department Shifts Resources to Social Media” discusses how the white house abandoned america.gov in favor of reaching out to the people via social media.  Projects such as the Facebook page “Democracy Is..” and twitter pages allow the US foreign affairs office to reach a greater number of people.  Social media allows the State Department to create packages of short messages to be used on the same topic across many platforms, creating a solidified, easily accessible mesage.

Abdo discusses how the current Green Movement in Iran could benefit from American support.  He believes that some of the benefits to American support of the opposition include depriving the regime of it’s anti-American claims, and calling attention to Iranian human rights violations.  He believes that the more pressure the US government creates, the more opportunities protesters will have. However, in light of the lake of unity among the Green party and the fact the Obama only supported in Egyptian protesters towards the end of the revolution, it is unlikely American will soon lend its support.

Overall, both pieces discuss how the American government could impact foreign citizens interested in democracy abroad.  Both articles present a generally favorable view of American foreign policy’s potential impact on governments and citizens abroad.  However, Cohn details how the government is trying to reach out to foreign citizens, using social media in an effort to appear more relateable and not forcing individuals to look up the america.gov website, instead helping individuals find American messages on social media platforms they already use.  Abdo details how helpful American support to the Iranian Green Party would be, should they choose to publicly support it.

How much would American support or social media outreach efforts help the Iranian Green Party and it’s supporters? Is there potential for American aid to do more harm than good, ie. leading to human rights violations against protesters in Iran ?

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