Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Soliciting Feedback on OpenGov Diplomacy

In recent weeks, the OpenGov Diplomacy Group has been reaching out to numerous public and private organizations to solicit feedback on “OpenGov Diplomacy.” Most of our conversations have centered on our position that the United States should prioritize the export of our open government best practices and technologies to other democracies around the world. We are happy to report that the feedback has been encouraging and largely positive. Our colleagues across the public and private sectors appear to support the notion that the export of open government represents a unique opportunity for our country to support strengthening democratic institutions around the world. There also appears to be widespread support for open and transparent approaches to foreign policy like this. The major concern seems to be how high a priority export of open government should be in the greater context of the United States foreign policy agenda. There also appears to be an issue with whether the U.S. should be engaged in exporting these technologies in government-government exchanges or providing them directly to foreign citizens. In responding to these concerns, we have promoted a middle ground approach. It is our position that U.S. foreign policy must represent the right balance between hard/soft power. We therefore do not argue that U.S. should assume a foreign policy platform based solely upon openness and transparency – although these principles should play an important role our foreign policy efforts. We also take the position that the focus of our open government exchange should be on like-minded democracies in the developed and developing world. We assume these countries would be receptive to publicly available open government resources.

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