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Suggested Citation:"6 Epilogue." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
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6
Epilogue

Revolutionary advances in communications networks, in biotechnology, and in sophisticated armaments exemplify how STH advances are transforming the international landscape. Electronic circuits transfer more than a trillion dollars across international borders every day. Improved pharmaceutical and agricultural products extend life expectancies on every continent. High-precision weapons have changed the meaning of warfare. The Department must be able to take full account of these and other achievements of American and foreign laboratories as it shapes America's foreign policy in the coming decades. At the same time, the world looks to the United States as the leader in many aspects of STH. Thus, the Department has the opportunity to capitalize on American STH achievements in assuming leadership in a multitude of areas of foreign policy that are driven by technological developments.

How can this be done? First and foremost, integration of the nation's STH expertise into the processes for developing and implementing foreign policy must be carried out on a sustained basis on many fronts. However, if the Department is to use the nation's assets effectively in achieving international political economic, security, and scientific objectives, it needs a workforce that is attuned to the STH content of foreign policy issues and motivated to use STH capabilities to their fullest. Although organizational adjustments and strengthened mechanisms for interfaces between the Department and the STH community are also important, such changes in and of themselves cannot substitute for action

Suggested Citation:"6 Epilogue." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
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officers who know when and how to mobilize expertise in support of day-to-day policy-making and resolution of operational issues.

This report has emphasized the use of STH expertise in the formulation of foreign policy, or science for diplomacy. Of no less importance is the development of policies that will serve the interests of STH, or diplomacy for science. In reality, however, these two aspects of foreign policy are closely entwined. As the Department draws on STH expertise in developing policies, it identifies ways in which the STH community can launch programs in support of these policies, and as American specialists carry out international STH programs, they become prime sources of expertise as to how foreign policy can be configured to serve U.S. interests. For example, the contribution of STH exchanges as a stabilizing force in U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and as an opening wedge for relations with China brought together scientific and political objectives. The Green Revolution changed the economies and political orientation of many developing countries while advancing agricultural sciences on a broad front. STH cooperation is now an important part of the Middle East peace process, as both political leaders and scientists benefit from joint projects in the desert and along the coasts.

The recommendations set forth in this report take into account such major STH contributions to foreign policy in the past and provide a framework for even more impressive achievements in the future. They build on the current strengths of the Department, emphasizing that investments in developing additional STH competence throughout the Department will pay handsome rewards for U.S. foreign policy.

Suggested Citation:"6 Epilogue." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
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Suggested Citation:"6 Epilogue." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
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Page 74
Suggested Citation:"6 Epilogue." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×
Page 75
Suggested Citation:"6 Epilogue." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
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Page 76
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Issues involving science, technology, and health (STH) have moved to the forefront of the international diplomatic agenda. Other vital issues linked to technological developments pervade longer-range foreign policy concerns. Thus, STH considerations are often central to the Department of State's bilateral and multilateral interactions with other governments. STH aspects play a large role in discussions of such critical topics as nuclear nonproliferation, use of outer space, population growth, adequate and safe food supply, climate change, infectious diseases, energy resources, and competitiveness of industrial technologies. In addressing these issues, expert STH knowledge is essential to the anticipation and resolution of problems and to the achievement of foreign policy goals. The Department, recognizing that it requires strengthened capabilities to address such an array of topics, asked for suggestions by the National Research Council as to how it could better deal with foreign policy issues with STH content.

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