The Elusive Transformation: Science, Technology, and the Evolution of International Politics

The Elusive Transformation: Science, Technology, and the Evolution of International Politics

The Elusive Transformation: Science, Technology, and the Evolution of International Politics

The Elusive Transformation: Science, Technology, and the Evolution of International Politics

Synopsis

Eugene Skolnikoff treats the roles of science and technology across the entire range of relations among nations, including security and economic issues, environmental questions, international economic competitiveness, the spread of weapons technology, the demise of communism, the new content of dependency relations, and the demanding new problems of national and international governance. He shows how the structure and operation of the scientific and technological enterprises have interacted with international affairs to lead to the dramatic evolution of world politics experienced in this century, particularly after World War II.

Excerpt

In 1958 I joined the staff of Dr. James R. Killian in the White House, shortly after he had accepted the newly created post of Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. Since then, I have spent most of my professional life grappling with the subtle and fascinating relationship between international affairs and science and technology. in various guises—first as a government official with James Killian and his two remarkable successors, George Kistiakowsky and Jerome Wiesner, and then since 1963 as a student, teacher, and scholar at MIT—I have tried to understand that relationship. During that time, I have endeavored to write and teach about it in ways that could be useful in the making of policy and the education of students, and to represent it in debates within relevant academic disciplines. Occasionally I have been able to participate in, or advise on, the formulation of policy on relevant issues in the U.S. and other governments and in international organizations, in part through a role in the resurrected White House Science Office under President Carter's science adviser, Frank Press.

As that experience grew, I became increasingly aware that the apparently obvious ways in which science and technology relate to the international landscape are only superficially obvious. Scholarly efforts—and I include my own earlier work—have fallen far short of an adequate probing of the interaction. and it is an interaction. Simply laying out the impact of new technology on the relations among nations, the most common approach to the subject, does not do justice to the complexity of the interaction. Rather, to appreciate its full scope and detail requires an understanding of the forces that influence international affairs, a sound grasp of the nature and functioning of the scientific and technological enterprises and of how their outcomes are determined, and a linking of those disparate subjects to bring out the intricate interplay among and between them.

In this study I have set out to present within two covers my conceptions of the interplay of those elements and the conclusions that should be drawn from them. It has been a stimulating and personally rewarding quest, requiring that I explore many subjects and literatures in much greater depth than I had ever attempted before. Some of the conclusions I reached reinforced earlier views, but many were not as I had anticipated. in general, I found that the evolution of the details of international politics due to the interaction with advancing science and technology has been as impressive and astonishing as common rhetoric proclaims. But . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.