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Secrecy in Foreign Policy

From: Carnegie Council
Series: Global Ethics Corner
Length: 02:00

Is secrecy in foreign policy an unfortunate yet necessary way to maintain national security? Or does the lack of transparency in state decisions undermine democracy? Read the full description.

Globalethicscorner_logo1_small Created and managed by Carnegie Council Senior Program Director and Senior Fellow William Vocke, Global Ethics Corner is a weekly 2 minute segment devoted to newsworthy ethical issues

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Piece Description

Created and managed by Carnegie Council Senior Program Director and Senior Fellow William Vocke, Global Ethics Corner is a weekly 2 minute segment devoted to newsworthy ethical issues

Transcript

A state's fundamental goal is security for its people. Regimes, which control the legitimate use of force, compete, and openness can undermine security. Military or technological ascendancy can be squandered. Strategic advantages can be lost. Confidential sources (spies) can be compromised.

In contradiction, an underlying tenet of democracy is that the free flow of ideas is crucial for a democracy's health.

So, there are democratic reason's to minimize a state's natural tendency toward secrecy in foreign affairs. There is a political tension between transparency and secrecy.

Unfortunately, there are other reasons for secrecy. For individuals it is safer to stamp everything rather than to risk careers for negligence. Secrecy brings an illusion of importance. Bureaucratic rules impel extensive classification schemes.

The result is detailed in The Washington Post series, "Top Secret Ame...
Read the full transcript

Additional Credits

William Vocke- Producer, Program Director, Writer and Voice Talent
Deborah Carroll- Production Manager
Robert Smithline- Editor
Terence Hurley- Editor
Ina Pira- Media Coordinator
Julia Kennedy- Content Editor

Related Website

www.carnegiecouncil.org