[ExI] remote embassies

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sat Oct 24 05:58:50 UTC 2015

On 2015-10-24 00:28, spike wrote:
> OK I have heard several reasons why we should have embassies, and do 
> let us assume them valid.  Yesterday we heard testimony by the former 
> US Sec of State who held to the story that the attack on the US 
> embassy in Libya was caused by an internet video, with no other motive 
> offered as an alternative.

Sigh. And do you think that is actually a plausible explanation?

The actual situation in Libya was and is complex, closely tied to even 
more complex politics across the Middle East. The US is a player in all 
of this, and often on inconsistent sides. A video on its own does not 
matter, but when there are groups that thrive on distributing and 
profiting from outrage and they are deeply involved in this politics, 
then it may look like the video triggers a riot. But this is actually a 
mix of carefully orchestrated actions and darn things just happening 
because there is a messy political situation with conflicting loyalties 
and deprived people who often can only express themselves through rioting.

It might make sense to have a teleembassy in dangerous corners of the 
world. But that also implies that the US is not able to protect its own 
embassy and does not trust the local polity to actually be able to 
protect it. That is a rather strong signal.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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