Diplomacy is the second oldest profession in the world, Parag Khanna, of The New American Foundation, reminds us. This is, of course, a well-known joke. Diplomacy is as old as human history, and indeed has changed over time. In the latest installment of Big Think's Edge, Khanna, a best-selling author, discuses diplomacy today.

Diffusion of Power

Mega diplomacy is a reminder that diplomacy has always been about anyone who has the status, the prestige, the resources, the authority to be involved in negotiations on an international, on a global level,” explains Khanna. Diplomacy has historically been linked to the state, but that's not the case anymore.

The Rise of Mega Diplomacy

We're moving into a post Westphalian world, a world which is populated where the authoritative actors are not just governments. They are companies,” he says. Humanitarian agencies, NGOs, universities, religious groups, and even private mercenary armies play a role in diplomacy today.

So it’s not just about the United Nations and the bilateral relations between the United States and Russia or China. It’s about a far greater set of players,” says Khanna.So mega diplomacy is really about the new coalitions that emerge across the dot gov world, the dotcom world, the dot org world, the dot edu world. That is mega diplomacy.”

Digital Diplomacy

The Internet grants new power to shaping diplomacy. Khanna discusses how it plays a critical role. “There is the power of the internet and communications technologies to allow any actor, whether it is again a university or a humanitarian group or a religious group, to reach out across the world and form their own connections,” he says. “That is what gives rise to this new global mega diplomacy, which really transcends the state.”

Watch the latest installment of Big Think's Edge and be sure to check-out Khanna's forthcoming book Remapping the World.