Science, technology and international affairs affect one another. The impacts of science and technology on international affairs, especially those of information and communication technologies, are particularly pervasive. The mutual influences of science, technology and international affairs are so important and pervasive that the field should be recognized as an independent sub-discipline. Its present status as a relatively esoteric topic, to be entrusted to specialists and kept more or less isolated from the main body of international relations, is a dangerous anachronism.
These impacts may be classified as operating through one of four main mechanisms:
(1) changing the architecture of the international system: its structure, its key organizing concepts, and the relations among its actors;
(2) changing the processes by which the international system operates, including diplomacy, war, administration, policy formation, commerce, trade, finance, communications, and the gathering of intelligence;
(3) creating new issue areas, new constraints and trade-offs in the operational environment of foreign policy, a term which includes not only political constraints on international action, but also constraints imposed by the laws of natural and social science;
(4) providing a source of changed perceptions, of information and transparency for the operation of the international system, and of new concepts and ideas for international relations theory.