Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Wednesday, April 16th 2014
George Kennan is looking smarter and smarter these days.
Kennan served at a time when America was happy to welcome its soldiers home from World War II and uninterested in new global commitments. Kennan wrote policy recommendations to deal with Moscow leaders bent on taking advantage every opportunity to expand influence—if not control—in nearby lands. Sound familiar?
So, it was noteworthy when James Jay Carafano cited George F. Kennan in a recent Examiner article, asking whether it’s time to hit the reset button on public diplomacy?
Wednesday, April 9th 2014
Donna Oglesby has published an article for Layalina Productions titled The Political Promise of Public Diplomacy. Should practitioners of public diplomacy pay more attention to political argument and debate in today's communication environment? Go to the link to get Oglesby's perspective.
And Bruce Gregory has updated his compilation of recent work about public diplomacy, which we carry on these pages. Find summaries and links to articles about everything from Hip Hop foreign policy to Robert Gates' memoirs in this edition.
Sunday, April 6th 2014
One of the 2013 Fall Forum’s six afternoon breakout sessions addressed the topic of “nation-building.”
Ambassador Ronald Neumann, President of the American Academy of Diplomacy,
Mr. Jeffrey Grieco, Chief of Communications for International Relief and Development,
Mr. Robert Silverman, President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA)
Friday, April 4th 2014
The U.S. Agency for International Development has confirmed that it set up a text messaging service in Cuba under false pretenses.
The Associated Press broke the story earlier this week. USAID used "shell companies" to create a cellphone text messaging service that would deliver infotainment to attract an audience of young Cubans, and at a later stage, use the network to promote political activism. The project attracted 40 thousand subscribers before USAID abandoned it in 2012, according to news accounts.
Clever public diplomacy?
No. For two reasons.
Thursday, April 3rd 2014
Those of us who spent too much time in China notice policy "by the numbers." Jiang Zemin's "three represents," Deng Xiaoping's "four modernizations," and Taiwan's "three no's" are only the most famous. I notice that American writers are fond of listing elements or pillars. For Public Diplomacy, the favored number seems to be "four."
Elements of national power? Our military friends list four, using the acronym D-I-M-E: Diplomatic, information, military, economic. Say what you will about lack of nuance, Public Diplomacy ("information") is playing in the foursome.
Historian Nicholas Cull of the University of Southern California identified four elements of Public Diplomacy: listening, advocacy, cultural diplomacy, and exchange. He adds another, international broadcasting, executed by the USG broadcasters. PDC member Martha Bayles follows Cull's lead in her new book.
A fact sheet from the Public Diplomacy Council lists "Four Ways of Thinking about Public Diplomacy" -- public affairs, information, people, and storytelling.
The State Department's strategic framework for Public Diplomacy has one goal on resources and priorities and four substantive goals: "shape the narrative," "expand and strengthen people-to-people relationships," "combat violent extremism," and "better inform policymaking."
There are many other formulas and categorizations for Public Diplomacy. Indeed, defining “Public Diplomacy” has become an active area of policy and academic debate. Or perhaps confusion, but that’s another story.
Today, however, let me cut the cards, reshuffle, and stack the deck another way to explain how Public Diplomacy works overseas at Foreign Service posts. For "operational" Public Diplomacy, rather than theory, I usually explain there are four levels. Start at the bottom and work up.
The Long Game