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Do you remember Hu Jintao's April 2006 visit to Washington, D.C?
Too bad for President George W. Bush that political public opinion surveys are not conducted at U.S. football games.
Technology is running amok, trampling public diplomacy efforts for almost everyone.
Because of its misuse by most, Satellite TV technology is worsening, rather than aiding efforts to communicate with publics abroad. The ease by which TV satellites can be accessed to distribute signals to practically anywhere, has caused professional communicators to become lazy, and to run their efforts on autopilot.
The trashing of public diplomacy is not really the fault of technology. It is the fault of those who abuse the tool, and who are dazzled to distraction by it.
"Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
WASHINGTON -- Watching George Bush and Tony Blair tie up traffic in Georgetown last week and reading the wall-to-wall coverage of Bush, Blair and Iraq in the US media, Inspector Gregory's question to Holmes came to mind.
Will the bubble burst on international TV satellite channels and their deep pocket financiers, as it did on the old Internet dot coms?
Editor's Note: Research Associate Reza Aslan, a scholar of religions and the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (Random House), recently published in paperback, submits this examination of a public diplomacy challenge for the United States and its image in Iran and surrounding Muslim countries. Aslan offers that current U.S. policy considerations may provide an untenable challenge for public diplomacy practitioners.