CPD Highlights: 9/11 and Public Diplomacy

The 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks was an opportunity to revisit and reflect upon how the attacks fundamentally reshaped public diplomacy in the United States and across the globe. In the days prior to, and immediately following the anniversary, much was written about public diplomacy and foreign policy in the post-9/11 world. From U.S. foreign policy, to public diplomacy in the Middle East, and even a country halfway around the world launching a website devoted to teaching children about the September 11 attacks, here are a selection of articles featured in Septembers’s PDiN (Public Diplomacy in the News) which focus specifically on the topic of 9/11 and public diplomacy.

9/11 And U.S. Foreign Policy
The Gleaner (Jamaica)
A history of American support for corrupt authoritarian regimes and disregard for human rights when those inconveniences stood in the way of American interests has alienated many from America and fanned the flames of Islamic extremism and terrorism. 

Border Security After 9/11: Ten Years of Waste, Immigrant Crackdowns and New Drug Wars
Truth Out
Yet these new commitments to control the border have been largely expressions of public diplomacy rather than manifestations of new thinking about the border. 

9/11, Israel and Turkey
Today’s Zaman
It is true that the new ruling party initially had problems with credibility, due to a lack of proper public diplomacy at the international level, the core of the Israeli state, in alliance with a powerful lobby in the US, chose to undermine it, using every opportunity to describe the AK Party as a dangerous one, with a hidden political agenda. 

Manhattan rebuilds but the scars remain
Sydney Morning Herald
Joseph Nye observes: ‘‘A key lesson of 9/11 is that hard military power is essential in countering terrorism by the likes of bin Laden, but that the soft power of ideas and legitimacy is essential for winning the hearts and minds of the mainstream Muslim populations from whom al-Qaeda would like to recruit - a ‘smart power’ strategy does not ignore the tools of soft power.’’ 

10 Years Later: How We Won
The Atlantic
The young people who are vulnerable to al-Qaeda’s recruitment pitches are likely to be impervious to positive messages about the United States. In addition, linking public diplomacy with counterterrorism risks alienating intended audiences… 

The “missing battle” of 9/11
Reuters
Almost 10 years after 9/11, the United States has a new window of opportunity to regain the initiative in the “missing battle” of the campaign against terrorism. That is, a sustained soft power effort to win the battle for hearts and minds in predominantly Muslim countries. 

Outreach yields little improvement in Muslim view of US
CNN
Evidence of detainee abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay… furthered the perception that the United States was at war with Islam - despite extensive public diplomacy campaigns by the State Department to portray America as a country where Muslims were not only free to worship, but were part of the American social fabric. 

Britain launches 9/11 website for children
The Sydney Morning Herald
A website to teach schoolchildren in Britain about the events of 9/11 and “demolish conspiracy theories” surrounding the attacks has been launched by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson. He said the website would help to “provide a controlled demolition” of the conspiracy theories surrounding the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that took place a decade ago on Sunday. 

Why is the Middle East Still in Thrall to 9/11 Conspiracy Theories?
The New Republic
In this sense, overcoming 9/11 revisionism is, perhaps, the greatest challenge facing American public diplomacy in the coming decade: So long as such conspiracy theories persist, Arabs will continue to view American policies aimed at preventing “another 9/11” as thoroughly illegitimate since, as they see it, 9/11 is just a big American lie. 

Ten years after the mouse roared
CNN
Al Qaeda’s attack on the United States ten years ago was a profound shock to both American and international public opinion… Anyone who flies or tries to visit a Washington office building gets a reminder of how American security was changed by 9/11.

 

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