This is the first of what I intend as a series of occasional postings about public diplomacy and soft power in and towards Asia, focusing principally on the People's Republic of China. This site is understandably concerned with western approaches to, and practices of, public diplomacy, especially as they relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the challenges of international terrorism. My aim is to draw attention to non-western perspectives that acknowledge, but are not dominated by, events in the Middle East.
Since the events of September 11, 2001 the foreign policy establishment of Washington has exhausted much energy debating America's public diplomacy efforts. I've watched this debate with interest because I work on a contract basis for State Department public diplomacy programs. I have also tried to create private sector public diplomacy projects. I've traveled with foreign journalists, politicians, and other notable figures all over the United States. You might say that I'm a "foot soldier" in the public diplomacy battle.
I'd like to respond to Simon Anholt's remarks on my previous post about "branding" as a defining discourse for public diplomacy. Anholt seizes on what I feel is a very real and lingering confusion surrounding the term and its relevance for public diplomacy.
WASHINGTON -- America should “trumpet” the doubling of visas issued in the past year to U.S.-bound students.
That was the advice of panelists at a public diplomacy program this morning.
Too bad for President George W. Bush that political public opinion surveys are not conducted at U.S. football games.