The CPD Blog is intended to stimulate dialog among scholars and practitioners from around the world in the public diplomacy sphere. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect CPD's views. For blogger guidelines, click here.
I am happy to see that Alvin Snyder is contributing again to the CPD Blog. I have always learned from his experience and have found his views to be interesting and provocative. His return commentary, about a revival of Worldnet, accordingly provoked me to add some thoughts about the possibilities for a public diplomacy television service.
If we consider public diplomacy in the narrower sense, as one government's efforts to speak to the public of another nation, President Bush's visit to Iraq this weekend would be a, well, "fitting" symbol of the state of American PD. He narrowly ducked rage that was aimed at him by a new manner of shoe bomber, one equipped with both ninja skill and ferocity.
MUMBAI -- Following the attacks here two weeks ago, much of the coverage on local media looks familiar: red banner stripes and logos with such phrases as "26/11 Fight against Terrorism". But it is not quite the same as US networks' "War on Terror".
There are "Indians of the Year", mini-package profiles of the soldiers and others who died during the fighting that occurred the week before last just down the street from my hotel, and live coverage of vigils and demonstrations. Also, the attack on Mumbai has been framed as attack on modernity. So far, again, it looks quite familiar.
In the new movie "Slumdog Millionaire" there is a poignant scene that all public diplomacy experts should have etched in their minds. It's of a classroom full of boys in a Mumbai slum inhabited by Moslems passing around one copy of the "Three Musketeers" as part of their English lesson. Later we watch one of those boys evolve into a gangster. He could just as easily have joined Al Qaeda. The scene takes place in the early 1980's, but I suspect that in spite of India's growth that similar scenes can be found today.
When USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy embarked on its Virtual Worlds project a few years ago, I admit to being somewhat sceptical. The undertaking seemed, at the time, just too ephemeral, too abstract, too distant from the machinations of realpolitik and the grind of bureaucratic process which I experienced daily as a diplomat.
My thinking, not unlike internet applications, has since migrated.
With help from USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy and hundreds of other individuals and groups, I recently authored a Brookings Institution report on public diplomacy and what it should look like in the coming years and decades. That report is available on-line at Voices of America: U.S.... >
Much that is written about public diplomacy focuses on Europe and the Muslim world. National news media in the US, headquartered in New York and Washington, equates foreign opinion with approving editorials in The Guardian and large crowds in Berlin. By those criteria, President-elect Barack Obama is wildly popular. Just elect Obama, the thinking goes, and America's public diplomacy problems are solved.
Not quite: The data indicate Obama was never as popular in Asia as in Europe. And it turns out President Bush was never as unpopular in Asia as he was in Europe.
Visit CPD's Online Library
Explore CPD's vast online database featuring the latest books, articles, speeches and information on international organizations dedicated to public diplomacy.