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.
Given that President Bush told journalists this summer that Pakistan will be the next American president's biggest foreign policy challenge, let's take a moment to consider the public-diplomacy issues for both sides now that the U.S. has a new President-elect.
It may be peculiar to comment on one’s own blog. But, having just provided a post on possible directions for Obama’s international broadcasting and public diplomacy strategy, I realized I had missed the elephant (or donkey) in the room.
Can two late thinkers, a French philosopher and British media scholar, point the way to a new American public diplomacy— or at least an American international broadcasting strategy— for the Obama era?
Let’s start with two unarguable points. The very election of Barack Obama shifts the world of public diplomacy and automatically alters the dynamic of U.S. messaging abroad. As Timothy Garton Ash put it in the Guardian, “Obama is himself a weapon of mass attraction.”
I had heard many good things about Wilton Park's conferences, and was finally able to participate in one entitled "Public Diplomacy: Meeting New Challenges" on October 7, 2008. The conference consisted of several sessions, including one on Afghanistan that generated much discussion by a number of publicly renowned diplomacy experts and practitioners from some of the countries with forces in Afghanistan.
When awake with jet lag in a hotel far from home, the traveler naturally turns to the TV remote. So it was for me in Moscow this week, when a few absent minded clicks brought me face to face with Russia Today (RT)– the English language news channel and flagship for contemporary Russian public diplomacy. The channel did not come highly recommended. It had raised eyebrows with recent magazine advertisements adorned with a portrait of Stalin holding a quill and that caption: “Stalin wrote romantic poetry” and the tag line “Proud to be different... >
When it comes to entertainment, leisure and play, people generally exercise more freedom of choice than in any other realm of modern life. They choose to watch a movie, play chess, go to a concert, or go shopping because they find it amusing. In short, look at the way people entertain themselves and you’ll discover what people wish to do for one's own sake. If you’re looking for a window into the global village, to assess its condition and its attitudes toward every imaginable aspect of contemporary life, there can be no better portal than global entertainment.
In today's 24/7 news environment, governments have it hard. In my experience, working at the centre of UK government in the Cabinet Office, I found that government has to know its position on everything and be able to articulate it in a sound bite. You have to be either 'for' or 'against' any proposition, policy proposal or idea. You cannot be equivocal; you cannot have a nuanced view. If it's a significant policy or issue, then you have to be crystal clear. When government isn't clear, the media pursue, challenge and provoke you in 24 hour news cycles until you are clear.
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.
People, Places, Power | Season 2, Episode 48: The Nation Brands Index 2022 and Russia's Fall from Grace