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No matter how small their post, every embassy public affairs officer who ever arranged an exchange, distributed a pamphlet, or in the jargon of contemporary public diplomacy fretted over "moving the needle" of foreign public opinion knows that a U.S. presidential election is an opportunity. Traditionally they have been animated quadrennial civics classes, dramatizing America's democratic process and contrasting starkly with the brutality with which power changes hands or not in too much of the world.

Who is the fairest of them all?

Worldcasting refers to White House presidential aspirants, and where public diplomacy could be headed in the next administration.

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.

February 11, 2007
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Joe Nye reminds us that soft power is the power to get others to want what we want. By that definition, soft power advocates haven’t done so well. Ironically, they have failed to use soft power to get others to want what they want – that is, more soft power.

It’s easy to beat up on the current administration for failing to understand and deploy "soft power" and public diplomacy in their toolkit of foreign policy. Bush, Cheney and the gang prefer coercion, i.e. hard power.

The next round of the seemingly endless frustration over U.S. public diplomacy is underway. Rod Dreher's recent rebuke of contemporary public diplomacy programs succinctly recapitulates the "problem" with U.S. public diplomacy -- at least according to how he frames the subject. For Dreher, the U.S. public diplomacy is losing the "information war," because it is being outflanked by jihadist media campaigns. For Dreher, U.S. efforts look absurdly anachronistic. The U.S.

Miami, Fla. -- More than 70,000 celebrants are expected to pack Miami's Orange Bowl to mark Fidel Castro's departure, whenever that may come. TV/Radio Marti are at the ready to beam stories back to Cuba with expanded broadcasts.

The Orange Bowl blast, sanctioned by the City of Miami, will doubtless be mega-covered by domestic U.S. and international media, but there will be no cracking open of Piñatas, which will be officially banned from the Orange Bowl by the City.

Now is the time to finish the job we began in Afghanistan five years ago. Last year saw a desperate and vicious onslaught by a new generation of Taliban forces with enhanced logistical and financial support. More than 4,000 Afghans, many of them civilians, were killed in military actions in 2006, a three-fold increase from the previous year. Suicide attacks -- a phenomenon unknown to Afghans before 2002 -- jumped to 118 from 21.

On January 10, 2007, the State Department hosted a Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy. The purpose of the conference was to bring together professionals from the public relations sector to consider how U.S. public diplomacy programs and objectives could be improved by input from the corporate communications world. Given the recent BBC polls showing that U.S. popularity continues to plummet worldwide -- it's no surprise that the State Department is reaching out to organizations that are defined by their communication expertise.

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