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November 12, 2012

It is not uncommon to see advertisements for “Incredible India,” or “100% Pure New Zealand” on American television, leaving U.S. citizens to wonder: what is the United States‘ slogan?

In early March, current U.S. Under Secretary of State Judith McHale testified before a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Commit-tee hearing on ―The Future of U.S. Public Diplomacy.‖ There she unveiled a new public diplomacy roadmap to strengthen U.S.

Colored powder for the Holi festival. At a market in Mysore, India. Photo courtesy of Paul Rockower ©

Much has been in the news this month about global soft power versus hard power.  A phrase first coined by former Harvard Kennedy School of Government Dean Joseph Nye, soft power is the idea that attraction to culture, values and policies—among other things—can be wielded as a form of power to make others want the same things you do.  In terms of states, this strategy is in direct contrast to “harder,” more traditional notions of power, like military force.

Soft power, the term popularized in the 1990s by Harvard Political Science Professor Joseph Nye Jr., is hardly a new concept. As long as there have been states, and perhaps even before that, there have been choices with respect to how to pursue the national interest and promote the role, status, and standing of the state. I would argue that there is a continuum, from soft to hard, if you will, with the projection of power through the use of military might on the one end of that spectrum and the structured use of various diplomatic instruments on the other.

The United States and Public Diplomacy is the fifth in a multivolume series published by Clingendael under the masthead, “Diplomatic Studies”.  The present volume is a collection of twelve original essays on the history of public diplomacy. 

October 31, 2012

There have been strong reactions from around the world to the Israeli raid on the Gaza flotilla on May 31, 2010. Official reactions have varied from deep concern over the incident to strong condemnation, while civilian reactions have included public protests following the news of the deaths of individuals on board. Below are the official government positions on the situation from Turkey, Israel and the United States. The stories on the right demonstrate the range of international public opinion.