Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations who died at age 80 December 8, will likely be recalled as the great master of public diplomacy shock and awe during the Ronald Reagan presidency. She was arguably the most effective champion of President Reagan's foreign policy objectives, who rivaled the president himself when it came to working the media.
This article originally appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus, December 13, 2006.
Anti-Americanism has emerged as a term that, like "fascism" and "communism" in George Orwell's lexicon, has little meaning beyond "something not desirable." However it is defined, anti-Americanism has clearly mushroomed over the last six years, as charted in a number of polls. This phenomenon is, everyone agrees, intimately tied to the exercise of U.S. power and perceptions around the world of U.S. actions.
Why Do Arabs Ignore Al Hurra?
Two public diplomacy initiatives have emerged; one from the Bush administration; the other from America's private sector. Together they suggest a subtle maturation taking root in U.S. efforts to connect with publics abroad, although change is never easy.
The complementary roles of U.S. international broadcasting and U.S. public diplomacy
American journalists, writers, scholars, decision makers, and other experts tend to be confused about the relationship between international broadcasting and public diplomacy. For example, in article about President Bush's nomination of Karen Hughes to be under secretary of state for public diplomacy, Fred Kaplan wrote:
The State Department announced Thursday that figure skater Michelle Kwan would become a public diplomacy ambassador representing sports and U.S. values to the world. The 26-year-old five time world champion who vaulted onto the world figure skating stage at 15 is now a graduate student in political science and international relations at the University of Denver, alma mater of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Kwan seems like a good safe choice to represent U.S. values in diversity and sports excellence.
Worldcasting noted last week the need for that "vision" thing to be injected into America's international broadcasts. It should be the first order of business for those who oversee America's non-military TV and radio programs abroad. Instead, the attention these days is diverted to intramural turf battles that accomplish little to advance U.S. efforts to communicate with international publics.
Events moved rapidly this week at Voice of America. VOA director David Jackson decided to give his managers a heads up, shocking them with the news that he was planning to move on soon That's exactly what happened. Within days the entire VOA staff saw the announcement that Jackson was indeed leaving. The supervisory Broadcasting Board of Governors accepted Jackson's resignation and approved a successor, who would arrive on the job a couple of days after that.
The BBG acted faster and more efficiently than it had in years.