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.
With U.S. elections little more than a month away, America's public diplomacy has been cast into the fray. By an odd coincidence, on the same day President Bush charged that a classified intelligence report on Iraq had been leaked to the New York Times to embarrass the administration leading up to the November elections, another news organization published an exclusive story regarding U.S. public diplomacy.
"Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
WASHINGTON -- Watching George Bush and Tony Blair tie up traffic in Georgetown last week and reading the wall-to-wall coverage of Bush, Blair and Iraq in the US media, Inspector Gregory's question to Holmes came to mind.