Here is more from those who played along with our fantasy of receiving a call from the president -- this or any president -- who then asks advice on how to improve America’s public diplomacy.
As President Theodore Roosevelt once observed, those who choose to go "in the arena" experience both "victory and defeat," and we have, each of us, had our share of the latter, but happily some of the former, so why not share our experiences for those now in the arena?
The public scolding took place right after the long Labor Day weekend, perhaps not to spoil anyone's vacation. Setting atop the office desks of those who manage the U.S. government's Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) when they returned to work was a terse report on their failings. It was not that their charges, America’s Arabic-language Radio Sawa and TV Alhurra, were putting out inferior broadcasts. Rather, the folks in charge of those broadcasts were not running things like good bureaucrats. What exactly does that mean?
Is it any wonder that U.S. public diplomacy is on life support?
While perhaps the truest measure of our effectiveness around the globe and an essential tool for U.S. national interests long-term, public diplomacy is in deep trouble -- undervalued at home and under siege abroad. From Katrina to Iraq, our communication wounds are deep -- hostage to policies that are viewed as bankrupt in both their rhetoric and application.