The CPD Blog is intended to stimulate dialog among scholars and practitioners from around the world in the public diplomacy sphere. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect CPD's views. For blogger guidelines, click here.

One of the most intriguing aspects of public diplomacy involves efforts by various emerging nations to portray themselves as the "next" world power. Just as intriguing is the willingness of American influencers to reinforce the notion that the United States will inevitably be passed by others as a global power.

Recently, I argued that Pakistan is not in a position to be either a friend or foe of the United States, due to the de facto civil war among Pakistani's pro-Western and anti-Western citizens.

Each year, Google hosts a conference called “Zeitgeist,” organizing presentations and discussions surrounding the most popular search queries of the past year. Much is learned about the zeitgeist through Google searches.

My title for this piece is intentionally ambiguous, because the relationship between the United States and Pakistan is utterly ambiguous. It could refer to Washington leaders saying, “Sorry that we violated your sovereignty to kill Osama bin Laden, but we still want to be friends.” Or it could refer to Americans saying, “We know some of your conservatives are sad to lose Osama, but we still want want to be friends.”

When a nation is busy devouring itself, in a manner that threatens the larger global peace, other nations' policies and public diplomacy will be complicated indeed.

In the case of a disintegrating Pakistan, American policy has tended to make effective public diplomacy virtually impossible and irrelevant.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently pledged that the U.S. would provide long-term support to Pakistanis affected by historic, devastating floods. Soon after, the United Nations called a special meeting to address how to escalate relief efforts.

Rob Ashgar on the potential of cultural diplomacy to ease the India-Pakistan conflict.  

If Pakistan were a person, who would it be? Would it be Odysseus, undergoing a series of grueling tests in order to claim its true heroic identity? Would it be a hapless Sancho Panza, looking on with alarm as it’s dragged into ruin by the misadventures of those around it?