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Write about a recent event or development which illustrates the importance or otherwise of public diplomacy in contemporary world politics

by on February 19, 2013

anntelnaes-comSince the end of the Cold War the paradigm in diplomacy has decreased and it has now channel into various network or direction (Leguey-Feilleux, 2009). Through these networks, we have seen nations using other tools (unconventional tool) to get through and promote their international relations, as compared to what the traditional description of diplomacy is. After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and the rally by the United States and others to “win understanding” in the Arab world, public diplomacy has gained center stage in the diplomatic arena (International Journal, p. 43), a phenomenon that was in states agenda but was given little devotion even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

       “The new diplomacy, as I call it, is, to a large extent, public diplomacy and requires a different skills, techniques, and attitudes than those found in traditional diplomacy” Allan Gotlieb, Former Canadian ambassador to the United States (International Journal, p. 44)

To reinforce this current evidence, the United States sees its public diplomacy as an obligation and a mission “to support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign public and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and Government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world” (www.state.gov), which is also led by The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

When Obama came to power, his motivated administration sought to strengthen and extend the country’s public diplomacy by using “smart power” as tools. Embassies, mobile technologies, social network, websites just to name a few, were seen as the corridor to enhance the public engagement. Yet, this strategic plan needed funds to also cover the States Department that will have to work closely with the programme. 536 million dollars on top of 766 million dollars designated for exchange programs. The 2010 report (Public Diplomacy: Strengthening U.S. Engagement with the World”) was branded disappointment from the public diplomacy community.

There is also a serious investment in the activities of media communication. For instance, the Broadcasting Board of Governors which represents the U.S. government’s single largest investment in public diplomacy includes the Voice of America, which is well known especially in the African continent. The other government ambition is the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication, a department that has its aim centered in the Islamist propaganda. Nevertheless, the high expenditures for the sake of public diplomacy have been criticized by the congress.  In 2011, a bill (Budget Control Act of 2011) was pasted on in order to cut the budget and control the government future expenditures in order to manage the country’s resources and protect the credit of the American citizen. Despite the fact that the budget cut was in the interest of the USA and the well fair of the citizens, we cannot forget the fact that other countries are engaged in the pursuit of public diplomacy policies by investing huge amount of resources (in 2009 the Chinese budgeted 7 billion dollars for the global media drive, and in 2010 the Russian government made 1.4 billion dollars for international propaganda) (www.heritage.org). There is no doubt that projecting the values and policies of the government to the outside world would be difficult to come by. And the USA challenge is its congress man that have the power to change law.

References:

Leguey-Feilleux, Jean-Robert. 2009. The Dynamics of Diplomacy. Lynn Rienner Publisher. Boulder London.

International Journal, 58 Int’l J. (2002-2003), p. 43 – 44 http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/intj58&div=9&g_sent=1&collection=journals [accessed on the 19th February, 2013]

Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs available at http://www.state.gov/r/  [accessed on the 19th February, 2013]

Dale, H. C,  Cohen, A and Smith, J. A(2012), Challenging America: How Russia, China, and Other Countries Use Public Diplomacy to Compete with the U.S, Available at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/06/challenging-america-how-russia-china-and-other-countries-use-public-diplomacy-to-compete-with-the-us  [accessed on the 19th February, 2013]

Budget Control Act of 2011, Available at  [accessed on the 19th february, 2013]

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