Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Friday, April 18th 2014
In a previous commentary, I said it is important for the Foreign Service and for the Public Diplomacy cone to formally capture the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan (in particular) and expeditionary diplomacy (in general), even as the extraordinary demands that characterized the last decade ease.
First, it is wishful thinking to imagine that after the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Public Diplomacy will "return to normal." The international environment is volatile, and Public Diplomacy is sure to receive unexpected taskings and face extraordinary challenges in the “post-war” environment. It’s not hard to imagine circumstances that would again require a “surge.”
Second, during the two wars the Foreign Service developed close relationships with the armed forces. We should consolidate and build upon those relationships rather than allow them to dissipate. Two of the major elements of national power are “diplomatic” and “military.” Because the Foreign Service and the armed forces will continue to be associated across the full continuum from conflict prevention to hostilities, the United States will need more, not less, alignment of these two elements of national power. We thus need to capture the “case studies” of civ-mil cooperation – positive and negative -- over the last decade.
Third, short tours in specific places affected all of our visions, and it’s natural to generalize that what was right and what was wrong at “my post” represented the whole. “Lessons learned” can help all of us see the bigger pictures.
Fourth, what self-respecting profession shakes off more than a decade of war with no self-examination of the experience?
Thursday, April 17th 2014
By Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, currently a Distinguished Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.
If ever we needed a public diplomacy campaign to reach citizens in the former Soviet Union now is the moment.
Wednesday, April 16th 2014
George Kennan is looking smarter and smarter these days.
Kennan served at a time when America was happy to welcome its soldiers home from World War II and uninterested in new global commitments. Kennan wrote policy recommendations to deal with Moscow leaders bent on taking advantage every opportunity to expand influence—if not control—in nearby lands. Sound familiar?
So, it was noteworthy when James Jay Carafano cited George F. Kennan in a recent Examiner article, asking whether it’s time to hit the reset button on public diplomacy?
Wednesday, April 9th 2014
Donna Oglesby has published an article for Layalina Productions titled The Political Promise of Public Diplomacy. Should practitioners of public diplomacy pay more attention to political argument and debate in today's communication environment? Go to the link to get Oglesby's perspective.
And Bruce Gregory has updated his compilation of recent work about public diplomacy, which we carry on these pages. Find summaries and links to articles about everything from Hip Hop foreign policy to Robert Gates' memoirs in this edition.
Sunday, April 6th 2014
One of the 2013 Fall Forum’s six afternoon breakout sessions addressed the topic of “nation-building.”
Ambassador Ronald Neumann, President of the American Academy of Diplomacy,
Mr. Jeffrey Grieco, Chief of Communications for International Relief and Development,
Mr. Robert Silverman, President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA)