Tuesday, May 24th 2016
“Although the North Korea conundrum may, unfortunately, require hard power, relying on soft power is the most logical approach to dealing with China and overcoming intraregional rivalries that affect many issues.” This was one conclusion of the University of Southern California’s Philip Seib in a readout of a conference on May 18-20 in Brisbane, Australia, “Soft Power and Public Diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific.” His op-ed, “Public Diplomacy in the Pacific,” ran on The Huffington Post website on May 22, 2016. For Public Diplomacy practitioners, the concept of “collaborative public diplomacy” seems fruitful. Here are some of Seib’s key points:Read More
Friday, April 29th 2016
In Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech at the National Press Club on April 26, 2016, the candidate said “Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster. No vision. No purpose. No direction. No strategy.” He criticized decisions by President Bush, President Obama, and Secretary Clinton; traced his views of policy incoherence, “no respect,” “humiliation,” overextension, and the cost of alliances; and elaborated a theme of “America First.” “It’s time to shake the rust off America’s foreign policy,” he said.
Although there was no explicit mention of Public Diplomacy in the speech, in a Trump administration the State Department would have to re-shape and re-present U.S. policy toward Iraq, Egypt, Libya, ISIS, Iran, trade and finance, NATO and other alliances, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, China, North Korea, and Russia – all mentioned in the speech. And these paragraphs telegraph an especially busy time for Public Diplomacy if it was called upon to implement the candidate’s vision:Read More
Tuesday, March 8th 2016
“The North Korean regime depends upon isolation from the outside world to maintain its grip and pursue its international objectives. The regime is deadly afraid of what it terms 'ideological and cultural poisoning': that is, of foreign media, international information, cultural exchanges, and the like. We should be saying: Bring on the 'poisoning'! The more contact that enslaved population has with the outside world, the better.” So concluded Nicholas Eberstadt – who holds the Henry Wendt Chair at the American Enterprise Institute -- in an article, “Wishful Thinking Has Prevented Effective Threat Reduction in North Korea,” published in the February 29, 2016 issue of National Review. Here are the portions of his essay that focus on North Korea’s ideology and ways to weaken it.
- Our policy is a failure because our public and our leaders do not understand our adversary and his intentions.
Friday, February 5th 2016
News of a hockey tournament with retired NHL players slated for March in Pyongyang – “a charity event to raise money for sports equipment for disabled North Korean athletes” -- prompted Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute to challenge some of the comfortable assumptions about “sports diplomacy.” His essay, “Is Engaging North Korea ‘Innocuous’?” was posted to the Commentary magazine website on January 31, 2016. For details of the hockey tournament, see the full article by Kent Boydston of the Peterson Institute for International Economics – and a back-and-forth between Rubin and Boydston -- here. These are some of Rubin’s key points on sports diplomacy in general:
- First, does sporting diplomacy really break barriers or come without a cost? The record is spotty.
Sunday, January 10th 2016
“Mina Yoon” is a North Korean who escaped and now lives in Seoul. She answers questions about North Korea in a blog on the nknews.org website. A reader asked, “Who do North Koreans think started the Korean War?” Ms. Yoon wrote, “I was one of the many people who found it extremely hard to believe that North Korea started the Korean War.Read More