Toward a new foreign policy.
Culture, combined with the crisis America faced, produced the unintended consequences For the "Law of unintended consequences", see Unintended consequence
Unintended Consequences is a novel by author John Ross, first published in 1996 by Accurate Press. of U.S. public diplomacy Those overt international public information activities of the United States Government designed to promote United States foreign policy objectives by seeking to understand, inform, and influence foreign audiences and opinion makers, and by broadening the dialogue between American in the Arab and Muslim world The term Muslim world (or Islamic world) has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Muslims, adherents of Islam. This community numbers about 1.5-2 billion people, about one-fourth of the world. . The post-9/11 phase of U.S. public diplomacy was, in effect, crisis public diplomacy. Unlike traditional public diplomacy, which enjoys the luxury of time to cultivate favorable publics individually, crisis public diplomacy entails communicating simultaneously with multiple audiences--including hostile ones--in a rapidly changing, highly visible, and politically competitive communication environment.
American officials appeared to overlook the immediacy and glare of the international media that crises engender en·gen·der
v. en·gen·dered, en·gen·der·ing, en·gen·ders
1. To bring into existence; give rise to: "Every cloud engenders not a storm" . U.S. officials tried to communicate with foreign publics as if they were separate from the American public. Such a distinction between foreign and domestic publics has become purely hypothetical. In today's global and instantaneous communication environment, a nation can no longer separate its domestic public from foreign publics. What one hears, everyone hears.
American efforts to intensify its public diplomacy may have inadvertently magnified misunderstandings and tensions between America and the Arab and Muslim worlds. Although both the domestic and foreign publics heard the same message, both interpreted it differently. When America amplified its message through stronger language and more vigorous dissemination, American domestic support grew and foreign support weakened. The more America intensified its public diplomacy efforts--using an American style--the greater the gap became between the domestic and foreign publics.
This gap may have been widened by Washington's need to gain and solidify American domestic support. During times of conflict, rallying domestic support often means identifying a foreign enemy. If the foreign public identifies with the foreign enemy, efforts to demonize de·mon·ize
tr.v. de·mon·ized, de·mon·iz·ing, de·mon·iz·es
1. To turn into or as if into a demon.
2. To possess by or as if by a demon.
3. the enemy only further alienate To voluntarily convey or transfer title to real property by gift, disposition by will or the laws of Descent and Distribution, or by sale.
For example, a seller may alienate property by transferring to a buyer a parcel of the seller's land containing a house, in the foreign audience and widen the gap between the domestic and foreign publics.
As the U.S. embarks on a new round of public diplomacy, the challenge is how to span cultural barriers, so America's public communication positively resonates with the domestic and foreign publics. Meeting this challenge requires that U.S. officials not only coordinate their message among America's many spokespersons but also harmonize communication with America's many publics. The two must go hand in hand.
If there was a success in the first round of U.S. public diplomacy, achieving coordination was it. America's initial public diplomacy efforts highlighted the need for coordination. Disputes within the administration were producing conflicting messages. However, by the time the U.S. entered Iraq, all officials were speaking with one powerful voice.
Now that the U.S. occupies Iraq, the problem of coordination has reemerged. When the U.S. military entered Iraq, it became the new face of American public diplomacy. U.S. troops are now both the medium and the message of U.S. public diplomacy in the region.
In this respect, the U.S. military is at a distinct disadvantage. The promise of America as a "liberator" is rapidly fading into the reality of U.S. troops as "occupiers." Americans tend to have a historically positive view of military occupation; the U.S. occupation of Germany and Japan helped transform both into world economic powers. In the Arab and Muslim world, military occupation conjures up highly negative and emotionally charged images of the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land. These images are fertile ground for rumors, stereotypes, and fears. Already one can substitute photo captions from the U.S. military occupation in Iraq, such as the walking patrols and checkpoints, with those of the Israeli military occupation in Gaza. The more entrenched en·trench also in·trench
v. en·trenched, en·trench·ing, en·trench·es
1. To provide with a trench, especially for the purpose of fortifying or defending.
2. these images become, the more difficult they will be to remove later.
American credibility, matching words about Iraq with deeds in Iraq, will be closely monitored. Given the presence of U.S. troops, it is important that the Bush administration's public statements correspond to the actual situation in Iraq. Credibility and public diplomacy effectiveness will not be measured by mass media efficiency but rather by the tenor of the personal stories circulating during the evening social visits among Iraqi families and neighbors.
Harmonizing America's communication with its internal and external publics will be equally challenging and will require large doses of cultural awareness. The effort to be more culturally attuned at·tune
tr.v. at·tuned, at·tun·ing, at·tunes
1. To bring into a harmonious or responsive relationship: an industry that is not attuned to market demands.
2. will entail fewer Washington-driven initiatives that sound good at home and more field-driven initiatives that work well abroad. Also, implementing some of the institutional recommendations proposed by the Council on Foreign Relations The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an influential and independent, nonpartisan foreign policy membership organization founded in 1921 and based at 58 East 68th Street (corner Park Avenue) in New York City, with an additional office in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Information Agency The U.S. Information Agency (USIA) was the public diplomacy arm of the U.S. government. The USIA existed "to further the national interest by improving United States relations with other countries and peoples through the broadest possible sharing of ideas, information, and Alumni Association An alumni association is an association of graduates (alumni) or, more broadly, of former students. In the United Kingdom and the United States, alumni of universities, colleges, schools (especially independent schools), fraternities, and sororities often form groups with alumni may help make U.S. public diplomacy more responsive, flexible, and proactive in the region. Through a dual approach--coordinating communication internally and harmonizing it externally--U.S. officials can avoid the unintended consequences of crisis public diplomacy.
* Culture, combined with crisis, produced the unintended consequences of U.S. public diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim world.
* The challenge of effective public diplomacy is bridging cultural differences, so that an administration's communication style positively resonates with domestic and foreign publics.
* As the promise of U.S. liberators fades into the reality of U.S. occupiers in Iraq, the Arab world “Arab States” redirects here. For the political alliance, see Arab League.
The Arab World (Arabic: العالم العربي; Transliteration: al-`alam al-`arabi) stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the conjures up highly negative and emotionally charged images of Israel's military occupation of Palestine The term occupation of Palestine is a hotly disputed issue in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. It may refer to:
R.S. Zaharna <email@example.com> is a Middle East analyst for Foreign Policy In Focus (online at www.fpif.org) and an assistant professor of public communication at American University American University, at Washington, D.C.; United Methodist; founded by Bishop J. F. Hurst, chartered 1893, opened in 1914. It was at first a graduate school; an undergraduate college was opened in 1925. Programs provide for student research at many government institutions. . She specializes in international and intercultural in·ter·cul·tur·al
Of, relating to, involving, or representing different cultures: an intercultural marriage; intercultural exchange in the arts. communication.