Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.
The New York Times editorial board opines that while the Obama administration argues that the N.S.A.’s global data mining is to provide security in a dangerous world, its damage to U.S. soft power may be undercutting that objective.
But the very scale of America’s clandestine electronic operations appears to be undercutting America’s “soft power” — its ability to influence global affairs through example and moral leadership. Brazil has complained about the reach of American surveillance, while the European Parliament has revived an effort to enact privacy legislation that could impose restrictions on American Internet providers and further complicate talks on a trans-Atlantic trade and investment agreement. [New York Times]
— Philip J. Crowley (@PJCrowley) October 24, 2013
Putting culture and tradition in the forefront of its soft power outreach is an obvious strategy for country with as rich a history as China, but its political management is undermining the credibility of the push.
Finally, the Chinese government is far too involved in Chinese culture – defining it, financing it, deciding who represents China culturally, how it is projected, etc. Even the Hanban’s management of the Confucius Institutes generates credibility problems that the British Council, the Alliance Francaise or the Goethe Institute never have to experience because they maintain more distance and autonomy from their respective governments. Culture – national or otherwise – is not a state-directed phenomenon; its spontaneous, sometimes critical and even rebellious nature partly explains its appeal. Until the Chinese government allows its cultural industries the freedom to flourish, to create products that are challenging and sometimes defiant (and one only has to keep up-to-date with weibo to see how creative and sometimes subversive the Chinese can be), it is difficult to imagine how cultural forms of soft power will progress. [University of Nottingham China Policy Institute Blog]
— Gastrodiplomacy (@gastrodiplomacy) October 23, 2013
Australia’s new regional strategy is putting “economic diplomacy first,” a policy that carefully refrains from using the word, “aid.”
What remains unclear is exactly how Bishop sees the aid program contributing to Australia’s economic diplomacy. One approach would be to view the aid program as a tool to assist Australian exporters and investors to access and profit from foreign markets. The development impact of such an approach is limited. The better approach is to use the aid program to promote an open trading system and help developing countries to effectively tap into it. Not only does this approach promise greater development impact, it also aligns with steps taken by other donors, builds upon existing achievements and allows Australia to legitimately advocate a future of ‘shared prosperity’. [Devpolicy Blog]
— Lynne Weil (@LynneWeil) October 23, 2013
For the stylish lady public diplomats, Tom Binns’ Soft Power Earring in Pastel. [Forward by Elyse Walker]
India’s Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor argued that India’s soft power strength resides in its technology-driven innovation.
“The Beijing Olympics were an exercise in Chinese soft power. Americans have the Voice of America and the Fulbright scholarships. But, the fact is that probably Hollywood, Coke, Levi’s jeans, MTV and McDonalds have done more for American soft power around the world than any specifically government activity. India has the same potential to wield soft power in technology services and through its proven frugal innovation capabilities,” Tharoor said. [Deccan Herald]
— Ivan (@slavicpolymath) October 23, 2013
The Step Crew, six young hip hop dancers from Iraq, are traveling the U.S. to promote art as a peace-building exercise.
Six young dancers are bringing hip hop diplomacy from Iraq to the United States. Members of the first step crew in Baghdad are traveling to the US to spread their message that art can create peace. Al Jazeera’s Bisi Ere-Onile reports from Detroit, one of Step Crew’s tour stops. [Al Jazeera America]
— Krystjan 郑力伟 (@krystjan) October 23, 2013
Simon Anholt provocatively argues “branding is fascism,” “communications is propaganda,” “public service is not business,” “diplomacy is not public relations,” “governance is not management,” “leadership is not customers service,” and “Europe is not a corporation.”