Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communications

Authored by: Philip M. Taylor

Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy

Print publication date:  October  2008
Online publication date:  November  2008

Print ISBN: 9780415953016
eBook ISBN: 9780203891520
Adobe ISBN: 9781135926892

10.4324/9780203891520.ch2

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Abstract

Public diplomacy has become the most debated topic in the field of international communications since the cultural imperialism thesis and calls for a new world information order in the 1970s and 1980s. In the United States especially, the debates have focused around the immediate post-9/11 response of “why do they hate us so much?,” the alarming subsequent worldwide rise of anti-Americanism, and the long overdue realization that the Global War on Terror needed to be rebranded as a Long War for hearts and minds that can only be won as an “information war” rather than solely by military means. The final point of this trilogy was obvious to those who have studied or practiced public diplomacy for many years and who were particularly alarmed by the closure of the United States Information Agency (USIA) in 1999. That short-sighted step, however, was only part of the problem and may only be partly rectified by the creation of a proposed Centre for Global Engagement.1 Much more fundamental is the undermining philosophy behind contemporary U.S. public diplomacy, cultivated in part by Joseph Nye’s ideas on “soft power” in the 1990s, namely that “to know us is to love us” and that being attractive is sufficient to make others want to be like you.

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