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American Public Diplomacy: Enduring Characteristics, Elusive Transformation

American Public Diplomacy: Enduring Characteristics, Elusive Transformation Understanding, planning, engagement and advocacy are core concepts of public diplomacy. They are not unique to the American experience. There is, however, an American public diplomacy modus operandi with enduring characteristics that are rooted in the nation’s history and political culture. These include episodic resolve correlated with war and surges of zeal, systemic trade-offs in American politics, competitive practitioner communities and powerful civil society actors, and late adoption of communication technologies. This article examines these concepts and characteristics in the context of US President Barack Obama’s strategy of global public engagement. It argues that as US public diplomacy becomes a multi-stakeholder instrument and central to diplomatic practice, its institutions, methods and priorities require transformation rather than adaptation. The article explores three illustrative issues: a culture of understanding; social media; and multiple diplomatic actors. It concludes that the characteristics shaping the US public diplomacy continue to place significant constraints on its capacity for transformational change. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Hague Journal of Diplomacy Brill

American Public Diplomacy: Enduring Characteristics, Elusive Transformation

The Hague Journal of Diplomacy , Volume 6 (3-4): 22 – Mar 21, 2011

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1871-1901
eISSN
1871-191X
DOI
10.1163/187119111X583941
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Understanding, planning, engagement and advocacy are core concepts of public diplomacy. They are not unique to the American experience. There is, however, an American public diplomacy modus operandi with enduring characteristics that are rooted in the nation’s history and political culture. These include episodic resolve correlated with war and surges of zeal, systemic trade-offs in American politics, competitive practitioner communities and powerful civil society actors, and late adoption of communication technologies. This article examines these concepts and characteristics in the context of US President Barack Obama’s strategy of global public engagement. It argues that as US public diplomacy becomes a multi-stakeholder instrument and central to diplomatic practice, its institutions, methods and priorities require transformation rather than adaptation. The article explores three illustrative issues: a culture of understanding; social media; and multiple diplomatic actors. It concludes that the characteristics shaping the US public diplomacy continue to place significant constraints on its capacity for transformational change.

Journal

The Hague Journal of DiplomacyBrill

Published: Mar 21, 2011

Keywords: engagement; Obama administration; multi-stakeholder diplomacy; public diplomacy; strategic communication; social media; opinion research and evaluation

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