The Need to Communicate: How to Improve U.S. Public Diplomacy with the Islamic World

This report analyzes the public diplomacy efforts of the Department of State and the White House and suggests a new contextual paradigm on which such efforts should be based.

Hady Amr, The Need to Communicate: How to Improve U.S. Public Diplomacy with the Islamic World, The Saban Centre for Middle East Policy, Analysis Paper #6, January 2004.

The scope of this report is to analyze the public diplomacy efforts of the Department of State and the White House and suggest a new contextual paradigm on which such efforts should be based, recommend improvements to these efforts, and propose new initiatives.

As such, there are a few fields that are sometimes characterized as related to public diplomacy but lie outside the scope of this paper: public affairs and psychological operations.

Public affairs is defined as "the provision of information to the public, press and other institutions concerning the goals, policies, and activities of the U.S. Government.... The thrust of public affairs is to inform a domestic (American) audience."5 On the other hand, "psychological operations" are the domain of the Department of Defense. Their role is to influence foreign attitudes and behavior for military advantage.

Messages are not required to be complete or balanced, but merely to affect the military situation. These are certainly valuable policy tools, but cannot substitute for a proper public diplomacy apparatus.

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