This semester we have traversed the main concepts, debates, strengths, weaknesses, and challenges of public diplomacy. We have discussed the “new” PD, amid the various kinds of political power, from hard to social to soft to power of the people. We have compared PD approaches of small, middle, and large powers, amid the tensions of domestic, intermestic, and transnational politics and identity.
As Bruce Gregory wrote in 2011 (“American public diplomacy: Enduring characteristics, elusive transformation,” Hague Journal of Diplomacy 6) and in February, 2014 (http://www.gwu.edu/~ipdgc/assets/docs/IPDGC_FinalReport_PD_Rise&Demise.pdf ), diplomacy is going increasingly public because of the growing public nature of political power. At the same time, the U.S. government is still a preeminent power. Gregory (2011) argues that American public diplomacy should change with these times, but that an internal transformation of U.S. PD is elusive. His argument suggests to me that U.S. public diplomacy must go beyond a mindset and practice of ‘adapt or die’ to an approach of ‘transform, institutionally, or lose relevance, if not sovereignty.’
Of course, the present and future of U.S. PD have implications for other governments’ PD. James Pamment returned from the International Studies Association convention last month and blogged — http://uscpublicdiplomacy.org/blog/reflections-international-studies-association-conference-2014 — about some of the ideas, debates, and challenges explored in Toronto about PD in the US and around the world.
I’m looking forward in our penultimate class session to hearing your perspectives on current U.S. public diplomacy, in the context of PD and politics around the world. About the 2011 Gregory piece in particular, I am also curious: what postscript might you add to the article’s assessment of the first two years of the Obama administration’s diplomatic engagement?