Tag Archives: diplomacy

Public Diplomacy Hypocrisy in Uzbekistan

With the deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, there are many questions to be answered about the Northern Distribution Route that runs through Central Asia. Unfortunately for these 5 ‘stans, when the Northern Distribution Route stops flowing, so will the aid.

During the past five years, the U.S. has almost completely ignored humanitarian violations by the Uzbekistan government, mainly perpetrated by President Karimov, because of their reliance on the supply route through the region into Afghanistan. The U.S. has a placed aid sanctions on countries that commit human rights violations, however, they have kept their relationship with Uzbekistan despite the government’s violations.

In a recent article highlighting these political problems, U.S. public diplomacy is making the case that if they need a country’s help badly enough, then human rights violations can be overlooked.

“’While U.S. officials make it clear the bilateral relationship cannot deepen absent improvements, there is no element of public diplomacy that signals there are red lines Uzbekistan can’t cross,’ as Steve Swerdlow, Human Rights Watch’s Central Asia researcher, puts it.”

If the U.S. cannot provide a steady policy for public diplomacy toward countries that are clear human rights violators, then it puts diplomats in the difficult position of trying to justify why one country receives aid and another doesn’t. The U.S. has also promised to leave behind non-lethal (debatable…) military gear behind in Uzbekistan when it departs. It is willing to give military aid to a country that has suppressed and killed its citizens in the past. What diplomatic message is this sending to countries where the U.S. doesn’t have any interests?

Uzbekistan is a slippy slope for U.S. public diplomacy and one that has not received much media attention. However, as the troops withdraw from Afghanistan, pay attention to the amount of aid and military-to-military assistance that is provided in Central Asia. It will be telling to determine whether or not this is a practice that the U.S. will continue to adopt in the future or not.

Shirley Temple Black: Child Star, Singer, Public Servant

FILE: Shirley Temple Dies At The Age Of 85

 

Shirley Temple Black, the child star whom we know and love has died at the age of 85. Shirley Temple, as she is widely known, was a former child star who danced and sang her way across the silver screen during the Great Depression, bringing smiles and laughter to audiences across the country during a time when smiles and laughter didn’t come so easily.

What few people know, however, is that Black went on to become a public servant. She spent time with the United Nations and two ambassadorial stints in Ghana and Czechoslovakia. According to an article in the NY post (http://nypost.com/2014/02/11/shirley-temple-earned-respect-as-us-diplomat-after-film-stardom/) she was also a charter member and active participant of the American Academy of Diplomacy. Her passion for public service started at an early age. Although she was a former child star and has a hairstyle named after her, she gained the respect of her colleagues and later was appointed ambassador to two countries–both experiencing turbulent times during her appointments. She served both countries well during her tenure.

The purpose of this post is not to recount the laurels of a famous little girl who grew up to become an ambassador. Political appointed ambassadors face a lot more criticism than their career Foreign Service Officer counterparts. The argument is that political appointees are selected because of the amount of money they contributed to the President’s campaign or because of old favors owed, stealing the coveted ambassadorships from career Foreign Service Officers with years of experience. While I do believe that career foreign service officers sometimes get the short end of the stick, I am not against politically appointed ambassadors like Former Ambassador Temple-Black.  American icons like Shirley Temple are perfect public diplomacy tools. Because she lit up the screen during a less than prosperous time in American history, people associate her with a kind of nostalgia and happiness. I am a proud member of Generation Y and I grew up on her movies and still appreciate Shirley Temple curls every once in a while. Likewise, other countries knew and recognized her and associated her with American ideals and values. That, coupled with the fact that she was genuinely interested in public service and took her job incredibly seriously made her the effective ambassador that she was.

Thank you, passenger of the Good Ship Lollipop, for your years of dedicated public service.

 

–Miranda Patterson

Public Sphere and Public Diplomacy- New Addition to an Old Framework?

Hi,

Today, as we embark on the journey of deepening our knowledge about public diplomacy in the 21st century, I’d like to consider one particular idea that keeps coming to my mind: Is public diplomacy really a new working sphere for diplomacy and conduct of international affairs or is it just a new dimension in the long-existing framework?

The idea came to me with the publication of the NSA scandal and the revelations that have been coming since then. It seems to me that Snowden has shown us how very little do we know about the ‘real’ diplomacy and the ‘behind the scenes’ of international politics. I believe that current revelations are just the tip of the iceberg and that (unfortunately?) conduct of state affairs remains mainly in the hands of politicians and state actors while secrecy still dominates this conduct.

Across the readings for this week of the course (Hocking, Cull, Pamment) the need for wise conduct of relations with foreign publics is emphasized as a key to successful public diplomacy. It is true that public image of a country has become significantly more important than in the past and the social media, as well as the existence of non-governmental players and interests groups push the states and their diplomats towards more openness, accountability and public engagement. However in my opinion what we are facing is just a technical change. In politics, just as in private business, the public arena now plays an important role. Yet issues decided openly through this public arena are ones of low urgency or danger. Decisions regarding wars, big money, significant social changes, as was revealed by Snowden, are still conducted away from the public eye.

As globalization continues and the power of non-governmental players and interest groups rises, we might witness a change. Nevertheless for now public diplomacy seems to be just a new dimension of diplomacy, handled by adding a public affairs officer to a typical embassy team.

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