Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The September 17 missile announcement: A speculation regarding this public-diplomacy disaster

My pet conspiracy theory, re the public-diplomacy disaster (vis a vis Poland) of the Obama's administration's announcement of the change in the architecture of the missile shield in Eastern Europe on September 17, the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by the USSR: The cynical but clever Putin oligarchy proposed the date of the announcement, knowing full well that the Americans, ignorant of history (or not caring about it, true to their national character) would have no objections, timed as it was to occur before Obama's speech at the UN. The Putin-Russians, no fools and familiar with the Polish fear (and resentment) of being abandoned by the West, also realized full well that the date of the announcement would produce an anti-American backlash among the Poles, even among those who had opposed the shield in the first place, because it would be seen by them as yet another great power deal to diminish the influence of their country and leave it defenceless.

Sounds crazy? But then the timing of the announcement itself was crazy from a PD perspective, as anyone who has been to Poland will tell you (I served there as a diplomat from 1986-1990).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why Health Care Should Concern Public Diplomacy

Image from: Rahmatullah, 19, a victim of Friday's NATO airstrike, tries to sit up on his bed in a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 5, 2009.

"To put it simply, we need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate."

--Michael G. Mullen, Admiral, U.S. Navy; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff