Term Paper: Public Diplomacy

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¶ … Congress of Vienna, amidst the height of the turbulent end to the Napoleonic era, Metternich was informed of the death of the Russian ambassador and exclaimed, "Ah, is that true? What can have been his motive?" (10:1067) Metternich, a diplomat by profession and persona, was not alone witnessing the gradual degeneration of public diplomacy; the overall esteem of the diplomat in modern society is one of nebulous antipathy. The diplomat is frequently accused of substandard intelligence, inadequate competency, and lagging moral qualities that were, almost certainly, hidden under the cloak of employed responsibility. Facing inevitable scrutiny and public distrust, the diplomat performs a necessary function in the greater political world.

The Wilsonian conception of foreign affairs embraced by the League of Nations and perpetuated by its modern heir supports a basic pretense that diplomatic function is, while traditional, near obsolete.

10:1067) While this theoretical premise is embraced by both leaders and their critics, all cope with a natural necessity for diplomacy; their approach is splintered into two paradigms on foreign affairs. The first proffers the belief that foreign policy is a political relic from a pre-scientific past that will fall short of use in a coming age of reason and good; it is perfectionist in contradistinction to its mate and grown of the liberal ideology of the nineteenth century. Diplomacy had, at that point, still been a source of aristocratic recreation, and was assumed to eventually disappear with the actualization of liberal principles in the international spectrum.

Cobden, in his analysis of diplomacy, explained, "At some point in future election, we may probably see the test of 'no foreign politics' applied to those who become the representatives of free constituencies." (1: 268) the idea of conscious planning supported an age in which politics would be a natural, un-biased, un-spun offspring of the purely political state in which administrative conferences would supercede the role of diplomatic conversations. Among those embracing this philosophy was political historian Paul Reinsch, who outlined very clearly the beliefs of his regime.

The idea of conscious planning, or striving to subject national and economic facts and all historic development to conscious political will - that conception of diplomacy will synonymous with the essence of politics and will stand and fall with the continuance of the purely political state... When Portugal became a republic, the proposal was made to abolish all diplomatic posts and have the international business of Portugal administered by consuls. That would eliminate the politics of foreign relations." (16:13)

While the ascendancy of liberal principles over the feudal state is expected to result in laissez-faire harmony, its certain lack of achievement prevents the actualization of this approach. (10:1068)

The second school approaches foreign policy as an outcropping of hackneyed politics based on a state-to-state basis. This paradigm argues for a shift away from the "old" diplomacy and refocuses it on a "new" one, in which the power play of individual states would be substituted by international law. (10:1068) Twentieth-century opponents of foreign policy and diplomacy promote the United Nations as a bastion for this future unity, and members of the American Bar publicly embraced its significance. "The United Nations," they declared in 1946, "cannot be saved by the process of shunting all the major controversies between its members back for solution by diplomacy. It can only be saved... By transforming the present league structure into a general government to regulate and promote the common interests of the people of the States. The American Bar can dedicate itself to no greater responsibility nor higher aim than that of world government to make world laws for the control of world assures so as to assure world peace." (20:270)

Members of this school triumphantly proclaim the international viability of the United Nations, a place where traditional foreign policy can be disregarded in the interest of international affairs. Presumably, the essence of these groups would foster worldwide respect for international law and the responsibilities, needs, and affairs of the contributing states. In its esteemed devotion, the American Bar implicitly forewarned of the use of the international governing body as a place to capitalize on the great American ideals of liberty and peace that might, if these compatriots were to ever be at odds, splinter beyond functionality. Historically, America has come at odds with the U.N., and while U.S. leadership first aimed to use the New York guidepost to further its own international missions, it would disregard the honored devotion to the international governing body in order to pursue its own goals.

During the Iran-contra ordeal, the White House manipulated the public and international perception of their mission under the guise of foreign policy and national security. This covert domestic operation was aligned with a greater international campaign; using the press, informed electorate, and international will, the White House, at the behest of the CIA, overturned the basis of a functioning democracy in order to achieve their will elsewhere. According to Kornbluh and Parry, recipients of the George Polk Award for Iran-contra, the late CIA director William Casey detailed an explicit guide to this manipulation in a 1982 National Security Council "public diplomacy" program. (13:4) the "political action" memorandums passed throughout the NSC's halls deployed secretly funded private-sector surrogates to attack anti-contra lawmakers and, combined with the CIA's side-stepping of anti-spy regulations, the Central American operation was, in retrospect, a direct attempt of the United States government to insert its power elsewhere, deceiving both the international bodies and its own voting populace as need along the way.

Then Secretary of State Dean Acheson spoke of the ability of an administration to "spin a story clearer than the truth," a dangerous power when added to the pressure placed upon news executives and journalists covering White House scandal by the public diplomacy office. (12:4) While this blatant use of propaganda goes strictly against the grain of the public scrutiny, it is sometimes so successful that the American public is deceived by its leadership before the rest of the world. Public diplomacy, as executed by the State Department, must be examined as "spun" will of the American leadership, a sort of biased news-tool created by the government and disseminated by the media. It proffers opinion as fact and, while if successful instills a sense of national security in the American people, directly contradicts the international rules to which the United States expects its enemies to apply but, on occasion, subverts.

Chapter 2


The international peace of liberal nineteenth-century ideology has yet to take form and has, over the past few years, revealed itself to not only be a broken dream but also a shadow of ideas over the struggling tensions in the international community. The United Nations, though highly respected by citizens throughout the world, is seemingly unable to mend these fractures once military force has been used between the disjointed states. As a result, conflict prevention has become its key focus. (15: 7) the U.N. Office of Public Affairs attempts to work its political magic to restore peace to tense situations the world over, but, in doing so, puts its legal and legislative actions into check. (15:23) the United States, too often present in the United Nations historically to garner much respect their today, has lost its footing in the international context in the same way; its history of bad, western-centric policies, frequently tainted with subterfuge and outright politicking, has undermined its reputation under the flag of public diplomacy.

Ramcharan centers his conversation of recent public diplomacy in the sea of the changing character of international law; in an oblique variation on the age-old adage that external conflict has internal roots, he says that there is "convergence between national and international security challenges. (15:4) as a direct result, contemporary international law exists to converge the legitimacy of governments and internal arguments with the nebulous concept of the international well-being. From any state's perspective, he puts forth, early warning and preventive diplomacy is the only key to success in "political emergencies." (15:68)

For the United States' foreign affairs office, the purpose of public diplomacy is to preclude any "political emergencies" that might endanger the ideals, people, or financial lucidity of the American state. As a result, foreign policy is directly linked to considerations for national security and drawn with the markers of morality, legality, territorial expansion, and commercial empire. (9:143) Since the end of the Gulf War, American public diplomacy has shifted to a national security approach, encompassing the decisions and actions deemed imperative to protecting domestic core values from external threats. (2:122) national security approach acknowledges as well that power plays a key role in the behavior of nations and the functioning of the international system, and that a nation's approach to that external governing body is entirely dependent on its internal political stability, social cohesion, and economic productivity. (19:143) Yet, basing public diplomacy on international security is ambiguous; half a century ago, Arnold Wolfer wrote that since "security" is used to encompass so many goals, it lacks any… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Public Diplomacy.  (2005, May 26).  Retrieved December 7, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/public-diplomacy/901346

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