The Case for Cultural Diplomacy: Engaging Foreign Audiences

Making the case against the Clash of Civilizations and its wholesale aggregations (see other posts in the Cultural Warfare category), Helena Finn (in 2003) explains the need to engage. From the socio-political perspective this means listening and understanding. From the military-political persepective, this is the groundwork and foundation for Cultural Warfare. Either way, it is necessary to not see a binary world and not to assume that Arab speakers, Muslims, or some other "condition" as some would call it, as inherently defective and antagonistic to "us".

The Case for Cultural Diplomacy: Engaging Foreign Audiences (also at Foreign Affairs) abstract:

In the past few years there has been an alarming rise in anti-American sentiment around the globe, centered in the Middle East. To reverse this tide, the United States must begin working immediately to establish meaningful contact with the silent majority in the Muslim world, in ways other than through military force or traditional diplomacy. The anti-U.S. aggression witnessed today represents the boiling over of intense frustration, exacerbated by a sense that Muslims have somehow fallen behind. Rather than assuming that Islam is inherently more violent than other religions, U.S. policymakers should realize that there are practical causes of the widespread discontent in the Middle East, and try to offer practical solutions. As they do so, they should take inspiration from the successful cultural diplomacy of the Cold War, while tailoring their efforts to the new circumstances and enemies with which they are confronted. Cultural diplomacy is one of the most potent weapons in the United States’ armory, yet its importance has been consistently downplayed in favor of dramatic displays of military might.Like its predecessors during the early Cold War era, the Bush administration must realize that in waging its self-proclaimed war against extremism, winning foreigners’ voluntary allegiance to the American project will be the most important prize of all.

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