Blast from the Past: Afghan Road Rage and the real public diplomats

Every now and then I come across a forgotten gem that’s worth a second look. A post from August 2006, "Afghan Road Rage": on the frontline of Public Diplomacy, the real PAOs, focuses on a memo written by Command Sergeant Major Daniel Wood about Army personnel standards of conduct in Afghanistan. The importance Wood places on perception of the civilians to be significant and welcoming. Everyone, Wood emphasizes, is a strategic communicator.

We are currently engaged with an enemy that attempts to win battles in the press where the tide of public opinion is the ammunition and make no mistake… this ammunition is effective, especially when it has credibility. The effective engagement of the "middle ground" or the people of the rural communities and villages of this country is where the long war will be won. EVERY TIME you move down a road in this country, you are affecting this middle ground either positively or negatively.

The memo is worth a read. American public diplomacy wore combat boots then and it continues to do so today, although less so than a year ago. Let’s hope the trend back to civilian leadership in shaping perceptions about America continue.

See the complete original post here.