Kristin Lord: What not to do in public diplomacy

From “The Great Debate”, a blog at Reuters, First 100 Days: What not to do in public diplomacy by Kristin Lord:

As Senate confirmation hearings approach, America’s next public diplomacy leaders will get abundant advice about how to improve America’s standing in the world. The Obama administration’s nominees (an under secretary and at least two assistant secretaries in the State Department alone) would be wise to listen.

Yet, in truth, America’s new public diplomacy team can accomplish much by following that age old maxim: first, do no harm.  Seven key “don’ts” are worth bearing in mind.

1) Don’t let the pollsters get you down

2) Don’t forget the borders

3) Don’t forget the Pentagon

4) Don’t go it alone

5) Don’t forget old standards

6) Don’t trust your gut

7)   Don’t forget friends

Public diplomacy is a tough business. Success usually goes unnoticed, but failures can resound globally. Avoiding missteps is impossible but avoiding these seven mistakes will give America’s next public diplomacy leaders a useful head start.

It’s a short post. Go read the whole thing here.

Public diplomacy, strategic communication, global engagement, “smart power”… each term is a variation on all the others with different kinds of associated activities and focus, but each recognizes the importance that states are not autonomous and that the reactions by individuals and groups of different sizes must be included in the calculus of foreign policy. This is Kristin’s point.