Usually, when I link to Democracy Project it is to highlight some important problem that my friend Bruce Kesler attacking head on. Today, Bruce has invited another friend, Matt Armstrong of MountainRunner, to share the spotlight in a special guest post in an area of expertise – the crisis of American public diplomacy:
To begin with, we must accept that the romantic days of the United States Information Agency are gone. So many confuse the USIA and the other information services, such as Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, of recent decades with the USIA that was engaged in the active psychological struggle that largely ended with détente and the finalizing of the European partition.
Unlike half a century ago, the U.S. military has a clear voice and is arguably our dominant public diplomat. Therefore, simply resurrecting “USIA” without reorganizing our national information capabilities across civilian and military lines would turn it into just another voice struggling to be heard over America’s military commanders, spokespersons, and warfighters.
The candidates must look deeper than re-creating an agency and or re-establishing old outreach programs. They must show strong leadership and have a bold vision to rally the government and country to adapt to a world that requires understanding the information effect of action, agile response capabilities, and above all, credibility and trust.
Read the rest here.