Public diplomacy is defined as state sponsored communication that specially target the foreign audience/ the citizen of other country. US has been using the element of public diplomacy for a long time. The public diplomacy has unique feature to shape the opinion of the foreign audience and to create a receptive environment for state policy goals among the foreign states. When we talk about the instrument for public diplomacy one thing which comes in our mind is the use of soft power rather than the element use of military or coercive action which only creates hatred and feeling of revenge. The main motive of American public diplomacy for the achievement of US foreign policy goals and objectives. To enhance its national security, by providing the information, influence the foreign audience, to strengthen the relationship between the US government and foreign people of the other countries. US has its separate department under the name of US department of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in which communication with foreign audiences, promoting their culture, exchange program, scholarships programs like Fulbright scholarship program etc.
The attacks of 2001 on world trade center were the defining moment of USA foreign policy and it serve to create new interest in US public diplomacy. USA united massive portion of world in their support. Article 5 of NATO was invoked for the first time, which clarified that attack on any NATO ally would consider attack against all.
But we have seen that the US strategy on war on terrorism, invasion in Afghanistan in 2001 and in 2003 in Iraq for suspecting that they were involved in WMD had lead towards the failure of US public diplomacy towards the whole world especially towards the Muslim or the Arab world in Middle east region. A claim by the Muslim countries is made that this war on terror is not against the terrorist it is against the Muslims. Another claim by Muslims is that US always favor Israel, a Jewish state, not recognized by majority of Muslims yet. Most of the time Israel is supported by Palestine, we have seen that US is exporting weapons to Israel as well. A study has showed that the shocking death rate by the USA of its war on terror since 9/11 attack more than 4 billion Muslims has been killed in various states , like in drone strikes of USA in north Waziristan, which is creating anti American sentiments , which can convert the non-radical group of joining the militants. Drone strike are infuriating the liberal segments of the society who had earlier sympatric towards USA. A criticism made by rest majority of the world is that America always show double standard in their policies and practices. All the policies which they provide to be applicable for the rest the world is always in the favor of US rather than universal rights for everyone. Their foreign policies like intervention, interference are not like by Muslim world. Therefore we have seen that US is concerned about public diplomacy to answer the question that why do they hate us? US is spending 100 Billion in middle east countries, 150 million in Muslim majority and about 25 million is spend on entire Arab and Muslim world.
The imminent increase in the USA public diplomacy in the middle east has fostered after USA military actions in both the states(Afghanistan and Iraq). The US military exercises in Afghanistan and Iraq has shown to the world that only the instrument of military for getting victory in the war is not sufficient, the fight between the NATO forces and Taliban has been for about a decade ,but US has get any remarkable victory, there is still instability and anarchy which is a reality in Afghanistan. The war on terrorism has marked USA as an evil personality, its brutal military actions and policies are not appreciated by the Muslim as well in European states like France, UK, Turkey, Italy. As we seen that US used the tool of broadcasting during 2003 invasion in Iraq which also lead towards the failure, showing USA as an aggressive entity, can go to any limit for achieving its goals through military power. Although it was not new strategy by USA earlier it has its subsidized newspaper and launched Radio Baghdad to eliminate anti-communist propaganda.US also relied on Arabic language media for Iraq its target in gulf war. USA also has established other platforms for reforming its public diplomacy like Radio Sawa, an Arabic channel Al-Hurra
A consensus has been made that US public diplomacy needs a new commitment to new foreign policy thinking and new structure . USA is needed to clear that why they are fighting the war on terror and how supporting it is in the interests of others as well America. The other thing which is that US not only need to do for the implementation in its foreign policies but in some case foreign policy themselves. In responding the extremist Islamic , US policymakers require the better understanding of how global Muslim majority see the world and how they regard United States. Although as we know that USA has its tool of soft power as a statecraft , but this instrument has failed after the invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another tool for improving their public diplomacy is using the soft power, which talks about the changing the mind and perception of the people, like cultural exchanges and reforming the educational system in Arab world for changing their minds and hearts.
We have seen that the public diplomacy during the Bush era was failure because he focused only one thing, but in reality public diplomacy is a two way process, which involves talking as well listening.
In order to create the positive image of USA and rest of western world , one thing which they can use is the media. Media can play a vital role to pursue the public diplomacy . USA should support independent media in all the Muslim countries.
Jodat shahid is a student from Fatima Jinnah Women University.