Thursday, June 7, 2018

Two poles of public diplomacy: Ordnance-ideas vs. Poetry-love

"If war is the continuation of diplomacy by other means, public diplomacy is a theater where states use ideas instead of ordnance."

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--Mike Gonzalez, "Time for Trump’s Choice, Not Obama’s, to Head America’s Global Broadcast Operations," The Daily Signal (June 6, 2018). Gonzalez is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, served in the George W. Bush administration, first at the Securities and Exchange Commission and then at the State Department, and is the author of "A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans."


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"No amount of theoretical knowledge can replace ... contact with concrete reality. Like Leon-Paul Fargue, he [the Cultural Affairs Officer] should opt for 'l'intelligence qui mange de la viande,' that can observe the shape of roofs and the color of skies and can seize the importance of such things in understanding people and communicating with them. For he must understand (and if possible, love) before he can convince. (The CAO soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating.)"

--John L. Brown ("But What Do you Do?" The Foreign Service Journal, June, 1964; republished in American Diplomacy (September 2002). A poet and literary critic, during the Second World War Dr. Brown served in the Office of War Information and the Office of Strategic Services. From the late '40s to the '60s Brown worked for the Marshall Plan, France; for the U.S. Information Service at the U.S. Embassy in Paris; and in the cultural sections at U.S. Embassies in Brussels, Rome, and Mexico City. See also Raphaël Ricaud, "John L. Brown’s Epistolary Wit: The Difficult Art of Practicing Public Diplomacy,"Angles: French Perspectives on the Anglophone World (June 23, 2015). JB: Also of possible interest, an article which cites my father: "Is Cultural Diplomacy a Hot Potato?"

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