Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Random Thoughts: 20 Years! Historical (hysterical) events in American public diplomacy, 1999-2019 [in rough chronological order]

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--Elimination of the Cold War-founded/USG-funded United States Information Agency (USIA) (1999); its function integrated into the State Department; see

--Creation of a State Department Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public affairs, an often vacant post with no current employee. 

--Denigration of the "public diplomacy" function within the State Department hierarchy, especially in the field (not adequately documented in print/online)

--Proliferation/academisation of college programs on public diplomacy; but what "real jobs" will these earnest grads get after borrowing for exorbitant tuition fees? [See]

Hegel wrote: "The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk." from

--Privatization of public diplomacy: Let the "private sector"/business do it; see :). At whose expense/ investment? The consumer? And is "Drink Coke" what America is all about?

--Modification/elimination of the adjective preceding "public diplomacy," formerly modified (but not always); see "Diplomacies, from Public to Pubic"

--Digitalization (the latest social media graze): Who needs personal, face-to-face contact when you've got a cell phone! (Part of the ahistorial cyberutopian mentality?); a new book on the subject by a distinguished historian

--And perhaps, as the USA abandons 20th-cent "public diplomacy," as traditionally (wrongly?) formulated during the Cold War, other countries -- notably in Asia, and to some extent in Eastern Europe and Africa -- are proclaiming it with abandon (in their interpretation, of course). (Check my blog on references to PD in many countries, especially China, South Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Israel ...)

--Key Question: Who will come up with an original idea beyond -- Digitalization/"fighting" trolls' fake news -- of this arguably anachronistic activity,"public diplomacy," (before it became a "course" in expensive USA "higher" education) in order to remind us human beings that we are but a speck of the universe that has no choice but to get along before we become yet another "endangered species"?

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