American Diplomacy in the Trump Era 3/7

Asking the Right Questions About U.S. International Broadcasting

Asking the Right Questions About U.S. International Broadcasting

By Matthew Wallin & Jed Willard

Published on-line in The Diplomat on June 03, 2014

[An excerpt is reprinted here, see the original source at thediplomat.com for a complete reading.]

Congress is currently examining the government’s role in international news broadcasting, but are they asking the right questions?

The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently passed a bill to reform the U.S. Government’s international broadcasting apparatus. There have been issues with America’s international broadcasting for years, and the legislation makes long needed management adjustments that will streamline processes and generally enhance the official American voice around the world. But while there are many good things in the bill, it brings to mind the open question as to why America has international broadcasters in the first place.

On one hand, public diplomacy, which includes international broadcasting, is intended to build relationships and advertise our nation’s purpose, ideals, culture, and exceptionalism. On the other hand, public diplomacy also supports, explains, and defends foreign policy in an effort to achieve specific goals.

These are both perfectly rational objectives for public diplomacy and for the nation. But do they conflict? Does the U.S. want its state broadcasters to serve as independent journalists providing objective news coverage for populations otherwise subjected to nothing but propaganda and conspiracy theories? Or does it expect its state-funded broadcasters to strictly advocate U.S policy? Are these choices mutually exclusive?

Can Voice of America be assigned, for instance, to produce – as worded in the pending legislation – “accurate, objective, and comprehensive news and related programming that is consistent with and promotes the broad foreign policies of the United States?” Or is that asking the impossible – assigning an entity to perform two potentially opposing tasks? To examine the potential complications, let us consider VOA’s assignment in depth.

Read more at thediplomat.com

Matthew Wallin is a fellow specializing in public diplomacy at the American Security Project [external link]. Jed Willard is the Director of the FDR Center for Global Engagement at Harvard College.

Ending Endless Wars: The Colombian Peace Process 2/6

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On February 6, Dr. Jennifer Schirmer, Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Divinity School’s Religions and the Practice of Peace Initiative, will host a Fireside Chat in the FDR Suite.

For the last 15 years, Jennifer directed a peace-building project in Colombia, engaging multiple sectors in dialogs preparatory to a peace agreement. Jennifer is an expert on international experiences with ceasefires, disarmament, demobilization, reintegration & reconciliation – areas we feel are critical to today’s America.

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e44aead29a4fa7-thefog

12 attendees only, preference given to undergraduates – please do not sign up unless you are certain to attend. If the wishlist begins to fill we’ll find a larger venue.

Date: 02/06/2018 (Tue.)

Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm EST

Location: FDR Suite (Adams House B-17)

 

 

Face facts. The west that won the cold war no longer exists

We recommend this op-ed by Rafael Behr at “The Guardian.” We also recommend that more public figures in the West speak of liberal democracy openly and regularly.

“The US president makes a parody of the idea of the west as a beacon of moral authority. It is true that his despotic urges are hemmed by law in a way that lesser countries might not manage. But it is some downgrade of the system to boast that it might withstand assault by a venal, nepotistic maniac. America used to aim higher than constitutional kleptocracy.

“In such times it is easy to forget that the “western” model is still the best way to organise people into peaceful, prosperous societies. The benefits of liberal democracy are routinely taken for granted by people who live in one, but not by those who don’t. Millions vote with their feet, migrating across continents in search of a better life. That movement flatters the achievements of democratic societies, although our politics rarely casts it in those terms.”

Read Behr’s whole op-ed at “The Guardian”:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/10/west-cold-war-capitalism-eastern-bloc-populism

Life in the Obama White House 12/7

 

A Fireside Chat with President Obama’s Director of Global Engagement

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Brett Bruen is a former U.S. Diplomat who served as Director of Global Engagement at the White House.  Brett is a specialist in using strategic communications to influence the course of crisis and conflict. Bruen created some of the government’s most innovative international programs for reaching new audiences around the world.  Brett also unified public and private entrepreneurship programs for the first time under one banner, as part of President Obama’s Spark Global Entrepreneurship initiative. Bruen served in the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea, Iraq, Venezuela, Argentina, Zambia, and Eritrea. He serves as an adjunct faculty member of the Federal Executive Institute, where he trains senior U.S. Government leaders on strategy and world affairs. Bruen is Founder and President of GSR, with a vision to democratize internationalization and give every business and organization the tools to navigate in foreign markets. 

Date: 12/07/2017 (Thu.)

Time: 6:00pm – 6:45pm EST

Location: FDR Suite, B-17, Adams House

RSVP: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e44aead29a4fa7-life