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MARCH 2013
endeavors that the Pentagon refers to as
“strategic communication,” civilian gov-
ernment agencies often call
“public afairs and public
diplomacy,” businesses
see as advertising, and
political advisers view as
campaigning. He uses
numerous real-world
examples to illustrate his
His basic argument
is that the overriding
goal of any informa-
tion campaign is not
only to inform, but
also to
people who matter.
Tis is the case for authoritarian
regimes and dictators seeking to keep
their populations in line, as well as for
democracies, militaries, foreign ofcials
and elected politicians.
He goes on to argue that whatever
the message, the facts and the story
need to be accurate. Tey must be
judged as credible by the intended
recipients because the long-term verac-
ity of the messenger is crucial to gaining
and maintaining popular support.
Toward that end, the messenger
must choose the most efective medium
for delivery of the message, whether for
good or ill. Witness, as Farwell tragically
documents, the efcacy of hate radio
campaigns during the 1994 Rwandan
genocide—and, I would add, similar
propaganda conducted in the former
Yugoslavia during the same decade and
In “Change that Would Matter,” Far-
well’s penultimate chapter, he includes
lists of recommendations for the U.S.
military and State Department as these
behemoth bureaucracies navigate the
shoals of divided government and
reduced resources. Since one of those
lists is mine—you may credit or blame
me for its contents—I will note that
I stand by all of my
suggestions. (In the
interest of full disclo-
sure, let me add that
you will see my name
in several other chap-
ters, as well, because
I was involved in the
book’s initial editing.)
I argue in that list of
initiatives that U.S. public
U.S. foreign policy as a
whole—needs to begin at
home with “the last three
feet.” In my view, the State Department
has been derelict in its treatment of
public diplomacy specialists abroad,
thereby squandering much potential
infuence. Moreover, it has yet to grasp
the need to garner support for its activi-
ties and policies through educating
and communicating better with publics
right here in the United States.
Let me close by adding one more
recommendation to Farwell’s. Tere
needs to be greater concerted support
by the State Department, Congress
and the rest of the American political
leadership, as well as members of the
international business community, for
the long-planned Museum of Diplo-
macy than there has been up to now.
Washington, D.C., overfows with eas-
ily accessible and impressive memorials
to America’s war dead. Tere’s even a Spy
Museum that commemorates the Central
Intelligence Agency, while the Newseum
trumpets the feats of the commercial
media. An attractive, welcoming and
publicly accessible Museum of Diplo-
macy in the nation’s capital should be
part of that mix, as well.
Patricia H. Kushlis was an FSO with the
U.S. Information Agency from 1970 to 1998.
A longer version of this review appeared
on Whirled View, the world politics, public
diplomacy and national security blog she co-
writes with former FSO Patricia Lee Sharpe
Farwell’s basic argument is
that the overriding goal of
any information campaign is
not only to inform, but
also to
the people
who matter.
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