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Public Diplomacy 2.0

At the event "Public Diplomacy 2.0," held on December 12 2008, the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy James Glassman spoke about the use of new media technologies in public diplomacy. He argues that the evolution of new media has resulted in an open competition of ideas that ultimately gives the United States a comparative advantage over radicalized ideologies that require insulation from criticism.

Glassman used Columbia as an example of how informal internet groups can connect different parts of civil society and rapidly organize real mass political activism. This, he argues, is an example of what he calls "internet 2.0" which consists of the social networking, blogging and information aggregating tools that nurture individual expression and the competition of ideas. Glassman points out that while ideological radicalists seemed to have a technological edge in the early part of the war on terror with their many websites for recruiting, training and indoctrinating, the internet 2.0 is more problematic for their ends. The insulation necessary for their doctrines does not stand well in the open information exchanges of new media technologies. As such, Glassman's conclusion is that new media technology offers a comparative advantage for American public diplomacy.

Glassman goes onto explain that Public Diplomacy 2.0 is not a matter simply marketing America better abroad, as more traditional public diplomacy is sometimes considered. Instead of preaching philosophy or arguing policy, Public Diplomacy 2.0 focuses on the mode of discourse, promoting the competition of ideas instead of specific ideas.

Glassman concludes by reminding the audience that soft power is not a sufficient substitute for hard power, but it is a necessary condition for establishing the moral integrity America needs in order to win hearts and minds with foreign policy.


New America Foundation
1630 Connecticut Ave, NW 7th Floor
Washington, DC, 20009
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Featured Speaker
The Hon. James K. Glassman
Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs


Steve Clemons
Director, American Strategy Program New America Foundation
Publisher, TheWashingtonNote.com

Event Time and Location

Monday, December 1, 2008 - 10:00am - 11:30am

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