" (19:481) in order to wield the power of the opaque concept of 'national security' in foreign policy, the executers must use a careful construct of realities and perceptions that hang between an actual danger and a perceived threat. (9:144)
Taking into account the internal roots of an external problem, to have heft in the weight of international opinion, alliances are key to public diplomacy. The first Golf War reflected a profound gap between the national mood, Congress, and President that revealed itself most directly in the "stress test" with the United States' alliances, according to Michael Brenner. (19:665) While the end of the Cold War brought rise to a transformation in mutual security structures worldwide, their reform and renovation incited an introverted tactic of externally exerted power for the United States. As the West continued its reliance on the United States' directive leadership, the Gulf crisis revealed an tenuous and unstable association between widely-held expectations and actual policy. (19:665) Brenner attributes this U.S. gallantry to the blinding euphoria of victory that hung over the American political sphere after the fall of the Berlin wall, the "reproachful domestic debate" over the commercially-based Gulf War launched American soldiers into the Middle East without a stable public diplomacy underneath. (19:667)
While Brenner, still reeling with his own political motivations, attributes the hybrid loss of the Gulf crisis to an alliance failing because of mismatched responsibilities, at the heart of that struggle is the foreign policy that not only established but exacerbated the situation. Brenner cites the poor leadership of other countries as they fell back to American reliance when trouble struck the Gulf War missions, a symbol of a hackneyed past. "Otherwise," he explained, without their understanding of their own stakes in the world, "the alliance will be capable only of 'disparate, ill-prepared, and insufficiently reasoned action' - in other words, falling back on the tradition of directive American leadership." (3:677) Ultimately, this is exactly what happened, the fault lying on both sides, but particularly with the United States, which propagated ideas of a strong and cohesive American unit capable of leading a coalition.
The Clinton era saw a marked change in the Cold War strategies that colored the Reagan and Bush years. The 1999 Kosovo war perpetuated anti-American sentiment abroad, where populations witnessed the American soldiers ride in to bloody battle and ride out while it became bloodier. (12:87) Wanting to counter negative media, America hosted the NATO 50th Anniversary celebrations in Washington, where the Clinton administration sought to approval through the media in the international sphere. On April 30th, however, while NATP was still bombing the Serbians, Clinton issued the top-secret Presidential Decision Directive/National Security Council 68, titled: U.S. International Information Policy. (12:87) the so-called IPI, which was leaked in part to the Washington Times and printed on July 31 of that same year, called for an intelligence community that would better identify:
Hostile foreign propaganda and deception that targets the U.S. To enhance U.S. security, bolster America's economic prosperity and to promote democracy abroad... (while controlling) international military information to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups and individuals." (12:89)
On October 1, 199, Clinton abolished the USIA and appointed the first-ever Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, whose job would be to "broaden dialogue between American citizens, institutions, and their counterparts abroad." (12:90) Critics condemned the mood for Madeline Albright's courting of educators, while supporters praised Undersecretary Lieberman's remarks for their historic consistency with earlier approaches to public diplomacy. (12:90) in the wake of the dubiously justified and increasingly violent American intervention in Kosovo, Albright declared, "diplomacy is our first line of defense in preventing war." (12:90)
Years later, George W. Bush inherited his father's cause for a troubled region and a failing international alliance, and he too saw the power of public diplomacy, although with an exactly different lens. A tool for influencing the views of foreign diplomats, populations, and international governing bodies, the United States government recognized the strategic importance of foreign policy in its "war on terrorism" [in the Middle East] and, in a move to garner support from the international community for the 'wounded' American nation, Bush announced that "as a symbol of our commitment to human dignity, the United States will return to UNESCO." (5:NP) This verbal-political palm branch came at the same time as an advanced declaration of war on Iraq. (12:65) Within one week, the United States issued its new National Security Strategy, documenting a national faith in the military force, its preemptive use, and its role as the source for assured long-term security. (11:NP)
The years of Bill Casey's covert public diplomacy apparatus has been changed by the Department of Defense to a call for "perception management." The new tactic, publicly geared to "foreign audiences" but with striking resonance at home in America, supports conveying (and denying) information to "influence their emotions motives, and objective reasoning." (18:NP) the defense employed by proactive public foreign policy and media relations is one in which the Department of Defense sums candidly by saying, "Perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations."
Among the powers manipulating perceptions in Washington under the guise of public diplomacy were a rouse of media correspondents whose actual employ was to do the bidding of the White House. (17:2) When Operation Iraqi Freedom became bogged down in media concern and public scrutiny, the well-engineered Jessica Lynch story circulated through the rank and file of the press, who had already been warned by Ari Fleisher to "watch what you say" about the war in Iraq. (17:2) According to Frank Rich, White House correspondent and editorialist at the New York Times, the Bush Whiate house has "moved from Spiro Agnew-style press baiting to outright assault."
For much of its first term, the Bush administration ran a powerful campaign that not only led to a full war in Iraq, but also reelection. At the same time, it faced growing media concern about governmental control, both inherently and literally unconstitutional in the free press-supported American democracy, as it manipulated the power of the 24-hour news networks, blogosphere, and on-demand access of the up-to-the-minute American voter. The marketer who ran the office of public diplomacy quit in 2003 among growing concerns, and while the liberal democrats publicly lambasted Bush for his clear oversights in exertion of power, they too were draw into the politicking that surrounded the election campaign. Public Diplomacy was no longer facing the external problem that it once had, it was now, under the scope of the Bush administration, fighting the battle at the internal roots, neighbor to neighbor during the six o'clock news.
Despite a checkered past with foreign affairs stratagems, the Bush White House has offered a hard-line approach to exercising its own public diplomacy. In a war of defense, its main weapon has been information, be it "balanced" or "truthful," garnering policy respect from foreign diplomats with a history of anti-American sentiment. (12:71) the lack of concern for "facts," while showing great determination from a policy standpoint with goal execution, leaves little room for admiration in the marketplace of American ideals.
The battle of ideals that sits at the foundation of the partisan chasm in America holds little weight in the Oval Office, where advocates of varied policy options tender their plans each day to win the war both in Iraq and at home. Above the introspective war of ideals, though, lays the ever-pressing War of Ideas the leadership quips about in any manner. Richard Holbrook, who called for a new expanded institutional mechanism by which to skewer Bush for hiring Beers, the advertising executive with no foreign policy experience but well-honed marketing skills, promotes the war of ideas as the brass ring to the ever-evolving struggle:
Call it public diplomacy, or public affairs, or psychological warfare, or - if you really want to be blunt - propaganda. But whatever it is called, defining what this war is really about in the minds of the 1 billion Muslims in the world will be of decisive and historic importance. Bin Laden could well spawn a new generation of dedicated, fanatical terrorists if his message takes root. The battle of ideas therefore is as important as any other aspect of the struggle we are now engaged in. It must be won." (8:NP)
The new struggle requires new weapons, according to Washington, and the requisite "new thinking and additional instruments" the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy said will be defined within the instrument of information. (12:81)
To execute this, Washington powerfully exacted its public diplomacy policy through the mainstream media networks. Because of the temporal proclivity of the election season to further polarize news outlets, the job of delineating spokespeople for the White House and DOD was made easier in the already segregated press community. CBS…