8 years ago, Monash University’s Dr Ben Eltham and I examined United States public diplomacy during Iran’s 2009 election crisis. 6 years ago, I wrote a critique of the Bush Administration’s Global War on Terror (GWOT) grand strategy.
Now, Florida State University’s Michael H. Creswell has a new paper in Studies In Conflict & Terrorism journal on the Bush, Obama and early Trump Administration experiences with public diplomacy and why GWOT still continues today.
Creswell observes that it is import to examine public diplomacy for effective policy (p. 9):
Examining this subject is thus important primarily for policy reasons. Over the years, the U.S. government has dedicated considerable time and money to SC-PD and related programs. Gauging the efficacy of these efforts is necessary to determine if the time and money devoted to them have been well spent. If these efforts are failing to fulfill their intended purposes, then the government is wasting taxpayer money, squandering political capital, and incurring opportunity costs as well.
After examining the Bush, Obama, and early Trump Administration experiences Creswell concludes (p. 41):
In short, the U.S. government ought to rethink the usefulness of SC-PD in advancing the national interest, which in turn ought to govern the time, effort, and resources devoted to it. The benefits of implementing SC-PD well are relatively modest, while the downsides are fairly steep when it is done poorly. Instead, the government should direct more of its efforts toward designing more effective policies and strategies, as opposed to just trying to make existing ones sound better. This approach will serve the country more advantageously than endlessly tightening the bolts on a machine largely unsuited to the task it was created to perform.
I look forward to the final publication version of Creswell’s interesting journal article.