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Palgrave Macmillan

The United States and the Challenge of Public Diplomacy

ISBN 9780230390706
Publication Date October 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy

The attacks of September 11th established a new era of US foreign policy—one marked by a profound focus on public diplomacy. With tremendous resources poured into diplomatic efforts to curry favor with foreign audiences, the efficacy of these efforts are subjected to continual debate in the American political arena. But some of the most crucial players in the discipline—public diplomats themselves—have been missing from this discussion. Applying his personal experience in NATO's Public Diplomacy Division, James Thomas Snyder examines the difficulty of communicating in adversarial environments, military public diplomacy in Iraq and Afghanistan, the complexity of multi-linguistic communications, and the importance of directing American cultural power in the national interest. The book also critically examines presidential rhetoric, new communications technologies such social media and virtual worlds, and the role of non-governmental organizations that engage in private diplomacy. Finally, the book looks closely at American political culture itself to provide perspective for the nation's image abroad.

James Thomas Snyder served on the NATO International Staff from 2005 to 2011. A former US Congressional speechwriter and translator, his work has appeared in Foreign Policy, Military Review, Small Wars Journal, Internationale Politik, Public Diplomacy Magazine and the International Herald Tribune, among other publications. He writes at jamesthomassnyder.com.


1. Fighting Words
2. What We Are Talking About When We Talk About Engagement
3. Extreme Public Diplomacy
4. Overt Operations
5. Virtual Diplomacy
6. Radio Free America
7. Matters of Interpretation
8. Know What I Do
9. Non-Governmental Diplomacy
10. The Diplomatic Arts
11. The Americans

Reviews

"James Snyder's The United States and the Challenge of Public Diplomacy applies the perspective of a frontline public diplomacy practitioner to fresh new ideas for how the United States can talk more effectively with foreign publics. Snyder's proposals constantly 'cross the last three feet' - from the battlefield to the control room, the art gallery to the interpreter's box - as he finds creative ways to win international opinion to American policies and values. This is a must-read for public diplomacy policy makers and professionals wherever they are working."—Robert Hunter, former US Ambassador to NATO and member of the National Security Council Senior Staff, USA
''The late Richard Holbrooke famously complained that the United States was being out-communicated by a group of insurgents in a cave in Afghanistan. Grappling with this central issue of how to get its message across in an age of multiple actors and globalized communications has been the central challenge for US public diplomacy in recent times. How can the US continue to inspire the world with its core values of individual freedom, democracy and liberal economics? As James Snyder argues in this indispensable guide, the answer lies in improving American public diplomacy, an area where in the past its performance has lagged behind its potential. All those concerned with American leadership in the 21st century will find much to learn from Snyder's insightful analysis. Policymakers and practitioners will also find his creative and practical ideas for improvement to be timely and important. I can only hope that they will also want to implement them as soon as possible. Snyder has rendered valuable service not only to public diplomacy but to US foreign policy more broadly.''—Dr. Jamie Shea, former NATO Spokesman and Director of Information and Press, Belgium
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