Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication
Sean Aday - Director, Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication
Ambassador James Glassman - Former Under Sec. of State for Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs
Judith McHale - Former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy & Public Affairs
P.J. Crowley - IPDGC Fellow, Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
Paul Foldi - Senior Professional Staff Member & PD Expert, Office of Senator Richard Lugor
[0:00:11] Thank you for braving the nasty weather to come out to what I think is going to be a great event. Judith McHale was nice enough to jump the line at Union Station and annoy probably 150 people just to be here.
[0:00:24] I moved to New York so I've gotten [sharper at least].
[0:00:27] That's public diplomacy in action, there we go. I hope none of them were from other countries. Okay my name is Sean Aday and I'm a professor here at GW and also the director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication that's hosting this event. You can find us on Twitter at IPDGC. We are also on Facebook and we are also hosting a conversation on Twitter about this event hashtag IPDGC and I welcome you to participate in that. What I'm going to do to get us rolling here is we are going to get very brief [0:01:00] introductions and bios for our great panel here and then just get going into the discussion. And we have a lot of interesting people in the room so I know we need to leave a lot of time for discussion.
[0:01:13] First we have James Glassman. Ambassador Glassman is the executive director of the George. W. Bush institute. After a long career in journalism he served as under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. And prior to his state department post from June 2007 to June 2008, he was chairman of the broadcasting board of governors which is something we'll be discussing today. Judith McHale is the former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs where she served from 2009 until just recently, 2011 and 2012. Before that she was the president and chief executive officer of Discovery Communications and the general council for MTV networks.
[0:01:59] Paul Foldi, we are going to skip P. J for a moment [0:02:00]. Paul Foldi from 1990 to 2003 served as a US diplomat in the Department of State working at US mission in Pakistan and Nicaragua and the various offices in the department. His final position was the Congressional Liaison for then US ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte and immediately prior to that he served as the state department fellow on the staff of Senator Joe Biden's foreign relations committee. In March 2003 he joined senator Richard Lugar's staff for the Center of Foreign Relations Committee where he serves as senior professional staff member as the committee's expert on US public diplomacy.
[0:02:35] And last but certainly not least, P. J. Crowley, served as the assistant secretary of state for public affairs in 2009 and the assistant secretary and spokesman of the Department of State until March 2011. He's currently a fellow at the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication here at GW. During the Clinton administration, P. J was special assistant to the president of the United States for national security affairs on the staff of National Security Council and also served as principal deputy [0:03:00] assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. He spent 26 years in the air force; he retired at the rank of colonel in September 1999.
[0:03:09] Okay, I want to get us started by going back four years in the inauguration of Barrack Obama. And a lot was made at the time about how at least on one side of the aisle at least that Barrack Obama was a walking talking example of public diplomacy and action and he was going to change America's perception in the world and he was going to do all these wonderful things like close Guantanamo Bay and end torture. And he went out and he gave some very important speeches in Oslo, in Cairo among many other places. And yet four years later, American opinion of America and things American have improved here and there but not, certainly not to the degree that I think a lot of people including people in the administration expected them to in this [0:04:00] period of time.
[0:04:02] If you look at the Pew Global Attitude Index for instance, the most recent one, opinion of the United States is a negative territory for every country that they survey in the Middle East, also China and India. About the only things that the rest of the world seems to like about America are movie, TV, science and technology but not too keen on even democracy at least as America preaches it. So, heading now into another four years of the Obama administration, where are we and why are we here and how do we get somewhere else? How do we live up to that promise? What went wrong? What's going right and what can we do about it going forward? Ambassador Glassman.
[0:04:56] Well, first of all I don't think that capability rating [0:05:00] ... So, I don't think that favorability ratings in the Pew survey are evidence of whether we are doing something wrong or right and I think it's a huge mistake for anybody who practices public diplomacy to think that his or her job is to win a popularity contest. So well, I guess maybe some of us who were in the Bush administration can take a certain pleasure at the fact that in 2008, the favorability ratings for the United States were higher in four out of the five surveyed Arab countries; I'm not even going to bring that up. But I do think it's a big mistake and in my view and what I tried to do during my short tenure as under secretary is to try to disabuse people of that notion and rather to focus [0:06:00] attention on what public diplomacy can do to achieve specific ends that are part of their goals in foreign policy and national security policy, that's what public diplomacy is supposed to do.
[0:06:18] Now, if everybody loved us it may be easier to achieve easier to achieve those goals but it's really hard to get everybody to love us, that's a long term project and I think generally a futile project. So it's much more important to do as president Obama said right in the beginning, right from his inaugural speech, that we need to focus on mutual interest and mutual respect and there are many things that we can get done in that fashion. But I think that public diplomacy needs to focus on achieving specific strategic goals and if public diplomacy has failed in any way in the last several decades, I think it's been that it has not focused on those goals [0:07:00].
[0:07:04] I'm certainly in agreement with Jim on this issue, it's not a popularity contest, it would be very [varied] and that is absolutely the wrong focus. And I'm not just saying that because the results are demonstrating ... aren't great results if that's your measurement. I think that one of the things that we tried to do, again building on the base that Jim and his team had put in place, was to be sure that everything we were doing in public diplomacy actually was designed to support the achievement of those goals and objectives and to be very, very clear and precise in doing that.
[0:07:35] There were many areas where we do, where we haven't sort of just given up the ship so to speak and we do find areas of common interest, science, technology, education, all of those areas. Even in countries where we have a very, very difficult and challenging time, I found that people were very anxious to continue to have that conversation with us. And so we were constantly looking for ways, where are those avenues [0:08:00] that are open, that we can pursue because at the end of the day, to the extent that we can expand build mutual understanding between the people of our country and the people of countries around the world. We will be able to go down a sort of more productive path in the future.
[0:08:19] In the understatement of the morning, it's obviously very complicated, it's a very difficult and complicated world in which we operate, the things that are changing very, very dramatically. For us as a country, one of the things that I found, I mean there are many obstacles that you are going to encounter just by virtue of the fact that you are the last superpower standing. It used to be a lot easier when there was a clear choice between us and some others but when you are the last superpower, naturally you are going to encounter a lot of sort of resistance and what have you but that's no reason to give up. And you look for avenues for those avenues where you can pursue those conversations, where you can build relationships even in very difficult [0:09:00] and challenging parts of the world for us. And frankly, you don't ignore the research, you will actually see that, you look at it, but that shouldn't be the ... I don't believe it should be the measurement.
[0:09:13] And but nonetheless, while we will always be challenged because there'll be something that a particular country. For example Indians have expectations in terms of the US policy towards Pakistan or Pakistan has expectations towards the US policy towards India and those two can't... do not easily coexist. And when... as a policy over many years, you sit in between those two and take long time antagonists, you are going to end up disappointing both of them to some degree or another. And yet one of the great challenges for public diplomacy is to bring the gap between words and deeds, to narrow that [0:10:00] to the extent possible.
[0:10:02] I mean to Sean's point the, so public opinion polling is not the be all end all but it is a barometer that you need to pay attention to as you not only, as you make sure that there is a public diplomacy dimension in the policy making process which is still one of the great challenges within the building that all of us have worked in is do we take into account what global expectations are for the United States as Judith said as the lone super power. And that enters into our thinking about how affective a particular policy will be to the point we're all a bit of a rollercoaster.
[0:10:51] The challenge for Barrack Obama was that expectations were so high coming into office. And in fact in year one year two there was in fact a restoration of some confidence in the United States and then predictably as we for example made a run at peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, in one part of the world there has been a corresponding disappointment when that attempt failed last year. So, this is the nature and so we have to actually do both. We have to be focused on the long term and that's a significant element of public diplomacy but we also have to pay attention to trends. And it should inform what our short term and mid term actions are.
[0:11:47] Sean I want to thank you for that very easy soft ball question and if in the future we could just get yes/no questions it will make our lives much easier. Secondly, is I was always trained in the congressional staff school. I'm here representing myself neither senator Lugar nor the [0:12:00] committee nor anyone else. So words are mine and mine alone. What ... Sean I find your question interesting and it reminds me of the difficulty we have in the field of public diplomacy because we don't have an agreed upon definition of public diplomacy.
[0:12:14] I always compare it to we all have our own definition of God and we all have our own definition of public diplomacy. And I think that sometimes what you were describing was also just strategic communications which can be a much more short term results oriented campaign if you will rather than public diplomacy which can takes years. It can take years to get what I call benefit of the doubt which I believe is the goal of the public diplomacy. So that when your country does something or has a policy that seems counterintuitive to the rest of the world they'll go oh but there are the United States so maybe they're doing this but most, for the most part we agree with them. And to me that's the campaign that's going on right now and it's a question of can we get back into the benefit of the doubt category for many of these countries?
[0:12:58] So let me ask you a yes/no question.
[0:13:12] Let me ask you a yes/no question is it possible to get the benefit of the doubt in significant portions of the world where we have immediate interest with a drone program?
[0:13:28] Excellent question. I want to go maybe how about that? The drone policy of the Obama administration clearly has its challenges because from the American perspective, this is great. We are not putting people in harms way. We are using technology which Americans are great at doing. At the same time I'm not sure we understand the consequences that the drone program currently has in those countries where it's impacting. So, in a certain way so that's a maybe I'm just going to, I'm going to point on that one let me say maybe.
[0:13:58] But let me ask Ambassador Glassman and Miss McHale the same question because from your perspective in your old jobs as under secretaries, both of you came in a large part because of what you did when you were there into a position where that job was one that had a lot more I guess the seat at the table in discussions like this. Or at least there was more effort certainly in the early days of the Obama administration or the whole government approach to put public diplomacy at the take offs instead of the landings. But that process I think really started before the Obama administration too with some of the work you did with the defense department in [SC].
[0:14:45] So, in your positions what would you be counseling the administration or how would you structure public diplomacy given the reality of the drone program and what is at least now the national security [0:15:00] policy of the United States in regards to it?
[0:15:04] Well, the first time we said that I think it was I don't know it was Karen Hughes who got that seat at the table and I think that part of her deal according to the State Department. So that was good and I kind of inherited that but. But so what can public diplomacy do and what [IB] famous phrase about being on the take offs and not just the crash landings. What we can do is to say, "Well, if you have a drone program maybe a great idea but understand that a lot of people are going to be angry when innocent people are killed or may be even when non-innocent people are killed.
[0:15:45] So and that's about it in other words I guess I could argue that it's a terrible idea to start with but just bring out what some of the costs are as well as what the benefits are. And well, our drone program [0:16:00] was to my knowledge not as extensive as the one right now, the big problem that we run in to all the time was that innocent people were killed and even in when they weren't killed our enemies were saying that they were killed. And so we had to be very responsive, very quick on the draw and say here is what really happened but then we couldn't even admit that we were using drones so that made it kind of difficult.
[0:16:32] So, we are not going to ... I always felt that public diplomacy even if you are in on the take offs you're not, you're not going to necessarily change the policy. The policy is a given and your job is to in this case mitigate the effects of the policy as much as you can. One issue I'd love to get into and maybe this is not the time but I've really come to the conclusion that explaining and [0:17:00] arguing that we didn't really kill that many people or we didn't kill any people is not very effective. It doesn't really work even though here we are at a university and we believe and reason and we should argue.
[0:17:16] I once wrote a peace in fact I think when I was still under secretary called staff explaining. And our natural inclination is to explain but I actually don't think explaining works very well. And I think there are other ways to change people's mind besides explaining or protesting or showing them maps and well, we didn't do this we did that. That actually gets them more riled up and maybe this isn't the time to go into that but I'm just not sure how affective you can be in any way.
[0:17:48] I think the most difficult needle we have to thread in the area of public diplomacy whether it's drones or human rights or others issues that we do, the apparent conflict between our core American values and [0:18:00] some of our strategic interests. And I agree with Jim it's very, very difficult. You don't want to get into a debate with someone about like well, actually I killed two kids not three. I mean it's not a productive way to do that. And I think it's very, very difficult for people to understand. It's difficult for people, for citizens in our country to understand many of the things that we do. But it is this tension between our national security interest and some of our ... and our core American values. And I think all that you can do and what we were trying to do is to continue to sort of as I said strengthen those relationships to have a better understanding of all the sort of dimensions of our country and its society and the benefits with it. And to find those avenues with the long term view that you are building stronger relationships.
[0:18:50] But the reality is even if you have the best relationship in the world with any country, there will be moments and time where your strategic interests are going to diverge from theirs. And that's [0:19:00] going to be very, very difficult. And you can't avoid and I think you have a somewhat simplistic view of the world if you think that that's going to happen.
[0:19:08] In terms of public diplomacy having a seat at the table what we believe and what I believe quite strongly is that it's important that as policies are being sort of debated and deliberated, that they be informed by an understanding of how those policies may impact the people in particular countries. That is critically important the way the world is now changing. Where you have power sort of where you have a traditional power paradigm of two or three people at the top debating or deciding how a country is going to go. We now have that diffused throughout the society. It's important for our government and governments everywhere to understand how their decisions are going to be received by the broader society. You don't design policy in response to a public opinion in a particular country [0:20:00] that obviously is not what we are going to do. But at least as those policies are being implemented know up front what the impact of those policies are going to be. To some degree you may be able to actually influence the policy in terms of how it's communicated, when it's communicated, things may be able to be changed somewhat to make what were otherwise unpalatable decisions somewhat more palatable to a broader population.
[0:20:26] But that to me is the key role and that's what we were trying to do with the organizational changes that we implemented at the state department with the new deputy assistant secretary of state positions that we put in; was to be sure that when those policies are being debated and decided upon that they had the benefit of the information. And so that it was informed up front by what the potential impact would be. You didn't want to be in a position where you would go and do something and then it would be received very negatively and then everyone would be going like well, how come we didn't know about [0:21:00] that? Or if we had known about it we might have timed it differently or communicated it differently. So, I think it's critically important role for public diplomacy to be there at the sort of table up front to inform the policy makers as it's taking place.
[0:21:18] But Sean drones are a perfect example of the challenge of public diplomacy. But I see strategic communication as a key element of public diplomacy. As the state department co-explainer and chief for two years I actually think there is a role for explaining policy as part of this. But the dilemma regarding drones is drones are a weapon, the weapon of choice in the war against Al-Qaeda, the war on terror. And they are currently being used for a tactical purpose and a very beneficial tactical purpose.
[0:21:56] And yet public diplomacy has to be strategic, [0:22:00] and so the conundrum when you look at drones through a public diplomacy lens is that the short term tactical effort is under cutting the long term strategic compelling goal. And in the Obama administration for two years we did have a robust strategic dialogue, a strategic partnership with Pakistan. Judith:
was a head of a sub-committee working with the Pakistanis on public diplomacy issues.
[0:22:35] And so we are ... our long term strategy with regard to Pakistan is to strengthen civilian governance as the ultimate solution to dealing with extremists and that is a threat to the United States and a threat to Pakistan. But this is where polling has its place because the [0:23:00] use of drones as appropriate as that may be is undercutting the fabric of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan and because we are continuing to fly drones in the face of a parliamentary report that said stop doing it.
[0:23:21] So we our public [diplomacy] message to Pakistan is we are a partner and yet the use of drones absent a public support by the Pakistani government that's an unsustainable situation. Which you from a public diplomacy stand point what you want to get to with respect to the US-Pakistan relationship is exactly what we have cultivated over the last couple of years in the US-Yemen relationship where you had President Hadi come to the United Nations last September and said "not only do I love drones, I approve the key missions [0:24:00] in terms of the use of drones in the context of Yemen."
[0:24:05] We don't have that in the context of Pakistan so ultimately the long term public diplomacy effort is being sacrificed for a short term tactical purpose. You can do that but as Jim said at some point you have to be mindful of the long term cost for your short term strategy.
[0:24:31] Exactly if I can get a second bite at the apple where the drone issue is it's a short term issue; that we are going to have relationships with Pakistan and other countries where the United States is using drones long after the drone program ends. The question is what is going to be the impact of that program on those long terms relationships. And also depending on what our prior public diplomacy relationship was with that country we'll tell you how successfully or unsuccessfully that program would be received..
[0:24:57] And your example of Yemen is perfect on that. We are clearly ... [0:25:00] we had a good relationship with that country they understood why we were doing the goal, why we were using this methodology and why it did not seem to go against the grain of what we had ... of what that country had assumed that we ... the way we functioned. In other countries where the public diplomacy is not working so strongly it's just going to be yet more evidence of the relationship that they see is deteriorating.
[0:25:22] I think going back to the phrase you used which I thought was a good one it's, you've established ... they are giving us the benefit of the doubt because of the strength of that relationship.
[0:25:32] One thing that has come up already a lot is that public diplomacy is a long term strategy or effort and that as you pointed out Paul, that's usually a short distinction between it and strategic communication. But as I was around the topic of it being a long term effort, that poses challenges it seems to me for the state department trying to get funding for public diplomacy [0:26:00] from congress. So, one of the reasons why when we were putting together this panel we thought it was important ... not to put you on the spot or anything but...
[0:26:13] Well, you've been in both and so I'm wondering what from the former under secretary's perspective, when you came into this position what did you discover maybe to your chagrin or not about how working with Congress when you are trying to long term efforts in the middle of hot wars where short term strategic communication goals are really at the fore front.
[0:26:49] And then Paul from your perspective what is it, what do you think, where is the will in congress to do this? What is it that they would support? Is it for instance the controversies [0:27:00] around funding for BBG and VLA et cetera? American centers seem to be popular ... So, where is the will here and where isn't it? And how do we get budgets for long term efforts that are difficult to quantify whose effects are difficult to quantify?
[0:27:23] The good thing that I have seen in my time on the Hill is that public diplomacy budgets have never taken a significant work than other entities within the state department have taken. They may have taken hits but usually for example the education and cultural affairs budget has continued to rise because one of the things that we truly understand is the value. And I believe it was Margret Tutwiler who used this expression and if not I am going to attribute it to her so congratulations.
[0:27:48] She once said that if you come to the United States for less than seven days you are a tourist, if you come for more than two weeks you actually leave with a deeper understanding of the United States. And we in Congress understand the value of the exchange programs managed by the state department and that's [0:28:00] why we continue to fund them. And we continue to fund them even when sometimes they run into problems and I am so grateful for under secretary McHale saving the YES Program.
[0:28:10] YES Program is a youth exchanging state program that was created after 9/11 where we brought High School kids from the Muslim world to the United States to live with American families, to go high school. We had a couple of blips with that but thank you for defending it we surely appreciate that, when we had some problems there. And congress understands that too they are not going to be perfect there are going to be little bumps on the road. But the idea bringing foreigners to the United States to experience America will be beneficial both for the foreign guest as well as for the American communities where they live.
[0:28:39] We have a big country not everybody travels overseas, not everybody has the money or the time so many schools welcome the opportunity to get foreign guests in their classrooms. And it's a great program it's win-win, I hope some of you will participate in that or will embrace it when you get a chance. It's just one of the great things that we do, Congress gets so we continue to fund it. The American centers continue to be funded because we understand that we are not going to be able to [0:29:00] go out and build libraries like we used to. So we've got to come up with surrogates if you will. They work, they don't work as great as a brick and mortar facility would but they do the job.
[0:29:10] They offer platforms where we can bring American speakers into neighborhoods where we don't normally get a chance to go. Sometimes some are run better than other so we maybe at a saturation point where every ambassador seems to want to one his or her new American center. And I don't know if we have a budget or the space in some of these countries to do so. But generally speaking there is a robust understanding of the need for good funding for public diplomacy in the United States Congress.
[0:29:34] I think it is hugely challenging the budgetary perspective of it because frankly if we give a Fulbright scholarship to someone today maybe 30 or 40 years before they become the president of his or her country. But was that investment worth it? Absolutely and I think there are like 40 or 50 current heads of state or senior government officials around the world who came here and were Fulbright scholars. Was that worth the investment? Absolutely [0:30:00] it's a long term investment and you can do that.
[0:30:03] At the same time we as a country have very real budgetary challenges, right? No surprises there. And so I feel that from my perspective we woefully underfund public diplomacy and obviously have somewhat sort of selfish perspective of that. But you've got to be realistic and understand the world in which we operate. And doing that, then we believe very strongly we put in place a number of processes to be sure every dollar that we had was being strategically spent. And as Jim quite rightly pointed out and allying to our current foreign policy, priorities and objectives. That was really important for us to be sure that we can do that so that we can go to congress and we can say we are spending this and spending it well.
[0:30:51] Very difficult to measure if you were just measuring it by Pew you'd go like shut the whole thing down because obviously it's not working. And so trying to sort of develop measurement tools [0:31:00] because at the same time congress has a very real responsibility and obligation and a need to understand that this money is being well spent. So, you have that tension that you are trying to manage to be sure every dollar that you have. Paul mentioned American centers and American corners and all of that which frankly has a huge impact. Again whenever I travel I'm sure when you did as well you would meet people who said I used to go to the library I spent so much time there.
[0:31:29] If you look at some of our 'competitors' around the world that try to being probably the fore front of this. They are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in these centers everywhere and they are not just doing it. They are doing it because they understand the positive impact that it can have by sharing cultural history and having people understand your country and your communities. We don't have the luxury of being able to do that and so we were looking for ways to be more strategic [0:32:00] about those dollars we did have and re-aligning the public diplomacy budget along the lines which made sense in the 21st century.
[0:32:12] So let's see let me just step back because that's the only way I can answer this question. First, I think it was P. J who raised the question like that we don't have a common definition of public diplomacy. I have a definition and it is influencing foreign publics to achieve the national interest. We can also say informing and all those kind of listening but really it's influencing that's the business that we are in. And so how do we do that? I co-chair a task force at the Bipartisan Policy Center and one of the people on the task force is Joe and I who invented the idea of soft power. And he brought up something that I never really had thought of before that. He kind of defines public diplomacy in temporal terms. So there is short term and medium term and long term [0:33:00].
[0:33:01] Short term is explaining and correcting the record, long term is exchange programs and the like and medium term which I think is the most important and most neglected is using the tools of public diplomacy to achieve medium term. And they tend to be mostly be medium term that is to say a presidential term of four years, six months, achieving specific goals during that period. Like for example stopping, what can we do with public diplomacy to stop the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon? There is a role for public diplomacy there.
[0:33:43] The long term stuff is where most of the money gets spent at least in my time it was two thirds of the money. Most of that money is I don't know whether I should use the word earmarked but it's set. There is not too much you can do about the Fulbright budget. And then there are all these programs that [0:34:00] are named after congressmen or a former congressman can't...
Person: [0:34:04] Do you want one? We can name one after you.
[0:34:07] You can't do much about those either. So that's a given. Now, on the question of are those long term programs useful or not are they any good or not? Judith:
said they take 30 or 40 years. Our gut feeling is that they are but I'll tell you a secret. We don't really know and it's not hard to come up with anecdotal evidence that they don't always work. The father of violent Islamism was a former exchange student in the United States. In fact his biography says that that's what got him all riled up in the first place. So we don't really know. Our gut is as Fulbright as Senator Fulbright said, that the Fulbright programs teach empathy, standing in somebody else's shoes. I'm a huge believer in that [0:35:00] and I think that is valuable. But should two thirds of the money be spent on that? I don't know it's an interesting question and I think it's worth debate. But what I do know is that not enough money is being spent in that middle part.
[0:35:15] And the other thing that I would just throw out to you is whether in an era of social media and very, very fast communications, whether we should be spending as much money as we are in general at the State Department on things called embassies. Okay it made a lot of sense 100 years ago, but does it make sense today to have this edifice and this very complicated kind of arrangement where people go for a few years and live there as though they couldn't possibly influence people in those countries if they didn't live there. I'm just throwing that out as a possibility. So, I think this whole thing needs to be re-thought but one thing I absolutely certain on is [0:36:00] there is not enough of the medium term focus.
Crowley: [0:36:08] I've got to think so we'll end up with six embassies around the world and one [per continent]. Just to add, not every element of public diplomacy rests within the state department or even within the security agencies. Tom Friedman and Michael Mendelbaum, in their most recent book suggested that the secretary of education should be part of the national security cabinet because it's essential to our competitiveness. To Jim's point that a Fulbright process comes to you have X number of slots. And then you choose wisely recognizing that sometimes you will and many times you will and occasionally not so much so.
[0:36:53] But we also have to recognize that just the mere fact when you have a list of the top 100 [0:37:00] universities in the world, we dominate that list. And as long as we dominate that list we are not just going to get Fulbright's, we are going to get a significant flow of students. And as Tom Friedman has in fact he says every student that graduates from an engineering college to get a visa stapled from his or her diploma. So understanding what are the strengths of our society whether it's education, science and technology as Judith mentioned. And then finding ways to leverage that not only for the benefit of our own students, but for the benefit or foreign students, it is that, ultimately that appeal that as Paul says gives us the benefit of the doubt.
[0:37:50] And so part of our large public diplomacy effort has to be continuing to be competitive and being that magnet that [0:38:00] brings these people to us. And we were very fortunate to have Condi Rice as Secretary of State because in the aftermath of 9/11 where we made it harder for students, to come and study in the United States. And Condi as a former provost said no, no we have to find ways to reverse this trend. And I think in our time we finally got ourselves back to where we had restored the flow of students in the United States, from what it was pre 9/11. And then you get into the whole immigration debate which Paul is going to fix here.
[0:38:37] I did.
[0:38:38] So, it is managing that larger relationship with the world in addition to the policy making process that is part of our national strength and our national appeal.
[0:38:51] P. J said something interesting which I believe quite, passionately public diplomacy is not just the realm of the state department or any of the other government agencies. And departments [0:39:00] there is a critical role for the citizens of this country to play in that. And the businesses of this country as Secretary Clinton put a huge premium on what she called commercial diplomacy. Getting our businesses out there and more engaged in communities around the world, can have a very positive impact probably can have a negative impact but it can also have a very positive impact.
[0:39:25] I've spent a lot of time since I left the state department looking at businesses in Africa. And we are woefully underrepresented across that continent in terms of just consumers' perception of the United States. We are not there and as present as we are in many, many other countries and I think the more we as a country and as a government can encourage some of our business to go out. Not only is there real economic opportunity for us which I think would be helpful but there is a public diplomacy component to that. American businesses have [0:40:00] by and large really good standard that can impact the economies where they are going. Our consumer goods can have a positive impact on people's perception if we become part of their lives. So, it really is very broad, it's our universities going and we've seen a huge, many of our universities looking around the word to establish campuses not just bringing the students here but actually establishing campuses throughout Asia throughout the Middle East. They can have a very positive impact it shouldn't be, it can't be and it shouldn't be just government driven.
[0:40:35] And in fact frankly sometimes the private sector and our private citizens go a lot further in strengthening our public diplomacy if you will, than our government can because they can go and I'm sure you heard the same thing. We've all heard, you've probably all heard it when you go overseas it's like it's not Americans we know like it's your policy or your government. So that's the strength and we should figure out ways to sort of continue [0:41:00] to expand those opportunities.
[0:41:03] Well, one thing that is ... sort of underlies this conversation about a long term approach is that, a lot of the programs that seem to have support, are programs aimed at young people, exchange programs et cetera. And we have a significant portion of the world particularly in countries and regions that we are particularly interested in and I'm glad you mentioned Africa because certainly a growing interest in the United States in Africa and growing competition with China in Africa from a public diplomacy and other sorts of policy stand points.
[0:41:38] Which raises the question, among other things of how we use social media and new media to reach these populations within the confines and constructs of state department that has to be our message and approve messaging and we saw this pop up recently with the Larry Schwartz [0:42:00] issue in the embassy in Cairo. But we've seen it elsewhere too we've seen a lot of efforts in the embassies in Iraq and Bahrain to engage with foreign publics and very contentious moments, with Facebook walls that are a place for conversation which seems like true public a policy but posses real challenges as well.
[0:42:24] Ambassador Glassman one of the things that you emphasized in your tenure, as under secretary was public diplomacy 2.0. And that's something that has become ingrained and is growing and we see efforts with Robert Ford or Mike McFaul in [Moscow]. How do we use social media in a way that is effective public diplomacy but isn't bad diplomacy?
[0:42:50] I actually think this is something that state department has done well and I really never understood it till I set out to write a piece reform policy right after the, [0:43:00] as you call it the Larry Schwartz incident. And there were definitely [follow] ups there, but the way that the state department has done it I think works pretty well. And that is that people are in fact encouraged to tweet and to use Facebook. Although they are also encouraged not to say things that are not, that run contrary to US policy.
[0:43:31] But the key is not to have a layer of people looking over your shoulder all the time but to give autonomy to the people who are out there doing the tweeting, otherwise they are not going to do it or it's going to take them a long time to do it but I really think, this is absolutely revolutionary. And one of the reasons that I strongly believe that public we need more public diplomacy which is my kind of main message today [0:44:00], is because at a time of tight budgets, it's the most cost effective way to achieve those national interest goals that I talked about.
[0:44:14] And second it's just amazing we just kind of have walked into this world and we have walked into it. But the tools are there, the tools did not exist ten years ago. The tools for communicating in a public diplomacy 2.0 [went] so those of you who don't know what public policy 2.0 is, and you shouldn't, it's just the idea that I kind of got, realized that simply standing up and preaching at people which I guess I'm doing right now, is not is not a very effective way to communicate.
[0:44:56] You know especially to foreign audiences they don't want to listen to you [0:45:00], to Americans preaching at them. But rather a better way to communicate is to use American authority, such as it is to convene a broad and deep conversation in which American messages are injected I'm going to use that word, are distributed among other messages. So we are part of a conversation rather than we are preaching at you. So we have the tools for that conversation as it turns out.
[0:45:37] I think as a theory as an approach, public diplomacy 2.0 makes sense but you couldn't do it if you didn't have social media. There are other ways to do it of course but social media allows you to do it in a very effective way. I don't think we are doing enough of it, I think it's very difficult in a, bureaucracy in which control is important to get away with it [0:46:00]. Just to tell you a quick story; the very first social media site, in the federal government was created by the assistant secretary in my time [IB] Mary called ExchangeConnect, which I think is still going. And so I will never forget a meeting in which there were lots of state department lawyers sitting around saying this is I don't know.
[0:46:30] People can say anything on a .gov site we don't like that. Well and finally I just said "Well, if we're going to get into this game, this is the way we are going to have to do it, and this is a fairly innocuous way to do it." And to their great credit the lawyers and other higher ups at the state department said "Okay, we are going to do it." And I think this is something, I think we can do more of it but I think we are doing it well and Judith has done [0:47:00], did a terrific job picking up on the very kind of early [meson] activities that we engaged in but we have to do it.
[0:47:11] Yeah exactly we don't really have an option in this because when you look at demographics of the world and you look at the percentage of the population now under the age of 30. And everywhere in the world, even in world parts of Uganda and elsewhere, this is how people communicate and this is how that we have to be part of that conversation we develop this thing we need to be in the market place. We need to understand what people are saying and preaching at them simply does not work.
[0:47:41] In fact it's a total and complete turn off. So, you have to develop an authentic way of communicating with people just as in this country for that same demographic, the whole concept of authenticity is important. It's well beyond just sort of putting together beautiful messages that you pump out into the system, they've got to engage. [0:48:00] It's difficult and you ask about one of the challenges when I came into government, it is difficult. You are going in ... government by its very nature and I think the bureaucracy by its very nature is going to be less wiling to stick its neck out and sort of take those risks.
[0:48:18] I believe the world of diplomacy has been one where it's been quiet conversations, influencing behind the scenes. So you have that layered on top of an already somewhat conservative approach and it was very difficult because people are concerned about it. But it doesn't work today to have 12 people sign off on every single thing you are going to say because you've missed the moment you are not part of the conversation. The conversation has moved on and we work very, very hard to do that. You have to train folks how to do it. I mean the younger FSO's obviously feel very comfortable doing it, but some of our more senior officers don't you have to train them.
[0:48:53] You have to constantly encourage them, which is what I did I remember at one point [0:49:00]. One of my fellow colleagues Michele Flournoy coming back from Pakistan and said "I went out I was talking to people and the whole time I was doing it I said I was doing it for Judith:
" and I'm like "No you are not doing it for me, really you are not." And I would get that from people because we were constantly encouraging them. And I have to say I was very lucky in my world to have Secretary Clinton in her role, because she very much encouraged people to do it.
[0:49:29] One of the things that's really important is for the senior levels is, in order to do this here's this group, there were going to be mistakes. People are going to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Sometimes they can say it quite seriously and it will create all sorts of things. But you also along with training them, you have to create an institution in an environment where you understand that that's going to happen and it's not necessarily a career ender when it happens. But we are working on it and I think we've gotten better because it's [0:50:00] absolutely essential that we do. Very briefly on the demographics stream when I came in one of the things we noticed was that about 70% of our public diplomacy dollars were spent, if you look at it demographically on a demographic over the age of 35. We flip that because we said, looking at the world and the way it is and the fact of the matter is, is that you have a far better opportunity of influencing or planting those seeds with a younger demographic which is why I was so supportive with YES program that Paul says then... it's very difficult when someone reaches 40, 50, 60 on to change their perception or their ideas. When they are younger you have an ability to do it and it's not just a future bet, if we can have a good conversation with a young girl in Pakistan, 15 or 16 years old, she would be able to change the perception of the United States in her family, in her community [0:51:00] in a way that we never could. So I think it's a wise investment not just for the future but frankly for right now.
[0:51:10] So we have a clash of technology and culture and it's going to play out within the state department over the next 10 years. Judith came across one day this thing called the Egypt Influence Network and it was a depiction of the tweetosphere around the time that Mubarak fell. And if you Google it, it's the blub of blue, red and purple circles. The blue are people tweeting in English, the red people tweeting in Arabic, the purple those tweeting in both languages, [well gone] in the Google executive was right in the heart of this. So having become one of the state departments more at the tweeter rehearse, I had... fair number [0:52:00] of followers including a number in the Middle East, if you look at the map, I was kind of off in the fringe. I was on the map but not really in the middle of the conversation.
[0:52:11] That's the challenge is the technology does provide the opportunity to get in the middle of a conversation and probably the good news is, the evolution which happened under Judith:
's watch of the center for strategic counterterrorism communication, where they purposefully go into and assert themselves into extremist chat-rooms. To generate a debate and to try to change for want of a better term, you know hearts and minds are engaged in a competition that Judith:
was taking about. So there's an opportunity here, but inside the state department as many of you who are in the room know, there's this great ambivalence about the technology. Expressly because there's this tension of message and timing and [0:53:00] Larry Schwartz found himself right in the middle of this tension. I happen to think that Larry Schwartz did exactly what he should have done which is the vision of public diplomacy advanced by the secretaries' quadrennial diplomacy and development review.
[0:53:18] Now was his message perfect? Not necessarily, his message was ultimate embraced by the state department US government 48 hours later. So Larry had the disadvantage of trying to do the right thing, more or less the right way but walked in the middle of a political campaign and that's the great dilemma here, is you do have Robert Ford who has used technology very effectively as ambassador, you have Mike McFaul who continues to engage in a great debate. Somebody asked me what... you missed the state department... I missed the opportunity to exchange tweets with Hugo Chavez. I really missed and that [0:54:00] and my doing that the folks in WHA will go, why are you doing that? You know I'd say it is generating a debate within Venezuela and one of my colleagues said, when you wrestle with a pig you get dirty? I go yes but this is a debate that we will ultimately win.
[0:54:20] But we have to be willing to let our diplomats engage in this debate and quite honestly that's a phenomenon that will happen. Probably it's 10 years away where our new foreign new service officers have embraced this technology and they will just... The seventh floor is not necessarily yet technologically savvy. Other floors in the state department are and it's just... it's going to be a cultural thing that works it's way through training, education and confidence and as Judith said having the... having the backing of leadership to do these things and push the debate and occasionally overstep but that will be [0:55:00] how we eventually use technology top advance public diplomacy.
[0:55:04] Paul we definitely need to get to questions but before we do, I'll be remissive I didn't bring up BBG in the broader context of congressional funding in controversies. It's related to this topic because when... if we open up our Facebook walls and our embassy pages, as I think the consensus here so far has been that we should. One of the things that that's going to do is invite commentary that is very critical of United States and then all of a sudden we have a member of congress screaming about why we are using taxpayer money to fund this sort of discourse. Similarly we really have other sorts of problems where the state department, what they are trying to do or what BBG is trying to do, runs into problems on the hill because of criticism of size of the budget or the oversight or anything like that. So from your perspective on the hill [0:56:00] what do you see in the next four years in terms of those sort of challenges, what needs to be done about it, what's realistic?
[0:56:06] Sean thank you, I'm going to do what most people in Washington do, which is I'm going to answer the question I wish you had asked me. But I'd like to get back to the point because the one thing that I do want to get to, is I wanted to follow up what P.J. said, because it's so important when you talk about social media. The Digital Outreach Team, DOT, write it down, look it up. It is an effort on the part of the state which you alluded to which is where the state department inserts it selves into chat rooms that are not necessarily favorable to United States policy and it engages in a discussion with those people, very effectively I think. In a very grey area which is you mention all of you, most diplomats do not wish to tread. That's one thing. The second thing I wanted to say was that the problem that I have with concept of digital diplomacy is often times with exception perhaps of your not [IB] but with Hugo, but you can't just be posting your BFF Hugo, you can't just post press releases [0:57:00] on your Twitter account or on your Facebook page, you have to converse. It cannot be a projection of just press releases, you have to spend the time to respond to people and exactly the key there's time and time is personnel and personnel is not always what you would like it to be.
[0:57:17] But it's key that you can't and sometimes I think the department falls into this trap of well we put all things out on a web and then we let people comment on them. Well that's not what they really want, they want to engage in a conversation, they don't just want to read online what they can see on TV and it's just that it can be a trap of social media that... Well we have these great Facebook pages, yeah but what do you with them and that's the thing. Again it takes a person of power to do that, it takes and it's clearly it's a generational thing, there's no question about it. As a younger generation rises through the ranks, they're going to understand better how to use that, it's great the department is embracing it, the key will be how do you really use it to shape foreign policy and I'm not sure they're doing it, I don't know if they are doing it perfectly. Nothing in the federal bureaucracy is ever perfect, but I think there needs to be [0:58:00] that realization, it can't just be us pushing stuff; we have to then take and then give again.
[0:58:05] But again the Digital Outreach Team is an excellent example which I think will start by you all and then it's just continued now as well, it's very aggressive and I highly recommend it. BBG very interesting aspect of public diplomacy which most people do not associate with public diplomacy, it's a sort of Venn diagram blending where it is obviously Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Middle East Broadcast Network and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and it is how we converse with publics who may not necessarily be receiving free and unfiltered news. It is always attention on Capital Hill where should it be news or should it be the American version of the news and that is why there's what we call the firewall which is why the Broadcasting Board of Governors has four Republicans and four Democrats, with the secretary of state breaking the tie. That is there to prevent either an ambassador from complaining about the reporting in his or her country. Or to have [0:59:00] perhaps members of the other end of constitution complaining about reporting that's going on various aspects. It is a constant tension, it will never go away. But it's important that we have that because it is public money. So you have to be careful what you do with public money.
[0:59:17] Let me, I want to address the BBG, but also just I want address the Digital Outreach Team which was started actually started by Karen Hughes my predecessor. Just a funny story about that, so everybody loves the Digital Outreach Team and I was talking to someone who is a former general who was, had a state department position and I was seeing in the press there is a Digital Outreach Team. He said, how many people you got doing that? I said eight, he said, eight? Are you kidding me? If we had anything like this in the defense department by the way there maybe, we'd have 800, now maybe Judith would increase it [1:00:00] to 800. But this actually is a good evidence of the problem of the public diplomacy this is something that really works and it's ... I try to expand it to Russia which I think is kind of a cool idea but got shut down by as I understand it by the embassy. But in any way it's a great idea needs to be needs to be bigger. BBG, used to be the chairman of the BBG.
[1:00:26] BBG has an impossible mission, impossible. Because it's asked to do two things at the same time that are very difficult to reconcile although in my view has done an excellent job of reconciling these two things. Number one says that in the law it is a tool of American foreign policy, number two it is a real journalistic institution that needs to abide by normal journalistic principle so how can you do both of those things at the same time. Well it's hard especially [1:01:00] if you have members of congress who don't understand what the law actually says. So I have actually come around to the view which I'd never stated before and I kind of have resisted this for a long time, I really do think that the BBG needs to be brought into the broader foreign policy making apparatus of the United States government otherwise I just don't think it's going to survive.
[1:01:34] So I think that, that tension needs to be resolved one way or the other and I think it needs to be resolved around more foreign policy guidance. The way it works now unless it's changed since my day is that we use to sit down with people from the state department usually the deputy secretary once or twice a year and say well what's on your [1:02:00] mind? What do you think of the important countries that we should be concentrating on? I hope that when I was under secretary there was a little ... there was more conversation but there is no real guidance there and I think that there needs to be. The second thing there needs to be absolutely is a reorganization of the BBG. The BBG has no head of agency there is no CEO. It's one of the strangest organization in all of the federal government. The board itself is the head of agency and the chair really has no more power than any of the other governors that's kind of assigned to run the show. And by the way I'm not sure whether has the chair been ... the new chair been ...
[1:02:45] The new chair has been nominated that's all so this is the way that administrations and congress treat this organization that has where more money is spent on public diplomacy as far as we know than on any other [1:03:00] program, it doesn't even have a full complement of governors and frequently is in that position. So I think something needs to be done I also think that BBG gets a really bad wrap from people who really are not particularly well informed about what it does. It does an amazing job in 60 different languages. Broadcasting more hours than CNN does and we don't know about it because we are not allowed to tell anybody in the United States or show anybody in the United States what's going on. So here is a very, very valuable public diplomacy asset that has not being properly used, and it's not the fall of people at the BBG it's the lack of understanding at higher levels of government about how important this is.
[1:03:50] I do think the British have a director general they may wish they had more [support this].
[1:03:57] I agree with Jim I [1:04:00] think when I went on that board it's neither official nor foul as part of the problem and it has this constant leadership challenges. Frankly my sympathy goes out to the folks who work there and the folks in the field. Because it's very, very difficult to do. I know that Walter Isaacson had proposed a sort of significant re-write which I though made a lot of sense I'm frankly not sure where it is this days in terms of the process of implementing it. But made it more ... hopefully would make it a better or a more highly functioning organization. It is, we need every tool that we have in our arsenal and we need to be able to be deploying them effectively. I think better coordination or consultation I think would make a lot of sense. At the same time you've got to be sort of aware of the fact that it does have its journalistic standards which I actually think are important.
[1:04:52] In terms of going back to my previous comment the whole concept of authenticity you need to have that to inject it. Really quickly on Digital Outreach Team, no [1:05:00] we weren't able to ... I think there are about 40 folks on that team now. But what we did was put in place which ... again I think you had started to do a much better coordinating function between state and DOD and others who were doing the same thing so that frankly we can take advantage of the numbers that they were able to deploy against the similar initiative. So it's in a much coordinated function with state actually helping to provide or at least that was the plan I have to say I haven't been there for a year. To help provide the messaging into that group whether that group was housed at state or at DOD. On the theory that the civilian side of government was better able to understand some of the messaging and would be able ...
[1:05:47] So using utilizing the resources in a very coordinated fashion to playing is really important conversations and games. I can't tell you how often I would be out or the secretary [1:06:00] would be out, and people would say well if you don't believe what we are saying why aren't you in there saying it, and one of the great strengths of our country is that we debate. So I think the more that we can go into these environments which are very, very important places for us to be and debate our core values. Not just explain them not just lecture but actually debate the strength our great strengths I think we will be stronger. So that was one of the ways that we really tried to do that, and also frankly to take the benefit of the folks who are there in the field get their information as to who are the important audiences for us to be reaching.
[1:06:41] Can I just clarify because I want to associate myself with Judith:
remarks when I said more guidance from foreign policy leadership for the BBG. I certainly did not mean that the BBG should forsake or distort or anyway jeopardize the journalistic values is very, very important. But for example the [1:07:00] BBG has got ... the board of governors decides where the assets are allocated. In other words, if the governors decide we are going to put all the money into India, it's their decision rather than being part of a more strategic decision making process now congress would get involved if all the money went to one country.
[1:07:26] But and in fact there are certain countries that BBG would like to get rid off that congress wouldn't allow and that sort of thing. So but I'm just saying it really needs to be part really part of the foreign policy apparatus.
[1:07:40] I want to open up to question so we have time for about 20 minutes of questions please keep them brief so we can get as many as possible go ahead ... and if you could identify yourself and ask your question.
Person: [1:07:56] Hugh Grindstaff I'm with THIS for diplomats. The first time I ever saw [King Glare] was the 1967 in Taipei at USIA and it was in Chinese. But now I work with two groups one is THIS for diplomats which serves the diplomatic community here in Washington and arranges events to show them what goes on here. Also People to People International who host the foreign officer stationed at the National Defense University. What's happened with us is that when we take these people into our homes and arrange events with them they didn't go back to their home countries. And remember us when diplomats [IB] Japanese and she set up a THIS type organization in Thailand [IB] there. Last summer we also did the International Children's Festival.
[1:08:58] Where 24 embassies [1:09:00] got to show the America public what they do and the American public got to learn and one of things ... one of my friends is also with ... was in public diplomacy in Afghanistan I was in the country trying to help women so the fact that public diplomacy goes a lot of different ways. That we can show the diplomats have come here and military officers and then they go home and preach our views back there.
[1:09:30] Yeah I think it's a good question about what's the role of cultural diplomacy what particularly what have you guys found is effective culture reforms?
[1:09:41] Can I just take because I like what you said about alumni and we in congress several years ago were a bit perplexed and we found that there was not a very effective alumnae outreach is part of public diplomacy. That has since changed much to the benefit because the concern was we had either brought folks to the United States. [1:10:00] or we had interacted with them in program oversees. But then we didn't have an ability to reach out to them so for example if we had engaged with them in a scientific field, and we were sending a science envoy out there. Could we tap that alumni network so that we weren't just preaching to the same fifty people who came to the embassy every freaking time there was a public diplomacy event. That was key and continues to be an aspect but it's a budgetary aspect too and the other problem to you have with alumni programming is particularly in our younger outreach programs where when we bring them in we have an access program.
[1:10:34] Access is where we started on the Bush administration where we brought children to, in particular in the Muslim world to teach them English. English is the hottest commodity out there. We would bring them in you... anywhere from sixth to eighth grade, teach them for two years they would teach them English in their foreign country. And then the hope was then we could engage them in the YES program because one of the problems with the YES program was, we didn't have a leveled of English proficiency so that the kids coming here could [1:11:00] survive. They weren't having a good experience because they simply couldn't communicate. The problem is of course the access program is so big that not everybody gets to go to the yes program. The question is in how you engage those children and those students so that you don't just throw them back into their schools where perhaps the American methodology of education is frowned upon and instead of being embraced they are abused and then they get you get the boomerang effect. Instead of liking the United States, you know, I went to this program I learned all the stuff and now I am back in my school and they are beating me every time I raise my hand to ask a question.
[1:11:30] So you have to be very careful on the alumni aspect but it's important that you get embraced in those... its been very good to see in the time that I have been on the hill that the department has absolutely figured that out and is working greatly towards it.
[1:11:41] One thing to add to that I, I agree with Paul on that in terms of, from my private sector background, this is an investment we are making in people. We need to leverage that investment. I would say that they are tools that are going to help us do that and do it better where we can actually now as we capture the data about the [1:12:00] alumni, be sure that we reach out to them. But there was an institutional barrier as well where some folks who had been at USIA did not want to actually reach out to them beyond. Because I would say, if we have an important event, let's reach out to our alumni and provide them with the information that they can take into their communities. They are like no that's mixing apples and oranges we don't want to do that. Well the reality is we do want to do that and we are spending those very precious dollars to achieve our foreign policy goals and objectives. If we are not doing that, we shouldn't be spending those dollars and clearly a huge amount that we do in our educational programs whether its access or yes or any of those programs. Those become very, very hopefully in most cases positive and powerful advocates for us to reach out to these communities in ways that we simply can do it. So it's important to leverage it and then one of the investments we were making was to create databases that made this [1:13:00] easier for our embassy so that they could do it because they are under huge, huge pressure.
[1:13:06] We keep asking more and more of them, we keep pulling the resources out and this is where technology can be really an important and powerful vehicle. I think initially, we had sent several millions of people through these programs and we had data on about fifty thousand of them. That's not good and I think they have done a lot putting huge effort behind trying to improve that.
[1:13:37] I'm Brian and I have had the pleasure of working of working for Jim and Judith at the State Department. We are at a time in any administration at the second term of an administration where a question of legacy often comes into play. And people start talking about what will this administration be remembered for? And so forth. So I kind of wonder what you if you had the opportunity, which you did [1:14:00] when you were in office, I understood you did, and if the others had the opportunity if the president and the new Secretary of State invited you over for a sort of twenty minute conversation about public diplomacy and what could be done that would be particularly useful that would leave something behind four years from now? What kind of things would you bring up?
[1:14:25] Just to give you time to think about it, let me remind you a couple of things at the end of the Bush administration under the secretary Glassman together with Microsoft and a bunch of other people. Put together a conference of dissidents from around the world who were brought to the United States to talk about how to use social media in [IB] those revolutions. Our embassies in some places like Egypt and all were a little nervous about having this sort of people coming to the US. It's possible if you could see the embassy [IB] the Arab Spring in that conference held at Columbia University in December 2008 [1:15:00]. There was the ... there is the matter of the public diplomacy people who had come into the state department were often [IB] off into consular work for eight years or whatever. For a long time before they ever get to do any public diplomacy work. It's as though you were in the military and you took all your officers and sent them off to do social work somewhere and then suddenly brought them back and said now you are in charge of a squadron or whatever company. Well anyway, let me just.
[1:15:34] Thank you ambassador Glassman and by the way as far as the Arab Spring is concerned, I know that I was personally accused by some right wing bloggers of having fomented the Arab Spring. I wish that were true because of this event. Although the event enabled me to do the thing that was the most fun of all the things that I did when I was [1:16:00] secretary. Which was that I got to call off the Egyptian ambassador if you remember this whether you were there and made him come to my office and dressed him down. Which is sort of a great thing that you can do traditionally as a diplomat. Because I warned him that if he stopped the last of the Egyptians that we wanted to come to this conference when doing it that the United States government would take a very, very dim view of that anyway, that was fun.
[1:16:34] you know, I really think that the answer sort of the broad answer is in fact building networks. Now, whether that's something that's, is that the kind of legacy that a president can say hey we've build all these networks probably not. But I do think that's what you leave and networks can be built through alumni I think that's a great idea. Just identifying [1:17:00] the alumni's become very difficult. But the very happy to see that the network that was started with the alliance for youth movements, alliance of movements was picked up by Secretary Clinton and by Judith:
. It's still around and that's only one example, there are many others that you don't ... They are not secret but I don't think I really want to talk about them. I think that ultimately that's the most important kind of legacy. I do think that as far as president Obama is concerned that he really has opportunity going forward to do more public diplomacy for the reasons that I said. 1) It is cost effective, 2) If fits the technology of the time much better frankly than many of the other assets that can be deployed [1:18:00] to reach the national interest.
1:18:03] So I think if he were to elevate the importance of public diplomacy and you can do that dramatically through re-organizations. Or in a different way we said we are going to take a billion dollars out of the military budget. We are going to give it to public diplomacy. That would create the kind of change that would produce I think an important legacy.
[1:18:25] I think if I were to look at it and probably along the lines that Jim has described it, is to sort of have an understand and an acceptance that the world has changed. That we will not be able to move our foreign policy goals and objectives forward without having a better relationship, better understanding engagement with people all over the world. We simply can't do it. The world has changed so dramatically and so fundamentally with sort of technology and with information and power [1:19:00] are now being widely dispersed. That we have got to find better ways of influencing foreign populations or we simply can't go forward. I think that that is something that this administration understands and has taken to heart and that's what we are ... all the things that we put in place was to do that. That there is simply, we don't have an alternative. We simply cannot go forward to do the things that we need to do in our own national interest. Unless we understand that, how do we facilitate those dialogues, how do we build those networks in a very meaning way? P.J. talked about what we found when we looked at Egypt in the heat of what was going on. People all over government here were like who do we talk to? Who is important?
[1:19:50] Well here is the scoop, right now in this room there is nobody here who can raise their hand and say I can identify who was the leader of the Egyptian revolution. Because there wasn't one it was coalitions ever changing collations of interests. Moving as you look at that social media map you can see that, that there was no one leader. So we have got to we as the government. In fact the governments everywhere have got to figure out, how do they do that? How do they get in to that market place of ideas and one of the things that we did, I am not surprised on giving my background, you know I was very focused consumer research, understanding what was going on and one of the things I found out. In government we spend a lot of time, hundreds of millions of dollars looking at economic elites, political elites and others, looking through different lenses. If you just look at it that way and avoid, you know you don't look at it through a more classic consumer lens. Then if you are a young 20 year old person in Pakistan, who has never had a job and doesn't belong to a political party, we have missed you somehow and understanding what you are thinking about. To a potentially to a very serious detriment [1:21:00]. So getting out into that marketplace understand building those critically important networks, engaging with people and not preaching to them, I think would be a great legacy.
[1:21:13] I don't think the legacy has been written yet obviously this way half way through the administration. I tend to look at public diplomacy primarily through a policy lens. Ultimately the best public diplomacy is a... are policies that reflect your interest and your values and as I said before the gap, between what we say and what we do is as narrow as it can be. And the challenge for public diplomacy is that we make policy on a local basis country by country, but we communicate global. And so there is always going to be tension between what you do, vis a vis a particular country and then how it relates to your broader pronouncement.
[1:21:58] So I think, for [1:22:00] in terms of legacy I think probably the challenge for the administration in the second term, is can you connect Cairo and Oslo to incredible speeches in 2009, to decisions that will have to made about Bahrain and Iran. If you can, you can connect Cairo to Bahrain, and how do we feel about democracy we understand it as a concept but how doest it apply to a monarchy that is under sage? That's one and then, how do we connect Oslo and as present talked about just war, to a decision that has to be made about the prospect of using military force to solve, a difficult and consequential matter of the Iran's nuclear ambition? If you can eventually draw a line from one to the other, [1:23:00] one to other, then that would a significance public diplomacy [lesson].
[1:23:07] I think P.J. is right the legacy, obviously you've got four more years to go, but it's going to clearly depend on the outcomes of the withdrawal from Iraq and downsizing in Afghanistan and how that goes. If they go well, you get a great legacy, if it goes poorly its going to inflame the region and then parties there. I think the one thing that we have not yet had chance to touch on in this discussion and I would love it if we could spend a little bit of time on it, is the role of course of China. The secretary made a big push for internet freedom. I think that's going to be a huge issue for this administration going forward. I think it makes sense as we have discussed social media. If you can ... it's great if you do social media but if nobody can read your stuff because they got a great firewall, it's not going to do you a lot of good.
[1:23:43] So the amount of resources and effort that we put in towards that, is going to be huge. We have issues right now in Russia where, where if you are basically shut down it's operations because this is not radio, because they can't get any licensing because the Putin government refuses to allow licenses to radio stations that we will use, [1:24:00] that will broadcast it. We are going to see that and that to me how we continue to use technology to push public diplomacy forward towards resumes that are going to use technology or intimidation, to prevent that, I think is going to really determine how the next four years go.
[1:24:17] Would you revise Smith-Mundt
[1:24:31] Smith-Mundt those of you who don't know is a law that stops the state department from communicating with Americans. And you know it does present a lot of problems in the internet age. Can I just add one thing because what P.J. said reminded me that I may have forgotten the most important legacy of all, and one of things I am meant to say here. Which is that, I think that public diplomacy needs a big [1:25:00] success. I think for public diplomacy to grow and become more important, we need to be able, the American people need to be able to point to something and say, "Hey you know that, that worked". Okay so for example, most Americans believe that radio for Europe helped bring down the iron curtain and that's true. But what can we say about public diplomacy in recent years despite the fact that I think there have been a lot of achievements? It's hard to answer that question and then... in my view that answerer may lie in a country that P.J. mentioned which is Iran. And where we can point to something we say, you know we actually had an effect there. I think we actually had an effect in Egypt and one of the things that we have done at the bipartisan policies [IB] is to actually cut off by that effect. What did America do in Egypt that might have helped a little bit in the Arab Spring?
Person: [1:25:57] We have time for one more question.
Person: [1:26:09] Hi I am Mathew Wallin at the ... I am a senior policy analyst at the American security project focusing on public diplomacy. My question involves the strategic purpose of public diplomacy. There has been a bit of discussion today about strategic versus tactical so. During the cold war we had 50 years of public diplomacy base being geared towards bringing down the Soviet Union, what is its purpose now. A lot of people have said it's the war of ideas or against violent extremism but I'm sort hopping we have sort of a better more advance strategic purpose. So I was wondering if I could get you though on that?
Person: [1:26:42] War of ideas question.
[1:26:43] Oh sure, great, terrific thank you for that question.
Person: [1:26:47] Is the war of ideas still a viable concept or we moved past that?
[1:26:51] I think it's the most viable concept, although I have to say that during the transition I was warned by all the [1:27:00] transition people, not to use that term, and I think I don't know whether the term has been banned or not. And I understand that war, and we know like war, we do like the ideas. So I do think whatever you want to call it, ideologic competition of ideas is good. We use the term, strategic engagement because that means, what ever anybody wants it to mean. But the fact is we are in a ideological struggle. I think one of the differences between the Bush administration and the Obama administration is that we believed and I think many of us continued to believe that this is a long war not against Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is one manifestation but against a particular ideology.
[1:27:49] So our national security goals were one, keep America safe, two help promote freedom around the world, and those two things [1:28:00] are linked. At lest we believe they were linked, that free countries are less likely to make war their neighbors. So I think that to me the grand strategic goal of public diplomacy is the same as the grand strategic goal of foreign policy and national security policy. Which is to achieve those two goals and I think you never ever want to forget that those are the goals that need to be achieved. Public diplomacy's role in that, I think does in fact revolve around the ideological part. It is not to quote myself I hate to do that but, I can't say it any better.
[1:28:45] The aim must be to ensure that negative sentiments and day to day grievances toward the United States and its allies do not manifest themselves in violence. We are never going to change everybody's minds so that they believe exactly what we believe. [1:29:00] But the most pernicious belief is the belief that the Unites States is out to destroy Islam. So how do you deal with that? One way to deal with it is to say no, no, no, that's not true, we were in Bosnia we were in Kuwait, we got 2000 mosques, we are not going to destroy Islam. I don't think that's very effective quite frankly. I think a much better approach is an approach which combines the kind of things that we do, with exchange programs and other kind of softer means, public diplomacy 2.0. To get to a point where people can believe that. It's a pernicious believe, it's wrong but people can believe it, but it doesn't mean that they are going to kill us. So I think those are the goals, it is a battle of ideas, but if it's a battle of ideas it's going to take a long time win. But I do think, that in public diplomacy we sometimes forget the importance of that ideological struggle [1:30:00] which may be the most important of all.
[1:30:04] I think I worked with someone, someone differently but you have heard me say earlier that I believe quite passionately that public diplomacy is there to ensure in everything we do we achieve our foreign policy goals and objectives which frankly vary country to country, region to region. So in some country some parts of the world some of these struggles you have been talking about are higher than they are in others but that frankly what we are trying to do is to be sure that public diplomacy was closely aligned with policy side of our diplomatic efforts. To be sure if we were not doing, if you can not demonstrate that a program or an initiative was linked to our current goals and objectives then we shouldn't be doing that. Frankly more we went through review we came across the number of programs which were not tied to current policy [1:31:00] goals and objectives. I can't remember frankly I have to top my head where some of them were, but there were a lot of the dollars for example being spent in projects which evolved out of post-Second World War two.
[1:31:12] Europe it was a huge amount of money being spent in that effort and I was like well that's was great sixty years ago but probably doesn't make much sense now. So we went through a very strategic view region by region and allocating those dollars being sure they were focused in the appropriate way to help us achieve those objectives whether it was in china or India or Latin America where have you working very, very closely that the two have to be closely aligned.
[1:31:43] I would say if the cold war was a competition of two systems, at the other cold war more countries do not want to join our systems. That's the thrust of our terrific book by [1:32:00] John Ikenberry of Princeton called the Liberal Leviathan which is we have built these modern international systems web of networks associations and groupings and alliances. It's an open system anyone who wants to join and play by the rules can do so and it's still the system that draws people from various parts of the world into the web that we are at the heart off. Whether it's the IMF World Bank, United Nations NATO et cetera now the other revised architecture that we are building in Asia. So that is the essence of the competition and probably at the end of this it is exactly what the new Yemen president, president Hadi did. He was willing to stand with the United States and do so publically. That is , that is the ultimate challenge as Jim was saying earlier.[1:33:00] Mutual interest, mutual respect and I would add to that shared responsibility where we know, that to solve any international challenge no one country particularly United States can do it alone.
[1:33:16] But you can't solve a challenger as our former boss Hillary Clinton said you can't solve any global challenge without meaningful participation by the United States. Ultimately it's in capsulated in the administrations of approach to Libya where the president were being pressured by John McCain, Lindsey Graham very key people on the hill. Go faster and the president spent a little more time to make sure that there was a consensus on the region. Resolution from the United Nations that gave it legitimacy and partners willing to share the burden. To get something meaningful done which was the transition difficult as it is. That is underway in Libya that's the way the United States prefers to do business the more we can do it that way it reinforces our policies. It reinforces our values and that probably is the most meaningful thing we can do in terms of promoting out comes that have probably promising at heart
[1:34:22] Am just going to say you can't train in that if you don't have a benefit of the doubt in the world community which is what public policy is all about.
[1:3428] Let me conclude by asking you a yes or no question looking forward or over the next four years is there any realistic chance of significant reform to Smith-Mundt, significant reorganization of probably diplomacy apparatus BBG or otherwise, or significant increase in funding for public diplomacy?
[1:34:52] Yes, yes no.
[1:34:56] Which one is the no?
[1:34:58] Smith-Mundt - possibly, BBG, reorganization possibly, funding [1:35:00] we got a thing called the debt out there, there's that cliff.
[1:35:05] Yes no, no. Yes on Smith-Mundt, no on reorganization, no on funding.
[1:35:13] Did I mention I have moved to New York so I don't have to weigh in on Smith-Mundt.. Just based on my experience which is now a little bit out date yes on, on Smith-Mundt, hopefully. On funding I think that its unrealistic to sort of expect that there will be significant funding in terms of public diplomacy. We did a lot of reorganization within the States. I think there is always work to be done in that hopefully that will be continue.
[1:35:45] Yeah I think that Smith-Mundt and BBG reorganization, yes I would say yes to that. And funding I would say probably, probably not although that would be unfortunate. It seems to me that [1:36:00] there are ways to move money within the state department budget that would make the state department as a whole more affective by putting more emphasis on public diplomacy. Certainly, certainly building national security dollars around I think to help public diplomacy would also be our fund doesn't necessarily have to all go to the state department part of public diplomacy. I'm going to say two things first I want to thank G.W. and I gave my valedictory address if you want to call it that. Here on January 14th 2009 I in the hall I know he couldn't be here but I want to thank him for that. It was very nice of him to allow me to do that. The other thing is that I mentioned a book so P.J. just mentioned the Ikenberry book especially to the students who are here, which is Jonathan Heights the righteous mind. To me the most important factor in public diplomacy is. How do you change peoples minds and I think it's a very, very deep and important question that he explores that unfortunately we don't have time to talk about it. Today even though we've talked about a lot of very interesting things.
[1:37:16] are those a lot of state of department people here so whose budget are taking the money out of with the state of department?
[1:37:20] I think I gave a little hint before I really do think that we should, we should I m reading, I m reading a book in which this is passage about why are there so many, why are there so many embassy's somebody has already invented the telephone. So that was a while ago so some body is already you know I just think we need to look at what are our priorities how do we reach, how do we reach these important national goals and is the way the state department is structured is that the best way to do that. Look obviously its easier to do a great job reorganizing public diplomacy it is easier to do that than to reorganize the whole state department I m just talking about shifting dollars.
[1:38:03] Yeah I have to say I started off my tenure there by saying will these really be simple we are just going to take money from the defense department. That didn't go very far let me say. But one final point on budgeting each and every one of you in this room have an important roll that you can play if you choose to do that. We need to do a better job of explaining to the people of this country why this is so important. The ignorance gap across the country in terms of what we do, and what we spend on foreign relations and foreign affairs generally is ridiculous. The average person thinks we spend 10 to 20% of our total budget on it which is clearly much less than we do. But that is a very challenging thing that we our colleagues in congress face from there constituents. Why are you spending all this money overseas when in fact it's very small? We need to do a better job of educating people in terms of what we actually spend and [1:39:00] why in fact it is so important. And that's needs to and that conversation needs to takes place frankly across the country and outside Washington I know P.J. tried very hard to that. But each of you as you go forward could play a critical role in helping that dimension of what we are talking about.
[1:39:17] By the way revising Smith-Mundt I second what you have just said but I think revising Smith-Mundt would have do that. Because lot of you are shy about talking about the state department does, what we do in foreign policy because of Smith-Mundt even though Smith-Mundt doesn't necessarily stop you from doing that but it's an excuse to not do it.
[1:39:37] No getting rid of Smith-Mundt - we wouldn't enable for example Voice of America which has correspondents in countries that CNN and MSNBC, Fox News have clearly no interest or budgetary capability of supporting. So if you got VOA reporters and had their pieces actually picked up by American media with the little VOA [IB] Europe, or for Asia or Middle East Broadcast Network. That would show the American taxpayer what they are actually getting for their money. Since its last work the other things which we didn't talk about when we talked about public diplomacy are sort of non-traditional. So the Bush Administration PEPFAR Program. You don't think that was a great public diplomacy bill? Let me tell you. Also a Peace Corps huge public diplomacy bill and the question is how we then leverage those non-statement aspects of public diplomacy. When the Department of Defense sends a mercy ship for tsunami relief you don't think that's public diplomacy? That's huge and again just I want to get back to china I think it's just so important we continue to focus on that in the same way that my generation everybody who was interested in foreign policy, we all studied Russian.
[1:40:38] Now they are all studying Chinese the administration has this hundred strong program where not any single year but with a course of four years they want to get hundred thousand Americans studying Mandarin in china. We have been talking so much about bringing people here its so important the same time that government funds be used to send potential future American foreign policy leaders, and thinkers and shapers overseas to experience [1:41:00] Jim you touched on walking on someone else shoes. There is great programs there as well and it's a continuing cycle.
[1:41:08] So these has to be the last focus I have to go teach, I will just say but there is also reasons to be optimistic here. And what we just went through here which was a fastening election to the rest of the world. And contrast we talked about china contrast our vigorous election crazy as it was and the current on going Chinese election process. Which is in a dark room and very mysterious that's why I'm optimistic that despite of all of our failings and flaws we still retain that appeal. We have to work on our internal politics and understand what the fiscal cliff and the rest of the world is paying attention to fiscal cliff. But when people look at the competition, they keep coming back to the United States.
[1:41:00] Please join me in thanking our great panel it's a wonderful time, thank you very much.