AdAgeChina: Obama, China, and Public Diplomacy

In the Hutong

Using music to tame The Beast

1145 hrs.

AdAgeChina.com just posted my Viewpoint article on Obama and public diplomacy. My core point:

If Obama is to keep his hard choices from backfiring with China, he must make his case to both the Chinese government and the Chinese people.


And make no mistake, Obama will need China. One only need look at the issues the new president will face to see how important the help of the PRC will be to his success. At the very least, China will be essential in forging a global energy and environmental regime, bringing security to Central Asia, ensuring that Russia remains integrated in the global system, midwifing North Korea’s return to that system (and perhaps its peaceful re-unification with South Korea), and, of course, resolving the current global financial crisis and forming new system to both nurture and regulate international finance.


Conventional diplomacy will form a part of the effort to enlist that support, but it will not be enough. Instead, Obama and his team will need to undertake an unparalleled effort of public diplomacy, and one that shuns the tools and tactics of the Cold War for strategies, approaches, and messages more appropriate to a world rendered naked by the Internet.

It’s up on the site now, available to subscribers only. If you’re interested in the discussion, let me know. I’m thinking about re-crafting the article into 1 or two expanded blog posts.