FreeMediaOnline.org, Free Media Online Blog, GovoritAmerika.us, Commentary by Ted Lipien, August 18, 2009, San Francisco — Ever since the United States Information Agency (USIA) was dismantled in a foolish post-Cold War cost-cutting move, the U.S. State Department and American diplomats abroad have not been able to present a coherent message to foreign audiences quickly and effectively. The latest example is the lame U.S. public response to the terrorist attack in Ingushetia — no phone call from President Obama to President Medvedev, just a short written statement which was not easily available. There was no statement from Secretary Clinton.
Even though the lack of a proper U.S. response was not deliberate and can be blamed on the distraction with the health care reform and just plain bureaucratic incompetence, the Russian leaders and the Russian public have a reason to wonder how badly the Obama Administration wants Russia’s support in combating terrorism and restraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Americans, on the other hand, should be concerned how professional and how effective is America’s public diplomacy, which aims to inform and influence public opinion abroad to make it more sympathetic to U.S. interests. The ultimate aim is to make America safer by strengthening and promoting security and democracy worldwide. Yet, few within the government bureaucracy in Washington seem to grasp that ineffective public diplomacy threatens America’s safety. FreeMediaOnline.org (Free Media Online Blog)>>