Monday, September 26, 2011

The greedy battle for hearts and minds

A PS on pathology. On the lies we tell ourselves in policy terms: the greedy battle for hearts and minds.  Public diplomacy is a long-term endeavor (at best).  It fails miserably when run on annual schedule:

"Everyone in Iraq was there on a series of one year tours, myself included," he says. "Everyone was told that they needed to create accomplishments, that we needed to document our success, that we had to produce a steady stream of photos of accomplishments and pictures of smiling Iraqis and metrics and charts. It was impossible, under these circumstances, to do anything long-term ... We rarely thought past next week's situation update. The Embassy would rarely engage with us on a project that wasn't flashy enough to involve photographs or bringing a journalist out to shoot a video that looked good. The willingness to do long-term work ... never existed in our world."

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