Thursday, August 09, 2012

Fuggedaboutit Diplomacy: NYC as Capital of PD

I was lost in thought yesterday evening about whether New York needs do its own public diplomacy.  Everyone across the world knows New York, its brand is global.  So much of what constitutes American cultural diplomacy comes from this city.  In terms of New York's soft power, the power of its influence is without compare.  New York is a global trendsetter.

Yet I fault New York for letting Washington run the public diplomacy show.  What if the USIA had been based in New York, and had its own ties to the arts community?

Public diplomacy gets dwarfed by diplomacy and the military in Washington.  And while I love LA, it is too remote and removed to be a public diplomacy epicenter.  Public diplomacy, and more importantly cultural diplomacy, needs to be able to tap into culture.  Sorry DC, but American cultural life is here in New York not in Washington.  While I recognize PD might need some proximity to apparati of government, at the very least it makes sense that New York is a better beacon for cultural diplomacy than DC.

There is more soft power emanating from New York than Washington.  It seems everyone hates Washington, as it gets railed at as the symbol of government dysfunction.  But those same voices pipe down and stand starry-eyed amid the lights and glitz of Times Square.  Washington's rep constantly gets beat up; New York would give you a bloody nose for such talk.  Fuggedaboutit.

And, of course, I can think of the fun of doing a New York gastrodiplomacy campaign, with bagels, pizza and delis as the centerpiece of such endeavors.

So perhaps I will make New York the base of my PD empire.  I will open up shop of the Edward R. Murrow Institute for Public and Cultural Diplomacy in the heart of Gotham.

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