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Communication Problems with Pakistan

This New York Times video segment is a few months old, but it’s worth watching for how relevant it is today. It details how the U.S. has demonstrated a total inability to effectively communicate with the Pakistani public. The opinion there of U.S. foreign policy is at rock-bottom, conspiracy theories are rife and militant Glenn Beck-esque figures are widely hailed as rock stars. Senior U.S. figures like Hillary Clinton and Richard Holbrooke have not helped matters via P.R. blunders and a kind of naivety about Pakistani society that translates into suspicion and distrust. In the face of all of this, I don’t understand why public diplomacy efforts aren’t rocketed up as a strategic priority in the area. Pakistanis consume American brands and technologies with hardly a blink of the eye – if the U.S. has this kind of marketing prowess in the private sector why can’t we apply it to the public one?


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