In an article posted in the Foreign Policy Association Blog, Mark Dillen made a reference to my report about the failure of the State Department to respond quickly and adequately to the terrorist attack in Ingushetia. Mark Dillen is a former Senior Foreign Service Officer with the US State Department. He managed political, media and cultural relations for US embassies in Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Sofia and Belgrade before moving to the private sector. In his blog he often comments on U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy. He appropriately titled his article “PD 101.” I would also add “Journalism 101.”
Fellow-blogger Ted Lipien makes some valid points about seemingly basic mistakes that the State Department has made in public diplomacy in the new Administration. In particular, he notes, a chance was missed earlier this month to express solidarity with the victims of terrorist attacks in Ingushetia. Eventually the Department did comment, but it took longer to get the statement out, in Russian and in other regional languages, than is necessary given the worldwide news cycle. In order for news-related public diplomacy to be effective, it has to be rapid, delivered in relevant languages and via relevant media.