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The greatest lure of propaganda, for those using it to achieve total victory in the so-called war on terror, is that on surface it may appear to pose no intellectual problems about what it is and what it does. Drop leaflets on enemy territory; place pro-U.S. articles in newspapers abroad; broadcast radio programs that attack the enemy and praise American values -- and hearts and minds in hostile lands will be won over, like a salivating Pavlov dog reacting to food-related stimuli. But propaganda is not as simple as that.
Without firing a shot, China is winning its "war" to gain de facto incorporation of Taiwan into the mainland orbit. That's a tortuous way of saying that it may not be long until Taiwan is no longer a de facto state.
Do you remember Hu Jintao's April 2006 visit to Washington, D.C?
Too bad for President George W. Bush that political public opinion surveys are not conducted at U.S. football games.
Technology is running amok, trampling public diplomacy efforts for almost everyone.
Because of its misuse by most, Satellite TV technology is worsening, rather than aiding efforts to communicate with publics abroad. The ease by which TV satellites can be accessed to distribute signals to practically anywhere, has caused professional communicators to become lazy, and to run their efforts on autopilot.
The trashing of public diplomacy is not really the fault of technology. It is the fault of those who abuse the tool, and who are dazzled to distraction by it.
"Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
WASHINGTON -- Watching George Bush and Tony Blair tie up traffic in Georgetown last week and reading the wall-to-wall coverage of Bush, Blair and Iraq in the US media, Inspector Gregory's question to Holmes came to mind.