Asia Pacific

When will China ever learn? It’s not how loud you speak, or how many times you say something, but what you say that counts. Reports that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has launched a new English-language newspaper, the Global Times, should be greeted with the usual mixture of delight (yet more evidence of the Chinese jumping on the public diplomacy bandwagon) and cynicism (yet more evidence of the Chinese jumping on the public diplomacy bandwagon).

Earlier this month, a blue ribbon panel, appointed in 2008 by Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy to enquire into that country's foreign ministry and representational capacity, reported a deep diplomatic deficit and has recommended sweeping reform and major reinvestment. The findings, which include a series of recommendations on public diplomacy, are widely applicable and warrant close inspection.

February 3, 2009

HONG KONG-The media in this commerce-fueled city have been fascinated by the fallout from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's recent Senate testimony asserting that mainland China "manipulated" its currency. The South China Morning Post prominently ran a Reuters analysis today that argued that "manipulated" is too harsh a term, and that "managed" would be better; besides, the article argued, the U.S. itself could equally be accused of currency manipulation.



Much that is written about public diplomacy focuses on Europe and the Muslim world. National news media in the US, headquartered in New York and Washington, equates foreign opinion with approving editorials in The Guardian and large crowds in Berlin. By those criteria, President-elect Barack Obama is wildly popular. Just elect Obama, the thinking goes, and America's public diplomacy problems are solved.

Not quite: The data indicate Obama was never as popular in Asia as in Europe. And it turns out President Bush was never as unpopular in Asia as he was in Europe.

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