Essay On The Paper Discusses The High Level Visits As A Form Of Diplomacy. The Paper Defines Public Diplomacy As:
Article Critique on Benjamin E. Goldsmith and Yusaku Horiuchi: Spinning the Globe? U.S. Public Diplomacy and Foreign Public Opinion
(Goldsmith, Benjamin E., and Yusaku Horiuchi. 'Spinning The Globe? U.S. Public Diplomacy And Foreign Public Opinion'. jop 71.03 (2009): 863. Web)
“Spinning the Globe? U.S. Public Diplomacy and Foreign Public Opinion”, is a paper written by Benjamin E. Goldsmith and Yusaku Horiuchi. The article talks about U.S diplomacy efforts in the international scenario after the tragedy of 9/11. The article tackles the question by evaluating the visits of top level officials of United States to the foreign countries and their effects on the public opinion. The paper has based the arguments around literature and political communication. The paper argues that the credibility of leaders of United States in front of office holders of the other countries is a vital element in shaping the positive or negative attitude towards foreign policy of United States. According to the paper, such visits produced positive results as a part of counter-terrorism society, but there was a gradual shift in the opinions after the Iraq-war started. Since the media has started showing the negative aspects of war or terror, many of these visits have even showed backlash and produced counter-productive results.
Conceptually, public diplomacy is a form of transnational influence in which the government of Country A tries to affect domestic (usually mass) beliefs in Country B This includes a wide range of informational and citizen-exchange programs.
The paper further states that the real purpose of the foreign visits by a country’s leaders is to participate in high level diplomacy including dialogue with foreign leaders, attending multinational meetings, and negotiations. However, it is also used for public diplomacy by a country’s leaders and to gain support for certain policies and project a positive image of the country. The paper combines the issue of credibility and Entman’s model saying “the impact of a leader’s transnational communication efforts on opinion about her country’s foreign policy depends on the extant type of general image about her and her country among the foreign public: credible, controversial, or noncredible”
Furthermore, the paper discusses the conditional effects of Public Diplomacy. The paper proposes three hypotheses regarding the topic which are as follows:
H1: In a credibility scenario, public diplomacy will have a net positive effect on foreign policy perceptions.
H2: In a controversy scenario, public diplomacy will have no effect or a muted net positive effect on foreign policy perceptions.
H3: In a non-credibility scenario, public diplomacy will have a net negative effect on foreign policy.
After that, the paper talks about the decrease in the credibility of United States on the international horizon in the post-9/11. According to the writers, the post-9/11 world and before Iraq war in 2003, the credibility of U.S government was increasing, despite the involvement of U.S in harmful wars. This situation was changed when the Iraq war happened which brought troubles for the U.S it hadn’t anticipated. For example, in April 2004, pictures of U.S soldiers that were stationed at Abu Gharib prision in Iraq were seen with them indulging in prison abuse. The decline of popularity of U.S government started from there and it hardly climbed back from there. An example of the decline of credibility of United States is shown in the paper in the following words:
In a December 2004 poll in Japan, ‘‘the number of respondents who said they did not trust the United States rose eight points from the previous year to 53 percent, much higher than the 38 percent who said they did trust the United States’’ and a foreign ministry official explained this as likely ‘‘due to President Bush’s stance on unilateralism
The study relies upon results of numerous surveys done in different countries after 9/11th. The results showed that “demonstrates not only the strong potential for transnational influence on foreign publics through high-level visits, but also the conditionality of that influence”
The paper has showed quite accurate data and calculations with enough data to support all three hypothesis was attached with the paper. The support for the first hypothesis H1 came from the survey (see table 2) after the days of 9/11, but before Iraq war. During those times, there was mostly a credible image of United States almost all across the world. This is the reason that high level visits had a positive effect on the public opinion about United States. Furthermore, the hypothesis that there public diplomacy will have little or no effect in a controversy on the way other countries see the subject country is also proven by the study. The survey shows that the visits made by United States’ high level officials after the Iraq war had lessened effect on the overall improvement of the image of the country. The paper states that “As U.S. foreign policy becomes more controversial around the world, influence is still possible but reduced, as anticipated in Hypothesis 2." Lastly, the support for hypothesis also comes from the survey when it talks about the negative effects of high level command of United State’s visit to the other countries after the scandals like Abu Gharib jail etc. when it states that “Consistent with Hypothesis 3, the powerful (negative) images and basic facts in the news cannot be displaced by public diplomacy efforts.”
The reasoning of the paper is logical and clear. It is based upon the adequate research and sound facts and figures. The paper has followed a scientific process by proposing some hypothesises, checking that claim with the given information and backing the argument and data with sound and logical reasoning.
As far as assumptions of the writer are concerned they are valid too. The author assumes the main purpose of high level visits “to engage in conventional elite-level diplomacy, such as negotiations and dialogue with foreign leaders and/or attendance at multinational meetings.” This assumption is quite valid as the main objective of these visits is to communicate and engage with foreign leaders for mutual benefits and negotiating on the conflicting subjects.
One of the things that weren’t up to the standards was that the author didn’t provide much information about their sampling techniques and their population sizes. It is understandable that such information could not have been provided in the paper as there were over 61 surveys in total, but an overview to analyze whether the techniques used by the authors was right or not, should have been provided in the appendices, if not the main body of the paper.
The paper overall reflects the effect high level visits have on shaping the image of the country in the rest of the world. The paper tackles the issues from three different perspectives, when the country’s image is a credible one, the visits tend to have a better impact on the foreign policy and image on the visited country’s masses, when the country is in a conflict, and the impact of such visits is negligible one. On the other hand, if the country is facing some big controversy, such visits do more harm than good towards achieving the objectives of public diplomacy.
The article itself has logical arguments to support its thesis, sound data and conclusions extracted from the data to support its three hypothesis and assumptions of the writers are valid and true. The article fails to provide detailed information or overview about the surveys carried out upon whose data, the paper is based.
Goldsmith, Benjamin E., and Yusaku Horiuchi. 'Spinning The Globe? U.S. Public Diplomacy And Foreign Public Opinion'. jop 71.03 (2009): 863. Web.