Saturday, July 11, 2009

Public Diplomacy and Anti-War

Alvin Toffler in his fascinating book "War and Anti-War" talks about how conflict prevention will be of crucial importance to countries in the 21st century. He believes the end of the Cold War has made the world more dangerous and talks at length how nations, advanced powerful economies would strive for "peace through "technology, communication & human innovation." In an increasingly networked and interdependent world prevention of conflicts has become more important rather than gaining geo-strategic advantages by means of force.
Public Diplomacy has become an important strategic tool for countries to prevent conflicts and maintain a status quo in international relations. Case is point is maybe China. Recent news stories on China feature Chinese leaders harping on the "peaceful rise" of China. This is an idea that is communicated again & again. A rising China is not a threat to anybody. Once a country's influence expands beyond its traditional sphere, conflicts are bound to arise as it competes 'within' the spheres of influence of other countries. Chinese Public Diplomacy efforts are increasingly geared towards negating this perception. Recently the country has also launched the news paper Global Times, which many critics feel is nothing but a propaganda tool.
A more "moral" approach might be of the UN which through its aid programs and peacekeeping operations has long been an advocate of strengthening Public Diplomacy for conflict prevention. India has always played a significant role in UN's peacekeeping operations. The country however needs a strategic roadmap to conduct a "charm campaign" in its turbulent conflict ridden neighborhood & Indian Ocean region.
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