Monday, September 27, 2010


Public diplomacy enthusiasts spend a lot of time focusing on the need to drum up foreign support for foreign policy, but it's important to remember that domestic support is equally important.

Over at Foreign Policy, Stephen Biddle commends President Obama for taking domestic considerations into account when developing war strategy:

Waging war requires resources -- money, troops, and equipment -- and in a democracy, resources require public support. In the United States, the people's representatives in Congress control public spending. If a majority of lawmakers vote against the war, it will be defunded, and this means failure every bit as much as if U.S. soldiers were outfought on the battlefield. A necessary part of any sound strategy is thus its ability to sustain the political majority needed to keep it funded, and it's the president's job to ensure that any strategy the country adopts can meet this requirement. Of course, war should not be used to advance partisan aims at the expense of the national interest; the role of politics in strategy is not unlimited. But a military strategy that cannot succeed at home will fail abroad, and this means that politics and strategy have to be connected by the commander in chief.

Biddle is focusing primarily on military strategy, but what about out aspects of security--specifically communication? Is the United States capable of developing and sustaining a cohesive foreign policy strategy without the support of the public?

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