In the aftermath of September 11, the United States will have to abandon its "go-it-alone" Fortress America policies, according to PR executive Robert Dilenschneider.
When Pakistan ditched its ally, the Taliban, in September, and sided with the U.S., Islamabad and Washington fully expected to implant a pro-American regime in Kabul and open the way for the Pakistani-American pipeline. But, while the Bush administration was busy tearing apart Afghanistan to find Bin Laden, it failed to notice that the Russians were taking over half the country.The Russians achieved this victory through their proxy--the Northern Alliance. Moscow, which has sustained the alliance since 1990, rearmed it after Sept.
Saudi Arabia, which hired Burson-Marsteller three days following the September 11 terror attacks, has signed up another PR firm to help manage its image in the United States. Qorvis Communications, headed by former Shandwick North America CEO Michael Petruzzello, will do polling and Congressional lobbying.
The United States is engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity and presidential speeches designed to rally support for the war, which has begun to slip internationally. Even in Britain, America's most reliable ally, support for war has fallen from around three-quarters to two-thirds. And in the Muslim world, observes the Economist, "The burden of proof has shifted: America is being asked to prove it is not waging war against Islam."
Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times examines some of the different ways in which TV networks are marketing the war in the US and abroad. CNN in the US has been careful not to transmit too many images of the Afghan civilian victims of US bombings, but CNN International is showing the rest of the world different images. In other words CNN is targeting audiences by supplying the different images their different viewers most want to see, typical in the world of TV marketing and ratings wars.
The dictatorship that governs Pakistan was held in contempt by the West prior to September 11, first for its repression of democracy at home and second for its ties with terrorists. Now that it has become our ally against Afghanistan, however, the song has changed. "It may be a good thing that Pakistan is ruled by a friendly military dictator," says Newsweek magazine, "rather than what could well be a hostile democracy." As Robert Fisk points out, "This, of course, is the very policy that dictates Washington's relations with the Arab world.
The State Department is talking to the Advertising Council about crafting a "public diplomacy" campaign to help "sell America" to Muslims upset about the war in Afghanistan. "Overseeing those talks is Charlotte Beers, the new Undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and former advertising executive at J. Walter Thompson who started in the industry marketing Uncle Ben's Rice," reports the Sydney Morning Herald. But Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News, suspects that Americanism may be harder to sell than white rice.
American people remain largely uninformed about the many foreign policy decisions (including aiding in the overthrow of leaders in Iran and bombing Lebanon, Afghanistan, Sudan and Libya) that have inflamed much of the Islamic world. We instead are told that we are hated because we are rich, free and angelic. Nor are most Americans aware that Central Asia, according to the Oil and World Journal, will account for 80 percent of our oil by 2050, and that some people with connections to the Bush administration have commercial interests in that exploration.
The Columbia Journalism Review has published a largely uncritical story about Adrianne Foglia, a former NBC news producer who now serves as press aide to Colombian President Andres Pastrana. CJR notes that Foglia has been hugely successful at influencing news coverage of Colombia: "One Foglia assistant said the office organized upwards of 80 percent of visiting journalists' agendas," which in turn has helped win foreign support such as a $1.3 billion U.S. aid package for Colombia. (More aid is bound to follow, now that U.S.
"In the days since the United States launched its armed and diplomatic responses to the Sept. 11 atrocities, few phrases have passed the lips of American leaders as often as 'this is not a war against Islam.' But as civilian casualties from American airstrikes in Afghanistan begin to pile up, and as the timeline for military action threatens to stretch into months, growing anti-American riots in the Muslim world are underscoring the message's limited reach."