Monday, March 9, 2009


"Public diplomacy" seems to be the new buzzword in Washington, which probably explains why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent visit to Turkey ended with her appearing on a popular television talk show, where she opened up about how she first fell in love and her challenged sense of fashion. Hosted by four women, the program, called "Haydi Gel Bizimle Ol" (Come and Join Us), is the Turkish version of the popular American talk show "The View." (Clinton also appeared on television during a recent visit to Indonesia, dropping in on a youth-oriented program called "Dahsyat" (Awesome.))

From my article about Hillary's public diplomacy mission in Turkey in today's Christian Science Monitor:
Stagecraft appears to have helped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton score a few points for America's battered reputation here.

In a departure from her busy agenda of traditional diplomacy, Secretary Clinton sat down for a Saturday interview on a popular television talk show, opening up on prime time about everything from how she fell in love to her challenged sense of fashion.

Asked by one of the hosts how she has dealt with life's difficulties – including much-publicized bumps in her marriage – Clinton answered: "You know, family, faith, friends are the core of my life and I don't know anybody whose life is smooth sailing."

Clinton and Turkish officials had significant issues to discuss during her one-day visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara, including the possible use of Turkish soil for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and her announcement that President Obama will make his own trip to Turkey in the next month.

But Clinton also had another mission: to resurrect America's shabby image in Turkey, where, according to a 2007 public opinion survey, only nine percent of the population held favorable views of the US, down from 52 percent in 2002....
....The past few years have been dismal for America's image in Turkey. Turks were strongly opposed to the war in Iraq, while many also felt that the US was not doing enough to deal with the presence of Kurdish guerillas who were using their bases in Northern Iraq to attack Turkey.

Meanwhile, public appearances by American officials over the past few years were limited. Former president George W. Bush's one visit to Istanbul, for a NATO summit, saw him confined to a large security zone that turned a large part of downtown Istanbul into a ghost town.
You can read the rest of article here.

(Photo: Clinton speaking with a Turkish businesswoman and talk show hosts after her recent television appearance in Turkey. By Reuters)

1 comment:

John Brown said...

Regarding public diplomacy as a buzzword in Washington, you might be interested in my piece, "Smart Power In, Public Diplomacy Out?"