Earlier this month, the Department of Defense released the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, released every four years to “adapt, reshape, and rebalance [the] military to prepare for the strategic challenges and opportunities” to be faced in the coming years. This year’s review prioritizes three pillars:
- Defending the homeland
- Building security globally by projecting U.S. influence and deterring aggression
- Remaining prepared to win decisively against any adversaries should deterrence fail.
While recent news items have paid extensive attention to the shrinking size of the U.S. military force, this Report underscores the need to focus resources towards the protection of science and technology capabilities, especially those in the cyber realm. It also emphasizes the ability of climate change to escalate stressors leading to terrorism.
The Review also provides a few quick references to diplomacy, namely the need for the United States’ foreign policy strategy to involve diplomacy and military action that support and sustain one another. This includes a notable reference to concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. The report states:
Over the past five years, a top Administration priority in the Middle East has been preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, pursued through a multilateral, multi-pronged strategy combining diplomacy, international economic pressure, and the resolve to keep military options on the table.
One component of a diplomatic strategy is public diplomacy—but what constitutes U.S. public diplomacy efforts towards Iran?
In August 2013, ASP released a report titled, “Reaching for an Audience: U.S. Public Diplomacy Towards Iran,” highlighting the current state of public diplomacy towards Iran. The authors write:
Since the attack on America’s diplomatic assets in Tehran, the United States has struggled to find ways of reaching and interacting with average Iranians. These difficulties have constrained American public diplomacy efforts and hindered its ability to make informed foreign policy decisions, as gaining vital information and understanding from within Iran is more difficult.
As the U.S. and Iran do not maintain official diplomatic relations, the lack of an official U.S. mission in Iran renders the conduct of public diplomacy difficult. For the United States to obtain measurable influence in Iran, the ASP report states, “it should cultivate relationships with citizens and battle misperceptions through exchanges and dialogue.”
To read the full ASP report and more about the current state of U.S. public diplomacy towards Iran, please click here.