America’s Latest Tool of Public Diplomacy

In the Hutong
I feel an iTunes jag coming on
1908 hrs.

In the global battle for hearts and minds, countries employ a growing arsenal of weapons in their efforts to build support among citizens of other countries. Leaflets, airborne radio stations, satellite news channels, and even celebrities contribute to the efforts of their home countries to build influence and soft power.

The ever-innovative U.S. Navy has decided to employ a culturally appropriate device in its effort to head off potential protests as it plans to base its first nuclear aircraft carrier in Japan:

That’s right, America’s latest tool of public diplomacy is the graphic novel, targeted at Japanese adults and delivered in your choice of English or Japanese.

Whenever I think my job as a business communicator is tough, I think about the men and women engaged in the thankless task of making their countries more attractive to people around the world. Most of them are poorly paid (relative to their skills), put up with a ton of bureaucracy, and have to fight to get any remotely creative idea approved.

Whoever got this little device approved deserves an industry award for excellence public affairs.

Check it out – unfortunately, I can’t, given the U.S. Department of Defense is a little prickly about allowing access to their sites from URLs in China. Wonder why?


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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