NATO Public Diplomacy: Six Colors / Six Couleurs

imageNATO Public Diplomacy is a bit different than US public diplomacy. Unlike US public diplomacy which is (quaintly) aimed exclusively foreign publics, NATO public diplomacy is aimed chiefly at member countries and secondarily at partner countries. From the American perspective of audience-based tactics, this seems to be more like public affairs but the methodology is certainly more like public diplomacy.

Earlier this year Dr. Stefanie Babst, the NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Strategy, stated the key principles to govern NATO “new public diplomacy” that will sound very familiar to any public diplomat (full speech is here, PDF:

1. Public diplomacy is about listening. …
2. Public diplomacy must be connected to policy. …
3. Public diplomacy must be credible to be effective. …
4. Public Diplomacy is not always about you. …
5. Public Diplomacy needs to respond to the challenges of the Web 2.0 world.

In this spirit she suggests that NATO public diplomacy might actually want to connect directly with a broad audience.

NATO should be more courageous in using digital tools to directly interact with the public. Why not host a permanent blog on the NATO website? Why not widen the debate about NATO's new Strategic Concept beyond the 'usual suspects' and try to obtain new thinking through, for instance, online discussions with citizens on specific aspects of NATO's future role? Let us hope that when Allies discuss NATO's future strategic course at the forthcoming Summit in Strasbourg and Kehl, they will also take a moment to sign up to a 21st century public diplomacy approach.

I couldn’t agree more.