The Soft Power Solution in Iran

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, The Soft Power Solution in Iran, former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Jim Glassman and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Support to Public Diplomacy Mike Doran promotes the active use of public diplomacy for the purpose public diplomacy was intended. Beginning with this unattributed quote from presidential candidate Eisenhower (likely inserted by Mike, who's working on a book on the period), they wrote,

Everything that we do, everything that we say--and everything that we don't do and don't say--should be coordinated to meet this goal. Such a policy would have four separate tasks:

Provide moral and educational support for the Green Revolution. ...

Tighten sanctions on the Iranian economy and publicize the connection between regime belligerence and economic malaise. ...

Do all we can to increase communications within Iran, as well as between Iran and the outside world. ...

Finally, we should refute, in campaign style, the four key propositions of Iranian propaganda. ...

A serious strategic communications program for Iran could have dozens, even hundreds, of programs like these. It should extend across government agencies with clear leadership and include private-sector participation.

Too often in foreign policy our interests demand that we compromise our core values. With Iran, however, we have been blessed with remarkable luck: Our strategic and moral imperatives stand in perfect alignment. And Iranians like Americans.

The Iranian challenge appears more amenable than any other serious national threat to a soft-power solution. Let's get going.

Indeed. We know Congress is eager for action - for example the $55 million authorized, but not appropriated, by the Armed Services Committees under the VOICE Act. This does include $30 million for BBG, but Increasing resources at VOA - along with increasingly creative access for Iranians within Iran - is not enough.

(Iran's PressTV cites a New Yorks Times article about Senators asking State to spend $45 million that was "earmarked" for countering Iranian censorship, but I have not confirmed whether this is the same VOICE authorization or an earlier authorization or appropriation.)