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Wasted Words? The Limitations of U.S. Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy


Studies in Conflict and TerrorismJournal abstract

For America's foes in Afghanistan and the Middle East, triumph on the battlefield is less important than winning the battle of perceptions. In response, the United States has turned to Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy (SC-PD) to engage key audiences in ways that advance U.S. interests and to win the political-ideological contest for domestic and international legitimacy. But are these strategies effective? While winning hearts and minds is politically important, SC-PD—even at its best—is much less effective than other well-crafted and mutually supportive policies and strategies. Moreover, there are structural obstacles that greatly limit the effectiveness of SC-PD.

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