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13 August 2017
By Prof. Scott Lucas
On 14 October 2001, President George W. Bush complained to a prime-time press conference, “I’m amazed that there is such misunderstanding of what our country is about that people would hate us. I, like most Americans, I just can’t believe it, because I know how good we are.”[iii] The President’s plaintive remark, made only a month after a global outpouring of sympathy for the United States but only a week since American bombs had started falling upon Afghanistan, captured a tension between values and security that is at the heart of the US pursuit of the “war on terror.” Strategic goals of “national security” might be achieved with military force, but would the goal of spreading “freedom, democracy and free enterprise” be assured or jeopardised by the same operations?[iv] This remains a crucial question for the US as it seizes and seeks to extend the “unipolar moment” of global hegemony. It is also the defining question in the regeneration of public diplomacy as a strategic tool of national security.
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