Our readership here is small, but high quality. We don’t get many hits, but the hits we do get come from some interesting places. We are being read by elements in the .mil, and their feed back is gratifying.
One of our .mil readers wants to know what y’all have to say about the U.S. Information Agency and whether or not it should be reconstituted. The USIA disappeared along with all those Army divisions and air wings. Peace Dividend, you know. Now it is being missed, and what it used to do doesn’t seem to be getting done. DoD, being one of few islands of competence in the .gov, is all about work-arounds to get ‘er done without or without InterAgency participation.
So, does anybody have any ideas? Donald Rumsfeld had some, but they threw him under the bus. Or did he jump? Anyway, what do YOU think?
I’ll tell you what I think. I think we’re too afraid of lawfare from the domestic opposition. I think careerist bureaucratic homesteaders use Smith-Mundt as an excuse to sit on their thumbs and discourage anybody with more gumption from showing them up. I think Smith-Mundt needs to go away. I think the idea that politics stops at the water’s edge is dead along with the idea of a “Loyal Opposition.” Strategy and strategic communications are going to have be left to the political operatives of the party in power. I think a reconstituted USIA couldn’t do much for a divided nation.
What do YOU think?
UPDATE: Some useful links pertaining to this discussion:
USIA’S INTEGRATION INTO THE STATE DEPARTMENT: ADVOCATING POLICY TRUMPS PROMOTING MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING You might want to read this one. When I started this post I didn’t know a helluva lot about USIA, but I’m learning. I’m thinking now that USIA was valuable in the dissemination of conditioning propaganda to foster in external audiences generally positive views on America and Americans even in the face of specific American policy controversies. They could still consider America a force for good in the world even while disagreeing with actions of the US Government. I think the “promoters of mutal understanding” gained for us the benefit of the doubt that we rarely enjoy any more.