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Conceptual Foundations: From Wielding Soft Power To Managing Mutual Benefit

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Chapter Summary

This chapter challenges the fundamental assumptions of public diplomacy policies and practices motivated and directed by the self-interested desire to "get what one want" by co-opting foreign publics "to buy into their values" It reviews the concept of soft power and then addresses the implications of adopting soft power as a conceptual framework for public diplomacy. Relational model based on public relations principles and concepts of mutuality is proposed as a theoretical framework for the study and practice of U.S. public diplomacy going forward. The broad assumption that public diplomacy's value lies in its ability to help a nation wield greater power is reminiscent of historical attempts to justify United States public diplomacy's worth on its contribution to wartime objectives. The conceptual connections between public diplomacy and public relations are significant. Relationship management provides an overarching framework for exploring issues within the public diplomacy discipline.

Keywords: public diplomacy; relationship management; soft power



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