Public Diplomacy at Home in the UK: Engaging Diasporas and Preventing Terrorism

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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  • 1 a) Faculty of Law, Governance and International Relations, London Metropolitan University, London E1 7NT, United Kingdom s.curtis@londonmet.ac.uk b) The CAST Institute, Cambridge CB5 8DD, United Kingdom caroline.jaine@gmail.com/www.carolinejaine.com

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Summary

Not every foreign ministry communicates with its home audience. For some it is unconstitutional; for many it serves no purpose. But for multicultural and particularly former colonial powers, communicating with the home audience has the potential to be a vital tool for engagement, especially as the boundaries between domestic and international are blurred by international travel, migration and global connectivity. This article examines ‘public diplomacy at home’ in the United Kingdom, both as a general policy of the last Labour government and more specifically in the context of initiatives to tackle Islamist terrorism. In terms of the latter, it explores the strengths and limitations of both faith-based approaches to outreach to Muslim communities and a country-based approach to outreach, using Pakistan as a case study.

  • 3)

    See e.g., R.S. Zaharna, Battles to Bridges: US Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy after 9/11 (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), p. 182.

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  • 4)

    Jozef Batorá, Foreign Ministries and the Information Revolution: Going Virtual? (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2009), pp. 66-67 and 116-128; and Jan Melissen, ‘Beyond the New Public Diplomacy’, Clingendael Paper no. 3, 2011, pp. 1-2.

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  • 5)

    Christopher Hill, ‘Bringing War Home: Foreign Policy-Making in Multicultural Societies’, International Relations, vol. 21, no. 3, 2007; and Lisbeth Aggestam and Christopher Hill, ‘The Challenge of Multiculturalism in European Foreign Policy’, International Affairs, vol. 84, no. 1, 2008.

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    Anthony King, ‘One in Four Muslims Sympathizes with Motives of Terrorists’, The Daily Telegraph, 23 July 2005.

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    Ghaith Abdul-Ahad and Jon Boone, ‘UK-Based Taliban Spend Months Fighting NATO Forces in Afghanistan’, The Guardian, 24 November 2010, available online at www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/24/uk-based-taliban-afghanistan (last accessed 15 December 2010).

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  • 13)

    Shane Brighton, ‘A New Cold War?’ The Guardian, 4 July 2007, available online at www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/jul/04/anewcoldwar (last accessed 20 November 2010); and Urmee Khan, ‘Defrocking Muslim Women’, in Bigham (ed.), Having Faith in Foreign Policy, p. 96.

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    Raffaello Pantucci, ‘A Contest to Democracy? How the UK has Responded to the Current Terrorist Threat’, Democratization, vol. 17, no. 2, 2010, p. 252.

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    Gillian Youngs, ‘The “New Home Front” and the War on Terror: Ethical and Political Reframing of National and International Politics’, International Affairs, vol. 86, no. 4, 2010.

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    Aggestam and Hill, ‘The Challenge of Multiculturalism in European Foreign Policy’, p. 113; and Robert Lambert, ‘Community Intervention as a Negotiation Strategy: Al-Qaeda in London’, in I. William Zartman and Guy Olivier Faure (eds), Engaging Extremists: Trade-Offs, Timing and Diplomacy (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2011). Melissen has recently signed up to the notion of ‘domestic public diplomacy’; see Melissen, ‘Beyond the New Public Diplomacy’, p. 20.

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  • 26)

    Mark Leonard, ‘Diplomacy by Other Means’, Foreign Policy, September/October, 2002, p. 55.

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    For example, see Zaharna, Battles to Bridges, p. 106.

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    Leonard and Small, British Public Diplomacy in the ‘Age of Schisms’, p. 41.

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    Hill, ‘Bringing War Home’, p. 260.

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    Rhiannon Vickers, ‘The New Public Diplomacy: Britain and Canada Compared’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol. 6, no. 2, 2004, p. 186; and Batorá, Foreign Ministries and the Information Revolution, pp. 116-128.

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    Mark Leonard and Conrad Smewing, Public Diplomacy and the Middle East (London: The Foreign Policy Centre, 2003), pp. 84-85.

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    Mark Leonard and Vidhya Alakeson, Going Public: Diplomacy for the Information Society (London: The Foreign Policy Centre, 2000), pp. 5 and 77.

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    Leonard and Alakeson, Going Public, pp. 79, 82-83 and 95.

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    Leonard and Alakeson, Going Public, pp. 5-6.

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    Vickers, ‘The New Public Diplomacy’, p. 190.

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    FCO, ‘Active Diplomacy for a Changing World’, p. 45.

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    FCO, ‘Active Diplomacy for a Changing World’, pp. 17, 29 and 52.

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    Leonard and Smewing, Public Diplomacy and the Middle East, pp. 16, 18 and 72; and Leonard and Alakeson, Going Public, p. 96.

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    Julian Borger, ‘Foreign Office to Court Youth on YouTube’, The Guardian, 15 January 2008. Indeed, the FCO set up its own Bringing Foreign Policy Home podcast series, which can be found online at www.podbean.com/podcast-detail?pid=42858 (last accessed 10 February 2011). For a positive evaluation of these online initiatives from one who was initially sceptical, see Sherard Cowper-Coles, Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign (London: Harper, 2011), pp. 100-101.

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  • 52)

    Vickers, ‘The New Public Diplomacy’, p. 192. The process of public consultations on particular issues, such as forced marriage (something that disproportionally affects Muslim and in particular the Pakistani communities in the United Kingdom), perhaps contains greater potential for the public to have an impact on policy. For details of the FCO’s past consultations, see www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/publications1/consultations1/closed-consultations/ (last accessed 5 January 2011).

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    Shane Brighton, ‘British Muslims, Multiculturalism and UK Foreign Policy: “Integration” and “Cohesion” in and Beyond the State’, International Affairs, vol. 83, no. 1, 2007, p. 2.

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    Tony Blair, A Journey (London: Hutchinson, 2010), p. 570.

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    Briggs, ‘Hearts and Minds and Votes’, p. 277; and Rachel Briggs, ‘Community Engagement for Counter-Terrorism: Lessons from the United Kingdom’, International Affairs, vol. 86, no. 4, 2010, p. 974.

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    HM Government, Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering International Terrorism, March 2009, p. 55, available online at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100418065544/http://security.homeoffice.gov.uk/news-publications/publication-search/contest/contest-strategy/contest-strategy-2009?view=Binary (last accessed 10 January 2011).

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    HM Government, Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare, pp. 13, 55, 59, 68, 70, 71, 76, 110, 120, 122, 124 and 160.

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    HM Government, Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare, p. 85.

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    HM Government, Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare, p. 92.

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    Pantucci, ‘A Contest to Democracy?’, pp. 256-259.

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    Leonard and Smewing, Public Diplomacy and the Middle East, p. 53; and Khan, ‘A Clash of Civilizations: The Paradox of Globalization?’, p. 54.

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  • 63)

    Leonard and Smewing, Public Diplomacy and the Middle East, pp. 62-63.

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    Liat Radcliffe, ‘A Muslim Lobby in Whitehall? Examining the Role of the Muslim Minority in British Foreign Policy-Making’, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations, vol. 15, no. 3, 2004, pp. 374, 379-380; and Brighton, ‘British Muslims, Multiculturalism and UK Foreign Policy’, pp. 3-4.

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    HM Government, Delivering the Prevent Strategy: An Updated Guide for Local Partners (London: Home Office, 2009), p. 18, available online at www.dcsf.gov.uk/violentextremism/preventstrategy/downloads/2009%20Updated%20guide%20to%20local%20partners.pdf (last accessed 1 March 2011); interview at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 17 May 2011.

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  • 73)

    FCO spokesperson quoted in Oliver Evans, ‘MP’s Anger over Secret Extremism Meeting in High Wycombe’, Bucks Free Press, 25 September 2009, available online at www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/4650404.MP_s_anger_over_secret_extremism_meeting/ (last accessed 20 October 2010).

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    RICU, ‘Prevent: A Communications Guide’, p. 26.

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    YMAG, ‘It’s a Two-Way Thing’, p. 20.

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    Brighton, ‘British Muslims, Multiculturalism and UK Foreign Policy’, p. 4.

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    Brighton, ‘British Muslims, Multiculturalism and UK Foreign Policy’, p. 16.

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    Leonard and Smewing, Public Diplomacy and the Middle East, pp. 82-83.

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    Melissen, ‘Reflections on Public Diplomacy Today’, p. 9.

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    Leonard, ‘Diplomacy by Other Means’, p. 55.

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    Europol, ‘TE-SAT 2011: EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report’, available online at www.europol.europa.eu/sites/default/files/publications/te-sat2011.pdf (last accessed 2 January 2012).

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    HM Government, Prevent Strategy, pp. 48 and 49.

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