Reflections on Public Diplomacy after the Danish Cartoon Crises: From Crisis Management to Normal Public Diplomacy Work

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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  • 1 Royal Danish Embassy, Rauchstr. 1, D-10787 Berlin, Germany;, Email: uffand@um.dk

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Abstract

The Danish cartoon crisis was resurrected in Spring 2008 when the Mohammed cartoons were reprinted as an expression of solidarity following the revelation that definite death threats had been made to one of the cartoonists. During both crises the Danish government stuck to the principle of transparency and stood its ground, almost to excess, or so some thought. But the government's stance has possibly paid off, at least in the long run. A crisis situation is an inappropriate moment for a country to start a polemical discussion with its 'opposite number'. But as soon as things have quietened down, reconstruction work must take place. To stick one's head in the sand during this second phase is dangerous for a country's reputation. This article argues that the answer to this dilemma is to concentrate your counter-attack on the 'disputable area'. And the best method is to invite a meaningful dialogue.

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