From our readers - Western leaders don't 'get' global comms

Encouraged by the leadership of the Obama administration, soft power and consensus may indeed pervade the thinking of Western foreign policy (Opinion, 16 January). Consequently the PR profession may reap rewards.

But when it comes to strategic communications and public diplomacy, senior leaderships of the West often fail to 'get it'. Despite a general recognition that domestic and foreign policy are linked, government interest in communications wanes dramatically once targets fall outside domestic borders.

The problem is often due to a lack of understanding, at senior, strategic level, of communications in the context of foreign policy and development. This results in underfunded, ill-planned and outmoded ideas in campaigns. 'Hearts and minds' is a tired cliche, but to nurture effective soft power and consensus, the most crucial battle for 'hearts and minds' should first be fought not on the global stage but in government offices, foreign ministries and development agencies.

Jem Thomas, director of CB3 Communications

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