I had an interesting chat a few days ago with George W. Bush Institute Executive Director James Glassman, who served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy during the latter part of the G.W. Bush administration. He was also Chair of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Glassman occasionally gets heat for a book he co-authored once on where the dow jones index would eventually go. Ultimately, he may be right — but in this business, ideas entrepreneurs who take risks should be appreciated, not ignored.
James Glassman has been a policy entrepreneur in risk-averse Washington, DC for a long time — and he and I have become good friends debating each other on quite a number of fronts. But I respect his creativity and integrity.
While at the State Department, Glassman conceived a better mission for his work than what I thought existed before — focused not on nudging others around the world to like us but rather to express their own views, no matter how critical of the US or passionate about other issues, in ways that were non-violent.
Glassman also helped generate buzz around what he calls “Diplomacy 2.0“.
Above is a short clip that I think presents some thoughts on Iran that deserve air time. I would be hesitant to go as far as Jim does in advocating a stronger US appropriations approach for the kind of communications he suggests as I don’t want whatever organic movement exists inside Iran to become (any more) tainted by countries outside.
Here is a longer audio version of the event (here is video) held at the New America Foundation.
Try and listen to Glassman’s views and if you feel moved, debate the merits or not one way or another in a civil manner. Screeds about Jim’s Dow book or conservative credentials are not helpful or interesting.
More later. In Tripoli now. Back to DC tomorrow via Dubai.
— Steve Clemons