public diplomacy

Public Diplomacy and the State of the Union

President Obama delivering the State of the Union address, Feb. 12, 2013. Credit:

President Obama delivering the State of the Union address, Feb. 12, 2013. Credit:

A State of the Union address is always a major public diplomacy moment. Rarely do you have the full attention of the entire world to tell every listener, watcher and tweeter, what exactly your current policy priorities are.

For 2014, it is likely that President Obama will focus on domestic and international topics that are high up on America’s agenda and he is likely to stress that if Congress remains intransigent, he, the President, will have to use his Executive powers to make things happen in 2014 on the following issues: 

  • Income Inequality

  • Climate Change and Clean Energy

  • Reigning in chemical and nuclear weapons

  • Winding down costly wars

  • Transparency in the national security agency

  • Immigration reform

The president is likely to take credit, rightly so, for progress on removing chemical weapons from Syria, progress on a nuclear deal with Iran, and a strong push for peace in the Middle East. But he will also have to acknowledge that the world is pretty messy right now from violent protests from Kiev to Cairo, and that American leadership remains critical to bringing about a more peaceful 2014.


About Tara Sonenshine

Tara Sonenshine is a distinguished fellow at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs. Previously, she served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, as well as Executive Vice President of the U.S. Institute for Peace.


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