I just watched a video podcast of a recent Council on Foreign Relations event. Unfortunately, since it was a video, I do not have a transcript to copy and paste. The speaker was James Glassman, who is Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs . He made a few good points that give me the impression that we are finally “getting it.”

He made the following points, which I am paraphrasing…

- We are not seeking to make people view the US favorably. We are seeking to create conditions whereby animosity towards the US does not manifest itself in violence.
- We seek to create conditions that are hostile to violent extremism.
- We want to break the links between groups like al-Qaeda and their target audiences.
- He made a marketing analogy in which he basically says that (and, again, I am paraphrasing) we are Coke and “they” are Pepsi. Our objective is not to get people to drink Coke, but to not drink Pepsi. They can drink whatever they want – milk, ginger ale, tomato juice – though we think that they will eventually come around to drinking Coke. We are not seeking to push our brand, but rather to destroy theirs.
- We want to divert impressionable potential recruits of violent extremists. We want to divert them towards entertainment, arts, and anything else other than violent activity. He specifically used the term “facilitator of choice” in describing our role.
- He emphasizes the use of social networking as a conduit towards achieving our goals.

Note: James Glassman is formerly affiliated with AEI, which apparently makes him a “neocon” bogeyman. But, nonetheless, he seems to “get it.”