Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Badminton Diplomacy?

In class last night, we talked about Culls article and the facets of PD. A story in the news this week highlights cultural/exchange diplomacy in an interesting way.

The United States women's Badminton Team was denied visas to enter Iran for an International tournament coming up in March. According to their foreign minister, the visa process was just too "time consuming" thus the team would not receive them in time. See FP Passport for their blog on it, which brings up a sexist angle as well.

The relationship between Iran and the US is increasingly in the spotlight as the world waits to see how our new president will act. According to an NY Times article yesterday,
"While Mr. Obama is expected to soften the Bush administration’s line against talking to Iran, the aides said, he may also seek to toughen sanctions."

While Badminton tournaments may not be on the top of Mr. Obama's list of grievances against Iran, this particular snub of our public diplomacy does show an unwillingness to engage with the US.
If even the most benign form of PD, allowing our teams to compete in their country, is rejected then it seems difficult to forsee how or where the US and Iran will ever diffuse tensions.

No comments:

Post a Comment