Friday, March 27, 2009

Medical Diplomacy in Afghanistan

In today's Huffington Post, there is an article related to what we talked about in class in regards to medical diplomacy. The post, found here,

is about how the Taliban is refusing to allow polio vaccinations to take place in certain areas of Afghanistan. Reading the article made me think a little about how we've talked about the important roles that NGO's and other organizations play in diplomacy. Yet, as evidenced in this example, here is a role where clearly the NGO is unable to fulfill it's proper duty, probably because of a communication misperception somewhere down the line.

Though it seems from the readings that positive activities such as this are often heralded, it makes me wonder what happens when the other party clearly has differing opinions, leading to a conflict of interest. Though it makes good sense to talk about the new role that medical diplomacy will play in the public dimension, what if US efforts at bridging humanity are spurned, such as in this case? What do we do then, when tradiotional options AND new options in the PD arena such as this seem to be failing?

I think the answer lies in more aggressive communication, but due to the nature of the area, sophisticated media techniques and television probably aren't the answer. I'd like to know more about what the US plans to do in this case, when faced with a largely illiterate and uneducated portion of the population such as this. What do we do?

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