Middle East Journal of Culture & Communication, Vol. 2
In light of the ongoing ‘War on Terror’ and the occupation of Iraq, attention has turned again to how countries such as the United States and Britain can use ‘soft power’ to influence not only domestic communities but also countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. Inevitably, the role of media, whether in the form of radio, television, the internet or film, looms large in such debates. The United States, for example, has funded new radio stations such as Radio Farda and Radio Sawa in an attempt to influence Farsi- and Arabic-speaking audiences in Iran and the Arab world. The Middle East has, as a consequence of American geopolitical fears of both Islamist militancy and Iranian power projection, emerged as the critical space for such popular cultural expressions. Geopolitics, in this context, refers to the representation of the geographies of global politics, and in the context of the Middle East, such representations are rarely politically innocent. This special issue of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication examines the use of soft power and public diplomacy in the Middle East, the political motives behind them, their modes of operation, and their successes and failure.