YouTube Diplomacy: Broadcast Your Peace

In a message of virtual peace, President Obama extended best wishes to celebrants of the springtime holiday Nowruz.  More than just a good natured holiday greeting, he used this opportunity to give a special shout out to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, spending most of his 3 and 1/2 minute message in online diplomacy.  A dramatic shift away from America’s isolationist policies towards Iran for the past 3 decades, President Obama pointed out common interests and goals, while calling for peace.  He gave props to Iranian culture for it’s contributions to American culture, and extended a pixalated hand to Iranian leaders to build constructive relationships.

Using online video broadcast to spread political message is nothing new. Terrorists have spread online hate for years.  The Obama campaign (and Hilary’s primary run) used YouTube effectively to secure votes during the last election.  But a fireside chat broadcast to a nation once dubbed an “Axis of Evil” card member takes a new approach to dealing with adversarial relationships.  Posting a message of peace in this fashion (which had Farsi subtitles running across the screen in the Iranian version), President Obama has found a new way to use new media.

Will his approach be effective here?

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