Public diplomacy by other means: a constructivist view of U.S. military messages in Polish news outlets



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Tartu Ülikool


The United States military’s global presence presents a unique opportunity to engage foreign publics in pursuit of foreign policy objectives. This thesis identifies the message the U.S. military seeks to convey to Poland through public diplomacy activities, and how this message is perceived in Polish news outlets. This case also creates linkage between the military and public diplomacy, an actor and a strategy that can seem contradictory. Through interviews with government officials and the application of a two-step methodology of content and qualitative discourse analyses to Polish news articles, this thesis finds that Polish news outlets favorably perceive U.S. military public diplomacy, and that the message of reassurance and deterrence is conveyed through the activities. The military and public diplomacy are compatible in practice and the combination can result in an effective strategy to communicate with foreign audiences. By applying constructivist assertions to concepts of perception and soft power that traditionally fit into other theoretical fields, this thesis contributes to the development of military public diplomacy as a salient academic topic that can offer insight into future cases of militaries conducting public diplomacy.