Questions about Islam’s compatibility with democracy, its relationship with terrorism and the lack of good governance in Muslim countries have dominated academic discourse for a long time and Muslim scholars, who are generally defensive in these discussions, have had difficulty making their voices heard. Undoubtedly, the facts on the ground do not help those scholars who argue that Islam is not incompatible with good governance.
In recent years, one of the most popular concepts in Turkish foreign policy has been public diplomacy, which refers to government activities to increase the country’s image among foreign societies. While the concept is important, the problem is that a similar emphasis and attention is not given to personal diplomacy, another state practice of modern diplomacy. This article illustrates that personal diplomacy is most effective in crisis periods, when there is dominant leadership, and when the political leader is confident about his/her ability to shape policies. As all these factors exist in Turkish foreign policy today, it is not surprising to see that Ankara increasingly relies on personal diplomacy in its relations with foreign countries.
Given that we are approaching the end of his administration, President Obama’s American foreign policy has increasingly and critically been written about in a number of books. One of the most recent examples was written by Michael B. Oren, an Israeli historian, now-politician, but most importantly, the Israeli ambassador to the United States during 2009-13. In Ally: My Journey across the American-Israeli Divide, Oren chronicles his years as an ambassador in Washington and narrates the problems between the United States and Israel in this period while briefly talking about his academic and personal life as well as his political career at the beginning and end of the book respectively.