After the Islamic revolution in Iran in early 1979 and the hostage crisis that began at the U.S. embassy in Tehran later that year, the Carter administration launched a public diplomacy campaign specifically directed at Muslims, the first of its kind. The idea was to counter the narrative of a Western crusade against Islam while highlighting the differences between the United States and militant Islam. In time, the damage control effort was transformed into an attempt to rally Muslims—both outside and inside the Soviet Union—against Soviet Communism. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan created an opportunity for the United States to bolster its standing in the Islamic world. Influencing Muslim opinion was no longer just a matter of delegitimizing the discourse of radical Islam, but also one of using the growth of religious sentiment among Muslims against the Soviet Union. The initiative's spearhead was the increased multilingual radio broadcasts directed at Muslim audiences across the globe.

You do not currently have access to this content.