In the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11 there was a strong belief that the world was no longer the same, and we had now moved into the so-called post 9/11 era. But although a terrorist attack on American soil of this scale was unprecedented, religiously inspired terrorism has a long history. This 'new' threat was matched by the Bush Administration with a new foreign policy that prioritsed hard power over soft power. This is remarkable given the long record of hard power's inability to bring an end to terrorist activities.
This raises the question whether traditional diplomacy, as defined by Hedley Bull, still has a role to play in the post 9/11 era. In the first chapter I will explain what terrorism is, and how Al-Qaeda is using it to further its goals in the post 9/11 era. In the second chapter I will assess the relevance of the two key traditional diplomatic tools: of negotiation and intelligence gathering. The main argument of this dissertation is that traditional diplomatic tools remain important in the post 9/11 era, but fail to address the underlying cause of anti-American sentiments. Traditional diplomatic tools therefore will need to complemented by new diplomatic tools - public and cultural diplomacy - which are the topic of chapter three. I will argue that the ‘new diplomacy', which aims to win the hearts and minds of people in the Arab world plays a crucial role in the post 9/11 era. Moreover, I will explain why the public diplomacy campaigns that have been launched by the U.S. in the aftermath of the attacks have been largely unsuccessful and what can be done to overcome this. I will argue that the key to any successful public diplomacy campaign is the close alignment of hard and soft power.