Apr 17 (2 days ago)
Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#65)
April 17, 2017
Seen on the Web 1877-1936
This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. The editorial intent is to:
● share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
● from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
● provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
● introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.
Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas are expressed, flow, and gain influence. Many points of view citied here are contentious, partisan, and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.
Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University
Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Instruments of Informational Power
13. IDEAS OF AMERICA
Countries and Regions
16. NORTH KOREA
Elements of Informational Power
● The Foreign Service is the ideal workforce to execute the President’s foreign policy priorities. We have regional and language knowledge, top-notch reporting skills, and sophisticated public diplomacy capabilities. We know how to get things done overseas—how to coax a partner overseas to “yes” with the lightest touch and the maximum residual goodwill.
Barbara J. Stephenson, American Foreign Service Association, April 3, 2017
● Public Diplomacy, in no way, is manned, resourced, trained, or equipped to counter Russian propaganda, which is only a minor subset of the Russian Information Warfare program, writ large. Even a perfunctory examination of the Russian IW program reveals a system that dwarfs our PD program . . . . The GEC is good, but fraught with bureaucracy and bosses and attorneys more concerned with job protection than public service.
Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, April 10, 2017
● There is a saying attributed to Thucydides that "The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” I think a variation applies to lots of things. If [public diplomacy] practitioners are so busy practicing and they leave the thinking to people with time, maybe our thinking will be done by the out-of-touch and our doing done by the out-of-mind.
John A. Matel, Public Diplomacy Council, April 6, 2017
● . . . the Marine Corps . . . wants to reorganize the way Marines fight in future operating environments . . . . This involves tying cyber operations with similar lines of effort, such as operations in the electromagnetic spectrum and information operations, under the new Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group.
Mark Pomerleau, C4ISRNet, April 5, 2017
● The first response to the April 4 gas attack in Syria wasn’t bombs; it was bits. Within hours of the attack, doctors, reporters, and medical volunteers took to Twitter, YouTube, and other outlets to tell the world that the Bashar al-Assad government had staged a monstrous attack with a toxic nerve agent that killed more than 80 people, including perhaps 30 children.
Patrick Tucker, Defense One, April 6, 2017
● Germany officially unveiled a landmark social-media bill that could quickly turn this nation into a test case in the effort to combat the spread of fake news and hate speech in the West.
Anthony Faiola and Stephanie Kirchner, The Washington Post, April 5, 2017
● The “spreading epidemic of misinformation,” nowadays known as “alternative facts,” gives rise to a corollary to Gresham’s Law (“bad money drives out good”): “Misinformation pushes aside knowledge.” Everyone with a smartphone has in his or her pocket, Nichols says, more information “than ever existed in the entire Library of Alexandria,” which can produce a self-deluding veneer of erudition.
George Will, National Review, April 5, 2017
● Hundreds of Israeli soldiers were stung in an operation carried out mostly on Facebook Inc’s Messenger, designed to gather information on military plans and deployments, a senior Israeli intelligence officer told Bloomberg . . . . Israel says the deception was masterminded by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules the Gaza Strip.
Gwen Ackerman and Ilya Khrennikov, Bloomberg, April 3, 2017
● . . . the survey asked: “In the next decade, will public discourse online become more or less shaped by bad actors, harassment, trolls, and an overall tone of griping, distrust, and disgust?”
Lauren Tousignant, New York Post, March 31, 2017
● “Cyberattacks, doxing, and trolling will continue, while social platforms, security experts, ethicists, and others will wrangle over the best ways to balance security and privacy, freedom of speech, and user protections. A great deal of this will happen in public view,” [Susan] Etlinger told Pew.
Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, March 29, 2017
● The open internet provides a vast canvas for states to undertake information warfare, manipulate each other’s citizens, and project their interests past national borders—open societies are particularly vulnerable.
Ben Moskowitz, Quartz, April 4, 2017
● Federal and the state governments should emphasize planning for recovering after a cyberattack rather than focusing so much on preventing the attacks, the commander of Washington National Guard’s cyber unit has told a Senate committee.
Jingnan Huo, The Herald Sun, April 5, 2017
● Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and naval intelligence chief, agreed that “deliberate campaigns are being carried out” against the United States, and added that U.S. cyber defenders may not be able to see the whole of the campaigns.
William Matthews, Seapower Magazine, April 5, 2017
● While the U.S. military refuses to make exceptions to its physical, grooming and other standards to boost the ranks of cyber operators, the British are going in the opposite direction.
Jeff Schogol, Fifth Domain, April 4, 2017
● Rick McElroy, security adviser for Carbon Black, believes that getting countries around a negotiating table to hash out the rules of play would be a "hard slog" globally. But, he says, an international body like the UN would be a good place to start building some clarity around cyber warfare.
Tamlin Magee, techworld, April 6, 2017
● [Siegfried] Mureşan said . . . . “It is unacceptable that our societies are under daily assault from [the] Russian propaganda machine. We cannot just keep on stating intentions and work with a understaffed unit in the EEAS when our democracies are under threat.”
Ryan Heath, Harry Cooper and Quentin Aries, Politico, March 25, 2017
● Google’s commodification of content knowingly, willfully undermined provenance for profit. That was followed by the Facebook stream, with its journalistic jetsam and fake flotsam. Together, the two most powerful news publishers in human history have created an ecosystem that is dysfunctional and socially destructive.
Robert Thomson, The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2017
● Many experts fear uncivil and manipulative behaviors on the internet will persist – and may get worse.
Lee Rainie, Janna Anderson, and Jonathan Albright, Pew Research Center, March 29, 2017
● According to KGB archives, active measures have included spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories, bribery, blackmail, gathering compromising material on politicians (known as "kompromat"), media manipulation, forging documents and, in extreme cases, assassination.
Mike Rothschild, attn:, March 30, 2017
● . . . the [Syrian] regime’s response, launched on a site which has repeatedly amplified Assad’s messaging, was translated rapidly and directly into coverage on alt-right websites . . . . In the process, the alt-right sites used the same arguments, backed up with the same evidence, and taken from the same sources, as the Al-Masdar original. This was not a case of the alt-right arguing on behalf of the Assad regime as much as amplifying it.
Ben Nimmo and Donara Barojan, Digital Forensic Research Lab, April 7, 2017
● “He/she gets it”, that has been the qualifier since the mid-1990s for Information Operations (IO). Someone can read and write IO word, line, and verse, but unless they understand the nuances of how it works together and, more importantly, the potential and limitations, they don’t “get it”. * * * I do not know if anybody at the national level understands Strategic Communications, Influence Operations, Public Diplomacy, Information Operations, or how information functions as an element of national power.
Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, April 5, 2017
● In the world of Strategic Communications, the point that a military strike sends a message is powerful. Russia was clearly caught off guard, their national messaging took a full twelve hours to coalesce. Russia is not accustomed to reacting and certainly not when they are being hit on multiple messaging fronts and means at once. Russia is not driving the narrative, for the first time in a long time.
Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, April 8, 2017
● With its themes of operational theory, campaign planning, and air, land, and sea power, mastery of operational art in the future must focus increasingly on the cyber, space, informational, and interagency aspects of war.
Mick Ryan, War on The Rocks, March 23, 2017
● Russia has enthusiastically—and, so far, somewhat successfully—employed the Gerasimov Doctrine by waging a covert and undeclared hybrid war on the West, using propaganda, economic statecraft, energy supplies, corruption, information warfare, and support for opposition parties. This undeclared, but very real, “war” has already come to the United States.
Chris Coons, Brookings, April 7, 2017
● "Terra incognito," or “pure land” in Latin – this is how psychologists characterize a child's brain. Kids cannot independently analyze incoming information. Leaders of "LPR" and "DPR" terrorist organizations seem to be well aware of this fact, as they start molding children’s perception of the ongoing events since kindergarten.
Unian Information Agency, April 4, 2017
● Russia is trying to create a false history that denies the Baltic states’ right to exist, with alarming parallels to its justifications for the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, top Lithuanian officials have said.
Emma Graham-Harrison and Daniel Boffey, The Guardian, April 3, 2017
● The reason the Moscow Patriarchate is quietly stripping the new martyrs of Soviet times of their sainthood is not to correct errors, independent Deacon Andrey Kurayev says, but rather to curry favor with the FSB and other security organs and to show the church’s willingness to serve their interests rather than those of God.
Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia-New Series, April 8, 2017
● . . . the regime’s constant revisions of its views of the past and the transparent falsification and exploitation of themes, combined with the indifference of Russians to a past that is ever more distant from and less significant to them than before make the regime’s failure to talk about the future even more critical.
Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia-New Series, April 1, 2017
● The writer’s mission and aim is a simple but forceful one: the government should apologise for the purge of democratically-minded intellectuals in the name of an “anti-rightist” movement exactly 60 years ago. It should also atone for the wrongs committed by former leaders, particularly Mao Zedong.
Stuart Lau, The South China Morning Post, April 4, 2017
● After his election victory, Mr Barrow pledged that his government would not seek vengeance against officials of the former regime, and would instead set up a South Africa-styled Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal wounds of the past.
BBC News, March 24, 2017
● The Suez crisis, unrest in Poland, and the Hungarian uprising “dominated the international news” in 1956. . . . “in terms of international communications, the most important was the Hungarian uprising.” The authors counseled that “If policy is unclear, the audience may misperceive it even when operators do not. Reactions may be harmful to the interests of both the communicator and the receivers.”
● Information operations in Malaya were a particularly effective tool that led to the surrender of many insurgents while simultaneously bringing the Chinese population of Malaya onto the side of the government. However, this was the result of years of trial and error during which the British gradually adapted their message to meet the demands of the conflict.
Paul Boothroyd, Marine Corps Gazette, May, 2013
● The collaboration between the U.S. Information Service in Santo Domingo (USIS/Santo Domingo) and the Army’s 1st Psychological Warfare Battalion during this period was a classic case of successful interagency cooperation in a crisis situation.
Bert H. Cooper, Jr., Public Diplomacy Council, 1976
● From the beginning of American involvement in the [First World] war to the construction of cemeteries in Europe for America’s war dead, Christian imagery framed and simplified a complex, violent world and encouraged soldiers and their loved ones to think of the war as a sacred endeavor.
Jonathan Ebel, The Conversation, April 4, 2017
● The [British] 1st Army Field Propaganda Company went into action with the Eighth Army in the Western Desert in June 1942. The Company consisted of four officers and 27 other ranks and had both a mobile radio broadcasting section and mobile printing section.
Lee Richards, psywar.org, March 5, 2017
● . . . there has been a reawakening of interest in teaching media literacy at colleges and universities. Professors interviewed for this story are teaching students not just to identify “fake news” (a label previously reserved for hoaxes), but to detect bias, missing points of view, misleading slants and economic influences.
Kitson Jazynka, The Washington Post, April 4, 2017
● At Facebook we have been focusing on three key areas: ●disrupting economic incentives because most false news is financially motivated; ● building new products to curb the spread of false news; and ● helping people make more informed decisions when they encounter false news. As part of our ongoing efforts, we’ve worked in consultation with First Draft . . . to roll out an educational tool to help people spot false news.
Adam Mosseri, newsroom.fb.com, April 6, 2017
● A Field Guide to Fake News explores the use of digital methods to trace the production, circulation and reception of fake news online. It is a project of the Public Data Lab with support from First Draft. An open access sample of the first three chapters of the guide is available . . .
Public Data Lab, accessed 11 April 2017
● . . . the Guide . . . is chock full of exercises to guide us laymen through the legwork of understanding how stories travel on social media. The exercises are called “recipes.” The “ingredients” are a set of links to fake news stories you want to track. Recipes come in different “flavors” depending on how tech savvy the reader is. And the serving suggestions include how the recipes may be used to encourage better understanding.
Nausicaa Renner, Public Data Lab, accessed 11 April 2017
● To adopt the language of Isaiah Berlin, Public Intellectuals are foxes who know many things, while Thought Leaders are hedgehogs who know one big thing. The former are skeptics, the latter are true believers. A Public Intellectual will tell you everything that is wrong with everyone else’s ideas. A Thought Leader will tell you everything that is right about his or her own idea.
Daniel W. Drezner, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 6, 2017
● In the foreign policy community, think tanks are widely viewed as the traditional brokers in the marketplace of ideas. But this is changing. Whether based in investment banks like Goldman Sachs, management consultancies like McKinsey or political risk firms like the Eurasia Group, private-sector institutions have started to act like policy knowledge brokers.
Daniel W. Drezner, The Washington Post, April 8, 2017
● The world before us is manifestly one in which America can no longer get by on its muscle. It must live by its wits. It may well be that the Department of State and related agencies, as well as the United States Foreign Service, are poorly adapted to meeting the challenges of the emerging world and Asian regional orders. It does not follow that the answer is to dismiss the diplomats, ignore the spies, shut the door, stock up on weaponry, and look for military solutions to non-military problems. That is the opposite of statecraft. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars as well as international opportunities for America. And it is dangerous.
Chas W. Freeman, Jr., LobeLog, accessed 10 April, 2017
● Soft power is one of the comparative advantages the United States enjoys over its rivals. If we’re serious about promoting democracy and human rights, people in other countries may ally with us because they share those aspirations. If, however, we abandon those values, and suggest that as a nation we’re not so different, really, from Putin’s Russia or Xi’s China, we’re giving that asset away. It’s a form of unilateral disarmament . . .
Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2017
● There are those who blame persistent American military involvement in foreign conflicts as a product of globalism, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, colonialism, pure greed, or some combination thereof . . . . [but] none of these ideological bogeymen can sufficiently explain why different presidents with different world views tend to find themselves in the same place: forced to launch strikes on the hot sands of the Middle East.
David French, National Review, April 7, 2017
13. IDEAS OF AMERICA
● The American dream is the belief, held by generation after generation since our beginning and reanimated over the decades by waves of immigrants, that here you can start from anywhere and become anything. . . . You can go from the bottom to the top. Behind the dream was another belief: America was uniquely free, egalitarian and arranged so as to welcome talent.
Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2017
● As with the Cold War, this enemy cannot be vanquished by military might alone . . . . We must also offer a powerful and positive alternative to the bleak way of life offered by extremists like the Islamic State; and must shore up global stability to resist their onslaught. One of the most effective ways to do this is by actively promoting democracy.
Kelly Ayotte, and Frank J. Fahrenkopf, World Affairs, April 5, 2017
● Stories about the past are bound to leave things out, and any narrative will eventually come to grief as neglected groups disrupt settled assumptions to make themselves known. Yet we can acknowledge those dangers . . . . The task for the next generation of American historians will be to draw a new roadmap of our country’s history—simple but not simplistic, rigorous but not rigid, inclusive but not incoherent. As our most recent history has shown, we refuse this task at our peril . . . .
Scott Spillman, The Point Magazine, issue 13, 2017
● [Major General Edward G.] Lansdale wrote the memorandum for military advisors in Vietnam, but its profile of the images, traits, and behaviors of Americans – touching on professional competence, language skills, accessibility, empathy, directness, enthusiasm, adaptability, patience, humor, temper, and politics -- is evergreen. So is his counsel to “know the country” and “be a good guest.”
Countries and Regions
● The investigation, by Latvia’s Re:Baltica journalism center, found that via a number of vehicles registered in the Netherlands and Russia, Baltnews is actually owned by the same Kremlin media holding that owns Russia Today and Sputnik.
Miriam elder, BuzzFeed, April 6, 2017
● . . . four key takeaways from the [March 30] hearing. 1. The experts believe Russia staged a misinformation campaign during the election. * * * 2. The Russian government’s intent was not simply to elect Trump or defeat Clinton. More than that, its intent was to disrupt American democracy. * * * 3. The perpetrators were both overt and covert — and, in some cases, they didn’t know they were participating. * * * 4. It’s going to continue, especially because Putin likely sees the election intervention as a success.
Lauren Carroll, Politifact, April 4, 2017
● But there’s a problem: We will never see Russia Today criticising the Russian authorities. Subject as it is to the centralised temniki system, RT closely observes the editorial guidelines that originate in the Kremlin. RT will go very far in validating the Kremlin’s line, often inviting marginal and unqualified commentators to help it do so.
EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, April 6, 2017
● Chinese state media is all about showing why China has been good for the U.S. ahead of a major meeting between the presidents of both countries.
Sophia Yan, CNBC, April 6, 2017
● American concepts such as “engagement” and the “responsible stakeholder” have profoundly influenced Chinese thinking. Although top leaders rarely reference these concepts in public, their speeches attempt to address the U.S. concerns behind them, and they form the central themes of Chinese academic and media discussions of relations between the two countries.
Feng Zhang, Foreign Affairs, April 4, 2017
● When Mao died in 1976, belief in communism began to erode. Now, four decades on, his successors have found the absence of a belief system to be a problem. At least in Europe, the ebb of the Christian tide left a deeply rooted rule of law and a compassionate welfare state. Shorn of Dao and Mao, modern China has been left with a corrupt party state and a brutal, wild west capitalism.
Ian Johnson, The Economist, March 30, 2017
16. NORTH KOREA
● Historically, North Korea has captured international attention with its erratic and dangerous actions, as well as its saber-rattling tone of diplomatic discourse, particularly regarding nuclear weapons. While the country continues to invest heavily in nuclear technology, it has also emerged as a significant cybersecurity threat on an international scale. Though North Korea has been called a “hermit kingdom,” it’s quite the opposite in cyberspace.
Frank J. Cilluffo, The Conversation, April 5, 2017
● In what may be the biggest slap in the face that North Korea ever received, as payment for their unsanctioned nuclear and missile tests, China turned away coal shipments from North Korea. This is Strategic Communications in the international spotlight, using economic power. It’s not always words, it can be and often is peaceful actions. There are few ways to hurt North Korea, and few countries can directly hurt North Korea. China can and did. It is a guarantee that North Korea will listen.
Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, April 11, 2017
● [After 1991, Central Asians] went on the haj in large numbers and studied in medrassahs abroad, often on scholarships supplied not by the more moderate of Muslims abroad but by the radicals . . . . finally, they were subject to the influence of foreign Muslim missionaries who came to Central Asia to promote their version of Islam, typically a more radical one than that of most Muslims . . . .
Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia-New Series, April 8, 2017
● Exchange programs enhance U.S. national security and prosperity by building productive partnerships, mutual understanding, and personal connections that help us address critical global issues including strengthening the world economy and combating terrorism. The cost of these programs is remarkably low, at considerably less than 1 percent of the federal budget.
Ilir Zherka, TheHill, April 3, 2017
● For too many, the promise of opportunity seems to dangle just out of reach. Our communications technologies have equalised access to knowledge, but not necessarily access to opportunity; as a result, people now know all too well just what they are missing out on. Everywhere I travel, I meet people who feel left out ... their identities disrespected ... their voices unheard. More and more people feel the ground of life shifting under their feet. Yet there is ground on which we can stand that doesn’t shift, that cannot shift – the unchanging spiritual values we share. Tolerance, mercy, compassion for others, mutual respect – these principles unite and strengthen a civilised world.
kingabdullah.jo, February 2, 2017
● Equally important, King Abdullah remains an enthusiastic advocate for religious tolerance and moderate Islam. While it's unclear his message is gaining much traction at home, he is clearly speaking Washington's language. At the National Prayer Breakfast in February . . . the King referred to the Islamic State as "khawarej; outlaws to our faith." "People nowadays talk about 'fake news'; the khawarej," he said, "produce 'fake Islam'."
David Schenker, The Washington Institute, April 5, 2017
● In learning the lessons of the municipal foreign policy movement through the newly available archives, we can cultivate new luminaries of innovative diplomacy, advance both practice and thought leadership in international communication, and ensure that facts shine brighter and speak louder than ignorance in our public diplomacy.
Ben Leffel, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, April 5, 2017
● The [American University in Mongolia] was founded in 2012 . . . . In collaboration with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks . . . . students would then study for two years in Mongolia and two in Fairbanks. AUM received some funding from USAID, and its English Learning Institute was supported by U.S. government grants.
Nichole Schaefer-McDaniel, Foreign Service Journal, April, 2017