Sunday, June 18, 2017

"Seen on the Web" (#74) -- Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy

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"Seen on the Web" (#74) -- Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy

Donald Bishop Sun, Jun 18, 2017 at 5:28 PM

June 18, 2017
Seen on the Web 2519-2604


In The News

    [State-Sponsored Cyberspace Threats: Recent Incidents and U.S. Policy Response,  before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity, June 12, 2017]

    [“Open Hearing, Former Director James Comey, FBI,” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, June 8, 2017]


Instruments of Informational Power

Professional Topics

Countries and Regions
29. NATO



In The News

● . . . democracies’ transparent, open societies also make them vulnerable to foreign information operations. This vulnerability is exacerbated by high levels of internet accessibility and the rapid pace and breadth of information sharing. In contrast, authoritarian societies like China, Russia and North Korea often control the media, censor domestic online activity and shield their nations (to some degree) from outside information and cyber operations through the use of national-level firewalls, such as the Great Firewall of China.  Unfortunately, no nation, including the United States, has responded to Russia’s recent potent hybrid of cyber and information attacks in a way that is visible and forceful enough to deter future attacks.

● Lloyds estimated that cyber attacks cost global businesses as much as $400 billion per year. * * * What the $400 billion amount, large as it seems, ignores is the corrosive effect cyber attacks against the private sector can have on a country‟s military readiness or political sovereignty. The theft of defense-related intellectual property and the corruption of the defense supply chain has been widely reported, and the possible damage these hostile actions could inflict upon our weapons systems has raised alarms throughout the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill.

● A particular concern is Russian malign influence, or RMI, in Europe – the covert or semi-covert support for political parties, the use of front groups, and low-profile investments meant to build political influence non-transparently – all under an umbrella of propaganda and disinformation.
Some of this is straight from the old Soviet playbook, but updated for the digital age, and taking full advantage of new technologies.

● Based on leaked intelligence documents, the article alleges that Russia has carried out a decade-long campaign to “spread propaganda and stroke discord” in the region with the goal to “create a strip of militarily neutral countries” that would include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

● First, the inflow of the foreign Mujahideen from the battlefields of Afghanistan introduced various ideologies initially foreign to the Balkans, a trend that continued in the post-conflict era through foreign (or
foreign-educated) clerics, NGOs and Internetbased platforms. Secondly, the extreme form of violence used against Muslims during the conflicts of the 1990s, including the campaigns of ethnic cleansing and genocide, have colored the postwar perceptions of the Muslim population, in some cases creating a fertile ground for the recruitment into radical beliefs and practice of Islam.

● Russia maintains strategic leverage through concerted disinformation and influence campaigns, and its ability to play the energy card. * * * The dog that has not barked is the radicalization of the Muslim populations of the region. Yet it could become a serious security threat. These populations remain deeply pro-American, but over time, US disengagement and lack of opportunities at home could accelerate radicalization and grow the foreign fighters pipeline . . .

● Lastly, I’ll mention two foreign policy tools that need sharpening. Food aid badly needs reform. * * * So does international broadcasting. We need to confront Russia, North Korea, ISIS and others in the battle of ideas. Last Congress, the committee advanced some important reforms.

● The fight against Islamist extremism extends to the digital world. The battle to prevent terrorists’ use of the internet and other digital tools will continue to challenge us from a security and diplomatic perspective.

● The FY 2018 investments include power projection capabilities, nuclear modernization, a stronger missile defense, spacebased systems, and cyberspace operations. Several of these options will expand the competitive space to our advantage vice allowing an adversary to define a conflict.

● As a nation that both thinks and acts globally, we cannot choose between a force that can address ISIS and other Violent Extremist Organizations, and one that can deter and defeat state actors with a full range of capabilities.

[Hearing, “Beyond Iraq and Syria: ISIS’ Ability to Conduct Attacks Abroad,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 8, 2017]
● The Islamic State’s heavy reliance on social media to publicize its message and share information with recruits is a vulnerability as well as a benefit for the group. U.S. intelligence should continue to exploit social media to identify potential group members and to disrupt their activities. Such monitoring is particularly important to identify potential “Lone Wolves” . . . .

●. . . because of the paramount importance of the ideological component . . . I will begin with the centrality of tackling the ideology that motivates Daesh, al Qaeda, their affiliates, and unaffiliated jihadis worldwide. Over the last few years we have been somewhat timid in fighting this admittedly daunting battle.

● BURR: This committee is uniquely suited to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections. We also have a unified, bipartisan approach to what is a highly charged partisan issue. Russian activities during 2016 election may have been aimed at one party’s candidate, but as my colleague, Senator Rubio, says frequently, in 2018 and 2020, it could be aimed at anyone, at home or abroad.
* * *
WARNER:  Russian spies engaged in a series of online cyber raids and a broad campaign of disinformation, all ultimately aimed at sowing chaos to us to undermine public faith in our process, in our leadership and ultimately in ourselves.  And that’s not just this senator’s opinion, it is the unanimous determination of the entire U.S. intelligence community.
* * *
BURR: Do you have any doubt that the Russian government was behind the intrusions in the DNC and the DCCC systems, and the subsequent leaks of that information?  COMEY: No, no doubt.  BURR: Do you have any doubt that the Russian government was behind the cyber intrusion in the state voter files?  COMEY: No.  BURR: Do you have any doubt that officials of the Russian government were fully aware of these activities?  COMEY: No doubt.  BURR: Are you confident that no votes cast in the 2016 presidential election were altered?  COMEY: I’m confident. By the time — when I left as director, I had seen no indication of that whatsoever.  BURR: Director Comey, did the president at any time ask you to stop the FBI investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections?  COMEY: Not to my understanding, no.
* * *
KING:  Mr. Comey, a broad question. Was the Russian activity in the 2016 election a one-off proposition? Or is this part of a long-term strategy? Will they be back?  COMEY: Yes, sir.  The — there should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. They did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active-measures campaign driven from the top of that government. There is no fuzz on that.  KING: Thank you. 
* * *
MCCAIN: What has been brought out in this hearing is — is more and more emphasis on the Russian engagement and involvement in this campaign. How serious do you think this was?  COMEY: Very serious. But — I want to say some — be clear. It was — we have not announced, and there was no predication to announce, an investigation of whether the Russians may have coordinated with Secretary Clinton’s campaign.
The New York Times, June 8, 2016

● And this is perhaps the banner flying over the investigations circus: Missing from the investigation of the supposed Russia scandal is any real discussion of Russia.  The starkest aspect of Comey’s prepared statement was the president's lack of curiosity about the long-running, deep-reaching, well-executed and terrifyingly effective Russian attack on American democracy.
Molly K. McKew, Politico, June 11, 2017

● Lost in the showdown between President Trump and James B. Comey that played out this past week was a chilling threat to the United States. Mr. Comey, the former director of the F.B.I., testified that the Russians had not only intervened in last year’s election, but would try to do it again.
Peter Baker and David E. Sanger, The New York Times, June 10, 2017

● Former FBI director James B. Comey's testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee was a rare opportunity to compare how different news networks cover the same event. Every network aired it live, but not every network covered it in the same way.
Kevin Uhrmacher, Kevin Schaul and Samuel Granados, The Washington Post, June 9, 2017

● . . . people recede further into their separate corners and create two wholly different versions of reality. Today's hearing was perhaps the best example yet. Here, we've collected reactions to its most notable moments. You're guaranteed to hate half of them.
Ashley Feinberg, Wired, June 8, 2017

● . . . Iran has patiently pursued the goal of spreading its message across the Western Hemisphere and leveraged the resulting support in pursuit of its political goals.  In order to expand its influence, Iran has developed a missionary network built on mosques,cultural centers, educational institutions, media outlets, and publishing houses that are sustained by both itinerant and resident clerics either from Iran or trained in Iran.

● . . . while China’s engagement heretofore has primarily been economic and educational, such as Chinese language training through exchanges and also its regional Confucius Institutes, there are indications that political and security considerations, especially on cyber issues, are also growing in importance.* * * We need a more strategic approach based on the values that we hold dear and that we share with a majority of citizens across the Americas.

● A Top Secret NSA analyst's report published by The Intercept suggests that, in August 2016, the Russian General Main Staff Intelligence Directorate (GRU) hacked into an election-related hardware and software vendor in the US. The GRU then used data from the company for at least two "spear phishing" campaigns against local government officials associated with elections . . .
Sean Gallagher, ars Technica, June 5, 2017

● The Trump Administration, which vowed to implement "extreme vetting" at the borders, has implemented part of a controversial plan requiring some U.S. visa applicants to disclose their social media history before entering the country. The plan, which requires applicants to disclose user names for social media platforms they've used in the past five years, was approved by the Office of Management and Budget on May 23 and is now in effect.
Jeff John Roberts, We the Alliance, June 1, 2017

● Seventeen agencies . . . concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign, to influence voters in the election. They did it through paid advertising we think, they did it through false news sites, they did it through these thousand agents, they did it through machine learning, which you know, kept spewing out this stuff over and over again. The algorithms that they developed. So that was the conclusion. And I think it’s fair to ask, how did that actually influence the campaign? And how did they know what messages to deliver? * * * Like a fake newspaper, and so the Russians, in my opinion, and based on the intel and the counterintel people I’ve talked to, could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided. * * * Guided by Americans and guided by people who had polling and data information.
The Boston Globe, May 31, 2017

● “What we thought we were doing was going to be Obama 3.0: better targeting, better messaging, and the ability turn out our voters as we identified them, and to communicate more broadly with voters,” she explained. “Here’s what the other side was doing, and they were in a different arena. Through content farms, through an enormous investment in falsehoods, fake news, call it what you will—”  “Lies,” Mossberg interjected. “Lies, that’s a good word, too,” Clinton continued. “The other side was using content that was just flat-out false, and delivering it in a very personalized way, both above the radar screen and below.
Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, May 31, 2017

● French President Emmanuel Macron did not mince words during his joint news conference Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which he labeled Russian state media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik “agents of influence and propaganda.”
Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, May 30, 2017

● When news media disseminate libellous untruths, they are not journalists anymore, they are influencers. Russia Today and Sputnik were influencers in this campaign who, in several instances, disseminated lies about me and my campaign. So, I considered them as unwelcome.
EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, May 30, 2017

● French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a blunt greeting to Vladi¬mir Putin on Monday, criticizing the use of chemical weapons by Syria’s ¬Russian-backed government and blasting two Russian state-owned media organizations as “organs of influence and propaganda.”
James McAuley, The Washington Post, May 29, 2017

● . . . Sessions seemed to confirm that neither he nor the president ever showed any interest in the underlying issue — Russia’s attack on our democratic system and interference with our elections. He doesn’t recall ever getting briefed on it, or Trump ever mentioning it.
Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, June 13, 2017

● I think as we look at this problem of ISIS, it's more than just an army. It's also a fight about ideas. And we have got to dry up their recruiting. We have got to dry up their fundraising.  The way we intend to do it is to humiliate them, to divorce them from any nation giving them protection, and humiliating their message of hatred, of violence. Anyone who kills women and children is not devout. They have-- they cannot dress themselves up in false religious garb and say that somehow this message has dignity.
CBS News, May 28, 2017

● . . . Foreign Service numbers were minuscule compared to those of the U.S. Department of Defense. With just over 16,000 total members—8,000 State FSOs, 6,000 FS specialists, 1,850 USAID FSOs, 255 Foreign Commercial Service officers, 175 FSOs from Agriculture, and a dozen from BBG—the Foreign Service is completely dwarfed by the Department of Defense’s 750,000 civilian workforce and the nearly two million members of the uniformed military (1.4 million active duty plus 580,000 in the reserves). The number of American diplomats is not much bigger than the number of people in U.S. military bands.
Barbara Stephenson, American Foreign Service Association, May 2017  

Elements of Informational Power

● Dismantling USIA and shifting its primary functions to the State Department crippled U.S. public diplomacy operations in ways that have been lasting and profound—a self-inflicted wound from which the United States is still recovering. Even the Heritage Foundation, which is currently advocating for a consolidation of the State Department and USAID, called the USIA merger “misguided” and noted that it had caused the effective collapse of U.S. public diplomacy.
Shannon N. Green and Daniel F. Runde, CSIS, May 26, 2017

● I recently took six weeks of training in preparation for my first assignment as a PD officer, in Vientiane. During our 180 hours of class time . . . we spent just three hours on digital media—less than 2 percent of total training time.  I was shocked. While our bureaucracy has been busy plugging away at statecraft, the rest of the world has undergone a digital revolution. Has State even noticed?
Amelia Shaw, American Foreign Service Association, 2017

● In 2009, the network rebranded as RT. In the words of Simonyan, as told to the Kommersant newspaper, this was done “so as not to scare the audience.”  The renaming broadly coincided with a shift in focus —from promoting Russian news narratives to undermining Western ones. No expense was spared in positioning the channel as an alternative to mainstream media.
Matthew Bodner, Matthew Kupfer and Bradley Jardine, The Moscow Times, June 1, 2017

Professional Topics

● The internet and social media may have achieved something both staggering and chilling here, by muddying the question of whether U.S.-style democracy is better suited to separate fact from fiction than other political systems, even authoritarian ones.
Will Ford, Huffpost, May 31, 2017

● A court in Switzerland has convicted a man on several counts of defamation after he "liked" libelous comments on the social media platform. The court in Zurich found that the man indirectly endorsed and further distributed the comments by using the ubiquitous Facebook "like" button.* * * "The defendant clearly endorsed the unseemly content and made it his own," a statement from the court said.
Charles Riley, CNN Tech, May 31, 2017

● The Guardian has seen more than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts that give unprecedented insight into the blueprints Facebook has used to moderate issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, racism and self-harm.
Nick Hopkins, The Guardian, May 21, 2017

● The increasing strategic uses of of Social Network Media, and the effects achievable in and through the use of them, empower a multitude of actors and have a re-distributive effect on international power relations.
Thomas Elkjer Nissen, NATO STRATCOM Centre of Excellence, March 2015


● As cyber attacks sow ever greater chaos worldwide, IT titan Microsoft and independent experts are pushing for a new global NGO tasked with the tricky job of unmasking the hackers behind them.  Dubbed the "Global Cyber Attribution Consortium", according to a recent report by the Rand Corporation think-tank, the NGO would probe major cyber attacks and publish, when possible, the identities of their perpetrators, whether they be criminals, global hacker networks or states.
NDTV, June 8, 2017

● Officials believe cyber coercion can succeed. * * * Scholars, on the other hand, believe that policymakers have overhyped everything “cyber,” including cyber coercion.
Travis Sharp, War On The Rocks, June 1, 2017

● A leaked transcript of a phone conversation between President Donald Trump and his Philippine counterpart was available online for weeks before surfacing in news reports, and it now appears to be just one of a series of sensitive Philippine government documents acquired by a hacker group with suspected ties to the Vietnamese government, according to research conducted by multiple cybersecurity experts and evidence gathered by CyberScoop.
Chris Bing, Cyberscoop, May 31, 2017

● Independent national bodies should be set up to adjudicate on how much of the data underpinning research needs to be released to satisfy scholarly needs while preventing its being used as “disinformation”, a leading academic has said.
John Elmes, The World University Rankings, June 2, 2017

● American soldiers are bringing drugs to Poland, drinking alcohol in Polish cities and causing public scandals. American soldiers may do whatever they want because they cannot be punished according to Polish law.  [The first story on the weekly log of disinformation pieces by the Task Force.]
Disinformation Log, EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, June 1, 2017

● Researchers have discovered an extensive international hacking campaign that steals documents from its targets, carefully modifies them and repackages them as disinformation aimed at undermining civil society and democratic institutions, according to a study released Thursday.
David Filipov, The Washington Post, May 25, 2017

● Fake news spreads mainly by arousing strong negative emotions among people, such as fear and hatred.
Asian Review, May 25, 2017

● We owe it to ourselves to take account of reality. And we owe it to the country, too. It is cheap, it is cowardly, and it is bad citizenship to simply shriek “fake news!” every time reality forces a hard choice upon us. Living in a free, self-governing society means making a great many hard choices, and there is no one to make them but us.
Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, May 17, 2017

● It is clear that democracies need to set up national policies for countering hostile disinformation operations, which are going on constantly, not only during the electoral period. In addressing these policies, our 50-measure strategy is available as a framework. However, this Report focuses specifically on the vulnerable electoral period.
Jakub Janda, European Values, May 11, 2017

● Foreign tourists in Europe often treat it as a theme park, drawn by the cultural and historical attractions. For others outside the EU, however, the allure is a deeper theme, that of civic values such as equality and openness. And they are willing to make big sacrifices to join the Continent’s biggest club. . . . Europe’s soft power of attraction is winning out over Moscow’s hard power.
The Monitor’s Editorial Board, The Christian Science Monitor, May 31, 2017

 'Hard power' can no longer stop conflicts nor the rise of violent extremism and “ancient hatreds” such as antisemitism and racial discrimination, the head of the United Nations cultural agency said today, insisting that “we need 'soft power' of education, knowledge, culture, communication, the sciences, to strengthen the values we share and recognize the destiny we hold in common.”
U.N. News Centre, May 5, 2017

● In the years ahead, cyber tools will become the new "active measures" — the Soviet term for acts of political warfare intended to shape global events — as perpetrators use them to hide in plain sight, create subterfuge, maintain plausible deniability and shift blame to convenient scapegoats.
Jon Sather, Stratfor, May 26, 2017

● With hacks, pro-Putin trolls and fake news, the Kremlin is ratcheting up its efforts to turn American servicemembers and veterans into a fifth column.
Ben Schreckinger, Politico, June 12, 2017

● . . . Ukraine unwittingly became the proving ground for the same sort of disinformation tactics that have since been deployed in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 and more recent political campaigns in Europe. “This is where they tested the weapons,” he says. “They used Syria as a testing ground for the air force. They used Ukraine as a testing ground for their information warfare.”
Christian Caryl, The Washington Post, May 19, 2017

Hillary Clinton has said that she believes U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign gave guidance to the Russian government in its efforts to influence last year's election.  The former Democratic presidential candidate said that the Russian government wanted to spread disinformation about her, but it "could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been Americans and guided by people who have polling and data."
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, June 1, 2017

● This discussion is too important to be relegated to the dark depths of some sub-basement. Army leadership must capitalize on the forward momentum of MDB doctrine to ignite a renaissance of leader development and education. Only then can junior leaders truly be equipped to execute their vision.
A.J. Shattuck, Modern War Institute at West Point, April 28, 2017

● [President Trump] understands Muslim political leaders must convince clerics across the globe to drop the radicalizing, jihadist rhetoric essential to recruiting fanatical terrorists. While Trump left no doubt that dead terrorist “losers” are necessary, he also understands it is impossible for the civilized world to kill enough terrorists to defeat global Islamist jihad.
Earl H. Tilford, The Center for Vision and Values, May 30, 2017

● . . . it is time for British Muslims to rise to the occasion and self-diagnose the malaise that is seeping through our community. It is not enough to simply distance our faith from these monsters, we must categorically refute the Islamist ideology that fuels their twisted world-view. We must take back control of our own narrative by holding our community, our religious leaders, and our mosques accountable when they say something that just doesn’t sound right.
Murshed Madaser, Quilliam, May 24, 2017

● Pro-Kremlin outlets share an often-repeated narrative about migrants in the EU Member States. It combines elements of misinformation with a factual background of refugees arriving in Europe in large numbers. The pro-Kremlin narrative focuses on stirring up alarmist sentiments and is supported by a promotion of hate-speech.
EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, May 16, 2017

● It is a general law that every war is fought twice—first on the battlefield, then in the historiographical arena—and so it has been with the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war (or the Six-Day War as it is commonly known).
Gabriel Glickman, Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2017

● This last week there were many events across Europe to mark the end of World War II. In pro-Kremlin outlets, significant time was spent on twisting the narrative.
EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, May 18, 2017


● The U.S. casino gaming industry has joined the broader U.S. travel industry to oppose a provision in President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal that would eliminate funding for Brand USA, 300-plus organizations announced through a letter to key Senate and House committees. Brand USA was created in 2010 to help address the post-9/11 decade of declining U.S. share in the global travel market.
American Gaming Association, June 6, 2017

● The core characteristics of the emerging international era—for lack of a better term, the post-post-Cold War era—are the gradual but unmistakable erosion of U.S. and Western primacy, the return of sharp great power competition across all three key regions of Eurasia and beyond, the revival of global ideological struggle, and the empowerment of the agents of international strife and disorder.
Hal Brands and Eric S. Edelman, CSIS, 2017

● Cold War America boasted the United States Information Agency and the U.S. Agency of International Development to project its liberal and economic values, just as Rome spread Latin, built roads, and granted citizenship to the elites of distant lands to promote its values.
Robert D. Kaplan, Foreign Policy, May 26, 2017

● Al Jazeera English quickly deleted a Twitter post on Wednesday that featured an anti-Semitic portrayal of a Jewish man commenting on climate change.  The tweet, which was captured by numerous Twitter users before it was deleted, featured a caricature of a Jew saying that the "climate change scam is working out perfectly for our long term Talmudic plan of world domination!" 
Brent Scher, The Washington Free Beacon, May 31, 2017

● The US army decided to use psychological warfare - by blasting a wall of sound non-stop outside. A fleet of Humvees mounted with loudspeakers rolled in, and rock music rolled out.
BBC News, May 30, 2017

● The Trump administration has described protecting global Christians as a key policy goal, and it has kept Christian persecution in the news. "It's encouraging to hear them talking about it. But at the same time, it's frustrating because the programs have not changed yet," [Nina] Shea said.  Moving forward, Under Caesar's Sword will urge the Trump administration to be thoughtful in its approach to Islamic terror and other forms of Christian persecution. Our religious freedom work should be tailored to specific cultures, [Notre Dame University's Daniel] Philpott said.
Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News, June 1, 2017

● First of all, middle Americans go to church. . . . God and Jesus Christ play important roles in their lives. * * * Second, politics simply doesn’t consume middle Americans the way it does elites on the coasts. * * * Third, their daily lives are pretty different from the lives of elite liberals. Few of them buy fair trade coffee or organic almond milk. Some of them served in the armed forces. Some of them own guns * * * Fourth, they’re patriotic in the way that most Americans are patriotic. They don’t feel self-conscious saluting the flag. * * * We need to recognize that in vast stretches of this country, hewing to these positions doesn’t make someone a conservative.
Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, May 30, 2017

● This may sound dull as ditch water to those who believe that the “flyover” states are inhabited largely by clodhoppers, fundamentalist zealots and loudmouthed Babbitts. In fact, Lauck’s aim is to examine “how the Midwest as a region faded from our collective imagination” and “became an object of derision.”
Michael Dirda, The Washington Post, May 24, 2017

● “Associational life” is our shorthand for the web of social relationships through which we pursue joint endeavors—namely, our families, our communities, our workplaces, and our religious congregations. These institutions are critical to forming our character and capacities, providing us with meaning and purpose, and for addressing the many challenges we face.
Mike Lee, Mike Lee U.S. Senator for Utah, May 15, 2017

Countries and Regions


● Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russian hackers might target those who criticize their country out of "patriotic" feelings, but insisted that the government has no involvement in such cyberattacks.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, June 1, 2017

● Among the changes in the state centered on Moscow between 1945 and now, five are especially important: * Stalin’s Soviet Union was an ideological power committed to spreading its statist socialist system around the world . . . . * Stalin’s Soviet Union promoted its ideology via the press and radio . . . . * Stalin’s Soviet Union was incredibly cheap: it rarely threw money around to recruit agents or supporters relying instead on ideological commitments;
Paul A. Goble, Euromaidan Press, May 17, 2017

● After working for Kremlin TV, a Russian reporter explains how the state turns journalists into propagandists.
Ilya Kizirov, Coda, April 25, 2017


● This week we look at Russian accusations that a prominent historian is calling on Ukrainians to cut all ties with family in Russia, fake claims that Kyiv is cracking down on its Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia and cancelling train travel to Russia.  
StopFakeNews, May 29, 2017


● Four conclusions can now be made after the French election: ● Macron won ● Le Pen lost ● Putin lost ● Putin keeps losing.  Not only did Macron win, but he slammed Putin and the Russian propaganda machine. . . . Macron publicly embarrassed Putin and publicly exposed Russian state outlets as propaganda outlets. . . .  Notice each Russian propaganda outlet is publishing multiple articles denouncing Macron’s accusation.    
Joel Harding, To Inform is To Influence, May 30, 2017

29. NATO
● NATO officials told delegates at the International Conference on Cyber Conflict, or CyCon, in Estonia that the Western alliance would deliver a robust response in the event of a serious and prolonged attack on a member state in cyberspace. Article 5 provides for a united response by NATO states should a member nation come under attack.
Gerard O’Dwyer, Defense News, May 31, 2017

● . . . this focus on public diplomacy – so-called ‘soft power’ – may come as a surprise from what they see as a primarily military alliance.  But NATO is, in many ways, a primarily political alliance, focused on finding political solutions to difficult problems through diplomacy and dialogue.  It is this combination of ‘soft’ and ‘hard' power – diplomacy backed up by military strength – that has made the NATO Alliance so enduringly successful.
Barbara Maronkova, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, May 16, 2017

● NATO's role is very much confined only to sending battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, which are being made target of the same kind of propaganda and disinformation, like the recent stories of German soldiers raping the teenage girl in Lithuania - fake story. We try to give the knowledge to the governments and probably from that understanding, some ideas which we say are best to counter these kinds of situations.
NPR, May 10, 2017


● In China however, email never reached the ubiquity it has in other countries. Most Chinese consumers, if they have an email address, seldom use it. Chat, instead, remains the preferred method of communication–between friends, families, colleagues, business partners, and even strangers. When asked why, most Chinese or expats will simply point to WeChat.
John Horwitz, Quartz, May 28, 2017

● What are the continuing roadblocks to China’s progress in building soft power? How is Donald Trump affecting the balance of such power between the U.S. and China? Are both countries headed toward an inevitable great power conflict . . . ? And has the meaning of the term soft power . . ? Jeremy and Kaiser spoke with [Joseph] Nye . . . .
Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Chinafile, May 26, 2017

● Hollywood’s craven currying of Chinese favor in exchange for a piece of its vast market rivals only that of Mark Zuckerberg’s ploys to get Facebook unblocked in China. That said, before we unspool into a tizzy of anti-Chinese paranoia, it’s important to remember two things: China’s film industry remains abysmal artistically, and it has begun to flail financially.
John Pomfret, Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2017

● One major reason why China’s soft power strategy is not currently working is that Beijing simply has spent the last decade exerting significant hard power, particularly in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia, its near neighborhood. And, its growing willingness to wield coercive strategic and economic power has made its soft power a more difficult sell, even when Beijing is lavishing funds on One Belt, One Road and cultural, media, and educational projects overseas.  
Joshua Kurlantzick, Council on Foreign Relations, May 16, 2017

● Earlier this month, citing concerns over “cyber sovereignty,” China’s Internet regulators announced new restrictions on the country’s already tightly controlled Internet—further curbing online news reporting and putting Party-appointed editors in charge. Plans were also announced for the compiling of a massive, officially sanctioned, online encyclopedia to rival Wikipedia . . . . What does this mean for Internet freedom in other countries whose leaders also crave control over information?
Anne Henochowicz, Rogier Creemers, Mary Gallagher, Blake Miller, Lotus Ruan, Chinafile, May 9, 2017


● Efforts to infiltrate counter-propaganda into North Korea are already underway.  But this will almost certainly not produce substantial results before Pyongyang fields a nuclear missile.
Denny Roy, East-West Center, April 26, 2017

● To be sure, the Muslim Brotherhood isn't directly responsible for these attacks. But the Brotherhood's anti-Christian incitement contributes to an environment that legitimizes them. Indeed, Brotherhood leaders routinely portray Christians not as victims of violence, but as beneficiaries of an Egyptian government that has brutally repressed the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups. The sectarian propaganda isn't subtle.
Eric Trager, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, May 27, 2017

● All Arab states have large, official Muslim religious establishments that give governments a major role in religious life. These establishments have developed differently, according to each state’s historical experience. Through them, the state has a say over religious education, mosques, and religious broadcasting—turning official religious institutions into potent policy tools. However, the complexity of the religious landscape means they are rarely mere regime mouthpieces and it can be difficult to steer them in a particular direction.
Nathan Brown, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 11, 2017


● Today, Russian is no longer required for students at most schools in Eurasia. Instruction is given in the countries' national languages instead. Students, moreover, often study other foreign languages such as French, German, English and Chinese in lieu of Russian.
Stratfor, May 31, 2017


● The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi announced last month that it is seeking a non-profit organization to run nine workshops to "create awareness" about science, technology, engineering, and math in Hyderabad, the center of India's technology sector.
Elizabeth Harrington, The Washington Free Beacon, June 3, 2017


● The Lois Roth Endowment named its winners of this year’s achievement awards for cultural and educational diplomacy at a ceremony on 31 May.
Public Diplomacy Achievement Awards, Jun 10, 2017


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.

Edited by
Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University
Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant

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