Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"Seen on the Web" (#73) -- Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy

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"Seen on the Web" (#73) -- Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy

Donald Bishop Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 3:39 PM

June 14, 2017,
Seen on the Web 2439-2518

Readers:  A wedding in South Carolina and a reunion in Connecticut delayed our regular compilation of quotes and links – just as our topics are much in the news!  We will move through the backlog as soon as possible.  Thanks for bearing with us.  DMB

DIME:  elements of national power –
Diplomatic, Informational, Military, Economic
- - - - - - -


In The News

Instruments of Informational Power

Professional Topics

Countries and Regions
28. IRAN
30. CUBA



In The News

● A Chinese student has apologised following a furious reaction to her US graduation speech that praised the "fresh air of democracy". Speaking at the University of Maryland, Yang Shuping drew a parallel between air pollution in China and the country's restrictions on free speech. Angry Chinese social media users accused her of denigrating her homeland and told her to stay in the US.
BBC News, May 23, 2017

● A video of Yang Shuping’s commencement speech given at the University of Maryland. Her speech was not well received back home in China.
Youtube, May 21, 2017

● The speech on Sunday drew harsh criticism, however, from some of Ms. Yang’s Chinese classmates in Maryland and from legions of social media users in China, many of whom accused her of selling out her homeland.
Mike Ives, The New York Times, May 23, 2017

Elements of Informational Power

● The BBG . . . recently stood up a Russian-language 24/7 international broadcasting effort, designed to inform Russian language speakers.  This, incidentally, is the audience that most Russian propaganda also targets, primarily to suppress a domestic Russian colored revolution.  RFE/RL and VOA also write a ton of articles in English, which the American public could (and should) read, but almost nobody even knows they still exist. 
Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, May 26, 2017

● DPRK agents will also count on the psychological reluctance of the South Korean population and government to believe that war is imminent. They will actively seek to influence the ROK democratic decision-making process to get inside our decision cycle. In particular, ROK mobilization will require a political decision and every hour of delay imposed through threats, deception, information and cyber-attacks, or direct action will have consequences. In the end, even if ROK/US commanders do recognize the signs of an attack before it begins, it will still take time to react. In that time, DPRK commanders hope to win.
Raymond Farrell, Modern War Institute at West Point, April 25, 2017

Professional Topics

● There is a fairly simple solution that could severely cripple ISIS’ online recruitment and incitement operations. Social media and file-sharing companies could block much of ISIS’ passive and active engagements with would-be terrorists here in the West by allowing only verified account users to access their sites when using VPNs or Tor.
Michael S. Smith II, Foreign Affairs, May 27, 2017

● When IS releases a video like this, an array of pro-IS media groups—translators, promoters, social media leaders, link-creators—immediately get to work in pushing it out across the internet. One very important, but not widely known media group, The Upload Knights (or Fursan al-Rafa in Arabic), plays a major role in the dissemination of these releases by creating hundreds of links to them across various streaming and file-sharing sites on a daily basis.
Rita Katz, Motherboard, May 26, 2017

● Terrorists have always sought attention, and the age of social media has enabled them to find it with unprecedented breadth. They use social networks to recruit, to inspire, and to connect, but they also rely on social media bystanders—everyday, regular people—to spread the impacts of their terror further than they could themselves, and to confuse authorities with misinformation. That amplification encourages more terrorism, inspires copycats, and turns the perpetrators into martyrs. It also traumatizes the families of the murdered victims, as well as the public at large.
Emily Dreyfus, Wired, May 23, 2017

● People are using Facebook to showcase suicides, beatings and murder, in real time. Twitter is a hive of trolling and abuse that it seems unable to stop. Fake news, whether created for ideology or profit, runs rampant. Four out of 10 adult internet users said in a Pew survey that they had been harassed online. And that was before the presidential campaign heated up last year.
David Streitfeld, The New York Times, May 20, 2017

● News events are amplified by social media, which often host the “first draft” of terror coverage. These platforms are specifically targeted by terrorists and referenced by journalists. Yet these companies often have only a short history of dealing with the political and commercial pressures many newsrooms have lived with for decades. The fear is that reporting of terror is becoming too sensationalist and simplistic in the digitally driven rush and that the role of professional journalism has been constrained and diminished.
Charlie Beckett, Columbia Journalism Review, September 22, 2016

● Some of that struggle, of course, is conducted in cyberspace. The difficulties we face there have their roots in the original design of the Internet. This was, Chertoff noted, essentially a resilience model of communication among trusted parties—laboratories and Government agencies—and it was build without considering the security of a network to which untrusted parties would have access.
The Cyberwire, 2017 Cyber Investing Summit


● The Department of Defense has tasked a cyber protection team to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, battery deployed to the Korean Peninsula. * * * As has been highlighted by the nature of connected systems and software reliance today, most all weapon systems are vulnerable to cyber intrusions and attacks.
Mark Pomerleau, Fifth Domain, June 1, 2017

● NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence based in Estonia, celebrated today the accession of two new members – Belgium and Sweden.
Joel Harding, To Inform is To Influence, May 30, 2017

● . . . on May 11, President Donald Trump signed a long-expected executive order on cybersecurity. * * * Unfortunately, the order largely ignores one supremely important pool of cyber policy expertise — civil society. While there is one exception for organizations deemed to be part of the U.S. critical infrastructure, which includes certain public and private sector entities — — many of the world’s top cybersecurity experts, who have university, think tank, and/or industry affiliations are simply left out.
Brent Rowe and Eli Sugarman, War On The Rocks, May 30, 2017

● The Defense Department as well as the individual services have slowly but surely provided details regarding their offensive efforts in cyberspace, most notably the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
Mark Pomerleau, C4ISRNet, May 24, 2017

● A secret global operation by the Pentagon late last year to sabotage the Islamic State’s online videos and propaganda sparked fierce debate inside the government over whether it was necessary to notify countries that are home to computer hosting services used by the extremist group, including U.S. allies in Europe.   
Ellen Nakashima, The Washington Post, May 8, 2017

● Experts have estimated that cybercrime costs more than $400 billion annually, representing a share of about one half of 1% of Earth’s entire estimated GDP. * * * Some of the major issues involved in stopping cyber criminals include: Long-Distance Attacks * * * Difficulty Acquiring the Full Spectrum of Information * * * Failure to Report Cybercrime to Authorities * * * Cybercrime as a Priority * * * Scale of Cybercrime Activity * * * Jurisdictional Limitations in Investigating and Prosecuting Cybercrime * * * The Future of Effective Cybercrime Investigation and Prosecution * * *
University of Cincinnati

● In 2014, Russian Chanel One reported that Ukrainian officials had crucified a three year old boy. The heartbreaking story was told by a sole witness named Galina Pyshnika who presented herself as a pro-Russian refuge from Ukraine. This story was fake and subsequently debunked by Russian opposition, Ukrainian activists, and Western media. The so-called witness turned out to be a paid actress who later appeared in other Russian media horror stories about Ukrainian atrocities in completely different roles.
Una Bergmane, Foreign Policy Institute, May 15, 2017

● Other research has looked at the habits of highly effective propagandists such as China, Russia, and alt-right icon Milo Yiannopoulos. The main takeaways: truth, rationality, consistency, and likability aren’t necessary for getting people to absorb your viewpoint. Things that do work: incessant repetition, distractions from the main issue, sidestepping counterarguments rather than refuting them, using “peripheral cues” to establish credibility or authority, and antagonizing people who dislike you in order to get the attention of people who might like you. Another favorite technique, this one perfected by the tobacco industry: strategically sowing doubt in something for which there’s overwhelming evidence.
Gideon Lichfield, Quartz, May 13, 2017

● Facebook’s report on “Information Operations” was the company’s first public acknowledgment that political actors have been influencing public opinion through the social networking platform. The company says it will work to combat these information operations, and it has taken some positive steps. * * *  But more important, the report reveals that while we are all talking about “fake news,” we should also be talking about the algorithms and fake accounts that push bad information around.
Philip N. Howard and Robert Gorwa, Newsday, May 27, 2017

● Facebook and other social media networks are taking steps to make sure their platforms don't become tools for foreign governments spreading "fake news" stories.
Ali Breland, The Hill, May 27, 2017

● Americans are passionate about blame; casting it about, of course, but also desperately avoiding it. This is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it’s poison. . . . a full 52 percent of self-described Republicans . . . subscribe to the idea that “millions of illegal votes were cast in the election.” Likewise, 59 percent of Democrats . . . buy into the notion that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.” These are staggering numbers. They are not explained by the advent of “fake news,” the influence of which research has shown was vastly overblown during the 2016 election cycle. The simplest explanation is the soundest: People just want to believe
Noah Rothman, Commentary, May 26, 2017

● Disinformation operations are a real and urgent threat to democracies worldwide. Once the political leadership recognizes this, the security apparatus gets the green light to develop detailed policy measures to protect the country. That’s what’s happening now in Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland, but the Baltic states have known this for decades. Moreover, once the government starts addressing this threat publicly, the media will make it a national issue. * * * This auto-immune response needs to be launched by the government. Otherwise, only several isolated think tanks and patriotic journalists will dig into the subject . . .
Jakub Janda, Observer, May 11, 2017

● This brief Report aims to enumerate the tools that are nowadays used for hostile electoral interference and how they can be countered. The paper focuses on the European situation, with use of known
examples from recent years, for example, in the United States. * * * 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. [Report] A framework guide to tools for countering hostile foreign electoral interference
Jakub Janda, European Values, May 11, 2017

 As several people have argued, fake news is not new, but what is new is its scale and participatory nature. Social media enables sites created to generate advertising revenue to thrive by making it easier for readers to find stories while leaving the source of news less obvious, and by promoting stories that get a high level of
attention. Fake news is of particular concern during election campaigns.
Damian Tambini, Sharif Labo, Emma Goodman, Martin Moore, London School of Economics and Political Science--Media Policy Project, March 2017

● This report describes an extensive Russia-linked phishing and disinformation campaign. It provides evidence of how documents stolen from a prominent journalist and critic of Russia was tampered with and then “leaked” to achieve specific propaganda aims. We name this technique “tainted leaks.” The report illustrates how the twin strategies of phishing and tainted leaks are sometimes used in combination to infiltrate civil society targets, and to seed mistrust and disinformation.
Adam Hulcoop, John Scott-Railton, Peter Tanchak, Matt Brooks, and Ron Deibert, Munk School of Global Affairs, May 25, 2017

● E-mails stolen in a phishing attack on a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin were manipulated before being published on the Internet. That's according to a report published Thursday, which also asserts that the e-mails were manipulated in order to discredit a steady stream of unfavorable articles.
Dan Goodin, ars Technica, May 25, 2017

● A new report by a group of security researchers digs into another layer of those so-called influence operations: how Russian hackers alter documents within those releases of hacked material, planting disinformation alongside legitimate leaks.
Andy Greenberg, Wired, May 25, 2017

 Before his re-election in 2012, Putin told a Moscow newspaper that “soft power is a complex of tools and methods to achieve foreign policy goals without the use of force, through information and other means of influence.”
Joseph S. Nye, Project Syndicate, May 9, 2017

● . . . through U.S. [humanitarian assistance/disaster relief], some Philippine leaders and commentators even argued that the US response, and the resultant increase in soft power, greatly strengthened the case for an enhanced military presence in the country. In contrast, China was criticized for its paltry initial contribution to disaster relief efforts in the Philippines.
David Lee, East-West Center, May 3, 2017

● . . . the limits of homeland security measures. . . . they must be combined with efforts to prevent terrorists from creating bases such as Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Syria from which they can export terrorism. Second but no less important . . . these efforts must include a campaign to win “hearts and minds,” especially among Muslim men in their 20s who are the children of immigrants.  The West is lagging in both areas;
Max Boot, Commentary, May 26, 2017

● Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko believes today hybrid warfare on the part of the Russian Federation is gaining pace and the international community should resist this.
Interfax-Ukraine, May 27, 2017

 The US is investing tens of billions of dollars into cybersecurity . . . . Industry, the commercial sector, is also investing tons of money, hiring expert teams, generating reports, and we are only seeing nascent efforts to create a system of systems, sharing data, exploits, tools, and attack information and data. Comparatively, the US is investing squat, practically nothing, into countering Russian propaganda, disinformation, and misinformation – Russian Information Warfare.  We have this great center, the Global Engagement Center, which concentrates on countering ISIS recruiting efforts, historically. They’ve looked at Russian Information. . . . . But, by every appearance, they’re doing nothing about Russian Information Warfare.
Joel Harding, To Inform is To Influence, May 26, 2017

● . . . the biggest problem with Twitter’s place in the news is its role in the production and dissemination of propaganda and misinformation. It keeps pushing conspiracy theories — and because lots of people in the media, not to mention many news consumers, don’t quite understand how it works, the precise mechanism is worth digging into.
Doug Chayka, The New York Times, May 31, 2017

● The overarching title of the jihadi narrative is “Islam is Under Attack” (keep in mind this is the title of the narrative, not the narrative itself. The narrative itself gets filled in with people’s experience – experience that is consistent with the title). The judo trick here should be, “Yes, Islam is under attack, and look who is doing the attacking.”
Ajit Maan, Real Clear Defense, May 23, 2017

● In Paris, Vladimir Putin said that “the enlightened French public knows about the Russian Anna, queen of France, the younger daughter of our Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise who was the wife of Henry I and who made a significant contribution to the development of France . . . . the deputy head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration, responded on Facebook by pointing out the “my dear French friends, the Russian president has tried to confuse you: Anna of Kyiv, the queen of France, was from Kyiv and not from Moscow.” Indeed, “at that time, Moscow didn’t even exist”
Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, May 30, 2017

● . . . Moscow’s effort to rewrite history in this case is having exactly the opposite effect the Kremlin intends. It has provoked Circassians both in the North Caucasus and abroad to focus on Moscow’s methods and to mobilize to oppose them by speaking out and demanding that their history be recognized and their holidays celebrated.
Paul Goble, The Jamestown Foundation, May 16, 2017  

 Conspiracy theories are then presented alongside more conventional political rhetoric, so that a site might display factually accurate content promoting sustainability or political reform, while also alleging false-flag attacks or fabrication of mainstream media coverage of an event. And although some of the websites publish these stories to attract clicks and ad revenue, many others are run by what Starbird describes as "true believers": people who are deep into the conspiracy world and feel a duty to report their alternative interpretations of current events, often using legitimate sources to support them.
Corin Faife, Motherboard, May 25, 2017

● It was after appearing stiffly on several talk shows . . . that Kennedy learned how to craft such a TV image for himself. It is on full view on Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow in October 1953. Joined by his new bride, Jacqueline Bouvier, he switched within seconds from talking about the Taft-Hartley Act to his love of football. From then on, the personal would always be intermingled with the political.
Ron Simon, Time, May 29, 2017

● A man who had been considered a hawk early in his career became a notable exponent of soft power, of strategic patience, of thinking ten moves ahead.  
James Fallows, The Atlantic, May 27, 2017

● Media literacy will be the key to battling disinformation, from the Kremlin or elsewhere, experts overwhelmingly said. In this media environment, it is easy for people to be convinced of their own worldview. If news consumers know how to access, evaluate, and analyze the news they are taking in, fake news and disinformation efforts will be far less effective.
Geysha Gonzalez, Atlantic Council, May 24, 2017

● As America prioritizes its spending in a dangerous world, the White House has proposed a hard-power budget that emphasizes military investments to deter war. Yet what it first would deter is any cost-effective work to reduce the wars abroad — civil upheaval in weak or failing states — that greatly threaten U.S. interests and global stability.
Karl W. Eikenberry, USA Today, May 31, 2017

● . . . Russia Today offers a window into a strikingly difficult challenge. How can the United States influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp an adversary’s ability to make and share decisions without crossing some of the boundaries we have set for ourselves? Are we doing everything we can to operate most effectively in the complex current information environment? Propaganda works—whether in the form of narrative-shaping broadcasts with global reach and cannily adorned with the hallmarks of an objective news network, or as fake news aimed at influencing elections and supporting military campaigns. Countering it and insulating against its effects is the task at hand, and it isn’t an easy one.
Curtis Kimbrell, Modern War Institute at West Point, May 31, 2017  

● Against vulgar American consumerism, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal democracy, and the threat of revolutionary Bolshevism, Nazi–fascist leaders offered an alternative framework for European society: spiritual rather than materialistic, organic and traditional rather than abstract and cosmopolitan, overseen by strong and racially pure states. Promoting these racist and anti-Semitic ideas, institutions like the Permanent Council and the Venice Film Festival also modeled a new style of global cooperation:
Ian Beacock, The New Republic, May 23, 2017

● At its core, doctrine is defined as the “fundamental principles by which the military forces or elements thereof guide their actions in support of national objectives.” By their very nature, “fundamental principles” ought to be fairly static.
Steve Leonard, Modern War Institute at West Point, May 18, 2017

● . . . realpolitik argues that states are only important actors in world politics. Therefore, a state’s diplomatic resources and attention should focus on interactions with foreign governments. Focusing on sub-state actors or societies could be interpreted as intrusions of sovereignty.
Daniel Drezner, The Washington Post, May 30, 2017

● In 2015, RT was the most watched foreign news outlet in the United States . . . . journalist Lincoln Mitchell wrote about the network, “Somebody who only watched RT would have an image of the U.S. as a place of radical economic inequality, widespread civil unrest, corrupt politicians, racial animus and a collapsing economy, committed to expanding its global influence through military might.”
Curtis Kimbrell, Modern War Institute at West Point, May 31, 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, New Republic, May 30, 2017

● The U.S.-led international order has been so successful, for so long, that Americans have come to take it for granted. They have forgotten what that order is meant to prevent in the first place: the sort of utter breakdown of the international system, the descent into violence and great-power war, that has been all too common throughout human history.
Hal Brands and Charles Edel, Foreign Policy, May 29, 2017

● As the photographers' candid comments throughout the book indicate, project head Roy Stryker was commissioning propaganda (his word) for the Roosevelt administration, whose message changed with political needs.
Jay Weiser, The Weekly Standard, May 29, 2017

● Americans “are a drifting and aimless people—awash in material goods and yet spiritually aching for meaning.” His proposals are about recovering this sense of meaning and establishing a shared language for talking about it, thickening the civic culture that serves as the foundation of political deliberation.This is an increasingly radical idea. America has largely responded to the challenges of diversity and pluralism by pushing moral language out of public life.
Emma Green, The Atlantic, May 29, 2017

● America has always been a divided, sprawling country, but for most of its history it was held together by a unifying . . . Exodus story. . . . the writer George Packer recently argued that there are four rival narratives in America today.  First . . . the libertarian narrative . . . a land of free individuals responsible for their own fate. * * * Second, there is the narrative of globalized America. * * * Third, there is the story of multicultural America. * * * Finally, there is the narrative of America First . . . I’d say the future of American politics will be a competition between two other stories . . . The mercantilist model sees America as a new Rome, a mighty fortress in a dangerous world. The talented community sees America as a new Athens . . . It’s an Exodus story for an information age.
David Brooks, The New York Times, May 26, 2017

● Today I want to talk about three ways to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose: by taking on big meaningful projects together, by redefining equality so everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose, and by building community across the world.
Alex Heath, Business Insider, May 25, 2017

Countries and Regions


● [Russia's] Generation Z, however, is something incredible. When these people arrived, the Internet was already in place. They think, they analyze, and they draw conclusions in entirely new ways, even when compared to Millennials. The Kremlin establishment lost these people a long time ago, and they didn’t even notice it. Its control over television doesn’t matter here, because there is no TV in their world.
Global Voices, May 26, 2017

● It provides a rare ground-level view of a particularly murky aspect of Russia’s influence strategy: freelance activists who promote its agenda abroad, but get their backing from Russian tycoons and others close to the Kremlin, not the Russian state itself.
By Andrew Higgins, The New York Times, May 28, 2017

● Many commentators have discussed whether Vladimir Putin is a fascist in any serious sense, but most have failed to consider one area where fascism has clearly arisen in his Russia: in the aesthetics that increasingly inform Moscow’s public life and that have obvious parallels with those of the Third Reich, Innokenty Malkiel says.
Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, May 24, 2017

● Truly responding to Russia's hostile influence involves predicting which groups Russia will target, identifying the tools Russia is likely to adopt, then—like Russia—playing the long game rather than focusing on near-term events.
Bruce H. McClintock and Andrew Radin, The RAND Blog, May 9, 2017

● U.S. policy toward democracy promotion, foreign intervention, and the free flow of information directly conflict with Russian views and could lead to contestation or conflict.
Andrew Radin and Clinton Bruce Reach, RAND Corporation, 2017

● In this context, the security services regard themselves as already at war, and operate accordingly. Three basic premises apply. The first is that any reverses for the West are to Russia’s implicit advantage. The second is that their role is concrete: they do not just gather information, they advocate policies and carry out active measures routinely. Finally, they seem to believe it is better to seize an opportunity than avoid a mistake.
Dr. Mark Galeotti, NATO Review Magazine, 2017

● Vladimir Putin’s “rabid” anti-Ukrainian propaganda resembles and is intended to have a similar outcome to Soviet state anti-Semitism, or “anti-Zionism” as it was called, Yevgeny Ikhlov says. And like the earlier one, Putin’s current one is about “killing off of another culture” and absorbing its bearers into a Moscow-approved effort. 
Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, May 22, 2017

● There is also an ongoing information war being waged by Russia against Ukraine. Legions of  Russian trolls are on a constant offensive against Ukraine culture, values, ethics, and morals, attempting to undermine democracy, create chaos and anarchy in Ukraine, and forcibly remove confidence in the government of Ukraine – by whatever means necessary. Any means whatsoever. Including constant fabrications of fake evidence, inciting fake outrage, and pummeling Ukraine with constant propaganda.
Joel Harding, To Inform is To Influence, May 19, 2017


● Poland and the Baltic countries, all of whom are in NATO, have come to play a leading role in this regard not only warning the West about what Putin is up to but hosting international conferences and preparing well-documented reports. But now countries even more exposed because they aren’t under the security umbrella of the Western alliance are doing the same. Now, Ukraine is joining this group. . .
Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, May 30, 2017

● This year . . . the 200+ million audience of Eurovision was spared outright political messaging in the performances, and the pre-contest squabble over Russia’s participation was largely lost on the public. The political dimension of Eurovision 2017 was, however, noticeable in how Ukraine decided to, yet again, use it as a vehicle of soft power . . .
This year . . . the 200+ million audience of Eurovision was spared outright political messaging in the performances, and the pre-contest squabble over Russia’s participation was largely lost on the public. The political dimension of Eurovision 2017 was, however, noticeable in how Ukraine decided to, yet again, use it as a vehicle of soft power . . .
Roch Dunin-Wasowicz, The London School of Economics and Political Science, May 24, 2017

● Under an onslaught of “fake news” and disinformation, Ukraine is the first battleground in this fast-paced war on truth. The following conflict analysis examines this battle—what makes this conflict unique? Why is this conflict worth studying? What are the lessons we can learn?
Travis Burke, EuroMaiden Press, May 23, 2017

● Over the last year, the Czech Republic has undergone a major policy shift on the topic of Russian
disinformation. . . . This paper aims to bring a simplified overview of what has happened in this particular field in the Czech context since 2014. This paper does not focus on relations to the Russian Federation per se; it rather narrows the scope to the specific issue of disinformation and (hostile) foreign influence.
Kremlin Watch Team, European Values, May 10, 2017


● The fact that the apex of China’s media — or other Chinese-government organizations – should concern themselves with the opinions of one of the 350,000 Chinese students studying in the United States or the invitation list for commencement speakers at a California university speaks to a deep-seated fear in China of American ideas. While there’s a lot of talk these days about China’s irresistible rise and the United States’ unstoppable fall, China’s government remains paranoid about the pull of American ideology on its people.
John Pomfret, The Washington Post, May 25, 2017


● Back in 2014 the secret police found that incentives still worked when they tried something new to scare the key few percent of the population (who control the rest) away from these poisonous foreign (mainly South Korean) media influences. The secret police have been identifying the more loyal members of the ruling class (especially students) and recruiting them as informants. Now informants are nothing new in North Korea but these new ones are coached on how to be new enthusiasts for the forbidden media and, more importantly, a source for such forbidden delights.
Strategy Page, May 29, 2017

Patrick M. Cronin, The National Interest, May 25, 2017

● Pakistan has begun a crackdown on online criticism of its powerful military, with up to 200 social media accounts under investigation, a security official said on Monday.
Mubasher Bukhari and Saad Sayeed, Reuters, May 22, 2017

● Taliban members often coerce Afghan soldiers through financial incentives, ideological pressure and intimidation . . . . the Taliban exploits those disgruntled Afghan soldiers who are personally motivated to stage or facilitate an attack for reasons ranging from grievances rooted in personal clashes and insults to cultural misunderstandings, disrespect for religious beliefs or local norms, civilian casualties and miscommunication.
Javid Ahmad, The Washington Post, April 25, 2017 

● ISIS is attempting to develop its own social-media architecture to help its members avoid security crackdowns on communications exchanged and content posted by the group, according to Europol, Europe’s police agency. An expanded social-media presence would also enable ISIS to continue to encourage attacks abroad as the group retrenches, but perhaps with greater frequency.
Colin P. Clarke and Chad C. Serena, The National Interest, May 29, 2017

30. CUBA

● As the internet becomes more widespread in Cuba, online start-ups are emerging. But the problems many of the companies hope to address are also a reminder of how far the island has to go.
Natalie Sherman, BBC News, May 23, 2017



● Deep cuts to the State Department’s educational exchange programs outlined in the White House’s proposed 2018 budget would damage the US’s soft power diplomacy, education organisations have warned.
Beckie Smith, The Pie News, May 26, 2017

● The newest cohort of Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) students made an excursion to Nebraska in March and April. The students were selected to participate in . . . a program that incorporates academic and civic exchange in the United States to provide fellows an opportunity to engage with American society and government.
David Lee, Asia Matters for America, May 5, 2017

● In order to confront jihadist ideology we need to have proper theological conferences . . . sponsored by governments the world over. Again, don’t just invite the moderates, invite the radicals: I am sure the would come, given their huge hunger for publicity. This is the only way to delegitimising jihadi ideology – exposing it to the discourse of reason and the cruel light of day.  The current arrangement, where religious leaders meet and say nice things to each other, is not good enough and not working. Rather we need the sort of frank speaking that was attempted at Regensburg by Benedict XVI.
Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith, Catholic Herald, May 26, 2017

● The Carmel Institute of Russian Culture and History, with organizational support from the Russian Embassy, now hosts free cultural events and symposia annually to university students in the D.C. area. The institute also offers five $8,000 scholarships for students to enroll directly in summer language, culture and international relations programs at two Russian universities. In addition, it backs courses on Russian history, economics, language and culture on American University’s campus.
Katherine Saltzman, The Eagle, May 23, 2017

● [My students in Dubai] admire the freedom that the United States grants its citizens, which is one reason that they Westernize themselves: They dress in ripped jeans, know the words to the songs of Beyoncé and Drake, and even keep up with the Kardashians. Young as they are, they understand as well that some of the most outspoken defenders of Muslims in the United States right now are Christians and Jews. But they perceive the government as problematic. They are asking whether the United States has a problem with all Arabs and Muslims.
Yasmine Bahrani, The Washington Post, May 26, 2017

●Nearly 40% of American colleges saw a decline in international applicants, a recent survey of more than 250 institutions showed. Chinese and Indian students — accounting for 47% of the one million international students in the United States today — registered a 25% drop in undergraduate applications. Additionally, almost half of graduate schools surveyed reported decreases in applications.
Genna Liu, Asia Matters for America, May 2, 2017

● The view from the ground suggests that many online credit recovery courses are subpar substitutes for traditional classroom instruction.
Zoe Kirsch, Slate, May 2017

● A Wall Street Journal analysis shows that since the 1990s, sparsely populated counties have replaced large cities as America’s most troubled areas by key measures of socioeconomic well-being—a decline that’s accelerating
Janet Adamny and Paul Overberg, The Wall Street Journal, May 26, 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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