Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Diplomacy's Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #96

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May 14, 2019

Alison Baily, “Teaching for Peace: Education in Conflict and Recovery,” British Council, 2019.  This 25-page report by the British Council’s Alison Baily examines challenges facing international education providers, governments supporting international development, national governments in fragile and conflict-affected states, and international NGOs.  The report is based on research the Council commissioned from the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security, and Justice at Queens University Belfast.  Her findings and recommendations address ways in which education can help with long-term recovery from effects of lost years of education, displaced workers, psychological trauma, and divisions within communities.  The full report can be downloaded from the link.

Bianca Baumler, “EU Public Diplomacy: Adapting to an Ever-Changing World,”  CPD Perspectives, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Paper 2, April 2019.  Baumler (EU consultant and former EU communications officer in Syria and Ukraine) examines reputational, structural, and procedural challenges in the European Union’s public diplomacy.  Her paper focuses on the EU’s Global Strategy; tools and methods of the European External Action Service; case studies of the EU’s public diplomacy in Ukraine, Indonesia, and Hong Kong; social media analytics and qualitative evaluation alternatives; and the value of outsourcing some public diplomacy work to public relations and communications professionals.  She concludes with discussion of eight recommendations for diplomacy practitioners.

William J. Burns, The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal, (Random House, 2019).  Retired Ambassador Burns (Carnegie Endowment) provides an account of US diplomacy abroad and diplomatic politics in Washington during his tenure as one of the most distinguished and consequential career diplomats of his generation.  The strengths of this book are considerable: Burns’ firsthand insights into the diplomacy and off-stage politics of the first Gulf War, the Iraq war decision and its consequences, Putin’s rise to power, the Arab Spring and its aftermath, Obama’s Libya and Syria policies, secret negotiations with Iranian diplomats in Oman on Iran’s nuclear program, and his views on a strategy after President Trump’s “nasty brew of belligerent unilateralism, mercantilism, and unreconstructed nationalism.”  Burns also provides compelling arguments for resisting overreliance on military tools and reinvention of US diplomacy.  He calls for updated skills and sharper focus on 21st century issues (technology, economics, energy, and climate) and for serious institutional changes in the State Department’s rigid personnel systems, lumbering deliberative processes, risk aversion, and fortress embassies.  But readers will look in vain for more than trace mentions of diplomacy’s public dimension, the impact of social media, and tools and methods required to engage publics as well as governments.  Burns’ diplomacy truly is “back channel,” which stands in contrast to the memoirs and practices of other top diplomats of his generation (Christopher Hill, Richard Holbrooke, Nicholas Burns, Robert Ford, Michael McFaul, Wendy Sherman, Christopher Stevens, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry).
“The Collaboratory Launches 22.33 – A Podcast of Life Changing Stories,”  Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), US Department of State.  22.33 is a weekly podcast of first person stories of foreign and American participants in ECA-sponsored international exchanges.  ECA’s intent is to feature narratives that “illustrate the full range of growth, adventure, and discomfort which goes into an international exchange.”  The podcast’s name, 22.33, is taken from legislation signed by President John F. Kennedy that established ECA.  New episodes are released on Fridays and are available on major podcast platforms.  Photos, podcast transcripts, a web player for each episode, and an archive of previous episodes, and additional information can be found on ECA’s podcast homepage.

William E. Connolly, Aspirational Fascism: The Struggle for Multifaceted Democracy Under Trumpism, (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).  This slim “preliminary” study, Connolly tells us, was written as a three-part “genealogy of aspirational fascism” after his spring 2017 Johns Hopkins University graduate seminar on “What Was/Is Fascism.”  Chapter 1 compares the rhetorical styles of the early Hitler and Donald Trump.  Apples and oranges, yes, but he sees value in “highlighting differences across partial affinities.”  Connolly looks at “big lie scenarios” and commonalities in their appreciation of the “power of public speeches to infect and move a large populace primed to listen by historical shocks, resentments, grievances, and embodied dispositions.” Chapter 2 compares body languages and demeanor, forms of affective communication, and modes of contagion within and below linguistic practice – gesture, posture, facial expression, hand movements, jaw settings, habits of eye contact, and styles of walking. In Chapter 3, Connolly argues the most effective antidote is a multifaceted pluralism characterized by open democratic elections and a strong ethos of egalitarianism related to income, job security, education prospects, retirement opportunity, and cultural dignity.

Nicholas J. Cull, Public Diplomacy: Foundations for Global Engagement in the Digital Age, (Polity, 2019).  There is substance of considerable value in this book.  Nick Cull (University of Southern California), public diplomacy’s premier historian, draws on years of teaching and research to provide what he calls “a single foundational text for diplomat students and student diplomats.” In imaginative prose he frames concepts, explains practitioners’ tools and methods, and offers much to ponder and debate.  Cull has broadened his foundational template (listening, advocacy, cultural diplomacy, exchange diplomacy, and international broadcasting) to include nation branding and partnership, key elements that he argues have emerged from “the new public diplomacy.”  He provides abundant empirical evidence for these ideas from a broad range of countries and three fully developed historical case studies: Britain in World War II, the US in the Cold War, and the international campaign against apartheid in South Africa. Digital approaches and social media appear throughout as important issues and tools to be integrated in an understanding of diplomacy, not treated in isolation.  He concludes with a discussion of today’s hot issue, “weaponized information.”  Cull’s historical arc is long, but his most absorbing formulations turn on the central questions and conversations of today’s scholars and practitioners. We learn a great deal from his analysis, but we are left also with much still to discuss about public diplomacy, new public diplomacy, global engagement, and what is now an integral public dimension of diplomacy.  See also CPD’s “Meet the Author.”

Gijs de Vries, “Cultural Freedom in European Foreign Policy,” Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Stuttgart, Germany, 2019.  In this 110-page report, de Vries (London School of Economics and Political Science) calls for a European cultural response to the challenges confronting Europe’s cultural identity and the liberal international order.  His analysis of the potential and limitations of an emerging EU cultural diplomacy strategy centers on three questions.  (1) How to distinguish conceptually and operationally “between cultural relations and public diplomacy on the one hand and propaganda on the other?”  (2) How to avoid neo-colonialism?  (3) How to encourage EU governments, “prone to national showcasing,” to work together?  He argues for a multi-pronged European cultural approach: combined hard and soft power responses to authoritarian attacks on democracy; greater support for international humanitarian regimes, academic freedom, and independent journalism; legislation to address disinformation and risks to freedom of expression in policies that oblige social media companies to act as gatekeepers; integration of culture in sustainable development policies; and stronger EU policies and funding for citizenship, education and culture.  Cultural diplomacy’s traditional model, “with its dominant emphasis on displaying national ‘cultural’ achievements, is no longer fit for purpose,” de Vries argues.  It must be replaced by a strategy that makes cultural freedom a priority and integrates national and European initiatives.

Diplomatica: A Journal of Diplomacy and Society. Welcome Diplomatica – a new interdisciplinary academic journal that announces its intent to examine “the broad range of work across the social sciences and the humanities that takes diplomacy as its focus of investigation.”  Editors-in-Chief are Giles Scott-Smith (Leiden University) and Kenneth Weisbrode (Bilkent University).  The Book Review Editor is Haakon Ikonomou (University of Copenhagen).  Diplomatica’s editorial board includes a diverse array of leading scholars in diplomatic history and diplomatic studies.  The journal, published by Brill, welcomes submissions, and information on its editorial policies and broad range of interests can be found on its website. Individuals can sign up online for free access to Diplomaticathrough December 31, 2020.

Douglas Kane,  Our Politics: Reflections on a Political Life, (Southern Illinois University Press, 2019).  At a glance this book is not an obvious fit for a diplomacy reading list. Kane is a former journalist, staff assistant to the governor of Illinois, Illinois state representative, member of Wisconsin’s Buffalo County Board of Supervisors, and spouse of a three-term Wisconsin state senator.  But lessons learned bridging what he calls “that three foot gap” in the politics of America’s upper mid-West are surprisingly relevant to what diplomats have long called the “last three feet” of public diplomacy.  This is a clear, story-based account of what it means to act politically and locally.  Kane offers pragmatic advice on authenticity, audience concerns, traditional and social media, the importance of stories and actions, building coalitions, coping with pressure, handling complex issues with scarce time and knowledge, finding ways to hold to the ideal and the real.  Along the way he channels gems from Saul Alinsky, Edmund Burke, Vaclav Havel, Albert Camus, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Tony Judt, Frantz Fanon, Walter Lippmann, John Stuart Mill, and Niccolo Machiavelli. Contexts differ, but the norms, skills, and tools of gifted politicians are much the same as those of street savvy diplomats taking personal and professional risks beyond the confines of fortress embassies.

Jan Melissen and Jian Wang, eds., “Special Issue: Debating Public Diplomacy: Now and Next,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy,Volume 14 (2019), Issue 1-2 (April 2019).Melissen (Leiden University, HJD Co-editor) and Wang (USC Center for Public Diplomacy) have compiled debate-focused essays by leading and rising scholars on trends driving public diplomacy study and practice.  The editors called for the essays to be shorter, forward-looking, and more argumentative than research papers, yet they are significant contributions to scholarship.  Teachers and students will find them useful in university classes and foreign ministry training courses.  See also “Hague Journal Special Issue Published,” CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Jan Melissen and Jian Wang, “Introduction: Debating Public Diplomacy”
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., (Harvard University), “Soft Power and Public Diplomacy Revisited”

Andrew F. Cooper, (University of Waterloo, Canada), “Adapting Public Diplomacy to the Populist Challenge”
Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff, (George Washington University), “Diasporas and Public Diplomacy: Distinctions and Future Prospects”
Corneliu Bjola, Jennifer Cassidy, and Ilan Manor (University of Oxford), “Public Diplomacy in the Digital Age”
Constance Duncombe, (Monash University, Australia), “Digital Diplomacy: Emotion and Identity in the Public Realm”
Geoffrey Wiseman (Australian National University), “Public Diplomacy and Hostile Nations”
Philip Seib, (University of Southern California), “US Public Diplomacy and the Terrorism Challenge”
Kejin Zhao, (Tsinghua University, China) “The China Model of Public Diplomacy and Its Future”
Caitlin Byrne, (Griffith University, Australia), “Political Leaders and Public Diplomacy in the Contested Indo-Pacific”

George Packer, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, (Knopf, 2019).  As Walter Isaacson puts it, what Atlantic staff writer and acclaimed journalist George Packer achieves is not only a superb 608-page biography of a larger than life diplomat but also a “sweeping diplomatic history and a Shakespearean tragicomedy.” Richard Holbrooke began his career as a dissenting Foreign Service Officer in Vietnam.  He went on to help normalize US relations with China, serve as ambassador to a reunited Germany and the UN, famously negotiate the Dayton peace agreement ending the war in Bosnia, struggle unsuccessfully to end the war in Afghanistan, and fail in his life-long ambition to become Secretary of State.  Packer tells countless new and telling stories about this talented and most public of diplomats – brilliant, egotistical, idealistic, media-savvy, pragmatic, flawed, duplicitous, bullying, seducing, ambitious, complex, intellectually honest, tireless, articulate, admired, and detested.  Plucked from pages at random.  “Holbrooke’s diplomacy was theater for mortal stakes.” When assailed by reporters, he “would pause to give them a spontaneous perfectly crafted paragraph of non-news, careful to keep expectations low.”  His policy of no leaks had an exception – those journalists “whose prominence and sympathy with his views gained them access to the inside story.” Packer’s account is unlikely to be required reading in foreign ministry tradecraft courses, but no aspiring or serving diplomat should miss it.  See also, George Packer, “The Longest Wars: Richard Holbrooke and the Decline of American Power,” Foreign Affairs,May/June 2019, 46-68.

“Resist: Counter-Disinformation Toolkit,” Government Communication Service, United Kingdom, April 2019.  Written by diplomacy and communications scholar James Pamment and his team at Lund University, this 69-page toolkit, published by the UK government, seeks to help public sector communication professionals prevent the spread of disinformation.  The toolkit defines disinformation and the threats it poses to UK society, UK national interests, and democratic values. Presented with clear language and graphics, the report provides a guide to recognizing disinformation, situational analysis, strategic communication, early warning and digital monitoring, impact analysis, and tracking outcomes.  The authors welcome comments, questions, and suggestions for revision.  See also Jonathan Owen, “Exclusive: Government to Train Public Sector Comms Troops for Battle in Escalating Disinformation War,”  PR Week,April 10, 2019.

Walter R. Roberts Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Gelman Library, George Washington University.  Walter R. Roberts (1916-2014) was a gifted diplomat, international broadcaster, teacher, and scholar known especially for his contributions to the practice and understanding of US public diplomacy in the 20th century. These papers primarily document his “second career” following his retirement from diplomatic service in 1973. They include his correspondence with US government officials, diplomats, lawmakers, educators, journalists, and civil society activists; his records of the Panel on International Information, Education and Cultural Relations (“Stanton Panel”); his exceptional collection of presidential commission reports and congressional hearings on public diplomacy; his published and unpublished writings; correspondence, research files, writings, and photographs documenting his professional associations with George Washington University and Georgetown University; and records documenting activities of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the Public Diplomacy Foundation, and the Public Diplomacy Council during the years he held leadership positions in these organizations. The collection also contains German language scripts of his broadcasts in the Austrian Unit of the Voice of America, 1946-1950.  My finding aid to the papers is linked to the site.

“Targeted Inspection of the Governance of the United States Agency for Global Media,”  Office of Inspection, US Department of State, ISP-IB-19-22.  State’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) examined the US Agency for Global Media’s (USAWG) governance structure and mandate instituted in 2015 and the Agency’s strategic direction and communication, program implementation, and resource management.  The OIG made five recommendations to improve executive direction and supervision, information and decision management, programming, internal controls, and workforce issues.  USAGM concurred in the recommendations; OIG considered them resolved.

Judith Tinnes, compiler, “Bibliography: Terrorism and the Media (including the Internet), (part 4),”  Perspectives on Terrorism,Volume 13, Issue 2.  In this comprehensive bibliography, Tinnes (Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information) has compiled journal articles, book chapters, books, edited collections, theses, grey literature, and other literature on terrorism and the media. Key words are bibliography, resources, literature, media, Internet, social media, terrorism, electronic jihad, cyberterrorism, narratives, and counter-narratives. Tinnes prioritizes recent publications and where possible uses freely available versions of content in subscription-based publications. Websites were last visited on March 3, 2019.  Links to earlier bibliographies in Parts 1-3 are included. 

Geoffrey Wiseman, “Public Diplomacy and Hostile Nations,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy,14 (2019), 134-153.  In this important article, Wiseman (Australian National University) continues to show how integrating theory and practice can illuminate our understanding of diplomacy’s public dimension.  In the context of practice, he examines democracies’ past and present uses of public diplomacy in relations with hostile states, constructed analytically as a binary choice between isolate or engage.  He considers five challenges democracies need to address: “(1) evaluating public diplomacy’s wider theoretical, or strategic, relevance; (2) mitigating the isolate-or-engage dilemma; (3) avoiding the stigma of propaganda; (4) managing rising democratic expectations; and (5) settling on a role for governments in public diplomacy.”  He then proposes several hypotheses.  For practitioners, he argues diplomatic engagement is generally better than isolation, good public diplomacy cannot compensate for bad policy, democracies’ brands must resemble reality, and engagement should seek a long-term dialogue of some kind.  For scholars, he uses this empirical construct to explore “public diplomacy’s theory challenge.”  He contends that, although public diplomacy is not a theory, diplomacy more broadly is a theory, drawing on Paul Sharp, because it helps us describe, explain, and predict much that happens in world politics, and because it provides prescriptive norms for conflict management. Wiseman offers conceptually grounded propositions about public diplomacy and soft power, recent discourse on “sharp power,” a “propaganda challenge,” and a “democracies ascendant” rising-expectations challenge. Particularly instructive is the expansion of his ideas on “polylateral diplomacy” and his analytical framework of public diplomacy’s “ideal types.”  He argues that diplomacy’s future has an “omnilateral dimension,” which he defines, that builds on “polylateralism.  Wiseman’s closely reasoned views deal with hard questions in theory and practice.  They deserve attention and debate.

Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest

Kadir Jun Ayhan, “Let’s Delineate the Boundaries of Public Diplomacy,”  March 11, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Alison Baily, “Cultural Evolution, Democracy, and Freedom,”  March 2019, British Council.
Martha Bayles, “Sharp Power and Stock Villains,” March 15, 2019, The American Interest.
William J. Burns, “The Lost Art of American Diplomacy: Can the State Department Be Saved,”  March 27, 2019, Foreign Affairs.
Nicholas J. Cull, “Nick Cull Answers More Questions on Propaganda,”  April 22, 2019, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Shawn Dorman, “The Diplomacy Imperative: A Q&A With William J. Burns,”  May 2019, The Foreign Service Journal.
Kim Andrew Elliott, “The USAGM Audience Increase: Less Startling Than Meets the Eye,”  March 27, 2019; Shawn Powers, “USAGM’s Global Reach: More Than Meets the Eye,”  April 3, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Carol Morello, “On the Road to Swagger with Mike Pompeo: A Year Defending Trump’s Worldview,”  April 25, 2019, The Washington Post.
Amie Ferris-Rotman, “In Kabul, Russia Has a New Cultural Center on the Site of Its Soviet Predecessor,”  April 15, 2019, The Washington Post.
Nina Hachigian, “Cities Will Determine the Future of Diplomacy,”  April 16, 2019, Foreign Policy.
Mariami Khatiashvili, “Jazz Ambassadors: An Instrument of Public Diplomacy,”  May 2, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Joseph S. Nye, “American Soft Power in the Age of Trump,”  May 6, 2019, Project Syndicate.
Christopher Sabatini, “The Senate is Hollowing Out the United States’ Diplomatic Corps,”  March 22, 2019, Foreign Policy.
Pawel Surowiec and Chris Miles, “Public Diplomacy Imploded: Populist Cultural Strategies for the Digital Age,”  Part one, March 21, 2019; 
Teaching Position at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.  Australian National University seeks early-career diplomacy scholar with strong research interests in negotiation theory and practice for a full time tenure-track position. 
Gems From The Past 
Jeffrey K. Tulis, The Rhetorical Presidency, (Princeton University Press, first edition, 1987; published with a new foreword by Russell Muirhead and new afterword by the author, 2017, 2018).  The central argument of Jeffrey K. Tulis’ (University of Texas, Austin) classic study is that US presidents before Woodrow Wilson felt constrained by constitutional forms on how they acted and communicated.  Codes of propriety and conceptions of statesmanship mattered.  Policy speeches were rare.  Written communication between branches of government was the norm.  Wilson’s “rhetorical presidency” marked a fundamentally transformative turn to presidents who used rhetoric as a special case of executive power.  They used mass communication technologies (loudspeakers, radio, television) and managed attention to image and self-presentation, not to overturn the Constitution, but to break free from constitutional formalities in order to shape and respond to popular mandates.  Rhetorical presidents after Wilson sought to make the constitutional order work – on behalf of public interests – through forms of governance and diplomacy that appealed directly to the people.  Until Donald Trump.  In his afterword, Tulis closes with reflections on a demagogic president armed with Twitter who “illustrates the worst aspects of the rhetorical presidency undisciplined by countervailing constitutional practices and norms.” Twitter stands separate from earlier technologies of rhetorical presidents.  Constitutionally informed presidents might use Twitter sparingly Tulis argues.  But in Trump’s case, “Twitter becomes an extension of his personality, posing a serious problem for foreign affairs, international stability, financial markets, economic stability, and domestic tranquility.”

An archive of  Diplomacy's Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites (2002-present) is maintained at George Washington University's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.  Current issues are also posted by the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy,the Public Diplomacy Council,  John Brown’s Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review, and MountainRunner.us

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