Issue #34

Bruce Gregory's Resources on Diplomacy's Public Dimension
May 15, 2007

Gal Beckerman. "The New Arab Conversation," Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 2007, 17-23. Beckerman, a writer for [www.cjrdaily.org CJR Daily], looks at the small but growing Arab blogosphere. Young bloggers in the Middle East, writing mostly in Arabic but also in English, talk about their lives and a broad range of political and cultural issues. While it is easy to find bloggers who promote hatred and violence, Beckerman sees hope in the "young insiders-outsiders of the Middle East blogging openly about their frustrations with the Arab world . . . as a way of liberalizing their societies."

W. Lance Bennett, Regina G. Lawrence, and Steven Livingston. When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina, (The University of Chicago Press, 2007), 263 pages. Professors Bennett (University of Washington), Lawrence (Portland State University), and Livingston (George Washington University) take a critical look at the press as "a silent and uncomfortable partner" with Bush administration narratives on the response to 9/11, the buildup to war in Iraq, and the Abu Ghraib scandal. The authors examine a variety of reasons for the "tendency of the press to record rather than critically examine" the actions and statements of government. They conclude with an assessment of the consequences of "press-government dependence" and suggestions of ways for the press to change its practices and carry out its responsibilities in a democracy.

James Dobbins, Seth G. Jones, Keith Crane, Beth Cole DeGrasse. The Beginner's Guide to Nation-Building, (RAND Corporation, 2007). Ambassador Dobbins and his colleagues provide a doctrine for nation-building based on their analysis of "best practices" in 24 case studies of nation-building operations conducted by the US, Europe, and the United Nations. Public diplomacy students and teachers will find especially useful chapters on rule of law, governance, and democratization.

Peter J. Katzenstein and Robert O. Keohane., eds. Anti-Americanism in World Politics, (Cornell University Press, 2007). Katzenstein (Cornell) and Keohane (Princeton), two of America's leading international relations scholars, have brought together a remarkable collection of theoretical essays and case studies that focus on anti-Americanism as a range of phenomena that vary greatly in behavior and geographical context. Especially useful are three overview essays by Katzenstein and Keohane and an essay by Marc Lynch (Williams College) on anti-Americanism in the Arab world. The editors' central theme is the "persistence of varied anti-Americanisms. . . that wax and wane with political events in different rhythms, in different parts of the world, in countries with very different politics." Why? "America is polyvalent." Its diversity of values and ways of living serve as objects of approval and disapproval over time.

Joshua Kurlantzick. Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power is Transforming the World, (Yale University Press, 2007). Veteran Asia correspondent and Carnegie Endowment scholar Kurlantzick looks at China's increasing use of public diplomacy, trade incentives, cultural and educational exchanges, a younger generation of language-qualified diplomats, Confucius Centers, language schools, and media outreach "to project a benign national image, position itself as a model of social and economic success, and develop stronger national alliances." His book looks also at China's efforts to take advantage of US policy mistakes and the implications for US strategies and public diplomacy.

Jan Melissen, ed. The New Public Diplomacy, (Palgrave Macmillan, Paperback Edition, September 2007. Palgrave Macmillan's decision to issue Melissen's important book in an affordable paperback edition is good news for students, teachers, and all who are interested in public diplomacy as a developing field of study. This strong collection, edited by the Director of the Clingendael Diplomatic Studies Programme in The Hague, includes Melissen's lead essay and contributions from Brian Hocking, Peter van Ham, Alan K. Henrikson, Ingrid d'Hooghe, Paul Sharp, Anna Michalski, Cynthia Schneider, Wally Olins, Shaun Riordan, and John Hemry. Their essays support the proposition that public diplomacy is "more than a technical instrument of foreign policy: it has become part of the changing fabric of international relations."

Mathew Moneyhon. Reinvigorating US Public Diplomacy: A Review of Recent Studies, Draft Working Paper for the Princeton Project on National Security, May 13, 2005. This summary and analysis of key recommendations in most of the government and private sector reports on public diplomacy issued between 2001 and 2005 was prepared as a research paper for the Princeton National Security project. Available online, it is a useful companion to Public Diplomacy: A Review of Past Recommendations, prepared subsequently by Susan B. Epstein and Lisa Mages for the Congressional Reference Service, October 31, 2005.

Joseph S. Nye and Anne-Marie Slaughter, Co-chairs, Report of the Working Group on Foreign Policy Infrastructure and Global Institutions. Princeton Project on National Security, September 27, 2006. Nye (Harvard) and Slaughter (Princeton) provide an imaginative analysis of 21st century threats and opportunities, governance, soft power, public diplomacy, information technologies, and the implications of information abundance. They call for an infrastructure that enables "national security officials to play chess on two boards at once, with state and non-state actors, in the face of a very fast time-clock and rapidly changing rules."

"Instead of creating new bureaucracies, the United States must link existing ones. Instead of creating vertical command structures, it must build horizontal networks and direct them from the center outward rather than from the top down or the bottom up. Instead of building all new capacity within government, America must learn to use government to harness the capacities of domestic and foreign private and nonprofit actors."

Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History, (Longman Classics in Political Science, 2007). The 6th edition of Professor Nye's valuable text has been updated with new material on constructivist theory and soft power, globalization, information technologies, terrorism and other transnational threats, conflicts on energy, intervention, and American power. Nye's gift for linking theory and history illuminates recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise of China, and the growing importance of non-state actors.

Sherry Ricchiardi. "Iron Curtain Redux," American Journalism Review, February/March, 2007, 50-57. AJR's Ricchiardi brings her long experience in covering global news to an examination of today's media climate in Russia. Includes an in-depth look at government pressures on indigenous and foreign news organizations, including VOA and RFE/RL, and circumstances surrounding the death of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Sherry Ricchiardi. "Obstructed View," American Journalism Review, April/May, 26-33. Drawing on interviews with a range of journalists reporting from Iraq, Ricchiardi concludes that extraordinary danger and high security costs have "seriously compromised" coverage of the war.

Louise Richardson. What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat, (Random House, 2006). Richardson (Radcliffe/Harvard) provides a welcome addition to the long shelf of books on terrorism. She provides a rigorous definition; a historically based examination of terrorist psychology, motives, and political strategies; and a reasoned critique of US strategic and political responses to the attacks of 9/11,including her judgments on deficiencies in the so-called "war of ideas." Richardson argues US actions were based on a fundamental misconception of why terrorists act. She notes that she has moderated her views on "preserving the distance between government policy and academic research." Had US policies been informed by the views of the terrorism studies community, she argues, those policies would have been very different.

Richard J. Schmierer. Iraq: Policy and Perceptions, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University, 2007. Schmierer, a senior US public diplomacy professional on a teaching and research assignment at Georgetown, examines the background to the "Iraq issue" during the 1990s, events leading to war in 2003, and factors in play in the years since. Drawing on interviews with scholars, practitioners, and journalists -- and on his 27 years in the Foreign Service -- he offers thoughts and insights on challenges facing the Arab world and democratic societies.

Rupert Smith. The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). With insights from a forty-year career with the British army and service in the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and NATO, General Smith offers a tightly reasoned argument for understanding war as a paradigm shift from interstate industrial war to -- "war amongst the people." He calls for radically new thinking about war as political and military struggles where combatants do not wear uniforms and where "engagements can take place anywhere: in the presence of civilians, against civilians, in defence of civilians." In Smith's new paradigm, the ends of war "are changing from the hard objectives that decide a political outcome to those of establishing conditions in which the outcome may be decided." Useful for his analysis of post-Cold War cases, basic trends, communication and media, and strategies based on "information being the primary currency of war amongst the people rather than firepower."

"Symposium, Exporting Democracy: Learning from Iraq?" Dissent, Spring 2007, 40-58. The editors of Dissent posed the following question to eight respondents: "Whatever you think about the Bush administration's motives, what is to be learned from the Iraq experience about the export -- and import -- of democracy?"

-- Daniele Archibugi (Italian National Research Council and University of London). Exporting democracy through military means "is ethically contradictory and politically ineffective."

-- Ofra Bengio (Tel Aviv University). Germany and Japan after World War II are "completely irrelevant models for Iraq." Iraqi Kurdistan and enfranchised Shias suggest "a more representative government might be possible."

-- Seyla Benhabib (Yale University). Thought experiment I -- the war never started. Thought experiment II -- the war takes place (but differently). "One cannot hope to promote democracy abroad if it has supreme contempt for democracy and the rule of law at home."

-- Paul Berman (New York University). "Our role should be to offer solidarity to the authentic liberals of the Arab and Muslim world, who have been horribly betrayed by American and other Western governments and even by the left wing and liberal intellectuals of the West . . . speaking about ideas and ideologies and championing the liberal thinkers . . . [is] far more important in the long run than anything achievable by military or even diplomatic means."

-- Mitchell Cohen (Baruch College and CUNY). "Democracy has preconditions." Can it be imported and exported successfully? "It depends on where, when, how, and by whom."

-- Thomas Cushman (Wellesley College). The "use of force should not be ruled out a priori because the Iraq war has been so problematic."

-- John Lister (Retired diplomat). "Instead of starting at the top with national elections . . . we could try the opposite approach of working locally . . . It will not be pure democracy in the way we understand it, for years to come. But it does offer hope."

-- Shibley Telhami (University of Maryland and Brookings Institution). "The very American policy that was said to be aimed at spreading democracy increased the conditions that terrify the public and reduced the attraction of democracy itself."

US General Accountability Office. "US Public Diplomacy: Strategic Planning Efforts Have Improved, But Agencies Face Significant Implementation Challenges," Statement of Jess T. Ford before the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, GAO-07-795T, April 26, 2007. In a summary of past reports, GAO addresses (1) negative consequences that groups have associated with anti-Americanism, (2) strategic planning, coordination, and measurement issues, and (3) challenges in implementing public diplomacy and international broadcasting. The GAO findings highlight lack of a government-wide communication strategy, the need for an integrated State Department strategy, lack of enhanced performance indicators for State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), and needed improvements in the BBG's audience research methodology.

Amy Zalman. "Waging the First Postmodern War: Inside the G.I. Cultural Awareness Program," World Policy Journal, Vol. XXIII, No. 4,Winter 2006/7, 35-42. Zalman, a writer for The New York Times online and part time professor of modern Middle Eastern history at The New School, examines the Pentagon's 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and changes in the U.S. military's thinking about cultural awareness, language skills, and public diplomacy. She calls on the U.S. to "self-reflectively assess the actions it takes to engage foreign cultures" and argues that a "culturally aware military can promote conflict resolution." Her article focuses on troop training and State Department public diplomacy programs.