Issue #39

Bruce Gregory's Resources on Diplomacy's Public Dimension
May 29, 2008

Carol Balassa. America's Image Abroad: The UNESCO Cultural Diversity Convention and U.S. Motion Picture Exports, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy. Vanderbilt University, 2008. Balassa (Office of the U.S. Trade Representative) in this 69-page report examines the U.S. response to the "Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions," which was adopted in UNESCO and the WTO and negotiated through the efforts of a consortium of cultural ministers led by Canada and France. Balassa discusses cultural and trade objectives of interested parties, the U.S. government's inattention to the negotiations and implications of the Convention, issues linked to the "anti-Americanism embedded in the . . . Convention," and the complex role of motion picture exports as both a positive instrument of trade and public diplomacy and a symbol of what is disliked about U.S. policies and culture. She recommends a shift from traditional "'outreach' public diplomacy programs involving U.S. films intended to convey the virtues of American democracy" to an approach that reflects respect for the cultural output of others and focuses on providing filmmakers outside the U.S. with the opportunity to be heard.

Philip Bobbitt. Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008). Bobbitt (Columbia University) follows his The Shield of Achilles (2002) with a penetrating inquiry into the nature of governance, liberty, violence, and strategy in the 21st century. Although it is not a book about strategic communication and public diplomacy, it is about the world in which these instruments are being transformed. In this massive volume Bobbitt develops his ideas about legitimacy, consent, market states, the Internet, terrorism as a byproduct of globalization, and the adverse consequences of U.S. disdain for international law. In his "Connectivity Paradox" -- one idea among many of interest to public diplomacy scholars and practitioners -- Bobbitt argues that the scope and speed of electronic connectivity, an engine of both wealth creation and increased vulnerability, have "not freed us from our need to coordinate and learn in person."

Catherine Dale, Nina Seragino, and Pat Towell. Organizing the U.S. Government for National Security: Overview of the Interagency Reform Debates, CRS Report for Congress, April 18, 2008, 1-16. In this brief report, CRS analysts look at the current debate on how well the U.S. government is organized "to apply all instruments of national power to national security activities" six decades after the National Security Act of 1947. The report identifies current reform studies, outlines problems, and summarizes proposed reforms. Problems discussed include limited civilian agency capacity, too large a role for the Department of Defense, insufficient interagency coordination and integration mechanisms, lack of rigor in national security decision-making, insufficient strategy-making guidelines, a mismatch between resources and strategy, and poorly structured Congressional oversight. The report will be updated as events warrant.

Jan Eggert. Continuity and Change in U.S. Patterns of Public Diplomacy in Post-Reunification Germany: Identifying New Traditions in a Changing World, MA Thesis, Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, December 13, 2007. Eggert's thesis examines definitions of public diplomacy and associated concepts, U.S. public diplomacy after the Cold War, and U.S. public diplomacy in Germany. The latter chapter includes brief sections on public diplomacy training and the closing of the America Houses in Germany. Eggert concludes with a thoughtful discussion of the growing importance to public diplomacy of networking and outreach to non-state actors. His bibliography contains a rich mix of U.S. and European public diplomacy literature. A copy of the thesis in pdf format may be obtained from the author at jan.eggert@yahoo.de.

John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed. Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, (Gallup Press, 2007). Esposito (Georgetown University) and Mogahed (Gallup Center for Muslim Studies) draw on a multi-year Gallup research study to assess Muslim views on a variety of issues. Among many questions discussed: Who are Muslims? What do Muslims believe and value? Is Islam compatible with democracy? What makes a radical? How much support is there for terrorism? What do Muslim women truly want? What are effective ways to advocate for Muslim women's empowerment? Is the key to "what should be done . . . military action or a policy to win minds and hearts?"

Lee H. Hamilton, Bruce Hoffman, Brian Michael Jenkins, Paul R. Pillar, Xavier Raufer, Walter Reich, and Fernando Reinares. "Making the Grade: From A - F, How the U.S. Measures Up In Its Struggle Against Global Extremism." The National Interest, March/April, 2008, 12-15. Seven experts assign letter grades to nine overall goals and 61 objectives. They give a D + for what they call "countering conspiracy theories and anti-Americanism with overt and/or covert public diplomacy [sic]."

Najm Jarrah. "First Look: Watching BBC Arabic TV," Arab Media & Society, May 2008. Jarrah, a London based Arab journalist and former head of the Arab Media Unit at the University of London, provides an overview of the history, programming content, and early reception of the UK's Arabic language satellite TV network funded by the British Foreign Office. Jarrah discusses perceptions by many in the Arab world that BBC Arabic TV would be a more subtle substitute for the "acknowledged failure" of the U.S. Al Hurra. He concludes that it will take time for BBC Arabic to compete in the crowded Arabic media and that its role will depend on the performance of such competitors as Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera.

Daniel Kimmage, The Al-Qaeda Media Nexus: The Virtual Network Behind the Global Message, RFE/RL Special Report, March 2008. Kimmage, until recently a senior analyst with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, argues that Al Qaeda's use of the Internet for recruitment and advocacy purposes is threatened by the Web's "new era of user-generated content." Al Qaeda and its affiliates are stuck in Web 1.0 while the world moves to Web 2.0, because they "fear the intrusion of free-thinking, content generating individuals, they maintain strict message control." Kimmage contends they resemble "the stodgy structures of traditional mainstream media" in a world "run wild with self-created content and interactivity." See also LINK.

Andrew Kohut and Richard Wilke. "All the World's a Stage," The National Interest, May/June 2008, 56-62. The Director and Associate Director of the Pew Global Attitudes Project summarize key findings of Pew's study of America's declining image from 2002 - 2007. Their conclusion: "Simply put, America's image in much of the Muslim world remains abysmal." Pew surveyed 47 countries. In nine countries, less than 30 percent of the population gave the U.S. favorable ratings. Turkey leads with the lowest favorable score (9%) followed by Palestinian Territories (13%), Pakistan (15%), Morocco (15%), Argentina (16%), Jordan (20%), Egypt (21%), Malaysia (27%), and Indonesia (29%). The study also found that support for terrorism has declined dramatically in many Muslim countries, that fewer Muslims consider suicide bombing justifiable, and that confidence in Osama bin Laden has declined.

Ali Molennar, Literature on Public Diplomacy, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael, May 2008. Clingendael's Library and Documentation Centre has compiled an extensive list of public diplomacy resources. Additions to the list are invited. The Centre also has compiled lists on branding, city diplomacy, human rights, and other topics. See also LINK.

Allen W. Palmer and Edward L. Carter. "The Smith-Mundt Act's Ban on Domestic Propaganda: An Analysis of the Cold War Statute Limiting Access to Public Diplomacy," Communication Law and Policy, Vol. 11, Winter 2006, 1-34. Palmer and Carter (Brigham Young University) provide an in-depth study of the history and purposes of the Smith-Mundt Act's domestic dissemination restrictions. Includes assessments of litigation and court decisions, observations on the impact of the Internet, and the authors' view on contradictions between enforcement of the ban and U.S. policies on transparency and the free flow of information. (Courtesy of John Brown)

Parliament of Australia, Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee. Australia's Public Diplomacy: Building our Image, August 16, 2007. In part one of this well-researched report, the Committee examines definitions of public diplomacy, the international literature on public diplomacy, and challenges to governments in using public diplomacy to pursue foreign policy objectives. Part two provides a detailed assessment of Australia's public diplomacy. Issues include measures of effectiveness; coherence, consistency, and credibility; coordination within government and with NGOs; and training, technology, and funding. (Courtesy of Trish Payne, University of Canberra)

Lawrence Pintak. "The Princess and the Facebook Girl: A Media Fable," Arab Media & Society, May, 2008. Pintak (The American University in Cairo) discusses the contrasting efforts of Jordan's Princess Rym Ali to build an Arabic language school of journalism and Egypt's social networking activist Esraa Abdelfattah, whose 75.000 member Facebook site led to repression by Egyptian state security. Pintak's article captures contradictory impulses in government-media relations in a Middle East coping with the consequences of satellite TV, the Internet, SMS, blogs, cell phones, and Web 2.0. (Courtesy of Len Baldyga, Public Diplomacy Council)

For a related analysis of Facebook activism in Egypt, see Ellen Knickmeyer, "Going Underground in Cairo," The Washington Post, May 18, 2008.

Olivier Roy. The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East, (Columbia University Press, 2008). In this compelling, well-written book, Roy (French National Center for Scientific Research) provides an incisive critique of U.S. policies in the Middle East, a primer on political Islam, and recommendations for strategic planning. Contains brief references to U.S. public diplomacy after 9/11 and a lengthy analysis of illusions in strategies and counterterrorism policies based on democracy promotion and the increased presence of Western troops in the Muslim world. In the view of this leading European scholar of Islam and politics, the West has no alternative but to "engage in a dialogue with the political forces that truly matter -- namely the Islamo nationalists of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood."

Paul Sharp and Geoffrey Wiseman, eds. The Diplomatic Corps as an Institution of International Society, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). Through this compilation of essays by scholars and practitioners, Sharp (University of Minnesota) and Wiseman (Center on Public Diplomacy, USC) argue that the diplomatic corps "is one of the few unambiguous ways by which an international society is constituted and finds expression." What this means in practice varies widely as the essays portray. Includes studies on the origins of the diplomatic corps; the diplomatic corps as a symbol of diplomatic culture; essays on the diplomatic corps in the US, UK, Norway, India, Nepal, Rwanda, and Macedonia; and thoughts on the future.

Biljana Scott. "Whose Story Wins? Public Diplomacy and Relevance Theory," Paper presented at the 47th ISA Convention, San Diego, March 2006. Scott (Oxford University, DiploFoundation) draws on "relevance theory" -- a linguistic theory of "inferential pragmatics" -- to examine contests of competitive credibility in public diplomacy. Referencing Joseph Nye's concepts of the "paradox of plenty" and attention scarcity, she looks at how positive cognitive effects, competing inputs, and a hearer bias for relevance over truthfulness help to explain challenges facing public diplomacy. Scott contends that winning attention in large part is determined by communicators who are perceived to be relevant and by maximizing the relevance of one's story. In comparing the roles of truth, trust, and relevance in competitive credibility, Scott agues that relevance matters more than truthfulness and appeals to emotions more than intellectual argument. (Courtesy of Tijana Milosevic, George Washington University). See also LINK.

J. Ann Tickner and Andrei Tysgankov, "Risks and Opportunities of Crossing the Academy/Policy Divide," International Studies Review, Vol. 10, 2008, 155-177. Contributors to this forum address continuing and important questions at the crossroads of scholarship and policy. Do scholars have a responsibility to seek change by working for governments and international organizations? Does such work result in unacceptable compromises with political and scholarly principles? Is the kind of theoretical work that is rewarded in the academy of use to practitioners? Is too much of the research that is valued by policymakers generated in think tanks rather than universities? Should teachers aspire to objectivity and political neutrality in teaching? Includes short essays by Joseph S. Nye, Jr. (Harvard University), Henry R. Nau (George Washington University), Jane S. Jaquette (Occidental College), Craig N. Murphy (Wellesley College), Natalie Goldring (Georgetown University), Thomas Biersteker (Brown University), and Iver Neumann (University of Oslo).

Charles Tilly. Democracy, (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Tilly (Columbia University) argues that democratization and "de-democratization" cannot be explained by identifying conditions that enable an ideal democratic political system to emerge and survive. Rather, in this deeply researched examination of two centuries of history, Tilly offers a theory of democratization as a consequence of dynamic processes that are always incomplete and susceptible to reversal. These "necessary processes" include transformation of relations between public politics and trust networks, procedural devices that insulate public politics from categorical inequalities (e.g., based on gender, race, caste, ethnicity, nationality, religion), and suppression of independent power centers.

Fareed Zakaria. The Post-American World, (W.W. Norton, 2008). The editor of Newsweek International and author of The Future of Freedom (2003) contends global power is shifting due to the "the rise of the rest" -- the growth of countries such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Russia -- and by power shifts "away from nation-states, up, down, and sideways." Traditional instruments of state power are less effective, a situation which is compounded for the United States by a substantial legitimacy deficit. Zakaria calls for a more informed U.S. political debate, shared power, coalitions, building legitimacy, greater emphasis on non-military instruments, and doing much more with America's "largely untapped" civil society.

Gem From the Past

Hans N. Tuch. Communicating with the World: U.S. Public Diplomacy Overseas, (St. Martins Press and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University, 1990). Written at the end of the Cold War by an accomplished public diplomacy practitioner with analytical skills, Tuch's book defines public diplomacy and discusses its evolution in U.S. practice from World War II to the end of the second Reagan Administration. Includes a foreword by Marvin Kalb and four public diplomacy case studies (the beginning of U.S. Soviet cultural relations, U.S. public diplomacy in Brazil, dealing with Germany's "successor generation," and INF deployment in the Federal Republic of Germany).