Issue #41

Bruce Gregory's Resources on Diplomacy's Public Dimension
September 11, 2008

Kurt Amend, "Counterinsurgency Principles for the Diplomat," Small Wars Journal, Posted July 19, 2008. Amend, (a serving U.S. Foreign Service Officer with assignments in Afghanistan, India, Kosovo, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Tajikistan) looks at the gap between the wealth of military counterinsurgency doctrine and the lack of comparable doctrine for diplomats. Amend reviews the literature and offers guidelines for diplomats in counterinsurgency operations. Written also for development officials, intelligence officers, civilian experts, and civil affairs officers, his article looks at how insurgent groups have become smaller and more dispersed with flattened command structures and goals that often seek to weaken governments rather than replace them. Amend discusses the need for a strategic narrative; political strategies aimed at local populations; deep expertise; methods that require non-traditional roles; maximum contact with local leaders and citizens; and connected activities of participants: military, diplomatic, development, intelligence, NGO, and host-government.

Constance G. Anthony, "American Democratic Interventionism: Romancing the Iconic Woodrow Wilson,"International Studies Perspectives, Vol. 9, Issue 3, August 2008, pp. 239-253. Working back from a history of unsuccessful efforts to transfer democracy through military intervention, Anthony (Seattle University) critically examines the content of Woodrow Wilson's democratic theory and its use in ideals of national mission and destiny. Her assessment of the history of democratic interventionism from a variety of realist and idealist perspectives leads her to question the interventionist project on moral and pragmatic grounds.

Matt Armstrong, "Rethinking Smith-Mundt," Small Wars Journal, Posted July 28, 2008. Armstrong's public diplomacy and strategic communication blog looks at the history and purposes of the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 as amended (aka the Smith-Mundt Act) and its prohibition on dissemination of program materials and public diplomacy advocacy activities in the United States. Armstrong concludes that the Act has been misinterpreted, is unnecessarily limiting, and should be "revisited."

Jules Boykoff, "The Dialectic of Resistance and Restriction: Dissident Citizenship and the Global Media,"Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Summer/Fall, 2008, pp. 23-31. Boykoff (Pacific University) examines the continuing power of traditional media (notwithstanding the rise of new media) to suppress dissent intentionally and as a byproduct of norms of professional journalism. His essay offers a definition of dissent, a brief discussion of the media's role in the development and demobilization of social movements, and an empirical typology. Boykoff argues that media suppression occurs through censorship, "bi-level demonization" (media framing of government portrayals of individuals as dislikable or dangerous), media support for those "who operate within the system," underestimation of crowds, false balance of opposing sides, and disregard of social movements. Journalists, he concludes, also must "be more critical and courageous when government officials flash the national security trump card."

John Brown's Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review, Version 2.0. John Brown, teacher, retired U.S. diplomat, and long-time compiler of news items and other useful information on public diplomacy and related subjects, has launched a new blog.

Steven R. Corman, Angela Trethewey, and H.L. Goodall, Jr., Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Strategic Communication to Combat Violent Extremism, (Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2008). The editors of this volume (also authors of many of its essays) are founders of Arizona State University's Consortium for Strategic Communication. Their essays, grounded in modern communication theory and case studies, challenge heavy reliance by U.S. political leaders on an "antiquated, linear, and simplistic model of communication" and failure to plan, coordinate, and execute successful strategic communication. The volume's eight essays include: "Strategery (sic): Missed Opportunities and the Consequences of Obsolete Strategic Communication Theory" (Goodall, Trethewey, and Corman); "Strategic Ambiguity, Communication, and Public Diplomacy in an Uncertain World: Principles and Practices" (Goodall, Trethewey, and Kelly McDonald); and "A New Communication Model for the 21st Century: From Simplistic Influence to Pragmatic Complexity" (Corman, Trethewey, and Goodall). The final essay, "Creating a New Communication Policy: How Changing Assumptions Leads to New Strategic Objectives" (Corman, Trethewey, and Goodall) rewrites the State Department's "U.S. National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication" (2007) using the author's alternative assumptions and principles.

Graham Cormode and Balachander Krishnamurthy, "Key Differences Between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0,"FirstMonday, Vol. 13, No. 6, June 2, 2008. The authors, researchers at AT&T Labs, describe the social networking world of Web 2.0 in terms accessible to the non-specialist. They identify its primary technological, structural, and sociological characteristics. The essential difference, they suggest, is that "content creators were few in Web 1.0 with the vast majority of users simply acting as consumers of content, while any participant can be a content creator in Web 2.0." Includes a critical examination of analytical issues, methods of user interaction, Web 2.0's "fundamentally different philosophy," and challenges beyond Web 2.0.

Stephen Franklin, "The Hunger:Egypt's Bloggers Want to be Journalists," Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 2008, 37-40. Franklin, a journalist for the Chicago Tribune on leave in Cairo on a Knight fellowship, writes about Egyptians in the media space between the government's press and the opposition press "for which facts are often considered fungible." He finds a robust arena characterized by an appetite for investigative articles, fact driven reporting, and creative use of the Internet and blogging to test the limits of media freedom.

"Global Visions for America," The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 4, Autumn 2008, pp. 115-173. The editors invited six authors to address the question: "In an ideal world, what role would you want the next U.S. administration to perform with your country, region, and/or the world?" The essays are preceded with data from the Pew Global Attitudes Project on perceptions of global threats and high expectations "that the next president will take America's foreign policy in a new direction." Includes articles on Russia, Europe, the Middle East, India, East Asia, and Japan.

Dimitri Trenin (Carnegie Moscow Center), "A Less Ideological America"

Robin Niblett (Chatham House, London), "Europe's Call for a Leader by Example"

Glenn Kessler (The Washington Post). "Fix This Middle Eastern Mess"

C. Raja Mohan (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), "India's Quest for Continuity in the Face of Change"

Wu Xinbo (Fudan University, Shanghai), "A Forward-Looking Partner in a Changing East Asia"

Yoichi Kato (Asahi Shimbun), "Return from 9/11 to Global Leader"

Abstracts available online Link.

Bruce Gregory, "Public Diplomacy and National Security: Lessons from the U.S. Experience," Small Wars Journal, Posted August 14, 2008. This article agrees with calls to build greater civilian capacity in national security and stronger public diplomacy capabilities. It argues, however, that U.S. public diplomacy's principles and methods are rooted in 20th century models of communication, governance, and armed conflict, which contribute to an inability to learn from recent experience and foster real change. The article defines public diplomacy, describes forces shaping the context of 21st century public diplomacy, and identifies five lessons from recent experience that point the way to change: abandon message influence dominance; drop the "war on terror" narrative; leverage knowledge, skills, and creativity in civil society; emphasize net-centric actors and actions; rethink government broadcasting and adapt to new media. Additional Link.

Eric Gregory, Politics & the Order of Love: An Augustinian Ethic of Democratic Citizenship, (University of Chicago Press, 2008). Gregory (Princeton University) frames a liberal ethics of citizenship informed by the Augustinian tradition, theology, feminist theory, and political philosophy. He examines Augustine's classic themes of love and sin in the context of contemporary secular political theory: related notions of care, solidarity, and sympathy on the one hand and cruelty, evil, and narrow self-interest on the other. His book looks at the role of religion in liberal society and the political implications of Augustine's thinking for three strands of modern liberalism manifest in the legacies of Reinhold Niebuhr's realism, John Rawls' proceduralism, and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s civic liberalism.

Thomas L. Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it Can Renew America, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008). New York Times columnist Tom Friedman (author of The Lexis and the Olive Tree, 1999, and The World is Flat, 2005) turns his attention to two issues: "America's loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11" and a planet challenged by global warming, growing populations, and "the astonishing expansion of the world's middle class through globalizaton." He calls for a green revolution that will be the biggest innovation in American history.

International Crisis Group, Taliban Propaganda: Winning the War of Words? Asia Report No. 158, July 24, 2008. In this 34-page report, the International Crisis Group concludes the Taliban, despite lack of widespread active support, "has created a sophisticated communications apparatus" to tap into strains of Afghan nationalism, to exploit sources of alienation and policy failures of the Kabul government and its allies, and to weaken support for nation-building. The report examines the strengths and limitations of the Taliban's communication strategy and its use of a full range of media: a website named for the former regime, magazines, DVDs, audio cassettes, pamphlets, mobile phones, and traditional nationalist songs and poems.

Hafsa Kanjwal, "American Muslims and the Use of Cultural Diplomacy," Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Summer/Fall, 2008, pp. 133-139. Kanjwal (2008 graduate of Georgetown University) looks at the role a "younger generation of American Muslims plays in using cultural expression to bridge the gap between Western and Muslim societies." Calling on American Muslims to adopt "a non-traditional diplomatic role" in representing Islam to Americans, she identifies two methods: "public relations diplomacy" (a "more direct, and often reactionary engagement") and "cultural diplomacy ("nuanced involvement with culture and society that does not always stem from a need to serve as an 'Ambassador of Islam'"). Drawing on analytical frameworks and cases, she concludes that "cultural diplomacy should take precedence over public relations diplomacy."

Luminita Kohalmi."Postmodern Theoretical Models of Strategic Communication: Communication Through Attractors," Romanian Military Thinking, 2, April-June, 2008. Kohalmi (Information and Public Relations Directorate, Romanian Ministry of Defense) discusses strategic communication in the context of chaos theory and nonlinear systems. Her article examines the importance of "initial conditions sensitivity" in complex systems, John Boyd's OODA loop, and four principles of strategic communication through attractors: perception attractors built on symbols and values, understanding changes in key parameters in the external environment, segmentation of publics, and creative use of third parties. Her article is published in English and Romanian.

Kristin Lord, "Public Diplomacy and the New Transatlantic Agenda," The Brookings Institution, August 15, 2008. Lord (Brookings Institution) summarizes views expressed in a Brookings workshop held in cooperation with the British embassy in Washington on the importance of public attitudes in achieving transatlantic goals. Her paper looks at the relevance of public opinion to the transatlantic partnership overall; attitudes on terrorism, climate change, and international trade; and how public diplomacy can help governments achieve five strategic objectives in the short- and long-term transatlantic agenda.

Brendan Luyt, "The One Laptop Per Child Project and the Negotiation of Technological Meaning,"FirstMonday, Vol. 13, No. 6, June 2, 2008. Luyt (Nanyang Technological University) applies insights from Actor-Network Theory -- the importance of social forces and multitudes of actors, perceived or not perceived, to the successful adoption of new technologies -- in a case study of the One Laptop project let by MIT's Nicholas Negroponte. Forces favoring One Laptop: the changing nature of global capitalism, requirements for new kinds of workers, enthusiasm for open source content, and social desires for technological solutions to global problems. Forces challenging One Laptop: competition from for-profit firms and teachers, education bureaucracies, and development experts who have different strategies and are invested in the status quo. Luyt argues One Laptop's future will depend on the extent to which it can stay true to its vision while pragmatically negotiating "the meaning of the new technology" with social forces that will affect the outcome.

NAFSA, Association of International Educators, International Education: The Neglected Dimension of Public Diplomacy, Policy Brief, Vol. 3, Issue 5, August 12, 2008. NAFSA's agenda puts "building, conducting, and sustaining long-term relationships" at the heart of public diplomacy and calls for restoration of "American international legitimacy" through a major Presidentially led international education initiative. NAFSA's key recommendations: enact a comprehensive national program to establish study abroad as an integral component of U.S. undergraduate education; restore America's status as a magnet for students and scholars, future leaders, and innovators; coordinate federal agencies responsible for access, visa reform, and immigration reform; strengthen exchange and volunteer service programs. Available online and in pdf format for download.

Martha C. Nussbaum, "Toward a Globally Sensitive Patriotism," Daedalus, Summer 2008, pp. 78-93. The University of Chicago's Nussbaum reexamines her views that duties to all humanity take precedence over other duties and that particular obligations are derivative from universal obligations. Drawing on the writings of John Rawls, Jurgen Habermas, and others in the classically liberal tradition, and on the political activism of Abraham Lincoln, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, she concludes that "national sentiment can play a valuable role in creating a decent world culture." Nussbaum finds much to criticize in exclusionary forms of patriotism that demonize others and play to fear and anxiety. But if nations are to pursue goals of global justice "that require sacrifice of self-interest," then they need to appeal to "patriotism, in ways that draw on symbol and rhetoric, emotional memory and history." Abstract and first page available at link.

"Politics and the Media," The Hedgehog Review: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Culture, Summer 2008. The University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture devotes this issue to an examination of the role and current health of the media in society -- and to how political process is changing in the context of new media forms. Contains the following essays:

-- Michael Schudson (Columbia University), "News and Democratic Society: Past, Present, and Future"

-- Kiku Adatto (Harvard University), "Photo-op Politics"

-- Doris A. Graber (University of Illinois), "Do the News Media Starve the Civic IQ: Squaring Impressions and Facts"

-- Paul Freedman (University of Virginia), "Thirty-Second Democracy:Campaign Advertising and American Elections"

-- Thomas E. Patterson (Harvard University), "The Negative Effect: News, Politics, and the Public"

-- Robert W. McChesney (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign), "Journalism: Looking Backward, Going Forward"

-- Kristine Ronan (University of Virginia), "Review Essay: The Public Presence of American Political Cartoons"

-- Charles T. Mathewes (University of Virginia), "An Interview with [Washington Post columnist] E. J. Dionne, Jr."

-- Christopher McKnight Nichols (University of Virginia), "Democracy,Politics, and the Media: A Bibliographic Essay"

Available through Link.

Gem from the Past

David Pearce, Wary Partners: Diplomats and the Media, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University, (Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1995). Drawing on his skills as a foreign correspondent (Associated Press, The Washington Post) and as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer (assignments in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates), Pearce examined relationships between diplomats and the media, the changing nature of diplomacy, and "terms of engagement" for practitioners in both professions. Regrettably no longer in print, Pearce's study continues to be relevant and instructive.