'"The Apparatgeist Calls,"' The Economist, January 2, 2010, 56-58. The Economist looks at cultural differences and global trends in the use of mobile phones now estimated at 4.6 billion subscriptions worldwide: ubiquitous, cheaper, more applications, faster connections, and increasing penetration rates. The authors provide numerous examples of cultural variations in terminology and use. They also review evidence that cultural differences may be fading as technologies converge and tastes become more consistent.
Matt Armstrong, '"The State of State: A Proposal for Reorganization at Foggy Bottom," 'Policy Memo, Progressive Policy Institute, January 2010. The creator of the MountainRunner.us blog calls for reforms in the Department of State's organizational structure. To strengthen State's capacity to deal more effectively with global issues, Congress, and the interagency process, Armstrong urges adjustment of the Department's overseas focus from countries to regions and creation of regional under secretaries with regional bureaus comparable to the U.S. military's combatant commands.
'"The Cosmopolitan Predicament,"' The Hedgehog Review, Vol. 11, No. 3, (Fall 2009). Essays in the Review'sfall edition look at debates on the revival of cosmopolitan thinking, its contested characteristics, and views on its significance and aspirations. Includes essays by Joshua Yates (University of Virginia), Seyla Benhabib (Yale University), Johann N. Neem (Western Washington University), Anthony D. Smith (London School of Economics), John M. Headley (University of North Carolina), and William H. McNeil (University of Chicago), Contents and a brief introduction to the issue are available online.
Nicholas J. Cull, The Cold War and the United States Information Agency 1945-1989, '(Cambridge University Press, Paperback, 2009). Cull's (University of Southern California) history of USIA, published in hardcover in 2008, is now available in paperback. Based on years of research in archival records, secondary sources, and more than 100 interviews with practitioners, his account examines the strengths and limitations of U.S. information, international broadcasting, and cultural and international activities in the context of major foreign and domestic issues of the Cold War. For recent reviews of Cull's book, and a response by Cull, see H-Diplo Roundtable Review, Volume XI, No. 6 (2009), November 13, 2009. Contains an introduction by Christopher Endy (California State University, Los Angeles) and reviews by Laura A. Belmonte (Oklahoma State University), Susan L. Carruthers (Rutgers University, Newark), Richard Fried (University of Illinois at Chicago), Michael L. Krenn (Appalachian State University), and Kenneth Osgood (Florida Atlantic University).
Helle C. Dale and Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., Strategic Listening: How to Build Research Capacity Within the U.S. Government,' WebMemo #2726, The Heritage Foundation, December 10, 2009. The Heritage Foundation's Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy and President call for a substantial increase in the U.S. government's public opinion research and analysis capabilities and creation of a "Corporation for Foreign Opinion Analysis." The Corporation would be a public-private partnership, similar to the RAND Corporation, to "engage in long-term cultural research aimed at understanding foreign audiences, their 'national narratives,' their cultures, and their ebb and flow of public opinion." In this WebMemo, Heritage adds its voice to the Defense Science Board, the Brookings Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations, and other organizations calling for a public-private institution that would leverage civil society's knowledge, skills, and creativity in support of public diplomacy.
Ali Fisher, "What Does This Video Have to Do with Public Diplomacy?" and "Gov 2.0, a New Year, and a New Approach to Public Diplomacy? Or What Does 'Many to Many' Actually Mean?"''''Wandren PD, Blog posted December 28, 2009. Fisher (Mappa Mundi Consulting) uses a short video advertising Volkswagon to make the point that influence turns on "effectively engaging on the terms of the 'other.'" In a paper linked to his post, Fisher finds some of the optimism of public diplomacy practitioners and scholars at the White Oak Conference Center early in the Obama administration dented by unfilled positions and lack of a "quarterback" able to reach across government and the private sector. Fisher finds undiminished optimism, however, on the potential of new technologies. His paper reflects his own research, aggregates links to recent articles, and assesses their findings. He cautions that PD 2.0 ultimately depends on engaging and interacting with networks, not on telling and messaging. "The greater the understanding of these networks the greater the odds of Public Diplomacy realizing the influence diplomats seek."
Kathy R. Fitzpatrick, The Future of U.S. Public Diplomacy: An Uncertain Fate,' (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2010). In this book -- Volume 4 in the Diplomatic Studies series edited by Jan Melissen, Netherlands Institute of International Relations 'Clingendael' -- Fitzpatrick (Quinnipiac University) adds to the growing literature by scholars interested in public diplomacy. She combines insights grounded in her academic study of public relations theory with extensive research in secondary sources on public diplomacy and a 15-page survey completed by 213 members of the USIA Alumni Association (recently renamed the Public Diplomacy Alumni Association). Fitzpatrick's assessment draws heavily on the U.S. public diplomacy experience since 9/11 and the views of past practitioners. At the same time, she looks extensively at a broad range of views of practitioners and scholars in the U.S. and elsewhere on public diplomacy's future in a global context.
Barry Fulton, "State Gets Smart,"'AmericanDiplomacy.org, December 14, 2009. Fulton, a retired Foreign Service Officer, former USIA Associate Director, and management consultant at the U.S. Department of State, chronicles the origins, development, and promise of the "State Messaging and Archival Retrieval Toolset" (SMART). The technological challenge: build an internal messaging system that integrates a legacy cable system with email on Outlook, automatically archives messages of value to a searchable data base, connects classified and unclassified networks, and interacts with some 60 government departments and agencies. The human challenge: develop a "user-driven" system that would be adopted in an organization resistant to change. Fulton states the technological challenge has been met and "most of the resistance has vanished." His assessment concludes with thoughts on the implications for foreign ministries and diplomatic practice. Kristin M. Lord,"Public Engagement 101: What Strategic Communication Is, Isn't, and Should Be,"'''' Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 56, 1st Quarter 2010, 6-9. Lord (Center for a New American Security) responds to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen's call for a hard look at U.S. Strategic Communication. She urges use of the term "strategic public engagement," which she defines as "the promotion of national interests through efforts to inform, engage, and influence foreign publics." Lord examines ways in which strategic public engagement can achieve five national security objectives. Her assessment emphasizes the importance of shaping public support for policies, credible actions, understanding how others perceive intent, building relationships with opinion leaders, understanding foreign cultures, listening to others, creation of a climate of trust, methods and technologies that are situationally appropriate, and strengthening connectivity through dense networks of personal relationships.
Donna Hamilton, "The Transformation of Consular Affairs: the United States Experience," Discussion Papers in Diplomacy, No. 116 (The Hague: The Netherlands Institute of International Relations 'Ciingendael,' December 2009). Drawing on her U.S. Foreign Service career in consular affairs, Hamilton looks at two major issues transforming consular work in the 21st century: the need for improved border security and "managing a growing public appetite for immediate information available on the internet." Her paper discusses a range of issues including student visas, the implications of changes in consular work for diplomacy and public diplomacy, and changes in the organizational culture of the Consular Bureau in the Department of State.
James Markley, DIME Blog, U.S. Army War College, December 2009. Col. Markley directs the Science and Technology Division at the U.S. Army War College. He posted four blogs on measuring strategic communication as December's guest blogger on the College's DIME Blog.
-- Have your SC Efforts Been Successful? December 3, 2009
-- Measuring SC Effects - What Can You Learn? December 10, 2009
-- Assessing SC. What Skills and Tools Do I Need? December 18, 2009
-- Assessing this Blog December 27, 2009
Kennon H. Nakamura and Matthew C. Weed, 'U.S. Public Diplomacy: Background and Current Issues,Congressional Research Service Report, R40989, December 18, 2009. In this 64-page report, CRS analysts Nakamura and Weed examine issues for Congress on U.S. public diplomacy relating to funding, capabilities, technologies, structures, interagency coordination, and creation of a national public diplomacy strategy. Their assessment includes: (1) a brief history of modern public diplomacy including the former USIA, and its legislative authorities; (2) creation of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the abolition of USIA and transfer of its functions to the Department of State; (3) the budget, personnel levels, and structure of public diplomacy within the Department; (4) an overview of public diplomacy policy issues, challenges to its effectiveness, and proposed reforms; and (5) descriptions of proposed legislation intended to improve U.S. public diplomacy.
"The Neaman Document (Draft Report): A Study on Israeli Public Diplomacy," A Joint Project of the Samuel Neaman Institute, Technion, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel. October, 2008. Drawing on a range of conceptual and empirical studies, the authors of this public-private research project call for significant change in Israel's public diplomacy -- its "contents, channels, methods, and the treatment of audiences." Framing their study in the context of hard power, soft power, and smart power, they address a "serious dilemma," the extent to which Israel should focus on Middle East conflict in its public diplomacy. The study concludes that "appropriate combinations of conflict-related and other topics should be dealt with and adapted to different countries, audiences and situations." (Courtesy of Adam Stern)
Open Doors Report 2009, Institute of International Education (IIE). The IIE's annual survey reports an 8 percent increase in international students studying in the U.S. in 2008-09 -- a record high of 671,616. Top sending countries: India, China, South Korea, Canada, and Japan. IIE reports an 8.5 percent increase in American students studying abroad in 2007-08. Top destination countries: Britain, Italy, Spain, France, and China. IIE's website includes links to "Fast Facts," data tables on international students in the U.S, and data tables onU.S. students studying abroad.
Christopher Paul, '"'Strategic Communication is Vague,' Say What You Mean,"' Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 56, 1st Quarter 2010, 10-13. Paul (RAND Corporation) examines widespread imprecision in uses of the term "strategic communication" (SC) and urges scholars and practitioners to employ greater specificity to enhance shared understanding and make it easier to identify problems and solutions. He discusses the meaning of strategic communication in five analytical categories: (1) enterprise level SC; (2) planning, integration, and synchronized processes; (3) communication strategies and themes; (4) communication, information, and influence capabilities; and (5) knowledge of human dynamics and analysis or assessment capabilities. Paul argues that much of what is called strategic communication is not strategic communication and makes a case for precision and analytical boundaries.
Marc Sageman, "Confronting al-Qaeda: Understanding the Threat in Afghanistan," Perspectives on Terrorism,Volume III, Issue 4, December 2009. Drawing on an analysis of 60 plots by 46 networks during the past twenty years, Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former CIA case officer, concludes that "al-Qaeda terrorism in the West is in decline." The major threat instead comes from al-Qaeda inspired homegrown networks. Counterinsurgency and nation building in Afghanistan "may be important for regional reasons," he argues, but the U.S. military surge in Afghanistan "has little to do with global neo-jihadi terrorism and protecting Western homelands." He attributes the decrease in al-Qaeda terrorism to effective international and domestic intelligence and good police work. See also Sageman's testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, October 7, 2009. The implications of his research for public diplomacy and counterterrorism strategies are developed in his Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the 21st Century (2008).
Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice,'(Harvard University Press, 2009). Nobel laureate Sen (Harvard University and author of Identity and Violence') probes deeply into the role of public reason, choice, and comparative judgments in establishing different ways societies can become more just or less unjust. He challenges theories of justice that identify ideal arrangements such as the social contract theories of Hobbes, Locke, Kant, and especially the 20th century thinking of John Rawls. Sen draws on a different enlightenment tradition grounded in comparative judgments on actual behavior and social interaction. He builds on the thinking of Smith, Wollstonecraft, Bentham, Marx and the 20th century social choice theory of Kenneth Arrow -- as well as on a wide range of Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim ideas. Scholars and practitioners will find Sen's clear thinking and sensitivity to diverse views of justice relevant to key issues in public diplomacy: reasoned public dialogue, cross cultural communication, plural identities, global reasoning, toleration, and engagement in shared modes of thinking and acting.
Allison Stanger, One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy, (Yale University Press, 2009). Stanger (Middlebury College) examines extraordinary growth in the role of civil society actors in foreign affairs and the strengths and limitations of privatizing diplomacy, development, defense, and homeland security. She argues that outsourcing "done right" is necessary and indispensable to America's interests. However, massive changes in the scope of private power and in the number of relevant actors require new ways of thinking about how government and the private sector interact. Stanger calls for a reaffirmation of "government's irreplaceable role as chief custodian of the public interest." Includes chapters grounded in extensive research on "the rise and decline of the State Department," "the privatization of defense," "the slow death of USAID," "the hollowing out of government," and a world where diplomacy and public diplomacy are being transformed by the privatization of power. (Courtesy of Donna Oglesby) See also Oglesby's comment on Stanger's book, "Horticultural Tip: Prune Those Suckers," Winnowing Fan Blog, November 4, 2009.
Bruce Stokes, "U.S. Opinion Turns Against the Globalism of its President,"' YaleGlobal Online, December 10, 2009. National Journal columnist Stokes looks at recent opinion polls by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press,which find that "Americans have never been more isolationist and unilateralist than today compared with the last four decades." He argues this "raises questions about the sustainability of the Obama administration's international initiatives" on a range of issues including tariffs and trade, Afghanistan/Pakistan, the U.S.-Japan alliance, Iran, climate change, and immigration.
Cass Sunstein, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done, (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2009). In this brief book, Sunstein (Harvard University, White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) seeks to answer two questions. Why do people accept false and destructive rumors? Why do some groups and nations accept rumors that other groups and nations view to be false? Looking at how the Internet enables false rumors, Sunstein examines the motives of propagators, social cascades, group polarization, and biased assimilation. Many solutions, he argues, have limitations: self-defeating corrections, publishing balanced information, trusting the marketplace of ideas.
Zhang Zhexin, "China's Public Diplomacy Institution: Its Development, Challenges, and Prospects of Its Practice,"''''IO Journal, December 2009, 12-17. Zhang Zhexin (Shanghai Institutes for International Studies) examines three phases in the development of China's public diplomacy: phase one (1949 - 1989) "marked by a strong orientation towards 'foreign propaganda;'" phase two (1989 - 2002), in which there is a shift from "one-way foreign propaganda to two-way international communications;" and phase three (2003 to the present) when "China's 'public diplomacy' suddenly became a hot topic for China's political leadership and for the academia." He asserts that China's public diplomacy faces structural challenges due to the deficient organization of government agencies, a preponderance of government control, and lack of openness in its institutions. He concludes that Beijing is taking measures to deal with these challenges, but still has a ways to go "to catch up with . . . the US, Japan, and other countries with stronger soft power."
Joseba Zulaika, ''Terrorism: The Self-fulfilling Prophecy", (The University of Chicago Press, 2009).Zulaika (University of Nevada, Reno) challenges the thinking of many terrorism analysts by arguing that counter-terrorism has become self-fulfilling -- "that terrorism discourse shapes and frequently ends up creating its own reality." Drawing on research in the social sciences, a range of literary sources (Truman Capote, Albert Camus, Antigone), and public policy documents (the 911 Commission report, the Patriot Act), Zulaika probes the mindsets of terrorists, questions the existential nature of the threat, and develops a reasoned argument that U.S. "counter-terrorism has become terrorism's best ally."
Gem from the Past
Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, "Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics", (Cornell University Press, 1998). More than a decade later, the insights of Margaret Keck (Johns Hopkins University) and Kathryn Sikkink (University of Minnesota) hold value for scholars and practitioners interested in advocacy networks, the role of diplomatic entrepreneurs, and cross-border collaboration on human rights, environmental politics, violence against women, and other global issues. Although they focus on stateless actors, their case studies and typology of tactics (information politics, symbolic politics, leverage politics, and accountability politics) remain relevant in an age of social media and networked connections -- and to the political strategies of actors above, within, and around the state.