Kadir Jun Ayhan, “The Boundaries of Public Diplomacy and Non-State Actors: A Taxonomy of Perspectives,” International Studies Perspectives, (2018) 0, 1-21.
In this insightful and well-researched essay, Ayhan (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul) provides a systematic assessment of recent scholarship in public diplomacy based on an in-depth survey of 160 articles and books. He assumes public diplomacy is a field of study that requires analytical boundaries and a taxonomy of perspectives as a first step in theory building. He begins with a conceptualization of public diplomacy within the discipline of international relations. His taxonomy divides public diplomacy into five broad groups: state-centric, neo-statist
(states plus social or grassroots diplomacy), non-traditional
(based on actor capabilities not status), society-centric,
perspectives that include nonstate actors in public diplomacy if their activities meet certain criteria. Scholars and conceptually minded practitioners will find much on offer here. Ayhan draws needed attention to the importance of boundaries and non-state actors in theorizing diplomacy. His critiques of arguments in the literature warrant reflection and promise to enhance discourse in diplomacy studies. Directly and by implication his paper suggests areas of further research – including his debatable proposition that public diplomacy should be treated as a separate field of study rather than as an increasingly mainstream dimension of diplomacy.
Daniel Aguirre Azócar, Ilan Manor, and Alejandro Ramos Cardoso, eds., Public Diplomacy in the Digital Era, Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior, No. 113, 2018.
Azócar (Universidad de Chile), Manor (University of Oxford) and Cardoso (Embassy of Mexico, Berlin) have compiled articles by leading scholars and practitioners on the digitalization of diplomacy. The strengths of this compendium include its pioneering conceptual insights, case studies that connect theory and varieties of diplomatic practice with special attention to Spanish speaking countries, clearly written articles suitable for classroom assignment in universities and foreign ministry training courses, and, not least, downloadable pdf texts in Spanish and English using Google Translate.
Andrew Bacevich, ed., Ideas and American Foreign Policy: A Reader (Oxford University Press, 2018).
Bacevich (Boston University) has compiled more than 100 primary source writings in American history from the colonial era to President Trump’s inaugural address that support two propositions. First, ideas are central elements that (in addition to interests, institutions, and fortune) shape the context in which policymakers and diplomats act and make choices. Second, their ideas frame competing narratives – Americans as an exceptional people who promote freedom and democracy, and Americans as dissenters who challenge US imperialism, militarism, and violations of human rights. Bacevich organizes these writings chronologically with introductions that contextualize them in historical eras. For a useful review (courtesy of Donna Oglesby) see Douglas Rivero (St. Petersburg College) published in H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews,
Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, and Hal Roberts, Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics,(Oxford University Press, 2018).
The primary goal of this book is to understand which actors were responsible for the transformation of the American public sphere before and after the 2016 presidential election and how it became vulnerable to varieties of “post-truth” information pollution. The authors (associated with Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society) combine in-depth analysis of large data sets and case studies with broad conceptual inquiry into historical political and cultural forces. Assessments limited only to how technology works “understates the degree to which institutions, culture, and politics shape technological adoption and diffusion patterns.” This also, they argue, is what makes their focus on American politics and media relevant to other countries. Diplomacy scholars and practitioners will find useful not only their extensive empirical research but also their brief intellectual history of propaganda and conceptual analysis of terms – propaganda, disinformation, misinformation, disorientation, manipulation, distraction, induced misperception, philosopher Harry Frankfurt’s “bullshit,” network propaganda, propaganda feedback loop, propaganda pipeline, and attention backbone. Media and public diplomacy teachers who have long valued Walter Lippmann’s insights on cognitive framing, micro-targeting, and creation of consent will appreciate their view that his Public Opinion
(1922) “might as well have been written in 2017.” Network Propganda
is available from OUP online and as a free PDF download.
Katherine Costello, “Russia’s Use of Media Operations in Turkey: Implications for the United States,” RAND Arroyo Center, 2018.
RAND analyst Costello examines Russia’s multiple and overlapping media responses to three events: Turkey’s November 2015 shoot-down of a Russian military plane, the July 2016 Turkish coup attempt, and the December 2016 assassination of the Russian ambassador. Her paper focuses on Russia’s emphasis on “amplification of genuine uncertainty” with false claims, “opportunistic fabrications,” tactical interpretations intended to confuse, and “multiple contradictory narratives” for different audiences. She concludes with a brief discussion of implications for the US State Department’s Global Engagement Center and NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence.
Patricia Hall, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship, (Oxford University Press, published online in 2015, print edition in 2017).
Hall (University of Michigan) has compiled a collection of studies of music censorship that spans historical eras, six continents, and a variety of musical genres. Essays discuss religions as censors and objects of censorship; censorship of renowned operas in Enlightenment era France and Austria; censorship in transitional governments from 19th
century Italy to today’s Taiwan; censorship in 20th
century totalitarian governments; censorship in democracies such as the UK and the US; and connections between censorship and issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation. (Courtesy of Tim Moore)
Harry Kopp, “Blue-Ribbon Blues: Why So Many Great Reports and Good Ideas Go Nowhere,” The Foreign Service Journal, September 2018, 26-32.
Retired Foreign Service Officer and author Harry Kopp (Voice of the Foreign Service: A History of the American Foreign Service Association
) profiles 70 years of blue-ribbon commission studies from the perspective of a central question – “Why is change so difficult?” Kopp looks at this dilemma in the context of three tough issues that have been studied repeatedly with scant effect: dual personnel systems, interagency coordination, and professional development through training and education. He identifies 13 reports that still merit attention from among the studies of the State Department and Foreign Service “that come along nearly every year.” Kopp’s informed insights illuminate a depressing history in which leaders rarely sacrifice short-term priorities for results that will occur in a future administration. It is a history that also reflects what Harvard sociologist Donald Warwick described as “the influence of organized interests, personal whims, political brokerage, and sheer bureaucratic inertia.” Change is not impossible Kopp concludes, but it can occur only if it is grounded in evidence-based reform proposals, attentive to missions and desires of Foreign and Civil Services, and driven by leadership that values diplomacy and the Department as an institution “with a past and future as long as the republic’s.”
J. Simon Rofe, Sport and Diplomacy: Games Within Games, (Manchester University Press, 2018).
Rofe (University of London) has compiled essays by scholars and practitioners that explore as a guiding theme “the practice of diplomacy in relation to sport.” Authors address conceptual issues relating to the place of sport in soft power and public diplomacy; sport’s occurrence and absence in contexts of war, peace, and divided societies; and ways sport and diplomacy frame understanding in a variety of historical and geographic settings. In his writings, Rofe has long pointed to the importance of sport in studies of diplomacy and governance. This collection advances the discussion through attention to conceptual frameworks, diplomatic actors and functions, and a diverse array of case studies that connect different sports and global actors.
Robert Kagan, The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018).
With this slim book, filled with clear, thought provoking sentences on every page, Kagan (Brookings Institution) will shape conversation on diplomacy’s context and the problematic future of the liberal world order as witnessed during the past century – freedom, universality, individual rights, tolerance, equality regardless of race or national origin, open borders, a rules based trading regime, Germany and Japan’s adoption of democracy, and support provided by NATO and US military power. Kagan’s central argument is that this liberal world order (a rare artificial garden) is not a consequence of human evolution. It is under assault within the US and abroad by forces (the jungle) that are more natural to the human condition – a desire for strong leadership and “the security of family, tribe, and nation.” Kagan is a realist with a values agenda. He contends that America’s role was exceptional, not because the American people are exceptional, but because America’s power born of geography, natural resources, and a liberal capitalist system combined with its interests to produce unprecedented capacity to influence global affairs. Hard power for Kagan is critical. “For all the talk of ‘soft’ power and ‘smart’ power, it is ultimately the American security guarantee, the ability to deploy hard power to deter and defeat potential aggressors” that provides the liberal order’s essential foundation. On reading Kagan, two ideas among many occur. His enthusiasm for hard power would not be undercut by greater attention to the influence of soft power. He has earned a place on any short list of nominees for a 21st
century successor to Reinhold Niebuhr.
Andreas Pacher, “Strategic Publics in Public Diplomacy: A Typology and a Heuristic Device for Multiple Publics,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Volume 13, Issue 3, 2018, 272-296.
Pacher (Nouvelle Europe, Vienna) draws on an impressive command of the literature in diplomacy studies and social psychology to address three unresolved issues in identifying the “publics” in public diplomacy: inattention to domestic publics, inattention to public interactions with foreign government officials, and overemphasis on elite actors. His proposed typology of strategic publics “integrates both foreign and
domestic, both governmental and
non-state, both powerful and
powerless strategic publics.” Pacher draws on the importance of “representation” in diplomacy theory and categories of “warmth” and “competence” in social psychology as universal elements in interpersonal and inter-group relations. His article goes on to create six ideal types and a multi-level heuristic device for analyzing cases involving relations between public diplomats and multiple publics. He concludes with suggestions for further research.
Yadira Ixchel Martínez Pantoja, “Conceptualizing a New Public Diplomacy Model: ‘Intermestic’ Instruments and Strategies to Promote Change in Mexico’s GM Food Policy,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Volume 13, Issue 3, 2018, 245-271.
Pantoja (The University of Auckland) makes two important contributions in this article. First, she advances conceptual dialogue on the “new diplomacy” of state, sub-state, and non-state actors wielding public diplomacy as partners and stakeholders on an “intermestic” (both international and domestic) issue. Second, she constructs a public diplomacy model applicable to strategies and instruments used by US state, sub-state, corporate, and NGO actors to convince Mexico of the benefits of GM (genetically modified) foods. Her article provides both an instructive case study in polylateral diplomacy and insights into the pros and cons of a significant policy issue with economic, environmental, and food security ramifications.
Dina Smeltz, Ivo Daalder, Karl Friedhoff, Craig Kafura, and Lily Wojtowicz, “America Engaged: American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy,” 2018 Chicago Council Survey, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
The Chicago Council’s senior fellow Dina Smeltz and her colleagues find that support by the American people for global engagement is increasing despite President Trump’s rhetoric and actions on trade, climate, NATO, and Iran. Seventy percent favor the US taking an active part in world affairs, the highest level of support since 1974 with the exception of the post 9/11 survey in 2002. A “striking majority (91%) say that it is more effective for the United States to work with allies and other countries to achieve its foreign policy goals. Just 8 percent say that it is more effective for the United States to tackle world problems on its own.” Majority public support has risen 6% during the past year for the Iran agreement (66%) and the Paris climate accord (68%).
“Soft Power and Censorship: China is Broadening Its Efforts to Win Over African Audiences,” The Economist, October 20, 2018, 46-47. The Economist
finds that China’s state run news media in Africa are struggling to gain audiences. Research shows market share for CTGN Africa in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa to be well below CNN, the BBC, and Sky News. Censorship is one reason, but “The main constraint on the influence of Chinese news, however, is that it is boring.” That said, The Economist
also finds that China’s influence in African media is growing through other means. A training program brings some 1,000 African journalists to China for media training annually. China invests heavily in private African media companies. And expansion across the continent of Star-Times, a private pay-TV company with close ties to the Chinese government, “is the primary vehicle for the expansion of Chinese soft power in Africa.”
Yolanda Kemp Spies, Global Diplomacy and International Society, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and Yolanda Kemp Spies, Global South Perspectives on Diplomacy, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
In these soon to be published companion volumes, Spies (University of Johannesburg), a scholar and former diplomat, brings to fruition ten years of research on the context, theory, and practice of diplomacy that brings needed attention to the understudied diplomacy of the Global South. Global Diplomacy and International Society
is a comprehensive overview of the conceptual, historical, legal, institutional, and cultural contexts in which diplomacy is practiced. Her intent is to “stick to the basics of diplomacy.” It is not a skills manual, and she avoids deep dives into “theoretical wars.” She paints with a broad brush on the basics of diplomacy and ways it “anchors and foments” international society. Case studies illuminate her thinking. In Global South Perspectives on Diplomacy,
Spies examines methods and structures in contemporary diplomatic practice through the lens of developing states and non-state actors. She focuses on “development diplomacy,” the information and communications revolution, and the changing nature of conflict. Global South case studies again give life and meaning to her concepts.
Richard Wilke, Bruce Stokes, Jacob Poushter, Laura Silver, Janell Fetterolf, and Kat Devlin, “Trump’s International Ratings Remain Low, Especially Among Key Allies,” Pew Research Center, October 1, 2018.
In this second 25-nation survey during the Trump presidency, Pew’s research team finds “Trump’s international image remains poor, while ratings for the United States are much lower than during Barack Obama’s presidency.” Among other findings, international publics have significant concerns about America’s role in world affairs, the US is perceived to be doing less to address global challenges, and American soft power is waning. Frustration is particularly high among close US allies. Israel is an exception to the pattern. Most see China on the rise, but “the idea of a U.S.-led world order is still attractive to most.” German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron received positive ratings. Chinese President Xi, Russian President Putin, and President Trump, lowest of the five, received negative ratings.
Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest
Donna Marie Oglesby, “Oral Interview,” The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST); highlighted with link to her interview in ADST’s “Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History,” Joseph Baldofsky, “Embassies: ‘An Artifact of an Earlier Age.”
Gem From The Past
Brian Hocking, Jan Melissen, Shaun Riordan, and Paul Sharp, “Futures for Diplomacy: Integrative Diplomacy in the 21st Century,”Clingendael, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, October 2012.
Six years ago this month, four leading diplomacy scholars set the table for a robust dialogue on diplomacy’s future in an era of radical change. They identified four key dimensions in what they called “integrative diplomacy: contexts and locations, rules and norms, communication patterns and actors and roles.” As entries in this reading list increasingly demonstrate, scholars and practitioners are dealing with these dimensions as they frame new concepts, write new case studies, and change diplomatic tools and methods. An explosion of new sub-state and non-state diplomatic actors. Diplomats as boundary spanners. Polylateral diplomacy. Whole of government diplomacy. Fragmentation of rules and norms. Complex transnational issues. Breakdown between foreign and domestic. Digital era diplomacy. And much more. Clingendael’s Futures for Diplomacy
rewards a close second look and considered dialogue on its claims.