Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest. Suggestions for future updates are welcome.
Anne Applebaum, “The False Romance of Russia,” December 12, 2019, The Atlantic. Pulitzer prize winning journalist and historian Anne Applebaum argues that America’s conservatives, deeply critical of their own society and enthralled with Putin’s Russia, are blind to its realities. Her historical arc begins with Americans who found much to like in Stalin’s 1930s Soviet Union and bends through left wing intellectuals in the mid-20th century (Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag) to contemporary American evangelicals and political voices (Patrick Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Franklin Graham) whose admiration for Russia reflects their alienation from what they contend their country has become. “Why shouldn’t I root for Russia?” asks Tucker Carlson (whose father Richard Carlson was Voice of America director in the Reagan administration), as he laments “the dark age that we are living through.” The reality of Russia, which is considerably at odds with their fantasies, is not their point, Applebaum observes. Admiration of Russia serves their critique of an America that no longer appeals.
Alessandro Brogi, Giles Scott-Smith, and David J. Snyder, eds., The Legacy of J. William Fulbright: Policy, Power, and Ideology, (University Press of Kentucky, 2019). The essays Brogi (University of Arkansas), Scott-Smith (Leiden University), and Snyder (University of South Carolina) have compiled provide welcome new and critical assessments of a US Senator who did much to shape America’s foreign affairs during the Cold War and launched the global exchange program that bears his name. Essays in Part I offer fresh scholarship and diverse views on Fulbright’s liberal internationalism, his inconsistencies and expediency as a southern politician “with an almost perfect anti-civil rights voting record,” and a voice that combined dissent against military interventionism and “arrogance of power” with advocacy of an international order that served America’s interests. Essays in Part II put Fulbright exchanges in historical perspective. They examine a program, historian Justin Hart argues, that “largely sought to make Americans better imperialists, not undermine the imperial project itself.” As the editors summarize, Fulbright certainly viewed his exchange program as necessary to an international order based on interpersonal connection and mutual understanding, but it also was a program intended to “create a global elite attuned to American values and interests.” The essays (affordably priced in the Kindle edition) provide a variety of opinions on Fulbright’s internationalism and assessments of the limitations of Fulbright exchanges as well as their merits. Cultural diplomacy scholars and practitioners will find the following chapters in Part II of particular interest.
— Sam Lebovic, “The Meaning of Educational Exchange: The Nationalist Exceptionalism of Fulbright’s Liberal Internationalism.”
— Lonnie R. Johnson, “The Making of the Fulbright Program, 1946-1961: Architecture, Philosophy, and Narrative.”
— Molly Bettie, “Fulbright Women in the Global Intellectual Elite.”
— Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby, “Tactful Visitor, Scientific Observer, or 100 Percent Patriot? Ambassadorship in the Australia-US Fulbright Program.”
— Hannah Higgin, “The Limits of Liberal Internationalism: The Fulbright Program in Africa.”
— Carla Konta, “Nice to Meet You, President Tito… : Senator Fulbright and the Yugoslav Lesson for Vietnam.”
— Guangqiu Xu, “The Fulbright Program in China.”
William J. Burns, “Trump’s Bureaucratic Arson,” The Atlantic, November 17, 2019. Burns (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), one of America’s most respected career diplomats, continues to speak out on the damage being done to American diplomacy and democracy. Pegging his views to the public testimonies of US diplomats Bill Taylor, George Kent, and Masha Yovanovitch, Burns argues the real threat is not an imagined deep state seeking to undermine a president. “Instead, it comes from a weak state of hollowed-out institutions and battered and belittled public servants, no longer able to uphold the ever more fragile guardrails of our democracy or compete on an ever more crowded, complicated, and competitive international landscape.”
Natalia Chaban, Alister Miskimmon, and Ben O’Loughlin, eds., “Perceptions and Narratives of EU Crisis Diplomacy,” European Security, Volume 28, 2019. Articles in this special issue of European Security, compiled by Chaban (University of Canterbury), Miskimmon (Queen’s University Belfast), and O’Loughlin (Royal Holloway, University of London), consider external perceptions of the EU and the EU’s strategic narratives and public diplomacy directed at nearby societies in conflict. The full texts of all articles are freely accessible online.
— Natalia Chaban, Alister Miskimmon, and Ben O’Loughlin, “Understanding EU Crisis Diplomacy in the European Neighborhood: Strategic Narratives and the Perceptions of the EU in Ukraine, Israel, and Palestine.” In this introduction, the authors explain their interdisciplinary approach to strategic narrative theory and perceptions research. They discuss how articles in the special issue contribute to understanding strategic narrative concepts and EU perception studies with particular attention to audience reception, frames and perception, and the role of visual and other modes of communication. They also summarize each article’s overarching themes and how these case studies contribute to policy debates on the geo-politics of Europe’s relations with immediate neighbors.
— Patrick Muller, (Vienna University) “Normative Power Europe and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The EU’s Peacebuilding Narrative Meets Local Narratives.”
— Alister Miskimmon and Ben O’Loughlin, “Narratives of the EU in Israel/Palestine: Narrative ‘Stickiness’ and the Formation of Expectations.
— Iana Sabatovych (University of Canterbury), Pauline Heinrichs (Royal Holloway, University of London), Yevheniia Hobova (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), and Viktor Velivchenko (Cherkasy Bohdan Khmelnytsky National University), “The Narratives Behind the EU’s External Perceptions of How Civil Society and Elites in Ukraine, Israel, and Palestine ‘Learn’ EU norms.”
— Natalia Chaban, Michele Knodt (Technische University, Germany), Sarunas Liekis (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania), and Iverson NG (University of Tartu, Estonia), “Narrators’ Perspectives: Communicating the EU in Ukraine, Israel and Palestine in Times of Conflict.”
— Olena Morozova, (V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine) “Ukraine’s Journey to Europe: Strategic Macronarrative and Conceptual Metaphors.”
— Anastasiya Pshenychnykh, (V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine), “Ukrainian Perspectives on the Self, the EU and Russia: An Intersemiotic Analysis of Ukrainian Newspapers.”
— Svitlana Zhabotynska and Valentina Velivchenko (Bohdan Khmelnitsky National University of Cherkasy, Ukraine), “New Media and Strategic Narratives: The Dutch Referendum on Ukraine – EU Association Agreement in Ukrainian and Russian Internet Blogs.”
— Michael Leigh (Johns Hopkins University, SAIS-Europe), “A View From the Policy Community: A New Strategic Narrative for Europe.”
Samantha Custer, Tanya Sethi, Jonathan A. Solis, Joyce Jiahui Lin, Siddhartha Ghose, Anubhav Gupta, Rodney Knight, and Austin Baehr, “Silk Road Diplomacy: Deconstructing Beijing’s Toolkit to Influence South and Central Asia,” December 10, 2019. Williamsburg, VA. AidData at William & Mary. The researchers in this report provide quantitative and qualitative data and analysis of China’s public diplomacy efforts in 13 countries in South and Central Asia. Their assessment includes financial data, the dominance of infrastructure as a public diplomacy tool, China’s emphasis on Pakistan and Kazakhstan, and evaluation of the extent to which its investment is yielding a more positive image of China and its government. Interviews conducted with 216 individuals in 145 organizations in six of the countries portray a range of motives for China’s public diplomacy and views on its effectiveness. One finding: China is most comfortable promoting relationships with elites; relations with “ordinary citizens have been superficial at best.” A recurring theme is that target countries “perceived cultural and linguistic distance from China.” The 69-page report discusses conceptual issues in China’s public diplomacy goals and research methods. It contains an abundance of graphics and an extensive list of references. See also “China’s Public Diplomacy Spending in South and Central Asia Quantified and Evaluated.”
“Cyber Diplomacy,” PD Magazine, Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California, Issue 22, Fall/Winter 2019. In this edition of PD Magazine, USC students and an array of international scholars and practitioners discuss issues relevant to diplomacy and its practice in the cyber domain. The articles divide into five sections. (1) “Equipping diplomats for the cyber age” begins with a lead article by Shaun Riordan (European Institute for International Studies) on “Cyber Diplomacy: Why Diplomats Need to Get Into Cyberspace.” (2) A section on “Cyber diplomacy’s rising stars” focuses on Qatar, Estonia, and Georgia. (3) An article by Ilan Manor (Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group), “Are Digital Rights Human Rights?” leads a section on “Overcoming Disinformation.” (4) “Social media: A Powerful Cyber Ally” opens with USC Blog Contributor Franklin T. Burroughs’ essay on “The Diplomatic Tower of Babel.” (5) “Preparing for the Cyber Future” features an article by Devin Villacis (USC Master of Public Diplomacy candidate), “Bottom Lines and Data Dossiers: How Big Tech Commodifies Your Privacy.”
Adam Gopnik, A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism, (Basic Books, 2019). As diplomacy practitioners and scholars wrestle with ascendant attacks of populism, tribalism, and nationalism on the liberal world order (see Richard Haass, “Liberal World Order, R.I.P.” ), questions arise. What is liberalism? And what are the best arguments for and against it? Acclaimed author and New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik offers thoughts on both. Written as a meditation for his seventeen-year-old daughter, Gopnik draws on an array of writers, stories, events, and historical episodes to make sense of a liberal credo that “is a subject of persons and places, as much as of principles.” His central liberal concepts go beyond liberty and democracy. They also include “humanity and reform, tolerance and pluralism, self-realization and autonomy.” Gopnik treats strong counter arguments from right and left fairly, even as he risks giving the devil the best tunes. This is an elegant book, full of wit and wisdom, to be engaged slowly, to pick up, put down, and ponder.
Kyle Hutzler, America’s Cities on the World’s Stage, CPD Perspectives, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Paper 5, December 2019. Hutzler (Stanford Graduate School of Business) contributes to the growing literature on city diplomacy with this report based on interviews with city and state practitioners and experts in subnational diplomacy. His approach is actor-centric, focusing on managerial issues and “questions of strategy, organization, and operations.” He surveys city diplomacy’s historical context and issues of constitutionality. His report then examines the relevance of city size and four categories of city diplomacy: trade and investment, goodwill, knowledge sharing, and co-governance on issues such as climate policy and border management. Hutzler’s well-researched 93-page report makes a number of recommendations, provides an analytical framework, lists references from the literature on city diplomacy, and seeks to put the practitioners interviewed “in conversation with each other.”
Mark Katz, The Power of Hip Hop Diplomacy in a Divided World, (Oxford University Press, 2019). Katz (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) examines goals, methods, and critiques of the US State Department’s “Next Level” international exchange program – an initiative he directed from 2013-2018 that sends teams of US hip-hop artists to engage with underserved youth in other countries. His narrative places hip-hop diplomacy in the context of earlier arts programs in US cultural diplomacy. He provides both a rationale for this particular art form and careful inquiry into its “unresolvable ambiguities” and “potential to do harm.” As a scholar and former practitioner, Katz’s book is especially valuable for its considered analysis of the limitations as well as the strengths of hip-hop diplomacy and broader dimensions of cultural diplomacy. See also Adam Bradley, “In This U.S. Government Program, Diplomacy Has a Hip-Hop Beat,” December 13, 2019, The Washington Post.
Benjamin Leffel, “Animus of the Underling: Theorizing City Diplomacy in a World Society,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Volume 13, Issue 4, 502-522. Leffel (University of California, Irvine) brings a sociologist’s perspective to this theoretical and evidence-based inquiry into city diplomacy. His article provides a survey of concepts and extensive literature in three domains. First, he provides a brief review of diplomacy studies literature on city diplomacy and related concepts. Second, he turns to social movement and framing theory and how these concepts illuminate the environment of social action by non-state actors and distinctive categories of city-government diplomacy. Third, he argues the relevance of world society theory and its explanations of a global context that can shape the identities and actions of city actors and their institutional structures. Leffel’s empirical findings are drawn from recently available archives relating to three categories of US city diplomacy in the 1980s: the nuclear free zone movement, sister city and sanctuary city projects devoted to ameliorating Reagan administration policies in Central America, and city divestment measures in support of the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa.
Deborah A. McCarthy, “US Foreign Policy Tools in the Era of Disinformation,” FIIA Briefing Paper, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, October 2019. Deborah McCarthy is a retired US Foreign Service Officer and former US Ambassador to Lithuania. She argues that insufficient responses to malign information operations of state and non-state actors are caused by a variety of institutional and operational deficiencies. The Department of State and its Global Engagement Center (GEC) have limited personnel and resources. Rivalries and lack of clear authorities within the Department create additional difficulties. Dispersed responses by the Departments of Defense, Justice and Treasury, USAID, and the US Agency for Global Media lack a White House or National Security Council strategy and an interagency coordination body. Mistrust and weak coordination between government actors and private social media companies are significant challenges. Congress focuses on disinformation in the 2016 presidential election more than strengthening government capabilities to counter foreign disinformation in 2020. Additional constraints are legal limitations on domestic data collection, unwillingness of social media companies to share information, and unwillingness to integrate tools in the US Cyber Command. McCarthy calls for policies and actions to address each of these deficiencies and points to the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism as a model of collaboration that could be adapted to the threats of state-sponsored influence operations. (Courtesy of Don Bishop)
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Do Morals Matter?: Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump, (Oxford University Press, 2020). Harvard University’s IR scholar and power theorist examines an understudied topic: moral reasoning and the foreign policy choices of American presidents. (His internet search of the top three American IR journals, produced only four articles on the subject.) Influenced in part by the thinking of Michael Walzer, John Rawls, and Saint Augustine, Nye argues the importance of three-dimensions in the moral reasoning of leaders. (1) Intentions – goals and motives, moral vision and prudence. (2) Means – attention to necessity, proportionality, and prudence in the use of force; use and respect for institutions at home and abroad; and consideration of the rights of others. (3) Consequences – fiduciary responsibilities, consideration of the long-term interests of people at home and abroad; respect for truth, facts, and credibility. With clear prose and illuminating examples, he applies his 3D ethical scorecard to each American president since 1945. Diplomats and diplomacy scholars will find particularly relevant Nye’s treatment of American exceptionalism, the liberal international order, soft power, double standards, dirty hands in diplomatic and political choices, contextual intelligence, his interim ethical scorecard of Donald Trump, and speculation on future moral choices driven by global power shifts, technology, climate change, and transnational actors.
Open Doors 2019, Institute of International Education (IIE) and the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Washington, DC, November 18, 2019. This 70th anniversary edition of IIE’s annual report finds the number of international undergraduate students in US colleges and universities fell by 2 percent ending 12 years of growth. Graduate student enrollment dropped for the second consecutive year. China remains the largest source of international students, although the rate of growth is slowing, followed by India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. See also Nick Anderson, “Study Finds Fewer Foreign Undergraduates in US Colleges – the First Drop in 13 Years,” November 18, 2019, The Washington Post.
Evan Potter, “Russia’s Strategy for Perception Management Through Public Diplomacy and Influence Operations: The Canadian Case,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Volume 14, Issue 4, November 15, 2019, 402-425. The premise of this carefully reasoned article is that Russia’s RT, Sputnik International, and network of supportive social media platforms should be viewed through a more holistic understanding of a nation’s public diplomacy. Potter’s (University of Ottawa) analysis is valuable for several reasons. His conceptual examination of public diplomacy and its intersection with other elements of a state’s influence operations. His assessment of Russia’s malleable approach to truth and information warfare practices that combine strategic communication, advocacy, cultural diplomacy, and covert action. And his needed case study of Russia’s perception management operations in Canada. The case focuses on Russia’s targeting of Canada’s Ukrainian born foreign minister Christia Freeland; her outspoken criticism of Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine; and Russia’s efforts to undermine her credibility by connecting her to Krakivski Visti, a Ukrainian newspaper with anti-Semitic content directed by Nazi authorities, published in Krakow, and edited by her grandfather. Potter evaluates Russia’s strategy and offers tentative conclusions from his “attempt to reconcile normative assumptions in Western and Russian approaches to public diplomacy.”
Paul Richter, The Ambassadors: America’s Diplomats on the Front Lines, (Simon & Schuster, 2019). Diplomatic correspondent Richter (Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune) provides an admiring account of the careers of four accomplished career diplomats: Ryan Crocker, Anne Patterson, Robert Ford, and the late Christopher Stevens. For Richter, these “expeditionary diplomats” were “the best people for the worst places.” They understood languages, customs, and local politics. They improvised and planned ahead. They valued face-to-face contact beyond fortress embassies. They adapted to whole of government diplomacy. They took physical and professional risks. They struggled to match good diplomacy with bad policies. They understood diplomacy’s public dimension, and one, Robert Ford, was adept at using social media in Arabic. Richter writes vividly with a veteran journalist’s skill, if not always arm’s length analytical distance. His book provides rich narratives of their careers based on interviews with Crocker, Patterson, and Ford, Stevens’ family, and numerous diplomats, military officers, and government officials. It also provides a window into challenges facing modern diplomacy and the hostility of the Trump administration to the career Foreign Service. See also Eliot A. Cohen, “The Courage and Dedication, and Sometimes Tragedy, of America’s Diplomats,” January 2, 2020, The Washington Post.
Ryan M. Scoville, “Unqualified Ambassadors,” Duke Law Journal, Vol. 69, 2019, 73-195; Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 19-02. Scoville (Marquette University) brings a wealth of new research to understanding the contested and exceptional US practice of appointing large numbers of political appointees to the position of ambassador. Using data obtained from the State Department through Freedom of Information Act requests and litigation, Scoville analyzes the professional qualifications and campaign contributions of more than 1900 ambassadors appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump during his first two years in office. Based on campaign contribution numbers adjusted for inflation and Congressionally approved qualification measures, his article reinforces the view that on average political appointees are much less qualified than career diplomats and that the gap has widened as campaign contributions have increased and become more pervasive. The data suggest, he argues, that campaign contributions and political appointment practices have had a negative effect on the quality of US representation abroad, particularly in countries that receive a disproportionate number of non-career ambassadorial appointees. Scoville concludes with recommendations for legal and regulatory reforms. See also Ryan Scoville, “Troubling Trends in Ambassadorial Appointments: 1980 to the Present,” February 20, 2019, Lawfare Blog.
Paul Sharp, Jan Mellisen, Constance Duncombe, and Marcus Holmes, “Editorial: HJD Fifteen Years on, Past and Present Board Members on Future Research.” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Volume 14, Issue 4, 327-330. In this brief and thought-provoking editorial, HJD’s editors and co-editors summarize wide-ranging views on “what is, will and ought to be happening in diplomacy and diplomatic studies.” Available with free access online.
Matthew Wallin, “White Paper – A New American Message,” American Security Project (ASP), December 2019. In this White Paper, the ASP’s Fellow for Public Diplomacy Matthew Wallin advances three core arguments. America’s values are central to its message and under attack at home and abroad. The US is failing to uphold its values, and this failure is displayed globally in 24-hour news and social media. A new American message must be defined largely by actions not words. Wallin identifies a variety of needed changes in behavior: close the say-do gap, engage in active listening, recommit to truth, maintain leadership in science, send more exchange students abroad, strengthen diplomatic capacity, keep America’s commitments, support individual freedom, empower individuals abroad and promote collaboration, and set an example on refugees and migrants.
Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest
Matt Armstrong, “Government (Re)Organization to Confront Disinformation and Misinformation,” December 4, 2019, MountainRunner.us
Stephen Brown, “Diplomacy, Disrupted,” November 14, 2019, Politico.
Alexander Buhmann and Erich Sommerfeldt, “Understanding Practitioners’ Perceptions in PD Evaluation,” December 19, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.
Alasdair Donaldson and Alistair MacDonald, “Finding a Role: The UK in a Changing World: A 2020 Vision,” December, 2019. The British Council.
Ruth Eglash, “With No Formal Ties, Israel Is Using Digital Diplomacy to Reach Out to the Arab World,” December 21, 2019, The Washington Post.
Anna Fifield, “In Xi Jingping’s China, a Top University Can No Longer Promise Freedom of Thought,” December 18, 2019, The Washington Post.
Robbie Gramer, Colum Lynch, and Elias Groll, “Fear and Loathing at Pompeo’s State Department,” November 1, 2019, Foreign Policy.
Carl Gershman, “The Rallying Cry We Need,” November 4, 2019, The American Interest.
Fred Hiatt, “These Journalists Have Confounded China’s Massive Propaganda Machine,” December 1, 2019, The Washington Post.
Lauren K. Johnson, “I Helped Write the Official Lies to Sell the Afghanistan War,” December 13, 2019, The Washington Post.
Marina Kaneti, “China’s Climate Diplomacy 2.0,” January 2, 2020, The Diplomat.
Angela Lewis, “China Contractor NSAS: Public Diplomacy Tools Breaking New Ground,” December 16, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.
Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer, “Will Anyone Pay for Uncle Sam’s World Expo Pavilion?” December 13, 2019, Foreign Policy.
Michael McFaul, “The Deeply Dedicated State,” October 31, 2019, The New York Review of Books.
“Our People and Our Values Are the Core of U.S. International Leadership,” October, 31, 2019, Statement by the Boards of the Public Diplomacy Council and Public Diplomacy Association of America.
Lisa Rein, “As Impeachment Hurtles Forward, A Plea For Legal Help For Government Witnesses,” December 8, 2019, The Washington Post.
Jed Rubenfeld, “Are Facebook and Google State Actors,” November 4, 2019, Lawfare Blog.
Philip Seib, “Dispatch from Ukraine: On the Frontline of the Info War,” November 25, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.
Deborah L. Trent, “Healthy Responses Amid Turmoil: Medical Diplomacy and Citizen Protest,” January 2, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.
Eriks Varpahovskis, “Six Ways States Resist Cultural Diplomacy Hegemony,” December 12, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.
Gem From The Past
Carnes Lord, Losing Hearts and Minds: Public Diplomacy and Strategic Influence in the Age of Terror, (Praeger Security International, 2006). The number of individuals with distinguished records of scholarship and government service is significant but not overwhelming. (Joseph Nye, Michael Ignatieff, Arthur Schlessinger, Jr., and Archibald MacLeish among others come to mind.) Carnes Lord (Naval War College), a gifted classics scholar and holder of PhDs from Cornell and Yale, has an impressive record of study and practice. Notably during the Reagan Administration, he was the primary drafter of three National Security Decision Directives (NSDDs 45, 77, and 130), which established a public diplomacy structure in the NSC and authority for whole of government planning and coordination in the domains of public diplomacy, international broadcasting, democratization, and psychological operations. These directives held that public diplomacy should be treated as a “strategic instrument of US national policy, not a tactical instrument of US diplomacy.” Lord’s Losing Hearts and Minds looks comprehensively at historical, definitional, conceptual, political, operational, cultural, and organizational issues in public diplomacy as part of a broad domain of strategic influence. It called for radical reforms in these domains on a scale comparable to those taking place at the time in homeland security and intelligence. His conceptual and organizational arguments merit continued reflection even though actors, issues, and context have changed. Among other publications, Lord is the author of The Modern Prince: What Leaders Need to Know (2004), Aristotle’s Politics, translated with an introduction, glossary, and notes by Carnes Lord, second edition (2013), The Presidency and the Management of National Security (1988), and Political Warfare and Psychological Operations: Rethinking the U.S. Approach, co-edited with Frank Barnett (1988). See also Giles Scott-Smith, “Aristotle, US Public Diplomacy, and the Cold War: The Work of Carnes Lord.” Foundations of Science, 13, July 2008, pp. 251-264.