Issue #101

 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.

William J. Burns, “A Make-or-Break Test for American Diplomacy,” April 6, 2020; “The Damage at the State Department Is Worse Than You Can Imagine, But It’s Also More Reparable,”  March 12, 2020, The Atlantic.  Retired US diplomat and former Deputy Secretary of State Burns makes two key claims in these articles.  In April, he argued the post-pandemic world will “turbocharge trendlines” that were already complicating America’s role in the world and pose the greatest test for US statecraft since the end of the Cold War.  He examines potential traps in looking ahead and warns that America cannot expect to “reboot a normal that has long been corrupted.”  In March, Burns took aim at a “sluggish, passive-aggressive, risk averse” State Department, which faces deeply rooted challenges in addition to the demolition brought about by “the venality and vindictiveness” of Donald Trump.  The State Department in a post-Trump presidency will need to rebuild quickly and differently.  Burns’ strategy is centered on what State can do for itself apart from the White House and Congress (“reshaping antediluvian approaches to leadership, management, recruitment, and performance”), pushing accountability downward in Washington and outward to ambassadors, rediscovering “the honor and purpose of career professionals” exemplified in the Trump impeachment hearings, rebalancing national security policies and budgets, and reversing the post 9/11 militarization of foreign policy 

“James Carville on Why Foundation CEOs Need to Fund a ‘Wartime Communications’ Force,”  The Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 26, 2020.  Carville (political consultant, Louisiana State University) calls on risk-takers and “our most talented communications minds” in the foundation community – a “Dream Team made up of top leaders from Hollywood, technology, advertising, public relations, polling, and behavioral psychology” – to stand up a wartime strategy to convey messages about what to do and what not to do in the COVID-19 pandemic.  Carville’s model is the World War I era Committee on Public Information led by George Creel.  Although the Creel Committee was “guilty of excesses,” (on this he is informed by LSU journalism professor John Maxwell Hamilton), it was also highly successful in promoting war bonds, food conservation, and military enlistment.  It’s a time for action, Carville writes energetically, in his appeal to ten of America’s largest foundations across the political spectrum.  (Courtesy of Donna Oglesby)

Andrea J. Dew, Marc A. Genest, and S. C. M. Paine, eds., From Quills to Tweets: How America Communicates About War and Revolution,  (Georgetown University Press, 2020).  The editors (all associated with the US Naval War College) have compiled a welcome collection of case studies on how information, political narratives, media, and communication technologies have shaped the way Americans have communicated in wartime.  Essays by 17 contributors divide into five chronological sections arranged to reflect episodes of armed conflict, changes in technologies, and political context.  Many are by scholars ranging from Marc Genest’s chapter on newspapers and Committees of Correspondence during the American Revolution to Steven Casey’s (London School of Economics) chapter on the Korean War to Andrea Dew’s chapter on communication in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Two are by former public diplomacy practitioners.  Martin Manning’s chapter looks at the role of the press and the telegraph in the Civil War, and Judith Baroody examines communication strategies in the Persian Gulf War.  Without taking away from the wealth of useful analysis and historical evidence the authors provide from US history, the collection would have been strengthened by at least one chapter on relevant ways in which Europeans and Native Americans communicated in wartime during the century and a half that preceded the American Revolution.  

Kingsley Edney, Stanley Rosen, and Ying Zhu, eds., Soft Power With Chinese Characteristics: China’s Campaign for Hearts and Minds,  (Routledge, 2020).  In this timely volume, Edney (University of Leeds), Rosen (University of Southern California), and Zhu (City University of New York) compile essays by scholars who examine how China has attempted to use soft power strategies since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.  Part 1 contains chapters on the soft power debate in China, the ironies of soft power projection in the age of Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, and China’s use of diasporic media, cultural diplomacy, Sino-Hollywood negotiation, branding, and Confucius Institutes.  Chapters in Part 2 include regional case studies of China’s soft power strategies in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Japan and South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.  A closing chapter looks at how East Asians view a rising China.  The volume includes a foreword by Joseph Nye who contends that “China now represents the most important test case for the practice of soft power.”  He shares the authors’ view on the need for a reappraisal of the soft power framework adopted in China’s official doctrine more than a decade ago.  See also Martha Bayles, “Hard Truths About China’s ‘Soft Power,’” The American Interest, March 30, 2020. 

Mark Hannah, “Stop Declaring War on a Virus,”  War on the Rocks, April 17, 2020.  Hannah (Eurasia Group Foundation) examines the negative implications of using war rhetoric to frame the US government’s response to the pandemic coronavirus.  Borrowing from British philosopher John Austin’s thinking on speech acts as “performative utterance,” Hannah argues declaring war on a virus goes beyond descriptive or interpretive framing to bring about three new realities: “a self-injuring pivot from international cooperation toward belligerent nationalism; short-term economic interventions that are not necessarily likely to transform into lasting reforms; and an inflation of the concept of war which potentially undermines the rule of law.”  In so doing, it distorts the nature of the threat, makes political abuse of power more likely, enables the firing of government health officials insufficiently supportive of presidential wishes and priorities, and squanders international goodwill.  Hannah also makes use of Rosa Brook’s thinking on “Fighting Words” and arguments on “the many ways in which the distinction between wartime and peacetime is nontrivial” in her book, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything.

Daniel Immerwahr, How To Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States, (Picador, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2019).  Immerwahr (Northwestern University) takes the reader on an absorbing and illuminating ride through the history of American expansion – from 13 colonies on the Atlantic seaboard to a colonial empire in the American west and beyond, to today’s “pointillist empire” of territories, tiny islands, and some 800 military bases worldwide.  It is a work of serious scholarship that also seeks to entertain.  Immerwahr tells three stories.  The subordination and displacement of Native Americans.  Colonization beyond the continent in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  And the replacement of colonization with globalization.  His intent is not to weigh forms of oppression or use empire as a pejorative.  Rather, he seeks to show how territorial expansion matters, positively and negatively, in understanding United States’ history as the history of an empire.  It is a narrative of hard power projection combined with a gold mine of anecdotes and personalities that give life to hidden influences of soft power through language, inventions, science, education, music, sports, popular culture, and the arts.    

Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes, The Light That Failed: Why the West is Losing the Fight for Democracy,  (Pegasus Books, 2020).  Krastev (Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna) and Holmes (New York University) – two scholars who embraced the “illusion’ that the end of the Cold War signaled “an Age of Liberalism and Democracy” – explore a question attributed to Barack Obama: “What if we were wrong?”  They look first at the appeal of the illusion.  Then they examine the cascade of illiberalism, populist xenophobia, insurgent movements on right and left, and “resentment at democracies canonical status” in Europe, Russia, and the United States.  Their aim is not a comprehensive account of the anti-liberal revolt.  It is to examine one under-appreciated aspect: widespread grievance over “the way (imposed) no-alternative Soviet Communism, after 1989, was replaced by (invited) no-alternative Western liberalism.”  Their thought-provoking book is an assessment of this grievance and a strong critique of the way democracy was promoted as “inescapable orthodoxy.”  It examines the perception held by many after the economic crisis of 2008 that western elites did not know what they were doing – and growing resentment against the “palpably sincere reform-by-imitation” approach (“copycat Westernization”) of post-Cold War democratization. 

Jan Melissen, “Diplomacy’s First Challenge: Communicating Assistance to Nationals Abroad,”  Policy Forum Article, Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, February 2020.  Melissen (Leiden University) examines the growing importance of consular diplomacy in the eyes of citizens and parliamentarians and the need for foreign ministries to develop a better understanding of increasingly intertwined “consular” and “diplomatic” spheres. They must break, he argues, from a tradition that compartmentalizes consular work and views it as “second rate.”  His thinking is grounded in assumptions that there is “enormous scope for improvement” in government-society relations and that foreign ministries face greater challenges in communicating with their citizens abroad than in delivering services to them.  Middle power countries “with a decidedly global outlook,” he contends, understand and articulate this view especially well.  The article develops three claims.  First, governments too often mistakenly treat consular work as marketing to product-oriented end-users than providing services to citizens.  Second, foreign ministries struggling with digital technologies must adopt a coordinated multi-channel communications approach.  Third, they must show greater appreciation for how domestic and foreign dimensions of consular diplomacy are linked to so-called “big issues” in foreign and security policies.

Martha C. Nussbaum, The Cosmopolitan Tradition: A Noble But Flawed Ideal,  (Harvard University Press, 2019).  Diplomats occupy a central place in the cosmopolitan tradition.  That said, scholars wrestle with an abundance of self / other questions.  Is diplomacy necessarily group and governance-based or present anytime someone claims to represent or mediate any aspect of society?  What are the ethical duties of diplomats to the national interest and universal human rights?  Under what conditions is public diplomacy best served by monologue or dialogue?  In her meditation on the relative claims of nations and the world, Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago) helps us understand normative and practical issues in diplomacy.  Chapters on Cicero, Hugo Grotius, and Adam Smith illuminate historical approaches to self / other tensions.  Subsequent chapters address questions about pluralism and globalism born of today’s deep interconnectedness (supply chains, disease, climate, migration, knowledge, disinformation).  Nussbaum’s closely argued “Capabilities Approach” forbids a “me-first tub-thumping nationalism.”  She defends an international politics that is truly cosmopolitan and grounded in moral duties to others and the worth and dignity of all.  But she also recognizes the practical and normative importance of the nation.  Normatively, she argues, the nation “is the largest unit that is an effective vehicle of human autonomy, and accountability to people’s voices.”  Practically, nations have great power as places where “both duties of justice and duties of material aid are made real.”  Her book prompts serious reflection on “how we ought to think about the relative claims of the nation and the world.”

Charles Peterson, “Serfs of Academe,” The New York Review of Books, March 12, 2020.  Peterson, a Harvard Ph.D. candidate in American Studies heading for a post-doc at Cornell, examines professional, economic, and public policy consequences of the explosion of adjuncts in America’s colleges and universities.  His review essay of 11 books summarizes data showing the extraordinary rise in contingent faculty, a corresponding decline in tenured faculty, the rise in numbers and salaries of university administrators, the policy plans of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and challenges in organizing instructors in higher education.  Books reviewed include: Joe Berry, Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education,  (2005); Herb Childress, The Adjunct Underclass: How America’s Colleges Betrayed  Their Faculty, Their Students, and Their Mission  (2019); Kim Tolley, ed., Professors in the Gig Economy: Unionizing Adjunct Faculty in America  (2018); and Suzanne Mettler, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream  (2014).

Sarah Repucci, “A Leaderless Struggle for Democracy: Freedom in the World 2020,” Freedom House. Last year was the 14th consecutive year of decline in political rights and civil liberties, Freedom House analyst Repucci states in the organization’s latest annual report on trends in global freedom.  Leading indicators are India’s turn to Hindu nationalism, China’s violations of basic freedoms of Uighurs and Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, and an “unsteady beacon of freedom in the United States.”  Her detailed report discusses countries where leaders are using extreme policies in assaults on minorities and pluralism.  Notable instances include Israel, Spain, Austria, and Hungary.  The Trump administration’s inconsistent commitment to democracy and human rights is reflected in its critique of adversaries (Venezuela, Iran) and the pass given to leaders in other countries (Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia).  Her report includes recommendations for supporting emerging democracies.  See also Jen Patja Howell, “The Lawfare Podcast: Freedom House on ‘Freedom in the World.’”, March 24, 2020.

Thomas Rid, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare,  (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020).  Thomas Rid (Johns Hopkins University) defines active measures as the methodical output of intelligence services that contains an element of disinformation and is intended to weaken an adversary.  His book discusses case studies of active measures divided into four historical waves: (1) the Soviet Union’s “Operation Trust” led by the Cheka’s Felix Dzerzhinsky in the 1920s and 30s; (2) Soviet and East German disinformation and the CIA’s “political warfare” in the early Cold War; (3) expansion and refinement of Soviet active measures in the late 1970s and 80s; and (4) digital age disinformation beginning in the 2010s.  Rid makes three main arguments.  First, at scale disinformation campaigns are attacks against political systems that rely on custodians of factual authority.  Second, moral and operational equivalence between East and West in using covert active measures occurred only in the decade after World War II.  Third, digital technologies have fundamentally changed disinformation.  Rid devotes most of his attention to Russian disinformation campaigns, especially its digital operations.  He gives far less attention to the CIA’s “cultural freedom” and “political warfare” activities.  USIA’s Senior Policy Officer on Soviet Active Measures Herb Romerstein makes a cameo appearance.  Rid warns that weakened democracies are less resistant to active measures and more likely to deploy them.  “It is impossible,” he argues, “to excel at disinformation and democracy at the same time.”  See also David Ignatius, “The Russians Manipulated Our Elections. We Helped,” April 24, 2020, The Washington Post.  And Rid’s Lawfare podcasts, Part 1 and Part 2

Elizabeth Shackelford, The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age, (Public Affairs, 2020).  Shackleford, a former career Foreign Service Officer, gives her account of the US failure to speak out against widespread violence and government atrocities in South Sudan.  Her book combines a critique of President Trump’s foreign policy, her story of US Embassy Juba’s efforts to evacuate US citizens and conduct operations in a country in crisis, and an assessment of the State Department’s internal dissent channel.  She used the dissent channel to protest Washington’s “failure to take a stand for the values of human rights and justice, when doing so could make a difference.”  Her bleak conclusion, as quoted in Robbie Gramer’s FP review, is the dissent channel “means something, perhaps.  It’s a message of sorts. One could generously describe it as a type of departmental suggestion box, though it would be more accurate to picture it as a shredder.”

Gregory M. Tomlin, “The Joint Force Needs a Global Engagement Cycle,”  Joint Forces Quarterly, 97, 2nd Quarter, 2020.  Tomlin (Commander, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, formerly with Joint Staff J2, and author of Murrow’s Cold War) makes two central arguments.  First, he proposes adding the concept of non-lethal engagement, using information-related capabilities, to the Defense Department’s current definition of “engagement” in joint doctrine, which focuses on combat operations.  His expanded definition “would clarify how military information operations could influence individuals and audiences not associated with an adversary.”  Second, he calls for a new six-phase Global Engagement Cycle (GEC) that would connect a commander’s nonlethal engagement guidance and intent with the use of information-related capabilities and functions to achieve short and long-term objectives in the information domain.  Tomlin supports his conceptual ideas with a range of examples and recommendations relevant to the activities of combatant and functional commands, countering cyber-attacks and weaponized uses of social media by adversaries, and implications for planning and operations.

Geoffrey Wiseman, “Diplomacy,” in Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Bertrand Badie, and Leonardo A. Morlino, eds., The Sage Handbook of Political Science, Vol. 3, Chapter 71, 1193-1213, (Sage, 2020).  In this deeply informed chapter, Wiseman (Australian National University) makes five inter-related claims.  First, diplomacy’s ideas and practices have a multi-millennial history.  Second, this history is “characterized by perpetual and productive tension between continuity and change,” and an under-estimated capacity for adaptation.  Third, traditional state-based diplomacy is growing in importance.  Fourth, diplomacy, now more “complex” in theory and practice, exhibits bilateral, multilateral, polylateral, and omnilateral dimensions.  Fifth, “Diplomatic Studies” is now a “rich and expanding” sub-field in international relations and the broader global discipline of political science.  Wiseman’s essay is valuable for its clarity, global perspective, insights on theory and practice, and the quality and scope of its literature review.  Scholars and practitioners will find plenty to ponder.  For teachers and students, it is a concise and comprehensive overview of key historical and current issues in the study and practice of diplomacy.

Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest

Nick Ashton-Hart, “Online Meetings Are Transforming International Relations,”  April 13, 2020, Council on Foreign Relations.

Ilan Berman, “Trump Puts U.S. Public Diplomacy on Notice,”  April 17, 2020, The National Interest.

Corneliu Bjola and Ilan Manor, “Digital Diplomacy in the Time of the Coronavirus Pandemic,”  March 31, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Geoff Brumfiel, “As the War on Terror Winds Down, the Pentagon Cuts Social Science,”  March 17, 2020, NPR.

“Nicholas Burns: Why Does Good Diplomacy Matter?”  March 23, 2020, Podcast Transcript, Harvard Magazine.

Zselyke Csaky, “Dropping the Democratic Façade,” Nations in Transit 2020, Freedom House.  

“China v. America: Expelling Journalists Is No Way To Fight A Pandemic,”  March 21, 2020, The Economist.

Chris Coons, “America’s Diplomats Deserve Our Respect,”  March 16, 2020, The Hill.

Melissa Cooper, “‘Till Death Do Us Part’ – Relationships for Women in the Foreign Service,”  March 10, 2020, Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.

Timothy Egan, “The World Is Taking Pity On Us, Will American Prestige Ever Recover?”  May 8, 2020, The New York Times 

Erin Gallagher, “William F. Buckley and Argentina’s Dirty War: Burson-Marsteller’s Plan for Improving the Public Image of the Argentine Junta,”  May 4, 2020, Columbia Journalism Review.

Robert Gosende, “Yale Wolf Richmond: A Tribute,”  March 29, 2020; Yale Richmond, March 29, 2020, The Washington Post.   

Robbie Gramer, “Pompeo Emerges as Point Man In War of Words With China,”  May 1, 2020; “Pompeo Criticized for Failure to Communicate on Coronavirus,”  March 17, 2020, Foreign Policy.

Paul Haenle and Lucas Tcheyan, “U.S.-China Cooperation on Coronavirus Hampered By Propaganda War,”March 24, 2020, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Lucie Levine, “Was Modern Art Really a CIA Psy-op?”  April 1, 2020, JSTOR Daily.

Joseph S. Nye, Jr., “Covid–19’s Painful Lesson About Strategy and Power,”  March 26, 2020, War on the Rocks. 

Emily Rauhala, “Expelling U.S. Journalists During Coronavirus Crisis, China Doubles Down on Media War,”  March 18, 2020, The Washington Post.

Melissa Reynolds, “Communication Failures In a Pandemic Can Be Catastrophic,”  March 18, 2020, The Washington Post.

Josh Rogin, “State Department Cables Warned of Safety Issues at Wuhan Lab Studying Bat Coronaviruses,” April 14, 2020; “The U.S.-China Propaganda War Is On Hold, But Not For Long,”  April 2, 2020, The Washington Post. 

Jennifer Schuessler, “Will a Pandemic Shatter the Perception of American Exceptionalism,”  April 25, 2020, The New York Times.

Efe Sevin, Kadir Jun Ayhan, Diana Ingenhoff, “Measuring Country Images: Four Lessons from South Korea,”  March 23, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Juan Siliezar, “Reporting on the World Between Two World Wars,”  April 13, 2020, The Harvard Gazette.

Nancy Snow, “Japan’s Government Has Failed Coronoavirus Communications Test,”  February 21, 2020, Nikkei Asian Review.

J.Brooks Spector, “Covid-19: Diplomats in Limbo as US State Department Dithers,”March 22, 2020, Daily Maverick.

Jian (Jay) Wang, “Public Diplomacy in the Age of Pandemics,”  March 18, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Jian (Jay) Wang and Sohaela Amiri, “5 Takeaways on U.S. City Diplomacy During the COVID-19 Crisis,”  April 14, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Trump / Voice of America / USAGM

Gem From The Past 

Alan L. Heil, Jr., Voice of America: A History,  (Columbia University Press, 2003). Tensions between political leaders and US international broadcasters were present at the creation.  In 1943, a year after the Voice of America went on the air, The New York Times’ Arthur Krock wrote a column arguing that a VOA broadcast had undermined allied negotiations with Italy’s King Victor Emanuel and threatened the lives of American soldiers.  Following a public rebuke of the broadcast by an outraged President Franklin Roosevelt and a showdown at the White House, senior VOA broadcasters in New York, James Warburg, Joseph Barnes, and Edd Johnson, lost their jobs in a major shakeup of the Office of War Information’s Overseas Branch that also included replacement of its director, playwright Robert Sherwood.  Accounts of these and many subsequent episodes at the crossroads of journalism and foreign policy can be found in Alan Heil’s now classic history.  Heil, who had a significant role in achieving VOA’s Charter legislation, wrote a narrative filled with personalities and informed interpretations of salient issues in US international broadcasting.  At a time when broadcasters are facing Trump administration attacks, one more chapter in a long saga, it remains an excellent and timely read.

An archive of Diplomacy’s  Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites  (2002-present) is maintained at George Washington University’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.  Current issues are also posted by the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy,  the Public Diplomacy Council,  and MountainRunner.us.

 

 

100th Issue of Bruce Gregory’s Resources on Diplomacy’s Public Dimensions

Bruce Gregory headshot with white backgroundIPDGC is proud to announce the 100th Issue of Bruce Gregory‘s collection of resources on public diplomacy (PD) and related subjects. First published in June 2002, Gregory’s list is an annotated bibliography of readings and other materials intended for teachers, students, and PD practitioners.

Gregory taught classes on public diplomacy, media and global affairs as an adjunct professor in the Global Communication MA program, at the Elliott School of International Affairs and School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University (2002-2017). He is also the former director of IPDGC (2005-2008) and a former member of the Walter Roberts Endowment committee (2006-2018).

Read the list here.

Issue #100

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.
Gordon Adams, “The Presidential Inbox: Reform the Foreign Policy Toolkit for a Rebalanced World,”  Policy Brief, February 2020.  Adams (Stimson Distinguished Fellow, Quincy Institute, American University) calls for fundamental reforms in US foreign policy capabilities based on two key propositions: (1) Today’s global security challenges are not susceptible to military solutions or solvable by any one nation alone. (2) Deep and persistent problems in the Department of State and US foreign assistance institutions render them “woefully unprepared” to deal with climate change, migration, health crises, economic inequality, and other global issues.  His paper makes a number of recommendations.  Recruit, train, empower, and reward diplomats with skills relevant to new global challenges.  Establish a separate curriculum for each of these global issues at the Foreign Service Institute.  Make strategic planning and implementation mandatory in Foreign Service training.  Train and assign diplomats who are skilled managers, not just negotiators. Completely restructure foreign and economic security assistance programs. To rectify the imbalance between military and diplomatic instruments, strengthen civilian institutions first and then address needed reforms in National Security Council coordination.
Andrew Bacevich, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory, (Metropolitan Books, 2020).  “Without the Cold War, what’s the point of being an American,” asked novelist John Updike’s everyman character Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom.”  In this provocative and engaging book, Bacevich (Boston University and President, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft)  shares his critique of the assumptions behind Rabbit’s question and America’s attempts to answer it.  Trends in US politics, exemplars in popular culture, and writings of public intellectuals provide contours for an argument that takes aim at a post-Cold War consensus shaped by globalized neo-liberalism, militarized global leadership, concepts of freedom that privilege autonomy, and radical grants of power to the presidency.  Along the way, Bacevich deals with American exceptionalism, endless hubris and capacity to nurture “dreams of managing history” (indebted here to Reinhold Niebuhr), economic inequality, realities of a “bought and paid for” all volunteer force, perpetual wars, the epic inadequacy of the Trump presidency, and huge failure to treat climate change as a clear and present danger.
Jillian Burns and Mark C. Storella, “Teaching Diplomacy Today,”  Foreign Service Journal, January/February 2020.  Burns (George Washington University) and Storella (Department of State) offer practical advice and examine the pros and cons of teaching as a post-Foreign Service activity.  Their article looks at the joys of working with students, the opportunities to give back, and the psychological benefits of staying engaged.  They discuss the challenges of finding a teaching job, different kinds of teaching positions, and the basics of designing courses.  Burns and Storella also are clear-eyed about the downsides: exceptionally poor compensation for adjunct faculty and “the sometimes-daunting inefficiency, balkanization, tight budgets, and understaffing of many American universities.”
Sarah Cook, “Beijing’s Global Megaphone: The Expansion of Chinese Communist Party Media Influence Since 2017,”  Special Report, Freedom House, January 2020.  Freedom House’s analyst for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan analyses five trends in China’s overseas media activities during the past three years.  (1) Actors based in China are using Russian-style social media campaigns and efforts to manipulate search results on global online platforms.  (2) Tactics used previously to co-opt Chinese diaspora media and suppress critical coverage in overseas Chinese language publications are now being applied to local mainstream media in some countries.  (3) Technology firms with CCP ties are gaining influence in some countries’ information infrastructure and are building or acquiring content dissemination platforms.  (4) Chinese-owned social media platforms and digital television providers are engaging increasingly in politicized pro-Beijing content manipulation.  (5) Chinese officials are making greater efforts to present China as a model by training foreign personnel and through technology transfers to foreign state-owned media.  The report offers recommendations to policymakers in democratic countries seeking to protect media freedom.  See also Anna Fifield, “China is Waging a Global Propaganda War to Silence Critics Abroad, Report Warns,”  The Washington Post, January 15, 2020.
“From Bombay With Love,”  Episode 353. 99% Invisible.  Podcast creator Roman Mars and Producer Vivian Le engage in conversation about India’s Bollywood film industry and the Soviet Union’s improbable fascination with Indian cinema during the Cold War with Indian writer Deepa Bhasthi, Sudha Rajagopalan (University of Amsterdam), Kirill Razlogov (film historian and critic) and Elmar Hashimov (Biola University).  Participants discuss common ground fascination with movies in two countries with very different politics, languages, and cultures; trends in the Soviet Union’s Socialist Realism and filmmaking; the geopolitics of Soviet relations with a post-colonial India; and film as a source of soft power and cultural diplomacy.  Contains a number of video links. See also transcript page.  (Courtesy of Larry Schwartz)
Government Accountability Office, “State Department: Additional Steps Are Needed To Identify Potential Barriers To Diversity,”  GAO-20-237, February 25, 2020.  GAO’s report examines the demographic composition of State’s workforce, Civil Service and Foreign Service, from 2002-2018; differences in promotion outcomes for different demographic groups; and the extent to which the Department has identified barriers to diversity.  It discusses three major findings: (1) The overall proportion of racial or ethnic minorities has grown, but proportions of African Americans and women have declined; (2) Promotion outcomes were generally lower for racial or ethnic minorities than for whites and differed for women relative to men; and (3) State has identified some diversity issues but should consider others that could indicate potential barriers to diversity.  The GAO’s granular assessment contains extensive data and numerous graphics in both a downloadable pdf version and an impressive, searchable online version.  See also Robbie Gramer, “State Department Struggling with Diversity, New Report Finds,”  February 24, 2020, Foreign Policy.
Stephen D. Krasner, “Learning to Live With Despots: The Limits of Democracy Promotion,”  Foreign Affairs, March/April, 2020, 49-62.  Krasner (Stanford University) takes aim at two long-standing models of democratization: active promotion and demonstration by example.  He argues the US should take a third course, “working with the rulers the world has, not the ones the United States wishes it had.”  Wealthy, industrialized, and consolidated democracies are recent and rare in world history.  Accordingly, for Krasner, because despots are here for the foreseeable future, the US should deal with them by “promoting not good government but good enough governance.”  His article offers a number of policy suggestions including an end to the State Department’s practice of reassigning Foreign Service Officers every two or three years.  Longer stays in country are needed to enhance intimate knowledge of “local elites, their beliefs, and their followers,” know which leaders are likely to provide good enough governance, and gain greater access to them.  The article is adapted from his forthcoming book, How to Make Love to a Despot: An Alternative Foreign Policy for the Twenty-first Century,  (Liveright, 2020).
James Pamment, “The EU Code of Practice on Disinformation: Briefing Note for the New EU Commission,”  Perspectives Series #1, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2020. In this working paper, Pamment (Carnegie Endowment non-resident scholar, Lund University) observes that one year on the EU’s Code of Practice on Disinformation has “produced mixed results.”  The Code’s self-regulation approach has been of questionable value in protecting publics from harm caused by disinformation.  Government, industry, academic, and civil society stakeholders have not built relationships based on trust.  The working paper offers a variety of suggestions aimed at strengthening cross-sector relationships, developing a long-term collaborative focus on impact evaluation, and addressing problems created by the social media black market.  The paper also makes three key recommendations: develop a shared methodology, develop “campaign-wide analytics” for impact evaluation, and develop an iterative consultancy process that leads to actionable evidence on the impact of information operations and counter-measures.
Nancy Snow and Nicholas J. Cull, eds., The Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy,  Second Edition, (Routledge, 2020).  Snow (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies) and Cull (University of Southern California) have performed a great service in compiling the chapters in this welcome second edition of The Routledge Handbook.  Compared to its 2009 predecessor, it is more comprehensive and global in scope.  Its conceptual approaches and diplomatic actors are more diverse.  Contributors are a broader range of older and younger voices, scholars, and practitioners.  Following introductions by Snow and Cull, the Handbook’s 45 chapters (too many to list here) divide into six parts that examine core practices, contrasting assumptions and methods, cases that illustrate theoretical concepts, cases that portray country and regional differences, and chapters that explore ethical questions, digital technologies, and innovations in study and practice.  Teachers will want to look for chapters to assign that support course topics.  Given its content and heft (543 pages), the paperback and eBook editions are affordably priced.  As with any compilation of this size, contributions vary in quality and depth.  Readers will find arguments that are provocative and evidence-based, claims that prompt disagreement and vigorous debate, and subject matter that calls for more research.  The Handbook is aspirational and self-described as foundational.  Its impressive range of ideas and approaches prompt two evergreen questions.  Should we continue to treat public diplomacy as a separate field of diplomatic study and practice?  And, given so much effort by so many in this volume and elsewhere, why is diplomacy so under-represented in IR and communications studies?
Alaina B. Teplitz and Michael C. Gonzales, “U.S.-Nepal Relations: Leveraging Operational Efficiencies to Achieve Our Objectives,”  Council of American Ambassadors, Spring 2018.  Two years ago, then US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina Teplitz and her DCM, Michael Gonzales, published this article on Embassy Kathmandu’s experiment with Integrated Country Strategy (ICS) teams.  They regarded them as a proof of concept for how 21st century embassies can more effectively organize people and whole of government operations.  Rather than organize the embassy by Washington-based government agencies, the embassy’s ICS teams, co-chaired by section chiefs from separate agencies, designed common strategies for coordinated interagency approaches to priority objectives.  As the authors summarized, “The approach brought together all USG actors en­gaged on each issue to analyze the situation, agree on a common strategy to address it, share details on relevant efforts, deconflict efforts and complement one another to allow the totality of USG engagement in major priority areas to achieve more than the sum of its parts.”  The experiment involved relocating embassy staff from offices defined by agencies to workspaces focused on interagency action plans where diplomats could engage through multiple “casual collisions” rather than weekly meetings.  The article discusses a variety of operational issues including emphases on public outreach and the PAO’s advisory role with each ICS team.  US Embassy Kathmandu’s thinking and innovations warrant a continuing look.
US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD), “Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy & International Broadcasting: Focus on FY 2018 Budget Data,” January 2020.  Written by its professional staff, Vivian Walker and Shawn Baxter, the Commission’s 70th anniversary report (256 pages) combines recommendations with an abundance of data, graphics, descriptions, and budget information provided by the State Department and US broadcasters on their programs and activities.  The report is an important resource for diplomatic practitioners, Congressional staff, and diplomacy scholars.  Key recommendations (pp. 22-26) include:
(1) Put subject expertise and professional understanding of public diplomacy high on the list of qualifications for a new Under Secretary for PD and Public Affairs, and consider appointing a current or retired senior Foreign Service Officer.
(2) Sustain resource investments in public diplomacy and global media programs.
(3) “Use the NSC’s Information Statecraft PCC as a mechanism for interagency coordination on messaging and influence strategies.”
(4) Allocate at least 3 to 5 percent of total PD program funds for research and evaluation.
(5) Consolidate and modernize legal authority for the State Department’s PD mission.
(6) Conduct a strategic review of PD’s structure, programs, and resource allocations.
(7) Revise PD training protocols and requirements, and create new opportunities for professional development.
(8) Assess the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ research and evaluation procedures and conduct a strategic review of the Bureau’s structure and programs.
(9) Prioritize the interagency coordination and synchronization of Global Engagement Center programs and insights.
(10) Conduct annual business reviews of each US broadcasting language service, and launch a “wholesale digital modernization” of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.
Alicia Wanless and James Pamment, “How Do You Define a Problem Like Influence?”  Journal of Information Warfare (2019) 18.3: 1014.  Wanless (King’s College, London) and Pamment (Lund University) provide a literature review and thoughtful insights into terms used by industry, government, and media to describe influence operations.  Their article discusses how widely used terms such as fake news, misinformation, propaganda, disinformation, influence campaign, information operations, strategic communication, and information war create definitional issues and operational problems for practitioners.  They also explore conceptual factors relating to intent, truth, origin, and legitimacy.  Analytical categories include:
(1) Philosophical dichotomies (hard lines between black and white),
(2) Inherent immeasurable intent (terms with ambiguous and contested meanings that are difficult to discern and measure at scale),
(3) Focus on foreign actors (made problematic by a proliferation of actors with diverse loyalties within and beyond states),
(4) Pre-existing connotations (terms such as propaganda, information warfare and information operations that are overly broad, restrictive, and too confusing for use in policy and practice), and
(5) Utility to policymakers (terms that can be ruled out and one term with potential).  Wanless and Pamment settle on “influence operations” as a term with fewer problems and the most potential.  Their article was written to support the launch of the Carnegie Endowment’s Partnership for Countering Influence Operations.

 

Richard Wilke, Jacob Poushter, Janell Fetterolf, and Shannon Schumacher, Trump Ratings Remain Low Around Globe, While Views of U.S. Stay Mostly Favorable,  Pew Research Center, January 8, 2020.  Pew’s research team continues to illuminate widespread negative views abroad on the Donald Trump presidency.  Survey findings in 32 countries show “a median of 64% say they do not have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs.”  Negative views are especially high in Western Europe and Mexico. Pew’s surveys included questions and data on tariffs, withdrawal from climate change agreements, a border wall, immigration policies, withdrawal from the Iran nuclear weapons agreement, negotiations with North Korea, and ratings for Trump in comparison to other world leaders.  See also Richard Wilke, “The New Anti-Americanism: How Worries About U.S. Dominance Gave Way to Worries About U.S. Decline,”  January 8, 2020, Foreign Affairs.

Samuel Woolley and Katie Joseff, “Demand for Deceit: How the Way We Think Drives Disinformation,”Working Paper, The National Endowment for Democracy, January 2020.  Woolley (University of Texas, Austin) and Joseff (Institute for the Future) focus on the consumption side of the digital disinformation problem.  Why do many consumers “repeatedly seek out and believe sources of disinformation while rejecting other information sources?”  The authors examine issues in the psychology of news consumption and opinion formation, passive and active cognitive drivers in disinformation acceptance and sharing, disinformation as a global phenomenon, and the need for fact checkers and media literacy programs to take human psychology into account. They also explore the impact of emerging technologies on disinformation and ways that civil society, journalists, and other stakeholders can address the problem.  The paper includes two case studies (Mexico and North Macedonia).  Woolley and Joseff conclude by making a case for more research on why people consume and spread novel forms of manipulative content as a needed supplement to research and investigative journalism on the supply side.
Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest
Cathryn Cluver Ashbrook, “From Digital Diplomacy To Data Diplomacy,”  January 14, 2020, International Politics and Society.
Alyssa Ayres, “Scale Without Power: Global Cities in the World’s Largest Democracy,”  January 1, 2020, Diplomatic Courier.
Michael P. Ferguson, “The Evolution of Disinformation: How Public Opinion Became Proxy,”  January 14, 2020, The Strategy Bridge.
Hafez Ghanem, “Shooting for the Moon: An Agenda to Bridge Africa’s Digital Divide,”  February 7, 2020, Brookings; “Capturing the Fourth Industrial Revolution,”  Chapter 5, Foresight Africa 2020 Report.
Frida Ghitis, “Mike Pompeo Is A Terrible Advocate For Press Freedom,”  February 5, 2020, The Washington Post.
Robbie Gramer, “Meet Pete Buttigiege’s Foreign Policy Mentor [Doug Wilson],”  February 2020, Foreign Policy.
Paul Hare, “Public Diplomacy and Soft Power? No Thanks, It’s America First,”  February 18, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.
Filicia Istad, “Gender in Public Diplomacy,”  February 20, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.
Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer, “Trump Loyalist Appointed to Oversee Relations With U.N., World Health Organization,”  March 4, 2020, Foreign Policy.
Alasdair MacDonald, “The Sources of Soft Power,”  February 2020, The British Council.
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., “No, President Trump: You’ve Weakened America’s Soft Power,”  February25, 2020, The New York Times; “Why Morals Matter in Foreign Policy,”  January 8, 2020, Project Syndicate.
“The Passing of F. Allen ‘Tex’ Harris,”  February 2020, The American Foreign Service Association; Matt Schudel, “‘Tex’ Harris, U.S. Diplomat Who Exposed Human Rights Abuses in Argentina, Dies at 81,”  February 29, 2020, The Washington Post; Marten Edward Anderson, “The Legacy of Late State Department Human Rights Champion Tex Harris Reverberates Today,”  March 3, 2020, Just Security.
“2020 Walter Roberts Lecture [Joseph S. Nye, Jr.]: Video and Photos,”  80 minutes, February 10, 2020, Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, GWU.
Anubhav Roy, “The Trouble With India’s Soft Power Apparatus,”  February 28, 2020, The Diplomat.
Michael Rubin, “How to Make the U.S. State Department Great Again,”  February 17, 2020, The National Interest.
Kori Schake, “The State Department’s Dysfunction Predates Pompeo,”  January 31, 2020, Bloomberg Opinion.
Vivian S. Walker, “Geopolitical Illiteracy and Public Diplomacy,”  March 2, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.
Jian (Jay) Wang, “Why Dubai World Expo Matters,”  February 11, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.
Robin Wright, “Ambassador Bill Taylor on Impeachment, Russia, and the Law of the Jungle,”  February 8, 2020, The New Yorker.
Gem From The Past 
 
Kenneth A. Osgood and Brian C. Etheridge, eds., The United States and Public Diplomacy: New Directions in Cultural and International History,  (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2010).  Don’t be misled by the title.  Half of the chapters in this volume assess the public diplomacy of countries other than the United States.  Ten years on, this compilation is worth another look.  The scholarship overall is excellent.  The essays combine informed theoretical concepts and historical perspective with careful empirical research.  Prominent themes include relations between cultural diplomacy and civil society, ethnic groups as agents and targets of public diplomacy, the impact of domestic politics and public diplomacy programs, public diplomacy as an instrument of power, and the roles of private individuals and non-state actors.  Four chapters, in particular, stand out.
— Osgood (Colorado School of Mines) and Etheridge (Kennesaw State University), “Introduction: The New International History Meets the New Cultural History: Public Diplomacy and U.S. Foreign Relations.”
— Jessica C.E. Gienow-Hecht (Free University of Berlin), “The Anomaly of the Cold War: Cultural Diplomacy and Civil Society Since 1850.”
— Giles Scott-Smith (Leiden University), “Networks of Influence: US Exchange Programs and Western Europe in the 1980s.”
— Justin Hart (Texas Tech University), “Foreign Relations as Domestic Affairs: The Role of the ‘Public’ in the Origins of U.S. Public Diplomacy.”

Issue #99

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 reformtolerance and pluralismself-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.

Panel of speakers at the First Monday Forum

Issue #98

Zahid Shahab Ahmed, Silada Rojratanakiat, and Soravis Taekasem, “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Social Media: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Tweets from Pakistan,” USC Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Perspectives, October 2019.  Ahmed (Deakin University, Australia), Rojratanakiat and Taekasem (University of Southern California) use critical discourse analysis to investigate how the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was framed in social media (primarily Twitter) during the first six months of 2015.  They conclude that most top Twitter handles originated in Pakistan’s government ministries.  They promoted not just the CPEC but also China’s positive intentions toward Pakistan.  These accounts also used Twitter to counter Indian critiques of CPEC.  Negative tweets originated in India and opposition parties in Pakistan.  Neutral tweets originated from news media in Pakistan and India.  Overall, nearly half of the tweets in their data set were positive on CPEC.

Franklin Foer, “Victor Orban’s War on Intellect,”  The Atlantic, June 2019, 66-72.  Atlantic staff writer Foer describes the successful campaign waged by Hungary’s populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban against Central European University (CEU).  Founded by financier George Soros and accredited in both Hungary and the US, CEU has at last succumbed to Orban’s relentless attacks on its legal status and academic freedom.  Soros and CEU’s rector Michael Ignatieff are moving CEU to Vienna.  Foer tells a complicated story.  The Orban government’s tactics against Soros and the university.  Soros and Ignatieff’s unsuccessful efforts to work out a solution.  State Department Assistant Secretary A. Wess Mitchell’s request that CEU be allowed to stay.  The Trump administration’s cuts in US assistance to free media in Hungary.  Trump’s political Ambassador to Hungary David Cornstein’s handwringing over CEU’s fate coupled with his firm unwillingness to let CEU’s departure affect US relations with Orban.  The Embassy PAO’s distress at the Ambassador’s lack of sensitivity to CEU’s plight.  And concerns about the implications for CEU of Austria’s right wing turn.

Glenn S. Gerstell, “I Work for N.S.A. We Cannot Afford to Lose the Digital Revolution,”  The New York Times, September 10, 2019.  The National Security Agency’s General Council warns of four technological threats with profound near term implications for government agencies.  First, “the unprecedented scale and pace of technological change will outstrip our ability to effectively adapt to it.”  Second, we face “ceaseless and pervasive cyberinsecurity and cyber conflict against nation-states, businesses and individuals.”  Third, an extraordinary flood of economic and political data about human and machine activity will transform the relationship between government and the private sector.  Fourth, the digital revolution has potential to do pernicious harm to the legitimacy and stability of governmental and societal structures.  Gerstell examines the combined effects of these trends, which he calls a “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”  (Courtesy of Barry Fulton)

Natalia Grincheva and Robert Kelley, “Special Issue: Non-Western Non-State Diplomacy,”  The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Volume 14, Issue 3, June 2019.  In this important compilation, Grincheva (The University of Melbourne), Kelley (American University), and their co-authors move forward imaginatively on two under-researched trajectories in diplomacy studies.  First, they provide conceptual and empirical support for understanding diplomacy as an autonomous activity engaged in by NGOs, civil society activists, firms, terrorist groups, and other non-sovereign actors in addition to states.  Second, in what they identify as a “post-globalist” approach to diplomacy, their evidence is drawn from non-Western countries.  Their work seeks to recalibrate a research agenda that has favored Western diplomatic practices.  The articles in this HJD special issue are a rich repository of conceptual definitions, analytical assessments, empirical evidence, bibliographic references, and provocative claims by scholars at the cutting edge of diplomacy scholarship.

— Natalia Grincheva and Robert Kelley, “Introduction: Non-state Diplomacy from Non-Western Perspectives,”  199-208.  See annotation above.  The full text is available online.

— Iver B. Neumann (Oslo University), “Combating Euro-Centrism in Diplomatic Studies,”  209-215.  “In a rapidly globalizing world, Euro-centrism . . . is both politically unjust and scientifically unsatisfactory, since it means knowledge production proceeds according to habit rather than need.”

— R.S. Zaharna (American University), “Western Assumptions in Non-Western Public Diplomacies: Individualism and Estrangement,”  216-223.  Zaharna looks at how “unexamined assumptions may still restrict how we think and talk about public diplomacy as a global phenomenon.”  She takes a critical look at two: “the first, ‘individualism,’ comes from the US context; the second, ‘estrangement,’ originates in Western traditional diplomacy.”

— Natalia Grincheva, “Beyond State Versus Non-state Dichotomy: The State Hermitage Museum as a Russian Diplomacy ‘Hybrid,’”  225-249.  Grencheva argues that museums such as the Hermitage Museum and global network of Hermitage Foundations are a case of “hybrid” or “track one and a half” diplomacy that combine efforts of state and non-state actors.  Hermitage Foundations strengthen “Russia’s role in international culture” and facilitate “constructive dialogue with foreign partners.”

— Anna Popkova (Western Michigan University), “Non-state Diplomacy Challenges to Authoritarian States: The Open Russia Movement,”  250-271.  Popkova “uses a case study of the Open Russia movement to explore the public diplomacy potential of transnational NSAs [non-state actors] that represent domestic political opposition in non-Western authoritarian states.”

— Nur Uysal (DePaul University), “The Rise of Diasporas as Adversarial Non-state Actors in Public Diplomacy: The Turkish Case,”  272-292.  Uysal looks at diaspora public diplomacy in a case study of how an adversarial diaspora “has transformed into a non-state actor challenging the Turkish state’s legitimacy.”  She uses a “four-quadrant model” to examine relational dynamics between state and diaspora publics and Robert Entman’s cascading model to analyze media frames.

— Li Li, Xufei Chen (China Foreign Affairs University), and Elizabeth C. Hanson (University of Connecticut),“Private Think Tanks and Public-Private Partnerships in Chinese Public Diplomacy,”  293-318. Taking a “relational approach to public diplomacy,” the authors examine how private think tanks act as instruments of China’s public diplomacy.  They analyze “three cases of a hybrid form of public diplomacy that combines state agencies and non-state actors in PPPs [public-private partnerships] involving multiple stakeholders, both domestic and transnational.”

Natalia Grincheva, Global Trends in Museum Diplomacy: Post Guggenheim Developments, (Routlege, 2019).  Grincheva (University of Melbourne) make two central claims in this book.  First, museums in the 21stcentury have evolved from publicly and privately funded repositories of cultural heritage to become actors in the economic sector of culture.  Second, this transforms how we think about cultural diplomacy.  Museums with global reach are now independent, non-government diplomatic actors engaged in diplomatic activities without support from national governments.  She opens with an examination of the way states have partnered with museums to promote national cultures and support geopolitical interests.  She then turns to the way the Guggenheim Foundation is changing this model with its strategies of museum franchising and global corporatization.  Her reasoning is grounded in analysis of arguments academics and practitioners make on the merits and limitations of the Guggenheim model, examination of cultural diplomacy as “a contested academic field,” and deeply researched case studies of Russia’s Hermitage Museum and China’s K11 Art Foundation.  Grincheva’s book is a more complete statement of ideas she advanced in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy’sspecial issue on non-state diplomacy annotated above.  Scholars recently have done convincing work in developing conceptual frameworks for a polylateral diplomacy domain in which non-state actors function as independent diplomatic actors.  Their standing as diplomacy practitioners turns not on sovereignty or association with governance actors, but on assessments of their contributions to diplomacy-based outcomes perceived as legitimate in the eyes of global publics.  Grincheva’s work is a useful contribution to case studies and practitioner-oriented research needed to support these theoretical arguments.

Diana Ingenhoff and Sarah Marschlich, “Corporate Diplomacy and Political CSR: Similarities, Differences and Theoretical Implications,”  Public Relations Review, 45 (2019), 348-371.  Ingenhoff and Marschlich (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) review the literature on corporate diplomacy (CD) and political corporate social responsibility (PCSR) from the cross-disciplinary perspectives of journals in public relations, public diplomacy, general management, and business ethics.  Their goals are first to examine definitions and theories in the CD and PCSR domains and then to identify differences and commonalities underlying the two concepts.  Building on this research, they seek to redefine CD and PCSR and develop a theoretical framework for CD that integrates PCSR, international public relations, and public diplomacy.  Strengths of their article rest on their extensive literature review and discussion of conceptual issues.  Their proposed theoretical framework for corporate diplomacy, which attempts to integrate PCSR, public relations, and public diplomacy, raises many interesting and difficult issues that the authors and readers likely will agree warrant considerable further discussion and research.  (Courtesy of Kathy Fitzpatrick)

Samantha Power, The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir,  (Illustrated, 2019).  In his review,  New York Times columnist Tom Friedman states: “I can imagine a course for incoming diplomats at the State Department that would use Power’s book as a text, and the final exam question would be: ‘In 500 words or less, explain whether you identify with the younger Power or the older Power.’”  Friedman’s thought experiment nicely frames Power’s reflections on her early career as a journalist, human rights activist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide and her subsequent years as a foreign policy advisor, UN Ambassador, and idealism advocate on team Obama.  The younger Power is an unambiguous champion of “responsibility to protect,” an unstinting critic of America’s inaction in the face of the Armenian massacre, the Holocaust, Rwanda, and Bosnia.  The older Power is forced to deal with the in-house realities of White House decision-making on Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Boko Haram.  As both journalist and diplomat, her voice is consistently on the side of intervention, but her self-critical assessment avoids easy answers and fully embraces complexity.  Along the way, her memoir covers her Irish family roots, years as a Harvard student and activist, enthusiasm for baseball, challenges of a professionally engaged mother, insights on diplomatic history, moral arguments in foreign affairs, and skills she deployed in the public and private dimensions of UN diplomacy.  See also Dexter Filkins, “Damned If You Don’t: Samantha Power and the Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention,”  The New Yorker, September 16, 2019.

“Public Diplomacy in the Trump Administration,”  Panel Discussion at The Heritage Foundation, C-Span2 video streamed live on September 30 2019, (approximately 1 hour).  The Heritage Foundation’s Public Diplomacy Fellow Helle Dale moderates a panel discussion with Michele Guida, Acting Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs; Nicole Chulick, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Global Public Affairs; Matthew Lussenhop, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; and Chris Dunnett, Deputy Coordinator, Global Engagement Center, Department of State.  Panelists discuss recent organizational changes in the Department, including the creation of a new Bureau of Global Public Affairs, and related matters in US public diplomacy.

Susan Rice, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,  (Simon & Schuster, 2019).  Rice’s memoir adds to the growing abundance of evidence that US diplomacy’s public dimension is government-wide.  Although there is much of interest about her family, ancestral roots, growing up in Washington DC, education at Stanford and Oxford, and political activism, more relevant for diplomacy enthusiasts are pages of insights from her years as NSC Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, UN Ambassador, and President Obama’s National Security Advisor.  Rice’s riveting story is about policies, personalities, rivalries, organizational cultures, diplomatic strategies, and time and again about shaping public argument and perceptions.  A tiny sample: what to do about the term genocide and hate radio on Radio Mille Collines in Rwanda, Benghazi attack talking points, education for girls initiatives in Africa, communication strategies for summits and presidential trips, media and crisis management, and countless speeches, Congressional statements, dealing with leaks, press interviews, cable and Sunday talk shows – and much more.

Simon Schunz, Giles Scott-Smith, and Luk Van Langenove, “Broadening Soft Power in EU-US Relations,”  European Foreign Affairs Review, Volume 24, Issue 2 (2019), 3-19.  In this article, Schunz (College of Europe), Scott-Smith (Leiden University), and Van Langenove (Vrije University, Brussels) frame research questions for articles in this special issue of the Review  that examines the role soft power “plays and should play as a ‘glue’ holding Transatlantica together.”  Transatlantica is their term for a coherent regional political order with shared values created by the US and Europe that is being challenged from within, particularly by President Trump’s “America First” policies, and from increasing opposition by other powers to the post World War II order.  The authors refine and broaden the concept of soft power focusing on how culture, science, and education have been linked as policy fields to the exercise of soft power.  They pose research questions relating to the way actors interact in soft power domains, analysis of existing forms of interaction, and possible future areas of soft power-based interaction.  They conclude with a discussion of academic, policy, and normative implications of their findings.

Simon Schunz and Riccardo Trobbiani, “Diversity Without Unitiy: The European Union’s Cultural Diplomacy Vis-à-vis the United States,”  European Foreign Affairs Review, Volume 24, Issue 2 (2019), 43-62.  Schunz (College of Europe) and Trobbiani (United Nations University) examine the complex domain of EU cultural diplomacy in the US and make the central claim that its “severe incoherencies” derive from a “legal framework protecting state sovereignty,” promotion of member states’ national interests, and a focus on what makes Europeans distinct rather than what they have in common.  They call for a unified strategic approach to “communicating Europe” with priority attention to selected themes and policies while otherwise preserving diversity.

Giles Scott-Smith, “Transatlantic Cultural Relations, Soft Power, and the Role of US Cultural Diplomacy in Europe,”  European Foreign Affairs Review, Volume 24, Issue 2 (2019), 21-41.  Scott-Smith (Leiden University) in this contribution to the Review’s special issue (annotated above) draws on his extensive knowledge of American studies, cultural diplomacy, and transatlantic relations in this assessment of US cultural diplomacy in Europe during the Cold War and following 9/11.  His article includes a discussion of conceptual issues in cultural diplomacy and soft power, institutional and operational characteristics of US Cold War cultural diplomacy, and ways in which US cultural diplomacy was “securitized” in the 21st century.  He concludes an analysis framed largely as a 70-year history of state-based US cultural diplomacy with a brief observation that “state-led coordination of soft power assets is changing radically.”  The rise of well-endowed philanthropies and other non-state actors pursuing “their own agendas of transatlantic linkage and integration demonstrates that state-led initiatives are declining in relative importance.”  Further research and development of this argument would be welcome.

Efe Sevin, Emily Metzgar, and Craig Hayden, “The Scholarship of Public Diplomacy: Analysis of a Growing Field,”  International Journal of Communication, 13(2019), 4814-4837.  Sevin (Towson University), Metzgar (Indiana University), and Hayden (Marine Corps University), three of the most active and knowledgeable scholars in diplomacy and communication studies today, provide an excellent evidence-based survey of public diplomacy as a field of academic inquiry.  Their article (1) addresses “the challenge of drawing institutional and conceptual boundaries for research;” (2) analyzes decades of English language peer-reviewed public diplomacy articles (N = 2,124); (3) highlights trends in scholarship, patterns of topics that co-occur, and ways topics vary among countries and regions; (4) identifies and ranks journals that publish articles on public diplomacy; (5) offers thoughts on conceptual boundaries in the field drawing on high frequency concepts and topics in the literature, and (6) makes recommendations for future work.

They acknowledge limitations in their data set, particularly the absence of rich insights available in think tank and government policy reports.  Nevertheless, they reach interesting conclusions well worth ongoing discussion.  Researchers should be more receptive to insights and literature beyond their own disciplines if public diplomacy is to deserve the label cross-disciplinary.  Articles on public diplomacy have not consistently appeared in “higher tier” journals, which points to a lack of visibility and potential for future studies.  The oft-lamented absence of a unifying theory of public diplomacy may be a strength rather than a constraint.  The authors have made a valuable contribution to an area of study long challenged by definitional differences, unclear institutional and conceptual boundaries, uncertain connections with other disciplines, and a disconnect between what scholars and academic professional associations are doing and the relatively few courses and degree programs in academic institutions.

Dina Smeltz, et al. “Rejecting Retreat: Americans Support US Engagement in Global Affairs,”  The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, September 6, 2019.  In this latest survey of American public opinion, Dina Smeltz and her colleagues at the Chicago Council find that “large numbers of Americans continue to favor the foundational elements of traditional, post-World War II US foreign policy.”  (1) “Today, seven in 10 Americans (69%) say it would be best for the future of the country to take an active part in world affairs.”  (2) Solid majorities “say that preserving US military alliances with other countries (74%), maintaining US military superiority (69%), and stationing US troops in allied countries (51%) contribute to US safety.”  (3) “More Americans than ever before in Chicago Council polling endorse the benefits of international trade for the US economy (87%) and for American companies (83%).”  (4) “But the American public divides sharply along partisan lines when it comes to three threats to the United States: on immigration, climate change, and China.”  Here “the gap between Democrats and Republicans is at record highs.”

Richard Stengel, The Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It,  (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2019).  Stengel, (NBC/MSNBC analyst and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Obama administration) has written what he calls “the story of the rise of a global information war that is a threat to democracy and to America.”  He divides his story, told through his experiences at the Department of State, into three parts.  (1) An outsider’s critique of the Department’s ways and culture.  Lots of accurate and penetrating “ouch” observations.  (2) Analysis confined largely to the “information wars” and “weaponized grievance” of Russia and ISIS; an assessment of how the “US tried – and failed – to combat the global rise of disinformation;” and an America “badly damaged” by Donald Trump.  (3) Views on what should be done.  He has little to say about how government should change, although his sympathies incline to maintaining an effective Global Engagement Center, and he only occasionally mentions international exchanges.  Stengel’s reform agenda focuses on society’s role in dealing with false information.  His mixture of remedies includes a new “digital bill of rights” and optimized “transparency, accountability, privacy, self-regulation, data protection, and information literacy.”  Stengel writes as a former Time magazine editor.  Paragraph after paragraph puts you in the room with the personalities of the moment and his version of events.  Messaging and information wars dominate.  It’s the story of a journalist who came to government as a self-described “information idealist” and left as an “information realist.”   See also Richard Stengel, “We’re In the Middle of a Global Information War. Here’s What We Need to Do to Win,” Time, September 26, 2019.

US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, “Minutes and Transcript From the Quarterly Public Meeting on Public Diplomacy and the Global Public Affairs Bureau Within the Department of State,” September 4, 2019.  The Commission’s meeting focused on the Department’s recent merger of its Bureau of Public Affairs and Office of International Information programs into a Bureau of Global Public Affairs.  Participants included Commission Chair Sim Farar, Commissioners Bill Hybl and Anne Wedner, Executive Director Vivian Walker, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Michelle Giuda, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Global Public Affairs Bureau Nicole Chulick.  Presentations and Commission and audience questions addressed the Department’s reasoning and vision for the reorganization and a variety of operational issues.

Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest

Matt Armstrong, “The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs: an Updated Incumbency Chart and Some Background,”  August 26, 2019, Mountainrunner.us.

Martha Bayles, “Hollywood’s Great Leap Backward on Free Expression,”  September 15, 2019, The Atlantic.

Peter Beinart, “Obama’s Idealists [Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Ben Rhodes]: American Power in Theory and Practice,”  November/December 2019, Foreign Affairs.

The First Monday Forum: “After the Merger: Public Diplomacy At State” with Ambassadors Cynthia Efird, Kenton Keith, Jean Manes, and USAGM’s Shawn Powers. A discussion of the merger of USIA and public diplomacy into the U.S. State Department in 1999.  Produced by the Public Diplomacy Council, the Public Diplomacy Association of America, USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy and hosted in cooperation with George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs – October 7, 2019.

Corneliu Bjola, “Diplomacy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence,”  October 31, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.

William J. Burns, “The Demolition of U.S. Diplomacy: Not Since Joe McCarthy Has the State Department Suffered Such a Devastating Blow,”  October 14, 2019, Foreign Affairs.

Michael Carpenter and Spencer P. Boyer, “Americans and Russians Should be Friends – Even If Their Countries Aren’t,”  October 14, 2019, Foreign Policy.

Nicholas J. Cull, “Expo Diplomacy 2020: Why the U.S. Needs to Go Back to the Future,”  September 19, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.

Christopher Datta, “Foreign Service Resignations: Why I Stayed,”  September 2019, American Diplomacy.

Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, “A Love Letter to the State Department. Why I Stay. Yes Even Now,”  September 18, 2019, The New York Times.

Andreas Fulda, “Chinese Propaganda Has No Place on Campus: Universities Can’t Handle Confucius Institutes Responsibly. The State Should Step In,”  October 15, 2019, Foreign Policy.

Philip Gordon and Daniel Fried, “The Other Ukraine Scandal: Trump’s Threats To Our Ambassador Who Wouldn’t Bend,”   September 27, 2019, The Washington Post.

Robbie Gramer and Amy Mackinnon, “Pompeo’s State Department Reels as Impeachment Inquiry Sinks Morale,”  October 11, 2019,  Foreign Policy.

Robbie Gramer, “Career Diplomats Fear Trump Retaliation Over Ukraine,”  October 24, 2019, Foreign Policy.

Bruce Gregory, “Memories of Lou Olom (1917-2019),”  September 29, 2019, Public Diplomacy Council; September 28, 2019, Public Diplomacy Association of America. 

Anemona Hartocollis, “International Students Face Hurdles Under Trump Administration Policy,”  August 28, 2019, The New York Times.

David Ignatius, “Why America Is Losing the Information War to Russia,”  September 3, 2019, The Washington Post.

“Iraq Suspends US-funded Broadcaster Al Hurra Over Graft Investigation,”  September 2, 2019, Reuters

Quinta Jurecic, “The Lawfare Podcast: Introducing the Arbiters of Truth,”  October 31, 2019, Lawfare.

Joe B. Johnson, “After the Merger: Public Diplomacy 20 Years After USIA,”  October 11, 2019; Public Diplomacy Council Blog; Panel discussion with Ambassadors Cynthia Efird, Kenton Keith, and Jean Manes and USAGM’s Shawn Powers, “First Monday” Forum, October 7, 2019,  90 minute Youtube video.

Ilan Manor, “Power in the 21st Century: The Banality of Soft Power,”  October 21, 2019; “Power in the 21stCentury: A Reconceptualization of Soft Power,”  October 28, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.

Bethany Milton, “My Final Break With the Trump State Department,”  August 26, 2019, The New York Times.

Ryan Moore, “Propaganda Maps to Strike Fear, Inform, and Mobilize – A Special Collection in the Geography and Map Division,”  September 25, 2019, Library of Congress Blog.

Leila Nazarian, “Nonprofit Art Organizations as Credible Actors in Cultural Diplomacy,”  September 5, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.

Christina Nemr and Will Gangware, “The Complicated Truth of Countering Disinformation,”  September 20, 2019, War on the Rocks.

Scott Pelley, “Brain Trauma Suffered By U.S. Diplomats Abroad Could Be Work of Hostile Foreign Government,”  September 1, 2019, CBS 60 Minutes; Brit McCandless Farmer, “Is An Invisible Weapon Targeting U.S. Diplomats,”  September 1, 2019, 60 Minutes Overtime.

Sudarsan Raghavan, “Egypt Expands Its Crackdown to Target Foreigners, Journalists and Even Children,”  October 30, 2019, The Washington Post.

Erich J. Sommerfeldt and Alexander Buhmann, “The Status Quo of Evaluation in Public Diplomacy: Insights from the US State Department,”  April 2019, Journal of Communication Management.

Bridget Sprott, “The Next Phase of PD: Instagram Diplomacy,”  October 3, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.

Louisa Thomas, “The N.B.A. and China and the Myths of Sports Diplomacy,”  October 22, 2019, The New Yorker.

“USAGM Board of Governors Announces CEO For Interim Period,”  September 25, 2019, US Agency for Global Media.

Layne Vandenberg, “Sports Diplomacy: The Case of the Two Koreas,”  October 10, 2019, The Diplomat.

Menachem Wecker, “Why the Baroque Politeness of Diplomatic Notes is What the World Needs Now,”  August 19, 2019, The Washington Post Magazine.

Li Yuan, “China’s Soft Power Failure: Condemning Hong Kong’s Protests,”  August 20, 2019, The New York Times.

Gem From The Past 

Kathy R. Fitzpatrick, The Future of Public Diplomacy: An Uncertain Fate, (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2010).  It’s coming up on ten years since the publication of American University Professor Kathy Fitzpatrick’s book on US public diplomacy.  Much has changed since then, but her scholarship continues to illuminate.  She combines insights grounded in her study of public relations theory with extensive research in secondary sources on public diplomacy and a 15-page survey completed by 213 retired public diplomacy professionals and members of the USIA Alumni Association (recently renamed the Public Diplomacy Association of America).  Her methods and observations are an excellent example of how diplomacy studies benefit from greater attention to what practitioners think and do and how practitioners gain from more explicit theorizing about their work.  Examples appear throughout the book.  A chapter on commonalities and differences between nation branding and public diplomacy remains an excellent, teachable summary of concepts and practices.  Likewise her chapter on measuring success in public diplomacy evaluation.  And her assessment of improvements needed in skill sets and recruitment practices.  Most of the diplomats interviewed served during the Cold War and after – before the transformational changes in today’s political, media, and global issues context.  Scholars might well consider interviewing a successor generation of recent retirees to analyze changes and continuities.

Issue #97

Nick M. Brown, “The Peace Corps: Overview and Issues,” Congressional Reference Service, RS21168, updated June 26, 2019.  This report, written with CRS’s usual balance and analytical precision, examines origins, objectives, activities, and current issues confronting the Peace Corps – described as “an agency of both international development and public diplomacy” that sends more than 7,000 American volunteers abroad annually to promote “world peace and friendship” at the grassroots level in 61 countries.  Key issues include: (1) reductions in funding and volunteer participation, (2) failure to enact Peace Corps authorization legislation since 1999, (3) challenges in recruiting generalists and highly skilled professionals, (4) tradeoffs between development and public diplomacy goals, (5) the future of “Peace Corps Response” (a small program that recruits older volunteers), (6) streamlined recruitment and country assignment procedures, (7) systematic project development and evaluation, (8) volunteer safety and security, (9) systems for addressing sexual assaults on volunteers, (10) evacuation and program closure procedures, (11) volunteer health care during and after service abroad, (12) contested provisions on abortions in volunteer health benefit plans, (13) implementation of “third goal” activities that promote American’s understanding of other peoples, (14) post-service benefit legislation, (15) strengths and limitations of the five year rule for most Peace Corps staff, (16) partnerships with corporations and federal agencies, and (17) a proposed Peace Corps commemorative site in the District of Columbia.

“Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada’s Foreign Policy,” The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa, Canada, 2019.  This 102-page report focuses on realizing “the full potential of cultural diplomacy” as a central pillar in Canada’s foreign policy.  It is based on extensive hearings the Senate Committee held with scholars, practitioners in cultural and arts communities, and officials in Canada and other countries.  Its key recommendations call for: (1) Canada’s government to develop and implement a cultural diplomacy strategy that articulates objectives, roles and responsibilities, and identifies necessary budget resources; (2) greater collaboration with Canada’s provinces, territories, and municipalities; (3) development of performance measures to assess short-term and long-term results; (4) enhanced skills, knowledge, and tools to increase the cultural diplomacy capacity of Canada’s foreign missions and increased training for employees; and (5) creation of a modernized Canadian Studies Program. The report includes detailed discussions of the practice and benefits of cultural diplomacy as a category of foreign affairs practice, graphics, statistics on expenditures, and extensive bibliographic references.

William Davies, Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason,  (W.W. Norton & Company, 2019).  Davies (University of London) rests his central argument on two important 17th-century binaries – mind and body, war and peace — that he contends have weakened during the past century.  He argues regarding the former that  “advances in neuroscience have elevated the brain over the mind as the main way we understand ourselves, showing the importance of emotion and physiology to all decision-making.”  Regarding the latter, new forms of violence (cyber warfare, non-state aggression) blur differences between war and law enforcement.  In intermediate gray zones, Davies asserts, “lie nervous states, individuals and governments living in a state of constant and heightened alertness, relying increasingly on feeling rather than fact.”  Experts and reason matter less; popular sentiment and emotion matter more. His book connects historical patterns with assessments of current phenomena: crowd behavior, the power of contagion, politics as virus, weaponizing everyday objects (cars, planes, and Facebook), narratives that account for suffering, public argument as a form of warfare, propaganda, language as a tool for domination, and uses and abuses of big data.  More facts and reason won’t suffice, Davies writes in a brief concluding chapter.  Experts and political leaders must pay more attention to the role of feelings in politics; understand voices of fear, pain, and resentment; “rediscover the political capacity to make simple, realistic, and life-changing promises;” generate policies predicated on treating everyone equally; and connect their words with experiences of citizens.  The considerable strengths of this book are its insights into how we got here; more from Davies on implications of his call for greater attention to emotion going forward would be welcome.

Larry Diamond, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency, (Penguin Press, 2019).  Diamond (Stanford University), a leading scholar in democracy studies, examines the halt in democracy’s expansion propelled by elected leaders acting as agents of democratic destruction (Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Kenya, Tanzania) and a wave of illiberal populism (Hungary, Poland, Brazil, the Philippines, and the United States).  His causal factors include macro-trends creating anxiety over immigration and economic inequality, disastrous US interventions in the Middle East, President Trump’s embrace of dictators and disregard for democratic norms, and China and Russia’s use of “sharp power” to erode the integrity of civic and political institutions in democracies.  His prescriptions: (1) recognize there is no technical fix for democracy promotion, (2) undertake a long-term effort with innovative and transparent methods in a new global contest of values and ideas, (3) reject turning inward and closing doors to foreigners, and (4) return to a democracy at home worthy of emulation.

Diamond urges Americans to reboot and greatly expand US “public diplomacy for democracy.”  His proposals include (1) more Fulbright scholarships and other exchange programs, (2) expanded and accelerated US broadcasting, (3) achieving the promise of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center without “adopting the penchant for falsehood of the Kremlin and Trump,” (4) mass-produced democracy content flash drives, (5) translations of classic and modern works on democracy into multiple languages, and (6) new tools to open access to the internet in autocratic countries.  Diamond endorses calls to create a “USIA on steroids,” quickly observing, however, that reviving a government entity “is never an easy political lift.”  Like others in this terrain, he fails to discuss whether and how such an entity would be a good fit for 21st century whole of government diplomacy.  See also Larry Diamond, “Democracy Demotion: How the Freedom Agenda Fell Apart,”  Foreign Affairs, July/August 2019, pp. 17-25.

Kathy Fitzpatrick, Candace L. White, and Lindsey M. Bier, “C-suite Perspectives on Corporate Diplomacy as a Component of Public Diplomacy,”  Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, May 2019.  Fitzpatrick (American University), White (University of Tennessee), and Bier (University of Southern California) examine how corporate executives understand the concept and practice of so-called “corporate diplomacy” and the potential for public-private public diplomacy partnerships.  Based on their interviews, the authors reach two broad conclusions.  (1) Corporate communication officers have little interest in promoting national images, cultures, and values among foreign publics, and they perceive no obligation to support government public diplomacy objectives.  Rather they seek to advance economic self-interest through creation of corporate identities and brands, and development of beneficial operating environments. (2) Nevertheless, opportunities exist for public diplomats to collaborate with corporations on issues that serve public and corporate interests such as food safety, education, disaster relief, and health care.  Their article contains a literature review, analysis of relevant concepts and definitions in both corporate and diplomacy domains, assessments of implications of their findings, and suggestions for future research.

Greg Grandin, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America,  (Metropolitan Books, 2019).  The myth of endless promise in an apparently limitless frontier, Yale University historian Grandin writes, has long served as an explanation of US power and wealth, a safety valve for its social problems, and a foundation for Americans’ belief in their exemption from “nature’s limits, society’s burdens, and history’s ambiguities.”  But now the frontier has closed.  Expansion is no longer a viable symbol and solution. Donald Trump’s border wall, whether or not it is built, is an illusion that both recognizes and refuses limits, “an allegorical tombstone marking the end of American exceptionalism.” Time will tell whether Grandin’s thesis holds – and the extent to which a culture rooted in British colonial expansion and the primacy of individual, inherent rights survives demographic and social change.  But he has written a sweeping and compelling account of America’s expansion: its wars, materialism, militarism, racism, displacement of indigenous peoples, politics, and foreign policies.  Diplomacy scholars and practitioners who rightly lament America’s relative inattention to diplomacy and vastly disproportionate budgets for hard power instruments will find an abundance of explanations in Grandin’s insights and ideas.

Ellen Huijgh, Public Diplomacy at Home: Domestic Dimensions,  (Brill, Nijhoff, 2019).  Ellen Huijgh’s pioneering scholarship led the way to a new and deeper understanding of the domestic dimensions of public diplomacy as practiced by state, sub-state, and civil society actors. Her publications include numerous articles, editing and co-authoring a special edition of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy on “The Domestic Dimensions of Public Diplomacy,”  and co-editing the Oxford Bibliographies Online 2013 edition of Public Diplomacy.  She was affiliated with the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ and a non-resident fellow at the University of California’s Center on Public Diplomacy.  Her innovative work, transnational and cross-cultural, provides a foundation for future scholarship and debate on her thought-provoking ideas.  Many thanks to Jan Melissen, Series Editor, Brill Diplomatic Studies, and Brill’s Irene Van Rossum for compiling this collection of her publications.  Ellen was a friend and valued colleague of many readers of this list.  Her untimely death in 2018 cut short a promising career, but she left us with important publications, valuable insights, and practice-oriented concepts that continue to gain traction.

Marian L. Lawson and Susan B. Epstein, “Democracy Promotion: An Objective of US Foreign Assistance,” Congressional Reference Service, CRS Report, R44858, updated January 4, 2019.  CRS analysts Lawson and Epstein offer a concise and clearly written overview of democracy promotion activities funded by Congress and carried out by the State Department, USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and other entities. Their report provides a succinct history of US democracy assistance, the roles of federal agencies and NED, past and present funding breakdowns by agency and categories of assistance, and key arguments made by democracy promotion’s critics and advocates. They conclude with brief assessments of issues for Congress to consider: the low priority given to democracy promotion by the Trump administration and the President’s frequent high praise for authoritarian regimes, proposed deep cuts in funding, effectiveness and oversight concerns, advantages and disadvantages of direct (USAID) and indirect (NED) approaches, the benefits of projecting democratic values relative to support for security and economic interests, and the implications of alternative governance models such as China’s “authoritarian capitalism.”

New Approaches to International History Series, Bloomsbury Academic.  Edited by Thomas Zeiler (University of Colorado Boulder), this series focuses on new developments in international history “such as the cultural turn and transnationalism, as well as the classical high politics of state-centric policymaking and diplomatic relations.” The texts are written particularly for upper-level undergraduate and graduate-level students.  Recent titles include: Michael L. Krenn,  The History of United States Cultural Diplomacy, (2017); Daniel Gorman,  International Cooperation in the Early Twentieth Century, (2019); Osamah F. Khalil, ed.,  United States Relations With China and Iran: Toward the Asian Century, (2019); and Asa McKercher, Canada and the World,  (2019).  Titles forthcoming in 2020 include Cyrus Schayegh, ed., Globalizing the U.S. Presidency: Postcolonial Views of John F. Kennedy, and Daniel Hucker, Public Opinion and 20th-Century Diplomacy.  (Courtesy of Louis Clerc).

Peter Pomerantsev, This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, (PublicAffairs, 2019).  Pomerantsev (London School of Economics) follows his acclaimed Nothing is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia (2014) with this global survey of what he describes as a “world of influence operations run amok, where dark ads, psyops, hacks, bots, soft facts, ISIS, Putin, trolls, and Trump seek to shape our very reality.”  Woven into his narrative are memories of his dissident parents’ difficulties with the KGB in the Soviet Union, their emigration to West Germany and the United Kingdom, where his father worked with Radio Free Europe and the BBC World Service.  His book combines memoir; stories of encounters with disparate actors seeking to weaponize information in Odessa, Manila, Mexico City, New Jersey, and elsewhere; and insights gleaned from his search for “sparks of sense” to present to “representatives of the waning Liberal Democratic Order.”

“Review of Allegations of Politicized and Improper Personnel Practices in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs,” Office of Inspector General (OIG), US Department of State, August 2019.  State’s OIG reports on inappropriate practices in Department’s IO Bureau that “included disrespectful and hostile treatment of employees, accusations against and harassment of career employees premised on claims that they were ‘disloyal’ based on their perceived political views, and retaliation associated with conflicts of interest.”  The OIG also found numerous employees had raised concerns.  Department officials “counseled IO leadership,” but Assistant Secretary for IO, Kevin Moley, “did not take significant action to respond to such concerns.”  See also Colum Lynch and Robbie Graemer, “State Department Watchdog Censures Two Trump Appointees for Harassing Career Staffers,”  August 15, 2019, Foreign Policy; Alison Durkee, “Investigation Finds Political Purge Inside Trump’s State Department,”   August 16, 2019, Vanity Fair.

Sophia Rosenfeld, “Truth and Consequences,”  The Hedgehog Review, Summer 2019, 18-24.  Rosenfeld (University of Pennsylvania) makes every word count in this elegant essay on episodic struggles over what constitutes truth and who gets to say so.  Messy disagreements leading to minimal agreement on what reality looks like have been baked into democratic politics since the origins of modern democracy in the 18th century.  Today’s “truth” crisis is not new to the extent it rests on contests over what constitutes “serviceable truth” between cohorts with different relationships to knowledge and virtue – elites enabled by education, training, and varieties of privilege and “real” people informed by faith, instinct, and practical experience.  What is new is the growing inability of people in epistemic tribes, fueled by information hyper-abundance, to agree that truth, however elusive, matters as collective aspiration.  She pleas for determined effort, within a framework of pluralism, “to find some elemental convictions about the nature of reality that we can hold in common.”

Kori Schake, “Back to Basics: How to Make Right What Trump Gets Wrong,”  Foreign Affairs, May/June 2019, 36-43.  In this essay, Schake (International Institute for Strategic Studies), after general observations on grand strategy, offers thoughts on “diplomacy done right.”  Her recipe for change: (1) return to incorporating liberal values in foreign policy; (2) set up allies to succeed and give them credit when they do; (3) stop “fetishizing” the military and its mission creep in diplomacy based on a vast resource advantage; and (4) implement a major overhaul of the Department of State. Schake’s brief list of interesting ideas on recruitment, training, and overseas deployment at State call for elaboration and debate.

Paul Sharp, Diplomacy in the 21st Century: A Brief Introduction, (Routledge, 2019).  Sharp (University of Minnesota Duluth) has written a clear, teachable, and valuable book.  His intent is twofold: (1) to explain diplomacy, its origins, concepts, and practice, and (2) to advocate for the increasing importance of diplomats and their work today.  In part one, he provides basic ideas about diplomacy as a distinct form of human relations, entities and people that engage in diplomacy, why diplomats matter, and principles of diplomatic practice and success.  He develops a core distinction between diplomacy of managing relations and the diplomacy of solving problems.  In today’s uncertain world, he argues, we need greater attention to the diplomacy of relations.  In part two, after a short discourse on the risks of using “bad” as an evaluative term in assessing moral character, professional competence and consequences for others in diplomacy, he discusses the diplomacy of bad leaders, bad media, and bad followers.  In part three, he concludes with an assessment of diplomacy and bad diplomats.

Particularly useful is his treatment of how public diplomacy responds to increasingly differentiated publics and the disaggregated state – and the dissolution of boundaries between public diplomacy, diplomacy, international relations, and domestic relations.  Sharp draws on foundational ideas in his masterful pioneering study, Diplomatic Theory of International Relations (2009).  His new book puts his theoretical ideas in a form that is highly accessible to undergraduate and graduate students and to practitioners in diplomacy training courses: fresh prose, enumerated learning objectives, a glossary of terms, and numerous boxed illustrative cases, most drawn from today’s issues.  Sharp and other diplomacy scholars are providing excellent instructional material.  If only IR and communication departments could overcome their pervasive reluctance to offer courses on diplomacy as a field of study and practice.  If only.

“Strengthening the Department of State,” The American Academy of Diplomacy, May 2019.  This 73-page report, drafted by Robert M. Beecroft and John Naland, the Academy (self-described as an “association of former US senior ambassadors and high-level government officials”) looks at ways to “better identify, recruit, train, support, equip, and protect State’s people.”  In contrast to previous reports that focused primarily on the Foreign Service and what it describes as the “traditional work of diplomats – policy recommendations, reporting, and negotiations,” the Academy focuses here on the State Department’s “rigid, frustrating” Civil Service system.  One key recommendation is a pilot project to create “an excepted rank-in-person model for part of the Civil Service,” with “up or out” promotion criteria, which would be “supplemented by robust rotation and development policies, a more meaningful evaluation process, and mandatory leadership training.” (Although sensitive to the need for employee buy-in for this pilot project, the report makes no mention of USIA’s attempt in the 1970s to create a mandatory “up or out” system for its Civil Service employees, which the Agency eventually terminated after successful litigation by its employee union.)  The report also makes recommendations to strengthen three categories of Foreign Service Specialists: office management, information technology, and diplomatic security.  Importantly, the Academy renews its compelling recommendation made for career-long professional education for Foreign Service and Civil Service employees, comparable to what is required by the military, the law, and “every other endeavor with a claim to professionalism.”

“USAGM 2018 Annual Report,”  August 2019, US Agency for Global Media (USAGM).  This report from the rebranded USAGM (formerly the Broadcasting Board of Governors) provides information on the programs, audience levels, budgets, strategies, and media environments of the federal Agency’s five networks: Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.  According to USAGM’s CEO John Lansing, USAGM “made the most significant progress yet in our transformation into a modern and nimble media enterprise.”  In a report long on proclaimed achievements and short on critical self-examination, Lansing gives particular emphasis to “our largest audience growth ever – a jump from 278 million in 2017 to a total of 345 million in 2018.” For a thoughtful critique of USAGM’s presentation of its audience numbers, see Kim Andrew Elliott, “The USAGM Audience Increase: Less Startling Than Meets the Eye,”  March 27, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.

Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest

Phillip C. Arceneaux, “Information Intervention: The Mending of a Fractured Paradigm,”  July 22, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.

Erin Banco, “Influence Peddling, Double-Dealing, and Trumpworld Swampmen: How U.S. Plans for the World’s Fair Fell Apart,”  August 20, 2019, Daily Beast.

Martha Bayles, “Reality Made Me Do It,”  Summer 2019, The Hedgehog Review.

Corneliu Bjola, “How Digital Propaganda May Affect EU Elections 2019: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,”  May 21, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.

“Bureau of Global Public Affairs,”  2019, US Department of State; Joe Johnson, “Evolution of Public Diplomacy One Mutation at a Time,”  April 15, 2019, Public Diplomacy Council; “Carol Morello, “State Department to Take a Step Into the Digital Age in Effort to Counter Disinformation,”  April 12, 2019, The Washington Post.

“The Competition for Collaboration,”  May 2019; “The Shape of Global Higher Education: International Comparisons With Europe,”  May 2019, British Council.

“Congressional International Exchange and Study Caucus,”  Dear Colleague Letter, Reps. James A. Himes and Robert W. Bishop,” August 2019, Courtesy of Alliance for International Exchange.

“A Europe That Protects: EU Reports on Progress in Fighting Disinformation Ahead of European Council,”  June 14, 2019, Press Release, European Commission.

“Foreign Relations Reauthorization: Background and Issues,” June 27, 2019, In Focus, Congressional Research Service.  CRS, June 2109

Cory R. Gill and Edward J. Collins-Chase, “U.S. Overseas Diplomatic Presence: Background and Issues for Congress,”  June 6, 2019, IF 11242, Congressional Reference Service.

Susan Glasser, “Mike Pompeo, The Secretary of Trump,”  August 19, 2019, The New Yorker.

Robbie Gramer, “Diplomats Losing Out to Trump Picks for Top Spots,”  August 15, 2019, Foreign Policy.

Erica L. Green, “Visa Delays at Backlogged Immigration Service Strand International Students,”  June 16, 2019, The New York Times.

Naima Green-Riley, “Huawei’s ‘Teachable Moment’ on Public Diplomacy,”  May 21, 2019, Geopolitical Monitor.

Alan Heil, “A Struggle for Minds in Closed Societies: a Radio Free Asia Update,”  August 12, 2019, Public Diplomacy Council.

“H.R. 2159: Public Diplomacy Modernization Act of 2019,”  April 9, 2019, Govtrack.us.

“H.R. 3571: City and State Diplomacy Act,”  June 27, 2019, Govtrack.us.

Dan Hurley, “Was It An Invisible Attack on U.S. Diplomats or Something Stranger,”   May 15, 2019, The New York Times Magazine.

Lynda Jessup, “Cultural Diplomacy: Bridging the Study-Practice Gap,”  June 4, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Olga Krasnyak, “Strategizing Science Diplomacy,”  May 16, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center for Public Diplomacy.

Richard Lebaron and Sarah Aljishi, “The Decline of MENA Students Coming to the United States: Why That’s a Problem,”  June 13, 2019, Atlantic Council.

Ilan Manor, “How America Uses Instagram to Indict Iran,”  July 5, 2019, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.

Jacob McCarty, “Cities Are The Future: We Need To Coordinate Their International Diplomacy,”  July 29, 2019, The Hill.

Tom McTague and Prashant Rao, “Leaks Are Changing How Diplomats Talk,”  July 18, 2019, The Atlantic.

Carol Morello, “Some U.S. Embassies Still Hoisting Rainbow Flags Despite Advisory From Washington,”  June 8, 2019, The Washington Post.

Matias J. Ocner and Nora Gamez Torres, “Doctors Found Changes in the Brains of Diplomats Allegedly Attacked in Havana,”  July 23, 2019, The Miami Herald.

Chuck Park, “I Can No Longer Justify Being a Part of Trump’s ‘Complacent State.’ So I’m Resigning,”  August 8, 2019, The Washington Post.

James Pamment, “Sports Stars & Soft Power: New Takes on Sports Diplomacy,”  April 13, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy; “Special Issue: Sports Diplomacy,” September 2019, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy.

Champa Patel, “Embrace Soft Power (But Recognize Its Limits),”  June 12, 2019, Chatham House.

“Rethinking America’s Approach to the World,”  August 18, 2019, Editorial, The New York Times.

Kori N. Schake and Brent McGurk, “Compete With China? Support a GI Bill for Diplomacy,”  May 13, 2019, The Washington Post.

Rod Schoonover, “The White House Blocked My Report on Climate Change and National Security,”  July 30, 2019, The New York Times.

Lara Seligman, “US Military Slashes Foreign-Language Training: The Cut To Immersion Programs Comes As the Pentagon Redirects Resources To Trump’s Border Wall and Reduces America’s Troop Presence Overseas,”  May 13, 2019, Foreign Policy.

Neely Tucker, “Inquiring Minds: Ryan Semmes (Re journals of US diplomat Benjamin Moran, 1853-1874),”  June 17, 2019, Library of Congress Blog; “Benjamin Moran Journals, 1851-1875,”  Library of Congress Manuscript/Mixed Formats (Collection).

Elizabeth Warren, “Revitalizing Diplomacy: A 21st Century Foreign Service,”  June 28, 2019; Rishka Dugyala, “How Elizabeth Warren Would Bolster US Diplomacy,”  June 28, 2019, Politico.

Huizhong Wu, “Move Over Trump: China’s Tweeting Diplomats Open Fresh Front in Propaganda Fight,”  July 16, 2019, Reuters.

Gem From The Past  

Thomas Carothers, Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve, (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1999).  Carothers, the Carnegie Endowment’s Vice-President for Studies, has long been a leading authority on democracy promotion, human rights, and governance.  As the above reading list shows, democratization today faces strong “ill winds” in a liberal world order now under assault from creeping authoritarianism and viral strains of populism grounded in nativism and grievance politics.  Two decades ago, Aiding Democracy Abroad was a landmark addition to Carothers’ many books and articles that combine penetrating arms-length analysis with deep knowledge of the work of US practitioners (notably USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, and its grantees) and democracy practitioners abroad.  Its insights, developed at the crest of democracy’s so-called “third wave,” still illuminate.  Carothers steers a path between democratization’s skeptics and uncritical enthusiasts.  He examines historical patterns and the strategies, tools, and methods used by government and civil society practitioners.  Case studies support his evidence-based assessments of conceptual shortcomings and lessons learned from hands-on experience.  Democratization’s context has changed substantially, but Carothers’s persuasive call for democratizers to pay heed to power and interests – from perspectives “based on idealistic aspirations tempered by realistic considerations” – remains highly relevant.

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