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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.

Alison Baily, “Teaching for Peace: Education in Conflict and Recovery,” British Council, 2019.  This 25-page report by the British Council’s Alison Baily examines challenges facing international education providers, governments supporting international development, national governments in fragile and conflict-affected states, and international NGOs.  The report is based on research the Council commissioned from the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security, and Justice at Queens University Belfast.  Her findings and recommendations address ways in which education can help with long-term recovery from effects of lost years of education, displaced workers, psychological trauma, and divisions within communities.  The full report can be downloaded from the link.
 
Bianca Baumler, “EU Public Diplomacy: Adapting to an Ever-Changing World,”  CPD Perspectives, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Paper 2, April 2019.  Baumler (EU consultant and former EU communications officer in Syria and Ukraine) examines reputational, structural, and procedural challenges in the European Union’s public diplomacy.  Her paper focuses on the EU’s Global Strategy; tools and methods of the European External Action Service; case studies of the EU’s public diplomacy in Ukraine, Indonesia, and Hong Kong; social media analytics and qualitative evaluation alternatives; and the value of outsourcing some public diplomacy work to public relations and communications professionals.  She concludes with discussion of eight recommendations for diplomacy practitioners.  
 
William J. Burns, The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal, (Random House, 2019).  Retired Ambassador Burns (Carnegie Endowment) provides an account of US diplomacy abroad and diplomatic politics in Washington during his tenure as one of the most distinguished and consequential career diplomats of his generation.  The strengths of this book are considerable: Burns’ firsthand insights into the diplomacy and off-stage politics of the first Gulf War, the Iraq war decision and its consequences, Putin’s rise to power, the Arab Spring and its aftermath, Obama’s Libya and Syria policies, secret negotiations with Iranian diplomats in Oman on Iran’s nuclear program, and his views on a strategy after President Trump’s “nasty brew of belligerent unilateralism, mercantilism, and unreconstructed nationalism.”  Burns also provides compelling arguments for resisting overreliance on military tools and reinvention of US diplomacy.  He calls for updated skills and sharper focus on 21st century issues (technology, economics, energy, and climate) and for serious institutional changes in the State Department’s rigid personnel systems, lumbering deliberative processes, risk aversion, and fortress embassies.  But readers will look in vain for more than trace mentions of diplomacy’s public dimension, the impact of social media, and tools and methods required to engage publics as well as governments.  Burns’ diplomacy truly is “back channel,” which stands in contrast to the memoirs and practices of other top diplomats of his generation (Christopher Hill, Richard Holbrooke, Nicholas Burns, Robert Ford, Michael McFaul, Wendy Sherman, Christopher Stevens, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry).  
 
“The Collaboratory Launches 22.33 – A Podcast of Life Changing Stories,”  Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), US Department of State.  22.33 is a weekly podcast of first person stories of foreign and American participants in ECA-sponsored international exchanges.  ECA’s intent is to feature narratives that “illustrate the full range of growth, adventure, and discomfort which goes into an international exchange.”  The podcast’s name, 22.33, is taken from legislation signed by President John F. Kennedy that established ECA.  New episodes are released on Fridays and are available on major podcast platforms.  Photos, podcast transcripts, a web player for each episode, and an archive of previous episodes, and additional information can be found on ECA’s podcast homepage.
 
William E. Connolly, Aspirational Fascism: The Struggle for Multifaceted Democracy Under Trumpism, (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).  This slim “preliminary” study, Connolly tells us, was written as a three-part “genealogy of aspirational fascism” after his spring 2017 Johns Hopkins University graduate seminar on “What Was/Is Fascism.”  Chapter 1 compares the rhetorical styles of the early Hitler and Donald Trump.  Apples and oranges, yes, but he sees value in “highlighting differences across partial affinities.”  Connolly looks at “big lie scenarios” and commonalities in their appreciation of the “power of public speeches to infect and move a large populace primed to listen by historical shocks, resentments, grievances, and embodied dispositions.” Chapter 2 compares body languages and demeanor, forms of affective communication, and modes of contagion within and below linguistic practice – gesture, posture, facial expression, hand movements, jaw settings, habits of eye contact, and styles of walking. In Chapter 3, Connolly argues the most effective antidote is a multifaceted pluralism characterized by open democratic elections and a strong ethos of egalitarianism related to income, job security, education prospects, retirement opportunity, and cultural dignity.
 
Nicholas J. Cull, Public Diplomacy: Foundations for Global Engagement in the Digital Age, (Polity, 2019).  There is substance of considerable value in this book.  Nick Cull (University of Southern California), public diplomacy’s premier historian, draws on years of teaching and research to provide what he calls “a single foundational text for diplomat students and student diplomats.” In imaginative prose he frames concepts, explains practitioners’ tools and methods, and offers much to ponder and debate.  Cull has broadened his foundational template (listening, advocacy, cultural diplomacy, exchange diplomacy, and international broadcasting) to include nation branding and partnership, key elements that he argues have emerged from “the new public diplomacy.”  He provides abundant empirical evidence for these ideas from a broad range of countries and three fully developed historical case studies: Britain in World War II, the US in the Cold War, and the international campaign against apartheid in South Africa. Digital approaches and social media appear throughout as important issues and tools to be integrated in an understanding of diplomacy, not treated in isolation.  He concludes with a discussion of today’s hot issue, “weaponized information.”  Cull’s historical arc is long, but his most absorbing formulations turn on the central questions and conversations of today’s scholars and practitioners. We learn a great deal from his analysis, but we are left also with much still to discuss about public diplomacy, new public diplomacy, global engagement, and what is now an integral public dimension of diplomacy.  See also CPD’s “Meet the Author.”
 
Gijs de Vries, “Cultural Freedom in European Foreign Policy,” Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Stuttgart, Germany, 2019.  In this 110-page report, de Vries (London School of Economics and Political Science) calls for a European cultural response to the challenges confronting Europe’s cultural identity and the liberal international order.  His analysis of the potential and limitations of an emerging EU cultural diplomacy strategy centers on three questions.  (1) How to distinguish conceptually and operationally “between cultural relations and public diplomacy on the one hand and propaganda on the other?”  (2) How to avoid neo-colonialism?  (3) How to encourage EU governments, “prone to national showcasing,” to work together?  He argues for a multi-pronged European cultural approach: combined hard and soft power responses to authoritarian attacks on democracy; greater support for international humanitarian regimes, academic freedom, and independent journalism; legislation to address disinformation and risks to freedom of expression in policies that oblige social media companies to act as gatekeepers; integration of culture in sustainable development policies; and stronger EU policies and funding for citizenship, education and culture.  Cultural diplomacy’s traditional model, “with its dominant emphasis on displaying national ‘cultural’ achievements, is no longer fit for purpose,” de Vries argues.  It must be replaced by a strategy that makes cultural freedom a priority and integrates national and European initiatives.
 
Diplomatica: A Journal of Diplomacy and Society. Welcome Diplomatica – a new interdisciplinary academic journal that announces its intent to examine “the broad range of work across the social sciences and the humanities that takes diplomacy as its focus of investigation.”  Editors-in-Chief are Giles Scott-Smith (Leiden University) and Kenneth Weisbrode (Bilkent University).  The Book Review Editor is Haakon Ikonomou (University of Copenhagen).  Diplomatica’s editorial board includes a diverse array of leading scholars in diplomatic history and diplomatic studies.  The journal, published by Brill, welcomes submissions, and information on its editorial policies and broad range of interests can be found on its website. Individuals can sign up online for free access to Diplomaticathrough December 31, 2020.
 
Douglas Kane,  Our Politics: Reflections on a Political Life, (Southern Illinois University Press, 2019).  At a glance this book is not an obvious fit for a diplomacy reading list. Kane is a former journalist, staff assistant to the governor of Illinois, Illinois state representative, member of Wisconsin’s Buffalo County Board of Supervisors, and spouse of a three-term Wisconsin state senator.  But lessons learned bridging what he calls “that three foot gap” in the politics of America’s upper mid-West are surprisingly relevant to what diplomats have long called the “last three feet” of public diplomacy.  This is a clear, story-based account of what it means to act politically and locally.  Kane offers pragmatic advice on authenticity, audience concerns, traditional and social media, the importance of stories and actions, building coalitions, coping with pressure, handling complex issues with scarce time and knowledge, finding ways to hold to the ideal and the real.  Along the way he channels gems from Saul Alinsky, Edmund Burke, Vaclav Havel, Albert Camus, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Tony Judt, Frantz Fanon, Walter Lippmann, John Stuart Mill, and Niccolo Machiavelli. Contexts differ, but the norms, skills, and tools of gifted politicians are much the same as those of street savvy diplomats taking personal and professional risks beyond the confines of fortress embassies.
 
Jan Melissen and Jian Wang, eds., “Special Issue: Debating Public Diplomacy: Now and Next,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy,Volume 14 (2019), Issue 1-2 (April 2019).Melissen (Leiden University, HJD Co-editor) and Wang (USC Center for Public Diplomacy) have compiled debate-focused essays by leading and rising scholars on trends driving public diplomacy study and practice.  The editors called for the essays to be shorter, forward-looking, and more argumentative than research papers, yet they are significant contributions to scholarship.  Teachers and students will find them useful in university classes and foreign ministry training courses.  See also “Hague Journal Special Issue Published,” CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
 
 
Joseph S. Nye, Jr., (Harvard University), “Soft Power and Public Diplomacy Revisited”
 
 
Andrew F. Cooper, (University of Waterloo, Canada), “Adapting Public Diplomacy to the Populist Challenge”
 
Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff, (George Washington University), “Diasporas and Public Diplomacy: Distinctions and Future Prospects”
 
 
Corneliu Bjola, Jennifer Cassidy, and Ilan Manor (University of Oxford), “Public Diplomacy in the Digital Age”
 
Constance Duncombe, (Monash University, Australia), “Digital Diplomacy: Emotion and Identity in the Public Realm”
 
 
Geoffrey Wiseman (Australian National University), “Public Diplomacy and Hostile Nations”
 
Philip Seib, (University of Southern California), “US Public Diplomacy and the Terrorism Challenge”
 
Kejin Zhao, (Tsinghua University, China) “The China Model of Public Diplomacy and Its Future”
 
Caitlin Byrne, (Griffith University, Australia), “Political Leaders and Public Diplomacy in the Contested Indo-Pacific”
 
George Packer, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, (Knopf, 2019).  As Walter Isaacson puts it, what Atlantic staff writer and acclaimed journalist George Packer achieves is not only a superb 608-page biography of a larger than life diplomat but also a “sweeping diplomatic history and a Shakespearean tragicomedy.” Richard Holbrooke began his career as a dissenting Foreign Service Officer in Vietnam.  He went on to help normalize US relations with China, serve as ambassador to a reunited Germany and the UN, famously negotiate the Dayton peace agreement ending the war in Bosnia, struggle unsuccessfully to end the war in Afghanistan, and fail in his life-long ambition to become Secretary of State.  Packer tells countless new and telling stories about this talented and most public of diplomats – brilliant, egotistical, idealistic, media-savvy, pragmatic, flawed, duplicitous, bullying, seducing, ambitious, complex, intellectually honest, tireless, articulate, admired, and detested.  Plucked from pages at random.  “Holbrooke’s diplomacy was theater for mortal stakes.” When assailed by reporters, he “would pause to give them a spontaneous perfectly crafted paragraph of non-news, careful to keep expectations low.”  His policy of no leaks had an exception – those journalists “whose prominence and sympathy with his views gained them access to the inside story.” Packer’s account is unlikely to be required reading in foreign ministry tradecraft courses, but no aspiring or serving diplomat should miss it.  See also, George Packer, “The Longest Wars: Richard Holbrooke and the Decline of American Power,” Foreign Affairs,May/June 2019, 46-68.
 
“Resist: Counter-Disinformation Toolkit,” Government Communication Service, United Kingdom, April 2019.  Written by diplomacy and communications scholar James Pamment and his team at Lund University, this 69-page toolkit, published by the UK government, seeks to help public sector communication professionals prevent the spread of disinformation.  The toolkit defines disinformation and the threats it poses to UK society, UK national interests, and democratic values. Presented with clear language and graphics, the report provides a guide to recognizing disinformation, situational analysis, strategic communication, early warning and digital monitoring, impact analysis, and tracking outcomes.  The authors welcome comments, questions, and suggestions for revision.  See also Jonathan Owen, “Exclusive: Government to Train Public Sector Comms Troops for Battle in Escalating Disinformation War,”  PR Week,April 10, 2019.
 
Walter R. Roberts Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Gelman Library, George Washington University.  Walter R. Roberts (1916-2014) was a gifted diplomat, international broadcaster, teacher, and scholar known especially for his contributions to the practice and understanding of US public diplomacy in the 20th century. These papers primarily document his “second career” following his retirement from diplomatic service in 1973. They include his correspondence with US government officials, diplomats, lawmakers, educators, journalists, and civil society activists; his records of the Panel on International Information, Education and Cultural Relations (“Stanton Panel”); his exceptional collection of presidential commission reports and congressional hearings on public diplomacy; his published and unpublished writings; correspondence, research files, writings, and photographs documenting his professional associations with George Washington University and Georgetown University; and records documenting activities of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the Public Diplomacy Foundation, and the Public Diplomacy Council during the years he held leadership positions in these organizations. The collection also contains German language scripts of his broadcasts in the Austrian Unit of the Voice of America, 1946-1950.  My finding aid to the papers is linked to the site.
 
“Targeted Inspection of the Governance of the United States Agency for Global Media,”  Office of Inspection, US Department of State, ISP-IB-19-22.  State’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) examined the US Agency for Global Media’s (USAWG) governance structure and mandate instituted in 2015 and the Agency’s strategic direction and communication, program implementation, and resource management.  The OIG made five recommendations to improve executive direction and supervision, information and decision management, programming, internal controls, and workforce issues.  USAGM concurred in the recommendations; OIG considered them resolved.
 
Judith Tinnes, compiler, “Bibliography: Terrorism and the Media (including the Internet), (part 4),”  Perspectives on Terrorism,Volume 13, Issue 2.  In this comprehensive bibliography, Tinnes (Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information) has compiled journal articles, book chapters, books, edited collections, theses, grey literature, and other literature on terrorism and the media. Key words are bibliography, resources, literature, media, Internet, social media, terrorism, electronic jihad, cyberterrorism, narratives, and counter-narratives. Tinnes prioritizes recent publications and where possible uses freely available versions of content in subscription-based publications. Websites were last visited on March 3, 2019.  Links to earlier bibliographies in Parts 1-3 are included. 
 
Geoffrey Wiseman, “Public Diplomacy and Hostile Nations,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy,14 (2019), 134-153.  In this important article, Wiseman (Australian National University) continues to show how integrating theory and practice can illuminate our understanding of diplomacy’s public dimension.  In the context of practice, he examines democracies’ past and present uses of public diplomacy in relations with hostile states, constructed analytically as a binary choice between isolate or engage.  He considers five challenges democracies need to address: “(1) evaluating public diplomacy’s wider theoretical, or strategic, relevance; (2) mitigating the isolate-or-engage dilemma; (3) avoiding the stigma of propaganda; (4) managing rising democratic expectations; and (5) settling on a role for governments in public diplomacy.”  He then proposes several hypotheses.  For practitioners, he argues diplomatic engagement is generally better than isolation, good public diplomacy cannot compensate for bad policy, democracies’ brands must resemble reality, and engagement should seek a long-term dialogue of some kind.  For scholars, he uses this empirical construct to explore “public diplomacy’s theory challenge.”  He contends that, although public diplomacy is not a theory, diplomacy more broadly is a theory, drawing on Paul Sharp, because it helps us describe, explain, and predict much that happens in world politics, and because it provides prescriptive norms for conflict management. Wiseman offers conceptually grounded propositions about public diplomacy and soft power, recent discourse on “sharp power,” a “propaganda challenge,” and a “democracies ascendant” rising-expectations challenge. Particularly instructive is the expansion of his ideas on “polylateral diplomacy” and his analytical framework of public diplomacy’s “ideal types.”  He argues that diplomacy’s future has an “omnilateral dimension,” which he defines, that builds on “polylateralism.  Wiseman’s closely reasoned views deal with hard questions in theory and practice.  They deserve attention and debate.
 
Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest
 
Kadir Jun Ayhan, “Let’s Delineate the Boundaries of Public Diplomacy,”  March 11, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
 
Alison Baily, “Cultural Evolution, Democracy, and Freedom,”  March 2019, British Council.
 
Martha Bayles, “Sharp Power and Stock Villains,” March 15, 2019, The American Interest.
 
 
William J. Burns, “The Lost Art of American Diplomacy: Can the State Department Be Saved,”  March 27, 2019, Foreign Affairs.
 
Nicholas J. Cull, “Nick Cull Answers More Questions on Propaganda,”  April 22, 2019, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
 
Shawn Dorman, “The Diplomacy Imperative: A Q&A With William J. Burns,”  May 2019, The Foreign Service Journal.
 
Kim Andrew Elliott, “The USAGM Audience Increase: Less Startling Than Meets the Eye,”  March 27, 2019; Shawn Powers, “USAGM’s Global Reach: More Than Meets the Eye,”  April 3, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
 
Carol Morello, “On the Road to Swagger with Mike Pompeo: A Year Defending Trump’s Worldview,”  April 25, 2019, The Washington Post.
 
Amie Ferris-Rotman, “In Kabul, Russia Has a New Cultural Center on the Site of Its Soviet Predecessor,”  April 15, 2019, The Washington Post.
 
Nina Hachigian, “Cities Will Determine the Future of Diplomacy,”  April 16, 2019, Foreign Policy.
 
Mariami Khatiashvili, “Jazz Ambassadors: An Instrument of Public Diplomacy,”  May 2, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
 
Joseph S. Nye, “American Soft Power in the Age of Trump,”  May 6, 2019, Project Syndicate.
 
 
Christopher Sabatini, “The Senate is Hollowing Out the United States’ Diplomatic Corps,”  March 22, 2019, Foreign Policy.
 
Pawel Surowiec and Chris Miles, “Public Diplomacy Imploded: Populist Cultural Strategies for the Digital Age,”  Part one, March 21, 2019; 
 
 
Teaching Position at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.  Australian National University seeks early-career diplomacy scholar with strong research interests in negotiation theory and practice for a full time tenure-track position. 
 
 
 
Gems From The Past 
 
Jeffrey K. Tulis, The Rhetorical Presidency, (Princeton University Press, first edition, 1987; published with a new foreword by Russell Muirhead and new afterword by the author, 2017, 2018).  The central argument of Jeffrey K. Tulis’ (University of Texas, Austin) classic study is that US presidents before Woodrow Wilson felt constrained by constitutional forms on how they acted and communicated.  Codes of propriety and conceptions of statesmanship mattered.  Policy speeches were rare.  Written communication between branches of government was the norm.  Wilson’s “rhetorical presidency” marked a fundamentally transformative turn to presidents who used rhetoric as a special case of executive power.  They used mass communication technologies (loudspeakers, radio, television) and managed attention to image and self-presentation, not to overturn the Constitution, but to break free from constitutional formalities in order to shape and respond to popular mandates.  Rhetorical presidents after Wilson sought to make the constitutional order work – on behalf of public interests – through forms of governance and diplomacy that appealed directly to the people.  Until Donald Trump.  In his afterword, Tulis closes with reflections on a demagogic president armed with Twitter who “illustrates the worst aspects of the rhetorical presidency undisciplined by countervailing constitutional practices and norms.” Twitter stands separate from earlier technologies of rhetorical presidents.  Constitutionally informed presidents might use Twitter sparingly Tulis argues.  But in Trump’s case, “Twitter becomes an extension of his personality, posing a serious problem for foreign affairs, international stability, financial markets, economic stability, and domestic tranquility.”

Katherine A. Brown, Your Country, Our War: The Press and Diplomacy in Afghanistan, (Oxford University Press, 2019).  In this excellent and engaging book, grounded in years of interviews with journalists and political actors in Afghanistan and the US, Katherine Brown (Global Ties U.S., Georgetown University) achieves several objectives.  First, she examines narratives and framing of modern Afghanistan in the journalism of US and Afghan news media.  Her empirical findings are shaped by two strands in communications studies – (1) literature on indexing, agenda setting, framing, conflict reporting, and related concepts; and (2) studies on national bias and ethnocentrism.  Second, she devotes considerable attention to habits and emotional conflicts of Afghan journalists and the sociology of how journalism has developed in Afghanistan since its news media became independent in 2001.  Her analysis of journalism in each nation is set in the context of how their news media function in relation to national priorities and international politics, the strategies of US national security actors, and circumstances shaped by violence, politics, and social change in Afghanistan.  In the concluding chapter, Brown turns to what she calls “the diplomatic dimension in news.”  She argues that journalists, who usually maintain distance from political agendas at home, do not disengage from their national identities abroad.  Nationalism, emotional attachments, and domestic reporting priorities lead journalists to “play the role of representatives, or de facto diplomats, for their nations.” “Journalists are actors in international diplomacy, mediating communications between governments and publics, and between governments and governments.”  It is a complex argument worthy of reflection, debate, and another book.
William J. Burns, “How to Save the Power of Diplomacy,” March 8, 2019, The New York Times.  Ambassador (ret.) Burns (Carnegie Endowment, former Deputy Secretary of State) makes a compelling case for fundamental transformation in US diplomacy.  He advocates three imperatives: recapture the fundamentals of diplomatic tradecraft, build modern capabilities and strip down bureaucracy, and construct a new compact between government and citizens about America’s role in the world and the utility of diplomacy.  The roots of “America’s diplomatic decay” run deep, and “a cure will involve more than just seeing the back of Donald Trump.”
Kwang-jin Choi, The Republic of Korea’s Public Diplomacy Strategy: History and Current Status, CPD Perspectives, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, January 2019.  Choi (Head, Center for People Diplomacy, ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs) provides a practitioner’s account of South Korea’s public diplomacy. His historical survey begins with episodic public diplomacy activities in the 19th century followed by an increasingly broad range of press and cultural activities in the decades after World War II and the Korean War.  South Korea adopted the term public diplomacy in 2010.  It reorganized activities in a Public Diplomacy and Cultural Affairs Bureau within its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and passed a Public Diplomacy Act. (Appendices contain the text of the Act and its Enforcement Decree.)  Choi’s paper discusses South Korea’s definition of public diplomacy, organizational and planning issues, and public diplomacy strategy.
Andrew F. Cooper and Jérémie Cornut, “The Changing Practices of Frontline Diplomacy: New Directions for Inquiry,” Review of International Studies(2018).  In this cutting edge article, Cooper (University of Waterloo, Canada) and Cornut (Simon Fraser University, Canada) focus on what diplomatic practitioners do “in the field.”  Their aim is to steer IR and diplomacy studies away from dominant attention to what goes on in headquarters and national capitals toward a perspective that, building on the ideas of Paul Sharp and Geoffrey Wiseman, advances a “conviction that the activities of ‘professional strangers’ and ‘mediators’ posted abroad are constitutive of international politics.”  Cooper and Cornut begin with a discussion of practice-based theory’s contributions (empirical depth, importance of agency, utility of complex, problem driven inquiry).  They argue for expanding the practice turn in IR theory to embrace what analysis of frontline diplomacy can tell us about current changes in both international politics and diplomatic practice.  Taking research in these directions calls for exploration of important questions raised by Wiseman’s illuminating concept of polylateralism and its inclusion of non-state actors in diplomatic interactions.  The article develops their claims through references to studies by others that include the 2011 intervention in Libya, multilateral diplomacy at G-8 summits and the 1970s Helsinki Conference, and relief efforts in Somalia and Haiti.  They conclude with two case studies of innovations in frontline practices: actions of Sherpas in G-20 summits following the 2008 financial crisis and US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s use of Twitter.  Citations throughout the article of relevant literature in current diplomacy studies strengthen its value.
Andrew F. Cooper, “U.S. Public Diplomacy and Sports Stars: Mobilizing African-American Athletes as Goodwill Ambassadors from the Cold War to an Uncertain Future,” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy,December 2018.  Cooper (University of Waterloo, Canada and the author of Celebrity Diplomacy) asserts the United States has a deep pool of “star athletes and African-American athletes more specifically” who can be deployed in its public diplomacy on the basis of choices from a spectrum of risk-averse and risk-oriented strategies.  His article examines US Cold War and post Cold War “goodwill ambassador” programs and compares their “conformist style” with the potential for gains and risks in strategy choices going forward.  Among the risks Cooper identifies are athletes’ reluctance to participate without commercial endorsement, their aversion to being co-opted, and downsides of participation in an era of Trump administration populism and racial polarization.  While these risks will likely preclude participation by many athletes in such initiatives in the current environment, he points to their potential rewards if and when conditions in the future are more amenable.
Democracy Promotion in a Challenging World, Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, US House of Representatives, Serial No. 115-142, June 14, 2018.  The Committee’s 117-page transcript contains statements by Chairman Edward Royce; Ranking member Eliot Engel; Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy; Daniel Twining, President International Republican Institute, and Kenneth Wollack, President, International Democratic Institute; and additional materials submitted for the record.  The hearing addressed challenges facing the democratization activities of the Endowment and the political party institutes, global prospects for democratic resilience and authoritarian vulnerability, issues in recruiting next generation democratizers, the Endowment’s report on Sharp Power, and related matters.
Diana Ingenhoff, Candace White, Alexander Buhmann, and Spiro Kiousis, eds., Bridging Disciplinary Perspectives of Country Image, Reputation, Brand, and Identity, (Routledge, 2019).  Ingenhoff (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), White (University of Tennessee), Buhmann (BI Norwegian Business School), and Kiousis (University of Florida) divide the 16 essays in this handbook on perceptions of countries and their effects into four categories: business studies, social psychology, sociology and political science, and communication studies.  Their interdisciplinary and multi-national approach connects conceptual constructs of country identity, branding, reputation, and image with applied knowledge for practitioners in such fields as public diplomacy, international marketing, and corporate advocacy.  Issues include the strengths and limitations of country brand indexes, country reputation and global sport, “global rage” in the Brexit and Trump era, mediated public diplomacy theory building, recent research on relational and nation branding approaches in public diplomacy, and social media platforms for the study and practice of brand communities.  Essays of particular interest to diplomacy and communications scholars and practitioners include:
Henrik Merkelson (Lund University, Sweden) and Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen (Roskilde University, Denmark), “Evaluation of Nation Brand Indexes.”
Tobias Werron (Bielefeld University, Germany), “The Global Construction of National Reputation.”
Frank Louis Rusciano (Rider University, New Jersey), “World Opinion, Country Identity, and Country Images.”
Tianduo Zhang (University of Florida) and Guy J. Golan (University of South Florida), “Mediated Public Diplomacy as a Function of Government Strategic Issue Management.”
Di Wu (American University) and Jian Wang (University of Southern California), “Country Image in Public Diplomacy: From Messages to Relationships.”
Wayne Wanta (University of Florida), “Media Influences on the Public’s Perceptions of Countries: Agenda-Setting and International News.”
Efe Sevin (Reinhardt University, Georgia, USA), “Talking at Audiences: Networking and Networks in Country Images.”
Diana Ingenhoff, Tianduo Zhang, Alexander Buhmann, Candace White, and Spiro Kiousis, “Analyzing Value Drivers and Effects of 4D-Country Images on Stakeholders’ Behavior Across Three Different Cultures.”
Jill Lepore, “A New Americanism: Why America Needs a National Story,” Foreign Affairs,March/April, 2019, 10-19.  Lepore (Harvard University, The New Yorker, and author of These Truths: A History of the United States) makes the compelling and provocative argument that when American historians “stop trying to write a common history for a people, nationalism doesn’t die.”  Instead they open the door to charlatans and tyrants who offer myths, prejudices, and hatreds that allow dangerous versions of American nationalism to take hold.  Her brief article is first a powerful critique of an American historical profession that in the past half century has produced excellent scholarship on social groups and global history, but has stopped trying to write a common history for a people.  She supports her claim with threads drawn from These Truths, her own recent attempt at writing national history.  Her tapestry – inspired by the sweeping narrative of 20th century historian Carl Degler and the composite nationalism of Frederick Douglass – places race, slavery, segregation, liberty, rights, revolution, freedom, and equality at the center of a common account.  Writing national history creates problems, Lepore concedes. “But not writing national history creates more problems, and these problems are worse.”  It paves the way for “nationalists” who say they can “make America great again.”
Ilan Manor, The Digitalization of Public Diplomacy,  (Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, 2019).  Oxford University’s Ilan Manor, a leader in next generation diplomacy scholarship, sets a very high standard in this book.  He builds on a foundational comparison of 20th century public diplomacy and “new public diplomacy,” which he characterizes as the ascendancy of a global media ecology, the rise of “a digital society,” two-way information flows between individuals and groups, and new methods in diplomatic practice that emphasize dialogue and relationship models.  His thesis: digitalization of public diplomacy “should be conceptualized as a long term process in which digital technologies influence the norms, values, working routines and structures of diplomatic institutions, as well as the self-narratives or metaphors diplomats employ to conceptualize their craft.”  Manor develops this claim through: (1) construction of his conceptual framework for understanding the influence of digital technologies; (2) analysis of the norms, values, and logic of digital society as a precursor to understanding digitalization of public diplomacy; and (3) detailed examination of the experiences of foreign affairs ministries worldwide: Botswana, Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, India, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Lithuania, Palestine, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Sweden, Turkey, the EU, the Netherlands, the UK, Uganda, the US, and New Zealand.  Teachers will find the book essential reading for students; it is written with flair and contains extensive references and e-book links to online material.  Practitioners will benefit from its analysis and empirical evidence.  Scholars will discover much to agree with and ponder. They will also find grounds for spirited discourse, including its treatment of public diplomacy as an independent category of analysis and its hard binary between traditional and “new” public diplomacy.  This is a serious and important book, a landmark in diplomacy studies.
Ilan Manor and Rhys Crilley, “Visually Framing the Gaza War of 2014: The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Twitter,”  Media, War & Conflict,Vol. 11(4), 2018, 369-391.  Manor (University of Oxford) and Crilley (The Open University, UK) build on the work of Robert Entman and others to extend framing theory to social media and diplomacy in war.  They argue there are three gaps in framing theory in the context of modern armed conflict: inadequate understanding of how foreign ministries use social media to frame conflict, a gap in understanding the relationship between narratives and frames, and insufficient understanding of how visual media fit into foreign ministry framing and narrating conflict on social media.  Their conceptual arguments are developed in a case study of 795 tweets published by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its digital diplomacy during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.
Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, Bonnie L. Triezenberg, David Manheim, Bradley Wilson, Improving C2 and Situational Awareness for Operations in and Through the Information Environment, RAND Corporation, 2018.  In this 110-page report, Paul and his RAND colleagues focus on ways “to improve integration of information operations and information considerations more broadly in military operations in and through” the information environment.  As with many RAND reports on Defense Department (DoD) issues, there are significant implications for actors in diplomacy and civil society.  The report examines two basic questions.  How should DoD conceptualized “command and control” (C2) and situational awareness of the information environment?  And how should DoD organize at the geographic combatant command level to maintain C2 and situational awareness?  Issues discussed include information operations, the meaning of influence, blending information and physical power, organizational alternatives, knowledge management, recommendations for practitioners’ training and operations, lessons from adversaries, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and autonomous warfare.
Julie Ray, “Image of U.S. Leadership Now Poorer Than China’s,” Gallup, February 28, 2019.  Gallup’s Julie Ray summarizes highlights in Gallup’s recent survey of how people in more than 130 countries rated U.S. leadership in President Donald Trump’s second year in office.  (1) The “image of U.S. leadership is in poor shape, but its approval ratings [at 31% in 2018] are no longer in free fall.”  Gallup argues this implies doubts in Trump’s first year “about U.S. commitments abroad have taken root – and the unpredictability of the U.S. president is now somewhat expected.”  (2) Germany’s leadership ranking is first at 39%.  (3) China and Russia gained ground; China leads the U.S. at 34%, and Russia’s approval is at 30%.  Gallup contends this shift in “global soft power” may make it more difficult for the U.S. to counter their influence unless the Trump administration “can erase some of the doubts that U.S. partners have about its commitment.”   The full report, Rating World Leaders: The U.S. vs. Germany, China, and Russia2019 is available for download.
Shaun Riordan, Cyberdiplomacy: Managing Security and Governance Online, (Polity, 2019).  Riordan (European Institute of International Studies and a former British diplomat) examines the need for cyber governance and rules, less in the context of much discussed threats, but through the lens of diplomacy.  He offers a fundamental distinction between digital diplomacy (use of digital tools to pursue diplomatic objectives) and cyber diplomacy (use of diplomatic tools and mindsets to manage problems of governance in cyberspace).  Key issues include negotiating regulations, mitigating conflict, conducting business in cyberspace, better understanding algorithms and intentions. Riordan’s goal is to make diplomacy and diplomats, who are “remarkably good at identifying intentions” through repeated face-to-face contact, essential to addressing important cyber policy and governance issues.  It’s time, he argues, “for diplomats to stop messing with social media and get back to the serious stuff.”
Daya Kishan Thussu, International Communication: Continuity and Change, (Bloomsbury Academic, 3rd edition, 2018).  Thussu (Tsinghua University, Beijing) updates his textbook on international media and communication with new information and analysis of technological, political, and economic changes during the decade since the second edition.  Trends include digitization and deregulation, global penetration of mobile internet, growth of global digital companies, the rise of China and India, empowered non-state actors, continued US dominance in entertainment media, and increasing news and other communication content from sources outside the West.  Thussu combines historical context, theoretical approaches, and teachable case studies in a wide-ranging treatment of the global communication infrastructure and global media.  Teaching aids include a chronology of international communication, a glossary of terms, a list of useful websites, and discussion questions for each chapter.
U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General (OIG), “Management Assistance Report: Use of Personal Social Media Accounts to Conduct Official Business,” February 2019.  The OIG’s report responds to allegations that some US ambassadors were violating Foreign Affairs Manual guidelines by posting original content regarding matters “of Departmental concern” on their personal social media accounts. Following a review of all such personal accounts it could locate, the inspectors found that most posts were reposted content from official accounts, “which does not violate guidelines.”  OIG found, however, that the Department’s guidelines lacked specificity and its definitions did not clearly distinguish between “official capacity” and “personal capacity.”  OIG also found that 20 ambassadors had posted content inconsistent with the guidelines regardless of how the Department’s policies were stated.  The report contains examples, an explanation of the social media regulations, and recommendations for change.  Overall, it places a useful spotlight on contested issues in digitized diplomacy.
US Government Accountability Office, “Department of State: Integrated Action Plan Could Enhance Efforts to Reduce Persistent Overseas Foreign Service Vacancies,” GAO-19-220, March 2019.  GAO reports that State Department data show persistent Foreign Service vacancies in overseas generalist and specialist positions based on benchmarks in 2008 (14%), 2011 (14%), and 2018 (13%).  The report summarizes views of overseas staff that vacancies increase workloads, contribute to stress and lower morale, limit reporting on political and economic issues, and increase vulnerability to cybersecurity attacks and other threats. GAO faults the State Department for its lack of an integrated plan for reducing these vacancies.  See also Robbie Gramer, “State Department Vacancies Increase Embassy Security Risks, Report Warns,”  March 7, 2019, Foreign Policy.
Stephen M. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018).  Walt (Harvard University) gives us a provocative and penetrating critique of America’s foreign policy elites and institutions, leading voices, and their global strategy of a “liberal hegemony” guided by indispensable and benevolent US leadership during the past quarter century.  His argument.  (1) The liberal order (democracy, rule of law, religious and social tolerance, respect for human rights, economic openness, alliances, and global economic institutions) failed because it overestimated America’s ability to reshape other societies and underestimated the ability of weaker actors to counter US aims.  (2) America’s foreign policy elite is an inbred, conformist caste insulated from the consequences of the policies it promotes and at odds with the preferences of most Americans.  (3) Durable commitment to ‘liberal hegemony’ is sustained by inflating threats, exaggerating benefits of global leadership, concealing costs, and projecting eventual success.  (4) America’s political system does little to reward successes and penalize failures of foreign policy elites.  Walt is a reputable scholar and skilled debater.  His deeply researched account frames his claims with extensive supporting evidence, numerous exceptions, and nuanced interpretations that reflect the complexity of the subject matter.  So what about President Trump’s assault on elites and the liberal order?  Here Walt casts nuance aside. Trump’s incompetence, ignorance, chaotic management, toxic rhetoric, and foolish decisions provide “a textbook case for how not to fix U.S. foreign policy.”  Walt concludes by dealing with counter-arguments and his alternative grand strategy: offshore balancing and putting diplomacy center stage.  Military power, still important, should be a last resort rather than the first.  Emphasis on diplomacy will require major reforms to include ending heavy reliance on political appointees and extended vacancies, and a turn to well-funded professional development and education.  For a rejoinder and contrasting view, see Jake Sullivan, “More, Less, Or Different?” Foreign Affairs, January/February, 2019.
Michael Walzer, A Foreign Policy for the Left, (Yale University Press, 2018).  As the American left achieves greater visibility with prominent older (Bernie Sanders) and younger (Alexandria Ocazio-Cortez) voices shaping political discourse, a new book by one of the left’s leading public intellectuals takes aim at what’s missing.  Michael Walzer (Princeton, Institute for Advanced Study, emeritus) argues the left’s default position, an almost exclusive focus on creating a more just domestic society, is “a highly principled failure.” “For many of us, the only good foreign policy is a good domestic policy.”  In this compendium of updated and rewritten essays from Dissent, Walzer compiles his arguments against a reflexive avoidance of foreign engagement and for a politically effective and morally legitimate approach to global affairs.  Difficult questions addressed include:  Who should benefit from a redistributive internationalism? When should the left support and oppose the use of force?  How should a mostly secular left address religious revival?  How many interests, contrary to its own, should the US accommodate for the sake of global stability?  And why can’t the left accept an ambivalent relationship with American power, acknowledging it has good and bad effects?  Self described as “a very old leftist,” Walzer continues to stimulate needed debate.
Jay Wang and Sohaela Amiri, “Building a Robust Capacity Framework for U.S. City Diplomacy, USC Center on Public Diplomacy,” February 2019.  In this brief online paper, Wang and Amiri (University of Southern California) argue the ascending phenomenon of cities as subnational and “glocal” actors in diplomacy is not only evidence of new varieties of diplomatic practice, it also means “city diplomacy has now become essential for local communities to thrive in a globalized society.”  Their paper profiles ideas developed at a workshop hosted in 2018 by USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy with participants from 13 US cities including Los Angeles and New York City. They organize their takeaways in three categories: key functions (trade, consular issues, climate issues, countering terrorism, hosting special events); challenges (fragmented organizations, lack of coherent identity, limited resources); and building future city diplomacy practices (policy driven diplomacy, strengthened citizen support, better communication, networked concepts and practices, and better use of data).
Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest
Corneliu Bjola, “The ‘Dark Side’ of Digital Diplomacy,”  January 22, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Halid Bulut, “Cultural Diplomacy Through Turkish Cinema,” January 28, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, “The Future of Diplomacy,”Moderated by Ambassador (ret.) Bill Burns, February 7, 2019, Video (approximately 80 minutes), Georgetown University.
Daniel R. DePetris, “Has the State Department Been Stripped of Its Swagger?”  January 27, 2019, The National Interest.
Amy Ebitz, “The Use of Military Diplomacy in Great Power Competition,”  February 12, 2019,  Brookings.
Robbie Gramer and Elias Groll, “With New Appointment, State Department Ramps Up War Against Foreign Propaganda,”  February 7, 2019, Foreign Policy.com.
Elias Groll and Robbie Gramer,  “New Bill Seeks to Energize American Cyberdiplomacy,”  January 24, 2019, Foreign Policy.com.
Alan Heil, “A New Era for US-Funded Global Media: Innovations Accelerate,”  March 8, 2019, Public Diplomacy Council.
Joe Johnson, “The Dark Matter of Public Diplomacy,”  March 5, 2019, Public Diplomacy Council.
Ilan Manor, “In Digital Diplomacy, Hope Travels Further Than Hate,”  February 25, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Derek Moscato, “Mediating the Polar Silk Road: The Public Diplomacy of China’s Arctice Policy White Paper,”  January 14, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Joseph S. Nye, “Rules of the Cyber Road for America and Russia,”  March 5, 2019; “Is the Populist Tide Retreating?”  February 4, 2019, Project Syndicate.
Shaun Riordan, “Treating Facebook as a Geopolitical Actor,”  February 18, 2019, BideDao.
Marie Royce, “Exchange Programs Pay Off For Americans,”  Foreign Service Journal,January/February 2019, 56-58.
Mattathias Schwartz, “Mike Pompeo’s Mission: Clean Up Trump’s Messes,” February 26, 2019, The New York Times Magazine.
Philip Seib, “The Realities of Terrorism’s Resilience,” February 22, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Reid Standish and Robbie Gramer, “U.S. Cancels Journalist’s Award Over Her Criticism of Trump,”  March 7, 2019, Foreign Policy.com.
Pamela Starr and Jeffrey Phillips, “Public Diplomacy – The Forgotten But Essential Element in U.S.-Mexico Relations,”  February 19, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Harry Stevens, “U.S. Ambassadors Have Become Less Qualified Under Trump,”  February 20, 2019, Axios.
Darius Wainwright, “Soft Power: Ever Present in U.S.-Iran Relations,”  March 4, 2019, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.
Vivian S. Walker, “Say It With Statues: Brick and Mortar Revisionism in Orban’s Hungary,”  February 8, 2019, War on the Rocks.
Lynne Weil, “Storming Capitol Hill to Support PD,”  March 4, 2019, Public Diplomacy Council.
David A. Wemer, “How to Fight Disinformation While Preserving Free Speech,”  March 4, 2019, Atlantic Council.
Gems From The Past 
Hannah Arendt, “Lying in Politics: Reflections on the Pentagon Papers,”  in Crises of the Republic, (A Harvest Book, 1969), 3-47 and “Truth and Politics,” originally published in The New Yorker, February 25, 1967.  Massive quantitative change yields qualitative difference as Donald Trump’s lies demonstrate.  In this regard he is sui generis.  There is no linear progression in the use of deception to achieve political ends from Plato’s cave allegory to the Pentagon papers released by Daniel Ellsberg to America’s current president.  Nevertheless, Hannah Arendt’s reflections on truth and politics a half-century ago are relevant in thinking about today’s era of “alternative facts.” Ellsberg’s idea of “internal self-deception,” she wrote, was not a process that began with deception and ended with self-deception.  Rather, “The deceivers started with self-deception.”  They “lived in a defactualized world that made self-deception easy.”  Arendt also understood that “Freedom of opinion is a farce unless factual information is guaranteed and the facts themselves are not in dispute.”   “The result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth,” she maintained, “is not that the lies will now be accepted as truth and the truth defamed as lies, but the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world – and the category of truth vs. falsehood is among the mental means to this end – is being destroyed.”

Sarah Alaoui, “Tired Narratives, Weary Publics: Public Diplomacy’s Role in the Struggle for Influence in the Middle East,” October 2, 2018, Center for American Progress.  Alaoui (Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, SAIS) examines the public diplomacy of Iran, selected Arab states, and the United States in the Middle East with emphasis on the years since the 2003 Iraq War.  Her study discusses the narratives, tactics, and activities of each actor. She also recommends ways the US can enhance its public diplomacy “to better counter and effectively compete with Iran in this space.”  Alaoui advances three key arguments.  (1) “Iran uses public diplomacy in the Middle East as a key component of its efforts to shape regional dynamics.”  (2) “Leading Arab governments have not engaged in sustained public diplomacy efforts in key arenas of competition with Iran.” (3) “U.S. public diplomacy in the region is hindered by perceptions about U.S. policy and recent administration efforts that have cut resources for the State Department and other agencies engaged in soft power.”
Babak Bahador and Daniel Kerchner, Monitoring Hate Speech in the US Media, Media and Peacebuilding Project, George Washington University, January 2019.  GWU’s research team seeks “to create awareness and accountability regarding hate speech by identifying the sources, targets, and intensity of hate speech in leading US media political talk/news shows” (radio, cable news, and YouTube). The authors define and examine hate speech targeted at groups, recognizing both lack of agreement on the term’s meaning and its widespread use in law and society.  The study uses an automated extraction method to identify potential instances of hate speech, which then are validated by human coders using a 6-level hate speech intensity scale.
Mieczysław P. Boduszyński, Public Diplomacy and the American Fortress Embassy: Balancing Mission and Security, CPD Perspectives, University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, December 2018.  Boduszyński (Pomona College) draws on personal diplomatic experience, interviews with current and retired diplomats, and a survey of relevant policy and practitioner literature in this assessment of one of diplomacy’s hard problems: how should diplomats and foreign ministries responsibly manage risk and simultaneously engage in effective public diplomacy?  His central argument is that “a culture of extreme risk aversion at ‘fortress embassies’ has hampered the ability of the State Department to effectively carry out public diplomacy programs” with consequent harm to US foreign policy objectives.  Boduszyński’s thoughtful paper effectively frames important issues, examines historical challenges reaching back to the US embassy bombing in Beirut in 1983, provides views of numerous practitioners, and offers policy recommendations for changing the imbalance between mission and security in “high threat” diplomatic posts.
Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron, “Deepfakes and the New Disinformation  War,” Foreign Affairs,January/February 2019, 147-155.  Chesney (University of Texas at Austin) and Citron (University of Maryland) discuss the rise of “highly realistic and difficult-to-detect digital manipulations of audio or video” in digital technology.  They argue that as deepfakes develop and spread, “the current disinformation wars may soon look like the propaganda equivalent of the era of swords and shields.”  Legal and technological solutions – forensic technology, authenticating content before it spreads, “authenticated alibi services,” criminalizing certain acts – may help.  But deepfakes will become better and cheaper, and democracies will have to learn resilience and how to live with lies.
Larry Diamond and Orville Schell, co-chairs, “Chinese Influence & American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance,” Report of the Working Group on Chinese Influence Activities in the United States, Hoover Institution Press, November 29, 2018.  Diamond (Stanford University) and Schell (Asia Society) analyze China’s influence activities in a cross-section of US governance and civil society sectors: Congress, state and local governments, Chinese-American communities, universities, think tanks, media, corporations, and the technology sector.  The authors discuss their historical context and distinctions between “legitimate influence” and “improper interference” that challenges core American values, norms, and laws.  They argue Russia’s influence activities are more invasive than China’s, but the latter nevertheless call for “constructive vigilance,” a variety of policy responses, and a balance between passivity and overreaction.  The report includes a dissenting opinion by Susan Shirk (University of California, San Diego) and appendices on China’s influence operations bureaucracy, influence activities in eight countries, and the range and reach of Chinese-language media in the United States.  Diamond’s summary of this 196-page reportis also available online.  See also Ellen Nakashima, “China Specialists Who Long Supported Engagement Are Now Warning of Beijing’s Efforts to Influence American Society,”November 28, 2018, The Washington Post.
Adam B. Ellick and Adam Westbrook, “Operation Infektion: Russian Disinformation from Cold War to Kanye,” Opinion Video Series, The New York Times, November 2018.  New York Timescorrespondent Ellick and film actor Westbrook have produced a three part online film series on Russia’s decades long use of disinformation and fake news against the West.  Episode 1 looks at the Soviet Union’s pre-Internet campaign to portray AIDS as a US biological weapon in 1984.  Episode 2 examines how “the seven rules of Soviet disinformation” are used in fake news stories today.  Episode 3 explores ways in which governments worldwide are responding to disinformation.  The episodes are approximately 15 minutes each and can be viewed on The New York Timeswebsite.  (Courtesy of Len Baldyga)
Adam Entous and Jon Lee Anderson, “Havana Syndrome,” The New Yorker, November 19, 2018, 34-47.  In this “Letter from Cuba,” New Yorkerstaff writers Entous and Anderson provide an excellent account of what is known and not known about the mysterious ailment that has afflicted US diplomats and CIA agents in Cuba.  Their essay is set in the context of negotiations leading to the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Cuba, the Trump administration’s Cuba policy, and recent governance changes in Cuba.  Entous and Anderson draw on the public record and a host of interviews, on the record and on background, with US policymakers and career diplomats including Benjamin Rhodes, Marco Rubio, H.R. McMaster, Craig Deare, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Mari Carmen Aponte, Roberta Jacobson, Audrey Lee, and Vicki Huddleston.  The authors, both seasoned journalists, provide a current and informed case study in diplomatic risk.
Ali Fisher, Netwar in Cyberia: Decoding the Media Mujahidin, CPD Perspectives, University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, October 2018.  Former CPD Research Fellow Ali Fisher draws on his knowledge of public diplomacy, netwar strategies, and digital technologies in this analysis of the increasingly effective use of digital platforms and online audiovisual content by jihadist groups.  He argues public diplomacy “cannot keep pace with the speed, agility, and resilience of the Media Mujahidin and their communication techniques.”  His 113-page paper explores ways to understand and assess information dissemination systems used in jihadist strategies.  Based on his data analysis, Fisher calls for a more networked approach in public diplomacy’s interaction with foreign publics and strategies that effectively navigate the languages, ideas, digital platforms, knowledge barriers, and credibility gaps in approaches to jihadist movements.
Foreign Relations of the United States: 1917-1972, Volume VII, Public Diplomacy, 1964-1968, Charles V. Hawley, ed., Office of the Historian, US Department of State, 2018.  State Department historians continue their retrospective coverage of US public diplomacy with this publication of documents from the Lyndon B. Johnson administration.  Papers from the US Information Agency, State Department, the White House, and Congress focus on public diplomacy in the context of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, nuclear test ban treaty negotiations, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, US intervention in the Dominican Republic, the Civil Rights Movement, and transition to the Johnson administration following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  The documents, a list of persons, and an appendix with online videos with transcripts are accessible online in an easily navigated website.
“Global Trends in Democracy: Background, U.S. Policy, and Issues for Congress,” [author’s name redacted], Congressional Reference Service, CRS Report R45344, October 17, 2018.  This comprehensive report contains a great deal of useful information for scholars, policy analysts, and diplomacy practitioners.  Early sections provide a “brief conceptual background on democracy and on democracy promotion’s historical role in U.S. policy,” analysis of “trends in the global level of democracy using data from two major democracy indexes,” and discussion of “key factors that may be broadly affecting democracy around the world.” It then summarizes debates on US democracy promotion’s relevance to national interests, tradeoffs with other policy objectives, and questions of capacity and effectiveness.  The report concludes with discussion of six issues for Congress to consider.
1. “How does the Trump Administration view democracy promotion?”
2. “How much emphasis should the United States place on democracy promotion?”
3. “What tools exist for targeted U.S. foreign policy responses to particular challenges?”
4. “How much funding should be provided for democracy promotion programs?”
5. “How can democracy programs be meaningfully evaluated and/or usefully targeted?”
6. “Should the United States work to form new international initiatives to defend democracy?”
The report is written in CRS’s usual even-handed way. Breakout boxes focus on particular issues: metrics provided by Freedom House, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the Pew Research Center; authoritarian “soft” and “sharp” power; populism and nationalism; and limitations and caveats in measuring support for democracy.  Footnotes provide an extensive literature review.
Craig Hayden, “Digital Diplomacy,” in Gordon Martel, ed., The Encyclopedia of Diplomacy,(John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2018).  Hayden (Marine Corps University) brings insights and his well-regarded scholarship to this Encyclopediaentry on the meaning of digital diplomacy.  His essay explores how the term has been used at the intersection of technology and diplomatic practice.  He reflects on how it enters discussions of diplomacy, public diplomacy, and foreign policy.  Importantly, he builds on existing scholarship to suggest ways in which digital diplomacy may signify changes in our understanding of “diplomatic practice, agency, and its enduring role as an integral institution of the international system.”  Not least, Hayden offers thoughts on how digital diplomacy might illuminate interdisciplinary scholarship and re-energize academic attention to diplomacy’s practice and necessity. Numerous references direct the reader to cutting edge thinking on a term now in widespread use and possible future directions in 21stcentury diplomacy.
John Kerry, Every Day is Extra, (Simon & Schuster, 2018).  The former Naval officer, anti-Vietnam war activist, US Senator, presidential candidate, and Secretary of State sums it all up in this memoir filled with historical insights and practical advice. Diplomacy scholars and practitioners will find much on offer.  Kerry, as Senator, engaging in high stakes diplomacy in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  His appreciation of diplomacy’s public and political dimensions.  His understanding of “smart power.”  His belief in diplomacy “as a means to an end,” not an American gift.  His respect for the hard work of career diplomats taking risks, supported by illuminating examples, coupled with views on an often risk averse State Department bureaucracy.  Kerry’s diplomatic skills reflect his experiences in politics and knowledge of a world “more crowded, more interdependent, less hierarchical, more influenced by nonstate actors, and filled with connections between economic issues and social, political, and security concerns.”  Chapters with tick-tocks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran nuclear agreement, Syrian civil war, and climate change are essential diplomatic history.  An enjoyable read for general audiences and a must read in foreign ministry training and professional education courses.
Open Doors 2018, Institute of International Education (IIE) and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), US Department of State, released November 13, 2018.  The latest IIE report on flows of international students in the United States and US students studying abroad presents a mixed picture.  International students in the US have reached a new high of 1.09 million, due primarily to the lingering effect of high enrollment before 2016 and increased participation in a special practical training program for up to 12 months (36 months in STEM fields) following completion of their academic programs.  US students abroad grew by 2.3 percent to 332,727.  New international student enrollments in the US fell by 6.6 percent in 2017/18 “continuing a slowing or downward trend first observed in the 2015/16 academic year.”  See also, Catherine Rampell, “One of America’s Greatest Exports is in Trouble,”December 13, 2018, The Washington Postand Angel Cabrera, “Make America Welcoming to International Students Again,”November 13, 2018, The Washington Post.
Andreas Pacher, “The Ritual Creation of Political Symbols: International Exchanges in Public Diplomacy,” British Journal of Politics & International Relations,July 2018.  In this article, Pacher (independent researcher, Austria) connects practitioner concepts of international exchanges, particularly opinion leader and relational models, with scholarship based on a theory of interaction ritual chains.  Rituals in this sense are mechanisms of mutually focused emotion and cognitive attention with political relevance and effects.  Exchanges, he argues, can be understood as “exercises of political socialization” in which situations under a public diplomat’s control are linked to other situations during the exchange.  Power is utilized but its obvious exercise is minimized.  Pacher’s purpose is to move beyond numerous studies that emphasize situational processes and goals of international exchanges (mutual understanding, soft power, relationship management) to provide a theory of how goals can be achieved.  His article contains an excellent literature review on exchange programs, a brief illustrative case that links his claims to a 2017 Polish government public diplomacy exchange program, and a conclusion that points to strengths and limitations of his argument and directions for further research.
Wendy R. Sherman, Not For the Faint of Heart, (Public Affairs, 2018).  Sherman (Albright Stonebridge Group) tells her story of a life devoted to diplomacy (when Democrats are in power), political activism, social work, and the worlds of think tanks, Harvard’s Belfer Center, the Aspen Strategy Group, and MSNBC contributor.  Much of the book is a close and candid look at diplomatic methods in chapters built on concepts: courage, common ground, power, letting go, building your team, persistence, and success.  Sherman provides an abundance of detail on tactics, personalities (career and non-career), and challenges facing women in politics and diplomacy.  Her narrative provides a deep dive into her roles in senior State Department positions (Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations, Counselor to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Under Secretary for Political Affairs) and her negotiations with Russia, North Korea, and Iran.  Not surprisingly, she gives detailed emphasis to the P5 +1 negotiations leading to the Iran Nuclear Deal.  Dominant characteristics of 21stcentury diplomacy – media relations, political risk, and whole of government diplomacy – are themes throughout.
Volker Stanzel, ed., New Realities in Foreign Affairs: Diplomacy in the 21stCentury, SWP Berlin, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Research Paper 11, November 2018.  In this excellent compilation, leading thinkers in diplomacy studies and practice examine changes in the character of modern diplomacy. Their papers focus on four changes likely to have long-term impact and governments’ responses to them: (1) changes in the personality of individual diplomats and their recruitment and training, (2) fundamental changes deriving from technologies, with emphasis on digitization, (3) increases in “diplomatically active” actors, and (4) dealing with new and emotionalized publics seeking to participate in governance.  The papers, available online, are the product of a working group on Diplomacy in the 21stCenturysupported by the German Federal Foreign Office and ZEIT-Stiftung.
Volker Stanzel (SWP Berlin, German Council of Foreign Relations), “Introduction: Following the Wrong Track or Walking on Stepping Stones – Which Way for Diplomacy?”
Sascha Lohmann (SWP Berlin), “Diplomats and the Use of Economic Sanctions.”
Andrew Cooper (University of Waterloo), “Populism and the Domestic Challenge to Diplomacy.”
Christer Jönsson (Lund University), “Diplomatic Representation: States and Beyond.”
Corneliu Bjola (University of Oxford), “Trends and Counter-Trends in Digital Diplomacy.”
Emillie V. de Keulenaar (University of Amsterdam) and Jan Melissen (Leiden University, Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’), “Critical Digital Diplomacy and How Theory Can Inform Practice.”
Karsten Voight (German Council on Foreign Policy), “Perpetual Change: Remarks on Diplomacy Today in the European Union.”
Kim B. Olsen (University of Antwerp), “The Domestic Challenges of European Geoeconomic Diplomacy”
Hanns W. Maull (SWP Berlin, Bologna Center of Johns Hopkins University), “Autism in Foreign Policy.”
Rhonda Zaharna (American University), “Digital Diplomacy as Diplomatic Sites: Emotion, Identity & Do-it-Yourself Politics.”
US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, “2018 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy & International Broadcasting,” November 20, 2018.  The 2018 report (214 pages) of this bipartisan presidential Commission divides into three parts. First, the summary contains an overview of public diplomacy spending and the Commission’s 27 recommendations to the White House, Congress, State Department and US Agency for International Broadcasting (pp. 30-42).  Key recommendations: (1) White House priority for management and public diplomacy expertise in recruiting a new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs; (2) Congressional support for exploring a merger of State’s Bureaus of Public Affairs and International Programs; (3) adequate funding appropriated directly to the State Department for its Global Engagement Center rather than through the Defense Department; (4) new legislative authority for State’s public diplomacy mission; (5) clear guidance for the Voice of America’s editorial process; (6) greater coordination of US broadcasting’s services and grantees to achieve less duplication and greater efficiencies; (7) an external audit of research and evaluation procedures in State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and a strategic review of the Bureau’s structure and more than 75 programs; and (8) identification of digital metrics with relevance to State’s programs and outreach.  Second, the bulk of the report (pp. 43-214) consists of descriptions, graphics, and budget information provided by the State Department and US broadcasters on their programs and activities in the US and abroad. Third, in a welcome addition, the Commission has reprinted recent speeches on public diplomacy (pp. 8-29) by senior practitioners: Ryan E. Walsh, Elisabeth Fitzsimmons, Jonathan Henick, Shawn Powers, Will Stephens, and Ambassador (ret.) Bruce Wharton.
Joby Warrick and Anton Troianovski, “Agents of Doubt: How a Powerful Russian Propaganda Machine Chips Away at Western Notions of Truth,” The Washington Post,December 10, 2018.In this lengthy article, Postcorrespondents Warrick and Troianovski document – with detailed reporting, video, web links, and a timeline graphic – how Russia has used false narratives and conspiracy theories to sew confusion following the attempted assassination of Russian spy defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter in London.
Audra J. Wolfe, Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018).  In this book on science in US psychological operations strategies and cultural diplomacy during the Cold War, Wolfe (writer, historian, author of Competing with the Soviets: Technology and the State in Cold War America, 2013) advances several propositions.  First, the growing literature on overt and covert Cold War cultural diplomacy operations, dominated by attention to education and cultural products in the arts and literature, is largely silent on the role of science.  Her book seeks to remedy this.  Second, the shared view of the US foreign policy establishment and American scientists that science transcends politics, a belief central to US ideological offensives against Soviet authoritarianism, belied a historical record in which the loudest voices for scientific freedom and internationalism were at least as interested in advancing US policies and “a system of privilege from which they stood to benefit.”  Third, historians who have written extensively about USIA, the State Department, and the CIA’s Congress of Cultural Freedom have neglected the Asia Foundation and its relationship to the CIA.  Her research on the Asia Foundation breaks new ground.  Readers will find much on offer in (1) her discussion of the CIA’s cultural operations funding, the National Science Foundation, Pugwash Conferences, USIA’s planning papers and science textbook programs, and State Department science attaches; (2) an epilogue devoted to President Obama’s science envoys in Muslim majority countries and science diplomacy in the Iran nuclear negotiations; and (3) her excellent notes and bibliography.
Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest
Matt Armstrong, “S.3654 and Accountability for the US Agency for Global Media,” December 6, 2018, MountainRunner.us
Martha Bayles, “Journalism Dies in Darkness,” December 11, 2018, Hudson Institute.
Amanda Bennett, “Trump’s ‘Worldwide Network’ Is a Great Idea.  But It Already Exists,” November 27, 2018, The Washington Post.
Donald M. Bishop, “Years of Lightening, Day of Drums,”  January 1, 2019, Public Diplomacy Council.
Michael Chertoff and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, “The Unhackable Election: What It Takes to Defend Democracy,” January/February 2019, Foreign Affairs.
Susan Crabtree, “Corker, Menendez Push Effort to ‘Neuter’ Trump’s Broadcasting Chief,” November 30, 2018, The Washington Free Beacon.
Nicholas J. Cull, “Professor Cull Answers 10 Questions on Propaganda,” December 10, 2018, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Renée DiResta, “What We Now Know About Russia’s Disinformation,” December 17, 2018, The New York Times.
Ali Fisher, “Mapping Russian & Iranian Cyber Networks,” December 3, 2018, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Lisa Gibson, “Can the U.S. Embassy in Libya Bridge the Divide with Facebook,” January 3, 2019, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
The Hague Journal of Diplomacy/ RG Impact Ratings  (Article Reads, Citations), ResearchGate.
Olga Krasnyak, “National Styles in Science Diplomacy: the US,”December 20, 2018, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Louisa Lim and Julia Bergin,“Inside China’s Audacious Global Propaganda Campaign,” December 7, 2018, The Guardian.
Xin Liu, “What Sharp Power? It’s Nothing But ‘Unsmart’ Power,” USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Ilan Manor, “Can Digital Skills Serve as PD Resources: The Case of Brexit,” November 5, 2018, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Doyle McManus, “Almost Half the Top Jobs in Trump’s State Department Still Empty,” November 4, 2018, The Atlantic.
Brian Naylor, “Voice of America Vows Independence, As Trump Calls for ‘Worldwide Network’” December 4, 2918, Morning Edition, NPR.
Dick Virden, “A Media Journey: From Edward R. Murrow to Fake News,” November 2018, American Diplomacy.
Elizabeth Williamson, “Troubled By Lapses, Government’s Voice to the World Braces for New Trump Management,” December 12, 2018, The New York Times.
Gems From The Past 
The growing literature on “fake news” and 21stcentury “truth decay” recalls reports on Soviet active measures prepared by USIA and the CIA during and immediately after the Cold War.  The following are available online.  “Soviet Active Measures in the Era of Glasnost,”A Report to Congress by the United States Information Agency, March 1988. This 91-page report details examples, media sources, and chronologies of disinformation on AIDs, “ethnic weapons,” the 1978 Jonestown mass suicide, forgeries, and trafficking in body parts. The report includes an account of US measures to counter Soviet active measures and an Appendix: “Soviet Disinformation During Periods of Relaxed East-West Tension,” a report prepared by Stephen Schwartz for USIA’s Office of Research, January 1988.  Other sources include a statement by former CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence Robert M. Gates, “Soviet Active Measures,”Hearings Before the Senate Subcommittee on European Affairs, September 12, 1985 and “Soviet Active Measures in the ‘Post-Cold War’ Era 1988-1991,”A Report Prepared at the Request of the US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations by the United States Information Agency, 1992.

Kadir Jun Ayhan, “The Boundaries of Public Diplomacy and Non-State Actors: A Taxonomy of Perspectives,” International Studies Perspectives, (2018) 0, 1-21.  In this insightful and well-researched essay, Ayhan (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul) provides a systematic assessment of recent scholarship in public diplomacy based on an in-depth survey of 160 articles and books.  He assumes public diplomacy is a field of study that requires analytical boundaries and a taxonomy of perspectives as a first step in theory building.  He begins with a conceptualization of public diplomacy within the discipline of international relations.  His taxonomy divides public diplomacy into five broad groups: state-centric, neo-statist (states plus social or grassroots diplomacy), non-traditional (based on actor capabilities not status), society-centric, and accommodative, meaning perspectives that include nonstate actors in public diplomacy if their activities meet certain criteria.  Scholars and conceptually minded practitioners will find much on offer here.  Ayhan draws needed attention to the importance of boundaries and non-state actors in theorizing diplomacy.  His critiques of arguments in the literature warrant reflection and promise to enhance discourse in diplomacy studies.  Directly and by implication his paper suggests areas of further research – including his debatable proposition that public diplomacy should be treated as a separate field of study rather than as an increasingly mainstream dimension of diplomacy.
Daniel Aguirre Azócar, Ilan Manor, and Alejandro Ramos Cardoso, eds., Public Diplomacy in the Digital Era, Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior, No. 113, 2018.  Azócar (Universidad de Chile), Manor (University of Oxford) and Cardoso (Embassy of Mexico, Berlin) have compiled articles by leading scholars and practitioners on the digitalization of diplomacy.  The strengths of this compendium include its pioneering conceptual insights, case studies that connect theory and varieties of diplomatic practice with special attention to Spanish speaking countries, clearly written articles suitable for classroom assignment in universities and foreign ministry training courses, and, not least, downloadable pdf texts in Spanish and English using Google Translate.
Daniel Aguirre Azócar, Ilan Manor, and Alejandro Ramos Cardoso, Introduction. “The Digitalization of Public Diplomacy: Toward a New Conceptual Framework.”
Corneliu Bjola, (University of Oxford), “Digital Diplomacy 2.0: Trends and Counter-Trends.”
Alister Miskimmon (Queens University, Belfast), Ben O’Loughlin (University of London), and Laura Roselle (Elon University), “Strategic Narrative: 21stCentury Diplomatic Statecraft.”
Juan Luis Manfredi (University of Castile-La Mancha) and Alejandro Ramos Cardoso, (Embassy of Mexico, Berlin), “Social Media, International Information and Diplomatic Integrity.”
Daniel Aguirre Azócar (Universidad de Chile) and Matthias Erlandsen (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), “Digital Public Diplomacy in Latin America: Challenges and Opportunities.”
Alejandro Neyra (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peru) and Rafa Rubio (Complutense University of Madrid), “The Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: From Digitization to Modernization.”
Ilan Manor (University of Oxford) and Marcus Holmes (College of William & Mary), “Palestine in Hebrew: Overcoming the Limitations of Traditional Diplomacy.”
Andrew Bacevich, ed., Ideas and American Foreign Policy: A Reader (Oxford University Press, 2018).  Bacevich (Boston University) has compiled more than 100 primary source writings in American history from the colonial era to President Trump’s inaugural address that support two propositions.  First, ideas are central elements that (in addition to interests, institutions, and fortune) shape the context in which policymakers and diplomats act and make choices.  Second, their ideas frame competing narratives – Americans as an exceptional people who promote freedom and democracy, and Americans as dissenters who challenge US imperialism, militarism, and violations of human rights.  Bacevich organizes these writings chronologically with introductions that contextualize them in historical eras.  For a useful review (courtesy of Donna Oglesby) see Douglas Rivero (St. Petersburg College) published in H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews, August 2018.
Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, and Hal Roberts, Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics,(Oxford University Press, 2018).  The primary goal of this book is to understand which actors were responsible for the transformation of the American public sphere before and after the 2016 presidential election and how it became vulnerable to varieties of “post-truth” information pollution.  The authors (associated with Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society) combine in-depth analysis of large data sets and case studies with broad conceptual inquiry into historical political and cultural forces.  Assessments limited only to how technology works “understates the degree to which institutions, culture, and politics shape technological adoption and diffusion patterns.”  This also, they argue, is what makes their focus on American politics and media relevant to other countries.  Diplomacy scholars and practitioners will find useful not only their extensive empirical research but also their brief intellectual history of propaganda and conceptual analysis of terms – propaganda, disinformation, misinformation, disorientation, manipulation, distraction, induced misperception, philosopher Harry Frankfurt’s “bullshit,” network propaganda, propaganda feedback loop, propaganda pipeline, and attention backbone.  Media and public diplomacy teachers who have long valued Walter Lippmann’s insights on cognitive framing, micro-targeting, and creation of consent will appreciate their view that his Public Opinion (1922) “might as well have been written in 2017.”  Network Propganda is available from OUP online and as a free PDF download.
Katherine Costello, “Russia’s Use of Media Operations in Turkey: Implications for the United States,” RAND Arroyo Center, 2018.  RAND analyst Costello examines Russia’s multiple and overlapping media responses to three events: Turkey’s November 2015 shoot-down of a Russian military plane, the July 2016 Turkish coup attempt, and the December 2016 assassination of the Russian ambassador.  Her paper focuses on Russia’s emphasis on “amplification of genuine uncertainty” with false claims, “opportunistic fabrications,” tactical interpretations intended to confuse, and “multiple contradictory narratives” for different audiences.  She concludes with a brief discussion of implications for the US State Department’s Global Engagement Center and NATO’s Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence.
Patricia Hall, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship, (Oxford University Press, published online in 2015, print edition in 2017).  Hall (University of Michigan) has compiled a collection of studies of music censorship that spans historical eras, six continents, and a variety of musical genres.  Essays discuss religions as censors and objects of censorship; censorship of renowned operas in Enlightenment era France and Austria; censorship in transitional governments from 19th century Italy to today’s Taiwan; censorship in 20th century totalitarian governments; censorship in democracies such as the UK and the US; and connections between censorship and issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation.  (Courtesy of Tim Moore)
Harry Kopp, “Blue-Ribbon Blues: Why So Many Great Reports and Good Ideas Go Nowhere,” The Foreign Service Journal, September 2018, 26-32.  Retired Foreign Service Officer and author Harry Kopp (Voice of the Foreign Service: A History of the American Foreign Service Association) profiles 70 years of blue-ribbon commission studies from the perspective of a central question – “Why is change so difficult?”  Kopp looks at this dilemma in the context of three tough issues that have been studied repeatedly with scant effect: dual personnel systems, interagency coordination, and professional development through training and education.  He identifies 13 reports that still merit attention from among the studies of the State Department and Foreign Service “that come along nearly every year.”  Kopp’s informed insights illuminate a depressing history in which leaders rarely sacrifice short-term priorities for results that will occur in a future administration.  It is a history that also reflects what Harvard sociologist Donald Warwick described as “the influence of organized interests, personal whims, political brokerage, and sheer bureaucratic inertia.”  Change is not impossible Kopp concludes, but it can occur only if it is grounded in evidence-based reform proposals, attentive to missions and desires of Foreign and Civil Services, and driven by leadership that values diplomacy and the Department as an institution “with a past and future as long as the republic’s.”
J. Simon Rofe, Sport and Diplomacy: Games Within Games, (Manchester University Press, 2018).  Rofe (University of London) has compiled essays by scholars and practitioners that explore as a guiding theme “the practice of diplomacy in relation to sport.”  Authors address conceptual issues relating to the place of sport in soft power and public diplomacy; sport’s occurrence and absence in contexts of war, peace, and divided societies; and ways sport and diplomacy frame understanding in a variety of historical and geographic settings.  In his writings, Rofe has long pointed to the importance of sport in studies of diplomacy and governance.  This collection advances the discussion through attention to conceptual frameworks, diplomatic actors and functions, and a diverse array of case studies that connect different sports and global actors.
Robert Kagan, The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018).  With this slim book, filled with clear, thought provoking sentences on every page, Kagan (Brookings Institution) will shape conversation on diplomacy’s context and the problematic future of the liberal world order as witnessed during the past century – freedom, universality, individual rights, tolerance, equality regardless of race or national origin, open borders, a rules based trading regime, Germany and Japan’s adoption of democracy, and support provided by NATO and US military power.  Kagan’s central argument is that this liberal world order (a rare artificial garden) is not a consequence of human evolution.  It is under assault within the US and abroad by forces (the jungle) that are more natural to the human condition – a desire for strong leadership and “the security of family, tribe, and nation.”  Kagan is a realist with a values agenda.  He contends that America’s role was exceptional, not because the American people are exceptional, but because America’s power born of geography, natural resources, and a liberal capitalist system combined with its interests to produce unprecedented capacity to influence global affairs.  Hard power for Kagan is critical.  “For all the talk of ‘soft’ power and ‘smart’ power, it is ultimately the American security guarantee, the ability to deploy hard power to deter and defeat potential aggressors” that provides the liberal order’s essential foundation.  On reading Kagan, two ideas among many occur.  His enthusiasm for hard power would not be undercut by greater attention to the influence of soft power.  He has earned a place on any short list of nominees for a 21st century successor to Reinhold Niebuhr.
Andreas Pacher, “Strategic Publics in Public Diplomacy: A Typology and a Heuristic Device for Multiple Publics,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Volume 13, Issue 3, 2018, 272-296.  Pacher (Nouvelle Europe, Vienna) draws on an impressive command of the literature in diplomacy studies and social psychology to address three unresolved issues in identifying the “publics” in public diplomacy: inattention to domestic publics, inattention to public interactions with foreign government officials, and overemphasis on elite actors.  His proposed typology of strategic publics “integrates both foreign and domestic, both governmental and non-state, both powerful and powerless strategic publics.”  Pacher draws on the importance of “representation” in diplomacy theory and categories of “warmth” and “competence” in social psychology as universal elements in interpersonal and inter-group relations.  His article goes on to create six ideal types and a multi-level heuristic device for analyzing cases involving relations between public diplomats and multiple publics.  He concludes with suggestions for further research.
Yadira Ixchel Martínez Pantoja, “Conceptualizing a New Public Diplomacy Model: ‘Intermestic’ Instruments and Strategies to Promote Change in Mexico’s GM Food Policy,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Volume 13, Issue 3, 2018, 245-271.  Pantoja (The University of Auckland) makes two important contributions in this article.  First, she advances conceptual dialogue on the “new diplomacy” of state, sub-state, and non-state actors wielding public diplomacy as partners and stakeholders on an “intermestic” (both international and domestic) issue.  Second, she constructs a public diplomacy model applicable to strategies and instruments used by US state, sub-state, corporate, and NGO actors to convince Mexico of the benefits of GM (genetically modified) foods.  Her article provides both an instructive case study in polylateral diplomacy and insights into the pros and cons of a significant policy issue with economic, environmental, and food security ramifications.
Dina Smeltz, Ivo Daalder, Karl Friedhoff, Craig Kafura, and Lily Wojtowicz, “America Engaged: American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy,” 2018 Chicago Council Survey, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  The Chicago Council’s senior fellow Dina Smeltz and her colleagues find that support by the American people for global engagement is increasing despite President Trump’s rhetoric and actions on trade, climate, NATO, and Iran.  Seventy percent favor the US taking an active part in world affairs, the highest level of support since 1974 with the exception of the post 9/11 survey in 2002.   A “striking majority (91%) say that it is more effective for the United States to work with allies and other countries to achieve its foreign policy goals. Just 8 percent say that it is more effective for the United States to tackle world problems on its own.”  Majority public support has risen 6% during the past year for the Iran agreement (66%) and the Paris climate accord (68%).
“Soft Power and Censorship: China is Broadening Its Efforts to Win Over African Audiences,” The Economist, October 20, 2018, 46-47.  The Economist finds that China’s state run news media in Africa are struggling to gain audiences.  Research shows market share for CTGN Africa in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa to be well below CNN, the BBC, and Sky News.  Censorship is one reason, but “The main constraint on the influence of Chinese news, however, is that it is boring.”  That said, The Economist also finds that China’s influence in African media is growing through other means.  A training program brings some 1,000 African journalists to China for media training annually.  China invests heavily in private African media companies.  And expansion across the continent of Star-Times, a private pay-TV company with close ties to the Chinese government, “is the primary vehicle for the expansion of Chinese soft power in Africa.”
Yolanda Kemp Spies, Global Diplomacy and International Society, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and Yolanda Kemp Spies, Global South Perspectives on Diplomacy, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).  In these soon to be published companion volumes, Spies (University of Johannesburg), a scholar and former diplomat, brings to fruition ten years of research on the context, theory, and practice of diplomacy that brings needed attention to the understudied diplomacy of the Global South.  Global Diplomacy and International Society is a comprehensive overview of the conceptual, historical, legal, institutional, and cultural contexts in which diplomacy is practiced.  Her intent is to “stick to the basics of diplomacy.”  It is not a skills manual, and she avoids deep dives into “theoretical wars.”  She paints with a broad brush on the basics of diplomacy and ways it “anchors and foments” international society.  Case studies illuminate her thinking.  In Global South Perspectives on Diplomacy, Spies examines methods and structures in contemporary diplomatic practice through the lens of developing states and non-state actors.  She focuses on “development diplomacy,” the information and communications revolution, and the changing nature of conflict.  Global South case studies again give life and meaning to her concepts.
Richard Wilke, Bruce Stokes, Jacob Poushter, Laura Silver, Janell Fetterolf, and Kat Devlin, “Trump’s International Ratings Remain Low, Especially Among Key Allies,” Pew Research Center, October 1, 2018.  In this second 25-nation survey during the Trump presidency, Pew’s research team finds “Trump’s international image remains poor, while ratings for the United States are much lower than during Barack Obama’s presidency.”  Among other findings, international publics have significant concerns about America’s role in world affairs, the US is perceived to be doing less to address global challenges, and American soft power is waning.  Frustration is particularly high among close US allies.  Israel is an exception to the pattern.  Most see China on the rise, but “the idea of a U.S.-led world order is still attractive to most.”  German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron received positive ratings.  Chinese President Xi, Russian President Putin, and President Trump, lowest of the five, received negative ratings.
Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest
Matt Armstrong, “1957: Eisenhower, Dulles and Merging USIA Back Into State, or Not,” September 27, 2018, MountainRunner.us.
Cornelieu Bjola, “Diplomacy in the Digital Age,” October 11, 2018, Real Instituto Ecano.
Barbara Bodine, “Who Is the Future of the Foreign Service,” September 2018, The Foreign Service Journal.
S. Elizabeth Brandon, “Exchange Professionals and the Value of Public Diplomacy,” August 24, 2018, Dipnote.
Justin Chapman, “Democracies Should Fight Sharp Power With Soft Power,” Summary and video of conversation with Joseph Nye and Shanthi Kalathil, August 15, 2018, Pacific Council on International Policy.
Robert Chesney and Danielle K. Citron, “Disinformation on Steroids: The Threat of Deep Fakes,” October 16, 2018, Council on Foreign Relations.
Helle Dale and James Carafano, “In a Key Post at State, Kiron Skinner Will Advance Trump’s Security Strategy,” August 30, 2018, The Daily Signal.
Kim Andrew Elliott, “The World Needs News,” August 30, 2018, The Hill.
Susannah George and Matthew Lee, “For U.S. Diplomacy, Special Envoys Make a Comeback,” September 5, 2018, Associated Press.
Robbie Gramer and Elias Groll, “Pompeo Eyes Fox News Reporter to Head Counterpropaganda Office,” September 6, 2018, Foreign Policy.
Robbie Gramer, “State Department Considering Public Diplomacy Overhaul,” October 19, 2018, Foreign Policy.
Alison Holmes, “Subnational Cooperation and the Environment: The Public Diplomacy of Survival,” October 15, 2018, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Roberta S. Jackson, “My Year as a Trump Ambassador,” October 20, 2018, The New York Times.
John F. Lansing, “U.S. Agency for Global Media,” August 22, 2018, USAGM Website.
Kelly Magsamen, Max Bergmann, Michael Fuchs, and Trevor Sutton, “Securing a Democratic World: The Case for a Democratic-Values Based Foreign Policy,” September 5, 2018, Center for American Progress.
Ilan Manor, “The Growing Importance of Journalists in Digital Diplomacy,” September 10, 2018, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Jan Melissen and Hwa Jung Kim, “Learning from South Korean Diplomatic Experimentation,” August 27, 2018, USC Center for Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
James D. Melville, Jr., “Why I Stepped Down as an Ambassador,” October 4, 2018, The Washington Post.
Donna Marie Oglesby, “Diplomacy Disrupted,” September 26, 2018, Issue 18, Diplomacy in 2018, 37-38.
Donna Marie Oglesby, “Oral Interview,” The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST); highlighted with link to her interview in ADST’s “Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History,” Joseph Baldofsky, “Embassies: ‘An Artifact of an Earlier Age.”  
Philip Seib, “Can Twitter and Diplomacy Coexist,” September 26, 2018, Issue 18, Diplomacy in 2018, 38-39.
Darren Walker, “Old Money, New Order: American Philanthropies and the Defense of Liberal Order,” November/December 2018, Foreign Affairs.
Geoffrey Wiseman, “Soft Power and Reviewing Australia’s Global Appeal,” August 24, 2018, The Interpreter, Lowy Institute.
Ilir Zherka, “Response to ‘Shortchanged’ Report Regarding the Au Pair Cultural Exchange Program,” August 28, 2018, Alliance for International Exchange.
Gem From The Past
Brian Hocking, Jan Melissen, Shaun Riordan, and Paul Sharp, “Futures for Diplomacy: Integrative Diplomacy in the 21st Century,”Clingendael, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, October 2012.  Six years ago this month, four leading diplomacy scholars set the table for a robust dialogue on diplomacy’s future in an era of radical change.  They identified four key dimensions in what they called “integrative diplomacy: contexts and locations, rules and norms, communication patterns and actors and roles.”  As entries in this reading list increasingly demonstrate, scholars and practitioners are dealing with these dimensions as they frame new concepts, write new case studies, and change diplomatic tools and methods.  An explosion of new sub-state and non-state diplomatic actors.  Diplomats as boundary spanners.  Polylateral diplomacy.  Whole of government diplomacy.  Fragmentation of rules and norms.  Complex transnational issues.  Breakdown between foreign and domestic.  Digital era diplomacy.  And much more.  Clingendael’s Futures for Diplomacy rewards a close second look and considered dialogue on its claims.

Jon Lee Anderson, “Behind the Wall: As the U.S. Abandons Diplomacy, an Ambassador Resigns in Protest,” The New Yorker, May 28, 2018, 24-30.  New Yorker staff writer Anderson profiles the career of Foreign Service Officer John Feeley and motives for his protest resignation as US Ambassador to Panama.  The article blends discourse on the public dimensions of Feeley’s work during postings in Latin America (the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico, and Panama) and concerns about President Trump’s rhetoric, values, and policies that led him to resign.

Kadir Jun Ayhan, “Branding Korea as ‘My Friend’s Country’ The Case of VANK’s Cyber Public Diplomats,” Korea Observer, Vol. 49, No. 1, Spring 2018, 51-89.  In this article, Ayhan (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul) make several valuable contributions to diplomacy studies.  He explores the under-studied conceptual terrain of whether and in what circumstances non-state actors can be treated as diplomacy actors independent of relationships with government actors.  He offers useful insights into diplomacy’s connections with nation branding, digital technologies, and relationship building.  He develops his theoretical claims in an interesting case study of a Korean NGO, the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), through which young Koreans seek to promote Korea to foreigners using social networking sites, branding strategies, and managed relationships.  Ayhan’s article contains an informed review of current literature and useful suggestions for further research.  Scholars will find provocative ideas that illuminate conceptual discourse.  Practitioners will benefit from an understanding of VANK’s methods and activities.
Border Diplomacy,” Public Diplomacy Magazine, Issue 19, Summer/Fall 2018, Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars, University of Southern California.  In this timely edition, Public Diplomacy Magazine compiles articles and interviews on varieties of ways borders divide and connect in diplomacy.  Topics include a critique of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, a program created to help refugees and immigration families, German exchanges with US cities, migration stories in America and Europe, issues in trade and diplomacy, the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum and possibilities for a virtual state, and Iceland’s place branding initiatives.  The Magazine is a student-run publication, which has published articles by students, faculty, and practitioners with support from USC faculty and an international advisory board since 2009.
Alice Campbell-Cree and Mona Lotten, “The Value of Trust: How Trust is Earned and Why It Matters,” British Council, June 2018.  In this 23-page report, the British Council examines the importance of relationships and the value of trust as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.  Following a brief look at the literature on trust, the report looks at (1) the role of UK values in earning trust, (2) the relationship between trust and people’s intentions to engage with the UK, and (3) connections between cultural relations activities, trust, and values.  The report builds on previous British Council research and surveys in G-20 countries.
Charles T. Cleveland, Ryan C. Crocker, Daniel Egel, Andrew M. Liepman and David Maxwell, “An American Way of Political Warfare, A Proposal,” RAND, PE304, July 2018.  In this 12-page paper, two retired army officers (Cleveland and Maxwell), a retired ambassador (Crocker), a retired CIA officer (Liepman), and a RAND economist (Egel) call for a whole of government political warfare capability that orchestrates elements of national power in response to political threats from “revisionist, revolutionary, and rogue powers.”  Their plan anticipates three core activities: “irregular warfare” led by the Department of Defense, “expeditionary diplomacy” led by the Department of State and USAID, and “covert political action” led by the Intelligence Community.  Central to their proposal is creation of a National Political Warfare Center (NPWC).  Its mission would be to study, understand, and develop action in response to “the full range of unconventional, irregular, political, informational, diplomatic, and economic threats and activities” employed by adversaries.  Their conversation opener leaves key issues to be determined.  Bipartisan support from the President and Congress.  Buy-in from Defense, State, and other agencies.  Building a political warfare capability that is effective and compatible with “progressive democracy.”  Creating a roadmap and business plan capable of achieving their imagined goals.
“Leo P. Crespi Papers, Series 2, USIA Years,” Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University.  Leo Crespi was a world-renowned public opinion researcher whose career, following his graduate education and eight years of teaching at Princeton, was devoted to foreign opinion research.  From 1947-1953, he conducted a US government survey of public opinion in post-war Germany.  He served as President of the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) from 1955-1956.  He joined the US Information Agency in 1954 and for 32 years was a leading figure in shaping the Agency’s opinion surveys.  His classified report on French and British opinion of the US, which appeared to support John F. Kennedy’s assertions about declining US prestige, was a factor in the 1960 election when it was leaked to the New York Times.  Crespi would subsequently say, when the episode created an uproar in the press and Congressional hearings, “We do not do prestige polls.  Prestige is too vague and general a word to be helpful in our work.”  His well-organized USIA papers, 15 linear feet in 15 boxes, consist of opinion surveys, research notes, correspondence, press clippings, and numerous copies of memoranda exchanged with USIA colleagues.  The collection is a treasure trove that provides a window into the evolution of US foreign opinion research, USIA’s first three decades, US public diplomacy, and the contributions of a distinguished scholar practitioner.
Samantha Custer, Brooke Russell, Matthew DiLorenzo, Mengfan Cheng, Siddhartha Ghose, Harsh Desai, Jacob Sims, and Jennifer Turner, “Ties That Bind: Quantifying China’s Public Diplomacy and Its ‘Good Neighbor’ Effect,” AidData, William and Mary, June 2018.  AidData conducted this 85-page study in collaboration with the Asia Society Policy Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), with funding from the US Department of State.  It uses quantitative data from a variety of sources to “examine how China (1) packages positive messages about its culture, values, and beliefs for a general audience; and (2) facilitates positive interactions between its own citizens or leaders and those of other countries to increase mutual understanding and closer ties.”  The study contains quantitative measures of China’s Confucius Institutes, sister cities exchanges, financial diplomacy, and official visits.  It provides qualitative insights on China’s “informational diplomacy.”  Ten findings are summarized in a separately linked Executive Summary.
Michiko Kakutani, The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump, (Tim Duggan Books, 2018).  Former New York Times literary critic Kakutani explores a central question: “How did truth and reason become such endangered species, and what does their impending demise portend for our public discourse and the future of our politics and governance?”  Her brief volume laments today’s assault on truth, language, and reason and seeks to explain its origins through a tapestry of insights from a variety of critics past and present.  Chapters look at the decline of reason, postmodernism, social media, disinformation, fake news, tribes, attention deficit, embrace of subjectivity, conspiracy obsessions, and recurring episodes of irrationality in US history – a pattern that historian Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style” and novelist Philip Roth “the indigenous American berserk.”  Her book can be read quickly.  Kakutani has a flair for the apposite quote.  Not all arguments convince (e.g., a heavy burden of blame placed on post modernism), but every page prompts useful reflection.
Jonathan McClory, in collaboration with Portland and USC Center on Public Diplomacy, “The Soft Power 30, A Global Ranking of Soft Power,” July 2018.  This fourth edition of the Soft Power 30 Index finds the UK in 1st place, edging out France, the US continuing its decline now in 4th place, with drops in governance and global favorability metrics, and Japan joining the top 5 with gains in culture, innovation, and international polling.  The report provides information on the metrics and polling data used to support its rankings.  It also includes short analytical pieces by 23 accomplished scholars and practitioners.  The Soft Power 30 Index draws on the soft power views of Harvard scholar Joseph Nye, who comments favorably on this year’s methods and findings – adding that “Clearly, the Trump Administration’s ‘America First’ approach to foreign policy comes at a cost to U.S. global influence.”  See also Portland’s July 122018 Media Release and CPD’s webpage summary.
Michael McFaul, From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2018).  McFaul (Stanford University) has written a penetrating analysis of US / Russia relations and a highly readable account of his career (thus far) ranging from his early days as an activist for the National Democratic Institute in the Soviet Union, his role as Russia expert in President Obama’s National Security Council, and his years as US ambassador to Moscow during Vladimir Putin’s increasingly autocratic rule.  Chapters cover a range of issues in modern diplomacy’s public dimension.  Perceptions and misperceptions of democracy promotion in Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine.  The mismatch between his two days of Foreign Service Institute ambassadorial training and the requirements of managing a whole of government platform embassy.  A chapter filled with detail and lessons learned from his embrace of social media “as essential tools of our public diplomacy” is particularly instructive.  McFaul “grew to like Twitter” but his “most pleasurable tool for engaging with Russians . . . was old-school public diplomacy at Spaso House,” the US ambassador’s storied residence.  Twenty-two thousand guests in two years earned McFaul a certificate for a “world record” from Spaso House staff.  His account looks at cultural programs, American Corners before Putin shut them down, and insights into why outreach and engagement “do not translate neatly into impact” or help to achieve American national interests.
Chris Painter, “Diplomacy in Cyberspace,” The Foreign Service Journal, June 2018, 26-30.  Does the State Department need special envoys for complex transnational issues?  Many career diplomats say no; existing bureaus and the career Foreign Service can handle them.  Trump administration officials also say no, but for policy reasons, as demonstrated by moves that ended the position of Special Envoy for Climate Change led by Todd Stern from 2009-2016 and Coordinator for Cyber Issues led by Chris Painter from 2011-2017.  In this article, Painter makes a compelling case for continuing an office with “a high level neutral reporting chain” dedicated to advancing US diplomacy on a broad range of cyber issues that include international security, deterrence, combating cybercrime, cyber security, promoting human rights online, and internet governance.  These issues require strategic partnerships, multilateral and polylateral engagement, building consensus for cyber stability, responses to incidents, capacity building, shaping public perceptions, and advising on policy planning and communication strategies.  Cyber issues cut across all functional and regional bureaus, and they require deep connections with the private sector and civil society.  These are not issues that can be handled part time by one bureau or Foreign Service generalists.  See also, Joseph Marks, “Bill To Reinstate and Elevate Top Cyber Diplomat Advances from Senate Committee,” June 27, 2918, Nextgov.
James Pamment and Karen Gwinn Wilkins, eds., Communicating National Image Through Development and Diplomacy, The Politics of Foreign Aid, (Palgrave, 2018).  Pamment (Lund University, Sweden) and Wilkins (University of Texas at Austin) have compiled essays that bridge research and practice in the fields of development communication and public diplomacy, with considerable attention also to nation branding, soft power, and globalization.  Readers will find much on offer in this volume’s interdisciplinary approach.  Thoughtful foundational essays by the editors provide insights into concepts and literature in current scholarship as well as their own integrative frameworks.  Their approach emphasizes the importance of understanding development and diplomacy as practiced by organizations pursuing political agendas – thereby reinforcing the growing value of practice theory.  These ideas and methods are developed in case studies by accomplished scholars from a broad cross-section of universities: Kosovo (Nadia Kaneva, University of Denver); Colombia (Olga Lucía Sorzano, University of London, and Toby Miller, University of California, Riverside); South Korea (Kyung Sun Lee, University of Texas, Austin); Sweden (Andreas Åkerlund, Södertörn University, Stockholm), Turkey (Senem B. Çevik, University of California, Irvine; Efe Sevin, Reinhardt University; and Banu Baybars-Hawks, Kadir Has University); Mexico (Rebecka Villanueva Ulfgard, Instituto Mora, Mexico City); United States and China in Afghanistan (Diane Wu, American University); and China (Larisa Smirnova, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow).
PDx, Public Diplomacy Examined Podcasts, Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC), George Washington University.  GWU’s IPDGC has initiated a series of podcasts with scholars and diplomacy practitioners on issues relating to the study and practice of public diplomacy.  The series was initiated, and its early podcasts were hosted, by IPDGC’s PD Fellow Robert Ogburn, a career Foreign Service Officer who has returned to the Department of State following completion of his assignment at GWU where he taught courses, mentored students, and organized university forums.
Ben Rhodes, The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House, (Random House: 2018).  There is much to recommend in Rhodes’ reflections on his years as senior speechwriter and deputy national security advisor to President Obama.  His views on how key speeches (Cairo, Berlin, Oslo, West Point, Havana) shaped perceptions of policies and US diplomacy.  Public events during Presidential trips as critical tools in diplomacy’s public dimension.  His accounts of communication issues underlying Obama’s Cairo speech, subsequent diplomacy in the Arab world, Libya and Syria policies, the Innocence of Muslims video and death of US diplomat Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, and the US opening to Cuba.  His book provides ample evidence that monologue (presidential speeches, press events) matters in diplomacy.  (See Geoffrey Cowan and Amelia Arsenault, “Moving from Monologue, to Dialogue, to Collaboration,” The Annals, 2008.)  Rhodes laments and conveys well how US national security agencies privilege terrorism and other threats at the expense of global trends (climate, governance, food, health).  Readers will look in vain, however, for insights into how Rhodes carried out his duties self-described as being “in charge of the sprawling ways the United States reaches foreign publics – from exchange programs to information operations” (p. 69).  Here there is nothing.  The term “public diplomacy” appears on the book’s dust jacket in a list of his responsibilities.  But the term appears nowhere in the book, just as it never appeared in President Obama’s public discourse.  This does not mean Obama and Rhodes were inattentive to diplomacy’s public dimension at the presidential level.  Quite the opposite.  It was central to the Obama presidency.  But it does provide further evidence the term is losing salience – other than as a legacy label for bureaus in the State Department and a career subset in the Foreign Service.  Less rumination by Rhodes on his moods during moments of stress and euphoria and more assessment of the whole of government role of the “deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and speech writing” would have enhanced the book’s value for practitioners.
David Sanger, The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age, (Crown Publishing, 2018).  New York Times national security correspondent Sanger builds on his superb reporting and earlier books (The Inheritance and Confront and Conceal) with this tour d’horizon of how cyber weapons are transforming the exercise of power by states and other actors.  Much of the book focuses on the technologies of cyber capabilities and shortcomings in how they are understood and used.  Here his focus is on infrastructure and physical effects.  But Sanger also devotes several chapters to the political and diplomacy implications of how information content is understood and used.  Disinformation.  Manipulated elections.  Amplification by social media.  Privacy issues.  Ukraine.  Victoria Nuland’s diplomacy backed by force.  Putin’s trolls and grievances.  Facebook’s dilemmas.  Fake news.  And more.  His book offers few solutions.  But he does a most excellent job of portraying the confounding challenges of gray zone conflict between war and peace, blazing rates of technological change, insufficient public discourse, and vulnerabilities born of strengths and choices in free societies.
Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America, (Tim Duggan Books, 2018). This book works at several levels for diplomacy scholars and practitioners.  Yale historian Snyder (author of On Tyranny) provides a compelling account of contemporary history, the rise of antidemocratic politics, Russia’s turn against Europe and invasion of Ukraine, the Brexit vote, and the Trump presidency.  Snyder skillfully weaves together patterns and concepts that illuminate the agency of political actors, their ideas, and their media strategies.  At the tactical level, he offers insights into such communication methods as “implausible deniability,” “fake news,” “information war,” “unifying fictions,” “lies so enormous that they could not be doubted,” and “proclamations of innocence” – tactics “not meant to convince in a factual sense, but to guide in a narrative sense.”  At the strategic level, Snyder frames thought provoking arguments.  Americans and Europeans are guided by competition between a “politics of inevitability” (a better future beckons through reforms following known laws of progress) and a “politics of eternity” (time as a circle endlessly grounded in threats, victimhood, an imagined past, and politics as spectacle).  He argues empire and integration are more analytically useful models for understanding European and American history than the traditional frame of nation-states with fixed borders.  Concerned citizens must retain the ability to distinguish between facts and desires and make choices between equality and oligarchy, individuality and totality, and truth and falsehood.
Gregory M. Tomlin, “‘The Last Three Feet,’ Reinvesting in Tactical Information Operations,” Military Review Online Exclusive, August 2018.  LTC Tomlin (Directorate for Intelligence, the Joint Staff, Pentagon; author of Murrow’s Cold War: Public Diplomacy for the Kennedy Administration) draws on the iconic “last three feet” phrase, made famous by Edward R. Murrow, in this critique of the Army’s recent decision to eliminate information (IO) officers from tactical level brigade combat teams.  The decision centralizes IO officers at the division level often at a noncontiguous remove from operations among local populations. The decision, Tomlin argues, “seriously jeopardizes” the ability of combat teams to gain credibility and engage in dialogue with people often suspicious of US intentions.  His article profiles ways combat units gain from face-to-face engagement: operationally useful knowledge of local concerns and views, continuity and effectiveness in information operations, enhanced integration of IO with other joint force capabilities, and maintenance of a clear boundary and mutually advantageous relations between IO and public affairs.  Importantly, his article also demonstrates how tactical IO capabilities advance Defense Secretary James Mattis’s recent decision to elevate information as a new seventh joint function of US armed forces.
Deborah L. Trent, Many Voices, Many Hands: Widening Participatory Dialogue to Improve Diplomacy’s Impact, CPD Perspectives, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Paper 4, May 2018.  Deborah Trent is an independent consultant and board member of the Public Diplomacy Council.  Her paper argues for the importance of public-private partnerships in diplomacy’s public dimension and a relational approach to how they are planned, put into practice, monitored, and evaluated.  She adopts a multi-stakeholder perspective that includes governance actors at national and city levels and an array of non-state actors.  She focuses particularly on diasporas (defined as ethnic minority groups of migrant origins) as well as cultural and educational nonprofits, and business and civic groups interested in promoting trade, tourism, development and cultural ties.  Trent constructs an analytical framework grounded in contextual and process variables and “a set of measurable strategic-engagement communication practices.”  These are applied in her evaluation of three cases: Engagement Alliance (IdEA), a US State Department supported international disapora, and sister city partnerships between Chicago and Kyiv and between Montgomery County, Maryland and Morazán, El Salvador.
US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, Optimizing Engagement: Research, Evaluation and Learning in Public Diplomacy, April 2018.  This agenda setting and deeply informed Commission report comes in two parts: (1) an essay by the Commission’s executive director Shawn Powers frames four detailed recommendations for optimizing and integrating research and evaluation in US public diplomacy, and (2) a study by M&C Saatchi World Services engaged by the Commission to assess methods and best practices of leading public diplomacy actors in other countries.  The study, led by Saatchi’s chief research officer Gerry Power, examines 28 case studies in 17 countries.  This Commission report and its earlier signature report, Data Driven Public Diplomacy, build on 70 years of Commission reports urging greater emphasis on research and evaluation in US public diplomacy.  Taken together these reports make clear that sophisticated assessment tools, when used by diplomats, enhance their understanding of opinions and mediated environments, contribute to policy formulation, and improve their diplomacy.  But these reports beg a fundamental question.  Research and evaluation are given high priority in political campaigns, corporate advertising, NGO strategies, and military planning.  Why for so long have they lacked comparable priority in diplomacy?  Future Commission reports could usefully expand their optic from the tools themselves to a hard look at the political, organizational, and professional shortcomings that marginalize their use in American diplomacy.  How can diplomacy’s resources for research and evaluation be brought into line with industry standards?  What are practical ways to reward and compel their consistent use through preconditions to program contracts awards, compulsory training requirements, links to career officer advancement, and other means?
Clint Watts, Messing With the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News, (Harper, 2018).  Former FBI agent Watts (now affiliated with George Washington University and MSNBC) writes about lessons learned from his freelance and institutional experiences with the social media platforms of al-Qaeda, al Shabaab, the Islamic State, Russian troll farms, and other actors.  For diplomacy practitioners, a central theme turns on his critique of US public diplomacy and information operations after 9/11, analysis of Russia’s active measures during the Cold War and today, arguments for updating techniques used by USIA on social media, and views on the State Department’s Global Engagement Center.  Watts deplores the jargon, unwieldy size, security clearance barriers, and complex regulations in government contracting systems.  He argues they are intended to create a mirror image of government and wind up limiting potential benefits of outside talent and fresh ideas.  Filled with practical advice on dealing with a range of challenges from preference bubbles to fake news, his observations are grounded in a belief that countries succeed by what they do, not what they say.  “U.S. policy for influence operations might ultimately be to do nothing at all, except figure out what we stand for, what we believe in, and what we will again fight for.”
Candace L. White and Kathy R. Fitzpatrick, “Corporate Perspectives on the Role of Global Public Relations in Public Diplomacy,” Journal of Public Relations, Vol. 11, Issue 4, May 2018.  White (University of Tennessee) and Fitzpatrick (American University) examine the role of multinational corporations as non-state actors in public diplomacy.  Their well-organized paper includes a literature review, an explanation of their research method (the RAND Corporation’s Delphi panel technique), a statement of research questions, discussion of findings and implications, an assessment of the limitations of their research based on a small sample size, and suggestions for further study.  Among their findings are the following.  Corporate leaders believe positive diplomatic relations between the US and countries where they do business are good for business.  Corporate social responsibility activities by US companies have a “halo effect” on national image.  Foreign images of the US have some effect on corporate images.  Corporate executives feel no obligation to engage in US public diplomacy.  They see some potential for strategic partnerships that involve sharing corporate expertise with public diplomats, if government seeks their participation.
R. S. Zaharna, “Global Engagement: Culture and Insights from Public Diplomacy,” Chapter 21, pp. 313-330, in Kim A. Johnston and Maureen Taylor, eds., The Handbook of Communication Engagement, (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018).  In this chapter, Zaharna (American University), a pioneer in “the relational turn” in public diplomacy studies, takes a deep theoretical dive into concepts of engagement and their different manifestations in public diplomacy.  Her thesis: “in order to ‘engage’ publics globally, one needs an expansive vision of ‘engagement’ that spans multiple understandings of what makes engagement meaningful to different publics around the world.”  She begins with a brief account of the evolution of engagement in US public diplomacy’s study and practice, followed by a review of limitations in traditional intercultural communication models.  Then, with a discussion of differing relational premises in communication and engagement, she sets the stage for an examination of how they shape three logics of engagement using their relational premise, characteristics, and a case example.  (1) Individual logic: attributes and agency of a “communicator,” messages, media, audience, goal orientation, and measurability, exemplified in Sweden’s digital diplomacy.  (2) Relational associative logic: paired contact points, physical co-presence, nonverbal behavior, emotion perspective taking, and symbolism, exemplified by Cuba’s medical diplomacy in the 2014 Ebola crisis.  (3) Holistic integrative logic: an expansive view of relations, interpenetrating, interconnectedness, diversity, synchrony and synergy, exemplified in China’s cultural diplomacy.
Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest
Corneliu Bjola, “Digital Diplomacy Myths,” July 16, 2018, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Rosa Brooks, “The Dangers of Devaluing Diplomacy and Overvaluing the Military,” May 18, 2018, The Washington Post.
Robin Brown, “Hegel and the Plurality of Public Diplomacies,” July 26, 2018, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence Blog.
Daryl Copeland, “Rediscovering Canada’s Undervalued Statecraft Tools,” May 24, 2018, Policy Options Politiques.
Nicholas J. Cull, “Mr. Trump Kills the Canary: The Danger of Dehumanization,” May 21, 2018, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Alan Heil, “A New Era for U.S. International Broadcasting,” August 19, 2018, Public Diplomacy Council.
Heather Hurlburt, “Foreign Policy After Trump: The U.S. Has Homework To Do,” June 26, 2-18, Lawfare Blog.
Madison Jones, “Fighting Ebola with Public Diplomacy,” June 5, 2018, Pacific Council on International Policy.
Eric X. Li, “The Rise and Fall of Soft Power,” August 20, 2018, Foreign Policy.
Luke Karl, Joseph Lane, and David Sanchez, “How To Stop Losing the Information War,” July 26, 2018, DefenseOne.
George Lukaff and Gil Duran, “Trump Has Turned Words Into Weapons. And He’s Winning the Linguistic War,” June 13, 2018, The Guardian.
Robert Malley and Jon Finer, “The Long Shadow of 9/11: How Counterterrorism Warps U.S. Foreign Policy,” July/August 2018, Foreign Affairs.
Ilan Manor, “The Ebb and Flow of Digital Diplomacy,” June 1, 2018, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Donna Oglesby, “This is [Not] Diplomacy,” May 31, 2018, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Joseph S. Nye, “Our Infant Information Revolution,” June 15, 2018, Project Syndicate.
James Pamment, “Countering Disinformation: The Public Diplomacy Problem of Our Time,” August 13, 2018, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Shawn Powers, “Foreign Cyber Threats,” August 6, 2018, C-SPAN video, (approximately  hour).
Shaun Riordan, “Who You Going to Call? Echo Busters!” May 10, 2018, BideDao.
Kevin Roose, “U.S.-Funded Broadcaster Directed Ads to Americans,” July 19, 2018, The New York Times.
Katarzyna Rybka-Iwanska, “Teaching Public Diplomacy: Inside the Classroom,” June 4, 2018, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Tara Sonenshine, “The Trump-Putin Summit Made a Mockery of Public Diplomacy,” July 16, 2018, DefenseOne.
Janet Steele, “The Best Form of Jihad Is To Tell a Word of Truth,” August 10, 2018, Foreign Policy.
Shannon Tiezzi, “How China Wins Friends and Influences People,” June 27, 2018, The Diplomat.
Christopher Walker, Shanthi Kalathil and Jessica Ludwig, “How Democracies Can Fight Authoritarian Sharp Power,” August 16, 2018, Foreign Affairs.
Vivian S. Walker and Lorant Gyori, “Migrants, Moral Panic, and Intolerance in Hungarian Politics,” July 24, 2018, War on the Rocks.
Jian (Jay) Wang and Eric Nisbet, “Reimagining Exchange: The Cultural Impact of Educational Exchanges,” June 25, 2018, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.
Gem From The Past
“Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication,” January 2008, Recommendations, 88-105; “Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication,” September 2004, Recommendations, 60-85; and “Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Managed Information Dissemination,” October 2001, Recommendations, 50-64.  Vulnerability to varieties of cyber attacks has renewed public interest in information domain capabilities and structures, continuing a century long pattern of episodic “rediscovery” in American statecraft.  Calls grow louder for “a USIA on steroids,” an empowered State Department “global engagement center,” and a “whole of government political warfare capability.”  Three Defense Science Board studies in the 2000s – each written by essentially the same small group of accomplished public diplomats, military officers, scholars, and scientists – reward a second look.  Their remarkably consistent core recommendations address net-centric solutions, iterative planning, bipartisan political will, deep understanding of cultures and influence networks, adaptive and risk tolerant practitioners, top down whole of government authorities grounded in new law (vice nominal coordination), and a federally funded government-private center to leverage civil society’s skills, knowledge, and imagination.
Efforts at George Washington University’s Public Diplomacy Institute, the Wilson Center, and elsewhere to create a road map and business plan to implement these recommendations and those in other studies did not succeed largely due to lack of interest in the Department of State.  Although political circumstances and technologies have changed, the net-centric ideas in these reports remain relevant.

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