Quotable: Tom Cotton on energizing Public Diplomacy

Saturday, November 28th 2015

The website of Foreign Affairs ran an article by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), “Proxy Wars: Russia's Intervention in Syria and What Washington Should Do,” November 24, 2015.  His many recommendations included: 


The United States should also energize its public diplomacy and information strategies. It could take the lead in funding translation services to make Western media available in Russia. The United States needn’t create content. Unlike in Russia, robust debate and diverse viewpoints already exist in U.S. media. The United States simply needs to ensure that this content is disseminated widely in Russia and Eastern Europe to provide a counter-narrative to Russian-controlled media and an example to the Russian people of what free media looks like.


No doubt some will say these policies are unduly provocative. Yet Putin’s provocations have continued unabated for more than seven years. Putin is very consciously challenging the United States and the U.S.-led international order, and is now waging a proxy war against it. It is well past time for the West to recognize his challenge, rise up to it, and move to win the proxy war. Otherwise, Washington may find itself in a genuine war against a nuclear peer.

Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. 

Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.  Specializing in Public Diplomacy, political-military affairs, and East Asia, he attained the rank of Minister-Counselor in the career service.  He was President of the Public Diplomacy Council from 2013 to 2015 and is now a member of the Board of Directors.

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Author: Donald M. Bishop

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