Historians look back at public diplomacy during Carter years

State Department historians and a prominent scholar offered a detailed look at the latest volume of Foreign Relations, documenting U.S. public diplomacy during the Carter Administration.  Shown (l-r), panel moderator Dr. John Brown, general editor Adam Howard, USC professor Nicholas Cull and Kristin Ahlbert, lead historian for the volume.  (Under Read More, see Brown's interview with Ahlberg before the talk.)  They spoke at First Monday Forum, co-sponsored with USC's Annenberg Center on Communications Leadership at the American Foreign Service Association in Washington.

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PD commentary

Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field

Instant insights for public diplomacy and strategic communication: our Quotables

Saturday, July 9th 2016

Donald Bishop, past president of the Council, decided more than a year ago to review all the writings that he could find on the Web (and then some) concerning public diplomacy, strategic communication, and related public affairs activities, mostly focusing on the United States Government.  Don dubbed each item a "Quotable," and delivered its key insights in a blog post.

Readers of our blog will notice that Don's Quotables dominate.  Such is the volume of comment and Don's commitment to the subject matter.  He has summarized many hundreds of articles on these pages.  And they're organized to reveal what writers are thinking about most every facet of government communication.

Look at a Quotable below on this page.  Each carries a bevy of tags.  Click on a tag and you will see all the other Quotables on that same subject.  I just checked Don's tag "misinformation" and found seven articles on one of the most salient topics of the moment.

Several of our members cover scholarly writings as well as publishing on their own.  One that this website carries is Bruce Gregory's Resources, a monthly compendium of scholarly publications.  Bruce includes hyperlinks where they are available.

Public Diplomacy practitioners in particular would benefit from reading more into their topic, and I can't think of a better way to start than by consulting our Quotables.

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Joe B. Johnson

Board member

 

Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Joe Johnson

Quotable: Jesse McIntyre examines counterpropaganda

Friday, July 8th 2016

“To respond or not to respond, that is the question.”  During my Foreign Service career, I heard it first as an Assistant Information Officer, and I asked it as an embassy PAO.  Some outrageous or inaccurate charge had been made in the media about the embassy, the ambassador, the State Department, or the White House.  Should we slug back?  In my first assignment, I often heard – from the PAO or the DCM -- “no, we shouldn’t dignify that with a response” or “we’ll only get into a pissing contest.”

 

Looking back on those occasions early in my career, the issues were usually small potatoes, little squalls, or tempests in a teapot, and we decided how to respond based on experience, “feel” or perhaps moxie rather than on a considered doctrine.   Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Jesse McIntyre III, however, asked the same question about the disinformation and propaganda that increasingly affects foreign policy and diplomacy.  The May-June, 2016, issue of Military Review ran his superb article on counterpropaganda, “To Respond or Not to Respond: Addressing Adversarial Propaganda.”

 

Lieutenant Colonel McIntyre’s article drew on historical examples from the Peleponnesian wars, the American Civil War, World War I, the rise of Germany and World War II, and the Cold War.  For analyzing propaganda, he reviewed the source-content-audience-media-effects model.  He found the joint doctrine on information operations (in JP 3-13) wanting.  The now-obsolete Army Field Manual 3-05.301 had a better approach, he judged.  And he described a “doctrinal counterpropaganda methodology” and nine counterpropaganda techniques.

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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.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

Quotable: PEN Center America on Chinese censorship of book translations

Thursday, July 7th 2016

Understanding how a government seeks to shape opinion requires more than looking at the messages it directs outward, whether to portray itself favorably or to discredit rival nations and/or ideas. A 360-degree view must also look at how governments portray themselves to their own people – using government communications, opinion campaigns, media, broadcasting, film, museums, and historical narratives, for instance.  This easily expands into protecting the government’s version of goals, themes, and history from domestic and foreign opinion that might contradict the approved national narrative – using censorship.  This is why Public Diplomacy officers are especially sensitive to media controls and censorship.

 

China provides an important case study, reported at length in a May 20, 2015, report by PEN Center America, “Censorship and Conscience:  Foreign Authors and the Challenge of Chinese Censorship.”  Translation of foreign books has become an important business in China, and foreign books have the potential to enlarge Chinese public views on many subjects.  The government, however, uses several levers to assure that translations to not cross any political and social red lines – described in the report.  Readers may recall that there were many omissions in the Chinese edition of Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices, published in 2014.

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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.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

Quotable: Jolanta Darczewska on Russian information warfare and a “troll handbook”

Thursday, July 7th 2016

A recent post on Joel Harding’s website, To Inform is to Influence, led me to a May 2014 report, The Anatomy of Russian Information Warfare: The Crimean Operation, A Case Study, by Jolanta Darczewska in Points of View published by The Centre for Eastern Studies (Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich im Marka Karpia – OSW) in Warsaw.  It’s another study that should be read by Public Diplomacy, foreign policy, and national security specialists confronting Russian information warfare.

 

Let me editorialize.  Too many American leaders consider Public Diplomacy a junior partner to “substantive diplomacy,” and information operations in the armed forces is still “cloud nine stuff.”  In Russia, information warfare has been updated, adapted to the new international media environment, integrated into military doctrine, shaped for simultaneous domestic and foreign effects, and deployed.  Darczewska’s report provides details.

 

This gist quotes two parts of the report.  The first is its executive summary.  The second is an interesting section on a handbook for Russian trolls.

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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.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

Quotable: Wole Soyinka on what to name the threat

Thursday, July 7th 2016

“Far and above any other enemy I have ever recognized, [groups like ISIS and Boko Haram represent] something totally deleterious to humanity.”  The Nigerian playwright, poet, and Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, offered this judgment as key to his decision to stop using the term “Islamic State.” “How do you fight such enemies except with everything you have, including language?” he asked.

 

While he was attending the Oslo Freedom Forum, Soyinka was interviewed by Uri Friedman, staff writer of The Atlantic.  His article, “Does It Really Matter What People Call the So-Called Islamic State?,” was published on June 1, 2016.  Here are some bullet points:

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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.

...click authors name for more info

Author: Donald M. Bishop

The Public Diplomacy Council is a nonprofit organization committed to the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy. Founded in 1988, the Council serves the community of public diplomacy professionals, professors and students interested in public diplomacy.

 

 

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