Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Monday, June 27th 2016
As of July 1, Alma Burke joins us as the 2016-2017 Public Diplomacy Council Fellow. This fall she will begin studies in the International Media Masters program at American University, our co-sponsor of the PD Council fellowship. You can see Alma’s impressive background at her new Contributor Profile.
Our members and readers will be hearing frequently from Alma, who will relocate to the Washington area later this summer. Our fellow serves as this site’s webmaster, coordinates events like the PDC/USC Annenberg Lunch Forum, and manages various other aspects of the Council’s business. As we bid a fond farewell to Tara Schoenborn, who has wound up her fellowship and her master’s program at AU, we welcome Alma to the Council and the world of public diplomacy.
This is the third year that American University’s School of Communication and the Public Diplomacy Council have jointly sponsored this fellowship. It allows a graduate student interested in public diplomacy to gain related experience and skills. Our Vice President, Dr. Robert Albro, manages the program. Our previous two fellows were Jesselle Macatiag and Tara Schoenborn.Read More
Sunday, June 26th 2016
Soft power. Non-kinetic effects. Nonstate international actors.
Another example of the intellectual ferment among armed forces thinkers was recently provided by three leading retired officers – James Stavridis, Ervin Rokke, and Terry Pierce – writing in Joint Force Quarterly. Their March 29, 2016, essay was titled “Crafting and Managing Effects: The Evolution of the Profession of Arms.”
A recent event – the cyber attack by North Korea on Sony Pictures after it released a film mocking Kim Jong-Un – prompted much of their thinking. Their article examined (1) the new influence of non-kinetic instruments of power, (2) the influence of non-state actors such as the ISIL, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, drug cartels and crime syndicates, and (3) the cyber domain. (When the three refer to “cyber” in the article, they mean not only the electrons but the content.)
It led them to re-examine the concepts in Samuel Huntington’s classic text, The Soldier and the State (1957) and to integrate Joseph Nye’s concept of “soft power” into military thinking, expanding “the battlefield beyond the traditional domains of land, sea, air, and space to accommodate more effectively than ever before the battles of wits.” Some quotes:Read More
Sunday, June 26th 2016
“We need to destroy the [Islamic State]’s image and achievements, and give Sunnis reason to help us do it.” This was the subtitle of a June 21, 2016, op-ed in USA Today by Dennis Ross, “Prove Islamic State a false prophet.” Now counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Ross was a senior Middle East adviser to President Obama from 2009 to 2011. Here are quotes from the op-ed that relate to Public Diplomacy:Read More
Sunday, June 26th 2016
In a study published in June, 2016, by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “State Islam in the Battle Against Extremism,” Soref Fellow Sarah Feuer examined the official establishments that govern Islam in Morocco and Tunisia – and by implication, other countries. She argued that these can be important actors in confronting violent extremism. Her article reviewed (1) the Marrakesh Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities in Predominantly Muslim Majority Countries, (2) “State Islam,” and (3) recommendations for U.S. policymakers. Public Diplomacy would surely be engaged. Here are some wave tops:Read More
Saturday, June 25th 2016
America's Public Diplomacy officers in the field – reports are unanimous – are overworked and under-resourced. Just tending the stable repertoire of Public Diplomacy programs – work with local media, publicity for the Ambassador and administration visitors, managing an Embassy’s web presence, organizing exchanges, speakers and seminars, English teaching, American spaces, and so on – keeps American officers and their local staff winded.
The current turbulence and coming storms in international relations will provide no respite for Public Diplomacy. There will be challenges to every element of U.S. national power, especially the information element.
ISIS, Iran, China, and Russia are using their military – and information – power in new and disruptive ways. Modern communications and the social media have increased the velocity of conflict, outrunning traditional military and diplomatic communication, deliberation, and decisions.Read More