Monday, August 15th 2016
These are abbreviated references to articles "seen on the web" relating to public affairs, Public Diplomacy, international broadcasting, and information operations, provided in this format to allow searches on this PDC website. They supplement the "Quotables" series. These articles are from February, 2016.
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.Read More
Sunday, July 3rd 2016
“Arabs in the MENA region should be aware of the foreign media blitz targeting their very existence and identity. Arab nations have become like a platter of food that contemporary powers sit around to eat from.” Writing in the June 13, 2016, issue of Morocco World News, a critic blasted “’Public Diplomacy,’ or The Arab World, Served up on a Plate.” The columnist argued; you decide. Public Diplomacy practitioners can read the article and practice their responses. Here are some quotes:
- Nowadays, propagandists fight an unorthodox war: no bloodshed, no artillery and surely no soldiers. The media is the weapon, journalists are the soldiers, the target is the viewer’s mind and the bullets are news bulletins and entertainment programs.
- The mass media have become the platforms through which twenty-first century wars are fought. Countries no longer colonize by means of the gun. Now they colonize by means of the satellite disk.
Friday, January 22nd 2016
A number of authors cited in these “Quotables,” asking what motivates the ISIS fighter, are drilling down and taking another look at human nature. A number of them have cited George Orwell’s review of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf in the March, 1940, issue of New English Review. Many websites quote the review in part, but Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press and A.M. Heath granted permission to republish it in full in the January-February, 2016, issue of Military Review. (Scroll to page 119.) Coalition programs to reconstruct Iraq and Afghanistan and counterterrorism initiatives that focus on jobs and development – to give two examples -- rested on the concept that human goals are primarily economic. Here are a few quotes from Orwell that challenged this economic determinism.Read More
Sunday, December 20th 2015
There’s an abundant historical literature on Public Diplomacy, and a July 24, 2015, report published by the Legatum Institute, “Counter Propaganda: Cases from US Public Diplomacy and Beyond,” provides a crisp historical review. The author is Professor Nicholas Cull of the University of Southern California, well known as the author of the magisterial The Cold War and the United States Information Agency 1945-1989 (Cambridge University Press, 2008). For Public Diplomacy, propaganda, and counter-propaganda, the report includes principles, case studies, historical lessons learned, and recommendations in only 12 pages of text.
Professor Cull’s review of propaganda through the 1930s is full of cautionary examples, well explains the word’s negative associations, and summarizes the post-World War I debate to define what is licit and illicit. The compact section on World War II and the longer portion on the Cold War are full of instructive examples – too many forgotten – that still echo in America’s approach to Public Diplomacy.Read More