Monday, April 10th 2017
The Suez crisis, unrest in Poland, and the Hungarian uprising “dominated the international news” in 1956. This review of U.S. broadcasting at the time noted “in terms of international communications, the most important was the Hungarian uprising.” The authors counseled that “If policy is unclear, the audience may misperceive it even when operators do not. Reactions may be harmful to the interests of both the communicator and the receivers.”
Article: Foreign Policy and Communications During the Hungarian UprisingRead More
Tuesday, November 8th 2016
“Putin has borrowed a page from America’s Cold War playbook and seeks to expose the rot within the West, and especially within the United States, as a means of destroying Western cohesion, diminishing American influence and leadership, and reinforcing Russia. The means employed by Russia are modern, including hacking and cyber-espionage, but, at its core, this is an influence operation of the kind embraced by the United States in the first decade of the Cold War.”
Headline: The Russians Read our Cold War PlaybookRead More
Sunday, October 30th 2016
A new report from the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), The Kremlin Playbook by Heather A. Conley, James Mina, Ruslan Stefanov, and Martin Vladimirov, reframes Russian influence in Central and Eastern Europe.
According to the four scholars, “. . . Russia has cultivated an opaque web of economic and political patronage across the region that the Kremlin uses to influence and direct decisionmaking. This web resembles a network-flow model—or “unvirtuous circle”—which the Kremlin can use to influence (if not control) critical state institutions, bodies, and economies, as well as shape national policies and decisions that serve its interests while actively discrediting the Western liberal democratic system.”
Although the media and Russian disinformation are mentioned only briefly, the report demonstrates how they fit into a larger Russian design.
Finally, the report’s recommendation that assistance programs focus on “maintaining and strengthening investigative journalism and independence of the media environment” should be highly suggestive for U.S. Public Diplomacy, exchanges, and international broadcasting.
Headline: The Kremlin Playbook
Subhead: Understanding Russian Influence in Central and Eastern EuropeRead More
Friday, November 27th 2015
Anne Applebaum’s article, “Russia and the Great Forgetting,” in the December, 2015, issue of Commentary magazine looked back at the Cold War, assayed how the end of the Soviet Union affected the former KGB personnel who are now Russia’s leaders, and described the new Russian “state-run media machine far more sophisticated than anything the USSR ever invented.”
In the past decade . . . the Russian regime has reconstructed a state-run media machine far more sophisticated than anything the USSR ever invented and yet similarly blinkered. Although there are dozens of domestic news outlets, entertainment channels, and magazines, they all toe the same political line, with only a tiny number of exceptions. There is an appearance of variety but a unity of messages. Among them: The United States is a threat; Europe is degenerate; Ukraine is run by Nazis; Russia, unfairly deprived of its role in the world, is finally becoming a superpower again. To anyone who remembers how Communist ideology once sought to express all of history and all of contemporary politics through the lens of one giant conspiracy theory, this is nothing new. But who genuinely remembers?Read More
Tuesday, May 26th 2015
In an essay that appeared in the New York Times on May 24, “The New Dictators Rule by Velvet Fist,” Serei Guriev (professor of economics at Sciences Po, Paris) and Daniel Treisman (professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles) point to the use of propaganda and disinformation as part of the architecture of modern authoritarianism and dictatorship. To my mind, their analysis points once more to the need to relearn old lessons and robustly counter propaganda, disinformation, censorship, and malign narratives. Public Diplomacy’s writ must address them as part of the freedom agenda.
The new autocrats use propaganda, censorship and other information-based tricks to inflate their ratings and to convince citizens of their superiority over available alternatives. They peddle an amorphous anti-Western resentment: [Hungary's] Mr. Orban mocked Europe’s political correctness and declining competitiveness while soliciting European Union development aid.Read More