Saturday, April 8th 2017
Major General Edward G. Lansdale (1908-1987) – an Air Force intelligence officer whose career included service in the Philippines during the Huk Rebellion and in Vietnam during that war – was a major thinker and practitioner in counterinsurgency. He emphasized “hearts and minds,” psychological operations, and civic actions. When William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick wrote their influential novel, The Ugly American, “Colonel Hillendale” was modeled on Lansdale.
A memorandum that Lansdale penned in 1963 is frequently cited by scholars, but it has not been available on the web. Lansdale wrote the memorandum for military advisors in Vietnam, but its profile of the images, traits, and behaviors of Americans – touching on professional competence, language skills, accessibility, empathy, directness, enthusiasm, adaptability, patience, humor, temper, and politics -- is evergreen. So is his counsel to “know the country” and “be a good guest.”
Title: MEMORANDUM, From Maj. Gen. Lansdale, Subject: Through Foreign EyesRead More
Sunday, September 4th 2016
A White House initiative. A network of partners. A regional conference. A unique report.
A lively and informative May, 2016, report issued by Hedayah, “Counter-Narratives for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in South East Asia,” uniquely blended applied principles of communication with national and community case studies. Hedayah in Abu Dhabi “aims to be the premier international center for expertise and experience to counter violent extremism by promoting understanding and sharing of good practice.” Sara Zeiger was the Contributing Editor of the report.
The report highlighted work by All Together Now (Australia), Muslim Community Radio 2MFM (Australia), Mothers’ Schools (Indonesia), Gusdurian Network (Indonesia), the movie “Latitude 6” (Thailand), and A Common Word (Jordan). It discussed formal and informal channels of communication and the role of diasporas.Read More
Thursday, March 17th 2016
“The one-two punch of censorship plus propaganda has discredited Western journalism in the eyes of many Chinese,” reported Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian in a March 4, 2016, article, “How China Won the War Against Western Media,” in Foreign Policy. Here are more of her comments:
- Just how biased do Chinese think Western media is against China? Wang Qiu, a member of China’s legislature and head of state-owned broadcaster China National Radio, claimed he had an answer: Sixty percent of all mainstream Western media reports smear China.
- Many Chinese share the idea that Western media outlets don’t cover China fairly. Chinese state media outlets and Chinese government spokespeople regularly claim that Western media plays up China’s weaknesses, exaggerates its potential as a regional threat, and ignores its successes.
Saturday, January 2nd 2016
Public Diplomacy practitioners command a repertoire of programs that can be brought to bear on an insurgency – public affairs, media relations, broadcasting, social media, narrative, exchanges, education, media and journalism training, English teaching, and cultural preservation among them. Managing these activities that are a significant part of the “information” element of national power is no easy challenge, so much so that a professional focus on “programs” easily crowds out strategy, adaptation, and innovation.
Think what you may about the use or misuse of Public Diplomacy in Iraq and Afghanistan, Public Diplomacy will again be called to join counter-insurgency efforts. The time to think about it is now, not later.
Marine Corps Second Lieutenant Ben Kallas has usefully reframed the coming challenges to the international order by using the concept of “Fourth Generation Warfare” (4GW), focusing on how the internet empowers insurgents and alters the perceptions and psychology of an opposing nation’s people, opinion leaders, and decision makers. His article, “Counterinsurgency Considerations for the Information Age,” appeared (behind a paywall, alas) in the November, 2015, issue of Marine Corps Gazette.Read More
Sunday, October 11th 2015
“China’s doctrine of Three Warfares, approved in 2003, recognises how war is changing in the information age. While kinetic force still remains necessary as a potent deterrent . . . Three Warfares aims to undermine international institutions, change borders, and subvert global media, all without firing a shot.” Laura Jackson described the doctrine’s three elements – psychological warfare, media warfare, and legal warfare -- in an essay, “Revisions of Reality: The Three Warfares—China’s New Way of War,” in the Legatum Institute’s September, 2015, report, “Information at War: From China’s Three Warfares to NATO’s Narratives [PDF].” She made recommendations for media initiatives that would challenge Chinese views.Read More