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
Friday, June 17th 2016
“Whatever might be said about Russian foreign and military policy in Ukraine and the former soviet states, they cannot be accused of not taking Information Warfare seriously.” Retired Royal Navy Commander Steve Tatham so opened his July, 2015, paper, “The Solution to Russian Propaganda is not EU or NATO Propaganda but Advanced Social Science to Understand and Mitigate its Effect in Targeted Populations,” published by the National Defense Academy of Latvia.
The paper breaks into three parts. Tatham opened with a review of recent Russian initiatives, many astonishing in their audacity. He followed with a critique of NATO and Western counter-messaging (too often “crafted by European or North American men in suits sat behind a computer in an office”) because it is not informed by social research on target audiences, and he closed with recommendations. His closing thoughts on risk were telling.Read More
Sunday, March 27th 2016
“The four post-Cold War presidents share three things in common with regard to the promotion of democracy: all embraced it as an American responsibility, spoke of it in idealist terms that envisioned a global community of democracies, and pursued it within a realist decision-making process.” “Systematic application . . . will enable President Obama and his successors to more effectively bear the torch, shield, and standard of democracy while enhancing the promotion of democracy as the path to a better world.”
This was the conclusion of an article, “Democracy Promotion in the Post-Cold War Era,” by a State Department officer attending the Army War College, Stewart C. Eales. It ran in the February, 2016, issue of Army War College Review (pp. 11-25).
The first task of Public Diplomacy, public affairs, strategic communication, information operations, and related influence disciplines is to determine what ideals, principles, goals, or policies to communicate. Whether to communicate them in a speech, broadcast, or a tweet are trailing steps.Read More
Saturday, January 16th 2016
The technology editor of Defense One, Patrick Tucker, reported on “America’s New Plan to Fight ISIS Online,” on January 11, 2016. The subhead of the article was, “The State Department will diversify its one-way approach, while other agencies reach out to Silicon Valley.” The full article provided details of many efforts in the U.S. government to “fight ISIS messaging via social media.”Read More
Thursday, December 31st 2015
“Gray zone,” “hybrid,” “full-spectrum,” “non-linear,” “next-generation,” or “ambiguous” conflicts were the focus of an article by Peter Pomeransev, “Brave New War,” posted on The Atlantic website on December 29, 2015. A London-based television producer and fellow of the Legatum Institute, Pomeransev wrote that these conflicts “mix psychological, media, economic, cyber, and military operations without requiring a declaration of war.” Russia and China have developed new military doctrines to execute them. Inevitably, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, strategic communication, and information operations must be part of the Western response. Here are some key quotes:Read More