World War I
Sunday, September 25th 2016
“This article is an introduction to three of the most important enemies we face today and who we will also face in the future, and how these actors use IW and unconventional warfare (UW) against our interests: the Islamic State, China, and Russia."
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, 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
Sunday, February 1st 2015
Here is a guest post and a full interview by Dr. John Brown, former diplomat and lecturer affliliated with Georgetown University, about an important collection of papers released by the Department of State Historian.
The Public Diplomacy Council welcomes the publication, by the State Department Office of the Historian, of the first volume in the series “1917-1972, Public Diplomacy …”, as part of its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS).
This carefully footnoted collection of documents, dealing with World War I, is a groundbreaking event: the first FRUS series devoted to public diplomacy.
The editor of this important work is Dr. Aaron Marrs. He selected key items that focus on the foreign activities of the Committee of Public Information (CPI, 1917-1919), by many considered America’s first “public diplomacy” federal agency. (Note that the term “public diplomacy” did not become part of the American international affairs vocabulary until the Cold War).
The CPI had two main aims: “to make the fight for loyalty and unity at home, and for friendship and understanding of the neutral nations of the world”. Of this dual mission, the CPI’s primary task was to persuade Americans -- who in 1916 had reelected a president who “kept us out of war” -- to support “the war to end all wars.”
CPI homeland programs ranged from producing/distributing news reports to brief speeches by the Four Minute Men, as well as facilitating the screening of Hollywood films such as The Kaiser: The Beast of Berlin.Read More