World War II
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
Saturday, October 1st 2016
A historically-grounded narrative is needed to counter China’s charges, which have real implications for American and other national policies. The PRC plays the “victim” card to its advantage, seeking to compel compliance by putting others on the defensive, to undercut American leadership, to deflect blame, to incite others to regurgitate its case, to indoctrinate internal opinion to support the regime, to stoke “nationalism” for leverage, and to arm psychological warfare that positions Beijing as “just.”
Headline: Countering China's Psychological Warfare
Subhead: An American narrative is needed to disarm China’s victimization rhetoric.Read More
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
Wednesday, January 6th 2016
The Four Freedoms: A Campaign Revisited
Donald M. Bishop
Seventy-five years ago, in his State of the Union Address of January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress for authority to provide Lend-Lease assistance to the United Kingdom. To strengthen his appeal, FDR traced a vision of “a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.”
“The Four Freedoms” eventually became shorthand for the war aims of the Allies in their struggle with fascism. The power of The Four Freedoms did not, however, rest on the President’s words alone. They were elaborated in speeches, articles, sermons, books, music, and paintings, and a private-public campaign brought them to millions at home and abroad.
There are two reasons for Public Diplomacy to look back on The Four Freedoms. First – although the social and communication environments have profoundly changed since World War II, looking back at how The Four Freedoms were spread still has lessons for today. Second – when Americans must articulate “what we’re for” (rather than “what we’re against”) in the war on terrorism, it’s worthwhile to examine whether The Four Freedoms still usefully express American values.Read More