This article appears in the July-August 2020 issue of Foreign Service Journal. Posted here with permission from the Journal, this version includes endnotes. The text was submitted to the editors on April 30 and finalized on June 8; this version also includes notes to sources published through July 9, 2020.
By Donald M. Bishop
The medical and economic dimensions of the COVID-19 emergency are grave enough, but the crisis shouts another wake-up call. The challenging environment of a contested global information space, where facts, logic, and even science compete with disinformation, malign narratives, conspiracy theories and propaganda is on full display. This is public diplomacy’s arena.
Candor requires us to first acknowledge that these are domestic challenges too. American factions argue. Talking heads spin. Think tanks advocate different policies. Friends tweet hearsay medical advice and rumors. Social media users click on conspiracies. Others create memes to suit their biases. Every press conference by the president, governors and city mayors is put through the wringer.
All this is amplified by America’s current political and social polarization. Decades in the making, it has become acute in an election year when the record of a loved and hated president is so vehemently contested. Public diplomacy (PD) practitioners know that all our domestic disputes are exported and repackaged by the world’s media; the theme of their rewrites can range from dismay to delight.
I am confident that the enduring strength of America’s constitutional structures—separation of powers, federalism, advice and consent, and elections among them, with journalists, editors, policy experts and scholars playing their own roles—will enable us to weather both the crisis and the current distempers on our own. But for U.S. public diplomacy, there’s more.
Many countries are “weaponizing” information, especially through social media. They craft narratives that support authoritarian rule, stoke nationalism to deflect discontent with their own governance and seek to weaken the United States in several ways—to discredit America’s international leadership, erode its soft power, undermine confidence in American democracy and subvert the cohesion of U.S. society.
Chinese and Russian Disinformation
In this charged information environment, many states and nonstate actors are in motion, but Russia and China are the pacing threats.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo reacted sharply when Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian tweeted two manufactured conspiracy theories—that Patient Zero was an American soldier who visited Wuhan to participate in the October 2019 Military World Games, and that the virus broke loose from the U.S. Army’s laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland. The Secretary expressed “strong U.S. objections” over China’s efforts to “shift blame” for the virus to the United States, and he told the director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Party of China, Yang Jiechi, that this was not the time to “spread disinformation and outlandish rumors.”
After the Secretary and the White House started using the terms “China virus” and “Wuhan virus,” Chinese reactions departed from the usual measured phrases of diplomacy. Another Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, tweeted that Secretary Pompeo should “stop lying through your teeth.”
The Chinese party-state is now using all its information tools to advance three propaganda lines. First, it was China’s—meaning the Chinese Communist Party’s—superior system of governance that brought the medical crisis to a quick end. Second, the resolute Chinese response “bought enough time” for other nations to respond. (This narrative theme has two bonuses—to mute domestic anger over how the Chinese government and the Communist Party suppressed early evidence of the disease outbreak, and to shine light on American delays.)
Thirdly, China is pushing the narrative that it is the global leader against the pandemic and is generously sending aid to other nations still grappling with it. China’s domestic and international media sing these same three songs. In China’s foreign ministry and at its embassies, a new generation of “Wolf Warrior” diplomats (taking their label from the Chinese action films) assertively spread them on social media.
For years the Russian media have seeded a general “infodemic” on infectious diseases. The New York Times recently summed up how President Putin has “spread disinformation on issues of personal health for a decade.” EUvsDisinfo has documented how state-funded Russian broadcasting networks, RT and Sputnik, have spread conspiracy theories.
Public Messaging, Hidden Disinformation
These dueling interpretations, narratives and accusations have at least been attributed. Alas, there are other nasty things going on. In February, the Department’s Global Engagement Center shared its analysis of “the full Russian ecosystem of official state media, proxy news sites, and social media personas” with the media.
Agence France Presse’s Feb. 22 report provided details: “Thousands of Russia-linked social media accounts” are engaged in “a coordinated effort to spread alarm.” Russian “claims that have been circulating in recent weeks include allegations that the virus is a U.S. effort to ‘wage economic war on China,’ that it is a biological weapon manufactured by the CIA or part of a Western-led effort ‘to push anti-China messages.’ U.S. individuals including … Bill Gates … have also been falsely accused of involvement in the virus.”
Since August 2019, ProPublica has tracked more than 10,000 suspected “fake,” “hijacked” and “zombie” Twitter accounts “involved in a coordinated influence campaign with ties to the Chinese government.” The wide-ranging report by Jeff Kao and Mia Shuang Li revealed the use of social media, fake profile photos and usernames, “changed handles,” bots, hacking of accounts, disinformation, an “interlocking group of accounts,” conspiracy theories, spamming, use of contractors and “a chorus of approving comments from obviously fake accounts.”
Edward Wong, Matthew Rosenberg and Julian Barnes of The New York Times provided more details: “Intelligence agencies have assessed that Chinese operatives helped push the messages across platforms …. the disinformation showed up as texts on many Americans’ cellphones.”
The Chinese and Russian informational offensives draw from the same model—the use of internal and external propaganda in the 20th-century communist party-state. (The role of the Comintern in shaping the Communist Party of China in the 1920s is too often forgotten.) Understanding the two nations’ strategic designs and methods is a necessary first step for Public Diplomacy.
During the Cold War, the Soviet party-state launched many hostile “active measures” campaigns that trafficked crude lies: the AIDS virus was created at the U.S. Army laboratory at Fort Detrick; it was engineered as an “ethnic weapon”; the 1978 mass suicides at Jonestown, Guyana, were a CIA plot; Americans adopted children from Central America in order to harvest their body parts; among others.
The Kremlin’s continuing use of “active measures” also draws on centuries of Russian military thinking on deception—maskirovka. The Center for European Policy Analysis reports that Russia uses “disinformation, incitement to violence and hate speech to destroy trust, sap morale, degrade the information space, erode public discourse and increase partisanship.” Oscar Jonsson of the Stockholm Free World Forum adds that Russian leaders conceive information warfare as having two parts: information-technical and information-psychological, perhaps parallel to “cyber” and “influence” in American thinking.
From the time of Sun Tzu, China has had its own history of integrating deception and manipulation into its strategic thought. During the Korean War, it accused the United States of conducting “germ warfare” in North Korea and northeast China. (The campaign was decisively debunked when historians gained access to Soviet copies of the communications between North Korea, China and Russia after the end of the Cold War.) In this century, the Chinese concept of Three Warfares—psychological warfare, media warfare, and lawfare—frame Beijing’s strategic use of disinformation.
Although China and Russia, over the years, worked from different templates, the NYT’s Wong, Rosenberg, and Barnes reported that China has now “adopted some of the techniques mastered by Russia-backed trolls, such as creating fake social media accounts to push messages to sympathetic Americans, who in turn unwittingly help spread them.” According to Senator Angus King (I-Maine), the goal is “spreading division.”
The Way Ahead
Disinformation about COVID-19 is today’s challenge, but every future administration will also face disinformation. In the past, many thought of U.S. public diplomacy as an instrument of soft power. It now must counter what the National Endowment for Democracy labels “sharp power” that “pierces, penetrates or perforates the political and information environments in the targeted countries.” The surge of malign disinformation suggests PD needs to be recharged, and it must join whole-of-government policy deliberations at the highest level.
Cyber operations and ideas. Every government department, organization and social media company is now intensely focused on cyber security, defending (or attacking) networks, channels of transmission and data. What is popularly called “hacking” is a form of espionage, extracting intelligence—from war plans and financial data to confidential emails—or manipulating perceptions of such data. Still, this is only one side of what’s going on.
The other side is the ideas that flow on the networks, whether digital or through social connections. Ideas embrace logic, argument, theory, beliefs, judgment, interpretation, premises, norms and values. It is ideas that make the case for other nations to partner with the United States to address global issues like terrorism or climate change; the benefits of trade and development; security of the sea lanes; and many others. Public Diplomacy’s traditional media and exchange programs must, then, continue, even expand. They advance understanding of the United States, its government and society, and American ideas.
Few individuals have the specialized education bridging both the cyber operations and the ideas realms. This means that a comprehensive response to disinformation requires the collaboration of cyber experts and those who know foreign—especially Chinese and Russian—societies, cultures, languages, foreign policy and strategic concepts. Foreign Service officers at the Global Engagement Center model this kind of collaboration, and when they again are posted overseas, embassy country teams gain from their first-hand experience combating disinformation.
The need for speed. Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Information Lieutenant General Loretta Reynolds emphasizes: “In the win/loss analysis of the Information Age, what matters is not the big that eat the small; it’s the fast that eat the slow.” Public diplomacy is well aware of the insight that “lies sprint while the truth walks.” On the pandemic, the Bureau of Global Public Affairs is giving embassies and consulates more and faster guidance to allow them to recognize and respond to disinformation without having to pre-clear every tweet or statement with Washington.
An informational “enterprise.” Enterprise thinking is “the practice of considering the entire enterprise in decision-making, not just a given group or department,” according to Adam McClellan in “The Art of Enterprise Thinking.”  Many departments and agencies—State, Defense, Homeland Security, and the U.S. Agency for Global Media among them—have roles to play in the coming information contests. And the government’s instruments of informational power are also divided by function—public affairs, public diplomacy, international broadcasting and the armed forces’ operations in the information environment.
State’s Global Engagement Center has a statutory mandate to “lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.” Four regional threat teams (for China/North Korea, Russia, Iran, and Counterterrorism) are complemented by two more teams for analytics and research and for digital outreach. The Center’s active program of grants and cooperative agreements supports local independent media, gathers examples of disinformation and propaganda, analyzes foreign information warfare, and provides support.
Still, the different departments, agencies and functions all have different tasks, boundaries, authorities and funding streams, so achieving unity of action—or an even more modest “alignment” of activities—is and will be a work in progress. The need will only become more acute as artificial intelligence makes chat bots and deepfakes more effective, as use of the disinformation playbook proliferates, and as big data facilitates micro-targeting of messages to individuals.
Enterprise thinking can address this problem. Initial “enterprise” initiatives could include sending students from the different corners of the enterprise to each other’s schoolhouses and conferences. Role players from all four informational communities should join exercises, wargames and simulations. In the long run, the informational enterprise must have a champion on the National Security Council staff.
Enterprise thinking can be local too. At an embassy implementing the goals in its Integrated Country Strategy, an “enterprise” approach would help assure cooperation among all the embassy sections with information, awareness, outreach, education and exchange programs.
“The last three feet” overseas. A wise PD mentor once told me, “When in doubt, just explain.” It’s still good advice for practitioners at embassies and consulates, and COVID-19 is a good subject. Citizens of other nations often learn of the US from television and social media clips – some sensationalized, some partisan, all too short. Providing facts and context can temper conjecture. Explaining how the executive and legislative branches both play roles, how power is divided between federal and state governments, how social distancing works in different places, how the media communicate best practices, how Americans value privacy and how not every speech or press conference becomes a law, for instance, hopefully conveys confidence in America’s democratic responses.
Francesco Sisci, an Italian journalist in Beijing, says bluntly, “The ongoing pandemic has also started a massive propaganda war.” It “could spin out of control with unfathomable consequences.” It’s time to understand the new information environment, the pacing threats, strategies, and the roles of cyber operations and ideas. It’s time for speed, cooperation and enterprise—and for leadership.
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 See, for instance, Seva Gunitsky, “Democracies Can’t Blame Putin for Their Disinformation Problem,” Foreign Policy, online, 21 April 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/04/21/democracies-disinformation-russia-china-homegrown/; Joseph E. Uscinski and Adam M. Enders, “The Coronavirus Conspiracy Boom,” The Atlantic, online, 30 April 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/what-can-coronavirus-tell-us-about-conspiracy-theories/610894/; Heather Houser, “The Covid-19 ‘Infowhelm,'” The New York Review of Books Daily, online, 6 May 2020, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/05/06/the-covid-19-infowhelm/; Richard Thompson Ford, “The Pandemic Politicized,” The American Interest, online, 19 May 2020, https://www.the-american-interest.com/2020/05/19/the-pandemic-politicized/. And this evaluation is sobering: “our ongoing culture wars are making a serious dent in sound public health policy and may delay or even derail our effort to restart the economy.” Brent Orrell, “The COVID Culture War is Killing Us,” Real Clear Policy, online, 27 May 2020, https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2020/05/27/the_covid_culture_war_is_killing_us_492592.html. And there’s this pungent statement: “The democratization of authority spurred by the digital revolution has flattened cognitive hierarchies along with other hierarchies, and political decision-making is now driven by often weaponized babble.” Francis Fukuyama, “The Pandemic and Political Order,” Foreign Affairs, online, 9 June 2020, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2020-06-09/pandemic-and-political-order. A former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs states bluntly, “the majority of disinformation is domestic, most of it is made right here in the USA. Focusing on Vladimir Putin’s troll army is something of a distraction from the seeming endless supply of homegrown conspiracy theories, fake local news sites, alt-right message boards, clickbait, and Donald Trump’s daily Twitter megaphone of rumor, misinformation and outright lies.” See Richard Stengel, “Domestic Disinformation is a Greater Menace than Foreign Disinformation,” Time, online, 26 June 2020, https://time.com/5860215/domestic-disinformation-growing-menace-america/. For basic psychological factors, see Adrian Bardon, “Coronavirus responses highlight how humans are hardwired to dismiss facts that don’t fit their worldview,” The Conversation, online, 25 June 2020, https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-responses-highlight-how-humans-are-hardwired-to-dismiss-facts-that-dont-fit-their-worldview-141335
 Allegra Frank and Daniel Markus, “How the coronavirus rumor mill can thrive in private group chats,” Vox, online, 5 March 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/3/5/21165238/coronavirus-rumors-myths-facebook-whatsapp-podcast. See also Kayla Gogarty, “A network of anti-vaccine Facebook groups is a hotbed for coronavirus conspiracy theories and medical misinformation,” MediaMatters for America, online, 11 May 2020, https://www.mediamatters.org/coronavirus-covid-19/network-anti-vaccine-facebook-groups-hotbed-coronavirus-conspiracy-theories. For a useful distinction between COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation, see the comments of Cindy Otis in an interview by Kristina Gildejeva, “Former CIA Agent: US ‘Behind the Curve’ at Tacking Disinformation,” Logically., online, 12 June 2020, https://www.logically.ai/blog/us-behind-the-curve-disinformation-cia
 Ben Collins, “‘What are we doing this for?’: Doctors are fed up with conspiracies ravaging ERs,” NBC News, online, 6 May 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/what-are-we-doing-doctors-are-fed-conspiracies-ravaging-ers-n1201446. See also Joseph E. Uscinski and Adam M. Enders, “The Coronavirus Conspiracy Boom,” The Atlantic, online, 30 April 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/what-can-coronavirus-tell-us-about-conspiracy-theories/610894/. “Conspiracy theories used to flourish in places such as the Middle East, where ordinary people were disempowered and felt they lacked agency. Today, they have spread widely throughout rich countries, as well, thanks in part to a fractured media environment caused by the Internet and social media, and sustained suffering is likely to provide rich material for populist demagogues to exploit.” Fukuyama, “The Pandemic and Political Order,” op. cit. For how disinformation is accepted by different groups, see Janell Ross, “Coronavirus misinformation crosses divides to infect black social media,” NBC News, online, 2 May 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/coronavirus-misinformation-crosses-divides-infect-black-social-media-n1198226. A recent essay on Q-Anon included this insight – “Conspiracy theories provide the postliterate culture with two things people desperately want: stories and communities.” Kevin D. Williamson, “Top Bananas,” National Review, online, 18 June 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2020/07/06/top-bananas/. For more on social media and the spread of conspiracy theories, see Nina Jankowicz and Cindy Otis, “Facebook Groups are Destroying America,” Wired, online, 17 June 2020, https://www.wired.com/story/facebook-groups-are-destroying-america/
 Donald M. Bishop, “Three ‘Challenges’ for Public Diplomacy,” The Ambassadors Review, Spring 2014, 34, https://www.americanambassadors.org/publications/ambassadors-review/spring-2014/three-challenges-for-public-diplomacy.
 “The basic outlines of recent American strategy would be recognizable to officials stretching back generations, because its goal has remained constant: fostering a world guided by American leadership, rooted in American values, and protected by American power.” See Hal Brands, Peter Feaver, and William Inboden, “In Defense of the Blob,” Foreign Affairs, online, 29 April 2020, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2020-04-29/defense-blob, accessed 1 May 2020.
 Russia’s intrusion in the 2016 U.S. election was well documented by the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence in its four-volume report: 116th Congress, 1st Session, Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate, on Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election, Volume 1: Russian Efforts Against Election Infrastructure, with Additional Views, https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report_Volume1.pdf, Volume 2: Russia’s Use of Social Media with Additional Views, https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report_Volume2.pdf, and Volume 4: Review of the Intelligence Community Assessment, https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report_Volume4.pdf. Changing international norms is another aim, according to Emilie Kao, “China’s Changing of International Norms Could Lead to Chaos,” The National Interest, online, 17 May 2020, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/chinas-changing-international-norms-could-lead-chaos-155016
 Jessica Brandt and Torrey Taussig, “The Kremlin’s disinformation playbook goes to Beijing,” Brookings, online, 19 May 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/05/19/the-kremlins-disinformation-playbook-goes-to-beijing/. “The impact of Russian and Chinese malign influence activities within democratic states has come into sharp focus in recent years. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has created new opportunities for Moscow and Beijing to advance geopolitical goals through disinformation and other influence activities. Despite greater public awareness of the challenge, governments have struggled to respond.” Heather A. Conley, Cyrus Newlin, and Tim Kostelancik, “Countering Russian & Chinese Influence Activities,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, online, July 2020, https://www.csis.org/features/countering-russian-chinese-influence-activities. A recent study showed that news and information carried by Chinese, Iranian, Russian, and Turkish outlets “can achieve higher average engagement per article than prominent news sources such as Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El Pais. See Katarina Rebello, Christian Schwieter, Marcel Schliebs, Kate Joynes-Burgess, Mona Elswah, Jonathan Bright, and Philip N. Howard, “Covid-19 News and Information from State-Backed Outlets Targeting French, German and Spanish-Speaking Social Media Users,” Oxford Internet Institute, online, Comprop Data Memo 2020.4 June 19 2020, https://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/93/2020/06/Covid-19-Misinfo-Targeting-French-German-and-Spanish-Social-Media-Users-Final.pdf. For China, see section 2 of “United States Strategic Approach to The People’s Republic of China,” The White House, 20 May 2020, 4-6, https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/U.S.-Strategic-Approach-to-The-Peoples-Republic-of-China-Report-5.20.20.pdf. Although Russia and China are the pacing threats, Iran engages in deception operations. See Mark Dubowitz and Sfeed Ghasseminejad, “Iran’s COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign,” CTC Sentinel, June 2020, 40-48, online, https://ctc.usma.edu/irans-covid-19-disinformation-campaign/
 See Dan Patterson, “Trolls are spreading conspiracy theories that a U.S. Army reservist is ‘COVID-19 patient zero.’ China is amplifying that disinformation,” CBS News, online, 30 April 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-patient-zero-china-trolls/. For a retrospective eight weeks later, see Robert Boxwell, “Is the door closing for Beijing’s ‘wolf warriors’ on Twitter amid a US-China disinformation war?” South China Morning Post, online, 22 June 2020, https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3089798/door-closing-beijings-wolf-warriors-twitter-amid-us-china
 For more on the back-and-forth, see Lisa Winter, “Chinese Officials Blame US Army for Coronavirus,” The Scientist, online, 13 March 2020, https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/chinese-officials-blame-us-army-for-coronavirus-67267. See also Jonathan Swan and Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, “Top Chinese official disowns U.S. military lab coronavirus conspiracy,” Axios, online, 22 March 2020, https://www.axios.com/china-coronavirus-ambassador-cui-tiankai-1b0404e8-026d-4b7d-8290-98076f95df14.html. The controversies over the origins of the coronavirus are reviewed by Bernhard Zand and Veronika Hackenbroch, “A Failed Deception: The Early Days of the Coronavirus Outbreak in Wuhan,” Spiegel International, online, 12 May 2020, https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/a-failed-deception-the-early-days-of-the-coronavirus-outbreak-in-wuhan-a-70effc1e-0200-440f-bb62-07cda261de11
 Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson, “Secretary Pompeo’s Call with People’s Republic of China Politburo Member Yang Jiechi,” 16 March 2020, https://www.state.gov/secretary-pompeos-call-with-peoples-republic-of-china-politburo-member-yang-jiechi/
 For a profile, see Eva Dou, “In China-U.S. showdown, Beijing’s steely propagandist sharpens her attack,” The Washington Post, online, 21 May 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/in-china-us-showdown-beijings-steely-propagandist-sharpens-her-attack/2020/05/21/f71133e4-94bd-11ea-87a3-22d324235636_story.html.
 “China says Pompeo ‘lying’ in new coronavirus clash,” Agence France Presse, online, 20 March 2020, at https://www.france24.com/en/20200320-china-says-pompeo-lying-in-new-coronavirus-clash. Subsequent attacks were more shrill. See Anna Fifield, “China wasn’t wild about Mike Pompeo before the virus. It’s really gunning for him now,” The Washington Post, online, 30 April 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-mike-pompeo-coronavirus-wuhan-lab/2020/04/30/1c9c8e8a-8acb-11ea-9759-6d20ba0f2c0e_story.html. As for undiplomatic language, editor Hu Xijin of China’s Global Times said Australia “is like chewing gum stuck to the bottom of China’s shoes.” See “China labels Australia ‘gum stuck to the bottom of China’s shoe’ over calls for coronavirus inquiry,” SBSNews, online, 29 April 2020, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/china-labels-australia-gum-stuck-to-the-bottom-of-china-s-shoe-over-calls-for-coronavirus-inquiry. See also Oliver Stuenkel, “China’s Diplomats Are Going on the Offensive in Brazil,” Foreign Policy, online, 15 May 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/15/chinas-diplomats-are-going-on-the-offensive-in-brazil/
 To understand this concept, see Sujian Guo, “The Party-State Relationship in Post-Mao China,” China Report 37:3 (2001). A more recent article judges: “What Americans need to keep in mind is that their enemy and rival right now is not China, but a Chinese Communist Party that has shifted into high-totalitarian mode.” Francis Fukuyama, “What Kind of Regime Does China Have?” The American Interest, online, 18 May 2020, https://www.the-american-interest.com/2020/05/18/what-kind-of-regime-does-china-have/. See also Jake Wallis, Tom Uren, Elise Thomas, Albert Zhang, Samantha Hoffman, Lin Li, Alex Pascoe, and Danielle Cave, “Retweeting through the great firewall: A persistent and undeterred threat actor,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute, International Cyber Policy Center, Policy Brief Report no. 33/2020, June 2020, 5-6, online, https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/ad-aspi/2020-06/Retweeting%20through%20the%20great%20firewall_1.pdf
 Bradley A. Thayer and Lianchao Han describe “China’s massive global propaganda apparatus, other infiltration operations in our society with equal parts ethical relativism, venality, and compliancy, which offers opportunities for China to penetrate our country to undermine it with mechanisms, possibilities, and circumstances the Soviets never possessed.” See their “Why was the U.S. So Late to Recognize the China Threat,” Real Clear Defense, online, 30 April 2020, https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/04/30/why_was_the_us_so_late_to_recognize_the_china_threat_115238.html. See also Jennifer Rankin, “EU Says China behind ‘huge wave’ of Covid-19 disinformation,” The Guardian, online, 10 Jun 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/10/eu-says-china-behind-huge-wave-covid-19-disinformation-campaign, reporting “Tackling COVID-19 disinformation – Getting the facts right,” Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the European Council, The Council, The European Economic and Social Committee and the committee of the Regions,” European Commission High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, 10 June 2010, 3, online, https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication-tackling-covid-19-disinformation-getting-facts-right_en.pdf.
 Government and party sensitivities to criticism have resulted in a crackdown; see Jane Li, “Chinese internet users who uploaded coronavirus memories to GitHub have been arrested,” Quartz, online, 27 April 2020, https://qz.com/1846277/china-arrests-users-behind-github-coronavirus-memories-page/ and Lucas Niewenhuis, “China tries to boost its COVID-19 containment reputation through censorship and diplomatic pressure,” SupChina, online, 27 April 2020, https://supchina.com/2020/04/27/china-tries-to-boost-its-covid-19-containment-reputation-through-censorship-and-diplomatic-pressure/. For a detailed and hard-hitting review of Chinese actions and inactions –“The CCP did not behave as if the coronavirus outbreak were primarily a threat to public health. From the outset it instead treated the contagion mainly as a threat to party legitimacy and power. Epidemiological considerations were secondary: The regime’s first and foremost campaign was political, an assault launched against domestic and international enemies” – see Daniel Blumenthal and Nicholas Eberstadt, “China Unquarantined,” National Review, vol. LXXII, no. 11, issue of June 22, 2020, 22-27, online at: https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2020/06/22/our-disastrous-engagement-of-china/#slide-1.
 For a discussion of negatives and positives for both countries, seen through the lens of “reputation,” see Nicholas Cull and Mark Magnier, “International Reputation & COVID-19: China, the U.S. and Beyond,” CPD Blog, online, 30 April 2020, https://www.uscpublicdiplomacy.org/blog/international-reputation-covid-19-china-us-and-beyond. Also, “The Chinese propaganda machine is capitalizing on Trump’s woeful response to the coronavirus pandemic to mock the president and American democracy, raise doubts about U.S. global leadership, and offer up China as a more responsible world power”; see Michael Schuman, “Why China Wants Trump to Win,” The Atlantic, online, 7 July 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/07/why-china-wants-donald-trump-win/613864/. For a detailed and hard-hitting review of American actions and inactions, see James Fallows, “The 3 Weeks That Changed Everything,” The Atlantic, online, 29 June 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/how-white-house-coronavirus-response-went-wrong/613591/.
 Vanessa Molter, Renee DiResta, and Alex Stamos, “As Chinese propaganda on covid-19 grows, U.S. social media must act,” The Washington Post, online, 27 April 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/27/chinese-propaganda-covid-19-grows-us-social-media-must-act/. Two writers from India state that “A global pandemic has, in a matter of months, changed the discourse on global order and U.S.-China great power competition”; see Monish Tourangbam and Anand V., “Who is Winning the US-China Power Battle?” The Diplomat, online, 24 June 2020, at https://thediplomat.com/2020/06/who-is-winning-the-us-china-power-battle/. On the other hand, renowned China scholar Minxin Pei judged that “let’s look at another decision the leadership has made, the attempt to change the narrative. I’m not sure how productive that was. My guess is that it has backfired big time. Instead of winning hearts and minds outside China, it has elicited a very strong negative response—in the United States in particular, but also in Europe and around the world.” Minxin Pei and Gary J. Schmitt, “Is Xi Jinping Weaker Than We Think?” The American Interest, online, 6 May 2020, https://www.the-american-interest.com/2020/05/06/is-xi-jinping-weaker-than-we-think. For how COVID-19 diplomacy fits into China’s efforts to gain influence in Latin America, see Mac Margolis, “China Laps the U.S. in Latin America with Covid Diplomacy,” Bloomberg Opinion, online, 24 June 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-06-24/china-laps-u-s-in-latin-america-with-covid-19-diplomacy
 For “Wolf Warrior” diplomats, see Katrina Northrop, “The Contradictions Of Chinese Diplomacy, SupChina, online, 29 April 2020, https://supchina.com/2020/04/29/the-contradictions-of-chinese-diplomacy; “West feels challenged by China’s new ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy,” Global Times, online, 16 April 2020, https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185776.shtml; Zhiqun Zhu, “Interpreting China’s ‘Wolf-Warrior Diplomacy,'” Pacific Forum, online, PacNet #26, 14 May 2020, https://mailchi.mp/pacforum/pacnet-26-interpreting-chinas-wolf-warrior-diplomacy-1169830?e=500b66da38; Chun Han Wong and Chao Deng, “China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomats Are Ready to Fight,” The Wall Street Journal, online, 19 May 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-wolf-warrior-diplomats-are-ready-to-fight-11589896722, and Dake Kang, “China’s diplomats show teeth in defending virus response,” AP, online, 24 April 2020, at https://apnews.com/11356a590ecee0572545b3ffb7de0d5b. For a broader view of Chinese influence operations, see Larry Diamond and Orville Schell, eds., China’s Influence & American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance, Revised edition (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2018), https://www.hoover.org/sites/default/files/research/docs/diamond-schell_corrected-april2020finalfile.pdf. For different evaluations, see David Wertime, “China’s ‘Wolf Warriors’: More bark than bite,” Politico, online, 11 June 2020, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-china-watcher/2020/06/11/chinas-wolf-warriors-more-bark-than-bite-propaganda-online-yale-information-winter-489487, Joel Wuthnow, “China’s Inopportune Pandemic Assertiveness,” Pacific Forum, online, PacNet #33, 9 June 2020, https://mailchi.mp/pacforum/pacnet-33-chinas-inopportune-pandemic-assertiveness-1170041, Fareed Zakaria, “China has been bungling its post-coronavirus foreign policy,” The Washington Post, online, 25 June 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/china-has-been-bungling-its-post-coronavirus-foreign-policy/2020/06/25/5beac38c-b71b-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html, and Gregory B. Poling and Kim Mai Tran, “America First versus Wolf Warriors: Pandemic Diplomacy in Southeast Asia,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, online, 18 June 2020, https://www.csis.org/analysis/america-first-versus-wolf-warriors-pandemic-diplomacy-southeast-asia
 William J. Broad, “Putin’s Long War Against American Science,” The New York Times, online, 14 April 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/13/science/putin-russia-disinformation-health-coronavirus.html
 “EEAS Special Report: Disinformation on the Coronavirus – Short Assessment of the Information Environment,” EUvsDisinfo, online, 19 March 2020, https://euvsdisinfo.eu/eeas-special-report-disinformation-on-the-coronavirus-short-assessment-of-the-information-environment/. For a case study, see Norman Cigar, “COVID-19 and the Arab World: Opportunity for Russian Anti-American Disinformation?” MES Insights [Middle East Studies, The Krulak Center, Marine Corps University, vol. 11, no. 2, April 2020, online, https://www.usmcu.edu/Portals/218/MES/Insights/MES%20Insights%20Volume%2011%20Issue%202%20April%202020.pdf
 U.S. Department of State, “Briefing on Disinformation and Propaganda Related to COVID-19” by Lea Gabrielle, Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center, 27 March 2020, https://www.state.gov/briefing-with-special-envoy-lea-gabrielle-global-engagement-center-on-disinformation-and-propaganda-related-to-covid-19/. For more, see David Von Drehle, “Vladimir Putin’s virus,” The Washington Post, online, 2 March 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/13/science/putin-russia-disinformation-health-coronavirus.html. The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently stated that “The Kremlin has done nothing to stop the development and spread of false reports that the United States created and weaponized the coronavirus. Putin’s sophisticated network of pro-Kremlin media, bots and trolls also have sought to further his longstanding goal of weakening the European Union . . .” See also Michael McCaul, “Putin must stop exploiting coronavirus for geopolitical gain,” TheHill, online, 27 April 2020, https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/494758-putin-must-stop-exploiting-coronavirus-for-geopolitical
 “Russia-lined disinformation campaign fueling coronavirus alarm, US says,” Agence France Presse, online, 22 Feb 2020, https://www.france24.com/en/20200222-russia-linked-disinformation-campaign-fueling-coronavirus-alarm-us-says; Jessica Glenza, “Coronavirus: US says Russia behind disinformation campaign,” The Guardian, online, 22 Feb 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/22/coronavirus-russia-disinformation-campaign-us-officials; U.S. Department of State, “Briefing on Disinformation and Propaganda Related to COVID-19” by Lea Gabrielle, Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center, 27 March 2020, https://www.state.gov/briefing-with-special-envoy-lea-gabrielle-global-engagement-center-on-disinformation-and-propaganda-related-to-covid-19/. The Caucasus region provides a case study; see Larry Luxner, “Activists fight COVID-19 disinformation in the Caucasus,” The Atlantic Council, online, 19 May 2020, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/activists-fight-covid-19-disinformation-in-the-caucasus/. For “an American-made conspiracty theory that was picked up by Americans and quickly amplified by accounts with Russian links,” see Nicole Perfroth, “A Conspiracy Made in America May Have Been Spread by Russia,” The New York Times, online, 15 June 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/15/technology/coronavirus-disinformation-russia-iowa-caucus.html. Two members of the Marine Corps University faculty conclude: “Through targeted social media posts, Russians have amplified political fault lines in the United States. Social media makes it easy for misinformation to spread, even long after false stories are planted. There will always be “useful idiots” who will circulate disinformation and misinformation’; see Benjamin Jensen and Brandon Valeriano, “U.S. Military Steps Up Cyberwarfare Effort,” Government Executive, 12 March 2020, https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/03/us-military-steps-cyberwarfare-effort/155475/.
 Jeff Kao and Mia Shuang Li, “How China Built a Twitter Propaganda Machine then Let It Loose on Coronavirus,” ProPublica, online, 26 March 2020, https://www.propublica.org/article/how-china-built-a-twitter-propaganda-machine-then-let-it-loose-on-coronavirus. Twitter reported on June 12 that it suspended 32,242 “state-linked information operations” accounts; see “Disclosing networks of state-linked information operations we’ve removed,” Twitter Safety, online, 12 June 2020, https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/information-operations-june-2020.html. An Australian policy institute has a dataset of 23,750 Twitter accounts and 348,608 tweets from January 2018 to 17 April 2020; see Jake Wallis et. al., “Retweeting through the great firewall,” op. cit., 3.
 Edward Wong, Matthew Rosenberg, and Julian E. Barnes, “Chinese Agents Helped Spread Messages That Sowed Virus Panic in U.S., Officials Say,” The New York Times, online, 22 April 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/coronavirus-china-disinformation.html. See also Vanessa Molter, “Pandemics & Propaganda: How Chinese State Media Shapes Conversations on the Coronavirus,” Stanford Cyber Policy Center, Freeman Spogli Institute, 19 March 2020, online, https://cyber.fsi.stanford.edu/news/chinese-state-media-shapes-coronavirus-convo; Ryan Gallagher, “Chinese government-backed campaign spreading disinformation about virus, researcher says,” Stars and Stripes, online, 13 May 2020, https://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/chinese-government-backed-campaign-spreading-disinformation-about-virus-researcher-says-1.629596; Sara Cook, “Welcome to the New Era of Chinese Government Disinformation,” The Diplomat, online, 11 May 2020, https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/welcome-to-the-new-era-of-chinese-government-disinformation/. For technical details, see J. D. Work, “Questioning China’s Politicization of Cyber Intelligence During Pandemic,” Council on Foreign Relations, online, 20 April 2010, https://www.cfr.org/blog/questioning-chinas-politicization-cyber-intelligence-during-pandemic
 Tanner Greer, “China’s Plans to Win Control of the Global Order,” Tablet, online, 17 May 2020, https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/china-plans-global-order. For how China integrates information into its strategic goals, see John Poindexter, Robert McFarlane, and Richard Levine, “What U.S. National Strategy Should Look Like In the Wake Of Coronavirus,” The Federalist, online, 19 May 2020, https://thefederalist.com/2020/05/19/what-u-s-national-strategy-should-look-like-in-the-wake-of-coronavirus/. Three Brookings authors note, “just as in the Cold War, there is a propaganda war being waged by China to make the world safe for authoritarianism and highlight what makes the Chinese model great. Beijing utilizes global media, influence over Chinese students studying abroad, and its presence on university campuses in the United States and other countries through Confucius Institutes and research partnerships to favorably shape global views about the ruling regime.” Michael Brown, Eric Chewning, and Pavneet Singh, “Preparing the United States for the Superpower Marathon with China, Brookings, online, April 2020, 2, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/FP_20200427_superpower_marathon_brown_chewning_singh.pdf
 United States Department of State, “Soviet Influence Activities: A Report on Active Measures and Propaganda, 1986-87,” August 1987, https://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/reports/1987/soviet-influence-activities-1987.pdf. The AIDS disinformation campaign illustrated the Soviet template; see Thomas Boghardt, “Operation Infektion: Soviet Bloc Intelligence and Its AIDS Disinformation Campaign,” Studies in Intelligence, vol. 53, no. 4, December 2009, 1-24, https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol53no4/pdf/U-%20Boghardt-AIDS-Made%20in%20the%20USA-17Dec.pdf and Douglas Selvage, “Operation ‘Denver’: The East German Ministry of State Security and the KGB’s AIDS Disinformation Campaign, 1985-1986 (Part 1),” Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 21, issue 4, Fall 2019, 71-123, online, https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/full/10.1162/jcws_a_00907. A recent treatment of Soviet disinformation is Thomas Rid, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020).
 For Europe, see John Vandiver, “Coronavirus pandemic leads to spike in disinformation directed at US, NATO in Europe, Stars and Stripes, online, 23 April 2020, https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/coronavirus-pandemic-leads-to-spike-in-disinformation-directed-at-us-nato-in-europe-1.627110
 Oscar Jonsson, The Russian Understanding of War: Blurring the Lines between War and Peace (Washington, Georgetown University Press, 2019), 20. There’s an excellent short review of the book by B. A. Friedman, “#Reviewing The Russian Understanding of War,” The Strategy Bridge, online, 24 March 2020, https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2020/3/24/reviewing-the-russian-understanding-of-war
 Sarah Jacobs Gamberini and Amanda Moodie, “The Virus of Disinformation: Echoes of Past Bioweapons Accusations in Today’s COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories,” War on the Rocks, online, 6 April 2020, https://warontherocks.com/2020/04/the-virus-of-disinformation-echoes-of-past-bioweapons-accusations-in-todays-covid-19-conspiracy-theories/
 Milton Leitenberg, “China’s False Allegations of the Use of Biological Weapons by the United States During the Korean War,” Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Cold War International History Project, Working Paper #78, March 2016, online, https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/publication/cwihp_wp_78_china_false_bw_allegations_korean_war_march_16.pdf
 For the Three Warfares, see Laura Jackson, “Revisions of Reality: The Three Warfares—China’s New Way of War,” in Information at War: From China’s Three Warfares to NATO’s Narratives, London: Legatum Institute, September 2015, 15-25, online, https://lif.blob.core.windows.net/lif/docs/default-source/publications/information-at-war-from-china-s-three-warfares-to-nato-s-narratives-pdf.pdf. For other frames, see Alexander Bowe, “China’s Overseas United Front Work: Background and Implications for the United States, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Staff Research Report, August 24, 2018, online, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/Research/China’s%20Overseas%20United%20Front%20Work%20-%20Background%20and%20Implications%20for%20US_final_0.pdf and Anne-Marie Brady, “Magic Weapons: China’s political influence activities under Xi Jinping,” The Wilson Center, online, 18 September 2017, https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/article/magic_weapons.pdf. China has long emphasized “United Front” work, recently profiled by Alex Joske, “The party speaks for you: Foreign interference and the Chinese Communist Party’s united from system,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute, International Cyber Policy Centre, Policy brief, Report No. 32/2020, online, https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/ad-aspi/2020-06/The%20party%20speaks%20for%20you_0.pdf. For an overview of activities within this frame, see Craig Singleton, “Exposing China’s Malign Influence Activities in the United States,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Policy Brief, 3 June 2020, online,
https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2020/06/03/exposing-chinas-malign-influence-activities/. See also Jamie Seidel, “China’s destabilisation strategies show bold plan to attack democracies from within,” The Advertiser, online, 29 June 2020, https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/chinas-destablisation-strategies-show-bold-plan-to-attack-democracies-from-within/news-story/cba1a126f1aa91aa417dc3dda15cffc8
 For a sketch of the different Russian and Chinese approaches to information warfare, see David Beskow, “Finding and Characterizing Information Warfare Campaigns,” Carnegie Mellon University dissertation, March 2020, 9-10, online, https://kilthub.cmu.edu/articles/Finding_and_Characterizing_Information_Warfare_Campaigns/12303089.
 See also Sascha Dominik (Dov) Bachmann, Andrew Dowse and Hakan Gunneriusson, “Competition short of war – how Russia’s hybrid and grey-zone warfare are a blueprint for China’s global power ambitions,” Australian Journal of Defense and Strategic Studies, v. 1, no. 1, 42, online, https://www.defence.gov.au/ADC/Publications/AJDSS/documents/volume1-issue1/3-Competition-short-of-war.pdf. They argue that “the implementation of China’s 2015 military strategy of active defence and the territorial objectives in the 2019 Defence White Paper are being informed by examples of contemporary Russian warfare approaches.” A New York Times article cites Laura Rosenberger, the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, that “Russia has long spread multiple, seemingly contradictory disinformation narratives and then said, ‘How can we know for sure what happened, how can we know the truth?’ she added. ‘We have never really seen China do that externally before. But now we see Chinese officials and media trying out those typically Russian tactics.'” Julian E. Barnes, Matthew Rosenberg, and Edward Wong, “As Virus Spreads, China and Russia See Openings for Disinformation,” The New York Times, online, 28 March 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/us/politics/china-russia-coronavirus-disinformation.html. The mottoes of the two global Russian television networks, RT and Sputnik, are “Question More” and “Telling the Untold.” A recent article in People’s Daily online used the same approach. See “US COVID-19 statistics challenged by multiple research: lethal virus is far more widespread in the country than previously thought,” at http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0421/c90000-9682363.html. See also Clint Watts, “Triad of Disinformation: How Russia, Iran, & China Ally in a Messaging War against America,” Alliance for Securing Democracy, 15 May 2020, online, https://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/triad-of-disinformation-how-russia-iran-china-ally-in-a-messaging-war-against-america/. For more on convergence, see Andrea Kendall-Taylor and David Shullman, “Converging Chinese and Russian Disinformation Compounds Threat to Democracy,” Power 3.0 Blog, International Forum for Democratic Studies, 26 May 2020, online, https://www.power3point0.org/2020/05/26/converging-chinese-and-russian-disinformation-compounds-threat-to-democracy/; Sarah Cook, “Welcome to the New Era of Chinese Government Disinformation,” The Diplomat, online, 11 May 2020, https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/welcome-to-the-new-era-of-chinese-government-disinformation/; and Daniel Kliman, Andrea Kendall-taylor, Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt, and Carisa Nietsche, “Dangerous Synergies: Countering Chinese and Russian Digital Influence Operations,” Center for New American Security, May 2020, online, https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.cnas.org/documents/CNAS-Report-Dangerous-Synergies-May-2020-DoS-Proof.pdf. Chinese informational tactics directed against Taiwan were profiled by Jason Pan, “Academic Warns about Chinese information war,” Taipei Times, online, 9 June 2020, https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2020/06/09/2003737908. For a report from India, see Namrata Biji Ahuja, “Amid COVID-19 pandemic, China leads global information war,” TheWeek, online, 9 June 2020, https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2020/06/09/amid-covid-19-pandemic-china-leads-global-information-war.html. See also Jessica Brandt and Torrey Taussig, “The Kremlin’s disinformation playbook goes to Beijing,” Brookings, 19 May 2020, online, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/05/19/the-kremlins-disinformation-playbook-goes-to-beijing/.
 Edward Wong, Matthew Rosenberg and Julian E. Barnes, “Chinese Agents Helped Spread Messages That Sowed Virus Panic in U.S., Officials Say,” The New York Times, online, 22 April 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/coronavirus-china-disinformation.html
 As archvillain Elliot Carver said to James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies, “Words are the new weapons, satellites the new artillery. . . Caesar had his officers; Napoleon had his armies. I have my divisions: TV, news, magazines,” quoted in Michael J. Mazaar, Abigail Casey, Alyssa Demus, Scott W. Harold, Luke J. Matthews, Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, and James Sladden, Hostile Social Manipulation: Present Realities and Emerging Trends, Santa Monica: RAND, 2019, 1, https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2713.html
 National Endowment for Democracy, International Forum for Democratic Studies, “Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence,” December 2017, 6, https://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Sharp-Power-Rising-Authoritarian-Influence-Full-Report.pdf
 Quoted in Donald M. Bishop, “We are being challenged every day,” Public Diplomacy Council Blog, online, 20 March 2020, https://www.publicdiplomacycouncil.org/2020/03/20/we-are-being-challenged-every-single-day/
 Adam McClellan, “The Art of Enterprise Thinking,” Global Knowledge [online], 22 October 2013, https://www.globalknowledge.com/us-en/resources/resource-library/articles/the-art-of-enterprise-thinking/
 United States Department of State, Office of Inspector General, “(U) Audit of Global Engagement Center Federal Assistance Award Management and Monitoring,” April 2020, 1, 4, 6, https://www.stateoig.gov/system/files/aud-mero-20-26-.pdf. See also “Statement of Lea Gabrielle, Special Envoy & Coordinator for the Global Engagement Center, U.S. Department of State Before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development, ‘Executing the Global Engagement Center’s Mission,'” 5 March 2020, https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/030520_Gabrielle_Testimony.pdf
 Donald M. Bishop, “DIME, not DiME: Time to Align the Instruments of U.S. Informational Power,” The Strategy Bridge, online, 20 June 2018, https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2018/6/20/dime-not-dime-time-to-align-the-instruments-of-us-informational-power
 Ibid. The NSC is well positioned to play a key role in “a collective, global effort to fight the scourge of online information” urged by Canada’s president of the Privy Council, Dominic LeBlanc; see James McCarten, “Democracies must unite to share intel in disinformation fight, LeBlanc says,” The Canadian Press report, National Post, online, 29 June 2020, https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/democracies-must-unite-to-share-intel-in-disinformation-fight-leblanc-says
 See Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson, “UPDATE: The United States Continues to Lead the Global Response to COVID-19,” 2 July 2020, https://www.state.gov/update-the-united-states-continues-to-lead-the-global-response-to-covid-19-4/
 Donald M. Bishop, “Public Diplomacy in a Time of Partisanship,” Public Diplomacy Council Blog, online, 9 May 2018, https://www.publicdiplomacycouncil.org/2018/05/09/public-diplomacy-in-a-time-of-partisanship/
 Francesco Sisci, “At Stake is Global Leadership,” The Eastern Link, online, 4 April 2020, https://theeasternlink.com/at-stake-is-global-leadership/. Deriving his insights from an examination of North Korean behavior in 1968, one scholar judges that “Without a system of checks and balances, absolute autocracies such as Kim Il Sung’s North Korea can become so entangled in emotions-based mobilization campaigns that they extend into full-on military conflicts. With power concentrated in the hands of a single strongman, fighting wars over emotions may seem superficial and irrational but in the context of absolute autocracies, they can quickly become the main drivers of military conflict.” Benjamin R. Young, “Thucydides in Pyongyang: Fear, Honor, and Interests in the 1968 Pueblo Incident,” Journal of Territorial & Maritime Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, 2020, online, https://www.academia.edu/41708969/Thucydides_in_Pyongyang_Fear_Honor_and_Interests_in_the_1968_Pueblo_Incident_Journal_of_Territorial_and_Maritime_Studies_Vol._7_No. 1_2020
Donald M. Bishop is the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications in the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia. Mr. Bishop served as a Foreign Service Officer – first in the U.S. Information Agency and then in the Department of State – for 31 years.