Authoritarian Media: Supercharged in a Digital Age

In this era of expanding use of new communications tools, accuracy in media matters as never before. Globally, truth and fairness in journalism is endangered in unprecedented ways. Two specialists from the National Endowment for Democracy recently explained to a First Monday of the Month forum of the PDC and PDAA how China, Russia and…

The Hard Case for Soft Power: Four D.C. Roundtables Reflect Challenges and Impact

What is U.S. “soft power” in a digital world? A key facet is the ability to form international friendships, person-to-person and organization-to-organization, in the 21st century. This enhances, in a very human way, “hard power,” the ability to affect militarily the fate of societies and nations around the globe. Here in Washington, soft power advocates…

map of the middle east

Faint Glimmers of Hope in a Devastated Middle East?

In an essay entitled “The Middle East: Regional Disorder,” Columbia University Professor Lawrence G. Potter warns of the impact on global security of catastrophic developments in that troubled region. It’s a prime reason for U.S. and international public diplomacy, in all its forms. Writing in the 2019 edition of the Foreign Policy Association’s annual Great…

Sister Cities International: Promoting Peace and Cooperation

“One Individual, One Community at a Time” Imagine an American non-profit, non-partisan organization that reaches out to improve lives in cities, towns and villages around the globe. President Dwight Eisenhower first had that dream in 1956. It has now enhanced mutual respect and understanding through worldwide exchanges for more than seven decades. Roger-Mark De Souza,…

President Nieto and Donald Trump sitting

Building on the U.S. Partnership with Mexico: an Expert’s Analysis

Two years ago this week, Mexican-U.S. relations took a deep dive, when Mexico’s former President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled a meeting in Washington with incoming President Donald Trump during Mr. Trump’s first week in office. The dispute centered on Mr. Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for construction of a planned wall along unfinished sections of…

Public Diplomacy: Truth-Power in a Digital Age

It was October 15. 2015. The Broadcasting Board of Governors, recently renamed the U.S. Agency for Global Media, heard some sound advice about the power of the five taxpayer-funded multimedia networks it leads. “To state the obvious,” guest speaker Adam Clayton Powell III told the Board, “not everything is true, some things are provably false.…

Powell, Singer, Brooking address an audience

How classic propaganda tactics weaponize social media

If you participate in social media, you are being spun.  And that’s a problem for government communicators, especially in public diplomacy. LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, published just two months ago, has been termed by Amazon Press as “the best book of 2018”.  The book’s co-authors, noted scholars of 21st century new media Peter W.…