Perception Hacking: the Dark Side of Public Diplomacy

Attendees at First Monday Forum got a data-drawn picture of the extent to which the world is being assaulted by disinformation and propaganda, with the United States in the bullseye.  What is public diplomacy’s role? “Perception Hacking: How Russia, China, and Iran Use (and Abuse) Western Information Platforms” was the title.  Bret Schaefer, Media and Disinformation…

Photograph of Herb Romerstein

Remembering Herb Romerstein

As the subject of Russian disinformation comes increasingly to the fore, it is worth remembering Herb Romerstein, who headed the U.S. Information Agency’s Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation and Active Measures from 1983 to 1989 and was the foremost American expert on this important subject. Herb, who died in 2013, had been a “kid communist”…

Uncle Vova and Mad Nick

Living and working in other countries, Public Diplomacy practitioners hear a mix of many ideas – political, economic, social, and religious.  Among them are patriotism and nationalism.  A recent video – and the controversies it sparked – presents a case study that can give viewers some perspective on today’s currents of Russian nationalism. Last year,…

Labels and sharp power

Last week I spoke to a Great Decisions discussion group in Arlington, Virginia.  Great Decisions is a program sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association to encourage citizen awareness of foreign relations. The topic, “The Media and Foreign Policy,” gave me the chance to highlight the work of public diplomacy.  As so much diplomacy is carried…

Folded newspaper section "China Watch"

A New Challenge for Public Diplomacy

Did public diplomacy just get a new job? Sharp power is the latest buzzword in international affairs.  Last week The Economist magazine featured a study by the National Endowment for Democracy by that name.  The new National Security Strategy dwells on how China and Russia are using traditional “soft power” instruments in new ways to advance their…