Information operations · Information Warfare · Public Diplomacy · Strategic Communications

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” – 12 March 2017

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#58)

March 12, 2017

Seen on the Web, 1461-1520

Edited by

Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University

Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant       


Professional Topics

  10. CYBER

Countries and Regions

  9. CHINA




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Professional Topics

  • If America can be said to have a public diplomacy — that is, government-directed outreach to international publics — then someone needs to throw it a lifeline.

Public Diplomacy Dies In Darkness

Mark Dillen, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, March 3, 2017

  • . . . enduring challenges remain for PD professionals. . . . Confronting the gap between ideals and reality within the United States with foreign citizens . . . Working within a stymied bureaucratic structure. * * * recommendations for PD going forward: Focus on initiatives that work instead of creating new ones . . . . Empower public diplomacy professionals in the field . . . Invest in our public diplomacy professionals . . . . Continue to take audience research and impact evaluation seriously . . . . Change the conversation with Congress . . . . Seek partnerships with private and civil society organizations …

Building Alliances, Fighting Extremism, and Dispelling Disinformation

Katherine A. Brown, Shannon N. Green, and Jian “Jay” Wang, Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 2017

  • I developed my philosophy during a more than thirty-year career in diplomacy. MOST of the people we work with overseas disagree with us on most issues. The main job of a successful diplomat is not to talk through differences but rather to look for points of potential agreement and common goals and then expand on them. Of course, this outlook is not limited to diplomats.

Anybody who has been in any sort of long term relations knows how that avoidance and denial of differences is often a valid strategy on the way to sustainable agreements.

Bright lines between personal and political

John Matel, Linkedin, February 26, 2017

  • . . . in a world where borders are becoming more porous, letting in everything from drugs to infectious diseases to terrorism, nations must use soft power to develop networks and build institutions to address shared threats and challenges.

Will the Liberal Order Survive?

Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Foreign Affairs, January/February 2017

  • To encourage surrenders, counter violent radical messages, improve communication by the authorities and allow local people to express their concerns, community radios should be supported and expanded. . . . Such radios . . . should broadcast in a . . . range of local and national languages, and should include messages of peace, calls for surrender directed at Boko Haram members and information on other issues of lakewide interest such as cattle prices.

Fighting Boko Haram in Chad: Beyond Military Measures

World Affairs, March 8, 2017

  • RFE/RL produces broadcast and digital news content for 23 countries in 26 languages: Albanian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Belarusian, Bosnian, Chechen, Crimean Tatar, Croatian, Dari, English, Georgian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Pashto, Persian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Tajik, Tatar, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Uzbek.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Fast Facts

RFE/RL, December 2016

  • During my time at the Pentagon, I sat through numerous meetings where military personnel presented their plans to respond to potential military contingencies. Almost every one of these plans included elements that would be filled out by the Pentagon’s interagency partners—usually the State Department and USAID. These parts of the plan were usually underdeveloped, if they existed at all, because the State Department did not have the resources or expertise to devote to such planning.

The State Department Is Already Running on Fumes

Ilan Goldenberg, Politico, February 28, 2017

  • In the overseas missions we visited, with rare exception, USAID’s American personnel formed very few meaningful local relationships and tended to be uninformed or misinformed about local organizations and trends. Outside key government ministries and well known capital city–based organizations, they had limited knowledge of who was who, or what was going on in the rural areas—not to mention an understanding of the nuances of culture and social structure, and the ways in which these affect the country’s political economy.

Why USAID’s New Approach to Development Assistance Is Stalled

Thomas Dichter, American Foreign Service Association, December 2016

  • Twitter Inc on Wednesday launched a wider effort to use algorithms to identify accounts as potentially engaging in abusive behavior, a departure from its practice of relying on users to report accounts that should be reviewed for possible violation of its rules.

Twitter turns to algorithms to clamp down on abusive content

Dustin Volz, Reuters, March 1, 2017

  • Experts said it can be difficult to figure out which Facebook posts are real and which are fake, but there are a few things you can look for that fake posts have in common. • The post claims someone has cancer or other serious disease and needs money for surgery. • It claims Facebook “has decided to help,” by donating a certain amount of money for “likes,” “comments,” or “shares.” • It typically asks a Facebook user to comment, “Amen,” at the end of the post. So the next time you see a photo that catches your eye, look for those signs before responding.

Emotional Facebook Posts May Be Scams, Experts Warn

CBS, February 28, 2017

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  • . . . Marines . . . were writing about “chaos in the littorals” and thinking about urban irregular warfare two decades ago. What’s new is the massive explosion in electronic connectivity that has taken place in the developing world (especially in urban environments) since about the year 2000, with cellphone systems, the Internet, social media, and satellite communications connecting populations like never before and creating both new threats and immense new opportunities.

Marine Corps Civil Affairs

David Kilcullen and Colonel Curtis Lee, Marine Corps Gazette, January 2017

  • The internet has long been celebrated for its power to bring people together. Yet as it turns out, this same technology is easily weaponized. . . . expanding the causes and possibly the incidence of war, and extending its reach. Social-media platforms reinforce “us versus them” narratives, expose vulnerable people to virulent ideologies, and inflame even long-dormant hatreds. They create massive groundswells of popular opinion that are nearly impossible to predict or control. Social media has already revolutionized everything from dating to business to politics. Now it is reshaping war itself.

War Goes Viral: How social media is being weaponized across the world

Emerson T. Brooking and P.W. Singer, The Atlantic, November 2016

  • . . . the medium itself is not the enemy. If used properly, social media can be an asset much like radio communications or public affairs offices: Its use will prove that the benefits outweigh the costs. * * * we must intelligently implement the use of social media through case studies of best practices * * * the use of social media in professional development must be personal and democratized. * * * Officers (and more important, the press) must learn that “following, [retweets], and links [do not equal] endorsement.”


Lieutenant Commander Jared M. Wilhelm, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, April 2016

  • . . Lenin launched his “Plan for Monumental Propaganda”: painting, sculpture, photography, posters, textiles, and ceramics were all to proclaim the glory of the Bolshevik state. Above all, as the first room of this show makes clear, the vast Soviet nation was expected to salute the Leader.

When Art Meets Power

Jenny Uglow, The New York Review of Books, March 8, 2017

  • . . . the European Union views the threat of disinformation as a serious challenge. In January, EU politicians pledged to give more funding for an 11-person task force set up in 2015 called East Stratcom, which aims to address Russian disinformation and highlight its distortions.

The EU Is Fighting A Lopsided Battle Against Russian Disinformation

Nick Robins-Early, Huffington Post, March 3, 2017

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  • On the eve of getting visa-free travel to Europe, Georgia has updated its legislation on sexual assault, removing “sodomy, lesbianism” and “other perverted sexual contact” from its definition but Sputnik presented the updated laws against sexual and domestic violence as encouragement of homosexuality coming from Europe. . . . the narrative of a “morally corrupted” West that promotes homosexuality and erodes families has been a common theme for pro-Kremlin news sites.

Disinformation in Action: Social Media Users Catch Sputnik International Accusing Georgia of Legalizing ‘Sodomy,’ ‘Lesbianism’

Katerina Patin,, March 2, 2017

  • . . . ‘fake news’ becomes a problem only when the volume and efficient distribution supplant and substitute traditional sources. . . . related, is the gradual and progressively deteriorating erosion of trust in the mainstream media channels. This trend severely undermines Western society’s ability to both be socialized around a core set of norms and cognitive constructs depicting a ‘Western reality’ and, at the same time, withstand strategic influence operations . . .

Better Media Bureau: Fight Fake News with Credibility

Alicia Wanless, LinkedIn, January 1, 2017

  • Now that an American president is routinely launching anti-media tirades, Beijing is taking advantage. Cribbing from President Trump, the People’s Daily, run by the Communist Party, tweeted last week that recent stories in foreign media accusing police of torturing a detained lawyer were “FAKE NEWS.”

Trump’s media-bashing is making it easier for foreign regimes to gag the press

Michael Schuman, The Washington Post, March 9, 2017

  • “Fake news” was a term the Left invented to describe the ancient practice of propaganda (updated in the Internet age to drive Web traffic). They applied it to the supposed Russian habit of planting international news stories to affect Western elections, and in particular Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency and his tendencies to exaggerate and massage the truth. But once the term caught on in our faddish age, who were the more appropriate media fakers? Fake news now serves as a sort of linguistic canary to remind the public that it is customarily saturated with a lethal gas of media disinformation.

The Ancient Laws of Unintended Consequences

Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, March 7, 2017

  • A group of 37 French and international media outlets, supported by Google, on Tuesday launched “CrossCheck”, a joint fact-checking platform aimed at detecting fake information which could affect the French presidential election.

Battle begins to stop ‘fake news’ from impacting the French presidential election

The Local, February 28, 2017

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  • The underlying assumption of our public discourse today is that facts and values are radically distinct. “The plane crashed” is a statement of fact, and therefore “real.” Crash evidence is tangible. Nobody can argue with debris. On the other hand, “Don’t kill the disabled” is a statement of value. It’s an expression of opinion and sentiment—so the logic goes—and therefore not “real” or “true” in the same solid sense. For example, the importance of protecting disabled persons is an admirable and widely shared view; surely that’s obvious. But some people might disagree.

“Fact” and “values” and darkness at noon

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Catholic World Report, February 13, 2017

  • . . . when you ask Marine Commandant Robert Neller about how best to grow the Corps, he’s . . . . focused on the new needs of the information age, particularly cyber and electronic warfare. . . . . if Gen. Neller instead could choose what to do with a few thousand more Marines, he’d rather add them to understaffed technical specialties than to rifle squads and tank crews.

It’s information warfare not cyber warfare and that’s an important distinction.

Brett Williams, LinkedIn, March 3, 2017

  1. CYBER
  • As soon as you connect a toaster to the internet, it will be atrtacked. Therefore, cyber defenders must capitalize on their greatest strength: Home-field advantage. Think security first. Design defensible systems. Educate. Red-team.

Szun Tzu in the Digital Age (no link)

Kenneth Geers, Defense News, January 23, 2017


Patrick Tucker, Defense One, November 14, 2016

  • Several generalizations emerged from the simulation regarding . . . messaging between the USG, Da’esh, and population teams. In an environment devoid of trust, the population teams often rejected USG messaging as lacking a credible voice. . . . Instead, they preferred to hear counter-Da’esh messaging from local religious and cultural leaders. A surprising number of population segments were open to USG’s counter-Da’esh messaging in principle, but wanted to engage in a deeper conversation about how to effect change.

Counter-Da’esh Influence Operations: Cognitive Space Narrative Simulation Insights

Charles Moore et. al., NSI simulation whitepaper, May 2016

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  • . . . new policies and institutions usually collapse under the weight of old habits. They succeed only when three things come together: a well-understood national interest; a persuasive moral rationale; and sustainable bipartisan support. That’s how NATO survives; that’s why the Iran deal will fail.

Clear, Clarify, Hold, Build

Bret Stephens, The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2017

  • Among those who believe the U.S. is engaged in an ideological struggle, there is division on the question of which ideology represents the greatest threat to America: ISIS-style radical Islam or Russian-style autocracy.

America’s Two-Front War of Ideas

Uri Friedman, The Atlantic, March 3, 2017

  • [McMaster is] also not likely to be impressed by the retread “war of ideas” approach to jihadism promulgated by Bannon and his circle, who argue that the United States can defeat the movement by empowering moderate Muslims to intellectually discredit it. That approach was tried under the Bush administration and, under another guise, by the Obama administration, to little effect.

McMaster has the Islamophobes worried, and that’s a good thing

William McCants, Brookings, February 23, 2017

  • The battle for the narrative has become increasingly important in an increasingly interconnected world. The public affairs savvy of the Islamic State and other adversaries testifies to the strategic power of a concerted information operations campaign. The gravity of the narrative will increase exponentially as communications and social media technologies become more capable, robust, and ubiquitous.

Drones, Hackers, Anthropologists, Marines

Capt. Brian Kerg, Marine Corps Gazette, November 2016

  • . . . 1917 is an awkward year in history for the Kremlin, especially President Vladimir Putin, who oozes nostalgia for the glory days of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union but would rather not remind his people of the power of dissent. The Russian government won’t mark the 100th anniversary,” said Sam Greene, Director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London.

Russian Revolution: An awkward moment for Putin 100 years on

Angela Dewan and Darya Tarasova, CNN, March 8, 2017

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  • Militaristic ideas and gender stereotypes can dominate one’s early life in Russia — as public holidays in honour of the country’s military and women show.

In Russia, propaganda starts in preschool

Elena Platonova, openDemocracy, March 6, 2017

  • “HE WHO controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past,” George Orwell wrote in “1984”. As Russia’s politics grows more Orwellian, the fight over its past is heating up. The Kremlin’s latest target is Memorial, the country’s most respected human-rights group, set up in the 1980s to commemorate victims of Stalin’s terror.

The battle for Russia’s history: Remember, remember

The Economist, November 5, 2016

  • Our country was founded by people who crossed an ocean to escape the past. Americans have never really liked history. * * * Our national seal says it all. We’re in the business of making a novus ordo seclorum—a “new order of the ages.” * * * To the degree that technology misleads us about the amount of control we have over our lives, focuses us on purely material things, diverts us from our larger story, and encourages us to forget about matters of the spirit, it becomes a weapon against humanity, not its servant. [Interview with Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput]

“This is our time of witness”: Abp Chaput on how American Catholics remain “Strangers in a strange land”

Carl E. Olson, Catholic World Report, February 21, 2017

  • [Jimmy] Wales credited Friedrich Hayek’s famous essay, “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” . . . on how to organize his online encyclopedia as a bottom-up, collaborative process, rather than a centrally planned project. Hayek [argued] . . . that central planners cannot possibly gather all the information they need to make decisions — that knowledge is diffused throughout society, each piece owned by separate individuals — and their voluntary cooperation, based on the knowledge they each have, produces far better results than top-down organization. “By analogy, this is part of the concept of Wikipedia,” said Wales.

The Inaugural Joseph K. McLaughlin Lecture

CATO Institute, January/February 2017

  • Counterinsurgencies have special civil considerations, such as “insurgent math:” for every innocent civilian killed by U.S. forces, several motivated insurgents are born from the family and neighbors of the dead.

Training for the Job: Why lieutenants should thoroughly study counterinsurgency at TBS

2nd Lieutenant Eric T. Myers, Jr., Marine Corps Gazette, January 2017

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Countries and Regions

  • [Senator Mark Warner] . . . discusses Russian incursions into French politics with a fluency once reserved for Virginia budget skirmishes. Reading materials lately have focused on the Gerasimov Doctrine of Russian warfare, named for a general and appointee of President Vladimir V. Putin, which holds that the boundary between war and peace has blurred and that covert tactics will increase in “nonlinear war.”

Mark Warner Faces a Stand-and-Deliver Moment in Russian Inquiry

Matt Flegenheimer, The New York Times, March 8, 2017

  • In a popular 1984 miniseries called “TASS is Authorized to Declare,” for example, a heroic KGB officer exposes an American spy in Moscow. The spy’s handler, an American named John Glabb, not only organizes pro-American military coups in small African countries but also traffics in heroin, which he smuggles in the bodies of babies purchased from impoverished families and killed for CIA purposes. Modern Russian spymasters get their ideas about the West from the West itself—they are generally convinced that the American political system is accurately portrayed by House of Cards.

Russia: The Conspiracy Trap

Masha Gessen, The New York Review of Books, March 6, 2017

  • . . . contemporary Russian television is not only compliant but celebratory. . . . propagandists have taken their cue from foreign forms: magazine shows, shout-fests, game shows, and reality shows. * * * even in the Internet era, more than eighty per cent of Russians get their news from television. Manipulation of TV coverage is a crucial factor in Putin’s extraordinarily high popularity ratings . . . .

Trump, Putin, And The New Cold War

Evan Osnos, David Remnick, and Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, March 6, 2017

  • …the EU and the U.S. have placed sanctions against Russia because of its actions in Crimea and . . . Russia is responding by funding news agencies generating content [that] supports Russia’s actions in Syria. Russia in particular has spent a lot of money buying off news agencies and funding political parties in other countries … Countries like Russia … have a higher success rate in controlling the media because they are closed societies in terms of information.

Does the Truth Matter in the Age of Digital Media

Miika Tomi, DACOR Bulletin, March, 2017

  • None of this means Americans shouldn’t be alarmed about Russian intentions or cyber attacks. Mr. Putin is an authoritarian who came of age as a Soviet spy and wants to damage U.S. interests around the world. Rather than dismiss evidence of Russian hacking, Mr. Trump ought to point out that Mr. Obama has done nothing to make Russia pay a price for it. He should also call for the entire story to come out, not merely alleged facts from anonymous sources.

Russian Hackers and American Hacks

The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2016

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  • [James C.] Breckinridge on a Russian War of Ideas: * * * Pointing to the chaotic environment of the revolution, Breckinridge observed, “Three influences began to manifest themselves; . . . the criminal element . . . the arrival of internationalists and opportunists . . . and . . . German propaganda, which left no stone unturned in assisting the other two . . .” Ideas influenced action, the action in turn influenced ideas in an environment of chaos brought on by revolution.

Russian Reflections and Military Renaissance: The Breckinridge legacy

Lieutenant Colonel A.M. Del Gaudio, Marine Corps Gazette, September 2016

  • Three years on, Kyiv is better equipped to resist and counter Russia’s sophisticated information-propaganda warfare, [Phillip Karber] said. On a scale of one to five, Ukraine went from “minus 1 to four . . . . got much stronger and wiser . . . . with its counter-information war based on a high standard of accuracy . . . .”

Phillip Karber: Ukraine faces Russia’s ‘new-generation warfare’

Mark Rackiewycz, The Ukrainian Weekly, February 24, 2017

  • The two sides of this military conflict, Russia and Ukraine, are trying to shape public opinion in their own countries as well as abroad. Depending on the leaning of a media outlet, its audiences see very different pictures of this crisis. This study examined a year’s worth of coverage dealing with the Eastern Ukraine military conflict in major Russian, Ukrainian, and American newscasts. [from the abstract]

Information wars: Eastern Ukraine military conflict coverage in the Russian, Ukrainian and U.S. newscasts

Nataliya Roman, Wayne Wanta, and Iuliia Buniak, International Communication Gazette, January 17, 2017

  • . . . a perception that U.S. President Donald Trump may prove soft on the Kremlin, combined with fears about “fake news” stirring tensions as NATO troops arrive, has caused concern among the Baltic nations of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. Latvia and Estonia have large Russian-speaking populations . . . . reaching out to Russian-speakers was necessary given the tense geopolitical situation. * * * Many Russian speakers rely on Moscow-backed television stations, which Estonia says broadcast Kremlin propaganda.

Wary of divided loyalties, a Baltic state reaches out to its Russians

Alistair Scrutton and David Mardiste, Reuters, February 24, 2017

  • The United States and NATO should pursue the development of a more sophisticated and subtle strategic communication campaign, beginning with support for Russian-language television stations backed by the Baltic country governments.

Hybrid Warfare in the Baltics: Threats and Potential Responses

Andrew Radin, RAND, accessed March 12, 2017

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  • Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is being targeted by allegations in pro-Moscow websites that her maternal Ukrainian grandfather was a Nazi collaborator, warned Monday that Canada should expect to be the focus of Russian disinformation campaigns similar to what is happening in Europe and the United States.

Freeland warns Canadians to beware of Russian disinformation

Robert Fife, The Globe and Mail, March 6, 2017

  • ISIL . . . was surprisingly adept in the beginning at proselytizing through the social media, and we were simply not in a place to be able to adequately respond . . . But . . . We now have a Global Engagement Center in the State Department which is manned by a massive group – not big enough, in my judgment, but it has grown significantly – of digitally capable folks . . . . We’ve coordinated with the United Arab Emirates, with the Saudis and others, to build centers in those countries which are staffed by indigenous population . . . . we are swamping the capacity of Daesh . . .

Remarks at the U.S. Naval Academy

John Kerry, Department of State, January 10, 2017

  • Obama consistently underestimated the sheer ideological breadth, intensity, and interconnectedness of the global jihadist movement, even when its members sometimes fought one another. The chief grievance of jihadists is neither joblessness, nor regional authoritarianism (since they are themselves authoritarian), nor the foreign policy of the Bush administration.

The Washington Post Smeared Sebastian Gorka

Colin Dueck, National Review, February 27, 2017

  • . . . everybody in the Middle East knows perfectly well that the likes of Al Qaeda and ISIS are Islamic as well as Islamist. . . . The region’s secularists, liberals, moderates and even everyday conservatives fear and loathe the Islamists. Referring to them as Salafists, radical Islamists, Islamic extremists, Islamists, or just plain radicals or extremists is fair game. Middle Easterners themselves use those words to describe Al Qaeda and ISIS, so why shouldn’t we? What one should not do is lump the entire Islamic world into a single sinister category.

Radical Islam and its Discontents

Michael J. Totten, World Affairs, March 1, 2017

  • Joseph Humire . . . . describes Iran’s penetration as a systematic, long-term operation . . . . The first phase, “cultural,” commenced in the 1980s with a covert presence in a few countries under the cover of commercial and cultural organizations. This penetration enabled Hezbollah to embed in existing Islamic populations and establish infrastructure for collection and recruitment. Iran’s infiltration is deeply rooted in the use of cultural centers throughout the region. * * * To further their cultural impact, in 2012, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Company launched HispanTV, a Spanish-language television channel . . .

By Way of Proxy: Iran’s future war against the United States in Latin America

Lieutenant Colonel Adolfo U. Gorbea, Marine Corps Gazette, March 2017

  • Finally, one official cryptically indicated, “terror cannot be eradicated through terror,” referencing America’s growing reliance on drone strikes and covert operations . . . . Instead, he thought the United States should focus on “cultural-educational strategies” and devise strong counter-narratives to defy those who espouse terrorism.

“Shoulder-To-Shoulder” No More In Afghanistan?

Matt Dearing and Ahmad Waheed, War on the Rocks, March 2, 2017

  1. CHINA
  • For China, the prize is greater influence—in time, pre-eminence—in Asia, and Mr. Trump is a godsend. Increasingly, the image makers around Chinese President Xi Jinping are defining him in contrast to his U.S. counterpart: an optimist where Mr. Trump takes a dark view of the U.S. and its place in the world; an internationalist to his “America First” nationalism.

China Gloats as Trump Squanders U.S. Soft Power

Andrew Browne, The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2017

  • Exchange of Cyber CulturesChina will facilitate cyber culture cooperation among countries to leverage the strength of the Internet to showcase the progress of civilizations of all countries and peoples, enhance cultural exchange and mutual learning and enable peoples to share their feelings and deepen mutual understanding. With the animation, comic and games industry as a priority area, China will carry out practical cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road . . . Cyber culture exhibitions and trade fairs home and abroad will play an important role to help Chinese cyber products and services go global.

Full Text: International Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace

Xinhua, March 1, 2017 

  • . . . distributing foreign information has become a profitable business in North Korea. * * * Today, a motley crew of foreign nongovernmental organizations, defectors, smugglers, middlemen, businessmen, and bribable North Korean soldiers and officials have cobbled together a surprisingly robust network that links ordinary citizens to the outside world through contraband cell phones, laptops, tablet computers, and data drives.

The Opening of the North Korean Mind

Jieun Baek, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2017

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  • The Burundian government and its supporters . . . say people are leaving the country because of hunger, not because of ethnic targeting or violence. They also say reports of sexual violence and human rights abuses were made up by Human Rights Watch, the UNHCR, and the European Union . . . . citing the coverage as “fake news”. “They keep lying and saying it’s fake and none of these things are happening,” Aline said from neighbouring Rwanda. . . .

‘Fake news’ fuelled civil war in Burundi. Now it’s being used again

Rossalyn Warren, The Guardian, March 4, 2017


  • Musicians, dancers and artists have traveled beyond their borders for more than 75 years on State Department-sponsored exchange programs. . . . However, myths persist. Myth One: Cultural diplomacy is a newer type of diplomacy. . . . Myth Two: You have to be a famous artist to be a cultural diplomat. . . . Myth Three: Cultural diplomacy is just about the arts. . . . Myth Four: Cultural diplomacy must be led by governments. . . . Myth Five: Only Americans can be Department of State cultural diplomats. . . . Myth Six: Anything related to culture counts as cultural diplomacy. . . . Myth Seven: Cultural programs are mostly about attending museum exhibits and listening to concerts.

Seven Myths About Cultural Diplomacy

Lauren Aitken, DipNote, February 27, 2017

  • [William] Faulkner . . . was an important figure in cultural diplomacy from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s. He traveled extensively through Latin America and Asia at the request of the U.S. government, as part of a public diplomacy campaign to win hearts and minds abroad, and combat anti-Americanism in areas vulnerable to communist ideology.

William Faulkner, Cold War Diplomat

Shannon Mizzi, Foreign Service Journal, May 2015 (pp. 13-14)

  • The Department of State uses its diplomatic and public outreach capacities to support girl empowerment and access to education, building partnerships to facilitate progress. One programmatic example is the implementation of a Girls STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design, and Math) camp in Rwanda . . . Girls who participate are able to take courses on computer science, robotics, and design, and are given access to mentors in the STEAM fields.

Foreign Aid and the Education Sector: Programs and Priorities

Curt Tarnoff, Congressional Research Service, November 2, 2016

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  • If the university insists on acting unilaterally and inviting the Dalai Lama to give a speech at the graduation ceremony, our association vows to take further measures to firmly resist the university’s unreasonable behavior. Specific details of these measures will be outlined in our future statements.

Chinese students in the US are using “inclusion” and “diversity” to oppose a Dalai Lama graduation speech

Josh Horwitz, Quartz, February 15, 2017

  • It is hard to recall today how improbable victory in the Cold War appeared. * * * It was my honor to have done what I could to help. I learned never to underestimate the possibility of change, that values have power, and that time and patience can pay off, especially if you’re serious about your objectives. Nothing can be taken for granted, and this great achievement is now under assault by Russia, but what we did in my time is no less honorable. It is for the present generation to defend and, when the time comes again, extend freedom in Europe.

After 40 Years of Service to America, Ambassador Daniel Fried Delivers Parting Shot

Domani Spero, Diplopundit, February 27, 2017


This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. government international broadcasting, and information operations. The editorial intent is to:

  • share with busy practitioners the academic and policy ferment in Public Diplomacy and related fields
  • from long speeches, testimonies, and articles, flag the portions that bear on Public Diplomacy
  • provide a window on armed forces thinking on the fields that neighbor Public Diplomacy such as military public affairs, information operations, inform-influence-engage, and cultural learning, and
  • introduce the long history of Public Diplomacy by citing some of the older books, articles, reports, and documents that are not available on the internet.

Public Diplomacy professionals always need a 360-degree view of how ideas are expressed, flow, and gain influence. Many points of view citied here are contentious and/or biased; inclusion does not imply endorsement.

Edited by

Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University

Jeffery W. Taylor, University of Mary Washington, Assistant                                                      

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