CounterPropaganda · Information operations · Information Warfare · Public Diplomacy · Strategic Communications

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” – March 30, 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, partisan, 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                                                     



In the News


[Pressuring North Korea: Evaluating Options]

[The Evolution of Hybrid Warfare and Key Challenges]

[Anti-Semitism across Borders]

Instruments of Informational Power


Professional Topics

  2. CYBER

Countries and Regions

  3. IRAN
  6. CHINA



In the News

  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) has introduced a bill to expand the Justice Department’s authority to investigate RT America for possibly violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Shaheen Introduces Bill to Investigate Russian News Outlet for Skirting Reporting Requirements

Nick Bolger, The Washington Free Beacon, March 14, 2017

[Pressuring North Korea: Evaluating Options]

  • We have to ensure continued, robust support for injecting outside information into North Korea to encourage defection and expose Kim’s propaganda. Thae Yong-ho, the highest ranking North Korean defector in decades, recently said that this was the best way to force change in North Korea.

Opening Statement of the Honorable Ted Yoho (R-FL) Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee Hearing: Pressuring North Korea: Evaluating Options March 21, 2017

House Foreign Affairs Committee, March 21, 2017

  • Improve Information Access in North Korea * * * * * The U.S. government should encourage the South Korean government to grant NGOs access to AM frequencies. South Korea should take the approach that the more information that gets into North Korea, the better. As such, Seoul should go beyond merely funding government broadcasts. At the very least, the government should not obstruct commendable NGO efforts to improve information access in the DPRK.

Sisyphean Diplomacy: The Dangers of Premature Negotiations with North Korea

Bruce Klinger (The Heritage Foundation), House Foreign Affairs Committee, March 21, 2017

  • An increase in budget for Korean language programs on Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and broadcasters from other nations would enable greater broadcasting time, stronger signals, proliferation of self-tuning short-wave radios, greater variety of programs, expansion of the listening audience, and the much-needed education of the North Korean people who are clearly the most cut-off people in the world.

Pressuring North Korea: Evaluating Options

Sung-Yoon Lee (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy), House Foreign Affairs Committee, March 21, 2017

[Anti-Semitism across Borders]

  • Anti-Semitism is an ancient and persistent hatred that must be fought until it is defeated. We must be clear-eyed about the problem and relentless with the perpetrators. The witnesses at this hearing will discuss the most urgent threats to Jewish communities, underlying ideological motivations and make recommendations for what needs to be done.

Opening Statement of Chairman Chris Smith at the Subcommittee hearing on “Anti-Semitism Across Borders”

House Foreign Affairs Committee, March 22, 2017

  • . . . anti-Zionist expressions are not just verbal; frequently inspired by the stream of propaganda that radical Islamists put out online and the financial and political contributions to this campaign that come from some Muslim states and organizations, an increasing number of terrorist have translated words into action and assaulted and murdered Jews throughout Europe and targeted Jewish institutions in Europe and the US.

Testimony of Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs, Simon Weisenthal Center

House Foreign Affairs Committee, March 22, 2017

  • During the 2016 campaign . . . . ADL found a total of 2.6 million tweets containing anti-Semitic language shared on Twitter between August 2015 and July 2016. Those tweets had an estimated 10 billion impressions (reach), Which helps reinforce and normalize previously taboo anti-Semitic language—on a massive scale.

Statement by Stacy Burdett, Vice President, Government Relations, Advocacy & Community Engagement, Anti-Defamation League

House Committee on Foreign Affairs, March 22, 2017

  • Last year the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), consisting of thirty-one member governments, adopted the Working Definition [of Anti-Semitism] at its plenary session in Romania. . . . the OSCE Chair-in-Office . . . sought to secure the official adoption of the same definition at the OSCE Ministerial Meeting . . . . effectively 56 of the 57 participating States were prepared to accept the draft decision . . . . In the end, only the Russian Federation stood in the way of its adoption . . .

[Statement of] Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism

House Foreign Affairs Committee, March 22, 2017

  • It is vital that the Congress, and U.S. government, identify, analyze, and respond to the cross-Atlantic links between anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic attacks.

Testimony of Paul Goldenberg, National Director, Secure Community Network

House Foreign Affairs Committee, March 22, 2017

[The Evolution of Hybrid Warfare and Key Challenges]

  • Our adversaries are using illegitimate instruments of statecraft (such as economic corruption, political intimidation, energy security threats, false front organizations and disinformation activities) to undermine our credibility, dilute the cohesion of our alliances, and prevent us from sustaining the international order and regional stability on which our economic prosperity has been based.

Statement before the House Armed Services Committee on The Evolution of Hybrid Warfare and Key Challenges Francis G. Hoffman, Ph.D. Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University

House Armed Services Committee, March 22, 2017

  • China’s hybrid warfare strategy draws on many of the elements also employed by Russia and Iran: exploiting the “gray zone” created by the West’s binary notion of “war” and “peace”; . . . . and combining all instruments of national power, including sophisticated cyber operations, economic incentives and sanctions, and legal and political warfare (“lawfare”).

A Testimony by Andrew Shearer, SeniorAdviser on Asia Pacific Security and Director, Alliances and American Leadership Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies

House Armed Services Committee, March 22, 2017

  • Experts use the term “hybrid warfare” in different ways. Several related terms are now in use, including “gray zone strategies,” “competition short of conflict,” “active measures,” and “new generation warfare.” . . . all these terms point to the same thing: Russia is using multiple instruments of power and influence, with an emphasis on nonmilitary tools, to pursue its national interests outside its borders—often at the expense of U.S. interests and those of U.S. allies.

Understanding Russian “Hybrid Warfare”

Christopher S. Chivvis (RAND), House Armed Services Committee, March 21, 2017

Elements of Informational Power

  • Two essential components of that approach include, first, a National Security Council process that is rigorous, inclusive, and comprehensive — engaging all of the U.S. government players on the development and implementation of these policies. Second, there needs to be a strategic, deliberative approach to public diplomacy.

Trump’s ‘Deterrence Bounce’ and the Dangers of Shock-Jock Diplomacy

Lori Esposito Murray, Foreign Policy, March 15, 2017 

  • Supporters call Voice of America a success story in public diplomacy, meanwhile others question if the United States needs to support its own broadcasting station given the proliferation of the Internet. * * * James Glassman, former undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, called the idea that Voice of America was anything but a part of the foreign policy apparatus “ridiculous.” “You don’t stop North Korea from getting a nuclear weapon through messaging,” he said. He considers supporting State Department positions one of the primary purposes of Voice of America broadcasts.

As Trump Cuts State Dept Funding, Are Voice of America Broadcasts Necessary?

Erin Mundahl, InsideSources, March 16, 2017

  • We have the most powerful and best-funded military in the world. But we do not have the best-funded government international broadcasting operation. Far from it.

Why The Voice of America Remains a Vital Force in the World

Geoffrey Cowan, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, March 2017

  • Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) has handed instructions to its Committee for Information Policy, Information Technologies, and Communications to probe into the activities of Radio Liberty, the Voice of America, CNN and other US media outlets to figure out if they were consistent with the Russian law.

Russia’s parliamentary commission to probe into US media’s activities in Russia

TASS, March 17, 2017

  • But in the modern era, everyone from Dean Acheson to John Kerry has found that superpower diplomacy abhors a news vacuum. When America’s top diplomats create one, adversaries and allies usually fill it with their own narrative of events, their own proposals, their own accounts of encounters with Washington.

Rex Tillerson’s Hope for a Media-Free Bubble May Burst

David E. Sanger, The New York Times, March 19, 2017

  • Tillerson had the right message to deliver during his visit to South Korea. It’s a shame he was distracted from what he had to say—and decreased his ability to amplify his message—by breaking with precedent and not traveling with his own press corps.

An unforced error on the secretary’s first major trip abroad.

Max Boot, Commentary, March 22, 2017

  • An increasing operational tempo in international cyber conflict induces some observers to see the beginning of a new Cold War…. If this is indeed a new Cold War, cyber operations’ low barriers to entry and the disparate national interests in play make Cold War Two much more multipolar than the original was…. One similarity a new Cold War seems to bear to the old one: much of the chill is manifest in propaganda (now called “information operations”). One difference may be the convergence of information operations with covert and clandestine work.

Cyber and IO

Vincent Scott, LinkedIn

  • U.S. planners of future operations should plan to encounter chemical attacks, and they should know the attacks will have a strategic impact on public opinion, even if their tactical impact is minimal. * * * Local allied forces should be given some modicum of training in preparation, and they should prepare an information operations campaign to inform civilian populations about defensive measures and to assuage fears.

Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures of the Islamic State: Lessons for U.S. Forces

Matthew F. Cancian, Military Review, March/April 2017

  • With a little more financial backing, the U.S. Marine Corps is primed to grow its force in three critical areas to meet the threats of the future: cyber, electronic warfare (EW) and intelligence.

U.S. Marine Corps Looking to Stand Up Information Warfare MEF

Sandra Jontz, SIGNAL, March 14, 2017

Professional Topics

  • Social media, emotion, and identity are redefining traditional strategies, and Trump has exploited these shifting communication dynamics. 1. Social Media Bypassing Elite Media * * * 2. Personalized Politics * * * 3. Emotion Reigns * * * 4. Expression and Authenticity * * *
  1. Emotional Identification: Angry Like Me * * * 6. Death of the Target Audience * * * 7. Crude Empathy to Diplomatic Empathy * * * Responding effectively yet appropriately calls for a quantum leap from listening—as Nicholas Cull has been advocating for a decade—to perspective taking, to ultimately empathy.

Trumping Traditional Public Diplomacy

R.S. Zaharna, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, January 17, 2017

  • The programme, described by the embassy as the “Russian diplomatic online club”, is sold to its members as “a way for everybody interested in international policy and all things Russian to gain knowledge, get insights from top diplomats and be part of fascinating networking, both online and off”.

Twitter users volunteer to be Russia’s latest weapon in the information wars

Alex Hern, The Guardian, March 16, 2017

  • Five years from now you won’t have any idea whether you’re interacting with a human online or not. In the future, most online speech, digital engagement, and content will be machines talking to machines.  This is called the MADCOM world: a future where machine-driven communications, enabled by artificial intelligence tools, dominate the online information environment.

Artificial intelligence chatbots will overwhelm human speech online; the rise of MADCOMs

Matt Chessen,, March 16, 2017

  1. CYBER
  • …this is no time for business as usual or funding only current programs. At least some of our national treasure should be devoted to the creation of something audaciously different but crucial to winning the wars of the future: a U.S. cyber academy.

Trump’s Big Defense Buildup Should Include a National Cyber Academy

Mark R. Hagerott and James Stavridis, Foreign Policy, March 21, 2017

  • Comey said the “loudness” of Russian cyber operations marked a key difference from previous activities. Russian cyber operations were “unusually loud” because, Comey said, Russia “wanted us to see what they were doing.”  . . . Comey . . . noted that Russia wanted to undermine the credibility of the democratic system. Comey said one intent for the “loudness” of Russian active measures would be “freaking people out.”  Asked whether the U.S. should expect future Russian interference in U.S. elections, Comey said, “They’ll be back in 2020 – maybe in 2018.”

NSA, FBI: Russian cyber tactics, ‘loudness’ key differences in 2016 election interference

Brad D. Williams, Fifth Domain Cyber, March 20, 2017

  • The U.S. has not done enough to reinforce its own and NATO’s nascent efforts to fight Russia’s prolific propaganda against European allies, the top military commander in Europe told lawmakers Thursday.

EUCOM commander: America needs stronger response to Russian disinformation

Joe Gould, Defense One, March 23, 2017

  • An elaborate hoax based on forged documents escalates the phenomenon of “fake news” and reveals an audience on the left that seems willing to believe virtually any claim that could damage Trump.

The 1.6 Billion Dollar Hoax

Ken Bensinger, Jason Leopold, and Craig Silverman, Buzzfeed News, March 15, 2017

  • Today, StratCom is on the front lines of the palpably intensifying information war in the Baltic region, as the Kremlin ratchets up its efforts to destabilize the fragile democracies of the former Soviet republics.

Latvia’s fortress think tank

Gordon F. Sander, Politico, March 16, 2017

  • The concept of “soft power,” contrasted to “hard power,” is that we can accomplish as much or more through a benevolent, cooperative approach among individuals or nations as through the use of force. Using these in an effective balance is “smart power.” Smart power is infinitely adaptable in proportions, and in specific tools used, but neither soft nor hard power is effective in isolation.

Gutting the State Department is a Recipe for Disaster

James Robert DuBois, Small Wars Journal, March 18, 2017

  • Much of this is a repeat of [Gerasimov’s] 2013 argument, with the focus on Western states using a wide spectrum of measures (political, economic, diplomatic, informational) combined with the “protest potential of the population,” to ensure that their interests are observed. Cyber warfare is added to this list…. What seems interesting to me is the second half of the article . . . . Here, Gerasimov drops all the discussion of hybrid and information warfare. Instead, his focus is very much old school:

New Gerasimov article on nature of warfare

Dmitry Gorenburg, Russian Military Reform, March 17, 2017

  • Many CVE programs label people as potential terrorists using disproven criteria and methods. The first is that extremist ideology is a precursor to, and driver of, terrorism. While this proposition has some intuitive appeal, it has been disproven by decades of empirical research. Many people hold views that can be described as “extreme” and never act violently; the reverse is also true.

Countering Violent Extremism

Faiza Patel and Meghan Koushik, Brennan Center for Justice, March 16, 2017 

  • …for several decades, Saudi Arabia has used its oil wealth to spread not only radicalized religious education but also Arabic language education. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Arabic, but it does open doors to a huge canon of literature which promotes a radical viewpoint.

To counter violent extremism, reinforce native languages

Michael Rubin, AEIdeas, March 14, 2017

  • Among the most recent evolutions of jihadi terrorist tactics in the West has been the rise of the virtual entrepreneur. The increased use of social media, often paired with applications that offer the option of encrypted messaging, has enabled members of groups like the Islamic State to make direct and lasting contact with radicalized Americans. In some cases, these individual’s direct terror plots, and in others, they provide encouragement and motivation for attacks.

The Threat to the United States from the Islamic State’s Virtual Entrepreneurs

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, Seamus Hughes, Combatting Terrorism Center Sentinel, March 9, 2017

  • Given the slippery ideological slope between extremist radicalization and mobilization, it is important not to ban or criminalize but to actively challenge and debate even extremist narratives that do not explicitly advocate violence yet do provide the “moral oxygen” for supporting violent extremist groups. . . . When a person has the kind of  cognitive opening that can be filled by violent extremist ideas, someone needs to be there to provide alternative narratives and ideas.
    Defeating Ideologically Inspired Violent Extremism
    Matthew Levitt, ed., Washington Institute for Near East Policy, March 2017




  • . . . officials claimed that a statue of Lenin and a statue of Nicholas II had wept . . . . Russian officials say that Soviet and tsarist films can’t be extremist by definition . . . . Supporters of the canonization of Rasputin continued their campaign * * * The Communist Party of the Russian Federation has launched a campaign to fight desecration of Stalin monuments and bans on memorializing the Soviet dictator.

“Putin is War; Putin is Death” and other neglected Russian stories

Paul A. Goble, Euromaidan Press, March 13, 2016


  • A Russian Orthodox priest has entered into the battle over . . . the site of mass graves from Stalin’s times in Minsk. Drawing on what the Soviets did to confuse the situation about the execution of the Polish officers at Katyn, the priest is calling for the erection of a museum at Kuropaty that will show that “not everything in the USSR was bad,” an extreme form of apologetics for the Soviets by a Christian religious.

Russian Priest Wants Museum in Kuropaty to Show that ‘Not Everything in the USSR was Bad’

Paul A. Goble, Euromaidan Press, March 13, 2017

  • The list provides ten different ways to label the stories on such sites: fake news (actual fake news), satire, extreme bias (“sources that come from a particular point of view and may rely on propaganda, decontextualized information, and opinions distorted as facts”), conspiracy theory, rumor mill, state news, junk science (“sources that promote pseudoscience, metaphysics, naturalistic fallacies, and other scientifically dubious claims”), hate news, clickbait, proceed with caution (“sources that may be reliable but whose contents require further verification”)
    A Field Guide to Harvard’s Field Guide on ‘Fake News’

Ben Shapiro, National Review, March 15, 2017

  • What Melvin E. Lee calls the “grievance-based approach” to counterterrorism holds that by addressing the stated grievances of terrorists, their motivations for committing acts of violence can be stopped and further acts preempted. It is a surprisingly popular idea among both academics and politicians. But evidence in the real world suggests that it is little more than a fantasy of the peace studies and conflict resolution crowd.

An End to the Grievance-based Approach

A.J. Caschetta, The Jerusalem Post, March 13, 2017 

  • At home and abroad, citizens and stakeholders are straining their ears for clues about what our “America First” conversion will look like: What tangible changes should we brace for as we regress from the indispensable nation to an insulated one? How will the muscular bluster of the campaign and nationalism of this new era be realized in bilateral and multilateral relationships?

Rex Tillerson’s Dangerous Silence

Stephen Krupin, New York Magazine, March 15, 2017

  • . . . I identified 11 “Neo-Tribes” that now comprise the American landscape: Persistents . . .Happy Hedonists . . .God Squad . . .Self-Perfectionists . . .Adventurists . . . One True Path . . .Land of the Free . . .Dutifuls . . .Outsiders . . .Creators . . .Go With the Flow . . . .

Democrats and Building a New Majority

John Zogby, John Zogby Strategies, March 14, 2017

  • The pursuit of knowledge and the maintenance of a free and democratic society require the cultivation and practice of the virtues of intellectual humility, openness of mind, and, above all, love of truth. These virtues will manifest themselves and be strengthened by one’s willingness to listen attentively and respectfully to intelligent people who challenge one’s beliefs and who represent causes one disagrees with and points of view one does not share.

Sign the Statement: Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression

Robert P. George and Cornel West, James Madison Program, Princeton University, March 14, 2017

  • Throughout the Cyprus Emergency of the late 1950’s a constant theme of EOKA and Greek Nationalist propaganda was to accuse British Security Forces of conducting a campaign of brutal repression against the Greek Cypriots. . . . not only spread locally on the island but also pursued on the international stage. To counter this particular stratum of pernicious propaganda, in June 1958 the Cyprus Government formed a Special Investigations Group to document the activities of the Security Forces and expose EOKA lies and exaggerations.

Final report of the Special Investigations Group (SIG), Cyprus, March 29, 2015

Countries and Regions

  • The state propaganda machine has, for years now, been tuned to attacking Russia’s supposed enemies in the West, with Dmitri Kiselev, the most recognizable face on the Kremlin television networks and Mr. Putin’s propaganda spin master, infamously boasting on-air about Russia’s ability to “turn the United States into radioactive ash.”

Answering the Kremlin’s Challenge

Vladimir Kara-Murza, World Affairs, accessed March 29, 2017

  • Researchers found that news broadcasts on major TV channels Pervyi Kanal and Rossiya-1 were relatively balanced and objective, at least by the standards of the Putin regime (to most Western viewers they are highly propagandistic). But these programs . . . devote much of their attention to foreign news, presented in strongly emotional terms and fixated on Russia’s confrontations with the United States, the West, and Ukraine—often in overtly military terms.  The study also criticizes the shows’ presenters . . . the former relies on “classic propaganda methods,” while the latter is more inclined to use “dramatic tropes borrowed from street theater.”

Moscow’s Achilles Heel

Donald N. Jensen, Center for European Analysis, accessed March 29, 2017

  • “The fact that they were willing to do it openly suggests Putin is trying to fire a shot across the bow, in a political sense, to show that Russia has the capacity to make it look like the integrity to the U.S. elections is not as strong as Americans think it is and to undermine confidence … that the democratic process is honest,” [William] Courtney said.

Russian hackers were likely surprised by blowback from cyberattacks on U.S. elections, analysts say

Ann M. Simmons and Mansur Mirovalev, The Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2017

  • Part I looks at how active measures were created by and evolved with the Soviet security state, examples of historical active measures and key differences between U.S. and Russian worldviews that influence Russia’s tactics.

How Russia adapted KGB ‘active measures’ to cyber operations, Part I

Brad D. Williams, Fifth Domain Cyber, March 19, 2017

  • There are already patterns emerging in the behavior of RT, which has German service, and the Sputnik “news agency,” which is pumping out stories clearly aimed at boosting Kremlin-friendly candidates like Marine Le Pen in France and the Alternative für Deutschland party in Germany, and trying to run down the more mainstream candidates.

What Does Vladimir Putin Want?

Nick Tabor, New York Magazine, March 17, 2017

  • Russia’s covert influence operations are not simply mischief. Rather, they are a deliberate strategy to achieve its domestic and foreign policy objectives through unconventional means that has ideological, political, and strategic support from a broad section of leading Russian intellectual, government, and military figures.

Russia’s 5th Column

Ken Gude, Center for American Progress, March 15, 2017

  • Investigative reporters are using social media posts to reveal the corruption of officials in Russia who live lives of Trump-like excess.

Exposing Putin’s Cronies: The Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous

Anna Nemtsova, The Daily Beast, March 15, 2017

  • The second reason is rooted in the experience of Russians at the end of Soviet times when people began to understand that “freedom begins with independence from official propaganda and with the absence of unqualified faith in everything that this broadcast from above.” That attitude has been extended to the Moscow media since they are obviously state-controlled.
    Almost Half of Russians Say They Can’t Distinguish Truth from Lies in Moscow Media

Paul Goble,, March 15, 2017

  • Russia’s intelligence service directed the hacking of 500 million Yahoo email accounts in an operation conducted in coordination with Russian criminal hackers.  Two officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, worked with two Russian cyber criminals in the data espionage and criminal operation, according to a federal indictment and law enforcement officials.

Russian Intelligence Behind Yahoo Email Attack

Bill Gertz, The Washington Free Beacon, March 15, 2017

  • …the only real EU response to this threat—an eleven-man EEAS East STRATCOM Team (paid mainly by member states, not by the EU institution that barely tolerates it)—is absurdly understaffed. . . . This team has no budget . . . – despite being tasked by the European Council to counter the Kremlin disinformation machine, , , , boosted by over 1 billion euro annually.

Open Letter of European security experts to Federica Mogherini: Please start taking the Russian disinformation threat seriously!

Jakub Janda,, accessed March 29, 2017

  • A number of European security experts have signed an open letter addressed to EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, in which they call to triple the capacity of the European External Action Service (EEAS) East Stratcom Team, which operates the EU’s only counteraction to the vaste amounts of anti-EU Russian disinformation – the Disinformation Review.

European security experts call upon EU to triple defense against Russian propaganda

Euromaidan Press, March 20, 2017

  1. IRAN
  • Cyrus the Great, a leader of the ancient Persian Empire, famously said that “[f]reedom, dignity, and wealth together constitute the greatest happiness of humanity. If you bequeath all three to your people, their love for you will never die.  To the Iranian people and all those around the world celebrating Nowruz: On behalf of the American people, I wish you freedom, dignity, and wealth.

Statement by President Donald J. Trump on Nowruz

President Donald Trump, The White House, March 22, 2017

  • The Gulf states have pursued meaningful counter-ISIS activities at home, but their record varies widely when it comes to aggressively countering terrorist ideology and financing in general. Most Gulf countries have prosecuted and sentenced individuals for financial, ideological, logistical, or other support of ISIS. Abu Dhabi stands out as a particularly valued partner for counter-ISIS messaging and other counter-ideology work due to its comparatively strong emphasis on religious tolerance at home…. Still, many Gulf governments have tactical alliances and other relationships with ultraconservative groups inside (and sometimes outside) their countries that complicate broader counterterrorism campaigns.

Gulf Support to the Counter-ISIS Campaign

Lori Plotkin Boghardt, The Washington Institute, March 21, 2017

  • To defeat this enemy, we must not only remove them from the battlefield but also degrade their ability to replenish their ranks by discrediting the underlying violent ideology so prevalent in the digital world.

More than guns needed to defeat ISIS

James Prince, TheHill, March 15, 2017

  • …despite these successes, the collapse of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate will not eliminate the organization or other Salafi-jihadist groups, which will likely continue for years.

Why a Dying Islamic State Could Be an Even Bigger Threat to America

Seth G. Jones and James Dobbins, RAND, March 13, 2017


  • Defeating the ideology of radical Islamic terrorism globally will take time, but the top priority must be rapidly destroying the ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Speed (which President Obama ignored) is crucial to stop ISIS recruiting, training and deploying new terrorists to Europe and America, and preventing even more ISIS cadres from escaping to re-establish ISIS headquarters in other anarchic spots like Libya.

Bolton’s foreign policy priorities

John R. Bolton, American Enterprise Institute, March 11, 2017

  • While Saudi Arabia has been the object of criticism for both its Wahhabist proselytizing abroad and its compromising ties to jihadists, the Senior Council of Ulema, the kingdom’s highest religious body, stands on the front lines of the Muslim world’s theological disputes over the validity of radical Islamist ideologies. The Saudi Ulema’s beliefs and practices may not accord with Western conceptions of liberalism, but their religious authority and leadership represent an important bulwark against the proliferation of jihadist groups.

US-Saudi Relations: A New Footing for an Old Relationship

Andrew Bowen, American Enterprise Institute, March 15, 2017

  1. CHINA
  • China’s strategy has targeted the information ecosystem at its source. Rather than simply trying to censor unfavorable stories or burnish its image, China is going after the infrastructure of information—whether through Hollywood acquisitions, the global media that informs international opinion and policy, or the norms, standards and corporate platforms powering the Internet, a medium through which an ever-growing number of people in the world communicate and organize their daily lives.

China Promotes an Authoritarian-flavored Globalization

Shanthi Kalathil, World Affairs Journal, March 15, 2017

  • On March 8 Chinese pop singer Xie Tianming published a music video (link in Chinese) for a piece titled “Chant of Love.” Using fiercely nationalist rhetoric set to a syrupy synthesizer melody, the singer calls on Chinese people to boycott products made by Lotte, the Korean conglomerate at the center of China’s trade retaliation towards South Korea. * * *America wants to deploy THAAD in Korea / They can spy on more than half of China / Lotte makes good money in China / And is providing land to America / Ah, ah / Chinese sons and daughters must stand up / The country can only exist if it is safe

A corny pop ballad explains in one verse why China is so mad about THAAD

Josh Horwitz, Quartz, March 13, 2017

  • Chinese foreign military education programs, modeled on similar US efforts, promote a positive international image of China while simultaneously advancing military-to-military relations.

Foreign Military Education as PLA Soft Power

John Van Oudenaren and Benjamin Fisher, Parameters, Army War College, Winter 2016-2017


  • [In 2004] Ms. May and several colleagues traveled to the United States for meetings with U.S. congressional representatives to learn about America’s political process and its domestic debates, in turn sharing their perspectives on pressing challenges facing the U.K. and Europe. After spending the first week in Washington, DC visiting Capitol Hill and various government agencies, Ms. May and her BAPG colleagues traveled to congressional districts all over the U.S. to gain an in-depth understanding of constituent issues.

UK Prime Minister is a Meridian IVLP Alumna

Zachary Adams, Meridian International Center, March 13, 2017

  • According to the State Department, sports diplomacy uses the universal passion for sports as a way to transcend linguistic and sociocultural differences to unite people. The Sports Diplomacy Division, formerly known as SportsUnited, is ECA’s Division devoted to sports diplomacy, taps into sports’ ability to increase dialogue and cultural understanding between people around the world.

‘Soft power’ success of sport threatened by steep budget cuts

Louis Bolling, The Huffinton Post, March 20, 2017

  • Russia is recruiting international students to strengthen its “soft power” in former Soviet states rather than gaining any significant income from foreign enrollments, a study suggests.

Russia’s International Student Strategy

Jack Grove, Inside Higher Ed, March 16, 2017

  • …the movement of students from one country to another is sensitive to fluctuations tied to political and economic forces. So some officials cautioned that a “Trump effect’ is just one possible explanation for this year’s application figures. Beyond that, many schools, including New York University, the University of Southern California and Northeastern University, reported that their international numbers are up. Purdue University reported a 1.2 percent decline in graduate school applications.

Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign Applicants

Stephanie Saul, The New York Times, March 16, 2017