Information operations · Information Warfare · Public Diplomacy · Strategic Communications

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” – May 8, 2017


Seen at Marine Corps University

DIME: elements of national power – Diplomatic, Informational, Military, Economic

P.A. – public affairs

P.D. – Public Diplomacy

B.B.G. – Broadcasting Board of Governors

V.O.A.+ – Voice of America and the other USG international broadcasting networks

I.O. – Information Operations

Psyop – Psychological operations

(Hat tips to Benjamin Franklin and Tom Paine, and to Thomas Jefferson – “let facts be submitted to a candid world”)

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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 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

In the News

  1. ON CAPITOL HILL

Instruments of Informational Power

  1. PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
  2. BROADCASTING

Professional Topics

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA ▪ INTERNET
  2. CYBER
  3. DISINFORMATION, FAKE NEWS
  4. SOFT POWER
  5. POLITICAL WARFARE
  6. MEMES
  7. COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM
  8. RADICALIZATION
  9. COUNTER-RADICALIZATION
  10. CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING
  11. HISTORICAL NARRATIVES
  12. KOMPROMAT
  13. ANTI-SEMITISM
  14. LESSONS FROM THE PAST
  15. 18. IDEAS, CONCEPTS, DOCTRINE
  16. 19. IDEAS OF AMERICA

Countries and Regions

  1. RUSSIA
  2. UKRAINE
  3. CHINA
  4. NORTH KOREA
  5. SYRIA
  6. AFGHANISTAN
  7. ISLAMIC STATE 

Toolkit

  1. CULTURAL PRESERVATION
  2. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
  3. AMERICAN FACULTY ABROAD

In the News

  1. ON CAPITOL HILL
  • Today’s national security challenges require the United States to utilize a full range of non-military tools to ensure our nation’s safety. The United States International Affairs Budget bolsters our security through programs that identify and help mitigate threats, improve the political and economic lives of others, address humanitarian crises, and help stabilize fragile states that are prone to become unstable havens for terrorism. Aid workers and our diplomats are indispensable partners in these efforts

FY18 International Affairs Budget Letter

Todd Young, senate.gov, April 26, 2017

  • The United States faces a growing threat of information warfare attacks and needs new strategies and organizations to counter it, national security experts told Congress this week.

America Is Losing the Cyber Information War

Bill Gertz, The Washington Free Beacon, April 28, 2017

Elements of Informational Power

  1. PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
  • Foggy Bottom sits atop the world’s largest proven reserve of diplomatic capabilities, spanning political affairs, economic analysis, press relations and cultural promotion. Now Secretary Tillerson’s challenge is to figure out how to extract this knowledge and refine it into foreign policy insights.

How to transform the State Department

William H. Avery, Washington Examiner, April 20, 2017

  • Donald J. Trump employs public diplomacy as much as any President we’ve seen. Yet his public diplomacy staff has not faced so much uncertainty in decades.

Public Diplomacy’s 100 Days

Joe Johnson, Public Diplomacy Council, April 27, 2017

  • “Public diplomacy is a huge tool, presenting a united front, presenting a shared vision of how you approach global affairs everything from the use of military force to sanctions,” said Jennifer Psaki, former White House communications director…

Republicans worried with conflicting messages from Trump team

Josh Curlee, NewsQuench, April 20, 2017

  1. BROADCASTING
  • Experience Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s award-winning journalism via our newly redesigned iOS and Android app for smartphones and tablets. With news available in 22 languages, it brings you up-to-the-minute articles, photos, videos, audio and blogs in a dynamic and personalized experience.

RFE/RL News App

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Professional Topics

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA – INTERNET
  • Without saying the words “Russia,” “Hillary Clinton,” or “Donald Trump,” Facebook acknowledged Thursday for the first time what others have been saying for months. In a paper released by its security division, the company said “malicious actors” used the platform during the 2016 presidential election as part of a campaign “with the intent of harming the reputation of specific political targets.”

Facebook, for the first time, acknowledges election manipulation

Graham Kates, CBS News, April 28, 2017

  • . . . [Cass] Sunstein’s concerns have become only more urgent since then. The widespread availability of conspiracy theories, the ubiquity of clickbait “fake news,” and the polarization of political media all very likely played some role in the electoral outcome. Sunstein is hardly the first to consider these questions.

Social Disorder

Ethan Porter, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 23, 2017

  • The social media giants are labelled a disgrace in a report that accuses them of ignoring pleas to remove illegal and dangerous content — including images of child abuse — despite being among the wealthiest organisations in the world. Google is accused of having “profited from hatred”. The next government should consider urgently changing the law so that social media operators would be prosecuted for leaving unlawful messages on their sites, the select committee report says.

Social media giants fail to tackle hatred, say MPs

Dominic Kennedy, The Sunday Times, May 1, 2017

Return to the Table of Contents

  • The U.S. military dropped the largest nonnuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, announced by a press release, just weeks after a string of U.S.-led coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria led to accusations of civilian casualties. Investigations into the allegations are under way, but the American military, which lauds its precision airstrikes, has seen its reputation tarnished, aided by Islamic State’s ability to leverage social media.

On Foreign Policy, Trump’s Tone Signals New Approach

Carol E. Lee and Ben Kesling, The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2017

  1. CYBER
  • Two foundations tied to Germany’s ruling coalition parties were attacked by the same cyber spy group that targeted the campaign of French presidential favourite Emmanuel Macron, a leading cyber security expert said on Tuesday.

Cyber spies target German party think-tanks ahead of election

The Star Online, April 26, 2017

  • Camouflaged traps and tokens are designed to bait, engage and trap the attacker once they’ve bypassed perimeter controls. These act like sensors in a network which are able to detect an attacker’s movement in the reconnaissance stage as they try to locate high value targets across all areas of the network.

How deception-based technology is turning the tables on hackers [Q&A]

Ian Barker, betanews, April 26, 2017

  1. DISINFORMATION, FAKE NEWS
  • The term “fake news” has emerged as a catch-all phrase to refer to everything from news articles that are factually incorrect to opinion pieces, parodies and sarcasm, hoaxes, rumors, memes, online abuse, and factual misstatements by public figures that are reported in otherwise accurate news pieces. The overuse and misuse of the term “fake news” can be problematic because,without common definitions, we cannot understand or fully address these issues. We’ve adopted the following terminology to refer to these concepts: Information (or Influence) Operations * * * False News * * * False Amplifiers * * * Disinformation * * * Disinformation is distinct from misinformation, which is the inadvertent or unintentional spread of inaccurate information without malicious intent.

[Report] Information Operations and Facebook

Jen Weedon, William Nuland and Alex Stamos, facebook, April 27, 2017

  • The stepped-up disinformation includes creating and circulating recent news stories falsely claiming American soldiers were engaged in sexual misconduct in Poland and were exposed to mustard gas in Latvia. A more recent example involved a Russian broadcaster falsely attributing a statement on Russian electronic warfare to a retired U.S. general.

Russia Steps Up Anti-U.S. Military Propaganda

Bill Gertz, The Washington Free Beacon, April 27, 2017

  • At the seedy crossroads of political polarization and declining trust in media is where fake news loiters. Without a belief in professional, vetted, reliable sources of truth, truth may be determined by loyalty to an ideological team.

How to pop the political bubbles keeping Americans apart

Michael Gerson, The Washington Post, April 24, 2017

  • 13 EU countries are highly concerned with the Russian disinformation threat, and are therefore participating in at least one of the three allied projects (EEAS East STRATCOM, NATO STRACOM COE, Finnish COE on Countering Hybrid Threats).

[Report] How do European democracies react to Russian aggression?

Kremlin Watch Report, European Values, April 22, 2017

  • French voters are being deluged with false stories on social media ahead of the country’s presidential election, though the onslaught of “junk news” is not as severe as that during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, according to a study by Oxford University researchers.

Experts say automated accounts sharing fake news ahead of French election

Mark Hosenball and Joseph Menn, Reuters, April 21, 2017

Return to the Table of Contents

  • When faced with a state-sponsored fake news campaign propagated over social media, in a process we dub “peer-to-peer propaganda,” a group of volunteer Ukrainian journalistic activists turned fact checking into a counter-propaganda weapon. We document the history of StopFake, describe its work practices, and

situate them within the literatures on fact checking and online news practices.

Stopping Fake News: The Work Practices of Peer-to-Peer Counter Propaganda

Maria Haigh, Thomas Haigh, and Nadine I. Kozak, tomandmaria.com, March 31, 2017

  • Drawing on web browsing data, archives of fact-checking websites, and results from a new online survey, we find: (i) social media was an important but not dominant source of election news, with14 percent of Americans calling social media their “most important” source . . . .

Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election

Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow, Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 31 no. 2, Spring 2017

  1. SOFT POWER
  • This is a world that requires networks, institutions and the soft power of attraction.

Trump has learned a lot. But he’s neglecting a huge part of American leadership.

Joseph S. Nye, Jr., The Washington Post, April 25, 2017

  • The White House seems to think that military muscle and effective soft power are mutually exclusive — but in reality, the president can employ both at the same time. In fact, it is imperative that he does so for our country’s national security.

The State Department needs to be streamlined — not starved

Mike Rogers, The Washington Post, April 21, 2017

  1. POLITICAL WARFARE
  • What’s novel today is that 1) the Russian government does seem to have revived its Cold War-era “active measures” against the political systems of rival countries; 2) the digital era has afforded the Kremlin and other state and non-state actors new tools in such efforts, from phishing attacks against campaign staffers to fake news distributed through social media; 3) the targeted countries are especially vulnerable to this type of sabotage at the moment; and 4) targeted countries aren’t sure how to respond to this modern form of political warfare.

Russia’s Interference in the U.S. Election Was Just the Beginning

Uri Friedman, The Atlantic, April 26, 2017

  1. MEMES
  • Another meme propagated by the Russians was the notion that Ukrainian militias were actually NATO mercenaries, mirroring the Russian covert invasion force in Donbas, a large fraction of whom were Russian mercenaries recruited from the Russian Army, or straight off the streets. The claims of a “NATO Legion” were quickly exploited by the Ukrainian militias and military, who produced shoulder patches to attach to their BDUs.

“Let Slip the Dogs and Cats of War”: Turning Propaganda Memes Against Their Creators

Joel Harding, To Inform is To Influence, April 24, 2017 

  1. COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM
  • On a deeper level, there is very little empirical evidence that ideology is the driving force behind terrorism or the violent radicalization process. . . . . The whole idea of the Countering Violent Extremism initiative, says [Michael] German, was “bad framing from the beginning.” However, he says, rebranding the program as Countering Radical Islamic Extremism would “openly stigmatize Muslims as the terrorism problem.”

Rebranding Countering Violent Extremism Programs: A Sharper Focus or Missing the Point?

Bennett Seftel and Fritz Lodge, The Cipher Brief, April 27, 2017

  • One program designed to counter violent extremism is Peer to Peer (P2P). P2P is a partnership supported by the Department of State which seeks to encourage young people to become actively involved in the global CVE effort. P2P is structured as a competition between student groups from universities and colleges around the world.

Guarding Our Children: Strategies for Protecting Youth From the Lure of ISIS

Logan Botts, Take Five, April 17, 2017

  1. RADICALIZATION
  • Biographies of ‘homegrown’ European terrorists show they are violent nihilists who adopt Islam, rather than religious fundamentalists who turn to violence…

Who are the new jihadis?

Oliver Roy, The Guardian, April 13, 2017

Return to the Table of Contents

  1. COUNTER-RADICALIZATION
  • Recent research by the authors in Jordan makes clear that young Jordanians are susceptible to radicalization not just because Islamist radicalism seems so strong, but because the political alternative—everyday life as a Jordanian citizen—is so weak. This creates a compelling argument for more political engagement with youngsters as part of a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy.

Counterterrorism and Youth Radicalization in Jordan: Social and Political Dimensions

Sean Yom and Katrina Sammour, Combatting Terrorism Center-West Point, April 14, 2017

  1. CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING
  • One of the critical areas in recent operations that has been identified as a major shortfall for the Army has been that of understanding the cultures and societies in which it has been operating. Virtually every report that has analyzed problems in Iraq and Afghanistan has noted a lack of cultural understanding, leading to difficulties in conducting operations.

From Cultural Intelligence to Cultural Understanding: A Modest Proposal

Lawrence E. Cline, Small Wars Journal, April 20, 2017

  1. HISTORICAL NARRATIVES 
  • When Fillon launched his campaign last August, he proclaimed that he would change the way history is taught in primary schools: “If I am elected president of the Republic, I will ask three academics to seek the best advice in order to rewrite history programs around the idea of a national story [récit national].”

A Buffet of French History

Robert Darnton, The New York Review of Books, May, 2017

  • More important is liberation from the dominant ideology. The Cultural Revolution shouldn’t be a forbidden territory. The authorities should allow academic circles and thinkers circles to begin deep research into the Cultural Revolution, and speak without inhibitions.

Liberating China’s Past: An Interview with Ke Yunlu

Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, March 29, 2017

  • In order to make the deadliest ideology of the 20th century palatable to young Americans, “Communism for Kids” is coming to a bookstore near you. This newly released book from MIT Press “proposes a different kind of communism, one that is true to its ideals and free from authoritarianism.”

‘Communism for Kids’ Turns Deadly Ideology Into a Fairy Tale

Jarrett Stepman, The Daily Signal, April 21, 2017

Return to the Table of Contents

  1. KOMPROMAT
  • But another potential form of cyber mischief has increasingly caught the eye of members of the congressional intelligence committees: instead of stealing information, Russia could plant fake information to tarnish a public figure. “Not only can they take things off your computer, they can put things on your computer that will compromise you,” Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, said at a hearing . . .

Lawmakers wary of Russia’s ability to plant dirt, fake evidence on their computers

Ryan Lucas, Atlanta Journal Constitution, April 28, 2017

  • Denying the Holocaust is only one of many forms of dangerous anti-Semitism that continues all around the world. We’ve seen anti-Semitism on university campuses, in the public square, and in threats against Jewish citizens. Even worse, it’s been on display in the most sinister manner when terrorists attack Jewish communities, or when aggressors threaten Israel with total and complete destruction.

Remarks by President Trump at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum National Days of Remembrance

The White House, April 25, 2017

  1. LESSONS FROM THE PAST
  • Cyber-attacks, information warfare, fake news — exactly 10 years ago Estonia was one of the first countries to come under attack from this modern form of hybrid warfare. It is an event that still shapes the country today.

How a cyber attack transformed Estonia

Damien McGuinness, BBC News, April 27, 2017

  • It’s equally possible to underestimate Van [Cliburn]’s influence on the Soviet people, as the first regular American many got to know and love, and crucially, as a modest, politically guileless Westerner who admired their culture rather than a subversive figure who appealed to rebels. Several Russians insisted to me that Van’s impact on the Soviet Union in those years was equaled only by the assassination of JFK

Meet the Author: Nigel Cliff

Nigel Cliff, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, April 13, 2017

  1. IDEAS, CONCEPTS, DOCTRINE
  • Trump will be the last president who grew up entirely in the TV age, post-print but pre-internet.

The Pond-Skater Presidency

David Brooks, The New York Times, April 28, 2017

  • . . . rejecting globalism need not entail renouncing America’s role as leader of the international order or attacking global trade.

Republicans Are Now the ‘America First’ Party

R.R. Reno, The New York Times, April 28, 2017

  • . . . “American exceptionalism”—a heresy, a conviction, an insult, an ever-changing story—is too susceptible to equivocation and manipulation. Let’s drop the phrase and focus on the meaning of America itself.

Let’s Take Exception to the Term ‘American Exceptionalism’

Juliana Geran Pilon, The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2017

  • At the beginning of the century, the spread of the internet, satellite television, and other media technologies was expected to break down old monopolies and political boundaries, making it nearly impossible for those in power to control what people read, watch, and hear. * * * Nevertheless, press freedom worldwide deteriorated to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016 . . . . What the optimists failed to take into account was that forces interested in maintaining control over news and political discourse would not simply accept the inevitability of their own demise, but would fight back and look for new opportunities to increase their dominance.

In a Deluge of New Media, Autocrats Swim and Democracies Sink

Tyler Roylance, World Affairs Journal, April 28, 2017

  • . . . the State Department recruits for policy and communications skills, while USAID recruits more for sector and management expertise. Despite this clear distinction, confusion and tension persist over the respective roles of the two institutions. Their responsibilities have become muddled, particularly as recent administrations have asked diplomats to move beyond their core responsibility of diplomacy to programing billions of dollars of foreign assistance.

A guide for Secretary Tillerson: Let State focus on diplomacy, USAID be accountable for assistance

George Ingram, Brookings, April 24, 2017

  • . . . security experts must think of mass and electoral politics as new targets for disruption and meddling by foreign actors. This can happen both in the public sphere (think how President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the Turkish diaspora to influence elections in the Netherlands and bolster his support in a constitutional referendum in Turkey) and covertly (witness Russia’s meddling in the US election).

Elections Are the New Battleground of International Politics

Dr. Angelos Chryssogelos, Chatham House, April 21, 2017

  • . . . our Armed Forces and national leadership have often been in denial of the necessity to prepare for or facilitate post-conflict governance. For one, Americans do not like to see soldiers in domestic or foreign governance activities. Soldiers and civilians have never mixed well in our own streets. Second, Americans are loath to govern foreigners and are uncomfortable with the colonial experience. Third, there is a misplaced sense that civilians should lead in governance issues.

Lessons Unlearned: War, Occupation, and Governance

Joseph J. Collins, World Affairs Journal, April 2017

  1. IDEAS OF AMERICA
  • As Donald Trump approaches the 100th day of his presidency, let’s give him credit: He has sparked one of the greatest surges of American citizen action in half a century. Indeed, this burst of civic renewal may be more enduring than anything else he has done in his chaotic first months on the job.

Trump’s most striking accomplishment so far

Eric Liu, The Washington Post, April 24, 2017

  • . . . young men, such as the ones my friend encountered, until recently dreamed of America. No longer, though. “We are not wanted anymore,” one of the refugees said. “America is not a friendly place.” They said they’d prefer to go back to war-torn Somalia. My friend was disbelieving. “You’d rather go back to a war zone than go to America?” he asked. “Yes,” the young man said. Yes, his friends nodded in agreement.

Young men in devastated countries used to dream of America. Not anymore

Richard Cohen, The Washington Post, April 24, 2017

Return to the Table of Contents

Countries and Regions

  1. RUSSIA
  • . . . pro-Kremlin disinformation tends to divide the world into two categories; the Evil West and Good Russia and this week is no exception. Thus the U.S was accused of designing the war in Ukraine, Daesh and a conflict with North Korea, all so as to “take” Russia and China .

The Root of All Evil

EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, April 27, 2017

  • A U.S. government intelligence assessment concluded in January that Russia ran a propaganda and hacking campaign aimed at boosting Mr. Trump at the expense of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton —something that both Mr. Trump and the Russian government deny. The matter is now in the hands of the FBI, which is running a criminal investigation, and Congress, which aims to write authoritative reports on what occurred.

Probes of Russian Election Interference Show No Signs of Slowing

Byron Tau, The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2017

  • The St Petersburg troll factory is infamous for paying writers to leave online comments that favour the Kremlin’s positions . . . Now yet another whistleblower from the factory has stepped forward in an interview with St. Petersburg-based independent outlet Bumaga . . .

Confessions of a pro-Kremlin troll

EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, April 26, 2017

  • After working for Kremlin TV, a Russian reporter explains how the state turns journalists into propagandists.

Confessions of a (Former) State TV Reporter

Ilya Kizirov, Coda, April 25, 2017

  • Experts at the Kremlin’s Institute for Social Research say that the populist wave that is sweeping the West will come to Russia only “after six or seven years,” allowing Moscow to learn what how it should respond. But they add that Vladimir Putin can use “populist technologies” in the upcoming presidential elections.

Putin Can and Will Use Populist Technologies, Kremlin Advisors Say

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia—New Series, April 24, 2017

  • The strategy should contain six main efforts: Create an intelligence hub focused on Russia. * * * Enhance and expand contingency planning. * * * Develop a comprehensive response to Russian election interference. * * * Use legal tools in response to foreign violations of domestic laws. * * * Bar any political finance in Europe and the United States by Russia or Russian-supported entities. * * * Establish a “Coordinating Council” to work on these matters.* * *

Responding to Russia’s ‘Hybrid’ Threat

Franklin D. Kramer and Lauren M. Speranza, U.S. News and World Report, April 24, 2017

  • A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.

Putin-linked think tank drew up plan to sway 2016 US election – documents

Ned Parker, Jonathan Landay and John Walcott, Reuters, April 21, 2017

  • There is, however, one channel through which accurate daily information, balanced journalistic reporting, alternative view points and revealing artistic interpretation can be and, to some degree, already is being communicated throughout Russia – social media. More and more ordinary citizens join various social networks that today play almost as large a role in the public communication of urban Russia as they do in Western daily life.

How to Influence Russian Public Opinion?

Andreas Umland, The Globalist, February 26, 2016

  1. UKRAINE
  • U.S. media outlets in Russia will face investigations into whether they illegally influenced the country’s parliamentary elections in 2016. Outlets such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe (RL/RFE) and CNN will all fall under the spotlight, said Leonid Levin, the head of the State Duma Committee on Information and Communication. He said that journalists’ work could have affected Russian elections.

Russia to Investigate U.S. Media Over ‘Election Meddling’

Paul Sancya, The Moscow Times, May 7, 2017

Return to the Table of Contents

  • According to [Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov], the domestically developed information security systems are “capable to efficiently jam broadcasting of the anti-Ukrainian television and radio, selectively blocking both analog and digital channels spreading separatist and pro-Russian propaganda. They will also not be interfering with the operation of Ukrainian TV and radio,”

Advanced domestic developments allow broadcasting Ukrainian radio and television far beyond demarcation line, – Turchynov

Censor.net, April 28, 2017

  • These are not separatists and rebels. These are Russian-led, Russian-sponsored soldiers, Russian-supported, Russian active duty soldiers and Russian-paid mercenaries operating in East Ukraine. It is a Russian invasion of Ukraine after Russia illegally annexed Crimea. To say anything less, AP, would be to promote Russian propaganda.

The Associated Press Promotes Russian Propaganda

Joel Harding, To Inform is To Influence, April 25, 2017

  1. CHINA
  • [Confucious Institute] teachers face “pressures to avoid sensitive topics” like Tibet, Taiwan, or China’s human rights record; that the teachers, recruited and trained in China, adhere to Chinese restrictions on speech; and that there is an absence of “transparency” in the CIs’ operations.

Should the Chinese Government Be in American Classrooms?

Richard Bernstein, The New York Review of Books, April 28, 2017

  • Zhang said China’s young, competitive war reporters shared much with their western counterparts. But since their salaries were bankrolled by one-party China, correspondents for state-run outlets such as Xinhua and CCTV also had a “political role” and were expected to file stories supporting Beijing’s take on world affairs. “They have to conform to foreign policy,” she said.

China’s new generation of war correspondents hit the front line

Tom Phillips, The Guardian, April 25, 2017

  • Many factors have driven an exodus of older talent from China’s media, from poor pay and the digital transformation of the industry — now hitting traditional Chinese media that for many years had seemed protected from the storms buffeting media elsewhere in the world — to the vagaries of censorship, which can sap the professional spirit. But the net effect of this shift is the progressive loss of professional journalism capacity in China’s media.

For Journalism in China, a Millennial Shift

David Bandurski, China Media Project, April 24, 2017

  • To tap into the booming demand, many shady education agents are offering desperate parents packages that include preparatory training before studying abroad, assistance with immigration applications, consulting, and enrollment for clients’ children at overseas international high schools. According to the newspaper’s investigation, the total charge for such a package ranges from 320,000 to 500,000 yuan ($46,470 to $72,610).

A $72,000 ticket into a top Chinese college

SupChina, April 24, 2017

  • Confucius Institutes frequently attract scrutiny because of their close ties to the Chinese government. A stream of stories indicates that intellectual freedom, merit-based hiring policies, and other foundational principles of American higher education have received short shrift in Confucius Institutes.

[Report] Outsourced To China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education

Rachelle Peterson, National Association of Scholars, April 2017

  1. NORTH KOREA
  • Efforts to infiltrate counter-propaganda into North Korea are already underway. But this will almost certainly not produce substantial results before Pyongyang fields a nuclear missile.

North Korea Policy: Failure is the Only Option

Denny Roy, East-West Center, April 26, 2017

  • . . . due to generations of mass brainwashing, the North Korean leader commands fanatical loyalty from the overwhelming majority of his populace, as demonstrated by the public adulation displayed during the recent military parade on the Day of the Sun anniversary of his grandfather’s birth.

North Korea after Regime Change: Who Takes Over?

Dennis P. Halpin, The National Interest, April 25, 2017

  • While Kim Jong-Un has struggled to develop a traditional arsenal to rival those of his enemies as international sanctions have barred Pyongang from the global financial system, North Korea’s military has cultivated an increasingly sophisticated group of hackers capable of launching cyber-attacks on Western and Western-backed targets.

United States remains vulnerable to North Korean cyber-attack, analysts say

Brian Ross and Pete Madden, ABC News, April 22, 2017

Return to the Table of Contents

  • An influence-based strategy could significantly reduce the costs of a contingency. Increased North Korean access to information and a growing subculture of enterprise and self-interest have created opportunities for an influence-based strategy.

[Report] An Information Based Strategy to Reduce North Korea’s Increasing Threat: Recommendations for ROK & U.S. Policy Makers

Commander Frederick “Skip” Vincenzo, USN, Center for New American Security, October, 2016

  1. SYRIA
  • A New York Times investigation shows how Syria and its main partner, Russia, have distorted the facts surrounding the chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun.

[VIDEO] How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike

Malachy Browne, Natalie Reneau, and Mark Scheffler, The New York Times, April 26, 2017

  • Bringing furry American Muppets to Syrian refugee camps may sound like the fuzziest kind of soft power. But it could offer a glimmer of hope to children who’ve been robbed of a childhood. And retired military and former government officials say it could have another big side effect: helping starve terrorist groups like the Islamic State of its next generation of fighters. Cookie Monster, Elmo, and friends, that is, could pack as powerful a punch as a drone strike.

Elmo Joins the Forever War

Robbie Gramer, Foreign Policy, April 21, 2017

  1. AFGHANISTAN
  • In Afghanistan, as elsewhere, extremist ideologies present themselves as the only way to repair corrupt, unjust, or oppressive societies. Young people frustrated with those conditions may see no alternative way to change them. But the peace education classes have helped create an alternative: community and civic improvement campaigns through peacebuilding organizations that have sprung up at each campus.

Afghan Universities Build a Movement Against Extremism

Joshua Levkowitz, United States Institute of Peace, April 4, 2017 

  1. ISLAMIC STATE
  • It’s imperative to understand ISIS’s current social media and Internet-based dissemination process before we can judge the effectiveness of existing counter measures. To do so, we conducted a small study on the dissemination of ISIS propaganda on the Surface Web – that is the proportion of the World Wide Web, which is indexed and thus searchable with standard search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo etc.

How ISIS Disseminates Propaganda over the Internet Despite Counter-Measures and How to Fight Back

Lorand Bodo, moderndiplomacy, April 23, 2017

Toolkit

  1. CULTURAL PRESERVATION
  • Violent extremist organizations like Daesh . . . are arming their cause through antiquities looting and trafficking, while also deliberately and systematically destroying heritage as a weapon of war. The cultural crisis has become inseparable from the humanitarian crisis.

[Report] Culture in Crisis: Preserving Cultural Heritage in Conflict Zones

John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with the Antiquities Coalition, May 5, 2016

  1. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
  • . . . the order could have an impact on American colleges’ recruitment of students from abroad. For many international students, the opportunity to stay in the United States, even temporarily, after graduation and gain work experience is almost as valuable as an American degree itself. Any policy that might erect hurdles on the pathway from college to work could depress international enrollments.

Trump’s New Order on Visas Could Make American Colleges Less Appealing Overseas

Karin Fischer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 19, 2017

  1. AMERICAN FACULTY ABROAD
  • For too long, the academic job market has compelled new humanities Ph.D.s to see our careers in black and white — either “make it” into a tenure line at a U.S. institution, or leave academe. But there are more options beyond our borders.

[Report] Teaching Abroad

Focus, The Chronicle of Higher Learning, April 2017

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