Information operations · Information Warfare · Public Diplomacy · Strategic Communications

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web”- May 18, 2017, Seen on the Web

Seen at Marine Corps University

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

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

(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


In the News


[Senate Armed Services Committee]

[Senate Judiciary Committee]

[Senate Select Committee on Intelligence]

Instruments of Informational Power


Professional Topics

  2. CYBER
  9. MEMES

Countries and Regions

  2. NATO
  4. CHINA



 In the news

  • Think about where the Russians are today. They are still getting liquored up on good vodka over this operation. They not only influenced our ability to not like each other in this campaign. They have actually damaged an elected president’s ability to get his agenda done, because we’re still at each other’s throats about what happened or what didn’t happen with the Russians involved in our election. . . . It was hugely and outrageously successful.

Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL, Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence)

  • . . . we talk about all of the right things. We talk about measurement, we talk about impact, but we’re not really forcing ourselves to be up to speed . . . . If you think about digital communications broadly, you have content, you have the platforms where you put your content, and you have the channels you use to distribute that content. Across all three, the private sector’s so far ahead of where we are in government.

— Ory Rinat (Heritage Foundation and Daily Signal)

How could we possibly expect to go to battle in an information landscape when people, or our adversaries, have access to whatever tools they need whenever they want it, don’t play by any rules, and don’t have the burden of truth? Now we’re sending our soldiers into battle without weapons, essentially. Without the right tools and without the right technology, how could we implement any digital strategies or any communications strategies?

Tom Cochran (former director of new media technologies at the White House, a former managing director of the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, currently Acquia’s vice president and chief digital strategist)

  • I’ve looked for the backfire effect in the U.S. . . . and I never found it. . . . people actually do heed the implication of some factual information that they are told, even if that factual information cuts against a statement made by a politician they support.

Ethan Porter (George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs)

  • . . . these propaganda bots are going to be running information campaigns on all these user accounts online, but they’re not going to be able to distinguish between the machines and the people. The machines are going to be running information operations on other machine accounts. . . . Where is the space for human speech there?

Matt Chessen (foreign service, science, technology, and foreign policy fellow at George Washington University’s Elliott School)

  • A big, bad America is subject to an external negative narrative that is more credible, unfortunately, in that it focuses and emphasizes the three Cs of corruption, conspiracy, and cynicism. While the United States has tried to be painted with these three Cs in the past, because of some of the technologies and some of the narratives . . . and some of the changes . . . within our own press and our own society, they’re finding more fertile ground. Adversaries are aggressively promoting this narrative using these tools and technologies.

Markos Kounalakis, (J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board member and visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution).

Minutes and Transcript from the Quarterly Public Meeting on Can Public Diplomacy Survive the Internet? Bots, Echo Chambers, and Disinformation

U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, May 9, 2017

  • Quietly added to a sweeping budget deal being voted on this week in Congress, an intelligence policy plan unveiled Tuesday would set up a new coordinating group within the federal government to more actively push back against Russian government covert “active measures,” while also limiting the travel of official Russian diplomats in the United States

Spending deal includes new plan to counter Russian covert “active measures”

Jamie Dupree, Jamie Dupree’s Washington Insider, May 2, 2017

  • Section 501 requires the President to establish an interagency committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation that constitute Russian actions to exert covert influence over peoples and governments.

Division N – Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, May 1, 2017

[Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, “U.S. Cyber Command,” May 9, 2017]

  • . . . groups like ISIS conduct sophisticated multi-media campaigns that spread its messages swiftly and globally.  While ISIS uses the Internet to recruit followers and solicit contributions in the West, its media campaign also effects viewers closer to home in the Middle East, boosting morale among ISIS fighters, frightening opponents, and promoting the false narrative that the Arab future inevitably belongs to a radical Salafist brand of Sunni fundamentalism. This information campaign through cyberspace has directly and indirectly impacted Americans . . .

Statement of Admiral Michael S. Rogers Commander, United States Cyber Command

Senate Committee on Armed Services, May 9, 2017

[Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, “Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election,” May 8, 2017]

  • The Intelligence Community Assessment concluded, first, that President Putin directed an influence campaign to erode the faith and confidence of the American people in our presidential election process. Second, that he did so to demean Secretary Clinton. And, third, that he sought to advantage Mr. Trump.

Statement of James R. Clapper, Former Director of National Intelligence

Senate Judiciary Committee, May 8, 2017

  • [James] Clapper . . . warned of future attacks from Russian hackers during the 2018 and 2020 election seasons. He also pointed out that the Russian hacking campaign during the 2016 presidential election had been inexpensive, easy and most importantly, successful.  “The Russians have to be celebrating the success of what they set out to do with rather minimal resources and expenditure,” he said at the hearing on Russia’s influence during the election. “They’re going to continue to do it, and why not? It proved successful.”

Ex-intel chief James Clapper warns of more Russian hacks

Alred Ng, Cnet, May 8, 2017

[Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, Disinformation, March 30, 2017]

  • The tried and tested way of active measures is to use an adversary’s existing weaknesses against himself, to drive wedges into pre-existing cracks: the more polarized a society, the more vulnerable it is—America in 2016 was highly polarized, with myriad cracks and fissures to drive wedges into. Not old wedges, but improved high-tech wedges that allowed Moscow’s operators to attack their target faster, more reactively, and at far larger scale than ever before.

Disinformation A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns

Thomas Rid, Select Committee on Intelligence United States Senate, March 30, 2017

Elements of Informational Power

  • . . . there actually is a pretty solid business rationale to buttress the money spent on the State Department.   State = sales. *** Market research. *** Marketing. *** Management. *** Military = lawyers. *** Finally, costly cuts.

The business case for the State Department

Brett Bruen, The Hill, May 1, 2017

  • . . . we hosted I think what was a very successful coalition to defeat ISIS ministerial here at the State Department. *** in that coalition effort, we’ve got to move beyond the battlefield, we’ve got to move into the cyberspace, we’ve got to move into the social communications space, and get inside of the messaging that allows them to recruit people around the world to their terrorism efforts.

Remarks to U.S. Department of State Employees

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, U.S. Department of State, May 3, 2017

  • Since the [Bureau of International Information Program’s] inception, its web presence has gone through several major permutations (most of which are archived by the Library of Congress). I.I.P. publications, whether the web-only ShareAmerica posts written by staff members or the longer pamphlets and books solicited from subject-matter experts, often cover governance, trade and security as they pertain to America and the rest of the world or fun and inspirational facts about American culture.

In Mar-a-Lago Blunder, a Glimpse at the Difficulties of ‘Soft Diplomacy’ Under Trump

Lydia Kiesling, The New York Times, May 3, 2017

  • Thanks in part to uninspired and under-resourced public diplomacy regarding the nature, scope, and intent of the rebalance, an initiative designed to clarify and reassure may have obscured and overshadowed what, on balance, has been a fairly robust evolution to America’s Pacific posture.

The Real Significance of the US Carrier Group Fiasco

Jeff M. Smith, The Diplomat, May 2, 2017

  • John Lansing, the CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors . . . told a panel commemorating World Press Freedom Day that there is a war of information happening in the world. *** Lansing says he sometimes hears the argument that if the United States is trying to oppose propaganda from foreign countries, then it should respond with propaganda. However, he said if the BBG did that, it would lose its credibility.

BBG Holds Panel on Media for World Press Freedom Day

VOA News, May 1, 2017

  • “I haven’t watched state TV in years”, a young music video producer tells me. “I get all my information from the Weekly Package” he adds, referring to an offline form of file-sharing in Cuba using hard-drives which is both cheap and hugely popular. There are also now about 100 public wi-fi spots dotted across the island and most young people would rather pay for an hour of Internet access than tune into the nightly news. Canal Caribe may be the Cuban Government’s attempt to tackle that, but they will find it hard to engage the island’s youth.

Cuba’s slick TV channel that supports ‘more revolution’

Will Grant, BBC News, April 23, 2017

  • Russia no longer owns the airwaves in Eastern Europe. Two decades after the US Army unilaterally disarmed its electronic warfare branch, two years after Russian jamming crippled Ukrainian units, the Germany-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment is field-testing new [electronic warfare] gear.

Jam The Russians: Army Electronic Warfare Kit Comes To Europe

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., Breaking Defense, May 3, 2017

Professional Topics

  • The retweet and its cousin, the quote tweet, are the means by which most of the more vile harassment and angsty outrage on the Internet spread.

The Retweet Will Ruin Us All

Sonny Bunch, The Washington Free Beacon, May 2, 2017

  • The widespread use of Cloudflare’s services by racist groups is not an accident. Cloudflare has said it is not in the business of censoring websites and will not deny its services to even the most offensive purveyors of hate.

How One Major Internet Company Helps Serve Up Hate on the Web

Ken Schwencke, ProPublica, May 4, 2017

  • Facebook announced Wednesday that it plans to hire an extra 3,000 people to review videos and other posts after a series of murders, suicides and rapes were broadcast live on the social media platform. In come cases, it took Facebook hours to remove the content.

Facebook adding 3,000 staff to review violent content

Deutsche Welle, Market Express, May 4, 2017

  • Facebook and other online social networks have become “a genuine salvation” for Circassians who are divided not only among various Soviet-created republics but between the 500,000 still in their North Caucasus homeland and the far larger number – as many as five million — living in the diaspora, according to Svetlana Apsheva.

Online Social Networks Prove to Be ‘Salvation’ of Divided Circassian Nation, Apsheva Says

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, May 3, 2017

  • Online trolls are most similar to the playground bullies you would have encountered at school. These people deliberately provoke arguments and fights on social media and forums, often by saying the most grossly insensitive and offensive things.

What is an online troll?

Panda Security, April 28, 2017

  1. CYBER
  • On the eve of the most consequential French presidential election in decades, the staff of the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron said late Friday that the campaign had been targeted by a “massive and coordinated” hacking operation, one with the potential to destabilize the nation’s democracy before voters go to the polls on Sunday.

Macron Campaign Says It Was Target of ‘Massive’ Hacking Attack

Aurelien Breeden, Sewell Chan and Nicole Perlroth, The New York Times, May 5, 2017

  • It was the payoff of a long game of pattern recognition — piecing together hacker groups’ favorite modes of attack, sussing out the time of day they’re most active (hinting at their locations) and finding signs of their native language and the internet addresses they use to send or receive files. “You just start to weigh all these factors until you get near 100 percent certainty,” . . . “It’s like having enough fingerprints in the system.”

How US cybersleuths decided Russia hacked the DNC

Laura Hautala, CNet, May 3, 2017

  • The armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, said Sunday it has hacked scores of Israeli phones as part of a wider cyber attack operation in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli custody.

PFLP launches cyber attacks against Israelis ‘in solidarity with hunger strikers’

Ma’an News Agency, April 30, 2017

  • Locked Shields challenges participating countries to show off their defensive prowess, rather than offensive firepower. NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia organizes the event, and plays the part of offensive “red teams.” The US and others play as “blue teams,” charged with not just securing the networks of a fictional country, but responding to attendant media and legal issues as well.

The US Takes On the World in NATO’s Cyber War Games

Eric Niler, Wired, April 29, 2017

  • Both authors also make clear that although Americans and U.S. institutions increasingly feel themselves to be in the cross hairs of hackers and other cybercriminals, the United States is itself a powerful aggressor in cyberspace.

Hack Job: How America Invented Cyberwar

Emily Parker, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2017

  • The third priority—international cybersecurity—recognizes that international law applies and will work to ensure voluntary norms are enforced in cyber space. “We will not allow us to put ourselves at risk from the malicious use of cyber.” [Robert] Joyce [the new Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President at the White House] emphasized.

White House Cyber Chief Outlines Challenges and Next Steps for Trump Administration

Billington Cyber Security, 2017

  • On the third anniversary of the tragic riots and fire in Odesa on 2 May, 2014 which killed 48 people, both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the state-controlled Russian media have continued to push the propaganda line that this was a ‘massacre’ by Ukrainian nationalists. . . . there can be no suggestion that the lies are not deliberate. They are also toxic and are known to have been used to stir up young men and prompt them to go and fight, and many to die, in Donbas.

Putin and Russia Today continue incitement to kill through lies about non-existent Odesa ‘massacre’

Halya Coynash, Human Rights in Ukraine, March 5, 2017

  • Russian media outlets in Moscow and in the Baltic countries have stepped up their efforts to generate opposition among Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These media sources have been putting out fake news stories suggesting that NATO was recruiting Russian speakers, especially in Latvia, to use “as guinea pigs” to test new “physical, biological and other techniques.” The goal of such “experimentation” is purportedly to prepare the Balts to help the Western alliance invade the Russian Federation.

Russian Fake News Operation Seeks to Generate Baltic Opposition to NATO Presence

Paul Goble, The Jamestown Foundation, May 2, 2017

  • Many headlines went straight for the term ‘election hacking’. However, according to Kaspersky, it is misinformation and propaganda that are more likely shape the outcome of any future cyber-war. “The reality is that everyone hacks everyone,” he told IBTimes UK.

Eugene Kaspersky on cyber-espionage: ‘The reality is that everyone hacks everyone’

Jason Murdock, International Business Times, May 2, 2017

  • “I think there is a fundamental problem that fake news became a catch-all term to mean anything that we don’t particularly like to read,” explained Alexios Mantzarlis, who heads the international fact-checking network at the Poynter Institute . . . the term “fake news” was originally used to refer to stories that were entirely fabricated, largely for the purposes of tricking Facebook’s algorithm to reach a larger online audience and generate more advertising revenues. But fake news gradually shifted to describe “any kind of myth or disinformation” . . . .

How to fight ‘fake news’ in a post-truth environment

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, Al Jazeera, April 24, 2017

  • Press freedom has never been as threatened as it is now, in the “new post-truth era of fake news”, strongmen and propaganda, Reporters Without Borders said. Its annual World Press Freedom Index, published on Wednesday, warned of a “tipping point” for journalism.

Reporters Without Borders: Journalism at tipping point

Al Jazeera, April 26, 2017

  • There is a quiet effort underway to tone down any military rhetoric that could lead to North Korea viewing the Pentagon as warmongering, several US military officials have told CNN.

Pentagon cools North Korea, China rhetoric to avoid warmongering label

Barbara Starr, CNN, May 5, 2017

  • . . . Russia has melded cyber into broader strategies that combine hacks with information war, hybrid war, or old-fashioned conventional war in a bid to advance Moscow’s aims. And it hasn’t been shy about using them. . . . . Just a year after the Estonia attack, Russia hacked Georgia at the same time it invaded with conventional forces, eager to punish the country for flirting too openly with the west — and, specifically, with NATO.

10 Years After the Landmark Attack on Estonia, Is the World Better Prepared for Cyber Threats?

Emily Tamkin, Foreign Policy, April 27, 2017



  • “Information networks,” [David Kilcullen] says, “will define the future of conflicts.” That future started unfurling when Libyan networks—and a long list of global activists—began an information war against Qaddafi. Thousands of civilians took part, but one of the most important was a man who, to paraphrase Woodrow Wilson, used not only all the brains he had but all the brains he could borrow.

People Power 2.0

John Pollock, MIT Technology Review, April 20, 2012

  • It took the weaponization of information in the 2016 U.S. presidential election for the Western world to start to notice. We now know of e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee . . . but the full extent of Russia’s activities is still being uncovered. Realizing that we are at war, and understanding how we can fight back, is now urgent business. The story of MH17, and Russia’s exposure, offers a grim but useful case study.

Russian Disinformation Technology

John Pollock, MIT Technology Review, April 13, 2017

  1. MEMES
  • Put this one fearless Girl Scout up against a neo-Nazi and you create a meme that is one of the most powerful weapons in the world. Inspiration, pure and simple. Hope, courage, ideology, faith, belief.

My Hero: Girl Scout Shows Incredible Strength, Courage, And Tenacity

Joel Harding, To Inform is To Influence, May 5, 2017


Full-spectrum is meant to connote that Army operations will also include psychological operations, humanitarian missions, asymmetrical warfare, train-and-equip priorities as well as continued collaboration with allies and preparations for the full-range of combat possibilities.

The Army’s New “FM 3.0 Operations” Combat Doctrine is Geared Toward Major Power Adversaries

Kris Osborn, Warrior, April 30, 2017

  • If you’re unfamiliar with “historical nihilism” here’s a little background. It’s China’s term for public scepticism about the Communist Party’s version of past events. It’s an expression that has been getting a lot of play in China in recent years, since the Party launched a campaign against historical nihilism – basically, against anything critical of the Party’s legacy, its past leaders or its leadership.

China’s history problem: how it’s censoring the past and denying academics access to archives

Kate Whitehead, South China Morning Post, May 2, 2017

  • To say Armenian genocide delegitimizes Turkey because it was founded some original sin puts it in the company of perhaps 100 percent of the world’s independent nations. Recognition of Armenian genocide, likewise, does not negate the case Turks make with regard to their own ancestors ethnically cleansed in the Balkans. Nor will either side truly be satisfied with the legitimacy of the verdict of history so long as too many archives remain closed or access limited. If both Armenians and Turks want the truth to emerge, perhaps it’s time for both to agree upon an international panel of linguistically capable historians to cull together the archives in each other’s presence.

New Clarity on the Armenian Genocide

Michael Rubin, Commentary, May 3, 2017

  • Trump’s preference for “hard power” begat a proposed increase in the military budget and fewer funds for “soft power” agencies that engage in diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, and cultural exchanges. The president should, however, heed the words of Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis — now the secretary of defense — who told Congress in 2013: “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition. . . . The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget.”

Richard Sincere column: Trump’s vacancies are creating a hollow State Department

Richard Sincere, Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 29, 2017

  • . . . what we need now is for global forces to focus their energies toward debilitating the branch of ISIS that, in our view, is the primary threat: the manifestation of ISIS-inspired ideology that has permeated, through the medium of ever-advancing technology, the very fabric of Western societies. Even in the event that we defeat Daesh territorially, this virtual strain of ISIS will come back to haunt us again and again.

The Trump Administration vs. ISIS: Will this new strategy work – Muhammad Fraser-Rahim

Murshed Madaser, Quilliam International, April 28, 2017

  • In its annual survey of anti-Semitism in the world, the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University says that Komsomolskaya Pravda, the Moscow paper with the largest print run, and the Russia Today TV channel (and especially its English-language variant) “continue to be the main platforms for noxious anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda.”

Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia Today Leading Outlets for Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel Propaganda, Israeli Researchers Say

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, April 30, 2017

  • [Senator Jesse] Helms pushed Clinton to eliminate several foreign affairs agencies and consolidate their functions into the State Department. USAID escaped this fate, barely, but the U.S. Information Agency—which conducted public diplomacy during the Cold War—did not. While USIA’s people-to-people approach and long-term cultural engagements were distinct from traditional State Department diplomacy, political support for the agency had waned after the Cold War ended. . . . . so in 1998, Clinton signed a bill dismantling the agency and distributing pieces of it across the State Department. Public diplomacy quickly became a marginal function inside an institution consumed with more pressing priorities.

Clinton and Helms Nearly Ruined State. Tillerson Wants to Finish the Job.

Jeremy Knoyndyk, Politico, May 4, 2017


  • In 1950, the Chinese public was told that South Korea, with the United States’ support, had started the Korean War by invading North Korea. Even today, Chinese school books continue to make this claim to Chinese children. . . . . Since the United States and China normalized their diplomatic relationship in 1979, the United States has done surprisingly little to push back on China’s false claims. In the meantime, the history of the Korean War is largely forgotten here in America.

3 Lessons From The Korean War For Handling Today’s North Korean Aggression

Helen Raleigh, The Federalist, April 26, 2017

  • The capital versus the countryside: that’s the new political divide, visible in multiple surprise election results over the past eleven months. It cuts across old partisan lines and replaces old divisions — labor versus management, North versus South, Catholic versus Protestant — that traditionally divided voters.

The new/old politics of the capital versus the countryside

Michael Barone, American Enterprise Institute, April 28, 2017

  • . . . the press has figured out how to profit from Trump’s presidency faster than it’s learned how to properly cover it.

Donald Trump Is Helping the Very Media Organizations He Despises

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, May 4, 2017

  • Socialism, in other words, is not only underpinned by force, but it is also morally corrupting. Lying, stealing and spying are widely used and trust between people disappears. Far from fostering brotherhood between people, socialism makes everyone suspicious and resentful.

Socialism’s true legacy is immorality

Marian L. Tupy, Human Progress, May 3, 2017

  • The author illuminates the unique attributes of the First Amendment chiefly by contrasting it with the laws governing speech in other countries, even other liberal democracies, where citizens, particularly journalists and activists, are subject to far less favorable laws governing libel, blasphemy, “hate speech” and privacy rights.

A Vigilant Defense of Free Speech

Daniel Shuchman, The Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2017

  • The United States values freedom of the press as a key component of democratic governance. Democratic societies are not infallible, but they are accountable, and the exchange of ideas is the foundation for accountable governance. In the U.S. and in many places around the world, the press fosters active debate, provides investigative reporting, and serves as a forum to express different points of view, particularly on behalf of those who are marginalized in society.

Press Freedom

U.S. Department of State, May 3, 2017

  • The United States is surely the Manhattan skyline, the Kansas plains, the redwood forests, the Mississippi river. But it is, far more importantly, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address. You could cut down the forest or dry up the river and the country would be infinitely the poorer for it, but it would still be the United States of America. If Americans jettison the Bill of Rights and the ideas enshrined in it, they become a different country altogether.

Rex Tillerson Doesn’t Understand America

Eliot A. Cohen, The Atlantic, May 5, 2017

  • . . . recent survey data provides troubling evidence that a shared sense of national identity is unraveling, with two mutually exclusive narratives emerging along party lines. At the heart of this divide are opposing reactions to changing demographics and culture. The shock waves from these transformations — harnessed effectively by Donald Trump’s campaign — are reorienting the political parties from the more familiar liberal-versus-conservative alignment to new poles of cultural pluralism and monism.

The Collapse of American Identity

Robert P. Jones, The New York Times, May 2, 2017

  • The survey shows not just a soft loss of trust in the United States, but a notable uptick in anti-American sentiment across wide swathes of the Arab world. This year, the survey recorded a 17-point increase among Arab youth who consider the U.S. an enemy, while the number of countries where a majority hold that view doubled:

Russia Winning Arab Hearts and Minds

The American Interest, May 4, 2017


Countries and Regions

  • “[Russia’s] purpose was to sow discontent and mistrust in our elections. They wanted us to be at each others’ throats when it was over,” [Mike] Rogers said at the event in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “It’s influencing, I would say, legislative process today. That’s wildly successful.”

Russian Election Hacking ‘Wildly Successful’ At Sowing Discord, U.S. Intelligence Figures Say

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 3, 2017

  • Russians still rely on state television more than any other media source, but they are less likely to rely on it as the only source of news especially about the opposition and foreign affairs and more likely to turn to the Internet, including blogs and social networks, for alternative information, according to a new VTsIOM poll.

Russians Trust and Rely on Moscow TV Less than in the Past, New Poll Shows

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, May 3, 2017

  • By now it should be clear that the new normal of Russian conduct on the international stage includes tampering with elections in Western democracies to boost candidates the Kremlin believes likely to do its bidding and to harass those who won’t.

The Kremlin turns its electoral meddling to Western Europe

Editorial Board, The Washington Post, April 30, 2017

  • . . . the central executive committee of United Russia has sent a list of 36 slogans to its regional activists. . . . [Moscow’s independent television channel] provides the following selection: “Putin is for the People. He is boldly leading Russia to success!” “A strong president for a great country!” “Sanctions Don’t Frighten a United Nation!” “As long as we are united, we cannot be defeated!” “Our children: Free. Smart. Patriotic.” ***

Like CPSU of Old, Putin’s United Russia Issues Slogans for May Day Parades

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, April 28, 2017

  • “Many people perceive [Russian state-backed media] not as propaganda, but as an alternative point of view,” Natalya Kaplan, Sentsov’s cousin, told Foreign Policy in an interview before heading to the Helsinki Commission briefing. “They tend to trust what Russian propaganda says.”

How the State of Russian Media Becomes the State of International Media

Emily Tamkin, Foreign Policy, April 28, 2017

  • Russia used “useful idiots” to meddle in the U.S. presidential election and “fellow travelers” opposed to European Union and NATO to influence elections in France and Germany, while Islamic terrorists used “agent provocateurs” to topple Spain’s government in 2004 and cast another pall over French voting, a cyber security expert told a congressional subcommittee Thursday

Panel to Senate: Cyber Operations Influence Political Processes Worldwide

John Grady, USNI News, April 28, 2017

  • 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 Digital War on the West Is Just Getting Started

Uri Friedman, Defense One, April 26, 2017

  • Russia controls Russian media. This double-edged blade not only issues written guidelines to media, bloggers and trolls, but they actively regulate and suppress opposing opinions.

Everything-PR Does Not Know US PR

Joel Harding, To Inform is To Influence, February 5, 2016

  1. NATO
  • NATO officials interviewed recognized Russia’s ability to use strategic communication tools to internally destabilize some of its neighbors, as well as NATO’s lack of tools to address this issue. In general, they believed that NATO headquarters and other Alliance institutions would be ineffective or unable to respond because of their limited capabilities in the area of strategic communication.

[Report] European Relations with Russia: Threat Perceptions, Responses, and Strategies in the Wake of the Ukrainian Crisis

Stephanie Pezard, Andrew Radin, Thomas S. Szayna, F. Stephen Larrabee, Rand Corporation, 2017


  • It was not immediately clear exactly why Wikipedia was targeted, but the ban is the latest salvo against freedom of expression in Turkey. More than 150 news outlets have been shut down by decree since July, according to one estimate.

Turkey Purges 4,000 More Officials, and Blocks Wikipedia

Patrick Kingsley, The New York Times, April 30, 2017

  1. CHINA
  • Chinese authorities are bringing the burgeoning industry of private think tanks into line with new rules ordering them to serve the Communist Party and register “big events” and overseas donations.

Is China’s quest for its own Chatham or Brookings in vain when loyalty is required for think tanks?

Zhuang Pinghui, South China Morning Post, May 5, 2017

  • China is tightening rules for online news as censors try to control a flood of information spread through instant-messaging apps, blogs and other media sources that are proliferating across the country.

China clamps down on online news with new security rules

Matthew Brown, Fox 5 NY, May 3, 2017

  • China on Tuesday issued tighter rules for online news portals and network providers, the latest step in President Xi Jinping’s push to secure the internet and maintain strict party control over content.

China tightens rules on online news, network providers

Christian Shepherd, Reuters, May 2, 2017

  • China has employed tens of thousands of scholars to write an internet version of its national encyclopaedia, which will go online next year to compete against Wikipedia.

China taking on Wikipedia with its own online encyclopaedia

Stephen Chen, South China Morning Post, April 30, 2017

  • . . . most of the rhetoric so widely replayed in Western media is not meant for the world stage but for internal consumption in the “hermit kingdom.” U.S. officials argue the content of the propaganda is intended to sustain the central ideology of the North Korean state, that only the “benevolence and wisdom of the Kim family” stands between the North’s populace and the abyss. An aggressive stance towards the U.S. enhances that belief system.

What’s With the Crazy, Scary North Korean Propaganda?

Robert Windrem, NBC News, May 3, 2017

  • North Korea has ramped up its campaign to control outside information in recent years, but several defectors now living in South Korea said the regime’s censorship efforts are showing signs of wear amid increased penetration and discontent.

North Korean Defectors Say Kim Jong Un’s Chokehold on Information Access Is Weakening

Natalie Johnson, The Washington Free Beacon, May 3, 2017

  • Unofficial market activity has flourished, too . . . . South Korean television dramas and smartphones that can be used near the Chinese border.

As Economy Grows, North Korea’s Grip on Society is Tested

Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times, April 30, 2017

  • . . . while the Kim regime’s wall blocking outside information once looked impenetrable, we’re beginning to see cracks to exploit. One report found 16 percent of North Koreans accessed computers, one-fourth of them listened to radio broadcasts, and 42 percent of defectors reported having access to DVD players. We need to continue to give platforms to defectors so that the North Korean people can hear the true, draconian nature of the Kim regime.

North Korea remains a house of horrors

Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, April 27, 2017

  • It’s an engagement strategy to topple the regime. Engagement is a Trojan horse in Trump’s deal-making world. **** Fourth, US businesses will enter North Korea, including some signature cultural products such as Hollywood and the entertainment industry. The obvious aim is to gradually spread “capitalist elements” within North Korea and expose its population to outside information.

Trump’s ‘without-China’ approach on North Korea could work

Seong-Hyon Lee, Pacific Forum CSIS, May 2, 2017


  • Banning social media websites such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter will not help stem discontent in the valley. By restricting access to these websites, the government is encouraging people to find alternative ways of resistance, while inconveniencing millions of people who aren’t trying to brew discontent.

The utter uselessness of banning social media in Kashmir

Vidya Subramanian, Hindustan Times, April 27, 2017

  • Dressed in civilian clothes as a force protection measure, civil affairs soldiers from Task Force Toccoa, a 101st Airborne Division-led unit based in northern Cameroon, are tasked with engaging locals to build partnerships and improve services, such as education, according to the U.S. Army.


Army civil affairs soldiers use education to curb Boko Haram’s influence in Cameroon

Christopher Diamond, Army Times, April 27, 2017


  • Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, has said “English is losing its importance in Europe,” remarks that are certain to reignite tensions with the U.K. over its decision to leave the European Union.

‘English Is Losing Its Importance in Europe’

Krishnadev Calamur, The Atlantic, May 5, 2017

  • The employees of multilingual corporations are fully aware of being at a disadvantage when forced to work in a single language. Research conducted by the Swiss sociolinguist Georges Lüdi and his colleagues in multinational companies shows that in everyday communication mixed teams rely on the entirety of their plurilingual repertoires, with English as a lingua franca being only one strategy among many.

Misunderstanding in the Multilingual Workplace

Francois Grosjean, Ph.D., Psychology Today, April 12, 2017

  • These programs comprise partnerships between for-profit international education companies and not-for-profit colleges that wish to build their brands abroad, attract foreign students to their campuses, ensure foreign-student success, and make money.

How to Build an ‘International Pathway’ to Your College

Larry Green, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 7, 2017

  • . . . those students [from China] often bring to campus something else from home: the watchful eyes and occasionally heavy hand of the Chinese government, manifested through its ties to many of the 150-odd chapters of the Chinese Students and Scholars Associations. The groups have worked in tandem with Beijing to promote a pro-Chinese agenda and tamp down anti-Chinese speech on Western campuses.

On Campuses Far From China, Still Under Beijing’s Watchful Eye

Stephanie Saul, The New York Times, May 4, 2017

  • International students are welcome and safe at American universities, say educational experts who specialize in the foreign student population at their schools.

Education Experts: International Students Safe, Welcome in US

Kathleen Struck, VOA News, May 3, 2017



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