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

“Seen on the Web” 18 July 2017 — Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy




In The News


   [President’s visit to Poland]


   [NATO Article 5]

Instruments of Informational Power


Professional Topics

  2. 7. CYBER

Countries and Regions

  4. CHINA
  9. EGYPT




In The News


[President’s visit to Poland]

  • The world has never known anything like our community of nations. We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers. We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. (Applause.)   We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves. (Applause.)   And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.

Remarks by President Trump to the People of Poland | July 6, 2017

Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, July 6, 2017

[Comment: President Trump’s July 6 speech in Warsaw is sure to studied and weighed for years – argued over as much as President Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009 and President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address in 2005. The first wave of commentary approached the speech from many angles – as rhetoric, for its appeals to different audiences, how it set the stage for the subsequent G-20 meeting, and for the President’s views of America, “the West,” faith, democracy, and values. We can expect many years of op-eds, papers, scholarly articles, and even dissertations unpacking it. Here’s an unscientific sampling of initial, mostly-American evaluations – useful for Public Diplomacy officers as they discuss the speech and the issues with foreign counterparts. End comment.]

By any conventional standard of rhetorical criticism, President Trump’s speech in Poland was a great success — even a triumph or smash hit. It received a genuinely enthusiastic reception from its audience of Polish political notables. That’s not a small matter; a cheering crowd influences how people watching and listening from afar will respond to a speech.
Trump Defends the West in Warsaw

John O’Sullivan, National Review, July 8, 2017

The most shocking sentence in Trump’s speech—perhaps the most shocking sentence in any presidential speech delivered on foreign soil in my lifetime—was his claim that “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.” On its face, that’s absurd.

The Racial and Religious Paranoia of Trump’s Warsaw Speech

Peter Beinart, The Atlantic, July 6, 2017

The West also means something more than merely the culture of white Christians, and if someone other than Donald Trump had given that speech, I think Peter [Beinart] would have an easier time acknowledging it. After all, he is a great fan of Reinhold Niebuhr, who said, “We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.” I doubt Peter would dare to call this a white-nationalist dog whistle.

In Defense of Western Civ

Jonah Goldberg, National Review, July 7, 2017

Somewhere over the Atlantic, as Air Force One was hurtling toward Poland, President Trump opened the door and threw out America’s values.

On his trip abroad, Trump left America’s values behind

Richard Cohen, The Washington Post, July 17, 2017

Donald Trump’s speech in Poland was an implicit corrective to Barack Obama’s Cairo speech. Whereas Obama had blamed the West for many of Islam’s dilemmas, Trump praised the singular history and culture of the West.

Trump’s Anti-Cairo Speech

Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, July 11, 2017

In his speech last week Donald Trump barely mentioned democracy. He spoke instead of the “will to defend our civilization.” Although he did not offer an explicit definition of this civilization, the basic thrust of his understanding emerged. Our civilization rests on bonds of “history, culture, and memory.” It puts “faith and family” at the center of our lives.

What Does Trump Mean by ‘The West’?

William Galston, The Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2017

The truth is that this was an excellent speech that Trump made in Poland — and that’s because the speech was on Poland. It was about Poland.  Here’s a stunner for you: Click a link to the transcript and see if you can find the phrase “Western civilization.” It isn’t there. (Yes, it has several references to the “West.”) By contrast, words like “Poland,” “Polish,” and “Poles” appear nearly 70 times.

Trump’s Excellent Speech in Poland, on Poland, and about Poland

Paul Kengor, The American Spectator, July 12, 2017

. . . about half the total U.S. electorate somehow voted for the man who in Warsaw gave a speech that his opponent, Hillary Clinton—or any current Democrat—would never give. To simplify: One side of this debate will never be caught in anything it considers polite company using that phrase of oppression—“the West.”

Trump Teaches Western Civ

Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2017

But while Mr. Trump is right that we live in a dangerous world and that citizens should be ready to define their way of life, building a new identity of the West around the idea of a fortress under siege is a risky enterprise.

How Donald Trump Redefined ‘the West’

Ivan Krastev, The New York Times, July 11, 2017

The speech — a call to arms for a Western civilization ostensibly menaced by decadence and bloat from within and hostile powers from without — was received across the center-left as a thinly veiled apologia for white nationalism. * * * Thus, the intelligentsia is now flirting with an intellectually indefensible linguistic coup: Characterizing any appeal to the coherence or distinctiveness of Western civilization as evidence of white nationalist sympathies.

The alt-right is an attack on Western values.  Liberals Shouldn’t Surrender so Easily.

Jason Willick, The Washington Post, July 12, 2017

. . . President Trump offered, in Warsaw, a very particular defense of Western civilization. He praised Poland for its fight against Nazism and Soviet communism long ago, though he said little about the country’s success since 1989. He spoke of the things that hold the West together, including classical music and God, but made only glancing references to democracy. He also spoke of the threats to the West, alluding to dangers from the “South or the East” as well as from an “oppressive ideology,” radical Islam, that “seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe.”

It’s now clear: The most dangerous threats to the West are not external

Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post, July 16, 2017

The West’s disdain for its own values is getting increasingly strident with each passing day. President Trump is making an important and laudable effort to reverse this trend. He’s walking in good company. In an address to the Pan-American Scientific Congress in Washington, D.C., on May 10, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Americans might have to become the guardian of Western culture, the protector of Christian civilization.” FDR frequently spoke about protecting both Western and Christian civilization.

The Atlantic Publishes All You Need to Know about the Left

Dennis Prager, National Review, July 11, 2017

Is America an idea? Or is it a specific “people” or ethnic group? On the diverging answers to that question turn some of the biggest disputes in U.S. history. Our current president began his trip to Europe with a speech in Poland that minimized the role of ideals in American identity, and maximized the importance of what he called “civilization” but which boils down to ties of ethnicity and blood.

How American Presidents Used to Speak Overseas

James Fallows, The Atlantic, July 6, 2017

Trump’s words could have been delivered by almost any American president of either party in the past century. They could have been delivered by Harry S. Truman, who in 1952 praised the United States for saving “Western civilization from enslavement by a godless creed.” They could have been spoken by John F. Kennedy, who in a 1963 speech in West Germany spoke of “preserving Western culture, and Western religion, and Western civilization” and defending “our common heritage from those who would divide and destroy it.” They could have been uttered by Lyndon B. Johnson, who warned in 1966 of “ideologies . . . that threaten the very roots of our common Western civilization.” They could have been spoken by Bill Clinton, who declared in 1994 his belief that “Western civilization was the greatest of all, and America was the best expression of Western civilization because of its commitment to . . . the belief that the future could be better than the present and that we have an obligation to make it so.”

Trump’s defense of Western civilization is not alt-right

Mark Thiessen, The Washington Post, July 12, 2017

The squeamishness about ever using the first-person plural, “we,” is unbecoming and unserious. Worse, it’s also unneighborly. A “we” is inescapable if you want to live in a community.
The Grand Sweep of Western Civilization

Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, July 8, 2017

. . . the president’s words on Thursday were no less ominous and nationalistic than those that followed his swearing in. * * * Beneath these grandiose words is the same selective worldview with which Trump began his term. Only now, it is a frightening prospect to imagine what he will have to say at the finish.

Trump takes ‘American carnage’ global

Jeva Lange, The Week, July 7, 2017

President Trump called on Western nations to unite in the spirit of self-preservation and in defense of civilization itself. A pertinent question: Does that include Russia? If we understand “the West” as the secular successor to Christendom, then maybe. * * * But despite what Trump’s critics have claimed, the president wasn’t talking about the West as the Christian world. He seemed to be more plainly invoking those ideas laid out by Samuel Huntington and others that see “the West” as the philosophical descendants of the ancient Greeks. * * * And if that’s what we’re talking about then, no, Russia is most decidedly not part of “the West.”

Is Russia part of the West?

Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, July 7, 2017

. . . we have scoured the internet for political writing from the right and left that you might not have seen.

Writers on the Right and Left React to Trump in Europe

Anna Dubenko, The New York Times, July 9, 2017

. . . the pro-Kremlin propaganda machine has tried to diminish Trump’s visit and the Three Seas Initiative using common disinformation techniques. First, they allege that Trump’s presence in Poland is unimportant. * * *

Using ridicule * * * false parallel * * * “wolf cries wolf” technique * * * card stacking * * * the false dilemma technique * * *

What is pro-Kremlin media saying about Trump’s visit to Poland?
Wojciech Jakobik, Center for European Policy Analysis, n.d.

  • . . . an area that I am particularly passionate about is our strategy to counter propaganda and hybrid warfare. There are two NATO centers of excellence that are included in the ETC mark. One is the NATO Center of Excellence for Cyber and the second is the NATO center of excellence for strategic communication. That’s an important theme of the hearings that we’ve hosted this past year, and it’s an important issue . . . during my first term in Congress.

Interview: US Rep. Elise Stefanik

Joe Gould, Defense News, July 3, 2017


[NATO Article 5]

  • Last week UK Defense Minister Sir Michael Fallon, speaking about the recent cyberattack on the UK Parliament, suggested that his nation might respond to future cyberattacks with airstrikes or other military action. . . . No one considered cyberattacks when the NATO Treaty was signed because computer technology was in its infancy. But that is not to say that Article 5 is inapplicable to cyberattacks. The question boils down to this: When does a cyberattack constitute an act of war? There is no definition of a cyberattack in the NATO Treaty or elsewhere in international law.

NATO and Cyberwar: Will Britain Invoke Article 5?

Jed Babbin, The American Spectator, July 3, 2017

Elements of Informational Power

  • Expressions of anti-Muslim prejudice at home have a direct effect on how Muslims around the world see the United States. This new wave of American Islamophobia has made the job of U.S. public diplomacy in Muslim-majority countries, never an easy task, even more challenging.

Islamophobia & U.S. Public Diplomacy in The Trump Era

Mieczyslaw Boduszynski, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, June 30, 2017

  • Members of the White House communications team are . . . the most visible figures in American and global media, they are a key voice for advancing presidential policies and priorities that impact not only Americans, but citizens around the world. According to a new study conducted by . . . the USC Center for Public Relations at the Annenberg School (CPR), under the current administration, they are also impacting something else – their own profession.

New Survey: White House Communications Team Harming PR Industry

USC Center on Public Diplomacy, June 26, 2017

  • . . . it shows a degree of openness about public information. The Ukrainian government realizes that it has to be available to the press and public on a daily basis on a matter of such grave concern to the citizens of Ukraine. Second, by using a military officer in uniform, it underscores that it is providing a military communique from the battlefront, not political spin. Finally, it serves as a constant reminder that this military stalemate exists because there is a political one.

Ukraine Crisis Media Center

Mark Dillen, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, June 14, 2017

Professional Topics

  • Social media companies operating in Germany face fines of as much as $57 million if they do not delete illegal, racist or slanderous comments and posts within 24 hours under a law passed on Friday.

Delete Hate Speech or Pay Up, Germany Tells Social Media Companies

Melissa Eddy and Mark Scott, The New York Times, June 30, 2017

  • Chaff * * * TrackMeNot * * * LiveJournal * * * Twitter * * * Twitter bots * * * police radar detectors * * * radar detector decoys * * * AdNauseam * * * disappearance specialists * * * click tracers * * * disinformation * * * cloning * * * Bayesian flooding * * *

How to Obfuscate: What misinformation on Twitter and radar have in common.

Finn Brunton & Helen Nissenbaum, Nautilus, June 29, 2017


  • One group of New Mexico State University students is trying to counter extremism and violent language surrounding the topic of immigration with a communication campaign on social media.* * * The NMSU group is joining teams from colleges and universities across the United States as part of “Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism.” The project initiated by Edventure Partners and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is sponsoring a competition for college student groups to design and execute social media strategies to counter extremism as part of their coursework.

NMSU students use social media to stir immigration discussion

KRWG TV/FM, NPR, June 28, 2017

  • Of these many old rules about the Internet, three of them — Godwin’s, Poe’s and, er, Rule 34 — have managed to stay particularly useful for explaining basically the whole of Internet culture

Porn, Nazis and Sarcasm: How these 3 old rules basically explain the entire internet

Abby Ohlheiser,The Washington Post, June 23, 2017

  • Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken of the danger of “social bots,” automated accounts which masquerade as humans to distort discussions on social media. The head of German domestic intelligence has warned of potential Russian hacking and disinformation.

The Kremlin’s Amplifiers in Germany: The activists, bots, and trolls that boost Russian propaganda

Digital Forensic Research Lab, June 22, 2017

  • . . . last fall, in the midst of a public debate about what, exactly, constitutes a fact, [Vox] Day decided it was time to do something about the Wikipedia problem. He chose to launch his own version of it. * * * That site, Infogalactic, is made with Wikipedia’s MediaWiki software * * * The idea is that a stringent, Trump-supporting member of the alt-right shouldn’t have to read the same ideas as a Marxist, or a bleeding-heart college professor. (Day initially considered the tagline, “your universe, your view.”) But Infogalactic is only one of a number of crowdsourced encyclopedias tailored to various conservative factions.

Welcome To The Wikipedia Of The Alt-Right

Alexis Sobel Fitts, Wired, June 21, 2017

  • Computers can manipulate public opinion. This is the conclusion of a new study by the Oxford Internet Institute, which highlights the significant spread of computer-generated political messages on social media. . . . The authors conclude that bots – software designed to artificially amplify messages on social networks – “are often key tools in propelling disinformation across sites like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and beyond”.


EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, June 21, 2017

  • Bots airing pro-Kremlin views have flooded the Russian-language portion of the social media platform Twitter, in what researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute say is an effort to scuttle political discussion and opposition coordination in Russia.

Pro-Putin bots are dominating Russian political talk on Twitter

Andrew Roth, The Washington Post, June 20, 2017

  • Today, we are pledging to take four additional steps. First, we are increasing our use of technology to help identify extremist and terrorism-related videos. * * * Second, because technology alone is not a silver bullet, we will greatly increase the number of independent experts in YouTube’s Trusted Flagger programme. * * * Third, we will be taking a tougher stance on videos that do not clearly violate our policies — for example, videos that contain inflammatory religious or supremacist content. * * * Finally, YouTube will expand its role in counter-radicalisation efforts. Building on our successful Creators for Change programme promoting YouTube voices against hate and radicalisation, we are working with Jigsaw to implement the “Redirect Method” more broadly across Europe.

Four steps we’re taking today to fight terrorism online

Kent Walker, Google in Europe, June 18, 2017

  • Among the range of complex foreign policy issues yet to be addressed by the Trump administration is a serious concern for global internet freedom. The growing restrictions on internet freedom around the world are easy to document; less so any visible American strategy that would reverse the ominous trends at hand.

Sending a strong signal on global internet freedom

Stuart N. Brotman, Brookings, June 13, 2017

  • In addition to propaganda designed to influence service members and veterans, Russian state actors are friending service members on Facebook while posing as attractive young women to gather intelligence and targeting the Twitter accounts of Defense Department employees with highly customized “phishing” attacks.

How Russia Targets the U.S. Military

Ben Schreckinger, Politico, June 12, 2017

  • . . . the issue is controversial but that Silicon Valley needs to play ball on national security. “I do think there is a role to play here in some screening and filtering of what appears in social media,” he said.

Former US spy chief calls for ‘filtering’ of social media

Claire Reilly, CNet, June 7, 2017

  • This report . . . offers DoD a set of recommendations for building a social media analysis capability in support of IO that ably and appropriately enhances national security. It should be of particular interest to the U.S. military joint information operations community.

[Report] Monitoring Social Media: Lessons for Future Department of Defense Social Media Analysis in Support of Information Operations

William Marcellino, Meagan Smith, Christopher Paul, and Lauren Skrabala, RAND, 2017

  1. CYBER
  • The prospects of developing norms of state behavior in cyberspace have been looking positively bleak recently.

The Development of Cyber Norms at the United Nations Ends in Deadlock. Now What?

Adam Segal, Council on Foreign Relations, June 29, 2017

  • The military alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg . . . . said the alliance was “in the process of establishing cyber” as a domain alongside land, sea and air, meaning a cyber-attack could theoretically trigger Article 5 the part of its treaty related to collective defense. However, the likelihood of being able to invoke Article 5 against a nation state attacker is complicated by the problem of attribution.

Nato Confirms Cyber as Legitimate Military Domain

Phil Muncaster, Info-Security Magazine, June 29, 2017

  • . . . we’re building up a new 21stcentury Cyber Corps, a band of expert volunteers, leaders in industry, who are going advise us on how to keep ahead in the cyber space race.   Finally, cyber is becoming now a core part of our military training. * * * So we’re using our rising budget to invest . . . in full spectrum capability . . . signalling to potential cyber strikers that the price of an online attack could invite a response from any domain, air, land, sea or cyber space.   And when it comes to the latter, we’re making sure that offensive cyber is now an integral part of our arsenal.

Defence Secretary’s speech at Cyber 2017 Chatham House Conference

Sir Michael Fallon, Gov.UK, June 27, 2017

  • If hacking decreased by 90% following an agreement between the governments of the US and China, there must be some sort of ‘control’ over the hackers in China. I have to wonder if there is a similar relationship in Russia which can be exploited?

Chinese hackers will ‘stop using economic cyber-espionage’ to steal secrets from Canada

Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, June 27, 2017

  • The Chinese government has reached a landmark agreement with Canadian authorities that pledges to halt “economic cyber espionage”, a technique long-used by Beijing to hack into large firms and steal trade secrets, often including details of proprietary technology and military plans.

Chinese hackers will ‘stop using economic cyber-espionage’ to steal secrets from Canada

Jason Murdock, International Business Times, June 26, 2017

  • President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser has announced a new cybersecurity partnership with Israel.

US official announces cyber pact with Israel

Fifth Domain Cyber, June 26, 2017

  • The idea of a Chinese-U.S. arms race for artificial intelligence conjures up images of an army of swarmbots defeating self-driving tanks on a smoldering, depopulated hellscape. It’s an idea so captivating that Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wants to make it harder for the Chinese to invest in U.S. technology development, including in companies developing artificial intelligence . . .

What’s the ‘Risk’ in China’s Investments in US Artificial Intelligence? New Bill Aims to Find Out

Patrick Tucker, Defense One, June 22, 2017

  • Ukraine is on the frontline of defending western democracies against Russia’s global disinformation campaign, Lithuania’s former defense minister said Wednesday. * * * Though Putin has been most active in Ukraine, the Kremlin is also orchestrating a propaganda campaign aimed at rewriting the history of Lithuania to undermine the small Baltic state’s sovereignty. * * * “Of course we are not the main target, the main target is western democracies, the United States,” Jukneviciene said. “Baltic states are used as a tool to test NATO [to see] if we would speak about possible military intervention, or to restore the influence of the former Soviet Union to keep countries like the Baltic states more pro-Russian.”

Fmr. Lithuanian Defense Minister: Ukraine is ‘Frontline’ Defending Western Democracies From Kremlin

Natalie Johnson, The Washington Free Beacon, June 30, 2017

  • Noting that many Republicans argue that Russia’s disinformation campaign only sought to undermine 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, [Senator Chris] Murphy said: “Vladimir Putin and his disinformation network are not Republicans, they are opportunists. It is just a matter of time before they train their sights and their capabilities on the Republican Party… which makes this a bipartisan effort to try to make sure that we are standing up capabilities in the United States, but that we are also helping our allies across the world stand up similar capabilities in order to push back against disinformation.”

Here’s How to Deal with Russian Propaganda

Ashish Kumar Sen, Atlantic Council, June 29, 2017

  • . . . my experience with senior leadership in many of these global organizations is that they don’t always have the extensive background or expertise in social engagement that practitioners do and they have fallen into the habit of outsourcing this engagement as yet another aspect of their limited PR or communications efforts. In the age of Trump though, global organizations, especially those with American origins, must do all they can now to shore up their reputational capital and strengthen bonds of trust with the people they engage with and serve – customers, employees, influencers, citizens – around the world.

Re-Thinking Social Engagement Strategies in The Age of Trump

Cari E. Guittard, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, June 28, 2017

  • . . . the director of the Institute for Strategic Studies under the French Ministry of Defense (IRSEM), Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer, told . . . the lack of unity is the main problem and weakness in the fight against Russian propaganda * * * At the same time, the expert noted the successes of the operational working group of the EU on strategic communications of the East StratCom Task Force in countering Russia’s attempts to influence the elections in Europe through disinformation and outright propaganda.

Russia’s influence in EU a serious threat, says French defence expert

LB, June 15, 2017

  • Gen. Gerasimov . . . has always looked for American weaknesses and how Russian prowess can overcome American power. . . he has been the most articulate proponent of Russia’s emerging vision of conflict, something Western observers dub “hybrid warfare.” In conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, he has pioneered new approaches to hybrid war by combining traditional military weaponry with powerful nonlethal tools such as cyberwarfare, fake news and elaborate deception.

The New Cold War Pits a U.S. General Against His Longtime Russian Nemesis

Nathan Hodge and Julian E. Barnes, The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2017

  • Russian hybrid warfare makes use of information, cyber and electronic capabilities as tools of applied force. Russia uses the construct of the “Russian Identity” to justify action and to enable covert and partisan action.

[Report] Making Sense of Russian Hybrid Warfare: A Brief Assessment of the Russo–Ukrainian War

Amos C. Fox and Andrew Rossow, The Institute of Land Warfare, AUSA, March 2017

  • Information warfare supports all elements of comprehensive national power to include political warfare, legal warfare, diplomatic warfare, media warfare, economic warfare, and military warfare. It is critical to recognize that the PRC leverages the American system and its values legally (probably more so than illegally), to constrain the U.S. response, cloud American understanding, and co-opt key American institutions, allies, and assets.

Beijing’s Views on Norms in Cyberspace and Cyber Warfare Strategy Pt. 1

LCDR Jake Bebber, USN, Center for International Maritime Security, June 26, 2017

  • “This attack is really the political equivalent of 9/11 — it is deadly, deadly serious,” [Michael] Vickers said. “The Russians will definitely be back, given the success they had,” he continued. “I don’t see much evidence of a response.”

Former Obama intelligence official: Russian hack ‘the political equivalent of 9/11’

John Bowden, The Hill, June 24, 2017

  • The project’s main goal was to understand the complexity of tools adopted by the Kremlin to manipulate public opinion and affect political, social and business environment in the V4 countries plus Moldova and Ukraine. [Report] Information warfare in the Internet Countering Pro-Kremlin Disinformation in The Cee Countries

Jonáš Syrovatka, Daniel Bartha et. al., Centre for International Relations, June 2017

  • Drawing on content analyses of Inspire and Rumiyah magazines, we argue that groups like ISIS and AQAP undestand that their instructional material is of little value unless they can convince supporters to adopt their ‘competitive system of meaning’ (i.e. their way of perceiving the world, its actors and events). Thus it would be wrong to focus myopically on ‘how-to’ operational guides when trying to understand and counter violent extremist propaganda.

[Report] Exploring the Role of Instructional Material in AQAP’s Inspire and ISIS’ Rumiyah

Dr. Alastair Reed and Dr. Haroro J. Ingram, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism–The Hauge, June 19, 2017



Since 1998 . . . 132” Stalin statues have been put up across Russia, two-thirds of which have appeared in villages and most as a result of popular activism rather than at the direction of the state despite what one might call “the ‘soft’ state reconstruction of Stalinism”

New Stalin Cult Product of Russians’ Sense of Injustice and Anger at Stagnation, Anthropologist Says

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

  • The most alarming goal is to reappraise leaders like Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, to whitewash their atrocities and ensure that, at least for a domestic audience, they are presented as heroic figures whose crimes were miniscule in comparison with their achievements.

Airbrushing Stalin and Mao’s Horrific Crimes

Arch Puddington, World Affairs, June 16, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the “excessive demonization” of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin “is one means of attacking the Soviet Union and Russia.” Putin made the comments in the last of four installments of a series of interviews that he gave to U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone, which was aired on June 15. Putin said Russia’s critics use Stalin’s legacy “to show that today’s Russia carries on itself some kind of birthmarks of Stalinism.”

Putin Accuses Russia’s Foes Of ‘Excessive Demonization’ Of Stalin

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, June 16, 2017

  • As surely as night follows day, demands to defeat “the ideology” emerge after a terrorist attack . . . . After more than a decade, such pronouncements ring hollow. * * * In part, this is because policymakers use the word ideology without knowing what it means . . . .there is a fundamental lack of curiosity about how extremist ideologies work . . . . For politicians and many policy makers, ideology is a magical, formless, mostly-Islamic force that bends vulnerable minds toward violence. There are three structural elements of an extremist ideology: contents, identity, and distribution.

“Defeating IS Ideology” Sounds Good, But What Does It Really Mean?

J.M. Berger, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism–The Hague, June 6, 2017

  • Reagan’s burst of energy is nevertheless evident; he shines as a crafter of a strategy that was indeed “grand.” It was never static, and it entailed, as evidenced in the documents, all sources of power: diplomatic, informational, military, and economic.

The Grand Strategy That Won the Cold War

John Culclasure, Joint Force Quarterly, June 20, 2017

  • “Augustus is probably the supreme master of the art of propaganda in the entire history of the West. No one has rivalled him and everyone has since been in his shadow,” said historian Tom Holland.

What the Romans did for us: on the age-old art of propaganda

Jemimah Steinfeld, Open Democracy, June 16, 2017

  • The [Active Measures Working Group] adopted a limited, strategic mission that identified Soviet disinformation operations, found ways to address them, and produced actual results. The modern-day equivalent of this effort, the Global Engagement Center (GEC), was established by executive order in 2016 to combat foreign messaging. Seeking to “leverage the entirety of the U.S. government” to target content ranging from ISIL propaganda to Russian troll farms, its mission is construed too broadly to be adequately funded or effective.

Countering disinformation online will require long-term engagement from the feds

Madeline Christian, The Hill, June 12, 2017

  • Turns out that fake news . . . isn’t so modern after all. People were making stuff up and foisting it on the public back when it was spelled publick. The seven missives — known to scholars as the “spurious letters” — are a particularly sophisticated example of the craft. Written with a close ear for Washington’s style, full of intimate personal details, they go just a few shrewd steps beyond statements the great man actually made when bemoaning his plight. Their origin remains a mystery, though Washington spent years trying to track down the author.

The fake news that haunted George Washington

Gregory S. Schneider, The Washington Post, April 10, 2017

  • One of the most common issues for researchers and journalists is verifying user-generated video content, most often found on social networks and file sharing platforms . . . There is no silver bullet to verify every video . . . . However, there is a range of methods we can use to verify most content, especially as it relates to making sure that videos showing breaking news events are not recycled from previous incidents. There are already numerous guides online for verifying video, most notably in the Verification Handbook.

Advanced Guide on Verifying Video Content

Stop Fake, July 1, 2017

  • You can find disingenuous rhetoric about protecting free speech in the engine room of pretty much every digital-age culture war. The refrain has become so ubiquitous that it’s earned its own sarcastic homophone in progressive circles: “freeze peach!”

Save Free Speech from Trolls

Lindy West, The New York Times, July 1, 2017

  • As a religious tradition, “Islam” is both too broad—many societies, quite different from one another, are Islamic—and too narrow: culture is defined by more than religion. Calling both Albania and Bangladesh “Islamic,” for example, is accurate, but falsely suggests the countries’ similarities are more important that their differences.

Identity Crisis

Jeffrey Bristol, the Claremont Institute, June 27, 2017

  • The “denial of science” of course is a nuanced phenomenon, and not one that is as simple as flatly denying science as a concept. People who don’t believe in climate change, or evolution, or who mistrust vaccines all come to those conclusions for different reasons. A lot of it has to do with tribalism—you believe what the people in your group believe, because membership in that group is more important to you than the truth.

The Challenge of Fighting Mistrust in Science

Julie Beck, The Atlantic, June 24, 2017

  • . . . challenging and changing the radical narrative cannot be accomplished by secular individuals alone. The most effective voices to counter Salafi extremism are those of devout, practicing Muslims who see this issue as a cancer within their faith. Here in the West, individuals and institutions must challenge those texts and ideas that foster repugnant, misogynistic, or violent ideas. These may be legally protected ideas within Western democracies, but people must nevertheless fight the ideology and taboos just as they would fight homophobia, racism, and other destructive “isms.”

[VIDEO] Islamist Terrorism in the West [1:32:59]

Dick Schoof, Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Farah Pandith, and Matthew Levitt, The Washington Institute, June 16, 2017

  • . . . many violent extremists are not particularly pious or well-versed in Islamic doctrine or history—and that the vast majority of devout and learned Muslims are horrified by the actions of terrorists who claim their faith. Fear of Muslims is irrational.

Reconsidering Religious Radicalism: An Introduction to the Summer 2017 Issue

Judd Birdsall and Drew Collins, The Review of Faith & International Affairs, June 16, 2017

  • The adversaries the U.S. is currently engaged with on the battlefield use religious difference as the driving force behind their strategic messaging. They leverage it to penetrate U.S. homeland defenses. Yet . . . . Knowledge and familiarity of different religious commonalities allow U.S. strategists a means to begin to “know[ing] the enemy as thyself.” Recognizing common basic religious principles between different religions sets the conditions to undermine the messages of extremists, while ignoring it fuels tensions.

Winning the War of Ideology: Leveraging Religious Commonalities

John J. Houser, Real Clear Defense, June 15, 2017

  • Wang Jisi, a prominent Chinese scholar for international relations, once commented that a government which doesn’t have a good image in its own people’s eyes cannot have a good image abroad either. This is a deceptively simple yet profoundly insightful observation. It raises the question of whether the scope of public diplomacy should expand to include the domestic audience too. If public diplomacy is the art of winning hearts and minds, a leader then should win the hearts and minds of his own people first, before he goes out to win other countries’ hearts.

Moon’s public diplomacy

Lee Seong-hyon, The Korea Times, June 13, 2017

  • The political divide between rural and urban America is more cultural than it is economic, rooted in rural residents’ deep misgivings about the nation’s rapidly changing demographics, their sense that Christianity is under siege and their perception that the federal government caters most to the needs of people in big cities, according to a wide-ranging poll that examines cultural attitudes across the United States.

Rural divide

Jose A. DelReal and Scott Clement, The Washington Post, June 17, 2017

Countries and Regions

  • “In particular, the North Atlantic Alliance still remains in the logics of the Cold War, trying to justify it’s own existence,” Lavrov said. The top Russian diplomat has also recently criticized what he called the “greedy” geopolitical aspirations of the major defense alliance.

NATO Stuck in Ineffective ‘Cold War’ Model, Unable to Combat Terrorism: Russian Foreign Minister

Telesur, July 1, 2017 

  • Neither [Bush nor Obama] ever understood the corrosive effect of Russian money, whether on New York real estate or Western democracy. Neither understood the subtle ways in which a large, kleptocratic, semi-criminal state on Europe’s borders could threaten Western political stability. Neither understood that the U.S. political system, like that of France, Germany and Ukraine, had become so vulnerable, or that U.S. political operatives may have turned to Russian hackers for help. By 2016, it was already too late to stop Russia, because most of the damage had already been done.

How U.S. Presidents Missed the Russia threat – until it was much, much too late

Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post, June 29, 2017

  • Russia’s domestic PR business has grown rapidly since the end of the Cold War, but Russian authorities prefer to use Western firms when targeting Western audiences. Since the U.S. is both a dominant force in PR – 15 of the 20 largest global firms are American – and a prime target of Russian influence efforts, it’s not surprising that Putin’s forces would turn to U.S. firms for PR services.

Putin’s flacks: Russia’s stealth public relations war

Sue Curry Jansen, The Conversation, June 29, 2017

  • The share of Russians who approve the actions of Stalin during World War II has indeed risen over the last decade but not simply because of Kremlin propaganda, Aleksandr Minkin says. It also reflects the passing of an entire generation who knew what he did and the rise of one for whom Stalin is only a distant historical figure.

Rising Russian Approval of Stalin Reflects Passing of Generation that Experienced Him and Rise of One that Didn’t, Minkin Says

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, June 22, 2017

  • “The level of total secrecy in Russia is returning to Soviet standards,” Yekaterina Butorina and Aleksey Mikhaylov write, with the rules governing classification themselves typically secret and when the publication of secret information in the press does not mean that someone who cites that can’t be charged with violating the law.

Russia Returns to Worst Soviet Traditions on Secrecy in Ever More Ways

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia–New Series, June 21, 2017

  • The real scoop in [Dmitry] Skorobutov’s testimony are the documents planning the channel’s [the major Russian state TV channel, Rossiya-1news] production.* * * The most interesting paragraphs in the documents appears with the Russian abbreviation “ND”, meaning ”What we don’t talk about” (in Russian: “Ne davat’” or “Ne dayem”). These no-goes include topics and people who should not be mentioned, not even negatively, in the output.

“We don’t promote the English Queen’s anniversary!!!”

EU East Stratcom Task Force, Disinformation Review, June 21, 2017

  • By preparing the “battlefield,” President Vladimir Putin was able to create an opportunity to accomplish his goals without engaging the West in armed conflict. Preparations included a robust information operations offensive, consisting of a heavy barrage of propaganda targeting Russian-speaking viewers of state-run media in the near abroad.20 As the expansion unfolded, Russian tactics included espionage and both covert and overt military action.

Strategic Competition: Beyond Peace and War

Daniel Burkhart and Alison Woody, Joint Force Quarterly, June 19, 2017

  • So, it is with almost everything that Putin says in his conversations with Stone. At best each claim requires a paragraph of small print explaining the facts that have been left out. At worst, the facts are left out entirely. As, for example, in Putin’s assertion that “We have hundreds of TV and radio companies, and the state doesn’t control them in any fashion.” Or again: “We never interfere within the domestic affairs of other countries.”

The Banality of Putin

Robert Cottrell, The New York Review of Books, June 19, 2017

  • The Russians are masterful manipulators of other nations’ centers of gravity. Vladimir Putin wakes up every morning looking forward to a new day of fomenting disorientation and discord throughout Western governments.

Quora Question: Why Did Russia Mess With Our Presidential Election?

Newsweek, June 18, 2017

  • . . . the Kremlin has been investing heavily in putting the domestic Internet sphere (Runet) under direct government control and is attempting to subjugate the Russian IT and software industry to its own interests.

Yandex: Tool of Russian Disinformation and Cyber Operations in Ukraine

Sergey Sukhankin, The Jamestown Foundation, June 15, 2017

  • The idea of European security built on shared values, which emerged after 1989 and was enshrined in the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe, was never accepted by Russian leaders. * * * the government’s near-total control of major media outlets that deliver information to the majority of the public, and therefore the state’s ability to shape such narratives, enables it to subordinate foreign policy to its domestic political objectives.

Russia and the West in a New Standoff

Eugene Rumer, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 14, 2017

  • Russia planted stories in a wide network of sources around the world, only the intelligence community (and skilled OSINT researchers) can prove that Russian Intelligence Services underwrote or supported the creation of many of these sites, and published stories specifically designed to skew a Presidential election, cause chaos, division and animosity within the ranks of the disgruntled losers, and cause them to disrupt and actively resist the routine operations of the US government at the highest levels.

Russian Active Measures Are Terrorist Activities By A Terrorist State

Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, June 14, 2017

  • The Russian Defense Ministry has drawn up a draft law allowing it to ban soldiers from posting certain personal data on social networks, something that reporters and researchers have used in the past to monitor Russia’s activities in Syria and Ukraine.

Russia eyes controlling soldiers’ online accounts to boost secrecy

Maria Tsvetkova, Reuters, June 14, 2017

  • Some of the biggest anti-Kremlin protests in years swept across Russia on Monday with over 1,000 people detained by the police ahead of a presidential election next year. But anyone relying on state TV would have concluded they were a non-event.

In Russia, state TV and the Internet tell a tale of two protests

Andrew Osborn, Reuters, June 13, 2017

  • The evocative pictures of tiny teenage girls being carried off by groups of men in riot gear certainly do not help the Kremlin’s image. Although these pictures will never appear on state-run television, they will be spread from teenager to teenager through the various social media apps and platforms that were so successful in disseminating Mr. Navalny’s film. In a short period, Generation Putin has shown itself to be savvy with modern technology and seem far more connected to the world than their elders. Mr. Putin and his Kremlin may be soon surprised by a very modern kind of trouble.

Generation Putin Takes to the Streets

Hannah Thoburn, World Affairs, June 13, 2017

  • A majority of Ukrainian citizens (58,3% of the respondents) share the opinion that there is a threat of Russian propaganda in Ukraine. * * * Among the most widely spread sources of Russian propaganda, the Ukrainians named Russian TV channels, Russian online media and social networks * * * The overwhelming majority of Ukrainian population, namely 59,7%, believe that they are able to distinguish truthful information from false information in the media, while 22,5% are not sure about being able to make this distinction.

Awareness and Attitude toward the Problem of Disinformation and Propaganda in Mass Media

Stop Fake, June 12, 2017

  • A new public diplomacy program has been created within the office of Romania’s president, Traian Basescu, who has put his personal clout behind its efforts.

Romania Ramps up Its Public Diplomacy

Philip Seib, Huffpost, n.d.

  1. CHINA
  • China is rushing to deploy new technologies to monitor its people in ways that would spook many in the U.S. and the West. Unfettered by privacy concerns or public debate, Beijing’s authoritarian leaders are installing iris scanners at security checkpoints in troubled regions and using sophisticated software to monitor ramblings on social media.

China’s All-Seeing Surveillance State Is Reading Its Citizens’ Faces

Josh Chin and Liza Lin, The Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2017

  • The Chinese Party-state now faces a vexing conundrum: how to balance, on the one hand, its idea of China as a multiethnic state and to prevent overt anti-Muslim sentiment with, on the other hand, its commitment to atheism—all the while combating the “three evils” of terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism.

[PODCAST] Islamophobia in China, Explained [1:05:50]

Kaiser Kuo, Alice Y. Su, Ma Tianjie, China File, June 23, 2017 

  • President Tsai Ing-wen . . . attended a ceremony on Thursday to mark the formal establishment of a new command in the Ministry of National Defense pertaining to information, communication and electronic warfare, according to a Presidential Office statement.

Information, communication and electronic warfare command formed

Sophia Yeh and Elaine Hou, Focus Taiwan, June 29, 2017

  • North Korea’s state media described President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy as “Nazism in the 21st century,” and compared the U.S. president to Adolf Hitler, in the harshest language that Pyongyang has directed at the Trump administration. Mr. Trump’s policy “is the American version of Nazism far surpassing the fascism in the last century in its ferocious, brutal and chauvinistic nature,” Pyongyang’s state-controlled Korean Central News Agency said in a report published Tuesday.

North Korea Compares Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler

Jonathan Cheng, The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2017

  • There are several possible explanations that separately or in some combination explain the radical shift in 2017 to reorganise the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for information war.

Explaining Australia’s sharp turn to information warfare

Greg Austin, The Interpreter, July 4, 2017

When the Australian government announced on 30 June 2017 the creation of a new information warfare division in the Australian Defence Force, ACCS figured prominently in the news coverage of it. We offer the only Master’s degree in Australia on cyber war and peace, and we have published academic research on cyber war, inlcuding Australia’s preparedness and the global cyber war environment.   Here is a list. . .

ACCS in Media Coverage of New Information Warfare Division

Australian Centre for Cyber Security, July 1, 2017

  • Australia’s military is undergoing a major transformation, with the launch of a new information warfare unit.

Cyber warfare unit set to be launched by Australian Defence Forces

Ashlynne McGhee, ABC (Australian), June 29, 2017

  • If we compile a list of the nationalities of people who have killed the most Australians in terrorist attacks, the country at the top of the list (or near the top) is Indonesia. . . . With Islamic extremism on the rise in Indonesia, and terrorist incidents in 2016 doubling over the previous year in Indonesia, a spike in Australian deaths from Indonesian terrorists is inevitable.

Next Islamic State: Australia’s Indonesia Challenge

Greg Austin, The Diplomat, June 23, 2017

  1. EGYPT
  • The list of blocked websites in Egypt keeps growing, as the government widens what some say is an unprecedented crackdown on both local and international digital outlets.

Egypt has blocked over 100 local and international websites including HuffPost and Medium

Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz, June 29, 2017

  • Combined, the ISIS financial/personnel databases could be exploited by the United States not just for capturing or killing more senior ISIS members, but for a mission far broader and more important: * * * Perhaps the greatest jewel in the crown was the mobile phone numbers, Twitter handles, Facebook accounts, and other social media links * * * all of these data points would give the precise locations of where ISIS-authorized mobile phones were being used and who used them.

The “keys to the cyber caliphate”: The daring U.S. raid to seize the ISIS personnel database

Malcolm Nance And Christopher Sampson, Salon, July 2, 2017

  • . . . . publishing blatant falsehoods in the group’s reports is risky. If such false reporting were widespread, found out, and highlighted publicly, it would undermine the group’s ability to convey its message and potentially end up tarnishing its brand.

[Report] The Fight Goes On: The Islamic State’s Continuing Military Efforts in Liberated Cities

Daniel Milton and Muhammad al-`Ubaydi, Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, June 2017

  • The result of this analysis was the “Ladder of Identity Construction” . . . which proposes a standard set of linkages that can apply to a wide range of ideological platforms. In-group and out-group identities are delineated by extremists using the following descriptive categories: • Beliefs • Traits • Behaviour o Past behavior o Current behavior o Expected future behavior.

[Report] Deconstruction of Identity Concepts in Islamic State Propaganda

J.M. Berger, Europol, June 9, 2017

  • . . . many people evaluate Muslims by a single, harsh judgment, at the expense of the truth. The following is my interpretation of these terms and issues as leader of the Kurdistan Islamic Union. Islam * * * Muslims * * * Islamists * * * Traditional Islamists * * * which adopt the thinking, philosophy, ideology, or theory of Salafist or Sufi teachings.* * * Violent terrorists: These groups believe in violence, extremism, and terrorism. They organize themselves into armed groups under the veneer of jihad, supported by heedless, rich individuals and infiltrated by regional and international intelligence services to create confusion and violent chaos, disfiguring the shining face of Islam in the process.

Islam, Muslims, and Multiple Allegiances

Salahaddin Bahaaddin, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, n.d.


  • The State Department annually provides opportunities for tens of thousands of educators, athletes, students, youth and emerging leaders from the U.S. and more than 160 countries to gain international experience through academic, cultural, sports and professional exchanges. These programs not only enrich the lives and enhance the skills of those who participate, they also strengthen the United States in numerous ways.

Student exchange programs boost diplomacy, security: View

Robert Fenstermacher and Bradley Smith, Lohud, June 28, 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


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