Information operations · Information Warfare · Public Diplomacy · Strategic Communications

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” -06 August 2017

Strategic Communications and Public Diplomacy “Seen on the Web” (#81)

August 6, 2017

Seen on the Web 3157-3257


Instruments of Informational Power


Professional Topics

  2. CYBER

Countries, Regions, Case Studies

  4. CHINA
  6. INDIA
  8. QATAR



 Instruments of Informational Power

  • . . . military force is one of several elements of national power that a nation can use to achieve its foreign policy goals. (Others include economics and trade; information and public diplomacy; negotiation and foreign aid.)

Working with the U.S. Military: Let’s Take Full Advantage of Opportunities

Wanda Nesbitt, Foreign Service Journal, June 2017

  • New State Department priorities include such things as this, for example. In Muslim-majority Indonesia in 2014 and 2015, not long before the deadly January 2016 extremist terrorist attack on Starbucks and other locations rocked the capital, Jakarta, our consulate in Surabaya produced impressive Hispanic heritage month YouTube videos of its celebrations, which included spending money to bring Los Angeles artists to paint murals on the walls of a local school and sponsor fun runs for local girls.

Creeping Militarization of Foreign Policy or Creeping State Department Irrelevance?

Larry Butler, Foreign Service Journal, June 2017

  • Some suggest that, especially during a time when the U.S. needs to address its $20 trillion debt, taxing working Americans to dispatch, say, a Twyla Tharp Dance ensemble (or similar) to Panama or Tunisia on a “friendship tour” is somewhat out of step with fiscal realities. They are right.

“Unprecedented” State Department Cuts – Oh, Dear!

Faith Whittlesey, The Daily Caller, July 17, 2017

  • Public diplomacy plays a crucial role in steering this vital relationship in a positive direction. U.S.-China relations have always been complex and, at times, tumultuous. Amidst the ups and downs of this relationship, popular perception of each other matters, because it forms the climate of opinion in which policies are considered, weighted, and pursued.

[Report] Rising Soft Power: China

USC Public Diplomacy, 2016

  • The India soft power e-book draws together a wide array of contributions to explore the various facets of the country’s public diplomacy concept and programs.

[Report] Rising Soft Power: India

USC Public Diplomacy, 2015

  • The first step in countering Russian Active Measures is raising public awareness of Russian propaganda proliferated to undermine democracies.  The U.S. Information Agency performed this critical awareness role during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.  Today, I am uncertain who is responsible for performing this function, but we can take an initial step in the absence of a counter to Russian influence.

Hamilton 68: A dashboard tracking Russian propaganda on Twitter

German Marshall Fund of the United States-Alliance for Securing Democracy, August 1, 2017

  • Less than a decade after the collapse of communism, the USIA was consolidated into the State Department (1999), for a variety of reasons, among them: The powerful Republican Senator Richard Helms was “annoyed“ by the Agency; with the so-called “end of history“ after the U.S. “won” the half-century ideological struggle with the USSR, the USIA was considered an anachronism; the federal government wanted to cut spending . . . .

Public Diplomacy: “Out” for the U.S., “In” Overseas?

John Brown, Huffpost, accessed July 31, 2017

  • The dissolution of USIA did not end happily for the country.  Problems at State included smothered innovation and the atrophy of specialized communications skills.  Most significant, however, was the loss of a robust U.S. counter-messaging capability.  This became increasingly apparent as the Islamic State metastasized, and the need for an aggressive information warfare capability lurched onto the national security radar screen.  Created by executive order in 2010 to fill this gap, State’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications did not prove up to the job.  In 2016 it was re-invented as the Global Engagement Center, a new ‘interagency coordination entity housed at State.’ On that, the jury is still out.

USAID and State: On Marrying Bears and Frogs

Jeff Goodson, Real Clear Defense, July 21, 2017

  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is resisting the pleas of State Department officials to spend nearly $80 million allocated by Congress for fighting terrorist propaganda and Russian disinformation.

Tillerson spurns $80 million to counter ISIS, Russian propaganda

Nahal Toosi, Politico, August 2, 2017

  • “Expanding the capacity of the Global Engagement Center is critical,” says former Obama State Department official and Russia hawk Max Bergmann. “It is the most direct and important tool we have to counter Russian active measures campaigns that target us and our democratic allies, especially in Eastern Europe.”

State Department dysfunction reaches new highs

Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, August 2, 2017

  • One example officials pointed to was Tillerson’s front office sitting on memos that would unlock $79 million for the department’s Global Engagement Center to counter Islamic State messaging and narrative. Bureaucratic rules required that Tillerson simply write and sign two memos — one for $19 million from Congress and one for $60 million through the Defense Department — saying State needed the funds. But he hasn’t . . . .

How the Trump Administration Broke the State Department

Robbie Gramer, Dan De Luce, And Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy, July 31, 2017

  • The bipartisan Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act [incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act] is organized around two main priorities to help achieve the goal of combatting the constantly evolving threat of foreign disinformation from our enemies: > The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering THE foreign propaganda and disinformation being wages against us and our allies by our enemies. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and China as well as non-state actors. * * * > Second, the legislation seeks to leverage expertise from outside government to create more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options.
    President Signs Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill into Law

Press Release, Senator Rob Portman, December 23, 2016 

  • The U.S. military certainly views the media as a strategic asset. . . . it also trains hundreds of its officers and enlisted men and women each year to respect the role of the media in a democratic society and to cultivate good relations with the journalists who cover them. Their motives are blunt and explicit: to maintain the public’s confidence in the military as an institution and, during conflict, to shape the information battlefield in its favor.

Lessons from Europe’s Fight Against Russian Disinformation

Dana Priest, The New Yorker, July 24, 2017

  • Al Jazeera is Al Jazeera. Its mission is to shape public opinion. Its owners are savvy enough to understand that different audiences will be persuaded by different messages. * * * In the multidimensional conflict underway in the world today propaganda is a highly strategic weapon. As al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri put it: “More than half of this war is taking place on the battlefield of the media.” What’s remarkable is that so many Western media professionals still don’t get that.

Does Al Jazeera deserve to die?

Clifford D. May, The Washington Times, July 25, 2017

  • In the American context, [RT] wants its U.S. audience to question the American political system by playing to conspiracy theories and an underlying belief that corruption lies at the heart of all American politics. Unfortunately, this is fertile territory, from congressmen who stash cash in freezers to administrations ginning up intelligence to support a war. * * * RT’s approach intends to turn an already skeptical American electorate into a distrustful mob of political cynics.

Trump’s friend Putin urges Americans to question more. The hypocrisy is rich.

Markos Kounalakis, News Observer, July 20, 2017

  • Whether it is a tactical deception to support a battalion-sized operation, or the use of mass media and the internet to influence a large population, a precondition for successfully planning and conducting information operations is the study and understanding of decisions by human-beings necessary or desired to achieve the mission.

Speed, Volume, and Ubiquity: Forget Information Operations & Focus on the Information Environment

Michael Williams, The Strategy Bridge, July 26, 2017

  • An important part of U.S. military operations overseas is communicating with the local population. This can be done in a number of ways including something as simple as distributing leaflets. In psychological operations, leaflets with messages are often dropped from aircraft in order to reach a wide area.

B-52 testers complete leaflet bomb drops

Kenji Thuloweit, 412th Test Wing Public Affairs, Edwards Air Force Base, July 25, 2017

  • Russia’s annexation of Crimea was achieved through the skillful combination of internal Ukrainian dissidents and insurgents working with Moscow’s special forces, and it demonstrated Russia’s successful integration of hybrid warfare, kinetic operations, and information operations—including cyberspace operations.  Cyberspace operations normally are “binned” into the non­kinetic spectrum of warfare with information operations.

Push Back Against Russia in Cyberspace

Henry D. Lange, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July, 2017

  • The destructiveness of increasing ransomware and DDoS attacks; the aggressive use of information operations by nation-states; growth in the numbers and diversity of cyber-threat actors; and the greater availability of exploits, tools, encryption, and anonymous payment systems in 2017 pave the way for a rapid growth of cybersecurity challenges across all industry verticals in the coming year.

2017 Cyber Threatscape Report

iDefense, Accenture Security, July 21, 2017

Professional Topics

  • [In an email that introduced the item below, Clint Watts wrote] This dashboard provides a summary view of feeds we’ve been monitoring the past few years. An example of how we use this kind of monitoring to pick up on Kremlin influence efforts can be reviewed here.

– –

We examined unique stories that appeared each day in the lists of Top and Trending URLs from July 21 to July 31, 2017. * * * The three most common primary issues out of the 91 stories analyzed involved US partisan politics, the conflict in Syria, and the investigation of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Digging deeper, the 54 stories related to partisan politics include 30 hostile to the Democratic Party, 14 supportive of President Trump * * * The 9 articles targeting Robert Mueller and his investigation were uniformly hostile.

Hamilton 68: A dashboard tracking Russian propaganda on Twitter

German Marshall Fund of the United States-Alliance for Securing Democracy, August 1, 2017

  • Youtube wants to steer clear of the accusations made against big tech companies for not making any effort to curb the growth of extremist videos and has now launched a new project called the Redirect Method.

YouTube is identifying and targeting ISIS-related propaganda with a new strategy

Malaysia Sun, Saturday 22nd July, 2017

  • YouTube says it will crack down on online Islamist extremism by redirecting anyone who searches for terrorist videos to instead show them films countering the propaganda.

YouTube to redirect searches for ISIL videos to footage debunking their ideology

Ben Farmer, The Telegraph, July 21, 2017

  • A new offensive by Microsoft has been making inroads against the Russian government hackers behind last year’s election meddling, identifying over 120 new targets of the Kremlin’s cyber spying, and control-alt-deleting segments of Putin’s hacking apparatus. How are they doing it? It turns out Microsoft has something even more formidable than Moscow’s malware: Lawyers.

Putin’s Hackers Now Under Attack—From Microsoft

Kevin Poulsen, Daily Beast, July 20, 2017

  • For spies working in this digital age, maintaining a cover story in order to covertly steal secrets has become more difficult since the advent of social media. Meanwhile, cutting-edge technology, from face-scanning biometrics to big data analytics, has become both a blessing and curse.

Spies in the age of social media: Ex-CIA experts reveal challenges of modern espionage

Jason Murdock, Newsweek, July 19, 2017

  • Ambassadors, diplomats, and embassies are all over the place when it comes to using selfies. * * * There are however good examples and few ambassadors might be able to beat Rufus Gifford, former US envoy to Denmark and a veritable superstar with the Danes. * * * From Denmark to Israel, ambassador Meron Reuben, head of protocol of Israeli foreign ministry, is also a good example.

#selfies for diplomats

Belgrade Initiative 4 Digital Public Diplomacy, July 17, 2017

  • Got nothing to hide? Think again.

Online security 101: Tips for protecting your privacy from hackers and spies

Zack Whittaker, ZD Net, January 31, 2017

  1. CYBER
  • . . . there is still no settled answer to the core question of what organizing principles should drive military cyber operations strategy. * * * The essay introduces six defining conditions that relate to military cyber operations leading to the organizing principle that cyberspace is an offense-persistent strategic environment.

The Search for Cyber Fundamentals

Richard J. Harknett and Emily O. Goldman, Journal of Information Warfare, v. 15, issue 2

  • The Defense Department is posturing itself to fight and win wars and conflicts in all domains, especially cyberspace. . . . DoD, along with the contributions of the services, is continuing to build out the cyber mission force that makes up U.S. Cyber Command, focused on strategic and joint force commander problem sets. In addition to their CMF contributions, the services are working to stand up their own cyber forces . . . .

Here’s how DoD organizes its cyber warriors

Mark Pomerleau, Federal Times, July 25, 2017

  • With recent large-scale cyber attacks signaling a growing front in destructive threats and business impact, a new midyear report from iDefense, part of Accenture Security, reveals how threat actors are continuing to evolve their ability to avoid detection. . . . the report anticipates a growth in the number of threat actors who are rapidly expanding their capabilities due to factors such as the proliferation of affordable, customizable and accessible tools and exploits.

Accenture Security Report Identifies Top Cyber Threats of 2017

Business Wire, July 25, 2017

  • Our adversaries are no longer motivated only by money, personal data or competitive intelligence, but are now driven to use the critical technologies of our lives to arrest journalists and activists, to suppress democracy and manipulate public opinion. In these times, our community has a responsibility to the people of the world that goes beyond traditional facets of information security.

[Event] Briefings – July 26 & 27

Blackhat, USA 2017, July 26 & 27, 2017

  • The Trump administration’s refusal to publicly accuse Russia and others in a wave of politically motivated hacking attacks is creating a policy vacuum that security experts fear will encourage more cyber warfare.

U.S. treads water on cyber policy as destructive attacks mount

Joseph Menn, Reuters, July 26, 2017

  • Global powers are increasingly sparring by proxy online. The result is significant collateral damage for businesses

In Cyberwarfare, Everyone Is a Combatant

Christopher Mims, The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2017

  • The U.S. and Russia need to agree on basic notions, such as what constitutes an attack, as opposed to a mere nuisance.

We Need Cyberwar Rules of Engagement Now

Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 20, 2017

  • The guided-missile destroyer had not “seen” the incoming swarm because it had not recognized that its systems were under cyber attack before things turned kinetic. The undetected cyber activity not only compromised the destroyer’s sensors, but also “locked-out” its defensive systems, leaving the ship almost helpless.

On Hyperwar

John Allen and Amir Husain, US Naval Institute Proceedings, July 2017

  • Today, the PRC is waging cyber-enabled economic warfare to gain control over key pillars of maritime and naval power, to include dominating the information components and networks on which the modern digital economy relies. This presents a clear threat to the U.S. Navy’s ability to carry out its core functions in support of U.S. national security. It is time to respond.

China’s Cyber-Economic Wargare Against the U.S.

Robert “Jake” Bebber, U.S Naval Institute Proceedings, July 2017

  • Moonlight Maze [in 1998] marked the first skirmish in what would soon emerge as a new theater of global conflict: cyberwar. . . . the story of how the U.S. grappled with the attack and its attackers—never before reported in full—shows how a fledgling national security team in the Pentagon bureaucracy learned to follow a new kind of trail to identify cyber culprits.

How the United States Learned to Cyber Sleuth: The Untold Story

Fred Kaplan, Politico, March 20, 2016

  • …disinformation exploits and thrives on the weaknesses of modern journalism. The creators of modern propaganda appreciate good storytelling, bringing light to untold stories and finding global trends in local stories, which creates strong bonds of trust with the audience. * * * But these days it is replaced by the much cheaper substitutes of opinion and aggregation. In the end, the sad irony is that modern propaganda uses the building blocks of journalism far better than real journalists.

Why the US Keeps Losing the Fight against Disinformation

Maxim Eristavi, Atlantic Council, July 24, 2017 

  • France replaced the U.S. as No. 1 in the Soft Power 30 Index, an annual ranking recently released by communications consulting firm Portland in partnership with the University of Southern California’s Center for Public Diplomacy. The U.K. maintained its No. 2 spot, and the U.S. fell to No. 3. Germany and Canada rounded out the top five countries in the index.

The Strength in Soft Power

Diedre McPhillips, US News & World Report, July 25, 2017

  • Countries are realising that old-world hard power can no longer influence outcomes and achieve their foreign policy goals as they might desire. Instead, it is the ability to encourage collaboration and build networks and relationships which is the new currency.

[Report] The Soft Power 30

Portland, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, July 2017

  • In an essay on soft power, Seiichi Kondo, a retired diplomat, argues that Japan has hitherto employed a tacit form of message transmission, what he terms “presentation,” which neatly aligns with Japanese cultural sensibilities. Although quiet and slow-brewing, he believes it effective in creating a positive global image for Japan. This is contrasted with America’s more direct approach, namely “projection,” which is unambiguous in its evangelical spread of “universal” ideals.

Japan House: Tokyo’s New Public Diplomacy Push

Warren A. Stanislaus, The Diplomat, July 22, 2017

  • Soft power is a notoriously slippery concept that has at least three meanings: passive power that allows an agent to “get outcomes [it wants] without tangible threats or payoff ”; ideological hegemony, using agenda control and other means to get “others to want the outcomes that you want—co-opts people rather than coerces them”; and finally, institutional power, used to “structure a situation so that other countries develop preferences or define their interests in ways consistent with its own [national interests].”

The Korean Pivot: The Study of South Korea as a Global Power

Victor Cha and Marie DuMond, CSIS, July 18, 2017

  • But Russia generally stops short of conflict. [General Dunford] calls this strategy adversarial competition. “It has a military dimension, but it falls short of armed conflict,” he said. “That’s where Russia integrates cyber capabilities, information operations, unconventional operations to advance their interests on a routine basis and we have to compete in that environment as well.”

U.S. Doesn’t Have Luxury of Choosing Challenges, Dunford Tells Aspen Crowd

Jim Garamone, World Affairs Journal, July 23, 2017

  • It is in the information sphere, and psychological warfare, where Unrestricted Warfare’s success is most apparent: hacking electoral ballots, planting fake news, using bots to alter the news cycle. Individually these tactics are little more than an annoyance to a country like the United States. But used in a coordinated and strategic way, they can be very powerful.

Forget Sun Tzu: The Art of Modern War Can Be Found In A Chinese Strategy Book From 1999

Cameron Colquhoun, Raddington Report, July 24, 2017

  • But the big question will be this: Regardless of these crucial authorities and any new command arrangements, what will Cyber Command’s role be in protecting the country from threats like Russian information operations? Maybe it’s time we get away from using “cyber” as the description of what needs to be done, and instead think about what an Information Warfare Command would look like.

Much Ado About Nothing? Cyber Command And The NSA

Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, July 20, 2017

  • We are doing work on integration, particularly with electronic warfare, cyber, information warfare in the crucible of our combat training center, explained Lt. Gen. Nakasone. It’s “the idea of being able to bring those capabilities together to see if a commander can utilize them.”

Army cyber fighters are on the offensive against ISIS

Katherine Owens, Defense Systems, July 19, 2017

  • There is much that Western nations can do to address the challenge of modern information warfare, but there is little question that Russia, by virtue of its long engagement in this arena, currently has the advantage.

Respond to Russia’s Information Warfare

Bruce McClintock, US News &World Report, July 17, 2017

  • Collectively, these threats constitute a clear shift towards the weaponization of information. Presently, that threat comes most prominently from Russian affiliated trolls and hackers, though other governments and non-state actors are not far behind. These entities and their affiliates seek to distort the information space for political or monetary gain. This is a major departure from the days of old propaganda where one’s aim was to create a sense of affinity for one’s cause. Today, Russia’s aim is squarely to disrupt.

Can Public Diplomacy Survive the Internet?

Chris Hensman and Shawn Powers, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, July 19, 2017

  • Russia’s apparent interference in the U.S. presidential election is a big story, but it’s part of an even bigger one: the ease with which foreign actors can insert themselves into the democratic process these days, and the difficulty of determining how to minimize that meddling. *** 1) Deploy state-run news organizations *** 2) Run political ads online *** 3) Get creative with lobbyists *** 4) Funnel money through a nonprofit *** 5) Take action—or refrain from taking it

5 Ways to Interfere in American Elections—Without Breaking the Law

Uri Friedman, The Atlantic, July 24, 2017

  • The information battle examines the ways in which the governments of former Soviet Union (FSU) look to shape international narratives about themselves by using media, social media, advertising and supportive organisations to promote their worldview and challenge the people, institutions and ideas that oppose them. This publication examines the influence of Russian media content in the former Soviet Union and in the wider world.

[Report] The information battle: How governments in the former Soviet Union promote their agendas and attack their opponents abroad

The Foreign Policy Centre, 2017

  • Russian senators are calling on President Vladimir Putin to put sanctions on Poland for a law that could see Soviet memorials in the country torn down. Poland’s new law demands the removal of dates, names and mentions on public monuments that seem to glorify Communism or “any other totalitarian” regime.

Russian Senate Wants to Punish Poland for Removing Statues Honoring World War II Soldiers

Damien Sharkov, Yahoo! News, July 25, 2017

  • Many expected that with the passage of time, new generations of Russians would reject the worst aspects of their country’s past such as Stalinism, but new polls show that support for Stalin and forgiveness of his crimes is greater among young people than among older groups.

Kremlin-Promoted Mythologized Russian Past Opens the Way to a Return to Stalinism, Orekh Says

Paul Goble, Windows on Eurasia – New Series, July 23, 2017

  • The trigger was a NATO video about the so-called “Forest Brothers” – irregular units in the three Baltic states who fought against the Soviet occupying forces during and after World War II. NATO has produced a film commemorating these fighters who are “remembered as national heroes” in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  But Russia’s representatives immediately pulled out their favourite Nazi-card.

The Nazi-obsession of pro-Kremlin propagandists

EU East Stratcom, StopFake, July 22, 2017

  • Sixty-two percent of Russians say that statues and other memorials should be put up in Russian cities to remind about “the successes of Joseph Stalin,” a new VTsIOM poll says; but at the same time, 65 percent of them are opposed to any monuments that recall his crimes.

Nearly Two-Thirds of Russians Now Favor Statues Honoring Stalin and Oppose Memorials to His Crimes

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia – New Series, July 20, 2017

  • The tendency of post-Soviet governments to return to the Soviet pattern of keeping the activities of mullahs and imams restricted to mosque services and rituals is having the same consequence that it did in the USSR: reducing the importance of the “official” religious leaders and thus opening the way to the radicalization of the faithful by others.

A Problem across the Post-Soviet Space — When Mullahs are Passive, Muslims are Radicalized

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia – New Series, July 26, 2017

  • The Salafi-jihadi movement’s power lies in its relationship with Sunni populations. It draws strength from its ties to Sunni communities much more than from its ideology, which the majority of Muslims ultimately reject. US alignment with Russia, Iran, and Assad in Syria have advanced a narrative of Western oppression of the Sunnis, whereas the Salafi-jihadi base is viewed as a defender of local populations against aggressors. As a result, some Sunni communities are willing to support Salafi-jihadi groups in exchange for security even if they reject the Salafi-jihadi ideology.

In brief: America’s Real Enemy: The Salafi-Jihadi Movement

Katherine Zimmerman, American Enterprise Institute, July 18, 2017

  • How to deal with Muslim immigration in a responsible and uncontroversial manner? I offer two suggestions. First, replace the “Muslims entering the United States” in Trump’s formulation with “Islamists entering the United States.” Islamists are those Muslims who seek to apply Islamic law, oppress women and non-Muslims, and establish a worldwide caliphate. They make up about 10-15 percent of the Muslim population; they, not Muslims in general, are the barbarians who “believe only in Jihad.”

Trump: ban Islamists, not Muslims

Daniel Pipes, The Washington Times, December 11, 2017


  • Young Daghestanis don’t view those of their compatriots who have gone to fight for the Islamic State as enemies but rather as victims of “brain washing” or “unresolved social problems” at home, according to a new study by three scholars at the Center for Youth Research at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg.

Young Daghestanis Don’t View Those Who Fight for ISIS as Enemies, New Study Finds

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

  • Non-governmental organizations, civil libertarians, and business leaders warn that Ukraine appears to be sliding toward an increasingly nationalistic, anti-Semitic era characterized by hooliganism, threats, and in some cases, outright violence to Jews.

Rising Anti-Semitism, Ultra-nationalism in Ukraine Raises Concerns

David A. Patten, Newsmax, July 23, 2017

  • “National security” encompassed much more, embracing all elements of national power to protect not just our borders but also our way of life and national values. This was especially trenchant in an era of totalitarianism, when ideologies such as Nazism and Soviet communism threatened the very existence of democratic capitalism, and when the United States sought to marshal all elements of national power in response — including instruments that had been little used previously, such as intelligence and ideological warfare.

The National Security Act Turns 70

William Inboden, War on the Rocks, July 26, 2017

  • Joseph R. Hayden describes the press’s newfound power in the war’s aftermath — that seminal moment when journalists discovered their ability to help broker peace talks. He examines the role of the American press at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, looking at journalists’ influence on the peace process and their relationship to heads of state and other delegation members. . . . Hayden demonstrates that journalists instead played an integral part in the talks, by serving as public ambassadors.

[Free e-Book] Negotiating in the Press: American Journalism and Diplomacy, 1918-1919

Josheph R. Hayden, Free E-Books, July 21, 2017

  • There is hereby established a Psychological Strategy Board responsible, within the purposes and terms of this directive, for the formulation and promulgation, as guidance to the departments and agencies responsible for psychological operations, of over-all national psychological objectives, policies and programs, and for the coordination and evaluation of the national psychological effort.

128 – Directive Establishing the Psychological Strategy Board, Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States, 1945-1953

John Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project, June 20, 1951

  • Think twice before engaging with apparent news content online. Even the most reputable outlets have been known to get the story wrong. Fake news isn’t just a problem for those who lean to the right of the political spectrum. Anti-Trump content, particularly coverage that purports to be the key to his impeachment is spreading like wildfire among the liberals. If you are not absolutely certain about a news story, Snopes it – if it can’t be verified as fact, don’t share it, lest you become an unwitting propagandist too.

Develop a Firewall For Your Mind

Alicia Wanless, La Generalista, May 5, 2017


  • Truman’s secretary of state, Dean Acheson, defended the administration’s approach in his memoirs. An official trying to gain public support for foreign policy, he wrote, is not “the writer of a doctoral thesis. Qualification must give way to simplicity of statement, nicety and nuance to bluntness, almost brutality, in carrying home a point.” Acheson estimated that the average American with a job and a family had perhaps 10 minutes a day in which to think about foreign policy. “If we made our points clearer than truth, we did not differ from most other educators and could hardly do otherwise.”

What Truman Can Teach Trump

Walter Russell Mead, The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2017

  • Social networking is useful as a diplomatic tool, but only as a complement to the work of face-to-face contacts with key audiences and decision-makers. There comes a point in human relations (particularly when dealing with another society and culture) when you must engage face to face, in the local language, to develop the trust and committed relationships that we need to discuss serious international issues (including, as an extreme example, military and/or diplomatic support).

Five myths about the Foreign Service

Leon Weintraub, The Washington Post, July 20, 2017

  • . . . due to what [Nadia] Schadlow calls the “American denial syndrome,” policymakers have consistently rejected the idea that governance should be a formal part of military operations. That “the United States continues to lack the operational capabilities to consolidate combat gains in order to reconstitute political order” she attributes to a combination of history and culture.

The Morning After: Converting military victories into political success

Mackubin Thomas Owens, The Weekly Standard, May 15, 2017

  • The notion that the United States and the European Union share an unbreakable set of well-defined values has undergone a resurgence since America’s presidential election. . . . President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel . . . . grounded their support for that longstanding partnership on their conception of the bedrock principles . . . . “to shape globalization based on our values and our ideas.” Among “the values we share,” the pair cited themes such as “our commitment to democracy, our commitment to the rule or law, [and] our commitment to the dignity of all people in our own countries and around the world.”

What are transatlantic values?

Ben Johnson, Acton Institute, May 1, 2017

  • Moral panics arise when distorted mass media campaigns are used to create fear, reinforce stereotypes and exacerbate pre-existing divisions in the world, often based on race, ethnicity and social class.

How and Why Societal Elites Manipulate Public Fear

Scott A. Bonn, Ph.D., Psychology Today, April 30, 2017


  • Li Xiaopeng once idolized the West. While a student, he broke through China’s internet firewall to read news from abroad, revered the U.S. Constitution and saw the authoritarian Chinese government as destined to fade away.  Now the 34-year-old urban consultant, who studied at both Cambridge and Harvard, thinks it’s China that is ascendant and the U.S. that is terminally weakened by income inequality, divided government and a polarized society. He says so volubly to his more than 80,000 followers on social media.

New Challenge to U.S. Power: Chinese Exceptionalism

Te-Ping Chen and Josh Chin, The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2017

  • The American, we are often told, is like a child incapable of memory formation . . . . There is something indisputable about this. We have a tendency to believe that it is incumbent upon us to meddle in elections, to prop up opposition movements, to lecture, to scold, to pontificate. But the outsider forgets or does not know that these tendencies, however irksome or maddening, are symptomatic of a belief that we can make the world better. * * * Those who are quick to bemoan American hegemony never seem to mention what might replace it: a Pax Sinica? A world devoid of any super- or hyperpowers? Then what? The wars of late will look like playground skirmishes when the Pax Americana ends.

How Russia Mercilessly Played Trump for A Fool

Peter Savodnik, Vanity Fair, July 20, 2017

Countries, Regions, Case Studies

  • . . . for the first time fewer than half of all Russians say they trust government TV in large part because the economy and its problems are the primary focus of Russians in their everyday lives but the last thing the media attend to. . . . Russians are standing in line, often for long hours, to view the relics of saints at least in part because having something to believe in is important to them and “they no longer have any faith in the government”.

Two New Signs Russians are Ceasing to Trust the Kremlin’s Messages

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia – New Series, July 25, 2017

  • Moscow’s attempt to control the internet inside Russia has come unstuck following a campaign by hackers who have subverted a system of blacklisting sites deemed inappropriate.

Hackers undermine Russia’s attempts to control the internet

Alec Luhn, The Guardian, July 25, 2017

  • . . . those political leaders who accept the primacy of ideology as an explanation for Russian behavior are failing to see what is really going on and often claim victory for themselves without understanding that they haven’t won one or yield to their opponents who see more clearly that other factors are at work.

Russians Less Attached to Ideology than Many Assume, Moscow Commentators Say

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia – New Series, July 24, 2017

  • Russia’s lower house of parliament approved a spate of censorship laws today, voting for legislation that will prohibitmessaging services from allowing users to communicate anonymously, outlaw the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), proxies, and other anonymizers, and require search engines to hide links to blocked sites.

Russia’s Parliament Went on a Censorship Binge Today

Isaac Webb, Global Voices, July 21, 2017

  • . . . through Russia Today and other direct or indirect arms of Kremlin propaganda, Putin makes common cause with his old comrades on the far left. In the main, the goal is to undermine the West every way they can, from exposing military and diplomatic secrets via WikiLeaks, to intervening in and calling into question the legitimacy of the democratic process, to raising the bogus specter of a “deep state” that suppresses the popular will.

Is the News Media an ‘Existential’ Threat?

Bret Stephens, The New York Times, July 20, 2017

  • On Monday, the Russian Supreme Court confirmed the ban on the Jehovah’s Witnesses on the basis of Russian government claims that the Witnesses are an extremist organization; and already yesterday, Russia media discussing the denomination have been forced to put an asterisk after any reference to indicate that it has been banned as extremist.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Given ISIS Asterisk in Russian Media

Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia – New Series, July 19, 2017

  • Russia has successfully adapted its active measures for the digital age. The internet has hypercharged their effectiveness and the west has re-awakened to Russian dezinformatsiya by the SVR, the successor to the KGB. Now that the west is conscious, again, of Russian active measures, where else could Russia use its cyber capabilities, and to what end?

Russia’s next fake news campaign could devastate the economy

Cameron Colquhoun, Wired, 18 Jul 2017

  • “After what happened in the last election, the U.S. government should have instituted a very comprehensive program to make sure the Russians never get involved in our democracy again, and we’ve done nothing. Nothing at all.”

[Video] Russia Committed ‘Psychological Warfare’ in 2016 Election, Counterterrorism Expert Tells Bill Maher

Rosemary Rossi, SFGate, June 30, 2017

  • What makes different from other similar websites is the disproportional weight it enjoys in news coverage by the Russian state media. Global Research is prominently featured as the only source in numerous stories by Russia’s leading newswire RIA Novosti, where it’s referred to as a “think tank” or “publication” whose “experts” or “journalists” regularly reveal or uncover some fact that fits into the Kremlin’s current foreign policy agenda.

The Kremlin’s Manichaean delusion How Moscow came to embrace fringe anti-Western conspiracy theories

Alexey Kovalev, Medusa, August 14, 2015

  • Ever since Latvia regained its independence, in 1991 . . . Russia has used spies, Latvian turncoats, blackmail, bribery, surveillance, and other skullduggery to stir up trouble . . . . For at least ten years, Russia has also employed the Web to spread disinformation about Latvian society, in an effort to weaken citizens’ support for European unity and for their democratic form of government, he said.

Lessons from Europe’s Fight Against Russian Disinformation

Dana Priest, The New Yorker, July 24, 2017

  • The article mocked the [Canadian] battalion’s professional capabilities, groundlessly claiming that NATO soldiers have no motivation to defend Latvia. Alekseev drew parallels between the deployment of NATO troops and the Nazi occupation—and even alluded to the alleged sexual perversity of Canadian troops. He illustrated the article with a photographic collage of a Canadian soldier in uniform wearing women’s underwear.

Latvia’s Pro-Kremlin Media Spread Crude NATO Disinformation

Martins Kaprans, Info-war, Center for European Policy Analysis, last accessed August 3, 2017


  • The paper introduces the complex historical developments within which Turkey’s current situation as an emerging power must be comprehended. It then explains the influence of domestic transformations, and democratization in particular, on the re- emergence of Turkey, and on its foreign policy narratives, with a focus on its public diplomacy.

[Report] Rising Soft Powers: Turkey

USC Center on Public Diplomacy, 2016

  1. CHINA
  • The Chinese name for and images of the plump, cute cartoon character are being blocked on social media sites here because bloggers have been comparing him to China’s president.

Why China censors banned Winnie the Pooh

By Stephen McDonell, BBC News, 17 July 2017

  • Website Bilibili says British hits such as Yes Minister and The IT Crowd were removed due to copyright issues, but viewers believe it has more to do with Beijing’s campaign to ‘clean up’ the internet

TV fans angry after foreign shows suddenly pulled from popular Chinese video-sharing sites

Eva Li, South China Morning Post, July 13, 2017

  • The data also picked up signs of possible reconnaissance work on foreign laboratories and research centers such as the Indian Space Research Organization’s National Remote Sensing Centre, the Indian National Metallurgical Laboratory, and the Philippines Department of Science and Technology Advanced Science and Technology Research Institutes.

Report: North Korean Cyber Attacks Launched from Other Countries

Phil Muncaster, Info-Security Magazine, July 26, 2017

  • Our analysis demonstrates that the limited number of North Korean leaders and ruling elite with access to the internet are actively engaged in Western and popular social media, regularly read international news, use many of the same services such as video streaming and online gaming, and above all, are not disconnected from the world at large or the impact North Korea’s actions have on the community of nations. Further, we have concluded that: Attempts to isolate North Korean elite and leadership from the international community are failing. * * * general internet activity in North Korea may not provide early warning of a strategic military action * * * North Korea is not using territorial resources to conduct cyber operations and most North Korean state-sponsored activity is likely perpetrated from abroad . . . .

[Report] North Korea’s Ruling Elite Are Not Isolated

Insikt Group, Recorded Future, July 25, 2017

  • Higher-than-average activity between North Korea and a number of countries around the world pointed to substantial and active physical and virtual presences in India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nepal, Kenya, Mozambique and Indonesia, although the report stressed this was not an indicator of government-level collaboration.  The report’s findings suggest that the strategy of shutting North Korean leadership off from the global economy with sanctions and massive international pressure has essentially failed.

North Korean web users enjoy Amazon, Facebook and YouTube, report claims

Alex Scroxton, Computer Weekly, July 25, 2017 

  1. INDIA
  • Like many countries, India is witnessing a proliferation of spurious websites passing off hoaxes and conspiracy theories as news. But even more than in the United States, fake news is seeping into the national conversation as politicians and a credulous news media seize on reports that glorify the country and bash its critics.

In India, the fake news phenomenon often serves the prime minister’s Hindu nationalist agenda

Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2017

  • Anti-Israeli propaganda themes have often developed from the many centuries- old core motifs of antisemitism.  For many Europeans, anti-Israelism has become a substitute for a currently not very presentable antisemitism.

Government Lags In Fighting Anti-Israelism Efficiently

Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2017

  • “The situation today is that the message of Israel is not coming across in the international media. What we want to improve is to make sure that those who speak on behalf of Israel prepare their messages and speak from a position of being offensive and not defensive, they speak from a position of strength, they know their talking points and the material that they need to present, and that is one of the main goals of our center,” added [Eva] Rosenstein [President of the Lilyan Wilder Center for Communications Excellence]

‘Israelis need to speak from a position of strength’

Hezki Baruch, Arutz Sheva, July 17, 2017

  • . . . to be truly effective there needs to be an intensified and united hasbara effort to devise a systematic long-term strategy to convince the international community of the following: 1) There is no moral equivalence between Israel, a Western-style liberal democracy, and Hezbollah, a radical Islamic terrorist organization that is similar to Islamic State.

Prepare the World for Hezbollah’s Next War

Gabriel Rosenberg, The Jerusalem Post, July 15, 2017

  1. QATAR
  • Intrigues, espionage, and manipulation of information are not new in international affairs and, to the extent to which it revolves around the circulation of disinformation, neither is the Qatar crisis. What differentiates the ongoing crisis in Qatar from conventional international crises, however, is the means—the deployment of cyber attacks—and the risk of escalation posed by this new brand of warfare.

Qatar Crisis: Lessons To Learn In The Age Of Cyber Attacks

Mariarosaria Taddeo, Newsweek, July 22, 2017

  • Many of those same factors likewise would seem to explain ISIS’ focus on Tunisia in carrying out several dramatic terrorist attacks in 2015-2016. Its propaganda emphasised perceptions of injustice shared by large swathes of the population – particularly those from marginalised regions and poor urban peripheries that most often encounter state brutality, corruption and social exclusion.

How the Islamic State Rose, Fell and Could Rise Again in the Maghreb

International Crisis Group, World Affairs Journal, July 24, 2017

  • ISIS’s propaganda has long been multilingual. From glossy magazines in English and French to videos in Hebrew and songs in Chinese, it has sought to globalize its outreach. But it is only recently that it has seriously turned to Persian, one of the main languages of the Muslim world and the official tongue in three Muslim-majority countries (Afghanistan and Tajikistan in addition to Iran). Apparently, it’s trying to increase recruitment in Iran and target Iranian territory.

ISIS Turns its Guns—and Propaganda Machine—on Iran

Arash Azizi, Daily Beast, July 26, 2017

  • The ISIS footprint on the internet is large and unlikely ever to be removed in its entirety. The group’s ideals will still appeal to some segments of society, whether out of disillusionment with the established order and a search for meaning in one’s life, or on account of identity crises, or all of these factors combined.

The Myth of ISIS’s Strategic Brilliance

Aymenn Al-Tamim, Defense One, July 21, 2017

  • Furat Media, the Russian-language branch of Islamic State’s propaganda apparatus, has released three high-quality videos since the start of July. Furat’s Twitter and Telegram accounts feature daily updates and multimedia posts, suggesting the group’s Russian branch may not be affected as strongly by the decline in propaganda capabilities that IS has reportedly been experiencing.  Aimed at Russian-speaking Muslims, Furat Media serves as IS’s main recruitment tool in Russia, Transcaucasia, the North Caucasus, Central Asia and elsewhere.

Islamic State’s Russian-language Propagandists Show Little Sign of Slowing Down

Fatima Tlis, VOA News, July 20, 2017

  • . . . the Islamic State’s cyber jihad, fully launched in 2014, is currently undergoing a regression that is demonstrated by the weakening of its quality, coverage and effectiveness. Comparing the character, major forms and popularity of Daesh’s releases from 2014 and 2015 with its most up-to-date productions, one can notice evident alterations signaling the long-awaited, but limited as yet, impairment of the “Caliphate’s” propaganda machine . . . . This transition is caused by a multitude of factors, with both offline and online origins.

Cracks in the Online “Caliphate”: How the Islamic State is Losing Ground in the Battle for Cyberspace

by Miron Lakomy, Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 11, No. 3 (2017)

  • The ongoing competition between al Qaeda and ISIS to lead the global Salafi-jihadi movement is primarily an ideological battle. Al Qaeda and ISIS leaders wage a war of words against each other‚ accusing the other of misleading followers and advocating a heretical interpretation of Islam.

America’s Real Enemy: The Salafi-Jihadi Movement

Katherine Zimmerman, American Enterprise Institute, 2017


  • Food is art. Food is community. Food is joy and cultural identity. Increasingly, food is also statecraft.

Culinary Diplomacy Is A Recipe For Breaking Barriers In Politics

Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger, Huffpost, July 21, 2017

  • Proficiency in irregular warfare and humanitarian aid/disaster relief requires leaders who are culturally competent.  The services have opted for region-specific cultural training instead of focusing on the broader perspective, or what anthropologists refer to as culture-general (tools to understand other cultures in a more general way, especially their different worldviews and beliefs). Current efforts are short sighted and temporary, highlighting the need for long-term, non-context-specific cultural training and education.

Cross-Cultural Competency Education at the U.S. Naval Academy

Maria J. Pallota, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July 2017

  • The State Department is spending $32,000 for poetry slams and puppet shows in Hyderabad, India.  The U.S. embassy in India is accepting grant applications for the “Arts for Social Change” project that will involve 20 performances about the environment, tolerance, and other issues.  “The U.S. Consulate General supports promotion of the arts as a leveraging point to discuss important aspects that can lead to social change . . . including performative storytelling projects, poetry slam events, theater performances, poetry recitations, and photo exhibitions,” the grant announcement states.

Feds Spending $32,000 for Poetry Slams, Puppet Shows in Hyderabad

Elizabeth Harrington, The Washington Free Beacon, July 25, 2017

  • Russia now leads or is near the top of countries in terms of the number of suicides and murders, deaths on highways, deaths from alcohol and drug abuse, and deaths from fires.

Russia achieving ever more anti-records under Putin

Euromaidan Press, July 24, 2017


This is a compilation of news, articles, essays, and reports on strategic communications, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. and foreign 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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