Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

File Notes on Information, Communication, and Public Diplomacy (#93)


There is a lot of information in this issue that I have never seen before. It is well worth the read!

</end editorial>



Edited by

Donald M. Bishop, Bren Chair of Strategic Communications, Marine Corps University

Carter T. McCausland, Virginia Military Institute, Assistant

While reading this compilation, you may hear faint echoes of winds and the cries of the crew of the Andrea Gail as they fought “the perfect storm.” In our storm, the crashing waves were the commentaries on the joint press conference with President Trump and President Putin in Helsinki on July 16. The waves flooded the deck and overwhelmed our pumps, though our battered vessel and soaked crew have now reached Gloucester harbor.

Fortunately, Joel Harding’s To Inform is to Influence website has heroically captured the reporting, the debates, the columns – and the spin and disinformation too. Here are the links:

Helsinki Summit Media (7) (July 23)

Helsinki Summit Media (6) (July 22)

Helsinki Summit Media (5) (July 21)

Helsinki Summit Media (4) (July 20)

Helsinki Summit Media (3) (July 19)

Helsinki Summit Media (2) (July 18)

Helsinki Summit Media (July 17)

NATO Summit Ad Hoc Update (2) (July 12)

NATO Summit Ad Hoc Update (1) (July 11)

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

In the News

  1. ON CAPITOL HILL
  2. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
  3. ELECTIONS

Elements of Informational Power

  1. PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
  2. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
  3. BROADCASTING

Professional Topics

  1. DISINFORMATION, FAKE NEWS
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA, INTERNET
  3. CYBER
  4. SOFT POWER
  5. IDEOLOGY
  6. INFORMATION WARFARE
  7. POLITICAL WARFARE
  8. NARRATIVE
  9. HISTORICAL NARRATIVES
  10. BRANDING
  11. CONSPIRACY THEORIES
  12. IMAGEFARE, MEMES
  13. MEDIA SAVVY, EDUCATION, JUDGEMENT
  14. IDEAS, CONCEPTS, AND DOCTRINE
  15. IDEAS OF AMERICA

Countries, Regions, Case Studies

  1. RUSSIA
  2. CHINA
  3. NORTH KOREA
  4. BALTICS
  5. CAMBODIA
  6. INDIA
  7. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
  8. VIETNAM
  9. ISLAMIC STATE

Toolkit

  1. ENGLISH TEACHING

Precepts

 

In the News

  1. ON CAPITOL HILL
  • “The idea that Russia did not meddle in our election is fake news,” [Senator Lindsey] Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”  “They did meddle in our election and they’re doing it again in 2018,” he added.

Graham: ‘Fake news’ to say Russia did not Meddle in US Election

Emily Birnbaum, The Hill, July 1, 2018

  1. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
  • The State Department, for its part, was unable to cut through the thicket of diplomatic issues involved in working through the host of foreign services that constitute the Internet. In short, none of our agencies showed very well in the cyber fight. One exception was an international effort to combat ISIS’s hateful online presence with counter-messaging, an effort that did achieve significant reach and had a real impact.

A Lasting Defeat: The Campaign to Destroy ISIS

Ash Carter, Harvard Kennedy School, October 2017

 

  1. ELECTIONS
  • So, what exactly is Russia planning for the upcoming election? The correct question . . . is what are they not planning? These people all said that 2018 will likely be a testing ground for 2020. Many of the tactics that Russia experiments with could (and likely will) be enacted on a much larger scale two year from now. Some of these strategies and maneuvers . . . have the same sinister goal of breaking the system—by cleaving our polity, distracting us with feuds large and small—by sowing discord through technology platforms and services. * * * we as a country are more divided on almost every issue than at any other time in history. “[Russia is] not the creator of this problem, but they have exploited it. Just creating mistrust and throwing a question mark over the legitimacy of our government, is a pretty big prize for Russia.”

“The Russians Play Hard”: Inside Russia’s Attempt to Hack 2018—And 2020

Nick Bilton, Vanity Fair, June 22, 2018

Instruments of Informational Power

 

  1. PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
  • Whilst all steps towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula are an accomplishment for global security, as well as the primary objective of U.S. policy towards the DPRK, the requisite actions to get to that point must occur as part of a long-term, multi-pronged strategy that goes far beyond simple reaffirmations. One aspect of that strategy that is important to consider is public diplomacy, and its ability to deepen and increase the credibility of the U.S.-DPRK relationship.

Why Now? The Necessity and Challenges of a New Public Diplomacy Strategy Towards the DPRK

Ellen Ehrnrooth, American Security Project, June 21, 2018

 

  1. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
  • I also thought our public communications efforts helped move the campaign forward. * * * Giving the press, and therefore Congress, our allies, and the public, a clear picture of what we were doing and where we were heading made it easier for the President and political leaders in coalition nations to give us the support we needed.  Peter Cook * * * helped sometimes reluctant commanders get comfortable with the notion of briefing the Pentagon press corps. I encouraged these briefings because our uniformed leaders can provide unique perspective and expertise and have special credibility with the press. Whether it was in Baghdad or Kabul, or at an event like the change-of-command ceremonies that installed Joe Votel at CENTCOM and General Tony Thomas at Special Operations Command, Peter worked hard to get me, Joe Dunford, and our military commanders in front of the media, together, as much as our schedules would allow, which I thought demonstrated important unity of effort.

A Lasting Defeat: The Campaign to Destroy ISIS

Ash Carter, Harvard Kennedy School, October 2017

 

  1. BROADCASTING
  • The U.S. Department of State has condemned“the selective targeting” of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in response to a July 5 ruling by a Moscow court finding that the media company failed to comply with requirements tied to its designation as a “foreign agent.”

In Run-Up to Summit, Kremlin Targets RFE/RL

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, July 9, 2018

  • A Russian court fined Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Thursday for violating a “foreign agent” law, a move the U.S.-government sponsored broadcaster described as the latest step in a campaign against its operations.

Russian court fines Radio Free Europe for breaking ‘foreign agent’ law

Andrew Osborn, Reuters, July 5, 2018

  • . . . RT’s launch on French airwaves has been anything but smooth.  Now, a formal warningfrom France’s broadcasting authority and a new law cracking down on disinformationhave poured cold water on the channel’s French ambitions.

In France, RT is getting no love

EU Vs. Disinfo, Stop Fake, July 10, 2018

  • Current Time’s head, Daisy Sindelar, is open about the fact that the channel “was created in the aftermath of the Russian occupation of Crimea.” But the aim, she says, was to give “Russian speakers, in particular in Crimea, in Eastern Ukraine, but everywhere in the world, an opportunity for an alternative source of information.”  The channel is co-produced by two U.S. government-funded entities with long Cold War histories, the Washington-based Voice of America and the Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Don’t Call Us Information Warriors

Eduard Saakashvili, CODA, July 11, 2018

  • Russian state-owned media, such as Russia Today (RT), Sputnik and Russian national TV position themselves as reliable alternatives to what they label “main stream media”. The use of international commentators and experts by these Russian media does not necessarily reflect the depths of their expertise, rather whether their positioning is in line with pro-Kremlin narratives.

Useful Experts in Russian Media

EU Vs. Disinfo, February 21, 2017

Professional Topics

  1. DISINFORMATION, FAKE NEWS
  • The use of information to confuse and divide an enemy was widely practiced during the Cold War. What is new is not the basic model, but the high speed and low cost of spreading disinformation. Electrons are faster, cheaper, safer, and more deniable than spies carrying around bags of money and secrets.

Is Cyber the Perfect Weapon?

Joseph Nye, Project Syndicate, July 5, 2018

  • . . . during these seminars I learned from my students coming from the former USSR more than they learned from me. Did Norway legalize incest? Did migrants rape a Russian girl in Germany? Did Ukrainian nationalists crucify a toddler? Did NATO soldiers rape women in Latvia? No, but all of this sensational news made headlines in Russian-language traditional and/or digital media. These issues sparked our debate on chaos as a key tool in foreign policy for some actors, on why our brains often believe fake news and do not debunk disinformation, as well as on the responsibility for our data being exposed on social media. Whatever gets to the internet, stays in the internet (the “delete” button does not work very well there).

Teaching Public Diplomacy: Inside the Classroom

Katarzyna Rybka-Iwanska, USC Public Diplomacy, June 4, 2018

  • On 15 June, Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti published a fake news story, “President of Latvia: the U.S. will not protect Europe from Russia,” intended to undermine popular support for NATO before the Alliance’s summitin Brussels in July.  The article was published in Russian two days after Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis gave opening remarks at a discussion at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA) on the upcoming NATO summit. The article accurately recounts only some of Mr. Vejonis’s remarks * * * The version published by RIA Novosti was distorted, employing a frequently used technique: using some correct or mostly correct facts or statements, but a misleading title.

Summit Disinfo Targets Latvia

Anna Ūdre, CEPA, July 11, 2011

  • Since the US election in 2016, the social media giants have been stepping up their actionagainst disinformation and fake accounts in their networks. Facebook has recognized the use of its platformfor information operations and the Mueller report showed the scale of Russia’s operation aimed at influencing public opinion on social media before the 2016 US Presidential elections.  Another study has shown that over 156,000 Russian-based Twitter accounts had massively tweeted about Brexit in the days leading up to the June 2016 referendum.

Figure of the Week: 70 million

EU Vs. Disinfo, July 10, 2018

  • Fake news is a problem; so are the likely remedies.

The Propagandist and the Censor

Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, June 21, 2018

  • The pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign has one underlying strategy.Despite the diversity of messages, channels, tools, levels, ambitions and tactical aims, and notwithstanding its rapidly adapting nature, the strategic objective is one and the same – to weaken the West and strengthen the Kremlin in a classic zero-sum game approach. While it is important to be aware of this overarching strategic objective, we also need to understand how this objective is translated at the tactical level.
    The Strategy and Tactics of the Pro-Kremlin Disinformation Campaign

EU Vs. Disinformation, June 27, 2018

 

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA, INTERNET
  • Belgium’s intelligence services have acquired new software to make it easier to gather information online . . . First ordered two years ago after the terrorist attacks in Brussels, the software is expected to help the intelligence services identify potential threats via social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Belgian intelligence services implement new tools to track social media

Telecom Paper, July 9, 2018

  • Authorities in northeastern India have cut internet access after crazed mobs beat three people to death in lynchings sparked by rumours spread on smartphones, officials said Friday.  They were the latest in a string of more than 25 similar killings in recent months across India, according to press reports, that have been ignited by false information spread on messaging service WhatsApp.

Indian state cuts internet after three new lynchings

Jalees Andrabi, Yahoo, June 29, 2018

  • Attacks on countries through social networks deserve to be considered a modern form of terrorism, an information one, which in Russia itself is called “information support for combat operations” and is officially part of its military doctrine.
    Torn networks. How Facebook and Twitter are used to spread hate

Vadim Dovnar, LB.ua, November 22, 2017

 

  1. CYBER
  • The U.S. military established Cyber Command almost a decade ago, but it fails to maximize its contributions to national mission. * * * simmering beneath the surface is a crippling human capital problem: The military is an impossible place for hackers thanks to antiquated career management, forced time away from technical positions, lack of mission, non-technical mid- and senior-level leadership, and staggering pay gaps, among other issues.

Fish Out of Water: How the Military is an Impossible Place for Hackers, and What to do About it

Josh Lospinoso, War on the Rocks, July 12, 2018

  • The State Department’s top cybersecurity official says he is “optimistic” the United States can strike a deal at the United Nations on norms for government behavior in cyberspace with multiple countries, including China and Russia, two of Washington’s biggest adversaries in the domain.  Despite myriad U.S. grievances with the Russian and Chinese governments over their hacking operations, Robert Strayer said there is ample precedent for a new agreement involving the three cyber powers.

Top State Department cyber official ‘optimistic’ of U.N. deal with Russia, China

Sean Lyngaas, Cyber Scoop, July 9, 2018

  • President Vladimir Putin on Friday called for closer international cooperation in fending off cyberattacks. * * * Putin pointed at Russia pooling efforts with European nations to work out an agreed mechanism of protection of personal data rules, citing it as a positive example of international cooperation.  The Russian leader didn’t address allegations that government-sponsored Russian hackers have meddled in the U.S. 2016 presidential elections. Moscow has strongly denied interfering in the vote.

Guess which world leader is urging cybersecurity cooperation

The Associated Press, Fifth Domain, July 6

 

  1. SOFT POWER
  • Building on existing literatureabout how one country can persuade others to do what it wants without the use of force, my recently published researchilluminates how autocracies employ cross-border mobility as a “soft power” strategy. Initially confined to the developing world during the Cold War, authoritarian regimes’ use of migration has, over the past 30 years, burgeoned into a truly global phenomenon.

How Authoritarian Regimes Use Migration to Exert ‘Soft Power’ in Foreign Policy

Gerasimos Tsourapas, The Washington Post, July 6, 2018

 

  1. IDEOLOGY
  • Americans are used to thinking about China primarily as a challenge to U.S. global economic superiority and geopolitical primacy in the Asia-Pacific. What’s become clear, though, is that the ideological challenge an authoritarian China poses to democratic governance around the world is also quite serious. . . . . China is contesting that dominance, through a two-pronged offensive that involves promoting authoritarian governance while also undermining democratic practices in countries near and far.  China’s ideological assertiveness has been building for years.

China’s Master Plan: Exporting an Ideology

Hal Brands, Bloomberg, June 11, 2018

 

  1. INFORMATION WARFARE
  • Russian involvement in the information domain includes electronic warfare, espionage and active measures such as disinformation, propaganda, psychological pressure, destabilization of society and influence of foreign media. The aim is to sow doubt and division amongst strategically targeted societies with the longer-term objective of boosting Moscow’s comparative power and influence across the world stage.

Wargaming Moscow’s Virtual Battlefield

The Cipher Brief, June 26, 2018

 

  1. POLITICAL WARFARE
  • Political Warfare is not a new concept, and the British . . . describe political warfare as encompassing the elements of psychological warfare, ideological warfare, morale warfare, and propaganda. The British viewed political warfare as part of a national strategy to be used against any enemy during armed conflict, which is very similar to the definition used for the purpose of this article, which is “the forceful political expression of what a nation is about in a particular conflict.” Today, new media is the modus operandifor reaching a global audience with a message, and a broad range of actors have taken full advantage to include it in their tool kit. They can gain power through control of information and influencing a perceived threat through disinformation, among other methods of political warfare.

The Bear’s Side of the Story: Russian Political and Information Warfare

Tyler Quinn, The Strategy Bridge, June 27, 2018

 

  1. NARRATIVE
  • Most of the [Russian] stories, ranging from big news events to local murders to sheer inventions (“the German government is taking children away from their families and giving them to gay couples”) fit into a particular set of narratives. Daily life in Europe is depicted as frightening and chaotic; Europeans are weak, with declining morality and no common values; terrorism keeps people paralyzed with fear; the refugee crisis is getting worse all the time; sanctions on Russia have backfired and are now undermining the European economy and destroying the welfare state. Russia, in the version of the world depicted here, does not need a welfare state, since its citizens are so much hardier.

The Fake News Russians Hear at Home

Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post, May 4, 2018

 

  1. HISTORICAL NARRATIVES
  • Less than a decade ago, it seemed self-evident that Russia, despite all of its cultural and political differences, was reclaiming its rightful place as part of the Western world. In a piece for a German newspaper, Mr. Putin wrote of a “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” that aspires to free trade and shares common values.  Now Russia is increasingly looking East, toward an uneasy alliance with an illiberal and much more powerful China, and—in recognition of the country’s increasingly Muslim makeup—with nations such as Turkey and Iran. But even more pronounced is a sentiment that Russia, so unique in its vastness, must remain a world unto itself, a country that should expect kinship from no one—and that, in a motto coined by Czar Alexander III more than a century ago, can count on only two reliable allies: the Army and the Navy.

Russia’s Turn to Its Asian Past

Yaroslav Trofimov, The Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2018

  • The legacy of the Opium War, which was actually made up of two conflicts, looms large in mainland China, where it is an integral part of “patriotic education” and is still invoked in political discourse. When President Hu Jintao spoke during the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party last month, it was one of the first events he mentioned.

Highlighting Differences in Interpretations of the Opium War

Joyce Lau, The New York Times, August 18, 2011

 

  1. BRANDING
  • In Vladimir Putin’s push to build Russia’s global influence, one of his most potent weapons is his own image.  Two decades of efforts by Kremlin specialists have chiseled an international icon of inscrutability and might out of a former municipal bureaucrat who wore ill-fitting suits. Russia’s allure no longer revolves around Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy; today, the attraction centers on a squinting, clenched-jawed and occasionally shirtless president.

How the Kremlin crafted a popular brand: Putin

Anton Troianovski, The Washington Post, July 12, 2018

  • Not only was Putin decidedly not a celebrity prior to coming to power in 1999 . . . but his public image, carefully managed from the start, became more extravagantly oriented towards celebrity style after 2005.  The timing and significance of this change is the subject of this article.

From project Putin to brand Putin

Adrian Campbell and Elena Denezhkina, Taylor and Francis Online, May 19, 2017

 

  1. CONSPIRACY THEORIES
  • A good course of action to mitigate the problem is to catch new conspiracy theorists early,” Samory says. “They’re the fastest to radicalize, they’re the ones that remain the most engaged, but they also have the highest amount of distrust during the crisis.” In other words, debunking efforts should focus on these newbie joiners.

Here’s One Way to Reform an Internet Conspiracy Theorist

Emma Ellis, Wired, June 27, 2018

  • Psychological manipulation is an influence technique designed to change the behavior or beliefs of its target audiences through distraction, deception, and misrepresentation. One strikingly effective variant relies on the strategic deployment and exploitation of rumors, conspiracy theories, fake news, and other forms of what I call “extra-factual information”—a term that encompasses not only false or misleading information but also unverified statements and other sources of nonfactual knowledge, such as literature and “common sense”—in order to fan fears that have little or no basis in objective reality but ring viscerally true to target audiences.

How Trump Manipulates the Migration Debate

Kelly Greenhill, Foreign Affairs, July 5, 2018

 

  1. IMAGEFARE, MEMES
  • Fake videos have become such a potentially disruptive threat that the high-tech research arm of the Pentagon is launching a contest in early July aimed at detecting “deepfakes,” hoax videos so realistic that they could trigger political scandal or even spark violent conflict.

Are your eyes lying to you? Experts, Pentagon hunt for tools to detect hoax videos

Tim Johnson, McClatchy DC Bureau, June 28, 2018

  • New technology on the internet lets anyone make videos of real people appearing to say things they’ve never said. Republicans and Democrats predict this high-tech way of putting words in someone’s mouth will become the latest weapon in disinformation wars against the United States and other Western democracies.  We’re not talking about lip-syncing videos. This technology uses facial mapping and artificial intelligence to produce videos that appear so genuine it’s hard to spot the phonies. Lawmakers and intelligence officials worry that the bogus videos — called deepfakes — could be used to threaten national security or interfere in elections.

I never said that! High-tech deception of ‘deepfake’ videos

Deb Riechmann, The Washington Post, July 2, 2018

  • On May 14, news agency “News Front” published a storyincluding an image of “Kosovan and Albanian migrants storming EU borders” from Serbia. * * * the story achieved 48.507 impressions on Twitter and was tweeted by disinformation-related accounts in the Netherlands, Serbia and Slovenia, among others.  News Front is a growing Russian news agency that is run from Crimea, created to “fight in the information war” and is frequently spreading disinformation. According to Die Zeit, the agency is partly funded by the FSB, Russia’s security service.

One Image, 4 x Disinformation about Migrants

EU Vs. Disinfo, June 22, 2018

 

  1. MEDIA SAVVY, JUDGMENT, EDUCATION
  • In this environment, users are more important than ever. It’s up to everyone to be critical about the information they encounter, no matter where it comes from. Look for corroboration. Find actual facts from trusted sources. Don’t believe everything you’re told.  In the age of weaponized FUD [fear, uncertainty, and doubt], it’s up to all of us to become security pros.

Russia, Facebook & Cybersecurity: Combating Weaponized FUD in the Social Media Age

Mike Convertino, Dark Reading, June 27, 2018

 

  1. IDEAS, CONCEPTS, AND DOCTRINE
  • The international social system — or “world order” for short — is defined by its most powerful members, articulated in norms and ideologies, embodied in institutions, and gives rise to a discernable culture in which states operate.
    Non-“Western” Liberalism and the Resilience of the Liberal International Order

Paul Miller, The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2018, pp. 150-151

  • . . . our culture does a pretty good job of ignoring the uniqueness and depth of each person. Pollsters see in terms of broad demographic groups. Big data counts people as if it were counting apples. At the extreme, evolutionary psychology reduces people to biological drives, capitalism reduces people to economic self-interest, modern Marxism to their class position and multiculturalism to their racial one. Consumerism treats people as mere selves — as shallow creatures concerned merely with the experience of pleasure and the acquisition of stuff.  Back in 1968, Karol Wojtyla wrote, “The evil of our times consists in the first place in a kind of degradation, indeed in a pulverization, of the fundamental uniqueness of each human person.” That’s still true.  So, this might be a perfect time for a revival of personalism.

Personalism: The Philosophy We Need

David Brooks, The New York Times, June 14, 2018

  • [After 9/11] American core values were at stake in ways unknown since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. U.S. officials responded with a host of values-laden policies little disciplined by cold calculations of interest or realistic understandings of the limits of military force. It was the balance between interests and values, conditioned by threat and tempted by power, that drove U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War era. America’s excesses, Leffler explains, came when the perceived threats were extreme and core values usurped strategic interests in foreign policy formulation.

#Reviewing Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism

Spencer Bakich, The Strategy Bridge, July 16, 2018

  • A good course of action to mitigate the problem is to catch new conspiracy theorists early,” Samory says. “They’re the fastest to radicalize, they’re the ones that remain the most engaged, but they also have the highest amount of distrust during the crisis.” In other words, debunking efforts should focus on these newbie joiners.

Here’s One Way to Reform an Internet Conspiracy Theorist

Emma Ellis, Wired, June 27, 2018

 

  1. IDEAS OF AMERICA
  • Before September 11, it had never occurred to me that the stability of global trade, international peace, and the integrity of transnational communications were in some regard the product of a naval supremacy that the United States silently inherited from the British. It had never occurred to me that the world would look dramatically different if another country or axis enjoyed this power, and that it was in my interest to ensure that this never happened. I had never considered, in other words, the importance of the Pax Americana. From now on, I would never forget it.

My American Dream

Charles Cooke, National Review, July 4, 2018

  • This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism. For the first time in Gallup’s 18-year history asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than a majority say they are “extremely proud.” Currently, 47% describe themselves this way, down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003.

In U.S., Record-Low 47% Extremely Proud to Be Americans

Jeffrey Jones, Gallup, July 2, 2018

  • Social norms trickle down through three main mechanisms: regulation, persuasion, and emulation. Each of these is threatened by the division and fragmentation of American society.

Trickle Down Norms

Richard Reeves, Brookings, January 4, 2018

Countries, Regions, Case Studies

 

  1. RUSSIA
  • In the more usual sense of the word, an “expert” is a person recognised for his/her knowledge and experience in a given field. Expertise is usually gained through years of studying, through proper research, through publishing articles that get under public scrutiny, or through discussions with other experts.  In the unique world of Russian TV, there is a less laborious and significantly quicker way to become an expert on anything. All a person needs to do is to say something at least slightly favourable to Russia.

On Russian TV, It’s OK to be Racist, As Long As You Say Nice Things About Russia

EU Vs. Disinfo, July 11, 2018

  • Russia knows how to spread chaos and outragein American politics, but Russia may pose a far greater threat to the U.S. economy and the infrastructure it depends on. * * * What the U.S. now faces is not just an economic threat or an information warfare threat, but a direct challenge to our national security from cyber-enabled economic warfare(CEEW), a concerted effort to target the pillars of the U.S. economy to undermine Washington’s ability to defend its citizens and project power abroad. 

Don’t Underestimate Economic Side of Russia’s Cyber Warfare

Boris Zilberman, The Cipher Brief, June 25, 2018

  • A summer school at Uppsala University invited among other lecturers British journalist Vanessa Beeley, the author of the leading independent blog on the conflict in Syria. She talked about the methods of the Western media using deliberately false information, and stated that Russian journalists  cover events more objectively than their Western counterparts * * * In her lecture, she voiced many of the usual pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives which was highlighted and criticised later both by Swedish local mediaand Estonian professors and students attending the class.

The Truth About Russia from the Mouth of a British Journalist in Sweden Caused Hysteria Among Estonian Students

EU vs. Disinfo, July 2, 2018

  • . . . most Western media amplify Russian propaganda, repeating what “Russia says” or what “Putin says” – which is always lies or incomplete truth. What “Russia says” is hate propaganda directed specifically at Ukraine but also at the West in general. * * * The fascist ideology which guides Russia today is based on emotion, not reason. It doesn’t matter that the propaganda the Kremlin spreads about NATO is false and contradictory. What matters is that it makes the Russian people fear and hate, and at the same time doubt their own experience and reason. That is why it is tragic that most of the Western media amplifies what “Russia says” uncritically.

“Russia Says” — Russian Propaganda, Amplified by Western Media, Drowns Out All Good News About NATO and Ukraine

Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, June 25, 2018

  • . . . the letter published by Congressman Ro Khanna and co-signed by 57 other Congressmen begins and ends with an issue which we all support, Rep. Khanna Leads Bipartisan members In Condemning Anti-Semitism In EuropeThe middle of the letter and the bulk, is based entirely on Russian propaganda.

Congressman Ro Khanna, Please Retract, Revise, And/Or Rethink Your Letter

Joel Harding, To Inform is to Influence, May 11, 2018

  • . . . VCIOM’s poll shows a Russian public with rather negative views of the American president and the United States. However, the majority of Russians want ties with the United States to strengthen and a sizable portion are optimistic that U.S.-Russian relations will improve. . . . . When asked how much they liked Donald Trump, 10 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion as opposed to 71 percent who had an unfavorable one. Nearly 1 in 5 had no opinion of the American president.  * * * Russians have a more favorable opinion of Americans, though it is still overall negative. About one-third (30 percent) of Russians view Americans favorably, 44 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Americans, and 27 percent have no opinion.

3 charts explain how Russians see Trump and US

Erik Nisbet, The Conversation, July 13, 2018

 

  1. CHINA
  • China is creating an objective condition that changes the present, established economic and political order. This challenge has been framed in terms of an authoritarian system against America’s democratic system . . . However, this is different from the old challenge of the USSR. Then Moscow sought to spread its ideology and its political system worldwide, and therefore it was locked in a life-or-death fight against the capitalist system. * * * China, differently, is objectively forcing changes in the political and economic system without an intention to do so. But in many ways the result is the same.

War or Peace Around China

Francesco Sisci, Settimana News, July 10, 2018

  • China seeks to becomea “cyber superpower.” . . . .Beijing wants to “write the rules for global cyber governance.” Beijing’s cyber-governance plans . . . are to address cybersecurity challenges, support domestic technologies and, ominously, “expand Beijing’s power to surveil and control the dissemination of economic, social, and political information online.”

China’s Biggest Cellphone Company Censors Content — Even in the United States

Isaac Fish, The Washington Post, July 4, 2018

  • . . . the official press agency of the Chinese government, announcedthat Confucius Institutes would undergo a series of “reforms.” Confucius Institutes . . .are teaching and research centers sprinkled across hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States and elsewhere. They have sparked significant backlash—not least because of their direct funding and control by the Chinese government.  Among the chief concerns is China’s censorship of its own history (Tiananmen Square? What’s that?) and its insistence on vetting all curricula. To ensure that instructors don’t stray from the approved text, China also staffs the Confucius Institutes with teachers it selects, trains, and pays. A Chinese government agency, the Hanban, provides textbooks plus additional operating funds to sweeten the deal for college administrators.  The only appropriate response to such inappropriate interference is to reject China’s overtures.

‘Reforming’ Confucius Institutes

Rachelle Peterson, American Greatness, February 21, 2018

  • The iOS 11.4.1 update Apple released Mondaywas most notable for making it harder for law enforcement to access locked iPhones. On Tuesday, security researcher Patrick Wardle illuminated another fix. He said his fix addressed code Apple added likely to appease the Chinese government; this is the code that caused crashes on certain iDevices when users typed the word Taiwan or received messages containing a Taiwanese flag emoji.

iPhone crashing bug likely caused by code added to appease Chinese gov’t

Dan Goodin, ARS Technica, July 10, 2018

  • Americans are used to thinking about China primarily as a challenge to U.S. global economic superiority and geopolitical primacy in the Asia-Pacific. What’s become clear, though, is that the ideological challenge an authoritarian China poses to democratic governance around the world is also quite serious.  Many observers have been slow to recognize that challenge, because any discussion of ideology is often dismissed as “Cold War thinking,” and because for so many years the free-market democratic model appeared incontestably dominant. Yet China is contesting that dominance, through a two-pronged offensive that involves promoting authoritarian governance while also undermining democratic practices in countries near and far.  China’s ideological assertiveness has been building for years.

China’s Master Plan: Exporting an Ideology

Hal Brands, Bloomberg, June 11, 2018

  • The legacy of the Opium War, which was actually made up of two conflicts, looms large in mainland China, where it is an integral part of “patriotic education” and is still invoked in political discourse. When President Hu Jintao spoke during the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party last month, it was one of the first events he mentioned.

Highlighting Differences in Interpretations of the Opium War

Joyce Lau, The New York Times, August 18, 2011

 

  1. NORTH KOREA

 

  • Ultimately, public diplomacy towards the DPRK is necessary to make future relations meaningful and is an important component of a strategy to work towards the verifiable and lasting denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Through the combination of cultural, scientific, and economic diplomatic action, U.S. credibility can be established in the DPRK without compromising U.S. national security interests.

What Now? How to Go About a New Public Diplomacy Strategy Towards the DPRK

Ellen Ehrnrooth, American Security Project, June 28, 2018

 

  1. BALTICS
  • The Baltic states have many times expressed their concern about aggressive policy of Russia towards neighbouring states considering it as a threat to national security. The decision on NATO membership has become the necessary and expectable step guaranteeing their safety. However, in terms of information security these countries still remain vulnerable. Russia continues to invest lump sums into information war pursuing separation and weakening of their communities.

Destructive influence of Russian propaganda in Baltic states

Rene Westbrook, Medium, July 6

 

  1. CAMBODIA
  • Chinese cyber spies have targeted Cambodian government institutions, opposition party members, diplomats and media, possibly to gather information ahead of elections later this month . . . .

Chinese Cyber-Spy Hackers Target Cambodia as Elections Loom

David Tweed, Bloomberg, July 10, 2018

 

  1. INDIA
  • As Twitter finally gets serious about purging fake accounts, and YouTube says it will try to firefight conspiracy theories and fake news flaming across its platform . . ., Facebook-owned WhatsApp is grappling with its own fake demons in India, where social media platforms have been used to seed and spread false rumors — fueling mob violence and leading to number of deaths in recent years.

Facebook buys ads in Indian newspapers to warn about WhatsApp fakes

Natasha Lomas, Tech Crunch, July 10, 2018

  • Authorities in northeastern India have cut internet access after crazed mobs beat three people to death in lynchings sparked by rumours spread on smartphones, officials said Friday.  They were the latest in a string of more than 25 similar killings in recent months across India, according to press reports, that have been ignited by false information spread on messaging service WhatsApp.

Indian state cuts internet after three new lynchings

Jalees Andrabi, Yahoo, June 29, 2018

 

  1. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
  • To build the cooperation we need, it is vital that we give other countries a better understanding of our culture and values, as this can provide the foundation for long-term partnership on political, economic and security issues.  By communicating our progressive culture and values to other nations, we can give people in our region something hopeful to aspire to, which is what so many young Arabs desperately need.  By demonstrating that pride in our Muslim and Arab heritage and culture can also mean being modern and cosmopolitan, we can help to show people a positive alternative.  For this reason, I am honoured to have been asked by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to establish an Office for Cultural and Public Diplomacy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC).

The UAE’s Culture and Values Set us Apart. It’s Time to Share Them with the World

Zaki Nusseibeh, The National, July 7, 2018

 

  1. VIETNAM
  • The draconian lawrequires internet companies to scrub critical content and hand over user data if Vietnam’s Communist government demands it.  The bill, which is due to take effect from January 1, sparked outcry from activists, who say it is a chokehold on free speech in a country where there is no independent press and where Facebook is a crucial lifeline for bloggers.

Vietnam Activists Flock to ‘Safe’ Social Media After Cyber Crackdown

AFP, Security Week, July 6, 2018

 

  1. ISLAMIC STATE
  • What may interest future historians the most about the counter-ISIS campaign was its cyber component. * * * No U.S. adversary had ever made the Internet such an important part of its operations. ISIS communicated via secure Internet messaging; it recruited new members via social media; it spread its hateful ideology online; and it used the Internet to inspire or direct attacks on the U.S. and Europe.

A Lasting Defeat: The Campaign to Destroy ISIS

Ash Carter, Harvard Kennedy Center, October 2017

 

Toolkit

  1. ENGLISH TEACHING
  • English is not under threat. It is eating up the world. And in the Netherlands, where I happen to be writing these words, they fully appreciate this. Dutch universities are switching to using English as their medium of instruction, in all kinds of subjects . . .

Another Conquest by the Language That Is Eating the World

Geoffrey Pullum, The Chronicle, June 13, 2018

 

Precepts

 

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

Carter T. McCausland, Virginia Military Institute, Assistant

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