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Recommended Reading: China’s New Diplomacy

Netherlands Institute of International Relations logo.png

In the latest issue of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael‘s Discussion Papers in Diplomacy, China is featured in a paper titled “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and China’s New Diplomacy” by Gao Fei, an expert on contemporary Chinese diplomacy and Russian affairs.

According to Clingendael:

This article offers a Chinese perspective of the elements and approaches of what is often called China’s ‘New Diplomacy’ and argues that China’s involvement in the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) can be regarded as an exemplary case of ‘China’s New Diplomacy.’ The article furthermore aims to contribute to the understanding of China’s emerging role in the international multilateral arena.

The concepts that together form China’s New Diplomacy, such as the New Security Concept, the New Development Approach, and the Harmonious World, have not only been brought into practice in China’s diplomacy towards the SCO but have also been adopted as principles for conducting diplomacy within the SCO. The SCO–and its predecessor, the Shanghai Five mechanism–started as a low profile organization which focused on building trust and solving security issues but has gradually grown into a serious regional organization which aims at mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of politics, security, the economy, trade and energy.

Clingendael’s Discussion Papers in Diplomacy is a series focusing on diplomacy “as the mechanism of communication, negotiation and representation between states and other international actors.” Papers published since 2003 are available for download (PDF) on Clingendael’s site. Previous paper topics include: cultural diplomacy, nation branding, EU public diplomacy, and commercial diplomacy.

Twitter’s impact on public diplomacy

On July 16, 2010, The Huffington Post published an opinion piece authored by John Brown, former U.S. Foreign Service officer and currently Adjunct Professor of Liberal Studies at Georgetown University.

In the op-ed titled "What’s important, what’s happening, and what’s public diplomacy," Brown discusses the limitation of social media as an intellectual or political tool. Instead of heavily focusing on using social media such as Twitter to engage with target audiences, public diplomacy practitioners should execute public diplomacy via person-to-person contact where they can speak freely beyond 140 characters.

Brown says, "Much of what twitterers say is as significant as that Viagra ad aired on the corporate evening news. ‘Now’ is not ‘wisdom.’" He scoffs at the U.S. State Department’s pop approach to using social media to promote U.S. public diplomacy, identifying insignificant discussions roaming on Twitter. Rather, he supports Evgeny Morozov, who skeptically views new media as a reliable platform to engage with international audiences.

(In a Dec. 1, 2009 Wired article, Morozov said, "The problem is that doing something online doesn’t work that well with populations that are predominantly offline and predominantly illiterate‚Ķ For the next twenty years, the battle for ‘hearts and minds’ in regions that really matter geopolitically will still be fought using what social media gurus call ‘legacy media’: radio and, to a lesser extent, television.")

Separately, the Dutch Foreign Ministry approached the MountainRunner blog on a survey project involving the importance of social networking in public diplomacy. Feel free to share your thoughts to these questions below in the comments and email Carolijn van Noort, the researcher, directly with details.

Continue reading “Twitter’s impact on public diplomacy” »

Refurbished approach to cultural diplomacy by Martin Rose of the British Council

In a July 2010 issue of Layalina Productions’ Perspectives, British Council officer Martin Rose argues for the West, particularly Europe, to be more “culturally literate” and refurbish its approach to cultural relations. Rose discusses the social and cultural marginalization of immigrant minorities in Europe, who recently have been lumped into the category of “Muslims” to the detriment of their national identities. He argues the need for Europe to be more open-minded and accepting of the “huge multiplicity of rivers that flow into our sea.” Urging non-Muslim Europeans to break the “Us vs. Them” mentality when approaching cultural differences, Rose advocates building trust, understanding and personal relationships to “live well in the 21st century and beyond.”

Rose also says:

  • To focus myopically on our own story as we are used to hearing it told is childish, a yearning for the warm security of the nursery.
  • Our inability to construct a larger Us is damaging and deforming: by its very nature it renders impossible a subtle, nuanced and relatively objective understanding of human culture and human society.

See also:

China aims to expand soft power, adds English-language news channel

CNTN.PNGIn 2000, China Central Television (CCTV) launched CCTV International, its 24-hour English-language news service aimed for the global audience. CCTV’s international broadcasting has since expanded to cover news -from a Chinese perspective- in French, Spanish, Russian, and since 2009, Arabic.

On July 1, 2010, China launched another international English language news channel to expand its soft power. According to a July 2, 2010 article from The Guardian by Tania Branigan, Chinese authorities hope the launch of state news agency Xinhua‘s CNC World channel will help promote China’s image and perspectives. Similar to CCTV’s international objective, Xinhua’s president said CNC would “present an international vision with a China perspective.” Currently, CNC world is airing only in Hong Kong and after its scheduled launch of global satellite coverage this fall, it hopes to reach 50 million viewers across Europe, North America and Africa in its first year.

Despite CCTV’s international presence, Chinese officials believe creating competition will raise standards of news coverage. In her article, Branigan challenges this notion and identifies CNC World’s stock footage, dated credits, sparse interviews, and “glimpses of the alternative news agenda that officials want to spread.” Still, Xinhua pledges objectivity and insists: “We are a news channel, not a propaganda station.”

Recommended Reading List on Public Diplomacy

Netherlands Institute of International Relations logo.pngThe Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael offers an impressive reading list on public diplomacy. Spanning over 20 pages, the compilation of literature includes articles from a wide range of publications including Foreign Affairs, State Magazine, Hague Journal of Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, journals focused on specific regions of the world, and more. This reading list is part of the institute’s series of compilations of articles dedicated to diplomacy; other topics include Branding; Citizen Diplomacy; City Diplomacy; Cultural Diplomacy; Economic Diplomacy; European level diplomacy and the European diplomatic service; Negotiation, Culture and Intercultural Communication; and Soft power and public diplomacy in (East) Asia.
In addition to diplomacy, the think tank, which advises organizations within the Dutch government, offers reading lists on a variety of topics relevant to international relations including international trade, NATO, articles relevant to geographic regions, conflict studies, and more.

Attack or Defend? Leveraging Information and Balancing Risk in Cyberspace

In his article, “Attack or Defend? Leveraging Information and Balancing Risk in Cyberspace,” Dennis Murphy discusses the Department of Defense’s policy toward the Internet, which enables opportunities to counter misinformation online and tell the story of the U.S. military. He questions, however, if organizational culture will embrace this approach.
Murphy, a professor of Information Operations and Information in Warfare at the U.S. Army War College and retired U.S. Army colonel, notes the government must consider the use of the Internet by a potential adversary in future warfighting challenges. Although military leaders openly regard the importance of using new media and Internet tools, recent Defense Department policy directs commanders to continue to carefully monitor online behaviors.
Murphy recommends that leaders manage risk online while exploiting emerging cyber capabilities. Specifically, managing risk while providing the opportunity to engage effectively and exploit online opportunities requires a rebalancing of command philosophy, Murphy says. This can happen when commanders become more open to opportunities as they remain aware of threats – and let leaders at all levels do their job.
Click here to read the full article.

CCTV: China’s soft power in the Middle East

On May 27, 2010, The National published an article about China’s engagement strategy, carried out by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), toward Arab television viewers in the Middle East and North Africa.

Many countries broadcast to the Middle East in Arabic, including France, Russia, and the U.S., but China is different: it broadcasts, from Beijing, to the region in Chinese with Arabic subtitles. Instead of focusing on news and current events in the Middle East, CCTV highlights Chinese culture and the arts. Simply, “…CCTV Arabic aims to tell the Arab world about China.

In his article, Daniel Bardsley further describes China’s strategy, which involves voicing the views of the Chinese government. This approach allows China to “…extend its ‘soft power’ without becoming entangled in the region’s politics,” which reflects China’s non-intervention culture.

Now a world power, China ambitiously aims to be part of the mainstream international media alongside CNN and BBC. This year, China will also reach milestones in its international broadcasting efforts as CCTV Arabic will mark its first anniversary in July and CCTV plans to open news bureaus in the Middle East later this year.

The evolving role of now media in Thailand

For a little over two months, Thailand’s brewing political conflict surfaced the streets of Bangkok, leading “red shirt” and “yellow shirt” protestors to violently battle their political differences. The riots killed nearly 90 and wounded nearly 1,800 people, disrupting the lives of tourists and locals, including Thai Facebook users.

On May 24, 2010, The Christian Science Monitor published an article titled “Thailand’s red shirts and yellow shirts battle it out on Facebook“. The author, Simon Montlake, explains how Thai protestors took advantage of Facebook to fuel hate speech, peer pressure, intolerance, and zealous debate.

Ironically, Thais are generally known as polite people who try to avoid confrontation.

Regardless, the cultural norm disappears online when Thai Facebook users loudly voice their political opinions and attempt to recruit friends into their political networks. Montlake says, “social networking sites…allow the curious to seek out opposing views and join groups that they might not encounter offline.”

It’s important to note that the yellow shirts, or the urban elites,
influenced traditional and online media to shape their messages by using their access
to communication platforms like the Internet. As a result, “the
demographic split…skews to anti-red views, as does much of Thailand’s
newspapers and television.” The red shirts, however, continued to rely on
the radio. 

Read the full article here.

South Korea’s psychological warfare on North Korea

Since May 20, 2010, South Korea has consistently made international headlines by formally accusing North Korea of sinking one of its warships in March, killing 46 South Korean sailors, and announcing major economic decisions to punish the North.

Perhaps more interesting is South Korea’s psychological warfare against North Korea.

Continue reading “South Korea’s psychological warfare on North Korea” »

Event: U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Business Meeting

On May 25, 2010, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a business meeting at the Capitol Building in S-116 at 2:15 p.m.

Presided by Senator John Kerry, the meeting will go over the following legislation:

  • S 3317: Haiti Empowerment, Assistance and Rebuilding Act of 2010
  • S 3193: International Cyberspace and Cybersecurity Coordination Act of 2010
  • S 3104: A bill to permanently authorize Radio Free Asia, and for other purposes
  • S Res 469: A resolution recognizing the 60th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Thailand
  • S Res 532: A Resolution recognizing Expo 2010 Shanghai China and the USA Pavilion at the Expo

The meeting will also review two nominations for the Broadcasting Board of Governors:

  • Michael P. Meehan to be a Member for a term expiring August 13, 2010
  • Dana M. Perino to be a Member for a term expiring August 13, 2012

If nominations are approved, all eight BBG nominees’ names will be on the Senate floor, subject to the final step in the confirmation process.