Several noteworthy links are below the fold. As always, comments are encouraged.

Russia Must Deploy ‘Soft Force’ Against the West’s ‘Soft Power,’ Moscow Analyst Says (link)

Having discovered that economic power does not immediately translate into political influence and may in fact alienate those it is supposed to attract, the Russian government needs to identify new ways to influence the West but finding that its options are not nearly as good as many in Moscow had thought, according to a Russian analyst.

And the most effective way to do that, Andrey Pronin writes in an essay posted today on a Moscow State University portal that has often served as a source of foreign policy ideas for the Russian government, is for Russia to deploy what he calls its "soft force" against American "soft power" ( …

"In the 1940s and 1950s," the Moscow analyst continues, "a significant part of the most respectable Western intelligentsia held leftist views and openly sympathized with the USSR, and English aristocrats worked for Soviet intelligence services on the basis of their convictions in this regard."

Today, he says, Russia needs to find "allies interested in itself within America" and to "form a pro-Russian lobby, a circle of influential people who respect and support Russia and who will exert an ever greater pressure on the political establishment of the United States" on behalf of Moscow. …

Moscow needs allies, and the two most obvious ones are India and China, neither of whom Pronin suggests is comfortable with American-style globalization. If such a "union of the three giants" is formed, he concludes, Russia will occupy the leading role of a scientific and innovative center and the developer of humanitarian technologies and standards."

Don’t forget the point man of the “soft force”: Igor Panarin and his predicted breakup of the U.S.

Growing Optimism That Obama Will Improve US Relations (link)

In 15 of the 17 countries polled, majorities think that the election of Barack Obama will lead to improved relations with the rest of the world. On average 67 per cent express this upbeat view, while 19 per cent think relations will stay the same and just 5 per cent that relations will worsen.
This is up sharply – by 21 points among tracking countries – from polling done for the BBC World Service six months ago, before Obama was elected. …

Interestingly, two of these countries showing the largest improvement are majority Muslim countries (Egypt and Turkey). Indonesians are also optimistic (64%) and have shown an 18-point increase in optimism from last summer.

The Prospects for Cyberocracy (Revisited) by David Ronfeldt and Danielle Varda (link and link)

The deepening of the information age will alter the nature of the state so thoroughly that something new emerges: cyberocracy. While it is too early to say precisely what a cyberocracy will look like, the outcomes will include new kinds of democratic, totalitarian, and hybrid governments, along with new kinds of state-society relations. Thus, optimism about the information revolution should be tempered by an anticipation of its potential dark side. This paper reiterates the view of the cyberocracy concept as first stated in 1992, and then offers a postscript for 2008. It speculates that information-age societies will develop new sensory apparatuses, a network-based social sector, new modes of networked governance, and ultimately the cybercratic nexus-state as a successor to the nation-state.

GAO Calls for A New Priority On Public Diplomacy by Walter Pincus (link)

Public diplomacy has for decades been a State Department preserve, although its standing and funding have withered since 1999, when the U.S. Information Agency was merged into the department. Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Defense Department was a bit player in this arena. In recent years, however, the department has expanded its programs under the label of "strategic communications." The Pentagon’s money and manpower have put its strategic communications activities in a position where in many key countries they have equaled or exceeded the efforts of State’s Foreign Service officers.

Air Force Releases ‘Counter-Blog’ Marching Orders (link)


Looks like a standard decision tree to triage related information for promotion or and possible countering in the corporate world to me.

Chinese article on internships at a Los Angeles-region amusement park (link to Google translation)

The reporter learned from the project’s official website that the so-called "paid internships overseas," the exact name is SummerWork & TravelUSA.

The project is based on the U.S. government in 1948 through the exchange of information and education bill (Smith-Mundt Act), the bill for the exchange of visits has established the basic framework of the project. The bill in 1961 and expanded to be incorporated into the educational and cultural exchanges on an equal basis Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act). Projects in mainland China to promote ago, has been in Europe, the Americas and other Asian countries and regions of the successful operation of more than 30 years.

But when the names of reporters on the advice of a student from the United States, he said that professional training in the United States have been known as the Internship, and SummerWork & TravelUSA sense can not be considered strictly internship can only be regarded as a summer vacation in the United States work and travel exchanges.