Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #82

Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest.  Suggestions for future updates are welcome.

Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Professor
George Washington University
Georgetown University

Rosa Brooks, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon, (Simon & Schuster, 2016).  Rosa Brooks (Georgetown University, Foreign Policy) brings practical experience in the State and Defense Departments and the insights of a smart law professor to two central questions.  How should we understand blurred boundaries between war and peace, domestic and foreign, military and civilian in today’s gray zone conflicts?  What are political, legal, institutional, and operational consequences for practitioners?  Her central focus is on a US military asked to be everywhere and do everything.  But this book is just as important for diplomats.  In part because she deals creatively with problems of concern: e.g., cultural awareness, strategic communication, rule of law, training, interagency relations, organizational transformation, leveraging civil society actors.  Her views also matter at a more fundamental level.  When lines between diplomacy, development, and defense are uncertain, and if it’s a “dangerous delusion” to hope that Congress will fund civilians at levels needed to accomplish many new tasks given to the military, then what is to be done?  Brooks provides informed and imaginative ideas for thinking about answers.

Beatrice Camp, “Neglecting World’s Fairs Doesn’t Make Them Go Away, So Let’s Do It Right,” The Foreign Service Journal, September 2016, 20-23.  Retired US diplomat Camp discusses the benefits of participation in world’s fairs and the disadvantages of a State Department policy of “half-hearted and last minute” planning, minimal oversight, and insufficient resources.  Drawing on her experiences with China’s Shanghai Expo (2010) and Expo Milano (2015), Camp makes a case for avoiding another “too little, too late presence” at the Kazakhstan Expo (2017) and Dubai Expo (2020).  Among the benefits of world’s fairs: opportunities to connect governments and people, a relaxed setting for diplomacy, support for American companies abroad, promotion of innovation on global issues, engagement by multi-lingual student hosts at US pavilions, showcases for architecture and design, and strong private sector involvement in funding, creating, and managing the US presence.

Costas M. Constantinou, Pauline Kerr, and Paul Sharp, eds., The Sage Handbook of Diplomacy, (Sage Publications, 2016).  Occasionally an edited volume comes along that connects the ideas and questions of leading scholars with insights and suggested answers in ways that shine a bright light on changes in diplomacy theory and practice.  Such volumes contain breadth and depth.  They offer observable continuities with the past.  They constructively analyze trends and conceptual categories.  They reflect learning from diplomatic practice.  Their systematic reflections illuminate and re-conceptualize diplomacy. The Sage Handbook of Diplomacy does all this and more.  In their “collection of sustained reflections on what it means to practice diplomacy today,” Constantinou (University of Cyprus), Kerr (Australian National University) and Sharp (University of Minnesota Duluth) provide a significant contribution to a literature in which there are few comparable compilations on offer.  (Others are Pauline Kerr and Geoffrey Wiseman, eds., Diplomacy in a Globalizing World: Theories and Practices, (Oxford University Press, 2013); Andrew F. Cooper, Jorge Heine, and Ramesh Thakur, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).  The Sage Handbook is institutionally priced, but its 53 essays offer good value.  Thought provoking content.  Abundant references.  Blocks of summary key points throughout each chapter.  For universities and foreign ministries it is a must buy.  Scholars will find it worth the investment.  Includes:

  • Costas M. Constantinou and Paul Sharp, “Theoretical Perspectives on Diplomacy”
  • Halvard Leira (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs), “A Conceptual History of Diplomacy”
  • Sam Okoth Opondo (Vassar College), “Diplomacy and the Colonial Encounter”
  • Markus Kornprobst (Diplomatic Academy of Vienna), “Statecraft, Strategy and Diplomacy”
  • Brian Hocking (Loughborough University), “Diplomacy and Foreign Policy”
  • Christer Jonsson (Lund University), “Diplomacy, Communication and Signaling”
  • Rebecca Adler-Nissen (University of Copenhagen), “Diplomatic Agency”
  • Fiona McConnell (University of Oxford) and Jason Dittmer (University College London), “Diplomatic Culture”
  • Iver Neumann (London School of Economics and Political Science), “Diplomacy and the Arts”
  • Corneliu Bjola (University of Oxford), “Diplomatic Ethics”
  • Noe Cornago (University of the Basque Country), “Diplomatic Knowledge”
  • Kishan S. Rana (DiploFoundation, Malta and Geneva; Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi), “Embassies, Permanent Missions and Special Missions”
  • Ana Mar Fernandez Pasarin (Autonomous University of Barcelona), “Consulates and Consular Diplomacy”
  • Paul Sharp and Geoffrey Wiseman (University of Southern California), “The Diplomatic Corps”
  • David Clinton (Baylor University), “Diplomacy and International Law”
  • Linda S. Frey (University of Montana) and Marsha L. Frey (Kansas State University), “Diplomatic Immunity”
  • I. William Zartman (School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University), “Diplomacy and Negotiation”
  • Karin Aggestam (University of Queensland), “Diplomatic Mediation”
  • David Hastings Dunn (University of Birmingham) and Richard Lock-Pullan (University of Birmingham), “Diplomatic Summitry”
  • Donna Marie Oglesby (Eckerd College), “Diplomatic Language”
  • Alan James (Keele University), “Diplomatic Relations Between States”
  • Cornelia Navari (University of Buckingham), “Great Power Diplomacy”
  • Yolanda Kemp Spies (University of Johannesburg), “Middle Power Diplomacy”
  • Baldur Thorhallsson and Alyson J. K. Bailes (University of Iceland), “Small State Diplomacy”
  • Michael Smith (University of Warwick), “European Union Diplomacy”
  • Alan K. Henrikson (The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University), “American Diplomacy”
  • Tatiana Zonova (Moscow State University of International Relations), “Russian Post-Soviet Diplomacy”
  • Zhimin Chen (Fudan University), “China’s Diplomacy”
  • Pauline Kerr, “Diplomacy of East Asia”
  • Sean W. Burges (Australian National University) and Fabricio H. Chagas Bastos (Universidad de Los Andes, Bogata), “Latin American Diplomacy”
  • Stephan Stetter (University of the Bundeswehr Munich), “Middle East Diplomacy”
  • Asteris Huliaras (University of the Peloponnes, Greece) and Konstantinos Magliveras (University of the Aegean, Greece), “African Diplomacy”
  • Stephen Chan (University of London), “Southern Africa Diplomacy”
  • Stephen Calleya (University of Malta), “Developing States Diplomacy”
  • Ellen Huijgh (Netherlands Institute of International Relations, ‘Clingendael;’ University of Antwerp), “Public Diplomacy”
  • William Maley (Australian National University), “Quiet and Secret Diplomacy”
  • Edward Avenell (University of Birmingham) and David Hastings Dunn (University of Birmingham), “Crisis Diplomacy”
  • Peter Viggo Jakobsen (Royal Danish Defence College), “Coercive Diplomacy”
  • David Armstrong (University of Exeter), “Revolutionary Diplomacy”
  • Paul Meerts (Netherlands Institute of International Relations, ‘Clingendael’), “Conference Diplomacy”
  • Michele Acuto (University College London), “City Diplomacy”
  • Melissa Conley Tyler (Australian Institute of International Affairs) and Craig Beyerinck (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva), “Citizen Diplomacy”
  • Mark Wheeler (London Metropolitan University), “Celebrity Diplomacy”
  • Eytan Gilboa (Bar-Ilan University), “Digital Diplomacy”
  • Maaike Okano-Heijmans (Netherlands Institute of International Relations, ‘Clingendael;’ University of Leiden), “Economic Diplomacy”
  • Huub Ruel and Tim Wolters (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands), “Business Diplomacy”
  • David Joseph Wellman (DePaul University), “Religion and Diplomacy”
  • See Seng Tan (Nanyang Technological University), “Military Diplomacy”
  • Saleem H. Ali (University of Queensland) and Helena Voinov Vladich (Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne, Switzerland), “Environmental Diplomacy”
  • Stuart Murray (Bond University, Australia), “Sports Diplomacy”
  • Daryl Copeland (Canadian Global Affairs Institute; University of Montreal), “Science Diplomacy”
  • J. Marshall Beier (McMaster University), “Indigenous Diplomacy”
  • Hussein Banai (Indiana University, Bloomington), “Pariah Diplomacy”

Scholars and practitioners who focus on diplomacy’s public dimension will find of particular interest essays by Hocking, Adler-Nissen, Neumann, Rana, Oglesby, Spies, Henrikson, Zonova, Chen, Kerr, Stetter, Huijgh, Acuto, Tyler and Beyerinck, Wheeler, Gilboa, Tan, Murray, and Copeland.

Eugenio Cusumano, “Diplomatic Security for Hire: The Causes and Implications of Outsourcing Embassy Protection,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, published online March 2016. Cusumano (Leiden University) “analyzes the scope, causes and implications of outsourcing diplomatic protection” to private security companies in the context of increased deployment of diplomats in fragile and post-conflict environments.  Cusumano looks particularly at the problems in the US State Department’s privatization of diplomacy and offers policy recommendations on “how to improve the effectiveness and accountability of privatized diplomatic protection.”

Douglas A. Johnson, Alberto Mora, and Averell Schmidt, “The Strategic Costs of Torture: How ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ Hurt America,” Foreign Affairs,September/October, 2016, 121-132.  The authors, all associated with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, examine ways in which torture “greatly damaged” US national security and adversely affected the promotion of democracy and human rights abroad.  Their article summarizes findings in a study by Carr Center researchers: US use of torture “incited extremism in the Middle East, hindered cooperation with U.S. allies, exposed American officials to legal repercussions, undermined U.S. diplomacy, and offered a convenient justification for other governments to commit human rights abuses.”

Marco Vinicio Mendez-Coto, “Smart Power and Public Diplomacy: A Costa Rican Approach,” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, September 13, 2016, 1-11.  Mendez-Coto tests Joseph Nye’s smart power concepts in the context of efforts by Costa Rica – a small state without significant armed forces – to develop a public diplomacy strategy.  Drawing on the thinking of 40 career diplomats, his article questions the universality of smart power and looks at soft power in the Costa Rican context.

Miles O’Brien, “Why It’s So Hard to Fight Extremist Propaganda Online,” PBS Newshour, September 7, 2016.  Newshour science correspondent O’Brien interviews US Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel and civil society guests on the State Department’s decision to drop its government sponsored “Think Again, Turn Away” campaign in favor of market based approaches to countering Islamic State messaging.  Guests discussed a “Peer to Peer” project, in which college students in the US and overseas compete to develop an alternative online narrative, uses of disruption technologies by social media companies, and challenges to defining and shutting down extremist content.  Participants include: Tony Sgro (Edventure Partners), Jeff Weyers (Canadian police officer), Monika Bickert (Facebook), Hany Farid (Dartmouth College), and Emma Llanso (Center for Democracy and Technology).

James Pamment, guest editor, “Introduction: Why the Nordic Region?” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy (2016) 12-91-98, published online July 5, 2016. In this special double issue of PB&PD, Pamment (Lund University, Sweden) introduces a compilation of academic and practitioner articles that drill below widely accepted benign images of the Nordic countries and their public diplomacy and nation branding practices.  The authors seek to go beyond the perceptions of an attractive, “sanitized, squeaky clean” region to examine their significant political, linguistic, and cultural differences, country-specific contradictions, and tensions between national identities and complex patterns of competition and collaboration.  In addition to Pamment’s introduction, the issue includes:

  • Henrik Merkelsen (Lund University) and Rasmus Kjaergaard Rasmussen (Roskilde University, Denmark), “Nation Branding as an Emerging Field – An Institutionalist Perspective”
  • Louis Clerc (University of Turku, Finland), “Variables for a History of Small States’ Imaging Practices – The Case of Finland’s ‘International Communication’ in the 1970s and 1980s”
  • Andreas Akerlund (Uppsala University, Sweden), “Transition Aid and Creating Economic Growth: Academic Exchange Between Sweden and Eastern Europe Through the Swedish Institute 1990-2010”
  • Katja Valaskivi (University of Tampere, Finland), “Circulating a Fashion: Performance of Nation Branding in Finland and Sweden”
  • Nicholas J. Cull (University of Southern California), “A Region Speaks: Nordic Public Diplomacy in Historical Context”
  • Jesper Falkheimer (Lund University), “Place Branding in the Oresund Region: From a Transnational Region to a Bi-national City-region”
  • Cecelia Cassinger (Lund University), Henrik Merkelsen, and Jorgen Eksell (Roskilde University), “Translating Public Diplomacy and Nation Branding in Scandanavia: An Institutional Approach to the Cartoon Crisis”
  • Julian Stubbs (UP There, Everywhere, Sweden), “Stockholm the Capital of Scandinavia: Ten Years On”
  • Johannes Magnus (The Nordic Council, Denmark), “International Branding of the Nordic Region”

Samantha Power, “US Diplomacy” Realism and Reality,” The New York Review, August 18, 2016, 52-54.  The US Ambassador to the United Nations argues “it is now objectively the case that our national interests are increasingly affected not just by what happens between states but also by how people are treated within states.”  Improving human security is in our self-interest.  How should diplomats respond?  Broaden the spectrum of engagement.  Spend more time out of the office.  Meet the people affected by policies.  Develop expertise and instincts to anticipate consequences of decisions.  Build relationships not just with well-known civil society organizations but also with teachers’ associations, workers’ unions, and business leaders – both their vocal majorities and harder to find minorities.  Invest more in diplomacy.  Resist pressures to “cloister diplomats in fortress-like embassies in parts of the world where such local connections are actually needed most.”  Deepen partnerships and capacities to confront threats that require a global response.  Make the case to publics at home for less isolation by their diplomats as a national security imperative.

Kishan Rana, “Diplomatic Training: New Trends,” The Foreign Service Journal, September 2016, 41-43.  India’s scholar/diplomat and former ambassador Kishan Rana (Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi) looks at how foreign ministries are changing and expanding training for diplomacy practitioners.  He compares a “focused selective training” model with a brief orientation and short thematic courses (the US, France, and the UK) and a “full time entry training” model with courses running from a year to two years (Germany, India, and most Latin American countries).  Rana examines the value of distance learning, training linked to experience levels, training of locally employed staff, making successful training a pre-condition to promotion, robust commitment to mid-career training and year-long professional education, and participation of corporate managers and non-state actors.

Philip Seib, The Future of Diplomacy, (Polity Press, 2016).  Journalism and media scholar Philip Seib (University of Southern California) continues his inquiries into the worlds of diplomacy, public diplomacy, and the impact of new actors and new media in this slim volume.  With anecdotes, good writing, and insights drawn from current scholarship and practice, his purpose is to explore and raise questions about how diplomacy is changing.  Seib advances several key judgments.  The futures of diplomacy and media are inexorably connected.  Public diplomacy is becoming central in diplomacy and an essential part of statecraft.  The breadth of diplomacy is expanding with new actors, new publics, and new issues.  His argument raises a fundamental question, implied but not directly addressed: if public diplomacy is central, should we continue to treat it as a separate term, concept, and sub-set of diplomatic practice?

Vivian S. Walker, The Reem Island Ghost: Framing State Narratives on Terror, CPD Perspectives, Paper 5, 2016, Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California.  Walker (National War College, retired State Department diplomat) provides an informed, teachable case study that focuses on the United Arab Emirates’ efforts to shape an external counter-terrorism narrative for global audiences following the murder of an American school teacher in Abu Dhabi by an Emirati national in 2014.  Using Internet-based English language sources, her study describe contextual events and issues, construction of the UAE’s narrative framework, relevant actors, how facts were selected and shaped, and UAE’s success in “folding the trial and conviction of the murderer into a broader counter-terrorism narrative” that “projects unambiguous national power even as it champions internationally shared values.”  This is Walker’s third contribution to much needed case studies in diplomacy’s public dimension.  See also “Case 331 – State Narratives in Complex Media Environments: The Case of Ukraine,” Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD), Georgetown University, 2015 and Benghazi: Managing the Message, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California.

“Worth the Trip? Debating the Value of Study Abroad,” Eric R. Terzuolo, “Don’t Believe the Hype” and Sanford Ungar, “Ungar Replies,” Foreign Affairs,September/October, 2016, 162-164.  Retired US Foreign Service Officer Terzuolo takes exception to former Gaucher College President Ungar’s article, “The Study Abroad Solution,” Foreign Affairs, March/April, 2016.  Drawing on 21 years as a career diplomat and work of researchers affiliated with the Forum on Education Abroad and IES Abroad, Terzuolo questions Ungar’s contention that “a dramatic long-term expansion” of study abroad will improve US foreign relations.  Participants do not necessarily change in expected ways.  Benefits are not reliably achieved or equally distributed.  Changes reflect pre-existing cultural differences more than experiences abroad.  Given costs, it’s worth looking at other ways to increase inter-cultural competence, such as experiences with diversity on US campuses.  Such efforts should go beyond the elite schools that disproportionately account for US study abroad.  Ungar counters that he seeks a one-third increase in the current “pathetic study abroad participation rate of 1.5 percent” of US students, not a universal mandate.  If Americans are to understand and cope more effectively with global events, “they will have to see with their own eyes and absorb with their own minds the challenges their country faces.”

Timothy Wu, The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside our Heads, (Knopf, 2016).  Years ago, Harvard scholar Joseph Nye wrote about the “paradox of plenty” (a plenitude of information creates a poverty of attention) and its implications for communication in the digital age.  In The Attention Merchants, Wu (Columbia University and author of the highly regarded The Master Switch, 2011) offers argument and examples to demonstrate that efforts to “harvest our attention” are not just a consequence of recent Internet and mobile related inventions, but rather go back a century or more to industrial age technologies.  Wu addresses important issues that are central to communication in all domains – including public and private dimensions of diplomacy.

US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, 2016 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting, September 20, 2016.  This 416-page annual report, written by the Commission’s executive director Katherine Brown, her staff, and members of the bipartisan, presidentially appointed panel follows a pattern set in recent years.  Commission findings and more than 50 recommendations constitute one-third of the report.  The remainder is a detailed reference guide to the public diplomacy budgets, programs, and objectives of the Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Governors.  In a key recommendation, the Commission argues it is imperative that diplomats in the Department’s information and educational and cultural exchange programs “work together to more efficiently plan” for the allocation of their resources in “programs and public affairs sections worldwide.”  The Commission reaffirms recommendations in its recent White Paper, Re-imagining Public Diplomacy’s Organizational Structure at the U.S. Department of State.  The Commission devotes proportionately less attention to broadcasting, but calls for increased original and local VOA news reporting in Africa, expansion of RFE/RL and VOA coverage in response to Russia’s “negative influence” in Europe and Asia, and reaffirms its call for significant increases in research and evaluation.  Interesting data sets for FY 2015 include rank order public diplomacy spending totals for diplomatic missions and BBG language services, and spending for educational and cultural affairs programs ranked by cost per participant.  Fascinating historical profiles of origination dates for exchange and cultural programs and US broadcasting services reinforce scholarly consensus on their correlation with external threats and conflict.

S. Zaharna, “Reassessing ‘Whose Story Wins’: The Trajectory of Identity Resilience in Narrative Contests,”International Journal of Communication,10 (2016), 4407-4438.  Zaharna (American University) makes several key arguments. Narratives contain distinctive and connected elements of identity and image.  Contested narrative are identity battles in which challenges to lead to divergent narrative spheres and trajectories.  Images are contestable and lead to linear trajectories of narrative coherence (self expression).  Challenges to identity lead to identity resilience (self preservation) and cascades of narrative paradoxes.  She explores these concepts in a study of contested Israeli-Hamas narratives on Twitter in the Gaza 2014 conflict.  


Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest

John Brown, Interview with Kristin Ahlberg, State Department Historian’s Office, on the Carter administration’s public diplomacy. September 2016, Public Diplomacy Council.

Robin Brown, “The Russian Firehose of Falsehood,” September 1, 2016, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence Blog.

Daryl Copeland, “Gathering Clouds Threaten Trudeau’s ‘Sunny’ Ways,” September 19, 2016, iPOLITICS.

Ali Fisher, “Interpreting Data About ISIS Online,” October 6, 2016, USC, Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.

David Ignatius, “The Cold War is Over. The Cyber War has Begun,” September 15, 2016, The Washington Post.

“Janet Steele Named New Director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication,” September 16, 2016, School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.

Erik Nisbet and Elizabeth Stoycheff, “Why Russians Support Putin’s Foreign Policy,” September 9, 2016, USC, Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.

Donna Oglesby, “Diplomatic Language,” August 28, 2016, Winnowing Fan Blog.

Ishaan Tharoor, “The Long Historyof U.S. Interfering with Elections Elsewhere,” October 13, 2016, The Washington Post.

Jian (Jay) Wang, “Cultural Relations: Moderating a Volatile World,” September 6, 2016, USC, Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Blog.


Gem From The Past 

Kristin LordThe Perils and Promise of Global Transparency: Why the Information Revolution May Not Lead to Security, Democracy, or Peace, (State University of New York Press, 2006).  It’s been ten years since Lord (then an Associate Dean of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and now President and CEO of IREX) analyzed the double edged nature of transparency — its potential for conflict as well as harmony, hate as well as tolerance, and destructive as well as constructive consequences of the distribution of information, knowledge, and power.  Her analysis used reasoned argument, empirical evidence, and case studies to support and challenge optimistic assumptions about the implications of transparency.  A decade later, her book and especially a chapter on “Transparency and Intergroup Violence” – that addresses the benefits and the dark side of cross-cultural communication – continues to prompt thought and remains useful to teachers of cultural diplomacy and practitioners of people-to-people exchanges.


An archive of Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites (2002-present) is maintained at George Washington University’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.  Current issues are also posted by the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy, the Public Diplomacy Council, and MountainRunner.us.