Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #104

December 7, 2020

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
Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication
George Washington University

Nicholas Burns, Marc Grossman, and Marcie Ries, “A U.S. Diplomatic Service for the 21st Century,”Harvard Kennedy School, November 2020.  The authors are retired Foreign Service Officers who served with distinction in the political officer career track and as ambassadors.  Their report is an ambitious call to reimagine American diplomacy and reinvent the Foreign Service.  It is not a plan to reform the State Department, its Civil Service component, or whole of government diplomacy.  Some recommendations have a vintage hue: restore State’s lead role in foreign policy, reaffirm ambassadors as the president’s personal representatives, strengthen budget support for the Foreign Service.  Other recommendations focus on organization and process: 

(1) Enact a new Foreign Service Act, preserving what is good in existing law; 

(2) Transform the Foreign Service culture through promotion and assignment incentives; 

(3) Achieve diversity through relentless top down direction, structural changes in recruitment and promotions, and a diplomacy ROTC-type program; 

(4) Expand career long education and training through legislation and a 15% personnel increase to create a “training float; 

(5) End the internal “caste” system by eliminating separate career tracks (aka “cones”); 

(6) Create a defined mid-career entry program for critical skills; 

(7) Seek legislation and funding for a Diplomatic Reserve Corps; 

(8) Increase numbers of career diplomats in ambassadorial and senior Department positions to achieve symmetry with the military, CIA, and NSA; and 

(9) Rename the Foreign Service as the “United States Diplomatic Service.”  

In keeping with a growing body of thinking, the report assumes “public diplomacy” to be a core competency in a multi-functional diplomatic corps rather than a separate category of practice.  It also maintains a strong commitment to diplomacy as a full career, and it takes sharp issue with Anne-Marie Slaughter’s plan to create a “global service” that would recruit people from multiple sectors for 5-10 years.  Many of the report’s compelling ideas are not new – mandatory professional education, a reserve corps, ending the “cone” system, and no longer treating public diplomacy as a subset of diplomatic practice.  See for example, “Forging a 21st Century Diplomatic Service for the United States Through Professional Education and Training,” Stimson/The American Academy of Diplomacy, 2011;  “Futures for Diplomacy: Integrative Diplomacy for the 21st Century,”  Clingendael, 2102; “The Paradox of US Public Diplomacy: Its Rise and ‘Demise,’” George Washington University, 2014.  See also this webinar with the report’s authors hosted by American Foreign Service Association President Eric Rubin, “The Future of the Foreign Service,” (about 90 minutes) November 23, 2020. 

Nicholas J. Cull and Michael K. Hawes, eds., Canada’s Public Diplomacy, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021).  For decades, Canada’s diplomacy scholars and practitioners have done excellent, innovative work.  This collection of essays, compiled by Nick Cull (University of Southern California) and Michael K. Hawes (Queens University, Canada) is no exception.  Many authors of these chapters will need no introduction to longtime readers of this list.  Previews of each are accessible through the title link.  See also “The Latest Book on Canada’s Public Diplomacy,” November 17, 2020, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.  The book is affordably priced in paperback on Amazon at USD $29.99.

Cull, “Canada and Public Diplomacy: The Road to Reputational Security.”  

Hawes, “‘We’re Back’: Re-imagining Public Diplomacy in Canada.”

Daryl Copeland (The Montreal Centre for International Studies, University of Montreal) “‘Is Canada “Back’? Engineering a Diplomatic and International Policy Renaissance.”

Evan Potter (University of Ottawa), “Three Cheers for ‘Diplomatic Frivolity’: Canadian Public Diplomacy Embraces the Digital World.”

Sarah E. K. Smith, (Carleton University), “Bridging the 49th Parallel: A Case Study in Art as Cultural Diplomacy.” 

Bernard Duhaime and Camille Labadie (University of Quebec at Montreal), “Intersections and Cultural Exchange: Archaeology, Culture, International Law and the Legal Travels of the Dead Sea Scrolls.” 

Rhys Crilley (University of Glasgow) and Ilan Manor (University of Oxford), “Un-nation Branding: The Cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israeli Soft Power.”  

Ira Wagman (Carleton University), “Should Canada Have an International Broadcaster?”

Andrew F. Cooper (University of Waterloo), “Dualistic Images of Canada in the World: Instrumental Commonalities/Symbolic Divides.” 

Stefanie von Hlatky (Queens University, Canada), “The Return of Trudeaumania: A Public Diplomacy Shift in Foreign and Defence Policy? 

Mark Kristmanson, “International Gifts and Public Diplomacy: Canada’s Capital in 2017.”

Natalia Grincheva, Museum Diplomacy in the Digital Age, (Routledge, 2020).  Grincheva (National Research University “Higher School of Economics,” Moscow) is among a growing number of scholars who are expanding the meaning of cultural diplomacy to include, in her words, “exchanges and interactions among people, organizations and communities that take place beyond the direct control or involvement of national governments.”  She finds evidence in the way social media give cultural communities opportunities (1) to challenge museum authority in cultural knowledge creation, (2) to “voice opinions and renegotiate cultural identities,” and (3) to “establish new pathways for international cultural relations, exchange and, potentially, diplomacy.”  Her well researched book supports these ideas with three case studies of online museum projects: The Australian Museum’s Virtual Museum of the Pacific in Sydney, the UK’s “A History of the World in 100 Objects,” a project undertaken by the British Museum in collaboration with the BBC, and the YouTube Play global contest of creative videos developed by Google and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.  Grincheva provides a description and critique of these projects as well as assessments of their political narratives.  She argues they create channels of museum diplomacy through (1) their projection of national cultures and values in the global media environment, and (2) their value as meeting spaces for cross cultural exchange, learning, dialogue, and exposure of political and cultural differences.  This is a provocative study that deserves attention and debate.  As with other inquiries into diplomacy‘s meaning in society beyond governance, it raises an important research question: where does diplomacy stop, and where do other categories of cross-cultural connections begin?

John Maxwell Hamilton, Manipulating the Masses: Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of American Propaganda, (Louisiana State University Press, 2020).  Literature on George Creel and his World War I Committee on Public Information (CPI) is “surprisingly thin” historian Justin Hart observed a few years ago. Not anymore.  LSU journalism professor Hamilton’s monumental new study is a deeply researched, highly readable book that puts the CPI in historical context, illuminates its personalities and activities, and assesses its strengths, limitations, and influence on American democracy and public diplomacy.  He writes with a former journalist’s skill.  Rooms and places are described.  People are identified with telling adjectives.  Brief quotes signify large themes.  Research is grounded in interviews, articles, manuscripts, diaries, official records, Creel’s own writings (“indispensable and unreliable”), and some 150 archival collections – a prodigious undertaking.  His book frames context: Progressive Era politics and journalism, Wilson’s campaign and presidency, the Great War.  Much is devoted to the CPI’s domestic activities, censorship, sanitized news, “manufactured fear of an imminent threat,” dependence on civil society actors, and Creel’s controversies with officials, lawmakers, and the media.  

Propaganda is Hamilton’s operative term.  CPI was America’s “first and only ministry of propaganda.”  It gave rise to US “public diplomacy” abroad and what he calls the “Information State” – mind sets and techniques decentralized in US government organizations at home.  Hamilton’s assessments of Creel as “the father of public diplomacy” and CPI’s overseas “commissioners” contain an abundance of important insights.  With no advance planning, and during a lifespan of less than three years, these practitioners “field-tested ideas that became staples of public diplomacy.”  Especially informative are profiles of CPI’s Edgar Sisson and Arthur Bullard in Russia, Vira Whitehouse in Switzerland, Charles Merriam in Rome, Hugh Gibson, a State Department diplomat in Paris assigned to “help coordinate CPI propaganda,” the military’s psychological operations launched by Heber Blankenhorn, and tensions between Creel and Army Captain Walter Lippmann.  

Strengths of the book lie in its extensive new research on CPI’s operations and a constructive balance in its attention to field practitioners as well as leadership in Washington.  But the book is written also from a present-minded perspective, aspects of which are debatable.  Hamilton’s central theme is that CPI launched “the establishment of pervasive, systematic propaganda as an instrument of the state” and what became a “profound and enduring threat to American democracy.”  It “propelled mass persuasion into a profession” empowered by technologies, science-based strategies, and disadvantaged publics.  He also argues that “Where outright propaganda is called for, as with public diplomacy, it should be a lesson on the presentation of facts and honest introspection on the American experience . . . .”  This tension between when propaganda is and is not “called for” is not fully explored.  His story of CPI’s legacy raises important unresolved questions, directly and implicitly, about propaganda in the external relations of a democracy, the evolution of US diplomacy’s public dimension, public affairs as a necessary and appropriate instrument of governance, the role of the press in shaping news, and dangers of propaganda to citizens in a democracy.  These questions merit consideration by scholars and practitioners.  Manipulating the Masses is an outstanding contribution to the literature.  It deserves to be read widely and discussed. 

See also “Meet the Author: John Maxwell Hamilton,”  USC Center on Public Diplomacy, November 10, 2020; John Maxwell Hamilton and Kevin R. Kosar, “Call it What It Is: Propaganda,”  Politico, October 8, 2020.

“Introducing: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy Blog.”  Now entering its second year, HJD continues to provide a forum for scholars and practitioners to discuss issues and stimulate debates on diplomatic practice, “diplomatic aspects of international politics,” and articles published in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy.  On the unstated premise that less is more, HJD publishes approximately 10 blogs annually.  Authors may submit proposals, limited to 300 words, to HJD Blog editor Ilan Manor at ilan.manor@stx.ox.ac.uk. See also The Hague Diplomacy Blog: Guidelines for Authors.

Ilan Manor and Guy J. Golan, “The Irrelevance of Soft Power,” ResearchGate, E-International Relations, October 19, 2020.  Manor (University of Oxford) and Golan (Texas Christian University) argue the debatable and seemingly inconsistent propositions that soft power is irrelevant (their title) and secondary (in their article).  The 21st century, they contend, will consist of growing competition among three giants – the US, China, and India.  Nations will create short-term alliances that will be malleable and “rest on shared interests, not shared values.”  Power will function differently.  Soft power (attraction) and hard power (threats and coercion), as conceptualized by Joseph Nye, will give way to power understood as bargaining among the giants and issue specific strategic alliances.  Foreign publics will care about states “primarily when they share interests.”  The authors have written extensively and well in the past on public diplomacy and digital technologies in diplomatic practice, and their geopolitical forecasts in this paper are worth consideration going forward.  However, their claim that “Soft Power will no longer be relevant” and their suggestion that Nye’s soft power concept is time bound are problematic.  To be sure, Nye’s work has focused primarily on the uses of power in the modern era.  But his writings are filled will references to the relevance and varieties of hard and soft power (and tradeoffs between them) in the interaction of groups throughout history.  To borrow from Mark Twain, reports of soft power’s “irrelevance” are greatly exaggerated.

Geoffrey Allen Pigman, Negotiating Our Economic Future: Trade, Technology, and Diplomacy, (Agenda Publishing/McGill-Queens, 2020).  Diplomacy scholar and global strategy and policy consultant Pigman looks at how technological change is transforming global trade and the diplomacy that makes trade possible.  Chapters discuss changes in the global economy that provide context for his arguments and accelerating advances in information, communication, and transport technologies.  Of particular interest to diplomacy scholars are his views on diplomatic actors, processes, and methods.  Pigman has long pioneered research that considers most of today’s diplomacy “inherently ‘public’” – and large transnational firms and civil society organizations as diplomatic actors on the global stage.  His ideas on concepts of diplomacy, digital diplomacy, public diplomacy, and the uses and effects of social media contribute usefully to current debates, even when at times they risk stretching the boundaries of diplomacy as a domain in knowledge and practice.  His book is especially useful because it focuses on underappreciated diplomacy issues in economics and trade in a literature that tends to prioritize geopolitics, national security, and transnational problems in other areas (e.g., climate, pandemics, cyber, migration). 

Alina Polyakova and Daniel Fried, “Democratic Offense Against Disinformation,” Center for European Analysis (CEPA) and Atlantic Council, December 2, 2020.  In this paper, the third in a series, Polyakova (CEPA President and CEO) and Fried (Atlantic Council Distinguished Fellow) turn from arguments based on defense and resilience to offense.  By this they do not mean spreading disinformation.  Their strategy calls for building up cyber tools to identify and disrupt, sanctions, and asymmetric support for free media (journalists, activists, and independent investigators).  By asymmetric, they do not mean directly countering disinformation.  Rather they support tools and methods that emphasize “the inherent attraction, over the long run, of truth,” the greatest strength of free societies dealing with authoritarian adversaries.  See also “The Lawfare Podcast: Can Democracies Play Offense on Disinformation,” (56 minutes), December 3, 2020.  (Courtesy of Len Baldyga)

Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz, Democracy under Lockdown: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Struggle for Freedom, Freedom House, October 2020.  In this 17-page special report, Freedom House, in partnership with the research firm GQR, summarizes views of 398 journalists, civil society workers, activists, and other experts as well as findings of its own research analysts on the condition of democracy during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Key judgments include the following. (1) Research “strongly” demonstrates that the pandemic is exacerbating 14 years of consecutive decline in freedom documented in Freedom House reports.  Democracy has weakened in 80 countries, particularly in struggling democracies and highly repressive states.  (2) The pandemic is contributing to increased obstacles to voting in person and other forms of political participation, restrictions on protests, government misinformation and disinformation, and elected officials willing to exploit the virus for personal purposes and as an excuse for increased oppression.  (3) The political impact is expected to last well after its impact as a major public health problem.  A separate section on the United States addresses the Trump administration’s “fog of misinformation,” repeated downplaying of the virus, and use of emergency health directives to advance border crossing policies.  See also Adam Taylor, “Democracies Are Backsliding Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic,” The Washington Post, October 2, 2020.

US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, “Minutes and Transcript from the Quarterly Meeting on Public Diplomacy’s Role in Countering State-sponsored Disinformation,” September 30, 2020.  The Commission’s meeting, based on its special report, “Public Diplomacy and the New ‘Old’ War: Countering State-Sponsored Disinformation,” featured remarks by the Commission’s Executive Director Vivian Walker and an expert panel: James Pamment (Lund University and Nonresident Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Graham Brookie, Director and Managing Editor of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab; and US Ambassador (ret.) Bruce Wharton, former Acting Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

“The U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress,”  Congressional Reference Service (CRS), R44891, updated November 24, 2020.  Balanced and well researched, CRS’s standard nonpartisan approach in writing for US lawmakers and staff, this report addresses the question of whether the US role in the world has changed, and if so, what are the implications?  It divides its assessment into four key elements: global leadership; defense and promotion of the liberal order; defense and promotion of freedom, democracy, and human rights; and prevention of the emergence of regional hegemons in Asia.  The report draws on leading views of scholars and practitioners in summarizing arguments for a more restrained US role in the world and contrasting arguments for continuing the US role of the past 70 years.  It also includes an extensive bibliography.

Uzra S. Zeya and Jon Finer, “Revitalizing the State Department and American Diplomacy,”  Council Special Report No. 89, Council on Foreign Relations, November 2020.  Zeya (CEO and President, Alliance for Peacebuilding) and Finer (Adjunct Senior Fellow, CFR), supported by a blue-ribbon advisory committee of leaders in American diplomacy, want to change a State Department “that has fallen into a deep and sustained crisis.”  Long-standing deficits in diversity, institutional culture, and professionalization exist in a policy environment “beyond the core competencies of most Foreign and Civil Service officers.”  These problems are exacerbated by a State Department that is “hollowed out by three years of talent flight, mired in an excessively layered structure, and resistant to reform.”  Their 40-page report surveys pressing concerns and needed reforms. 

(1) Restore State’s Special Envoy for Climate Change led by a presidential appointee and staffed by experts from government and civil society.

(2) Strengthen State’s Office of International Health and Biodefense, learn from the PEPFAR AIDs relief program, and integrate expertise in US health agencies and diplomacy.

(3) Increase diplomatic capacity focused on China through recruitment, assignments, and language training.

(4) “Overhaul” State’s technology platforms and practitioner skills. 

(5) Upgrade State’s cyber issues coordinator to the level of ambassador-at-large.

(6) Request an NSC led process to coordinate “a strategy for the information environment” and clarify missions and authorities of State’s Global Engagement Center, the Defense Department, the intelligence community, and the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

(7) Overcome State’s “profound lack of diversity” and a Foreign Service that “remains a bastion of white male privilege” through bold steps in recruitment, assignments, promotions, and management.

(8) Address a profoundly damaging “risk averse culture” manifest in “fortress embassies,” difficulties in engaging local populations, and a “don’t make waves” approach to career advancement.

(9) Create a streamlined alternative to the paper clearance system, reduce the number of undersecretaries, and delegate more power to assistant secretaries and ambassadors.

(10) “Revise or replace” the Foreign Service “cone system” and provide alternative entry paths to the Foreign Service written and oral exams.

(11) Restore primacy of career appointments in senior positions.

(12) Increase funding for a training float, incentivize continuous learning, recruit more officers with language skills, create a Diplomatic Reserve Corps, and pursue a new Foreign Service Act.

Some proposals reflect a growing consensus; others are likely to be contested.  As with many such reports, it is long on diagnosis, generalities, and desired end states.  Missing are realistic road maps needed to navigate the politics of how to get from here to there.

Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest

Matt Armstrong, “Whither R: The Office That’s Been Vacant for Two of Every Five Days Since 1999,”December 3, 2020, MountainRunner.us

Robert Banks, “City Diplomacy: A Reset,”  November 25, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Peter Beinart, “Biden Wants America to Lead the World. It Shouldn’t,”  December 2, 2020, The New York Times.

Don Bishop, “For America’s Public Diplomacy, No Time to Waste,”  November 11, 2020, Public Diplomacy Council.

Graham Bowley, “Joe Biden and the Arts: No R.B.G. but a Loyal Promoter of Culture,”  October 30, 2020, The New York Times.

Brian Carlson and Michael McCarry, “Memorandum for President-Elect Biden, Public Diplomacy: Re-engaging the World,” November 29, 2020, Public Diplomacy Council, Public Diplomacy Association of America.

Gordon Duguid, “How Public Diplomacy Can Help Regain U.S. Credibility,”  November 15, 2020, Diplomatic Diary.

“Five PD Favorites By Mike Anderson,”  November 29, 2020, Public Diplomacy Council.

Robbie Gramer, “Senior U.S. Lawmaker Wants to Scale Back Pay-for-Post Ambassadorships,”  October 26, 2020, Foreign Policy.

Joe B. Johnson, “The Value, and Values of Public Diplomacy,”  November 16, 2020, Public Diplomacy Council.

Doowan Lee, “The United States Isn’t Doomed to Lose the Information Wars,”  October 16, 2020, Foreign Policy.

Cheng Li and Ryan McElveen, “The Deception and Detriment of US-China Cultural and Educational Decoupling,”  October 14, 2020, Brookings.

Kristin Lord, “Bad Idea: The Misguided Quest to Recreate USIA,”  December 4, 2020, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Alasdair MacDonald and Alison Bailey, “The Integrated Review and the Future of UK Soft Power,”  October 2020, British Council.

Ilan Manor, “How External Shocks Alter Digital Diplomacy’s Trajectory,”  November 4, 2020, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Salman Masood, “U.S. Embassy in Pakistan Apologizes for Retweeting Election Post,” November 11, 2020, The New York Times.

Sherry Meuller and Michael McCarry, “Advocating for Public Diplomacy,”  October 3, 2020, Public Diplomacy Council.

Jonathan Monten, Joshua Busby, Joshua D. Kertzer, Dina Smeltz, and Jordan Tama, “Americans Want to Engage the World,”  November 3, 2020, Foreign Affairs.

Nick Pyenson and Alex Dehgan, “We Need More Scientists in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps,” November 16, 2020, Scientific American.

Anne-Marie Slaughter and Alexandra Stark, “Crafting a Diplomacy – First US Foreign Policy,”  November 23, 2020, Project Syndicate.

Tianna Spears, “It Is Up to the State Department to Reimagine a Better Institution,”  November 2020, American Diplomacy.

Nahal Toosi, “Are You on the List? Biden’s Democracy Summit Spurs Anxieties – and Skepticism,”  November 28, 2020, Politico.

“Two New Reports Provide a Road Map for Reforming American Diplomacy,”  November 21, 2020, The Economist.

Matthew Wallin, “Public Diplomacy Priorities for the Incoming Biden Administration,”  December 1, 2020, American Security Project.

Doug Wilson, Angelic Young, and Alex Pascal, “The Need for More Chris Stevenses,”  December 3, 2020, Just Security.

Ayse Zarakol, “Biden’s Victory Is No Balm for American Exceptionalism,” November 9, 2020, Foreign Policy.

Philip Zelikow, “The U.S. Foreign Service Isn’t Suited for the 21st Century,”  October 26, 2020, Foreign Policy.

Selected Items (in chronological order): Trump / Voice of America / USAGM

Jennifer Hansler, “Watchdogs Open Probes Into Alleged Misconduct and Retaliation at the US Agency for Global Media,”  October 2, 2020, CNN

David Folkenflik, “VOA White House Reporter Investigated for Anti-Trump Bias By Political Appointees,”  October 4, 2020, NPR. 

Zack Budryk, “Political Appointees Investigated Voice of America Journalist for Possible Anti-Trump Bias: Report,”  October 5, 2020, The Hill; Jessica Jerrat, “USAGM Officials Breached Firewall, Committee Chair Says,” October 6, 2020, VOA News; “Engel Statement on USAGM Officials Breaching the ‘Firewall’ and Targeting VOA Journalist,”  October 5, 2020, US House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

David Folkenflik, “Acting VOA Director Pledges to Protect Newsroom Despite Inquiry Into Reporter,”  October 6, 2020, NPR.

“USAGM Denounces Substandard Journalism Within Federal News Networks; Agency Publishes Clarification of Federal Reporting Expectations,”  October 6, 2020, USAGM Public Affairs.

“SPJ Statement on Allegations Against VOA Reporter,”  October 7, 2020, Society of Professional Journalists.

 David Folkenflik, “Ex-Officials’ Lawsuit Says Trump-Appointed CEO Broke Laws at Voice of America,”  October 8, 2020, NPR; Grant Turner, et al., vs. US Agency for Global Media, et al., Case No. 20-cv-2885, October 8, 2020. 

Jessica Jerreat, “Lawsuit Calls for Immediate Relief From USAGM CEO’s Action,”  October 9, 2020, VOA News; Justine Coleman, “Trump-appointed Global Media Chief Sued Over Allegations of Pro-Trump Agenda,”  October 8, 2020, The Hill; Pranshu Verma, “Trump Appointee is Turning Voice of America Into Partisan Outlet, Lawsuit Says,”  October 8, 2020, The New York Times.

Jackson Diehl, “Trump’s Continuing Vandalism of the Voice of America,”  October 11, 2020, The Washington Post.


Sara Fischer, “Scoop: USAGM Soliciting OTF Partners As It Withholds Funds,”  October 13, 2020, Axios.

Paul Farhi, “Court Rules Trump Appointee Overstepped Authority When He Tried to Replace Media Fund’s Leadership,”  October 15, 2020, The Washington Post.

David Folkenflik, “Citing Scandal, Senator Proposes Stronger Protections for VOA Newsroom,”  October 15, 2020, NPR; “Murphy Announces Legislation to Protect Journalists from Political Targeting,”  October 16, 2020, Press Release.

David Folkenflik, “Judge Finds U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Broke Law in Seizing Control of Fund,”  October 17, 2020, NPR.

Alan Heil, “U.S.-funded Global Media Face Unprecedented Threats. Congress to the Rescue?”  October 18, 2020; “America’s Publicly-Funded Overseas Networks: An Unrelenting Crisis,”  October 31, 2020, Public Diplomacy Council.

 Margaret Taylor and David Folkenflik, “Fear and Loathing at the U.S. Agency for Global Media,”  October 21, 2020, Lawfare Podcast, (48 minutes).

 David Folkenflik, “U.S. Agency Targets Its Own Journalists’ Independence,”  October 27, 2020, NPR; “Background on Rescinding a So-called Firewall Rule,” October 26, 2020, USAGM.

 Paul Farhi, “Trump Appointee Sweeps Aside Rule That Ensures ‘Firewall’ at Voice of America,”  October 27, 2020, The Washington Post; Pranshu Verma, “Trump Appointee Rescinds Rule Shielding Government News Outlets From Federal Tampering,” October 27, The New York Times; Jessica Jerreat, “USAGM CEO Criticized Over Move to Rescind Firewall Regulation,”  October 27, 2020, VOA News; Colum Lynch, Amy Mackinnon, Robbie Gramer, “Trump Appointee Seeks to Turn U.S. Media Agency Into a Political Cheerleader,”  October 27, 2020, Foreign Policy; Laura Kelly, “Trump Appointee Sparks Bipartisan Furor for Politicizing Media Agency,”  October 27, 2020, The Hill; “Engel Statement on Michael Pack’s Attack on the Statutory Firewall,”  October 27, 2020, US House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Akbar Shahid Ahmed and Nick Robins-Early, “Donald Trump Is Turning An Independent Taxpayer-Funded News Network Into Political Propaganda,”  November 1, 2020, The Hill.

Jack Rodgers, “Judge Voices Alarm at Odious Reported Conduct of Trump Appointee,”  November 5, 2020, Courthouse News Service.

James S. Robbins, “More Rot at America’s Public Diplomacy Mouthpiece,”  November 7, 2020, The Hill.

Justine Coleman, “Former VOA Producer Sues US Global Media Agency Over Termination,”  November 11, 2020, The Hill.

Kim Andrew Elliott, “U.S. International Broadcasting: Rebuilding the Firewall in the New Administration,”  November 20, 2020, The Hill.

David Folkenflik, “Voice of America’s 5 Months Under Trump CEO: Lawsuits, Bias Claims, and a Sex Scandal,”  November 20, 2020, NPR.

 Paul Farhi, “Judge Slaps Down Trump Appointee Who Has Sought to Reshape Voice of America and Related Agencies,”  November 21, 2020, The Washington Post; “Turner vs. USAGM, Preliminary Injunction Order,” November 20, 2020; David Folkenflik, “Trump Appointee Unconstitutionally Interfered with VOA, Judge Rules,”  November 21, 2020, NPR; Jessica Jerreat, “Court Injunction Bars USAGM From Editorial Interference,”  November 21, 2020, VOA News.

Matt Armstrong, “No, the US Agency for Global Media Does Not Compete with US Commercial Media,”  November 26, 2020, MountainRunner.us

David Folkenflik, “‘Substantial Likelihood of Wrongdoing,’ By VOA Parent Agency, Government Watchdog Says,”  December 2, 2020, NPR; Jessica Jerreat, “USAGM Told to Investigate Allegations of Wrongdoing at Agency,”  December 3, 2020, VOA News.

Alberto Fernandez, “The Quiet Crisis in U.S. International Broadcasting,”  December 2, 2020, MEMRI Brief No. 243.

Gem From The Past 

Marc Grossman, “Diplomacy for the 21st century: Back to the Future,” Foreign Service Journal, September 2014, pp. 22-27.  Marc Grossman’s distinguished career in the Foreign Service included assignments as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, US Ambassador in Turkey and Director General of the Foreign Service.  His thoughtful and prescient FSJ article six years ago signaled issues central to today’s change agendas for the Biden/Harris administration (see the Harvard and Council on Foreign Relations reports above).  Diplomacy, Grossman observed, must rest on four principles: optimism and belief in the power of ideas, commitment to political and economic justice at home, a conviction that truth is ultimately more effective than lies, and reliance on Reinhold Niebuhr’s admonitions, channeled by Andrew Bacevich about “the persistent sin of American exceptionalism, the indecipherability of history, the false allure of simple solutions; and . . . appreciating the limits of [hard and soft] power.”  Among Grossman’s other enduring ideas for diplomatic practice: recognition of the power and limits of social media, commitment to pluralism, recognition of the necessity of whole of government diplomacy, the development of “expeditionary diplomats” and a reserve corps of civilians and diplomats that can deploy immediately in the toughest diplomatic assignments.  See also “Ambassador Marc Grossman: Diplomacy for the 21st Century,” USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

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.