Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #105

February 8, 2021 

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
BGregory@gwu.edu
http://ipdgc.gwu.edu/bruce-gregorys-resources-diplomacys-public-dimension

Martha Bayles, “News They Can Use,” National Affairs, Number 46, Winter 2021.  Bayles (Boston College) weaves an account of recent political controversies in US international broadcasting with an overview of how the missions, structures, and methods of its media networks have evolved and intersect.  Details of Trump loyalist Michael Pack’s destructive leadership of the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and her critique of Congress’s abolition of the Broadcasting Board of Governors lead her narrative.  Her tapestry includes assessments of the VOA Charter, the origins of RFE/RL, a brief case study of VOA and Radio Free Asia’s broadcasts in Cambodia, the “intense, sometimes bitter rivalry” between VOA and the grantee networks driven by scarce resources and desire “to shift the stigma of being a ‘government mouthpiece,’” and her analysis of how America’s journalism norms have changed in commercial and government sponsored media.  Bayles’ blended approach to surrogate broadcasting puts a useful spotlight on how all USAGM networks, including VOA, cover events in other countries as well as news about America.  Broadcasters, as they do endlessly, will debate her perspective and the fine points of her thought-provoking article.  General audiences will find it an informed, easy to understand summary of key issues and useful historical context for the deluge of national news stories on US broadcasting in the last year of the Trump presidency.   

British Council, Soft Power and Cultural Relations Institutions in a Time of Crisis, Researched and written by International Cultural Relations (ICR), London, January 29, 2021.  This 65-page report, commissioned by the Council and prepared by an ICR team led by Stuart MacDonald (ICR) and Nicholas Cull (University of Southern California), is an in-depth assessment of the UK’s cultural relations infrastructure and broadly comparable cultural relations organizations and practices in 12 other countries (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, and the US) and the European Union.  The report was written for the Council as a “competitor analysis” intended to provide knowledge and implications for policymakers in the UK who are transitioning to new relationships outside the EU and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.  It has broad empirical and conceptual value, however, for scholars and practitioners.  The report’s descriptive information (structures, methods, funding levels) and quantitative data are presented clearly and systematically.  Its findings are grounded in extensive interviews with a variety of experts.  It devotes considerable attention to definitions: soft power, cultural relations, public diplomacy, relationship building, influence, attraction, competition.  It poses and explores a set of fundamental questions about soft power and cultural relations raised by the research.  It concludes with a literature review and discussion of its methodology.  This important report is sure to spark spirited debates in classrooms and policy meetings of practitioners.  One key issue derives from the report’s definition of soft power and problematic premise that soft power and cultural relations are categorically different.   

Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP), “Artificial Intelligence and Democratic Values: The AI Social Contract Index 2020,” December 2020.  The CAIDP, founded in 2020 under the auspices of the Michael Dukakis Institute, seeks to ensure that AI research and national policies are fair, accountable, and transparent.  Its AI Social Contract Index 2020, developed by a team of international experts, analyzed AI in 30 countries and ranked ordered their performance.  Germany ranked first for its promotion of public participation in AI policymaking, strong standards for data protection, and AI policy efforts within the EU.  Canada, France, South Korea, and others ranked in the second tier.  The US was placed in tier 3 “because its policy-making process is opaque” and lack of strong laws for data privacy.  China ranked in tier 4 because of its use of facial recognition against ethnic minorities and political protesters.  The report lists five key recommendations to guide policymakers and the public.  See also “Artificial Intelligence Cybersecurity Challenges,” European Union Agency for Cybersecurity,” December 15, 2020.  (Courtesy of Len Baldyga) 

“Geoffrey Wiseman Joins DePaul University as Endowed Chair of Applied Diplomacy,”  January 8, 2021, DePaul Newsroom.  The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy at DePaul offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed to prepare “a new generation of diplomats” who will pursue careers “not only in the foreign service, but in their work as business people, scientists, artists, community organizers, activists, clergy and educators.” 

Thomas Kent, Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation, (The Jamestown Foundation, 2020).  The former president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty argues that Western responses to Russian disinformation have been weak, uncoordinated, too reliant on defensive measures, too reluctant to confront and expose Russia’s actions, and too constrained by fears of “becoming propagandists ourselves.”  His book is a call for a campaign that stresses democratic values and includes more aggressive messaging to the Russian people by governments and non-government organizations.  It includes a series of recommended actions for governments and democracy activists and an assessment of the ethics and practicality of covert actions.   

Diana Ingenhoff, Giada Clamai, and Efe Sevin, “Key Influencers in Public Diplomacy 2.0: A Country-Based Social Network Analysis,” Social Media + Society, January-March 2021, 1-12.  Ingenhoff, (University of Fribourg), Clamai (University of Fribourg), and Sevin (Towson University) use a two-month data set of Twitter-based communication to identify key influencers in Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands and assess their role in shaping country images.  A key assumption of their study is that in the digital age, non-state actors, citizens, and individual users can interact directly with local, national, and international authorities and create public diplomacy content.  The authors contend their analysis offers insights into “how opinion leaders can play a more dominant role than states or other political actors in creating and disseminating content related to country image.”  They also assert their research “demonstrated a theoretical and empirical link between social media communication campaigns and audiences’ perceptions of countries,” which can be used to assess the influence of other public diplomacy projects.  Their study uses quantitative and qualitative methods, which are helpfully explained at length, and includes a useful list of references.   

Diana Ingenhoff and Jérôme Chariatte, Solving the Public Diplomacy Puzzle— Developing a 360-Degree Integrated Public Diplomacy Listening and Evaluation Approach to Analyzing what Constitutes a Country Image from Different Perspectives, CPD Perspectives, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, November 2020.  Ingenhoff and Chariatte (University of Fribourg) discuss their conceptual model for analyzing how public diplomacy, different types of publics, and five country image components contribute to the formation of country images.  The first part of the paper examines relevant literature and the elements of their model.  Then they explore its application to Switzerland’s country image using survey data to analyze perceptions in five countries (Germany, France, Italy, the UK and the US).  They conclude with an assessment of the limitations of their empirical study and suggestions for future research. 

Journal of Public Diplomacy, Korean Association for Public Diplomacy (KAPD).  JPD is a promising new journal devoted to public diplomacy scholarship and practice.  Launched by KAPD, it is the initiative of Editor-in-Chief Kadir Jun Ayhan (Ewha Womans University) and Associate Editors Lindsay Bier (University of Southern California), Efe Sevin (Towson University), and Lisa Tam (Queensland University of Technology).  Its goals are (1) to publish articles devoted to theoretical and empirical research on public diplomacy that will contribute to the discipline of international relations, and (2) to provide a venue for discussions and exchanges of views among scholars, policymakers and practitioners.  JPD is a double-blind peer-reviewed and open-access journal to be published biannually online in June and December, beginning in June 2021.  Additional information and author guidelines are accessible on the Journal’s website. 

Jill Lepore, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future, (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2020).  Harvard University historian Jill Lepore, acclaimed author of These Truths and seemingly almost weekly essays in The New Yorker, has mined MIT’s archives to tell the story of the 1960’s corporation that anticipated the uses of computer modeling for campaign politics and psychological warfare.  It is largely the story of the personalities who founded Simulmatics, including notably its head of research, Ithiel de sola Pool, and their consulting work with politicians and government agencies.  Although her book devotes considerable attention to the firm’s role in John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign and the Pentagon’s counterinsurgency operations in Vietnam, it also captures an era when an early generation of communications scholars and behavioral scientists helped to shape USIA’s public diplomacy strategies and public opinion research.  Her pages contain highly readable accounts of Pool’s life and work, Simulmatics’ contested relations with Eugene Burdick (The Ugly American), and the influence of communications theorists Harold Lasswell and Paul Lazarsfeld.  In Silicon Valley, Lepore writes, “the meaninglessness of the past and the uselessness of history became articles of faith, gleefully performed arrogance.”  This “cockeyed idea” isn’t original, she continues.  “It’s a creaky, bankrupt Cold War idea . . . The invention of the future has a history, decades old, dilapidated.  Simulmatics is its cautionary tale.” 

Juan-Luis Manfredi-Sánchez, “Deglobalization and Public Diplomacy,”  International Journal of Communication,15(2021), 905-926.  Manfredi-Sánchez’s (University of Castilla-La Mancha) central claim in this article is that “deglobalization” – characterized by a downturn in flows of trade, services, capital, and people; the rise of populism and nationalism; a global pandemic; and new barriers to cosmopolitanism – has undermined the foundations of public diplomacy.  “Deglobalization assumes the principles of an anarchic society in which the tools intrinsic to public diplomacy are put to an unfair use.”  For example, journalistic information is converted to propaganda.  Social media campaigns support disinformation.  Culture is used “to break and reconstruct historical links suiting the present.”  Using Nicholas Cull’s public diplomacy taxonomy (listening, advocacy, cultural diplomacy, exchange diplomacy, and international broadcasting), Manfredi-Sánchez explores the consequences of deglobalization for each category of practice using a variety of examples and arguments from a broad range of scholarship in communications theory, diplomacy studies, and international relations.  He concludes by pointing to two areas of research in which these ideas can be tested: the immediate and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and whether nation branding is compatible with the political and economic structures of deglobalization.  The full text can be downloaded.  (Courtesy of Francisco Rodriguez-Jimenez) 

Michael McFaul, “Dressing for Dinner,” November 25, 2020; “Sometimes You Get Another Chance,”December 14, 2020;  “Sell It Again Uncle Sam,” January 13, 2021, American Purpose.  In three articles drawn from his forthcoming book, American Renewal: Lessons from the Cold War for Competing with China and Russia Today, McFaul (Stanford University, former US Ambassador to Russia) offers ideas on democratic renewal, combatting illiberalism and disinformation, and ways to improve the performance and institutions of American diplomacy.  Transforming America’s democracy at home “towers above all other objectives” in what he calls the “global ideological struggle between democracy and autocracy, liberalism and illiberalism, and open and closed societies.”  Many ideas on his long list of proposals are “devoted to improving public diplomacy, strategic communications, and U.S. government-funded media.” 

(1) Expand the portfolio of every US diplomat to include public diplomacy and strategic communications. 

(2) Strengthen the authority, resources, and staff of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R).  Broaden its purview to include State’s Bureau of Democracy Human Rights, and Labor “so that democracy, human rights, public diplomacy and strategic communication become more integrated.”  Change the name to Under Secretary for Global Engagement, Democracy, and Human Rights and, because “symbolism is important,” relocate its offices to the “seventh floor.”  

(3) Upgrade the Global Engagement Center to bureau status to be “run by an assistant secretary and radically expanded to be able to expose, deter, and slow the spread of anti-American disinformation.”  Strengthen its ties to American social media companies. 

(4) After four disruptive years, rebuild the talent in the US Agency for Global Media’s organizations.  RFE/RL, Radio Free Asia, Radio Farda, Cuba Broadcasting, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and the Open Technology Fund should be completely independent, with nonpartisan boards and funding channels comparable to grantees of the National Endowment for Democracy.   

(5) Consider transforming VOA into an organization affiliated with the Corporation of Public Broadcasting with the sole purpose of broadcasting news – “in essence an American version of the BBC.” 

(6) Radically expand all educational exchanges, short-term leadership training programs, and yearlong fellowships at US and European universities. 

(7) Finish the work of amending Smith-Mundt restrictions on domestic dissemination to increase the State Department’s “focus on explaining U.S. diplomacy to the American people.”  

Walter Russell Mead, “The End of the Wilsonian Era: Why Liberal Internationalism Failed,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2021.  With his typically clear writing and analysis, Mead (Bard College) discusses his reasons for why the Wilsonian liberal international order project has failed.  Many supporters of President Biden want to put Humpty Dumpty together again.  Mead wishes them well.  They may have continued success in Europe.  But elsewhere their prospects appear bleak.  Why?  The return of an ideology-fueled geopolitics in which Russia, China, Iran and their allies view Wilsonian ideals as a deadly threat.  Destabilizing new technologies that undermine democracies and empower authoritarian regimes.  Historical patterns of empires and civilizational states that have been as enduring and attractive as the European model of peer state rivalries.  Fixating on past liberal order glories will not be productive for team Biden.  It will need to focus on American foreign policy as a coalition affair between Wilsonians, Hamiltonians, Jacksonians, and Jeffersonians.  That said, Mead contends, nothing in politics is forever, including the current “Wilsonian recession.”  “The Wilsonian vision is too deeply implanted in American political culture, and the values to which it speaks have too much global appeal, to write its obituary just yet.” 

Hedvig Ördén and James Pamment , “What’s So Foreign About Foreign Influence Operations?”  Lines in the Sand Series #1, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 2021.  Ördén and Pamment (Lund University) question the utility of “foreignness” as a criterion for distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate influence operations.  They argue it can be helpful in a narrow set of cases “where there is overwhelming evidence of state-based, hybrid, and irregular warfare” – and in protection of democratic institutions, such as in elections.  But, more broadly, defining influence operations as illegitimate simply because they are carried out by foreign states, by foreign citizens, or in terms of foreign interests is insufficient.  Their paper develops the reasoning supporting these claims and briefly discusses alternative approaches in judging how to effectively combat influence operations. 

Mark G. Pomar, “A U.S. Media Strategy for the 2020s: Lessons from the Cold War,” Texas National Security Review, Vol. 4, Issue 1, Winter 2020/2021.  In this call for the Biden administration to revitalize US international broadcasting, Pomar (University of Texas) draws on experiences and insights from his career as a Russian studies scholar and practitioner with Voice of America, RFE/RL, and IREX.  US broadcasting’s current difficulties, he argues, are a consequence of (1) “ill-conceived” 2017 legislation that created a powerful CEO and eliminated the bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors, (2) the Trump administration’s appointment of Michael Pack as CEO, and (3) failure to develop a media strategy relevant to today’s global challenges.  His article covers a lot of historical ground, primarily as it relates to what can be learned from the capabilities and methods of RFE/RL during the Cold War.  He devotes attention to former Senator Joe Biden’s crucial role in maintaining RFE/RL’s mission and corporate structure at the end of the Cold War.  The task ahead, Pomar argues, is to create a new national security directive that articulates a bold vision for US broadcasters, correct the legislation creating a powerful CEO, preserve the independent status of RFE/RL and other surrogate broadcasters, develop a comprehensive media strategy, hire leaders with journalistic and area expertise, and pass legislation that protects the journalistic independence of US broadcasters.  His article is drawn in part from a forthcoming book about international broadcasting during the Reagan and Bush administrations. 

Anna A. Velikaya and Greg Simons, eds., Russia’s Public Diplomacy: Evolution and Practice, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).  Velikaya (The Alexander Gorkachev Public Diplomacy Foundation, Moscow) and Simons (Uppsala University, Sweden) have compiled essays that examine three questions.  What is Russian public diplomacy exactly?  What are its activities, past and present?  How effective are its numerous public diplomacy programs?  Contributors address a broad range of topics: nation branding, soft power, digital diplomacy, science diplomacy, the role of civil society, and cases of Russian public diplomacy in international organizations, Southeast Asia, the Baltic Sea region, Latin America, and the Middle East.   For an informed review that describes the book as “essential reading,” points to similarities between Russian and US public diplomacy, and summarizes strengths that outweigh its limitations, see Vivian Walker, “Insights Into Russia’s PD Challenges,”The Foreign Service Journal, October 2020, 73-74. 

US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, “2020 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy & International Broadcasting: Focus on FY 2019 Budget Data,” February 2021.  As has been the Commission’s practice in recent years, almost all of its 287-page 2020 report consists of strategy documents, budget data, and program descriptions prepared by State Department and US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) practitioners.  There is a wealth of descriptive information, systematically organized and illuminated by excellent graphics, which will be useful to Congressional staff, public policy researchers, scholars and students.  Particularly helpful are budget graphics showing 2019 spending by region and overseas mission, and annual spending from 1980-2019 in actual and adjusted 2019 dollars. The Commission’s oversight responsibilities are found primarily in four pages of recommendations (pp. 15-18) for the White House, Congress, State Department Bureaus, and USAGM.  Many have been updated from previous Commission reports.  Included are the following: (1) resurrect the NSC’s Information Statecraft Policy Coordinating Committee, (2) implement findings of a recent Strategic Resource Review intended to balance resource allocations with foreign policy priorities and eliminate inefficient and duplicative activities, (3) integrate educational and cultural affairs programs more fully into the policy planning process, and (4) undertake restorative measures in the wake of efforts to politicize USAGM’s journalists and breaches of the Congressionally-required broadcasting firewall. 

Recent Blogs and Other Items of Interest 

Mike Anderson, “Five PD Favorites,”  February 1, 2021, Public Diplomacy Council. 

Anne Applebaum, “What Trump and His Mob Taught the World About America,”  January 7, 2021, The Atlantic. 

Matt Armstrong, “Neglected History, Forgotten Lessons: The Struggle or Minds and Wills Relies on Leadership First, Organization Second,”  January 14, 2021, NSI. 

Emma Ashford, “America Can’t Promote Democracy Abroad. It Can’t Even Protect It At Home,”  January 7, 2021, Foreign Policy. 

Donald M. Bishop, “Eight Steps to a Stronger US Public Diplomacy,”  December 13, 2020, The Hill. 

Elizabeth Braw, “The United States Needs a BBC,”  January 28, 2021, Foreign Policy. 

Elizabeth Cornelius, “Q&A With a Council Member: Leonard J. Baldyga,” February 7, 2021, Public Diplomacy Council. 

Laura Daniels, “How White Supremacists Use Soft Power,”  February 5, 2021, Lawfare. 

Ciarán Devane, “The Power of Experience and Shared Values,”  December 2020, British Council. 

Patrick Duddy and Michael Shoenfeld, “Biden’s Facing a Diplomacy Deficit Going Back Decades,”  February 1, 2021, CNN. 

Daniel Immerwahr, “History Isn’t Just for Patriots,” December 27, 2020, The Washington Post. 

Richard LeBaron and Dan Sreebny, “Biden Administration Should Act Fast to Bolster People-to-People Exchanges with the Middle East,”  December 4, 2020, Atlantic Council. 

Robert M. Gates, “The World is Full of Challenges. Here’s How Biden Can Meet Them,”  December 18, 2020, The New York Times. 

Paul Farhi, “Radio Free Europe Fires a Prominent Russian Journalist – and the Kremlin Smirks,” December 16, 2020, The Washington Post. 

Jeffrey Feltman, “To Rebuild the Foreign Service, Avoid an ‘Amnesty’ and Promote Functional Roles,”  December 28, 2020, Brookings. 

Jamie Fly, “How Biden Can Undo Damage to U.S.-backed News Outlets That Counter Authoritarian Propaganda,”  December 24, 2020, The Washington Post. 

Robert D. Kaplan, “The Greatest Humanitarian You’ve Never Heard Of,” January 24, 2021, Foreign Policy; Max Boot, “A Guide to Repairing Our Image Abroad and Replacing ‘the Ugly American,’” January 26, 2021, The Washington Post. 

Molly McCluskey, “Their Doors May Be Closed, But Embassies Are Still Showing People the World,”  January 26, 2021, Smithsonian Magazine. 

Emile Nakleh, “A New US Approach to the Muslim World,”  December 14, 2020, The Cipher Brief. 

Rachel Oswald, “Congress Ditches State Department Bill After Fight With Ivanka Trump,”  December 23, 2020, Roll Call. Sagatom Saha, “Let 100 Foreign Services Bloom,”  February 1, 2021, Foreign Policy. 

Anton Troianovski, “Russia Pushes U.S.-Funded News Outlet Toward Exit,”  January 21, 2021, The New York Times“Meeks, McCaul, Kaptur, Kinzinger, and Keating on Threats to U.S. International Broadcasting,”  January 22, 2021, Press Release, Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

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

Brian Schwartz, “Trump Loyalist Michael Pack Plots Final Purge at Federal Media Agency Before Biden Takes Office,”  December 7, 2020, CNBC 

“Inspector General Statement on the Agency for Global Media’s Major Management and Performance Challenges,”  December 2020, Office of Inspector General, Department of State. 

David Folkenflik, “VOA Director Forced Aside in Drive to Embed Trump Loyalists Before Biden Era,”  December 8, 2020, NPR; Paul Farhi, “Voice of America Interim Director Pushed Out by Trump-appointed Overseer in Final Flurry of Actions to Assert Control,”  December 8, 2020, The Washington Post; Pranshu Verma, “Trump Appointee Sidelines V.O.A. Director Before Biden Takes Office,”  December 8, 2020, The New York Times. 

Paul Farhi, “Trump Appointee Who Oversees Voice of America Refuses to Cooperate with Biden Transition Team,”  December 8, 2020, The Washington Post. Jon Allsop, “The Fight for Voice of America,”  December 9, 2020, Columbia Journalism Review. 

“Engel Statement on Appointment of Robert Reilly as VOA Director,”  December 9, 2020, US House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs; Jessica Jerreat, “USAGM Says Robert Reilly to Return as VOA Director,”  December 9, 2020, VOA News; “Robert R. Reilly Returns to Role of VOA Director,”  December 9, 2020, USAGM; Alan Heil, “U.S.-Funded Global Media: an Uncertain Future,”  December 10, 2020, Public Diplomacy Council. 

“Trump Has Launched An Eleventh-hour Assault on Voice of America,”  December 10, 2020, Editorial, The Washington Post. 

Amanda Bennett, “I Was Voice of America’s Director. Trump’s Latest Pick to Run the Organization is Dangerous,”  December 11, 2020, The Washington Post. David Folkenflik, “New VOA Director Arrives With Baggage: Anti-Islamic and Homophobic Writings,”  December 11, 2020, NPR. 

Margaret Sullivan, “Restoring the Voice of America After a Trump ‘Wrecking Ball’ Won’t Be Easy.  But It’s Worth Saving,”  December 13, 2020, The Washington Post. 

“Press Release: Voice of America Staff Protest Appointment of New VOA Director,”  December 14, 2020, Government Accountability Project; Courtney Buble, “Anonymous Voice of America Employees Protest New Acting Director,”  December 15, 2020, Government Executive. 

Bill Gertz, “Michael Pack Fiercely Defends Overhaul of Voice of America and other U.S. Broadcast Outlets,”  December 14, 2020, The Washington Times 

Alan Heil, “A Fresh Look at U.S. Overseas Broadcasting,”  December  18, 2020, Public Diplomacy Council. 

Paul Farhi, “Trump Appointee Names Conservative Allies to Run Radio Free Europe and Cuba Broadcast Agency,”  December 18. 2020; “USAGM CEO Names New Leaders for RFE/RL, OCB,”  December 18, 2020, VOA News. 

Joe O’Connell, “Give Listeners a Reason to Tune In,”  December 21, 2020, The Washington Post. 

Jessica Jerreat, “COVID-19 and Defense Spending Bills Target USAGM Powers,”  December 22, 2020, VOA News. 

David Folkenflik, “Trump Appointee Seeks Lasting Control Over Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia,”  December 30, 2020, NPR; Brian Schwartz, “Trump-appointed Federal Media Agency CEO Blasted in Letter by Radio Free Europe Leaders,”  December 30, 2020, CNBC. 

“Targeted Inspection of the U.S. Agency for Global Media: Journalistic Standards and Principles,” Office of Inspector General, US Department of State, December 2020. 

Rob Bole, “USAGM Is A Unique, Underutilized Foreign Policy Tool,” December 28, 2021, MountainRunner.us 

Kim Andrew Elliott, “US International Broadcasting: The Demolition of Credibility,”  January 6, 2021, The Hill. 

Paul Farhi, “Voice of America Employees Protest Order to Broadcast Pompeo Speech, Calling it Propaganda,” January 8, 2021, The Washington Post; Whistleblower complaint, Address by Secretary of State Pompeo at VOA headquarters endangers public health and safety, Government Accountability Project, January 8, 2021; David Folkenflik, “Voice of America CEO Accused of Fraud, Misuse of Office All in One Week,”  January 8, 2021, NPR. 

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Gives an Address at Voice of America,” January 11, 2021, Youtube video, 33 minutes. 

Karen DeYoung, “Pompeo Calls on VOA to Trumpet American Exceptionalism as Journalists at the Service Warn of Propaganda,”January 11, 2021, The Washington Post; Nicole Gaouette, Jennifer Hansler, and Kyle Atwood, “Pompeo Accuses VOA of ‘Demeaning America’ in Speech that Whistleblowers Blast as ‘Political Propaganda,’” January 11, 2021, CNN Business; Laura Kelly, “Pompeo Feud With US Global Media Agency Intensifies,” January 11, 2021, The Hill; Jessica Jerreat, “Pompeo Defends Changes at USAGM Under Trump Appointee,” January 11, 2021, VOA News. 

David Folkenflik, “Voice of America White House Reporter Reassigned After Questioning Pompeo,”  January 12, 2021, NPR; Paul Farhi, “Voice of America Reassigns White House Reporter After She Sought to Question Mike Pompeo,”  January 12, 2021, The Washington Post. 

Tia Sewell, “Trump’s War on the U.S. Agency for Global Media,”  January 12, 2021, Lawfare. 

Dan De Luce, “Voice of America Journalists Demand Resignation of Top Officials, Protesting Sidelining of Two Staffers,”  January 14, 2021, NBC News; Jessica Jerreat, “Whistleblowers Demand VOA Director Resign Over Pompeo Speech, Staff Moves,”  January 14, 2021, VOA News. 

Paul Farhi, “Controversial Head of Voice of America Resigns Hours After President Biden Takes Office,”  January 20, 2021, The Washington Post. 

David Folkenflik, “Trump Ally at Voice of America Replaced by News Executive He Recently Demoted,” January 21, 2021, NPR; Paul Farhi, “At Voice of America, a Sweeping Ouster of Trump Officials on Biden’s First Full Day,” January 21, 2021, The Washington Post; Jessica Jerreat, “New Acting USAGM Chief Begins Undoing Predecessor’s Policies,” January 21, 2021, VOA News. 

David Folkenflik, “USAGM Chief Fires Trump Allies Over Radio Free Europe And Other Networks,” January 22, 2021, NPR. 

Paul Farhi, “Former Voice of America Overseer Hired Two Law Firms to $4 Million No-bid Contracts,” January 25, 2021, The Washington Post; “Voice of America Overseer Spent $2 Million Investigating Employees, Complaint Alleges,” January 19, 2021, The Washington Post.

“Meeks, McCaul Applaud Removal of Controversial USAGM Leadership,” January 25, 2021, Press Release, Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

David Folkenflik, “Trumpism at Voice of America: Firings, Foosball and a Conspiracy Theory,”  January 27, 2021, NPR. Robert R. Reilly, “Voice of America’s Dysfunction Corrupts News Organization’s Mission,”  February 4, 2021, The Washington Times. 

Byron York, “America’s Lost Voice,”  February 4, 2021, Washington Examiner.“RFE/RL Welcomes Back Jamie Fly as President,”  February 4, 2021, USAGM.  

Gem From The Past 

Antony J. Blinken, “Winning the War of Ideas,” The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2002. 25.2 (2002), pp. 101-114.  Two decades ago, six months after 9/11 and three years after USIA’s merger with the State Department, recently appointed Secretary of State Blinken made a case for rebuilding public diplomacy.  He framed his ideas in the rhetoric and context of the day.  His change agenda included many perennial and still valid recommendations.  Some of his ideas were innovative and prescient.  (1) Prioritize public diplomacy in the foreign policy process.  (2) Strengthen research on public opinion.  (3) Develop a rapid response capability.  (4) Refine the role of ambassadors to focus more on public diplomacy.  (5) Emphasize language and communication skills in the assignment of ambassadors and all senior embassy officials, and provide them with regular media skills training.  (6) Create US presence posts outside foreign capitals.  (7) Enhance strategies for using the Internet.  (8) Develop, support, and leverage the expertise and credibility of outside partners.  (9) Expand highly effective exchange programs.  (10) Work with the private sector to develop message campaigns.  (11) Deploy technology and trade as “strategic weapons in the war to win hearts and minds.”  Blinken’s article is worth another look as he undertakes his new responsibilities.   

An archive of Diplomacy’sPublic 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

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