Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #98

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

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Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #97

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

Continue reading “Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #97

Shortwave Radio: Reaching Dissidents in China? Good theory, but…

International Broadcasting Stations of the United States (May 15, 1939)

Shortwave radio was a mainstay of international news and information programs. It was the “new media” embraced to bypass and overcome the censorship of cables, the “old media.” This was particularly true in the United States. Radio broadcasting was seen as such an important and critical element to our national security a century ago that the Secretary of the Navy, a newspaper owner interested in the psychological defense of the nation, tried several times to nationalize wireless transmitters. He may have failed, but he contributed to forcing a British firm to sell their U.S. broadcasting assets which became the Radio Corporation of America. Indicative of the importance of the medium, RCA voting stock could only be owned by U.S. citizens, a restriction that was not removed until the 1980s. 

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The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs: an updated incumbency chart and some background

A newer version of this topic, published 3 December 2020, may be found here.

The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs was created in 1999 to lead the State Department’s existing public affairs operations and the reintegration of most of the global public affairs activities previously based in the department. These global activities had been removed in 1953 and rebranded in the late 1960s as “public diplomacy.” (Edmund Gullion is often credited with this rebranding, but proper attribution should go to Rep. Dante Fascell (D-FL), but that’s for another post.)

Since the office was established and the first Under Secretary was sworn-in on October 1, 1999, the office has been vacant 36% of the time. To be more precise, the office has been “unencumbered” with a confirmed Under Secretary for 35.8% of the days since October 1, 1999, with an average gap between appointments of 289 days (over 9.5 months). In December 2011, the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy released a report about this vacancy issue (at the time, I served as the Executive Director of the commission) and the next month I published a less restrained commentary on the topic, R we there yet? A look at the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy (and Public Affairs). Above is an updated chart showing the tenure and vacancies of the office as of August 26, 2019.

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Comment on “The lost art of ideological warfare”

Alice asking the Cheshire Cat for Directions

There are plenty of discussions today, and for the past many years, about “information warfare,” “ideological warfare,” and, more rarely, “political warfare.” While some may read these as largely synonymous terms, they should convey different meanings which translates into a differing understanding of the threat and thus the response required.

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The two-sentence review of my “The Politics of Information Warfare in the United States”

Chapter head: Politics of Information Warfare in the United States by Matt Armstrong

It is nice to have your work reviewed. This is especially true when the product is otherwise “locked” away behind a paywall of an “academically” priced book (translation: the cost is several multiples of a reasonable price). That joy is subverted a bit when a review lacks clarity and may be interpreted to claim the opposite of what I wrote. This happened recently with a review that appeared in Parameters, a quarterly magazine from the US Army War College. The review was of my contribution — a 9500-word, footnoted version of my War on the Rocks article from January 2017, “The Past, Present, and Future of the War for Public Opinion” — in an edited book.

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Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #96

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

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Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #95

March 11, 2019

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

Continue reading “Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #95

Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #94

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

Continue reading “Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #94

Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #93

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
https://smpa.gwu.edu/bruce-gregory
http://ipdgc.gwu.edu/bruce-gregorys-resources-diplomacys-public-dimension

Continue reading “Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #93

S.3654 and Accountability for the US Agency for Global Media

S.3654 of the 115th Congress

There is a bill pending in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that would change the governance structure of the U.S. Agency on Global Media. While the bill is not perfect, it provides a necessary level of accountability and oversight that has been missing for the past two years. 

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1957: Eisenhower, Dulles and merging USIA back into State, or Not

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Foster_Dulles

On Friday morning, January 18, 1957, Arthur Larson gave a lengthy and wide-ranging presentation on the United States Information Agency to President Eisenhower’s cabinet. After 22 months as under secretary at the Labor Department, and now one month as USIA Director, Larson used charts, maps, and film clips to describe the barely four-year-old agency. The nearly three dozen attendees included the President, Vice President Richard Nixon, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and Attorney General Herbert Brownell. Larson’s objective was positioning the agency at the center of a whole of government engagement program. Larson stressed “the need for the help of all Cabinet members, since the program for telling the United States’ story can succeed only if everyone in public and private life is alert to the impact of our actions on world opinion.”

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Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #92

August 21, 2018

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
https://smpa.gwu.edu/bruce-gregory
http://ipdgc.gwu.edu/bruce-gregorys-resources-diplomacys-public-dimension

Continue reading “Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #92

Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #91

May 2, 2018

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

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Don’t do it: why the Foreign Agent designation is welcomed by RT and Sputnik

The discussion on whether to classify the broadcasters RT, formerly Russia Today, and Sputnik as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act is full of nuance, most of which is absent in the public debates over the topic. The fundamental question at issue is whether these two broadcasters are under both the direction and receiving funding from the Kremlin. There is no debate over the latter, while management of both unconvincingly disputes the former. But as we ask the question, we should know not just why we are asking, but what is the outcome we seek to achieve. Continue reading “Don’t do it: why the Foreign Agent designation is welcomed by RT and Sputnik

Sputnik and the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA)

Earlier this week, Yahoo News reported the FBI is looking into whether Kremlin-funded and directed media agency is operating in the U.S. as an unregistered agent of a foreign government. Ironically, the FBI obtained a cache of internal Sputnik email and documents that will assist the bureau in its investigation. The timing of the probe coincides with interest by some in Congress to update the Foreign Agent Registration Act, or FARA, to deal with modern operations such as Russia’s Sputnik and RT, the media outlet formerly known as Russia Today.

Over two years ago, May 2015, I wrote about FARA as it related to RT. The article has not aged and applies equally to Sputnik today. I suggest you read it if you haven’t already as it includes the relevant history of the creation, implementation, and evolution of FARA. Today, as it has been for over two decades, the application of FARA to foreign media activities in the U.S. has been neutered as a direct result of watering down the impact of FARA on information created and distributed by the Canadian government in the United States designed to influence public opinion and U.S. policies.

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Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #85

June 6, 2017

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

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