• Non-State Actors,  Public Diplomacy

    A new public diplomacy as banks close foreign embassy accounts? Not exactly

    The term “public diplomacy” is problematic, born out of bureaucratic wrestling in the mid-1960’s as the “struggle for minds and wills” gave way to counting tanks, bombers, and missiles. It’s very use today continues to signify something that is different, but it is not a separate line of activity that is discretely separated other “private” or any other diplomacy. It is not faery dust to be sprinkled on when the time is right. And don’t get me started on niche terms like “baseball diplomacy” or “music diplomacy” or “left-handed comb diplomacy” or whatever. “Public Diplomacy” is a term that should be abolished and replaced with a more generic label as…

  • Non-State Actors,  Now Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy,  Social Media

    US Government Meets New Media

    From Helle Dale at The Heritage Foundation, Public Diplomacy 2.0: Where the U.S. Government Meets “New Media”: Public diplomacy and strategic communications experts within the U.S. government are exploring the potential of the new social media in the effort to win hearts and minds abroad, especially in the Muslim world where today’s war of ideas is being fought. Enemies of the United States are already expert in using these low-cost outreach tools that can connect thousands, potentially even millions, at the touch of a computer key or cell phone button. As public affairs blogger Matt Armstrong writes, In this age of mass information and precision guided media, everyone from political…

  • Events,  Interagency,  Non-State Actors,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  Social Media

    Event: InfoWarCon April 23-24

    Next week is InfoWarCon, a conference to discuss “theoretical and practical changes and uses of Information Operations/Information Warfare, Cyberwar, Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy.” Giving keynotes are LTG Thomas F. Metz, Director, JIEDDO, (title: “IO: The Great Enabler") and the Honorable James Glassman, former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (title:"Can a ‘Conversation’ Win the War on Terror?"). The conference is two days, April 23-24, and in Washington, DC. Check their website for registration details. The panels promise to be interesting. Check them out below:

  • Non-State Actors,  Public Diplomacy

    Guest Post: An Anti-Piracy Mission Transforms From Interdiction to Strategic Communication

    By Chris Tomlinson Imagine the scene: a U.S. Navy destroyer shadowing a tiny lifeboat carrying four Somali pirates with a U.S. hostage in an Indian Ocean standoff. Most Americans see the USS Bainbridge as the cavalry riding to the rescue. But not everyone will see it that way. The poor and oppressed living in the developing world might see something akin to the lone Chinese civilian standing in front of a Red Army tank trying to reach Tiananmen Square. Where we see a cop stopping a robber, others will see Robin Hood cornered by the sheriff of Nottingham. Now that the pirates have gotten the attention of the world, a…

  • Non-State Actors

    A worthy cause to support

    A good friend of mine, Gabi Elliott, just sent me a note that she’s running a 10k for a worthy cause: I am running 10K in aid of the Esther Benjamins Trust in May. For more info on just what a great cause this is, please please please take a moment to look at this film:- EBT rescues child victims of trafficking, forced labour, brutal treatment in Indian circuses and (closest to my heart) from adult prisons. It is giving children back their right to a childhood – something we so often take for granted in the West. I’m hoping to raise £1000 on justgiving:- http://www.justgiving.com/gabrielleelliott

  • Non-State Actors

    Guest Post: Pirates are not terrorists but the prevention of both are similar

    This is a guest post by Ben Little, former Navy SEAL, author of The Sea Rover’s Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730, The Buccaneer’s Realm: Pirate Life on the Spanish Main, 1674-1688 and the forthcoming Pirate Hunting: The Fight Against Pirates, Privateers, and Sea Raiders From Antiquity to the 21st Century, and long time friend of this blog. Regarding the argument that the pirate is a terrorist, or that piracy is equivalent to terrorism, we should very briefly examine the ultimate purpose of both terrorism and piracy. In the case of terrorism, the purpose is political, and its means, including the use of violence to create a state of terror,…

  • Non-State Actors

    Is Piracy Terrorism? No.

    Two days ago Abu Muqawama asked whether piracy is terrorism:  What? This guy seems to think so: Are pirates a species of terrorist? In short, yes. The same definition of pirates as hostis humani generis could also be applied to international organized terrorism. Both crimes involve bands of brigands that divorce themselves from their nation-states and form extraterritorial enclaves; both aim at civilians; both involve acts of homicide and destruction, as the United Nations Convention on the High Seas stipulates, “for private ends.” Here, meanwhile, is Bard O’Neill’s definition of terrorism: [T]he threat or use of physical coercion, primarily against noncombatants, especially civilians, to create fear in order to achieve…

  • Non-State Actors

    Event: Tackling Piracy at Sea Conference

    Without comment: Tackling Piracy at Sea Conference, 18th and 19th March 2009, London, UK Register now at www.quaynote.com Somalia is now the backdrop against which increasing levels of piracy are seen.  With both the frequency and violence of attacks thought to be growing, there is mounting pressure on governments, international agencies, and the shipping industry to tackle the problem. Tackling Piracy is an international conference that will bring together all those concerned with or affected by piracy at sea to discuss what solutions can be found.  As insurance companies offer kidnap negotiators under owners` policies, is it right for ship operators to pay ransoms to pirates in order to minimalise…

  • Non-State Actors,  Psychological Struggle,  Terrorism,  War

    Readings on Future Threats

    National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2025 "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World" is the fourth unclassified report prepared by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in recent years that takes a long-term view of the future. It offers a fresh look at how key global trends might develop over the next 15 years to influence world events. Our report is not meant to be an exercise in prediction or crystal ball-gazing. Mindful that there are many possible "futures," we offer a range of possibilities and potential discontinuities, as a way of opening our minds to developments we might otherwise miss. Some of our preliminary assessments are highlighted below: The whole international…