Center for Strategic Communication

Here is a repost of Public Diplomacy books, articles, and websites compiled periodically and distributed via email list by Bruce Gregory at GWU.  Matt at Mountainrunner used to distribute these for people not on Bruce’s list, but his blog has gone dark/read-only now that he has moved to the Corridors of Power.  Accordingly COMOPS Journal will step in to provide this service.


The American Academy of Diplomacy and The Stimson Center, Forging a 21st Century Diplomatic Service for the United States Through Professional Education and Training, February 2011. Key recommendations in this 74-page report include: (1) Sustain a 15% level of personnel for training in diplomacy and development (a training float) above levels required for regular assignments; (2) Make a long-term commitment to professional education as well as training; (3) Strengthen and expand the Department of State’s professional development process; (4) Establish a temporary corps of roving career counselors; and (5) Require a year of career track-related advanced study as a requirement for promotion to the Senior Foreign Service.  The Project’s organizers were retired US Ambassadors Robert M. Beecham, Thomas R. Pickering, Ronald E. Neuman, and Edward Rowell and Stimson Center President Ellen Laipson.  The report’s lead drafter was Jeremy Curtin, a retired senior public diplomacy officer and former coordinator of the Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs.

Mladen Andrlic, Iva Tarle, and Suzana Simichen Sopta, “Practices of Public Diplomacy in Communicating NATO and EU Values with the Domestic Public in Croatia,” Paper delivered at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Montreal, March 2011. In this paper, Ambassador Andrlic, Director of Croatia’s Diplomatic Academy, and his colleagues in Croatia’s diplomatic service examine issues and the value for diplomacy and domestic politics in communicating the merits of Croatia’s NATO and EU membership with its domestic public.  Their paper also discusses concepts of public diplomacy, diplomatic practices, and the evolution of modern Croatian diplomacy.

Steve Coll, “The Internet: For Better or for Worse,” The New York Review of Books, April 7, 2011, 20-24. Coll (New America Foundation and New Yorker contributor) reviews recent books by Tim Wu, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (2010) and Evgeny Morozov, The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (2011).  Coll’s essay contains a critical assessment of the strengths and limitations of each as well as a discussion of their relevance to revolutionary events in Egypt (including the Facebook campaign of Google executive Wael Ghonim) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “Internet Freedom” speeches.

Nicholas J. Cull, “WikiLeaks, Public Diplomacy 2.0, and the State of Digital Public Diplomacy,” Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1-8. Cull (University of Southern California) begins with a comparison of similarities and differences between WikiLeaks and Leon Trotsky’s publication in 1917 of secret treaties found in the archives of the Czar following the Russian Revolution.  Both, he argues, were diplomatic game changers. One took a revolution.  The other an empowered individual with technological skills.  Cull uses WikiLeaks as a frame for his assessment of the “web-based revolution in public diplomacy” and the “state of the much heralded Public Diplomacy 2.0.”  He concludes with brief recommendations for public diplomacy practitioners on “rules to live by” in the world of WikiLeaks and the world of Web 2.0.

Mai’a K. Davis Cross, “EU Public Diplomacy: A Coherent Message?” Paper delivered at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Montreal, March 2011. Cross (University of Southern California) continues her research on the European Union with this inquiry into the coherence of its subnational, national, transnational, and supranational levels of public diplomacy.  She argues that the EU is a major player internationally, but its public diplomacy overall “sends conflicting messages because national-level public diplomacy rarely includes the EU in its messages to foreign publics.”   At the same time, however,
she asserts that “On a theoretical level, EU public diplomacy provides a strong example of norm diffusion and identity creation” and that the EU’s external image and internal identity are mutually constitutive.  Dr. Cross’s paper is in draft and she welcomes comments.

Douglas Coupland, Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work! (Atlas & Co.,  2010). Coupland, a novelist and visual artist, provides a fresh look at the life and thinking of Canadian media and communication theorist Marshall McLuhan.  His brief, entertaining biography portrays McLuhan’s personality, intellectual development, place in 20th century thought, and impact on how we think about culture and the effects of print and electronic media.  (Courtesy of Donna Oglesby)

Richard J. Evans, “Art in the Time of War,” The National Interest, May/June 2011, 16-26. Evans (Cambridge University) looks at the looting of artifacts and cultural objects in violent conflict and the international trade in stolen art.  He puts recent examples (the plunder of archeological sites in Egypt and the looting of museums and other sites in Iraq and Afghanistan) in the context of a long historical practice.  Evans discusses motives, how societies have dealt with the issue, and what he sees as a dilemma created by the need to preserve a country’s cultural heritage and “the global community’s need to learn about other cultures through universal museums like the Metropolitan or the British Museum.”  His way forward is “to accept the validity of the universal museum” while encouraging states to give preventive measures and law enforcement higher priority and the art world to be more vigilant in monitoring trade in looted objects.

James Gleick, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, (Pantheon Books, 2011). In this thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and remarkably affordable book, the author of Chaos (1998 and 2008) and biographies of Richard Feynman and Isaac Newton turns to a narrative that portrays five millennia of  information technologies — their discovery and their influence on human consciousness and activity — from the invention of the alphabet, to talking drums, to the telegraph, to the cloud, to epigenetics.  Gleick shows through close examination of pre-innovation mind sets how each “new medium transforms the nature of human thought.”  His central argument that “information has become the modern era’s defining quality” will be debated.  But his book and this debate will inform how we think about power, communication, diplomacy, media, social networks, and a great deal more.

Jeffry R. Halverson, H. L. Goodall, Jr., and Steven R. Corman, Master Narratives of islamist Extremism, Consortium for Strategic Communication, 2011. The authors (colleagues at Arizona State University’s Hugh Downs School of Human Communication) discuss the meaning of master narratives in culture and civic life.  Drawing on historical and inter-disciplinary perspectives, they examine the use of master narratives by Islamic extremists and assess implications for scholars and strategic communication practitioners.

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, FCO Public Diplomacy: The Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012, Second Report of Session 2010-11, January 26, 2011. In this 82-page report, the Committee endorses the strategy of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to “exploit the public diplomacy and ‘soft power’ potential of the Games as a tool that its global network of Posts can use to help open doors and gain influence with key individuals and groups in specific countries, in pursuit of the UK’s interests.”  The Committee’s report contains an assessment of this “once in a generation” opportunity, its views on the meaning of public diplomacy and soft power, and its conclusions and recommendations on the implementation of the FCO’s strategy.

Bruce W. Jentleson and Ely Ratner,
“Bridging the Beltway-Ivory Tower Gap,” International Studies Review, (2011) 13, 6-11. Jentleson (Duke University) and Ratner (RAND Corporation) find the gap between the academic and policy worlds to be inevitable given their distinct “missions and organizational cultures.”  They argue three factors make the gap wider than it needs to be: academic incentive structures that devalue policy relevance, the increased role of think tanks as research sources for policymakers, and limited interest by the part of the policy community in academic research and connecting with scholars.  The authors discuss potential risks in greater collaboration.  These risks are not prohibitive however.  “If done right — consistent with scholarly ethics and honest relationships — the opportunities for knowledge creation and synergy are enormous.”

For views on some of these issues in the context of deliberations at the International Studies Association’s Public Diplomacy Working Group in Montreal, March 2011, see blogs by Daryl Copeland (University of Toronto), “Diplomacy on the Rebound at the Brain Food Buffet,” March 21, 2011; and Robin Brown (Leeds University), “Five Things I Learnt at the ISA,” March 24, 2011; and “Public Diplomacy Research: The Limits of Multidisciplinarity,” April 3, 2011.  ISA’s PD Working Group, co-chaired by Craig Hayden (American University) and Kathy Fitzpatrick (Quinnipiac University) received “high marks” in ISA’s survey of group participants.

The number of papers, panels, and roundtables on public diplomacy at the ISA’s annual meetings continues to grow.  For a selected list from Montreal, with available links, see Robin Brown’s “Public Diplomacy/Soft Power Papers from ISA 2011,” March 20, 2011.

Sook Jong Lee and Jan Melissen, eds., Public Diplomacy and Soft Power in East Asia, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). The essays compiled in this volume examine soft power and public diplomacy through conceptual analysis and country case studies.  The authors share an assumption that diplomatic practice and soft power concepts in East Asia offer important insights into theoretical debates that have been largely dominated by Western perspectives.  Their essays contribute to a deeper understanding of diplomacy and power — and make a compelling argument for the value of case studies and broadening the scope of public diplomacy research.  Includes:

— Shin-wha Lee (Korea University), “The Theory and Reality of Soft Power: Practical Approaches in East Asia.”

— Yong Wook Lee (Korea University), “Soft Power as Productive Power.”

— Byong-kuen Jhee (Chosun University) and Nae-young Lee (Korea University), “Measuring Soft Power in East Asia: An Overview of Soft Power in East Asia on Affective and Normative Dimensions.”

— Akiko Fukushima (Japan Foundation and Aoyama Gakuin University), “Modern Japan and the Quest for Attractive Power.”

— Rizal Sukma (Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta), “Soft Power and Public Diplomacy: The Case of Indonesia.”

— Yun-han Chu (National Taiwan University), “Taiwan’s Soft Power and the Future of Cross-Strait Relations: Can the Tail Wag the Dog?”

— Sook Jong Lee (Sungkyunkwan University), “South Korean Soft Power and How South Korea Views the Soft Power of Others.”

— Ingrid d’Hooghe (Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’), “The Limits of China’s Soft Power in Europe: Beijing’s Public Diplomacy Puzzle.”

— Marshall M. Bouton (Chicago Council on Global Affairs) and Gregory G. Holyk (Washington and Lee University), “Asian Perceptions of American Soft Power.”

— Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) and Tao Xie (Beijing Foreign Studies University), “The Complexities of Economic Soft Power: The U.S.-China Case.”

— Jan Melissen (Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ and Antwerp University), “Concluding Reflections on Soft Power and Public Diplomacy in East Asia.”

Marc Lynch, “U.S. Public Diplomacy and the Arab Uprisings,” Foreign Policy Blog, April 13, 2011. Lynch (George Washington University) observes that political change and the increased power of Arab publics mean “the burden on US public diplomacy has never been greater.”  He credits US engagement in the region in three areas: (1) Being ahead of the curve in building networks on issues of mutual concern with Muslim youth and entrepreneurs; (2) Downplaying the “war of ideas” and a narrative defined by terrorism and Al Qaeda; and (3) Getting “Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia right.”   Lynch concludes, however, that “overall U.S. public diplomacy in the region remains distressingly weak” in “macro-level engagement and communications” and at the policy level.

Jarol B. Manheim, Strategy in Information and Influence Campaigns, (Routledge, 2010). Manheim (George Washington University and the author of Strategic Public Diplomacy and American Foreign Policy, 1994) systematically discusses the assumptions, strategies, and tactics of public and private actors who initiate and defend against information and influence campaigns.  Subtitled “how policy advocates, social movements, insurgent groups, corporations, governments, and others get what they want, ” his book combines a closely argued theoretical analysis with cases and examples that illustrate what works and does not work in practice.  Manheim’s book builds on his many years of research in strategic political communication and is written for both scholars and practitioners.

John J. Mearsheimer, Why Leaders Lie:  The Truth About Lying in International Politics, (Oxford University Press, 2011). Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) examines varieties of deception in statecraft, the reasons for its use and its strategic costs and benefits.  He distinguishes between lying (statements known to be false but used in hopes others will think them true), spinning (telling a favorable story, emphasizing certain facts to advantage and downplaying or ignoring what’s inconvenient), and concealment (withholding information that might weaken one’s position).  Mearsheimer makes a number of analytical distinctions, e.g., between inter-state lies, fearmongering, strategic cover-ups, and national myths.  He argues political leaders lie more often to their own citizens than to other states.

Christopher Paul, Strategic Communication: Origins, Concepts, and Current Debates, (Praeger, 2011). Paul (RAND Corporation and author of Whither Strategic Communication? A Survey of Current Proposals and Recommendations, 2009) examines concepts, contested issues, and operational challenges in the use of communication instruments in diplomacy and armed conflict.  Paul’s analysis provides a reasoned interpretation of the meaning of a term that is not well understood and a survey of its development, relevance to public diplomacy, and use as an instrument of practice.  His thinking, grounded in an extensive bibliography, includes assessments of reports of the Defense Science Board, the Defense Department’s Report on Strategic Communication (December 2009) and the Obama Administration’s White House National Framework for Strategic Communication (March 2010),  He concludes with recommendations for improving strategic communication and offers a perspective on what lies ahead,

David Rieff, “Battle Hymn of the Diplomats,” The National Interest, March/April 2011, 78-88. In this review essay, Rieff (New York based journalist and author) offers a full throated critique of the US Department of State’s Leading Through Civilian Power: 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. For Rieff, the QDDR variously breaks less new ground than it claims, engages in “fantastic reach,” contains “profound tensions and contradictions,” and oscillates between being the first of many such reviews and an Obama administration foreign policy agenda.

William Rugh, ed., The Practice of Public Diplomacy: Confronting Challenges Abroad, (Palgrave Macmillan’s Global Public Diplomacy Series, 2011). The essays compiled by retired Ambassador Rugh (Tufts University) examine the public diplomacy activities of American Foreign Service Officers assigned to US embassies in different parts of the world.  They draw on interviews with US diplomats and focus on field operations and the challenges of adapting public diplomacy to local conditions and global trends.  The case studies were written by students in Ambassador Rugh’s course on United States Public Diplomacy at the Fletcher School.  Includes an introduction and concluding chapter by Ambassador Rugh on “Field Experiences and Best Practices.”

Philip Seib, Public Diplomacy, New Media, and Counterterrorism, CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy, Paper 2, 2011. Seib (USC Center on Public Diplomacy) offers a definition of public diplomacy and makes a case for its relevance in a world that is more “experience driven” than “authority driven.”  His paper focuses on public diplomacy as a counterterrorism tool.  Issues discussed include the use of traditional and social media by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, Daniel Kimmage’s argument that social media may prove to be Al Qaeda’s Achilles’ heel, Britain’s efforts to counter the “Al Qaeda narrative,” the impact and methods of Sesame Workshop, the rise and significance of virtual states, analytical and political questions posed by modern diasporas, and debates on counterterrorism strategies.   

Joseph M. Siracusa, Diplomacy: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford University Press, 2010). In this contribution to OUP’S “very short introductions” series, Siracusa (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) looks at five diplomacy case studies:  the American Revolution, origins of World War I, Churchill and Stalin’s Balkans agreement, the making of the ANZUS treaty, and contemporary diplomacy.  His book deals briefly with the rise of public diplomacy in the 20th century.  The chapter on “diplomacy in the age of globalization” discusses diplomacy in systems of layered governance and the emergence of civil society organizations, transnational corporations, and regional organizations as diplomatic actors.  Contains useful references and a guide to further reading.

Carolijn van Noort, Social Media Strategy: Bringing Public Diplomacy 2.0 To the Next Level. Research paper conducted during an internship at the Consulate General of The Netherlands in San Francisco, March 14, 2011. In this strategy paper, van Noort explores “the structure, organization, objectives, audience regulation, and evaluation of effective web 2.0 practices.”  Her paper focuses on a social media strategy conducted by The Netherlands Embassy in Washington and draws on interviews, an online survey, and literature on public diplomacy and social media.

Gem From the Past

Michael Walzer, “Deliberation, and What Else?”  A chapter originally published in Stephen Macedo, ed., Deliberative Politics: Essays on Democracy and Disagreement (Oxford University Press, 1999).  Republished in Michael Walzer, Politics and Passion: Toward a More Egalitarian Liberalism, (Yale University Press, 2004.)

Political theorist Michael Walzer (Professor emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) has not written extensively on diplomacy, but his critical thinking on deliberative discourse, civil society, political action, and toleration in multicultural societies has much to offer students of public diplomacy and today’s fashionable “global public engagement.”  Walzer does not deny the importance of deliberation in relationships between and within groups.  But he argues there is more to political process.  His list includes making statements, mobilizing political action, campaigning, lobbying, rhetorical competition, and bargaining where the outcome is often a pragmatic modus vivendi that reflects more the balance of forces than mutual agreement based on deliberative reasoning.

For previous compilations of all Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites, visit a wiki kindly maintained by the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy.  Recent lists are also maintained by George Washington University’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication and by