Center for Strategic Communication

by Bruce Gregory*

Michele Acuto, “World Politics by Other Means? London, City Diplomacy and the Olympics,” paper delivered at the International Studies Association, San Francisco, April 2013. Acuto (Program for the Future of Cities, University of Oxford) looks at how global cities participate in world politics as political and “(para)diplomatic” actors. His case study of London’s activities in securing, planning, and managing the 2012 Summer Olympic Games explores the evolving role of cities as diplomatic actors and how sports are used in diplomacy and urban governance. His paper also portrays larger dynamics in multilayered governance, diplomacy, and the complexity of relationships between sub-state, state, and regional actors.

Christina Archetti, “People, Processes & Practices: Agency, Communication and the Construction of International Relations,” paper delivered at the International Studies Association, San Francisco, April 2013. Building on a case study and more than 40 interviews with foreign diplomats and foreign correspondents based in London, Archetti (University of Salford) explores ways in which these official and non-official actors “construct” the United Kingdom, “its images and discourses” in the eyes of foreign publics. She argues an understanding of the micro-processes of diplomats and journalists can illuminate public diplomacy and changes at the macro level in international relations.

Andrew F. Cooper, Jorge Heine, and Ramesh Thakur, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy, (Oxford University Press, 2013). In this comprehensive collection of essays (50 chapters, 941 pages) by leading diplomacy scholars and practitioners from around the world, Cooper (University of Waterloo), Heine (Wilfrid Laurier University), and Thakur (Australian National University) provide a resource that is cutting edge in its focus on theory and practice and relevant to all aspects of 21st century diplomacy. Conceptual frameworks and case studies examine (1) expanding numbers and types of actors, (2) changing diplomacy domains and subjects, (3) levels of diplomatic activity, (4) institutions and mechanisms, and (5) modes, types, and techniques. Chapters of particular relevance to diplomacy’s public dimension include:

— Andrew F. Cooper, “The Changing Nature of Diplomacy.”

— Jorge Heine, “From Club to Network Diplomacy.”

— Jan Melissen (Netherlands Institute of International Relations, ‘Clingendael’), “Public Diplomacy.”

— Patricia M. Goff (Wilfrid Laurier University), “Cultural Diplomacy.”

— Su Changhe (Fudan University), “Soft Power.”

— Joseph S. Nye, Jr., (Harvard University), “Hard, Soft, and Smart Power.”

— Daryl Copeland, (University of Ottawa), “Digital Diplomacy.”

— Shawn Powers (Georgia State University), “Media, Diplomacy, and Geopolitics.”

— David Black and Byron Peacock (Dalhousie University), “Sport and Diplomacy.”

— Geoffrey Pigman (University of Pretoria), “The Diplomacy of Global and Transnational Firms.”

Steven R. Corman, ed., Narrating the Exit from Afghanistan, (Center for Strategic Communication, Arizona State University, 2013). Corman (Arizona State University) and the scholars and practitioners who contributed to this volume address challenges in the identification, construction, communication, and uses of narratives in the ways wars are remembered and storied. Their focus on narrating ISAF’s exit from Afghanistan is complemented by examination of narratives in other wars (Vietnam, the Cold War, and the Soviet departure from Afghanistan) and conceptual issues in narrative structure and validity.

Nicholas J. Cull, “The Long Road to Public Diplomacy 2.0: the Internet in US Public Diplomacy,”International Studies Review, (2013) 15, 123-139. Cull (University of Southern California) provides his version of the adoption of computer and Internet-based technologies in US public diplomacy. He argues the US was “relatively slow to make full use” of Web 2.0 technologies in public diplomacy largely because a risk averse Department of State, which took over the US Information Agency (USIA) in 1999, found it difficult to embrace their advantages and promise. A central theme is the compatibility of digital technologies and networking approaches with USIA’s institutional culture and relational priorities in today’s “new public diplomacy” model. Cull’s account draws on archival research and memories of former practitioners that tend to minimize the resistance to change that also existed in USIA.

El Molinillo, No. 52, March 27, 2013.El Molinillo, the journal of Spain’s Political Communication Association, devotes its March issue to articles on public diplomacy and nation branding. Includes:

— Juan Luis Manfredi (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha), “Estrategia y diplomacia publica: el tiempo de law politica.”

— Teresa La Porte (Universidad de Navarra), “Contribucion de los actors no estatales a la nueva diplomacia publica.”

— Francisco Javier Hernandez Alonso (Universidad CEU San Pablo y del C. U. Villaneuva), “La importancia de lo publico en la nueva diplomacia.”

— Bruce Gregory (George Washington University / Georgetown University), “Entrevista con Bruce Gregory.” Questions and translation by Teresa La Porte and Joyce Baptista, Universidad de Navarra.

Alisher Faizullaev, “Diplomacy and Symbolism,”The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 8 (2013), 91-114. Fulbright scholar Faizullaev (University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Uzbekistan) examines diplomacy’s use of symbols, rituals, and ceremonies in (1) constructing and communicating meaning, (2) managing and regulating relationships, and (3) affecting collective feelings and motivating people. His article explores such issues as credibility in diplomatic signaling, uses of interactive symbolism in new media and public diplomacy, the relevance of high and low context cultures, language and image symbolism, and limitations of symbolism. He concludes with a call for more research on normative and affective functions of symbolism in diplomacy.

Ali Fisher, Collaborative Public Diplomacy, (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013). Fisher (InterMedia) bridges the study of networks and collaboration in 20th and 21st century public diplomacy with this contribution to the literature on the relational approach to public diplomacy. His book combines analysis of multi-hub, multi-directional networks in the age of social media with deeply researched case studies of networks of scholars, foundations, and government actors that were instrumental in developing American Studies in Europe during the Cold War. Public diplomacy for Fisher “is the attempt to change the odds of certain behaviors or events occurring.” He uses his historical case studies to argue the importance of collaborative negotiations in dynamic networks and diplomatic strategies that seek to make desirable outcomes more likely.

Bruce Gregory, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Implications of the 2012 US Presidential Campaign for American (‘Public’) Diplomacy,” paper delivered at the International Studies Association, San Francisco, April 2013. This paper argues that public diplomacy is becoming a legacy term and concept even as the public dimension in diplomacy becomes much more important in its study and practice. It examines three questions. (1) Did the election demonstrate enduring characteristics of American exceptionalism and episodic attention to public diplomacy? (2) What do the deaths of a US Ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya mean for an understanding of expeditionary diplomacy, diplomacy’s security / public access dilemma, and evolving concepts of diplomatic agency. (3) Are whole of government diplomacy, a blurred distinction between foreign and domestic, and concepts of ‘global public engagement’ changing traditional approaches to diplomacy? Although changes in diplomacy were only marginally on display in the campaigns, they are evident in the activities of practitioners and the contrasting “new public diplomacy” and “integrative diplomacy” models of scholars.

Brian Hocking, Jan Melissen, Shaun Riordan, and Paul Sharp, Whither Foreign Ministries in a Post-Western World, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael Policy Brief, No. 20, April 2013. Clingendael’s diplomacy scholars summarize central ideas in their influential Futures for Diplomacy: Integrative Diplomacy in the 21st Century report (October 2012) and a follow-up conference at the Clingendael Institute (March 2013). Rather than lament the loss of traditional roles or cling to roles more appropriate to other actors, the authors call on foreign ministries and their diplomats to manage a “highly heterogeneous international system” and “shape the parameters of foreign policy” through networked tools and activities in which they have a comparative advantage. Foreign ministries, they recommend, should: (1) Drive innovation in delivery and knowledge networks at home and abroad, within and without government. (2) Influence policy by ensuring these networks map the objectives of international strategy. (3) Serve as the GPS for government and society in “a post-Western world of fragmenting rule sets and contested values.” (4) Provide a 4-dimensional vision that ensures coherence over time and across geography.

Harold Koh, “How to End the Forever War?” Speech at the Oxford Union, Oxford, UK, May 7, 2013. In rejecting a perpetual “’global war on terror,’ without geographic or temporal limits,” the Obama administration’s former Department of State Legal Advisor offers a three-part strategy: disengage from Afghanistan, close Guantanamo, and discipline drones. Instead of treating the current conflict as a legal black hole where anything goes, the task is to “translate” existing laws of war to cover a new type of international armed conflict involving continuing and imminent terrorist threats. He calls for a clearer distinction between imminent threats and counterterrorism situations in which law enforcement and intelligence resources are more appropriate. Koh’s finely argued proposals for dealing with legal and policy issues relating to Guantanamo and armed drones make this a useful reading for those developing public diplomacy case studies on these issues.

Marc Lynch, “The Persistence of Arab Anti-Americanism: In the Middle East, Haters Gonna Hate,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2013, 146-152. In this review essay on Amaney Jamal’s Of Empires and Citizens: Pro-American Democracy or No Democracy at All(Princeton University Press, 2012), Lynch (George Washington University) offers a perceptive critique of Jamal’s thesis that US policies, primarily support for authoritarian rule, are at the heart of an Arab anti-Americanism driven by Islamist parties in the region. Lynch offers contrasting views on how the Arab revolutions are reshaping attitudes toward the United States: (1) There are important opposition movements other than Islamists. (2) Despite their antipathy toward the US, Islamists are becoming regime incumbents who benefit from US support. (3) Ironically, leftist opposition movements, now marginalized in a new US supported status quo, are in the vanguard of anti-Americanism. (4) Autocrats of any stripe and their backers “can no longer assume either perpetual rule or unconditional U.S. support.”

Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President at the National Defense University,” Washington, DC, May 23, 2013. President Obama’s broad framework for a US counterterrorism strategy addresses changes in the threat of terrorism, standards for using drones for targeted lethal strikes, study of proposals for a special court or an independent board for deployment of lethal actions, diplomatic engagement and assistance, domestic radicalization, striking a balance between security and civil liberties, and closing Guantanamo. The White House also distributed a Fact Sheet . For an assessment of the speech — drafted by Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication and Speechwriting Benjamin Rhodes — its origins, and underlying policy debates, see Peter Baker, “In Terror Shift, Obama Took a Long Path,”The New York Times, May 27, 2013.

“The Pacific Century,”Public Diplomacy Magazine, Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars at the University of Southern California, Summer 2013. This issue of PD Magazine includes:

— Jian Wang (University of Southern California), “Shaping China’s Global Imagination.”

— Caitlin Byrne (Bond University), “The Strategic Century: Australia’s Asian Century in the Context of America’s Pacific Century.”

— Naren Chitty and Li Ji (Macquarie University), “Engaging Chinese Media Project.”

— Nicholas J. Cull (University of Southern California), “Issue Brief: ‘Bulging Ideas:’ Making Korean Public Diplomacy Work.”

— Public Diplomacy Magazine Editors, “An Interview with the USC Master of Public Diplomacy Delegation to China.”

— James Thomas Snyder (Formerly NATO International Staff, Public Diplomacy Division), “Fourteen Articles on Public Diplomacy Practice for the Future American Public Diplomat.”

— Alexander Wooley and Tom Perigoe, “Exporting Democracy.”

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, “Benghazi Investigation Does not Reignite Broad Public Interest: Reactions Split Along Partisan Lines,” May 13, 2013. Pew finds fewer than half of Americans (44%) are following Congressional hearings on the Benghazi attack “very or fairly closely” – virtually unchanged from late January when then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified. A deep split over how the Obama Administration and Congressional Republicans are handling Benghazi divides “cleanly along partisan lines.”

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, “Egyptians Increasingly Glum: Not Optimistic About Economy or Certain They Are Better Off Post-Mabarak,” May 16, 2013. Two years after the revolution of 2011, Pew’s surveys find that “Only 30% or Egyptians think the country is headed in the right direction, down from 53% last year and 65% in 2011 . . . Roughly three-in-four say the economy is in bad shape and optimism about the country’s economic situation has declined sharply.”

Darlene J. Sadlier, Americans All: Good Neighbor Cultural Diplomacy in World War II, (University of Texas Press, 2012). Sadlier (Indiana University, Bloomington) adds to the growing historical literature on the 20th century origins of US public and cultural diplomacy with this carefully researched study of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA). Her narrative explores conceptual issues in cultural diplomacy, its strengths and limitations, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s motives in creating the CIAA to combat Axis penetration and promote solidarity in the Americas, Nelson Rockefeller’s roles as Assistant Secretary of State and CIAA Coordinator, and chapters on CIAA’s uses of motion pictures, radio, press and publications, museums, and libraries.

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013). Part transformational enthusiasm, part Google triumphalism, and part penetrating analysis, Schmidt (Executive Chairman of Google) and Cohen (Director of Google Ideas) offer their vision of “a world where everyone is connected.” Their analysis includes such issues as online identities, implications of WikiLeaks and their interview with Julian Assange, virtual statehood, intellectual property laws, digital provocation and cyber war, armed conflict, and alternative futures of revolution and terrorism, armed conflict, and post-conflict reconstruction.

Jordan Michael Smith, “The U.S. Democracy Project,”The National Interest, May/June, 2013, 26-38. Smith (a contributing writer at Salon and the Christian Science Monitor), surveys the origins and activities of the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, and other democracy promotion organizations funded by US Government grants. He focuses on US democratization activities in Russia, the Middle East, Iran, and Cuba and questions whether it is “smart diplomacy” for the US to fund programs perceived as undermining existing governments, contributing to a double standard in the context of US support for “friendly dictators,” and American meddling in the civil societies of others.

R.S. Zaharna, Amelia Arsenault, and Ali Fisher, eds., Relational, Networked and Collaborative Approaches to Public Diplomacy: The Connective Mindshift, (New York: Routledge, 2013). Zaharna (American University), Arsenault (Georgia State University), and Fisher (InterMedia) bring together 14 essays by scholars and practitioners that explore conceptual frameworks and case studies in the relational approach to public diplomacy – an approach that privileges “genuine cooperation and collaboration” and relational strategies as a “core imperative” of public diplomacy. Chapters assess political, cultural, and ethical issues; network theory; uses of social media; and collaborative strategies of state and non-state actors. Defenders and critics of the relational model will find this an essential collection of views by its leading proponents.

Recent Blogs of Interest

Robert Albro, “Cultural Diplomacy and Heritage Wars,” May 22, 2013, ARTSblog.

Rosa Brooks, “Authorize This: Can Obama Put the War on Terror on a New Legal Footing?” May 23, 2013; “The War Professor: Can Obama Finally Make the Legal Case for His War on Terror?” May 23, 2013, Foreign Policy National Security Blog.

Robin Brown, “Post ISA Thoughts,” April 12, 2013; “Why I’m a Network Realist,” April 16, 2013; “The Warring Tribes of US Cold War Public Diplomacy,” May 8, 2013; “Can Non State Actors Do Public Diplomacy,” May 10, 2013; “The National Endowment for Democracy and US Public Diplomacy: Part 1,” May 15, 2013; “The National Endowment for Democracy: Part 2,” May 17, 2013, Public Diplomacy Networks and Influence Blog.

Lindsey Horan, “India and Africa Building Ties Through Youth Populations,” May 2, 2013, Take Five Blog, Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, George Washington University.

Tim Lowden, “Ain’t No Sonenshine When She’s Gone. . . .” May 6, 2013, Take Five Blog, Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, George Washington University.

Domani Spero (pseudonym), “37 Former Ambassadors Urge Appointment of a Career Diplomat to State Department’s Public Diplomacy Bureau,” May 24, 2013.

Philip Seib, “Public Diplomacy’s Impact and Prospects,” May 9, 2013; “Beyond Conflicts, The Arab World’s Other Challenges,” The CPD Blog, Center for Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California.

R.S. Zaharna, “Culture Posts: Who is the Public in Public Diplomacy?” May 22, 2013, The CPD Blog, Center for Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California.

Amy Zalman, “Post-Boston: Keep Calm and Think Clearly (Part I),” April 23, 2013; “Post-Boston: A More Effective Battle of Ideas (Part II),” April 24, 2013, theGlobalist.

Gem from the Past

Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics, (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1932; Westminster John Knox Press, 2013). The coincidental release of this new edition of Niebuhr’s classic book on individual morality and group behavior and today’s popular relational and collaborative approaches to diplomacy is fortuitous. Although Niebuhr was open to the possibilities of social intelligence and moral good will in human history, particularly as they might occasionally mitigate social conflict, he was deeply skeptical of the capacity of groups to overcome “the power of self-interest and collective egoism in all inter-group relations.” Groups, he argued, are constrained by the “limitations of the human imagination, the easy subservience of reason to prejudice and passion, and the constant persistence of irrational egoism.” For these reasons Niebuhr insisted, as Langdon B. Gilkey (University of Chicago) observes in his introduction to the 1960 edition, “no group will ever be dislodged from power by persuasion, by arguments, however academically or legally elegant those arguments might be.” Quoting Niebuhr: “Reason is the servant of impulse before it is its master.” Includes a new foreword by Cornel West (Union Theological Seminary).



*Bruce Gregory is an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University and Georgetown University, and publishes this list periodically via mailing list.  We reprint it here as a service to our readers.  Bruce can be reached by email via bgregory at gwu dot edu