Today's Recommended Reading on Public Diplomacy

Several recommendations for you on the subject of public diplomacy.

Check out and subscribe to Craig Hayden and Shawn Powers’ Intermap.org.

The Intermap website and blog presents news, opinions, and research on issues related to communication-centric foreign policy, public diplomacy, global media and news flows. More broadly, this site aims to investigate the intersections between communication, media studies and international relations scholarship that deal directly with how global controversies and politics are carried and sustained through media. We call this media argument: where media outlets, technologies, and tactics represent the symbolic and visual space for the contest of ideas between nations, citizens, non-state actors.

Recent posts:

Read David Steven’s June post The new public diplomacy and Afghanistan at the Global Dashboard.

... I believe there are three key interlocking problems:

  • A lack of understanding. ...
  • A lack of interoperability. ...
  • A lack of understanding and interoperability translates into persistent strategic and tactical failings. ...

The starting point for change is to:

  • Accept that influence is now core currency for all arms of international relations - foreign policy, development assistance, and military operations.
  • Build a common language and joint concepts across these disciplines - not just at a national level, but internationally, in order to allow the effective operation of multinational, multi-sectoral coalitions and networks.

However, the barriers to change are sizeable, while the knowledge to surmount them is fragmented across sectors and disciplines. The first battle for ‘hearts and minds’ therefore needs to be won in our own organisations - within governments, between governments, and between governments and a range of non-governmental organisations.

See Marc Tyrrell’s 3-part series a lengthy and very scholarly discussion on asymmetric conflict as a struggle for minds and wills

It is important to remember that the goal of warfare for many of the current groups is control over the interpretive framework of a population, not actual, physical control over the geographic area, that will flow inevitably from control over the framework and massive military costs. For many of these groups, kinetic operations, “violence”, is merely a means to an end that is shaped not by the logic of violence but, rather, by the logic of communications; a lesson learned from Vietnam where the insurgents lost almost all of the battles, but won the war.

Posts:

Also, check out the latest addition to the blogosphere, Chasing the Flame. This is Samantha Powers’ project to “tell the story of the peace-maker Sergio Vieira de Mello and introduce audiences to the kind of conviction and insight that inspires movements.” That movement is to build a “movement for a smart U.S. foreign policy.”