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08-14-2008, 10:14 PM
Public Diplomacy and National Security (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/08/public-diplomacy-and-national/)
Lessons from the U.S. Experience
by Bruce Gregory, Small Wars Journal

Public Diplomacy and National Security: Lessons from the U.S. Experience (http://smallwarsjournal.com/mag/docs-temp/82-gregory.pdf) (Full PDF Article)

Calls to build greater civilian capacity in national security are well founded, and public diplomacy is high on the list of essential capabilities that must be strengthened. U.S. public diplomacy’s principles and methods are rooted in 20th century models of communication, governance, and armed conflict, which contribute to an inability to learn from recent experience and foster real change. This article defines public diplomacy, describes forces shaping the context of 21st century public diplomacy, and identifies five lessons from recent experience that point the way to change: abandon message influence dominance; drop the war on terror narrative; leverage knowledge, skills, and creativity in civil society; emphasize net-centric actors and actions; rethink government broadcasting and adapt to new media.

Ask most strategists today about national security reform and one answer is assured: strengthen civilian capabilities to meet 21st century challenges and relieve an overburdened military. High on the list of capabilities to be strengthened is what variously is called public diplomacy, strategic communication, and “winning the war of ideas.” The Defense Department’s 2008 National Defense Strategy laments that the U.S. is unable to communicate to the world what it stands for as a society. The State Department calls for new public diplomacy approaches and getting the “war of ideas right” in the battle against today’s terrorist threat. Seven years after 9/11, the nation’s leaders agree. Public diplomacy is crucial to national security and must be improved.

These calls for change sound strikingly familiar. The 2002 U.S. National Security Strategy also urged “effective public diplomacy” – “a different and more comprehensive approach” in “a war of ideas to win the battle against international terrorism.” Lawmakers, cabinet secretaries, and the 9/11 Commission were in early agreement on the same diagnosis, inadequate public diplomacy in an ideological struggle, and the same solution, transform tools designed for a different era and use them more effectively.

Why then has there been no real change? It’s not that U.S. leaders lack for advice. Experts in and out of government wrote more than thirty reports on public diplomacy during the past seven years. Failure to turn report recommendations into business plans and action is part of the answer. But much of the challenge lies in learning from experience.

What is public diplomacy? What can be learned? And how might it change for the better?

08-14-2008, 10:43 PM
It's rare for a German to learn about foreign countries being very grateful and friendly to Germans due to history.
Some such example were in rather strange places like Afghanistan, Iran, Lybia.

The examples that I know about (obvious successes) had nothing to do with what's being called "strategic communications" today, but a lot with cooperation, trade, fair behaviour (and in the case of Lybia; signalling the end of colonial times somehow. Some Lybians somehow believe that Rommel meant the end of colonial times - the world is strange).
Even the genocide of Jews and invasion of the Soviet Union have created some friends for Germans even two generations later (repeat; the world is strange!).

I would not emphasize values or what we stand for if I would develop a plan how to improve my contries' standing in the world.

The official German approach to the challenge is to build cultural exchange houses everywhere (for German language teaching, co-ordination fo university student exchange programs, as assistance to the trade association houses that help businessmen overseas and for a bit display of German folklore and such).

My approach would in addition to that be to not co-operate with hated governments (even if only hated by significant minorities), but to generally seek lots of trade opportunities and involvement in infrastructure projects.
I don't want to see a video of Bin Ladin in an opening ceremony for a new paved road in Sudan in the 90's - I want to see a German delegation of one of our road-building companies at that event!

Some foreign behaviour is outright strange, and we'd even disagree. The Persians, for example, stress a lto that they are ethnically more European ('Aryan') than other nations in the region and feel related to us.
The Shah's army bought a lot of equipment (licenses) in Western Germany and was a kind of Wehrmacht caricature with Bundeswehr infantry weapons.
The few contacts with Iranians that I personally had were quite friendly.

It's in my opinion especially useful to help to solve critical problems. To defeat some ancient pests and diseases, for example. To build major infrastructure projects (water dams and railroad lines seem to be good projects) seems to be very useful as well. Finally, to save a nation against an arch-enemy in a war just for doing good seems to be an ultimate opportunity to win long-lasting friends (at least on one side of the border).

No matter how impressed you are by your countries' political & moral system, its values and standards; it seems to me as if those are no good base for winning friends overseas for generations.

08-17-2008, 08:13 AM
Fuchs, this German model works when this is not linked directly with politics. This is not lever to enforce your will.

Russia established last year fond "Russkii Mir". Thay say that they want to do exaclty what has done Goethe institute. What do you think, how efficently will this concept work at present situation?

William F. Owen
08-17-2008, 02:34 PM
2. Change the framing narrative – from the hedgehog to the fox. The distinguished scholar Isaiah Berlin wrote famously that the hedgehog knows one big thing, the fox many things. U.S. leaders framed their response to the attacks of 9/11 overwhelmingly as one big thing – a “war on terror.” According to the U.S. National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, this war is a “battle of ideas” with an “ideology of terrorism,” an ideology in which “Islam has been twisted and made to serve an evil end.”ix

I was flicking through this document and this leapt off the page at me. I submit that the a "war on terror" is not an example of hedgehog thinking. Hedgehog thinking is not simplistic. It is simple, but a simplicity based on a deep and effective understanding.

The "war on an abstract noun Terror" like the war on drugs is a big complex immeasurable, end state free idea, requiring massive amounts of energy, resources and cunning. - It's pure Fox!

A hedgehog would address 9/11 by settling for Bin Laden, and his associates dead or in jail. That's it. Nothing else.

This may seem arcane and pedantic to those of you who are not philosophically "ציפדימ "(kipodeem) - hedgehogs, but it matters a lot to those of us who are! :D

Ken White
08-17-2008, 05:29 PM
I'd also suggest that the coiner of the phrase 'War on Terror' had one thing in mind; he may not have said it very well but he understood that if the other guy thinks he's at war and you don't think (or act like) you are, that other guy has a tremendous advantage over you...

Wilf's right on the money with his hedgehog analogy -- as he says, the hedgehog reaction is "Get Bin Laden." That's an exercise in futility if there ever was one. Hedgehogs further say "...we took our eyes off Afghanistan." I'd hope so -- Afghanistan never was and never will be the center of gravity of terror emanating from the ME. Nor is Islam, per se, the issue. That is not to say the PR effort and the public pronouncements have been effective or accurate but public pronouncements rarely reflect the totality of thought or even most of the subtleties of strategic effort.

I agree with Bruce Gregory on most of the first 'lesson.' I disagree on the second for the reasons cited above. I submit that most of the world has been trying to implement his third 'lesson' for eons with partial success. Agree with his fourth 'lesson' but do wonder how we are going to destroy or significantly reduce our current national bureaucracy to enable that to occur (noting that no suggestion on how to accomplish this is offered); and agree with his fifth 'lesson.' Thus, I think he's got two right; two in the 'almost too hard' box -- good ideas but difficualt to implement -- and was quite wrong on his reading of the Fox and the Hedgehog.

I also think he, like many, fails to consider all the other aspects of the strategy that are on-going; the wars are, by design, big attention grabbers. The other stuff is below a lot of radar horizons... :cool:

09-30-2008, 01:53 PM
I am a current Intermediate Level Education (ILE) student and completed study of Military History as part of the course design. By no means am I suggesting that we have learned all there is to know about history-it is a lifelong study.

Yet, I would like to quote Karl von Clausewitz who said, "War is the continuation of policy (politics) by other means."

Politics, the military and the people, when combined, form a trinity that can be analyzed about any conflict for the student of Military History. Politics is a leg of the 'trinity' that must be in balance along with the military and the people in order for the strategic goals of the state to be accomplished.

chris hurlburt
10-01-2008, 12:46 AM
What is public diplomacy? What can be learned? And how might it change for the better? SWJED
This is the million dollar question that I believe no one can fully answer... We don't know what "right" looks like when it comes to Public Diplomacy. My bottom line up front definition on Public Diplomacy is, "How do we want to sell _(fill in OBJ)___ to country X".

It is a slippery fish and it very delicate and time consuming because each culture needs to be targeted differently. Public Diplomacy, as a strategic medium (non-lethal weapon?) is very immature (DoS is lead; not much is moving) and I believe it will define itself as it develops. Arguably, this could be a goldmine of strategic capital for our country but it could turn into a handful of rocks just as quickly. All depends on how a country/culture buys into our message. Dept of State (DoS) will have to meticulously manage the messages we want to send in order to sell our agenda. From my experiences, they are not resourced to do this effectively. I believe that Public Diplomacy could also be done, in part, through international American based businesses (ie, McDonald's, Starbucks). Big business maneuvers to understand in depth what other cultures are like before launching costly ventures (I'm sure they have their share of failures, too, which bring many cultural learning experiences).

I think running an election campaign would be similiar to managing Public Diplomacy. A tenuous environment that could explode for better or worse depending on how one's listeners receive the message.
Your thoughts..?

10-01-2008, 12:32 PM
It's all a political campaign. Which means that we should have "campaigners" running the "war".

Here's an interesting read that talks about it in depth:

Echevarria, Antulio J., Wars of Ideas and the War of Ideas, Carllisle, PA: US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute Press, 2008. Available at: http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=866