APDS Blogger: Gabriel Bernadett-Shapiro
Claudia Auer and Alice Srugies co-author the latest issue of CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy which examines the practices and scholarship of German public diplomacy.
Last month the Economist published a brace of articles setting in motion a spirited debate over whether India has a strategic culture. The authors draw an unfavorable contrast between neighboring China, whose "rise is a given," and India, which "is still widely seen as a nearly-power that cannot quite get its act together." They catalogue several factors that purportedly explain New Delhi's underperformance in diplomacy and strategy.
A couple of public diplomacy colleagues have asked me what we should think of the Pentagon memo issued earlier this month, the one that seems to say Strategic Communication is out. Over. Finished... Does this mean the end of MIST teams at embassies? No more military websites targeting foreign audiences? Is it the end of a fat foreign media analysis landing on your desk every morning? No more social and cultural adaptation training for troops deploying? Probably not.
George Little, the Pentagon spokesperson, appeared to make an important announcement last week, saying "strategic communication" had been banned from the Pentagon's lexicon. Sounded like a good thing; strategic communication was a brainchild of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in full flower of his moment when the Pentagon could not only "do it all," it should "do it all."
Special Operations Command, based in Tampa, directs the military's elite commando units — the Navy's SEALs and Army's Delta Force — in counterterrorism missions...Key to its propaganda efforts is a collection of websites known as the Trans Regional Web Initiative aimed at foreign audiences. USA TODAY first reported on its existence in 2008, and it appears to have expanded.
Since at least the late 2000s, I have been observing – sometimes organizing, and sometimes participating in – diverse forums featuring different combinations of politicos, policy decision-makers, academics, and applied practitioners, which have broached the relationship between “culture” and “security,” sometimes in overlapping but often in notably different ways.