Summer 2016 Must-Reads in Public Diplomacy

The August 2016 edition of Bruce Gregory's public diplomacy reading list is now available. Known affectionately at CPD as "Bruce's List," this list is a compilation of books, journal articles, papers and blogs on a wide variety of PD topics, and features a number of CPD scholars. Highlights in this edition include:

Michael Barr and Valentina Feklyunia, eds., “The Soft Power of Hard States,” Politics,Special Issue, Vol. 35, Nos. 3-4, November 2015.  Barr and Feklyunia (Newcastle University) have compiled a strong collection of articles that examine the soft power of authoritarian states, focusing principally on China, Russia, and Iran.  Their goal is to provide a “needed corrective to soft power studies by de-Westernizing the concept” through studies of how “non-democratic regimes promote and manage their image.”   

Tom Fletcher, Naked Diplomacy: Power and Statecraft in the Digital Age, (William Collins, 2016).  Former British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher has written an indispensable guide to diplomacy in the digital age.  Fletcher is a passionate digital media pioneer, but he is no casual technology enthusiast....he brings unusual analytical depth to understanding diplomacy’s legitimate ongoing connections to power, governance, and non-state actors.  He challenges traditional diplomacy even as he defends the continuing importance of expertise, secret negotiations, and public interests.  It is no accident that he is also the author of the UK foreign ministry’s recent Future FCO report. 

Ellen Huijgh, The Public Diplomacy of Emerging Powers, Part 2: The Case of Indonesia, CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.  Huijgh (Netherlands Institute of International Relations and University of Antwerp) continues her work on the public diplomacy of emerging powers with this informed and timely case study of Indonesia’s public diplomacy during the administration of President Joko Widodo.  Her paper begins with a brief survey of broad trends in diplomacy studies grounded in an integrative approach, national diplomatic systems, and her own work on blending diplomacy’s international and domestic dimensions.  She discusses characteristics and recent developments in what she calls Indonesia’s “niche narrative public diplomacy” (co-existence of Islam, democracy, and modern society) and concludes with concern that it “faces stagnation and isolation today.”  Her earlier study in USC’s series is Ellen Huijgh and Jordan Warlick, The Public Diplomacy of Emerging Powers, Part 1: The Case of Turkey, CPD Perspectives, USC Center on Public Diplomacy, January 2016.

Marc Lynch, The New Arab Wars: Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East, (Public Affairs, 2016).  Lynch (George Washington University), a deeply knowledgeable scholar of Middle East politics and media, and of US policies in the region, provides a fundamental rethinking of assumptions and ideas that shaped his views on the broad Arab uprising of the past five years.  Drawing on his own research, local Arab voices, and analysis he credits to others, he offers numerous conclusions on the increase in violence and repression.  It is too soon to conclude the uprisings have failed.  Their causes have grown worse and the frustrations of empowered youth are greater.  There will be no return to stable and friendly authoritarian regimes.  Another wave of mass protests is “almost certainly coming.”  Partisan American policy disputes exaggerate US influence and role in the uprising.  And the nuclear agreement with Iran is “a historic opportunity to establish new foundations for regional order.”  Diplomacy scholars will find especially useful his insights on public opinion and the impact of a radically transformed information environment on Middle East politics and society.

To review the entire list, click here