This holiday season has stood out a bit from others, being the first time, at least as far as I can recall, that cyber warfare and the fictional assassination of North Korea's Supreme Leader have featured so very prominently in news and personal discussions. The Sony Pictures release of The Interview [...] has actually generated some interesting ideas about cybersecurity, information warfare, and a host of other issues.

Chinese web users scoffed and Beijing expressed outrage at the May 19 announcement of a U.S. indictment of five Shanghai-based army officers on charges of hacking and economic espionage. In an uncharacteristically speedy response posted to the Foreign Ministry website within 90 minutes of the US announcement, spokesman Qin Gang called the accusations "absurd" and "purely ungrounded." Qin demanded that U.S. authorities drop the case immediately and added that Beijing would be suspending its participation in Sino-U.S.

The recent summit meeting in California between President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping was seen by many as an important milestone in Sino-American bilateral relations. Indeed, the informality and broad range of subjects discussed between two competitive nations led many observers to draw parallels to the U.S.-Soviet summits of yesteryear.

Asked whether it was effective to deal with the issue by publicly naming China, Hagel said he thought both public diplomacy and private engagement were necessary. Public statements are necessary to let people know what is going on, he said, but it doesn't solve problems.

Cyber security is set to be discussed for the first time at a meeting of NATO defence ministers next week.The Pentagon chief said Washington would press Beijing using both public diplomacy and private talks.

Recently, the Indian National Security Council Secretariat released recommendations by a joint public-private working group on cybersecurity that aimed to strengthen India’s capability to combat the rising threat from cyberspace.

Summertime is always an excellent time to reflect, recharge and catch up on the books you’ve been meaning to read for longer than you can remember. My reading list this summer is longer than in years past due to the sheer volume of new work critical to those in the global engagement, corporate diplomacy and public diplomacy spheres. It could be that this is due to a pervasive feeling of discontent and urgency – where ideas are formed, issues collide, and independent action has a new meaning and consequence for peoples around the globe.

In addition to public diplomacy, the U.S. government should continue to support the development of software that may make it easier for citizens of countries with repressive regimes to access the Internet without fear of surveillance.