Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty [1st ed.] 9783030545512, 9783030545529

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Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty [1st ed.]
 9783030545512, 9783030545529

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xli
Front Matter ....Pages 1-1
The “American Century” Is Over: The US Global Leadership Narrative, Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy (Steven Louis Pike)....Pages 3-28
From External Propaganda to Mediated Public Diplomacy: The Construction of the Chinese Dream in President Xi Jinping’s New Year Speeches (Yan Wu, Richard Thomas, Yakun Yu)....Pages 29-55
Climate Change Begins at Home: City Diplomacy in the Age of the Anthropocene (Juan Luis Manfredi Sánchez, Francisco Seoane Pérez)....Pages 57-81
‘Rough Winds Do Shake the Darling Buds of May’: Theresa May, British Public Diplomacy and Reputational Security in the Era of Brexit (Nicholas J. Cull)....Pages 83-107
Front Matter ....Pages 109-109
Public Diplomacy in the Age of ‘Post-reality’ (Ilan Manor, Corneliu Bjola)....Pages 111-143
The Manufacturing of Uncertainty in Public Diplomacy: A Rhetorical Approach (Christopher Miles)....Pages 145-170
Russian Public Diplomacy: Questioning Certainties in Uncertain Times (Lucy Birge, Precious N. Chatterje-Doody)....Pages 171-195
The Confucius Institute and Relationship Management: Uncertainty Management of Chinese Public Diplomacy in Africa (Zhao Alexandre Huang)....Pages 197-223
Front Matter ....Pages 225-225
Managing Disinformation Through Public Diplomacy (Alicia Fjällhed)....Pages 227-253
Economic Determinants of India’s Public Diplomacy Towards South Asia (Sara Kulsoom)....Pages 255-276
Managing Uncertainty: The Everyday Global Politics of Post-9/11 US Public Diplomacy (Laura Mills)....Pages 277-303
Foreign Correspondence and Digital Public Diplomacy (Shixin Ivy Zhang)....Pages 305-328
Back Matter ....Pages 329-345

Citation preview

Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty Edited by Paweł Surowiec · Ilan Manor

Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy

Series Editors Kathy Fitzpatrick University of South Florida Tampa, FL, USA Philip Seib University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA, USA

At no time in history has public diplomacy played a more significant role in world affairs and international relations. As a result, global interest in public diplomacy has escalated, creating a substantial academic and professional audience for new works in the field. The Global Public Diplomacy Series examines theory and practice in public diplomacy from a global perspective, looking closely at public diplomacy concepts, policies, and practices in various regions of the world. The purpose is to enhance understanding of the importance of public diplomacy, to advance public diplomacy thinking, and to contribute to improved public diplomacy practices.

More information about this series at http://www.palgrave.com/gp/series/14680

Paweł Surowiec · Ilan Manor Editors

Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty

Editors Paweł Surowiec Journalism Studies University of Sheffield Sheffield, UK

Ilan Manor St. Cross College University of Oxford Oxford, UK

Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy ISBN 978-3-030-54551-2 ISBN 978-3-030-54552-9 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Foreword

Since the Russian annexation of Crimea and the 2016 US election of Donald Trump, it seems that the world has become less predictable. The most noble forms of public diplomacy, such as editorially independent international broadcasting and citizen exchange programmes, seem to be falling out of fashion. They have been replaced by politician and embassy Twitter accounts that troll one another in the hope of becoming a meme, sophisticated disinformation campaigns that stoke division, and nationalist identity projection that is seemingly ‘weaponised’ against reality. As perpetual uncertainty re-entered the geopolitical picture, with it followed an arsenal of public diplomacy techniques attuned to exploiting the unsure and unknown. It was unthinkable, even a few months ago, that in 2020 the world’s most powerful states would suddenly close their borders, force their residents to remain indoors, and shut down major portions of their economies. Yet here I sit, in confinement for the fourth week, unable to go to the office, sit on a park bench or visit a local restaurant. Within the European Union, countries have closed borders to their neighbours and embarked on campaigns of ‘governance branding’—essentially trying to boost their image by showing who can handle the crisis best. Infection and death rates have become the latest fad index for Western states to compare one another against, while solidarity has taken a back seat. If liberal Western democracies are struggling, authoritarian regimes have used this crisis to promote the attractiveness of their social models v

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and political regimes. For example, China has embarked on a global influence campaign aimed at distracting the world from the origins and their handling of the virus. Russian state-backed media has promoted conspiracy theories about the virus and sought to exacerbate divisions over EU handling of the crisis, all the while using aid sent to Italy, the United States and Serbia to make public relations gains. Even within EU member states, the lockdown has been supported by new authoritarian powers that may reinforce a seemingly illiberal moment from which there might be no turning back. We live in a time of intensified uncertainty, then. Not least over the severity, duration, cause and cure of the Coronavirus that has caused this global crisis. More importantly, international politics is changing under the pressures of geopolitical uncertainty, and with it follows the normalisation of new diplomatic behaviour and newer public diplomacy tools and techniques. The chapters in this book contribute to a better understanding of how and why uncertainty affects diplomacy and public diplomacy and marks an area of study that will surely become more important in the coming years. Brussels, Belgium 14 April 2020

James Pamment

James Pamment is co-director of the Partnership for Countering Influence Operations at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is also Associate Professor at Lund University in Sweden, and co-editor-in-chief of the Place Branding and Public Diplomacy journal. He has previously held research positions at the University of Texas at Austin, the USC Centre on Public Diplomacy, and the University of Oxford.

Acknowledgements

The editors of this book would like to thank all the authors for their contributions and turning the idea underpinning this volume into the reality of publishing. We are particularly grateful to Lucy Birge and Dr. Precious N. Chatterje-Doody for stepping in to write a chapter about Russia at, what turned out to be, very short notice. Paweł Surowiec and Ilan Manor would like to thank Alina Dolea for her administrative assistance at the early stages of putting this book together. We would like to acknowledge Kevin Moloney, Daniel Weissmann, Dominika Szachniewicz, Eviatar Manor and Naomi Capell for constructive comments on sections of this book, as well as Dr. James Pamment for his opening remarks on this volume. We feel particularly obliged to Prof. Kathy Fitzpatrick, Prof. Philip Seib and Dr. Anca Puca who curate the Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy. Finally, we would like to recognise and acknowledge our families for their words of encouragement and support with this book, even if only through informal conversations. We dedicate this book to all diplomats and public diplomats whose professional efforts and expertise moderate political voices amplifying and weaponing uncertainty across the world. With thanks to you all.

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Introduction: Certainty of Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy

International politics is consumed by perpetual uncertainty. Throughout the world, rage and anxiety have marked the process of dedemocratisation, illiberal trends, consolidating authoritarianisms and heightened societal tensions. Driven by the rebuke of globalisation and the radicalised ideas sown to its coattails, political extremisms gain traction in domestic politics, while liberal international organisations become increasingly paralysed. Given that uncertainty breeds political obstructions, now is a time of walls rather than bridges, isolationism rather than collaboration. Uncertainty is the result of a systemic shift towards the heteropolar world that propels confrontation, as it favours expansionist foreign policies of regional powers, leading to compound crises in which multiple actors aim to obtain conflicting interests. This new cobweb of interests, foes and allies has rendered the institutions established after World War II dazed and confused. The bonfire of uncertainty is stoked by digitalisation as digital platforms are being used on state levels to contest the very notion of national and international realities. According to some digital channels, for instance, the Republic of Crimea exists as a political entity. It has borders, a parliament and a vibrant national citizenry. According to other digital channels, there is no such entity. It does not exist. Multiple realities are a part of the world that can no longer be fathomed by uncertain populations. While some states employ digital platforms and tools to contest reality, others use them to weaponise uncertainty by driving social divisions and political disenchantment as was the

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case during the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential elections. Yet, most importantly, political dynamics of disruption, with the help of connectivity of open web, and affordances of social media platforms, are utilised to undermine political regimes across the world and shape international politics. It is a period in which economic capital and information are in flux, when commodities are not bound by time and space, and when the hacking of a computer server in one state leads to the collapse of financial markets in another. It is an environment in which a crisis in one region immediately impacts other regions, and where local confrontations lead to international conflicts (Chernobrov, 2019). Critical questions for diplomacy and statecraft scholars are: how should public diplomacy be practised in the environment of which uncertainty is a defining feature? Should diplomats still strive to engage with foreign publics and foster the creation of networks and relationships? Or does rage preclude substantive dialogue? Can diplomats rely on their existing toolbox to create relationships with foreign publics, or are they in need of new methods and approaches? Should digitalisation still be viewed as the harbinger of a ‘new’ public diplomacy or as the undoing of diplomacy? These are but some of the questions this book aims to address. The aim of this book is to explore multilayered relationships between public diplomacy and uncertainties stemming from the latest transnational political trends emerging in international relations (Callaham, 2018). The departure point for this problematisation of public diplomacy is the recognition of the scale of the latest wave of political uncertainty. Due to a state of perpetual crises, the simultaneity of diplomatic tensions and new digital modalities enabling disruptive power, international politics progressively resembles a networked set of hyperrealities. Embracing multipolar competition, regional superpowers such as Russia flex their muscles over their neighbours; poster exemplars of ‘success stories’ of the third wave of democratisation—Hungary, Poland and Czechia—embrace new authoritarianisms; old nations such as the British and Americans reclaim ‘greatness’ to the tune of populist politics while leaders detach their states through isolationist foreign policy behaviour; other states, for example, China, adapt expansionist foreign policies. In their everyday practice, diplomats face statecraft challenges underpinned by the impact digitalisation has on the compression of time and space as well as tackle political tasks in which crises are increasingly difficult to resolve. For example, resolving the conflict in Syria means meeting the interests of Saudi Arabia,

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Israel, Syria, Iran, the United States, Russia and Turkey. This volume focuses on public diplomacy in the settings of this wave of political uncertainties and transnational trends that undermine it. First, within this volume we consider the interplay of political trends in international relations, digital media technologies and their multilayered impact on the practice of public diplomacy via, for example, cocreation of ‘instant revolutions’ exemplified by Arab Spring (Wolfsfeld et al., 2013) and ‘instant wars’ represented by the annexation of Crimea (Szostek, 2017). Arguably, hyperrealities of political events unfold along multiple communicative trajectories due to the increased digitalisation of diplomacy, grassroot campaigning engaging with foreign policy issues, mediated by public diplomacy, and reported by traditional media (Der Derian, 2003). Defined as ‘the generation by models of a real without origin or reality’ (Baudrillard, 1994, p. 1), hyperreality grew into ontology for (un)masking the aftermath of the collapse of an absolute ‘other’, the Soviet Union, and is described in international politics as ‘the global power of simulation’ (Der Derian, 1994, p. 193) in which ‘older’ and ‘newer’ media play a key role. For example, according to some Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA), there is now a polity called the Republic of Crimea. Indeed, Armenia, Nicaragua and Belarus recognise it, whereas to Western MFAs such a polity does not exist. Mirroring these hyperrealities, as well as ‘statehood’, the concept of ‘citizenship’ has been decoupled from its physical settings, i.e. Daesh was more of an online caliphate than a territorial polity (Atwan, 2015), while every person can become an ‘e-resident’ of Estonia (Sullivan, 2018). Second, we consider the role of digitalisation in evoking uncertainty. Digitalised hyperrealities of international relations breed uncertainty among citizens, institutions and social movements, and impact the ways in which people interpret political events. At the individual level, as the users of digital media technologies tend to be exposed to varied, oftentimes fragmented, news stories, the exposure of which is altered by algorithms on social media (Rubenzer, 2016). In domestic politics, digitalisation fractures reality as different segments of the population can be targeted by campaigns driving wedges in society and causing social discord (Hall Jamieson, 2018). This targeting is done out of sight and depend on the epistemic crisis overshadowing external intervention: no one knew that African Americans were targeted during the 2016 US presidential campaign (Benkler et al., 2018). At the international level, irrespective of the identity of political regimes, political actors use digital tools to contest

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reality. For example, Crilley (2017) reveals how contradicting narratives on the Syrian war led to the construction of multiple conflict realities on social media. Third, we consider digitalisation of public diplomacy in relation to the fracturing of realities, growing complexities of crises, oftentimes leading to paralysis in the institutions tasked with ensuring stability of the world order (e.g. the UN Security Council cannot solve the Syria and Yemen crises; the European Union (EU) is obstructed by Brexit and rise of authoritarian political trends in Poland and Hungary; Organization for Security and Cooporation in Europe (OSCE) is paralysed by the Crimea crisis; and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) fate is unclear under the Trump presidency). Those events unfold at a time when US leadership and public diplomacy are restricted and underplayed. In the United Kingdom, France, Germany and even Japan, long-held political values and democratic institutions undergo internal shocks due to external events. In other cases, the established political actors weaponise uncertainty to obtain their goals, as do populist political actors undermining diplomatic relations, disrupting agreements, and launching divisive propaganda campaigns overseas (Bjola & Pamment, 2018). The era of liberal consensus is coming to an end, leaving a gap in research on behaviour of public diplomacy in these settings. The current wave of political uncertainty is perhaps best illustrated by Trump’s highly unpredictable approach to statecraft (Gravelle, 2018) exposing how public diplomacy changes the orientation towards statecraft for ‘negative soft power’ (Callahan, 2015). By bringing together perspectives on the practice and areas of interest to practitioners previously underexplored in the scholarship, this volume asks and answers questions about directions of the practice of public diplomacy. Until recently, scholarship in the field focused extensively on ‘technological’ underpinnings and the evolutionary impact of digitalisation on the practice. In this volume, we argue, that global hybrid media landscapes amplified socialities, such as uncertainty, aiding the proliferation of post-truth culture in public diplomacy. Enmeshed with transnational political trends such as populism, illiberalism, nationalisms, datafication, corporatisation or corruption, require new lenses through which the practice of public diplomacy should be indeed problematised. We recognise that, if mixed with transnational political trends, digitalisation might yield uncertainty among foreign policymakers, diplomats, foreign direct investors, security and military experts and citizens themselves. The

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heightened opportunities for uncertainty create the need to consider the ‘social’ features underpinning public diplomacy and the type of politics it serves. In this volume, we define ‘the politics of uncertainty’ as the episteme foregrounding hyperrealities of a heteropolar world order characterised by the simultaneity of the weakening of global leadership, competitive struggles of regional powers, highly particularised interests of political actors and the governance modes focusing on a perpetual crisis. As a sociality in international politics, uncertainty in these settings is amplified by fragmented realities endemic to a global hybrid media landscape, and by an inherent incalculability and interdeterminacy of the outcomes of diplomacy and statecraft. To tackle simultaneously emergent trends, we bring perspectives on public diplomacy from the United States, Europe, Middle East and Asia. The book offers theoretically insightful and illustratively rich examinations of the practice as well as new areas of interest among state and non-state actors, and citizens engaging with foreign policy issues, or participating in public diplomacy networks.

Turning the Tide: Destabilised World Order With the end of the Cold War, the subsequent advancement of liberalism and the expansion of neoliberal political economies, this world order was legitimised by ‘Western’ diplomatic actors with strategic narratives of stability (Flockhart, 2016). The eastward expansion of polities such as the EU and NATO; the consolidation of new(er) foreign policy regimes (e.g. climate change regime); closer ties between state and non-state actors displaying tendencies to shift diplomacy and statecraft towards multilateralism, which by virtue of advancing interconnectedness, were seen as the bounds of stability of international politics. Following the 2008 global economic crisis, the sequence of political events associated with the fourth wave of democratisation and described as the Arab Spring, the rise of China to a global power; Russia’s new foreign policy orientation and its posturing over Central and Eastern Europe are, to name but a few, events indicative of shifts in power politics, which have gradually led to hybrid conflicts (e.g. Estonia) and proxy wars (e.g. Syrian War). Their escalation and, in some instances, consequences, instigated revisionism of foreign policies. These political developments witnessed the external interventions to domestic politics, spreading of populism, nationalistic sentiments, mobilisation of social movements, some of which became targets

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and political vehicles for carrying the polarising ideas. Beyond that, propaganda wars, including ‘computational propaganda’, adds to the polarisation impacting ‘new’ and ‘old’ media representations of international politics (Wooley & Howard, 2019). Since 2016 onwards, governments of major powers in international politics—the United States and the United Kingdom—began emphasising the significance of bilateralism in diplomacy over multilateralism, a trend that has been shown by Poland, Hungary or Russia. Confronted with the logic of networks, diplomacy and statecraft began facing the latest transnational political challenges. In addition, the acceleration, and the rapid advancement of unregulated digital media technologies augmented these developments, changing profoundly the ways in which citizens engage with foreign policy issues. The gradual normalisation of the use of digital media technologies in diplomacy and statecraft, new patterns of engagement with foreign policy issues, and the on-the-go accessibility of foreign news, have altered the flow of strategic narratives about international politics: for example, social media affordances for targeting networks and personalised campaign strategies. These affordances aid the promise of citizens having a voice in international politics. In these settings, diplomacy and statecraft, including public diplomacy, face intensified transnational political trends, oftentimes attempting to destabilise the perceived stability of liberal order by using polarising issues and weaponising foreign policy tools to disrupt democratic processes and to undermine democratic values. Arguably, the strategies for doing so, oftentimes find roots in authoritarian regimes in which political competition follows different rules of the political game (Levitsky and Way 2010). Diplomatic practices, therefore, require further discussion of ‘rational’ and ‘emotional’ underpinnings of statecraft, particularly relevant to the practice of public diplomacy. Contextualised by post-truth political culture (Crilley 2018), links between transnational political trends, public diplomacy and uncertainty are central themes of this book.

Why Do We Bother? Due to the unprecedented rhythm of simultaneous political rifts intertwining on multiple levels of international politics, since the 2008 global economic crisis, uncertainty became endogenous for state and non-state actors in diplomacy and statecraft. In international politics, a variety of non-state actors (TNCs, media conglomerates, digital media technology

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organisations, transnational social movements) have come to be active and engaged with foreign policy issues considered formerly to have been exclusively governments’ affairs. At the same time, the dominant liberal world order is challenged by the rise of China and Russia. Features of domestic politics such as personalisation, anti-establishmentarianism, populism, mixed with right-wing nationalism have entered the diplomatic networks, or are used to target social movements to reshuffle the relationships between traditional allies in international politics: in the United States, the victory of Donald Trump and his unorthodox foreign policy strategy (e.g. the travel ban, the immigration order, the new ‘friendly’ relations with Russia, to name but a few) have disrupted previous norms, practices and even values of American diplomacy (most recently, at the NATO summit in July 2018). In Europe, right-wing foreign policies culminated with Brexit and question the very existence of the European Union or east-west versus north-south divide among Member States. The EU struggles to keep up with political differences, especially economic development between the ‘old(er)’ Western Europe and the ‘new(er)’ members, while it fails to contend with the rise and the advancement of illiberalism in Hungary and Poland. In the Middle East, the political upheavals and conflicts of recent years have led to paralysis in global institutions with the UN unable to address the Syrian Civil War or the gradual establishment of an autocratic regime in Turkey, which aligns itself with Russia. In addition, transnational migration crises (e.g. the refugee crisis in Europe) or highly disruptive events such as terrorist attacks across Europe have fuelled increased instability, oftentimes leading to political extremism. Further, digital media technology and social media platforms in particular have facilitated the circulation of ‘fake news’ and disinformation, ironically ‘helped’ by the eagerness of states to instrumentalise statecraft practices, including the ways in which diplomacy and public diplomacy is practised. Concerned by the above-mentioned recent political events in international relations, we put forward a book that proposes a timely reflection on public diplomacy as a field of study and practice. We recognise that uncertainty is inherent to international relations (Rathbun, 2007; Bas, 2012), but the simultaneity of political shifts brings transnational trends to the forefront of our analysis. In the conduct of foreign policy, uncertainty effects the decision-making processes and resonates among policymakers, businesses, consumers and citizens alike. For example, opinion polls on Brexit and the EU withdrawal negotiations between the United

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Kingdom and the EU tell some of this story. In August 2018, a poll of FTSE 350 businesses by ICSA and the Governance Institute found that 55% of UK board members predict a decline in their business over the coming year; according to the 2018 survey by YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research consumer confidence fell amidst negotiations to the 106.7 confidence index points, a fall of 1.4 confidence points in comparison to a similar poll in October, 2018; the July 2018 poll of UK population reveals that 78% of the surveyed citizens reported that the Government is doing a weak job in the negotiations (Carr, 2018). In international politics, uncertainty matters to individual, institutional and collective international political actors: Ministries of Foreign Affairs, international organisations, businesses, consumers and citizens and, given its networked resonance, ought to be considered by public diplomats. It is within the merit of public diplomacy to shift the practice in a way that addresses these uncertainties. Since the emergence of ‘new’ public diplomacy (Melissen, 2005), altered a few years later by the networked approach to the practice (Zaharna et al., 2013), these theorisations became compelling as they highlighted the power and pivotal role of relationships as inherent to ‘good practice’ in public diplomacy. These theorisations were aligned with the process of globalisation and contributed to the advancement of opening ‘new’ diplomatic, at least informal, communicative exchanges as diplomats could directly converse with foreign publics. Conversely, nowadays, in part, the breakdown of existing diplomatic relationships takes place because of the blurred boundaries between national and international politics, or the domestic and the foreign political realms. Trump tweets predominantly for Americans, yet he is read all over the world and this creates a backlash. On the other hand, MFAs now knowingly and willingly target their own citizens to narrate policies and develop domestic publics. However, MFAs are mostly followed by foreign citizens. There is a mesh in which messages often reach unintended publics. In the wake of Crimea crisis, and Russia’s use of propaganda, European MFAs turn towards strategic communication in which the goal is influence and information dominance. Is this a paradigm shift? Are relationships really a ‘thing of the past’ or more crucial now than ever as they can help increase certainty? In the age of rebuking globalisation, questions should be asked about ways in which the fracturing affordances of digital media technologies and political divisions shape the practice of public diplomacy: Who is public diplomacy conducted by? By what means, and how?

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The past two decades have seen increased interest in the study of public diplomacy, with a focus on the emergence of non-state actors, digitalisation and normalisation of the use of social media platforms, the requirement for continuous professionalisation of diplomacy and for better tools to execute and evaluate the practice of public diplomacy. As a practice, public diplomacy is no longer the prerogative of affluent states. From Lima to Vladivostok, and Reykjavik to Cape Town, new actors participate in public diplomacy or engage with the content produced for it. This opening up of the practice reinforces substantively and geopolitically diversified trends underpinning qualitative and quantitative changes in the field of public diplomacy. In addition, digital media technologies advance and disrupt the practice and study of public diplomacy—big data, sentiment analysis and bots foster or disrupt diplomatic relations—but on their own these do not change public diplomacy as they are used for political ends. Mixed with a major technological leap, transnational political trends are intermediaries in this reflection. As ‘new’ public diplomacy aims to bridge relations between governments and nations, yet facing, for example, discontent, market uncertainties, anti-diplomacy or diplomatic disengagements, their impact of the practice needs fresh insights. As well as considering political crises, for uncertainty to become the central theme of this book, crisis of foreign news, the making of which is crucial to public diplomacy, is recognised as paralleled and a contextual feature in problematising the practice. Since the 2008 economic crisis, news media made cuts to their foreign bureaus. In 2008 alone, newspapers lost 15,974 jobs, followed by an extra 10,000 in early 2009 (Livingston & Asmolov, 2010). In the aftermath of the crisis, for example, in the US foreign news was caught in a recursive downward spiral: with fewer stories on offer, plummeting demand, cash-strapped media tend not to prioritise foreign news. These pressures impact the practice, whereby ‘parachute journalism’ dominates journalistic routines, and gives public diplomats the upper hand in media relations (Brown, 2018). This downward spiral erodes foreign publics’ ability to understand the dwindling supply of foreign news. As such, crisis points to the fading quality of foreign news, the situation which is, on the one hand, an opportunity for public diplomats, as it enables the ease of circulation of official messages, and, on the other hand, a threat, as public diplomats are having to more frequently respond to misinformation in foreign news. Because public diplomacy gradually aligns with global hybrid media landscapes (Guo & Vargo, 2018; Surowiec & Long, 2020), digitalisation,

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in theory, has promised at least partial solutions to the crisis of dwindling foreign news: digitalisation appeared as if it was filling the demand gaps where supply was needed; it appeared as democratising diplomacy, therefore, making it more accessible to publics; it embodied participatory modes of engagement with foreign policy issues, and its networked logic began matching interconnected hyperrealities of international politics as well as multilateral orientation of diplomacy and statecraft ingrained into public diplomacy. With the digitalisation well under way, public diplomacy should benefit from the promise of certainty put forward by digital media technology giants such as Google and digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (Zuboff, 2019). Those pioneers of ‘surveillance capitalism’ customise their services to diplomatic communities. For example, Facebook (2018, p. 2) guidelines Digital Diplomacy on Facebook, states the mission as ‘the diplomatic community reach, connect, and engage the people who matter most to them’. This book is borne out of the dynamics of the scale of trends brought about by the weakening of the state in international politics, and the depth of changes to global hybrid media landscapes in which public diplomacy is practised: on the one hand, we are intrigued by the paradox enshrined in the promise of certainty, the defining feature of the ‘instrumentarian power’ held by digital media technology giants ‘regarded as the certain solution to uncertain societal conditions’ that is ‘evident in the ways in which it is called into action by the state’ (Zuboff, 2019, p. 384). Despite this promise, conceptualists foreground ways in which the hierarchical state power is ‘disrupted’ by the logic of networks and big data that redefine power as formless, unstable and collaborative (Owen, 2015). Herein lies the source of our curiosity: as the promise of certainty and opportunities for global ‘diplomatic’ conversations became the mantra in the scholarship on public diplomacy, we turn the attention to political trends and, in so doing, we respond to the call for multidisciplinary thinking to account for the societal significance of the practice, and approach public diplomacy in exactly that way.

Scope and Theoretical Lenses Our conceptualisation of public diplomacy moves away from thinking about the relationship between the practice and uncertainty as a descriptor of zeitgeist, as it had been oftentimes approached in scholarship. Following Rathbun (2007) we approach uncertainty as an inherent

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feature of politics—crossing the boundaries of domestic and international—and, in our book we aim to sketch out a road map of scenarios and avenues, in which uncertainty is triggered by, or requires reaction to transnational political trends. As well as digitalisation and the rise of online propaganda, which became one of the key challenges in the field (Bjola & Pamment, 2018), the broader trends in politics happening across the globe, we argue, impact the practice of public diplomacy in a way that practitioners are having to rethink their everyday routines, the scope of the practice or even reflect on their loyalties. The premise of the book is that contemporary public diplomacy faces transnational political trends— often turned into foreign policy issues—which public diplomats need to address. Arguably, nowadays they tend to have one common root, namely illiberal politics, which, in extreme cases, undermine liberal order. While public diplomacy scholarship has emphasised uncertainty in relation to: world order (Gunaratne, 2005); culture (Seong-Hun, 2006); status of public diplomats (Fitzpartick, 2009); rapid institutional strategic changes (Piskarska, 2016); hybrid conflicts (Gaufman, 2017); abilities to articulate strategic narrative (Miskimmon, Loughlin, & Roselle, 2017); digitalisation (Manor, 2019), limited attention has been paid to transnational political trends shaping public diplomacy. Inspired by debates in the field, for example, the recent publication of the British Council’s (2018) report entitled Culture in an Age of Uncertainty: The Values of Cultural Relations in Societies in Transition, and mindful of events shaping trends in international politics, we approach public diplomacy as a practice the tasks of which are to respond to, or relate to political uncertainties. In an attempt to unravel the relationship between public diplomacy and transnational political trends, this book considers sources of uncertainty, types of uncertainty as well as the management of uncertainty. It is our ambition, therefore, to bring the study of international relations, and media and communication analysis closer together. Given the diversity of themes which authors of this book grapple with, our analysis can be neither explicitly contextualised within a single approach to the examination of media and communication, nor a single approach to the study of diplomacy and statecraft. To address the epistemic issue interlinked with the diversity of themes presented in this book as well as to encourage reflection on transnational political trends underpinning contemporary public diplomacy, we map out issues in the field using a three-layered mapping allowing us to open new avenues of inquiry on

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the practice. This volume brings together scholarship focusing on public diplomacy of the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, China, India, Russia and regional perspectives on the practice—for example, focusing on South East Asia. In doing so, it sets the stage for polyphonic analysis of the role the practice of public diplomacy plays, or should play, in problematising the responses to the issues emerging from manifestations of transnational political trends and aiding post-truth culture in politics. Our contextualisation of chapters is supported by the framework outlined below. The first pillar of our framework centres on sources of uncertainty as being particularly crucial for the practice of public diplomacy. Connecting the debate about public diplomacy to contemporary international politics, we aim to focus on the ways in which it is theorised and to encourage reflection on the practice. In the first instance, we consider the level of analysis problem (Waltz, 1959) as a road map to embedding public diplomacy at the forefront of responding to fast-pacing transnational political trends, and uncertainty as derived from: anarchic system (e.g. Russia posturing and its ‘Near Neighborhood’ foreign policy doctrine or China’s peaceful grand strategy); internal structures of states (e.g. Brexit and Cambridge Analytica); human behaviour—politicians, decision makers and public diplomats (e.g. abilities to read foreign policy and Donald Trump’s diplomatic style). As well as pointing to sources of uncertainty, we respectively define transnational political trends as mimicking behaviour of diplomatic actors, turning events into patterns, and shaping the political interplay between domestic and international dimensions of public diplomacy (Bjola & Manor, 2018). The second pillar of our framework highlights types of uncertainty, and it is broadly embedded in institutional settings as a derivative of political regimes (Surowiec & Long, 2020). In liberal democracies, it is said, the main function of a political regime is to provide stability for the making of foreign policy, conducted in a relatively open environment, in which multiple actors have an impact on diplomacy and statecraft (Smith et al., 2012). As such, the shaping of public diplomacy, even by newcomers to the field, has been theorised as the process of mediation between multiple actors. Using Bourdieu’s theory of practice, Surowiec (2017) shows that statecraft adapts communicative practices whereby public diplomacy merges with global market priorities, the orientation of the practice legitimised by rational strategies. In this approach, uncertainty is linked to the decision-making processes and outcomes of practice. Dependent on

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responses of actors, over time, outcomes of practice are unambiguous, and determined by constraints and opportunities. Contemporary international politics, however, is shaped by emotions, beliefs about regimes, institutions, revisionism in the conduct of diplomacy or the logic of post-truth in statecraft, in which uncertainty plays a strategic political role. Therefore, we draw from scholarship on authoritarian politics to account for the emergent transnational political trends in public diplomacy. In the settings of post-truth culture, we argue, uncertainty tends to be weaponised. Schedler (2013) argues that authoritarian regimes display two major types of uncertainties: the institutional uncertainty that originates in the structural insecurity of authoritarian regimes and the informational uncertainty that derives from their structural opacity. We borrow those two contextual terms as descriptors of challenges that public diplomacy faces when dealing with political trends. The third pillar focuses on the management of uncertainties. In our conceptualisation of public diplomacy as being responsible for the management of uncertainties, we recognise that in the settings of a general theory of regimes, competitive struggles revolve around two major uncertainties—institutional and informational. With regards to the practice of public diplomacy, we approach them as distant and proximate sources of uncertainties both of which are particularly endemic to authoritarian governance and, arguably, deepened by illiberal political trends. Finally, we consider challenges public diplomacy actors face: the construction of political realities (the management of threats) and the construction of political appearances (the management of threat perceptions). Inspired by uncertainty reduction theory (Berger & Calabrese, 1974), uncertainty management theory (Gudycunst, 2005) and communication theory (Brashers, 2001; Brashers, 2007), we recognise their relevancy in making sense of the ways in which public diplomacy addresses uncertainty, for example, via information-seeking and avoidance, variability types and sources of information; adapting to chronic uncertainties and strategies for uncertainty management in everyday practice. Relevant to the practice of public diplomacy at the crossroads of post-truth culture, this volume invites reflection around the key questions, aiming to explore the state of public diplomacy in relation to uncertainty: RQ 1. How does the practice of public diplomacy compare across political regimes? RQ 2. How do transnational political trends shape the practice of public diplomacy?

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RQ 3. What policy and institutional trends underpin the adaptation of public diplomacy? RQ 4. How is digitalisation of public diplomacy addressed by political actors? RQ 5. How are professional identities of public diplomats re-invented?

Structure and the Organisation of the Book Unlike digital technology giants, this book does not adhere to the logic of the promise of certainty derived from digitalisation in international politics and its subfields such as public diplomacy. The book, however, promises a collection of timely chapters which problematise public diplomacy at the time when the practice is exponentially subjected to hyperrealities of posttruth culture and transnational political trends, which twists and turns the orientation of where the practice is heading to. Edited by two Europeans, an Anglo-Pole and an Israeli of Polish descent, the background and political socialisation of whom, by virtue of exposure to unprecedented political events and transnational political trends, has alerted them to sensibilities of the latest wave of the politics of uncertainty, this volume yields twelve chapters, preceded with a forword, an introduction, all followed by conclusions. The Forword by James Pamment sets the tone for this volume. The Introduction by Paweł Surowiec and Ilan Manor contextualises the volume in the settings of transnational political trends making up hyperrealities of post-truth political culture, and conceptualises public diplomacy as being subjected, and having to respond to simultaneity of political rifts and technological changes yielding the politics of uncertainty a relevant proposition for interpreting socialities emerging and spanning across global hybrid media landscapes. We present a volume that has been co-authored by scholars of public diplomacy and whose work focuses on different national fields of public diplomacy. In the making of this book, we aimed to reduce the US-centric and Europe-centric perspectives on public diplomacy, but in the end, this has proven to be a challenging task. We have learnt that edited books are ‘living creatures’ and despite our best intentions for a balanced representation of regions, mirroring the heteropolar order of international politics, the book predominantly focuses on the United States and Europe

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as fields for the analysis and settings identifying research problems relevant to contemporary public diplomacy. Because of that, the contributions focusing on other regions of the world, are particularly valuable as they aid much-needed diversity in the field. The main body of the book is structured into three interlinked sections: Part I Heteropolar World, Global Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy; Part II Regime Shifts, Institutional Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy, and Part III Public Diplomacy Practice and Uncertainty Management. Opening Part I, Chapter 1, by Steven Louis Pike, focuses on the ways in which sources of uncertainty translate into the dynamics of the global leadership narrative mirrored in US public diplomacy. Questioning the US global leadership in international politics, Pike’s chapter explores the significance of isolationist narrative in international politics for US public diplomacy. Chapter 2, co-authored by Yan Wu, Richard Thomas and Yakun Yu, examines ways in which Xi Jinping’s personalised strategies moderate uncertainties associated with the rise of China as a leader in international politics. Their chapter particularly focuses on the Chinese Dream as a grand strategy in China’s public diplomacy. Chapter 3, by Juan Luis Manfredi and Francisco Seoane, diverges from state-centric public diplomacy, and explores ‘cities’ as actors engaged in the practice of public diplomacy. This chapter focuses on climate change as a strategic issue for public diplomacy of mega-cities. Written by Nicholas J. Cull, Chapter 4 focuses on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Working with the concept of ‘reputational security’, Cull shares insights into the significance of public diplomacy in maintaining national reputations underpinned by political and market uncertainties stemming from Brexit and its aftermath. Part II, Regime Shifts, Institutional Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy, of this volume opens with a chapter by Ilan Manor and Cornelju Bjola, in which the authors explore digitalisation of public diplomacy. Rather than focusing on ‘media effects’ that social media have on publics, their chapter focuses on ‘reality effects’ and explores the relevance of public diplomacy tactics in challenging the fracturing and assaulting uncertainties of the proliferating ‘post-reality’. Applying a rhetorical approach to the practice of public diplomacy, Chapter 6, by Christopher Miles, expands our understanding of the practice by drawing from the field of rhetoric, and by demonstrating how non-public diplomacy actors, yet populist political players, disrupt the relational dynamics of the practice of public diplomacy. Focusing on Russia, Chapter 7 by Precious Chatterje-Doody and

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Lucy Birge, explores how this regional power uses public diplomacy. It argues that Russian public diplomacy thrives in an environment in which public trust in established institutions is waning, at the same time as openness to alternative sources of information and legitimacy are increasing. In Chapter 8, Zhao Huang approaches China’s public diplomacy through the institutional lenses and explores the ways in which uncertainty associated with the rise of China in Africa is managed through multilayered relationship management by the Confucius Institute in Kenya. Finally, Part III, Public Diplomacy Practice and Uncertainty Management, centres on the management of public diplomacy in relation to, or in response to uncertainty. Authored by Alicia Fjällhed, Chapter 9 explores links between crisis management and public diplomacy. Exploring the phenomenon of ‘Sweden bashing’, she examines ways in which disinformation can be managed through public diplomacy. Chapter 10, focusing on the regional power of the state reputed for being the largest democracy in the world, Sara Kulsoom offers insights into economic statecraft as a foundation of India’s public diplomacy in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis. In Chapter 11, set in the context of post 9/11 US public diplomacy, Laura Mills conceptualises the practice as inherently subjected to uncertainties, arguing for embracing multiplicities of uncertainties in order to realise a reimagined international politics and the transformative possibilities it offers for everyday public diplomacy. Chapter 12, by Shixin Ivy Zhang, recontextualises the role of foreign correspondents as public diplomacy actors, and stresses their professional values in maintaining credibility of foreign news.

Contribution of the Volume This book makes an equal contribution to the subfield of international relations, focusing on diplomatic studies, and the study of political communication. Its particular focus lies in the analysis of public diplomacy as a practice the scope of which is expanded due to changing media ecologies and particularities of hybrid media landscapes globally. In that sense, the book aids media studies in terms of analysis of the representation of ‘states’ and ‘nations’ as areas of inquiry. The book makes a secondary contribution to leadership studies, cultural politics as it focuses on post-truth culture, sociologies of diplomatic institutions, and professional and occupational sociologies of public diplomats. By virtue of its

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focus on multiple state and non-state public diplomacy actors, the book offers insight into regional politics and area studies. Sheffield and Tel Aviv April 2020

Paweł Surowiec Ilan Manor

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Owen, T. (2015). Disruptive power: The crisis of the state in the digital age. Oxford University Press. Piskarska, K. (2016). The domestic dimension of public diplomacy: Evaluating success through civic engagement. Palgrave. Rathbum, B. C. (2007). Uncertainty about uncertainty: Understanding the multiple meanings of a crucial concept in international relations theory. International Studies Quarterly, 51(3), 533–557. Rubenzer, T. (2016). Social media foreign policy: Examining the political use of social media by ethnic identity groups in the United States. Politics, 36(2), 153–168. Schedler, A. (2013). The politics of uncertainty: Sustaining and subverting electoral authoritarianism. Oxford University Press. Smith, S. Hadfield, A. & Dunne, T. (2012). Foreign policy: Theories, actors, cases. Oxford University Press. Surowiec, P. (2017). Nation branding, public relations and soft power: Corporatising Poland. Routledge. Surowiec, P., & Long, P. (2020) Hybridity and soft power statecraft: The ‘GREAT’ campaign. Diplomacy & Statecraft, 31(1), 168–195. Sullivan, C. (2018) Digital identity—from emergent legal concept to new reality. Computer La & Security Review, 34 (4), 723–731. Szostek, J. (2017). Nothing is true? The credibility of news and conflicting narratives during “information war” in Ukraine? The International Journal of Press/Politics, 23(1), 116–135. Waltz, K. N. (1959) Man, the state and war. Columbia University Press. Wolfsfeld, G., Segev, E., & Sheafter, T. (2013) Social media and the Arab Spring: politics comes first. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 18(2), 115– 137. Wooley, S. C. & Howard, P. N. (2019) Computational propaganda. Oxford University Press. Yun, S. H. (2006). Towards public relations theory-based study of public diplomacy: Testing the applicability of the excellence study. Journal of Public Relations Research, 18(4), 287–312. YouGov. (2018). Consumer confidence slums amidst Brexit uncertainty. https:// yougov.co.uk/topics/economy/articles-reports/2018/11/29/consumer-con fidence-slumps-amid-brexit-uncertainty. Zaharna, R. S., Arsenault, A., & Fisher, A. (2013). Relational, networked and collaborative approaches to public diplomacy: The connective mindshift. Routledge. Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. Profile Books.

Contents

Part I

1

2

3

4

Heteropolar World, Global Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy

The “American Century” Is Over: The US Global Leadership Narrative, Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy Steven Louis Pike From External Propaganda to Mediated Public Diplomacy: The Construction of the Chinese Dream in President Xi Jinping’s New Year Speeches Yan Wu, Richard Thomas, and Yakun Yu Climate Change Begins at Home: City Diplomacy in the Age of the Anthropocene Juan Luis Manfredi Sánchez and Francisco Seoane Pérez ‘Rough Winds Do Shake the Darling Buds of May’: Theresa May, British Public Diplomacy and Reputational Security in the Era of Brexit Nicholas J. Cull

3

29

57

83

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CONTENTS

Part II

Regime Shifts, Institutional Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy 111

5

Public Diplomacy in the Age of ‘Post-reality’ Ilan Manor and Corneliu Bjola

6

The Manufacturing of Uncertainty in Public Diplomacy: A Rhetorical Approach Christopher Miles

145

Russian Public Diplomacy: Questioning Certainties in Uncertain Times Lucy Birge and Precious N. Chatterje-Doody

171

7

8

The Confucius Institute and Relationship Management: Uncertainty Management of Chinese Public Diplomacy in Africa Zhao Alexandre Huang

Part III

197

Public Diplomacy Practice and Uncertainty Management 227

9

Managing Disinformation Through Public Diplomacy Alicia Fjällhed

10

Economic Determinants of India’s Public Diplomacy Towards South Asia Sara Kulsoom

255

Managing Uncertainty: The Everyday Global Politics of Post-9/11 US Public Diplomacy Laura Mills

277

11

CONTENTS

12

Foreign Correspondence and Digital Public Diplomacy Shixin Ivy Zhang

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305

Conclusions

329

Index

343

Notes on Contributors

Lucy Birge is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in Russian Studies at the University of Manchester. Her research explores Russia’s outward projection strategy via its international broadcasting outlet, Sputnik. Her Ph.D. is affiliated to Professor Vera Tolz and Professor Stephen Hutching’s ‘Reframing Russia’ project. She holds a degree in Russian Studies from the University of Sheffield (2012) and an M.Phil. in European Literature and Culture from the University of Cambridge (2014). Lucy has studied and lived in Yaroslavl and St Petersburg, Russia, and has worked as a translator, interpreter and journalist. She has also lectured on Russian politics and society at UCL/SEESS. She tweets as @BirgeLucy. Corneliu Bjola is an Associate Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford and Head of the Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group. He also serves as a Faculty Fellow at the Centre on Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California and as a Professorial Lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. He has published extensively on issues related to the impact of digital technology on the conduct of diplomacy with a recent focus on public diplomacy, international negotiations and methods for countering digital propaganda. His forthcoming co-edited volume Digital Diplomacy and International Organizations: Autonomy, Legitimacy and Contestation (Routledge, 2020) examines the ramifications of digital technologies on the internal dynamics, multilateral policies and strategic engagements of international organisations. He tweets as @cbjola. xxxiii

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Precious N. Chatterje-Doody, Ph.D. is a Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at Open University, the United Kingdom. Her multidisciplinary research interests centre on questions of communication, soft power, identity and security, particularly in relation to Russia. She has published articles in journals including Politics, Critical Studies on Security, Media and Communication, and Cambridge Review of International Affairs. Her monographs, The Russian Identity Riddle: Unwrapping Russia’s Security Policy, and RT and Conspiracy Theory (with Dr. Ilya Yablokov, Leeds University) are due to be published by Routledge in 2020–2021. She tweets @PreciousChatD. Nicholas J. Cull is Professor of Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication. He is one of the most prolific authors in the field of public diplomacy studies. His recent works include the survey text: Public Diplomacy: Global Engagement in the Digital Age (Polity, 2019) and (with co-editor with Nancy Snow) The Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy, 2nd edition, (Routledge, 2020). His earlier writings include numerous works of history including two volumes on the development of US public diplomacy. Originally from the United Kingdom, he has worked extensively with the British Council and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 2019 he was a visiting fellow at the Reuter’s Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University. He is a board member of the Public Diplomacy Council. He tweets as @NickCull and blogs via the USC Centre on Public Diplomacy. Alicia Fjällhed is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Strategic Communication, Lund University. Her research interest is centered around the ethics of countering disinformation, with a particular focus on its links to public diplomacy and foreign interference. At her department, she is a member of the team producing reports and handbooks, offering training, scenario exercises, process and policy support for governments and international organisations to protect societies against disinformation, hybrid threats, election interference and influence operations. Alicia has recently joint a project set to develop Sweden’s ability to identify and respond to situations when mis-, or disinformation about the nation spreads abroad. Alicia holds an M.A. in Public Sector Communication from University of Gothenburg, B.Sc. in Strategic Communication from Lund University and prior work experience in public relations, marketing,

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crisis communication, political communication, place branding and visual communication gained in public, private and non-profit organisations. Zhao Alexandre Huang is a Ph.D. candidate at the COMUE Université Paris-Est and an Instructor in Communication Studies at the Université Gustave Eiffel (formerly Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée). He works for the DICEN-IDF laboratory. His doctoral dissertation focuses on China’s public diplomacy and strategic communication in Africa. He studies institutional practices, political and public communication strategies, and the formation of strategic narratives in the practice of public diplomacy. His research interests include public diplomacy, strategic communication, public relations, social media and China’s propaganda and international communication. Sara Kulsoom is a Research Scholar in economics, pursuing her Ph.D. at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, India. She has completed her M.Phil. in International Relations from the same institution. Her M.Phil. dissertation focuses on India’s economic diplomacy in South Asia. She is interested in studies pertaining to political economy, international economics, analysis of WTO, and game theory. She has presented her work at several academic conferences and workshops. Juan Luis Manfredi Sánchez, Ph.D. is Senior Lecturer at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and teaches International Relations and Journalism. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Seville where he also earned degrees in Journalism and History. He is the academic director of The Observatory for the Transformation of the Public Sector, at ESADE Business School (Madrid, Spain). He leads the project DiploCity, devoted to analysis of city diplomacy strategies in Latin America. He is member of the editorial board of Esglobal.com and a frequent contributor to Cinco Días and The Conversation. He has been member of the scientific board of the Real Instituto Elcano. He tweets at @juanmanfredi. Ilan Manor, Ph.D. is a digital diplomacy scholar at The University of Oxford. His research focuses on digitalisation’s impact on the norms, values and working routines of diplomats and their institutions. Manor’s 2019 book, The Digitalization of Public Diplomacy, was published by Palgrave Macmillan. Manor has published works in several journals including Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, The Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Media War & Conflict, International Studies

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Review, Global Policy, Global Affairs and The Hague Journal of Diplomacy. Manor’s 2015 Monograph, Are We There Yet? Have MFAs Realized the Potential of Digital Diplomacy, was published by Brill. According to his Twitter bio, Manor is the inventor of the ashtray. Christopher Miles, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing & Communication at Bournemouth University. He has published extensively on the rhetorical nature of promotional discourses. His most recent book, Marketing, Rhetoric and Control: The Magical Foundations of Marketing Theory, has just been published in Routledge’s (2019) new Studies in Marketing series and explores the intriguing connections between Sophism, magical paradigms and the marketing function. Laura Mills, Ph.D. is a Lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Her research critically explores how everyday life and culture are co-constitutive of global politics. Her first monograph—Post-9/11 US Cultural Diplomacy: The Impossibility of Cosmopolitanism—is forthcoming with Routledge New International Relations Series. Alongside her work on cultural and public diplomacy, her research explores further entanglements of everyday life, culture and global politics through an examination of the themes of war, aesthetics, militarism and security. She is also the founding co-editor of Openings, a creative interventions section in the journal Contemporary Voices: The St Andrews Journal of International Relations. Steven Louis Pike is Assistant Professor of Public Relations and Public Diplomacy at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, the US. He retired from the foreign service in 2016 after 23 years as a public diplomacy practitioner with USIA and the Department of State. In this capacity, he served as director of policy for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, public affairs counselor at the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates, and spokesman and media director of the U.S. Mission to Canada. He also had assignments in Senegal, Haiti and Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Department of State, he was an account executive with Berlitz Translation Services. Francisco Seoane Pérez, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in Journalism Studies at the Department of Communication, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. His research interests are in the areas of political communication, populism, hate speech and literary journalism. Past publications include

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the book Political Communication in Europe: The Cultural and Structural Limits of the European Public Sphere (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). He is the co-editor of the International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics (Intellect Books). Paweł Surowiec, Ph.D. is Senior Lecturer in Strategic Communication at the University of Sheffield, Journalism Studies. He lectured at Bournemouth University, CELSA at Sorbonne IV, and worked as postdoctoral Research Fellow at Charles University in Prague. In his capacity as an educator, he addressed the Club of Venice as well as diplomats and public diplomats in NATO. His research focuses on questions relating to the reinvention of classical models of propaganda, political campaigning, public diplomacy, as well as changes in European politics. He is the author of Nation Branding, Public Relations and Soft Power: Corporatising Poland (Routledge, 2016) and co-editor of Social Media and Politics in Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2017). His work has been published by European Journal of Communication, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Diplomacy & Statecraft, Communication, Culture & Critique, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, and East European Politics. He tweets as @PawelSurowiec. Richard Thomas, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Programme Director at Swansea University. His research centres on the news coverage of the key issues shaping the twenty-first century such as politics, elections, inequality, economic growth and conflict. He has published many articles in leading journals, and with Professor Stephen Cushion, wrote Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage. He is also the Co-Investigator on the ESRC funded project entitled Beyond the MSM: Understanding the Rise of Alternative Online Political Media which considers the emergence, operation and influence of these new websites within the wider UK media landscape. Yan Wu, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Media and Communication Studies, Swansea University. Her research interests centre on the social impacts of media and communication in China with a focus on digital media and communication technologies. Her work has been published

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in academic journals including New Media & Society; Global Media and China; International Journal of Digital Television, Modern Communication (in Chinese) and as book chapters in Media and Public Sphere (2007), Climate Change and Mass Media (2008), Migration and the Media (2012). She has co-authored International Journalism and Media Studies (2002); ‘The Fourth Estate’ Through the Camera Lens (1999) and Radio and Television English News (1997) (books in Chinese). Yakun Yu is a Ph.D. candidate based in the Department of Media and Communication, Swansea University. Graduated with a distinction from Swansea University’s M.A. International Journalism programme, she started her Ph.D. in 2015 and is expected to graduate in 2020. Her research interests rest on the comparative study of media representation of China’s Dream, a political concept aimed to advance China’s soft power, between Chinese and British media. The interdisciplinary nature of her research contributes to both Chinese studies as well as soft power communication. Shixin Ivy Zhang, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Journalism Studies at School of International Communications, University of Nottingham Ningbo China. She specialises in journalism studies, media globalization, media and conflict, and media management. She is the author of two research monographs entitled Impact of Globalization on the Local Press in China (Lexington Books, 2014) and Chinese War Correspondents: Covering Wars and Conflicts in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Her articles appeared in a number of high quality international peer-reviewed journals such as Journalism, Journalism Studies, Digital Journalism, Media, War & Conflict, Chinese Journal of Communication, Asian Journal of Communication and Journal of Mass Media Ethics.

List of Figures

Fig. 3.1 Fig. 12.1

Image 5.1

Image 5.2

Image 5.3 Image 5.4

Image 5.5

Image 5.6 Image 5.7 Image 5.8

The pillars of city diplomacy A relational-network based, two-sided analytical model to study the roles of foreign correspondents in digital public diplomacy Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian intervention (Source Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Twitter [2019]) Donald Trump tweets on immigration in Sweden (Source Donald Trump Personal Account, Twitter [2017]) Swedish response to Donald Trump (Source Embassy of Sweden to the United States, Twitter [2017]) Visual contrast between Russian and British narratives of Aleppo (Sources Embassy of Russia to South Africa Twitter [2016] and United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Twitter [2016]) German MFA’s Europe United Campaign (Source German Mission to the European Union, Twitter [2018]) Israeli diplomat corrects Guardian headline (Source Elad Ratson, Twitter [2019]) Israeli diplomat attacks BBC headlines (Source Elad Ratson, Twitter [2019]) Polish Consulate demands retraction

68

319

115

118 118

120

121 123 124 125

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LIST OF FIGURES

Image 5.9 Image 5.10 Image 5.11

Image 5.12 Image 5.13 Image 5.14 Image 5.15

Canada’s mission to NATO mocks Russia (Source Canadian mission to NATO, Twitter [2014]) Israel’s response to Iranian threats (Source Israeli Embassy to the United States, Twitter [2018]) Russia responds to NATO Satellite Images (Source NATO Twitter [2014] and Russian Embassy to the United Arab Emirates [2014]) Israel discredits Hamas US discredits Iran (Source United States State Department Instagram Account [2019]) The FCO discredits Russia (Source United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Twitter [2018]) Mapping network gatekeepers

127 128

129 131 133 134 135

List of Tables

Table 1.1 Table 2.1 Table 2.2

Frequencies of terms used Official documents on the Chinese Dream 2013–2019 President Xi’s New Year speeches on the CGTV YouTube channel (captured at 3 March 2019)

19 37 41

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PART I

Heteropolar World, Global Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy

CHAPTER 1

The “American Century” Is Over: The US Global Leadership Narrative, Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy Steven Louis Pike

Introduction Writing in ‘LIFE Magazine’ in 1944, Henry R. Luce heralded the beginning of a new “American Century”. The United States (US), he argued, had the ability, the obligation, and a mission to lead humanity out of the ashes of the First and Second World Wars to a brighter future. Having “failed to play their part as a world power” by rejecting a role in the League of Nations, the US needed to recognize that “the 20th century is the American Century” and “accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation in the world” (Luce, 1999, pp. 165–166). This narrative of America’s mission fuelled US engagement in the world for some seventy years, through success and failure, optimism and pessimism, advances and setbacks, and every

S. L. Pike (B) S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_1

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tumultuous event that history and fate saw fit to throw at humanity at that time. States and empires have come and gone; the population of the planet roughly tripled since 1944; the world cycled through multipolarity, bi-polarity, and unipolarity; technology gave us the power to wipe out human life on Earth, and forced us to face the spectre of extinction at our own hand; political and economic power shifted in unpredictable ways; and digital technology changed the way we live, earn, and talk to each other. The course has not been smooth. Moments when the US was challenged by rivals (e.g. the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s) or struggled with various self-inflicted wounds (e.g. Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s) drove historians, political scientists, and diplomatic commentators to wring their hands and worry whether a new set of events was bringing to an end the “American Century” described by Luce. Was the era of US leadership in international politics over? Through it all, however, the American public’s shared sense of global purpose allowed national leaders to renew flagging public moods and recommit to surmounting the challenges of global leadership in an interdependent world. The US and the American public experienced a brief, and somewhat breath-taking moment of political, economic and cultural dominance of the international system following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The dissolution of communism, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the reorientation of China toward controlled capitalism removed the principal challenge to US foreign policy, and gave additional validation to American philosophies of democratic politics and free-market capitalist economics. US dominance waned and the descent from the pinnacle sparked off another round of debate on whether US leadership was done. For historian and scholar Joseph Nye, Jr., the answer was ‘no’. Nye asserts, in ‘Is The American Century Over?’, that the fundamental sources of political, economic, and cultural power that the US possessed following the Second World War still exist. He concedes that power has transformed and been redistributed, that challengers such as Russia and China continue to push against US leadership, and that the US does not have the absolute edge that it may have had in the past. Nonetheless, no state or alliance of states has the concentration of power required, the political will, and the credibility among other nations to replace the US as the dominant state in the international system (Nye, 2015). As the discussion ahead will elaborate, however, other scholars and political analysts suggest that political, economic, and social change have left the US commitment to managing

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the international states system badly shaken, and that this commitment may, in fact, be at an end. Political and economic change both international and domestic, the end of the US’ ideological war with the Soviet Union, and the crumbling of a post-World War II domestic consensus on international engagement, have created high degrees of uncertainty among the American public and weakened the commitment that underwrote and energized American diplomacy. That uncertainty has created instability in the international system, and produced the international tumult that characterizes current politics. The focus on political, economic, and social change, however, misses a key point. Such factors are always in flux, and were in flux during the entire period of US dominance of the international system. Powerful states have overcome political problems and economic downturns before and maintained their engagement with the international system. Moreover, the debate itself shows that the interpretation of political, economic, and social factors does not tilt uniformly in one direction; every indicator of decline is matched by another indicator of sustained or even increased power. This chapter proposes that the weakened US commitment to leadership of the international system is driven by a fundamental transformation in the American narrative, the suite of historical assumptions, beliefs, and stories that give a nation purpose and meaning, and motivate its citizens to pursue a course of political and historical action in international affairs. Narrative is central to a nation’s political life and, for those nations that choose to project themselves abroad, essential to its foreign affairs and public diplomacy. The slogan of the United States Information Agency (USIA), the US’ public diplomacy apparatus for half a century, put narrative at the very centre of the mission, succinctly and crisply: ‘Telling America’s Story to the World’. Narrative drives and motivates publics and allows national leaders to inspire publics to support national action. Thus it forms an essential component of any nation’s willingness to act, both at home and abroad. Without a coherent narrative of international engagement, engagement will be met with frustration, rejection, and hostility. International relations scholars have long acknowledged that the exercise of power is a combined act of abilities and will. A nation may have every power asset and advantage that Nye (2015) describes, but without will—the coherent, purposeful desire to deploy its power—it is impotent. Prior to World War I, the US chose to be disengaged from the world.

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It played a completely different role in the twentieth century, reflecting a change of narrative. Communism in the Soviet Union and China were defined as an existential threat to the American way of life, and the state whose first President cautioned it to avoid foreign entanglements—and whose fifth President warned Europe to stay out of the Western hemisphere—restyled itself as the defender of global liberties and freedoms. That leadership narrative drove American global engagement in twentieth century international politics. The defeat of the Soviet Union deprived that narrative of its foundational logic; a reset to the prior narrative position—isolationism—is neither illogical nor inexplicable. The collapse of the narrative that drove US leadership during the twentieth century has blunted the exercise of US power and the efficacy of US public diplomacy. It has created uncertainty and left global society wondering what became of the nation that fought two world wars, defeated the Soviet Union, and built a rules-based international system that, however imperfectly, avoided war among the major powers within it. In addition, it left global society wondering ‘What comes next ?’ This chapter examines the integral role that public diplomacy plays in the conveyance of a national narrative and the implementation of foreign policy, as well as discusses forces that are undermining and changing that narrative. It will show that there has been a narrative-driven shift in both strategy and messaging—the core of public diplomacy. Finally, it will indicate the ruptures that must be repaired if—if—the US is to resume in the twenty-first century the role it played in the 20th. The four fundamental questions it seeks to answer are: 1. What are the major changes to global leadership narrative in US public diplomacy? 2. What are the manifestations of uncertainty underpinning US public diplomacy? 3. How does uncertainty manifest itself in the orientation of US public diplomacy? 4. What are the implications of shifting global leadership narrative for US public diplomacy?

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US Public Diplomacy and International Politics Public diplomacy played a particularly unique role in the US’ international politics during the twentieth century. Justin Hart, in ‘Empire of Ideas ’, analyses how the collapse of European empires, following the two world wars, created the conditions for the arrival of the US as the global leader. American citizens, however, were divided over this status. Some sought the mantle of global leadership eagerly, as another phase of the US’ manifest destiny, while others were reticent to wield the tools of hegemony—imperialism and colonialism—that had failed so epically for a smashed and shattered Europe. Instead, Hart chronicles, the US adopted new foreign affairs tools, choosing not to colonize the world, but to ‘Americanize’ it. These tools were varyingly called engagement, cultural exchange, advocacy, and propaganda. Over time, practitioners and scholars consolidated them under the umbrella term ‘public diplomacy’. Confronted by threats to ideological dominance and economic interests, the US took advantage of communication technologies as well as practical strengths in the fields of marketing and public relations, to create its own twentieth century empire. The dilemma for American leaders “convinced that colonialism could not last much longer in the face of mounting worldwide resistance” was to create a fundamentally different strategy that would enable the US to “manage without ruling, or perhaps rule without managing” (Hart, 2013, p. 9). US foreign policy would found itself on “extending the influence of the US while avoiding costly, atavistic exercises in military conquest” by “converting people to an ‘American’ way of life”. When “Americanization became the antidote to colonization”, it was inevitable that “image became a critical tool of empire” (Hart, 2013, p. 9). Thus was public diplomacy as a practice born. It would take another generation, until 1965, for the American diplomat, Edward Gullion, to coin the term public diplomacy. As he remarked when asked about the term, “I would have liked to call it ‘propaganda’. It seemed the nearest thing in the pure interpretation of the word to what we were doing. But propaganda has always had a pejorative connotation in this country” (Cull, 2008b, p. 180). The definition of public diplomacy as an academic field (and a relatively new one as academic fields go) remains under debate, particularly regarding what does—and does not—fit under the public diplomacy umbrella. Scholars such as Nye (2008) have sought to relate the field to the use and the cultivation or creation of soft power. Others including

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Eytan Gilboa, Nicholas Cull, and Kathy Fitzpatrick have sought to develop conceptual models that define tools and guide implementation (Cull 2008a; Fitzpatrick, 2010; Gilboa, 2000, 2008). Much work has been done differentiating—and highlighting the congruence between— public diplomacy and the ancient practice of propaganda (Bernays, 1928; Cull 2008a; Melissen, 2007) as well as between public diplomacy and the more contemporary field of public relations (Fitzpatrick, 2007, 2010; Fitzpatrick, Fullerton, & Kendrick, 2013). Study of technological change in the modern world, particularly the development of internet-based communication and social media platforms, has led to the emergence of a ‘new public diplomacy’ and later ‘public diplomacy 2.0’, which open up extensive explorations of the changes in parameters, practices, and theoretical foundations (Gilboa, 2008; Melissen, 2007), exploration of the impact of networks on human communication (Zaharna, 2010) and institutional practice and behaviour (Manor, 2019). Within this robust and ongoing debate, there is general agreement on several key elements of the public diplomacy formula: the functional practice as communication of the policies of “an international actor to the citizens of foreign countries” (Pamment, 2012, p. 1) and “communication-based activities of states and state-sanctioned actors aimed at non-state groups in other countries with the expectation of achieving foreign policy goals and objectives” (Sevin, 2015, p. 563). In sum, public diplomacy can be seen as a mode of communication, a diplomatic practice, and an academic field. In the peculiar context of twentieth century international relations, however, it describes tools through which the US sought to exercise international hegemony. If one prefers to use the lens of ‘public diplomacy as propaganda’, then the US sought to govern the system by propaganda or cultural domination, with more frequent political or military interventions at the end of the twentieth century. If one leans toward the lens of public relations (colloquially called “winning hearts and minds”), then the US, the world’s leading marketer, set out to organise the world by marketing a lifestyle package and convincing global society to sign on. Either lens clarifies the ties between US power and diplomacy. Either lens, more importantly, helps to understand the peculiar impact that uncertainty among the American public, mixed with a reduced US commitment to diplomacy, can have on the international system. The US does not merely conduct public diplomacy in an environment beset by instability. As the dominant power in the system, the US, in fact, generates that instability. If the US can no

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longer sustain the public diplomacy that lies at the heart of its foreign affairs, then the implications reverberate directly upon the foundation of the system itself.

Sources and Manifestations of Uncertainty: Narrative Change A bit of America lore claims that Benjamin Franklin, leaving the Constitutional Convention of 1787, was asked by a citizen whether the convention had given America a republic or a monarchy, and that Franklin replied “a republic, if you can keep it”. One might imagine Henry Luce, faced with a similar question, replying in 1944: “an empire, if you can keep it”. Seventy-five years later, Nye may be quite right that Americans have the power to keep their empire, but what seems lacking is the desire—the will—to do so. The following section summarizes two ongoing debates. First, that systemic changes in the international system have attenuated certain long-standing strategic advantages in both hard and soft power and decreased the need of the system for American leadership. Second, that internal and external changes—political, economic, and social—has weakened the American narrative of global mission and sapped the will of the American public to accept the costs and burdens of the role. Social and cultural forces were the most potent vectors generating uncertainty by alienating members of the American public from each other, and misgivings about engagement with the world. Lepore (2019) points to the discrediting of nationalism in the aftermath of World War II and the Vietnam War. From the 1960s onwards, historical ‘national’ narrative founded on nationalist ideas and myths was challenged by the narratives of communities instead of nations. Appiah (2019) supports this view, arguing that growing cosmopolitanism through global interaction has caused people increasingly to perceive more than one ‘identity’ and to be able to nest, integrate and tolerate multiple ‘identities’. This consequently increases interest in more inclusive communal identities versus parochial national identities. Sapolsky (2019) concurs that identity is flexible, noting that individuals with no national ties can create ties of kinship through epistemic communities, such as a profession, a hometown, or membership in organizations. This dual trend regarding narrative and identity has a downside, however, namely, one that challenges the practice of public diplomacy. Appiah (2019) argues that cosmopolitans have a tendency to over-assert

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communal obligations and provoke resentment from more populistminded fellow citizens, which tends to have polarizing effects. Wimmer (2019) depicts the consequences of transferring this divide into any sort of communicative practice. Efforts by public diplomats to engage foreign citizens on the grounds of common ideals increasingly irritate populists and nationalists, and the debate devolves into a phenomenon familiar to social media platforms users: a shouting match between moral scolds who see nationalism as chauvinistic, small-minded, and debased, and populists who decry out of touch elites who subordinate the interests of ‘real people’ to the needs of other groups labeled as ‘outsiders’. This is hardly the first time American public diplomacy has been beset by such cleavages. American public diplomats advocating freedom, justice, democracy, and equality as far back as the 1940s and 1950s confronted open skepticism from foreign publics who clearly saw those liberties denied to ethnic minorities in the US, and seething hostility at home from Southern politicians who resented foreign criticism of domestic racism and discrimination. It is difficult for a government beset by such differences of domestic opinion to have coordinated policy, and consistent and credible public diplomacy. Change in the international system began to alter the balance of power by challenging the legitimacy of the rules-based international system that the US and Europe created after World War II. Zakaria (2019) argues that the rise of China’s and Russia’s revisionist foreign policy stances towards the international system put two major powers outside the international rules-based system and undermined its universality. He cites the rise of Islamic terrorism as an additional protracted challenge to US leadership. Both Zakaria (2019) and Diamond (2019) criticize US responses to these exogenous challenges. Diamond (ibid., p. 18) points to the US’ “broader retreat from global leadership” as “ceding space to authoritarian powers” as well as military interventions in the Middle East that soured Americans on the idea of democracy promotion. Zakaria (2019, pp. 10–14) argues that the US accelerated its own demise through bad foreign policy habits and erred by getting enmeshed in the Iraq war. He condemns the George W. Bush administration for weakening US credibility among allies and for exacerbating tensions with Russia by ignoring its security concerns, and enlarging NATO too fast, and too furiously. The Bush administration’s choice to exploit fear of terrorism for domestic politics led to the spectre of the US “experiencing a kind of terrorism that many had lived with for years and yet thrashing around like a wounded lion, tearing down

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international alliances and norms” (ibid., p. 14). These are hardly the strong foundations on which a steady and reliable world leader would conduct robust and successful public diplomacy. One must acknowledge that much remained constant, despite systemic transformations. The political, economic, and military power of the US has not decreased in absolute terms. The US maintains a strong and vibrant economy with growing GDP (World Bank, 2018). US military expenditure is the largest in the world, the spending of which surpasses the next eight largest-spending combined (SIPRI, 2018). No other state or multinational alliance possesses the combination of power across multiple domains that the US can muster to sustain its predominant role in international politics (Beckley, 2018; Treverton & Jones, 2005). With regard to public diplomacy, American soft power remains strong (Soft Power 30 Index, 2018), despite recent downturns in global public opinion about the current administration (Pew, February 2019). While public diplomacy budgets have varied over the years, a consistent commitment to engagement persists and current budgets are close to a forty-year high mark. Public diplomacy spending by the Department of State between 1982 and 2000 reached a high of $2.4 billion (1994) and a low of $1.3 billion (2000). From that low mark, spending climbed steadily to $2.3 billion by 2010, and declined to $2.0 billion in 2016 (Powers, 2017). The US Department of State once again committed $2.3 billion to public diplomacy expenditures in fiscal year 2017 (US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, 2018). What did change was the relative power disparity between the US and the rest of the world. The political and economic recovery of the rest of the globe from the ravages of two World Wars and the collapse of the European imperial hegemony that defined the international system enables other states—and many more of them—to manage regional and global affairs, and become political or economic powers in their own spheres of influence. It is not a question of diminished American power, but of a diminished disparity of advantage (Campbell & Ratner, 2018; Kala, 2018; World Bank, 2012). This diminished disparity of advantage has had domestic consequences. The narrative of American prosperity is based on the success of the vaunted middle class, the societal foundation of the ‘American dream’ pillar of public diplomacy, which has been weakened in recent years. Americans are working harder, and for longer hours, for the same standard of living (Dawson, 2012; Kochhar, 2018; OECD, 2019; Pew, 2015). They are, moreover, confronting the spectre

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that the current “millennial generation” may be the first generation since the early twentieth century whose standard of living will fall short of that of their parents (Bialik & Fry, 2019; Kurz, Li, & Vine, 2018). Conflicts over diminishing resources, in any polity exacerbate along the lines of historical cleavages—ethnic, tribal, racial, religious, political, or social— and weaken the internal consensus required for engagement with the world. Key to the conduct of diplomacy and statecraft in general, and public diplomacy in particular is this: the American public increasingly sees engagement in the world as neither needed nor beneficial, and has severe concerns about the costs and burdens of the role. A 2013 Pew survey of American citizens showed that the number of respondents in favour of the US “minding its own business” and letting other countries do “the best they can on their own” increased from 18% in 1964 to 49% in 2008. Similarly, a survey which asked whether the president should focus on domestic or foreign affairs showed that between 2007 and 2013, respondents favouring domestic affairs increased from 39% to 83%, whereas respondents favouring foreign affairs decreased, sharply, from 40% to 6% (Pew, 2013). The consequence of these conflicting continuities and discontinuities is that Americans began to question their own national purpose and the costs of the challenge. The US retained ample capability to act on the global stage, but the American public increasingly doubted the value of doing so. The narrative of global mission and engagement conflicted with another domestic narrative, one that developed as Americans looked at their own homeland and recognized mounting troubles. The American middle class had received little of the benefits of productivity gains since the 1980s, and Americans were increasingly concerned that their children would not enjoy the same level of prosperity. They became increasingly open to messages, based on self-centered populism, in favour of retreating from the world. Diamond (2019, p. 19) observes that Americans turned inward as domestic issues—the corrupting influence of money in domestic politics, racism, political gridlock, concerns that domestic democratic institutions were growing weaker, economic inequality, and continuing unease after the economic shock of the 2008 financial crisis—came to dominate the political agenda. American public diplomacy is founded on that ‘lifestyle package’: persuading others that the promise of the “American way of life” and the “American dream”—however one may define them—brings peace, prosperity, equality, justice, and a good life. With

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Americans increasingly confused and frustrated at their own shortfalls, American public diplomacy messages were bound to lose their credibility. The US is not alone in this descent into frustrated and illiberal populism. Diamond (ibid., p. 17) points to a reversal in 2006 of the “third wave of democratization” that started in 1970 as democracy weakened in key countries, and waves of illiberal populism, fuelled by anxiety over immigration and cultural friction, gained ground globally. In fact, he attributes the “democratic slump” directly to the abandonment of narrative promotion by the US: the decline is explicit and ongoing because “democracy promotion lost its leading proponent” (ibid. p. 19). Skepticism over the US commitment is already high, and retreat from the role of a global leader reinforcing the downward spiral in political divisions. The perception that the US no longer cares, feeds not just latent gloom, but proactive mischief. According to Diamond (ibid., p. 21) “Trump’s disregard for democratic norms is contributing to a dangerous sense of license among dictators worldwide.” Drezner (2019, p. 16) is even more pointed in stating that the Trump administration surrender norms and ideas that guided the US foreign policy makers for decades, and as a result “the American foundations undergirding the liberal international order are in grave danger, and it is no longer possible to take the pillars of that order for granted”. Zakaria (2019, p. 16) concurs that the Trump administration has furthered these tendencies through foreign policies and actions that assault our most long-standing allies (including its closes neighbours) and abandon long-standing international commitments. It would be misguided to blame a single leader for global leadership shifts, however, for leaders are often reflections of the society and culture that produces them. Rapp-Hooper and Lisser (2019) argue that the causes of public fatigue with the liberal international order run much deeper than a single leader. They are tied to numerous sources of uncertainty in both international and domestic systems such as: economic, social, and political pressures; weakening of institutions and public resolve; malign acts by individuals who put parochial interests above national or global interests; and impediments and frustrations to desperately-needed dialogue that arise from our difficulty adapting to technological change. Rapp-Hooper and Lisser (2019) posit that even with Trump’s departure from the office the US is unlikely to act as a global leader: “Experts blame Trump for upending an otherwise sound US grand strategy. They hope that once he is gone, the US will resume

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the role it has occupied since the fall of the Soviet Union: as the uncontested hegemon ruling benevolently, albeit imperfectly, over a liberalizing world. It won’t.” Drezner (2019, p. 10) situates the origin of the problem not directly in leadership, but in public sentiment: “Shifts in the way Americans debate and conduct foreign policy will make it much more difficult to right the ship in the near future”. The aforementioned trends strain political institutions, both in the US and the West more generally. All societies, and democratic societies in particular, need institutions that assimilate citizen opinion, account for a diversity of views, resolve conflicts, and build consensus toward common action. Internal and external forces that generate division, discord, and uncertainty can frustrate, or even break, those systems. Polarization of a political dialogue generated obstruction of political compromise within the system. For Drezner (2019, pp. 14–15), political polarization in the broad public affairs “eroded the notion that presidents need to govern from the center,” and, institutionally, “rendered Congress a dysfunctional, petulant mess”. Congress had a tradition of bipartisanship on foreign policy debate, but political polarization has irradiated even that marketplace of ideas. Hacker and Pierson (2019, pp. 44–45) note that the US political system “still requires compromise but no longer facilitates it” and leans towards “a doom loop of polarization as partisan forces run up against institutional guardrails and emerge from the collision not chastened but even more determined to tear them down”. Rapid changes in communication technology and media further complicated dialogue. At a time when Western societies needed to have a conversation, they were struggling to master technologies that changed with dizzying speed. Innovations in communication technology have had profound impacts on political communication. Digital technologies forced new patterns onto the field of public diplomacy, too. Change has altered both the agenda of public diplomacy actors and the choice of tools. Melissen (2007, p. 22) argues that “the new public diplomacy is no longer confined to messaging, promotion campaigns, or even direct governmental contact with foreign publics serving foreign policy goals. It is also about building relationships with civil society actors in other countries and about facilitating networks between non-governmental parties at home and abroad”. The dominance of one-way public diplomacy (embodied by print and broadcast media) has been supplanted by the demand for interactive two-way dialogue. Zaharna (2010, p. 87) stresses the primacy of “connectivity and interactivity” which entail the shifts

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from publics being passive recipients to active co-creators of content. Associated with digital media, the transition from the “information age” to the “global communication era” has changed public diplomacy and the conception of engagement: “Whereas information production and dissemination once were critical to gaining the communication advantage, today those who master a network and relational approach will command communication power” (ibid., 2010, p. 4). This transformation has produced new and nettlesome problems for communicators, particularly governments attempting to use expertise and authority to dominate the global conversation. The new media technologies de-emphasize control, coherence, and credibility, particularly in dialogue on social media. The dissolution of organizational structures that once helped listeners categorize and filter creates new challenges for public diplomats. Once again, the field of public diplomacy is strongly affected by, and fully immersed in responding to, these challenges. Pamment (2014, p. 53) writes that the “new public diplomacy that must face a media environment transformed all over the world, characterized by networks of selective audiences and fragmentation of media discourse”. Manor (2019, p. 12) argues that globalization has produced new media landscapes in which flows of information were “not restricted by space, time, or national borders”. Diplomats have lost a once-cherished monopoly on authoritative speech. The field has been crowded with new actors, including non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and an ever-changing spectrum of journalists, bloggers, and private citizens. The world described by Entman (2008), in which diplomats or other authoritative voices reached large segments of the population through a small number of media channels, has been transformed into a competitive arena where multiple actors vie for attention and self-assert their credibility (Manor, 2019). When combined with uncertainty sentiments, these new technologies have an unsettling impact on diplomatic dialogue. Contemporary case studies reveal how malign actors can use digital media technologies to disrupt political and civic dialogue in Western societies struggling with cleavages, polarisation of opinion on political, economic and social issues (Bjola, 2019; Briant & Wanless, 2019; Nothhaft, Pamment, Agardh-Twetman, & Fjallhed, 2019; Van Herpen, 2016). Adversaries are simultaneously able to jam up the mechanisms by which liberal democratic societies resolve their conflicts and insinuate even more conflict and discord by “hacking” those mechanisms with disinformation, turning

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them to serve their adversarial purposes. It is hard enough under the best of conditions to compose and project a coordinated and persuasive public diplomacy message. It is harder when a society is itself internally divided. In addition, that divided society is confronted by digital media technology that affords devaluing traditional authority and expertise, challenging authoritarian dominance over the conversation, floods dialogue with discord and conflict, and exacerbates their own social tension. It is not just that the public finds it hard to hear public diplomacy content and messaging; it is the leaders who lose interest in engaging the argument.

Uncertainty, Narrative Features and Public Diplomacy If Lepore (2019) is correct that narrative and story-telling are at the heart of a nation’s identity and image, then the public diplomacy messages and strategies of any state would be a good place to start looking for the story it seeks to tell. Manor (2019) has coined the term ‘selfie diplomacy’ for government efforts to create a unified national social media persona, drawing a parallel to the efforts of individuals on social media to create a instantly recognizable, unique, approachable, and—most importantly on social media—marketable brand. He argues that it has aspects of both a technological action and an anthropomorphizing process (2019, p. 263). Along with Segev, he examined social media messages of the US Department of State at three points in time: in 2013 and 2016 during the presidency of Barack Obama; and in 2017 during the presidency of Donald Trump. Manor and Segev (2015) concluded that the American ‘brand’ or ‘selfie’ advanced on social media in 2013 was “an economically responsible and climate oriented superpower, guided by values and committed to democracy and building meaningful relations with the Muslim world” (2019, p. 268). Manor concluded that the 2016 ‘brand’ or ‘selfie’ focused on America as “a diplomatic superpower that is guided by values and dedicated to tackling global challenges, such as climate change, through dialogue and engagement” (2019, p. 270). The 2017 ‘brand’ or ‘selfie’ presents a markedly different identity. The depiction of a nation that leads by moral example vanished from the narrative. More posts focused on President Trump’s skill as a “great negotiator”. Postings related to the War on Terror focused on Iran, not ISIS/Daesh, and contributions of allied Muslim nations were de-emphasized in favour of depictions of American actions. Financial prosperity and foreign policy

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were closely linked, ‘sanctions’ replaced ‘engagement’ as a dominant term, and references to climate change, environment, and sustainability faded. Manor concludes, that the US’ 2017 ‘selfie’ “is that of a financial superpower dedicated to expanding its economic interests by eradicating the threat of terrorism and mediating global crises. American diplomacy no longer rests on engagement and dialogue but on financial stimulants and financial sanctions” (Manor, 2019, p. 275). The diplomatic strategies of the US Department of State are created and conveyed through an elaborate process of strategic planning. Each embassy and bureau of the department is required to prepare a strategic document, generally on a 2–3-year cycle. At the level of individual embassies, they are referred to as Integrated Country Strategies (ICS). All segments of the embassy—political, economic, public diplomacy, management, consular, aid, commercial and law enforcement—have input into the plan, and when complete, it represents the comprehensive approach of that embassy to the bilateral relationship between the US and the host state. Public diplomacy has had their own “portion” of the plan for those activities, and programmes directly administered by specialized officers: cultural exchanges; media relations; educational advising; and art and culture. Public diplomats have an input into other parts of the strategic planning, since its practitioners represent, advocate, and explain the various policies and actions of the embassy. There are typically two versions of an embassy’s ICS—classified and unclassified—with information sensitive to national security removed from the latter version. The strategy documents are produced thematically, focusing on the various objectives and goals of each embassy. They discuss the intent of the US government to engage in diplomatic dialogue on the full panoply of bilateral issues, such as trade, finance and investment; consular affairs; economic development; development aid and assistance; health; immigration; law enforcement; media engagement and cultural and educational exchange. Unclassified versions of the ICS documents are posted to the Department of State website; there are currently 181 such documents available (US Department of State, 2019). This section of the chapter focuses on the Trump administration’s ICS documents for 29 states, or 17% of the documents posted, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, European Union, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, NATO, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom,

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and Venezuela. These were chosen for a combination of factors, including the importance, intensity and breadth of the bilateral relationship (Canada, France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom); regional importance (Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Japan, NATO, Nigeria, South Africa); geographic diversity (all continents and major regions of the world are represented); significant changes of policy direction or tone from prior administrations (all Western European states, Cuba, Philippines, Russia, and Turkey); and centrality to recent political controversies, such as imposition of tariffs (China, Europe), immigration (Central America), or episodes of public conflict with the current administration (Canada, Cuba, France, Germany, Mexico, NATO). Word frequency tabulations of all 29 documents were obtained using an open source word cloud generator (https://wordclouds.com). The total for all documents was approximately 32,000 words. Occurrences for 25 terms (or variations thereof) were obtained by searching for the root of the terms. The terms searched yielded 5779 occurrences, which are tabulated and presented in Table 1.1. The most jarring insight is that one single term—security—accounted for 17.89% of occurrences; one word out of the 25 themes selected accounts for more than one out of every six words in the sample. Economics, trade, and investment represented 13.08%, 5.28%, and 5.81% respectively, or a total of 24.17% of the sample. If, as Manor (2019) suggests, public diplomacy nowadays focuses on expanding economic reach and eradicating threats, these themes resonate in the documents analysed. Those concepts occupy fully 42.06% of the sample. Moreover, while partnership and cooperation (7.48% and 6.07%) are present, they register only 13.55% of the focus combined. That is certainly rhetorically consistent with the Trump Administration’s “America First” approach. Development, aid, and assistance combined registered only 5.31%; all other categories fall below 5%. Concepts such as democracy (3.37%), rights (3.27%), human (3.22%), freedom (2.86%), and civic or civil, words generally associated with civil society or civic rights (2.01%), register sparingly. The media, which one would expect to have some prominence in a strategy document that includes policy advocacy, falls below 2% (1.97%). Women’s issues, a significant policy initiative during the stewardship of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, are the second lowest category at 0.28%. Environment and climate—critical topics of global concern— barely register at 2.75% and 0.93%, respectively. The results are cast in even starker contrast when one remembers that these are the unclassified

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Table 1.1 Frequencies of terms used

Secur* (including secure, security, insecurity) Econom*(including economy, economies, economic(s), economical) Partner* (including partner(s), partnership(s), partnering) Cooperat* (including cooperate, cooperation, cooperative) Invest* (including invest(s), investment(s), investing) Development/aid/assistance (combined) Trade Bilateral Threat* (including threat(s), threaten, threatening) Terror* (including terror, terrorism, terrorist, counterterrorism) Democra* (including democracy, democracies, democratic) Rights Human Business Free* (including free, freedom(s)) Environment* (including environment, environmental, environmentally) Civi* (including civic and civil, but excluding civilian) Media Sustainab* (including sustainable, sustainability) Climate Sanction(s) (including sanction(s)) Religio*(including religion or religious) Immigra* (including immigrant, immigration) Woman/women Tariff(s) (including tariff(s)) Total

Frequencies

Percentage

1034 756

17.89 13.08

432 351 336 307 305 233 233 213

7.48 6.07 5.81 5.31 5.28 4.03 4.03 3.69

195

3.37

189 186 179 165 159

3.27 3.22 3.10 2.86 2.75

116 114 78 54 45 36 33 16 14 5779

2.01 1.97 1.35 0.93 0.78 0.62 0.57 0.28 0.24

Source The Integrated Countries Strategies (2019)

versions of the ICS. Public themes, especially public diplomacy themes, are likely to be overstated. Instead, we still find a congruence between the strategy and the messaging: the US is focused on economics and security; partnership and cooperation is less important; and the classic themes of liberal internationalism are becoming secondary issues. These results are also consistent with the post-Second World War transformation of the US leadership narrative. The endeavour described by Hart (2013) to govern the international system via public diplomacy

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(or propaganda) rests on a domestic narrative that the US is the leader of the free world, the indispensable nation, making the world safe for democracy, pursuing human and civil rights, and seeking to build a rules-based international system that provides fairness and justice. That narrative requires the American public to sustain a transnational perspective on global affairs, as described by Lepore (2019) and Appiah (2019) that de-emphasizes nationalism and emphasizes liberal-international and cosmopolitan values. When that perspective erodes, as Lepore and Appiah assert that it has, the leadership narrative loses domestic support, and the government can neither project that narrative abroad, nor hope to win hearts and minds to believe and support it. The above insights aid the central argument of this chapter. Narrative is demonstrably important to public diplomacy, particularly US public diplomacy, which requires strong public support for global leadership. Political, economic, and social circumstances altered the US leadership narrative and, arguably, diminished the will of the public to support US global engagements. This undermined the ability of leaders to galvanize support for foreign policies perceived as aiding, furthering, or implementing such global leadership. In the Trump administration, the opponents of US global engagement have seized the power and are in the process of dismantling the commitments and institutions that embody, enable, and facilitate US engagement in the world (Brands, 2017). To employ an automotive analogy, the American public wants to direct US power at other goals and are dismantling the transmission and drive train that conveys the power of an American motor to the wheels of the international system. That change has been clearly reflected in public diplomacy, the messaging of which is consistent with the adoption of strategies and policies that favour parochial interests over global ones.

Implications for Public Diplomacy A discussion of narratives—particularly narratives that emerge through adversarial tensions—offers insight into the role that the US may play in the international system going forward, and implications for the use of public diplomacy as a means of engagement with the world. History, culture, and the geo-political advantages of two large oceans inclined the American public toward isolationism prior to the twentieth century. Two world wars and the existential threat of communism enabled national leaders to convince the public to adopt a new leadership narrative: the

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US as a global champion of liberty and freedom. Now, however, strong voices argue that the Soviet Union is gone, the problem is fixed, and the US no longer needs to sacrifice interests and resources to play a counter-balancing leadership role. It was a mistake to assume that the US’ transition to a global leadership narrative was permanent; it interrupted, but did not supplant, the traditional narrative of isolation that is deeply-engrained in American thinking. A consistent philosophical thread connects George Washington’s admonition to avoid entanglement in the affairs of the ‘old world’; calls from twentieth century isolationists such as Henry Cabot Lodge, Patrick Buchanan, and Newt Gingrich not to get ‘sucked into’ the world; and Donald Trump’s grousing about being ‘suckered’ by the world. The problem for the isolationists is that their preferred narrative conflicts with a new reality forged by two centuries of change and technology. These changes have three consequences. The first is quite concrete: resources, interests, and the interconnected nature of the world render it impossible for the US to simply withdraw from global society, no matter how much some Americans might wish to do so. The US is currently the third most populous state in the world. Its share of global political and military power, natural resources, economic developments, and cultural and intellectual capacity are markedly disproportionate to even that considerable demographic asset. Nye (2015) is correct in saying that the influence of the US is likely continue to drive the course of global events for some time to come—particularly when it wishes to do so, but even in moments of inertia. The second is that the rapid and pervasive growth of communications technology and the increasingly networked and unfiltered nature of communications have made it increasingly impossible to segregate international and domestic dialogue. The isolation that was possible in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries became untenable in the twentieth century, and effectively impossible in the twenty-first century. The mediating filters of journalists, editors and media institutions no longer function in a technological space where anyone with a laptop can become a blogger, a source, or a pundit. At a minimum, the once-authoritative voice of the government is joined by a diversity of voices, official and individual, with their own perspectives and interpretations. There is, moreover, a sinister side to this development: adversaries in international politics can intervene in American civic dialogue and divide society from within, slipping through the gaps in the very social media platforms that

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Americans use to send pictures of children to their grandparents. One is reminded of the moment in the horror film ‘When A Stranger Calls ’ (1979), when the protagonist realizes that the terrifying phone call is coming from inside the house. The third is that the world no longer runs on hard power alone. Reputation and image matters too, and competition in the realm of soft power rests on attraction: the ability to be admired and appreciated. Efforts to engage the world only in terms of parochial political and economic interests degrades and weakens the US’ soft power resources. These two conflicting narratives—isolation versus global leadership— present the US and the American public with two existential questions: does the US want to be engaged in international politics to the same degree as it was in the late twentieth century? Is the US willing to act as global leader? At present, the answer to both questions appears to be negative. The American public lacks the desire to engage and support a global leadership role, but can neither avoid engagement with a world that has been amalgamated by technology, nor eschew the implications of its enormous power capabilities. This contradiction impedes both coherent policy making and coherent public diplomacy messaging and contributes enormously to the uncertainty and instability of the current time. The lack of public will for US global leadership is regrettably ill-timed. Humanity emerged from the twentieth century in better condition than when it entered it, but the 21st has no shortage of challenges, including: ongoing war; hunger; poverty; oppression; discrimination; disease; over-population; food and water security; environmental degradation; and climate change. We need skilled and inspired leadership to ensure that the twenty-first century moves humanity forward, not backward. Whether this leadership comes from the US depends upon the American public engaging a serious debate on the two existential questions above. There is of course still an argument to be made for the liberalinternational ideal. Aspects of it, however, should raise concerns for US public diplomacy practitioners. Lind and Wohlforth (2019, pp. 70–71) argue that the liberal order can recover, but states defined by liberal regimes must stop “doubling down on the norms and institutions” and being “profoundly revisionist, aggressively exporting democracy and expanding”. They must “get out of the democracy promotion business”, stop meddling in the domestic affairs of other states, and settle for “a prolonged period of coexistence with illiberal great powers”. Walt (2019,

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p. 26) chastises foreign policy makers for abandoning realism in favour of a grand strategy of liberal hegemony, and argues for the US to “embrace a strategy of offshore balancing and abstain from crusades to make the world in its image, concentrating instead on maintaining the balance of power in a few key regions”. Rapp-Hooper and Lisser (2019) develop this argument further, and assert that universal liberalism has temporarily lost currency. They recommend the US resign itself to co-existing with illiberal states and accept their leadership roles in international systems and institutions. The US would have to “forgo efforts at regime change” and “stop aggressively promoting democracy overseas” (ibid., p. 23). In a similar vein, Schake (2019, p. 42) argues that the US has “too often touted itself as the indispensable nation” and would do well to “avoid moral grandstanding”. All of these positions share one common insight about public diplomacy: they reject the paradigm of Justin Hart’s ‘Empire of Ideas ’, and fundamentally alter how the US has practiced public diplomacy for the past seventy years. They diminish the narrative that it is incumbent on the US to “accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation in the world” (Luce, 1999, p. 165). They assert instead that “the best strategic road map for the US is a familiar one: Realism” (Walt, 2019, p. 26), and advocate that the US constrain itself to work with allies on common pursuits, but expect them largely to manage their own affairs and cease being “tempted to let Washington do most of the work” (ibid., p. 33). Others take a more optimistic view. Diamond (2019, p. 23) appeals to US leaders to “recognize that they are once again in a global contest of values and ideas,” which requires a US public diplomacy presence on “the frontlines of authoritarian states’ battles for hearts and minds”. For Diamond, the US should increase exchange programmes that bring foreigners to the US and Americans overseas, “push back” on Russian and Chinese misinformation and ‘sharp power’, and “wage a longer struggle to spread the values, ideas, knowledge, and experience of people living in free societies” (ibid., p. 24). He calls for the recreation of a centralized, organized government agency to “reboot and expand” propaganda and public diplomacy with the same sense of purpose and mission as the now-defunct USIA. There are two hurdles to this pathway, however, both of which Diamond acknowledges. First, should the US attempt to reclaim its global leadership, it faces the challenge of getting foreign publics to “once again come to see the US as a democracy worthy of emulation” (Diamond, 2019, p. 25). The

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American response to endogenous and exogenous political trends since the end of the Cold War created a troubling global narrative that the US commitment to global leadership is not constant and unwavering. The US has planted seeds of doubt regarding its credibility as a global leader and done serious, possibly permanent, damage to strategic relationships (Drezner, 2019). An old adage about relationships teaches that it takes a lifetime to build trust, and one act to destroy it. Repairing the damage done to US credibility will take both time and effort. US public diplomacy will face the challenge of overcoming skepticism, closing the perceptual ‘say-do’ gap, and convincing the world that the US can be relied upon once again. Second, and far more importantly, the American public must make a choice. It must choose to have the US resume the role of a global leader, and that choice requires a new national consensus. Accepting the challenge of global leadership needs to start “at home”, and it is unlikely to happen while the American public remains divided and mired in political conflicts and economic inequalities, and torn apart by racial and ethnic discord (Diamond, 2019). It is not necessary (nor likely) for the US to solve all of the political and economic problems that have sapped public support for global leadership; divisive trends exist in every society, and many of them have been part of American history since the beginning of the republic. The US surmounted political and economic challenges during its period of global leadership, and it can do so again. At present, however, these issues consume US domestic politics, weaken public commitment to a narrative of global leadership, and translate directly—and extremely negatively—into the US’ relationships with the world. The debate going forward on the future of US global leadership needs to restore a sense of purpose and confidence among both American and Western publics, and clarify the burden that the US is willing to assume for sustaining the international system. US public diplomacy has the ability to unite the capacity that liberal states possess in abundance with purpose, direction and the will to use that capacity. The re-invention of an American narrative about US leadership should be integral to this effort. There is much work—and a good bit of soul-searching—to be done. It will not come easily, but it must happen. For in that work lays the success or failure of the US to build a foundation for public diplomacy to articulate US leadership in international politics.

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CHAPTER 2

From External Propaganda to Mediated Public Diplomacy: The Construction of the Chinese Dream in President Xi Jinping’s New Year Speeches Yan Wu, Richard Thomas, and Yakun Yu

Introduction With its increased economic, political and military strength, China has been perceived as an exemplary model of progress by many developing countries. Yet its foreign policy is seen as a threat to US interests, Asian-Pacific security and human rights worldwide. The ‘threat’ discourse emerged in the US in parallel with China’s economic growth in the early 1990s. Since then, the ‘threat’ discourse has evolved as it now centres on politics and ideology, economy and trade and strategic military goals (Yang & Liu, 2012). China’s substantial and strategic investment in developing countries and the ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative are also

Y. Wu (B) · R. Thomas · Y. Yu Department of Media and Communication, Swansea University, Swansea, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_2

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threatening as they signal a transition from US global dominance to a hetero-polar world order. China has been practising a new form of public diplomacy in the past two decades in order to dispel the notion of a ‘threat’. Before the ‘Chinese Dream’ was introduced as a public diplomacy narrative in 2012, concepts such as the ‘peaceful rise’, ‘peaceful development’, ‘peaceful coexistence’ and ‘harmonious world’ were all used to counter the threat of rhetoric. President Hu Jintao’s suggestions of ‘peaceful development’ and ‘building a harmonious world’ framed China as a responsible rising power. At a 2005 summit marking the 60th anniversary of the UN, Hu reiterated that China would hold ‘the banner of peace, development and cooperation’, and ‘unswervingly follow the road of peaceful development’ (Hu, 2005). According to Ji and Zhou (2010), Hu’s harmonious world proposal was a Chinese attempt to solve global conflicts by promoting world peace, while implementing China’s domestic policies in the realm of foreign affairs, policies that focused on national unity in a time of rapid economic growth. However, when power was transferred to the current President, Xi Jinping, Chinese foreign policy altered substantially. Xi has stressed China’s standing as a global power while calling for a ‘new type of greatpower relationship’ with the US which would jointly promote global peace and development (Calmes & Myers, 2013). The reception of the Great Power narrative has been mixed. On the one hand, Xi’s narrative was widely supported in sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and the Philippines. One the other hand, the narrative was rejected by the Trump administration and US public opinion (Pew Research Centre, 2017). China’s peaceful intentions have also been described as a ‘wishful illusion’ due to the country’s technological industrialization, economic development model and undemocratic political system (Yue, 2008, p. 443). Despite China’s peaceful rhetoric, the intensified tension in its economic and political relationship with a developed world dominated by the US means that a resurgent China challenges the current global order, possibly resulting in uncertainty, instability and even conflict (Buzan, 2010; Callahan, 2005; Yue, 2008). Indeed, the idea of China’s ‘threat’ has pervaded policy formulation in the US (Broomfield, 2003) and has triggered anxiety about China’s global ambitions and concerns of future war between the two superpowers (Allison, 2017; Okuda, 2016). Against this backdrop, it is important to understand China’s foreign policy intentions and how they are communicated to audiences within

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China and beyond. This chapter aims to theorise the articulation of the Chinese Dream as a public diplomacy narrative. To do so, it analyses President Xi Jinping’s New Year speeches in the years 2014–2019 while demonstrating how this narrative counters the China ‘threat’ discourse. The Chinese Dream, or Zhong Guo Meng (org. 中国梦), was officially introduced by Xi on 29th November 2012, during a speech heralding a new era of China’s ‘rejuvenation’ (Xi, 2014, p. 38). Ever since, the Chinese Dream has played a pivotal role in the development of China’s foreign policy agenda and has informed its strategic diplomatic goals. The successful application of the Chinese Dream depends on the cultural congruency established by the myth of the American Dream in the West, as well as a range of convergent media strategies used to promote positive messages about China. This chapter therefore examines whether China’s new narrative may decrease global tensions and instability.

From External Propaganda to Public Diplomacy in China After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Communist Party of China (CPC) adopted a Soviet-style propaganda model. State communications took the form of propaganda and were delivered as a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist critique of the dictatorship of proletariat (Houn, 1961; Liu, 1971), aiming ‘to transmit social and political values in the hope of affecting people’s thinking, emotions, and thereby behaviour’ (Kenez, 1985, p. 4). Isolated from Western democracies, state communication aimed at non-Chinese publics was categorised as ‘external propaganda’ (duiwai xuanchuan). China focused its communications on the “socialist bloc” of Central and Eastern Europe and developing nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and sought support in its fight against ‘American imperialism’ (Wang, 2008). In China itself, English, Russian, Japanese and French language magazines were published mainly for foreign diplomats in Beijing or for a select number of communism sympathisers. Since the reforms in the late 1970s, the Communist Party’s control over media production has relaxed as China’s media and creative industries have been subject to marketization, differentiation and deideologization (Lieberthal, 2004; Lynch, 1999; Yang & Calhoun, 2007; Zhao, 1998). Similarly, state-controlled central broadcasters have enjoyed greater autonomy in terms of content and management. This reduced

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state control over the media, along with the end of the Cold War has influenced the practice of China’s external propaganda in the early 1990s. Meanwhile, Deng Xiaoping, the late CPC leader, adopted a more pragmatic development strategy for China—tao guang yang hui—which involved adopting a generally lower profile in global affairs (D’Hooghe, 2005). External propaganda largely adopted a defensive stance involving rebutting unfavourable reports about China, publicising the Chinese government’s statements to the outside world and improving the global awareness of China’s economic development (CPC Central External Propaganda Research Office, 1998). The commercial use of the internet in the mid-1990s created new dynamics and tensions between the state, media and both domestic and international publics. These dynamics were intensified by China’s more open approach to marketization, globalization and China’s membership of the WTO and other organizations for economic cooperation. All of these challenged China’s traditional understanding of propaganda and resulted in China’s need to modernize its external propaganda and to interact with a global public (Bi, 2001; Harwit & Clark, 2001; Mengin, 2004; Zhao, 2004; Zhao & Schiller, 2001). The methods of ideological control in contemporary China combine an old Soviet-styled propaganda approach with some modern public diplomacy strategies, as the Party ‘embraced modern communication technologies, theories, and methodologies’ from the West (Brady, 2008, p. 2). Old methods include both direct censorships conducted by government bodies such as the Central Propaganda Department (Zhong Xuan Bu) and self-censorship practiced voluntarily by media organisations to avoid political risks. New methods, learnt mainly from the US, tend to use the market to set social norms and to justify control: China’s propaganda system has deliberately absorbed the methodology of political public relations, mass communications, political communications and other modern methods of mass persuasion commonly utilized in Western democratic societies, adapting them to Chinese conditions and needs. (Brady, 2008, p. 3)

Under such circumstances, ‘external propaganda’ has changed from exporting political values and principles to a general shaping of ideology, news and even advertisements that target foreign nations (Wang, 2008, p. 273). Marketing strategies such as branding now constitute a major

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part of China’s internal and external political communication, while the promotion of strategic political policies often involves a collaboration among government bodies, convergent media (consisting of both statecontrolled and commercial media, across both traditional and digital platforms), and the commercial and cultural industries. The CPC proactively adopted marketing strategies to maintain its “outward symbols and the all-important name brand” and “the content and meaning of the Party’s activities changed significantly” (Brady, 2008, p. 3). Consequently, propaganda or ‘thought work’ have reached overseas publics more softly as external propaganda has evolved into ‘sleeker’ public diplomacy. In addition to reactive measures prohibiting foreign influence, the CPC Central Propaganda Department engages in public diplomacy at home and overseas. That is, the state tasks the creative industries with producing content that the Party believes should be transmitted to and inculcated in various parts of the population (Shambaugh, 2007). In 2007, President Hu Jintao closely linked China’s cultural industries with its public diplomacy apparatus. The cultural industries, he argued, should give the public correct guidance, foster healthy social trends and create a thriving cultural market all of which would enhance China’s international competitiveness (Xinhua, 2007). Although the perception is that Chinese media serve both the Party and the market (Zhao, 1998), the Party does not compromise when there is conflict between its interests and the market. In fact, the market dynamic is one of reward-and-punishment as the Party still seeks to exert influence. Researchers have demonstrated that the government has used its licensing authority, or power over markets, to enforce its political will (Brady, 2008; Esarey, 2005). Although the concept gonggong waijiao as a literary translation of ‘public diplomacy’ first entered China’s academic lexicon in 1990 (Wang, 2008), China’s public diplomacy practice could be traced back to 1983 as part of the reform and ‘opening up’ policies. The spokesperson system was introduced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that year, and other governmental organisations followed suit. In 2004, President Hu Jintao announced China’s midterm diplomatic strategy as maintaining ‘the important development period’ of strategic opportunities and the striving for a ‘peaceful and stable international environment’ (Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland, 2004).

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Also in 1983, the Division of Public Diplomacy (the Office of Public Diplomacy nowadays) was established within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There are some notable events demonstrating China’s rising international profile and its exercising of public diplomacy. For example, the first Confucius Institute opened in Seoul, South Korea in 2004; the foreign aid budget exceeded $1 billion in 2006; China successfully hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics; China’s participation in UN peacekeeping overseas intensified; Shanghai hosted the World Expo in 2010; there were Belt and Road forums in 2019 and a successful bid for the Winter Olympics in 2022. As Wang (2008, p. 263) suggests, public diplomacy in China is designed to fulfil two roles—“as a function of wise strategic thinking and defensive reasons, and as an urgent task to facilitate China’s rise to ‘soft power’”. China faces immense challenges in its public diplomacy practice. Its one-party authoritarian polity and human rights records are the main contributors to China’s prestige deficit (D’Hooghe, 2005; Kurlantzick, 2007; Nye, 2012). Despite the fact that China has invested heavily in overseas broadcasting, including English-language 24-hour news channels, the lack of media credibility and influence problematises the persuasion of foreign publics. In addition, Wang (2008, p. 265) suggests that China faces ‘a hegemony of discourse’ controlled by Western concepts and an ideology dominated by English-language media. Meanwhile, Chinese diplomats ‘know little of international marketing’, while “Chinese public diplomacy carries the burden of a huge language and cultural gap in communicating with the world” (Wang, 2008, p. 266). Nonetheless, China has unprecedented opportunities to develop a robust public diplomacy strategy. Its culture, cinema, literacies, acupuncture, traditional medicine, cuisine, martial arts, painting and calligraphy are all popular overseas and help create positive cultural associations with the ‘China’ brand (D’Hooghe, 2005). At the same time, the world is moving away from the unipolar system dominated by the US. Indeed, the rise of populism in North America and Europe and the rise of BRIC nations have also created favourable conditions for China. The practice of public diplomacy, according to Yang Jiemian, Deputy Head of China National Association for International Studies, is a continuation and development of the traditional diplomacy:

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Public diplomacy is usually led by the national government, built upon a wide range of communication channels and tools, aiming to gain understanding, recognition and support from foreign publics by introducing national conditions, policies, and ethos overseas. The objectives of public diplomacy are to win the hearts and mind of the people afar, project a desirable national image, create a favourable international opinion environment, and sustain and enhance the national interest. The foundational work of public diplomacy starts with information concerning diplomatic policies, strategies and measures to people at home and encourage them to participate in the practice of public diplomacy. (Yang, 2013, p. 40)

This definition captures the recent development of China’s theoretical conceptualization and practice of public diplomacy. Contrary to the belief that Chinese leaders focus on formal intergovernmental contexts (D’Hooghe, 2005), this definition demonstrates that the focal objectives of China’s public diplomacy have shifted from foreign governments to foreign publics. Secondly, the CPC expects every Chinese citizen to participate in practising public diplomacy thus creating favourable international environments for China’s sustained growth. Finally, the CPC has creatively enabled a comprehensive range of communication tools and media resources in facilitating the practice of public diplomacy. Zhang (2006) conceptualizes public diplomacy as an interactive process in which nation states participate in a continuous course of meaning-making and negotiation with others. In today’s media-saturated environment, symbolic meaning-making not only depends on the availability of cultural artefacts, but also media resources, channels, platforms and technologies. Where the internet has created sophisticated communication networks, more actors now practise public diplomacy. Consequently, foreign policy is not only conducted officially, but also through ‘the narratives that evolve in a globally accessible media system’ (Riley, 2014, p. 231). The digitalization of public diplomacy also starts blurring the boundaries between diplomacy, public diplomacy and media diplomacy as international leaders accept that ‘interactions with foreign publics and the projection of its reputation have become an indispensable part of a nation’s ability to achieve its foreign policy objectives’ (ibid., p. 232). The next section aims to examine the Chinese Dream narrative. The chapter will examine its metanarrative and deal with the complex and multifaceted issues surrounding public diplomacy, as well as providing a case study which demonstrates how the Chinese Dream shapes Chinese public diplomacy.

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The Meta-Narrative of the Chinese Dream as Public Diplomacy In his speech introducing the Chinese Dream in November 2012, President Xi Jinping reviewed China’s modern history from the midnineteenth Century and its colonisation by European powers to the present day. He emphasised that the Chinese Dream has been a unifying theme for its people to achieve the nation’s ‘rejuvenation’ (Xi, 2014). A series of political campaigns and documents have been further launched to promote the Chinese Dream as a public diplomacy narrative (Table 2.1). The Chinese Dream, as Xi put it, ‘is the inner meaning of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics ’ (CPC Central Committee’s Party Literature Research Office 2013, p. 5) and its essence is ‘revitalising the nation and enhancing the well-being of the people’ (ibid., p. 27). This definition offers a strong endorsement of Deng Xiaoping’s core political idea and highlights that Xi’s new CPC leadership would lead the country’s continuing development. At the same time, the strategic use of the Chinese Dream expands the original conceptualization of socialism by assembling a range of political, economic and cultural ideas that explore its domestic and external applications. The essence of the Chinese Dream could be summarised as follows: Economy: Sustaining economic development and building prosperity (Kuhn, 2014) as the country curbs the challenges associated with urbanization, welfare reform, and environmental degradation. This is laid out in two steps: building a ‘moderately well-off Chinese society’ by 2021 and transforming China into a modernised and fully developed nation by 2049. Politics: Achieving the nation’s rejuvenation involves building a modern socialist country that is politically democratic (with an anti-corruption focus), culturally advanced, and militarily strong (The State Council Information Office of the PRC, 2015). International relations: China should take its ‘rightful place’ by removing any remnants of past humiliations brought about by colonial powers and wars, and cementing China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty (Kallio, 2015). Furthermore, China should challenge the West’s global domination in place since the Industrial Revolution (Kuhn, 2014). Individuals: The Chinese government aims to improve citizen wellbeing and personal career development (Kuhn, 2014). More specifically, as Xi emphasizes, Chinese people are entitled to ‘enjoy better education, more stable employment, higher incomes, a greater degree of social security,

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Table 2.1 Official documents on the Chinese Dream 2013–2019 Books by the CPC Central Committee’s Party Research Office (in Chinese)

Books and speeches by Xi Jinping (in Chinese)

• Excerpt from Xi’s speech about the Chinese Dream and national rejuvenation (2013) • The Chinese Dream and the Chinese path (2013) • Socialist path of culture development with Chinese characteristics (2013) • Socialist path of national defence and the development of the armed forces with Chinese characteristics (2013) • Excerpt from Xi’s speech about building China into a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way (2016) • Excerpt from Xi’s speech about developing a Socialist Culture in China (2017) • The governance of China Volume 1 (Book, 2014, Foreign Languages Press) • Speech at the Congress to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (Book/speech, 2016, People’s Publishing House) • The governance of China Volume 2 (Book, 2017, Foreign Languages Press) • Speech at the Congress to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (Book/speech, 2017, People’s Publishing House) • Speech at the Congress to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement (Book/speech, 2019, People’s Publishing House)

(continued)

better medical and health care, improved housing conditions and a better environment’. (China Daily, 2014)

The official Chinese Dream discourse contains elements from the old practice of external propaganda, as well as the CPC’s newly adopted

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Table 2.1 (continued) Books by The People’s Publishing House writing group (in Chinese)

Books by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee (in Chinese)

Government white paper by the State Council Information Office (in English)

• Remain true to our original aspiration and adhere to the spiritual home of the Chinese Communists (2016, People’s Publishing House) • The ideological and practical guideline of anti-corruption (2018, People’s Publishing House) • Xi Jinping thoughts on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era (2018, Xuexi Publishing House) • The learning guideline of Xi Jinping thoughts on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era (2019, Xuexi Publishing House) • China’s Military Strategy (2015)

strategy of public diplomacy. It reflects the new initiatives from the CPC to rebrand itself, and its creative promotion of all-round development strategies in the name of the Chinese Dream at home and overseas. The Chinese Dream is used firstly as a defensive strategy to counter the China ‘threat’ discourse and is secondly used proactively to rebrand China’s global superpower status. The Chinese Dream concept has considerable synergy with the American Dream, used by politicians including Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Henry Kissinger, and most recently, Barack Obama to project their political agendas and to rally public support. Despite the paradoxes associated with the concept due to the increasing inequality of wealth and opportunity between social classes and ethnic groups (Calthorpe, 1993; Hochschild, 1995; Johnson, 2006), the word ‘dream’ suggests freedom, infinite possibilities and unlimited success, and appeals to general humanities as well as triggering strong emotional responses. The early use of the Chinese Dream in commercial publications (Mars & Hornsby, 2008; Wang, 2010) was used to describe individual prosperity, market pragmatism, modernization, urbanization, and the evolution of the Chinese middle class. The aspiration of middle-class prosperity, selfimprovement and upward mobility via endeavour and entrepreneurship (Kumar, 2005; McCall, 2013) was indeed drawn from the American Dream (Li, 2015; Li & Shaw, 2014).

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The direct imitation of the ‘dream’ culture as a governing idea from President Xi is designed to inspire by adopting modernism-oriented Western values to rally both domestic support and international alliances. The democratic ethos of this concept is designed to motivate a growing urban middle class that is often exposed to Western culture and influence (The Economist, 2013). However, as Xi emphasizes in various speeches and numerous official documents, although the projection of the Chinese Dream demonstrates the CPC’s efforts to rebrand China’s politics with Western modernity-oriented values, the essence of the Chinese Dream is ultimately about a congruent relationship between the state and its citizens. Indeed, the American Dream celebrates individual freedom, selfreliance and social mobility, while the Chinese Dream focuses on the individual’s dependence on the State (Kai, 2014). As the state-media argues, ‘only when the country is doing well, can the nation and people do well’ (China Daily, 2014). As defined within official documentation, the Chinese Dream centres around ‘national rejuvenation’. Culturally, ‘rejuvenation’ connotates longevity, rebirth and leaving the past behind. In many ways, by choosing this metaphor, current Chinese leaders echo but also revise the legacy of ‘wounded nationalism’ (Chang, 2001). China was invaded and colonised by technologically advanced Western powers and Japan for more than a hundred years, and this colonisation left behind collective insecurity, ‘wounded pride and resentment’ (Chang, 2001, p. 26). This defeatism renders China vulnerable to reactive nationalism, viewing Western powers as both hostile and unreliable (Chang, 2001; Huang & Lee, 2003). As a grassroots expression, nationalism has filled the ideological void in post1989 political communication and has become the dominate propaganda discourse to unify the nation, legitimate CPC governance and mobilize young people (Chang, 2001; Wu, 2007). Various grassroots expressions of nationalism have now been incorporated into official discourse and developed into a form of pride and confidence in China. Hence, the message of ‘national rejuvenation’ resonates with nationalism, but also suggests that China has moved on from a humiliating history of falling victim to colonialism and has risen to a position of new global recognition and power (Brown & ˇ B¯erzina¸ Cerenkova, 2018). National rejuvenation, as a new expression of top-down nationalism, differs from other grassroots nationalistic sentiment, and finds its roots in Chinese culture and history as legitimate

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source motivators for Chinese young people as they aim to bring their country back to the world stage. In summary, the Chinese Dream as public diplomacy narrative is the embodiment of both hard and soft power in strategizing China’s future development. The hard development strategy lies in China’s sustained political, economic and military growth. The soft power strategy is the Chinese leadership’s use of rhetorical tools to shape a sense of belonging and the promotion of traditional Chinese values to overseas publics. The foundation of the Chinese Dream is the combination of Party ideology and revival nationalism.

Case Study of President Xi Jinping’s New Year Speeches We analysed six New Year Speeches delivered by President Xi Jinping between 2014 and 2019. He is the first Chinese national leader to deliver televised and streamed speeches on New Year’s Eve from his Zhongnanhai office, the central headquarters for the CPC and the State Council of China. The speeches were delivered in Chinese with English subtitles via a range of media platforms aiming for audiences inside and outside China. The subtitled speeches were carried by the stateendorsed central media’s English language service including China Radio International, China Central Television English, China Network Television, People.com.cn, Xinhua Net and China Daily. In addition, the 2014 speech was carried by Facebook and the state media’s YouTube channels. From 2015 onwards, the dissemination of the New Year speeches was synchronised on state-endorsed broadcasting, digital platforms and their YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The six speeches were viewed on YouTube via the official account of Chinese Global Television Network (CGTN). As an arm of China’s public diplomacy, CGTN is a convergent media group affiliated with the state-controlled China Media Group, looking to provide alternative news coverage from China which negates international media coverage. CGTN’s YouTube account started on 24th January 2013 and by December 2019, its programmes have garnered more than 800 million views. We have monitored and collected the President Xi’s new year speeches from January 2014 (Table 2.2). Our key method was multimodal analysis, which involves analysing both speech and the semiotic interpretation of visual compositions. Based

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Table 2.2 President Xi’s New Year speeches on the CGTV YouTube channel (captured at 3 March 2019) Year

Length

Viewed

Liked

Disliked

Commented

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

4’7’’ 9’18’’ 7’37’’ 9’35’’ 10’52’’ 11’11’’

786 47,487 81,770 92,315 265,337 135,560

13 324 591 757 4500 2500

1 29 80 92 512 305

0 176 219 373 1423 1172

on the toolkits of “grammar of visual design” provided by Kress and van Leeuwen (2006, p. 2), we argue that media texts rarely communicate in a single mode. Instead, meaning is constructed via multiple modes simultaneously combining visuals, sound, language and so on. The multimodal approach considers how signs are used in combination (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006) and studies how visual elements such as images work to create meaning, in each case describing the choices made by the producer of the text (Machin & Mayr, 2012, p. 9). More specifically, we analysed the linguistic techniques (such as metaphor, lexical choices and so on) used by President Xi, the specific terminology he employed and how he delivered the messages to influence his audience. For example, his clothing, the location, the artefacts in his office and set design all carry rich semiotic meaning as the metaphorical associations in language, gestures, setting and colours connotate particular ideas (Machin, 2007, p. 11). The analysis reveals the embedded ideas about China’s culture, history and development as they relate to the Chinese Dream.

Multimodal Analysis of President Xi’s New Year Speeches 2014–2019 President Xi’s New Year speeches resemble the familiar format of President Roosevelt’s “fireside” radio chats, the traditional Christmas message from the British monarch and the televised New Year greetings from US presidents and other national leaders. Such televised speeches have, ˇ over time, been perfected by Western leaders (Cech, 2014; Van Noije & Hijmans, 2005). The adoption of such a familiar format shows that the

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CPC is not only familiar with Western political communication strategies, but is also prepared to adopt Western public diplomacy strategies to increase China’s cultural and political significance. Visually, the speech allows publics to see inside the President’s office in Zhongnanhai which has been strategically orchestrated to be the symbolic representation of Chinese national identity. Semiotic insights into its visual components reveal that China’s public diplomacy aims to gain global recognition and popularity for its presidential administration. Due to its single-party undemocratic political system, the election of Chinese presidents has been shrouded with secrecy and has attracted criticism. As the first Chinese President to deliver a New Year speech to global audiences, Xi and his administration employed a clear strategy to engage and persuade home and foreign publics—the strategy of mimicry. In his 2015 speech, for example, Xi is centrally positioned behind his desk. Three telephones indicate his authority and prominence. Two folders, a calendar of the past year and a penholder suggest that the President has worked diligently and reviewed the previous year’s developments. Xi looks into the camera, making direct eye contact with publics. His dark slim-cut suit and mulberry tie mixes Western and Chinese styling and differs from his predecessors who often wore the Chinese tunic suit (known as ‘Mao suit’) for such formal occasions. The national flag and painting of the Great Wall of China symbolise national identity, state authority, ancient civilisation and historical pride. Their cultural associations with Chinese national identity are set to elicit an emotional response. The nationalist rhetoric in Presidential speeches could provide domestic publics with the ‘sense of belonging’, ‘paternal protection’ and provide foreign publics with the sense that great cultural values bond people together as ‘spiritual kin’ (Van Noije & Hijmans, 2005). There are photographs on two wall-high bookshelves. The black and white photograph of the President in a military uniform indicates his past military service, and photographs of him with his relatives emphasise family values. Overall, such visual cues transmit notions of service, diligence, intellect and family, further humanizing the President and developing the idea that he is authoritative and trustworthy. Xi’s globally televised or streamed New Year speeches signal a significant change in China’s public diplomacy in becoming more proactive and human-oriented. Speaking to the world from his Zhongnanhai Office, Xi provides global audiences with an insight into his ordinary (albeit

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constructed) office life, which is also a technique used by various American Presidents (Adatto, 2008). The ‘documented’ life narratives connote loyalty, stoicism, personal success, national service, family values and professional dedication, all of which chime with the themes promoted within the Chinese Dream.

The Publics: Inclusiveness and Exclusivity Xi’s 2018 New Year speeches start with the greeting to ‘comrades, friends, ladies and gentlemen’. While ‘comrades’ is a popular greeting among CPC members, ‘friends’ indicates a feeling of respect and affection while ‘ladies and gentlemen’ is conventionally used when addressing business elites or non-Chinese guests. These warm modes of audience address were quickly explained by the President: I would like to extend my New Year wishes to my countrymen and women from all ethnic groups, in Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and in Taiwan, as well as overseas Chinese. I also wish good luck to friends from all countries and regions across the world.

The wide publics specification embraces the inclusion of people of all ethnicities, political regions and nation states. What bonds this diverse audience together is the use of in-group pronouns of ‘we’ (132 times), ‘our’ (89 times) and ‘us’ (6 times) in the six New Year speeches, building the connection between speaker and audience. The in-group pronouns of unity convey an intention to create commonality, cohesion and solidarity. Nevertheless, the use of first-person pronouns is simultaneously inclusive and exclusive (Pennycook, 1994). The use of ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’ in President Xi’s speech such as: ‘We Chinese people seek to realise the Chinese dream, a great realization of the Chinese nation’ (2014) first defines the Chinese Dream as a collective dream of all Chinese people. The authority and legitimacy of the speaker himself obliges his audience to follow him in fulfilling the dream. Meanwhile, the use of ‘we’ defines a ‘we/the other’ dichotomy. ‘The others’ therefore are those who have not subscribed to the Chinese Dream but need to be convinced, persuaded, mobilized and engaged. Meanwhile within the unifying collective nouns of ‘we’, patriotism is emphasized as the key factor in developing the expected sense of shared identity and aims to enhance bonding among Chinese people. In his 2015

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speech reviewing activities in the past year, President Xi refers to a series of high-profile activities held across the country to commemorate the end of the World War II in China and highlights patriotism as the core spirit of the Chinese nation: For those who have offered their precious lives for the country, the Chinese nationality and peace, we will forever remember their sacrifice and contribution, no matter how times change.

Xi’s 2014 speech includes an emphasis on family, which could evoke a strong emotional response, furthering the intended connection among the nation state, family and individuals: Some of Chinese citizens are far away from the motherland, and their close relatives and some cannot have a reunion with family members. On behalf of the motherland and people, I’d like to offer my sincere greetings to them and wish them a peaceful and smooth New Year.

The stock political language to define national identity in official documents is missing from the New Year speeches. They are purposively imbued with inspiring and prudent language taken from ancient texts or idioms, drawing upon cultural elements to shape the perception of the collective cultural identity. In emphasizing his determination regarding the deepening political and economic reforms in China, Xi’s 2015 New Year speech uses the metaphor of a flying arrow: We will continue to deepen reform in an all-round way. An arrow that has been released makes no turning back.

In expressing his sympathy towards the economically disadvantaged, Xi’s 2018 speech quotes ancient Chinese poet Du Fu before stating his policy on affordable housing: If only I could get tens of thousands of mansions! I would house all the poor people who would then beam with smiles. (ancient Chinese poet Du Fu)

References to ancient Chinese texts and idioms are strategically used to demonstrate the President’s familiarity with traditional culture, and represent a legitimate source to unify people from diverse social groups. In

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order to engage young people for example, President Xi asserts in his 2018 speech: Of course, those achievements [in anti-corrution and economic reform] would not have been possible without the support of the people. I would like to give a ‘thumbs up’ to all our great people.

‘Thumbs up’ (dian zan) is a Chinese equivalent to the ‘like’ function on Western social media platforms and is a popular expression among young netizens. By using such online language, the President aims to connect with young people, bringing the CPC’s legitimacy to a generation who might otherwise be attracted by Western values.

The Chinese Dream Starts at Home The 2019 New Year speech by President Xi mainly covers China’s achievements over the past year and the challenges ahead. It focuses on domestic issues including economic development, environment protection, national security and elements of human security including alleviating poverty, improving healthcare and innovations within science, technology and education. Such issues are often supported by evidence or statistics, as the President states: Another 125 poor counties and 10 million poverty-stricken rural residents were lifted out of poverty. We reduced the price of 17 cancer-fighting drugs and included them on our medical insurance list.

In addressing these achievements, President Xi is careful to attribute them to ordinary Chinese people. The repetition of ‘we’ builds solidarity between the speaker and listener and is used to praise the audience’s collective work and apparently positive outcomes. By mentioning specific towns, counties and cities outside of Beijing, Xi further builds associations with those outside the state capital, and reinforces a down-to-earth approach in his 2019 speech: I was pleased to see the lush green banks of the Yangtze River, the ocean of rice sprouting at the Jiansanjiang agricultural base, the lively Shenzhen Qianhai Harbour, the bustling Shanghai Zhangjiang High-tech Park, and the bridge that brings together Hong Kong, Zhuhai, and Macao. These

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achievements are all thanks to the hard work of people from all of China’s ethnic groups, who are the trail-blazers of the new era.

Media coverage of negative news such as disasters, poverty, or corruptions is often restricted in China (De Burgh, 2003). Direct interference from government officials in media reporting is common in the name of curtailing any possible negative economic impact (Luther & Zhou, 2005). However, Xi’s New Year speeches in 2016, 2017 and 2019 take a new approach to address existing problems associated with China’s development: Many of our compatriots lost their lives in tragic incidents like the “Eastern Star” cruise shipwreck, the serious fire and blast in the port of Tianjin, and in the landslide in Shenzhen. Some of our compatriots were also brutally murdered by terrorists. Our hearts were broken by those tragedies. May the deceased rest in peace and the living remain safe and sound! In Lianzhang Village in Qingyuan in Guangdong Province, I discussed with a villager named Lu Yihe how we could help to relieve his household’s poverty. I can vividly recall their down-to-earth sincerity. I would like to wish all of them and their fellow villagers a prosperous and thriving New Year. We vigorously pushed forward the exercise of our Party’s strict governance in every respect, unswervingly cracked down on both ‘tigers’ (major corruption) and ‘flies’ (minor corruption), in a bid to purify our political ecosystem, and continue to improve our Party and our government’s working style, as well as our social conduct.

These examples show how Xi proactively addresses the poverty, bureaucracy, corruption, security, and natural and man-made disasters challenging China’s sustained development. By using first person pronouns, he not only aligns his own position with that of the people, but he also positions himself on behalf of the CPC as responsible for implementing the changes. The epistemological and metaphysical implications of the utterance of ‘I’ firstly provide the speaker’s particular point of view and secondly indicate the intentional action from the speaker. By doing so, Xi establishes himself as a pragmatic leader capable of assertively handling development challenges. Eliminating development challenges such as corruption and inequality constitute more domestic aspects of the Chinese Dream, and implicitly and explicitly contribute to CPC legitimacy. In his analysis of CPC

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governance, Zeng (2015) attributes the Party’s ruling capacity not only to the regime’s external stability but to the internal cohesion reflected in the unity of the ruling elites. Due to the influence of Confucianism, Chinese political culture generally features a low public participation and a high trust in government, making ruling elites more instrumental. In this sense, party cohesion is a prerequisite for the CPC to maintain legitimacy and includes dealing with the negative consequences of combining authoritarian rule with the market economy such as corruption and inequality (Zeng, 2015). In prioritizing anti-corruption within the Chinese Dream, Xi plays a crucial role in legitimizing the CPC ruling capacity and maintaining party cohesion. This internal party cohesion is exhibited in the way Xi speaks on behalf of CPC members. As Xi claims in his 2016 speech, Party members and officials are presented as a collective who are working to ensure that people’s lives and property are safely protected, and that “their rights to improved livelihood and physical health are guaranteed”.

Projecting the Chinese Dream Overseas The analysis of speeches given by French Presidents reveals the regularity of the notion of the ‘significant other’—other states seen as threats or competitors (Van Noije & Hijmans, 2005). Similarly, the revival of nationalistic discourse embodied in the Chinese Dream uses the construction of a national identity versus other nations. In Xi’s speeches, other nations are represented by an explicit majority of ‘friends’ and an implicit minority of ‘foes’. Xi is the first Chinese leader to revise Deng Xiaoping’s foreign policy. The external use of the Chinese Dream maps out his ambition to change China from a low-profile, developing state into an assertive, modernised global player ready to lead (Sørensen, 2015). Xi’s narrative on China’s diplomatic achievement begins with a review of China’s commitment to realising its dream through peaceful development in unison with friends old and new, as evidenced in the 2019 speech: We put China’s proposals on the table and made our voice heard at these and other diplomatic events. I and my colleagues visited five continents and attended many important diplomatic events. We spoke with state leaders about wide-ranging issues, we strengthened our friendships, we enhanced mutual trust, and we enlarged our circle of friends.

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The promotion of the Chinese Dream overseas continues a strategy of peaceful development that counters the China ‘threat’ discourse (Sørensen, 2015). However, in contrast to Deng Xiaoping’s low-profile international relations policy (D’Hooghe, 2005), Xi and the current Chinese leaders use the New Year speeches to demonstrate China’s leadership in guiding regional or even global economic development. For example, the OBOR initiative from 2015 aims to enlist other states into a China-centred development strategy to achieve a ‘sustainable’ and ‘peaceful’ blueprint at global level by projecting economic collaboration with states along the ancient silk and maritime road. Up to April 2019, China has signed collaborative agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organizations. According to China’s national news agency Xinhua (2019), OBOR delivers benefits to developing nations and offers a new solution to ‘imbalanced global development’. OBOR as an extension of the Chinese Dream was a focal point in the New Year Speeches in 2016, 2017 and 2018. China will resolutely uphold the authority and status of the United Nations, conscientiously perform its due international obligations and responsibilities, keep its promises on global climate change, actively push forward the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, and always contribute to the building of world peace and global development, and the safeguarding of international order.

As evidenced in this 2018 speech, despite its rising status in leading world economic development, China has put its Belt and Road Initiative firmly in the framework of the UN’s mission of maintaining world peace and promoting global development. Consequently, China’s ambition of taking the lead in global issues was morally justified. Xi’s New Year Speeches thus reassure global audiences that China is not part of the great power politics threatening the moral authority of the UN. On the other hand, China becoming a world power has unavoidably set it against the US in a series of territorial, trade, and other disputes. In particular, China’s claim over the disputed waters in the South China Sea positioned it in direct conflict with the US as the latter stepped up its military activity and naval presence in the region. Xi’s 2017 New Year speeches stress China’s sovereignty claims in the moral framework of safeguarding world peace and common development:

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We have adhered to the peaceful development while resolutely safeguarding the territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests of China. China will remain resolute and confident in its defence of its national sovereignty and security. And China’s sincerity and goodwill to safeguard world peace and promote common development will remain unchanged.

To soften this assertiveness, President Xi proactively emphasizes China’s role in coordinated international activities and its contribution to the world in his 2019 speech: The Chinese people care greatly about the country’s future and the future of the world. When Ebola emerged in Africa, we offered our help. When a water shortage occurred in the capital of the Maldives, we provided assistance. There are numerous examples like these which demonstrate the spirit of common destiny of the Chinese people and all humanity.

An emphasis on ‘the common destiny of the Chinese people and all humanity’ is used to defuse external fears about China’s resurgence. Discursive statements such as ‘self-reliance and hard work’ were emphasized in the 2017 and 2019 speeches, with ‘determined perseverance’ featuring in the 2016 speech. Such rhetoric strongly resembles the essence of the American Dream, further shortening the cognitive distance between China and other nations. However, the Chinese Dream is presented by Xi as different from the American Dream as it is mutually beneficial to other countries, as evidenced in his 2014 speech: More than 7 billion people inhabit the planet Earth. We in the same boat should keep watch and help each other to achieve common development. We Chinese people seek to realize the Chinese dream, a great revitalization of the Chinese nation, and also wish that the dreams of people of all countries will come true.

In this context, the Chinese Dream discourse is strong and effective. It combines hard and soft power, positions China at the centre of a strategic map of global development, creates alliances with other countries, and sends assertive messages to possible foes while aiming to win over competitive countries.

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Conclusion As it increases its global power, China’s public diplomacy strategies take much from the US, while maintaining CPC ideology. Although the US is presented as adopting an opposite value system to China, the rhetorical power of the American Dream has been used to legitimate the universality and authenticity of the Chinese Dream. In analysing the metanarrative of the Chinese Dream and the multimodal construction of the Chinese Dream from six New Year speeches, we synthesise four key points. First, although the objectives of Chinese public diplomacy have shifted from foreign governments to foreign publics, public diplomacy is still regarded as the continuation of formal diplomacy and is orchestrated and led by the CPC. Our research reveals the new public diplomacy practice of personalised speeches by President Xi in reassuring global audiences by portraying China through the notions of ‘world peace’ and ‘common development’. Rather than Communist ideology, nationalism is emphasized to unify the diverse audience groups within the country and to legitimate CPC governance. ‘Revival nationalism’ as we argue, incorporates various grassroots nationalistic expressions, and is at the core of understanding the Chinese Dream as public diplomacy. Second, the goal of China’s public diplomacy is to diffuse potential tensions and conflicts at home. President Xi’s speeches target domestic audiences from all ethnic groups, covering the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and Chinese citizens residing overseas. Hence ‘Chineseness’ implies both political and cultural identity, and every Chinese person is enlisted in public diplomacy. The inclusiveness of domestic publics from a wide range of political regions and ethnic backgrounds is controversial; nonetheless, the goal of such inclusiveness is to ‘strengthen internal cohesion and enhance external acceptance’ (van Ham, 2002, p. 259) by employing strategic images and languages. By ascribing ‘Chineseness’, President Xi aims to strengthen the cohesion in the state-public relationship by supporting the ongoing domestic anti-corruption campaign, and promoting the sustained development of the economy, education, science, technology, and environmental protection at home. Third, in order to reach out to foreign publics, the New Year speeches use branding techniques and marketing communication tactics to promote the Chinese Dream. The CPC adopts these new communication strategies in addition to old-fashioned propaganda. Externally, the Chinese Dream implies a shift from external propaganda based on an upfront ideology to using the power of images, emotions, values and

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influences. Similar to other nation branding campaigns such as ‘Cool Britannia’, the Chinese Dream involves a range of creative sectors and cultural artefacts. In the President’s annual speeches, a combination of family-oriented emotions, cultural traditions, political prominence and indicators of a modern lifestyle enable target audiences to respond to such values. These are all messages that may resonate with foreign populations. Meanwhile, since media and communication resources are in the control of the Party State, the CPC has creatively enabled a comprehensive range of public diplomacy tools and media resources. In addition to statecontrolled convergent media, social media platforms were employed to reach foreign populations thus fostering favourable opinion about China’s continuing prosperity. Finally, in assuming its rising global status, President Xi uses a distinct ‘friends vs. foes’ dichotomy. The Chinese Dream was used rhetorically as a symbol for shared values and common beliefs to attract foreign nations and promote China-centred geo-economics. Those nations potentially contesting China’s development blueprint are framed as threatening and competitors. Nevertheless, the Chinese Dream as a public diplomacy narrative is used to reach foreign public, build empathy and shorten the psychological distance. Although projecting the Chinese Dream exhibits the CPC’s efforts in modernising China’s politics with Western values, the essence of the Chinese Dream is the combination of political ideology legitimated in the context of traditional cultural values and revival nationalism. Until 2015, research shows that the Chinese Dream had been mainly perceived negatively in the West and associates China with the notion of a threat (Sørensen, 2015). However, the CPC’s recent public diplomacy efforts in promoting the Chinese Dream via the personalized New Year speeches seem to be attracting foreign publics. An appropriate focus for future research would be to assess whether personalization of politics in the age of convergent media would further change the dynamics and effects of Chinese public diplomacy.

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CHAPTER 3

Climate Change Begins at Home: City Diplomacy in the Age of the Anthropocene Juan Luis Manfredi Sánchez and Francisco Seoane Pérez

Introduction Cities are staging a comeback in international relations. Arguably, they were never gone. Since the 1980s the network of ‘global cities’ (Sassen, 1991) have enhanced the profile of financial capitals that became synonymous with economic globalisation. Nowadays, when the liberal order led by the United States is waning (Mearsheimer, 2019) and a new realist heteropolar world demands attention to complexity (Boulton, Allen, & Bowman, 2015) scholars pay more attention to the role cities assume in international politics. In these uncertain times, cities focus on the most pressing global policy issue, climate change, in parallel to, or sometimes in defiance of, the governmental policies of their respective states.

J. L. Manfredi Sánchez (B) Faculty of Communication, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Cuenca, Spain e-mail: [email protected] F. Seoane Pérez Department of Communication, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Getafe (Madrid), Spain © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_3

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The city, as an open space for dialogue and a test bench, facilitates the implementation of strategies that may reduce uncertainty. Three trajectories of action are proposed to reduce uncertainty: mitigation, anticipation and recovery. Mitigation refers to scientific cooperation and the exchange of good practices grounded on evidence-based policies. Here the framing of climate change problems and their explicit relationship with populations facilitates collaboration. Anticipation is related to the architecture and urban planning, access to mobile data and the provision of green spaces. The recovery of climatic fatigue is divided into two levels. On the social level, different stakeholders have better access to decision makers in order to change the direction of urban policies. On the economic level, the city identifies the investments and infrastructure needed after climate disasters. The recovery of the city’s appearance helps reduce uncertainty. The city, in short, is a space for plural rationalities that favours intensive participation in international politics, creating a kind of co-diplomacy oriented towards issues that directly affect populations—disasters, rains, heat waves, floods—and away from the grand strategy. Local interdependencies and the collective imaginary of risk could promote a space for collaboration aimed at preventing risks and, therefore, at reducing political tensions. This chapter shows how urban public policy is increasingly adopting a global outlook, and posits the case of climate change mitigation as exemplary of the virtues of cities over nation-states in international politics. Just as financial centres were the roots of economic globalization, global cities are the political innovation units where climate change mitigation policies are formed. They lead by example and make the most of the flattening effect of new communication technologies to form global networks that encourage soft ‘statecraft’ measures at global summits. In some cases, the city mayors are policy advocates of great impact among public and published opinion. The former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has become a paladin of climate change awareness, explicitly linking Hurricane Sandy with global warming (Barrett, 2012) and funding through its philanthropic arm the C40 network of 94 cities against climate change. Great municipalities are compelled to provide visible results, with even more urgency than national governments. Many of the policies within their remit (e.g. water supply, sustainable mobility, social services for immigrants and the poor) have direct connection with the causes and effects of climate change, particularly in a world that is becoming increasingly urban. In this chapter, we theorize urban public

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diplomacy by looking at global cities’ action on climate change. We review evidence from policy reports, official statistics and international relations literature to explain why cities are replacing nation-states as the primary definers of climate change policy. Furthermore, climate change policy is reshaping global governance itself, institutionalizing bottom-up decisions, transferring power to cities and promoting an open dialogue among national and international institutions, public and private initiatives. The structure of the chapter is as follows. First, we begin by highlighting the return of cities to the realm of international politics to a degree not seen since the ancient days of the city-state. Among the drivers of the renewed importance of cities are the increasing urbanization of the globe, the horizontalization of power brought by digitization, and climate change itself, as it perfectly represents the idea of local action with global impact. After providing some canonic definitions of city diplomacy, we examine its goals: globalisation of the local economy, increasing influence in international organizations, and differentiation through cultural and identity branding. Second, we explain why climate change policy and city diplomacy align well: global warming mitigation is ripe for multilateral, not traditional bilateral, diplomacy. Cities can easily scale up local innovations through benchmarking, and can ground their legitimacy in accountability and effectiveness. The global reach of city action is achieved through the creation of multiple networks, while the success of their initiatives depends on the leadership of global city mayors who increasingly have enjoyed global political status. Finally, we conclude by restating climate change as an ideal policy area for the generation of theory about city diplomacy. Climate action by coordinated networks of urban centres might actually be the only hope for citizens whose national leaders are paralyzed by the pressures of their respective electorates, who in times of uncertainty might prefer autocracy to liberalism, security over innovation, and fearful reaction over bold action.

Theorizing City Diplomacy City diplomacy is a classic object of study in international relations, as cities are the most durable institutions built by human societies. Academic books mention legendary Venice, Istanbul, London or Hamburg as primary examples. However, the Westphalian system consolidated the state-centric analysis as the unique macro-political unit of interest (Buzan & Little, 2000). According to this school of thought, the ‘state’ would

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be the only actor who can limit anarchy, impose security, develop and execute foreign policy. Cities have been sidelined, to the point that international relations scholars have understood legitimacy, authority and capacity solely through state-lenses. Political science ignored cities until 1970s. Castells (1977) and Harvey (1973) underscored how cities contributed to the Industrial Revolution, leveraging capital, transforming urban planning and renovating mobility. Friedman (1986) and Sassen (1991) coined terms such as ‘world cities’ and ‘global cities’ to explain how London, New York, Frankfurt or Tokyo articulated the process of globalisation. These cities were best suited to contend with a global economy and de-regulated industries (banking, insurance, finance) than national economies. Arguably, the global economy could be conceived as a network of cities instead of states. Digital media technologies have increased inequality between global cities and the rest of the world because intensive service require capital and human concentration. The more connected to the global networks, the more power, better employment, and services for the city. A network analysis performed by the think-tank Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) revealed that the global economy is the result of networked cities acting as nodes of power and resources (Taylor, 2012). Curtis and Acuto (2018, p. 3) underline the digital transformation as a key event in the emergence of new forms of international relations practices: The advent of new digital information and communication technologies also facilitated this process of reorganizing global production. This heralded the creation of a new economic order in which the state retreated from many tasks of determining activity. It generated an economic governance gap that was filled by private firms operating from the central business districts of cities such as New York, Hong Kong or London, which became increasingly densely connected transnational hubs of economic decision-making capabilities.

The redistribution of economic power, detached from traditional political authority, defies state-based analysis. New political phenomena need new theorisation. Curtis (2011, p. 24) explains that this epistemological transformation affects the basis of international relations: “Any transformation of the international system would require a form of agency that overcomes the structural effects of anarchy that realists have long argued

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must inevitably shape both the form of units and their behavior”. Owen (2015, pp. 209–210) emphasizes that digital technologies as a central tenet of political agency: “states as the primary unit of the international system are being challenged for both power and legitimacy by a wide range of new individuals, groups, and ad hoc networks, all empowered by digital technology”. Discussing the role of cities is important because current globalization trends are likely to expand the incoherence of an International Relations theory mainly devoted to the state and its problems. Following Owen (2015, p. 14), a new world economic and political order would be “enabling non-traditional international actors to take on and in some important ways replace the capacity of states and large institutions in ways that are both filled with opportunity but also fundamentally destabilizing to the established international order”.

Drivers of the City Diplomacy Revolution The first global trend to consider is world urbanization. About 60% of population lives in urban settings, and 25% in global cities or corridors like Manchester-Milan, Great Istanbul, Lagos, Osaka or Shanghai. Latin America is the most urban region in the planet, as close to 80% of the people live in a city, and 60% of those cities have about one million inhabitants. By 2035, about 4.3 billion people will live in cities in emerging economies. Examples include urban centers like Shanghai, Beijing, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Shenzhen, Bangalore, Jakarta, Manila, Rio de Janeiro, Dhaka, Lagos, Kinshasa, Cairo or Abidjan, according to United Nations (2020) population projections. Cities’ economies represent about 70% of global GDP, consume 60% of the world’s energy, and cause 70% of emissions and global waste. Urbanization will affect productivity and economic growth, as well as other basic needs such as infrastructure, housing, public health, and jobs. In a comparative perspective, cities in Latin America and Africa are more fragmented than European and American ones. Access to infrastructure and economic resources generates opportunities, but also new structural inequalities (Lall, Henderson, & Venables, 2017). Poor and informal settlements near the city challenge water management, electricity distribution, and waste management, just to name a few elements of sustainability.

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The second driver is the radical transformation of power, posing the question of who owns the capacity to advance their ideas and interests. Current environmental issues cannot be solved without cooperation, and most of them (e.g. public health, natural disasters, migration) are now chronic issues. The state is no longer efficient at commanding complexity, as global challenges need global answers. Cities may be more effective than states, as a lower scale favours political efficiency. In addition, the absence of military capabilities makes collaboration easier. As Mezzetti and Ayuso (2016, p. 38) note: Popular participation is key to integrated urban development. Formal and informal participation processes to elaborate guiding principles and pilot experiences have been put into practice with the active involvement of municipalities, citizens’ associations, third sector and other social actors in a multi-stakeholder approach in policy development. New approaches to local government interventions attempt to be preventive by anticipating future problems and creating resilient societies. They are also less bureaucratic and more community action-based in order to co-produce goods and services with different social groups and the private sector.

Urban settings tend to be a source of political power as social movements and activist networks align domestic and international demands. In a variable geometry, activism offers different patterns of communication, shaping a sense of global citizenship in local settings. What is local is immediately global, as shown by protest movements (#OccupyWallStreet, #Yosoy132, #15M), feminist demonstrations (#MeToo), and other transnational social movements. Transnational protests develop low-cost communication strategies using social media platforms and popup celebrities to effect the dominant discourse. This is what Carroll and Hackett (2006, p. 88) consider ‘media activism’, involving “culture jamming, media monitoring, [and] internet activism”. Melucci (1989) claims that symbols are more relevant than the protest itself, as all activism is a mediated activism. Social movements share interests, values and beliefs that transcend geographical boundaries. The redefinition of power needs a global governance approach, including the state, but also cities, citizens, and markets. Mendoza and Vernis (2008, p. 389) coined the term ‘relational state’ to define the renewed role of the state and its functions:

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Public administrations cannot escape the changes experienced at both local and global level by civil society and business organizations. Indeed, the modernization, growth and transformation of non-profits and social movements in interaction with the media are bringing about new challenges for governments and corporations around the world.

Diplomacy and statecraft face similar transformations. Traditional diplomacy is under pressure. According to Owen (2015, p. 157), “when the bounds of diplomacy are extended into influencing not just states but also digital actors, then they overlap fundamentally with other foreign policy programs and objectives (...) if the state can’t effectively act diplomatically in the digital space, then what does this tell us about the contemporary relevance of diplomacy itself?”. Under these circumstances, the growing gap between politics, political issues and power explains why cities’ strategies shape international relations. The third driver is climate change, as a key element to understand the current interplay between the international, transnational and multilateral categories. Often regarded as a global condition, climate change is a very local affair. Environmental issues affect public policies such as water management, energy supply, urban planning, infrastructure investment and health, to name just a few. Gordon and Friedmann (2018) stress that because cities are at the frontlines of climate changes they “need to incorporate climate risk considerations into local planning decisions every time they consider an investment in infrastructure, real estate, or other long-term, place-based assets”. Hybrid multilateralism accompanying urban governance “denotes a bottom-up climate policy architecture that combines voluntary pledging by states with an international transparency framework for periodic review and ratcheting-up of ambition, in which non-state actors play important roles as implementers, experts and watchdogs” (Bäckstrand, Kuyper, Linnér, & Lövbrand, 2017, p. 574). Because of these three major changes, the outlook of international politics is uncertain. International politics has become increasingly more convoluted, characterized by the absence of a sole hegemonic power (Boulton et al., 2015; Keohane & Victor, 2011). Complexity is evident in the greater number of actors, the dispersion of authority, the diversity of issues on the international agenda and the lack of a universal legal corpus that could overcome the liberal model (Ikenberry, 2011; Mearsheimer, 2019). The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable

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Development must face environmental risk reduction, conflict management, peace-keeping, nation-building, blockchain and financial transactions, bio-politics, refugee protection, and cyber-security. Political change is slow, non-hierarchal and non-linear, while the effects of technological changes tend to be immediate and global. In our view, cities are the ideal response to plurality and diversity in international politics, a sort of complementary ‘middle power’ to preserve rules, free trade and commerce, to open spaces and enlarge political rights in the post-liberal world order (Duncombe & Dunne, 2018; Paris, 2019; Rachman, 2018). The city may be deemed as the most significant actor in dealing with major global crises. Against the politics of uncertainty, cities are polities that can deliver real policies. Benjamin Barber (2013, 2017) envisaged an effective mayors’ parliament aimed at the promotion of local democracy, reinterpreting sovereignty to face climate change, a strategic area in need of effective cooperation that could not be found in international politics. The city is the unit of measure for innovation in public policies and statecraft, including diplomacy. Cities influence global issues, e.g. infrastructure inequalities, peoples’ mobility, digital technologies, tourism, public health and the fight against climate change, to indicate the most obvious areas of development. This represents a qualitative leap for global cities in their ability to shape international politics. In an uncertain landscape, it is increasingly certain that cities will be part of the future organisation of international politics (Schragger, 2016).

Defining City Diplomacy City diplomacy has multiplied its activities because it has a broader agenda of interests and because it lacks real power in terms of embassies, consulates, intelligence officers and other diplomatic practices. The lack of hard power gives cities more flexibility in the design and execution of global activities. Cities have expanded their diplomatic strategies towards new objectives. The traditional catalogue of communication and culture has been extended to actions around economic priorities (place branding, destination for entrepreneurs), strategic partnerships, and politics (leadership for climate change or refugee protection). The definition of city diplomacy is open to new developments and less regulated by diplomatic tradition and law. Cities, metropolitan areas

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or regions are innovating in theory, practice, institutions, communication strategies, and any other areas of international activity. In one of the pioneering works on the topic, van der Pluijm and Melissen (2007, p. 6) defined city diplomacy as “the institutions and processes by which cities engage in relations with actors on an international political stage with the aim of representing themselves and their interest to one another”. They categorized city diplomacy into six dimensions: security, development, economy, culture, networks and representation. Curtis and Acuto (2018, p. 1) note that cities engage in foreign policy when there is a “formal strategy in dealing with other governmental and nongovernmental actors on an international stage”. Surmacz (2018, p. 9) defines the communicative power of city diplomacy as “the process of representation and communication through which cities establish and foster their mutual relations, advance their own interest, try to exert influence on the conduct of other international actors (states, international organizations and non-state actors, e.g. corporations) and look for opportunities to solve problems of the international character”. Bjola and Kornprobst (2013, p. 246) argue that city diplomacy “involves the engagement of cities with other actors in the international sphere through a variety of processes and institutions to further local interests”. These broad definitions confirm the adaptability of city diplomacy: it is flexible in formats and processes, and opens avenues for participation other than the ‘state’. Business actors, local communities, universities, R&D labs, and other non-state actors contribute to the outcomes of city diplomacy. Such an approach deems city diplomacy outcomes as the aggregate of products or services offered to increase the value of global issues effectively involved in city governance. The value of city diplomacy fits with the management of reputation in international politics. Wang and Amiri (2019, p. 1) argue that “at the heart of realizing a city’s influence and impact on the world stage is crafting an effective global engagement strategy”. As such, the reputational outcomes tend to be most relevant. Given this approach, city diplomacy deploys three main objectives. First, is the promotion of local industry and the internationalization of its economy. We find initiatives dedicated to attracting investment and companies, place branding, the protection of gastronomy, and tourism of experiences or traditions. The territories compete in the economic field in a unique global corporate model, where about 30 cities are a magnet for global companies, according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (Taylor, 2012). High-tech, neurobiology,

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patents, semiconductors, insurance and finance services are concentrated in large cities. The spatial concentration increases urban scaling capturing complex activities in a limited number of cities or conurbations (Balland et al., 2020). Core British cities (Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield) compete globally to attract business. Boston, New York, Toronto, Paris or Barcelona engage in a contest over attracting MBA students, a clear indicator of how dynamic a city is (Bofarull, 2017). The ‘start-up nation’ discourse is now not based on national communities and states, but on geographical hubs. City networks contend with Silicon Valley to offer better conditions for high-tech companies. In the global sports industry, hosting the Olympic Games has become a yardstick to measure a city’s influence. The expected conclusion is that economic statecraft tools are part of city diplomacy. A second set of objectives of city diplomacy focuses on influence and representation in international organizations, which typically constitute the parameter of political power. According to Surmacz (2018, p. 9), city diplomacy contributes to the double process of multi-level governance and multi-layered diplomacy. The range and scope of topics is diverse: climate change, culture or health promotion are usual issues. Examples abound. After the 2016 Brexit referendum, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, asked for a special consideration in the EU and requested an “associate citizenship of the EU for Londoners who want to live and work in Europe” (Banks, 2020). The New York City Police Department has anti-terrorist officers in 11 European cities (Nussbaum, 2010). At the EU level, fifteen cities have a ‘diplomatic office’ at Brussels to lobby and promote the European message abroad (La Porte, 2013); further, there are three “Moscow Houses”, independent of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is a significant opportunity to face problems by individual actions or within a collective coalition (C40, United Cities and Local Governments). Third, culture and identity are objectives of city diplomacy as well. There are many examples: commemoration events, linguistic immersion for foreigners, architectural memorials, natural landscapes and cultural festivals. It is worth highlighting the politics of memory aimed at uniting cultures and peoples not necessarily identified with the state. For example, historical affairs are part of nationalist and populist projects in Europe (Catalonia, Hungary or Poland) or the US (Californian cities eliminating Columbus Day) whereby the official narratives underline only one side of

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the story. A growing area of activity includes the intersection of feminism and cities (Cosgrave, 2019) along with the gender approach to international politics (Nordberg, 2015). Global culture (e.g. Netflix, HBO) creates products that are territory-based, as the latest Game of Thrones tour or the Gomorra sites-visit-tour shows. In these instances, culture has been successfully monetized. However, at this point, it is necessary to caution against rankings and other marketing approaches to city diplomacy. In that regard, we argue that place branding should be a domain under the responsibility of public policy-makers, not under public relations or marketing strategists. The symbolic and rhetorical value of the city can mark the political agenda, because it offers tangible solutions that transform peoples’ lives. For example, the campaigning against accommodation platforms and the touristification of city destinations has been organized through networks which take urban spaces back to citizens, under the generic ‘right to the city’ (Harvey, 2008) and the ‘cities against gentrification’ slogan (Rolnik, 2019). Indeed, this approach is linked to the political economy of cities, and the emergence of social movements as policy makers, as opposed to city officials. The ‘right to the city’ principle advances a new narrative of urban democracy, more direct and grounded on grassroots politics. In international politics, it means the delivery of policy goals and the creation of a global-city voice to influence decisions. Communication strategies include lobbying, advocacy, trust-confidence narratives, social media, personal branding, mayors’ leadership, place branding and events (Fig. 3.1).

City Diplomacy and Climate Change Climate change is transforming international relations research and practice, including global climate governance (Falkner, 2016). According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), national and regional governments, NGOs and advocacy actors, business and industries, cities and individuals should partner in the transition to sustainable future. Non-state dynamics drive the transition to zero emissions and best practices in public action, given the inability of traditional states to deliver an international plan to mitigate climate change. The state alone is unable to complete the Kyoto Agreement pathway (Hoffmann, 2011). Climate mitigation or the adaptation management is not a manifestation

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Middle power Reconstructing the liberal order

Communication Strategies reputation, influence, trust

Outcome oriented, no procedural or legal bases open institutions and practices

Fig. 3.1 The pillars of city diplomacy

of hard power or competitive advantage, but an open space for participation and contribution to relevant initiatives. With sustainability agenda in mind, cities need planning, public purchases, transport, waste management or water administration; regions and businesses act jointly together, mobilizing resources, implementing decisions and delivering services. City and sub-national innovations can be scaled up to national policies. For example, sub-national leadership has become more important under the Trump Presidency, as federal environmental policies are rolling back away from the Paris Climate Agreement. In exchange, local and US State initiatives are offering bottom-up solutions to global climate challenges (Arroyo, 2019). Climate change is a distinguished area for the best practice of multilateral diplomacy, given the range of state, institutions, non-state and social movements focusing on this international issue. Within it, city diplomacy goes beyond the traditional international regime, promoting access and representation in the climate change issue via deliberative and participatory mechanisms. The difference lies in the expanded architecture. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

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(UNFCCC), cities and other non-state actors participate and implement national policies in a more organized manner, despite the internal division or contradictory proposals to mitigate climate change. According to Bäckstrand et al. (2017, p. 567) “the Paris Agreement has led to a system that institutionalizes hybrid multilateralism: it strikes a middle position between bottom-up polycentricity and top-down targets and timetables by combining intergovernmental and transnational actions”. The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action leaves footprints in the coordination system and contributes to the transparency process and bottom-up action. Accountability and trust are key performance indicators to the process, combining voluntary actions and nationally determined contributions (NDC). Both can be reviewed and monitored using climate data analytics available to almost anyone using different standards, certificates and badges (Abbott, 2012). Hale (2018) identifies three types of city diplomacy activities classified in individual actions headed by governments or business initiatives: 1) collective actions organized by networks such as C40 or the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, ICLEI; 2) cooperative initiatives based on finance, information exchange, and 3) technical capacity building or other measures like the Clean Air Coalition. The variety of activities is enormous. According to data provided by the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA), currently 9378 cities, 126 regions, 2483 companies, 363 investors, 118 civil society organizations and 84 cooperative initiatives are committed to action on climate change mitigation. The data provision is based on the collaboration between UN Climate Change and partners like The Climate Group, Investors on Climate Change, the UN Global Compact and Global Covenant of Mayors. Launched in 2014, the number of participants in NAZCA shows the growing impact of climate change on public agendas. During the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP), up to 8000 observers were accredited as non-state participants (Lövbrand, Hjerpe, & Linnér, 2017), a growing number continued at the UN Climate Conferences in Marrakesh (2016) or Bonn (2017). Cities deserve a seat in the climate issues, as they are seen as drivers to success, institutionalizing agreements held at United Nations conferences (Acuto, 2016). The hybrid climate diplomacy poses the city in the middle of the international relations transformation. Bäckstrand et al. (2017) identify three issues in the analysis of the hybridization: authority, legitimacy and effectiveness. In terms of authority, the city links the national political decisions

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to everyday life, exposing the consequences of acting to mitigate warming and emissions. The city lacks international normative power, but it is the key actor to deliver an innovating response in the rules and standards. Cities lead the implementation responsibilities, including all the elements in the urban agenda: human settlements, air pollution, poverty, access to energy, sustainable cities, water management, greening public transportation and other local frontline decisions. This approach confirms the city as the unit of innovation in public policies, connecting local visions to global consensus. As climate change is a cross-cutting issue, local innovation involves a new type of governance. Climate and connected urban agendas become an example of such intersecting public policy, advancing a new type of foreign policy-making. City legitimacy rests on input information coming from public management and procurement. Most of the data provided by companies, non-state and social movements is based on urban spaces, including data on the reduction of consumption and waste. In practice, most of the nationally determined contributions (NDC) are those aggregated of city services data. By aggregation, transparent local data improve national policies. In September 2018, Helsinki became the first city in Europe to submit its own Voluntary Local Review to the UN, reporting on its degree of compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. The experience was useful to develop Finnish policies (City of Helsinki, 2019). This political legitimacy connects to multilateral diplomacy, as social communities contribute to the implementation of the NAZCA list of activities. Legitimacy is derived from political processes, as social movements analyze city behaviour and its choices (Hadden, 2015). Data delivery facilitates the implementation of public decisions and increases mayors’ office responsibilities (Cohen, Orr, & Simet, 2016). In addition, neighbours and local associations control how the municipalities integrate climate-minded actions in transport, water management or waste policies. The added value comes from the process, not just from the results. During the policy review, new audiences are engaged, expanding policy learning and extending the benefits of climate change mitigation (Portney & Berry, 2010). The third point to consider is the effectiveness of political decisions. State decisions create normative power, in line with the Paris Agreement and other multilateral policy regimes and practices. However, the real commitment is a profound local issue (Global Taskforce, 2019). Infrastructure investments, mobility, or the effects of extreme heat waves need a municipal answer (Knieling, 2016).

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Local effectiveness is also a consequence of coordinating activities, investments and decisions in networks of influence. At the European level, cities create and engage in different conferences and associations. For example, the “EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy” or the “Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy” are committed to renewing the energy system, sharing annual data and information about the CO2 emission by each city. Under the United Nations system, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2017) underlines the role of the resilient city as a core actor in reducing risks and increasing urban capacities.

Networks of Influence Networked cities have been a tool in public diplomacy for decades. Twin cities and the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments created an ecosystem of non-official public institutions. Lövbrand et al. (2017, p. 581) categorise these arrangements as ‘distributed responsibility’. City diplomacy reacts to the logic of the urban networks, distributed by themes, affinities and issues. Acuto and Rayner (2016, p. 1150) define city networks as “formalized organizations with cities as their main members and characterized by reciprocal and established patterns of communication, policy-making and exchange”. It seems there is no need for more networks, but to coordinate these and other partnerships to focus-oriented goals. Sustainable development goals may be the key step, as stated by Pipa (2019, p. 5) to “linking local plans and progress to a global agenda has proven to be valuable and compelling to constituents, stakeholders, and potential partners”. The value of networks, instead of official institutions and procedures, lies in the casual conversation. According to Pipa (ibid., p. 5), the city representatives are “excited to have an informal space to share best practices, challenges, and innovations. They experienced great value in learning from on another directly, as practitioners and policymakers from a city-specific perspective”. Arguably, by joining global goals or at least national diplomacy, city diplomacy may increase capacities and open new financing opportunities. The Better Business, Better World report (2017) indicates that Sustainable Development Goals will create at least US$12 trillion in business opportunities around city-related economic systems: food, energy, materials, and health (Business and Sustainable Development Commission, 2017). Likewise, it is a porous activity for private participation and initiative.

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The BMW Foundation or the Rockefeller Foundation support responsible public leadership initiatives. Most of them represent diplomacy based more on historical or cultural links rather than global issues. However, with the process of European integration, the growing funds devoted to regional and metropolitan issues increased the number and the quality of international cities and regions acting in the so-called “Brussels environment”. Eurocities, MedCities, Polis or Platforma are initiatives to share knowledge and best practices. In Latin America, the Federación Latinoamericana de Ciudades, Municipios y Asociaciones, FLACMA (1981) and Mercociudades (1986) were less influential in their arena. The United Cities and Local Governments organization (2004) embody a global network of cities. These examples mirror the insight by Acuto and Rayner (2016, p. 1147) stating that “cities are out there in world politics, lobbying, linking, planning and cooperating; and they are doing all this, often, in formalized groups – city networks”. According to Fernández de Losada (2019) the emergence of city networks has two consequences. First, cities are integrated in the international system, including multilateral organizations. The state is not the only intermediary in international politics. Different alliances such as the Global Parliament of Mayors, the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, CityNet or C40 pursue goals using public diplomacy strategies, promoting grassroots political or fundraising activities. The climate change momentum at COP21 Paris contributed to the standardisation of the role of cities by sharing information related to climate change. The Compact of Mayors offers “collective actions through standardized measurement of emissions and climate risk, and consistent, public reporting of their efforts” (C40 Cities, 2019). 500 mayors signed the pledge to reduce global urban emissions. The Compact is complementary to the European Covenant of Mayors, which includes 7400 cities. The second consequence is the diversity of partners, goals and financing methods. In the past ten years, private operators, partners and actors have been involved in city diplomacy. C40, financed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and 100 Resilient Cities, by the Rockefeller Foundation, have established new models of influence in the global arena through local public policies. These networks are geared towards specific goals, many of them focusing on climate and environmental issues. The environmental politics represent 29% of the activity (Acuto & Rayner, 2016, p. 1153).

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The data show that 30% of climate actions were delivered as a collaborative process with other cities, not only states or private business (Global Parliament of Mayors, 2016).

Communicating Success and Local Actions In terms of public diplomacy, success means the capacity to influence the global agenda by cities, to capture investment and finance to improve the city, and to empower citizens’ initiatives for the ‘common good’. The success comes from the combination of social movements’ participation in decision-making, the increasing involvement of private operators, the scaling capacity to national level policies and reputational outcomes and benefits. The plurality of actors and techniques creates opportunities for targeted messages. However, the key to success in public diplomacy is the mayoral leadership of global issues. Addressing climate change offers mayors the chance to become world political leaders, transforming urban affairs into international politics. Local projects, aligned with global environmental policies, may be used to gain international recognition. Hughes (2017, pp. 368– 369) points out that “successful mayoral climate change agendas may be determined more by the potential and strategies for collaboration than on the use of formal powers”. Leffel and Acuto (2017, p. 11) consider these activities as “diplomatic or quasi-diplomatic” because “city leaders in the past three decades have increasingly identified with the global community, claiming political authority in foreign affairs with growing frequency”. Their participation in networks and meetings improves global governance. The Global Parliament of Mayors expresses this local approach to global issues. Large cities discuss avoiding partisanship, looking for common solutions to shared problems (urban settlements, poverty, mobility, public health etc.). City public diplomacy based on the mayors’ charisma may foster tensions with national governments. Boris Johnson, Sadiq Khan, Yury Luzhkov, Anne Hidalgo, Manuela Carmena, Bill de Blasio, Antanas Mockus, Mauricio Macri, Rudolph Giuliani or Michael Bloomberg are leaders who scale their city politics internationally, not taking stock of ‘national interest’. Some recent political examples may contribute to understanding this point. For instance, Sao Paulo organized a culture and arts festival promoting cultural products and services that was vetoed by President Bolsonaro for spreading the message of a city that wants to be seen as open to new cultural trends. The Verão sem Censura was

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a cultural space, not a legal tool to oppose the national government in Brasil. In Eastern Europe, mayors of Prague, Budapest, Warsaw and Bratislava created the Visegrad League, an urban alliance to fight the antiEU populism extolled by their respective national governments. In Spain, the Madrid City Hall received Juan Guaidó as the President in charge of Venezuela, while the national government avoided such recognition to reduce the risk of diplomatic tensions. In these three cases, mayors deployed communication strategies to impact the international political agenda, compelling national governments to react. Whether cities succeed or not in their public diplomacy efforts depends on political traditions. The first example illustrating the significance of tradition in public diplomacy is the reaction against the President Trump’s decision of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement in 2017. On 5th June, 2017 dozens of American institutions, without the federal government, signed “America’s Pledge: We Are Still In”, forming a coalition of cities, states, universities, business, companies, investors, and private citizens interested in maintaining the Paris Agreement goals. This group of sub-national leaders is committed to pursuing “ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the US remains a global leader in reducing emissions” (We Are Still In, 2017). Leffel (2018, p. 4) explains this dynamic in the following way: “instead of communicating national government policies abroad, per the traditional public diplomacy role of subnational actors, in this case local leaders are communicating the policy ambitions of the national society, or a large portion of it”. Second, in their public diplomacy efforts, cities encourage public transportation and the use of clean energy to send a message abroad. Local actions are scalable to national policies, and therefore to the international arena. Under the C40, Mexico DF values the return on investment in about 65 million dollars (México DF, C40 and Novo Nordisk). In Barcelona, for example, the city centre is now a ‘low emissions zone’ where cycling and zero-emission buses are promoted. Keeping away private cars is a real political decision, not just another form of city branding. The local experiments can be effectively executed and reported on. The proverbial saying ‘nations talk, cities act’ rightly encapsulates this point. From a business perspective, the urban networks committed to climate change open the door to a de-carbonized economy. The C40 coalition is delivering 14,000 actions involving private actors, which means that

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the new economic model needs scale to invest and to abandon the fossil fuel model. Climate mitigation and economic adaption to a transformative action need public and private partnerships, including the scale economies coming from collaboration among cities. The papers Climate Action in Megacities 2.0 (C40, 2014) and Powering Climate Action (C40, 2015) account for the more effective and transformative results. The added value of business activities comes from providing solutions to wider audiences: it is not just an ‘eco’ label, but a product or service adapted to sustainability norms. Under the UN 2030 Agenda, companies use the 12th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG12), Responsible Consumption and Production‚ to explore circular economies, extending assets’ life-cycles and source streams, reducing urban waste and increasing recycling rates. Promoting building green infrastructure will be crucial to ensure a climate responsible city. The private sector, despite its own business agenda, can be part of the diplomatic dialogue as an interlocutor in diverse fields: transferring knowledge, discussing regulatory standards, persuading investors, or financing public soft-power efforts through reputational creativity. In advancing the sustainability agenda, companies and business are some sort of back-channel drivers of resources for city diplomacy.

Conclusion City diplomacy is here to stay, and it is likely to reshape our understanding of public diplomacy theory and practice. While scholars working in realist tradition would question the impact of cities on international politics, their state-centric approach is less useful to our understanding of the current trends in globalization, when complex environmental issues like climate change need an open set of tools to offer an effective response. City diplomacy is of great relevance here, as cities are innovation units, which explore new public policies to recover trust in democracy and political institutions. Cities have the chance of improving the quality and scope of global governance, renewing the liberal order. There are still unresolved issues surrounding the ways in which to study cities as a unit of analysis, while acknowledging contradictory urban trends. Since 2004, megacities, urban regions or middle cities share space at the United Cities and Local Governments organization. However, the new networks, especially those devoted to climate and sustainability, are more exclusive and designed only for big cities and urban regions, not for other geo-political entities. Big cities are likely to be well represented

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and their lobbying activity might influence international organizations and national governments. Their public diplomacy provides new modes of governance, but at the cost of ignoring middle and small cities. That is a structural inequality worth considering. Coll (2015, p. 55) eloquently summarizes the diplomatic significance of cities: Cities are more practical than ideological. Proximity to citizens make cities more aware about their problems and needs, which is a key feature for engaging citizens in political matters that directly affect their lives. Furthermore, cooperation amongst city networks favors the decentralization of decision-making and political power away from capital cities. This increases the role and influence of secondary and peripheral cities, which enrich the political processes of problem solving with new perspectives, concerns and solutions that are close and inclusive to more citizens.

Cities contribute to the reduction of uncertainty too. Faced with the changing perception of the risks associated with climate change (intensity, complexity of effects, recurrence of meteorological phenomena), the city allows a ‘focus system’ approach that connects different elements of public policies, including international relations, and the production of scientific knowledge. Experience and governance can contribute to more sustainable public policies at local and international levels. At the international level, city networks provide formal yet flexible channels for communication between political leaders, representatives of civil societies and other communities. Therein lies its added value, which consists in the ability to articulate plural rationales for tackling complex and ongoing issues such as climate change. This exploratory chapter shows how city diplomacy expands the use of public diplomacy through formal and informal networks of influence. Cities can become highly influential in the new global order by taking a lead in seemingly grey areas like climate change, where states’ capacity is less relevant in terms of public policy execution. Municipal and non-national actors around the globe explore how to coordinate their strategies in international politics, sometimes separate from, sometimes aligning their policies with policies of their respective national governments. On the one hand, most cities act as counterparts to national governments. On the other hand, mayors appear as a growing authority legitimized by local effectiveness and their confidence boosted by civic activism and ties to communities.

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Finally, communicating climate change is open to creativity and innovation. Current trends in climate diplomacy avoid securitization, encourage political participation as well as public and private initiatives around city demands. The first steps in climate city diplomacy are more about media strategies than about international law, and yet they are affecting the everyday life of millions of people in global perspective. The role of global cities in climate change mitigation is likely to be one of the main public diplomacy challenges in the years to come. Acknowledgements The writing of this chapter was supported by a research grant from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (Project title ‘DiploCity’, Grant Reference No. RTI2018-096733-B-I00).

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Melucci, A. (1989). Nomads of the present. Hutchinson Radius. Mendoza, F., & Vernis, A. (2008). The changing role of governments and the emergence of the relational state. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 8(4), 389–396. Mezzetti, P., & Ayuso, A. (2016). Tackling inequality in cities through social innovation. In J. M. Coll (Ed.), Wise cities: A new paradigm for urban resilience, sustainability and well-being (pp. 37–46). CIDOB. Nordberg, J. (2015). Who’s afraid of a feminist foreign policy? The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/swedens-feminist-for eign-minister. Nussbaum, B. (2010). Globalizing and localizing counter-terrorism intelligencesharing. In E. Aydinli (Ed.), Emerging transnational (in)security governance: A statist-transnationalist approach (pp. 143–162). London: Routledge. Owen, T. (2015). Disruptive power: The crisis of the state in the digital age. Oxford University Press. Paris, R. (2019). Can middle powers save the liberal world order? Chatham House. Pipa, A. F. (2019). Shaping the global agenda to maximize city leadership on the SDGs: The experiences of vanguard cities. New York: Global Economy and Development at Brookings Institution. Portney, K. E., & Berry, J. M. (2010). Participation and the pursuit of sustainability in US cities. Urban Affairs Review, 46(1), 119–139. Rachman, G. (2018, May 28). Mid-sized powers must unite to preserve the world order. Financial Times. https://www.ft.com/content/546ca388625d-11e8-90c2-9563a0613e56. Rolnik, R. (2019). Urban warfare: Housing under the empire of finance. Verso. Sassen, S. (1991). The global city: New York, London, and Tokyo. Princeton University Press. Schragger, R. C. (2016). City power: Urban governance in a global age. New York: Oxford University Press. Surmacz, B. (2018). City diplomacy. Barometr Regionalny, 16(1), 7–18. Taylor, P. J. (2012). The challenge facing word city network analysis. GaWC Research Bulletin. https://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/rb/rb409.html. United Nations. (2020). World population prospects. https://population.un.org/ wpp/DataSources/. UNISDR. (2017). The ten essentials for making cities resilient. UNDRR. https://www.unisdr.org/campaign/resilientcities/toolkit/article/the-ten-ess entials-for-making-cities-resilient. Van der Pluijm, R., & Melissen, J. (2007). City diplomacy: The expanding role of cities in international politics. Netherlands Institute of International Relations.

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Wang, J., & Amiri, S. (2019). Building a robust capacity framework for U.S. city diplomacy. Los Angeles: USC Center on Public Diplomacy. We Are Still In. (2017). “We Are Still In” Declaration. https://www.wearestil lin.com/we-are-still-declaration.

CHAPTER 4

‘Rough Winds Do Shake the Darling Buds of May’: Theresa May, British Public Diplomacy and Reputational Security in the Era of Brexit Nicholas J. Cull

Introduction It is difficult to under-estimate the depth of the political crisis that broke in the UK in the summer of 2016. It was a crisis destined to shake both its country of origin and the regional bloc to which that country was

This chapter is informed by the author’s personal experience as a consultant to the FCO evaluating UK public diplomacy in the Baltic and Western Balkans during the May period. It draws on work done while a fellow of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University in the spring of 2019 and with the support of the Center for Communication Leadership at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. N. J. Cull (B) University of Southern California, Redondo Beach, CA, USA e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_4

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affiliated, and to add a new dimension of confusion to the global wave uncertainty. It began when, to the surprise of David Cameron the Prime Minister who called it, the referendum on the future of British membership of the European Union (the EU) delivered a narrow majority of votes in favour of the UK leaving. Commentators vied with each other to reach for an appropriate phrase to sum things up. ‘Brexit chaos’ and ‘Brexit meltdown’ were two of the favourites. The meltdown became literal when in October 2019 the Royal Mint was obliged to melt the entire run of commemorative 50p coins struck to mark the second leave date (Inman, 2019). Historical comparisons also accumulated. Many observers considered it the worst political crisis since World War II, though the parliamentary shenanigans of 2018 and 2019, with their arcane vocabulary of ‘proroguing’ and so forth, harked back to the great crises of the seventeenth century when, as every Briton should remember from school, heads were lost quite literally. The political boiled over into the personal. Families were divided. Tempers frayed and positions apparently taken quite lightly in June 2016 solidified into markers of personal identity. In August 2016 I was at a wedding which began with the officiant asking the congregation: “please silence all cell phones and do not discuss Brexit”. For Britons at home this was a horrible time when the nation had never felt so divided and many assumed that international interests in, and admiration for the UK would plummet. There were some negative indicators. As uncertainty multiplied, the currency tottered and businesses began to relocate to the continent. Yet the picture is more complex. The government of Theresa May, which formed in the wake of David Cameron’s post-referendum resignation, worked hard to show through its public diplomacy that the UK was more than Brexit. In two years of intense activity it both continued with positive work familiar from previous governments and initiated some new programming of its own. This chapter documents some of the story of British public diplomacy in the age of Brexit. It is necessarily a provisional sketch created without access to archives. Moreover, it will bypass the international soap opera that was the ebb and flow of the negotiation process with Brussels. Suffice it to say that there is much to be said about the mutual posturing, banter, and occasionally deft use of images on social media during the tussle between London and Brussels. Brexit opened profound questions over the future of the entire European project and stoked anger accordingly, not least in places most likely to be harmed by collateral damage, such as the Irish Republic. There is a whole story of online outrage, and debate.

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Someone certainly should document such impressive digital bulls’ eyes as the moment in September 2018 when the EU’s Donald Tusk posted a picture on Instagram of himself offering Theresa May a piece of cake at a reception. The caption read: ‘a piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries,’ which mockingly referenced both May’s attempts to ‘cherry pick’ benefits of EU membership in negotiation and Boris Johnson’s claim that Britain could both “have its cake and eat it” (Stone, 2018). But such things are beyond the scope of this piece. It focuses instead on the underlying currents of British public diplomacy; the initiatives that continually evolved or were initiated during May’s time in Downing Street. In the process it identifies general lessons for other public diplomacy actors operating beyond the unique circumstances of Brexit. It considers how the case of Brexit Britain feeds into a wider understanding of international reputation. The core approach in this chapter is a reading of the overt efforts of the British government to advance its foreign policy through engagement with foreign publics (known internationally as ‘public diplomacy’, even if the British bureaucracy was more likely to speak of its ‘strategic communications’). The chapter also invokes the concept of soft power— the idea that a country’s values and culture deliver tangible benefit in the international sphere—which was often referenced during the period and, indeed, acquired perhaps the ultimate accolade for a piece of terminology: a section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) named for and dedicated to its development. Moreover, I consider a newer concept that I have termed ‘reputational security’ (Cull, 2019). Reputational security seeks to go beyond the idea of soft power with its emphasis on the positive (and perception as an optional extra) to contend that an entire category of security rests on international image which might, if mishandled, open a state to serious vulnerabilities. Public diplomacy can help to protect reputational security by leveraging underlying soft power, but in truth long term reputational security rests not on saying the right thing or even doing the right thing but on actually being the right thing. Such underlying existential realities were certainly called into question by Brexit, and the danger rendered deeper by its context in a dangerous age for all international actors.

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The Foundation: British Public Diplomacy to 2016 When Theresa May entered Downing Street on 13 July 2016, her immediate assets in any attempt to maintain Britain’s international image included a well-developed apparatus of global public engagement. Perhaps because of the ebbing away of its ‘hard power’ leverage over the course of the twentieth century the UK had long since understood the need to make the most of its ‘soft power’ assets. Audits of these included the credible news in multiple languages offered by the BBC World Service; a range of admirable educational, cultural and artistic resources, including the English language, brought to the world stage by the seasoned structure of the British Council; a prominent role in international structures, including a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and a unique position within the Commonwealth of Nations historically associated with the British Empire. This long-established and inherently fertile landscape had in recent decades been consciously cultivated. The government of Tony Blair had looked for mechanisms to reposition the image of Britain in the international imagination. Its well-publicised flirtation with the concept of nation brands and branding—dubbed Cool Britannia by the media—had given way to sober investment in a coordinated approach to public diplomacy, including early attention to digital channels. Successes included an award-winning British contribution to the Shanghai Expo of 2010 and the bid to host the 2012 Olympics (won in 2005). Blair and his successor as Labour Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, both came to emphasize collaboration as an element of Britain’s place on the world stage. The four strategic objectives for their public diplomacy, which all elements were expected to serve, were counter radicalization, climate security, the knowledge economy and Britain as a reliable partner within the European Union (Pamment, 2016). One of the ironies of the era is that while Britain stressed its role in and the benefits of Europe externally, internally Blair noticeably played down the positive contribution of the EU to British life (unlike his opposite numbers in Ireland for example). Positives of the era were claimed by Downing Street and not passed up the line to Brussels. An opportunity to scotch the snake of Euroscepticism among those many Britons still on the fence regarding the issue was missed. One exception was an attempt by Blair’s first Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, to push back against what would now be called disinformation about Europe but was then known as ‘Euro-myths’. In 2000 he warned the

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press that their “fun” with such stories was contributing to a “betrayal” of Britain’s future in Europe (Guardian, 2000). His intervention now seems all too clear sighted, not least given the role of a young Daily Telegraph journalist named Boris Johnson in circulating them. ‘Fake news’, British Euroscepticism or, indeed, Boris Johnson were all to thrive in the years ahead. The Iraq War and global financial crisis of 2008 severely damaged the electoral fortunes of the Labour Party. The General Election of 2010 ended in a coalition government led by Conservative David Cameron. While public diplomacy continued in much the same vein, there was less emphasis on cooperation and rather more on the strength and distinctiveness of the UK. In 2011, an adviser within Downing Street devised a new spin of the concept of a brand campaign: a grand partnership between the government and leading businesses which would standardize the visual representation of the UK in key platforms and direct attention to a fixed number of British strengths (Surowiec & Long, 2020). Posters would read: ‘Heritage is GREAT Britain’; ‘Creativity is GREAT Britain’; ‘Music is GREAT Britain’ and so forth. The GREAT Campaign was born. It was launched in 2012 as a narrative to extend interest generated by the London Olympics and Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Initially diplomats were sceptical and disliked the bureaucracy required to incorporate the GREAT to fit events of local interest like a Bond film premiere, but in time they found it to be of value, allowing them to give a structure and shape to single piece of news. A British technological first or surprise win at the Oscars could be linked to ‘Creativity is GREAT’; a bilateral sporting fixture to ‘Sport is GREAT’ and so on. The edgiest of the GREAT pillars was the launch of ‘Love is GREAT’ by the partner organization, Visit Britain, which underlined the UK’s commitment to LGBTQ rights, and the welcome awaiting gay visitors. The tag became widely used by British embassies to endorse local Pride events (British Consulate General, 2016). While conceptually the emphasis of GREAT mitigated against international partnerships and collaboration, partnership continued regardless, if only because the problems of the twenty-first century were manifestly too complex for any one actor to tackle alone. The most complex public diplomacy problem of the Cameron era was the need to counter the rise of ISIS/DAESH in the Middle East. Here collaboration proved critical by early 2016 when the UK and its partners had organized an impressive counter-DAESH network linking London with a hub in the Middle East. While everyone knew that there was still

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much work to be done, the partners were delighted to see the tailing off in DAESH messaging and felt that they had a winning formula. If the network had been a new medication out to trial, all patients would have been moved off the placebo. However, the sense of a job on the way to completion in the Middle East was utterly confounded by the eruption or return of a diplomatic and communication challenge from Russia (Chugg, 2017). In retrospect the growing danger of Russian state activity should have been obvious. There was a decade of mounting disruption first to NGOs and then to cultural diplomacy outlets like the British Council. Media— most obviously the state international broadcasting news channel RT— shifted from boosting its home to undermining stable government in the rest of the world. Kremlin-backed international broadcast media did not simply present an alternative ‘truth’ as it had in the Cold War, rather it made an enemy of truth. It was as if they understood that an atmosphere of uncertainty alone would play to the Kremlin’s strong suit: the perceived strength of its leader: Vladimir Putin. Kremlin media did not merely set out to undermine individual elections; it made an enemy of the entire process of democracy. It jammed explosive commentary in as many cracks as it could locate in free societies around the world, lit the fuse and stood back (Pomerantsev, 2014, 2019). The denouement in the Kremlin’s new adventure came in 2014 with the crisis in Ukraine. The fusion of disinformation and kinetic deployment of troops whose origin was obscured drew forth a new term: ‘hybrid warfare’ (Hybrid Warfare, 2020). Britain, like its NATO and EU partners, was initially wrong-footed by the Ukraine crisis, but soon rallied behind a common strategy of reinforcing media and civil society in the frontline territories (especially through Russian language work). The strategy was still unproven as concern mounted over aggressive use of Kremlin media more widely. The disruption of discourse in a series of elections and referenda around the west attracted particular attention but, as the Lisa F. rape hoax in Germany in January 2015 showed, any potential source of social division could be exploited at any time (Meister, Meiser 2016). Brexit would be just one more political flashpoint. The division within British politics over the relationship between the UK and Europe had been an on-going irritant ever since Britain’s accession to the EEC in the 1970s, especially within the Conservative Party. Britain had no need of the Kremlin to circulate ‘fake news’ on the subject. Its own newspapers were notoriously flexible with the facts in

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their coverage of a Brussels which seemed perpetually plotting to insist on straight bananas or restrict Britain to small size condoms (European Commission in the UK, 1994). The pattern of posturing and exaggerated reporting ground on regardless. In 2013, under pressure from the rise of the UK Independence Party, David Cameron sought to buy off his party’s ‘Eurosceptic wing’ with a pledge to hold an ‘in or out’ referendum if elected in 2015. The referendum was scheduled for June 2016. The campaign was fought and to Cameron’s chagrin was narrowly won by the ‘leave campaign.’ Humiliated, he left office and the premiership passed to his erstwhile Home Secretary: Theresa May.

The Frame: Theresa May and Global Britain The Brexit vote presented Theresa May with a formidable challenge. While she herself had backed the ‘remain’ position, she saw it as essential that the narrow demonstration of the will of the people be honoured. It was not simply a matter of the will of the British people on Europe, but somehow second guessing a referendum would also open the question of the future of Scotland and its own narrow vote to remain within the UK in 2014. With the stakes high she began the tortuous process of negotiation. Against this background it was plainly necessary to demonstrate to the world that Brexit was a local issue. The UK would be leaving the European Union but it would remain committed to its wider security and commercial partnerships around the world, and might indeed be hoping to place greater emphasis on such links as the Commonwealth and the Anglo-American Special Relationship. The frame of reference for public diplomacy which she and her arch-Brexiteer Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson settled on to frame Britain’s future at home and abroad was Global Britain. The first major use of the phrase was in Boris Johnson’s policy speech to Chatham House on 6 December 2016, entitled ‘Beyond Brexit: A Global Britain.’ Johnson’s remarks emphasized Global Britain “can do good for the world and for itself” in “the projection of our values and our priorities” (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2016a). Theresa May developed the theme in the long speech on 17 January 2017, six months into the Brexit process and on the eve of her formal invocation of article 50 of the EU treaty, setting out her approach. She opened by framing the Brexit vote not as a retreat but an advance: a vote to “leave the European Union and embrace the world.” She continued:

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I want us to be a truly Global Britain – the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, and a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too. A country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.

Later in the speech she called for this ‘truly Global Britain’ to be: “A great global trading nation. And one of the firmest advocates of Free Trade anywhere in the world” and “one of the best places in the world for science and innovation”. UK would also remain a partner in security: “A Global Britain will continue to co-operate with its European partners in important areas such as crime, terrorism and foreign affairs.” Other major uses of the phrase included Johnson’s remarks at a British Chamber of Commerce conference in February 2017 noting that “a global Britain is a prosperous Britain” and pledging, in terms that sounded somewhat out of step with the times, that the post-Brexit Royal Navy would be capable of projecting its power beyond the straits of Molucca to protect free trade (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2017). Significantly the list of assets which Theresa May promised to bring to the Global Britain in her 17 January speech included “the most effective hard and soft power.” Hard power was of little use in such a bind but as the Brexit debacle unfolded it seemed a perfect case for the soft power tools of agenda setting and influencing global discussion through values and culture. The strategy seemed to make little headway in Brussels, though perhaps a less admired member would have been indulged even less, but evidence suggested that Britain continued to enjoy soft power among the wider world. The poll-based Anholt ‘Nation Brands Index’ reported that the UK was stable in 3rd place as it had been for some years. The more eclectically sourced ‘Portland Soft Power 30’ (which included indicators like Facebook posts in its mix) rated Britain even higher. The UK was rated 1st in 2015, 2nd in 2016, remained 2nd in 2017, but regained the 1st place in 2018 and in 2019, despite the so-called Brexit Chaos at home had still only eased back to the second spot (Portland, 2019). The message here was not that the Brexit disruption did not matter; it was that Brexit did not matter yet. International reputation, Simon Anholt has persuasively argued, is related both to deeds and to time. A positive reputation earned over many years is slow to adjust down. Components of the reputation like admiration for heritage, people, investment or exports might even be

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initially unaffected by a crisis in the perception of a nation’s politics. So it seemed for Britain. The May government looked to conserve its soft power assets. In 2017 the Campaigns and Engagement Department of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office became a more focused, retitled, Soft Power and Strategic Engagement Department. May’s government continued to work through the GREAT Campaign. In April 2017, when announcing its partnership with McLaren Formula One racing team, the campaign claimed it had brought “£2.7 billion of benefit to the UK economy to date, with a further £2.6 billion in the pipeline.” It also noticed that the brand was valued in excess of “£234 million” (Department for International Trade & Fox, 2017). The ‘Love is GREAT’ continued with UK embassies and consulates carrying the brand not only in US and Canada but further afield in Mexico and even Hanoi (Newsdesk, 2017). The brand reflected a genuine British commitment to the cause. In a similar vein, early in his tenure as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson relaxed regulations to again allow British posts to fly the rainbow flag on days associated with LGBT rights (Press Association, 2016).

The Defence: Britain’s Public Diplomacy Response to Russian Disinformation The talk of Global Britain was plainly aspirational; reassuring to an international ear but to some commentators at home it seemed absurd to speak of a British space programme. British public diplomacy could not deal only in reassurance. It also had to be responsive, most especially to the challenge of Russian disinformation. The scramble of the initial months following the Russian move against Ukraine stabilized by 2016 into a recognizable policy. The FCO outlined the approach as working on three ‘E’s—Expose, Enhance and Engage all of which required a coordinated effort of British public diplomacy resources (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2016b). The Expose portion relied on publicizing Russian and other falsehoods. Key projects included funding via the UK embassy in Kiev for a fact check website called StopFake that had been established by local media academics in 2014 (Stop Fake, 2019). The UK also contributed to the Digital Forensic Lab created at the Atlantic Council in Washington and supported the work of the EU’s counter disinformation unit (Atlantic Council, 2018; Digital Forensic Research Lab, 2019). Having helped to

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detect the disinformation, the next step was to ensure that publics were aware of its use. For this task the FCO’s Counter Disinformation and Media Development team worked with a number of non-governmental actors including the Scottish-based Integrity Initiative to re-post and engage with online commentary (Davis, 2019; Dunn, 2019). The Enhance portion focused on strengthening the media capacities of communities most likely to be targeted by Russian influence; most especially the Russian minorities in the Balkans and Ukraine, and Russian media audiences across former Soviet territory for whom the Russian language was still their link to the outside world. Projects included work to strengthen Russian language broadcasters like Hromadske TV in Kiev or ETV+ in Tallinn, or to train journalists through grants to the BBC’s development arm BBC Media Action. Beyond the Russian speaking world, the western Balkans attracted particular attention as an area for media development. In that region malign influence was not merely Russian. Turkey, certain Gulf states and even Iran were showing interest in the region’s media, while the existing governments were themselves masters of intervention in the media to their own advantage. Both Johnson and May were understood to be interested in the region: she had been drawn to its tragedies as Home Secretary; he had seen its agony at first had as a journalist in Sarajevo. Practical initiates which came out of their shared concern included a relaunch of the BBC’s Serbian language service in 2018 (BBC Media Center, 2018). The Engage portion looked to the wider context of the endangered societies and sought to build their resilience to the kind of disruption experienced by Ukraine in 2014 through investment in their civil society. Typical platforms of delivery included the British Council or the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. Projects included the development of young entrepreneurs from vulnerable communities such as the Russian speakers of Narva on the Estonian frontier. Other common objectives included educational work to increase media literacy and work to build positive citizen civic engagement, especially in the digital space (British Council, 2019; Conflict, Stability & Security Fund, 2016). This work was not unilateral. The most important projects, such as StopFake or Hromadske in Kiev had support from multiple donors and international actors. Regular partners included the German foundations, the Swedish agency SIDA and the OSCE. The Enhance component owed much to a report on the potential for developing Russian media created by the European Endowment for Democracy. The UK’s strategy was

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part of a collective effort. Britain needed Europe and vice versa. The struggle against disinformation was no place for Europe to demonstrate its irritation with the UK as was demonstrated in March 2018 when an outrageous act by the Russian government was met with an impressive show of solidarity from the international network around the UK. On 4 March 2018 a former Russian intelligence agent who had spied for the UK, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia were taken ill close to Skripal’s home in the picturesque west of England cathedral city of Salisbury. To the astonishment of emergency services attending to the victims, their symptoms pointed to an attack with a nerve agent. Scientists at the nearby facility of Porton Down identified the chemical with Novichok, a chemical weapon developed and exclusively used by Russia (Gardner, 2019). The UK government was confronted with the astonishing realization that agents of the Russian government had used a chemical weapon on a British street. There were so many other ways in which Skripal could have been paid back for his disloyalty to Russian intelligence: a knife on a dark street; a tweak to the car breaks; a poisoned pellet shot from an umbrella, like the one that killed Cold War broadcaster Georgi Markov back in 1981. But the chosen method was uniquely eloquent. It told other potential turncoats that the GRU would hunt them down. It made it quite clear that their families were at risk, and it also said loudly that the sovereignty of Britain in 2018—the silly little divided island—was no reason to show restraint. It took a few days for the British government to piece the full story together. By 12 March, May had sufficient evidence to declare in the House of Commons that she believed it was highly likely that Russia was behind the attack which she considered “a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil” (Asthana, Roth, Harding, & MacAskill, 2018). The affair was an ideal topic for Russian disinformation of the kind initiated in the wake of the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner MH-17, which is to say, to throw doubt on the know-ability of any aspect of the case. Nonetheless, in this instance the Foreign & Commonwealth Office was ready. At the FCO, the Counter Disinformation and Media Development team meticulously examined every tweet, broadcast and innuendo from Kremlin media and diplomatic outlets regarding the Skripals. They assembled the entire range of explanations and eventually announced that 38 separate explanations had been tendered each with its own perpetrator. The Kremlin blamed the UK; they blamed the US; they blamed Ukraine; they blamed Yulia Skripal’s mother—who apparently wanted her

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dead; they even suggested that the incident was a suicide gone wrong. The FCO’s tweets on the issue drew attention to the entire technicolour range of Russian government’s explanations, and neatly exposed the disinformation game. It made Kremlin-backed media look absurd. The FCO position was shared through the network of sympathetic ‘elves’ committed to restoring so semblance of truth online (Bjola, 2019; Harding, 2018). There was ample evidence that the strategy worked. Allied governments in the EU and beyond—including those of the US and Albania—joined the UK an unprecedented mass expulsion of Russian diplomatic personnel (BBC, 2018; Waterfield, 2018). Moreover, opinion polling revealed that outside of Russia itself the Kremlin’s version of events was largely dismissed (Folwell, 2018; Moscow Times, 2018; Smith, 2018). The ultimate evidence of the success of the FCO’s strategy came in the autumn of 2018 when the hacker group Anonymous published an extensive dump of documents from one of the partner organizations in counter disinformation communication: the Integrity Initiative. In the associated blog posts and gleeful RT coverage no opportunity was missed to cast a sinister light on all the organizations and personnel involved. Whitehall’s corrective was re-framed as the ‘The Expose Network’, an Orwellian tool of British disinformation (Davis, 2019; Dunn, 2019). The Kremlin pot was alleging that the FCO’s kettle was black, when it was transparently not a kettle, but a fire extinguisher and painted bright red. The UK news media were drawn into the story by the revelation that the Integrity Initiative had re-tweeted criticism of then the Leader of the Opposition, which, given their status as a recipient of the FCO funding, could be spun as the FCO intervention into British domestic politics of a kind (Landale, 2018). The storm blew over and the Integrity Initiative lived to tweet another day. The final element in the Skripal affair was a fourth component in the ‘Expose, Enhance and Engage’ strategy: Regulate. The surge of tendentious and unreliable reporting in the spring of 2018 on the Kremlin’s own channel within the UK—RT—laid it open to charges of breaching British broadcasting regulations. During late 2018 the official media watchdog OFCOM investigated RT’s output in the wake of the poisoning and found multiple breaches of UK broadcasting standards. In July 2019 OFCOM delivered its sanction: a £200,000 fine for ‘serious failures’ in its

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coverage of the Skripal affair including repeated abandonment of impartiality. RT did not lose its UK broadcasting license but plainly came close (Ofcom, 2018; Roth & Waterson, 2018).

The Advance: Jeremy Hunt and the Media Freedom Initiative It was no secret that Boris Johnson and Theresa May did not get along. In July 2018 the tension boiled over in a dispute over May’s terms for Brexit, and Johnson resigned from the cabinet. To replace him as Foreign Secretary May recruited her Health and Social Care minister, Jeremy Hunt. Hunt was an interesting choice and arrived with an eye for issues of image and soft power. He had taught English in Japan as part of the ‘Jet Programme’ and, after a spell in public relations, founded a company to assist students studying abroad. In politics he initially shadowed the Secretary for Media, Culture and Sport in opposition, and then took that role in Cameron’s coalition, managing the soft power success that was the 2012 Olympics among other responsibilities. In the autumn of 2012, Hunt moved to Health and Social Care, and his tenure was marked by series of high-profile disputes with the medical profession over issues as varied as contracts for young doctors to his potentially fatal advice that parents could check if their children had Meningitis by googling pictures of rashes. He arrived at the FCO eager to make his mark and keen to associate the UK with more than the Brexit that he now accepted but once had campaigned against. Hunt was aware of the impressive public diplomacy campaign which Cameron’s first Foreign Secretary, William Hague, had launched to combat sexual violence, which incorporated Angelina Jolie as its special envoy. He was eager to find a similar good cause and understood the value of Britain being seen to be engaged in the collective good for the world. He often spoke of his admiration for the anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce. Hunt (2019) said of Britain: “Our sense of national purpose has always been defined by more than self-interest” and continued “Britain at its best has followed a global vocation”. During the summer of 2018 Hunt fixed on the notion of what part of Britain’s new global vocation might be: a campaign to endorse media freedom around the world. Such a campaign fitted with the existing British governmental work to counter disinformation and to build free media, especially in areas like the former Soviet republics and the Western

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Balkans. His own campaign would be still further reaching. He was prepared to work at a global level which would necessarily set him at odds not only with the usual suspects—the governments of Russia and China— but also with some of Britain’s valued allies and defence partners. It was outrageous that Bahrein could jail so many journalists and still be courted to buy British weapons. Initially his cabinet colleagues were skeptical of such a move. However, the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October 2018 by agents of his own government, in abuse of diplomatic privilege, in their consulate in Istanbul, convinced the naysayers that the time had come to act. On 1 November Hunt (2018) formally launched his media freedom initiative with an article in the London Evening Standard. Internationally, the key launch event was his speech at the Africa Union in Addis Ababa to mark World Press Freedom Day on 2 May 2019 (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2019a). The centerpiece of the UK’s Media Freedom initiative was the world’s first Global Conference on Media Freedom held in London on 10 and 11 July 2019. Hunt served as co-chair alongside the Canadian foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland. The agenda was broad and included not only issues of protection of journalists but the longer-term question of media sustainability. Of course, the conference covered the ubiquitous question of the moment, “building trust in media and countering disinformation” (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2019c). The conference linked to an associated Commonwealth Foreign Ministers summit on the topic and included side events focused on independent media and youth. Media education was well represented and Hunt won applause by pledging £600,000 to support the training of journalists around the world. Coverage in London noted that while over 1000 people had gathered for the event, representatives of RT and Sputnik were not invited (Agence France-Presse, 2019). The other major point of interest was that Amal Clooney—human rights lawyer and wife of movie star George Clooney—had agreed to serve as the special envoy of the campaign. Amal Clooney made an especial splash when she pointed out that US President Donald Trump and his rhetoric demonizing journalists was part of the world’s media freedom problem (Waterson, 2019). The Media Freedom Initiative would not spare blushes. The conference was plainly an excellent start though some soon raised doubts. A report issued in September 2019 by Parliament’s own allparty Foreign Affairs Select Committee questioned Hunt’s hope that moral pressure alone would shame the world’s oppressors to act and also

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wondered about the wisdom of spending more than half of the £4,5 million project budget on the kick-off conference. The biggest threat to the campaign however seemed to be the departure of Hunt from the Foreign Office. In the spring of 2019 when Theresa May linked her latest Brexit proposal to a pledge that she would step down as Prime Minister and Party Leader, Hunt put himself forward to be her replacement. He survived to the final run-off but his party chose Boris Johnson as leader. Johnson, for his part, passed the Foreign Secretary role to Dominic Raab (House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, 2019). The fears of the parliamentary select committee were premature. The Media Freedom initiative lived on into Dominic Raab’s era at the FCO. Notably Amal Clooney and Lord Ahmad raised the issue in presentations at the UN General Assembly that autumn (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 2019b). Moreover, the FCO and the Global Affairs Canada made effective use the hashtag #defendmediafreedom. UNESCO tweeted material under the tag. The social media around the campaign was mixed. It did not help that the UK courts had recently jailed one of the world’s best-known (if controversial) advocates for free media—Julian Assange— for breach of the Bail Act when seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Some charged the UK with hypocrisy and its government with complicity with the Trump’s administration. The #defendmediafreedom hashtag was regularly used by the #freeassange campaign. More tangible activity included the launch of a Media Freedom Coalition. Its executive committee met for the first time in December 2019 in Canada House, London to plan the 2020 iteration of the Media Freedom Conference in Canada, with an impressive range of national and civil society partners (High Commission of Canada in the UK, 2019).

The Watershed: Public Diplomacy and British Reputational Security In the midst of the Brexit crisis the May government plainly thought calmly and objectively about the best way to secure a future for the UK. Their approach accepted the special contribution that the soft power of the UK’s positive international reputation made to Britain’s security. In March 2018 a new National Security Capability Review unveiled what it dubbed the Fusion Doctrine for British security policy, which placed an explicit emphasis on integrating communication, diplomacy, social policy and soft power into British foreign policy. Fully one third of the pie

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denoting Britain’s security stance was now devoted to these ‘influence’ elements (Cabinet Office, 2018). The shift from the Blair-era vocabulary of ‘public diplomacy’ to a Cameron-era use of the term ‘strategic communications’ by the FCO had seemed to carry within a plea that issues of public engagement and image be understood and components of defence. The May-era embrace of the Fusion Doctrine suggested that the point had been taken. The government’s senior professional communicator, Alex Aiken (2018), the Executive Director for Government Communications, put it: “This means strategic communications are to be considered with the same seriousness as financial or military options.” Aiken’s own response to the doctrine included the launch of a Rapid Response Unit (RRU) within the Cabinet office to respond swiftly to disinformation at home (Aiken, 2019). The integrated strategy suggested that for some policy makers at least, the concept of soft power had evolved. The operating doctrine now implicitly looked like a bid to secure what the present writer has termed reputational security (Cull, 2019). Yet for all the investment of the May era it was obvious that the UK was not reputationally secure as of 2019. The Global Britain strategy with its stirring rhetoric from May and Johnson about the UK embracing a global future was not necessarily borne out by the national discourse. Antiimmigrant feeling had clearly been a factor in the Brexit vote but this was not simply a function of EU migration rules; there was manifest hostility towards Commonwealth migrants also, especially those of Muslim origin. Furthermore, the ‘leave’ campaign had traded on restoring a past—‘take BACK control’—rather than embracing the future. Some of the same media which had been mainstays of anti-EU reporting slipped easily into attacks on examples of work towards Global Britain. One especially disruptive example surfaced in late 2016. The Daily Mail noticed an interesting British government programme in Ethiopia to promote women’s empowerment (a public diplomacy goal in step with the agenda of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals) by helping musicians with those messages embedded in their output. The musicians—a group called Yegna—happened to be young, female and black. The outraged story practically wrote itself: tax payer money wasted on ‘Ethiopian Spice Girls’ when it could have gone to help our pensioners (Riley-Smith, 2016). The resulting furore led to a tightening of budgeting procedures within the FCO, restricting the definition of projects that could be funded from the Overseas Development Aid (ODA) budget and limiting freedom of action at exactly the wrong time.

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There were of course reputational risks within the logic of Brexit. Portland and other observers consistently noted that much of Britain’s soft power flowed from its excellent higher educational institutions, but British universities pointed out that their research required partnerships and European funding that would no longer be available. Britain was risking at least one of the geese that lay golden eggs. Other liabilities included the ferocity of the Brexit debate within the UK which flew in the face of Britain’s traditional reputation for tolerance. More than this, there was, by the end of 2019, a cloud over the future of another mainstay of British soft power: the BBC. During his leadership campaign, abortive attempt to force Brexit in the autumn and General Election battle, Boris Johnson had made no secret of his irritation with BBC news coverage. One of his first acts on winning the election was to promise the BBC what amounted to payback, including undercutting their funding by ending criminal prosecution of those who neglected to pay for their TV licenses (Taylor & Waterson, 2019). Finally, the Brexit process had reopened underlying issues of national unity. Scotland had voted to remain within the EU and the affirmation of the Scottish National Party during the General Election of December 2019 meant that Johnson would immediately be subject to demands for a repeat of the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. Similarly, Northern Ireland had voted to remain in the EU in 2016. The negotiation process with Brussels had deepened this conviction. The issue of the return of a hard border with Ireland seemed like a political football and the threat of a return to the ‘troubles’ of the Twentieth Century too lightly brushed aside. As evidence of this, the 2019 election delivered a majority of members of parliament from the parties committed to uniting the province with the Irish Republic. As if Irish reunification and Scottish independence were not enough, even Wales, which voted to leave the EU in 2016, was leaning to remain by 2019. Johnson faced the real possibility of a much smaller Union. It would be difficult to trumpet a ‘GREAT Britain’ made only of England and Wales. Going forward, therefore, Prime Minister Johnson had a range of resources to build his post-Brexit Global Britain, but multiple risks as well. It is hard to imagine that the image of Britain will not adjust downwards in the process.

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Four Lessons of the Brexit Crisis What then are the implications for other international actors from British public diplomacy during the Brexit crisis? Doubtless the initial point to avoid an unpredictable referendum in the first place has long since been well noted. But how can the British example help other countries to protect or even build their own reputational security? The first lesson, as so often in public diplomacy is to listen. Nations cannot defend their reputations unless they understand the shape and extent of them. Reputations are built of many factors. The analyst and adviser Simon Anholt, whose approach was an important part of the Blair years, focused on five: people, culture and heritage, exports, investment and immigration and politics and policy (Anholt & Hildreth, 2005). In its initial phase a political crisis like Brexit generally affects only the political perception of the state. It is what happens next that is critical. International publics are forgiving of an unfortunate election but may be less tolerant of a re-election. Similarly, if the Brexit process grinds on too long it could start to change the perception of the UK as a sound investment destination or of British people as level-headed good team players. One hope for Britain (and an explanation of the extent to which its image has remained buoyant) may be that the behaviour on display during the crisis is consistent with, or already included in the existing negative perceptions which foreign publics allow for in the British character. It is an odd feature of reputation that prominent nations, like family members, can be liked despite their faults. The US reputation incorporates knowledge of mass shootings, Wall Street sharp practice and occasional political extremes. Brand USA is only truly violated when values of law and justice are compromised. The German reputation predicts efficiency and excellence in engineering, and even errors in German history such as the Hitler period are mistakenly seen as affirming the pattern of efficiency. Brexit was born of the strident ‘Little Englander’ whose home is his castle, who knows his rights and for whom Churchill’s stand ‘alone’ against continental tyranny was a consummation devoutly to be wished for rather than an accident of war. If that character is already known and forgiven internationally, Britain may not be headed for reputational collapse. The second lesson could be summed up as keep paying the rent. International reputations are built over time but a multiplicity of relevant positive actions are preserved by continuing to deliver those relevant positive actions. Britain must ensure that its heritage—including its Royal

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Family—its education, its entertainment, its innovations are all maintained. This was done during the Brexit crisis. There was no tailing off in British representation at events like the Venice Biennale or the Astana Expo of 2017. Brexit notwithstanding, Britain has a terrific national pavilion planned for Expo 2020 in Dubai and can expect a reputational windfall from the fact that British architects won the commissions for several other prestige buildings on the fair ground. It was important that Britain made clear that it intends to contribute to the collective global good even as it withdraws from Europe: hence the significance of Jeremy Hunt’s Media Freedom campaign. The third lesson is to prepare. This point could apply to any crisis. The time to prepare one’s crisis diplomacy is not the day the crisis breaks but rather in the months and years leading up to it. Brexit Britain benefited from its network of connections forged long before the referendum, and benefited during the crisis from forging new connections to address the specific issue of disinformation. The skillful management of disinformation during the Skripal affair did not happen by chance. It took planning and careful investment and network building; it required trust in the credibility of Britain’s voice built over time and decisive action when the crisis broke. The final lesson is to keep moving forward. It is notable that Britain remained in motion throughout the crisis. The British government continued its the effort to perfect its internal and external apparatus of communication regardless of the political maelstrom at the centre. The May period saw hard work on government communication doctrine; the launch of the Government Communication Service’s Rapid Response Unit and the new National Security Capability Review with its innovative Fusion Doctrine. Time was well spent.

Conclusion The title of this chapter is taken from Shakespeare’s famous 18th sonnet (‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’) and is intended as a pun on multiple levels beyond the Prime Minister’s surname. Theresa May and her team succeeded in producing a number of ‘darling buds’: encouraging initiatives which promised not only to maintain Britain’s positive reputation but to move it forward and actively do good in the world, such as the Counter Disinformation and Media Development initiatives and Jeremy Hunt’s Media Freedom campaign. Yet these promising signs were

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consistently prey to the ‘rough winds’ of domestic politics and of challenges from overseas like the Skripal affair. Shakespeare continues, “And summer’s lease hath all too short a date”. It proved to be so for May. Her failure to persuade Parliament to endorse her Brexit deal precipitated her resignation in July 2019. The associated leadership contest brought an end to Hunt’s work and left the future of his personal initiatives in doubt. While Johnson was unable to bounce the UK directly into Brexit on 31 October 2019 as he initially pledged, he was able to rally both his party and the leave voters across the nation to win an impressive victory at the General Election of 12 December 2019, giving him the mandate in parliament to ‘Get Brexit Done’ in early 2020. The UK left the European Union at 11 pm London time on 31 January 2020. The use of Shakespeare is also an allusion to the soft power cultural resources that remain for Britain regardless of the ‘rough winds’. As indices like the Anholt Ipsos ‘Nation Brand Index’ or ‘Portland Soft Power 20’ reveal, international admiration for Britain is rooted on more than the moment. And yet future governments should be careful. International reputations accumulate over time and are hard to shake, but they also require maintenance. Poets may tell their beloved that their beauty will endure “So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see”, but Prime Ministers need to understand that nations need to pay rent on their positive image, and domestic disputes will in time corrode international reputation. Britain may have weathered the Brexit debate with its reputation largely unscathed but it needs to ensure that the next steps, the management of Brexit disruption; the rebuilding of domestic and international relationships and such difficult ongoing issues as the future of Scotland and Northern Ireland are handled in such a way as to preserve and develop what, for the time being, the world sees as admirable in Britain. Going forward, documenting the resilience or decay of Britain’s image across the complex terrain of global publics and the impact of that story on the UK’s reputational security promises a worthy challenge for scholars of public diplomacy.

References Agence France-Presse. (2019, July 8). Russia’s RT and Sputnik barred from conference on media freedom. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian. com/uk-news/2019/jul/09/russia-rt-sputnik-barred-conference-media-fre edom.

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Aiken, A. (2018, June 12). Disinformation is a continuing threat to our values and our democracy. Government Communication Service Blog. https://www. gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/disinformation/. Aiken, A. (2019, July 19). Alex Aiken introduces the rapid response unit. Government Communication Service. https://gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/news/ alex-aiken-introduces-the-rapid-response-unit/. Anholt, S., & Hildreth, J. (2005). Brand America. Cyan. Asthana, A., Roth, A., Harding, L., & MacAskill, E. (2018, March 13). Russian spy poisoning. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/ 2018/mar/12/russia-highly-likely-to-be-behind-poisoning-of-spy-says-the resa-may/. Atlantic Council. (2018). 2017–2018 annual report. EU Agenda. https://eua genda.eu/upload/publications/untitled-146348-ea.pdf. BBC. (2018, March 26). Spy poisoning: Russian diplomats expelled across US and Europe. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-435 45565. BBC Media Action. (2018, March). Annual report & accounts 2017/18. BBC. http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/mediaaction/annualreports/2017-2018.pdf. BBC Media Centre. (2018, March). BBC News Serbian digital service goes live. BBC. https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2018/bbcnews-serbian-digital-service-goes-live. Bjola, C. (2019, March 8). The ‘dark side’ of digital diplomacy: Countering disinformation and propaganda. Diplomatic Ruminations from Oxford. http://www.cbjola.com/single-post/2019/03/08/The-%E2%80%98DarkSide%E2%80%99-of-Digital-Diplomacy-Countering-Disinformation-and-Pro paganda. British Consulate General. (2016, June 9). Love is GREAT Britain: A welcoming country for all. PR Newswire. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ love-is-great-britain-a-welcoming-country-for-all-300282523.html/. British Council. (2019). Superheroes. British Council Estonia. https://www.britis hcouncil.ee/en/programmes/society/superheroes/. Cabinet Office. (2018). National security capability review. HM Government. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/upl oads/attachment_data/file/705347/6.4391_CO_National-Security-Review_ web.pdf. Chugg, D. (2017, December 20). Winning the strategic communications war with Daesh. Civil Service Quarterly. https://quarterly.blog.gov.uk/2017/12/20/ winning-the-strategic-communications-war-with-daesh/. Conflict, Stability & Security Fund. (2016). CCSF programme summary: Counter disinformation and media development. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/conflict-stability-and-

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security-fund-programme-summaries-for-eastern-europe-central-asia-and-wes tern-balkans-2018-to-2019. Cull, N. J. (2019). Public diplomacy: Foundations for global engagement in the digital age. Polity. Dunn, B. (2019, March 25). Cyber Guerilla releases Integrity Initiative leaks detailing the UK’s use of international espionage unit referred to as the EXPOSE Network. Rogue Media Labs. https://roguemedia.co/2019/03/ 25/cyberguerrilla-releases-integrity-initiative-leaks-part-7-detailing-the-uksuse-of-international-espionage-unit-referred-to-as-the-expose-network/. Davis, I. (2019, December 3). EXPOSE Network and the open information partnership. In This Together: The Disillusioned Blogger. https://www.inthis-together.com/expose-network-and-the-open-information-partnership-par t-1/. Digital Forensic Research Lab. (2019). About us. Digital Sherlocks. https:// www.digitalsherlocks.org/about/. Department for International Trade & Fox, L. (2017). GREAT Britain campaign partners with McLaren for 2017 . GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/ government/news/great-britain-campaign-partners-with-mclaren-for-2017. European Commission in the UK. (1994, October 19). EU to push for standard condom size. European Commission Euro-Myths. https://blogs.ec.eur opa.eu/ECintheUK/eu-to-push-for-standard-condom-size/. Folwell, A. (2018, June 14). UK’s response to Skripal poisoning was ‘proportionate,’ according to UK Opinion Formers. YouGov. https://yougov.co.uk/ topics/politics/articles-reports/2018/06/14/uks-response-skripal-poison ing-was-proportionate-a. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. (2016a). Beyond Brexit: A global Britain. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/spe eches/beyond-brexit-a-global-britain. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. (2016b). Russian language media: Promoting plurality, balance and accessibility. Wilton Park. Foreign & Commonwealth Office & Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. https:// www.wiltonpark.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/WP1493-Programme.pdf. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. (2017, February 28). Foreign Secretary speech at the British Chamber of Commerce. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/gov ernment/speeches/foreign-secretary-speech-at-the-british-chamber-of-com merce. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. (2019a, May 2). Foreign Secretary sets out his vision to improve media freedom around the world. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/foreign-secretarysets-out-his-vision-to-improve-media-freedom-around-the-world/. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. (2019b). Protecting media freedom around the world: Lord Ahmad’s UNGA 2019 statement. Foreign & Commonwealth

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Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/we-need-every-countryto-recognise-that-attacks-on-media-freedom-are-beyond-the-pale/. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. (2019c). Global conference for media freedom, London 2019: Agenda. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov. uk/government/publications/global-conference-for-media-freedom-london2019-agenda/. Gardner, F. (2019, June 13). Porton Down: What’s inside the UK’s top secret laboratory. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48540653. GuardianStaff. (2000, November 13). Cook warns against EU scare stories. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/nov/13/eu.politics. Harding, L. (2018, May 3). ‘Deny, distract and blame:’ How Russia fights propaganda war. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/ may/03/russia-propaganda-war-skripal-poisoning-embassy-london. High Commission of Canada in the UK. (2019, December 11). The inaugural meeting of the Media Freedom Coalition’s Executive Group took place today at #CanadaHouse [Tweet]. https://www.twitter.com/CanadianUK/status/120 4781250290077696/. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. (2019). “Media freedom is under attack”: The FCO’s defence of an endangered liberty. https://public ations.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmfaff/1920/1920.pdf. Hunt, J. (2018, November 1). Jeremy Hunt: Britain champions free speech, so we’re leading the war on fake news. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/britain-champions-free-speechso-were-leading-the-war-on-fake-news-article-by-jeremy-hunt. Hunt, J. (2019, May 14). Lord Mayor’s Banquet 2019: Foreign Secretary’s speech. Foreign & Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/ speeches/lord-mayors-banquet-2019-foreign-secretarys-speech. Hybrid Warfare. (2020, January 29). NATO multimedia library. http://www. natolibguides.info/hybridwarfare/home/. Inman, P. (2019, October 29). Brexit meltdown: 50p coins with 31 October date to be recycled. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ 2019/oct/29/brexit-meltdown-50p-coins-with-31-october-date-to-be-rec ycled. Landale, J. (2018, December 10). Russia-linked hack ‘bid to discredit’ UK antidisinformation campaign—Foreign office. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/news/ uk-46509956. Meister, S. (2016, July 25). The “Lisa Case”: Germany as a target of Russian disinformation. NATO Review. https://www.nato.int/docu/review/articles/ 2016/07/25/the-lisa-case-germany-as-a-target-of-russian-disinformation/ index.html. Moscow Times. (2018, October 25). Only 3% of Russians believe Moscow was behind skripal attack, poll says. The Moscow Times. https://www.themoscow

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times.com/2018/10/25/only-3-percent-russians-believe-moscow-was-beh ind-skripal-attack-poll-says-a63297. Newsdesk. (2017, June 2). Love is GREAT Britain: UK government’s largest participation in pride activities in the Americas. Out News Global. http://outnewsglobal.com/love-great-britain-uk-governmentslargest-participation-pride-activities-americas/. Ofcom. (2018, December 20). In breach/not in breach. Ofcom Broadcast and on Demand Bulletin. 369, 1–190. Pamment, J. (2016). British public diplomacy and soft power: Diplomatic influence and the digital revolution. Palgrave. Pomerantsev, P. (2014). Nothing is true and everything is possible: The surreal heart of the new Russia. Public Affairs. Pomerantsev, P. (2019). This is not propaganda: Adventures in the war against reality. Faber & Faber. Portland. (2019). United Kingdom: Soft power. The Soft Power 30. https://sof tpower30.com/country/united-kingdom/. Press Association. (2016, August 5). Boris Johnson lifts ban on UK embassies flying gay pride rainbow flag. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/ politics/2016/aug/05/boris-johnson-lifts-ban-on-uk-embassies-flying-gaypride-rainbow-flag. Riley-Smith, B. (2016, December 19). “Ethiopian Spice Girls” given £5m in British foreign aid despite previous outcry. The Telegraph. https://www.tel egraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/19/ethiopian-spice-girls-given-5m-british-for eign-aid-despite-previous/. Roth, A., & Waterson, J. (2018, December 21). Russian media regulator to investigate BBC’s operations. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/ media/2018/dec/21/media-regulator-in-russia-to-check-legality-of-bbc-ope rations. Smith, M. (2018, April 3). Eurotrack: Europeans overwhelmingly suspect Russia was behind the Salisbury poisoning. YouGov. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/ politics/articles-reports/2018/04/03/eurotrack-europeans-overwhelminglysuspect-russia. Surowiec, P., & Long, P. (2020). Hybridity and soft power statecraft: The ‘GREAT’ campaign. Diplomacy & Statecraft, 31(1), 168–195. Stone, J. (2018, September 21). EU President mocks Theresa May on Instagram. The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ brexit-theresa-may-donald-tusk-salzburg-cake-mocks-joke-eu-instagram-che rrypicking-a8548136.html. Stop Fake. (2019). StopFake: Struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine. https://www.stopfake.org/en/about-us/.

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Taylor, M., & Waterson, J. (2019, December 15). Boris Johnson threatens BBC with two-pronged attack. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/ media/2019/dec/15/boris-johnson-threatens-bbc-with-two-pronged-attack. Waterfield, B. (2018, March 24). Skripal attack: May rallies 20 European nations top expel Putin’s diplomats. The Times. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ skripal-attack-may-rallies-20-european-nations-top-expel-putin-s-diplomatssb93kgl8d. Waterson, J. (2019, July 10). Trump’s rhetoric ‘makes journalists vulnerable to abuse,’ says Amal Clooney. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/ media/2019/jul/10/trumps-rhetoric-makes-journalists-vulnerable-to-abusesays-amal-clooney.

PART II

Regime Shifts, Institutional Uncertainty and Public Diplomacy

CHAPTER 5

Public Diplomacy in the Age of ‘Post-reality’ Ilan Manor and Corneliu Bjola

Introduction In September of 2016 the British Magazine The Economist coined the term ‘post-truth politics’. Reflecting on the Presidential campaign of Donald Trump, the results of the Brexit referendum, and the rise of authoritarianism and populism in Turkey and Poland, The Economist (2016) argued that politicians had abandoned facts in favour of blatant lies. The Economist thus traced global uncertainty to the decline of truth, or the loss of respect for truth, in national and international politics. Yet this chapter argues that national and global uncertainty is actually driven by states’ and diplomats’ assault on reality. Indeed, the age of ‘postreality’ is characterized by states fracturing, contesting and assaulting reality. The driving force behind ‘post-reality’ is digitalization through which states create a world of competing realities which erode social cohesion, amplify social tensions, drive social frustration and prevent individuals from making sense of the world around them. These all increase feelings of uncertainty at both the local and global levels. We argue that

I. Manor (B) · C. Bjola University of Oxford, Oxford, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_5

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to contend with the emergence of ‘post-reality’, diplomats must practice a proactive form of public diplomacy which employs digital platforms to expose falsehoods, undermine the credibility of certain spokespersons, debunk fictitious statements and respond to skewed media reports. This chapter begins by demonstrating how digitalization has increased states’ ability to fracture, contest and assault reality. Next, we identify a set of tactics that diplomats may use to practice proactive public diplomacy on digital platforms. Finally, we discuss why proactive public diplomacy must target both local and foreign populations while employing compelling narratives.

The Age of Post-Reality One of the main drivers of uncertainty is the emergence of a hetero-polar and digitally connected world. A hetero-polar world is one which breeds confrontation as states adopt expansionist foreign policies. These policies lead to frequent and complex crises in which the number of actors involved multiplies. For instance, the Syrian civil war has seen US and Saudi-backed forces combat those of Bashar Assad, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. This conflict ‘therefore’ affects the interest of the US, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon and Iran while its outcome will have an immediate effect on additional states in the region including US allies such as Jordan, Israel and Egypt. Importantly, in a hetero-polar world, local crises send global ripple effects while global tensions manifest themselves locally. For example, the Crimean crisis was a local manifestation of growing tensions between Russia, the US and NATO given Russia’s attempts to limit Western interventions in its immediate sphere of influence (Burke-White, 2014; Freedman, 2014). As part of their expansionist foreign policies, some states have weaponized digital platforms. These can be used to target citizens of foreign states and fracture, contest or assault reality. Digitalization, by design, fractures reality as some people learn about the world through Twitter, while others turn to Facebook or YouTube. Each of these platforms is managed by algorithms which tailor a user’s online experiences to his/her interests, political affiliation, artistic taste, sexual orientation and more (Bauman & Lyon, 2013; Lupton, 2014). Thus, one user may search the word ‘Egypt’ on Google and receive news describing protests against the Mubarak regime. Another Google user may view articles describing Egyptian protestors as malcontents while still a third may receive a list of

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exclusive hotels in Cairo. Similarly, Twitter users following US diplomats may come to believe that Daesh has been defeated while those following Daesh accounts may come to believe that it is still a flourishing state. As such, digitalization tends to fracture reality into millions of personalized atoms, while one’s perception of reality is no longer shaped by what one knows, but by who one follows online. Yet some states and diplomats have taken advantage of this fractured reality in order to obtain foreign policy goals. For instance, during the 2016 US Presidential campaign, Russia used Facebook to target American users and expose them to ads that corresponded with their worldviews. African American users were exposed to videos and websites depicting white violence and police brutality against the black community. These videos sought to increase social frustration while possibly suppressing African American votes for Hillary Clinton. Conservative Facebook users were exposed to ads depicting US borders as vulnerable in the face of waves of illegal immigrants. These ads were meant to drive support for Donald Trump. In all these cases, Russia used Facebook’s fractured reality to tailor messages to users’ political orientation while, in the process, fuelling social tensions and driving societal wedges (Manor, 2019; Timberg & Romm, 2018). In total, 216 million Americans were exposed to at least one Russian ad during the 2016 elections in an offensive that cost Russia a total of $46,000 (US Senate Hearings, 2017). Russia has also been highly active in Europe, seeking to amplify social tensions in various states or, situations of intense political polarization, such as during the Catalonian separatist vote (Bjola & Pamment, 2016; Emmott, 2017). What is most disturbing about the Russian campaign is that no one knew that Americans were being targeted by a foreign government. The fracturing of reality and driving of social tensions can thus take place in the shadows, far from the eyes of government officials, journalists and diplomats. However, Russia has also used social media to contest reality. During the 2016 Brexit referendum, Russian Bots (or automated software meant to mimic human behaviour) published thousands of tweets in support of Brexit. These contested the reality in the UK by leading local Twitter users to believe that Brexit had gained wide public support. Yet Russia’s contestation of reality is also evident on more official channels that lay in plain sight. According to Russian digital diplomacy channels, it was Ukraine that was behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter

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in March 2018. According to British diplomats, Russia was behind this attack. Similarly, according to Russian, Syrian and Iranian digital diplomacy channels, Aleppo has been freed from terrorists while according to British channels it has been reduced to rubble. It is now a city populated solely by the remains of the dead. The differences between Russian and Western digital diplomacy channels demonstrate how reality is contested in the digital world. During times of crises, this contestation leads governments to vie over the attention of digital publics while exposing them to one possible reality. During the Crimean crisis, both Russia and the US sought to interact with Ukrainian digital publics. Throughout the Syrian Civil War, Israel, Iran and Russia vied for the attention of Arab social media users (Manor, 2019). Effectively, the digital world is one of competing realities and, as such, it cannot be fathomed by its inhabitants’ resulting in feelings of uncertainty and social tensions. Recently, states have also taken to assaulting reality. Disturbingly, the use of digital tools and digital platforms to assault reality is no longer uniquely ‘Russian’. Other states such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, North Korea and China have all used digital platforms to assault reality by spreading falsehoods, conspiracy theories and lies (Bradshaw & Howard, 2019). This has been achieved by using Bots, fictitious social media accounts or creating fake news sites. Iran, for instance, has created false Facebook accounts that targeted US citizens and sought to influence their perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Tercatin, 2019). Russia has created false news sites which have spread conspiracy theories throughout the Baltic States, Ukraine and the US. These have often depicted alleged violence against Russian minorities in Eastern Europe including the raping of women, the crucifixion of children and the poisoning of water wells (NATO Stratcom, 2015). The assault on reality also takes place on official digital channels. Russia has taken to depicting Lithuania as a failed state which glorifies its ‘Nazi’ past’ (private communication, Lithuanian MFA). The Iranian foreign minister has employed Twitter to allege that foreign states have sponsored internal protests (Zarif, 2019) while Saudi Arabia has used Twitter to frame, or depict its war in Yemen as a humanitarian intervention as opposed to a humanitarian tragedy (Image 5.1). To summarize, ‘post-reality’ is characterized by states’ use of digital platforms to target citizens of foreign states while fracturing, contesting and assaulting reality. These all drive feelings of uncertainty while also

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Image 5.1 Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian intervention (Source Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Twitter [2019])

exasperating societal tensions. At times, these activities take place far from the public’s eyes through the use of bots or fake news sites. Other times, these activities take place on official digital diplomacy channels. States’ use of official digital channels to fracture reality demands a response from diplomats. In the age of ‘post-reality’, public diplomacy no longer simply means communicating with foreign populations and creating relationships. This is because the digital battlefield is one in

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which a state’s image can be tarnished with falsities limiting its ability to foster relationships. Similarly, reality can be subverted rendering a state’s messaging irrelevant while digital foes can target specific audiences exposing these publics to lies and fabrications. The low cost and growing use of digital manipulations suggests that public diplomacy now includes proactively countering the nefarious digital activities of other states by ensuring that one’s public is not exposed to lies and conspiracy theories; responding to attacks on a state’s image and countering attempts to depict multiple realities. Some states have already begun to practice this form of proactive public diplomacy. For instance, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has established a big data unit tasked with identifying bots and disabling them. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has established a coding unit tasked with creating algorithms that may identify Facebook posts that spread conspiracy theories and calls for violence against Jews (Manor, 2019). However, many MFAs and embassies may lack the resources necessary to write code or track malicious software. Therefore, this chapter introduces five tactics for proactive public diplomacy which may be practiced by smaller digital units and individual diplomats. Notably, each tactic aims to address one of the challenges of ‘postreality’. The tactic of Debunking can be used to prevent contestations of reality. When following these tactics, one state exposes the falsities published online by another state. The second tactic of Setting the Record Straight aims to tackle the fracturing of reality by ensuring that news organizations present followers with accurate information. Indeed, while some digital publics learn about the world through Facebook and others through Twitter, news sites may still serve as a shared information source. The third tactic of Turning the Tables can help diplomats deal with the assault on reality and the spreading of conspiracy theories. In this tactic, humour and satire are used to expose the ridiculousness of conspiracy theories without alienating publics. The fourth tactic of Discrediting another actor also helps combat the contestation of reality as alternative realities are exposed as factious. Finally, the tactic of Disrupting seeks to disable the networks through which another actor disseminates conspiracy theories. We present these tactics in order of escalation. In other words, the first tactics are less likely to elicit a response from another state. The last tactics may not only elicit a response from a digital foe, but even lead

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to an escalation in political tensions. And yet, each tactic holds certain benefits which can help diplomats stem the influence of ‘post-reality’.

Tactics for Proactive Public Diplomacy Tactic #1: Debunking One of the main challenges facing diplomats in the digital age is the compression of time and space. Digital publics now expect to learn about global events as they occur. They have become accustomed to accessing information in real-time thanks to the work of bloggers and citizen journalists who report on events using their smartphone devices (Causey & Howard, 2013). This has given rise to what Philip Seib (2012) calls ‘RealTime Diplomacy’ or diplomats’ need to comment on, and narrate major events as they unfold on the ground. ‘Real-Time Diplomacy’ is also crucial in the age of ‘post-reality’. When official spokespersons, or world leaders, use digital platforms to spread falsities and conspiracy theories, diplomats must debunk these in nearreal time thus limiting their reach and preventing such lies from making headlines on official or independent news sites. Faced with an avalanche of misleading statements and ‘fake news’, journalists and the general public also require access to accurate information in order to make sense of the world and take reliable decisions. It is thus crucial that embassies and MFAs seek to correct, or debunk, false and misleading statements and to use factual evidence to protect themselves and their policies from deliberate and toxic distortions. One example of near-real time debunking occurred in February of 2016 when Presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a rally indicating that a migrant had committed a violent attack in Sweden. Trump linked this attack to Sweden’s lax immigration policies. In reality, no such attack took place. Trump defended himself by stating that he was quoting a Fox News segment on crime and immigration in Sweden (see Image 5.2). Within two hours, the Swedish embassy to the US also took to Twitter stating that it ‘looks forward to educating the US’ about Swedish policies (see Image 5.3). It is the language used by the Swedish embassy that demonstrates the relevance of this example. By offering to ‘educate’ the US it suggested that Trump was spreading false information. Also, the tweet linked Swedish immigration to integration policies, as opposed

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Image 5.2 Donald Trump tweets on immigration in Sweden (Source Donald Trump Personal Account, Twitter [2017])

Image 5.3 Swedish response to Donald Trump (Source Embassy of Sweden to the United States, Twitter [2017])

to linking immigration with crimes. By debunking Trump’s falsities in near-real time, the Swedish embassy in Washington was able to manage its national image in the US, prevent Trump’s allegations from making their way to mainstream media while also portraying Swedish policies in a positive light.

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Another example of near-real time debunking occurred in 2016 when Russia’s embassy to South Africa published a tweet depicting Christmas celebrations in the recently ‘liberated’ city of Aleppo. This was part of a Russian digital campaign that argued that Aleppo had been freed from fundamentalist terrorists. During that same month, the UK FCO negated the Russian campaign by sharing images of an Aleppo reduced to rubble (Image 5.4). The effectiveness of the FCO’s debunking stems from two elements. The first is the stark contrast between Russia’s depiction of Aleppo and the British one. The second is the FCO’s use of images. Social mediabased debunking should make use of images as these serve an evidentiary purpose. In modern society images ‘prove’ that an event did in-fact take place (Sontag, 2001). Moreover, social media users are used to learning about the world through images as digital platforms are visual by affordances (Manor & Crilley, 2018a). This particular image is also powerful as it might resonate visually with other historic scenes of destruction ranging from Hiroshima to Dresden, and the German Blitz during World War II. Lastly, tweets that include images are more likely to be shared by social media users thus enabling an MFA to reach large numbers of users (Manor & Crilley, 2018b). A final example of debunking was the #EuropeUnited campaign launched by the German MFA in June of 2018 in response to the rise of nationalism, populism and chauvinism. This campaign was meant to correct misperceptions spread online about Europe by right wing nationalists, Brexit supporters and Donald Trump. The campaign presented verifiable information about what European citizens have accomplished together as members of the European Union (EU) (Image 5.5). The key question, however, is whether fact-checking actually works and if so, under what conditions? Previous studies show that elites and the media play a key role in spreading misperceptions and unsupported allegations while false information spreads online faster than the truth (Flynn, Nyhan, & Reifler, 2016; Vosoughi, Roy, & Aral, 2018). Using wellcrafted images and creating an alternative narrative, rather than simply refuting information, may dilute the effect of false information. Indeed, the German MFA not only refuted false allegations about the EU but created a new narrative through which local and global publics could make sense of the EU’s achievements. Notably, emotions play an important role in refuting false information as people are more likely to take note of information that elicits an emotional reaction (Manor & Crilley,

Image 5.4 Visual contrast between Russian and British narratives of Aleppo (Sources Embassy of Russia to South Africa Twitter [2016] and United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Twitter [2016])

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Image 5.5 German MFA’s Europe United Campaign (Source German Mission to the European Union, Twitter [2018])

2018b). This is why the FCO’s image of Aleppo may have been partially successful in countering Russia’s digital campaign. Yet one must also take into account that the visual contrast between the FCO’s image, and the Russian one, creates competing realities thus fuelling feelings of uncertainty.

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Tactic #2: Setting the Record Straight In addition to being characterized by the compression of time and space, the digital age is the age of ‘skimming’. While social media users tend to follow news organizations online, many skim through their feed taking note only of news headlines. This suggests that news organizations’ headlines influence how digital users make sense of their world. As such, proactive public diplomacy also requires that diplomats review the online headlines of news organizations and, if these offer a biased interpretation of events, set the record straight. Otherwise, social media users will be exposed to a skewed reality which could have a negative effect on a state’s image. Notably, this tactic does not directly attack a digital foe but, rather, impacts the media system of an overseas foreign state. Yet, by so doing, this tactic lays the ground for all other tactics discussed in this chapter. For states whose images have been tarnished may be unable to debunk lies, discredit spokespersons or expose conspiracy theories. Two foreign ministries that have taken to using this tactic are the Israeli and Polish MFAs. One example occurred in December 2018 when a Palestinian terrorist shot dead two Israelis at a bus stop in the occupied territories. This attack was retribution for the killing of two Palestinian assailants by the Israeli Defense Forces. When reporting on these events, the British newspaper The Guardian ran the online headline ‘Two Israelis and Two Palestinians killed in West Bank violence’. While the headline was factually correct, it failed to note that the two Israelis were killed in a terrorist attack, and that the two Palestinians killed by the IDF were also terrorists. In the age of skimming, this headline could lead British users to suppose that Israel had, yet again, shot dead innocent bystanders or civilians. This could negatively impact the image of Israel in the UK. Notably, Israel’s image in the UK has already been tarnished by the occupation of millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Soon after The Guardian published its headline on Twitter, Elad Ratson, the Head of Research and Development at the Israeli MFA and an Israeli diplomat stationed in London, used Twitter to set the record straight, as can be seen in Image 5.6. In another instance, Ratson used Twitter to lament the headlines used by BBC News when reporting on Israel’s actions in Gaza which remains under an Israeli siege since 2007. Here again, Ratson identified the importance of news headlines and their impact on social media users. Notably,

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Image 5.6 Israeli diplomat corrects Guardian headline (Source Elad Ratson, Twitter [2019])

Ratson used multiple examples in his tweet possibly lending credence to his arguments (Image 5.7). Polish embassies have also routinely employed Twitter to lambast publications for using the term ‘Polish Death Camps’ when referring to Nazi extermination camps operated on Polish occupied soil. This is part of a larger public diplomacy campaign by the current Polish government that seeks to distance Poland from the atrocities of World War II. The Polish MFA is also active in this campaign managing a Twitter channel dedicated solely to this issue (Manor, 2019). As was the case with Israeli diplomats, Polish embassies have also demanded that online publications correct their headlines, thus setting the record straight. In one instance, shown below, the Polish embassy in Italy demanded that a website alter its headline and refer to Auschwitz

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Image 5.7 [2019])

Israeli diplomat attacks BBC headlines (Source Elad Ratson, Twitter

as a Nazi camp, rather than a Polish one. In this case, the embassy was successful (Image 5.8). Setting the record straight may be a useful, proactive tactic that helps a state manage its image in a foreign state. In the age of skimming, headlines tell an entire story. However, this tactic is the one most fraught with danger and limitations. First, when diplomats attack newspapers and publications they may be seen as the enemies of free speech. This could further reduce their state’s credibility. Second, attacking the media and news organizations may paint a state in the contemporary colours of populism. Third, this tactic might actually draw attention to a negative issue. The more times Polish embassies discuss extermination camps online, the more Poland may become associated with the Holocaust in

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Image 5.8 Polish Consulate demands retraction

the minds of digital publics. As such, diplomats must choose their digital battles carefully, saving this tactic for cases in which news headlines egregiously distort reality. Diplomats should also take care with their tone. Rather than attacking news organizations, diplomats may point out factual

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discrepancies while identifying other sources of information that offer more accurate coverage of events. Tactic #3: Turning the Tables The jiu-jitsu principle of turning an opponent’s strength into a weakness may also work well when applied to the case of countering false and misleading information. The use of humour in general, and of sarcasm in particular, could be reasonably effective in enhancing the reach of an embassy’s message, deflecting challenges to one’s narrative without alienating the public and avoiding a digital escalation of narratives (NATO Stratcom, 2017). One of the most famous examples of diplomatic humour was published by Canada’s mission to NATO at the height of the Crimean crisis. At the time, several Russian soldiers were captured by the Ukrainian military in Crimea. In response, a Russian official spokesperson stated that the soldiers had crossed the border by accident. This was in line with previous Russian statements arguing that there were no Russian troops in Crimea. Canada’s mission to NATO soon ridiculed the Russian spokesperson, as can be seen in Image 5.9. The importance of this tweet stems not only from its use of humour, but from the numbers of re-tweets and likes it attracted. Humoristic tweets often attract high levels of engagement from social media users enabling them to ‘go viral’, while carrying a diplomatic message far and wide. Even more importantly, humoristic tweets may make their way into the mainstream press. Such was the case with the tweet in Image 5.10. In this case, the Israeli embassy to the US decided to respond to a hateful message by Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with a meme from the cult movie ‘Mean Girls ’. This was a tweet ‘heard around the world’ as it attracted attention from thousands of social media users. Moreover, it made headlines throughout the world with newspapers in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Australia covering Israel’s digital rebuke of Iran’s leader (Manor, 2018). Yet most importantly, these newspaper articles included the Ayatollah’s threat to ‘eradicate’ the Israeli ‘malignant cancer’ as well as the Israeli government’s plea for a harsher international stance towards Iran. Lastly, the Israeli tweet countered the Iranian digital ‘charm offensive’ which included tweets by the Iranian foreign minister and President depicting Iran’s desire to rejoin the international community after year of sanctions and seclusion.

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Image 5.9 Canada’s mission to NATO mocks Russia (Source Canadian mission to NATO, Twitter [2014])

A final example of the use of humour online originates from Russia’s embassy to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which also published a humoristic tweet during the Crimean crisis. The tweet, shown below, hoped to mock NATO which had published satellite images of Russian combat troops in Ukraine (Image 5.11).

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Image 5.10 Israel’s response to Iranian threats (Source Israeli Embassy to the United States, Twitter [2018])

Image 5.11 Russia responds to NATO Satellite Images (Source NATO Twitter [2014] and Russian Embassy to the United Arab Emirates [2014])

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As was the case with the Israeli example, the Russian tweet also made headlines throughout the world. However, our research found that several of these articles also included NATO’s original tweet. This illustrates one of the limitations of using humour on official digital channels- that of attracting attention to one’s digital foe and to the respective narrative of events. In the case of the Israeli tweet, humour was deliberately used to draw attention to the Ayatollah’s threats. In the Russian case, drawing attention to NATO’s satellite images may have been an unintended consequence as these images directly refuted Russia’s assertions that it had no combat troops in Ukraine. Yet the use of humour also has other limitations. For instance, diplomats may be accused of being callous or insensitive in making light of the tragedy of others. Moreover, humour may negate public expectations of diplomatic conduct which is still shrouded by an aura of decorum and gravitas (Ish-Shalom, 2015). Failure to meet public expectations may actually attract online condemnations and negative public attention. For example, the Russian embassy to London has used humour to deflect allegations that it was responsible for a nerve gas attack in Salisbury. Social media users soon attacked the embassy stating that “You’re supposed to be promoting all the good parts of Russia, food culture etc. But instead you’re spreading conspiracy theories and mocking dead people. Shame on you”. These digital rebukes were soon featured in British newspapers (Charity, 2018). While memetic engagement, or having one’s tweet ‘go viral’, is increasingly being used to combat false information, humour can also fall flat ridiculing the messenger, instead of the digital foe. As such, memetic engagement and the desire to ‘go viral’ should not be conducted loosely, for entertainment purposes, but with a clear objective in mind about how to increase the visibility of one’s policies and undermine those of the opponent (Zakem, McBride, & Hammerberg, 2018). Tactic #4: Discrediting A stronger version of the jiu-jitsu principle mentioned above is the tactic of discrediting the opponent. The purpose in this case is not to undermine the credibility of the message, but of the messenger so that publics will no longer trust messages originating from the source in question. The way in which this tactic may work is by turning the opponent’s communication style against himself: amplifying contradictions and inconsistencies in the

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opponent’s message and exposing the pattern of falsehoods disseminated through the opponent’s communication channels. One notable example of discrediting dates back to the 2014 Gaza War. During the war, the Israeli MFA sought to discredit Hamas spokespersons who alleged that Israel was massacring the Palestinian residents of Gaza by bombarding residential neighbourhoods from the air. Israel, on its part, argued that it had warned Palestinians to leave these residential areas with flyers. The Israeli MFA also argued that the Hamas government was encouraging Palestinians to stay in their homes, and at times even stand on their roofs, so as to foil Israeli attacks. As such, the Israeli MFA argued that Hamas was using civilians as ‘human shields’. One of the videos disseminated online by the Israeli MFA showed a TV interview in which a Hamas spokesperson clearly stated that Hamas was “leading our people to death” by encouraging them to act as human shields (Manor & Crilley, 2018a, p. 380). By monitoring Hamas’s communication channels, Israel was able to discredit Hamas’s spokespersons while perhaps contributing to Israel’s own credibility among some digital publics (Image 5.12). Another example was recently published by the US State Department. During February of 2018, the State Department was engrossed in the task of discrediting Iran as America had withdrawn from the nuclear accord arguing that Iran could not be trusted. Moreover, the State Department may have sought to discredit Iran so as to pressure its European allies into negotiating a new nuclear agreement with Iran. To this end, the State Department published a series of photos on Instagram contrasting the promises made by Iran’s first leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, with the regime’s current policies. Notably, these images not

Image 5.12 Israel discredits Hamas

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only served to discredit Iran but also to justify the US’s policy towards Iran (Image 5.13). A final example of discrediting the messenger may be found in the FCO’s activities following the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. Following this failed assassination attempt of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March 2018, pro-Kremlin accounts on Twitter and Telegram started to promote a series of different conspiracies and competing narratives, attached to various hashtags and social media campaigns, with the goal, as one observer noted, to confuse people, polarize them, and push them further and further away from reality (Gunten & Robinson, 2018). As mentioned earlier, Russian official spokespersons denied any involvement in the attack. As the British investigation of this attack progressed, Russian spokespersons suggested that the nerve agent originated from Sweden and not Russia. Others claimed that the attack was perpetrated by Ukraine in the hopes of derailing Russia’s relations with the UK. Some spokespersons even disseminated conspiracy theories arguing that the attack was actually a leak from a nearby British facility. To contend with these allegations, the FCO published a video on Twitter detailing each Russian claim, while stating that the UK was conducting a thorough investigation which complied with international regulations and that demonstrated that it was highly likely that Russia was behind the attack. Moreover, the video stated that world leaders agreed with the UK’s conclusion. By claiming to comply with international regulations, and having the support of other world leaders, the FCO not only discredited Russian spokespersons, but may have also bolstered the UK’s credibility (Image 5.14). While discrediting the messenger has several benefits, it also has certain limitations. The first is that discrediting must also occur in near-real time. The longer an opponent’s lies and conspiracy theories go unanswered, the more his or her narration of events may take hold among digital publics. It is worth noting that conspiracy theories are in vogue at present. This may be a result of the feeling of uncertainty now felt around the world given the paralysis that has taken hold of global institutions such the EU (following Brexit), the UN Security Council (which has failed to end the wars in Syria and Yemen) and NATO (which has failed to limit the military ambitions of Turkish President, Erdogan). Moreover, while the tactic of discrediting the opponent may work well to contain his influence online, it may do little to deter the opponent from engaging in further disinformation as long as the costs for pursuing

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Image 5.13 US discredits Iran (Source United States State Department Instagram Account [2019])

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Image 5.14 The FCO discredits Russia (Source United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Twitter [2018])

this strategy remain low. Importantly, this tactic should be considered carefully as it will likely lead to an escalation of online disputes while triggering a harsh counter-action from the opponent. This, in turn, will create multiple, competing realities thus limiting digital publics’ ability to fathom their world. Tactic #5: Disrupting An additional tactic, which is more tech savvy, rests on disrupting the online networks through which an opponent disseminates one’s lies and conspiracy theories. This tactic consists of three steps. The first step of

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‘mapping’ requires that an MFA or embassy map the networks through which a digital opponent spreads his or her content. This can be achieved by using free network analysis tools. In the second stage of ‘gatekeepers’, the embassy or MFA must identify networked gatekeepers. These are individuals that sit at the intersection between networks and that allow information to flow from one network to another. In Image 5.15, nodes four and five are gatekeepers. It is through these nodes that information flows throughout the entire network. The third stage is that of ‘engagement’ in which an MFA or embassy must engage with gatekeepers and encourage them not to share misleading or false information. The Israeli MFAs has been applying this tactic to stop the spread of anti-Semitic content online. Accordingly, the ministry first identifies gatekeepers and ranks them by their level of online influence. It then approaches and engages gatekeepers online, with the purpose of making them aware of the fact that they sit on an important junction of hate speech. The ministry then attempts to cultivate relationships with these

Image 5.15 Mapping network gatekeepers

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gatekeepers so that they may refrain from sharing hateful and malicious content online. In so doing, the ministry can effectively contain or quarantine online hate networks and prevent their malicious content from reaching broader publics (Manor, 2019). The disrupting strategy is powerful as digital foes are required to constantly re-build their networks while identifying new avenues through which they may reach their target public. This tactic demonstrates that even in the digital sphere, public diplomacy still rests on creating and leveraging relationships with publics. While the disrupting tactic may be useful, it has three major limitations. First, MFAs and embassies must acquire the skills necessary to map online networks and identify gatekeepers. Second, much like the digital foe, an MFA or embassy must continuously track and map networks of false information while constantly engaging with new gatekeepers. Cultivating relationships with gatekeepers may also be a demanding and emotional task. For instance, when engaging with gatekeepers Israeli diplomats are required to converse online with anti-Semites while attempting to present them with information that negates their prejudice. Finally, the tactic of disrupting prompts ethical questions as diplomats must take care not to disrupt networks which disseminate legitimate criticism against states, diplomats and MFAs.

Discussion Early studies examining the use of digital platforms by diplomats indicated that these could be used to augment a state’s public diplomacy activities. Over the past decade, diplomats have used digital platforms to launch virtual embassies (Manor & Holmes, 2018; Metzgar, 2012); converse with national diasporas (Rana, 2014); interact with critical foreign publics (Khatib, Dutton, & Thelwall, 2012); promote a state’s foreign policies (Manor & Segev, 2015); rally domestic support for foreign policy achievements (Bjola & Manor, 2018) and define the issues that diplomats wish to discuss with online publics (Bjola & Jiang, 2015). Recently, however, scholars have been paying greater attention to digitalization’s ‘dark side’ and states’ use of digital platforms to spread lies, fabrications and conspiracy theories (Bjola & Pamment, 2018). We assert that, like any technology, digital platforms may be used to facilitate diplomacy or undermine its practice. Yet we further assert that states’ nefarious digital activities demand an immediate response from diplomats, embassies and MFAs. This is because such activities

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breed uncertainty on both the national and international level. When states fracture, assault and contest reality, they inevitably create multiple and competing realities leading to a world that cannot be fathomed by its inhabitants. Such activities also deliberately strive to enhance social tensions, drive wedges between societies and increase social frustration. The age of ‘post-reality’ is thus also the age of rage. The response to ‘post-reality’ is proactive public diplomacy that debunks fabrications in near real time, draws attention to lies, discredits opponents’ spokespersons, disrupts opponents’ networks and draws attention to skewed media reports to maintain state credibility. Notably, proactive diplomacy may also result in multiple, competing realities. Such was the case with the FCO’s image of Aleppo that depicted an alternative reality to that disseminated online by Russia. This challenge may be overcome if diplomats, embassies and MFAs validate the reality they depict. For instance, the UK FCO’s image of Aleppo also included text detailing the last time that UN humanitarian convoys entered the battered city. In this way, the FCO ‘borrowed’ from the UN’s credibility to justify the reality it presented to social media users. Similarly, the US images of Ayatollah Khomeini quoted reports by Amnesty International attesting to the horrors of the Iranian regime. Here, the US relied on the credibility of a respected NGO, Amnesty International, to justify the reality it disseminated on Instagram. Diplomats and MFAs looking to counter the narratives of a digital foe should thus rely on external, and credible, sources to justify their assertions. The fracturing of reality is a major challenge for diplomats, one that will worsen in coming years as new digital platforms are launched attracting different segments of societies. The question that follows is should diplomats be active on all such platforms in their attempt to counter falsities and lies? We maintain that proactive public diplomacy should be a form of tailored diplomacy. The target public should define the platform on which diplomats are active. In one state diplomats may be active on Facebook as they aim to shape the worldviews of the adult population. In another state, diplomats may be active on Twitter in an effort to engage with journalists. However, diplomats should also take note of how local publics learn about the world. For instance, in many countries younger cohorts turn to YouTube when seeking reliable information while millennials turn to Wikipedia. Thus, some diplomats may need to debunk conspiracy theories through YouTube videos while others may need to monitor Wikipedia articles dealing with important global events.

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Press relations are also pivotal in the age of ‘post-reality’. Diplomats who have cultivated offline relations with journalists may call on these to help disseminate online messages that counter nefarious digital activities. Indeed, in many countries the press remains a trusted source of information, including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands and Portugal to name a few (Digital News Report, 2019). This is the reason why so many countries attempt to launch fake news sites. When journalists retweet a statement by a diplomat or an embassy, they lend their credibility to that statement. Moreover, as journalists may attract large numbers of followers, they can help carry a diplomat’s message to large numbers of social media users. Recent studies suggest that much digital diplomacy is actually domestic diplomacy. In recent years, diplomats have increasingly targeted the national citizenry while launching consular apps (Manor, 2019), rallying domestic support for foreign policy achievements (Bjola & Manor, 2018) and offering local publics coverage of international events (Manor & Crilley, 2019). Proactive public diplomacy must also take place at the national level as domestic publics are exposed to foreign states’ false claims. Embassies should thus target foreign populations, while MFAs seek to engage with local ones. Lastly, narratives are important tools in proactive public diplomacy. As argued earlier, MFAs and diplomats cannot settle for rebuking false information. Rather, they must create compelling narratives through which digital publics can make sense of their world, one that appears to be in a perpetual state of conflict. It is the use of narratives that demonstrates how proactive public diplomacy can help reduce feelings of uncertainty and confusion. Compelling narratives rest on three elements. The first is emotional resonance. People are more likely to take note of information that elicits an emotional response. Emotional resonance may be obtained through the use of images and messages that resonate with a nation’s past. The FCO’s image of a devastated Aleppo may have evoked an emotional response from British Twitter users as it visually referenced the Blitz endured by the UK during WWII. Second, compelling narratives are those that include the stories of everyday people. Debunking Russia’s assertion that it had no combat troops in Crimea could have rested on videos that included the testimony of Crimeans. Digital publics may be more receptive to information that is presented by average people that they can relate to. Finally, compelling narratives should focus on hope.

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Digital diplomacy studies have shown that diplomatic messages are more likely to be shared when they include positive messages, such as the hope that Syrians still hold of returning to their homeland (Manor & Crilley, 2018b). In conclusion, this chapter sought to conceptualize how digitalization drives uncertainty, while also offering insight into how public diplomacy can respond to such uncertainty. To say that global uncertainty is a new phenomenon would be quite wrong. Yet as this chapter has demonstrated, uncertainty in the twenty-first century may be unique given states’ ability to shape foreign publics’ reality. Moreover, unlike twentieth century propaganda broadcast to other states via the radio, the present assault on reality takes place in the shadows limiting a government’s ability to combat such nefarious efforts. And yet as this chapter has demonstrated, states are increasingly turning their attention to the digital realm. While some have created new technologies, others are increasing their digital proficiency. But even states with limited capabilities may be able to use digital technologies to prevent the distortion of reality. Diplomats must be in at the front lines of these efforts given that they are experts at cultivating relationships and communicating. Public diplomacy is thus as important today as it was in the twentieth century.

References Bauman, Z., & Lyon, D. (2013). Liquid surveillance: A conversation. John Wiley & Sons. Bjola, C., & Jiang, L. (2015). Social media and public diplomacy: A comparative analysis of the digital diplomatic strategies of the EU, US and Japan in China. In C. Bjola & M. Holmes (Eds.), Digital diplomacy: Theory and practice (pp. 85–102). Routledge. Bjola, C., & Manor, I. (2018). Revisiting Putnam’s two-level game theory in the digital age: Domestic digital diplomacy and the Iran nuclear deal. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 31(1), 3–32. Bjola, C., & Pamment, J. (2016). Digital containment: Revisiting containment strategy in the digital age. Global Affairs, 2(2), 131–142. Bjola, C., & Pamment, J. (Eds.). (2018). Countering online propaganda and extremism: The dark side of digital diplomacy. Routledge. Bradshaw, S., & Howard, P. N. (2019). The global disinformation order: 2019 global inventory of organised social media manipulation. Oxford Internet Institute Project on Computational Propaganda.

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Burke-White, W. W. (2014). Crimea and the international legal order. Survival, 56(4), 65–80. Canada Mission to NATO [@CanadaNATO]. (2014, August 27). Geography can be tough. Here’s a guide for Russian soldiers who keep getting lost & ‘accidentally’ entering #Ukraine [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/CanadaNATO/sta tus/504651534198927361. Causey, C., & Howard, P. N. (2013). Delivering digital public diplomacy. In R. S. Zaharana, A. Arsenault & A. Fisher (Eds.), Relational, networked and collaborative approaches to public diplomacy (pp. 144–156). Routledge. Charity, N. (2018, September 9). Russian embassy ‘trolls’ UK on Twitter with picture of Salisbury Island. The Evening Standard. https://www.standard.co. uk/news/world/russian-embassy-trolls-uk-on-twitter-with-picture-of-salisb ury-island-a3931081.html. Digital News Report. (2019). Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Digital News Report 2019. University of Oxford. Emmott, R. (2017, November 13). Spain sees Russian interference in Catalonia. Reuters. Flynn, D. J., Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2016). The nature and origins of misperceptions. Dartmouth College. https://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/natureorigins-misperceptions.pdf. Foreign & Commonwealth Office [@ForeignOffice]. (2016, December 14). Foreign Sec @BorisJohnson addressed Parliament #AleppoDebate today on the overwhelming tragedy that is unfolding in Aleppo, Syria [Tweet]. https://twi tter.com/foreignoffice/status/808764943365525504. Foreign & Commonwealth Office [@ForeignOffice]. (2018, March 20). The nerve agent came from Sweden, Ukraine did it to frame Russia, it was contamination from the UK’s own research facility…Instead of providing an explanation for the Salisbury incident, Russia has launched a campaign of disinformation [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/foreignoffice/status/976023331873935360. Freedman, L. (2014). Ukraine and the art of crisis management. Survival, 56(3), 7–42. Germany in the EU [@GermanyintheEU ]. (2018 May 31). Our answer to America First can only be #EuropeUnited. Foreign Minister @HeikoMass on US decision to impose punitive #tarrifs on #steel and #aluminum [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/GermanyintheEU/status/1002223430861754368. Gunten, J., & Robinson, O. (2018, September 9). Sergei Skripal in the Russian disinformation game. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-eur ope-45454142. Ish-Shalom, P. (2015). King diplomacy for perpetual crisis. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 10(1), 10–14.

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Israeli Embassy to Washington [@IsraelinUSA]. (2018 June 4). Why are you so obsessed with me? [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/IsraelinUSA/status/100367 0703026135042. Khatib, L., Dutton, W., & Thelwall, M. (2012). Public diplomacy 2.0: A case study of the US digital outreach team. The Middle East Journal, 66(3), 453– 472. Lupton, D. (2014). Digital sociology. Routledge. Manor, I. (2018, June 3). When diplomats laugh: The role of humour in digital diplomacy. International Affairs Blog. https://medium.com/internationalaffairs-blog/when-diplomats-laugh-the-role-of-humour-in-digital-diplomacy25c814bda199. Manor, I. (2019). The digitalization of public diplomacy. Springer. Manor, I., & Crilley, R. (2018a). Visually framing the Gaza War of 2014: The Israel ministry of foreign affairs on Twitter. Media, War & Conflict, 11(4), 369–391. Manor, I., & Crilley, R. (2018b). The aesthetics of violent extremist and counter violent extremist communication. In C. Bjola & J. Pamment (Eds.), Countering online propaganda and extremism: The dark side of digital diplomacy. Routledge. Manor, I., & Crilley, R. (2019). The mediatisation of MFAs: Diplomacy in the new media ecology. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 15, 1–27. Manor, I., & Holmes, M. (2018). Palestine in Hebrew: Overcoming the limitations of traditional diplomacy. Revista Politicia Exterior, 113, 538–574. Manor, I., & Segev, E. (2015). America’s selfie: How the US portrays itself on its social media accounts. In C. Bjola & M. Holmes (Eds.), Digital diplomacy: Theory and practice (pp. 103–122). Routledge. Mass, H. (2018). Speech by Foreign Minister Heiko Mass, Courage to stand up for #EuropeUnited. Federal Foreign Office. Metzgar, E. T. (2012). Is it the medium or the message? Social media, American public diplomacy & Iran. Global Media Journal, 12(21), 1–10. NATO [@NATO]. (2014, August 28). New satellite images shows #Russia’s combat troops in #Ukraine. http://goo.gl/cXkyXI#NATO [Tweet]. https:// twitter.com/nato/status/505029265994567680. NATO StratCom Center of Excellence. (2015). Analysis of Russia’s information campaign against Ukraine: Examining non-military aspects of the crisis in Ukraine from a strategic communications perspective. Riga, NATO StratCom Centre of Excellence. https://www.stratcomcoe.org/analysis-russias-inform ation-campaign-against-ukraine-1. NATO StratCom Center of Excellence. (2017). Stratcom laughs: In search of an analytical framework. Riga, StratCom Centre of Excellence. https://www.str atcomcoe.org/stratcom-laughs-search-analytical-framework.

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Rana, K. S. (2014). Diaspora diplomacy and public diplomacy. In R. S. Zaharana, A. Arsenault, & A. Fisher (Eds.), Relational, networked and collaborative approaches to public diplomacy (pp. 84–99). Routledge. Ratson, E. [@EladRatson]. (2019, March 15). Hey @BBCNews what’s the deal with your passive sentence #Gaza titles? Why insist on complicating the simple? There’s cause—Hamas provocations and effect—Israel’s response! Enough of this turning-it-around syntactical bias! [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/EladRa tson/status/1106610100104503296. Russian Embassy [@EmbassyofRussia]. (2016, December 21). A Christmas treelighting ceremony was held in #Aleppo- even a nearby explosion (no causalities) couldn’t disrupt crowd’s festive spirit [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/Embassyof Russia/status/811486637242908672. Russian Embassy to the UAE [@RusEmbassyUAE]. (2014, September 3). #NATO’s latest evidence of #Russian armor invading #Ukraine has been leaked! Seems to be the most convincing ever! [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/RusEmb assyUAE/status/507226671401824256. Seib, P. (2012). Real-time diplomacy: Politics and power in the social media era. Palgrave Macmillan. Sontag, S. (2001). On photography (Vol. 48). Macmillan. Swedish Embassy [@SwedeninUSA]. (2017, February 20). We look forward to informing the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration policies [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/SwedeninUSA/status/833462568257 732612. Tercatin, R. (2019, October 22). Facebook removes dozens of anti-Israel fake accounts from Iran. The Jerusalem Post. https://www.jpost.com/Internati onal/Facebook-suspends-Russian-Instagram-accounts-targeting-US-voters605332. The Economist. (2016, September 10). Post truth politics: Art of the lie. The Economist. https://www.economist.com/leaders/2016/09/10/art-ofthe-lie. Timberg, C., & Romm, T. (2018, December 7). New Report on Russian Disinformation, prepared for the Senate. The Washington Post. Trump, D. J. [@realDonaldTrump]. (2017, February 19). My Statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @Fox News [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/833435 244451753984. US Senate Hearing. (2017). Open hearing social media influence 2016 US election before Senate Intelligence Committee. US Senate, 115th Congress. Vosoughi, S., Roy, D., & Aral, S. (2018). The spread of true and false news online. Science, 359(6380), 1146–1151. Zakem, V., McBride, M. K., & Hammerberg, K. (2018). Exploring the utility of memes for U.S. government influence campaigns. Center for Naval Analyses.

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Zarif, J. [@JZarif ]. (2019, October 10). We all have grievances about the past. Iran, after 8 yrs of regionally-financed aggression & 40 yrs of foreign-sponsored attacks, has much to complain about. But as Rumi wrote 800 years ago: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there” [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/JZarif/status/1182260843645419520.

CHAPTER 6

The Manufacturing of Uncertainty in Public Diplomacy: A Rhetorical Approach Christopher Miles

Introduction Public diplomacy has tended to be described by both its practitioners and its theorists in terms that advance an understanding of its basic operational modes as founded upon careful, rational, even broadly positive principles. Cull’s (2008) taxonomy of public diplomacy, for example, delineates listening, advocacy, cultural exchange, and international broadcasting as its basic constitutive elements and in his glossing of each component uses exemplar cases which speak of communication efforts directed at apparently sensible, level-headed goals (post-war Franco-German rapprochement, reversing global public opinion’s association of the US with warlike attitudes in the late 1950s, the rebranding of Switzerland in the 2000s, etc.). Indeed, as Zaharna and Uysal (2016, p. 111) note, “much of contemporary PD scholarship is built on the premise or goal of a positive relationship between the state and publics”. Public diplomacy might

C. Miles (B) Department of Communication & Journalism, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_6

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therefore be seen as an effort designed to promote a particular (‘target’) understanding of the communicating nation to (targeted) foreign publics in order to generate positive and workable relationships between the two. Implicit within this perspective is that the communication effort will reduce uncertainty regarding the communicating state in those targeted publics. The elements of Cull’s (2008) taxonomy, after all, are explicitly concerned with helping others to understand us in the way that “we” (would like to) understand ourselves. Public diplomacy seeks to reduce the presence of other, competitor understandings of the communicating nation amongst target publics. However, recent changes in the dominant modes of public diplomacy practice must cause us to question the assumption that the reduction of uncertainty regarding a state’s intentions, cultural character, or even identity will always be a central motivation for public diplomacy. Public diplomacy is increasingly practiced and analysed within a highly agonistic post-truth landscape (Cull, 2016; Surowiec, 2017). A central characteristic of communication in this landscape is a focus on amplifying feelings of uncertainty, feelings of suspicion and mistrust, in target publics. Accordingly, this chapter asks whether the amplification of uncertainty around such issues as a state’s intentions towards foreign publics might be a legitimate goal of what Mor (2007, p. 678) has called the “rhetoric of national self-presentation”? Might some contemporary public diplomacy be designed to increase alarm and suspicion in the pursuit of wider strategic goals? And if so, how might an appreciation of public diplomacy as rhetoric contribute to our understanding of such practice? To answer these questions, I first explore the relationship between rhetoric and public diplomacy focusing on the central role played by the contingent or probable in rhetorical persuasion. Rhetoric is traditionally performed in environments of uncertainty and seeks to tame or restrict that uncertainty in ways which make sense, or are convincing, for particular publics. However, rhetoric’s goal is never to reach the necessary or the scientifically certain. This has put it at odds with public discourses seeking to found themselves upon rational, empirical certainties (or at least wishing to appear to found themselves on such terms) (Danisch, 2010). Thinking about public diplomacy has been somewhat shy in recognising its roots in persuasion and has instead often veered towards a more rationalist, empirical framing of its relationship to communicative power (Graham, 2014). Consequently, I will argue that scholarship on public diplomacy is ill-equipped to deal with diplomatic communication which

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clearly seeks to decrease certainty in foreign publics. Rhetoric allows us to build a nuanced understanding of how the amplification of uncertainty can be a public diplomacy goal. In order to illustrate this, the chapter will then examine two recent micro-cases of public diplomacy designed to cause uncertainty in foreign publics; UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s announcement in August of 2019 that the UK would bring in new border restrictions to free movement of EU nationals on the 31st October 2019 and US President Donald Trump’s series of tweets in the same month regarding his nascent plans to buy Greenland. Both sets of communications will be analysed as examples of rhetorical attempts to generate FUD, or Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (Pfaffenberger, 2000) in foreign publics through the utilisation, indeed exploitation, of traditional and online news media. These cases will then be further explicated with regards to Beck’s (1996, 2002) conception of ‘world risk society’, which will be used to theorise the increasing turn of public diplomacy towards the amplification of uncertainty rather than its reduction.

Rhetoric and Public Uncertainty Rhetoric as an identifiable discipline came into being as the result of a persuasive gambit designed to reduce uncertainty in the public. As demonstrated by Schiappa (1990, p. 463), “the earliest documented use of the word rhetorike is also the first time it is defined and examined philosophically”, namely in Plato’s dialogue Gorgias. This dialogue is intent upon establishing the substantive difference between the teachings of the Sophists and the teachings of Plato. Plato coins the word rhetorike, rhetoric, in order to ‘name and shame’ the instruction provided by his rival teachers in Athens, particularly Isocrates who had set his school up as a provider of all that a citizen needed to function effectively in civilised society. So, if “Plato could identify the ‘product’ of his rival Isocrates’ training as something unnecessary or undesirable, so much the better for the reputation of Plato’s school” (ibid., p. 465). Creating a new label for what his competitors offered enabled Plato to clearly differentiate the instruction that he provided from that offered by other teachers. The term ‘rhetoric’ allowed him to reduce the uncertainty in his prospective public regarding the unique value that his system of education promised. For Plato, of course, the language games of rhetoric (or the traditions of Sophistic logos that he wished to refer to as such) were quite suspect— practised well, they allowed the unjust to win in the law courts and to be

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acclaimed in the field of politics. It is, therefore, ironic, but not surprising, that Plato himself attempts to ‘spin’ public perception of the educational choices available to Athenians using such fundamentally rhetorical devices as ‘word choice’ and ‘framing’. Yet, this nicely illustrates the oscillation that characterises the relationship between rhetoric and the human world. It is both suspicious and necessary, manipulative and empowering, empty and fecund, irrational and crafty, wild and civilising. If all this gives the impression that the art of rhetoric is surrounded by uncertainty, then this would be most apposite. For, as Miller (1989, p. 43) notes, what is central to both ancient and modern instantiations of rhetoric “is the function of deliberation, which is made possible and useful by uncertainty; rhetoric offers a theory of choice in human affairs”. Rhetoric is necessary because we are surrounded by so much uncertainty—its original environments of political assemblies, the law courts, and official oration were focused around the transformation of the uncertain into the certain. Which of these many prospective representatives should we elect? Should we embark upon a campaign against an enemy or support the campaign of an ally? How do we deal with a restive population? Is this person guilty of murder? How can we tell? How should we think of this man who has just died, how should we remember him? These were the sorts of choices that an education in rhetoric allowed a citizen to participate in deliberating. In the end, the goal, of deliberation is always the certainty that agreement brings and rhetoric provides the means of persuasion to bring about that agreement. Further, the role of rhetoric in politics has not changed, despite centuries of attempting to apply rational, empirical, even ‘scientific’ perspectives to the political decision-making process. In modern democratic politics, just as in the Senate of Rome, persuasion means “transforming, primarily by means of argument, a variety of possible options into a unified judgement, perhaps even a decision” (Martin, 2014, p. 1). This is why, despite its many negative associations, rhetoric “is closely linked to citizenship, democracy, and justice” (Skinnell, 2018, p. 3). Coming together to agree upon a common course of action or a common way of thinking is fundamental to the democratic project and its way of dealing with the uncertainty of the world, then. Politics, rhetoric assumes, is always conducted in a landscape of uncertainty; and rhetoric is the discipline which has evolved to take advantage of that uncertainty, to harness it, and attempt to use it for strategic purposes through the generation, for a specific

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topic and a specific public at a specific time and place, of a coming together around, an identification with, a particular way of understanding. This understanding, inevitably temporary, is the certainty sought by the rhetor. Of course, certainty is not always desirable. We can be certain about something, understand it as a ‘fact’, but we might actually be wrong. The existence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction seemed to take on such a ‘temporary’ factual certainty for key state actors in the US and UK and was a key component in producing enough common cause between the two governments to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yet this certainty proved to be quite unfounded. Examining the basis for our certainty is part of a reflexive, critically aware approach to the social and physical worlds. Now, interestingly, a critical approach to socially-constructed truths is one of the oldest elements of the Western rhetorical tradition. Protagoras, the father of the Sophists, was famous for his dictum, “man is the measure of all things” (Murphy, Katula, & Hoppmann, 2014, p. 37) and is also regarded as the originator of the dissoi logoi, a teaching approach which held that there “were two contradictory arguments about everything” (Jarratt, 1991, p. 49). Protagoras’ perspective on argument encouraged the rhetor to always consider opposing arguments in preparation of their own but also tended to inculcate a base level of pragmatic relativism. Indeed, it is this practised ability to argue any side of an argument that has traditionally attracted the most distrust to the discipline of rhetoric (Miles, 2018). Importantly, the dissoi logoi can function as a pedagogical tool for the education of public actors because rhetoric, unlike dialectic or philosophical logic, does not pretend to deal with the empirically certain but rather with the probable. The probable is anchored in the minds of the public—it defines what they will accept as likely but this can shift (or be shifted) through exposure to persuasive argument. A rhetor must consider what a particular audience will consider probable, or likely, when establishing their persuasive strategy—in other words, the rhetor must consider the common-sense of the public as it will have a substantial influence upon what they will accept and how they can be brought to extend that ‘common sense’. So far, then, we can see that any rhetorical situation is subject to both certainties and uncertainties. The determinations that the practice of rhetoric seeks are necessary due to the uncertainties of the world that we live in and the consequent choices that we must make, but in order to reach those determinations the rhetor must consider and take advantage

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of those certainties to which the public subscribes. As Consigny (1974, p. 178) puts it, “the rhetorical situation is an indeterminate context marked by troublesome disorder which the rhetor must structure so as to disclose and formulate problems”. Part of that disorder consists of the existing certainties of the public, as well as possibly competing speakers who have “frozen inquiry in the situation by assuming that determinate problems already exist which demand ‘prescribed’ responses” (ibid., p. 177). So, these certainties are actually “part of the incoherent situation” and it is the rhetor’s job to “make sense” of these “situational incoherencies” (ibid., p. 177) and find “a means of managing them” (Martin, 2014, p. 96). The extent of the means that the rhetor can bring to bear upon the uncertainties of a situation can seem intimidating to the student of persuasion. Even if we restrict ourselves to just the elements available to us when we consider the issue of word choice (register, genre, allusion, tropes of substitution such as metaphor and metonymy, punning, etc.) we are already presented with hundreds of different variables. In addition to these we have a whole raft of techniques concerned with playing with pattern, rhythm, and repetition at the level of sentence and paragraph architecture. And all these are just elements of rhetorical style (Fahnestock, 2011). The far larger area of rhetorical argumentation covers persuasive argument structures (i.e. enthymemes), proof types, issues of source credibility, and so on (Tindale, 2004). However, all of these elements, and many more, are drawn upon by the rhetor in their attempt to manage the “situational incoherencies” (Consigny, 1974, p. 177) and make sense of them for the public in line with their own persuasive goals. Given the above, it is not difficult to see how rhetoric can be considered to lie at the heart of political communication in democratic systems and therefore also at the heart of public diplomacy, “a dialogical form of international political communication aimed at creating mutually beneficial relations with the public abroad in order to support the communicator’s objectives” (Ociepka, 2018, p. 290). Generally, the study and encouragement of rhetoric has tended to accompany the evolution of political environments which rely upon efforts at persuasion for their continued survival. Those that rely upon force, or the threat of it, to maintain power have no need for the art of persuasive communication. Yet, the democratic projects of 5th century Athens and the Roman Republic had vital need of citizens trained, not in philosophical dialectic,

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but in the rough and tumble of everyday persuasive argument. Accordingly, political or ‘deliberative’ rhetoric formed one of the three traditional categories of rhetorical endeavour as laid out by Aristotle (1991). Yet, the understanding of rhetoric as central to the political process has been oftentimes characterised by oscillation. It was acknowledged as central to successful statecraft, and therefore central to Athenian democracy and the Roman republic. Yet, when the Republic fell and autocratic rule became the norm, the study of persuasive communication within the political realm gradually waned. The rediscovery of the breadth of Classical learning in Renaissance Italy laid the ground for the rebirth of political rhetoric, particularly as the concept of “self-governing cities where a limited number of citizens participated actively in the affairs of the community” (Martin, 2014, p. 25) became more central to public life. As Martin (2014, p. 26) points out, though, the emergence of the idea of state sovereignty, intellectually grounded in the works of Rousseau and Hobbes and centred upon the existence of “centralised, immensely powerful authorities with distinct territorial boundaries and the capacity to enforce a uniform set of laws by the monopoly of the means of violence” had perhaps the most harmful effect upon an appreciation of rhetoric as integral to the political process. For Hobbes, rhetoric was a dangerous conduit to the irrational, destructive side of a population. Although he himself had taught and translated Aristotle’s treatise on rhetoric in his earlier years (Sorell, 1990), in Leviathan and his later works he rounded upon the Humanistic tradition and any reliance upon contingency and consensus in favour of the certainties promised by a scientific approach to the human world (Remer, 1992). Rhetorical figurations become an ‘abuse of speech’ which could lead to deception and undermine the discovery of what is considered as “truth”. Remer (1992, p. 7) argues that it was Hobbes’ experience of the Civil War which caused him to conclude that “if chaos was to be avoided, knowledge had to be based upon unequivocal foundations”. Geometry, specifically as embodied in the works of Euclid, provided his new model of how to rationally pursue the ordering of our political and social lives. Similarly, argues Martin (2014), Rousseau rejected rhetoric’s place in politics because it was simply not necessary if the state was ruled according to the General Will of the people. Deliberation, debate, disagreement were not things that Rousseau envisioned as really possible in a state that is made up of a population living in natural accord. For Rousseau, rhetoric

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was only necessary when we moved away from what he saw as humanity’s original condition of the ‘noble savage’. At the same time as we may trace the overt move away from rhetoric being encouraged as a tool of statecraft and citizenship, there is no denying that rhetoric always remains an embedded part of political communication including the practice of public diplomacy. Dryzek (2010, p. 327) notes the many ways in which rhetoric is embedded at the core of deliberative democracy including the realms of international relations and public diplomacy efforts, arguing that “rhetoric can play an essential part in communicating across and so linking differently situated and differently disposed actors, forums, and institutions”. Much scholarly work has been focused on the way in which political actors have used rhetoric in order to galvanise a nation, cement support for policies, and even distract attention from unwelcome truths. US Presidential rhetoric, for example, is a well-established area of analysis (Windt, 1984), and reflects Burke’s (1982, p. 51) argument that “a presidential election in America is primarily a rhetorical affair, not a technical or a philosophical one […], a rhetorical contest, in which each side (it takes at least two sides to make a contest) tries to out persuade the other”. Burke (1982) further argues that although the rhetoric of politics is all around us from the loud gambits of Presidential campaigns and party promotions to the more subtle messaging of special interest groups, lobbyists, and public diplomacy, this surfeit of persuasive communication tends to make publics “rhetoric-weary” not “rhetoric-wise”. This is perhaps even more of an important distinction to make in the age of post-truth and the politics of spectacle as political rhetoric shifts into novel and confusing forms. Those weary of rhetoric risk missing the fundamental change in the persuasive landscape. McComiskey (2017, p. 3) argues that Trump’s 2016 campaign and election “represent a rhetorical watershed moment in two ways: first, there has been a shift in the way that powerful people use unethical rhetoric to accomplish their goals; and second, there has been a shift in the way that public audiences consume unethical rhetoric”. The nature of this shift, according to McComiskey (2017, p. 6) is to be found in a “purely strategic” approach to communication where “language has no reference to facts, truths, or realities”. While both domestic politics and public diplomacy have always been ‘rhetorical affairs’ (to adapt Burke’s phrase, op. cit.), that rhetoric has always been positioned in reference to some forms of truth, even if that means the probable rather than the certain. It has “existed

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on a continuum that includes certain facts, foundational realities, and universal truths even when those rhetorics do not themselves participate” in them (McComiskey, 2017, p. 7). However, public diplomacy in a posttruth rhetorical landscape can be entirely divorced from any reality, any real sense of the probable, other than the strategic reality of audience effects. Without reference to reality and truth, style becomes rhetorically dominant rather than argumentation. Public diplomacy becomes a performance of rhetorical style (Young, 2018) designed to construct spectacular simulacra which manipulate uncertainty despite having no anchor in reality. The pursuit of rational, empirical, even dialogue-oriented communication has often tended to de-emphasise rhetoric if not seek to entirely eliminate it from discourse. Yet, this is both an impossibility and a serious misapprehension of the way in which the persuasive use of language and argument structure suffuse all areas of our communication, let alone such obviously deliberative arenas as diplomacy and statecraft. Furthermore, this marginalisation of the rhetorical leaves us particularly bereft of ways to understand a post-truth reliance upon style. If we are looking for consistency, logical argumentation, and evidence-based assertions then post-truth public diplomacy will leave us shaking our heads in confusion. In the next section I will examine the way in which dominant conceptualisations of public diplomacy have tended to be firmly enmeshed in this Enlightenment fetishisation of rational discourse at the expense of a realistic approach to the uncertainties of the persuasive public arena.

Public Diplomacy and the Rational One of the most curious aspects of both the practice of public diplomacy and the scholarship around it is the way in which the shadow of propaganda haunts it continually and yet the implications of its legacy are so often avoided. As Cull (2009) points out, the coiner of the phrase ‘public diplomacy’, Edmund Gullion, actually preferred the word ‘propaganda’ but felt it had “accumulated so many negative connotations” (ibid., p. 19). In an almost mirror image, then, of Plato’s coining of rhetorike, Gullion’s novel formulation was designed to consolidate an area of communicative practice which needed to be rescued from its poor reputation and unhelpful associations. ‘Public diplomacy’ was a perfect “alternative to the anodyne information or malignant term propaganda”

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and was also “one step removed from the ‘vulgar’ realm of public relations” (Cull, 2009, p. 21). In the same way that Plato can be seen to have used the term rhetorike to frame the practices of those teachers in Athens with whom he was competing, so the adoption of the term ‘public diplomacy’ allowed the United States Information Agency (USIA) to defend its administrative turf and frame what it did in a way that helped it in its competition with the US State Department. Public diplomacy, just like ‘rhetoric’ then, is born out of an act of rhetorical strategy designed to reduce uncertainty in publics around particular practices. The adoption of any term, and the efforts at description and definition that accompany it, always “counters – actually or potentially – a range of competing alternative descriptions” (Potter, 2005, p. 106). When we employ rhetorical strategies of word choice, definition and framing we work both offensively and defensively, “undermining alternative descriptions” (ibid., p. 107) while defending and resisting attempts to undermine our own position. The practice of rhetoric is inextricably bound up with strategic and tactical needs to counter and resist competing alternative descriptions. Rhetoric is a mycelium originating a vast clonal colony of individual expressions – which all share the same fundamental drive to reduce the influence of alternative descriptions in the minds of particular publics for any particular topic at any particular time. For most of its life, for example, the USIA was concerned to shape the understanding of the US in a way that the government of the US saw as reflecting its own interests and own understandings. In this way, the early strapline of the USIA, “Telling America’s story to the world” is a perfect reflection of what I mean by ‘reducing the influence of alternative descriptions’. While Bardos (2001, p. 425) dismisses this as a “modest slogan” which “suggested no attempt to change anybody’s thinking on any subject” it actually succinctly expresses how one may attempt to control the way that others understand you through making sure that the way you would like them to see you is a well-distributed narrative. The rest of the world have their own stories about America, and if America is not telling its story in the way that it would wish others to understand it then those alternative stories will have no competition and may become dominant. The mission of the USIA was, effectively, to make the world situationally coherent for the US and in order to do this it attempted to make the world adopt America’s story about itself. As practitioners and theorists have attempted to evolve public diplomacy further away from its propagandist roots, there has been a concerted

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attempt to construct it within a relational, even dialogical frame (Zaharna & Uysal, 2016). Therefore, public diplomacy becomes a matter of discovering areas of “common cause” (Leonard, 2002, p. 48) with other states and diplomatic actors in order to build stronger alliances. It is positioned as a “dynamic dialogic process” contributing to the “co-construction of a public sphere” (Dolea, 2018, p. 331). Such a re-casting of public diplomacy has the potential advantage of reflecting competing actors and publics involved in co-constructing dominant descriptions of national understandings and the complexity inherent in the generation and evolution of narratives of statehood and national identities across highly convoluted networks. However, as Zaharna and Uysal (2016, p. 111) point out, one of the unfortunate weaknesses of the current state of public diplomacy theorising is that it instead tends towards “the conception of a discrete, static relationship between the nation and the ‘public’”. One consequence of this is that our conception of public diplomacy remains rooted in a limited vision premised on the assumption that its communicative modality must be positive, empowering, and supportive. And, rather naively, that it occurs within mediated spaces that are trusted by publics and free from competing, alternative manipulations. Thus, in seeking to move the field away from the negative associations of propaganda, while also adopting perspectives of co-creation and dialogical orientation, we become unable to recognise that public diplomacy might incorporate messages which are designed to be unsupportive of publics, to spread uncertainty, and to increase situational incoherency rather than decrease it. In the next section, I look at the way in which public diplomacy might sometimes choose to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt.

FUD, Public Diplomacy and Situational Incoherencies Although a rhetorical approach to public diplomacy might lead us to expect that it must always be directed at reducing uncertainty in target publics there are clearly times at which it might be expedient for a rhetor’s longer term strategy to induce uncertainty and doubt in their immediate publics. Specifically, inducing a public to doubt what they have been told by others, to mistrust what they habitually see, to call into question what they might have previously taken for granted might be an efficient tactical approach taken in order to soften them up for a later message that they might be initially quite resistant to. A temporary, initial, tactical increasing

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of uncertainty might be useful in a larger persuasive strategy designed to decrease uncertainty. Arguably, the most illustrative instance of the global implementation of this tactic is to be found in the realm of marketing rather than in political communication. The marketing strategy of ‘fear, uncertainty, and doubt’ (FUD) originated in the aggressive practices of 1970s IBM, particularly used to target the Amdahl Corporation. FUD is employed to “blunt a competitor’s first-to-market advantage” and can incorporate a number of different techniques such as “warnings to customers concerning the risks of moving to an unproven new product, a barrage of press releases designed to confuse customers concerning the merits of the new product, and benchmark tests - generally rigged in the market-dominating firm’s favour – that raise questions about the new product’s performance” (Pfaffenberger, 2000, p. 79). One of the most notorious elements of FUD campaigns was the practice of vapourware which involved pre-announcements of a product designed to steal attention from a competitor’s product launch, even though the pre-announced product might have no existence other than in the mind of the FUD strategist. Such practices, and the whole FUD approach, were enthusiastically, and highly successfully, adopted by Microsoft in the 1980s and 1990s in order to combat the threat that they perceived from the free and open source operating system, Linux (ibid., 2000). FUD, then, is clearly intended to create uncertainty in consumers’ minds. It appears to increase situational incoherency to the immediate benefit of the FUD strategist. Yet, from a rhetorical perspective it is noticeable that FUD is generally used in order to dissuade a public from abandoning previously held preferences and brand loyalties or from changing existing purchasing habits. In this sense we can argue that the FUD strategist is rhetorically using uncertainty to maintain the status quo in their favour. It is a reaction to a perceived increase in alternatives for a public. FUD works to convince publics that what they might think of as a new, desirable alternative is actually something that they should ignore. It is also clear that the practice of FUD has generally been one exercised by the dominant player in the market – it aids in maintaining market share (and share of mind) against an interloper. It is therefore a good example of Potter’s (2005) ‘defensive’ rhetorical strategy, undermining competing understandings and definitions (see, p. 154).

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How might such an approach translate to the related rhetorical realm of public diplomacy? In what situations might we identify a public diplomacy effort which concentrates on generating uncertainty and doubt? Naturally, the realm of propaganda has concerned itself at times with disinformation. Defined as “intentional falsehoods spread as news stories or simulated documentary formats to advance political goals”, disinformation consists of “strategic deceptions that may appear very credible to those consuming them” (Bennett & Livingston, 2018, p. 124). FUD, then, can be thought of as a variety of disinformation, one designed to interfere with the possible influence of new, alternative understandings on target publics. Bennett and Livingston (2018, p. 125) explore the way that the radical right has constructed “alternative media promoting opposing versions of daily reality”, and they note that “it is something else entirely when public information systems develop large media networks that routinely spread deception and amplify official attacks on the legacy press”. From a public diplomacy perspective, there is obviously a powerful significance to an official head of state, such as Trump, accusing the mainstream “legacy” press of manipulation, lies, and ‘fake news’—the President, after all, represents the establishment but then so does the mainstream media. Most of Trump’s engagement with this issue, however, appears targeted at his domestic ‘base’, people who already source a lot of their news from the alternative, non-legacy organisations that support his narratives. When considering how FUD and disinformation might work strategically for communication with foreign publics it is worth differentiating between the two in terms of their strategy— rhetorically, FUD works to maintain a conceptual status quo and defend it against alternative interloping versions of the truth whereas disinformation seeks to undermine the conceptual status quo for targeted publics.

Two Micro-Cases Both of my cases originate in news media stories from August 2019. In the first, Priti Patel, the newly-appointed UK Home Secretary at the time, makes an announcement that seems calculated to cause great unease among both EU citizens resident in the UK as well as UK citizens resident in the EU. In the second, Donald Trump appears to indicate that he wishes to buy Greenland from Denmark, thus causing consternation in both states. Both statements, then, have the hallmarks

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of public diplomacy directed at instilling confusion and uncertainty in significant ‘non-domestic’ publics; although both cases also illustrate that the boundary between domestic and non-domestic public is increasingly blurring. As Jurková (2018) has argued, the ‘domestic’ is a convoluted reality in any instance of public diplomacy and needs to be approached with much more nuance than it has traditionally been afforded. Pisarska (2016) argues for considering three principal domestic dimensions of public diplomacy: the informative, the cooperative, and the identitydefining. The first is focused on explaining to domestic publics the substance and motivation behind their state’s public diplomacy efforts; the second occurs when the state engages domestic actors (such as charities, NGOs) in the co-creation of public diplomacy; and the third occurs when a state and its publics come together to re-define or re-evaluate their understanding of some of the fundamental ‘national characteristics’ and messages that they wish to be communicated to foreign publics. While the co-creation efforts that Pisarska (2016) describes can clearly have significant galvanising effects on domestic publics, the two cases below describe public diplomacy efforts which fall outside of these dimensions and indicate the need for further nuance in any consideration of the domestic element to public diplomacy. Both case studies focus around the use of news media as a tool of public diplomacy. As Sheafer and Shenhav (2009, p. 273) note, “the media has become the main arena for public diplomacy attempts of nations” and they explain this as a consequence of the recognition by states that “sympathetic media coverage is a prerequisite” for creating “a favorable image in public opinion in foreign countries” (ibid., p. 275). However, there are circumstances when public diplomacy goals might well be achieved through, or even despite, unfavourable media coverage. The news media can be strategically used in order to take advantage of, or increase, uncertainty in target publics and it is important to recognise that public diplomacy efforts might not always depend upon constructing stable, positive images of a state or its ambitions. Indeed, as I will show below, a state might take advantage of the increasing public mistrust of news media to creatively carve out messages that resonate with that uncertainty and use it to their advantage in pursuing diplomatic goals.

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Hostile Environment On 18th August, 2019, Priti Patel was reported as wanting “border restrictions imposed immediately on 31 October”, or “day one of Brexit” as Rob Merrick styled it in The Independent (Merrick, 2019). This was widely reported as “ending free movement for EU citizens” to the UK (Busby, 2019). The exact source for Patel’s announcement is difficult to ascertain; it appears to have originated in an anonymous briefing to certain UK newspapers, and this haziness made it even more likely to confuse and unsettle EU citizens residing in the UK. Various press organs asked the Home Office for further comment and, again, unnamed sources confirmed that “freedom of movement for people from EU countries would end ‘on October 31 should we leave without a deal’” (ibid., 2019). Understandably, pressure groups aiming to protect the rights of EU residents in the UK were quick to protest what looked like a sudden and serious threat to their rights. the3million (@the3million), for example, tweeted on the 21st August, that “EU citizens’ rights hang by a thread if Priti Patel ends freedom of movement overnight”, using the hashtags #BrokenPromise# and #RecklessPolitics, and then linking to their opinion piece in The New European (the3million, 2019). The group’s founder, Nicholas Hatton, was quoted in The Guardian on the 19th August as saying that the move would “mean that millions of lawful citizens will have their legal status removed overnight” (Busby, 2019). Although the channel for this communication was the UK Home Office, it acts as a significant instance of public diplomacy because it directly affects a public of foreign nationals within the UK, as well as sending a message to EU governments and citizens regarding imminent changes to the ways in which EU citizens will be treated by the UK government. Patel’s senior position in the cabinet also contributes to making her a strategic asset to UK public diplomacy. One noticeable feature of the story was the way in which many newspapers (no matter their political sympathies) framed the story as an example of Patel’s personal strength of resolve. Harry Cole, deputy political editor of The Mail on Sunday writing in the Mail Online, cast the Home Secretary’s plans as made “in the face of opposition from mandarins”, adding that “Patel’s tough stance is fully endorsed by Downing Street and the Prime Minister’s enforcer Dominic Cummings” (Cole, 2019). The Express quoted a Home Office spokesman as commenting that “The Home Secretary has been clear in her intention to take back control of our

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border and end free movement after 31 October” (Gamp, 2019). MSN’s iNews quoted the same source, who seemed eager to underline Patel’s ‘new broom’ spirit—“[She] wants to toughen the Home Office’s stance. She thinks [her predecessor Sajid Javid] did a great job but, with a new prime minister and new priorities, changes needed to be made” (MSN, 2019). The complex, multifaceted nature of the Brexit process, within the UK and internationally, means that any piece of communication will inevitably work in different ways for different publics. Perhaps Patel’s announcement was designed primarily for domestic publics perceived to desire a tougher stance from the UK government in the negotiations? This would also work to firm up Patel’s leadership credentials in her new position at the Home Office, displaying that she has clear ideas that also resonate with the Prime Minister. In this sense, although the announcement directly deals with policy targeting foreign publics resident in the UK, it is instead directed at UK domestic media and voters. Nevertheless, the announcement must inevitably also be seen as a communication to EU citizens residing in the UK who would be most personally affected by Patel’s plans. If we consider the announcement as a piece of public diplomacy targeting these EU citizens the dominant effect it seems to be intent on producing is panic and a sense of urgency: “If things are going to change overnight on the 31st October then perhaps I should do everything I can to make a decision as to whether to stay in the UK or move back to the EU, and if I decide to stay then I need to apply for settled status immediately”. An announcement that seems on the surface to induce panic, anger, and uncertainty would actually have the effect of reducing situational incoherence—it is an attempt to erase any lack of confidence in what the position of the government is. Despite the chaotic UK parliamentary environment, then, the announcement might serve to galvanise the minds of EU citizens residing in the UK. From the perspective of the Home Office in particular, there were some clear signs that the attitudes of EU citizens in the UK was being overly influenced by situational incoherency. The EU Settlement Scheme was introduced in pilot form in 2018 and then fully in March of 2019 by the UK government as a means of guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens residing and working in the UK after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Home Office statistics show that up to August 2019 monthly totals for applications to the EU settlement scheme remained low (121,000 in June and 131,300 in July). However, the figures for August rose to 299,000 and then continued

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to rise to 520,600 in September and then 590,300 in October (Home Office, 2019). The almost 300% increase from July to August will be the result of a large number of factors, but one can certainly interpret the figures as representing a sudden increase in the resolution of EU citizens residing in the UK to apply for the settlement scheme. This increase in resolution was certainly good news for the Home Office who needed greater uptake of the scheme in order to demonstrate to the UK and the EU that government plans for Brexit were proceeding well. The announcement of Patel’s plans, although initially seeming to produce uncertainty and fear in certain publics, can be argued to represent a rhetorical attempt to reduce the situational incoherence in the minds of EU citizens settled in the UK, to reduce the influence of alternative narratives denying that Brexit will happen or suggesting that free movement might remain in any final agreement. In this reading, Patel’s announcement might work similarly upon those EU actors involved in the withdrawal agreement negotiations—sending the message that the UK government is serious about the removal of free movement and, again, therefore reducing situational incoherence in publics influenced by alternative narratives of the UK government’s stance such as those promulgated by UK opposition parties, European politicians involved in Brexit negotiations, as well as pressure groups such as the3million and British in Europe (see, https://www.britishineurope.org). The UK Home Office might not typically be considered a source of public diplomacy. However, this case neatly illustrates the fact that in modern, complex societies even state actors and institutions that are ostensibly focused on domestic publics will also perform public diplomacy roles. Theresa May herself, while Home Secretary, oversaw efforts to make the UK appear a harsh and unwelcoming destination for prospective Romanian and Bulgarian economic migrants (Hope, 2013). It makes much sense, therefore, for those concerned with the production and dissemination of public diplomacy to measure the strategic value of different communication sources and routes many of which will no longer be the traditional ‘foreign soil’ channels of the profession’s past. A rather different example of just how non-traditional in its style and substance public diplomacy has become will now be explored in the next mini-case.

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The Selling of Greenland A couple of days before Priti Patel’s plans for EU citizens were disclosed in the UK press another story had grabbed the attention of a rather larger number of publics. On 16th August 2019, The Wall Street Journal published the news that, just two weeks before he was scheduled to make a state visit to Denmark, USA President Donald Trump was exploring the question of whether the USA “can acquire Greenland” (Salama, Ballhaus, Restuccia, & Bender, 2019). In a similar manner to Patel’s plans, Trump’s interest in Greenland was reported via journalists talking to “people familiar with the discussion” (ibid., 2019) rather than a direct communication from the President himself. The Associated Press quickly took up the story and contacted a “Trump ally” who commented that the “Republican president had discussed the purchase but was not serious about it” (Miller & Lee, 2019). They also reported the words of a “Republican congressional aide” who noted that “Trump brought up the notion of buying Greenland in conversations with lawmakers enough times to make them wonder, but they have not taken his comments seriously” (ibid., 2019). While both the WSJ and AP articles provided some historical context to the practice of land being traded between states, they also both relayed Greenland’s flat rejection of the possibility. The WSJ quoted Greenland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Twitter post that stated “we’re open for business, not for sale” (Salama et al. 2019) while the AP used a line from Greenland’s government website, “of course, we are not for sale” (Miller & Lee, 2019). Indeed, it was online, particularly via Twitter, that the real reaction to Trump’s shopping plans flourished. The Huffington Post filed the whole story under the category ‘Weird News ’ and quickly put together a collection of the day’s choicest tweets from mostly US users of the micro-blogging platform. These tend to express a mixture of disbelief and hilarity, many seeing Trump’s apparent designs on Greenland as evidence of his stupidity or insanity (Mazza, 2019). Sky News framed the story in a similar way, running with the title “Trump ridiculed over plan to buy Greenland – ‘Final proof that he has gone mad’” (Kennedy, 2019). The quote in the title originates with Soren Espersen, “foreign affairs spokesperson for the Danish People’s Party” and the Sky News item includes reactions from a number of Greendlander and Danish political voices who reiterated the theme that Greenland is not for sale.

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As the story developed throughout the day news media began to include more commentary and reaction from such voices (much of it gleaned from Twitter). The Guardian describes Greenland as “aghast” (Henley, 2019) and quotes Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, an Inuit Ataqatigiit party MP, as saying that Greenland was “not a commodity that could be sold” and that she found it “tremendously uncomfortable to hear it discussed in such terms” (ibid., 2019). In discussing the strategic value of Greenland to the USA, the article also included the opinions of a Greenland resident, Bent Abeelsen, who noted that the US had “tried to buy us in the past, back in the 19th century, and again after the second world war” (ibid., 2019). Indeed, in a development of the line taken by the early carriers of the story, The Guardian provided historical and geo-political context that fleshed out the reasons that the USA might place a high value on the acquisition of Greenland as well as pointing out that Denmark had sold territories in the past. Like many stories providing historical context for Trump’s Arctic Circle ambitions, the article also pointed out that Greenland, although possessing a “majority of support for independence” (ibid., 2019) was financially and logistically heavily dependent upon Denmark. The purchase plans that initially seemed like a joke, exaggeration, or misunderstanding to many quickly took on a more confirmed and concrete existence over the following couple of days. The Daily Mail reported that Larry Kudrow, Trump’s economic advisor at the time, had told Fox News that “the president, who knows a thing or two about buying real estate, wants to take a look at a Greenland purchase” (Caralle & Goodin, 2019). On the 18th August, reporters were able to directly ask Trump whether he was interested in buying Greenland and he did indeed confirm that “strategically, it’s interesting, and we’d be interested, but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not number one on the burner” (Daugherty, 2019). The final indication that Trump’s intentions were serious came on the 20th August when Trump announced via Twitter that he would be cancelling his upcoming trip to Denmark because the Danish PM had made it clear that “she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland” (Trump, 2019); inevitably implying that such an idea was central to the purpose behind the visit and therefore making it appear very much “number one on the burner”, at least as far as US-Danish relations were concerned. As an example of public diplomacy, the Greenland episode would seem to strongly inculcate uncertainty in specific publics. Greenlanders, Danes,

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as well as citizens of other territories around the world which might be strategically valuable but challenging to finance would all be potentially made uncertain regarding the future of their national sovereignty. At the same time, the episode might also be described as bringing Trump’s mental health and abilities into question—many tweets reacting to the story express disbelief or confused amazement at the US President’s interest in the purchase possibilities. Of course, in many ways, the international reaction brings to mind Nixon’s madman theory, adopted in his dealings with the North Vietnamese and the Soviets. The madman theory held that Nixon’s “power would be enhanced if his opponents thought that he might use excessive force” and so it was necessary to convince them that “he was dangerously unpredictable” (Burr & Kimball, 2003, p. 31). Cha and Seo (2018, p. 90) note that there have been some commentators who have sought to link Trump’s maverick performance with Nixon’s approach, underlining the rationality that can inform a “strategic utility of unpredictability”. From this perspective, Trump’s Greenland gambit is part of a very personal message to the whole world that he is not to be predicted, that he cannot be relied upon to act in the way other Presidents might have done, that the old alliances and the old enmities are up for constant re-negotiation. Let us consider this as a form of rhetorical strategy. A rhetor must have a goal in mind—otherwise why use the persuasive technology of rhetoric? Traditionally, the goal of rhetoric is described as moving, or bringing, a targeted public to share a particular attitude towards something. We have seen how such goals are pursued by reducing the alternative, competing ways of looking at the topic that a target public might have, by reducing them effectively to one way of understanding the topic, the rhetor’s way. How might Trump’s riff on the Madman Theory work in order to reduce the uncertainty produced by competing, alternative understandings? The Greenland story, perhaps more than any other example of Trumpian public diplomacy, works to derail balanced diplomatic commentary, analysis and framing attempts. It indicates that the ways his publics relate to political communication are wrong, or at the very least, insufficient. It therefore forces those publics to move to a position where instead of thinking that they understand the possible motivations that might be in play in US foreign policy, they must instead say at every step, ‘well, I don’t know…’. The final effect of such a strategy would be to stultify these publics, to force them into a form of continually expectant passivity. Only Trump knows what Trump intends—so any foreign publics can only

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wait to see what might be revealed by Trump himself. This is certainly a form of reduction in situational incoherency—but one which fosters a wide-eyed reliance upon the figure of Trump as the arbiter of ‘an arbitrary’ reality. The rhetorical drive of Trump’s public diplomacy, then, is towards demonstrating to all foreign publics and decision-makers the uselessness of alternative understandings or competing conceptions. It is, as such, a form of self-epideictic rhetoric, designed to persuade all publics that Trump is the source of ‘reality’, not the chattering commentators of mainstream media nor the policy wonks and career bureaucrats of the world’s capitals. Nor, even, the ‘Twitterati’, that constantly fulminating froth of public sentiment which accompanies the pursuit of politics in the digital realm.

Risk Society and the Manufacturing of Uncertainty Public feelings of uncertainty regarding the intentions of foreign states and the general perception of incoherency across political and social institutions and networks can be seen as a reflection of the overall ‘world risk society’ that Beck (1996) conceives of as a reaction to the ways in which science and technocracy have produced a significant escalation of global threats. The dangers that we face today are not able to be managed by established procedures and rational counter-measures. Instead, the “so called global threats have together led to a world where the basis of established risk-logic has been whittled away, and where hard-to-manage dangers prevail instead of quantifiable risks” (ibid., p. 16). The realization that it is society that is responsible for this increase in danger, for these “self-generated manufactured uncertainties” (ibid., p. 11), produces a reflexive distrust of science, technical solutions, and expertise. As Beck notes, “politics and morality are gaining priority over expert reasoning” (ibid., p. 20) because it appears to global risk society that it is the blind technicism of experts that has produced this situational incoherency. As a consequence, reflexive modernization “brings with it anxiety, uncertainty, and insecurity because the old social orders seem to be breaking down through the active criticism of the structures and goals of Enlightenmentbased modernity” (Danisch, 2010, p. 180). One aspect of the old social orders that will also inevitably suffer from the scepticism and anxiety of reflexive modernization is the practice of public diplomacy and the wider field of political communication.

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In this context, Trump’s plan to buy Greenland, both in its substance and in the stylistic details of its dissemination and confirmation can be understood as a manifestation of the reflexive rejection of the ‘expert’ tradition of public diplomacy and the rational Enlightenment that has supported it. Danisch (2010, p. 181) argues that the “once the proliferation and inescapability of uncertainty are in place […] then the conditions are set for the development of a rich public sphere that requires a rich tradition of rhetorical practice”. This “rich tradition”, however, will not look like the “public sphere of polite conversation described by Habermas” (ibid., p. 181). Its foundational characteristic, extrapolating from Beck’s conception of “subpolitics”, is that it expresses “‘direct’ politics – that is, ad hoc individual participation in political decisions, by-passing the institutions of representative opinion-formation […], in other words, subpolitics means the shaping of society from below” (Beck, 1996, p. 18). International consumer activism, citizen boycotts, and networks of global action are the sorts of communicative action that Beck identifies as reflexive modernization’s response to global uncertainty. Indeed, the activism of the3million, discussed in my first case study, is a perfect example of this sort of participation, founded as it is in the extreme sense of uncertainty experienced by EU citizens living in the UK after the Brexit referendum. Additionally, the sorts of co-created public diplomacy studied by Pisarska (2016) fall within this realm, where domestic NGOs and activists work with the state in order to reduce uncertainty and suspicion around the substance of public diplomacy efforts. However, at the same time, the remaining institutions and agents of the established Enlightenment project will seek to continue to operate within the reflexive environment, adapting to global uncertainty and mistrust through rhetorics driven by the recognition of this common denominator. This will, indeed, involve a rich variety of rhetorical strategies but it will not necessarily be dominated by those ‘below’. Rather, rhetors might take advantage of mistrust, anxiety and uncertainty by using them to reduce situational incoherency in ways that are not in line with ‘classical’ or received rhetorical tradition. The above mini-case studies of Patel and Trump illustrate the rhetorical effects of reflexive modernization for public diplomacy. Uncertainty is a powerful ground state from which modern public diplomats can launch strategies designed to reduce the influence of alternative understandings, competing versions of the truth. Rhetoric, as always, has the goal of reducing situational incoherency, but in a highly networked, global

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communication landscape, that reduction can, paradoxically, often look like an increase in uncertainty. Both Patel and Trump’s gambits seem to increase chaos and anxiety but both in practice serve to decrease options, reduce alternatives, and mute other voices. This is what the rhetoric of reflexive modernization really looks like.

References Aristotle. (1991). The art of rhetoric. Penguin. Bardos, A. (2001). “Public diplomacy”: An old art, a new profession. The Virginia Quarterly Review, 77 (3), 424–437. Beck, U. (1996). World risk society as cosmopolitan society? Ecological questions in a framework of manufactured uncertainties. Theory, Culture & Society, 13(4), 1–32. Beck, U. (2002). The cosmopolitan society and its enemies. Theory, Culture & Society, 19(2), 17–44. Bennett, W. L., & Livingston, S. (2018). The disinformation order: Disruptive communication and the decline of democratic institutions. European Journal of Communication, 33(2), 122–139. Burr, W., & Kimball, J. (2003). Nixon’s nuclear ploy. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 59(1), 28–73. Burke, R. J. (1982). Politics as rhetoric. Ethics, 93(1), 45–55. Busby, M. (2019). Threat to end freedom of movement overnight is reckless, say EU citizens. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ 2019/aug/19/threat-to-end-freedom-of-movement-overnight-reckless-sayeu-citizens. Caralle, K., & Goodin, E. (2019). Trump DOES want to buy Greenland: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirms the president is ‘looking at’ purchasing the island—Despite its government insisting it is NOT for sale. Mail Online. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7369187/WhiteHouse-economic-adviser-Larry-Kudlow-confirms-Donald-Trump-looking-pur chasing-Greenland.html. Cha, T., & Seo, J. (2018). Trump by Nixon: Maverick presidents in the years of U.S. relative decline. The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 30(1), 79–96. Cole, H. (2019). Priti’s free movement battle: Home Secretary wants borders shut down on October 31 amid claims civil servants are ‘dragging their feet’. Mail Online. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-736 7709/Home-Secretary-Priti-Patel-wants-borders-shut-October-31.html. Consigny, S. (1974). Rhetoric and its situations. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 7 (3), 175–186.

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CHAPTER 7

Russian Public Diplomacy: Questioning Certainties in Uncertain Times Lucy Birge and Precious N. Chatterje-Doody

Introduction In March 2018, a former Russian British double agent, Sergei Skripal, was poisoned together with his daughter in the UK city of Salisbury, with what London’s Metropolitan Police later announced to be a “nerve agent”. British Prime Minister, Theresa May, soon declared that it was “highly likely that Russia was responsible” for this indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom (May, 2018). Record-breaking reciprocal diplomatic expulsions soon followed (Dewan, Veselinovic, & Jordan, 2018), as well as a kind of credibility competition as the UK and Russia presented their respective versions of the evolving case to other governments, international organisations, and the media-consuming international public. With much of the substance of the

L. Birge University of Manchester, Manchester, UK P. N. Chatterje-Doody (B) The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_7

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investigation into the poisoning classified, public debate descended into speculation and fuelled uncertainty. Russian politicians and broadcasters engaged directly with this uncertainty in their public diplomacy efforts related to the case. Given the significance of the charges levelled at Russia—and the fact that the incident itself took place directly before Russia’s muchanticipated hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup (a soft power opportunity in the traditional sense)—there was a strong strategic imperative for the Russian side to effectively manage the discourse around the Skripal poisonings with a public diplomacy programme of its own. International broadcasters can be conceptualised as key tools of public diplomacy (Cowan & Cull, 2008), and in this case, Russia’s international broadcasters, RT and Sputnik, consistently worked to relay Russian perspectives on the case. However, the real-time global media environment entails significant challenges to the informational authority of established institutions (Knüpfer & Entman, 2018, p. 417), making it impossible to effectively direct any media narratives. This is particularly true in the case of unwelcome and unanticipated occurrences that the political establishment is physically unable to control. During these so-called “disruptive media events” (Dayan, 2009; Katz & Liebes, 2007; Ustad Figenschou & Thorbjørnsrud, 2016) such as the Skripal poisonings, state security imperatives are often brought to the fore, but also subjected to rapidly circulating contradictory opinions, analysis and speculation (Hoskins & O’Loughlin, 2010). Even the state-funded international media of illiberal regimes are unable to master information in such an environment (Tolz et al., 2020). However, they do benefit from an ability to capitalise on the uncertainty around them, and on these broadcasters’ specific institutional fit with the broader politics of uncertainty. That is to say, the brand mission of RT to “question more” and of Sputnik to “tell the untold”, speak directly to the politics of uncertainty by engaging with increasing levels of skepticism or even cynicism about traditional sources of political authority. In this chapter, we first outline Russia’s strategic thinking on public diplomacy and information security, then go on to examine the relationships between the ways in which Russian politicians, and the two public diplomacy outlets, RT and Sputnik, responded to three key junctures in this recent disruptive media event—the 2018 poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury. The evidence suggests that although cases pertaining to security provide fertile ground for Russian public diplomacy to thrive by

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mobilising their inherent uncertainty and channelling scepticism towards mainstream sources of information, the realities of the global media environment make the process of managing uncertainty far from simple.

Russian Information Strategy and Public Diplomacy Since Vladimir Putin first acceded to the Presidency in 2000, Russia’s approaches to public diplomacy and information security have been intertwined. First referred to in passing in the Military Doctrine of 2000, “information security” was expanded on later the same year in a strategic doctrine. Whilst outlining the technical aspects of “information security” as data integrity, the document also warned against any Russian reliance on foreign information entities. It identified the threat of information manipulation, including ‘disinformation’, due to the “development by a number of states of information war concepts” and their potential to oust Russian information from national and global information markets (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2000, I.2-3). Such public diplomacy concerns came to the fore in the 2005 establishment of Russia’s international television broadcaster, Russia Today (rebranded as ‘RT ’ in 2009) and again nine years later in the 2014 founding of radio broadcastercum-multimedia outlet, Sputnik. Over time, various developments—both strategic and political—have shaped the tone and promotion of these networks’ outputs in a variety of ways. However, it is crucial to note that from their establishment, RT and Sputnik formed part of Russia’s strategic response to perceived “information security” threats in an age of political and media uncertainty. As RT ’s original name, Russia Today, suggests, the network was at first conceived as an instrument of Russian soft power in the traditional sense (Roxburgh, 2012), tasked with representing Russia positively to the outside world. Its cultural content attempted to engage Russia in debates with the general public on the international stage, and it was not expected to differ substantially from similar initiatives of other states. However, by 2008, the effective management of Russia’s representation at home and abroad was being explicitly recast as an information security attribute of Russia’s Foreign Policy Concept (Kremlin, 2008 III.5-6). In practice, this was seen in the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, as Russia Today’s cultural/diplomatic output was increasingly substituted with commentary that provided an alternative narrative to that of Russian

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aggression which dominated foreign media reports. Echoing domestic state-affiliated television, Russia Today reported Russia’s responsibility to protect South Ossetians from the Georgian state’s attempted “genocide” (RT , 2008). The network’s comprehensive re-branding followed in 2009, under a new name, ‘RT ’. RT ’s new slogan implored its viewers to “question more” about the world around them, and their assumptions about it. The network’s Editor-in-Chief, Margarita Simonyan, justified the re-branding to expand the audience beyond those interested in Russia, and to fill a gap in the media market, created by Western international broadcasters’ tendency to cover the same stories in similar ways (Seddon, 2016). In this, it bore similarities to other ‘new’ international broadcasters offering global news from a counter-hegemonic perspective, such as Telesur, Al Jazeera and Press TV . President Vladimir Putin expressed this new mission in strategic terms, aimed at breaking “the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on… global information streams” (Putin, 2013). Whilst open about the idea that a Russian-backed network would to some extent reflect the views of its main sponsor (Putin, 2013), RT ’s logic was that a Russian perspective on world affairs was as legitimate as any other; that the truth is a matter of perspective of which Western television channels could, by definition, only convey a part, and that audiences should be exposed to all possible truths in order to make up their own minds (Audinet, 2017; Kommersant, 2012). Over time, RT ’s language services expanded to include broadcasts in English (US and UK programming), Spanish, German, Arabic and French. It expanded its content reporting on the states in which it was broadcast and made available, prioritising stories “that have not been reported or hugely underreported in the mainstream media” (Kramer, 2010). The same period saw heightened Russian concerns about the relationship between public perception and foreign policy objectives come to dominate Russian strategic thinking on “information confrontation” in both military (Kremlin, 2010, II.12, IV.41), and foreign policy doctrine, which considered how effective representation of Russia abroad could mitigate political, economic and social threats to state security (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2013, III. 32.h-I, 40-41). General Valery Gerasimov (2013) cautioned that propaganda and subversion could destabilise states to the point of foreign military intervention or civil war—insinuating Western provocations behind the Arab Spring and the post-Soviet colour revolutions. However, Russia’s use of proxy forces in Donbas and

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insignia-free special forces in the annexation of Crimea the following year saw some Western analysts reinterpret Gerasimov’s words as “a new theory of modern warfare” being put into practice, blending Soviet and total war tactics to “hack” an enemy’s society (McKew, 2017). Clearly, these military engagements gave greater urgency to the task of presenting the Russian perspective to foreign publics, and 2014 saw the launch of a new outlet, Sputnik, to consolidate international media operations that had previously been split across other agencies. Sputnik’s slogan is “telling the untold”. Both RT and Sputnik circulated Russia’s high-level denials and contradictory narratives about its involvement in Crimea and Donbass. Sputnik’s news analysis takes a similar (though more extreme) questioning tone to RT ’s web content, but expands the operational languages of Russian public diplomacy, producing web content in more than 30 languages, as well as radio programming in all of RT ’s broadcast languages, plus Chinese, Portuguese, Turkish, Serbian and Polish. The digitised format for this multilingual radio content—including its availability as podcasts—and its significant emphasis on socio-cultural programming, makes Sputnik radio accessible and convenient. In August 2016, Sputnik established a digital hub in Edinburgh, Scotland, which became its new UK headquarters. Since 2017, Sputnik has also offered more traditional radio for English-speaking audiences, with FM and AM stations in Washington, DC that aided local listeners’ engagement via a blended radio and television experience converging live phone-ins and added live streaming for some shows. As of January 2020, Sputnik enlarged its airwave reach by gaining access to three Kansas City-area radio stations (MacFarquhar, 2020). The subsequent evolution of Russian state strategy, and RT and Sputnik’s self-assigned status as global broadcasting outliers have together shaped political and scholarly debate surrounding the strategic aims of Russia’s public diplomacy. In addition, those debates account for the persistence of the conflictual cycle with Western establishment institutions: Russian political, military and media elites fear from the West precisely the kind of informational operations that the West fears from Russia. Russia’s 2016 Information Security Doctrine accused foreign intelligence services of “using information and psychological tools” to destabilise other states (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2016, III.12), and foreign media of publishing “biased assessments of Russian State policy”

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whilst subjecting Russian journalists and mass media to “blatant discrimination” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2016, III.12). For their part, RT and Sputnik have portrayed Western institutions and mainstream media as complicit in perpetuating and covering up—or at least failing to report—significant social problems in Western liberal democracies (Chatterje-Doody & Crilley, 2019). This has earned the networks a reputation as the Kremlin’s informational weapons (Paul & Matthews, 2016; Pomerantsev, 2015; Pomerantsev & Weiss, 2014; Van Herpen, 2016), with both being forced to register as foreign agents in the US in 2017, and RT the subject of an expansive regulatory investigation in the UK in 2018 (Hutchings, Crilley, & Chatterje-Doody, 2018). In this chapter, we analyse Russian public diplomacy efforts around the 2018 Skripal poisonings, noting how these were influenced by the mismatch in Russian and Western perceptions of informational vulnerability versus mastery. We examine how RT and Sputnik portrayed the Skripal case in their multiplatform output at three key junctures: the breaking of the story; RT ’s “exclusive” interview with the identified suspects; and their attempt to construct an epilogue by revisiting the case following its apparent culmination. For each of the identified junctures, our empirical data includes all relevant web news stories and tweets shared by RT and Sputnik (identified by keyword search “Skripal”); RT ’s daily news bulletins (5 pm, MSK, recorded and archived by the Reframing Russia1 project); and episodes of any regular programmes on RT and Sputnik that were dedicated to the topic of the Skripals in the identified periods. Given the centrality of UK-Russian relations in this particular case, and for feasibility reasons, we restricted our data collection to English-language outputs. The common thread in our multi-platform examination is audio-visual narrative analysis: we examine how Russian politicians, broadcasters and political pundits narrated these three junctures in the case’s development, and how they represented the actors that supposedly populated each stage. The key questions informing our analysis are: How do Russian public diplomacy efforts approach uncertainty surrounding the Skripal affair? How do the respective RT and Sputnik brands operate within an overarching environment of uncertainty? Whose voices are (not) incorporated in their coverage? How is Russia constructed within this coverage of the Skripal affair? What is the relationship between the different Russian public diplomacy outlets, the Russian political elite and other prominent

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voices? To what extent are RT and Sputnik successful in their attempts to manage uncertainty in their public diplomacy efforts? Our analysis highlights the complex interrelationships between the operations of Russian politicians, various Ministries and Embassy social media accounts, and the multiplatform services of Sputnik and RT . The evidence suggests that the key narratives in Russian public diplomacy about the Skripal case were not merely dictated from the top-down, but rather co-constructed in ways that relied upon the overarching environment of political uncertainty within which they were articulated and received. Top politicians made many provocatively newsworthy statements to progress their narrative of the case, and both outlets reproduced, analysed and amplified these. As Ramsay and Robertshaw (2018, p. 6) note, RT and Sputnik promulgated a vast assortment of narratives about the Skripal affair—yet, many of these were “competing and often contradictory”. Despite there being no coherent counter-narrative for the Skripal affair itself, these multiple interpretations of the evolving case fitted within the meta-narrative that both broadcasters consistently favour: namely, that established political and media institutions in the West present only partial information, and that critical publics should not take official narratives about anything at face value. The conflicting representations of the case that the two sides provided were given as much attention as substantive developments in the case. This shifted the focus away from reality itself to the way in which that reality was mediated by other sources. Herein lies the crux of the Russian approach to public diplomacy which thrives on uncertainty: RT and Sputnik capitalise on an environment of low public trust in established political and media institutions, and scant availability of relevant information. They emphasised the inconsistencies, and pop-culture elements of the Skripal case, performatively downplaying Russian involvement. Whilst today’s environment of uncertainty afforded such tactics an increased potential for plausibility, it also represented significant challenge. As the ensuing analysis shows, Russian public diplomacy efforts proved vulnerable to questioning and doubtful in terms of effects.

Breaking the News For the first ten days after the Skripals were found poisoned on 4th March, RT and Sputnik coverage was closely coordinated in its endeavour to capitalise on the environment of uncertainty around the event. The

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coverage particularly emphasised the readiness of mainstream media and British officials to speculate without solid evidence. The defining feature of both RT and Sputnik’s early coverage was media-centricity, with audiences diverted away from events themselves, towards the way in which they had already been mediated by others. RT broke the story on March 5th by relying primarily on the limited official statements on the case: tweets from the local police force and hospital were quoted, whilst broadcast news (also embedded within the first web story) noted the dearth of verified information and resultant police caution, which contrasted with a readiness by the media to speculate on the case, despite the lack of solid information (RT , 2018a). Sputnik broke the story on March 6th in a web news article that traced the story’s trajectory in the British press: from a local BBC Wiltshire report to major national news items in The Sun and The Telegraph (Sputnik, 2018a). Despite highlighting the willingness of the mainstream media to dabble in conjecture, Sputnik’s very first piece itself flirted with speculation by conflating the earlier murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko, the opioid crisis in the USA and reports that Sergei Skripal “feared for his life” (ibid., 2018a). RT ’s extended coverage of the story as a ‘Spy Saga’ in its broadcast news on March 6th was similarly framed around Western mainstream media reporting of the poisoning. Excerpts from Sky News, BBC World and ITV News comparing the poisoning to that of Litvinenko were compiled as part of a narrative that suggested that Western journalists were inspired more by the prospect of a real-life ‘Le Carré spy novel ’ than by pursuit of the facts of the case—an accusation repeated by one of Sputnik’s regular web columnists a couple of days later, though now also referencing Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming (Cunningham, 2018a). In asking “Who gains from poisoning a Russian exile in Britain?” the article attempted to mobilise uncertainty more vociferously, inviting audiences to consider for themselves who might have a motive in this intriguing crime drama. Throughout the reporting, the character of Skripal was cast negatively, as with the descriptions in the ‘Spy Saga’ segment that he was “convicted”, “caught and sentenced” for spying. The following days saw RT and Sputnik closely peg their narratives of unfolding events to official (often British) sources and to the British press. However, both outlets relied on their “parallel commentariat” (Ramsay & Robertshaw, 2018, p. 6)—analysts not frequently found on the Western mainstream media—to guide audiences through what successive developments meant. RT’ s featured commentators in its broadcast news on

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March 6th and 12th included former intelligence officers and diplomats turned whistle-blower. For Sputnik, the first breaking news radio broadcast of the story featured its most high-profile voice, John Kiriakou, former CIA agent turned whistle-blower (Sputnik, 2018b), with various lower profile columnists and experts featured later (Clark, 2018; Cunningham, 2018b; Wight, 2018a). Both outlets would frequently take an individual statement or quotation from selected official sources or commentators and build it up into an entire web article (RT , 2018c, 2018d, 2018e, 2018f; Sputnik, 2018c, 2018d). There were close synergies in how RT and Sputnik broke the story for broadcasts and online. Bulletin fragments from RT and Sputnik were embedded into web coverage, and web and social media commentaries were interwoven into broadcasts and stories. The outlets’ web stories highlighted speculative coverage and selective reporting in the British press, and the Russian state was portrayed as a victim of the Russophobic British authorities and mainstream media (Clark, 2018; Cunningham, 2018a, 2018b; RT , 2018b; Wight, 2018a). Sputnik’s web articles expressed a particular grievance with the British tabloid press reporting of the story, framing it as bogus and poor-quality journalism (Sputnik, 2018e). Yet in reality, RT and Sputnik’s own chosen analysts were simultaneously providing their own speculation about alternative possibilities. This was, however, framed not as speculation but as viable alternative explanations that indicated a lack of credibility within the official accounts (RT , 2018c, 2018d). Frequently, RT and Sputnik appeared to take their cue from statements made publicly by Russian officials. RT’s news broadcast on March 12th 2018 not only featured that day’s comments of the Russian Presidential Administration’s spokesman, Dmitrii Peskov, that the British media is “not known for its impartiality”, but adopted his general points about an atmosphere of British media hysteria as the primary frame for the news item. Sputnik’s newswire also amplified Peskov’s comments with an online news article based on his quote published the very same day (Sputnik, 2018f). RT and Sputnik’s first in-depth broadcasts on the Skripal story were punctuated by reflexive media-centricity. Even so, the public diplomacy outlets made use of uncertainty surrounding the case and the prevailing scepticism amongst audiences about established sources of legitimacy in contrasting ways. In Sputnik’s first radio broadcast dedicated entirely to the Skripal case on March 14th, the host of the now disbanded show, ‘Hard Facts ’, John Wight, was joined by Professor Piers Robinson,

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who researches propaganda in the Western media and frequently appears on RT (Sputnik, 2018g). Wight and Robinson’s discussion interpreted the poisoning of the Skripals through the principal frame of history and war (Sputnik, 2018g). With a particular emphasis on the past “heinous” crimes of British Intelligence and authorities throughout the British Empire, the First World War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq by British and US forces, the programme was clearly intended for a leftwing politically-minded and informed audience. Wight’s characteristically hyperbolic discussion used these anachronistic episodes to suggest that official accounts were not to be believed (ibid., 2018g). Sputnik UK’s daily roundup of headlines and top social media trends, often referred to as ‘News in Brief ’ framed the Skripal case squarely as a social media story rather than a news item, reporting news of the Skripal poisonings via the ways in which they had already been mediated. Produced in its Edinburgh studio and presented by Sputnik’s in-house journalists, ‘News in Brief ’ is aired via Sputnik’s airwaves and live instudio via webcam on the social media platform, Facebook, blurring the once clear lines between the audio and the visual in broadcasting. ‘News in Brief ’ sought to mobilise uncertainty by structuring its discussion around selective audience comments that cast doubt on the official British narrative and hence invited audiences to become co-producers of this ‘disruptive media event’ (Hepp & Couldry, 2010; Katz & Liebes, 2007). To cite one illustrative example, on March 12th, one of Sputnik’s Edinburgh’s “very own correspondents” (Sputnik, 2018h), Jordan Brookes, framed the Skripal story around “trending hashtag: #RussiaTheresaMay”, in which he emphasised that the story “has had a lot of people talking on Twitter, we’ve had a lot of people get in touch about this one” (ibid., 2018h). All of the audience comments selected for inclusion in the item were those that suggested media bias, double standards and an absence of concrete evidence in the case. Notably, ‘News in Brief’s own presenters were reluctant to provide any journalistic engagement with audiences’ selected comments, instead only alluding to the prospect of a British conspiracy. Thus, ‘News in Brief ’ endeavoured to stoke up both the uncertainty underpinning the case as well as the wider scepticism towards traditional channels of authority, but did so primarily by ceding the floor to the audience. RT’s in-depth discussion of the case came via episodes of its flagship discussion show, ‘CrossTalk’, and of RT UK’s political discussion show, ‘Going Underground’. The overarching narrative of both programmes was

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that insufficient evidence had been provided to support the UK’s allegations of Russian responsibility. The Russian state was represented as diplomatic, measured and rules-based in its approach to resolving the political crisis with the UK. This contrasted starkly with insinuations made that the UK’s conduct in this and earlier cases breached international law. However, the two programmes presented the specifics of these narratives rather differently, in accordance with each of their programme identities. ‘CrossTalk’s ’ episode, ‘Publicity Murder?’ (RT, 2018g) was provocative and one-sided in terms of the opinions expressed by all three guests and the presenter. ‘Going Underground’s ‘Russian Spy Attack’ Special (RT , 2018h), by contrast, ostensibly provided greater balance. Its presenter played devil’s advocate for certain British state positions, and its guest pool of more widely-recognised expertise and more varied opinion selectively disputed this. Nonetheless, both programmes gave the clear implication that official accounts of the event could not be trusted, whether due to explicitly conspiratorial reasoning in the former,2 or to a more general reference to government hypocrisy and ineptitude in the latter. As this section has illustrated, both RT and Sputnik used the overarching environment of political uncertainty together with the very specific uncertainties surrounding the Skripal affair, to stoke up the narrative of unanswered questions, and questionable official accounts. In their online news media coverage, both outlets adopted reflexive media-centricity in their breaking of the Skripal story. Their reporting foregrounded speculative statements from British officials and journalists, whilst portraying Russian actors as either authoritative sources of information, or as reasonable alternatives to such hysteria. When it came to RT’s television broadcasts and Sputnik’s radio ones, the networks attempted to capitalise on the ensuing ambiguity through a mixture of conspiratorial speculation and ostensibly balanced critical comparisons from history. RT ’s debate formats with its regular contributors platformed conspiratorial speculation as to means and motive, as well as ostensibly balanced discussions that contested the official British narrative by highlighting incompetence. Sputnik brought to bear sceptical audience comments and historical analysis of British Intelligence’s corruption to fuel the particular uncertainties in the case and indicate a factual basis for cynicism towards mainstream networks of information, a common format in conspiracy theorising (Yablokov, 2018). Despite the close fit of such tactics with the wider environment defined by uncertainty and non-linear information flows, Russian

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public diplomacy proved vulnerable to such trends, as the subsequent analysis shall demonstrate.

Interviewing the Suspects In early September, British police released CCTV images of two suspects charged with poisoning the Skripals, identifying them by their presumed aliases, Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov. President Vladimir Putin subsequently denied that the men had any links to the Russian state, insisting that the authorities had located and identified the men as civilians whom he hoped would share their story with the world (Luhn & Boyle, 2018). RT News reported his comments the same day, September 12th. The following day, signalled by a succession of promotional tweets from RT and an article on Sputnik’s web platform (Sputnik, 2018i), RT aired what it presented as its editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan’s exclusive interview with the suspects, after they had supposedly contacted her voluntarily via social media. Released in instalments via YouTube, simultaneously in Russian and with English subtitles,3 extended excerpts from the interview were dubbed and aired as a breaking news item on RT ’s news bulletins that day, interspersed with commentary from the news anchor and an RT correspondent in-studio. RT ’s website published a summary (RT , 2018i) and full transcript (RT , 2018j) of the interview, complete with embedded videos. In it, the men claimed to be health supplements salesmen who had been in Salisbury as tourists visiting the cathedral, and had no connection to the spy scandal that had gone on to ruin their lives. Their story in the interview was later comprehensively dispelled, when investigative journalists demonstrated the men’s links to Russian military intelligence (Tolz, 2018). Simonyan aggressively mobilised uncertainty in her interview, using incredulous intonation and extended pauses to perform her journalistic scepticism. These techniques were evident in the subtitled video uploaded to YouTube, but they were lost in the dubbing for broadcast, by an expressionless non-native speaker of English. Perhaps for this reason, RT News’ in-studio analysts discussed Simonyan’s reaction explicitly in their March 13th bulletin. One of the journalists related that Simonyan had refused to answer questions about whether she believed the men’s story, insisting that audiences could judge the story for themselves. His summation that the interview would create more questions than answers for a lot of people, proved to be quite the understatement. In the hours immediately following the airing of the interview it became clear that

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online audiences of both the Russian and English-language interview videos overwhelmingly rejected the men’s claims and saw the interview as damaging RT ’s own credibility (Chatterje-Doody & Crilley, 2018; Tolz et al., 2020). RT ’s immediate response to the negative reception was a sarcastic dismissal, painting Salisbury’s tourist reputation as the real loser in the tale (RT , 2018l). International news media also reacted similarly negatively, and it was this turn in events that provided the framing for RT ’s coverage on March 14th. RT’ s broadcast news bulletin led with an item entitled ‘Explosive interview’, which included furious reactions from the UK Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, as well as a montage of critical coverage aired by television news in response. The bulletin included detailed coverage of the ostensibly reasonable way that key Russian spokespeople responded to the UK’s emotional reactions: the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, expressed dismay that Britain dismissed the interview just 40 minutes after it aired; and Dmitrii Peskov reiterated that whilst Moscow would consider any formal request from the UK to interview the men in accordance with international law, no request had been received. Statements such as these from Russian officials formed a key pillar of Russia’s diplomatic strategy, with a recurrent insistence in multilateral fora that Britain was not abiding by standard diplomatic protocols. Russia, by contrast, is represented as reasonable and law-abiding—more deserving of the benefit of doubt than the hysterical and Russophobic UK. On RT , this characterisation is strengthened in the broadcast by the sampling of UK politicians’ and media outlets’ reactions, and is followed up with a couple of web op-eds that present more general criticisms of Western Russophobia towards Russia (RT , 2018m; Wight, 2018b). One of these is penned by network friend John Wight, who had, until the previous month, hosted the discontinued Sputnik show, ‘Hard Facts ’ (Wight, 2018b). Following the interview, the substance of the suspects’ links to the Salisbury case are all-but-ignored on RT , which instead focuses on “light interest” tangents: web stories relate TripAdvisor’s removal of its Salisbury Cathedral web page due to a spate of comedy reviews (RT , 2018k); and UK tabloid reporting and retraction of a Russian model’s unfounded poisoning claims (RT , 2018n, 2018o); and a satirical video short makes light of the “post-modern mystery which gets more bizarre by the day” (RT , 2018p). Together, this kind of coverage allows RT to distance itself from accusations about failing to cover the case after

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the disastrous interview. In effect, however, RT bypasses any substantive engagement either with the scepticism surrounding the interview, or the resultant criticisms of the network. The network takes on and reproduces the politics of uncertainty in ways that fit Russian strategic interests—utilising uncertainty as part of an intangible mystery scenario, rather than as tangible functions of state-sponsored operations. Sputnik’s radio broadcasts, however, took a radically divergent editorial approach to the botched Simonyan interview. In fact, the range of conflicting approaches evident across programmes betrayed the ultimate incapacity of Russian public diplomacy outlets to effectively manage uncertainty in this instance. As previously, Sputnik UK’s Edinburgh-based news team were hesitant to discuss the fallout from the RT interview, airing instead a selection of audience opinions without commentary in ‘News in Brief ’ on September 13th. The selected comments expressed incredulity about the UK government position generally, and about the suspects’ guilt in particular (Sputnik, 2018j), and so seem unlikely to be representative of audiences’ reactions in general. While ‘News in Brief’s ’ journalists’ customary tendency to mobilise uncertainty by injecting coverage with audiences’ comments may have been efficacious in the story’s breaking news cycle, it had the opposite effect in this case. Their unwillingness to delve further into Simonyan and RT’s editorial blunder strongly suggests that not only did they personally not find the interview with the suspects convincing, but they also did not expect their audiences to. Subsequent developments that cast further doubt on the Russian versions of events were given the bare minimum of attention (Sputnik, 2018k). The clear implication is that Sputnik’s UK hosts are unconvinced of how effective Russian public diplomacy efforts to control uncertainty have been in this enterprise. By comparison, Sputnik’s US-based shows ‘Loud and Clear’ (Sputnik, 2018l) and ‘Fault Lines ’ (Sputnik, 2018m, 2018n) allotted the unfortunate exposé prime importance. Both shows endeavoured to do this by emphasising the supposedly sceptical stance adopted by Simonyan in her questioning of the suspects, as RT’s journalists had done. For ‘Loud and Clear’ the process of attempting to manage uncertainty was marked by Brian Becker reciting several extended extracts from the interview, attempting to mimic Simonyan’s aggressively questioning intonation and stance that was lost in the interview’s original dubbed translation (Sputnik, 2018o). Kiriakou and Becker, along with regular contributors Alexander Duran and Jim Kavanaugh, dissect the interview and the

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suspects’ words, agreeing for the most part that Boshirov and Petrov do not seem like professional intelligence operatives. Coming from Kiriakou, a former CIA agent, this analysis ought to have some plausibility. Nonetheless, Kavanaugh’s assertion that the interview “won’t persuade anyone” (Sputnik, 2018l) amounts to an acceptance by the show of both the interview’s abysmal failure but also the larger failure of Russian public diplomacy to effectively manage the uncertainty around this development in the case. Deploying a characteristically mocking and ironic tone, ‘Fault Lines ’ presenters use humour to deflect from the interview’s failure and paint the episode in pop culture terms, rather than political ones. They joke that were this a British soap opera, “one of the suspects would propose to Yulia Skripal and the other would be in love with Sergei Skripal” (Sputnik, 2018m). Their capitulation to humour in this instance is a mirroring of the jeering homophobic reactions of RT ’s YouTube comments and indeed Russian internet communities to the Simonyan interview. Strikingly though, the pair end their coverage of the Skripal affair definitively on September 14th on a note of uncertainty by asking why the Skripals had turned off the GPS function on their mobile phones for a period of four hours on the day they were poisoned and then disappeared. The duo concludes that only Sergei and Yulia Skripal can answer this question, not the “craven and cowardly” media (Sputnik, 2018n).

Epilogue In the year following the interview with the suspects, both RT and Sputnik returned intermittently to the story of the Skripal poisonings. This “epilogue” period included stories relating “light interest” developments. Sputnik reported the arrest of a man who had attempted to steal Salisbury Cathedral’s ‘Magna Carta’ (Sputnik, 2018o); the Dean of Salisbury’s regret that Petrov and Boshirov had not managed to visit the Cathedral during their trip to the city (Sputnik, 2018p); and a stunt whereby a Russian flag was displayed across the cathedral’s façade (Sputnik, 2019a). Analogously, RT noted a Russian company’s creation of a board game based on the “adventures” of Petrov and Boshirov (RT , 2019b). Other stories proposed conspiratorial narratives about specific elements of the affair (RT , 2019a). However, the period around the anniversary of the poisoning saw not only some more involved re-engagement with the affair, but also a

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return to media-centricity. Both RT and Sputnik reported a story from The Guardian, in which the parents of the late Dawn Sturgess—who had been fatally poisoned due to inadequate disposal of the Novichok—criticised the British government for having settled Skripal in Salisbury in the first place (RT , 2019c; Sputnik, 2019b). On March 3rd 2019, the Russian Embassy to the UK (2019) released a report detailing the facts and chronology of the case from a Russian perspective, together with “unanswered questions”, and the cases in which it deemed the UK not to have cooperated in the aftermath of the poisoning. RT and Sputnik included material from the Russian Embassy’s press release in stories in which they reported upon the dissatisfaction felt by Sturgess’ son at the UK government’s handling of the affair’s aftermath—and his letter to Putin expressing the same sentiment (RT , 2019d; Sputnik, 2019c). The following day both outlets produced their own articles to mark the first anniversary of the Skripals’ poisoning. For RT , this replicated the form of “unanswered questions” (RT , 2019e) and for Sputnik this featured a British academic claiming that the case was a British plot to distract the public from the calamity of Brexit (Sputnik, 2019d). Similarly, in its daily UK-based news programme, Sputnik interviewed well-regarded journalist and Russia specialist Mary Dejevsky, who is a frequent contributor to mainstream media outlets such as The Guardian and The Independent. In the interview, Dejevsky reiterated a theory she had put forward that day in The Independent —that Skripal may have wanted to return to Russia and that British Intelligence had perhaps foiled his plan (Dejevsky, 2019; Sputnik, 2019e). Later, in a classic mobilisation of the politics of uncertainty that fits so well with both the “question more” and “telling the untold” missions, RT and Sputnik periodically reverted to their leitmotif of unanswered questions as in op-eds about the case released in response to an argument about a Skripal drama show being in production for the BBC (Clark 2019; Sputnik, 2019f). As with the breaking of this news story, then, its epilogue saw a return to close coordination between Sputnik and RT ’s online news media content. Likewise, it also saw a return to media-centricity which capitalised on the uncertainty surrounding the details of the affair as well as a larger cynicism about the official British narrative that held Russia culpable. Despite the conspiratorial framing of much of the questioning in RT and Sputnik’s coverage, the reporting itself is often entirely accurate in the strictest sense, since it is quoting verbatim (and attributing) provocative statements of others. Where these are from official British sources,

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they are curated into RT and Sputnik’s narrative of institutional incompetence. When they come from the top of Russian politics, however, they often need no curation, provocative as they are.

Conclusions International politics during the latest wave of political uncertainty ostensibly offers ample opportunity for the security-orientated Russian public diplomacy exercise to thrive. As our analysis has demonstrated, Russia’s public diplomacy strategy capitalises on mistrust and the low levels of publicly-available information that surround security cases such as the poisoning of the Skripals. Both RT and Sputnik are adept at using media-centricity to steer audiences away from news-events, instead foregrounding their secondary and even tertiary mediation. These outlets framed their outputs in ways that cohere well with the ideas of an uncertain context, paying particular attention to questions and inconsistencies rather than offering plausibly coherent counter-narratives. Indeed, the initial theme of Russian public diplomacy around the Skripal affair was the exploitation of the mystery element of the case, and this was effective insofar as the prevailing British strategy was not to publicly divulge any information about the investigation. Russia’s approach to public diplomacy, then, was well-suited to such an environment of minimal information and heightened uncertainty. However, once substantive details of the official British investigation and those of investigative journalists were made public, the focus of Russian public diplomacy efforts on media-centricity became less compelling. With social media awash with speculation that now focused directly towards the most high-profile element of the official Russian line, RT and Sputnik’s efforts to avoid substantively addressing the case itself because more obvious. This prompted a shift away from the aggressive attempt to mobilise uncertainty, replaced with light-hearted humour and pop culture references intended to minimise Russian involvement. As Russia’s conceptual strategic architecture clearly recognises, information flows during the latest wave of political uncertainty are multifaceted and non-linear. This creates a source of vulnerability for all states’ public diplomacy efforts. In such an environment, even illiberal states are not capable of comprehensively managing media narratives from the top down, as is often assumed of Russian information efforts. In fact, Russian political and military elites genuinely fear from the West, precisely the

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kind of ‘informational warfare’ of which they currently stand accused by the West (Szostek, 2017). Indeed, Moscow State University now uses the Skripal affair as a case study of Russia’s failure in the face of the UK’s hostile information campaign (RTVI, 2018). Where the West perceives Russian mastery, Russia perceives its own vulnerability. Furthermore, as the preceding analysis demonstrates, this perception is not entirely without foundation. Western fears about Russian information manipulation aside, the Skripal case demonstrates the limits of Russian public diplomacy during the latest wave of political uncertainty.

Notes 1. AHRC-funded project, ref: AH/P00508X/1. Details at www.reframingrus sia.com. 2. Conspiracy theories mooted included that Novichok could be made relatively widely and easily; that Skripal had no remaining strategic value, and so the Russian state had no motive; and that the timing of the poisoning—before Russia’s Presidential elections and hosting of the FIFA World Cup—was suspicious. 3. Available to view at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxhRPX_IOsM.

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Sputnik. (2018a, March 6). Russian double agent in critical condition after exposure to unknown substance’ report. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/eur ope/201803061062259899-uk-double-agent-contamination-unknown/. Sputnik. (2018b, March 7). Mainstream media continue to swallow any ‘absurd claims’ levied against Russia. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201 803071062297613-steele-romney-russian-spy-assassination/. Sputnik. (2018c, March 7). UK police have more information on substance in Salisbury incident—Home Secretary. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/eur ope/201803071062303420-uk-police-skripal-incident/. Sputnik. (2018d, March 7). Scotland Yard confirms ex Russian spy, his daughter were targeted by nerve agent. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/europe/ 201803071062324871-scotland-yard-confirms-skripal-nerve-agent-app/. Sputnik. (2018e, March 7). Oops! UK tabloid presents text of 8th grader as proof of anti-spy conspiracy. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/europe/201 803071062324146-uk-tabloid-evidence-against-moscow/. Sputnik. (2018f, March 12). Putin on Skripal case: UK should sort it out itself, then we will talk. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/europe/201803121062 444382-putin-skripal-uk/. Sputnik. (2018g, March 14). After Skripal Anti-Russia hysteria hits fever pitch. Sputnik. Retrieved from https://sputniknews.com/radio_hard_facts/201803 141062511297-skripal-anti-russia-britain-theresa-may/. Sputnik. (2018h, March 12). A brief roundup of international news from our team in Edinburgh. https://www.facebook.com/SputnikNews/videos/101 56055014591181/. Sputnik. (2018i, September 13). Sputnik editor-in-chief interviews Skripal poisoning “suspects”. https://sputniknews.com/world/201809131067992 752-simonyan-interviews-skripal-poisoning-suspects/. Sputnik. (2018j, September 13). Sputnik UK: A brief roundup of international news from our team in Edinburgh. Official Sputnik Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/SputnikNews/videos/sputnik-uk-allthe-latest-from-our-team-in-dinburgh/556733741452131/. Sputnik. (2018k, September 27). Sputnik UK: Euro 2024 vote, Trump backs two state solutions, Tommy Robinson court appearance. https://www.facebook. com/SputnikNews/videos/282275819055468/. Sputnik. (2018l, September 14). Loud and clear—Strange Skripal case becomes Stranger Still. Sputnik.https://sputniknews.com/radio_loud_and_clear/201 809141068019627-Strange-Skripal-Case-Becomes-Stranger-Still/. Sputnik. (2018m, September 14). Fault lines #Skripal shocker: Suspects do interview, say they are tourists…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyyrPF pRrdY&t=32s.

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Sputnik. (2018n, September 14). Fault lines headlines+following the media reaction to the #Skripal story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvW0H0 BtwTA&t=11s. Sputnik. (2018o, October 26). Salisbury cathedral under attack as man arrested for Magna Carta theft attempt. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/europe/ 201810261069241627-magna-carta-salisbury-cathedral/. Sputnik. (2018p, December 24). Things’d be different if Skripal case suspects ‘sensed’ God—Dean of Salisbury. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/eur ope/201812241070972144-salisbury-dean-petrov-boshirov-god/. Sputnik. (2019a, February 17). Salisbury in spotlight again as Russian flag unfurled on famous church—Reports. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/eur ope/201902171072508257-salisbury-uk-russian-flag/. Sputnik. (2019b, February 16). ‘What are they hiding?’: Amesbury victim’s parents want justice from UK Gov’t. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/eur ope/201902161072478955-amesbury-victim-parents-uk-justice/. Sputnik. (2019c, March 3). Amesbury poisoning victim’s son says feels ‘betrayed’ by UK government reports. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/europe/201 903031072908731-uk-amesbury-poisoning-victim-son-authorities/. Sputnik. (2019d, March 4). Salisbury one year on: Skripals vanish, no proof of Russia’s ‘role’ given. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/europe/201903041 072931100-uk-salisbury-russia-skripals-intelligence/. Sputnik. (2019e, March 4). ‘Skripal may have wanted to return to Russia, but was prevented by the UK’—Mary Dejevsky. Sputnik Official Soundcloud. https://soundcloud.com/radiosputnik/skripal-may-havewanted-to-return-to-russia-but-was-prevented-by-the-uk-mary-dejevsky. Sputnik. (2019f, May 17). Real life horror: BBC commissions ‘factual drama’ about Salisbury incident. Sputnik. https://sputniknews.com/europe/201905 171075096636-skripal-bbc-drama-show. Szostek, J. (2017). Popular geopolitics in Russia and post-Soviet Eastern Europe. Europe-Asia Studies, 69(2), 195–201. Tolz, V. (2018). Colonel Chepiga: Who really identified the Skripal poisoner and why it matters. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation. com/colonel-chepiga-who-really-identified-the-skripal-poisoner-and-why-itmatters-104275. Tolz, V., Hutchings, S., Chatterje-Doody, P. N., & Crilley, R. (2020). Mediatization and journalistic agency: Russian television coverage of the Skripal poisonings. Journalism. Online first. https://doi.org/10.1177/146488492 0941967. Ustad Figenschou, T., & Thorbjørnsrud, K. (2016). Disruptive media events. Journalism Practice, 11(8), 942–959. Van Herpen, M. (2016) Putin’s propaganda machine: Soft power and Russian Foreign Policy. Rowman & Littlefield.

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CHAPTER 8

The Confucius Institute and Relationship Management: Uncertainty Management of Chinese Public Diplomacy in Africa Zhao Alexandre Huang

Introduction The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), founded at the end of 2000, is the structural means by which Beijing has institutionalised and strengthened its connections with African states. Within this diplomatic framework, China became, by 2010, Africa’s largest trading partner. More recently, both Chinese and African leaders have characterised China-Africa relations as a “golden age”. Expressions such as “good faith,” “good friend,” and “good brother” appear in Beijing’s official discourse regarding China-Africa cooperation (Xi, 2018b, paras. 6–7). Chinese scholars interpret “golden age” as a “new, strategic, exemplary, and effective partnership between China and Africa” (He, 2018, para. 2). However, China’s official reports have not eliminated the doubts and criticisms of other nations about Beijing’s rapid expansion in Africa,

Z. A. Huang (B) Laboratory DICEN-IDF, Gustave Eiffel University, Serris, France e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_8

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primarily accusations of neo-colonial policies. On the one hand, several Chinese financing projects for African infrastructural development have implicated package deals in exchange for mining concessions, natural resources, or political privileges (Bénazéraf, 2012). On the other hand, China uses debt to influence African geopolitics. For instance, the Djibouti government rents its land to the Chinese army in exchange for the deduction of Djibouti’s debt to China. The ‘Annual Report on Development in Africa’, issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, views the increasing international doubt and criticism of China’s presence in Africa as a source of uncertainty about Beijing’s public diplomacy (PD) (Zhang & He, 2015). Generally speaking, Realists in the field of International Relations (IR) (e.g., Glaser, 1994) interpret uncertainty as a concern about potential conflict or “the condition of insecurity” in the context of anarchy (Waltz, 1979, p. 105). In terms of social psychology, uncertainty is the “confusion of decision making in a complex international environment” (Rathbun, 2007, p. 533) caused by lack of information or an incapacity to filter contradictory information. In fact, excessive information can lead to “capacity limitations of the human mind” (Goldgeier & Tetlock, 2001, p. 83). As a cognitive phenomenon, uncertainty is caused by the inability to acquire and understand all information. Moreover, uncertainty can transform into anxiety (Gudykunst & Nishida, 2001), which is particularly problematic in PD practice. Zhang and He (2015) argued that “Western” criticism and unfavourable opinions of China-Africa relations not only jeopardise the positive perception of China among African publics but also generate misunderstanding, panic, and fear with regard to Beijing’s rise to the position of global leadership. Both undercut China’s PD achievements and soft power building in Africa. To respond to the uncertainty caused by international public opinion, He (2015, pp. 12–16) suggests developing a “people-to-people communication model” of PD to build interpersonal relationships while advocating for “Chinese opportunity” in African societies. Wu (2015) insisted on using commonalities between Chinese and African cultures to formulate common narratives and to persuade African publics through long-term interpersonal communication. The Confucius Institute (CI) has become an essential means for wielding soft power and reducing uncertainty about intercultural exchange with Africa (Ning, 2018). In general, CI consists of two major brands. The educational units established on foreign university campuses

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are known as “Confucius Institutes.” In addition, Chinese education programmes, promoted in primary and secondary schools as well as in the media, are known as “Confucius Classrooms.” Nowadays, CI is progressively considered an instrument of PD by Chinese politicians and scholars. Zhao (2017a) argued the rapid expansion of CI has helped the Ministry of Education improve the “mechanism of Chinese-Foreign cultural exchanges” (paras. 8–9). Others have argued that CI not only actively participates in the construction of China’s international image and the defence of China’s long-lasting reputations, but also proactively explains Chinese viewpoints among foreign publics (Ning, 2018). These roles make Beijing’s discourse power more appealing worldwide. According to the Premier, Li Keqiang, CI aligns with Beijing’s diplomatic claims of “mutual respect, friendly discussion, equality, and mutual benefit” to inherit and carry forward China’s political philosophy: “harmony is most precious and harmony without uniformity” (2014, para. 3). Using CI to promote cultural exchange, China manages uncertainty among foreign publics caused by Western criticism of its presence in Africa. International Relations scholars have conceptualised the “uncertainty” through strained state relations to stress how PD actors are challenged by “the management of threats and the management of threat perceptions” (Schedler, 2013, p. 41). However, the focus of this chapter is uncertainty at the institutional level from a communication perspective. Previous studies discussed the conceptualisation and institutionalisation of PD in the Communist Party of China (CPC) doctrine and the political environment in China, underlining the public-centric relationship management approach to the practice. Extending these discussions through a case study of the CI based in Kenya, I analyse how various levels of relationship management in China’s PD activities minimise uncertainty among local publics.

Literature Review PD is “an international actor’s attempt to manage the international environment through engagement with a foreign public” (Cull, 2009, p. 12). Since PD was officially written into the political doctrine of CPC in 2012, politicians and theorists have conceptualised PD according to national goals. Yang Jiechi, former Chinese Foreign Minister, called PD a “government-led communication effort” on the global stage (2011a,

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para. 2) that allows China to “establish a favourable ‘soft’ environment to underpin its development and international cooperation” (2011b, para. 2). Zhao Qizheng, the former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, argued that the basic task of PD is “to explain China to the world and help foreign publics learn about the real China” and “safeguarding national interests” (2012, p. 15). Seeing it as a way to strengthen communication and exchange with foreign publics through various cultural activities, the former CPC head, Hu Jintao (2005, p. 1), claimed that PD could promote China’s peaceful rise as a global power; and the Chinese vision of a harmonious world, as defined by himself at the United Nations General Assembly, signifies “lasting peace and common prosperity”. Although current Chinese conceptualisations of PD practice are widely inspired by Anglo-American public relations literature, media campaignoriented logic remains the guiding idea in Beijing’s international public opinion management (Zhao, 2019). External propaganda (org. dui wai xuan chuan) is an alternative expression of Chinese PD (Huang & Wang, 2019, 2020). Without negative connotation, ‘propaganda’ is “positively received even with flowers and applause” in China (Lu, 2015, p. 329). Because it represents the CPC’s glorious history of public awakening during the national independence war, propaganda continues to be seen as advancing the modernisation of Chinese society (Liu, 2013). Therefore, Beijing’s PD aims not only to build its reputation on a global scale but also to promote its approach to modernisation, endorsing the peaceful rise of China. Strengthening Chinese PD is critical to the ‘soft use of power’ (Li, 2009, p. 7). Borrowing the concept of soft power from Nye (2004), Zheng and Zhang (2012) emphasised how the mobilisation and application of national influence could transform China’s values, statecraft, political ideas, and cultural resources into material and non-material attractions. As demonstrated by Beijing’s large-scale overseas investment since 2000, the political slogan “making use of the soft power of education” has guided China’s PD efforts. Wang Huning (1993, p. 92), a pioneering researcher of China’s soft power, envisioned: “if a state’s culture and ideology are attractive, others will automatically follow that”. China begun duplicating the capabilities of cultural diplomacy of the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, China founded CI in 2004 (Huang, 2019). In turn, by packaging the cultural values advocated by CPC, CI strengthened China’s capacity to deploy soft power and project

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a peaceful national identity to the rest of the world. CI also helps China manage uncertainty about international public opinion of Beijing’s rise in a changing world. PD research is gradually shifting international political communication towards an interpersonal relational approach that focuses on “social structure and identity formation” (Wu & Wang, 2018, p. 244). Xi Jinping’s administration has integrated the myth of the “Chinese dream” in PD with a view to strengthening the attractiveness of national modernisation. According to Xi, the production and distribution of messages in external propaganda should “adhere to the people-centred orientation” (2018a, para. 4) and reflect the “orientation for a blueprint of a beautiful and happy life” (para. 5). Chinese scholars interpret these statements as reflecting (a) the need to strengthen two-way communication and public-centric interaction in PD (Wang, 2018), (b) the belief in peopleto-people communication engagement (Li, 2019), and (c) the intent to mobilise interpersonal communication to enhance the promotional value of China stories (ibid., 2019). In fact, institutions and publics have come to play essential roles in PD (Fitzpatrick, 2007), in which building and maintaining relationships is fundamental.

Public Diplomacy, Personal Relationships and Uncertainty Management Uncertainty is defined as the state of being doubtful. It refers to “a fundamental condition of human life” (Marris, 1996, p. 1) given the complexity of the environment in which people live. Uncertainty is also “an individual’s inability to predict something accurately” (Milliken, 1987, p. 136). In the communication process, when people experience uncertainty, they often lack specific information (Berger & Calabrese, 1975), are unable to filter equivocal, complex, and variable information (Rathbun, 2007), or have gathered all necessary information but still feel doubtful or insecure in their knowledge or decision making (Brashers, 2001). This “aversive state” of cognition is associated with affective uncertainty, namely anxiety (Bordia, Hobman, Jones, Gallois, & Callan, 2003, p. 508). This “generalised and unspecified sense of disequilibrium” (Turner, 1988, p. 61) stems from “feeling uneasy, tense, worried, or apprehensive” about unknown or unpredictable situations (Gudykunst & Nishida, 2001, p. 59).

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Interpersonal or intergroup communication can help reduce and manage uncertainty (Berger & Calabrese, 1975). Relationships develop in this process. Strangers in PD interaction participate in dialogue and experience uncertainty regarding “their own and others’ communication methods, goals, plans, affective states, and beliefs” (Brashers, 2001, p. 480). PD involves information exchange and meaning creation through dialogue so, “participants are committed to each other and care about each other” (Taylor & Kent, 2014, p. 389). When the receiver interprets a message in alignment with the intended meaning of the sender (Powers & Spitzberg, 1986), the two parties minimise misunderstanding and enhance the predictability of each other’s behaviour (Berger & Calabrese, 1975). Therefore, communication can effectively manage uncertainty and anxiety (Gudykunst & Nishida, 2001). According to knowledge-based affect theory, trust gradually develops due to increasing mutual awareness and understanding in the interpersonal communication process: if the perception of an object or person leads to greater certainty and to “the ability to predict things” regarding that object or person “positive affect will result” (Demerath, 1993, p. 139). When interpersonal communication occurs in the relationship management process between organisations and publics, the former do not have particular powers “to impose their interpretations on the world” (Murphy, 2000, p. 448) and “the public is the locus of the signification process” (Botan & Soto, 1998, p. 37). That is, meaning takes shape through dynamic interpersonal exchange and dialogue (Vasquez, 1996). Chinese PD scholars have placed relationship management within the framework of globalisation and competition (Chen‚ Xiong, & Ou, 2019; Tan, 2016). For them, the changing world not only represents an intensification of competition among nations but also frustrates, due to public opinion and criticism, the construction of China’s international discourse power (Zhao & Lei, 2015). Accordingly, the essence of Beijing’s PD is to activate interpersonal communication, within the framework of relationships between organisations and publics, to exchange information and demonstrate China’s vision, construct and manage meaning, reduce the doubt and misunderstanding of target publics, achieve consensus with target publics, and validate China’s rise (Tan, 2016).

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Public Diplomacy: Ruptured and Fragmented Relationships Applying relationship management to PD can be traced back to foreign policy during the early years of the China. The expression “people’s diplomacy” refers to communicative practices based on the interaction between Chinese and foreign publics. Influenced by Maoist thought on ideological conflict, the “people’s diplomacy” believed in the power of the masses (Mao, 1967, p. 167). Conversely, by applying media campaign logic, Beijing’s PD approach is rooted in the functionalist objective of promoting China among foreign publics and “gaining access to foreign peoples, influencing them, and winning them over” (Zhou, 1989, p. 97). Importantly, applying relationship management to China’s foreign policy is an attempt to manage global political uncertainty. China’s Premier, Zhou Enlai, who favoured making friends with foreign publics, principally in Africa and Latino America, first practised relationship management through a series of non-official exchanges on the global stage in the 1950s. This approach has allowed China to enhance its international legitimacy and to move past the international political isolation of the Cold War. Analysing the application of people’s diplomacy in the early days of Chinese foreign policy, Beijing scholars considered relationship management as one of the instruments for overcoming ruptured and fragmented relationships (Chen & Zhang, 2011). Thus, public-centric PD needs to focus on the important status of target publics (Yu, 2019; Chen et al., 2019). Furthermore, encouraging individual participation in global governance is an effective way to improve global governance in the face of uncertainty (Thakur, Job, Serrano, & Tussie, 2014). For this reason, Chinese politician Yang Jiechi (2011a) conceptualised Chinese PD by stressing the importance of a public-centric perspective: “listen to the people, consider the demands of the people, and seek public support” (para. 7). In other words, the government needs to explain its policies and initiatives to domestic publics in order to persuade, motivate, and mobilise them to participate actively in PD.

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Incorporating Public-Centric Relationship Management into Public Diplomacy Practice The current Chinese president, Xi Jinping, described international politics as entering the “new era” (2017, para. 1). Liu (2018, p. 11) characterised this new era as filled with “uncertainties caused by shifting global power politics and reshuffling global governance.” The competition of discourse power in PD has made international public opinion management a challenge for China. Therefore, applying relationship management to PD reflects “a people-centric approach for the public interest” (Xi, 2017, para. 4). All PD activities need to “explain and respond” to external misunderstandings about China, and to persuade and “guide” foreign publics through long-term as well as everyday communication (Yao, 2018, pp. 50–51). As an institution for telling Chinese stories and exporting CPC values (Sudworth, 2014), CI enhances “the dissemination of culture and knowledge as well as heart-to-heart communication between human beings” (Xi, 2015). It creates harmonious relationships through storytelling and cooperation network that builds an “ecosystem” between organisations, publics, and the social-political environment (Chen, 2004, p. 37). Such an ecosystem nourishes relationships among foreign publics and organisations, strengthens national reputation by communicating Chinese political values on a global stage, and subtly targets publics with common interests. The relational paradigm in PD is derived from public relations theory and emphasises that “the purpose and direction of an organisation (its mission) is affected by relationships with key constituents (publics) in the organisation’s environment” (Dozier, Grunig, & Grunig, 2013, p. 85). It stresses interpersonal dialogue designed to promote mutual interest and allows for “effective public relations and supportive public relationships that are built on trust” (Fitzpatrick, 2007, p. 205). China has progressively applied a co-creational perspective (Botan & Taylor, 2004) to PD, for mutual understanding and for win-win scenarios that are the primary achievements of relationship management. Moreover, “relational constellations shape communication for all individuals” (Zaharna, 2018, p. 321). Inspired by the “relations-as-communication” model, China’s PD stresses relational structure over influence (ibid., 2018, p. 321). Thus, engaging target publics become the primary aim of relationship management. Engagement, however, can “achieve or elicit an outcome at individual, organisation, or social levels” (Johnston, 2018, p. 18). Effective

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engagement depends on emotional, cognitive, and behavioural dimensions. Confucianism considers people to be social, relational beings. China’s idiomatic expression, “everyone has a cousin three thousand miles away”, points to the “spider web” of Chinese relationship networks. Each individual is a node, and people-to-people connections continually form. Frequent contact and exchange are the cornerstones of strong relationships (Fei, 1992). Relationship formation is a process through which certainty increases and anxiety decreases (Berger & Calabrese, 1975). This process depends on individual self-disclosure. Establishing relationships requires emotional engagement, which creates an identification of belonging and appreciation (Finn, 1989). By revealing their background and experience to each other, the two parties of an interaction seek common ground for mutual affective identification. This identification helps establish regular contact, which is triggered by a series of emotional interactions. Moreover, deepening relationships not only require increasing mutual emotional interdependence but also knowledge or comprehension of a theme or opinion (Johnston, 2018) and to generate mutual benefit due to the expectation of reciprocity (Hwang, 1987). The last stage is to maintain and deepen existing relationships through frequent exchange over the long term. In fact, relationship management in China’s PD aims to gain favourable understanding, actions, and reactions from foreign publics. For instance, through increasing people-to-people exchanges, scholarships, and cultural cooperation with foreign organisations, China and its foreign publics have the potential to reach a high level of trust, mutual understanding, and reciprocal support (Yu, 2009). Previous studies suggest positive or favourable emotions linked to interpersonal relationships and PD reinforces the persuasive effect of soft power (Duncombe, 2019). Emotion “shapes the context of communication in global politics” and facilitates persuasion and engagement with foreign publics (Graham, 2014, p. 524). For this reason, China uses relationship management to minimise the threat of international public opinion on issues of international politics, to defend and enhance its national reputation, and to validate its rise as a global power (Tan, 2016). The aim of the current chapter is to illuminate how Beijing enlists CI to establish favourable public opinion in Africa, especially Kenya, of China’s geopolitical and economic expansion:

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RQ1. What strategies and efforts have allowed Beijing to manage uncertainty in the PD process? RQ2. How does CI enhance Beijing’s expansion and legitimacy in Kenya? RQ3. How does CI staff interact and exchange ideas with the Kenyan public in order to tell China’s stories effectively?

Method To address the research questions, I conducted an ethnographic study of the CI at the University of Nairobi (UoN). As the first African branch of CI, the UoN CI is listed as a “Model CI” and “Outstanding CI” by Hanban, meaning that its pedagogical and cultural exchange activities are worthy of emulation by other counterparts. Furthermore, Kenya is currently a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partner of China, its diplomatic status second only to Sino-Russian, Sino-Pakistani, SinoGerman, and Sino-British relations. As a strategic destination of the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, Kenya has not only received a large infrastructural investment from China but is also China’s regional media hub in Africa, reinforcing Beijing’s mass communication capacity. For instance, CGTN -Africa has operated there since 2012, and Star Times, a Chinese digital terrestrial television provider, created a centre there to produce and distribute Chinese cultural products in 2014. Moreover, China has opened four CIs in Kenya, second only to South Africa, Beijing’s BRICS partner. For these reasons, the current CI case study has great potential to illuminate China’s PD strategy in Africa. The data comes from ethnographic fieldwork and participatory observation at the UoN CI over a period of one month in the spring of 2018. In-depth, semi-structured interviews with 13 CI heads and employees (i.e., 2/3 employees of this CI), along with field notes, comprise the first major source of data. As noted in the research contract with CI, these participants agreed to be cited by name in a Ph.D. dissertation written in French and to be quoted anonymously in published academic articles (i.e., I-CI-K1 to I-CI-K16). Additional sources, including internal documents, public annual reports, academic and policy publications, and relevant news stories about CI policy, activities, and achievements comprise the second major source of data.

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Results CI branches actively participate in Beijing’s PD relationship management. Previous findings suggest that the establishment and daily management of CI in host states reflect mature network cooperation and synergy. If the cooperation and diplomatic connections among Chinese and foreign governments and China’s foreign policy represent relationship management at the macro-level to aid CI, then the cooperation and interaction (i.e., synergy) between a local CI and its Chinese and foreign counterparts and partners represent meso-level relationship management. Furthermore, interpersonal communication strategies, intercultural activities, and the Chinese idea of guanxi in daily pedagogical practices strengthen people-to-people connections and deploy China’s soft influence via micro-level relationship management.

Macro-Level Relationship Management: Foreign Policy Beijing defines CI as a “platform for Chinese-foreign intercultural comprehensive exchange” (China’s Ministry of Education, 2013). Enabled by Chinese and foreign educational cooperation with public and private institutions, enterprises, and governments, China uses CI to promote mutual benefit and ‘win-win’ development (China’s Ministry of Education, 2013). Sino-African relations are an important diplomatic relationship in Chinese geopolitics (China’s MFA, 2018). The term ‘community with a shared future’ (org. ming yun gong tong ti) is a central theme of China’s current PD in African states. As one of President Xi Jinping’s theoretical innovations in 2015, this term appears in the preface to China’s Constitution in 2018, rounding out the concept of the “Chinese dream” initiated by Xi in 2012 to restore the past glory of China and the Chinese nation as a regional economic power. Following Xi’s initiatives, by the end of 2018, both “Chinese dream” and “community with a shared future” became officially associated with Beijing’s PD in Africa. As reflected in the title of the Beijing Declaration issued at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the FOCAC, China and Africa are working together to build an “even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future” (China’s MFA, 2018). If the “Chinese dream” is a secular vision and desire to modernise China, “community with a shared future” represents a way to achieve

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this goal (Song & Zhang, 2017). The latter phrase refers not only to future peaceful cooperation of Sino-African communities, along with the common economic and political interests of various Sino-African stakeholders, but also to a “life happier and more fulfilling” for Sino-African people (Xi, 2018b, para. 14). According to China’s international relations scholars (cf. Ruan, 2018; Zhao, 2017c, 2019; Zhou, 2019), codifying the concept of “community with a shared future” as a fundamental element of China’s Constitution is not only an essential attempt by the central government to manage the uncertain international environment (Ruan, 2018), but also a “China Program of the world order” focusing on “breaking through the ‘European and American solutions’ on global governance, combining Chinese civilization with the trend of the times, promoting the development of different civilizations in compatibility, and strengthening global exchange and mutual learning” (Zhao, 2017c, p. 3). It reaffirms the normative notions of “peaceful development” and “win-win situation” (Ruan, 2018, para. 5) and emphasises “dialogue without confrontation and companionship without alliance” in the context of uncertainty (Zhao, 2017b, para. 4). Zhou (2019, para. 5) argued that the concept of “community with a shared future” is the core of China’s diplomacy strategy towards major states, because it highlights the significance of state-to-state relationships as well as the indispensability of “organisation-to-organisation relationships and people-to-people relationships” to alleviate and manage uncertainty associated with international communication. As “an active practitioner and facilitator of building a community with a shared future for mankind” (Hanban, 2018, p. 3), CI continues to build a strong network in African communities to enhance the local Chinese presence (Hartig, 2014). As of June 2019, CI had 59 local branches and 41 Confucius Classrooms in 44 states in Africa. At the macro-level, CI is a continuation of China’s economic and technological aid to Africa. First, China’s “cultural exchange,” mixed with “educational cooperation” and “educational assistance” to Africa, is prominent in both of China’s African policy papers (State Council, 2006, part III; 2015, Part IV). Moreover, the White Paper on ‘Chinese Aid Abroad’ (State Council Information Office, 2011, p. 3) explained the educational assistance model of CI: China selects volunteers and sends them to other developing countries to serve the local people in education, medical and health care, and some

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other social sectors. The volunteers whom China sends mainly include young volunteers and Chinese-language teachers.

China’s Second African Policy Paper confirms the vital role of CI in deepening China-Africa cooperation: China will maintain the momentum of high-level contacts, and implement bilateral cultural cooperation agreements and their implementation plans. Encouraging and supporting African countries for Chinese-language teaching, China will continue to set up more Confucius Institutes in African countries, and encourage and support the opening of Chinese cultural centres in Africa and African cultural centres in China. It will support the holding of the “Year of China” events in Africa and the “Year of an African Country” events in China, raise the profile of the “Chinese/African Cultures in Focus” events, and enrich the program of China-Africa mutual visits between cultural personnel and the China-Africa Cultural Cooperation Partnership Program, with the aim to achieve better results in cultural exchanges. China stands for respect of each other’s cultural diversity, and will promote China-Africa cultural inclusiveness and common prosperity, thereby enhancing understanding and friendship between Chinese and African people. In addition to promoting exchanges between cultural institutions and personnel, China will strengthen cooperation with Africa in cultural industry and personnel training. (State Council, 2015, part V, article 1)

Therefore, the establishment of CI is fundamentally based on China’s foreign policy, which sets the diplomatic orientation for deepening “friendly relationships with other nations” (Hanban, 2018, pp. 2–3). Although CI is a non-profit cultural institution, it is repeatedly mentioned in official Chinese documents, illustrating its importance to PD. As Bao and Xu (2018) argued, CI is a ‘window’ through which China can build educational partnerships and promote China’s claims about mutual benefit and win-win partnerships with target publics in Africa.

Meso-Level Relationship Management: Network Synergy The Hanban officially promotes the CI global expansion model as a “model of transnational education cooperation” (Yan & Ruan, 2013, p. 126). This model is based on the cooperative logic of “joint venture

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set-up” (Hartig, 2016, p. 8), which refers to a “1+1 pairing” of any Chinese public university with a foreign academic host. In general, the Chinese side gathers materials and pedagogical resources for CI, selects and trains Chinese language teachers, and provides activities and start-up funds. The host is responsible for teaching venues and human resources. The cooperation model advocated by CI “weaves a network of cultural institutes that quickly outpaced other countries” (Zaharna, 2018, p. 324). This network reflects the meso-level relationship management of CI in China’s PD. The “1+1 pairing model” involves mutual visits, cooperation, and interaction among various officials and individuals from China and overseas, allowing China to build relationships with target publics and to engage them to participate in Beijing’s PD project. Moreover, a selected Chinese university often collaborates with a number of foreign host institutions, creating additional links in the network (Zaharna, 2018). The diverse relationships generated by the pairing model result not only from the creation of a CI branch in the host foreign university but also from daily CI operation. Synergy is essential to meso-level relationship management. According to the CI Charter, Hanban is “responsible for the management and guidance of Confucius Institutes around the world” (Hanban, n.d., section III). The Annual CI Conference in China provides a platform for the exchange and collaboration among CI administrators around the world. Hartig (2016) defined the conference as an internal convention that welcomes CI teachers and directors, presidents of host universities from around the world, high-level administrators of host states, sinologists, CPC senior officials, representatives of Chinese universities, Chinese educational and cultural officials from different provinces, and CI business partners and sponsors. The aim of the convention is “to recall the past year and to discuss future developments of CIs” (Hartig, 2016, p. 10). CPC senior officials often deliver opening speeches that showcase Beijing’s PD initiatives, policy trends, policy positions, and rhetoric. According to Lahtinen (2015, p. 3), the CI Conference encourages collaboration and exchange among CI branches from around the world and enables participants to engage in “unofficial, confidential discussions in smaller groups and between individuals concerning the organisation and management”. Furthermore, Hanban implements a joint conference for regional CI branches, allowing high-level CI administrators from each continent to meet on a regular basis. These closed-door meetings also

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address CPC deployment of CI work and communication on specific continents. According to the CI Charter, one of the most important missions of CI is to organise networked events in the host country that engage various local partners. Such network collaboration often involves the Chinese embassy, host universities, public institutions in the host state, Chinesefunded enterprises and local companies, and Chinese-sponsored local media. These complex relationships demonstrate the “holistic integrative logic” of the engagement process (Zaharna, 2018, p. 320). CI is positioned at the centre of its networks and integrates diverse collaborators and resources to promote Chinese culture and enhance China’s reputation. In a series of campaigns to promote Chinese culture and language, synergy is evident as the amplifier of the attractiveness of China and Mandarin. One example is the annually held Chinese language competition known as Chinese Bridge. This competition for college students in each state and region is supported by local Chinese embassies, sponsored by Hanban, Chinese universities, and local Chinese-funded enterprises. It is organised at overseas universities and covered by both Chinese and overseas media. Winners travel to China to participate in the global finals and receive scholarships to study in China. The CI at UoN was established through Sino-African cooperation between Tianjin Normal University, which provides teaching resources, and UoN, which provided administrative resources (I-CI-K1) at the end of 2005. Meanwhile, Hanban provides funding, pedagogical resources, and teaching equipment. As a “Model Confucius Institute to illuminate,” according to Hanban, this CI branch features pedagogy for international and intercultural cooperation and communication strategies and tactics that other branches imitate. Each year, the institute welcomes 400 students from all levels: undergraduate degree programmes, training programmes, special interest courses, etc. (I-CI-K1). Its pedagogical team included twenty employees during the 2017–2018 academic year, including one Chinese dean, one Kenyan co-director, three Kenyan administrative assistants, three Kenyan senior lecturers, two Chinese senior lecturers, and ten Chinese volunteer language teachers. All Chinese staff were selected, recruited, and salaried by Hanban, while Kenyan employees were hired and paid by UoN. This CI branch conducts Chinese language education, in cooperation with the Chinese embassy and Kenyan government, to train diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, officers from the Kenya Revenue

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Authority, and staff from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (I-CI-K1, I-CI-K5, & I-CI-K6). Moreover, the language centre organises various cultural events that promote China to local publics. It hosts at least 50 cultural events or professional receptions each year to attract publics from various communities in Kenya: the Chinese New Year Party, the China Enterprise Recruitment Fair, and the “Chinese Bridge” proficiency competition for foreign students. For instance, CI of UoN hosts job recruitment fairs for Kenyan students at the end of each year. This event is considered one of the most important ways to demonstrate China’s attractiveness in Kenya (I-CI-K1). Chinese-sponsored media and the local embassy have framed this event as a fulfilment of diplomatic social responsibilities in Kenya. The event is frequently co-organised by the coalition of CI, UoN, the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, the Kenya-China Economic and Trade Association, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Kenya, and Chinese-invested companies in Kenya; it has also received support from local elites such as university presidents and the local parliamentary president (Liu, 2017). In fact, meso-level relationship management promotes a synergy that aggregates available resources to co-create and co-strengthen the influence and attractiveness of CI in the host state. Meanwhile, synergy between CI and local partners not only softens China’s use of power in PD more flexible and effective but also helps Beijing gain the trust and support of local audiences, generating the Chinese image of responsible benefactor. As one Kenyan lecturer working for CI said, “China has really helped us a lot. Actually, China is here. We can all see a reality: China is building a business there and saying: ‘we bring people, technology and standards [to Kenya]. Then, our people are going to train you and let you do it on your own.’ It is the most advanced country in the world in terms of technology. We [Kenyan people] have so much to learn from China” (I-CI-K4). Therefore, the meso-level relationship management of CI governs a complex partner network using holistic logic to guide organisational communication. As a result, local CI branches can engage various stakeholders and resources. The diversity and richness of CI network integration and synergy is evident on several levels. First, it appears in the “1+1 pairing” model as reinforcing exchanges between China and overseas educational partners and in the management of the internal CI network. Through the CI Conference and the Regional Joint CI Conference, all information related to local CI branches can be shared;

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the Chinese government’s latest CI policies and strategies are likewise promoted and deployed through these meetings. Second, CI integrates resources from various fields in the host African states, and, by doing so, not only promotes Chinese language, culture, and tradition but also provides employment guidance to CI students. Innovative communication strategies clearly reflect the resource synchrony and network synergy of CI. Students from different cultures not only learn Chinese through language programmes and have opportunities to be exposed to Chinese culture through various events but also address employment problems through CI networking after graduation. The strong network of CI transforms one of the most daunting languages in the world into a useful and attractive skill and aims to strengthen China’s reputation as a kind, peaceful, and friendly benefactor in the host society.

Micro-Level Relationship Management: Persuasive Storytelling If macro-level relationship management involves China’s foreign policy, and meso-level relationship management involves the ecosystem and the network synergy of local CI branches, then micro-level relationship management involves the daily communication activities of CI employees in the classroom. Applying the Confucian view that people belong to an interdependent social network, Chinese guanxi could be considered a privileged personal relationship between professionals who are seen as representatives of an organisation in their relations with the outside world. Indeed, the agents and actors of an organisation are hybrid agents who have the ability to act while representing the organisation (Huang & Hardy, 2019). Thus, individual and organisational relationships intersect, and guanxi becomes a dynamic social process, based on trust and dialogue, that aids relationship management. Micro-level relationship management is reflected in the activities of CI employees that promote Chinese culture, aiding national reputation management. CI at UoN is a strong example. The selection of Chinese teachers for this branch is handled by Hanban in Beijing, and the local lecturers of Chinese who have academic qualifications from China are recruited by UoN. Based on my observations, newly recruited teachers and volunteer teachers for CI participate in a compulsory training programme organised by Hanban. This programme covers

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language-teaching techniques, language learning methods, and intercultural communication. During this training, which lasts from three to six months, the Chinese government asks CI staff, in subtle ways, to promote and defend China in their daily work. Several teachers who have participated in the programme stressed two general rules: (a) respect the cultures, traditions, religions, and beliefs of the host state and (b) avoid talking about China (e.g., cultural revolution) or the host state’s sensitive political issues (e.g., social movements) (I-CI-K1, I-CI-K2). Such selfcensorship assures the transmission of “correct” and positive messages through the pedagogical and cultural activities of CI and establishes a harmless and de-governed image of CI in the local society. Scholars (e.g., Hartig, 2016; Huang, 2019) have recognised that this agenda aligns with Beijing’s initiative for PD: to disseminate positive content and prudently avoid devaluing topics related to Kenya in order to maximise local support for CI. CI aims to influence its students through socio-cultural and everyday teaching activities. CI teachers establish close relationships with their students by spending time with them in and out of the classroom. This strategy allows teachers and students to form personal relationships, through which they can exchange ideas and suggestions in a more relaxed and accessible setting. More importantly, teachers have the potential to engage their students and welcome them into the network of China’s “unofficial ambassadors.” In the interview process, several teachers explained that they preferred to discuss cultural issues in the classroom rather than deal with grammar issues and language teaching. Because they can start on the common ground of Chinese and Kenyan culture to tell stories and attract students, they can more easily build personal relationships with them and shape their understanding of China. The pedagogical relationship is a friendly, interactive way to deliver messages that endorse or defend the reputation of China, as the following examples show: Our purpose here is to make them feel good about us. We must first integrate into Kenya’s daily life. They believe that Chinese people have a high income and living standards. In my class, when I mentioned that I often go to the Maasai market and often take “Matatu” to join the university, such interaction could make students feel closer to me. (I-CIK2)

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We can’t talk about politics in the class, but we can talk about culture. When Kenyan students questioned why the Chinese government does not advocate religious beliefs, I told them, Chinese people learn Confucianism. Just like the first verses of the book Three Character Classic: “People at birth are naturally kind-hearted” (org. ren zhi chu, xing ben shan). The Confucian doctrine teaches people to be good and kind to each other. It is similar to that of their religion to each of them. Chinese people believe in their ancestors and respect the Confucian moral rules. (I-CI-K5)

Moreover, the practice of PD is carried out intentionally or unconsciously in micro-level relationship management. For instance, some teachers use photographs of China from 30 or 40 years ago to contrast current and former Chinese society. Chinese political words and positions are easily identifiable in one teacher’s interview responses: My comparison with China’s current development and its backwardness is not to increase my sense of pride but to make an emotional appeal with my students: “we were really poor and backward so many years ago. We were also building our own through continuous efforts after the 1978 economic reform designed by Deng Xiaoping. We are here to help you to build better cities and countries.” (I-CI-K7)

By providing social and cultural activities, CI teachers seek to build personal relationships with their students in order to share stories about China. The purpose is not only to strengthen the connection and interaction between students and teachers but also to endorse and defend China’s national interests, implicitly spreading Chinese political ideas through storytelling. In this way, micro-level relationship management has the potential to achieve mutual trust and understanding between teachers and students but it can also subtly shape views of and attitudes toward China.

Discussion and Conclusions Through the lens of relationship management, this chapter examined how CI actively participates in China’s PD in the age of uncertainty, widely demonstrating the principles of Xi Jinping’s public-centric approach. First, the relationship begins with diplomatic connections and economic partnerships between China and foreign publics. Beijing strives to create a harmonious and convivial atmosphere in its African dealings. Second,

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the relationship is structured using a multi-faceted cooperative network. Through interactive mechanisms within CI and partner institutions, the relationship strengthens reciprocally. Furthermore, internal synergy, based on common interests, can reinforce China’s direct and indirect management of CI. Meanwhile, the innovative network, resource integration, and synergistic strategies can advance the reputation of CI as an open and inclusive cultural institution located overseas. Third, the relationship bears political fruit through daily teaching and cultural interaction. Chinese language teachers build and maintain personal relationships through interaction and storytelling, deepening mutual trust and persuading target publics to believe that China’s peaceful development in African states and Beijing’s aid are based on long-term friendship between China and African states, the CPC and its African counterparts, and the Chinese and African people (Huang & Hardy, 2019). From a communications perspective, an individual’s sense of uncertainty might be mitigated through a relationship management approach to PD. In fact, “relationships are both the producer and product of human interactions and the cognitive activity of interacting individuals” (Anderson, 1993, p. 2). The so-called “public-centric PD” in China is an attempt to coordinate a triangular approach to emotion, cognition, and behaviour in interpersonal communication. In fact, behavioural changes result from real experiences and feelings during human interaction (Poplimont, 2013, p. 18). Relationship management and interaction within CI’s network aims to empower relevant actors to circulate narratives formulated with positive emotional appeals and shared or universal values. In doing so, CI facilitates “a tuning of individual vibrations into an all-embracing collective harmony of all interlocutors” (Lardellier, 2003, p. 121). In other words, communication activities organised in a CI establish a common ground co-created by the interlocutors of the interpersonal communication process. It allows people to “focus on what unites them or brings them together, even if it means ignoring points of disagreement” (Huang, 2019, p. 47). Moreover, CI enhances “the feeling of union and the sentiment of communion of all communication participants” while reducing individual anxiety (Lardellier, 2003, p. 121). Relationship management is gradually transforming into a beneficial resource, generating extensive political capital that China can use to wield soft power and advance a personable, peaceful, and attractive national reputation. In fact, CI activities are crucial to China’s foreign policy, as they reframe Chinese expansion in terms of fruitful relationship

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rather than regional hegemony. Moreover, the application of relationship management to African CI demonstrates Beijing’s initiative to manage political and economic uncertainties caused by its criticism and the doubt that oftentimes follows. The purpose is not only to soften China’s comprehensive presence and rise in African states but also to shape a political environment in which China self-defines as a peace lover, international friend, and a quality partner. This self-conceptualisation endorses Beijing’s initiatives for a new world order characterised by multilateralism and China’s global development. It amplifies CPC rhetoric about the mutual benefits and win-win of China-Africa cooperation. By applying relationship management to PD practices, CI enhances Beijing’s international discourse power and legitimises its rapid rise and expansionist geo-political ambitions.

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of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. https://www.en84.com/fy/fwx/ jh/5775.html/3. Yan, T., & Ruan, M. (2013). A comparative study of the transnational cooperative model of Confucius Institute. Education Circle, 36, 126–127. Yang, J. (2011a). Strive to open up a new situation of public diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. Qiu Shi Theory, 4. http://www.qstheory.cn/zxdk/ 2011/201104/201102/t20110214_67907.htm. Yang, J. (2011b, July 1). China’s public diplomacy. http://english.qstheory.cn/ international/201109/t20110924_112601.htm. Yao, Y. (2018). gong gong wai jiao gong zuo ying zhuan huan xin si lu (Public diplomacy should transform new ideas). In D. Liu (Ed.), Public Diplomacy Studies (Vol. 1, pp. 44–54). Social Sciences Academic Press. Yu, G. T. (2009). China, Africa, and globalization: The ‘China alternative’. Retrieved from http://www.isdp.eu/files/publications/ap/09/gy09chinaafr ica.pdf. Yu, H. (2019). The evolution of civil diplomacy in global governance. In X. Chen, W. Xiong, & Y. Ou (Eds.), The changing world and the capacity building of public diplomacy in the new era (pp. 31–44). Current Affairs Press. Zaharna, R. S. (2018). Global engagement: Culture and communication insights from public diplomacy. In K. A. Johnston & M. Taylor (Eds.), The handbook of communication engagement (pp. 313–330). Wiley-Blackwell. Zhang, H., & He, W. (2015). Annual report on development in Africa no. 17: China’s soft power building in Africa: Achievements, challenges and way forward. Social Sciences Academic Press. Zhao, K. (2017a). The innovation and evolution of China’s public diplomacy. Public Diplomacy Quarterly, 1, 9–15. Zhao, K. (2017b, April 3). ren lei ming yun gong tong ti de si xiang bei jing yu li lun ding wei (The ideological background and theoretical position of the community with a shared future). xue xi shi bao (Study Times). http://www. aisixiang.com/data/106017.html. Zhao, K. (2017c, December 21). ren lei ming yun gong tong ti si xiang yu zhong guo wai jiao de xin fang xiang (The community with a shared future and the new direction of China’s diplomacy). http://www.cssn.cn/gj/gj_hqxx/ gj_tt/201712/t20171221_3787431_2.shtml. Zhao, K. (2019). The China model of public diplomacy and its future. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 14(1–2), 169–181. Zhao, Q. (2012). How China communicates: Public diplomacy in a global age (1st ed.). Foreign Language Press. Zhao, Q. (2019). Public diplomacy requires multi-part collaboration. In X. Chen, W. Xiong, & Y. Ou (Eds.), The changing world and the capacity building of public diplomacy in the new era (pp. 3–8). Current Affairs Press.

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Zhao, Q., & Lei, W. (Eds.). (2015). Blue book of public diplomacy—Annual report of China’s public diplomacy development (2015). Social Sciences Academic Press. Zheng, Y., & Zhang, C. (2012). ‘Soft power’ and Chinese soft power. In H. Lai & Y. Lu (Eds.), China’s soft power and international relations (pp. 21–38). Routledge. Zhou, E. (1989). Selected works of Zhou Enlai (Vol. 2). Foreign Languages Press. Zhou, F. (2019, March 17). guo ji guan xi zhuan xing bei jing xia de ren lei ming yun gong tong ti jian she (The construction of the community with a shared future under the background of international relations transformation). www.sohu.com/a/301822619_618422.

PART III

Public Diplomacy Practice and Uncertainty Management

CHAPTER 9

Managing Disinformation Through Public Diplomacy Alicia Fjällhed

While disinformation is not a new phenomenon, it re-emerged in the twenty-first century as an issue redefining the complexity of hybrid, increasingly polarised media landscapes, and underpinned by the proliferation of fake news and the advancement of post-truth culture. These phenomena have resulted in new uncertainties for various fields with a basis in communicative practices. Among them, both scholars and practitioners within the field of public diplomacy now face an uncertain environment and managerial uncertainties. Therefore, this chapter joins the search for new strategies which could aid in the assessment and countering of disruptive strategic communication for public diplomacy. As a recurring phenomenon in war, disinformation has historically been discussed through concepts such as war propaganda, psychological operations, and hybrid warfare—a topical issue once again after the Crimea crisis in 2014. The wider contemporary discussion, however, emerged in

A. Fjällhed (B) Department of Strategic Communication, Lund University, Lund, Sweden e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_9

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parallel with the 2016 US election race as fake news, bots, trolls and election interference became familiar topics around the world. Simultaneously, scholars within public diplomacy described the rise of disinformation as one of the year’s most important implications for the field as “the circulation of fake news acquired an international dimension” (Cull, 2016, p. 224) and with i.e. Swedish embassies noting a rise in the untruths spreading about the nation abroad (Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 2016; Swedish Institute, 2018). Soon, other scholars prophesised that “countering disinformation (deliberate or otherwise) will assume a much bigger role in discussions about place branding” (Pamment, 2016) and, sure enough, two years later the practice of countering disinformation was described as the “public diplomacy problem of our time” (Pamment, 2018). Simultaneously, Swedish government authorities declared “the identification and countering of disinformation” as an important part of their priorities for the nation’s public diplomacy work (Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 2018); as did a report reviewing the responses of 20 states to the disinformation threat describe how “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has an important role to play in monitoring and providing early warning, especially in instances of malign campaigns targeting national interests abroad” (Vilmer, Escorcia, Guillaume, & Herrera, 2018, p. 172). Just as the report continues by describing how “diplomatic networks can be effectively mobilized to warn about coalescing campaigns (antennas) as well as to propagate the Ministry’s strategic communication (loudspeaker)” (ibid., p. 172), technical tools have been implemented by public diplomacy actors to detect and counter disinformation—such as in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ response to anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli media content (Manor, 2019). In light of this development, the proliferation of disinformation has grown into a pressing uncertainty for the theory and practice of public diplomacy—both in relation to conceptual uncertainties due to the lack of consensus on how to describe the issue, managerial uncertainties due to a lack of previous countering-experiences and adapt cases of best-practices from others, and evaluation uncertainties as the effects of the threat and counter-measures are yet to be known. This chapter provides suggestions for how public diplomacy actors may go about defining, managing and understanding the issue of disinformation as a first step towards coping with and hopefully reducing these uncertainties. To achieve this, the chapter starts with a broad theoretical presentation on the significance of national images and how public diplomats engage strategically in its

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construction. The chapter, then, presents the study design (taking a point of departure in Swedish public diplomacy and a case-study on disinformation spreading about Sweden in the US), a recommendation for an initial framework on how to define and manage the issue in light of the theoretical frame and empirical findings, ending with a wider discussion on this uncertainty’s implications for the practice of public diplomacy.

True or False National Images Ever since the days of the first philosophers, peoples’ world-view has been described as a simplistic shadow of an otherwise complicated reality. Furthermore, our ideas about other nations are often understood as subjective constructions where national representatives—politicians, diplomats and civil servants—sometimes do not agree with others’ ideas of the nation, finding them unnuanced, flawed or simply wrong.1 The following section presents a more in-depth theoretical account for how national images come to be, how the idea of ‘wrong’ national images can be understood through concepts related to ‘wrong’ information in general, and finally presenting key practical frameworks from crisis communication literature on how organisations could approach false or misleading information.

Constructed National Images and Lasting National Reputations Lippmann (1922) once described how we only apprehend a fraction of the world, and that this knowledge is heavily dependent on what others have told us. Scholars continuously describe the process through which we construct our world-view as a social one, derived directly from our interactions with the world and indirectly through the stories we hear from others. Reality thus becomes something best described as subjective and individually variable rather than objective and universally constant (Berger & Luckmann, 1966); the result of a social process through which we make sense of the world (Weick, 1979, 1995, 2009) where communication serves as the basis for this “maintenance of society in time” as well as the creator of “the representation of shared beliefs” (Carey, 1989, p. 15).

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National images—that is, foreign publics’ perception of a nation—is also a social construction based on personal experiences, the experiences of personal connections and mediated messages. That includes, (1) personal experiences from travelling to or studying in another nation or by consuming locally branded products, (2) experiences of our personal connections in the form of tales we hear from friends and family, and (3) mediated messages as conveyed through print and broadcast media, through discussions on digital and social media or through the entertainment industry’s portrayal of the nation in movies and books (Lee, Toth, & Hochang, 2008). Nations have thus become brand states which “comprises the outside world’s ideas about a particular country” (Van Ham, 2001, p. 2). And this national brand does matter—a strong brand may prove helpful in attracting foreign investments, tourists and talent, for wielding political influence and being perceived as an attractive partner in political alliances. A weak national reputation, on the other hand, hinders the achievement of the very same goals where “as a rule, being ‘bad’ is not cool in international politics, does not reap economic/commercial benefits, and is politically detrimental” (Van Ham, 2008, p. 130). Nations therefore engage in the practice of branding the nation, strategically presenting themselves “on the world’s mental map” (Van Ham, 2001, p. 2) through nation branding 2 activities that seek to enhance a good, or change an unwanted national image. As mediated messages are of great importance for the process of constructing our world-view, the influence of media’s editorial decisions has been the subject of empirical studies for decades. In the 1960s, scholars found that US political issues and candidates most frequently discussed in the press were the ones the electorate also found most important (Cohen, 1963; Lang & Lang, 1966). The process was labelled ‘the theory of agenda setting’ (McCombs & Shaw, 1972), stating that the media influence what we think about (first level of agenda setting), how we think about it (second level of agenda setting) (c.f. Wanta, Golan, & Lee, 2004), and how we make associations between issues and attributes (third level of agenda setting) (c.f. Vu, Guo, & McCombs, 2014). The theory of agenda setting also relates to how people think about other states and nations. In relation to this study’s empirical interest in the US context, studies have confirmed a correlation between media portrayal and the US publics’ perceptions of other nations based on the first, second (Besova & Cooley, 2009; Golan & Wanta, 2003) and third (Vu et al., 2014) level of agenda setting. Research has also shown that negative news

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coverage, such is often the case with disinformation, is overrepresented in the international reports (Besova & Cooley, 2009; Golan & Wanta, 2003) and has a stronger agenda setting effect than positive news (Wanta et al., 2004). Notably, journalists are too limited in their reporting, restricted by time pressures, publicity space and increasingly limited resources all influencing which stories and events become the ‘news’ of the day. This news evaluation has been of scholarly interest for some time (see Galtung & Ruge, 1965), describing the collection of news stories and how they are presented in the media as creating a pseudo-environment (Lippmann, 1922) which only represents parts of the story about world-events. That being said, not all news rooms make the same editorial decision. Different media outlets construct different pseudo-environments which, in turn, results in different world-views among their respective audiences. Here, the US has become a particularly interesting context of empirical interest in the twenty-first century due to its highly polarised media and political landscapes (Jamieson, 2018). Not only will these media outlets sometimes portray the world very differently but the one side also regularly accuse the other of getting things wrong, of misrepresenting events, throwing slandering epithets, and accusing the other of being or reporting fake news.

Towards Understanding of ‘Misinformed’ World-Views Discussions about fake news and polarisation (alongside concepts such as filter bubbles and echo chambers, clickbaits, trolls and disinformation) has become of recent interest in the popular debate as well as theoretical fields with an interest in communicative work, not least within the field of public diplomacy (c.f. Bjola & Pamment, 2018; Cull, 2016; Pamment, 2018). Among the concepts connected to the debate, fake news is perhaps the most frequently used and the most commonly known. The concept is, however, problematic as some fear it erodes trust in ‘real news’ (Ireton & Posetti, 2018). Others point to the problem with a lack of a clear definition (Tandoc Jr, Lim, & Ling, 2018; Wardle, 2018) as scholars use the term for various practices such as news satire and news parody, fabrication, manipulation, advertising, and propaganda (Tandoc Jr et al., 2018), some applying it to refer to cases where the medium is ‘fake’ (c.f. van

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der Linden, Panagopoulos, & Roozenbeek, 2020) and others where the content is ‘fake’ (c.f. Allcott & Gentzkow, 2017). The conceptual confusion also relates to the publics’ idea of fake news. When Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (2017, p. 2) directed the question to over 70,000 participants3 from around the world, collecting the respondents ideas of what they thought of as ‘fake news’, three themes emerged: (1) news that is ‘invented’ to make money or discredit others; (2) news that has a basis in facts, but is ‘spun’ to suit a particular agenda; or (3) news that people do not feel comfortable about or do not agree with. To make matters even more complicated, fake news is recognized as a politicized term by both scholars (Brummette, DiStaso, Vafeiadis, & Messner, 2018) and the public (Nielsen & Graves, 2017)—described as a concept “being mobilised as part of political struggles to hegemonise social reality” (Farkas & Schou, 2018, p. 299). That is, the idea that these ‘news’ are used as tools to create a particular pseudo-environment or world-view among the target publics. As the conceptual confusion around fake news stands, older terminologies shed a sharper light on our understanding of the phenomenon. For example, as presented within philosophy of information, the conceptual distinction between information as correct messages, misinformation as false or misleading messages and disinformation as misinformation spread with the intent to mislead (c.f. Fetzer, 2004; Floridi, 2011). However, as Karlova and Lee (2011, p. 3) point out, even though misinformation is described as inaccurate information, it may still be “true, accurate, and informative depending on the context”. Another example of a terminological apparatus is the conceptual distinction between different types of propaganda—white propaganda referring to information or clearly marked opinions shared by an openly presented messenger, grey propaganda when the source is unclear and the content partially angled, and black propaganda when the communication consists of inaccurate messages conveyed by someone posing under a false flag (originally a combination Linebarger’s’ (1954) and later Sproule’s (1994) respective conceptualisations of these distinctions). To summarize, all these terms help us understand different aspects of the phenomena. First, fake news as a term representing a symptom of a new media landscape, illustrating how the debate not only refers to empirically speaking objective untruths, but also to different political realities. Secondly, the difference between information, misinformation and disinformation as well as that between white, grey and black propaganda

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illustrating both content and intent-based differences in communicative practices. Combined, these concepts create the basis for a deeper understanding of the issue, and more precise vocabulary for situations when public diplomacy practitioners are tasked to assess and counter these phenomena.

Swedish Countering Strategies As previously mentioned, national images are considered as important resources. Therefore, public diplomacy actors engage in activities to influence the perceptions of their nation abroad in a positive way (c.f. Dinnie, 2008; Mellisen, 2005; Simonin, 2008). The practice has, however, been criticised for accentuating nations’ positive and productive capital as only representing parts of an otherwise more complex nationhood characterised by both good and bad qualities. According to the critics, the nations’ official profiles thus risk being embellished and non-representative where neither all political nuances nor the cultural diversity is included—only qualities that enhances the national brand (c.f. Aronczyk, 2013). Beyond the nation’s own overseas communication, as we have seen, its image is also influenced by the communication of others—sometimes assessed as false or misleading stories by the nation’s own public diplomacy representatives. If severe, these events could even grow into a type of organisational crises more specifically defined as rumour crises —organisational crisis widely defined as a “low-probability, high-impact event that threatens the viability of the organization and is characterized by ambiguity of cause, effect, and means of resolution, as well as by a belief that decisions must be made swiftly” (Pearson & Clair, 1998, p. 60) and rumour crises referring to situations “when false or misleading information is purposefully circulated about an organization or its products in order to harm the organization” (Coombs, 2014, p. 67).4 Within crisis communications literature, the focus on states and the link between crisis communication and public diplomacy is described as rare. This while crisis communication and public diplomacy carry similar qualities—both used as tools “to repair or enhance the image and/or to resolve a conflict or crisis and achieve peace and stability” (Auer, 2016, p. 128). In this sense, public diplomacy has been studied in relation to its role in war and conflict situations (see i.e. Al-Muftah, 2019; Brown, 2002;

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Mor, 2007; Yarchi, Samuel-Azran, & Bar-David, 2017) as well as in relation to political crises (see i.e. Anagondahalli & Zhu, 2016; Cassidy & Manor, 2016; Cassinger, Merkelsen, Eksell, & Rasmussen, 2016; Lindholm & Olsson, 2011; Olsson, 2011, 2013). Among the latter, some studies focus on the role of public diplomacy as a crisis management tool to prevent and address international crises (c.f. Auer, 2016) while others focus on the management strategies of public diplomacy actors (c.f. Cassinger et al., 2016; Lindholm & Olsson, 2011). This study, however, focuses on the particular crisis-type of disinformation (a rumour crisis), aiming at providing an initial conceptualization of this crisis type in a public diplomacy setting and a hands-on procedural framework for how to manage the very same, taking a point of departure in organisational crisis management literature. First, however, while crises are most often depicted as posing risks for the organisation, other scholars accentuate the opportunities arising from the very same crisis situation. As organisations become the centre of attention, this provides an opportunity to deepen one’s relation with stakeholders and ‘live the brand’ through a well-designed crisis response (see Ulmer, Sellnow, & Seeger, 2015). Avraham and Ketter (2008) present a raft of advice for how places (from a destination branding perspective) could approach crises—heavily founded in crisis management theories and crisis communication scholars such as Coombs (2014). Here, the crisis is most often divided into three phases with a specific set of appropriate activities connected to each phase: (1) proactive measures before the crisis; (2) reactive measures during the crisis, and (3) reflective measures after the crisis.5 Before the crisis, in the pre-crisis phase, organisations should strive to build good relations with the public and deal with issues proactively, not allowing them to grow into crises. By building a good reputation, organisations are even described as able to create a halo effect (Coombs & Holladay, 1996) as a fund of reputation-capital which could protect the organisation from reputational loss when facing a crisis (also discussed in relation to states facing crises, see Auer, 2016, p. 129). In this phase, it is also important to prepare the organisation to enable a good response—by developing a crisis plan, by ensuring internal competence, and by training personnel. In the crisis phase, the first important step is early crisis recognition, following a crisis response that should be quick and informative using various media to get the organisation’s message across to the public. As described by Coombs and Holladay (2002) in the ‘Situation Crisis

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Communication Theory’ (SCCT), an appropriate response depends on the public’s perception of the situation—both affected by the public’s perception of the organisation’s overall brand, the successes or failures in previous crisis management, and the perceived organisational responsibility for the situation at hand. Dividing and ranking crises types into thirteen categories, crises are then placed on a scale from situations where the organisation’s responsibility is deemed high (e.g. product recalls or accidents caused by corporate organisations) to crises where the organisation is perceived as the victim (e.g. as with crises caused by natural disasters or rumours). These crises types are further paired with counterstrategies based on Benoit’s (2014) ‘Image Restoration Theory’ or later ‘Image Repair Theory’ (IRT). Together, SCCT and IRT are used as a basis for the assessment of the situation and furthermore the suggested counter-strategy—i.e. rumour crises assessed as a crisis type where organisational responsibility is low and thus best approached with defensive strategies by focusing on simply communicating corrective information (Coombs & Holladay, 2002). Finally, once the crisis has passed, in the post-crisis phase, the organisation should make sure that the crisis is truly over, while continuing the monitoring of the situation as new crises may re-emerge (sometimes as a result of weak crisis management). In this final phase, the organisation should evaluate the event and management of the event to improve future practices (for a more in-depth presentation of the activities proposed in each phase, see Coombs, 2014).

Method As initially stated, the aim of this chapter is to help public diplomacy actors address uncertainties connected to the issue of disinformation, guided by the question How can disinformation be understood and managed by public diplomacy actors? To achieve this aim, the empirical material presented below was selected with the purpose to give initial insights into the normative definitions and strategies developed by practice, paired with a case study to examine the effects of these normative strategies in a ‘real-life’ setting. The empirical material reviewed consists of two documents, one media analysis and a survey—all of which were analysed inductively with a stance in the principles of grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006).6 Two documents were analysed to explore the definitions and normative strategies suggested by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA).7 The first

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document situates the issue of disinformation (alongside other emerging challenges) in relation to the MFA’s overall internal and external communication (Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 2016) and the second document, issued by the MFA’s Communications Department (MFA-COM), introduces the issue of disinformation and provides guidance for Swedish embassies on how to manage the very same (MFA-COM, 2016). To explore how these normative depictions played out in a real-life setting, the study then engaged in a single case-study. Ever since the 2014–2015 migration crisis, Sweden has been used as a battering ram in domestic debates around the world with disinformation as a reoccurring theme. The case explored in this chapter was chosen as it takes place in what Reuters Institute (2017) argues is the most polarised nation of them all—the US. Reviewing the press-coverage following a statement made by the US president Trump about Sweden on 18 February 2017, the chapter focused the sample to online media presented in the Reuters Institutes’ report as consumed by US respondents with a self-assessed political stance as ‘far-left’ (Occupy Democrats), ‘left leaning’ (Buzzfeed News, New York Times, and Huffington Post), ‘centre’ (Yahoo! News), ‘right leaning’ (Fox News) and ‘far-right’ (Breitbart). The final sample consists of articles appearing on these news sites addressing the event (the first article published on 18 February and the last published on 16 May 2017). Finally, while long-term effects of the image of Sweden among the US public is hard to determine at this stage, data from a large-scale survey aimed at 3.278 US citizens in June 2017 (a few months after the event, the material collected by Swedish Institute) was analysed in this study to explore the event’s short-term impact on the image of Sweden in the US.8

A Swedish Perspective Sweden has an historically good reputation with a steady 10th place on the Nation Brand Index (GfK, 2016, p. 28), traditionally associated with everything from the Swedish welfare state to Ingmar Bergman, Abba, the Nobel prizes and internationally renowned companies like VOLVO and IKEA. However, as with all nations, Sweden too struggles with various stereotypes and clichés as described by Lundberg in a review from 2005: Sweden is beautiful, self-sufficient, expensive, environment-minded, open, socialist, neutral and egalitarian. The Swedes are shy, stiff, introspective,

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conventional, superior, self-righteous, naive, security-addicted, suicideprone and sex-crazed nude bathers averse to conflict, but also outwardlooking, friendly, equality-minded, rich, technically accomplished, hardworking, punctual, clean, blue-eyed blondes. (Lundberg, 2005, p. 8)

In 2016, Sweden’s international reputation reached a new high as the nation rose to the first place on the Reputation Institute’s (2016) list of the world’s best reputable states, following articles such as “Why Sweden beats other countries at just about everything” (World Economic Forum, 2017). Conversely, and parallel to this spike, Swedish embassies reported an increase of false or unnuanced information being spread about the nation abroad (Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 2016). In light of the European migration crisis (and Sweden’s initially open migration policies) the nation became a battering ram in the international debates—either used as a good or bad example, a role-model or deterrent in domestic debates around the world. The previously often utopian national image was now accompanied by all the more dystopian depictions through, for example, rumours of the police losing control in the suburbs and Swedish law being replaced by Sharia-laws. A study reviewing the image of Sweden abroad at this time, titled Sweden in a new light (Swedish Institute, 2018, p. 28), has revealed that the image of Sweden was still foremost positive while noting that “the presence of vast exaggerations and even pure disinformation about Sweden abroad is however new and must be considered severe”—adding that these were typically spread by small groups within populations. In face of this new challenge, Swedish embassies sought guidance from the MFA-COM which lead the official response in the foreign press (Pamment, Olofsson, & Hjorth-Jenssen, 2017). While the MFACOM describe themselves to have “fumbled for quite some time”, they later realised that “we needed to think more strategically around it all” (see Pamment et al., 2017, p. 335), and thus created a new document titled ‘Guidance for the management of disinformation and rumours’ (MFA-COM, 2016) to introduce the issue and present advice on a cause of action for embassies in face of this new phenomenon.

Normative Countering Strategy Upon a closer inspection of documents issued by the Swedish MFA on the matter of disinformation, one finds a few key themes connected to

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(1) the concepts and definitions used and (2) the proposed strategies for countering-initiatives—reviewed in the paragraphs below. In the guidance, the Swedish MFA-COM (2016) describe disinformation as a problem—as it “undermines trust in the state” and “when directed at Sweden, could harm the image of our country” (p. 1). The term is then more specifically defined as “a generic term that includes several phenomena, that can have various intentions, but ultimately have similar consequences, that is dissemination of untruths that i.e. could harm the image of Sweden” (p. 2). While disinformation is here determined based on its consequences, further categorisation into sub-categories are based on the intentions as either (1) “intentional disinformation with the aim of harming Sweden”, (2) “misinterpretations of events or statements with far-reaching consequences”, or (3) “‘Sweden-bashing’ used to strengthen the actors’ own, often domestic political purposes” (p. 4). In addition, the document also uses the concept of propaganda to label these phenomena, most often presented as the equivalent of disinformation. At the end of the guidance, however, the MFA-COM also addresses the concept’s relation to public diplomacy—when propaganda is used “with the goals to disseminate and strengthen the own country’s values” through the use of “disinformation as a method to reinforce its purposes” (p. 8). In terms of counter-strategies, the MFA-COM describes three sets of preventative and proactive measures to be considered before one detects disinformation spreading about the nation abroad. All activities are either designed to reduce the risk of disinformation spreading or to prepare the organisation for managing such situations. This should be done by focusing on three key initiatives; (1) raising awareness about disinformation by educating one’s own personnel and facilitating internal and external knowledge-exchange; (2) reducing the occurrence of disinformation in general by supporting other stakeholders (civil society, independent media, etc.), and more specifically reducing the occurrence of disinformation about Sweden through public diplomacy by proactively issuing correct information; and (3) by engaging in media monitoring of traditional, alternative and social media to ensure early detection of disinformation. Once disinformation is detected, the Swedish MFA-COM suggest that public diplomacy actors make a situational analysis guided by the following questions: ‘Who spreads the disinformation?’, ‘How did it start?’, and ‘Where is it spreading?’.

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At this still early stage, the document describes the importance of collecting material that could be used in a later response. The chosen response should be based on the above presented questions—that is the assessment of the messenger, source and medium of the disinformation. Generally speaking, actors should be more inclined to counter disinformation if spread by what could be described as serious actors, or credible sources in quality media (often presented as connected practices in the document, not seldom in reference to ‘traditional media’). This is recommended, while applying a more restrictive approach if disinformation is spread by unserious actors, using non-credible sources in ‘alternative media’ such as “a term used to describe the often right-extremist digital newspapers through which disinformation sometimes is spread” (p. 7). If spread by traditional media, Swedish MFA-COM advises actors to ask for a correction. If the disinformation spreads on social media, they urge constraint from engaging in long discussions, further presenting four suggestions for appropriate countermeasures: (1) providing an answer through one’s own social media channels, (2) providing partner organisations with facts to ensure they are prepared for a well-informed response, (3) contacting the presumed target-audience to provide them with facts, and/or (4) informing traditional media of the rumours spreading online. If spread in alternative media, the Swedish MFA-COM suggests no direct reaction beyond a continuous monitoring of the situation to ensure early detection of disinformation if the story travels across media outlets, which could warrant a new assessment and a new response strategy. After the event, the Swedish MFA-COM recommends that actors engage in the exchange of best practices, that is, by “collecting, analysing and highlighting clear examples of disinformation and propaganda and sharing experiences with colleagues” (p. 2).

#LastNightInSweden By drawing from the news articles presented in the methods section, this section addresses the implications of the Swedish normative strategy in relation to a real case of disinformation spreading about the nation abroad. As previously explained, disinformation in relation to migration is a reoccurring theme for Swedish public diplomacy actors, here focusing on one such case—an event arising as a result of a statement made by the US president, Donald Trump, in Florida on 18 February, 2017:

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Here’s the bottom line, we’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening. We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden! They took in large numbers, they’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris. We’ve allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country and there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing. So, we’re going to keep our country safe.

As Sweden was mentioned alongside cities such as Brussels, Nice and Paris where recent terrorist attacks had taken place, some assumed the president had meant that there was a terrorist attack ‘last night in Sweden’ (later #LastNightInSweden becoming the hashtag used in online discussions). But since there were no such reports, the Swedish embassy in Washington reached out to the US administration to seek clarification about what the president had referred to, receiving a reply on Twitter that “My statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden” (@realDonaldTrump, 2017b). The segment in question discussed a documentary titled ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ which argues that Sweden’s generous migration policies had made way for a criminal spike, a fact subsequently argued that Swedish government authorities are doing their best to hide. The Swedish embassy did not agree with this depiction and responded to the president with a tweet reading that “We look forward to inform the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration politics” (@SwedeninUSA, 2017), as did the Swedish MFA later publish an article titled ‘Facts about migration, integration and crime in Sweden’ on their website, containing answers to reoccurring “simplistic and occasionally inaccurate information about Sweden and Swedish migration policy” (Government Offices of Sweden, 2017). The US president was however not convinced, later tweeting that “Give the public a break – the FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!” (@realDonaldTrump, 2017a). In the next section, we take a close look at how US online media portrayed the event, focusing on three recurring themes in relation to the media depiction of (1) the president’s statement, (2) the situation in Sweden, and (3) Swedish government officials.

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‘Far-left’ and ‘left leaning’ media outlets immediately described the president’s statement as ridiculous, often using sarcastic comments from the public on social media in their reports. ‘Left leaning’ media too presented tweets from the public, alongside tweets from the nation branding initiative ‘Curators of Sweden’—the Twitter-account @Sweden managed by a new Swede each week (previously studied by i.e. Christensen, 2013; Hoffmann, 2015)—and quotes from Swedish government officials or Swedish journalists used as experts to comment on the situation in Sweden. ‘Right leaning’ media also described the president’s statement as strange at first, later arguing that he was consciously misinterpreted by mainstream actors. This was a clear inconsistency as there was no mention of a terror attack in Sweden during the speech, thus arguing that the statement rather referred to the situation in Sweden—a line of reasoning for example reinforced by drawing attention to a debate article by the party leader of the Sweden Democrats, titled “Trump is right: Sweden’s embrace of refugees isn’t working” (Åkesson & Karlsson, 2017). Both ‘far-right’ and ‘right leaning’ media described a connection between migration and crime in Sweden, while ‘far-left’ media argued that the crimes are conducted towards refugees rather than by refugees themselves—depicting the nation’s actions during the migration crisis as admirable, highlighting the humanitarian values of caring for refugees as deeply rooted in the Swedish national identity. Many media outlets turn to statistics to describe the situation in Sweden. ‘Left leaning’ and ‘centre’ media showed that the Swedish crime-rate is relatively low, stable over time and crimes mostly committed by Swedes, not migrants. At the same time, the same statistics—issued by ‘The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention’, in Swedish ‘Brottsförebyggande rådet’, or BRÅ (2019) for short—were used by both ‘far-right’ and ‘right leaning’ media to argue that crime has increased since the migration crisis. Put simply, both sides used the same figures to argue opposite depictions of the situation in Sweden. Overall, ‘left leaning’ and ‘centre’ media were slightly more nuanced in their depictions of Sweden, describing both the generous Sweden and the political turn when the nation closed its borders, reinforced by using sources and quotes from interviews with people holding both positive and negative opinions about Sweden to a greater extent than in other outlets.

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‘Far-right’ and ‘right leaning’ media sometimes accused the government and media of deliberately withholding the truth about the connection between migration and crime in Sweden. To take one example, one ‘far-right’ article reported that Swedish Radio broadcast a segment in English that denied the existence of no-go zones in the suburbs— depicted in the article as a reaction to the Swedish Radio’s (or perhaps implicitly the Swedish governments’) concern about the image of Sweden abroad. In ‘left leaning’ and ‘far-left’ media, Swedish officials were commenting on the accusations of withholding information, stating that it was not true and that they were most willing to talk about the challenges facing Sweden. Despite this debate (and the fact that there was a terrorist attack soon after in Sweden) the survey targeting the US public a few months later (see method section) has shown that the image of Sweden was still positive. On average, Sweden was appointed a 6–7 on a 1–7 scale as an ‘attractive’ or ‘very attractive’ destination to visit, study in, move to, or do business with. Few had a negative image of Sweden (2%) or appreciated that their image of Sweden had deteriorated in the last few years (5%). However, this group of respondents with a negative or recently deteriorated image of Sweden often mentioned associations between Sweden and migration and/or insecurity issues, referring to both specific attacks and what is described as a general spike of violence not seldom linked to Sweden’s open and generous migration policy. When reviewing the total sample, none of the respondents with self-assessed political views as ‘very left’, ‘left’ or ‘somewhat left’ had any associations to Sweden related to insecurity or migration, while there was a rising curve among those with a ‘somewhat right’, ‘right’ and ultimately ‘very right’ political stance (amounting to 5% of those with self-assessed political orientation as ‘very right’). While most respondents did not remember any particular topic being reported about Sweden in the news media, the two Swedennegative groups returned to topics such as migration, foreign policy, the welfare system, and social issues.

Disinformation and Its Effects on Public Diplomacy The purpose of this chapter has been to seek early stage recommendations on how to define, manage and understand the challenges brought

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about by new types of disinformation in the context of public diplomacy practices. It has provided a presentation of the phenomena which clarify some of the main characteristics of the problem, and an initial structured approach for how organisations may prepare for, react to and learn from cases of rumour crises. However, as the #LastNightInSweden case illustrates, simple distinctions between truth and lies as well as normative managerial processes are challenged by the polarized setting in which the issue of untruths emerges, unfolds and affects the publics’ perceptions of the nation and its representatives. This chapter seeks no conclusive evidence on the matter, nor will it deliver the ultimate answer to these questions. However, by analysing Swedish public diplomacy practices in the light of the theoretical lens presented in this chapter, the next section provides some ideas for how public diplomacy theory could define, address and reflect upon this new uncertainty.

Sorting Out the Conceptual Confusion While scholars (c.f. Fetzer, 2004; Floridi, 2011) talk about false information as misinformation and intentional misinformation as disinformation, the Swedish MFA-COM takes the opposite stance—defining disinformation as false information in general, further divided into three types of sub-themes depending on if it is assessed as (1) unintentional, (2) intentional with the purpose of harming the nation or (3) intentional with the purpose of serving one’s own interest.9 So, which should we use? This chapter proposes that the two be combined, using the concept of untruths to refer to the broad phenomenon of both intentional and unintentional misleading information, branching further into sub-categories of either misinformation if unintentionally misleading or disinformation if intentionally misleading. At the same time, Swedish MFA-COM’s idea of different intentions could be combined with the appreciation of fake news as either “(1) news that is ‘invented’ to make money or discredit others; (2) news that has a basis in fact, but is ‘spun’ to suit a particular agenda; and (3) news that people don’t feel comfortable about or don’t agree with” (Reuters Institute, 2017, p. 20) to create a more specific terminological apparatus within the category of disinformation. Using these two stances, disinformation could be divided into sub-categories when targeting other nations depending on if it is driven by political or economic motives—the first spread by state-actors as a strategy of warfare (psychological operations) or for public diplomacy interests (an

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unwarranted form of public diplomacy), or by political groups acting through alternative news sites or through the mediated statements of individual politicians (nation-bashing), and the second driven by people with economic motives using false, however intriguing, stories to make money (i.e. using click-bait articles published on fake news sites). In this way, we could start building a more focused terminological apparatus to help guide the discussion in public diplomacy for categorising, assessing and addressing cases of untruths spreading about a nation abroad. At the same time, these conceptual distinctions should be used carefully. For example, as public diplomats need to take into account that all people construct their world-view differently and, therefore, what is considered information by one group could be seen as misinformation by another—what is considered false information by members of the MFA might be considered accurate by parts of the public. The solution, this chapter proposes, consists of (a) re-directing public diplomacy initiatives to focus more on understanding audiences with a different world-view and (b) engaging in activities which seek to proactively build credibility for oneself and one’s message in the eyes of these audiences. Furthermore, we need to acknowledge that it is hard if not impossible to prove the intentionality behind a message, and accusative descriptors such as ‘disinformation’ (implying that the person spreads untruths intentionally) should therefore be carefully applied without due cause.

A Strategy for Managing Disinformation and Rumours There are many similarities between the theoretical approach to crisis communication in general, and recommendations by the Swedish MFACOM on how to approach the spread of disinformation about the nation abroad. Dividing the strategy’s advice into actions before, during and after a situation when untruths spread shows that theory and practice tend to recommend similar if not the same set of actions within each step. Before the event, scholars such as Coombs (2014) accentuate the need to create a crisis plan (here materialized as the ‘Guidance for the management of disinformation and rumours’), the need for continuous monitoring of the media landscapes, and the importance of building relations with the public to create a platform for future crisis response and enable early detection of a pending crisis. The MFA-COM too presents similar advice,

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adding the need to educate one’s personnel and build a competent organization able to identify and counter the untruths, to be proactive in increasing public awareness about the issue, and to support public diplomacy actors working to reduce the presence and impact of disinformation. Once a rumour crisis occurs, theory accentuates the need to act swiftly and respond with correct information. While the MFA-COM agrees, they also present a more complex strategy based on an evaluation of the messenger, source, and medium connected to the untruth. After the crisis, both the MFA-COM and scholars point to the need to learn from one’s experiences and sharing these with people inside and outside the organization, this to enable the development of future strategies based on lessons learned.

Crisis Management in Polarized Landscapes The question then remains: how do these normative strategies hold up in light of a real case? In a polarised political and media landscape, where the US represents a particularly extreme setting, the challenge of understanding and managing multiple audiences’ world-views becomes a pressing matter for public diplomacy actors. As this chapter has shown, what is considered information by one part of the media may very well be interpreted as misinformation or even disinformation by another. While the crisis communication literature describes rumour crises as a crisis type where organisational responsibility is low, the case study shows that different actors may perceive the message as more or less correct, thus the organisation as more or less responsible for the events, and question the strategy of simply presenting corrective information as an effective one. Furthermore, public diplomacy actors have long sought strategies to advance a positive image of the nation abroad in order to facilitate international influence and exchange. However, as seen in the Swedish case, an all too positive image and clear national profile may also have negative consequences. Nations are complex entities with both positive and negative characteristics, and a too positive national image could also result in accusations of negative sides being ‘hidden away’ by government actors perceived as covering up ‘the real’ (presumed ‘uglier’) reality. As we have seen in the case of Sweden, the successful public diplomacy of the nation and narratives of a safe state characterised by high welfare and equality, arms wide open to those in need as driven by humanitarian values—all this has made the country an extreme and efficient rhetorical example

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in the public debate about migration and its societal consequences. For those arguing that a generous migration policy leads to damaged national welfare alongside increased violence and crime, Sweden is used as a point of departure in the search for events that prove this point right, disregarding the other side of the story as ‘liberal propaganda’. In the same manner, the other side continues to push arguments in line with another political stance, however, also using Swedish examples and disregarding the other side of the story too—this time, however, framed as ‘populistic propaganda’. At the same time, Swedish public diplomacy actors are advised to use different responses depending on the character of the source, actor and media ascribed to the untruth. As found in the case study, Swedish public diplomacy actors are present in some but not all news media consumed by the US public. This might be a result of different news media’s editorial decisions, but may also be influenced by the MFA’s strategy to not actively approach certain media outlets, such as those outlets categorised as ‘alternative media’. The consequence of this strategy, however, is difficulties in reaching publics and actors representing and presenting a different (in the eyes of Swedish public diplomacy representatives sometimes negative, false or even harmful) world-view. As the crisis response should be weighed against the public’s perception of the message, public diplomacy actors are faced with the dilemma of either adapting to various worldviews when designing an appropriate response—responding differently in different media outlets—or sticking to a single assessment and one core message to secure a holistic narrative.

Concluding Remarks There are various understandings of uncertainty with i.e. Lipshitz and Strauss (1997, p. 150) describing variations of the meaning of the term as proposed in organisational decision theory. In this chapter, uncertainty is both understood as arising in relation to the system, or environment, in which one operates (Terreberry, 1968), from multiple interpretations of a situation (Weick, 1979) and information imbalances between information required and information acquired (Galbraith, 1973), and due to the lack of arguments necessary to make a confident decision (March & Simon, 1958). In essence, they all refer to uncertainty as the creator of doubt in the assessment and management of a particular situation. The Swedish MFA-COM and other public diplomacy actors could be seen

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as effected by similar uncertainties arising from disinformation: (1) that the new communication landscape creates an environmental uncertainty; (2) creating different world-views and multiple interpretations of events; and (3) posing challenges when making a confident decision about the right course of action. To conclude, this chapter offers some insights on how practitioners may define and approach this new situation, providing guidance for public diplomats on how to understand uncertainties arising from the disinformation issue. But do these new uncertainties only pose a challenging risk for public diplomacy? The crisis communication literature oftentimes turns to the Chinese word for crisis (危机)—described as a portmanteau sign signifying both ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’, or perhaps more accurately ‘danger’ and ‘a changing/critical point’—to illustrate crisis as not only harmful. As highlighted by Ulmer et al. (2015), an organisation’s attitude towards crises may influence the choice and potential success of their response, advocating that one should not disregard the positive opportunities also arising in times of crises. With this in mind, perhaps the uncertainties arising from disinformation could prove to be opportunities in disguise? Considering this, what would happen if public diplomacy actors approached disinformation as an opportunity in their everyday practice? Perhaps they would be more inclined to approach otherwise deemed ‘misinformed’ or perhaps even ‘hostile’ publics and media through conversations characterised by interaction rather than a confrontation. This could not only result in a more informed understanding of the others’ view, but to the sharpening of one’s own arguments to be used in future messaging strategies. Those questions, however, require empirical insights and further investigation through later studies.

Notes 1. For example, as the case of the image of Kazakhstan as portrayed through the ‘Borat ’ movie (see i.e. Fullerton, Kendrick, & Wallis, 2008; Stock, 2009; Van Ham, 2008) and the ‘Cartoon Crisis ’ impact on Denmark and other Nordic countries’ international relations in the middle east (see i.e. Rasmussen & Merkelsen, 2012; Van Ham, 2008). 2. Scholars having different ideas about if and how place branding and public diplomacy are related to one another (see Szondi, 2008). 3. The study rests on an online questionnaire with a sample representing the population in 36 markets (the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain,

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5. 6.

7. 8.

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Portugal, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico) and face-to-face focus groups in the UK, US, Finland and Spain. Although this description addresses solely cases of disinformation (that is, intentionally misleading information), a rumour crisis is understood in this chapter as including both disinformation and misinformation. This three-part division originates in the thoughts of Fink (1986) and Mitroff (1994). The analytical process started by dividing the material into smaller units, using in vivo coding to inductively code each line (documents), comment (responses) or section of text (media entries). In the second round, codes were clustered into themes, here used to structure the analysis. In the chapter, original quotes have been translated by the author from Swedish to English. For SI’s presentation of the material and their analysis see the full report in Swedish (Swedish Institute, 2017a) alternatively the English summary (Swedish Institute, 2017b). That is, by the theoretical definitions of ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’, the first of the MFA-COM’s sub-categories would be classified as misinformation and the latter two as disinformation.

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Tandoc, E. C., Jr., Lim, Z. W., & Ling, R. (2018). Defining “fake news”: A typology of scholarly definitions. Digital Journalism, 6(2), 137–153. Terreberry, S. (1968). The evolution of organizational environments. Administrative Science Quarterly, 12(4), 590–613. Trump, D. [@realDonaldTrump]. (2017a, February 19). Give the public a break—The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT! [Tweet]. https://twitter. com/realdonaldtrump/status/833681539997253636. Trump, D. [@realDonaldTrump]. (2017b, February 19). My statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden [Tweet]. https://twitter.com/ realdonaldtrump/status/833435244451753984. Ulmer, R. R., Sellnow, T. L., & Seeger, M. W. (2015). Effective crisis communication: Moving from crisis to opportunity. Sage. van der Linden, S., Panagopoulos, C., & Roozenbeek, J. (2020). You are fake news: Political bias in perceptions of fake news. Media, Culture & Society, 42 (3), 460–470. Van Ham, P. (2001). The rise of the brand state: The postmodern politics of image and reputation. Foreign Affairs, 80(5), 2–6. Van Ham, P. (2008). Place branding: The state of the art. The Annals of the American Academy of Political Social Science, 616(1), 126–149. Vilmer, J.-B., Escorcia, A., Guillaume, M., & Herrera, J. (2018). Information manipulation: A challenge for our democracies. https://www.diplomatie.gouv. fr/IMG/pdf/information_manipulation_rvb_cle838736.pdf. Vu, H. T., Guo, L., & McCombs, M. E. (2014). Exploring “the world outside and the pictures in our heads”: A network agenda-setting study. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 91(4), 669–686. Wanta, W., Golan, G., & Lee, C. (2004). Agenda setting and international news: Media influence on public perceptions of foreign nations. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 81(2), 364–377. Wardle, C. (2018, January 31). Stop Calling It Fake News: Information disorder is complex, but fixing it starts with calling it what it actually is. https://hks policycast.org/stop-calling-it-fake-news-6c86f9647e63. Weick, K. E. (1979). The social psychology of organizing. McGraw-Hill. Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in organizations. Sage. Weick, K. E. (2009). Making sense of the organization: The impermanent organization. Wiley. World Economic Forum. (2017, January 30). Why Sweden beats other countries at just about everything. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/whysweden-beats-most-other-countries-at-just-about-everything/. Yarchi, M., Samuel-Azran, T., & Bar-David, L. (2017). Facebook users’ engagement with Israel’s public diplomacy messages during the 2012 and 2014 military operations in Gaza. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 13(4), 360–375.

CHAPTER 10

Economic Determinants of India’s Public Diplomacy Towards South Asia Sara Kulsoom

Introduction Public diplomacy (PD) is a burgeoning sub-field of political communication, which remains intertwined with cognitive psychology, rhetoric, persuasion, international broadcasting, cultural exchanges, and digital interactions between diplomats and global publics (Manor, 2019). Public diplomacy is one of the means to wielding soft power by the state (Nye, 2008). In practice, public diplomacy is intimately linked with national security strategies and foreign policy goals. As opposed to traditional diplomacy, whereby interactions were largely between state actors and ‘behind closed doors’, public diplomacy focuses on engagement with the foreign publics. In addition to engaging with state actors and diplomats, public diplomacy relies on relationships with celebrities, social groups, influencers such as journalists and other non-state actors, such as civil society organizations. According to the US Advisory Commission for Public Diplomacy report (Loomis, Powers, & Rahimi, 2018, p. 26), “Good PD promotes American ideals and advances our strategic

S. Kulsoom (B) Department of Economics, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_10

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interests openly, honestly, and constructively. Effective public diplomacy is based on credibility. Playing fast and loose with facts damages our national interests”. This conceptualisation suggests that contemporary public diplomacy relies on transparency to increase the credibility of states and their diplomats. According to Cull (2008), public diplomacy consists of several practices ranging from educational exchange programmes to language training, museum exhibitions and international broadcasting. These practices are predominantly aimed at shaping the perceptions of foreign publics and, in the process, of foreign governments. In recent years, new societal trends and political shifts have expanded the boundaries of public diplomacy (Ayhan, 2019). These include the proliferation of social media, the growing influence of citizen journalists as well as shifting power dynamics in various regions of the world. As is argued in this book, global events such as the 2008 financial crisis, the 2014 refugee crisis, the rise of right-wing populism and economic protectionist policies, have all increased economic and political uncertainties, further transforming the workings of public diplomacy. This is evident in the growing role of corporate actors who are also regarded as public diplomacy mediators. For instance, when tensions between the US and Russia mounted following the 2014 annexation of Crimea, the president of the US-Russia Business Council, Edward Verona, emphasized that healthy business relations can mitigate tensions between nations. He posited that “business has served as a stabilizing factor during difficult times, providing an avenue for co-operation and a force for positive economic and social change. And unilateral economic sanctions [on Russia] would likely be ineffective and potentially cause greater harm to America’s own business interests than to the intended target” (Orlova, 2009, p. 87). Corporate actors interact with foreign business partners while also building networks with foreign publics. As James Pamment (2016) has argued that corporations foster and encourage orientations of public diplomacy with their own means and ideas. There is no universally accepted definition of public diplomacy, and most states formulate its own conception of the practice based on foreign policy goals and national interest. India’s Ministry of External Affairs defines public diplomacy in the following way: “Public diplomacy is regarded as the framework of activities by which a government seeks to influence public attitudes in a manner that they become supportive of its foreign policy and national interests. It goes beyond unidirectional

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communication; it is also about listening to a range of actors. Successful public diplomacy involves an active engagement with the public in a manner that builds, over a period of time, a relationship of trust and credibility” (Hanson, 2012, p. 3). This chapter focuses in particular on India’s economic public diplomacy in the South Asian region. In doing so, it raises important questions regarding the effectiveness of India’s public diplomacy approach through which it hopes to strengthen ties with states in the region. The chapter addresses the question of how global uncertainties impact India’s public diplomacy goals, specifically those faced by India since 2008, namely new regional challenges: the rise of China and the ‘New Great Game’ in South Asia. However, this chapter does not begin in 2020 or even 2014. Rather, it starts in 2008. The 2008 financial crisis generated widespread political unrest across states and regions, as well as domestic conflicts and political tensions. The crisis also raised concerns regarding global equality, equity, injustice and the distribution of global wealth (Goodman, Yu, & Remler, 2017). The post-crisis period has been marked by, among other events, populist resurgences. These, in turn, further impaired the workings of multi-lateral organizations as populist leaders seek ‘economic nationalism’, to quote Steve Banon. India is no stranger to populism and its dramatic impact on electoral processes, media freedom and technological innovation (Chakravartty & Roy, 2015; Jaffrelot, 2013; Sinha, 2018). India serves as fascinating case study for public diplomacy in times of uncertainty. As this chapter will argue, India has faced two periods of acute uncertainty. The first followed the 2008 financial crisis that had an immense impact on the South Asia region. In its wake, India identified an opportunity to bolster ties with neighbouring states through public diplomacy activities. These focused predominantly on foreign aid, loans and joint infrastructure projects with India’s neighbours. India faces a second wave of uncertainty brought about by the ambitions of new and old actors. As this chapter demonstrates, South Asia is witnessing the Great Game between emerging and declining powers—China, Russia and the United States (the US). Each power strives to create a stronghold in the region, while in the process of gaining a stronghold over India. The question that follows is can India continue to base its public diplomacy activities on financial aid, or should it employ other strategies? Apart from external challenges, India’s public diplomacy is also confounded by the domestic rise of populism, and religious and class/caste polarisation

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(Heath, 2020; D’Mello, 2014). If public diplomacy is based on trust, will other states in the region ‘trust’ India? Or will they favour one of the other actors? Will India be able to escape the grip of other world powers, or should it align itself with one of the powers? Most importantly, what domestic reforms are required if India is to assume the role of a world power? These and other questions are explored in this chapter.

India’s Public Diplomacy in South Asia The 2008 Crisis The 2008 global financial crisis, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression (1930s), led to an acute reduction in the liquidity of global financial markets. As it jeopardised the global financial system, the crisis led to the failure of several major investment and commercial banks, as well as mortgage lenders and insurance companies. The liquidity shortage, which occurred primarily in the second half of 2007 with problems in the sub-prime mortgage market in US, was triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers on 23 September 2008. What followed was a rapid meltdown of the US financial system, culminating in a reduction of corporate and household spending. Limited spending soon gave way to a second crisis characterized by slower export demand.

How Did the 2008 Crisis Impact South Asia and India? The effects of the global crisis were far-reaching and soon spiralled to other parts of the world, impacting different regions, including South Asia. However, the overall South Asian region was insulated from the direct effects of the crisis because banks in South Asian economies (i) were not directly exposed to US sub-prime assets; (ii) had little exposure to complex financial instruments; and (iii) a high proportion of funding was acquired from large domestic deposit bases (Carrasco, Tadateru, & Hiranya, 2010). The crisis led to the deterioration of current account balances for major South Asian economies. In terms of fiscal balance, all South Asian economies experienced deterioration except Sri Lanka (Amjad & ud Din, 2010). India and Sri Lanka experienced a large amount of short-term capital outflow as international investors moved capital to safe havens located

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elsewhere. The massive outflow of foreign capital from India and Sri Lanka wreaked havoc on their respective financial reserves, exchange rates, trade balances, and investment projects, while triggering a liquidity shortage. In India, there was also a loss in investors’ confidence that increased banks’ risk aversion. Additionally, Indian export demands declined sharply, leading to an extremely poor performance of India’s manufacturing sector. Later, the exports of both countries experienced a further decline due to recession in G7 economies (Carrasco et al., 2010). However, worse was prevented through swift reactionary monetary and fiscal policies by the respective governments of South Asian economies. These policies included stimulus packages and support for domestic demands. Moreover, the large share of remittances in South Asia played an instrumental role in preventing further economic ruin. From 2008 to 2009, remittances accounted for 20% of Nepal’s gross national product (GDP); 11% of Bangladesh’s GDP; around 8% of Sri Lanka; 5% of Pakistan’s; and 4% of India’s GDP (ibid., 2010; Amjad & ud Din, 2010).

India’s Use of Economic Assistance as a Public Diplomacy Strategy The 2008 crisis posed limitations on public spending and gave rise to governments’ need to reassess their expenditure on national health systems, education, economic developing and defence. This curtailment in state funding and government spending resulted in the widening of economic disparities, societal conflicts, political unrest, and corruption both in India and other states in the region (Vashisht & Pathak, 2009). However, the 2008 crisis also provided India with opportunities, namely the ability to enhance economic engagement with other countries as part of its public diplomacy activities. Indian foreign aid projects, for instance, could be helpful in restoring South Asia’s political and economic stability while enhancing India’s influence in the region. It should be noted that regional economic instability was worsened by a reduction in funds, international grants and foreign aid from developed countries. As more and more states were forced to prioritize national expenditure, India could fill the void left by the developed countries (Mullen & Ganguly, 2012). India soon sought to seize the opportunity it was presented with by proactively offering assistance to different South Asian economies.

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India’s development assistance programmes were largely driven by its geostrategic ambitions, and fears of other powers seeking to gain a stronghold in the region. In 2008, when Cyclone Nargis devastated significant parts of India’s coastal areas, India delivered critical humanitarian aid to other cyclone ravaged countries, such as Sri Lanka. Following the floods of 2010, India also provided humanitarian relief to its long-time adversary— Pakistan. During the same year, India offered a $1 billion line of credit to Bangladesh for the development of infrastructure projects. Soon after, India expanded its development programmes to Nepal and Bangladesh, as part of an attempt to limit growing Chinese influence in the region. Soon, India became the fifth largest donor of aid to Afghanistan. In 2011 alone, India’s foreign aid totalled $1.5 billion, second only to China’s regional investments. Next, India has also sought to address the economic needs of its smaller neighbours through voluminous development assistance, economic aid and preferential loans. India’s development assistance focused on the issues of health, education, energy projects (e.g. hydropower) and IT (Chaturvedi, 2012). Since 2011, India has made immense use of its economic resources as a part of its public diplomacy approach. Indeed, India used aid projects to influence foreign governments and publics thus promoting Indian national interests. The use of aid as a public diplomacy resource has been consistently adopted by different ruling parties in India, including the United Progressive Alliance (led by Congress 2004–2009 and 2009– 2014) or National Democratic Alliance (led by the BJP 2014–present). In 2000, the Indian MEA identified a set of new tactics that would guide India’s approach to public diplomacy including efforts to develop links with foreign businesses, and foreign assistance and development programmes. As mentioned before, 2008 was merely an opportunity to put these efforts to use. According to MEA annual reports, between 2014 and 2018 India provided around $295 million in foreign aid to Afghanistan, $67 million to Bangladesh, and $2 billion to Bhutan. Likewise, the Maldives received $35 million, Nepal $174 million, while Sri Lanka has received a sum of $142 million. In all, the amount allotted to these six states totalled $2.8 billion (The Economic Times, 2018). The above-mentioned reports also reveal that India has scaled up its capacity-building programmes in Afghanistan covering diverse areas such as security, road connectivity and development of infrastructure, while in Nepal India has helped set up an

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Emergency and Trauma Centre in Kathmandu, and a Police Academy at Panauti. Since 2008, India and the Maldives have also established institutional links while establishing a framework for health collaborations (e.g. cancer treatment), legal support and investments in tourism. In 2018, India offered a further $1.4 billion in financial aid to the Maldives. The government of India has also offered the Maldives training in several fields ranging from financial management and auditing, to e-governance, and innovation and entrepreneurship (Business Standard, 2018). In Sri Lanka, India’s economic aid and development programmes have played an important role in fostering closer ties between the two states. Bi-lateral relations have further deepened in areas such as military collaborations, disaster relief, tourism, space, and road connectivity (MEA, 2018). In public diplomacy, economic resources have long been seen as a tool for shaping the perceptions of foreign publics. Arguably, it is through the constructive use of economic strength that states gain leverage over other states, especially those with relatively weaker economic capabilities. Economic aid can help recipient states address a myriad of challenges including unemployment, low levels of education, weak health systems, and new infrastructure, all of which increase the prosperity of developing nations. Seib (2014) contends that the effectiveness of public diplomacy lies in supporting national needs and requirements. Economic aid, which helps address national needs, can therefore also help shape public perception of other nations. The use of economic ‘carrots’ in public diplomacy, however, must work in tandem with other pillars of public diplomacy such as academic exchange programmes, supporting civil society organizations and interacting online with digital publics. As such, public diplomacy coexists with economic tools and resources, all of which complement each other. To summarize, India’s response to the uncertainty unleashed by the 2008 financial crisis was to become a major donor in the region. At present, India faces a second wave of uncertainty brought about by the ambitions of three powers—Russia, China and the US, each wanting to establish or maintain a sphere of influence in the region. Such competitions over hegemony could destabilize the region. The question that follows is: should India maintain its present public diplomacy approach of economic assistance and/or foreign aid, or should it adopt new strategies? Before this question can be answered, it is imperative to understand the new sources of uncertainty that India now faces.

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India and Rising Uncertainties in the Post-2008 World This section reflects on the uncertainty that India faces in the post-2008 world. The uncertainties, which also stem from the financial crisis, are global, regional and domestic. The first global source of uncertainty stems from the decline in US power. Scholars and news pundits have asserted that the near future will be shaped by the power dynamics between the US and China. For instance, it has been noted by Fareed Zakaria (2008) that apart from its military power, all other weapons in the US’s arsenal— industrial, financial, social, or cultural—are in decline. This does not mean that the world will become anti-American “but we are moving into a postAmerican world, one defined and directed from many places and by many people” (ibid., 2008, p. 5). The second source of global uncertainty brought about by the USChinese dynamics has complex regional manifestations. China’s ‘One Road One Belt Initiative’ and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have the potential to further reshape regions affected by the 2008 financial crisis such as South Asia (Goodman, Yu, & Remler, 2017). Indeed, Indian diplomats view the rise of China as the greatest challenge to India’s national interests as increased Chinese investment in Asia may allow China to dictate the course of regional economic development. The third source of uncertainty that India faces is of a domestic and political nature. Historically, financial crises often fuel political extremism and unrest, as was the case in the 1930s (De Bromhead et al., 2012). Brückner and Grüner (2010 & 2019) find that the low economic growth since the 2008 crisis is linked to the rise of extremist parties. Similarly, Mian et al. (2014) counted that financial crises are conducive to fractionalisation of parliaments and societal polarisations. Similarly, a study undertaken by the World Economic Forum (WEF) posits that financial crises are usually followed by a ‘hard right turn’, and this has been the case in both 1929 and 2008. India, alas, is not an exception (McDonnel & Cabrera, 2019). According to Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister, “populism is the true legacy of the global financial crisis” (BBC, 2018). Brown’s assertion is strengthened by policy experts from the Centre for Economic Studies and the Institute for Economic Research that have compiled data on nearly 100 financial crises and more than 800 national elections in 20 democracies since 1870. These reveal that right-wing

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parties benefit politically from financial failures (Funke, Schularick, & Trebesch, 2016). The study further demonstrates that the proportion of right-wing electoral votes tends to increase by 30% in a post-crisis period. Such parties are inspired by classical fascism and often adopt a mixture of parliamentary and para-military might to maintain power. In India, it is contended that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP or Indian People’s Party) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS or National Volunteer Organisation) work at parliamentary and para-military fronts respectively. They promote Hindu nationalism (McDonnel & Cabrera, 2019; McLeod, 2015) expressed as “one nation, one language, one religion, and one election” (Srinivasaraju, 2019), which is also seen by some as a contemporary manifestation of fascism (Banaji, 2018; D’Mello, 2014; Mishra, 2014). Fourth, right-wing political priorities feed into foreign policy, as made apparent in India’s recent reprisal towards Malaysia and Turkey, which reflects India’s increasing confidence at the world stage (Agrawal & Salam, 2019) and also aggressive diplomacy (Chaulia, 2019). Arguably, India’s restriction on Malaysian palm oil imports, substituted by Indonesian and Argentinian imports, was an act of retaliation to Malaysia’s criticism of India over Kashmir’s five-month lockdown and communication blackout followed by the revocation of Article 370. Similarly, when the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, echoed support for Kashmir at the UN General Assembly, India retaliated by import curbs (Beniwal, 2019) and criticising Turkey for its ‘assaults’ in north-eastern Syria (Agrawal & Salam, 2019). Gordon Brown has also argued that during the next financial crisis, it is highly likely that “international cooperation will fail us” and “we will discover that we have neither fiscal nor monetary leeway, nor the will to use it” (BBC, 2018). This prediction rests on an analysis of how geo-political rivalries, driven by right-wing populism, hinder international monetary policies. It is noticeable that domestic populism, geo-political rivalry, and regional competition intensify the uncertainty brought about by the post-2008 crisis period. This may be especially true of South Asia which is witnessing intense competition of hegemony (Tellis & Mirski, 2013). To understand how India will be challenged in its region over the next decade, the chapter now turns to the ‘New Great Game’.

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The New Great Game Edwards (2003, p. 97) notes that the term ‘New Great Game’ has been used as shorthand for competition over influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia. In this chapter, however, the term is used to explicate the emerging New Great Game in South Asia. Given that India remains the largest economy in South Asia, it is not surprising that India is at the heart of this new game (Manuel, 2016). On the one hand, the US has forged a strategic relationship with India with which it hopes to counter China’s growing dominance in region. On the other hand, Russia has strengthened its ties with India to counter the US’s regional policies. Apart from the US and Russia, China is an important regional power which hopes to gain ground in South Asia, and even Asia as a whole. To do so, China has sought to limit India’s influence by encircling it, as evident in Chinese foreign aid to India’s neighbours. Nonetheless, the India-China relationship exhibits both competition and cooperation, as reflected in their growing trade relations. Yet China’s increasing footprints in the region, for instance its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is a matter of great concern to India. The Chinese initiative not only affects India’s balance of power among its neighbours, but also challenges India’s regional standing. By linking up with India’s neighbours, and encircling India, China threatens the existing power dynamics and geo-political framework in the region as whole (Baruah, 2018). Notably, the Belt Road Initiative (BRI) has led to closer ties between China and Pakistan, India’s perpetual rival. To date, China has invested $6 billion in rail infrastructure in Pakistan. This investment will help China secure a path to the Indian Ocean, while also enabling China to build additional ties with Europe. Consequently, the BRI may turn Pakistan into an important regional centre of commerce. Chinese investments in Pakistan impact two additional players in the New Game—India and the US, as the latter fears losing Pakistan as a strategic partner (Wall Street Journal, 2018; Wolf, 2018). Pakistan, on its part, wishes to take advantage of China’s capital reserves and benefit from its defence assistance, while at the same time avoiding a ‘debt-trap’ situation, in which nations lose infrastructure assets as they are unable to repay loans from China. Despite India’s territorial dominance over Pakistan, as well as its economic influence on the latter’s markets, India has failed to curtail the China-Pak strategic relationship that now aims to connect the Chinese north-western province

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of Xingjiang with Gwadar port in Pakistan. India is also concerned that Chinese-Pakistani relations may impact the balance of power in the Kashmir region located at the intersection of China, India, and Pakistan’s borders (Baruah, 2018, p. 15). Russia also remains a major player in both Central and South Asia leading to a fictitious, and at times fruitful, relationship with India. As Afghanistan and Pakistan hold great importance for Russia’s quest for influence in the region (Kim & Indeo, 2013), Russian and Indian ties are marked, for instance, by joint efforts to stabilize Afghanistan still recovering from the impact of the ‘War on Terror’. Russian regional activities focus primarily on reshaping power dynamics so as to advance the architecture of a multi-polar world. Throughout the Cold War, Russia remained India’s strategic ally, and India remains a priority market for the Russian defence industry. A relationship with Russia could be beneficial in terms of energy supply, defence and security. However, Russia is also concerned that instability in Afghanistan may spill over to its borders. Given the close ties between the US and India, Russia has reached out to Pakistan (Karle, 2019), which is experiencing a dwindling relationship with the US. This has resulted in a RussianPakistani alliance as both states have agreed to overcome their bitter experiences of the past (Khan & Altaf, 2013; Saud & Arif, 2011). Since 2014, Russia has effectively joined an alliance with China and Pakistan, thus directly challenging the strategic relationship between India and the US. Russia’s rapprochement with China, and military interactions with Pakistan, has raised serious concerns in Washington and New Delhi. The Russia-China-Pakistan strategic partnership is now known as the “new Gordian knot” (Thoker & Singh, 2017). As for China, through its investments in the region, it could gain control over trade and energy supplies in the Indian Ocean (Singh, 2015; Malik, 2012). According to Rajagopalan (2017, p. 7) “China’s willingness to play a role of an external balancer against India to South Asian states” is likely to further increase the existing regional uncertainties and trust deficit between the two rising powers, rather than decreasing them. That is why India has fostered military collaborations with other powers such as Japan, Australia and Vietnam while also building new transportation infrastructure in bordering regions. The challenge for India is to develop a pragmatic and farsighted strategy wherein it can manage ties to all three Great Game actors and obtain an economic and strategic advantage in South Asia. Should it fail to do so, India may find itself in a difficult

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position (Shah & Kumar, 2018). The next section deals with India’s role vis-à-vis the South Asian Great Game, and the regional competition with China.

Can India Outspend China? The cut throat competition between China and India in South Asian markets is noticeable in the practice of public diplomacy whereby ‘economic carrots’ are increasingly used by both states. The underlying challenge for India is to re-focus its foreign policy on economic incentives and to deploy public diplomacy to further strengthen ties with its neighbours thus countering a possible Chinese, or Chinese-Russian threat. According to Ping (2013), rising Chinese power in South Asia raises political apprehensions regarding human security, economic interdependence as well as the relationship between physical infrastructure and the benefits of global public goods. Also, high economic dependence on Chinese developmental assistance “will propel other states’ politics towards China, particularly those of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar” (ibid., p. 37). Some Studies suggest that while India has deepened ties with regional nations, there was no consistency in its public diplomacy strategies nor has it chosen whether to employ soft or hard power (Palit & Palit, 2011). This is problematic as China’s substantial investment policy in South Asian economies and soft power techniques are prominent in changing public attitude towards China. While China was once perceived as a regional threat, it was later viewed as an “attractive trade and investment partner” than India (Wagner, 2016, p. 318), yet also criticised for its debttrap diplomacy and corruption by South Asian states (Rana & Ji, 2020, pp. 125–130). Murton and Lord (2020) maintain that China has successfully influenced foreign publics with the timely execution of its infrastructural and transit projects. In Nepal, Chinese rail infrastructure connects the two nations while also saving Nepali traders time and money. This has led the Nepali people to conclude that “Chinese promises materialize much faster than Nepalese ones” (ibid., p. 6). China, through its strategic approach towards train networks (e.g., the Trans Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network), is not only boosting Sino-Nepal relations and connectivity, but also with other states in the region. It is likely that such projects will increase China’s prominence in South Asia, as China is able to meet, what Seib (2014) highlighted “the needs of peoples and states”.

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China has strategically strengthened its ties with India’s neighbours, creating a possible stranglehold on India. Since 2007, China has helped Afghanistan set up telecom equipment services (Ramachandran, 2018), and has also invested around $4.4 billion to develop the Mes Aynak copper field (Khan, 2015). Notably, China has also long obtained the mineral extraction rights in Afghanistan (Umarov, 2017). In September 2016, the first direct train crossed from China to Hairatan in Afghanistan. This was soon followed by the first extraction of oil in the Amu Darya basin in 2018 (Ramachandran, 2018). In addition, China has invested $1 billion, in telecommunications, health, energy and infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, while it has also provided $891 million for electricity infrastructure and the sea-port in Hambantota. This port holds significance for China as it is situated at the southern extreme of Sri Lanka, managing South Asia’s vital sea lanes. In December 2017, when the Sri Lankan government failed to repay its $1 billion debt, the entire port was handed over to the Chinese government (Abi-Habib, 2018). As is the case with other world regions, Chinese assistance in South Asian states may thus be an attempt to gain access to important infrastructure. China’s financial and developmental aid distribution among South Asian states highlights a unique form of strategic public diplomacy. Aid is largely focused on the development or infrastructure linkages that tackle supply constraints in Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan, and that can also facilitate Chinese access to recipient states’ markets, natural resources and minerals. Unlike China, India’s aid disbursement in South Asia seems much smaller in scale with less strategic orientation. For instance, India’s financial aid to Sri Lanka and Nepal is less significant than of China (Abi-Habib, 2018). While India’s $5 billion worth of investments in transportation infrastructure and rail connectivity in Bangladesh is substantial, it is still much lower than China’s investments in Bangladesh. According to Medcalf and Townshed (2013) India and China will continue their power struggle using economic assistance to counter each other. The challenge for India is to employ other public diplomacy strategies that will enable it to create an effective alliance with its neighbours thus stemming China’s rise and reducing regional uncertainty. India has already started to employ new public diplomacy strategies as it is aware of its inability to out-spend China (Navdeep Suri, 2011, p. 299). Other elements of India’s PD include cultural exports such as Bollywood and yoga alongside health services that can influence public opinion amidst

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in neighbours. For instance, Yoga has recently become a major trend in urban Nepal through Indian TV. Nepal has even made yoga a mandatory subject in its schools (Bhandari and Schultz, 2020). In addition, the rising numbers of visitors availing India’s medical and healthcare services is another source of prestige among its neighbours (Chinai & Goswami, 2007). In 2017, around 2.2 million tourists from South Asia and neighbouring states visited India, with those visiting for medical reasons making up 13.15% of the total number. Of the total number of arrivals from the region, the highest proportion of medical tourist in 2017 arrived from Maldives (71.58%) and Afghanistan (42.57%) (James & Bhatnagar, 2019, p. 48). India’s high quality and low cost pharmaceutical products are easily accessible among other South Asian communities. Culture and medial care could be leveraged as a strategic PD tool to strengthen and deepen ties with neighbouring nations, a resource that China lacks (ibid., p. 49). However, as the final section argues, much more is needed if India is to play the Great Game.

Uncertainties and India’s Public Diplomacy Management As argued thus far, India now faces regional, global and domestic challenges each of which contributes to a mounting sense of uncertainty. From the Great Game to changing alliances and the domestic rise of populism, the challenge for India will be to devise a nuanced public diplomacy framework that supports India’s national interests, while leveraging potential assets. This section will discuss and assess India’s attempts to inform, engage and influence foreign publics and governments in the region of South Asia through the lens of public diplomacy. Natarajan (2014) maintains that India’s Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) has been effectively using social media platforms to disseminate information to both domestic and foreign publics, while emphasizing its aid activities in South Asia. Hall (2012, p. 1109) has argued that India has sought to match China’s investment in regional PD. India’s activities “met with some—albeit patchy—success in augmenting its soft power”. Given its limited ability to compete with China’s investments in the region, India could utilize other public diplomacy resources, some of which have yet to be employed strategically. One resource could be a long-term approach to social media. By engaging with digital publics, India could highlight the difference between Chinese and Indian foreign

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aid, with the former being associated with debt-traps. For instance, China’s debt-trap in Sri Lanka was met with public protests against Chinese projects and has harmed local perceptions of China (Lim & Mukherjee, 2019). As explained by Shashi Tharoor, politician and former diplomat, “social media is one way (not the only way) of telling the better story about India and the policies of its government. As such, it remains a valuable arrow in the Indian diplomatic quiver” (Heng, 2016, p. 4). In addition, India could attempt to fuse soft power promotion with public diplomacy. This often takes the form of nation branding. Recent Asian survey polls revealed that respondents in China and Pakistan had an increasingly negative view of India while India suffered from a ‘trust-deficit ‘in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka despite aid projects. Nepalese respondents felt that India maintained a “big brother” attitude towards them (Mukherjee, 2014). This may partially explain why India is increasingly promoting its culture online, specifically Buddhism and Yoga. The current Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is an ardent social media user and recognises the importance of public interactions. His famous selfies and media engagements have helped Modi shape his international image (Heng, 2016, p. 4; Srivastava, 2015). Similarly, selfies with world leaders help promote the view of India as a rising world power. However, as Nicholas J. Cull argues, a nation cannot merely project a brand. It must become the brand and live the brand. In other words, “a country’s message to the world cannot be at odds with the way it conducts itself at home and abroad” (Mukherjee, 2014, p. 56), India must therefore promote domestic policies that are in line with its image. These should include combating corruption and crime (Heng, 2016), protecting democratic values in India and outside, promoting socio-economic prosperity, religious harmony, and gender equality. Only then can Indian diplomats and leaders attempt to promote similar policies in neighbouring countries while earning the trust of neighbouring foreign populations. No strategic relationship or Tweet will really re-shape India’s image and regional standing so long as discrimination against minorities (especially Muslims) endures in India. Steps must be taken to tackle domestic challenges and identity contradictions between domestic and foreign policies, as otherwise public diplomacy loses credibility (Mukherjee, 2014). Rajagopalan (2017) maintains that there are six potential policies that will help India protect its national interest. Among others, he calls on India to stay unaligned while balancing between its relationship with

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China and the US. Second, India could form regional alliances to counterbalance the activities of players in the Great Game, be it Russia, China or the US. This chapter has demonstrated that India is finding it increasingly difficult to form regional alliances given the Great Game, on the one hand, and its limited funds, on the other. If it wishes to secure regional allies India must look beyond foreign aid and financing projects. It should become a moral and political leader, one that will earn the trust and respect of its neighbours. As the largest democracy in the world, India may not be able to outspend China and Russia, but it could outshine them while offering its neighbour a model of a vibrant, cultural and spiritual democracy that lays no debt-traps and jails no opponents.

Conclusion Almost all the countries in the world were, and still are effected by the 2008 crisis politically, socially and financially. India, famous for its rich culture, democracy and diversity is now threatened by rising political extremism, populism, religious polarisation, and suppression of dissent. Apart from its domestic challenges, India is also struggling to maintain its longstanding hegemony among South Asian states. Chinese investments, loans and infrastructure are reshaping India’s regional environment. To free itself of the Chinese juggernaut and the Russian-Pakistani alliance, India has moved closer to the US. However, a single alliance with the US is not enough to face mounting uncertainty. India should thus refashion its regional public diplomacy activities which since 2008 have focused on extending economic assistance. However, a successful public diplomacy programme hinges on Indian domestic policies. As Mukherjee (2014, p. 55) argues that India’s recognition as a global power is likely to come only when India addresses its internal problems and devises a more cooperative foreign policy. Some of the perceived religiously discriminatory policies (such as Citizenship Amendment Act), class/caste cleavages and economic slowdown with rising unemployment are eroding India’s image as a regional leader. India may not outspend China, but it has potential to outshine China. Hence, by increasing economic and overall wellbeing of its people, fighting religious, class/caste polarisation, safeguarding democratic values and promoting diversity, India can improve its image and public perceptions among domestic and foreign publics. By altering its policies, and communicating such changes in the region, India could gain the trust

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and friendship of neighbouring states and their citizens. This could lead to trustful regional alliances and, in their wake, a much needed reduction in global uncertainty.

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CHAPTER 11

Managing Uncertainty: The Everyday Global Politics of Post-9/11 US Public Diplomacy Laura Mills

Public diplomacy as a field has been predominated by the International Relations (IR) concept of soft power in traditional as well as critical accounts of the practice. But can such accounts grasp the complexity and messiness of the everyday politics of public diplomacy in our late modern moment? Exploring public diplomacy as everyday politics, this chapter advances a critical IR approach—a poststructuralist framework of performativity and governmentality—to trace how multiple everyday uncertainties make themselves felt in contemporary US public diplomacy. This volume contends that a key remit of public diplomacy is responding to political uncertainties. What this chapter will further illustrate is how public diplomacy also entails the reproduction and maintenance of these uncertainties for its very operation. Building on the performativity and governmentality scholarship of Foucault and Butler, this chapter maps out an alternative theoretical and methodological path for a critical exploration of public diplomacy and its entanglement with the politics

L. Mills (B) University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, UK e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_11

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of uncertainty. The chapter then undertakes this critical exploration by homing in empirically on what is argued to be, particularly in the US context, an inherent feature of public diplomacy: cultural exchanges (e.g. Cull, 2008; US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, 2018). As such, the chapter draws from a larger research project into ongoing US cultural exchange programmes launched ‘in response to’ the September 11th 2001 attacks (Mills, forthcoming, 2021). Positing that global politics is situated in everyday life and culture, this chapter delineates a critical IR approach of performativity and governmentality to analyse the mundane and the quotidian of post-9/11 US cultural exchange programmes. Placing the ordinary individuals and banal practices that comprise these cultural exchanges at its centre, this critical approach enables the specificities of these programmes to be roundly interrogated, and thereby reveal the uncertainties co-constituted within them. It reveals that, while these programmes are structured around a cosmopolitanism which emphasises universality, mutuality and inclusiveness, exchanges, far from being benign and virtuous, encourage exchange participants to enact identities that reproduce global power relations to secure US privilege. As the remainder of the chapter evidences, this approach therefore enables uncertainty (and its moulding of and manifestation in these specificities and particularities) to be interrogated in its multiplicity. Such multiplicity arises in how uncertainty is simultaneously performative and, as O’Malley (2000, p. 464) argues, “a significant modality of liberal government”. As such, uncertainty is productive, as it yields particular effects—it shapes identities, knowledges and ‘truths’ about the world—and is also operationalised as a means of governing, all of which enact a particular global politics. Post-9/11 US public diplomacy, therefore, hinges upon the management of/via uncertainty across and within multiple sites, practices and political logics. Using the notions of performativity and governmentality, this chapter tackles multiplicity through the exploration of three key sites in which uncertainty co-constitutes everyday global politics in post-9/11 US public diplomacy: uncertainty as riskiness, as contingency, and as possibility. While each of these ‘sites’ is taken in turn, it is important to stress that far from mutually distinct, these ‘sites’—and the processes of knowledge production, subject formation and reimagined politics they represent—are bound up in one another. First, uncertainty as riskiness traces how via a contested nexus of temporality and security, uncertainty has been mobilised and developed

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in these earliest years of the twenty-first century as a mode of governmentality aligned with risk and enterprise. More particularly, it is here as riskiness that we see uncertainty advanced as a political rationality by which to ‘know’ and therefore more easily govern the everyday subjects and mundane social relations comprising US public diplomacy. Uncertainty here therefore cultivates particular knowledges and forms of authority and expertise that delineate particular ‘realities’ of the domains and entities to be governed, thereby rendering them ‘manageable’ in these seemingly ‘uncertain times’ of the post-9/11 era. This section troubles this temporal conceptualisation of the relationship between public diplomacy and uncertainty, echoing the central argument of this volume that, as uncertainty is always an inherent feature of politics that exacts a particular political rationality to govern public diplomacy subjects, such times represent, rather, the latest wave of political uncertainty. Second, such rationalisation, with its knowledge of those to be governed, accordingly highlights how the management of uncertainty is then also central to the constitution of identities within post-9/11 US public diplomacy. Uncertainty is therefore not limited to the temporal (indeed, this question of temporality is ‘uncertain’ in itself) but is key to the performative and governmental realms of subject formation as contingency. The management of uncertainty lies at the heart of all performative constitutions and governmental conducts of identities; identities are never fixed nor stable but are only ever produced and reproduced to give the appearance of such, to dispel this uncertainty over who/what ‘we’ or ‘they’ are (whether ‘America’, ‘Muslim world’ or individual citizen). Here, then, as contingency, uncertainty is advanced as a performative condition and technology of government central to the production and enactment of particular subjectivities. Finally, uncertainty is traced and embraced as possibility. Building on the preceding sections’ insights of the performative and governmental production of knowledge and subjectivity, uncertainty here opens up possibilities for other knowledges, alternative identities and, in turn, less hierarchical re-imaginings of public diplomacy. Uncertainty then can be embraced as the means by which to exact a reimagined politics of the everyday of US public diplomacy. By embracing uncertainty in multiple and complex ways, this chapter illustrates how an alternative and critical approach of performativity and governmentality provides rich, insightful analyses of the everyday practices, performances and particularities of US public diplomacy, and the global politics it co-constitutes. The chapter therefore draws upon

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three US cultural exchange programmes launched after 9/11—the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme; Sports Diplomacy; and Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue—exploring how the management of/via uncertainty manifests in these programmes’ everyday digital hyperrealities on programme websites, blogs, and social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) to govern exchange subjects and sites in particular ways. The chapter’s first section delineates these programmes and the performativity and governmentality approach most attuned for the analysis of how this management of/via uncertainty manifests in post-9/11 US public diplomacy. The proceeding sections then further unpack and harness this approach to examine the multiplicity of uncertainty via examples from each programme. Thus, this chapter takes up the concept, practice and modality of uncertainty in perhaps different ways to the rest of this edited volume to ensure we do not lose sight of this multiplicity, complexity and the possibility it holds.

Analysing Cultural Exchange: What, Why, How In the aftermath of the September 11th 2001 attacks, the US State Department has launched numerous cultural exchange programmes. The specificities of these exchanges, however, remain largely under-analysed and require further examination. By placing three such programmes— YES, Sports Diplomacy and Film Forward—under the spotlight and exploring their everyday digital hyper-realities, the messy actualities of post-9/11 US public diplomacy’s global politics can be interrogated. This critical exploration entails an ‘ethnography’ of these online spaces and social relations within them. Being a subscriber to programme pages, having these communities as part of one’s own everyday life and keeping abreast of their practices enables one to conduct an exploratory study of the discursive (audio, visual, written, affective) formations of the posts, images and films which comprise these exchanges’ everyday hyper-realities. Doing so via performativity and governmentality enables one to trace how cultural exchange programmes produce participants as political subjects, and how their everyday performances of particular identities partake in a global imaginary manifested in US public diplomacy. Post-9/11 US cultural exchanges—with their emphasis on “mutual understanding,” “common values,” “shared respect” and “two-way exchange”—are constructed within a particular cosmopolitanism. While

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positioning itself as universal, inclusive and equal to all, this cosmopolitanism is suffused with hierarchical power relations and Othering practices. Cultural exchanges are therefore not benign, virtuous undertakings, but enact particular global power relations, suturing participants’ everyday lives—their quotidian behaviours, choices and desires—into wider US foreign policy goals. This cosmopolitanism urges exchange participants to perform familiar national and cosmopolitan identities in often competing ways and to oscillate seamlessly between the two via the enactment of an enterprising neoliberal subjectivity. A performativity and governmentality approach reveals how the identities participants are encouraged to perform are carefully prescribed, anodyne subjectivities, while the oscillation between them is delicately managed to mask particular global productions that align with American interests. Performativity demonstrates how exchange participants’ identities are not stable or ‘natural’ but always in the process of becoming (Butler, 1990). As the operation of discourse that enacts what it names, performativity involves a series of performances—discursive practices— that (re)produce over and again a series of effects. Exchange subjects are therefore not fixed ontological beings but the “effects of practices that are performatively enacted” (Weber, 1998, p. 78). Via these identity performances, exchange participants in their everyday lives therefore partake in structural power relations enacted on a global terrain. Global governmentality is key here to understand how subjectivity and the everyday practices that constitute it are central to power relations in international politics. As “the conduct of conduct” that involves the government (here with the sixteenth century meaning to direct the conduct of individuals or groups) of the ‘self’ and others, governmentality enables an exploration of the complex, diffuse operations of power that incentivises subjects to perform particular identities at different times (Foucault, 2001a, 2001b; Rose, O’Malley, & Valverde, 2009) and thereby reveals the global politics engendered by the governmental techniques of post-9/11 US cultural exchanges. Each exchange under scrutiny mobilises a different cosmopolitan logic—tolerance (YES), equality (Sports Diplomacy), common humanity (Film Forward)—through which governmental techniques seek to produce the performative enactment of a particular model subject as programme ambassadors. YES is an academic exchange programme providing scholarships for secondary school students from ‘countries with significant Muslim populations’ to spend an academic year in the US,

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with scholarships also available for US high school students to study in selected YES countries through YES Abroad. Via four programmes, Sports Diplomacy brings non-elite athletes and coaches to the US and sends US sportspersons overseas to increase cultural understanding, and enable the sharing of sport and life skills that render participants better athletes and citizens. Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue was a Sundance Institute touring programme sending filmmakers and films to select US and international locations to engage publics in film screenings, workshops and seminars at various community, educational, and cultural venues. All of these public diplomacy efforts were mobilised after (or indeed explicitly posited as in response to) 9/11 by the US government; all emphasise two-way exchange, that is, they involve exchanges in both the US and abroad that assume mutuality between participants in each location; each represents different aspects of culture (education, sport, film); and each incorporates the everyday, the mundane, the ordinary—these programmes involve ‘citizen diplomats’ (students, athletes, filmmakers) and quotidian practices and sites (attending school, kicking a ball, watching films). These exchanges and the tidy identity performances they encourage seemingly provide certainty following the September 11th 2001 attacks but close examination of these exchanges’ cosmopolitan logics, performativities and governmentalities uncovers and, importantly politicises, the multiple uncertainties they effect.

‘Uncertain Times’: Uncertainty as Riskiness These opening decades of the twenty-first century, most notably in the context of the September 11th 2001 attacks and an interminable ‘global war on terror’, have been framed as “an age of extreme uncertainty” (Aradau & van Munster, 2008, p. 24). The 2008 global financial crisis, followed by the rise of populism and neo-fascism more recently positioned as provoking its hyper-intensification. Such claims, however, of the uniqueness of these particularly ‘uncertain times’ are far from novel. Stockdale (2016) reminds us, “a popular cliché in contemporary public discourse holds that we live in a time of increasing uncertainty”, while many historical precedents are likewise to be found (Amoore & de Goede, 2008; de Goede, 2008; O’Malley, 2000, 2013). This chapter recognises that uncertainty, far from a benign temporal signifier, is repeatedly developed, harnessed and put to use as a ‘modality of governing’. Indeed,

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the very invocation of ‘uncertain times’ works via this mode of governmentality to ensure responsible citizens/subjects are crafted and governed with greater ease. Since 9/11, this modality of governing, via a contested nexus of temporality and security, has mobilised uncertainty as riskiness along a risk-enterprise continuum. These two logics—risk management and enterprising one’s life—while seductively positioned as developing consecutively as the twenty-first century unfolds, are inextricably linked as modes of managing uncertain futures through strategies that manage and order individual and collective conduct in the present. This section therefore takes a critical stance to temporality by navigating a central tension in how it is manifested: first, that the post-9/11 claim of uncertainty’s temporal exceptionality is totalising and uncertain in itself1 by illustrating how this is its latest instantiation and accounting for the historical security contexts out of which this emerges; and second, by tracing how uncertainty “as a distinctive modality of governance that is associated with specific ways of problematizing the future” (O’Malley, 2000, p. 461) is, conversely, already mobilised in temporal terms. By regarding uncertainty furthermore as “a specific and enduring way of governing the self” as well as “social relations” (ibid., p. 461), this section therefore traces (a) how uncertainty is managed in its particularity within a co-constitutive nexus of this temporality and security landscape, and (b) how in a relation of (in)security, the uncertain/unknown and certain/known plays with/is played out in the present and future through the particular anticipatory strategies of these post-9/11 US cultural exchange programmes. Uncertainty as riskiness—whether as risk or enterprise—requires its alignment with the unknown (and the potential anxiety this can effect for public diplomacy practitioners and proponents) as grounded in a very particular representation of a social problem: (in)security (Stockdale, 2016). With risk, this comes in the form of threat to be overcome, while with enterprise, this takes shape through opportunity to be engaged, where each seek to secure a particular—and more certain—future. Such alignment has several political effects. The riskiness of ‘not knowing’ must be

1 This extends to even the use of the term ‘post-9/11’. I do not do so here in ignorance of its problematic effects as a totalising eventalisation. There is therefore uncertainty in this usage, where I employ it but only by keeping it under erasure to demonstrate its very constructedness and undecidability.

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brought under control and potential anxiety abated through the management of uncertainty, that is, through its government which entails its operationalisation to ‘know’ that to be governed. In this manner, it also entails management via uncertainty which depends upon the logic that uncertainty also exacts that we cannot know and therefore such government is all the more necessary. Uncertainty therefore enables government of particular cultural exchange sites and subjects to seemingly provide certainty through this knowledge, the desire for which is produced, conversely, by uncertainty itself. Such government is only possible through political rationalities. With human conduct “conceived as something that can be regulated, controlled, shaped and turned to specific ends” (Dean, 2010, p. 18), government entails an understanding or ‘knowledge’ of who is to be governed and to govern in light of that knowledge. It is through political rationalities—discursive fields that “represent the domain to be governed as an intelligible field with specifiable limits and particular characteristics” (Rose, 2007, p. 33)—that technologies of government instrumentalise the forces at work within these domains in order to produce desired conducts and outcomes. Here, the “exercise of power is a ‘conduct of conducts’ and a management of possibilities” that the riskiness of uncertainty represents (Foucault, 2007b, p. 341). Uncertainty as political rationality cultivates particular knowledges and realms of intelligibility to bring these possibilities and the uncertainty they may hold into line. The everyday subjects and mundane social relations comprising US public diplomacy can then be rendered ‘certain’ and amenable to management in ‘uncertain times’. Political rationalities are neither singular nor unitary but work in tandem; in the management of these exchange programmes, uncertainty therefore operates with the most prominent rationality of government in post-9/11 US public diplomacy: a particular cosmopolitanism that clearly outlines how participants can and should conduct themselves as good cosmopolitan global, familiar national and enterprising neoliberal subjects. This cosmopolitanism seemingly provides certainty through its depoliticisation. Working in post-9/11 US cultural exchanges to promote values—equality, inclusiveness, tolerance, and respect for difference—as universal and obtainable to all—post-9/11 US public diplomacy practices are therefore positioned as inherently virtuous and ‘beyond question’. For how could one argue against the promotion of universal equality

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and respect for diversity? However, close examination of how these practices and identities are enacted in everyday international politics reveals they are saturated with particularities and power relations. Each exchange programme’s cosmopolitan logic therefore seeks to provide certainty by demarcating the bounded identity categories participants are required to perform and the normative parameters by which they must enact their everyday lives in knowable and intelligible ways in order to be rewarded. As post-9/11 US public diplomacy exemplifies, political rationalities, to draw on Rose and Miller (2010, p. 277) “are morally coloured” (they exact the ideal forms of citizenship exchange participants ought to perform and forms of authority and expertise (e.g. YES programme handbooks, Sports Diplomacy training sessions, Film Forward skills workshops) by which these are directed); “grounded upon knowledge” (they articulate, prescribe and predetermine the exchange participants to be managed and a particular ‘America’ and ‘Muslim world’ over whom government is to be exercised); “and made thinkable through language” (as evidenced in the hyper-realities amenable to political intervention constituted by programme websites, Facebook videos, blog posts, tweets). Of course, such ‘realities’ are never ‘certain’ themselves. As political rationalities, uncertainty and cosmopolitanism therefore form a governmental assemblage that seeks to render these ‘realities’ coherent, hence the articulation of uncertainty as riskiness along a risk-enterprise continuum. Uncertainty appears, first, “as a problem for life itself” (O’Malley, 2013, p. 191) that governmental strategies—risk management and enterprise of one’s life—are designed to actively confront; and, second, as a fluid modality for governing through foresight that tackles the problematic unknown future uncertainty represents by harnessing these strategies as anticipatory interventions in the present. To draw on Rose and Lentzos (2017, p. 34) risk and enterprise therefore emerge via “a particular perception of a problematic present: that we live in uncertain times, that things are changing fast” and “that we are vulnerable not only to known but to unpredictable threats such as jihadist terrorism and climate change, those ‘known unknowns,’ but also to ‘unknown unknowns’ that we are unable to predict but for which, somehow, we must be prepared”. What is fascinating is both, in interlinked yet different ways, respond to and constitute the ‘realities’ of a problematic present through post9/11 US public diplomacy’s management of uncertainty. The immediate aftermath of the September 2001 attacks witnessed an increased interest

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in public diplomacy and its enduring alignment with (inter)national (in)security (e.g. Brown, Green, & Wang, 2017; Gregory, 2008). In academic, practitioner, policymaking and public circles, questions of ‘why do they hate us?’ were responded to by calls for the need to ‘know’ and ‘understand’ one another better through the oft-cited ‘revitalisation’ of programmes following the contestable post-Cold War ‘dropping of the ball’ on public diplomacy (Johnson & Dale, 2003; Schneider, 2009). In particular, much onus was placed on an expansion of cultural exchange programmes, lauded for their ability to cultivate cross-cultural understanding through people-to-people relationships. Here the riskiness of geopolitical uncertainty is a problem to be managed and tamed in the institution of programmes and their laudable cosmopolitan goals of bringing people together to foster mutual understanding and shared respect. Each programme therefore entails authoritative expertise—educational programming, sport/life skills training, film workshops—to guide the enactment of the particular ideal forms of citizenship that will secure such understanding and knowledge, thereby dispelling the risk of uncertainty posed by unknown or undirected ‘American’ selves or ‘foreign Others’. Remaining unknown or undirected constitutes risky subjects that must be made known and de-risked by risk management and enterprising one’s life; such strategies therefore seek to provide security through the management of/via uncertainty. Risky Subjects Former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld’s infamous declaration of ‘(un)known (un)knowns’ delineates a post-9/11 world of radical uncertainty and catastrophic futures against which a proliferation of particular security strategies—risk management, pre-emption, premediation—must be deployed to enable them actionable in the present. While much of this appears to affirm that we are now living in a ‘world risk society’ (Beck, 2002), I follow critical risk studies accounts arguing that a risk society and its claims of ‘taming uncertainty’ are far from realised (Amoore & de Goede, 2008; Aradau & van Munster, 2008). Rather risk (and the risk management strategies it generates) is performative and a mode of governing that offers “a fantasy of control and rational management of the uncertain future” (de Goede, 2008, p. 171). Amoore and de Goede (2008, p. 9), while departing substantially from Beck’s risk society thesis, highlight how its central question—“how to feign

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control over the uncontrollable” (Beck, 2002, p. 41)—has dominated proliferating war on terror risk discourses so that it is categorically not about risk reduction, but instead about “the appearance of securability and manageability”. Risk management is therefore “a way of organizing reality” (Aradau & van Munster, 2008, p. 25). This is about the appearance of the management of/via uncertainty which in turn provides the semblance of certainty. In public diplomacy, this rationality of risk, rather than new discernible risks necessarily emerging, extends a pre-emptive logic across all domains of social life and employs a variety of performative and governmental devices to govern uncertainty as social problems. In cultural exchanges, the potentiality of unknown or unmanaged ‘American’ selves or ‘foreign Others’ becoming risky subjects is therefore curtailed by how these exchanges guide their enactment as ideal subjects who secure such understanding and knowledge. For example, YES tweets stories where YES student participants declare this is their purpose as “ambassadors” in/to the US. YES Lebanon student Sally Akhdar asserts, “That’s what I’m here for – to prove…we’re the same” (YES, 2019). But this encounter relies upon cultural difference and moreover a reductive understanding of it. Akhdar’s declaration was in response to a classmate asking “if she travels to school by camel (For the record, she doesn’t.)” (ibid., 2019). These YES stories therefore demonstrate that knowledges of YES students have an essentialist, Orientalist grounding, rendering cross-cultural understanding a rather superficial endeavour. Such contestability therefore threatens that uncertainty cannot be tamed, enacting risky subjects and manifesting potentially catastrophic futures; hence, uncertainty as enterprise is also vital. Enterprising Subjects As scholars such as O’Malley (2000, p. 465) demonstrate, uncertainty decrees that it is not enough to be a ‘prudent risk avoider’; rather the post-9/11 framing of a fear of uncertainty via risk cannot be divorced from the foundational liberal and neoliberal techniques of governing uncertainty, where ‘prudent’ subjects must enact the self as entrepreneur and are “simultaneously exhorted to become ‘risk takers’”. Herein lies a key tension of uncertainty, for it “was never just a threat to be subdued or eradicated, but was always celebrated for fostering ‘entrepreneurial creativity’ and ‘transformative power’” (de Goede, 2008, p. 159). As a

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political rationality, uncertainty materialises as a challenge and opportunity for exchange participants to capitalise upon through the enterprise of the self. YES Abroad (2019c) tweets calls for applications (CFA), urging “Why not apply to YES Abroad? It’s a free, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is available to anyone. The world is out there. Take the first step!” Of course, this materialisation also constitutes subjects as entrepreneurs dedicated to their own self-maximisation and self-optimisation. Further CFA tweets state “Students on YES Abroad are cultural ambassadors. Take the first step and build a global future with YES Abroad!” (YES Abroad, 2019a). The enterprise of the self is thus vital to post-9/11 US public diplomacy’s operation. While guided by exchange programme ‘expertise’ and ‘authoritative knowledge’, exchange participants must master knowledge of the self, and set themselves to work to mould the self as the ideal YES/Sports Diplomacy/Film Forward subject according to the normative bounds dictated by these programmes’ cosmopolitan logics. In this sense, they are ‘obliged to be free’ where their freedom “exists in the capacity to choose rationally among available options and to assemble from these the risk-minimizing elements of a responsible lifestyle” (O’Malley, 2000, p. 465). Freedom then “as choice, autonomy, self-responsibility, and the obligation to maximize one’s life as a kind of enterprise” (Rose et al., 2009, p. 12) is a governmental strategy by which uncertainty further governs exchange participants (to make certain choices and enact particular self-autonomised subjects) and by which exchange participants also manage uncertainty (through the particular self-responsibilised conduct of their lives). YES Abroad CFA (2019b) therefore place the onus on students to make responsible decisions that will instil the skill set of an enterprising neoliberal subjectivity that, in turn, enables them to conduct themselves as model national (ambassadors of one’s state) and global (embracing of others) citizens: “On #YESAbroad you will learn important life skills including communication, independence, maturity, confidence, becoming more open-minded and learning about yourself! Take education outside the classroom and say YES to YES Abroad!” These skills and the forms of citizenship they enact are positioned as the best way to make a success of one’s life. Governmental rationalities thus forge symmetries between individuals’ aspirations and exchange programmes’ objectives to impel exchange participants to perform these identities and self-govern their everyday lives in enterprising ways within these exchanges. While the objectives of post-9/11 US public diplomacy authorities are arranged

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in ways that appear to be in the best interests of the exchange participants whose lives they manage and regulate—whether students, sports coaches, or film audiences—as the next section shows—the performativity and governmentality of post-9/11 US public diplomacy is an inherently ‘uncertain’ endeavour, requiring continual rearticulation.

Uncertain Subjects: Uncertainty as Contingency The cosmopolitanism embedded in post-9/11 US public diplomacy urges exchange participants to perform as particular model subjects. Their enactment of such identities through particular behaviours, conducts and practices in their everyday exchange lives bolsters a global imaginary that advances US power and privilege and thereby appears to provide certainty in the seemingly ever-shifting post-9/11 landscape of uncertainties. But, as this section demonstrates, the constitution of identities and conduct of conduct is always already a highly and inherently uncertain undertaking due to the contingency which lies at the heart of performativity and governmentality. Identities are always ‘uncertain’ due to the contingent performative and governmental practices which constitute them, but are likewise made to appear as ‘certain’, stable and fixed through the very workings of performativity and governmentality. With the constitution and regulation of particular identities underlying post-9/11 US public diplomacy practices, public diplomacy thereby always entails the management of/via uncertainty as contingency. This management of uncertainty as contingency is implemented via both exchange participants’ government and self-government to produce the ‘self’ as particular subjects. Here rationalities are now rendered technical, that is, translated into multiple, diverse technologies that seek to generate certain desired effects in the conduct of the governed. Examining the everyday practices and performances that comprise post-9/11 US public diplomacy reveals the prescribed subjectivities exchange participants are required to perform and how this prescription is made to appear non-existent. Identities are neither ‘natural’ nor self-evident, but contingent and undecidable, the “effects of practices which are performatively acted” (Weber, 1998, p. 78). As Butler (1993, p. 2) highlights, performativity is “the reiterative and citational practice by which discourse produces the effects that it names”. The ‘self’, in as far as it ‘exists’, is the product of the repetition of linguistic, visual, affective and material discursive practices. By highlighting performativity’s iterability,

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Butler reveals that the meanings surrounding identities are not stable, permanent and fixed. Rather, performativity produces the illusion of these meanings’ fixity and thereby the illusion of an ‘essential’ identity. Identity categories are thus performative as through a series of acts or ‘sustained social performances’ that are the repetition of socially established meanings; they constitute the identity they would appear to merely express from an ‘essence’ to produce beings as subjects in adherence to the norms of hegemonic discourses. Post-9/11 US public diplomacy’s sustained social performances are exchanges that repeatedly attempt to cover over the uncertainty and contingency of the subjectivities exchange participants are required to enact and the contradictions embedded within the oscillation between these often competing identity performances. Exchange participants then ‘do’ their identity in a ‘stylised repetition of acts’ that incorporate a wide range of socially approved and politically regulated mundane practices that permeate YES Twitter timelines, Sports Diplomacy Facebook newsfeeds and Film Forward blogs. For example, familiar national identities are enacted through numerous posts of YES home-country presentations during International Education Week that repeatedly present safe, anodyne and reductive performances of nation and the relatable ‘foreign Other’ through superficial and oftentimes Orientalising tropes of a travel guide—national dress, flag, anthem, cultural mores. Global cosmopolitan citizens are enacted by Film Forward directors’ blogs detailing their embracing of different cultures but then revealing their discomfort that this is often from the ‘safe’ distance of a US embassy armoured vehicle sending GPS coordinates back to Washington, DC. But the film directors’ acceptance of such measures enacts global cosmopolitan identities along essentialising safety/danger binaries of difference for the US and these foreign ‘elsewheres’ (Nix, 2013). While enterprising neoliberal subjects are enacted by Sports Diplomacy’s Global Sports Mentoring Program providing Facebook updates of alumni who have ‘enterprised’ their lives and implemented action plans in their home countries under the guidance of US sporting or corporate mentors. Such posts with their #EmpowerWomen and #ThankYourMentor hashtags adhere to a hierarchical logic of empowerment that institutes a ‘magnanimous-US-expert/grateful-foreign-amateur’ binary, obscuring how these women are often already sporting leaders in their home states, and that US mentors have in fact much to gain through the commercial inroads this relationship opens in particular countries.

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These reiterated acts seek to secure the illusion of a ‘certain’, fixed identity for not only these subjects as particular citizens but also the state—that likewise remains perpetually contingent and never fixed—as an open, tolerant ‘America’ in the global realm. Such acts are cultural exchanges’ discursive attempts to concretise the ever-shifting meanings surrounding these identities or ‘America’ and to resolve the tension between the universal and the particular that underlies post-9/11 US public diplomacy. As the above examples illustrate, such efforts are, of course, impossible, but reveal how exchanges’ performative acts are the ongoing pursuit for certainty despite and/or because of “the uncertain ontology of the self” (Zavaletta, 2005, p. 152). A performativity and governmentality approach therefore probes this ‘uncertain ontology’ and interrogates how the intelligibility of subjects—whether ‘America’ or national/global/neoliberal citizens—always relies upon the simultaneous production of that which is unintelligible for its operation; that is, the foreclosure and abjection of other performative effects. Cosmopolitan logics determine and then govern the enactment of model YES/Sports Diplomacy/Film Forward subjects through demarcating both those intelligible (open-minded, tolerant, cosmopolitan global selves) and unintelligible (bigoted, intolerant, non-global Others) identity performances. Tensions arise, however, due to identities’ very uncertainty and contingency always threatening to disrupt the ‘certainty’ of this exclusionary and hierarchical delineation; that is, participants’ enactments of the ideal exchange subject are much more messy, ambiguous and complex than this demarcation allows for. YES’s cosmopolitan logic of tolerance and programme aims for Muslim teenagers to assimilate to ‘American’ life and become a son/daughter/student regulate participants’ enactment of the ideal YES subject with Americans’ conduct upheld as a model. However, while a model, students cannot simply conduct themselves like Americans. As established in orientations, their ideal YES subjectivity requires them to remember one’s place to perform the grateful, respectful Other while contradictorily assimilating to and enacting certain American cultural norms. For these ideal exchange subjectivities are policed and enforced; any deviation from the norms bounding these identity categories will be punished. When Arab Israeli YES student Jawdat Mahameed (2010) wrote “Death to America” in Arabic on a classroom board, he claims he did so because “I felt like one of my friends – the Americans – because they made me feel like one of them they…showed me what a real American is”. Part of ‘being a real American’ is seemingly

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to demonstrate one’s tolerance of difference by making light of it. In his assimilation, Mahameed claims this joking “was our cultural way to denounce the violence…we had no other way to express our distance from and [disgust] to terrorism…No other instruments [were] given to us…to trigger a discussion about [these] issues and issues like culture bridging” (ibid., 2010). With students left to self-govern a conduct that fulfils YES goals, Mahameed and his American friends turned to humour to forge connections: Mahameed’s American friends would greet him with the phrase, “hey Muslim, don’t bomb us, okay?” and jest “if you get mad at someone just say you’re Muslim and they’ll leave you alone so you won’t bomb them” (ibid., 2010). YES students’ self-government is deemed successful when Muslim Others remain the butt of these jokes in private. When in public with Americans as the target, programme authorities deem such conduct inappropriate, intolerable, terminating Mahameed’s programme participation. While Mahameed’s American friends’ found no wrong-doing and protested his termination on educational exchange chatrooms, by expressing a particular US sense of humour regarded distasteful, Mahameed assimilated too much; when navigating the contingency of the ideal YES subject, he strayed too far from the ‘certainty’ of reductive identity performances (including a saccharine ‘America’) he ought to internalise as a YES ambassador. Those who fail to conduct themselves within the prescribed, evershifting bounds of these ideal exchange identities and communities are therefore designated as unintelligible: those ‘bad’, ‘failed’, ‘anti-’, or ‘non-citizens’. To prevent such abject conducts and their incumbent uncertainties undercutting the seeming certainty of universality and inclusiveness promised by cultural exchanges’ normative cosmopolitanism, governmentality as an infusing power mobilises technologies that harness exchange participants’ attributes, endow them with new competencies and thereby produce them as enabled, energised subjects. Each exchange therefore converts political rationalities into specific technologies to render government possible so that everyday exchange practices come to be more easily managed (indeed, ‘knowledge’ and ‘intelligibility’ are only effective when embodied in technique) with participants more willingly internalising the power relations and norms of cultural exchanges’ cosmopolitanism. Government is therefore repeatedly positioned as the optimisation of exchange participants and their lives, with technologies shaping each stage of cultural exchanges, including long after the on-site programme ends. A key embodiment of the ideal YES

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subject, for example, is through participants’ enactment of model alumni identities. Whole websites and social media accounts are dedicated to the alumni programme (both regional and global) which aims “to expand on and practice what YES students have learned about volunteerism, community service, and citizen responsibility during their exchange year” (YES, n.d.). Technologies of government therefore bind alumni’s daily actions and behaviours to a relation between ideal citizenship and responsible community that will generate both individual and collective improvement. These include alumni-led community service activities (e.g. beach clean-ups, children’s charity fundraisers, orphanage visits), alumni training (e.g. TechCamps in Washington, DC to improve digital literacy), and networking and leadership opportunities (e.g. Training of Trainers [ToT]) workshop which “aims to improve the training and leadership skills capacity of alumni and to provide alumni with the skills and tools necessary to train others in their community” (YES, 2018). Such technologies seek to cement participants’ ideal YES subjectivity as good national, global and neoliberal citizens when they return home. Participants are urged to assume responsibility for the ‘self’, to regulate their aspirations, needs and lifestyles out of obligation to perform these ideal forms of citizenship that benefit both the individual and the collective, both the self and others with whom they identify and affiliate themselves. Embedding their daily decisions in a nexus of incitements and rewards, technologies thereby incentivise exchange participants to perform certain identities and self-govern their everyday lives out of responsibility to, and the promises of membership in particular communities whether their exchange programme, their nation, global society, or an enterprising elite. Through such performances the management of uncertainty as identity’s contingency is seemingly achieved, while they are simultaneously impelled by how these subjects in their daily conducts are managed via uncertainty as contingency. While providing a neat, tidy and seemingly certain picture of public diplomacy, as the next section reveals, contingency always holds potential to exceed these bounds and for much messier enactments of subjects and relations to be effected through the management of/via uncertainty.

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The Politics of Uncertainty: Uncertainty as Possibility Within public diplomacy literature, uncertainty is often framed pejoratively (e.g. Fitzpatrick, 2009; Goodall, Trethewey, & McDonald, 2006; Sharp, 2019). The ambiguity that uncertainty evokes is posited as potentially threatening and dangerous (to particular identities/orders and/or their enactment) and as something that must be overcome, tamed, and, above all, managed and put to use in the (self-) government of all public diplomacy participants, whether State Department officials, high school students from Ghana, film audiences in Michigan or Pakistani basketball coaches. However, what this chapter’s critical approach also reveals is how uncertainty lies at the heart of governmentality and performativity in the form of possibility. As Barad (2003, p. 819) highlights, “subjects emerge from a field of possibilities. This field of possibilities is not static or singular but rather is a dynamic and contingent multiplicity”. Possibility is therefore the very condition by/in which performativity and governmentality occur which in turn can lead to multiple possible outcomes, conducts or identities to be enacted. This section therefore builds on the previous two sections’ insights of the governmental mechanisms and performative practices of knowledge production and subject formation to show how they engender possibility and the political potentialities this holds: to know otherwise, to enact alternative performances and conducts and to reimagine public diplomacy and the self-other relations that comprise it differently. Uncertainty in this guise can therefore be fruitful, for it embodies and enables the possibility to ‘be’ otherwise and carries with it the “hope of being governed differently” (Rose & Lentzos, 2017, p. 46). Engaging uncertainty via a critical approach of performativity and governmentality therefore entails that we not only “condemn the injustices and disadvantages” enacted by these exchanges’ performative and governmental conditions but also “engage inventively with the possibilities opened up” by them (Rose, 1996, p. 353). Rather than assuming all is for the worst in this latest instantiation of political uncertainty, such critical analyses enable us “to identify points of weakness that might be exploited if we are to maximize the capacity of individuals and collectivities to shape the knowledges, contest the authorities and configure the practices that will govern them in the name of their freedoms and commitments” (ibid., p. 353). As this section demonstrates, through ambivalence, gaps, and

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excess, uncertainty management, and its underlying performative practices and governmental techniques, can fail, break down, or be countered and resisted, thereby opening up the possibility for identities and practices to be enacted otherwise. Embracing radical uncertainty in US public diplomacy is therefore a political act that could enact less hierarchical exchange encounters and enable alternative social orders. Performativity, Butler demonstrates, entails citationality, that is, a repetition of norms which enacts identities. But as identities are contingent and the meanings around them never fixed, each iteration effects a different repeating which holds the possibility for resignification. As Butler affirms, “it is only within the practices of repetitive signifying that a subversion of identity becomes possible” (1990, p. 145). For if identities are not ‘certain’ nor pre-given, but come to ‘be’ through performative acts, then, it is through performativity that resistance to regulatory norms and rearticulation of identity categories can occur. This deconstituting possibility of repetition relies upon the disjuncture between utterance and meaning that can revise or undo the performatives it seeks to stabilise. While reiteration gives identity the effect of ‘certainty’ or ‘naturalness’, it further opens up this ‘disjuncture’, a site of uncertainty or ambivalence produced by “the constitutive instabilities” in all identity constructions (Butler, 1993, p. 10). This disjuncture is produced by the ‘excess’ in each performative public diplomacy effort, that evades regulation and government. Similarly, this uncertainty or constitutive instability underpins all governmentality practices where ‘counter-conducts’ seek to run counter to particular governmental rationalities. These counterconducts, what Foucault describes as “the will not to be governed thusly, like that, by these people, at this price” (2007b, p. 75), manifest as a “struggle against the processes implemented for conducting others” (2007a, p. 201). Just as government operates through technologies of the self to create governable and self-governing subjects—global cosmopolitan, familiar national, and self-enterprising neoliberal citizens— that bolster US agendas, exchange participants equally perform, both consciously and unconsciously, counter-conducts that subvert and reinvent these categories, enabling the enactment of identities that conflict with the regulatory norms securing public diplomacy’s status. Uncertainty in post-9/11 public diplomacy therefore holds the possibility for subversion of and resistance to its predominant discourses and structures of power. In Film Forward blogs, for instance, directors often provide potent social and political critiques that do not fit within tidy

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performances of acquiescent programme ambassadors. The film director, Jasmila Žbani´c, expresses her distress and discomfort at discovery of US military priority boarding and clothing discounts on her Puerto Rico trip. Her explicit dismay that those perhaps responsible for the murder of civilians in Fallujah, torture in Abu Ghraib or aerial massacres in Afghanistan would be rewarded with the new Tommy Hilfiger collection is raw and palpable, providing a searing critique of controversial post-9/11 wars and their practices (Žbani´c, 2012) that disrupts the depoliticised logic of common humanity underpinning Film Forward. Of course, uncertainty abounds here too; one must be cautious that resistance, de-constituting possibility and counter-conduct, do not come to be seen as somehow outside of, or separate from the discourses and governmental technologies they seek to disrupt, resulting in some kind of converse ‘subversive certainty’ being erected. Rather, occurring within the discursive terrain, they are likewise susceptible to building their own exclusions and hierarchies. While resignification is always possible, it does not follow that resistive performative enactments or counter-conducts are disruptive or that subversion is realised. Indeed, “we don’t know when resistance is going to be recouped or when it will be ground-breaking” (Butler, Osborne, & Segal, 1994, p. 38). Close examination of the specificities of post-9/11 US cultural exchanges therefore illustrates how sometimes these moments of resistance are co-opted by the very structures they seek to disrupt, thereby bolstering public diplomacy’s cosmopolitanism and the knowledges it constitutes. Critical voices are recouped to benignly enact Film Forward as such an open, tolerant US government-funded programme, it enables critiques of US foreign policies (echoing an historical trend in US public diplomacy). Žbani´c’s powerfully affective critique of US military privileges is neutralised and nullified by a ‘disclaimer’ added at the beginning of her blog post: “Jasmila Žbani´c, director of ‘Grbavica,’ writes about her experience traveling to the United States with heightened sensitivity after living through the war in Bosnia. She shares her first impressions of Puerto Rico and how they transformed as the trip progressed” (cited in Žbani´c, 2012). In order to mask this ‘disclaimer’, the other filmmaker on this trip is randomly assigned an insipid, superfluous section explaining her film and that she conducted workshops and screenings in Puerto Rico. Of course, every filmmaker does this on each trip as is their remit as Film Forward ambassadors. No other posts contain such introductory

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comments, while Žbani´c’s further blog critiques of war are subsumed within safe, unquestionable universals (e.g. war is bad) that leave Film Forward’s cosmopolitan logic of common humanity untroubled. Film Forward magnanimously permits discussion of these ‘diverse viewpoints’, while distancing itself from their content or encouraging it to meet blogging norms of safe, non-threatening subject matter. The possibility of uncertainty is thereby curbed through its management. On other occasions, counter-conducts by exchange participants are construed as misconducts—that is, “not conducting oneself properly” (Foucault, 2007a, p. 201)—enacting them as bad national/global citizens. Such moves seek to manage the uncertainty counter-conducts create by situating participants within a realm of intelligibility as subjects to be worked upon or, likewise, those co-constitutive non-subjects who cannot. For example, YES students must fulfil a Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement, where they return home as youth ambassadors to impart ‘American’ culture, values and skills to improve their national settings, with Afghan students additionally tasked with ‘rebuilding’ their home state. The contradictions of Afghan teenagers tasked with providing certainty through skills inculcated in the US to a situation of high uncertainty created by a US-led ‘war on terror’ are flagrant. Since 2005, the second year of Afghanistan’s YES involvement, students’ asylum-seeking in Canada rose increasingly until the programme’s suspension in 2011. These contradictions produce an uncertainty so great that teenagers and their parents are driven to tearfully urge and enact such conducts. While marked as abject identity performances of the ideal YES subject by both Afghan and US officials, these conducts are an embodiment of the ideal neoliberal subject YES students have been encouraged to perform—a responsible citizen securing an optimised future. Yet this future has been prescribed as oriented in Afghanistan, enabling these students’ choices and conducts to be marked as those of failed or non-citizens—whether in terms of their YES, national or global subjectivities—leaving cultural exchanges’ cosmopolitan assemblage intact. Occasionally, however, counter-conducts or moments of resistance occur within these exchanges, troubling their very conditions of existence and operating in excess of the prescribed identity categories of global cosmopolitan or familiar national. For example, when Film Forward visits the Kakuma refugee camp where the host community, the Turkana People, work for the much wealthier refugees, staff blogs cannot account for these alternative social orderings but are surprised and unsettled

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by these encounters, describing this relation as “a disturbing dynamic” (Lavitt, 2011). These performatives disrupt the dichotomised logic of hospitality that Film Forward envisages all refugees ought to fit, for this is grounded in a depoliticised understanding of the refugee as poverty-stricken victim that ignores its historicity (Johnson, 2011). These alternative social orderings exceed the realms of the intelligible ‘less fortunate,’ foreign Other that underpins Film Forward’s conceptualisations of common humanity. Such excess provokes uncertainty over Film Forward’s articulation of the ‘human’, an uncertainty so great that it cannot be reconciled in itself, but belies the programme’s cosmopolitan logic, by enacting the very privilege and distance Film Forward purports to overcome. Thus, while uncertainty in the form of resistive enactments and counter-conducts can be recouped to serve the very systems it seeks to undercut, such sites hold the promise to enact uncertainty’s possibility. As public diplomacy scholars engaging with uncertainty in its multiplicity, it is incumbent to approach uncertainty not as a threat or danger to be contained, but with a shrewd openness. O’Malley (2013, p. 192) urges that techniques of uncertainty “have escaped into everyday life, and put to work in ‘enhancing’ life itself. As such, they may represent a ‘line of flight’ whose future trajectory is unknown, about which we should be cautious rather than negative; especially if indeed we live in an age of catastrophes”. We would therefore do well to heed Rose and Lentzos (2017, p. 44) who remind us that “perhaps we might do better to abstain from the rush to judgement” and instead “ask whether, how, and in what ways we might find some handholds here for a more optimistic intellectual and political engagement”. By holding an openness to the possibilities that uncertainty can generate, we enable another kind of politics to be imagined, both in the conduct of public diplomacy and in its scholarship. It is vital therefore to approach the performative practices and governmental techniques of uncertainty as potential sites that “might provide opportunities for a more progressive politics” (ibid., pp. 28–29) and with it therefore the “hope of being governed differently” (ibid., p. 46). Due to the uncertainty, that is, instability, of all performative and governmental practices, these exchange subjectivities and encounters can be constituted differently. To embrace radical uncertainty with a shrewd openness is therefore an ‘intellectual and political engagement’ that offers us—public diplomacy scholars, practitioners and participants—possibilities to rethink post-9/11

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US public diplomacy and the worlds it creates and re-enact them in less hierarchical ways.

Concluding as Instigation Herein lies the promise of the politics of uncertainty: its possibility to conceive more politically engaged and ethically responsible public diplomacy subjects and sites. As Wolff (2008, p. 22, original emphasis) reminds us, “the possibility of principled politics is premised on uncertainty.” Drawing on Claude Lefort, she develops her argument further by stating: ‘the important point is that democracy is instituted and sustained by the dissolution of the markers of certainty.’ The very possibility of moral action depends on the opening up of debate and this is in turn the consequence of the collapse of older ‘truths’ that disguised their partial interests, and their totalitarian tendencies, in a discourse of human universal values. (ibid., p. 22)

Engaging uncertainty in its multiplicity and then embracing its radical possibility enables us to challenge and break apart (from) the depoliticising assemblage embedded in these cultural exchange programmes of a seemingly benign cosmopolitanism emphasising ‘universality’. These concluding remarks therefore should not be taken as a neat closure that somehow engenders its own form of ‘certainty’ but as an instigation; they serve, first, as a starting point or springboard for a much more critical engagement with US public diplomacy and its interplay with uncertainty; and second, as a provocation or urging for a shrewd openness to shape our engagements with public diplomacy and enable radical possibilities to be realised. “The challenge,” Wolff (2008, p. 5) argues, “is to establish a new discourse of value without a foundation in certainties or universals”. This requires, she argues, the development of a critical approach that eschews “discredited universalisms” (ibid., p. 5). The performativity and governmentality approach that this chapter advances not only challenges and rejects the underlying cosmopolitanism of these exchanges and its claims of ‘universality’, ‘commonality’ and ‘mutuality’, but also reveals that there is no way to stand outside of performativity and governmentality. Uncertainty as it manifests in the performative and governmental

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realms therefore must be engaged; but by recognising the power relations structuring these manifestations and the disjunctures and points of weakness these necessarily entail due to the uncertainty, that is, contingency and instability of all public diplomacy practices, the knowledges and authorities shaping exchange subjects and their conducts can in turn be reshaped, contested and reconstituted. Indeed, by developing a “kind of political intelligence” (Brown, 2006, p. 205), can exchange participants and coordinators, public diplomacy proponents and scholars reflect upon what is at stake in these public diplomacy efforts and thereby enact exchange encounters that are fuller, franker and richer (Mills, forthcoming, 2021). This development of political intelligence would involve interrogating and disrupting the governmental rationalities and hierarchical subject positions these exchanges engender and the power asymmetries that reproduce and sustain them. By rendering post-9/11 US public diplomacy’s framework of cosmopolitanism uncertain, participants could not only contest but also undo its depoliticising arrangements with alternative political subjectivities, practices and orders. This volume’s editors argue that in international politics, uncertainty matters to political actors and therefore merits public diplomats’ consideration, thereby shifting the practice of public diplomacy to address these uncertainties. However, as public diplomacy inevitably entails the management of/via uncertainty, uncertainty as a modality of government—whether political rationality, performative condition or governmental technology—is always already considered by public diplomats. Public diplomacy thereby already addresses uncertainties. The shift in the field, rather, must come in how we critically engage with uncertainty’s multiplicities and embrace uncertainty with a frank openness in order to realise a reimagined international politics and the transformative possibilities it offers for everyday public diplomacy.

References Amoore, L., & de Goede, M. (2008). Introduction: Governing by risk in the war on terror. In L. Amoore & M. de Goede (Eds.), Risk and the war on terror (pp. 5–19). Routledge. Aradau, C., & van Munster, R. (2008). Taming the future: The dispositif of risk in the war on terror. In L. Amoore & M. de Goede (Eds.), Risk and the war on terror (pp. 23–40). Routledge.

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Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs, 28, 801–831. Beck, U. (2002). The terrorist threat: World risk society revisited. Theory, Culture and Society, 19(4), 39–55. Brown, K. A., Green, S. N., & Wang, J. J. (2017, January). Public diplomacy and national security in 2017: Building alliances, fighting extremism, and dispelling disinformation. Center for Strategic and International Studies. Brown, W. (2006). Regulating aversion: Tolerance in the age of identity and empire. Princeton University Press. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of “sex”. Routledge. Butler, J., Osborne, P., & Segal, L. (1994). Gender as performance: An interview with Judith Butler. Radical Philosophy, 67 , 32–39. Cull, N. (2008). The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American propaganda and public diplomacy, 1945–1989. Cambridge University Press. de Goede, M. (2008). Beyond risk: Premediation and the post-9/11 security imagination. Security Dialogue, 39, 155–176. Dean, M. (2010). Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. Sage. Fitzpatrick, K. (2009). The feature of U.S. public diplomacy: An uncertain fate. Brill. Foucault, M. (2001a). Governmentality. In The Essential Works 1954–1984. Vol. 3: Power. London: Allen Lane. Foucault, M. (2001b). The subject and power. In The Essential Works 1954–1984, Vol. 3: Power. London: Allen Lane. Foucault, M. (2007a). Security, territory, population: Lectures at the collège de France 1977–1978. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Foucault, M. (2007b). What is critique? In S. Lotringer (Ed.), The Politics of Truth (pp. 41–82). Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). Goodall, B., Trethewey, A., & McDonald, K. (2006). Strategic ambiguity, communication, and public diplomacy in an uncertain world: Principles and practices. Arizona State University. Gregory, B. (2008). Public diplomacy and national security: Lessons from the U.S. experience. Small Wars Journal. https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/ art/public-diplomacy-and-national-security. Johnson, H. L. (2011). Click to donate: Visual images, constructing victims and imagining the female refugee. Third World Quarterly, 32(6), 1015–1037. Johnson, S., & Dale, H. (2003). How to reinvigorate U.S. public diplomacy? The Heritage Foundation.

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Lavitt, M. (2011, October 6). Authenticity in Amreeka Sundance Institute. http://www.sundance.org/filmforward/blog-entry/authenticity-in-amr eeka/. Mahameed, J. K. K. (2010). A letter from J—Khaled kasab Mahameed. The foreign student who was sent home from Niceville high school to Israel. http:// richmedia.onset.freedom.com/nwfdn/ld0ylm-7exchangestudentletter.pdf. Mills, L. (2021, forthcoming). Post-9/11 US Cultural Diplomacy: The Impossibility of Cosmopolitanism. Routledge. Nix, L. (2013, April 25). An ideal audience: Laura Nix shares the light in her eyes with students in Jordan. Film Forward Blog. http://www.sundance.org/ stories/article/an-ideal-audience-laura-nix-shares-the-light-in-her-eyes-withstudents-in-j/. O’Malley, P. (2000). Uncertain subjects: Risks, liberalism and contract. Economy and Society, 29(4), 460–484. O’Malley, P. (2013). Uncertain governance and resilient subjects in the risk society. Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 3(2), 180–195. Rose, N. (1996). The death of the social: Refiguring the territory of government. Economy and Society, 25(3), 327–356. Rose, N. (2007). Powers of freedom: Reframing political thought. Cambridge University Press. Rose, N., & Lentzos, F. (2017). Making us resilient: Responsible citizens for uncertain times. In S. Trnka & C. Trundle (Eds.), Competing responsibilities: The ethics and politics of contemporary life. Duke University Press. Rose, N., & Miller, P. (2010). Political power beyond the State: Problematics of government. The British Journal of Sociology, 61(1), 271–303. Rose, N., O’Malley, P., & Valverde, M. (2009). Governmentality. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 2, 1–22. Schneider, C. P. (2009). American public diplomacy after the Bush presidency. Center for International and Regional Studies, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. Brief No. 2. Sharp, P. (2019, March 11). Old diplomacy and new diplomats. University of Kent. https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/munitions-of-the-mind/2019/03/11/ old-diplomacy-and-new-diplomats/. Stockdale, L. P. D. (2016). Taming an uncertain future: Temporality, sovereignty, and the politics of anticipatory governance. Rowman & Littlefield International. US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. (2018). 2018 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy and International Broadcasting. https:// www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2018-ACPD.pdf. Weber, C. (1998). Performative states. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 27 (1), 77–95.

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Wolff, J. (2008). The aesthetics of uncertainty. New York: Columbia University Press. YES. (n.d.). Kennedy-Lugar alumni. https://www.yesprograms.org/yes-alumni. YES. (2018, October 18). YES Alumni training of trainers workshop. https:// www.yesprograms.org/stories/yes-alumni-training-of-trainers-workshop. YES. (2019). A home away from home. https://www.yesprograms.org/stories/ a-home-away-from-home. YES Abroad. (2019a, November 26). Available from https://twitter.com/klyesa broad/status/1199432685288087560?s=21. YES Abroad. (2019b, December 1). Available from https://twitter.com/klyesa broad/status/1201214402135052290?s=21. YES Abroad. (2019c, December 3). Available from https://twitter.com/klyesa broad/status/1201939242034900998?s=21. Zavaletta, A. S. (2005). Undoing gender. The Comparatist, 29, 152–153. Žbani´c, J. (2012, September 22). Finding out you have a house in Puerto Rico. Sundance Institute. http://www.sundance.org/filmforward/.

CHAPTER 12

Foreign Correspondence and Digital Public Diplomacy Shixin Ivy Zhang

In a world of political uncertainty, foreign correspondents as key non-state public diplomacy actors shall be a trusted source to inform the publics and foreign policy decision-makers and thus reduce informational uncertainty. As Floridi (2015, pp. 2–4) notes, “the morphology of the flows of information is the morphology of uncertainty” and “we value information precisely because it reduces uncertainty”. Uncertainty management happens by exposing digital publics to shared values, norms and political aspirations. In view of uncertainties surrounding (dis)information and strategic landscapes in foreign policy, this chapter approaches the management of uncertainties by focusing on shaping perceptions by exposing publics to national values. This chapter places foreign correspondence at the heart of international journalism. Foreign correspondence is defined as international news reporting process with a focus on foreign correspondents who collect, produce and deliver news and information from around the world. In

S. I. Zhang (B) University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9_12

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times of crisis and uncertainty, foreign correspondents are ‘a unique source of analysis and sometimes advance information’ because they are in principle well-equipped to witness, decipher and interpret news (Otto & Meyer, 2012). Since 2000s, there is widely held view that foreign correspondence is in a state of retreat, decline, and crisis due to economic pressures, global interdependence, technological innovations, and market pressures (Hamilton, 2009; Sambrook, 2010). In view of those developments, Otto and Meyer (2012) argue that the loss of presence in foreign countries has harmed the news media’s ability to uncover evolving crises and provide in-depth and reliable background reporting. Foreign correspondents are significant for conflict prevention because ‘decision-makers use quality news media alongside intelligence reports for identifying and prioritizing threats’ (Otto & Meyer, 2012, p. 205). In addition, the internet has indeed facilitated flows of international news and political information. However, the sustained or even increased information flow does not ‘guarantee quality’, rather it ‘led to repetition rather than diversity’ (Bromley & Clark, 2012, p.12). Hence foreign correspondents who are supposed to provide quality (quality and accurate) news information are by no means redundant today. Their work differs from their predecessors in that it serves the digital news environments (Sambrook, 2010). Foreign correspondents are non-state public diplomacy actors operating in hybridised media landscapes. In this chapter, public diplomacy (PD) is defined as communication with the public of foreign states with a purpose to influence the perceptions and attitudes of people abroad, and to influence the policies of foreign governments (Waller, 2007, p. 23). In hybridised media landscapes, the goal of PD is transformed from the transmission of information to the building or leveraging of relations (Hayden, 2012; Surowiec & Long, 2020). PD practice that is increasingly facilitated by social media platforms (Duncombe, 2019). Moreover, digital technologies have blurred the boundaries between foreign and domestic affairs, empowered new actors, and created opportunities for PD to build stronger bridges between offline and online communities (Bjola, Cassidy, & Manor, 2019). Foreign correspondents shape images of a state among foreign publics through their reporting, but their role in PD tends to be neglected by foreign policy-makers and researchers (Archetti, 2012). Currently, the study of the role of foreign correspondents in PD lacks strong theoretical bases. To fill in this research gap and contribute to this under-studied

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area, the author intends to address two main research questions: What are the roles of foreign correspondents in PD? How do the PD institutions (state actors) interact and engage foreign correspondents via digital/social media? Drawing on literature-based cases in the US, UK, Israel and China, a relation-network based, two-sided analytical model is proposed to study the roles of foreign correspondents in digital PD. This chapter is organized as follows: it starts by mapping and linking the interdisciplinary fields of foreign correspondence and PD, followed by discussing foreign correspondents and PD in the US, UK, Israel and China individually. A new analytical model to study the roles of foreign correspondents in digital PD is then proposed and theorized. Lastly, conclusion is given.

Linkage Between Foreign Correspondence and Public Diplomacy Studies of foreign correspondence and PD tend to focus on one or the other practice. It is not the goal of this chapter to give an exhaustive review of these two fields, but this section aims to reveal the linkage between the fields of foreign correspondence and PD. Foreign correspondence is essential in the practice of public diplomacy. Previous studies demonstrate that international news has an impact in setting the public agenda and shaping public’s knowledge, attitudes and opinions towards foreign states (Goodrum, Godo, & Hayter, 2011). Seib (2010) notes that international journalism as a PD tool is an essential way for states to advance national values, further national interests and wield soft power. Non-state actors, including media organizations and foreign correspondents may conduct their own versions of PD, earning and maintaining the trust of the publics. He states: “Broadcasters are no longer just broadcasters. The most creative among them use Internet-based media to enhance their reach and influence” (ibid., p. 105). In addition, foreign correspondence traverses the three realms of PD (news management, strategic communication and building relations), and generates immediate, intermediate and long term impact on the foreign publics’ perceptions and state foreign policy (Sun, 2014). Previous studies have touched upon the issue of foreign correspondence and public diplomacy directly, or indirectly from three main perspectives: foreign correspondents’ role perceptions, international broadcasters, and media-foreign policy relations.

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The first line of inquiry focuses on the roles and role perceptions of foreign correspondents. Foreign correspondents act as the principal source of information from far-flung lands, bear witness to major events through eyewitness reporting, and set the international agenda (Sambrook, 2010; Willnat & Martin, 2012; Zhang & Zhang, 2018). In view of foreign news flows becoming more complex and less elitist, Hamilton and Jenner (2004) argue that the traditional elite foreign correspondent no longer has hegemony over foreign news. The new media landscape allows foreign events to be covered in diverse and new sources. Zeng’s (2018) study identifies three role types among China correspondents: detached disseminator, populist watchdog, and facilitative change agent. Archetti’s (2012) research on foreign correspondents in London underlines the important role of foreign correspondents as ‘sense makers’. She finds that foreign correspondents do not simply ‘translate’ wires, but produce more foreign news with more varied and unique insights across more platforms. All these articles have studied the transformations, role perceptions and practice of foreign correspondents in the changing media environment. Their focus seems to be on how foreign correspondents perceive their roles, use digital media and cover foreign news for domestic publics. But how foreign media shapes the success or failure of PD is unclear. Focusing on China, Sun (2014) finds that foreign correspondents practising in this state, acting as both actors and targets of China’s PD messages, have come across as most troubling embodiments of the soft power versus clumsy power dichotomy. She concludes that, in theory, foreign correspondents can contribute to the effectiveness of China’s PD but in reality the foreign correspondence has failed to promote China’s interest because the Chinese government does not understand the different values and practices of foreign correspondents. Sun’s (2014) study reveals the role of foreign correspondents in China’s PD. However, a clearly defined analytical model of foreign correspondence and PD as well as systematic analysis are lacking. As she admits, this article has raised more questions than it can answer. The second line of inquiry looks into international broadcasters and PD. Powers and Gody (2009) study the failure of Al Hurra Television, a satellite TV channel in Arabic launched by the US government in 2004 to promote American foreign policy in the Middle East, and conclude that the Al Hurra symbolizes the damaged state of American PD. It fails to recognize how technological advances have changed global media landscapes. In contrast, al-Jazeera’s PD success is significant because the

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channel represents not just Qatar, but also serves as a pan-Arab and perhaps pan-Islamist PD tool Seib (2010). He concludes that the rise of al-Jazeera and similar news organizations is changing the features of PD by not acting as merely an arm of a state, but rather devising and advancing its own political perspective. In recent years, researchers have examined international broadcasters and PD beyond the US and Arab world. For instance, comparing China’s CCTV (China Central Television Station) and Russia’s RT, Rawnsley (2015) highlights different strategies adopted by the two stations. While CCTV aims to rectify perceived distortions in the global flow of news about China, RT focuses on reporting events in the US. A third line of inquiry falls into the broad area exploring media-foreign policy nexus. Media is a controlling, constraining, intervening, or instrumental actor in the making of policy (Gilboa, 2002). Numerous studies have demonstrated an increasing media impact on foreign policy-making. The CNN effect, which originated during the 1991 Gulf War, theorises the role of information in international politics and conflicts. It suggests that news, especially broadcast news, can influence and drive foreign policy especially when there is policy uncertainty and emotive framing (Bahador, 2007; Robinson, 2002). While the CNN effect assumes mediadriven foreign policy in the West, the al-Jazeera effect refers to the broader consequences of newer media on international politics (Seib, 2008). As Nye (2008) points out, of the three dimensions of PD, the first and most immediate dimension is daily communications which involves explaining the context of domestic and foreign policy decisions to the press; he asserts: “The foreign press has to be an important target for the first stage of PD” (Nye, 2008, p. 101). Theoretically, Entman (2008) develops a cascading network activation model to explain the framing of the US foreign policy in foreign news media. Entman’s model has its merits in delineating the relationship between foreign policy, foreign news media and foreign public opinion. However, as White and Radic (2014) note, his theory was limited to mass mediated messages (developed from the US perspective) and did little to establish a broader analytical structure. Having drawn a sketch of three overlapping approaches to study foreign correspondence and PD nexus, it transpires that the field lacks an analytical approach to study the role of foreign correspondence in PD efforts. As Cohen (1994, p. 11) writes: ‘real advances in theoretical

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development with respect to the media and foreign policy will ultimately depend on our looking at more countries, rather than just at more cases’. Thus I turn to examine foreign correspondence and PD in four selected states—US, UK, Israel and China. The selection of these four states is mainly out of geographical and political considerations. Geographically these states represent different continents/regions in America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Politically, the US, UK and Israel are democracies, whereas China is an authoritarian regime. Despite differences in political regimes, each state has developed and employed savvy PD strategies to exercise their soft power, targeting foreign publics and aiming to shape international politics.

Foreign Correspondents and Public Diplomacy in the US As for managing foreign correspondents who work in the US, Leonard (2002) notes that, in the day-to-day communication, diplomats talk to the press about ‘foreign’ news stories but they refer enquires about ‘domestic’ issues to the relevant government departments, which are not equipped to understand the international repercussions of their actions. Moreover, during a domestic crisis, foreign correspondents get second-class services as government officials tend to be primarily concerned about press coverage at home (Leonard, 2002). Taking foreign correspondents as clients of the US government, Stephen Hess gives considerable credit to Foreign Press Centers operated by the State Department (Hamilton, 2006). In his book, ‘Through Their Eyes: Foreign Correspondents in the United States ’, Hess (2005, p. 7) notes that the three offices of Foreign Press Centers in Washington, New York and Los Angeles were once ‘a sort of social club where correspondents gathered to obtain services that they can now get through C-Span, CNN, and the Internet.’ But ‘its special briefings, tours, and logistical assistance received good grades from our respondents, and such services are an inexpensive component of PD’ (Hess, 2005, p. 7). He notes that limited access to the US government officials is the press corp’s primary complaint, especially for the correspondents from a small states of no strategic importance. Elsewhere, Peterson and colleagues (2004, p. 13) point out the importance of fostering meaningful relationships between the US government and foreign journalists; they state: ‘Too often, foreign reporters feel they are treated as second-class citizens relegated to the fringe of U.S. outreach

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efforts. To the extent that the U.S. government marginalizes foreign journalists, it alienates a group of highly effective, highly credible messengers’. They call for Washington to increase foreign press access to high-level American officials and argue that effective engagement with foreign journalists must take place at all times not just during crises (Peterson et al., 2004). For the US foreign correspondents who are posted abroad, their foreign news coverage tends to follow US foreign policy (Wu & Hamilton, 2004). In terms of news geography, Hahn and Lonnendonker’s (2009) interviews with 27 US foreign correspondents in Europe reveal that the post-9/11 foreign news coverage has shifted focus towards the Middle East, and Europe-based US foreign correspondents report about Muslim communities in Europe. Meanwhile, the significance of foreign correspondents to foreign policies grew. Historically, the study of foreign correspondent refers to the American foreign correspondents. As Hamilton and Jenner (2004, p. 301) point out, “our conception of the foreign correspondent remains fixed: one of a small number of American employees with established news organizations who live and report from an overseas bureau.” However, their survey of the US foreign correspondents in 2001 shows that only 31% of foreign correspondents were Americans. With so many foreign nationals reporting for the US media, the authors claim that American foreign correspondence may have entered the ‘era of the foreign foreign correspondent’. Their research highlights that policy-making depends heavily on public opinion. Without foreign correspondents, people are far less likely to be prepared to anticipate global trends that shape everyone’s life (ibid., p. 258). In practice, the coverage of foreign news by the US media has significantly declined in recent years (Willnat & Martin, 2012). There is a popular view that elite foreign correspondents are an endangered profession, and foreign correspondence is in a state of retreat, decline, and/or crisis (Hamilton, 2009; Hess, 1996; Høiby & Ottosen, 2019). However, there are good reasons to be optimistic about foreign correspondence in the US. For instance, on the one hand, many newsrooms rely heavily on wire services to guarantee a minimum of foreign news coverage (Hahn & Lonnendonker, 2009). On the other hand, Livingston and Asmolov (2010) observe that The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times still maintain a substantial overseas presence. Hamilton and Jenner (2004) also argue that the talk of extinction has been exaggerated. What the trends really show is that news media

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are not likely to increase the number of foreign correspondents they send abroad. Instead, they look for cost-saving alternatives, for example, the parachute foreign correspondent (Hamilton & Jenner, 2004) or the virtual correspondent (Hahn & Lonnendonker, 2009). In a word, foreign correspondents are evolving rather than disappearing. Hamilton and Jenner (2004, p. 302) argue that foreign news is interlinked with demand, and it is transformations of the media landscapes that have led to systemic changes in how we receive news from other countries. The Internet and social media in particular have transformed foreign news distribution and consumption but foreign correspondents still play a key role in setting international media agenda. Willnat and Martin (2012) argue that social networking sites such as Facebook or YouTube have accelerated the distribution of citizen-produced news and have changed the way many people consume foreign news too. Online users consume news sent to them by family friends or colleagues within their social network circle. According to Willnat and Martin (2012, p. 506), “while such a personalized distribution of foreign news might undermine the agenda-setting power of mainstream media, people are much more likely to pay attention to news forwarded by those they know. If that is the case, foreign news might experience a rebirth on social networks with a limited, but highly engaged audience”.

Foreign Correspondents and Public Diplomacy in the United Kingdom Archetti (2011) examines the UK government’s engagement with foreign correspondents in London. Her research shows that there are over 2000 foreign correspondents based in London but Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) or other ministries have not given foreign correspondents sufficient attention and the ‘multiplier effect’ of reaching large numbers of the UK’s PD publics via foreign correspondents need to be developed. Some foreign correspondents, especially those from smaller states, were underestimated and paid less attentions to due to either having ‘no votes abroad’ or their states having ‘no strategic significance’ either in the UK. Resembling the US, foreign journalists also experience difficulties in accessing UK officials, thus regular high-level briefings and better access to all departments are recommended to maximise the international impact of news on the UK. Meanwhile, Archetti (2011) points out that the UK’s efforts to engage with foreign correspondents suggests

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a linear communication process between official briefers, journalists and publics. Efforts shall be made to aid foreign correspondents in producing quality journalism rather than conveying information (ibid., 2011). Similar to the US, international coverage by UK newspapers declined by 40% in the past 30 years (Moore, 2010). Willmott (2010) also reports the decline of on-the-ground foreign reporting with fewer professional foreign correspondents than ever. He notes, foreign reporters have decreased even for the few exceptions such as the Guardian and Observer’s 18 and the Times ’ 24 staff foreign correspondents. In contrast, the BBC has around 200 foreign correspondents, excluding their numerous freelance journalists. The report highlights the crucial position of the BBC, and the World Service in particular, as one of the last bastions of foreign news reporting in the UK (Willmott, 2010). In wars and conflicts, while most Western broadcasters have scaled back news coverage and have relied heavily on international news agencies, the BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya have continued to cover the conflict directly. Murrell (2010) studies the Baghdad bureau of the BBC and CCN and concludes that correspondents on the ground have a great deal of autonomy in decision-making. The bureau staff comprising Western and local media personnel trust much more in teamwork to arrive at decisions. BBC has re-badged the fixers (local media workers) as ‘producers’, employed them long term and provided them with editorial and safety training. As a foreign war correspondent, Deborah Haynes (2012), the defense editor of The Times in London, resonates those sentiments in a personal account of her experiences reporting from frontline in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. With regard to the power of the media in a conflict zone, she comments: “whenever there is war there is always a media presence, helping to inform the public about what is going on and shaping the opinion of decision makers” since war correspondents “speak to both sides and also civilians caught up in the carnage” (Haynes, 2012, pp. 40–44). Regarding the media-policy nexus, Goddard, Robinson, and Parry (2008) studied the news coverage of the 2003 Iraq War in the British press and argued that the news coverage reflects a complex series of transactions concerning the triangulation of support for current policy, patriotism and party allegiance. Moreover, Pope (2017) examines reporting of drone strikes in Pakistan and argues that the UK news discourse is not cosmopolitan because it focuses on risks and places the Other beyond comprehension. In a context of scarce information, Pope (2017)

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argues, governments hold a high position in the order of news discourse. But government comments (or lack of) promote ambiguity and uncertainty through news discourse. While a drive for certainty (clarify and information) promoted more scrutiny of policy, UK news media turned to statistical and visual genres of communication that have inhibited understanding of the Other (Pope, 2017).

Foreign Correspondents and Public Diplomacy in Israel Public diplomacy became a central component in Israel’s foreign policy and its search for recognition (Nissen & Tsinovoi, 2019). The goals of Israel’s PD are explaining its military actions in an attempt to rebuff its image as an aggressor (Yarchi, Azran, & Daivd, 2017). Israel’s ongoing conflicts with the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and with its other neighbors in the Middle East have forced Israel to cope with terrorism, military operations and diplomatic entanglements. The conflicts have led to both great interest and over exposure among foreign media (Magen & Lapid, 2016). An ‘image war’ or imagefare, as an important part of asymmetric conflicts in the information age, is taking place in the foreign media (Yarchi, 2018). The foreign media was accused of portraying Israel as a primitive and war-mongering state, thus the Israeli government called on Israeli citizens to change this image abroad. For example, Nissen and Tsinovoi (2019, p. 17) note that Israeli officials believe ‘the foreign media represents a threat to Israel’s international image by being persistently biased in their representation of Israel’. Yarchi’s studies (2016, 2018) reveal that Israel was good at using imagefare to promote its preferred messages to the foreign press. After all, ‘in conflicts occurring in the information space, the war is becoming a war of ideas, and victory is achieved in the eyes of spectators worldwide; therefore, states’ military (warfare), diplomatic, and legal (lawfare) actions should be guided by imagefare considerations’ (Ayalon, Popovich, & Yarchi, 2016, p. 266). There were 480 foreign correspondents in Israel in 2019 including Israelis and Palestinians working for foreign media outlets (The Foreign Press Association, 2019). Bourdon (2016) uses ‘Jerusalem correspondents’ to refer to foreign correspondents based in Israel-Palestine. He reveals that the journalistic hierarchy exists with the Western staffers staying on top and the fixers and stringers (especially Palestinians)

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at the bottom. The political division exists with the more pro-Israel Americans and more pro-Palestinian Europeans. He concludes, foreign correspondents are “vulnerable as a result of both political affiliations and overlapping national and ethnic identities” (ibid., p. 772). With publics interacting directly with correspondents through modern technology, ‘foreign correspondents might thus become less like reporters for a specific nation and more like multicultural mediators for citizens’ (ibid., p. 773). These insights are in line with Cohen (2014) who reveal that foreign correspondents play an important role in determining Israel’s international image, given the considerable coverage Israel receives in the foreign media. His survey of news interests among foreign press corps in Israel reveals that the main news sources were the Army Spokesman, Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office. Overshadowed by war and terrorism, foreign news media coverage of Israel focuses on the conflict with little coverage of Israeli society itself (Cohen, 2014). In the digital age, Israeli digital diplomacy has developed in response to the proliferation of social media and shifting public opinion (Aouragh, 2016). Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) now increasingly use digital to construct information in the form of frames in hope that foreign correspondents would reproduce these frames. Manor and Crilley’s (2018) analysis of tweets published by the Israeli MFA during the 2014 Gaza War reveals, on the one hand, MFAs are visual narrators who use images to frame the Gaza War and resonate with Israeli strategic narratives—that of the start-up nation and the only democracy in the Middle East. On the other hand, the press remains a powerful actor and press coverage still warrants a response from diplomats. In addition, Aouragh (2016) argues that Israel’s image as a military aggressor increased as social media began to reconstitute journalism. The combined effect of the physical presence of journalists and being embedded in Twitter suggests that “social networking media offer a different algorithmic logic of news mediation” (Aouragh, 2016, p. 288). Since journalists also use social media platforms, their content may become part of grassroots information flows. The journalistic social media ecology and pro-Palestinian activism can reach and influence public opinion (ibid.). Israeli PD institutions have adopted and implemented media management strategies in the new global and hybrid media landscapes. Unlike the US and the UK, Israel was regarded as a model in terms of effective service for foreign correspondents: ‘providing timely and detailed briefing and ready access to key spokespeople’ (Archetti, 2011, p. 6). Magen and

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Lapid (2016) examined the role of the Government Press Office (GPO) and find that the GPO had the capacity to help or damage the relationship between foreign journalists and Israel’s government. Israel needs to adopt a more open and up-to-date attitude towards a two-way relationship with the media, encouraging dialogue and mutual trust (Magen & Lapid, 2016). Later, Magen and Lapid (2018) studied Israel’s military PD with a focus on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson’s Unit (ISU). They reveal that the ISU adapts itself to changes at the tactical and strategic levels rather than the perceptional level. In the future, ‘military spokespersons may play a key role in facing the necessity to adapt to a reality in which there is increasing demand for interactivity on the tactical level and dialogue on the perceptional level’ (Magen & Lapid, 2018, p. 296).

Foreign Correspondents and Public Diplomacy in China Since 2003, the Chinese government has launched a succession of PD campaigns and programmes to ‘serve the national grand strategy’ rather than just enhancing China’s soft power or shaping national image abroad. Zhao (2015, p. 167) argues that China pursues great-power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics and the goals of China’s PD are “garnering international respect for China’s political and social system and respect domestically for its political legitimacy”. China’s media strategies in PD focus on tightening the control of foreign press corps in China, on the one hand, and enhancing state media’s reach and influence overseas, on the other hand. As of 2015, there were 636 registered foreign correspondents in China, from 277 news organizations (Zeng, 2018). At that time, there were also 3000–5000 reporters in China on short visits each year including freelancers and parachute correspondents (Sun, 2014). The antagonism between foreign correspondents and Chinese government has been documented. The Chinese government and state media often bash the foreign media, Western media in particular, for ‘unbalanced reporting’ and denounce them as ‘hostile foreign forces’ (Zeng, 2018, p. 1397). On the other side, foreign correspondents hold a view of an uncooperative, suspicious and controlling Chinese government. They are frustrated with their inability to talk to the government officials directly and they face the challenge of working in a state where they do not speak the

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language (Sun, 2014). In recent years, President Xi Jinping’s adoption of an increasingly assertive international posture and the tightening of political controls at home have accelerated the antagonism and tension between China and the foreign media (Zeng, 2018). In 2019, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) reported that 40% of the respondents believe ‘reporting conditions are getting worse.’ The authorities are increasingly interfering with reporting in sensitive regions such as the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region and the border between China and North Korea (Fujimoto & Shimbun, 2019). To counteract foreign media’s distrust of the government and to project an image of openness and cooperation, China has developed the press spokesperson system (Sun, 2014). The state-media relations experienced ups and downs. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the government changed its international media relations strategies by relaxing regulatory policies related to foreign correspondents and increasing its skills and knowledge of modern public relations, especially media relations (Zhang, 2012). However, the level of foreign reporters’ adversarial attitudes in questioning Chinese officials at press conferences did not decrease in a linear fashion but rather displayed a ‘V’ shape, the so-called ‘honeymoon effect’ (Zhang, 2012). In hybrid media landscapes, Chinese officials use Weibo (micro-blogging site) and WeChat (instant messaging app) as ‘spokespersons’ to have their voices heard (Ma, 2018). But how the Chinese spokespersons use social media to interact with foreign correspondents as well as effects of the spokesperson system and various government initiatives on the target groups remain under-studied. While the Western foreign correspondence is retreating, Chinese foreign correspondent networks are undergoing an explosive expansion (Sambrook, 2010). In 2008, as part of China’s ‘going global’ strategy, Chinese government invested US$6 billion on state media outlets including Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua), China Central Television (CCTV), People’s Daily, China Radio International (CRI), and China Daily. As a result, in 2016, Xinhua has 180 overseas bureaus, CCTV 63, People’s Daily 39, CRI 32, and China Daily more than 40. In addition, many Chinese market-oriented media outlets in China have dispatched parachute correspondents to cover major international news events in order to sustain and enhance their competitiveness in the domestic market (Zhang & Zhang, 2018). Zhang and Zhang (2018) reveal that Chinese central media and correspondents take the opportunities to expand overseas bureaus, hire

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experienced local employees who used to work for Western media, enhance the quantity and quality of international news reporting, use digital technologies in newsgathering and receive Western-style training. They all have implications for Chinese media to build reputations, win trust, and increase their influence in the global news flow. Similarly, Nyíri (2017) argues that the Chinese government is financing the growth of Chinese media networks, hoping to strengthen its influence and improve its public image. Chinese correspondents hold political views from nationalist to liberal, but are constrained in their ability to report on foreign affairs by China’s media control, publics’ tastes, and the declining market for traditional news media. In sum, the above-mentioned four accounts demonstrate that different states have different PD aims and objectives. The governments’ press/news management systems and strategies of dealing with foreign correspondents as well as the status-quos and roles of foreign correspondents in each state vary as well.

Proposing a New Analytical Model Foreign correspondents have the power to form public perceptions of foreign states, their nations, cultures, and policies (Gross & Kopper, 2011; Hahn, Stalph, & Steller, 2018). They are important in achieving the goals of PD and implementing relevant strategies since PD “deals with the influence of public attitudes on the formation and execution of foreign policies” (Waller, 2007, p. 23). Having mapped the crossovers between interdisciplinary fields of foreign correspondence and PD, focusing on four states, the author proposes the analytical model to study the roles of foreign correspondents in digital PD. Figure 12.1 indicates the newly proposed relation-network based, twosided analytical model. Taking “the participatory capacity of social media as a game-changer in relational PD” (Causey & Howard, 2013, p. 146), the digital media technologies sit at the center of the relationship building network. Public relations theories suggest that two-way communication is significant for sustainability of relationship management (Lee & Ayhan, 2015). All main actors in the model are inter-connected indicating the two-way communication. As the two-way symmetrical model in the excellence theory indicates, “organizations must communicate symmetrically with the different kinds of publics found within these stakeholder categories to develop high-quality, long-term relationships with them”

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Fig. 12.1 A relational-network based, two-sided analytical model to study the roles of foreign correspondents in digital public diplomacy

(Grunig, 2006, p. 6). The digital media today afford more than ever to develop relationships with stakeholders: ‘The interactive nature of the social media, of the digital media, makes it more possible than it was in the 60s or 70s or 80s or 90s or even 2000 to have a two-way balanced dialogue with the public’ (Grunig & Grunig, 2011, p. 42). Hence, the premise for developing this model is that both state and non-state actors act as stakeholders in digital PD. They use social media to engage, interact, and collaborate with each other thus building long term relationships and achieving the objectives of PD. The central idea of this model suggests foreign correspondents as both PD targets and non-state actors play an important role as mediators, intermediaries and sometimes ‘peer partners’ in digital PD (Waller, 2007, p. 23). This model tackles uncertainty by mapping foreign correspondence-PD relations in the transnational information flow that is central to public diplomacy. As Arsenault (2009) argues, truthful and accurate information should be a key priority for PD. Specifically, uncertainty is usually related to the lack of information (Floridi, 2015). Foreign correspondents whose job is to produce and deliver news and information from around the world act as

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valuable source of analysis and diplomatic insights, especially in times of wars and conflicts. The new model intends to reveal the relationship and interactions between foreign correspondents and other key state actors (policy decision makers, press officers) and non-state actors (news organizations, foreign publics) via social media. It enables outsiders to look inside the ‘black box’ of foreign correspondence in the PD network, thus help reduce the informational uncertainty, identify threats, mitigate risks and fears associated with the lack of reliable information in the contemporary ‘liquid time’ and ‘world risk society’ (Jabri, 2012, p. 630). I discuss each actor/agency and their relationship in the network of digital PD next. This model conceptualizes foreign correspondents at home and abroad, thus having two sides or two spheres—‘home’ and ‘overseas’. On top of the model are PD and foreign policies at the macro level. A state’s PD objectives and strategies as well as foreign policies are determining factors in the success or failure of PD. They set the tone and determine the way, the extent and specific initiatives in which state institutions use digital media technology to influence, communicate and engage foreign publics, directly or indirectly. In return, foreign publics feed back to the PD and foreign policy decision making process via digital platforms for policy improvement and readjustment. In the home settings, the PD institutions ranging from foreign ministries, press offices, spokespersons, to diplomats and officials are primary state actors responsible for the implementation of digital PD strategies, relations with foreign correspondents, and the public presentation of foreign policies. Manor (2016) points out that foreign ministries in many states have institutionalised the use of social media. But foreign ministries fail to collaborate with non-state actors or use social media as a source of information for policy makers. Thus, he argues, while diplomacy is networked, it is still state-centric. Meanwhile, he notes that many digital communication units are run by ‘digital natives’ who are former journalists, social media experts and public relations professionals. In this sense, the PD actors and foreign correspondents may have formed and fostered a tricky and elusive relationship—control/anti-control, manipulative/ingenious, and collaborative/resistant. Such relationship may vary depending on a setting. Against this backdrop, it is important to account for the state actors’ management strategies in digital PD, specifically how foreign ministries, press centers and press officers use digital media

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technologies to communicate, interact and collaborate with foreign correspondents, to set the media agenda and to build and maintain long-term relationship with foreign correspondents. Likewise, foreign correspondents are key non-state actors. Lee and Ayhan (2015) argue that non-state actors’ specialisation (know-how) and expertise can save state agencies’ resources and thus help share the costs (including the opportunity costs of maintaining relationships) with non-state actors. Non-state actors’ potential for PD can be tapped by state when state approaches non-state actors for collaboration as well as opening its channels for collaboration opportunities. However, there is no guarantee that all non-state actors would welcome collaboration with state. Some non-state actors can avoid approaching state agencies because of maintaining identity concerns; while some others could even close its doors because of the state’s strict downward accountability and independence principles (Lee & Ayhan, 2015). This is exactly true for foreign correspondents because they try to maintain their professional identities and uphold the tenets of autonomy and independence. In the age of digitalisation of PD, a new kind of state-media relationship may have emerged. Foreign correspondents in the host state are one of the key individuals, key publics and key non-state actors that the governments’ PD tends to target and develop lasting relationship using digital media technologies. Foreign correspondents may act as brokers or as ‘network bridges’ connecting PD, foreign policy and foreign publics that span some ‘structural holes’ or ‘cultural holes’ (Lee & Ayhan, 2015, p. 64). In the settings of global hybrid media landscapes, though web 2.0 technologies have changed the dynamics of attraction, outlets with strong off-line corporate brand recognition like Al Jazeera and BBC World still have the highest online traffic (Arsenault, 2009). Professional foreign correspondents who are employed and posted by the media organizations still enjoy high credibility in the online world and they may set the international agenda in the cyber-space as well. Approaching the model from a reversed direction, foreign correspondents as an integral part of international journalism impact on foreign policies theorised previously as the CNN effect and Al-Jazeera effect. At this level, in addition to researching foreign correspondents’ role perceptions, identifies, news cultures, journalistic practice, news output, news dissemination and reception as well as the impacts of international news coverage (Zhang & Zhang, 2018), a new focus is needed on how foreign

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correspondents integrate digital media technologies in their news routine and practice as well as their use of social media to interact with press officers and foreign publics. The impact of foreign correspondents on digital PD and foreign policies should be explored further. At the other side of the model—the overseas sphere, the main actors are news organizations and correspondents posted overseas. The government as well as many national and global media outlets set up news services and foreign bureaus overseas to aid PD and foreign policies, for example, Al-Hurra and Radio Sawa in the US, BBC in the UK, and CGTV and Xinhua News Agency in China. Entman (2008) notes, coverage of the US policy by the global media (including the US media) influences foreign elites and journalists. Seib (2010) also argues that broadcasting organizations may conduct their own version of PD by producing foreign news reports that advance the ‘national values’ of their governments and spread the organizations’ own political perspectives. In this sense, it is important to study not only the news coverage but also how the global/national media organizations interact with foreign publics via digital media technologies, for instance, CNN’s iReport. It is also important to study the inter-relationship between media organizations, PD and foreign policy as well as between media organizations and their foreign correspondents. After all, the editorial policy, political orientation and objectives, national values and norms shape foreign news produced by foreign correspondents from around the world. As for the foreign correspondents in the overseas sphere, it is pretty much the same as those in the home sphere. What I would like to emphasize here is the interactivity among foreign correspondents, news organizations and foreign publics via digital media technologies with a focus on private communication. In other words, it would be interesting and worthwhile to explore how foreign correspondents reach PD’s publics, build and maintain relationships with them. Finally, at the bottom of this model lies the foreign publics that the government’s PD strategies target. These includes elites, local journalists, activists, individuals etc. In line with Seib (2009, p. 242) who notes that ‘PD should be informed by honest public opinion surveys plus on-the-ground interaction that encourages forthright exchanges of views’, those publics may act as friends, contacts and news sources for foreign correspondents via social media enabled private communication and exchanges.

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Having discussed the new analytical model, empirical studies shall be conducted to operationalize and refine the model while yielding empirical evidence. The author suggests that while applying this model in empirical research, not all the actors/agencies and relationship building need to be addressed. A few selected nodes/actors can be focused and expanded to shed lights on the roles of foreign correspondents in the digital PD. The political, media and social contexts should also be considered.

Conclusion The global media landscapes are changing in the digital age. International news flow is not as hierarchical and the US-centric as before. Recently Guo and Vargo (2017, p. 499) argue that “While the United States may remain the sole, foremost superpower in the eyes of a few traditional, elite media around the world, the networked, emerging media landscape is less Americanized, with a number of other world powers competing for global attention”. Coinciding with the rise of ‘public diplomacy journalism’ ranging from state-supported media to outlets that promote a specific ideology, “quality journalism and unbiased reporting are as valid and necessary today as they ever were” (Schmemann, 2010, p. 134). Journalists and scholars must ensure that the ‘new international information order’ remains true to the ideals and traditions that define established norms and practice of journalism. This chapter has addressed the uncertainty management with a focus on shaping perceptions by exposing publics to national values via foreign correspondents, the information brokers and multi-cultural meditors, in the shifting global media landscapes. It highlightes the significant roles of foreign correspondents in the digital PD. Specifically, the chapter has discussed the linkage between foreign correspondence and PD along three lines of inquiry including foreign correspondents’ role perceptions, the roles of international broadcasters and the foreign policy-media relationship. Based on discussions of four cases in the US, UK, Israel and China, the author has proposed and conceptualized a new relationnetwork based analytical model to study the roles of foreign correspondents in the network of PD encompassing PD institutions, news organizations, foreign correspondents, and foreign publics enabled by digital/social media. This model links and bridges the two separate fields of foreign correspondence and public diplomacy. The model provides theoretical foundations to guide researchers in their study of interactions

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and mutual influences of state and non-state actors in the networked or digital PD. It can be applied to any state and/or any political or social contexts. Limitations are double-folded: on the one hand, other human and non-human actors as well as their relationships might be missing from the new model; on the other hand, the model needs to be operationalized and supported by empirical evidences. In conclusion, foreign correspondents, as non-state actors and targets of PD, are essential for advancing national interests, wielding soft power, disseminating information rather than misinformation, and winning the trust among foreign publics. Meanwhile, foreign correspondents may conduct their own version of PD in their actor-networks. In the future, the use of cross-cultural or cross-national comparative analysis is recommended to study the roles of foreign correspondents in the digital PD. Other research approaches such as case studies, semi-structured interviews, questionnaire surveys, virtual ethnography, and observation can be employed.

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Conclusions

Ilan Manor and Paweł Surowiec The sensibilities of the politics of uncertainty discussed in this book foreground the glaring significance of post-truth culture in international politics, the defining feature of which is the epistemic crisis re-shaping dynamics of the field of diplomacy and statecraft. Scholars have already highlighted divergent sources and political actors responsible for the advancement of post-truth culture, the manifestations of which depend on political settings, but crises affecting public diplomacy have philosophical foundations: in essence, these hinder citizens’ abilities to differentiate between ‘facts’ and ‘opinions’. The underpinnings of these crises pose strategic cultural challenges for state and non-state public diplomacy actors, as they have a risky potential to translate into negative attitudes toward other states and nations. We note, however, that those challenges are not entirely new, but came to the fore as the politics of sensibilities which are transformative to international politics. In 1743, Moses Mendelssohn entered the city of Berlin through a gate reserved for cattle and Jews. Timid, hunchbacked, and lacking any formal education, Mendelssohn soon after became the most celebrated philosopher in Europe. Mendelssohn’s stardom had a considerable influence on Prussia’s reputation. This German state, then known for its military exploits was, due to the success story of Mendelssohn, increasingly enjoyed the opinion of a tolerant, enlightened and progressive state, © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9

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one that allowed a Jewish philosopher such as Mendelssohn to flourish. Foreign news from Berlin are revealing in that respect: Mendelssohn was an asset used in the relations between state officials and foreign correspondents (e.g. Morning Post, 1897). Writers, thinkers, poets and authors flocked to Berlin to visit the home of the ‘German Socrates’. Prussian Jews, on their part, felt that their emancipation was but a matter of time for how could the state celebrate Mendelssohn without accepting his religion? Foreign Jews, living on the Continent, could only dream of living in a place such as Prussia, while political activists and revolutionaries sought to emulate the enlightenment now manifest in Berlin. “Prussia is the sun”, concluded those aspiring for liberty (Elon, 2002, pp. 33–65). Yet, it was all a lie—a story told on a single, extraordinary case and idealised by the logic of exceptionalism. Prussia was neither liberal nor progressive. Religious minorities were, in fact, segregated from most realms of everyday life. Equality was not welcomed, celebrated or even contemplated. Nor would it be for another century. Mendelssohn himself was only allowed to remain in Berlin as long as he worked for a prosperous Jew; one who could pay the ransom demanded by the Prussian King, Frederick the Great. Gordon A. Craig (1987, p. 8), a historian of Germany describes the philosopher’s relationship with the Kingdom of Prussia: Moses Mendelssohn had become one of the best known inhabitants of Berlin, with a reputation as a philosopher that extended well beyond the borders of Frederick’s kingdom - indeed, long after he had become a friend of the King’s confidant the Marquis d’Argens and a consultant on appointments to the minister of education, Karl von Zedlitz - the King acted as if he did not exist. It was only with difficulty that Mendelssohn, in 1763, received the royal Schutzprivilegium that entitled him to maintain a residence of his own, and in 1779, when he tried to have it extended to his children, Frederick refused.

Indeed, the only Jews welcomed in the King’s Court were those who could stimulate trade with other German states. Bigotry, narrowmindedness and hatred ruled supreme, not enlightenment (Elon, 2002). From the perspective of statecraft, Mendelssohn was, in contemporary terms, an important ‘public diplomacy’ asset for Prussia. His rise associated the Prussian state with positive norms and values, while rebranding

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the Kingdom as an intellectual haven. Yet, Mendelssohn’s story exemplifies four recurring themes weaved into the chapters comprising this book. First, Prussia’s new reputation was but a narrative, a story told time and again until it captured peoples’ imagination as a compelling and credible tale. Second, there was a considerable divergence between this narrative and reality. Mendelssohn’s enlightened Prussia was thus an early example of ‘fake news’. Third, the narrative of Prussia’s progressiveness led more people to trust it. Both within and outside the state, groups of individuals felt that Prussia was a force for good as opposed to a militarised regime. Finally, Mendelssohn’s national and international reputation coincided with a period of global uncertainty driven by new ideas, emerging technologies and shifts in balances of power. The American and French revolutions were but a few years away and would be followed by the Spring of Nations of 1848. Over two hundred years after the death of Mendelssohn, in the settings of the 1989 ‘peaceful revolutions’ in Central and Eastern Europe, the break-up of the Soviet Union and fading Sovietised political regimes, Oxford-based philosopher, Leszek Kołakowski, used this turning point in international politics to reflect on uncertainties faced by democracies. This third wave of democratisation prompted him to write an essay, ‘Uncertainties of a democratic age’, in which he mapped out scenarios of forces that continuously undermine democracy. He divided them into five categories starting with enfeebled forces of Sovietism, the global proliferation of nationalisms, religious intolerance and theocratic aspirations, terrorism and criminal violence as well as economic inequalities and ecological crises. Kołakowski argued that these are fertile grounds for the demagogy of totalitarian movements and the temptation to ‘solve’ societal issues using military dictatorships. Whilst his essay does not explicitly refer to populism, Kołakowski implicitly conceived it for what illiberal or populist politics leads to: the last frontier of the process of de-democratisation, the gradual developments which challenge democracies in Europe, the US and elsewhere today. Demagogy, after all, has multiple facets, marked by the wide spectrum of political vulnerabilities and uncertainties. Similarly to ‘proto-fake news’ about Mendelssohn’s relationship with Prussia, the political uncertainties stemming from pressures on liberal democracy described by Kołakowski (1990), are not new either. Those transnational political trends have re-emerged as intensified and amplified by the simultaneity of their effects on international politics. Sensu stricto

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those transnational trends are not new, but they signal that the manufacturing of consent, multilateral alliances, collaborative norms and liberal values underpinning democracy are, sensu largo, marginalised by disruptive hyperrealities of shifting world order. While Kołakowski foresaw the political trajectory in which ‘Great Russian chauvinism’ could incite the rise of nationalisms, he did not elaborate on the effects transnational trends may have on diplomacy and statecraft. With the benefit of hindsight, however, when reflecting on public diplomacy, his take on uncertainties reminds us about the universality of particular values: “This is not to say that the cause of freedom is lost; we have enough evidence to conclude that people need not only security but freedom as well. But we must also never forget that freedom is always vulnerable and its cause never safe” (Kołakowski, 1990, p. 50). It is values such as freedom that enable lasting relationships and public diplomacy is a field in which their existence can counterbalance hyperreal uncertainties illuminated as mnemonic reminders from the past.

International Narratives of Uncertainty Propaganda is not a new term, nor are the theories of framing and agenda setting. Yet, the authors contributing to this book have explored these concepts from various perspectives. Christopher Miles writes in his chapter that scholars remain shackled to the concept of propaganda as it was once synonymous with public diplomacy. It is thus public diplomacy’s cardinal sin, a black stain that still needs to be washed away. However, this book also suggests that the meaning of propaganda has been altered substantively. According to Nicholas J. Cull, the Cold War propaganda sought to undermine the truth, while contemporary propaganda has made an enemy of the truth. His reasoning is in line with Alicia Fjällhed’s argument that propaganda is now employed strategically to create multiple ‘truths’ thereby impairing peoples’ abilities to grasp issues dominating the public agenda. As such, propaganda has been recontextualised as a transnational practice for strategic disinformation and misinformation happening across national borders, thereby turning it into the strategic issue of public diplomacy. Steven Pike, on his part, maps out the roots of uncertainty at the national level. Pike puts forth a compelling argument, namely that nations can only adopt a foreign policy once they have consented over a national leadership narrative. A national narrative speaks to who ‘we’ are, and

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what ‘we’ want to do in the world (Miskimmon, O’Loughlin, & Roselle, 2017). Once a national narrative has been agreed upon, a foreign policy narrative may be adopted and articulated to the world through soft power statecraft including public diplomacy. However, when nations are faced with multiple narratives, or even conflicting ones, consensus is harder to manufacture. This is because one side favours a narrative of isolationism and the other a narrative of global engagement. The US is currently in the midst of a battle of narratives, with each side migrating to political extremes. This, Pike argues, is at the core of the US’s slow retreat from a global leadership role. The inability to adopt national narratives is not divorced from contemporary propaganda as conflicting truths, disseminated by foreign governments, can hamper nations’ ability to arrive at a shared narrative (Bjola & Pamment, 2018). Despite a decline in the US soft power, or a decline in Americans’ will to exercise global leadership, the US national narratives are still prevalent in the world. Such is the case with China’s recent adaption of the ‘Chinese Dream’ narrative. As Yan Wu, Richard Thomas and Yakun Yu show, the Chinese Dream is quite different from the American one as it focuses on collective wellbeing and not individual prosperity. The Chinese Dream does, however, deal with affluence and the creation of a robust economy. Integral to the Chinese Dream is China’s desire to challenge the dominance of Western powers. The Dream may thus be a rhetorical device used to narrate China’s global rise, and to alleviate uncertainty in other parts of the world as both ‘dreams’ would have co-existed or replaced one another. Thus, while China’s growing dominance can cause uncertainty, its narrative seeks to reduce uncertainty associated with its globalism. This resonates with Christopher Miles’s argument that rhetoric remains central to public diplomacy and that as communicative practice it aims to reduce uncertainty. Nicholas J. Cull, in his chapter, argues that nations’ security rests on their ability to project the narratives, and live the narrative. Through his concept of ‘reputational security’, Cull aims to reimagine public diplomacy in the present world. In so doing, Cull fuses elements of soft power with those of national security. This in itself is emblematic of the current state of the world. In a time of structural change, when the global balance of power is shifting, public diplomacy becomes a national security resource. Nations can best protect themselves by articulating cohesive narrative and aligning it with foreign policies. It is only when the world knows who ‘you’ are, and what ‘you’ do, that it may come to ‘your’ aid,

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particularly at the time of crises. Ukraine’s fate, for instance, might have been different had global publics known more about the strategic significance of this state and its nation. But that requires maturity of political culture and the orientation of strategic culture toward national reputation too.

National Lack of Trust Suspicion is inherent to international affairs (Bell, 1971). But so is trust. The goal of public diplomacy is to strengthen trust between nations as trust opens borders, increases trade, allows for cultural and educational exchanges and, ultimately, leads to alliances (Melissen, 2005; Mogensen, 2015). In a globalised world, characterised by the free flow of people, goods, and services, trust is imperative. By the same token, lack of trust breeds suspicion, impairs international collaborations and drives uncertainty. For this reason, the importance of trust in public diplomacy also emergences as a central theme in this book. Sarah Kullson’s chapter examines how regional uncertainty has reshaped India’s public diplomacy. Concerned with the emergence of China and Russia, India has adopted a public diplomacy model that focuses heavily on foreign aid and development. India’s goal, however, remains a strategic one as it seeks to build trust and create a regional alliance that may counterbalance China and Russia. Lack of trust among global powers may therefore lead to increased trust in specific regions. Equally important, uncertainty increases the perceived attractiveness of peripheral states. Within India’s region, states such as Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh have all become the ‘belles of the ball’. They are courted by regional powers willing to shower them with new infrastructure, medical aid and technology; yet, the greater the regional competition, the greater the level of suspicion between dominant powers. China has often been depicted in the West as a ‘robber baron’, a nation that offers African countries generous loans only to seize national resources when the loans cannot be repaid (Feng & Pilling, 2019). Yet this book demonstrates that China has a more complex and nuanced relationship with Africa. First, as Huang Zhao argues, China has utilized public diplomacy to gain the trust of various African nations by establishing a network of cultural centres. With regards to their mission and strategic goals, these operate in part as Western institutes, as they expose foreign populations to Chinese history, culture and arts. Second, China

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feels a kinship with certain African states due to a shared history of colonialism. A shared past can, in some cases, lead to trust and even a shared future. Lastly, China’s expansion in Africa has been facilitated by a network of state-sponsored news channels. Lucy Birge and Precious Chatterje-Doody demonstrate how mistrust feeds into the dynamics of Russia’s security-orientated public diplomacy. Their insightful analysis shows that Russia’s public diplomacy capitalises on mistrust and the opacity of information available pertaining to security affairs such as the 2018 poisoning of the Skripals. While the event impacted the levels of trust between Russian and the UK governments, Russia’s public diplomacy international broadcasters, RT and Sputnik, adept at using media-centricity to steer publics away from news-events, skilfully foreground their re-iterations of the course of events. Russia’s approach to public diplomacy proved well-matched for an environment of minimal information and heightened uncertainty: it capitalised on low public trust in established political and media institutions, scant availability of relevant information, RT and Sputnik emphasis on the inconsistencies, and pop-culture elements of the Skripal case, downplaying Russian involvement in the Skripals affair and the diplomatic crisis that followed. Shixin Ivy Zhang’s chapter highlights the growing importance of statesponsored news channels and foreign correspondents in public diplomacy. As Zhang stipulates, foreign correspondents are ‘sentries’ in remote outposts tasked with offering foreign news media publics a coherent world view. In addition, foreign correspondents can highlight the norms, values and political aspirations that nations share. Here, too, the issue of trust is a central. For publics will only take note of foreign correspondents who represent trustworthy broadcasters. Yet, like many issues in this book, the role of foreign correspondents is not straightforward as many are employed by broadcasters that spread lies and falsities.

Blurred Boundaries The third recurring theme of this book is that of blurred boundaries. Juan Luis Manfredi and Francisco Perez demonstrate that in a world without borders, local government can help manage global crises. One notable example is climate change. That cities matter in public diplomacy has been true since the days of Mendelssohn (Elon, 2002). This book demonstrates that cities now matter even more given their resources and affluence,

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on the one hand, and their limited size and ability to shape citizens’ behaviours, on the other. Moreover, cities can more easily create networks with other municipalities while stimulating innovations and ideas. Finally, cities are also small enough to create a sense of shared resilience and fate. The concept of ‘states’ has always been a hard concept to grasp as one never sees a state, nor interacts with all its populace. The same is not true for cities. Additionally, Ilan Manor and Corneliu Bjola demonstrate that local disinformation campaigns can be used to impact international relations, while global disinformation campaigns can be used to sow discord and strife at the national level. In the digital world, bites of information traverse the globe paying no heed to borders or immigration officers. Importantly, Manor and Bjola’s chapter indicates that something central has changed in the world as individuals are no longer presented with alternative facts or narratives, but with alternative realities. ‘Post-reality’, they assert, demands a more active form of public diplomacy. These chapters both identify additional sources of uncertainty—one is existential, the other is cognitive. Climate change represents an existential threat to mankind that can only be resolved through diplomatic action. Yet global action requires trust and a willingness to act in unison. New modalities of power between powers such as China, the US, Russia and India erode trust, as this book shows, as well as a willingness to collaborate. The greater the threat to mankind, the greater the sense of collective and personal uncertainty that will be felt by individuals. On the cognitive side, ‘post-reality’ creates a world that cannot be fathomed by its inhabitants, thus further increasing a sense of individual uncertainty. As might be expected, politicians of the day have eagerly sought to monopolise on this sense of personal uncertainty be it Modi in India, Netanyahu in Israel, Trump in the US or a host of leaders in Central and Eastern Europe (Ball, 2016; Rico, Guinjoan, & Anduiza, 2017; Wodak, 2015). Personal uncertainty, and even existential uncertainty, are not often addressed by the field. Yet, as pages of this volume suggest, including chapters by Christopher Miles. Zhao Huang and Laura Mills, personal and existential uncertainties warrant consideration from scholars and practitioners of public diplomacy.

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Nexus of Uncertainty This book sought to examine how public diplomacy scholarship and practices should change in light of growing uncertainty. Importantly, contemporary uncertainty does not emanate from one source, nor does it affect only one area. What we are presently witnessing is a nexus of uncertainty. Global uncertainty, caused by new modalities of power and planetary threats, contributes to national uncertainty. Simultaneously, national uncertainty, brought about by the decline of truth and reality, drives individual uncertainty. These processes manifest themselves in a myriad of ways ranging from nations’ inability to adopt shared narratives to the rise of autocrats capitalizing on feelings of fear and insecurities. Such autocrats wage trade wars, attack multi-lateral organizations and lambast foreign nations while promising to close their borders and resurrect a mythical past. Such was the case with the British ‘Empire 2.0’ narrative associated with the 2016 Brexit referendum. Individual, national and global uncertainty thus affect one another, reshaping landscapes in which public diplomacy must be practised. For many years, public diplomacy scholars have focused their efforts on defining and re-defining the terms public diplomacy, soft power and, more recently, digital diplomacy. Many studies have expanded the remit of public diplomacy examining terror groups, political activists and non-state actors. Scholars have also embraced new methodologies ranging from big data to network analysis. All the while the world has changed. This book focused on this change, one that was made painfully evident during the recent outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. Covid-19 is likely to have lasting effects on the world and academic community. What began as an ‘Asian’ virus, or a silly little chest cold, morphed into a global pandemic that brought life in most states to a standstill. The Covid-19 outbreak exemplifies the nexus of uncertainty mentioned above. At the most basic level, Covid-19 was an individual threat and a source of individual uncertainty. Is the virus dangerous to children? Can one become immune to Covid-19? Will Covid-19 be deadly to grandparents? How hill Covid-19 effect the result of national elections, economies and foreign policies? As is the case during acute crises, most people turned to their national government and not to multi-lateral institutions. National uncertainties centred on health services and their ability to withstand thousands upon thousands of Covid-19 cases. Fears

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emerged once governments imposed quarantines maintained by militaries and police officers. At the international level, borders were shut, flights were cancelled while the cogs of international diplomacy came to a grinding halt. Although medical collaborations were common, the world did not respond to the Covid-19 as one community. It was every man, woman and child for themselves with only pockets of collaborations such as exchanges of medical professionals and aid that were noticeable. Uncertainty spread as fast as the virus at all three levels, as did disinformation and falsehoods. Covid-19 public health crisis will reshape the images of many nations, including China, and likely lead to the development of long-lasting national reputation. During the first month of the outbreak, the prevailing narrative was that China was unable to manage a simple virus (Garrett, 2020). Later, the narrative focused on China’s lies. Like the Soviet Union during the 1986 Chernobyl crisis, China was seen as orchestrating a cover up operation (Palmer, 2020). Finally, China was hailed as the victor of the Covid-19 crisis (Qin, 2020). Its tough measures, such as a full quarantine on a national scale, were adopted by some European and Middle Eastern states. Italy will forever be branded as the state the government of which was blindsided by Covid-19, while news images of military trucks in Paris will not be easily forgotten. The question that follows is: what kind of changes will emerge once the Covid-19 virus crisis eases off? Certainly uncertainty in international politics will not fade away. The study of the interplay between international politics, uncertainty and public diplomacy might flourish.

Implications for Research of Public Diplomacy as the Practice In-Between The aim of this book is to capture public diplomacy at the crossroads: while time is a measure for understanding the politics of uncertainty, we imagine it through the lenses of the intensification and amplification of changing landscapes in international politics. Perhaps, what makes the study of public diplomacy fascinating is the fact that intersectionality enables us to think about it as a practice in-between: between soft power and sharp power, between global and regional leadership, between global and regional politics, between domestic and foreign policies, between diplomacy and statecraft, between post-modern democracies and ‘new’ authoritarians, between state and non-state actors, between ‘old’ and

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‘new’ media, between states institutions and social movements, between corporate interests and citizens’ rights, between democratisation and dedemocratisation, between liberalism and the shades of illiberalism or between one crisis and the next one. As a practice, public diplomacy has become intersectional and its analysis needs approaches that eschew dichotomies. Over last few years, the study of public diplomacy has been shaped by digitalisation. We argue that the study of public diplomacy requires analytical frameworks that go beyond addressing the nitty-gritty of digitalisation of public diplomacy or digitalisation for public diplomacy, but wider ontological, epistemological and axiological conceptualisations that capture power relations associated with digitalisation. As well as capturing power inherent to technological advancements such as ‘algorithmic diplomacy’, strategic issues which increase participation in public diplomacy as well as transnational political trends shaping strategic orientations of public diplomacy actors become important too. In the light of the insights emerging from this book, the study of digitalisation of public diplomacy reveals that existing taxonomies of public diplomacy (Ayhan, 2018; Cowan and Cull, 2008; Efe, 2017) require expanding beyond foreign policy goals or actors-specific approaches, to frameworks that consider particularities of media landscapes and socialities transcending international politics. The dominance of US public diplomacy and scholarly theorisations and conceptualisations of this practice is likely to be challenged further. The previous calls for de-Americanization of soft power statecraft (Thussu, 2013) have not fallen on deaf ears, and the field of public diplomacy has been growing in terms of geo-political scope. With the emerging heteropolar world order shaping regional politics within the increasingly unstable anarchic system of international politics, we are likely to be witnessing regional diversities in the strategic issues that public diplomacy actors focus on; ways in which regional powers such as Russia effect public diplomacy orientation of smaller states or actors, either by responding to, or aligning their public diplomacy to strategic orientations of their foreign policy towards particular regional power. Ukrainian public diplomacy has felt the regional power of Russia, but so do others in the ‘Near Neighbourhood’: Poland, Estonia or Sweden. Similarly, the trend of aligning public diplomacy orientation towards a regional power might occur elsewhere. These developments are likely to shape research on the regional diversities in public diplomacy. The theme of diversification is

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likely to generate research focusing on the contest over global leadership and ways in which the main contender to global leadership, China, continues addressing uncertainties associated with its ‘new’ identities and expansionist foreign policies. Arguably, digitalisation enables participatory cultures in public diplomacy (Pamment, 2016), but this book is a reminder that the practice of public diplomacy intertwines with ‘politics as usual’ that aids, or reproduces power relations in international politics, typically favouring well-resourced public diplomacy actors: the interplay of transnational political trends, state-sponsored or societal, is likely to continue shaping the practice of public diplomacy. With the burgeoning discussion on the politics of uncertainty (Scoones & Stirling, 2020) showing that uncertainty pertains to complex constructions of knowledge, materialities, experiences and values, the sharing of which requires efforts in de-escalation, the answers to questions about the future role of practice in addressing uncertainties might be found in attuning public diplomacy to collective, mutualistic and more caring ‘convivial politics’. If expectations of much-needed transformations in international politics are to be realised, public diplomacy needs to go beyond narratives and focus more on diplomatic action and media crisis. The politics of uncertainty transcends borders, and exposes that diplomatic actors and statecraft are not immune to transnational trends shaping international politics. Therefore, there is scope in the study of public diplomacy to focus research on moderating political vulnerabilities and perpetuating crises through, for example, transnational social movements’ engagement with global, regional and local issues that require diplomatic action. It is transnational social movements or networks of cities that maintain much needed credibility in public diplomacy. Transnational social movements are prone to enhancing their political influence by building alliances and gaining support of foreign publics. A long-term divide exists between transnational social movements structured around issues such as climate change or civil rights and those organised around labour issues (Waterman, 2005). In diverse political settings, transnational social movements aim to undermine alliances by using diplomatic channels to frame contests between economic development and environmental crises. As an area of practice, public diplomacy for sustainability could potentially make a difference in reducing uncertainties by aiding public support for and feeding input into the making of policy. Public facing city

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diplomacy is an area where public diplomacy strategies can ease uncertainties too: not only are cities are likely to support progressive sustainability polices, but they are accustomed to polyphonic governance too (Zielonka, 2014). In summary, this book is a collection of chapters divided into three sections and united by the theme of uncertainty as a common thread and the zeitgeist of contemporary international politics. The book aims to identity key sources of uncertainty affecting the practice of public diplomacy, ways in which regime uncertainties associated with regime shifts and institutional changes impact public diplomacy and, finally, exploring management of uncertainties through public diplomacy. We recognise the broader research in political communication appears to be self-reflective about its own shortcomings. For example, Chadwick (2019) argues that research on digitalisation of political communication has focused on the selection of cases that are liberal and progressive; it has fallen into the engagement gaze; it underestimated the trade-offs between affective solidarity and rational deliberation; it has ignored the significance of indeterminacy in digital cultures. We note similar challenges with public diplomacy as the sub-field of political communication. It is our hope that this book will bring the importance of uncertainty into what public diplomacy can and cannot achieve, and advance the discussion into other socialities emerging from the interplay between international politics, public diplomacy and global hybrid media landscapes. That aside, we hope that this book is at least a reminder of the significance of ‘the political’ as the central, yet evolving axiom in research as well as practice of public diplomacy. It is the politics after all that public diplomacy embodies.

References Ayhan, K. J. (2018). The boundaries of public diplomacy and nonstate actors: A taxonomy of perspectives. International Studies Perspectives, 20(1), 63–83. Ball, M. (2016, September 2). Donald Trump and the politics of fear. The Atlantic. Bell, C. (1971). The conventions of crisis: A study in diplomatic management (Vol. 276). Oxford University Press for the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Bjola, C., & Pamment, J. (Eds.). (2018). Countering online propaganda and extremism: The dark side of digital diplomacy. Routledge.

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Index

A Authoritarianism, ix, x, 111

Crimea, v, ix, xi, xii, xvi, 126, 138, 175, 227, 256

B Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 260, 263 Brexit, x, xii, xv, xx, xxiii, 66, 84, 85, 88–90, 95, 97–102, 111, 113, 119, 132, 160, 161, 166, 186, 337

D Democracy, xxiv, 10, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 64, 67, 75, 88, 92, 148, 151, 152, 270, 299, 315, 331, 332 Digitalization, x, xvii, 35, 111–113, 136, 139 Disinformation, xv, xxiv, 15, 86, 88, 91, 93–95, 98, 101, 132, 157, 173, 227–229, 231, 232, 234–239, 243–245, 247, 248, 332, 336, 338

C China, vi, x, xiii, xv, xx, xxiii, xxiv, 29–51, 197–217, 307–310, 316–318, 322, 323, 333–336, 338, 340 Climate Change, xiii, xxiii, 16, 17, 22, 48, 57–59, 63, 64, 66–70, 72–77 Confucius Institute (CI), xxiv, 34, 198–200, 204–217 Coronavirus, vi

F Fake News, xv, 87, 88, 114, 115, 117, 138, 157, 228, 231, 232, 244, 331 Far-right, 236, 241, 242

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 P. Surowiec and I. Manor (eds.), Public Diplomacy and the Politics of Uncertainty, Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54552-9

343

344

INDEX

2008 financial crisis, 12, 256, 257, 261, 262 G Globalization, xvi, 15, 32, 58, 60, 61, 65 H Hungary, x, xii, xiv, xv, 66, 248 Hybrid Warfare, 88 I Immigration, xv, 13, 17, 18, 100, 117, 240, 336 India, xx, xxiv, 17, 18 ISIS, 16, 87 Israel, xi, 17, 112, 114, 122, 126, 131, 307, 310, 314–316, 323, 336 L Liberalism, xiii, 23, 59, 339 M May, Theresa, 84–86, 89, 90, 95, 97, 101, 161, 171 Misinformation, xvii, 23, 232, 243–245, 247, 248, 324, 332 N Narrative, xix, xxiii, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11–13, 16, 19–21, 23, 24, 30, 31, 35, 36, 40, 47, 51, 67, 87, 119, 126, 130, 154, 173, 176–178, 180, 181, 186, 246, 331–333, 337, 338 Nationalism, xv, 9, 10, 20, 39, 40, 50, 51, 119, 263

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), xii, xiii, xv, 10, 17, 88, 112, 114, 126, 127, 129, 130, 132 O One Road One Belt Initiative, 262 P Poland, x, xii, xiv, xv, 66, 111, 123, 124, 248, 339 Populism, xii, xiii, xv, 12, 13, 34, 74, 111, 119, 124, 256, 257, 262, 263, 268, 270, 282, 331 Post-Truth, xii, xiv, xx–xxii, xxiv, 111, 146, 152, 153, 329 Propaganda, xii, xiv, xvi, xix, 7, 8, 20, 23, 31–33, 37, 39, 50, 139, 153, 155, 157, 174, 180, 200, 201, 232, 238, 239, 332, 333 Putin, Vladimir, 88, 173, 174, 182, 186 R Risk, 32, 58, 63, 64, 71, 72, 74, 76, 93, 99, 152, 156, 165, 233, 238, 247, 259, 279, 283, 285–287, 313, 320 Russia, x, xi, xiii–xvi, xx, xxiii, 4, 10, 17, 18, 30, 88, 93, 94, 96, 112–114, 119–121, 127, 129, 130, 132, 137, 138, 171–176, 183, 186–188, 256, 257, 261, 264, 265, 270, 309, 334–336, 339 Russia Today (RT), 173, 174 S Seib, Philip, 117, 261, 266, 307, 309, 322

INDEX

Skripal, Sergei, 93, 94, 101, 102, 113, 132, 171, 172, 176–181, 185–188, 335 Social Media, x–xii, xiv, xv, xvii, xxiii, 8, 10, 15, 16, 21, 45, 51, 62, 67, 84, 97, 113, 114, 119, 122, 126, 130, 132, 137, 138, 177, 179, 180, 182, 187, 230, 238, 239, 241, 256, 268, 269, 280, 293, 306, 307, 312, 315, 317–320, 322 Soft Power, 7, 9, 11, 22, 34, 40, 49, 85, 86, 90, 91, 95, 97–99, 102, 172, 173, 198, 200, 205, 216, 255, 266, 268, 269, 277, 307, 308, 310, 316, 324, 333, 337–339 South Asia, 257–259, 262–268 Sustainable Development Goals, 70, 71, 98

345

T Terrorism, 10, 17, 90, 285, 292, 314, 315, 331 Trump, Donald, xii, xv, xvi, xx, 13, 16, 20, 21, 30, 68, 74, 96, 97, 111, 113, 117–119, 147, 152, 157, 162–167, 236, 239, 336 Turkey, xi, xv, 17, 18, 92, 111, 248, 263 U United Kingdom, xxiii, 17, 18, 120, 134, 171, 200 UN (United Nations), xv, 30, 34, 48, 61, 63, 68–71, 75, 86, 97, 98, 132, 137, 263 United States (US), 3, 57, 118, 128, 133, 257, 296, 323 Urbanization, 38, 59, 61 2016 US Elections, v, 228