Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Sunday, August 30th 2015
The March, 2015, issue of The Atlantic included an essay, “What ISIS Really Wants,” by contributing editor Graeme Wood. The editors introduced the article by saying, “The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse.”
Graeme’s long essay described:
-- how the “very Islamic” Islamic State differs from al-Qaeda, Wahhabism, and Salifism;
-- the justifications for the caliphate in Islamic scripture, especially as a condition for salvation;
-- the religious obligation to revive the caliphate, and the caliph’s obligation to implement shari’a;
-- “the prophetic methodology” and views of the apocalypse;
-- devotion, executions, punishments, slavery, apostacy, prophecy, and jihad.
Public Diplomacy practitioners, even those serving in countries far from the Islamic world, need to understand the contours of the Islamic State in the realm of ideas. Graeme’s article provides an introduction.
Wednesday, August 26th 2015
A number of recent articles in the American press have shed light on whether and how the flow of young people into the so-called Islamic State can be abated. My colleague Don Bishop has chronicled most of them in his “Quotable” series on this blog. Four writers have captured my attention; anyone interested in this should take the time to read them.
Tuesday, August 25th 2015
James Glassman, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs now at the American Enterprise Institute, concluded his series of essays on a communications strategy to defeat Daesh on August 25, 2015. His “Time to whip ISIS on the Internet, Part 3: Getting public policy right” appeared on the TechPolicyDaily website. The final essay emphasized that an open internet and a “confident expression of American ideals” are essential elements of a strategy.
Defeating ISIS will require a unique combination of tools – a strong defense of American values on the Internet and beyond, a smart messaging strategy, cooperation between the government and the private sector, and more. Among these tools, however, is something policymakers may not expect: An open Internet.
Monday, August 24th 2015
In an essay appearing in Politico on August 12, 2015, “Obama's anti-ISIL push falls flat on social media,” Nancy Scola, who writes for the Washington Post, Politico, and other outlets on “the intersections of technology, politics, and public policy,” reported “The White House has floundered in its attempt to enlist social media companies in the messaging war against ISIL as Washington seeks to counter the terrorist group’s prowess online.”
The administration made clear it expected the tech world’s help at an anti-terrorism summit in February, saying the industry would take a lead role in developing the Internet pushback against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But six months later, companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have largely avoided getting involved, according to interviews with more than a dozen U.S. officials, tech representatives and civil society groups.
Friday, August 21st 2015
The second essay by former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James Glassman, “Time to whip ISIS on the Internet, Part 2: Crafting the US strategy,” has been published on the TechPolicyDaily.com website. Here are excerpts:
An effective communication strategy will need to take two parallel tracks: first, and immediately, through powerful personal testimony by defectors, explaining the realities of life as an ISIS fighter (or wife), and, second, over the longer term, by presenting attractive alternatives to young people searching for identity (thus, building a new meta-narrative).