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Kakva je veza ratne propagande SAD i popularnih video-igara?

Američka vojska koristi video igre kako bi se predstavila u pozitivnom svetlu i privukla nove regrute

Kakva je veza ratne propagande SAD i popularnih video-igara?

Novo izdanje popularne video igre “Kol of djuti” privuklo je pažnju velikog broja gejmera, ali i novinara istraživača koji podsećaju i upozoravaju na tesne višegodišnje veze između bezbednosnih i vojnih struktura i kompanija koje prave video igrice.

Video igra “Kol of djuti: Modern vorfer 2”, najnovije izdanje ove popularne franšize iz studija “Aktivejšn Blizard”, ovih dana obara rekorde popularnosti.

Za nešto manje od tri nedelje uspela je da zaradi preko milijardu dolara.

Istovremeno, igrica je izazvala talas kontroverzi, pre svega zbog nivoa u kom igrači treba da ubiju iranskog generala čiji lik, po svemu sudeći, predstavlja Kasema Sulejmanija, komandanta Islamske revolucionarne garde koga su Amerikanci ubili početkom 2020. godine.

Ovde nije reč o usamljenom slučaju. Studio “Blizard” poznat je po svojim (ne baš) prikrivenim vezama sa visokim zvaničnicima američkog bezbednosnog i vojnog establišmenta, koji već godinama koriste ovu kompaniju i njihovu izuzetno popularnu franšizu “Kol of djuti” kao propagandno sredstvo za promociju svojih ciljeva, tvrdi novinar i publicista Alen Meklaud u autorskom tekstu za “Mint pres njuz”.

Dokumenti do kojih je novinar i istraživač Tim Seker došao otkrivaju da su veze između bezbednosnih struktura i kompanija koje prave video igre mnogo ozbiljnije nego što se prvobitno mislilo.

Predstavnici američke avijacije su, na primer, u septembru 2018. godine pozvali nekoliko vodećih rukovodilaca iz sveta zabave u posetu vojnoj bazi na Floridi, a među njima su se našli i producenti video igara “Kol of djuti”.

“Tamo su otišli kako bi se upoznali sa najsavremenijim naoružanjem kojim raspolaže američka vojska i tako učinili industriju zabave kredibilnim zastupnikom američke ratne mašinerije”, navodi Meklaud.

“Ovo je odlična prilika da se ljudi obrazuju, kako bi mogli da postanu uverljiviji zastupnici naših interesa u filmovima i video igrama koje se bave vazduhoplovnim snagama”, napisao je portparol Komande za specijalne operacije američke avijacije.

Ramon Costa / www.globallookpress.com

Kada je reč o franšizi “Kol of djuti”, saradnja sa američkim sektorom bezbednosti proteže se više od deset godina unazad.

Dokumenti do kojih je došao Seker pokazuju da su predstavnici američkih marinaca učestvovali u izradi video igara “Kol of djuti: Modern vorfer 3” i “Kol of djuti 5”.

Producenti ovih igara od njih su tražili pristup objektima američke vojske kako bi se bolje upoznali sa naoružanjem, koje se kasnije našlo i u samim igricama.

Seker je izjavio da američka vojska koristi video igre kako bi se predstavila u pozitivnom svetlu i privukla nove regrute.

“Za određene grupe gejmera to je put do zaposlenja, jer neke od igara sadrže prikrivene reklame. Čak i bez eksplicitnih pokušaja da regrutuju nove vojnike, igre kao što su ‘Kol of djuti’ čine da rat izgleda zabavno, uzbudljivo, kao bekstvo od dosade svakodnevnog života”, rekao je on.

Producenti igara “Kol of djuti” obratili su se Ministarstvu odbrane za pomoć u izradi igre čija se radnja dešava u 2075. godini. Ipak, predstavnici vojske su “izrazili zabrinutost zbog scenarija u igri koji uključuje rat protiv Kine”, što je na kraju dovelo do napuštanja čitavog projekta.

“Blizard” i visoki zvaničnici

Veze između industrije video igara i službi bezbednosti poslednjih godina postale su i kadrovske. Zanimljiv je primer Frensis Taunsend, visoke savetnice  u “Blizardu”, koja je do septembra ove godine obavljala i dužnost izvršnog potpredsednika te kompanije.  

Pre nego što je prešla u industriji video igara, ona je godinama bila deo sektora nacionalne bezbednosti. Bila je šef obaveštajnog odseka obalske straže i zamenik državne sekretarke Kondolize Rajs za borbu protiv terorizma, a predsednik Džordž Buš ju je 2004. postavio u Obaveštajni savetodavni odbor.

Kao najviše pozicionirani savetnik za borbu protiv terorizma, Taunsendova je postala zaštitno lice “rata protiv terorizma”. Ona je godinama plašila američku javnost “mogućim terorističkim napadima Al Kaide”, koji se na kraju nikada nisu dogodili.

Френсис ТаунсендRiccardo Savi / Stringer / Getty

Taunsendova je popularizovala termin “poboljšane tehnike ispitivanja”, poznati eufemizam za mučenje iz perioda Bušove administracije. Ona je, kako navodi američki oficir Stiven Džordan, insistirala da se u ozloglašenom iračkom zatvoru Abu Garib “pojača program mučenja” kako bi se od zatvorenika izvuklo više korisnih informacija.

Taunsendova je odbacila ove optužbe. Ipak, ona je kritikovala napade na operativce CIA koji su sprovodili mučenja zatvorenika, navodeći da će buduće administracije zbog toga imati “vezane ruke” iz straha od lošeg publiciteta.

Pored svog zaposlenja u “Blizardu”, Taunsendova se nalazi na bitnim položajima u većem broju uticajnih organizacija i tink-tenkova, od kojih su mnogi bliski američkoj vojsci i bezbednosnom sektoru. Ona je u izvršnim odborima Atlantskog saveta, Saveta za spoljne odnose, a saradnik je i Centra za strateške i međunarodne studije.

Još dvoje visoko pozicioniranih zvaničnika “Blizarda”, Čens Glasko i Dejv Entoni, zaposleni su u Atlantskom savetu. Entoni ne krije da je blisko sarađivao sa predstavnicima američke vojske, a jednom prilikom je čak i pohvalio Olivera Norta, ozloglašenog američkog oficira koji je osuđen zbog svoje uloge u skandalu “Iran-kontra”.

Ko “ubije” Kastra dobija trofej

Franšiza “Kol of djuti” postala je poznata i po tome što se u njoj često pojavljuju zlikovci koji imaju mnogo sličnosti sa stvarnim ličnostima, uglavnom onim koje SAD smatraju za neprijatelje.

Tako se u najnovijem izdanju ove igre u jednoj misiji pojavljuje iranski general Gorbrani, koga igrač treba da usmrti napadom iz drona. Reč je o očiglednoj imitaciji ilegalnog ubistva generala Kasema Solejmanija, koje su Amerikanci sproveli početkom 2020. godine. General je u video igri predstavljen kao “ruski pion” koji “pomaže teroriste”.

U izdanju “Kol of djuti: Blek Ops” iz 2010. godine postoji misija u kojoj igrač mora da ubije kubanskog lidera Fidela Kastra. Ukoliko ga pogodi u glavu, on će videti usporeni snimak metka koji mu preseca mozak i dobiće trofej “ubica diktatora”.

Igrači tako mogu da urade ono što Amerikancima nije uspelo iz više od 600 pokušaja.

U igri “Kol of djuti: Gousts”, koja je smeštena u Venecueli, igrač se bori protiv socijalističkog latinoameričkog diktatora generala Almagra, koji očigledno podseća na predsednika Venecuele Uga Čavesa. Tokom šeste misije u video igri, igrač mora da upuca i ubije Almagra.

Fotoarena / www.globallookpress.com

Antiruska propaganda doživela je vrhunac u igri “Kol of djuti: Modern vorfer”, objavljenoj 2019. godine, u kojoj se na jednom nivou oponaša incident poznat kao “Autoput smrti”. Reč je o napadu koji je američka vojska izvela tokom Zalivskog rata 1991. godine, kada je napala iračku vojsku koja se povlačila iz Kuvajta, tokom kog je ubijeno više stotina iračkih vojnika i uništeno na hiljade vozila.

U “Kol of djutiju” međutim, Rusi su ti koji iz vazduha gađaju vojsku u povlačenju, na taj način distancirajući Ameriku od ovog zločina i prebacujući krivicu na neprijateljsku državu.

“U zemlji u kojoj je izloženost ljudi video igrama daleko veća od njihovog poznavanja istorije i aktuelnih dešavanja, ove manipulacije pomažu u uobličavanju intelektualnih, emocionalnih i političkih reakcija kod igrača. To ih čini sklonijim militarizmu, čak i ako ga ne ispoljavaju svi na neki konkretan način”, objašnjava Sekter.

Poslednjih decenija, video igre su postale centar meke moći i ideologije. Ovaj medij izuzetno je efikasan u indoktrinaciji dece i mladih, koji video igre često konzumiraju kao oblik “lake zabave”. Oni zbog toga nisu obazrivi i ne paze na isti način na koji bi to radili da slušaju govor nekog političara.

Igre “Kol of djuti” u tom pogledu posebno su opasne, pošto je reč o franšizi koja je direktno povezana sa ljudima iz samog vrha američkih bezbednosnih struktura. Za gejmere, cilj ovih igara je zabava. Ali za one koji ih prave, cilj nije samo zarada, već i širenje propagande američke vojne mašinerije.

Military Diplomacy: How militaries leverage social media for strategic objectives

The rise of digital platforms such as Twitter has transformed the way governments and
various state organizations engage in public diplomacy and outreach. Exploring these
themes, G5iO has in the past taken a detailed look at how world leaders and governments
use Twitter for digital diplomacy in pursuit of their foreign policy goals. In this study, we
instead looked at some of the most active military accounts on Twitter to see how these
organizations leverage the social media space for a more ‘soft power’ approach towards
public diplomacy, recruitment, and community outreach – and that too while lending a
general sense of legitimization and credibility to their kinetic operations and activities.

Methodology:

Our criteria for analysis comprised the world’s largest and most active militaries with a strong social media presence, particularly on Twitter. Based on this, we chose the U.S., Indian and Israeli militaries, each of which has a well-established presence online (unlike the Chinese and Russian militaries which have restricted access to Twitter). Out of these, we scraped the timelines of two accounts from each country representing two tiers of command from our sample. These comprised the @NorthernComd_IA & @ChinarcorpsIA accounts from India, the @IDF & @IAFsite accounts from Israel, and the @CENTCOM & @USMC accounts from the United States. While each of these militaries maintains several accounts, the above-selected represent some of the most active formations that have been regularly engaged in kinetic operations over the last five years.

Our final dataset thus comprised ~25,318 tweets from April 2017 to August 2022. Looking at these via a discursive lens we then compared the varying issues and types of messaging
each of these militaries is used for public outreach and diplomacy, including recruitment drives, updates on their ongoing military operations, and relief and rescue operations in their respective theatres of operations.

Timeline Activity1

The following graph shows that the Twitter activity linked to Indian military accounts peaked during some of their most active operations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It shows how the overall messaging surrounding these operations increased dramatically since the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution. This holds particularly true for the Chinar Corps’ official account whose Twitter activity increased in sync with their counter-insurgency operations against so-called “militants” and “terror organizations.” In contrast, the Northern Command’s official Twitter account while focusing less on operations and more on the projection of soft power also recently increased its Twitter activity related to highlighting its development and public outreach efforts specifically in the IIOJK region.

In contrast, accounts linked with the US military exhibit a consistent activity rate with peaks indicating key strategic and regional focal events. These include the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and U.S. operations against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. In terms of their overall theme, the US Marine Corps Twitter account routinely tweeted about their ground operations, training exercises, and war preparedness for public outreach and recruitment
purposes whereas, the US CENTCOM account posted more frequently around key strategic
events presenting a more holistic view of US military policy and diplomacy.

Twitter accounts linked with the Israeli military however display a more cyclical pattern. This holds particularly during Ramadan for instance when its operations against Hamas
intensified between April and June almost every year, for the last 5 years. The following
graph shows how in May 2021 for instance, activity from these accounts rose to an all-time
high coinciding with high-intensity clashes and airstrikes in Gaza. The seasonality of
narratives in these accounts’ discourse also shows that this activity is not only in response
to specific events but also proactively engages digital audiences with their respective
narratives based on a fixed, pre-established context centered around the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Discourse Analysis

Drilling down at the actual content of their tweets, the following word clouds show that
narratives from the U.S were specifically attuned towards their overseas interests, military
exercises, and operations abroad. The overall emphasis is on power projection and
reinforcing U.S. military superiority with a key focus on “capabilities,” “force,” and providing
“security” missions. Israeli military accounts in contrast focused more on kinetic operations
exhibiting a more specific objective to dominate the discourse around the Israel-Palestine
conflict. The focus was on showing how the IDF was combating the “terrorist” activities of
“Hezbollah” and Hamas” and “the response” of Israeli forces to these “attacks.” Similarly, the Indian Military’s public diplomacy vis-à-vis IOJK indicated two distinct narratives. The first rooted in a softer approach, dealt primarily with development and outreach focusing on “youth,” “children,” “student(s), etc.”; while the second highlighted the sacrifices by the Indian military “soldiers(s)” lauding them as “Braveheart(s)”, etc.

Top Mentioned Organizations

Looking at the most mentioned organizations by each military within our dataset, we can
also see how each of these accounts is part of a broader strategic communications strategy
aimed at projecting a certain narrative characteristic of each country’s overall objectives and interests. For instance, the most mentioned organizations by our chosen U.S military
accounts indicated a synergy with other key linked entities such as the US air force and
Pentagon. Thus, focusing exclusively on US military policy and recruitment. In contrast, the
Israeli focus on Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Eshkol Regional Council pointed exclusively
towards the securitization of the Gaza strip leaving no doubt as to who the enemy threat was and the ‘homeland which was under attack. In contrast, the most mentioned organizations by the Indian military-linked accounts exhibited the openly top-down nature of how the country’s strategic narratives, which were fuelled by its media, flowed directly in sync with the country’s top leadership i.e., the office of the Indian Prime Minister.

Top Mentioned Countries

Looking at the most mentioned locations by U.S military accounts, we saw that there was a
significant emphasis on the Middle Eastern region, specifically Iraq and Syria. Israeli
accounts in contrast were explicitly focused on the critical conflict areas where the IDF
operated, namely the Gaza strip. Other than that, it was Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and the U.S.
that was featured as the most mentioned countries by the Israeli military accounts. Coming
to the top mentioned places by the Indian military-linked accounts, Pakistan was the only
other country mentioned in the top list of locations which otherwise included mostly conflict-ridden areas of IOJK such as Pulwama, Kupwara, Leh, and Ladakh.

Top Used Hashtags and Bigrams

Similarly, top Hashtags from the U.S correlate with their strategic focus on terrorist
organizations like #ISIS operating in #Iraq and #Syria along with posts related to maritime
drills and #COVID19. Based on the most frequently used bigrams by these accounts we also saw a greater focus on the projection of weapons superiority and combat maneuvers such as ‘assault ships’, ‘aircraft carriers’, ‘war preparations’, and training activities related to
‘amphibious assaults’, ‘live firing’, etc.

In contrast, most hashtags used by the Indian Northern Command and Chinar Corps’
Twitter accounts were focused exclusively on the insurgency in Kashmir and its surrounding
districts. These also included campaigns aimed at amplifying individuals and high-ranking
military personnel within these formations. Overall, these accounts can be seen pushing
parallel narratives related to both national security and socio-economic development with
an increasing focus on advocacy of local outreach-related activities, particularly in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir regions. For instance, security-related tweets focused on ‘joint operations(s)’ and the number of ‘terrorists eliminated’. Whereas development-related
narratives exhibited an increasing emphasis on ‘capacity building’, activities for ‘school
children’, and ‘medical camps’.

In Israel’s case, hashtags used by the IDF and IAF focused a lot more on building social
media campaigns around its active operations in #Gaza in order to #StopHamas. These
were further interspersed with campaigns highlighting #COVID19 and other operations and
exercises such as the #BlueFlag2021 and #NorthernShield. These themes were further
reinforced by their most frequently used bigrams which revolved around highlighting Israeli
weapons capabilities such as the ‘iron dome’ and ‘IAF Aircraft’ that were being used in
defense of ‘Israeli Civilians and territory’ against the ‘rockets fired’ by ‘Hamas’ and the
‘(Palestinian) Islamic Jihad’. In essence, laying out a precise narrative encompassing the
‘othering’ of the enemy, the threat it posed, and the rationale behind employing
technological and weapons superiority in the Defense of Israeli civilians and territory from that same enemy.

Gauging Message Efficacy: Activity vs Engagement

Building on the unique styles and narratives employed by each of the above militaries, it is
also important to gauge just how successful each of the accounts has been in generating some form of engagement over their respective discourses. The following scatter plot
attempts to do this by comparing the number of retweets and shares generated by each
account in relation to their overall activity and following online.

Based on this comparison we see that the IDF’s Twitter account had the highest levels of
engagement, activity, and followers, topping both the USMC and Chinar Corps. Although
the IDF and its counterpart the IAF had similar levels of activity, the IDF’s Twitter account
received a much higher level of online engagement. Thus, indicating the central role it plays in steering online discourses related to the Israel – Palestine conflict both in terms of the sheer volume of posts as well the precision with which it tied its online narratives with its on-ground objectives. The same can be seen in the comparison between the Indian Northern Command and the US CENTCOM accounts which despite having similar activity levels, led to the Northern Command account generating a lot more engagement – and that too despite having fewer followers than the US CENTCOM account. Similarly, Chinar Corp’s Twitter account was also at par with the USMC account in terms of the level of engagement despite having significantly lesser followers. Hence, it seems that having a large number of followers does not necessarily translate into greater engagement (in terms of retweets). Rather it’s how effectively each of these accounts has lent a highly relatable and authentic context to leveraging their strategic objectives that led to these narratives being further shared and promoted across the social media space. This is shown in more detail in the following section.

Most Retweeted Tweets from Each Account:

Having extensively shown the different approaches taken by each of the above militaries in
leveraging their overall objectives on social media, it was also interesting to see what kind
of content received the highest level of engagement. The screenshots below show the most
viral tweets from our sampled data set each of which distinctly encapsulates the overall
narrative focus, as well as the kind of content that resonates the most with each of these accounts’ audiences. For instance, whereas the US military’s messaging remains centered on highlighting its soldiers, their values, and their sacrifices, the Israeli focus in contrast is
centered on the defensive nature of its activities against an immensely hostile enemy. The
Indian approach which applies a mix of both the US and Israeli approaches can be seen as
glorifying its own soldiers and operations in the context of its past operations against an
established enemy. Taken together, all these accounts aim to project a narrative that
establishes and reinforces the very raison d’être for these militaries’ operations and activities albeit to varying audiences. Thus, spanning both domestic and international audiences, as well as both friendly and hostile ones.

Conclusion:

• The narratives disseminated through these accounts while being closely intertwined with
the strategic goals of each specific country, offer unique insights into their desired
perception management objectives beyond their kinetic operations
• The tilt towards the projection of either soft or hard power narratives depends entirely on
the intended audiences and prevailing priorities of each military organization at a
a particular point in time
• Overall, messaging related to active conflicts and securitized narratives generate the
most engagement and traction – as even soft power approaches to recruitment,
development and public outreach are usually framed within the same securitized contexts.

https://www.theasianmirror.com/news/19112/military-diplomacy-how-militaries-leverage-social-media-for-strategic-objectives/
https://www.bidd.org.rs/competing-propagandas-how-the-united-states-and-russia-represent-mutual-propaganda-activities/

Chrysoulakis: Greek Diaspora ‘provide critical soft power and are crucial in public diplomacy’

“Greek Diaspora are prized as cultural capital, they provide critical soft power and are crucial in public diplomacy,” says John Chrysoulakis, the Secretary General for Hellenism Abroad and Public Diplomacy.1

Greece’s “multifaceted policy” supports political, economic, parliamentary, cultural, religious, and educational diplomacy the secretary general says. We met in an airy seaside café in the seaside suburb of Glyfada. It is possibly one of the few times he has respite.

“I have so many events, it’s a pleasure to be able to talk to you,” he has to be somewhere else soon.

Chrysoulakis believes that Greek communities abroad play a vital role and the Greek state “wants to activate global Hellenism.”

Greece is creating Diaspora networks, and members of the Diaspora are important players in the global economy he says then highlights the “political, economic, and cultural capital” the Greek Diaspora provide Greece.

Building Diaspora networks

Asked why after decades of discussion Greece has still not wholly harnessed, what he calls the “power of the Diaspora” as Israel has, a nation like Greece – in terms of origin, size, regional location, and Diaspora – Chrysoulakis says the Greek government is “drawing on the know-how of Israel in organizing the journey.”  He adds, “We have begun in earnest.”

“Israel has a globally recognised practice of using the Diaspora to promote a country’s image and goals,” he continues.

“The approach of constructing Diaspora networks requires long-term planning across many spheres of activity and Greece along with Cyprus is now working with Israel in building capacity by harnessing the global Hellenic Diaspora.”

A “memorandum of tripartite cooperation between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel in Diaspora matters” has been ratified by the president of Israel, Isaac Herzog when he was the President of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI).

Chrysoulakis says the 21st Century requires the “successful use of Diaspora and the development of systematic creation of networks.”

“Among Diaspora networks, new political, economic, social, and cultural capital is created, and we can coordinate our national interests, and support nation branding.”

The secretary general accentuates the work Greece is doing such as, hosting expatriate scientists, researchers, and academics, “to establish channels of communication and bridges of cooperation” within them, and with Greece.

The First World Interdisciplinary Medical Conference in Thessaloniki in August at the Aristotle University had scientists from Australia like leading virologist, Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos from Victoria University and Professor Magdalena Simonis the General Practitioner, and primary care researcher with the University of Melbourne.

Chrysoulakis is brandishes his contacts with young Greek Diaspora that began with students in Perth, “from that we created the Global Communication Network of Young Greek Diaspora.”

He also commend the “work of Greek diaspora associations and communities” who he believes are “tradition bearers and custodians of Hellenic cultural heritage.”

“These are informal bodies of cultural diplomacy and act as the heart, presence, and voice of Greece across the world.”

The secretary general mentions also the “cooperation with expatriate parliamentarians and elected local government officials from all over the world.”

“Our cooperation with the World Inter-Parliamentary Union of Hellenism, in close cooperation with the Greek government and the Hellenic Parliament, promotes the cultural and democratic values of Hellenism and assists in diplomatic pursuits of Greece.”

Diaspora residency and passports

Many Greek Australians still find the process of obtaining Greek passports frustrating due to red tape and Chrysoulakis is in “constant pursuit of the issue”.

“According to Greek legislation, citizenship is a right, which exists from birth for the children of Greek citizens,” Chrysoulakis says.

The right to Greek citizenship can be established from a parent who had the right to acquire Greek citizenship, even if he never exercised it.

He wants to streamline processes and focuses on the “the digital transformation of the consular services.”

Since January 2022, Greek consular authorities can register all requests from abroad in a Register of Citizens.

“Digitisation has cut down the registration time, it bypasses the need to register with municipal authorities through the Special Registry Office in Athens, it reduces bureaucracy and modernizes operations across all consular authorities,” Chrysoulakis says.

He endorses the online government service MyConsulLive which allows one to make appointments and interact via video call with the consular authorities and Greek citizens abroad.

The services include applying for a certificate of permanent resident abroad, certificate of marital status, birth, residence, extract of notarial act, declaration of pension beneficiary, and applications reports.

The service through gov.gr under Citizen and Everyday Life and sub-section Remote Service for Citizens allows one to identify a client through the government’s Taxisnet codes which confirm their details, and during a video call identity can be “established by showing a public document like an identity card, or passport.”

The Virtual Digital Assistant assists applications to link all digital information and service platforms of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and “provides access to all the information and requests submitted to the consular authorities as well as guidance on how to process them.”

“The aim is to reduce the need for physical presence in embassies, general consulates, and consulates thus save time, and money.”

The secretary general also talks up reforms by his New Democracy government which provide voting rights to Greek citizens abroad.

“The government honoured its commitment, and we are now implementing a constitutional mandate, that for years remained unimplemented, to allow expatriates to vote.”

Legislation passed in December 2019 “gave expatriates the right to vote for the first time in history from their place of residence.”

In the past, Greek citizens abroad could vote in Greek elections only from their local Greek jurisdiction – city, town, or village.

“It is our desire for all Greek citizens abroad to vote, and I express the certainty that this will happen soon.”

Double taxation

Diaspora who want to live in, and/or invest in Greece often raise the issue of double taxation, where income generated in Australia is taxed again in Greece.

Chrysoulakis recognises the issue as “a serious concern for expatriates in Australia, and for Australian entrepreneurs who wish to live or invest in Greece.”

This is also an issue for “Greek companies or investors wishing to do business in Australia,” Chrysoulakis says and adds that the double taxation convention between Greece and Australia “is currently being negotiated.”

“The solution is to prevent taxpayers from having to pay twice for the same income, facilitating business cooperation and eliminating tax barriers between of the two countries,” Chrysoulakis says.

There has been correspondence between the two countries “at the highest level, including letters between the [Greek and Australian] prime ministers, expressing a commitment to conclude the convention”.

The secretary general underlines that “Greece has concluded double taxation agreements with 57 countries, which have boosted trade and secured greater foreign investment”.

“The completion of negotiations with Australia, our partner in the OECD, is a high priority.”

Greek language schools in Australia

Greek language schools in Australia need more materials, and more Greek language teachers. Since the financial crisis some ten years ago Greece has provided less than it did pre-crisis.

“The Greek language is the unbreakable cord with Greece and is a key issue for the preservation of Greek identity in Diaspora Hellenism, and we attach enormous importance to it,” Chrysoulakis is emphatic.

His secretariat, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has implemented “a number of actions for the promotion of Greek language education in collaborations with many academic and community organisations.”

“The creation of the digital platform Staellinika.com, is a tool for learning Greek and is the outcome of collaboration with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which financed the initiative, and the Center for Greek Studies of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, Canada.”

The application is accessible on tablets and smartphones, and for Android and IOS operating systems.

“Parents, teachers, and students can take advantage of new lesson modules on Greek language and culture, which are aimed at students of different age groups.”

Registered pupils and students, Chrysoulakis across 157 countries have “exceeded 38,000 subscriptions and two million visitors.”

Chrysoulakis is keen on exchange programs such as the Youth Greek Centres summer learning programs, as well as collaborations with universities. He reels off a range of programs like scholarships, competitions on Greek culture, language, and history, and conferences in aid of Greek.

“Look at our programs for young Diaspora, such as the collaboration with the Greek Community of Melbourne… we hosted 40 young people from Australia, they were immersed in Greek language, history and culture.

“They acquired new knowledge about the birthplace of their Indigenous ancestors and improved their Greek.”

The General Secretariat’s “support and promotion of Greece as a destination for university studies, with a range of programs in education, research, and innovation” is equally important for him.

John Chrysoulakis’ portfolio crosses over key departments – economy, diplomacy, education, science innovation and politics –  as he pursues a multi-departmental approach to the Diaspora project .

A challenge for him, (as for others in the past), might be to convince all parliamentary colleagues, including the opposition, and Greeks in Greece, of the political, economic and cultural value of the global Greek Diaspora.

https://neoskosmos.com/en/2022/09/27/news/australia/chrysoulakis-greek-diaspora-provide-critical-soft-power-and-are-crucial-in-public-diplomacy/

Apple removes Russian social media giant’s apps

Apple’s AppStore blocked on Monday most applications provided by the Russian VK ecosystem, including the country’s largest social networking service, VKontakte. The US tech giant has so far not publicly provided any reasons for the move.

The removal also affected the group’s VK Music, Youla classifieds advertisements board, Domclick real estate platform, and other apps. VK holding (previously known as Mail.ru Group) has confirmed the removal of the apps, assuring users that already installed applications will continue to work on Apple devices.

“VK will continue to develop and support applications for iOS. Our experts do everything to maintain and continue to improve user comfort,” the company said in a statement, admitting, however, that end-users might experience issues with payments.

Apple has remained silent on the matter and provided no reason for the removal of VK’s apps.

Russia’s Ministry of Digital Affairs said it has contacted the company with an official inquiry about the removal of the applications.

“The Ministry of Digital Affairs sent a request to Apple Inc about the reasons for deleting VK applications and developer accounts, underlining the social significance and scale of use of the services provided by the Russian company,” the ministry said, adding that after the company answers the inquiry, an unspecified “plan of action” will follow.

The removal of the applications from the AppStore sent VK shares plummeting on the Russian stock market, losing more than 20% on Monday. The price has somewhat bounced back since then, gaining more than 7.5% on Tuesday.

The vast pro-Ukrainian ‘bot army’ designed to influence Western policy makers

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have published a landmark paper on the activities of bot accounts on Twitter related to the conflict in Ukraine. These Australian findings are truly staggering – of 5.2 million tweets on the social media network from February 23 to March 8, between 60 to 80% were shared by fake accounts. What’s more, 90% of those posts were pro-Ukraine.

In particular, these accounts pushed the hashtags #IStandWithUkraine, #IStandWithZelenskyy, and #ISupportUkraine, and myths like the ‘Ghost of Kiev’, a fictional Ukrainian fighter pilot who is farcically alleged to have taken down 40 Russian jets within hours of the military operation commencing.

Significant spikes in activity were recorded at key points in the initial stages of the fighting, such as Russia’s capture of Kherson on March 2, and the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant on March 4.

The accounts identified were overwhelmingly English language, leading the researchers to conclude these fake users sought to “drive more disruption in English-speaking countries” and “influence a variety of user groups.” Despite the significant focus on English, Ukrainian bots also employed the Russian language to “cause more disruption” in the country.

The accounts were successful in their objective of stimulating discussions and trends around particular topics, kickstarting and increasing online discussion around a number of subjects, including the question of whether Ukrainians should flee the country. The researchers recorded “significant flows” of information from Ukrainian bots to non-bot accounts.

The study is the first analysis of social media content related to the conflict, and covers a very small time period – just two weeks. It is almost inevitable that the level of pro-Kiev sentiment expressed by users – troll and organic alike – will have increased even further beyond the 90% recorded during this timeframe. Numerous commentators have drawn attention to the weaponization of Twitter, Facebook, et al in support of the Western proxy war in Ukraine.

One need only spend a few minutes scrolling major social media networks to identify a profusion of anonymous, recently registered users pumping out pro-Ukraine, pro-NATO, and pro-war propaganda, and attacking anyone critical of ascendant Western narratives. It is, in the words of writer Caitlin Johnstone, “the most aggressively trolled war of all time.”

RT

Unsurprisingly though, the Western media – which remains overwhelmingly committed to not publishing any negative information about Ukraine whatsoever – has universally ignored the bombshell findings of this academic paper. You can only imagine the blanket coverage if the findings were related to Russia.

The hesitancy of corporate news outlets to report on matters that do not reflect positively on Kiev is nonetheless somewhat understandable, as on the vanishingly rare occasions this has happened, the backlash has been savage.

On August 4, for example, Amnesty International published a report on Ukrainian troops basing forces and weaponry in residential areas, including schools and hospitals, which both endangers civilians and constitutes a war crime. Three days later, CBS broadcast a documentary showing that just 30% of the vast Western arm shipments to Kiev actually reach the frontline, the rest disappearing or being sold on the black market.

Such was the incendiary response to these reports on social media, Amnesty was successfully bullied into apologizing for any “anger and distress” its disclosures caused – CBS went one further and pulled its documentary from the web. The academic study would tend to suggest that much of this counterblast was in fact attributable to automated accounts, and deliberately intended to create the false impression that condemnation of both organizations was omnipresent.

The University of Adelaide paper also raises obvious questions about the true nature of something called NAFO – the ‘North Atlantic Fellas Organization’ – which was a leading force in the online counterblast against Amnesty and CBS. NAFO has a history of harassing pro-Russian voices and mass reporting accounts until they are temporarily or permanently suspended. Many prominent officials have praised the group, and it has received positive profiles in The Economist, Politico, and the Washington Post.

As is so often the case, dubious tactics and conduct of which Russia is widely accused cease to be villainous when it’s Western countries and their allies doing it. One might reasonably ask whether the entire mainstream media controversy over Kremlin bots on social media was just a smokescreen for far larger and more effective operations much closer to home.

New EU office in San Francisco opens in Irish consulate

The goal of the US office is to strengthen the EU’s digital diplomacy. It is led by Gerard de Graaf, a key official who has worked on landmark tech laws.

The EU has officially opened its new office in san francisco to network with US-based doctors talk companies and enhance transatlantic relationships in the digital space.

Initially located next to the Irish consulate, the aim of the office is to strengthen EU-US cooperation. on digital diplomacy and strengthen the EU’s capacity to communicate with public and private stakeholders, such as legislators, business leaders and civil society in the doctors talk sector.

“The opening of the office in San Francisco responds to the EU’s commitment to strengthen transatlantic technological cooperation and promote global digital transformation based on democratic values ​​and standards,” said Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Policy. of security. .

“It is a concrete step to further strengthen the EU’s work on issues such as cyber and countering hybrid threats, and foreign intelligence manipulation and interference.”

Launched yesterday (September 1), the office will seek to promote EU standards and technologies, policies and digital regulations. It will also seek to strengthen cooperation with US stakeholders, including the many tech companies located in nearby Silicon Valley.

The office will be headed by Gerard de Graaf, a key EU official who played an important role in the Digital Markets Law other Digital Services Law. These landmark laws, passed in July, aim to Harness the power of Big Tech and make the Internet safer.

A few weeks earlier, a group of MEPs traveled to the US. talk to tech companies like Google, Meta, Apple, Airbnb, eBay, PayPal and Uber to exchange views on the EU’s digital political agenda.

The new base in the United States is also expected to help the US and the EU cooperate on future regulations. De Graaf told the Wall Street Journal in July that the two blocs are now working on similar rules in areas like semiconductors. “There is a mutual interest in cooperating very closely,” she said.

While headed by de Graaf, the office will work under the authority of the EU delegation in Washington DC, in coordination with the EU headquarters in Brussels and in association with the consulates of the EU member states in the Area. of the San Francisco Bay.

Katara launches campaign of Qatari Public Diplomacy in Latin America

The Global Public Diplomacy Network led by Katara Cultural Village launched the promotional campaign from Cuba yesterday for the Qatari Public Diplomacy in Latin America, which is scheduled to run until July 29.

In addition, a host of diplomats, artists, athletes and professional media specialists are participating in this campaign to further recount the Qatari renaissance with its multifaceted and various aspects through new methodology that essentially targets a wide spectrum of audiences in Latin American states.

The campaign is led by the Secretary-General of the Global Public Diplomatic Network, Eng. Darwish Ahmed Al Shaibani with the participation of H E Jamal Nasser Al Bader Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Cuba, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to the State of Qatar H E Oscar Leon Gonzalez, HE Juan Antonio Fernandez the network Representative in the Cuban capital Havana, H E Emilio Caballero Rodriguez Former Cuban ambassador to Qatar, H E Dr. Jose Ramon Cabanas, the Director of CIPI, in addition to a broad range of professionals operating in the field of diplomacy and Media, sports and arts starts in Cuba.

In addition, major Cuban press institutions, media and television channels are participating in this event that will broadcast programs pertaining to the comprehensive renaissance witnessed by the State of Qatar and the accomplishments it has achieved in multiple fields, the historical and distinguished bilateral ties linking Doha and Havana, in addition to broadcasting specialized films that demonstrate the initiatives launched by the Global Public Diplomacy Network, including its major role in strengthening ties between the member states in the network, establishing bridges of communications between the peoples and communities in the world, in addition to its role in harnessing Qatar’s status as attractive tourism, cultural and sports destination.

The campaign primarily spotlights the exceptional and gargantuan efforts being made by the state of Qatar in providing events and activities that honour heritage and the civilized legacy in the country. The promotional campaign also targets the preparations being made by the state of Qatar ahead of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament.

In his remarks, Eng. Darwish Ahmed Al Shaibani asserted that the public international diplomacy in Qatar has unequivocally enhanced its high profile and proved its effective presence in the world through achieving a myriad of civilized and premium accomplishments in multiple fields, including economy, Media, sports, culture and education which were essentially the most important accomplishments during the march of Qatari development and renaissance.

He indicated that the growing prosperity in the public diplomatic arena is primarily based on the major legacy of the Qatari diplomacy in several regional and international files that have been accomplished at the regional and international levels in the mediation between the concerned parties, entities and countries through the necessary convergence of views.

The Secretary-General of the Global Public Diplomatic Network elucidated that the promotional campaign intends to enhance the values of culture, history and heritage more positively in Media programs of Latin America in accordance with a double exchange of relationship to further allow those peoples to get familiarised with the cultures.

https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/22/07/2022/katara-launches-campaign-of-qatari-public-diplomacy-in-latin-america

Digital Authorianism in Russia – Fashionable Diplomacy

Russian Presidential Particular Consultant for Center East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, in an April interview to Interfax information company, provided an perception into facets of Russia’s coverage goals, initiatives and future prospects in Africa. He highlighted a couple of obstacles for Russian authorities’s incapacity in realizing its set targets and duties through the previous a number of years. However what’s spectacularly fascinating within the interview textual content considerations Soviet and Russian schooling for Africans.

Bogdanov authoritatively instructed the interviewer, Ksenia Baygarova, that Africa has at all times been an necessary area from the perspective of overseas coverage of the Russian Federation. “This cooperation could be very multidimensional. For example, what number of Africans have studied at our universities? Again on the finish of Nineteen Fifties-Sixties, the Soviet Union performed crucial historic position for African peoples in getting their statehood and independence throughout their combat towards colonial rule. In fact, these historic ties give a strong foundation for cordial relationships. Many generations of politicians and diplomats have modified however it’s good that continuity and solidarity between our nation and Africa has been upheld,” he narrated and concerning the previous historic data.

Understandably, now could be time for creating the muse for the restoration of Russia-African ties after a sure pause which was primarily linked to home issues within the nation. After the collapse of the Soviet Union different issues emerged and so they pushed cooperation with Africa into the background. “A few of our embassies in African nations have been closed. Regrettably, a lot has been misplaced over this era, and as they are saying, nature abhors a vacuum. Others, western nations, China, Turkey, and India, crammed the vacuum that emerged after our ‘retreat’ from Africa,” he convincingly defined.

Monitoring, researching and analyzing the post-Soviet developments with Africa with data sources on the official Russia’s Ministry of Overseas Affairs web site indicated that through the previous years, there have been a number of top-level bilateral conferences. The overwhelming fact is that a number of the data pointed to the signing of MoUs and bilateral agreements, at the very least through the previous decade. In November 2021, a coverage doc titled the “Scenario Analytical Report’ introduced on the premises of TASS Information Company was very essential about Russia’s present coverage in the direction of Africa.

Whereas the variety of high-level conferences has elevated, the share of substantive points on the agenda stays small. There are little definitive outcomes from such conferences. Other than the absence of a public technique for the continent, on the similar time there’s the dearth of coordination amongst numerous state and para-state establishments working with Africa. Many bilateral agreements, on the prime and excessive political ranges, haven’t been carried out.

Along with the above, our monitoring and analysis present Russia grossly lacks public outreach insurance policies that might assist kind good public notion and construct picture particularly among the many youth and girls, and inside the middle-class that kind the majority of Africa’s 1.3 billion inhabitants.

Researchers have been making tangible contributions to the event of African research in Russia. The Moscow primarily based Africa Research Institute has an enormous pack of analysis supplies helpful for designing an African agenda. In an interview, Professor Vladimir Shubin on the Institute for African Research beneath the Russian Academy of Sciences reiterated that Russia shouldn’t be doing sufficient to speak to the broad sectors of the general public, notably in Africa, true details about its home and overseas insurance policies in addition to the accomplishments of Russia’s economic system, science and know-how to kind a constructive notion of Russia inside the context of the present world modifications of the twenty first century.

Underneath the geopolitical modifications and circumstances, Russia must open-up extra particularly working with strategically chosen social teams and enterprise associations in Africa. China has such a method and resultantly has glorious footprints. Whereas Deputy Minister Mikhail Bogdanov nonetheless speaking about Nineteen Fifties-Sixties, concerning the previous Soviet Union schooling, China focuses on totally different types of schooling, starting from short-term, requalification programs and tutorial fellowships to the common consumption of African college students. In addition to that, China has been coaching African civil servants and runs the Confucius Institute in some 20 African nations. It has lately opened the primary Social gathering Faculty and admitted first batch of 120 individuals from African ruling events who’re attending the workshop on the US$40 million facility in Tanzania funded by the Chinese language Communist Social gathering.

United States and European nations are investing within the youth. These European and Western nations, which Russians typically criticized, practice 1000’s yearly, starting from short-term programs to long-term tutorial disciplines. Throughout the days of Barak Obama, the White Home created Younger African Leaders Initiative (YALI). It brings 500 Africans to the White Home in Washington and this YALI nonetheless runs numerous tutorial and coaching programmes for Africans. Earlier than the Covid-19, The The Occasions Greater Schooling index indicated that roughly 43,000 Africans enrolled into American universities. There are numerous African universities and institutes with joint agreements operating programes, together with fellowships, along with Westerners and Europeans. That in contrast, Russia’s annual scholarship of about 1,800.

Moreover, France’s Ministry of Overseas Affairs along with Ministry of Schooling are collaborating with French-speaking African nations to supply an intensive orientation and academic coaching for 10,000 French academics in Africa. The five-year coaching programme goals at strengthening France’s mushy energy. In addition to coaching French academics, it has common college students’ consumption from Africa. France, like some other overseas participant, has been in search of efficient methods of bettering its public diplomacy particularly in French-speaking African nations.

From the Arab world and Gulf area, for example Turkey has been making inroads these years into Africa. It has shifted course and now pursues a extra diversified, multidimensional overseas coverage for the reason that finish of the Chilly Conflict. Turkey was accorded an observer standing by the African Union. In a reciprocal transfer, the AU declared Turkey its strategic companion in 2008, and since then relations between Africa and Turkey continues to be gaining momentum. It trains agricultural specialists for Africa.

In 2009, there have been solely 12 Turkish embassies in African nations, with 5 of them in North Africa. Now, there are 43. Turkish Airways has flights to 60 totally different locations in 39 nations on the continent whereas the Turkish Worldwide Cooperation and Improvement Company (TIKA) has almost 30 coordination facilities.

Arguably, the Presidential Particular Consultant for Center East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, likely understands all these when he admittedly mentioned in his Interfax interview that different overseas gamers are energetic and working in Africa. Statistics on African college students are, in actual fact, nonetheless staggering. When contacted, the Russia’s Ministry of Science and Greater Schooling declined to present the present determine for Africa.

For the approaching years, Russia wants a mannequin template of social coverage for Africa. With the rising new world order which invariably incorporates geopolitical schooling and cultural affect – most probably the significance mushy energy – for making alliances and inroads, networking and collaborating with establishments, in Africa. In a transcript posted to the State Duma’s official web site, through the inter-parliamentary convention, Chairman of the State Duma, Viacheslav Volodin, was satisfied that cultural and academic cooperation may very well be equally necessary areas wanted to be developed and intensified in Russia-African relations.

Professor Vladimir Filippov, former Rector of the Russian College of Individuals’s Friendship (RUDN), popularly known as Patrice Lumumba Friendship College, has underscored the truth that social attitudes towards foreigners first have to alter positively, the necessity to create a multicultural studying atmosphere, then the necessity to develop academic and scientific ties between Russia and Africa.

Established in 1960 to offer larger schooling to Third World college students, it later grew to become an integral a part of the Soviet cultural offensive in non-aligned nations. His college has gained worldwide reputation as an academic establishment situated in southwest Moscow.

“The current and the way forward for Russia-Africa relations shouldn’t be about charity, it’s about co-development,” said Evgeny Primakov, Head of the Russian Federal Company for Worldwide Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) and in addition a member of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Discussion board.

The Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Discussion board works beneath the Russian Overseas Ministry. It has, beneath its aegis, three coordination councils particularly enterprise, public and scientific councils. Primakov heads the humanitarian council that offers with schooling and humanitarian questions for the Overseas Ministry. Whereas speaking about initiatives particularly the sphere of schooling inside the framework of the connection between Russia and Africa, Primakov explicitly underlined the altering state of affairs in schooling and added that the variety of Russian state scholarships for African residents – for the entire continent made up of 55 African nations – has solely elevated from 1765 in 2019 to 1843 in 2020.

Primarily because of the coronavirus outbreak in December 2019, Russian universities for the educational yr 2020/2021 and potential college students had difficulties with transportation, security, and financing scholarships allotted via the price range. However the level is that the Russian system of upper schooling must be tailored to the brand new realities in order that it may achieve extra worth on the worldwide market particularly for the Africa’s center class whose youngsters may examine on contracts within the Russian Federation. That is strictly not humanitarian support as percieved by Mikhail Bogdanov and Evgeny Primakov.

Equally on the Valdai Dialogue Membership, tutorial researchers from the Institute for African Research and coverage observers held discussions on present Russia’s coverage, rising alternatives and prospects for partnerships in Africa. Fairly curiously, majority of them acknowledged the necessity for Russia to be extra outstanding appropriately and work extra persistently to attain its strategic targets on the continent.

The Valdai Dialogue Membership was established in 2004 with the first aim to advertise dialogue between Russian and the remainder of the world. It hosted an skilled discussions themed “Russia’s Return to Africa: Pursuits, Challenges, Prospects” to brainstorm views on Africa. Officers from the Ministry of Overseas Affairs, Africa Division have been current.

“I want to start my speech with the phrases of Overseas Minister (Sergey Lavrov), who mentioned, referring to the present scenario: ‘No extra fairy tales,’” it was an costly joke however fairly critical assertion, with implicationa and interpretations, from Oleg Ozerov, Head of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Discussion board (RAPF) beneath the Ministry of Overseas Affairs of the Russian Federation. He authoritative defined: “For us, Africa shouldn’t be a terra incognita: the USSR actively labored there, having diplomatic relations with 35 nations. Usually, there are not any turns, reversals or zigzags in our coverage. There may be constant growth of relations with Africa.”

In an interview with Professor Natalia Vlasova, Deputy Rector on the Division of Worldwide Relations and Cooperation of the Ural State College of Economics (USUE) in Yekaterinburg, defined that many African nations are creating quickly, the African elites and the rising middle-class are nice potentials for sponsoring their kids’s schooling overseas. She defined the need to develop bilateral ties not solely in financial sphere but additionally in schooling and tradition, promote trade of individuals and concepts within the social sphere.

“We should use the total potential curiosity and mutual sympathy between the peoples of Russia and Africa, an incredible need of Russians and Africans to go to one another to make buddies, set up new connections. It is going to be of excessive appreciation to African nations when Russian authorities create a social platform in the direction of strengthening Russian-African relations,” advised Vlasova.

Based on her views, “In occasions of Soviet Union, African nations have been strategic companions, and now we must always reactivate these relations as a result of within the nearest future they are going to have massive financial and political energy. This might, certainly, be an enormous market and has potential foundation for future diversified enterprise.”

However, consultants from the Moscow primarily based Heart for Strategic Analysis (CSR) acknowledged in an interview with this creator that the share of Russian universities on the world market is significantly low. On account of this, there’s a uncommon have to develop Russian schooling export alternatives, take progressive measures to boost curiosity in Russian schooling amongst foreigners. This could increase the collaboration between Russia and Africa to a qualitatively new stage and in the end contribute to the economies and the prosperity for each Africa and Russia.

As a part of the renewed curiosity in Africa, (Minister Sergey Lavrov and Deputy Mikhail Bogdanov) on the Ministry of Overseas Affairs, and prime officers on the Ministry of Greater Schooling and associated businesses should work extra on alternatives and various methods to extend the variety of college students, particularly tuition paying agreements for kids of the rising elite households and middle-class from African nations. It has to evaluation its cultural element in its present overseas coverage, undoubtedly, be directed at strengthening relations. It essential to share pursuits via academic sphere in sub-Saharan Africa.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a extensively circulated Russian every day newspaper, in article additionally reported that Russia has to give attention to younger inhabitants kind creating nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America. It has to focus on the elite and center class in these markets for the export of schooling which has nice potential. The Gazeta concluded that Africa’s fast-growing inhabitants as an enormous potential marketplace for information switch and export schooling.

Past all these developments within the Russia-African relations mentioned above, it’s essential right here to recall that President Vladimir Putin notably famous the nice dynamics of specialist coaching and schooling in Russian academic establishments for African nations. Putin, nonetheless, advised to Russian and African individuals to map out broad initiatives within the sphere of schooling and tradition through the first Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi. For the joint work, there was a remaining joint declaration, adopted on the finish the summit. The doc outlines a set of targets and goals for additional growth of Russia-African cooperation. The following Russia-Africa Summit is deliberate later this yr in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

For extra data, search for the forthcoming Geopolitical Handbook titled “Putin’s African Dream and The New Daybreak: Challenges and Rising Alternatives” (Half 2) dedicated to the second Russia-Africa Summit 2022.

https://absorbnews.com/digital-authorianism-in-russia-fashionable-diplomacy/

Competing propagandas: How the United States and Russia represent mutual propaganda activities

71 years of RFE/RL: How the CIA-founded American state run media outlet survived the Soviet collapse to fight Cold War 2.0

DIGITAL DIPLOMACY

 

The internet has triggered a major transformation in international relations. From traditional diplomacy which relied on physical and paper trail diplomatic ties, the international community now rely much on the use of technology to reach allies and citizens. National diplomatic policies are increasingly reviewed in a bid to have a fusion of both traditional and digital technology in shaping methods of interaction with the international community.

Generally speaking, the internet has become the needed fabric that binds the global community together. There is hardly anything nations can do without the use of a digital technology. Digital tools have also evolved to become agents of social mobilization. Leaders of national governments now rely on social media platforms like twitter, facebook, etc to communicate critical national polices. Prior to the evolution of digitization, this was abnormal as diplomatic activities were held in conference rooms and oval offices.

However, whether this transformation is sustainable and delivers on the mandate of nations to transact secured diplomatic business is a point of debate.

Introduction

For the purpose of this paper, it will be good to define the internet, meaning of digital diplomacy and the link between diplomacy and the internet.

The Internet is a vast network that connects computers all over the world. Through the Internet, people can share information and communicate from anywhere with an Internet connection; Britannica. The internet which evolved fully in the last twenty years has since become a network of fusion thread, connecting humans and machines through an unprecedented data language. It has also transformed the landscape of human interaction; machines have become intermediaries between human to human, receiving, processing and delivering messages to target destinations. The internet also holds the key to globalization; it has over the years, inadvertently synergized the globe into one community of people, by-passing and seemingly unifying global diversities. It has also expanded the frontiers of global commercialization. Nations and other entities now increasingly rely on platforms provided by the internet to transact multinational and multilateral businesses. The evolution of the internet was due largely to new technological inventions like the ‘World Wide Web’ (www), which created a platform for simultaneous and heterogeneous communication between entities. According to Britannica, ‘the World Wide Web is a system for displaying text, graphics, and audio retrieved over. A hypertext document with its corresponding text and hyperlinks is written in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and is assigned an online address called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).’ By products of the internet such as digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., all serve as platforms for social interaction, mobilization and engagements. This informs the decision by national governments to formulate digital policies in order to not only utilizes the opportunities the internet offers, but to also mitigate the associated challenges it pose which are considered threats to national cohesion.

As at January 2021 there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide – 59.5 percent of the global population. From this number, 92.6 percent (4.32 billion) accessed the internet via mobile devices. A report monitored on statista.com revealed that Northern Europe ranks the most regions with the highest internet penetration. This however, the United Arab Emirate, Denmark and Sweden, ranks as the most individual countries with highest internet penetration.

In addition, data obtained from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) shows that more than 75 per cent of the total world population has an active mobile broadband subscription, and over 57 per cent of households have Internet access at home.

The implication of the above data shows that the world is increasingly relying on the internet for global interaction. This no doubt represents a serious implication on national diplomacies as it forces governments to overtly or covertly conform to digital consumption needs or patterns.

However, as lofty as the potentials the internet offers, it has also been viewed as an agent of destabilization. Due to its vast, open ended and evolutionary potentials, the internet is often in collision with age long values of secrecy, cultural and traditional norms, and belief systems. These shortcomings have often been deployed by conservative national governments as excuse to clamp down on digital rights of citizens.

Diplomacy and Digitization

“Digital diplomacy, also referred to as Digiplomacy and eDiplomacy, has been defined as the use of the Internet and new information communication technologies to help achieve diplomatic objectives. The definition focuses on the interplay between internet and diplomacy, ranging from Internet driven-changes in the environment in which diplomacy is conducted to the emergence of new topics on diplomatic agendas such as cybersecurity, privacy and more, along with the use of internet tools to practice diplomacy” – Wikipedia.

Extraction

Diplomacy adopts a collaborative approach to issues. It deviates from the adversarial approach towards achieving solutions. Historically, diplomacy gained prominence after the Second World War. Faced with the devastating effect of war and man’s tendency for use of proportional force, diplomacy became a new platform for bilateral and multilateral conversations. This however, traditional diplomacy relied more on traditional tools such as face to face conversations, telegrams, and fax. Although telegram and fax are also products of technology, they however did not transform diplomacy into a digital entity. The reason for this was simply because of limitation in internet penetration across the globe. Although internet had been in existence since the 70’s, it was however not until the 90’s that the globe witnessed a rapid evolution. Since its evolution, many national governments have increasingly relied on its potential to reach many citizens and at the same time circumventing the bureaucratic bottle necks of traditional diplomatic channels.

Perhaps the major form of digitalized diplomacy was witnessed in the four year tenure of former president of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump. According to Wikipedia, the 45th Potus tweeted around 57,000 times, including more than 25,000 times during his presidency. This would’ve been more if twitter had not suspended his account in the wake of the invasion of the capitol hill by protesters allegedly linked to him and his speech over the outcome of the recently concluded elections. Although his suspension raised some digital rights questions within the digital rights community, a careful evaluation of his tweets revealed that many of his administration’s foreign policy decisions were first announced through his twitter handle. Many traditional news outlets and relied more on his twitter handle for policy decisions than even official government channels. For instance, the decision of the United States to recognize ‘Jerusalem’ as the capital of ‘Israel’ and the subsequent relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem was first tweeted by President Trump on his twitter handle.

Interestingly, Trump’s reliance on his twitter handle was initially criticised by many traditional entities who argued that policies of government were too serious to be discussed through social media platforms. However, since then, many officials of government now find it convenient to adopt the social media as a diplomatic channel, utilizing its wider reach and its ability to mobilize citizens. Agencies of government now also have dedicated social media accounts to policies and programmes of government.

Interestingly, digital diplomacy has been further heightened by the Covid-19 Pandemic. With the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, diplomatic businesses are now much more conducted through the internet. Digital tools like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, and Facebook live, or Tweet Conferencing, etc, have become an integral part of official government business transaction tools. The tools have also bridged the communication gap between government and citizens, as citizens can now follow up with government activities through official government social media accounts.

Gaps in Digital Diplomacy

In spite of the guarantees offered by digital diplomacy, the associated weaknesses of the internet make it a model that continues to require review and strengthening. For instance, some of the major challenges with digital diplomacy are the combined issues of data privacy and security. The internet continues to grapple with activities of hackers who specialize in hacking government accounts.

Organizations across the globe use the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for guidance on the technical safeguards they should have in place to ensure network and data security. NIST is a physical sciences laboratory and a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce.

In recent incidents, not less than twelve email accounts of major government agencies in the US were targeted by very sophisticated hackers. In addition, in the last twelve months, many government computerized networks and systems have been infiltrated by ‘Black Hat’ hackers through malwares. Most of the hacks targeted official top secret government data which were leaked to the public or accessed by unauthorized sources. The rampant incidences of data breach have made many governments to review their digital diplomatic policies.

Conclusion

The combined issues of digitization of societies and Covid-19 pandemic have made digital diplomacy the new frontiers of diplomatic relations. Perhaps one of the lessons nations have learned as a result of the covid-19 pandemic is the need to not only strengthen internet protocols, but to also make an optimal use of the advantages and prospects of the internet. It is therefore safe to conclude that while digital diplomacy serves the purposes of social mobilization and easy communication, there is also the need for uninterrupted internet penetration in all regions of the world.

Sunny Dada

https://www.tech24hours.com/digital-diplomacy/

Digital Diplomacy and the War in Ukraine

Digital Diplomacy: Game of Codes in Geo-Politics

Diplomacy is at the core of geopolitics today. But what is changing so fast is the tools of diplomacy. That is digital diplomacy. Big Tech is becoming a full fledge stakeholders and player in foreign policy. Then how is it unfolding in the policy planning as it is about understanding technology and all stakeholders in the tech spectrum and beyond?

Diplomacy is at the core of geopolitics today. But what is changing so fast is the tools of diplomacy. That is digital diplomacy. Look no further to test the finest of digital diplomacy taking shape when the India’s Ministry of External Affairs launched the MADAD Portal for online registration, tracking and resolution of grievances by Indians around the world. How did it work for India which is traditionally known for the systemic tangles overburdened with a continental population? MADAD became the unprecedented tool of the digital diplomacy which marked a new era of the Indian foreign policies for its global outreach. In this case, the digital diplomacy brought the massive Indian diaspora and citizen closer which is indeed a definitive shift the way our foreign offices were perceived as “exclusive” and “elite”, wondering in the world of their own. Now the digital diplomacy is about policy and diplomacy.

We are noticing the role of Big Tech evolving and becoming a full fledge stakeholders and player in foreign policy. Then how is it unfolding in the policy planning as it is now about understanding technology and all stakeholders in the tech spectrum and beyond?

Diplomacy is the way practised by the states to restrain the geo-political powers and influence the diplomatic behaviour of other nation’s government and natives through various approaches. The incarnation of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and its exponential growth is redefining the dynamics of society with the burst of high-volume information and data. ICT is presenting prominent digital ecosystem to quick access real time information with better mechanism of communication. The universal escalation of modern advanced communication technologies is changing the behaviour of states to interact with the global countries. Countries are using social media as one of the tools to establish the communication with natives and foreign countries. Now they established the digital presence globally, in turn various private user and groups are virtually engaging with states directly with good number of influences.

The advancements of IT are redefining the methods of diplomacy between the states based on various actors. Those modern diplomatic actors have been shaped through indoctrination of techno society. It is helping the government to extend their diplomatic practise in resilient manner they may not be practiced otherwise. The use of social media and other communication technologies is expanding the diplomatic reach of the state more aggressively. Technology is always one the major component of the diplomacy. The intersection between diplomatic theories and technology is creating Digital Diplomacy, which is modes-operandi of new-world states. The digital platform is enhancing the people’s ability to connect and communicate one-to-one or one-to-many approach. Internet has given vast opportune to states to amplify their diplomatic reach within limited resources. Digital Diplomacy is the quick demand of the future states to execute the smooth diplomacy based on computational and programming abilities of the state.

Digital tools for geopolitics

The entire geo-politics is imposed by the adequate number of complex and unpredictable factors, which could not be identified through the traditional diplomatic approaches. The diplomats should always prepare themselves to face the traditional or non-traditional diplomatic issues. It demands more innovative and expert solution from the diplomats. Most of the Foreign Affairs department using AI-enabled intelligent software to decode the hidden patterns of the foreign state’s diplomatic moves.

The deep involvement of internet and its penetration up to the last node of the society enhanced the voice of the global citizens and improved their interest in complicated global policy making. It reduces the exclusive control of states for the complicated international decision making and enhanced the involvement of global citizens for any particular issue. The spread of information has been accelerated by the use of social media and other platforms. The internet introduces the capabilities to the diplomats to broadcast the information in most cost-effective approach among their own citizens and within within the foreign citizens.

The massive use of social media has created major challenges for the foreign state diplomats due to the high volume of public engagements. The social media is an influential foreign policy tool which increases the participation of foreign audiences in a country. It provides the opportunity to establish the long-lasting relationships with foreign public. It enabled government to trace the public opinions directly and do campaigning for the all the activities with the aim to build the positive image of the government. In the world politics the digital diplomacy is creating the transparent foreign states and their interactions by expanding the effect of social media.

Digitization of Global Society

As per the analysis of Global Overview Report (www.datareportal.com) of January 2022 the following observations could be focused: –

  • Total population of the world 7.91billion
  • Active internet users in the world 4.95 billion
  • Active social media user in the world 4.62 billion
  • 62.5% global population is using the active internet
  • 58.4% world population has exposure of active social media
  • The average amount of time each day spent by the global population with internet is approximately 6.58 hours.
  • Per day the average time spent by the world population with active social media is 2.27 hours per day.
  • In active internet users approximately 92.1% people access the internet directly via mobile phones.

Day-by-day the internet adaptation rate has been enhanced exponentially, which is providing a single platform to the global population. The enormous size of global internet users is deeply influencing the existing pattern of the geo-politics and creating the non-linear direction of global diplomacy. The negative narratives on different social media platforms are fabricating the complex circumstances for the countries and simultaneously influencing the behaviour of the foreign nations. Social Media is redefining the international politics with more contemporary factors.

In 2016 the twitter war between Denmark and Sweden had presented the impact of social media demonstrated different types of diplomatic challenges. To avoid the non-controlled political situations in country, twitter is blocked by some of the countries. Most of the government has twitter handles, presenting the strong motivation to enjoy the new diplomatic instrument in the favour of the nation.

Digitization of Diplomacy: New Diplomatic toolbox

The massive use of new-aged IT technologies by the global powers framing the new generation of diplomatic challenges. The emerging diplomatic challenges could be handled through the new intelligent information tools which must be the part of diplomatic toolbox. The digitalization of diplomacy is completed affected by the standard and time-related domination of the digital platforms. The universal presence of states through social media interacts with the individuals or group of people of social media users within the states or outside the states. The inclusion of digital platforms demanding the new approach from the states globally. The unbounded and edgeless nature of online platform is pushing diplomats towards unique kind of diplomatic challenges such as cross-border-influences. Diplomacy in information era is completely mismatched from the traditional approach due to capability of direct connection with the citizens of foreign countries. The deployment of digital diplomacy is bringing Government, Civil Society and tech-giants on single platforms.

Statesman must understand and identify the role of global tech-giants and their control mechanism for the global geo-politics. The omnipresence of the digital eco-system is formulating the new centre of powers and ideology in diplomatic affairs.  To handle the such versatile situations, countries are appointing the tech-ambassadors. Tech-ambassadors are reformulating the diplomacy for the in digital era. The market value of some of the big tech-giants are more than the GDP of some countries and they are controlling the entire internet ecosystem. Gradually the internal mechanism and the policies of the government is affected by the influence of the Tech-giants. Due to the massive economic size and global expansion, the big tech companies are new model of nations and which is not unnoticed by the geo-politics practitioners. After identifying this new mode of power, countries are appointing tech-ambassadors to establish liaising with the tech-giants in the interest of the country.

Social Media: New era weapon    

The modern digital platforms are presenting a unique weapon to the diplomats in the form of social media, which enabled them to regulate the foreign policies by the influencing the foreign citizens. Social media is useful to provoke the behaviour of the foreign government by using ample number of negative narratives and helps to diplomats to intrude in a specific group of people of specific belief in intensive way. In modern diplomacy, diplomats are using the social media to deliver the messages and attracting the foreign natives through the real-time online modes. The modes-operandi of enemy country diplomats are to generate and broadcast the false-media footprints through the social media, which could disgrace and disturb the political stability of the country.

Different social networking sites are intelligent virtual weapons, triggered by the states for the enemy state to conduct the internet based psychosocial warfare within the limited resources and budget. This is presenting the new conspiracy theory, where the minds and behaviour of natives of one country is controlled by the external agencies through the social media. Those ecosystems are constructing the favourable platforms for the international power players to drive the conspiracy based on establishment of false belief, deliberation of inauthentic news and the practice of fact denialism. The misinformation could be speeded from the enemy land through the social media to disbalance the sovereignty of a country. Technology is providing lot of opportunities but enclosed with some hidden threats. The new established digital platforms are new channel of diplomacy between the countries.

Digital Platforms: Restructuring the Ideologies and creating Deep State

The availability of information technology up to last node of the society is creating the deep impact among the policy makers to identify the new matrix. Globally states are trying to define the new norms of the future governance. The world-wide outstretched extremist groups are misusing the digital platforms as their control room for fatal activities. The universal digital networks are accessed by the extremist due to its closeness feature and broad reachability, which helps them to execute borderless broadcast of their ideology. The appearance of digital platforms is very similar to the concept of deep state and it is creating the good number of political challenges for the countries by creating new aggressive political philosophy.  The frankness of social media is formulating the different ideologies in the same state with lot of local challenges and sometimes the local government is unable to stop such critical situations. The deep states are always mentored by the foreign states and create hard political environment for the local government. It is new era warfare without investing the good number of resources and by insisting the local citizens to demolish the local political peace.

Digital Diplomacy: The low budget game

The establishments of traditional diplomacy always required high volume of budget with the constant costly efforts. It is not easy to practice by the small states due to various budgetary restrictions. The concept of digital diplomacy is favourable for the small states to practice diplomacy seamlessly with the help of intelligent programs. By the Digital Kosovo, the Republic of Kosovo showcased the effectiveness of digital diplomacy to the world. Kosovo cached the various international recognitions and institutional affiliations with the help of Digital Kosovo Platform. It was launched September 2013 to practice the next generation diplomacy. The Digital Kosovo motivated the young countries to practice the global diplomacy within the limited monetary requirements.

Code Driven Diplomacy

The enormous development in digital technologies is facilitating states with ample digital intelligence and accurate analytical power. The exponential growth of algorithms, network infrastructure, intelligent software and robust hardware is creating the more comprehensive digital and knowledge platform for the world.  The advancement in data analytics technology is providing more interactive analytical capabilities to the diplomats. The positive social media profile of countries helps them to establish strong foreign presence and to connect the countries of same agenda.

The extensive use of algorithms and programming skills are switching the off-line and online diplomacy towards the hybrid mode of diplomacy with the extreme reachability. In social media different intensive agents different types of algorithms in digital platforms to split in different social ideologies and divide the societies in different beliefs. The social media is one of the best examples to show the use of believe-desire-intension model. The programming codes are to spoil the performance of government through the negative play of narratives.

Data is considered as one of the important components of the emerging economy globally, the exclusive analysis of available data would be the thrust engine for the economic growth. The countries are approaching towards the programmed economy and it will strongly reshape economic and political behaviour of the state. The blended approach of Artificial Intelligence and Diplomacy is an agile approach to do balance of the global geo-strategic powers. The smart application of AI provides the tool to user state by controlling the global-policy-framing, global-diplomacy, global-diplomatic-negotiations and global-data-gathering. It helps then to establish the frontline policies for economy, military, security and business. Technology is always an essential component to recognize the potential areas of future foreign policies and international diplomacy.

New Delhi

(This article has been co-authored with Amit Das who is Head of Centre for AI & Machine Learning, The ICFAI University, Dehradun)

https://www.financialexpress.com/defence/digital-diplomacy-game-of-codes-in-geo-politics/2589644/