Unfair Competition: How States Use Disinformation to Exercise Public Diplomacy

Juan Luis Manfredi


The research examines Chinese and Russian public diplomacy in the new disinformation order and whether their strategies can be defined as public diplomacy when their dynamics, ethos, and scope break with the established literature. Both countries have gained an advantage over their competitors, mimicking public diplomacy techniques on an unfair basis. Putinism is not consistent and is not interested in Western reputation. Its objective—as confirmed in Ukraine 2022—is the control of the Russian living space and the comeback to the spheres of influence narrative. China self-promotes as an alternative to American hegemony. Its reputation is framed on long-term relationships excluding political values or interference in each domestic political agenda. In conclusion, the new practices represent a change in the ethos of public diplomacy, which abandons its orientation to dialogue and mutual understanding. Reputational security represents the realist turn (legitimacy, territory, security) and suggests the end of an era in public diplomacy studies.


public diplomacy, propaganda, China, Russia, ethics, disinformation

Full Text: