Friday, April 18, 2014

April 18

"Psyplomacy model"

--According to Dr Nicholas Beecroft, a new policy (which he says he influenced) launched by the British Council which shifted "their model of public diplomacy from a marketing model to a relationships-based model grounded in a clear identity, values and authentic dialogue." Image from


The U.S. Is Being Routed by Russia in the Information War Over Ukraine - Kevin Rothrock, New Repblic: "[T]he State Department has been trying to reach out to Russian speakers on the Internet for years, but the crisis in Ukraine has highlighted just how clumsy those efforts are. Earlier this month, Russia’s Foreign Ministry went so far as to lampoon the U.S. embassy to Russia, which tweeted—to the amusement of many—a misspelled hashtag that was supposed to say 'the isolation of Russia.' Russia’s diplomats warned the U.S. that it ought to learn how to spell a country’s name before spreading “spam” and offered their proofreading services to the State Department’s press office. Recently retired U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul can’t seem to let go either, which only fuels the Russian trope of weak and pathetic Americans in thrall to Russia. He remains active online, where he engages Internet trolls earnestly, and regularly reinvents the rules of Russian grammar and spelling.

The State Department does operate a Russian-language Twitter account called 'Progress for Ukraine,' where it posts snazzy-looking, correctly spelled infographics, but many of its posts only recycle links from other accounts run by the OSCE, NATO, and so on. Even when the U.S. remembers to check the calendar and proofread its messages, outreach to Russians has been underwhelming. The other day, for instance, the State Department was soliciting Twitter users for questions with a hashtag that translates to the less-than-sexy ‘the Hour of Truth.’ When Russians see this, it’s hard to expect them to believe that America understands them. Language like this is clearly intended to convey a sense of certitude and righteousness. On the Internet, and perhaps for Russians in general, this humorlessness and lack of irony is a death sentence. Until the Americans understand this, Russian jokes will win every time."

Department of State Public Diplomacy Schedule, April 17, 2014 - "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS RICHARD STENGEL 2:15 p.m. Under Secretary Stengel meets with U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker, at the Department of State." See also (2)

The Dangers of Soft Power: Government backed cultural programs often come across as just propaganda - Michael Shank, "Whether it’s a reality TV show on the Niger Delta sponsored by the State Department, theatre forums in Yemen’s fourth largest city, Hudaydah, sponsored by the Defense Department, or radio programs in Nairobi sponsored by USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, the U.S. government is getting increasingly creative about how

to use the cultural sector to do diplomacy, development and defense. Our government is not alone in this expansion of soft power, as governments throughout the European Union are sponsoring and spearheading similar initiatives throughout the Middle East and North Africa, for example. There is a danger, however, if not done right, and peacebuilders and conflict prevention practitioners on the ground rightly argue that governments shouldn’t be in the business of exporting Western arts and cultural models (e.g. former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice funding the export of a Sesame Street-type U.S.-based program in Indonesia, which brought Elmo to Islamic schools) or expropriating indigenous practices for a U.S. agenda. People on the ground in a given U.S. war zone – irrespective of whether they are 'for us or against us,' to quote former President George W. Bush – are understandably skeptical of U.S. intention, no matter how softly formed the policy. " Image from entry

The March of Public Diplomacy Needs to Get Louder - Tara Sonenshine, Public Diplomacy Council: "Whether you are a Russian speaking citizen in Odessa, or a non-Russian speaking citizen in Luhansk, you simply want to live in a free, peaceful and prosperous country. You want to know that you can afford gas and food and that your children will be safe. So what can the U.S. government say and do through public diplomacy to assuage fears and reduce tensions and to advance our own national security interests and values while promoting core global values? Here are a few messages: 1. The United States adheres to the principles of national sovereignty and respect for borders. 2. Governments duly elected to office have obligations to protect their own citizens. 3. The United States cares about the safety and well being of citizens. 4. Rule of law is paramount to the health and well being of societies. Governments that violate international human rights and rule of law shall be punished. Individual liberties and freedoms matter as do the rights of minorities in every country. 5. Diplomacy is far cheaper than war. Public diplomacy matters. As we see the use of force growing, we have to combat extremism and illegal behavior with consistent messaging. It is good to see the U.S. government using Twitter to push back hard in Russian on Russian propaganda (@UkrProgress) as well as launching Russian-language platforms on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and LiveJournal."

Now, not Later! Capture the Lessons Learned! - Donald Bishop, Public Diplomacy Council: "[W]hat self-respecting profession shakes off more than a decade of war [in Iraq, in Afghanistan]

with no self-examination of the experience? ... When I speak of capturing 'lessons learned,' I am speaking institutionally about the 'civilian' side of the war – diplomacy; public diplomacy; the embassy, consulates, and PRTs; coordination with the military commands and representatives of other cabinet departments and agencies; resources, money, people, and so on. This includes organizational paradigms, institutional repertoires, career patterns and incentives too. All influenced the 'civ' responses to the wars, and we need to clarify them." Image from entry

Global Perceptions of U.S. Leadership Improve in 2013: "Gallup and Meridian International on April 10th released their fifth annual report on how U.S. leadership is perceived around the world at the Gallup Building in Washington, DC. The U.S. received the highest global approval ratings out of five global powers, including Germany, China, the European Union, and Russia. ... Governor James J. Blanchard, Chairman of Meridian Board of Trustees, delivered the introductory remarks. Jon Clifton, Managing Director of Gallup World Poll, presented survey data, explaining that polls were conducted in both major urban areas and less developed rural areas. ... ... The country representatives helped explain the findings. Nigeria, for example, like other African countries, showed a high approval rate (60 percent), but Ambassador Adefuye suggested that a 17 percent decline from the previous year was the result of Obama’s neglect of his country. Moldova registered 42 percent, a four percent increase from the previous year, which Ambassador Munteau said was due to rising public diplomacy among young people. Ambassador Glassman pointed out that the poll tends to reflect people’s impression of the U.S. as a whole, making it difficult to assess the participants’ evaluation of U.S. leadership alone. He suggested that approval ratings could be improved if the U.S. were to demonstrate more respect for other nations. 'There are three reasons why people often don’t like the U.S. around the world,' Glassman said, 'The first is they don’t understand our politics; second is they don’t understand our policies; and third is they feel the U.S. is not showing respect to them.' Holliday said that students in the U.S. should learn more about the rest of the world in order to support their country’s leadership role. The conclusion was that the U.S. faces more challenges in 2014 in enhancing perception of its leadership around the world. The mains challenges include its response to Russia, together with its NATO partners, as well as its ongoing attempts to rebalance power in the Asia-Pacific. Read the complete findings from the U.S.-Global Leadership Project here.'"

Blame the IBB, not the BBG Board, for making U.S. media outreach dysfunctional, says former VOA and IBB executive -  BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "Journalist, writer and former Voice of America (VOA) and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executive, Ted Lipien, sent us his comment to an op-ed by James Jay Carafano in The Washington Examiner: 'It’s time for Congress

to hit the ‘reset’ button on public diplomacy.' We do not disagree with the basic premise of Mr. Carafano’s commentary. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is responsible for the dysfunctional state of U.S. international broadcasting/media outreach. Lipien also does not question Carafano’s basic thesis, but he makes a strong argument that the real culprit is not the institution of an oversight board per se, but the enormous and uncontrolled IBB bureaucracy." Carafano image from entry

ForMin Corlatean meets NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy - "Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean met on Tuesday with NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who is on a two day visit to Romania on April 14 - 15, informs a release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the cited source, the talks tackled the public diplomacy dimension of the North Atlantic Alliance, with emphasis on the actions organized by Romania to mark the 10th anniversary of its NATO accession, AND the activity of NATO Contact Point Embassies in partner states.

The two officials also discussed aspects related to strengthening NATO's public diplomacy segment, in the context of the latest security developments in Ukraine. ... NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said she shared the views of the Romanian side regarding the importance of the public diplomacy dimension in the current security context determined by developments in Ukraine, and thanked Romania both for its ample participation in Allied missions and operations, and for its concrete contributions to public diplomacy programs." Uncaptioned image from entry

Venezuelan Protests: Latin America Is Watching - Pablo Scuticchio, Among analysts, the most common explanation for Latin American government and civil society interest in Venezuela revolves around Chávez, focusing specifically on his foreign policy and public diplomacy: generous resource transfers—both to incumbent governments and ideologically proximate

political movements; appeal to a shared continental sense of anti-Americanism; all delivered by a charismatic leader that supposedly struck a chord with the region’s strongman tradition. Image from entry, with caption: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff receiving a Hugo Chávez picture from Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Gang of Three? Why Obama Must Bring Seoul and Tokyo Together - "When U.S. President Barack Obama touches down in Asia later this month for a long-overdue trip, he will have a daunting challenge ahead of him. ... The past year has seen little respite from the constant sniping and bitterness that has long characterized Japan-Korea relations. ... So far, of course, the feuding has not approached anything resembling Tokyo’s standoff with Beijing in the East China Sea.

Japan and Korea continue to manage their territorial dispute over the Liancourt Rocks, a group of islets claimed by both Seoul and Tokyo, using formal diplomatic channels. And the relationship has also not yet reached the point where both sides are on a complete public diplomacy offensive, as with China’s approach to discrediting the Abe government overseas. Image from entry, with caption: Barack Obama meets with Park Geun-hye and Shinzo Abe in The Hague, March 2014.

Shanghai 2010 World Expo at Street Level: The Local Dimensions of a Public Diplomacy Spectacle - Nicholas Dynon, "Internationally, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo was a major tourism and branding draw card for its host city. Domestically, the Expo constituted a major source of national pride and a key vehicle for the promotion of official messages reinforcing traditional state propaganda themes. Like the Beijing Olympics two years prior, the Shanghai World Expo was an opportunity for the state to cross-brand its messages with the fervor and prestige surrounding a world-class event. This essay’s seven photographs explore the domestic cross-branding of the World Expo with traditional propaganda messaging as it appeared in advertising posters/billboards throughout downtown Shanghai during the Expo. Although not all constitute direct political advertising, they all nevertheless perform a definite ideological role in reinforcing key propaganda themes. ... These photographs provide for a vivid insight into the domestic state public relations dimensions of what was otherwise a major international public diplomacy event." Among the photos: Juvenile art competition: “Go Expo!” (Shibo jiayou)

Innovation Diplomacy: World comes to Greater Boston to learn innovation from MIT - Fiona Murray and Phil Budden, "In one thread, innovation diplomacy is about innovation in (or for) diplomacy – namely the game-changing application of new technologies (such as FDR’s hotline to Churchill’s bunker during the Second World War) and techniques (such as public diplomacy through social media) to the long-established practice of formal diplomacy. This is an interesting area but usually the preserve of professional diplomats, their foreign services and diplomatic academies. Boston is home to two key centers in this area: Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Tufts’ Fletcher School."

The Daily: France’s Economic Diplomacy Shuffle -

Justine Saquilayan - trisight.og: "From the desert heat of Arizona, Justine Saquilayan comes to USC as a first-year candidate in the M.A. Strategic Public Relations program. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Arizona, where she performed classical clarinet and acted as conductor of bands and orchestras in various K-12 settings.

She currently holds the position of PR Specialist within USC’s renowned Center on Public Diplomacy, where she is responsible for strategic planning, promotional material creation and social media management. Her professional interests include agency PR, corporate communications, speechwriting and the performing arts." Saquilayan image from entry


Selfie Diplomacy Solves all Problems in Pakistan - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: You’ll be forgiven if you did not know that your Department of State in Pakistan hosted Social Media Summit 2014. A bunch of bloggers gathered under the wings of the U.S. embassy to discuss “Social Media for Social Change.” Panel sessions focused on perennial, go-to U.S. feel good topics such as youth activism, peace promotion, women’s empowerment, and entrepreneurship. Fun fact: those same topics form the “broad themes” of U.S. reconstruction efforts now in Afghanistan, and were our major goals in Iraq

That’s your American ambassador pictured there, “getting down” with “hip” youngsters prior to their initiation ceremony as Taliban recruits.

US anti-Russian propaganda biased and misleading as never before">US anti-Russian propaganda biased and misleading as never before - As the post-coup regime in Ukraine sends troops and paramilitaries to crack down on ethnic Russian protesters in the east, the US news media continues to feed the American public a steady dose of anti-Russian propaganda, often wrapped in accusations of "Russian propaganda", writes Robert Parry, Consortium News founder and editor in chief.

The New York Times’ propaganda campaign against Russia over Ukraine - Alex Lantier, World Socialisgt Website: The denunciations of Russia published in yesterday’s New York Times, as the armed forces of the US and European-backed Kiev regime assaulted protesters in eastern Ukraine, are vile propaganda. The newspaper whitewashes the social and political character of the new Ukrainian government, installed in a fascist-led putsch in February, and blames on Moscow the violence that has been orchestrated in Washington and Berlin.

Ukraine: Kiev Fails Again, Propaganda Aims for WWIII - b, The anti-Russian onslaught in the "western" media continues.

AP Blasts “Russian Propaganda War” Over Ukraine - Gary Leupp, Perhaps the Russian narrative is too slick. The west is not behind everything, surely. But successive U.S. administrations have indeed seemed hell-bent upon provoking Russian response with relentless expansion of NATO. Is Moscow really supposed to accept Ukrainian entrance into EU, subject to an imposed austerity program, defaulting on its debts to Russia; and entrance into a hostile military pact likely to throw the Russian fleet out of its Crimean base dating to 1783? The U.S. State Department story is slick too. A mass-based democratic movement (with some U.S. help), overthrew a dictator, who’s supported by big bad Putin (who wants to reconstitute the Soviet Union, and thwart the desire of the Ukrainian people to join Europe). It’s just a matter of the sovereign right of a nation to make its own decisions. Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty requires condemnation of the “international community” and appropriate sanctions.

Propaganda and Russia’s Unconventional Political War - Deiniol Jones, Russians are still turning to the internet for their news. It is therefore important to avoid crude Russophobia, which, like economic sanctions, ‘produces the kind of atmosphere that dictators love.’

Another good, recent suggestion was that those who can should tweet in Russian, so that Russian speakers can continue to gain access to international media and opinion. It is a cliche that the first casualty of war is the truth. However, as someone said, Germany did invade Poland in 1939. Accurate reporting and awareness of propaganda techniques is vital. Image from entry

“Russia has not invaded Ukraine,” and other great moments in Russian propaganda [VIDEO] - Oh, you know, just a casual ‘Russia actually hasn’t invaded Ukraine, because that’s really just misinformation peddled by the fascists within the illegal government in Kiev,’ and whatever.

East Ukraine crisis and the 'fascist' matrix: Is the Russian leadership fomenting ideological links with some far-right European parties? - Halya Coynash, The Political Capital Institute suggests that there are ideological links between some far-right European parties and the current Russian leadership. Russia, it says, has under Vladimir Putin, set its sights on the restoration of the country's status as a world power.

Far-right and other parties seeking to undermine European unity and taking an anti-Western line are presumably to play a role in its fulfilment of Russia's imperialist aspirations. So, too, are the references to "fascists" used as an attempt to justify Ukraine's dismemberment. The world has been here before, and the price for collaborating with fascists and for failure to react to clear danger proved tragically high. Image from entry, with caption: Separatists have occupied administrative buildings in a number of regions in eastern Ukraine

Russian Media Accused Of Using Propaganda In Ukraine Reporting - KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Throughout this crisis, the Russian media has been casting the new Ukrainian government as illegitimate, dominated by neo-Nazis and deeply hostile to the Russian-speaking minority.

Worldview: Putin plays long game - Trudy Rubin, The Kremlin campaign on Crimea and eastern Ukraine has taken propaganda to a new level.

Why the CIA Wants You to Be a Pacifist - Wes Freeman, Psychological Operations (PSYOP) or (as it has been known since 2010) Military Information Support Operations (MISO) are CIA operations geared towards conveying selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals – both inside and outside the United States.

“White propaganda” accurately identifies its source. “Grey propaganda” does not specifically identify its source. Rather than identifying the source, one might see: “It was reported yesterday that …” or “reliable sources report that…”or “eye-witnesses said they saw….” It attempts to appear authoritative and to avoid appearing as partisan propaganda. “Black propaganda” is propaganda information that purposefully misidentifies its source, usually the opponent, who is falsely credited for the information. Image from entry

Public Relations - Propaganda as an Economic Branch - Lukas Boehm, The borders between skillful PR, dull propaganda and lobbyism and corruption are generally flowing. The only possibility for protecting oneself against this is to be informed as extensively and independently as possible. This is easier said than done; information costs energy and time and assumes a basic education. Therefore it does not seem the manipulation of the majority by persons with “innate leadership qualities” or the “ability to give urgently needed impulses to society” will end.

Hollywood Smashes Hitler! Propaganda-tainment from WW2 - Fri. Apr 18 - 8PM - Oddball Films and guest curator Lynn Cursaro present: Hollywood Smashes Hitler! Propaganda-tainment from WW2 featuring a smattering of 16mm delights from the 1940s. During the big one, the Hollywood homefront pitched in big time! Silver screen stars served and those who didn’t signed on to support the war effort in their special way. Filmlanders shilled for war bonds in the glittering All Star Bond Rally (1945) featuring Bob Hope and Carmen Miranda. Frank Sinatra shines as a potent symbol of tolerance in the musical short The House I Live In (1945).

Director Fred “High Noon” Zinneman reminds us that refugees are people, too in The Greenie (1942). Kookie novelties such as In Current Events kept the message light with live action talking animals. Cartoons doled out info to both GIs in Pvt SNAFU Vs. Malaria Mike (1944) and the public at large with Meet John Doughboy (1941). The USO could count on manic Betty Hutton in The Stork Club (1945) and crafty comic strip pals Nancy and Sluggo Doin' Their Bit (1940s) to lend a hand. And MORE! Home-baked carrot cookies and other Victory treats while they last! Get those bandages rolled early and come on down! Image from entry, with caption: Drawn into the War... Effort


Image from, with comment: Max Sher, a Russian photographer, thinks of his deadpan photos of post-Soviet Russia as a kind of defiance against propagandized history. “Everyday life and everyday representation was almost impossible during Soviet rule,” Sher says. “Landscape photography could not even exist because it … looked not quite as optimistically as the government wanted it to look.”


--Via CC on Facebook

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April 17

--image from


American Statecraft [American Statecraft: The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service by J. Robert Moskin, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013] - John Brown, American Diplomacy: "Moskin, a Look magazine editor for 19 years, aptly titles his book a 'story.'

His work doesn’t pretend to be a specialized academic history. It’s a readable (but at times overpacked) narrative organized, for the most part, in the old-fashioned way — chronologically." Image from entry


Conference | The Future of Diplomacy with Diplomatic Courier and UN Foundation - Cory Leonard, "This half-day summit will explore the nexus between technology and social media and how they are changing modern diplomacy. These agents of change are acting as constructive disrupters by modernizing systems and by bringing new voices into old ones. The summit will bring together public diplomacy experts, leaders in policy and influencers in global partnerships to discuss best practices and offer engaging insight into the future of diplomacy and global issues. Follow @diplocourier and @DigiDiplomats, and #DiplomacySM and #DigitalDiplomacy on Twitter. 22 April, 8:00am to 12:00pm Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Rotunda."


Russia’s Ukraine Invasion: An Opportunity for America? If America takes a more global, strategic view, it can make lemonade out of the sour Ukrainian lemon - John Allen Gay, "[T]he real challenge in managing Russia will be the grip that the old Cold War mentality still has in Washington. Washington too often acts as though Russia (a fading power with serious internal difficulties) is the Soviet Union (a powerful empire with global influence and ideological appeal).

This leads to a slight hysteria in dealing with Russia’s recent expansion. For example, the State Department has released two strange top-ten lists of false or misleading Russian claims about Ukraine. As Russia-watching blog The Interpreter noted, 'It’s not clear how harsh rhetoric alone, or even a careful debunking of Kremlin lies, will impact Russia’s decisions.' And given that few around the world support Russia’s actions, it’s also not clear what the lists could have accomplished from a public-diplomacy perspective — or why ferreting out Russian propaganda could not be left to the media. It seems to have been nothing more than a high-handed gesture of frustration, one that will do little beyond pushing the two states further apart. This is not the right direction to be heading if the U.S. ultimately wants Russia to shift its focus toward China." Image from

Remarks to the 2014 SAIS Pride Conference - Remarks, Richard E. Hoagland, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, April 16, 2014 - "[W]e utilize our Public Diplomacy programs to spread awareness of LGBT issues through messaging and programming. Through our International Visitor Leadership Program, we invite foreign human-rights and LGBT leaders to participate in three-week exchanges to learn first-hand about human-rights policy and advocacy in the U.S.

We sponsor LGBT rights awareness programs such as film festivals, pride week festivals, photo exhibits, radio shows, journalism competitions, and visiting U.S. speaker events. We employ the power of social media, using Facebook and Twitter to amplify our LGBT message to receptive online audiences, as well as on-the-record traditional interviews and statements by high-level State Department officials. ... There are countries in the world, whether religiously or culturally deeply conservative, that will react to our values and goals with backlash against their own LGBT citizens. We should maintain enough humility to remember that we are terribly new at promoting LGBT human rights as U.S. foreign policy. Of course we want to do good – but we should do it, with patience, in a way that results in the maximum benefit for those we want to help." Image from, with caption: LGBT Rally @ Washington, D.C.I

Department of State Public Schedule, April 16, 2014 - "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS RICHARD STENGEL 1:15 p.m. Under Secretary Stengel meets with former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, at the Department of State. 2:00 p.m. Under Secretary Stengel attends a meeting at the White House." See also.

If it’s not PD and its not aid what is it? - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence:  "A couple of weeks ago the Public Diplomacy Council posted a piece by Joe Johnson on the ‘Cuban Twitter’ Fiasco where the US Agency for International Development set up an SMS based social network with the intention of circulating anti-Castro messages. What really attracted my attention was the title ‘Cuban Twitter Wasn’t Aid and it Wasn’t Public Diplomacy Either’. Johnson sternly denounces the fact that Over the past twenty years, the lines between aid projects and public diplomacy have blurred.  I have sometimes heard PD staffers cast their work as 'aid lite' social development. And aid officials undertake public communication and educational exchange projects that look just like PD programs. This leaves the question: if it’s not aid and it’s not public diplomacy what was it?"

Time To Hit The Reset Button On Public Diplomacy? - Brian Carlson, Public Diplomacy Council: "With a new Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy now in the chair at the Department of State, the leadership is in place to lay out policy recommendations for a 'reset' of public diplomacy."

OSCE chairperson-in-office to visit Azerbaijan in early June - Sabina Ahmadova, Trend: OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter will pay an official visit to Azerbaijan on June 3, a diplomatic source told Trend on April 17. During the visit, Burkhalter will meet with Azerbaijani officials.

The meeting will discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict's settlement and Azerbaijan's cooperation with the OSCE. After his visit to Azerbaijan, Burkhalter will depart for Yerevan. Earlier in an interview with Trend, Burkhalter stressed that the OSCE Swiss Chairmanship fully supports the Minsk Group's efforts and is ready to render any support to the Minsk Group. Switzerland pays particular attention to the initiatives and projects, which involve public diplomacy and aimed at restoring confidence between the parties. Uncaptioned image from entry

Australia Network strikes access deal for mainland China - "TANYA NOLAN: The Australia Network has had an axe hanging over it in recent months as the Federal Government considers its future. But today the ABC-run network announced a deal which significantly strengthens its case to remain in operation - an agreement to make Australian content available throughout mainland China. The deal trumps the access of all other Western broadcasters in China, and analysts say it shows the value of the network to Australian diplomacy. Simon Frazer reports. (Theme song from Bananas in Pyjamas) SIMON FRAZER: It's a theme usually more associated with toddlers than international diplomacy, but a new deal promises to make such content available throughout mainland China. It's being hailed by some as a major breakthrough for Australia's efforts at so-called soft diplomacy. Susan Harris-Rimmer is the director of studies at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at ANU. SUSAN HARRIS-RIMMER: It has to be number one really in the sense that peer-to-peer links, Australian to ordinary Chinese citizens, so citizen to citizen links, which is the subject of public diplomacy, is really very important. SIMON FRAZER: The deal has been struck with the Shanghai Media Group, a major player in China's broadcast landscape. It also has the backing of the Chinese government. SUSAN HARRIS-RIMMER: The evidence has shown over the years that in terms of an overall image of a country, it is that cultural diplomacy element which makes the difference. So we know that the most important part of British soft power is the BBC and the massive BBC world network, and so in this sense, it shows an image of Australia, it shows ordinary Australians doing things like cooking and dating and heaven knows what and we don't know what will capture the Chinese imagination. SIMON FRAZER: The deal, announced just a week after the Prime Minister's own visit to China, will surpass the media access of the BBC and CNN in China." See also.

Sina Weibo to be listed in Nasdaq - "Cheng Manli, Vice-Dean of Peking University's School of Journalism and Communication, ... [says] Weibo is ... playing an important role in diplomatic relationship. 'There is a trend in which many overseas countries value Weibo's function in the diplomatic field. It's necessary for public diplomacy in the new media era. Many influential people in the U.S., Europe and Australia opened Weibo accounts before they visited China. They hope to present a closer and more vivid image of themselves to the Chinese people.'"

A Delegation of Journalists from Central and Eastern European Countries Starts Visit to China - Shi Jie, "A delegation of 46 journalists from Central and Eastern European countries or CEEC has arrived in Beijing for a week-long visit to China. The delegation had been invited

to China by the Secretariat for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries. ... The delegation visited the China Public Diplomacy Association, or CPDA, on Wednesday. Both CPDA vice president Lv Fengding and former Chinese ambassador to Poland, Sun Yuxi delivered welcoming speeches, where they emphasized the great importance China attaches to maintaining friendly relations and strong cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries. In the afternoon, the delegation observed a regular press conference at China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, followed by a brief meeting with two members of the Public Diplomacy Advisory Panel with the ministry. The journalists interviewed the members of the advisory panel about Chinese investment in Central and Eastern European countries." Image from entry, with caption: Liu Haixing, director-general of the Department of European Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and secretary-general of the Secretariat delivered a speech at the welcoming reception in Beijing on Wednesday, April 16 2014.

Irvine’s Chinese Community Angry with Republican Council Majority - Dan Chmielewski, "The City of Irvine was sent a letter from Irvine resident W. Jia, a professor at Chapman University,  criticizing the council majority for politicizing a friendship city opportunity with a city in China. ... First the letter: ‘By purposefully allowing about 1000 non-residents of Irvine to occupy Irvine City Hall and dominate the podium to achieve their political agenda, you, together with your two other colleagues at the Irvine City Council, have advanced your narrowly defined ultra-conservative political agenda and have severely undermined the spirit, vision, integrity, and inclusiveness of City of Irvine as a well-integrated global village and tarnished City of Irvine’s global reputation. It is common sense that international friendship city projects are part of public diplomacy and good-will at the grass-roots level which merely require the local government’s formal endorsement to pave the way for the international exchanges between people of the two cities on a voluntary basis. Yet the outdated Cold War mentality you and your two other colleagues hold have arrested the open dynamism City of Irvine has been enjoying. You three are working against the national and global trend of global engagements.’ "


Russian Diplomats Are Eating America's Lunch - James Bruno With so many dilettantes in charge of U.S. foreign policy at home and abroad, how can Washington hope to compete with a highly trained Russian diplomatic cadre whose president’s tool kit of statecraft centers on the application of “blackmail, vodka, and the threat to kill” to achieve his ends? Obama’s foreign policy apparatus is bloated at the White House level, over-politicized at the State Department and dismissive of the expertise to be gained from career diplomats, with decision-making tending toward groupthink in an echo chamber. And if the White House believes it can achieve its goals toward Moscow by sending TV soap opera producers, hoteliers and other campaign contributor neophytes to face veteran Russian diplomats in key European capitals, it is nothing short of delusional.

Russian Media Accused Of Using Propaganda In Ukraine Reporting - The coverage of the crisis in Ukraine portrays the government in Kiev as neo-Nazis who seized power in a violent coup. That narrative has had a powerful impact on the way Russians perceive the crisis.

Ukraine Unspun Russian Professor Explains Media Manipulation - Glenn Kates and Pavel Butorin, Russian state media has been skewered in the West for its often outlandish coverage of events in Ukraine.  The "misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and occasionally, outright lies," reverberate "hour after hour, day after day, week after week" on Russian TV, according to "The New York Times" on April 15. But according to a poll, conducted in late March by the state-funded Public Opinion Foundation, some two-thirds of the Russian population trust government-controlled television more than any other medium. A lecture by a history professor, apparently recorded in mid-April, sheds some light on Moscow's media strategy and why it seems to work. "Television determines the agenda," says Valery Solovei, in his hourlong talk at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).

"The methods that I am talking about create a world view, something that's called a 'reality.' A reality is created for us. If we see this reality the way it is brought to us by television, then we act in accordance with this reality." Image from entry, with caption: Valery Solovei says that in order to create a new reality for Kyiv, Ukraine must look absolutely untenable as a functioning state.

Russian to CNN: Soviet Propaganda Never Reached Present Level of ‘Hysteria’ [incluces video] - Noah Rothman, Appearing on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper on Wednesday, The American Enterprise Institute’s Director of Russian Studies, Leon Aron, was asked for his take on the present state of anti-Western propaganda coming out of Russia.

Aron said that, in a number of ways, the propaganda he is seeing today is more excessive than anything he experienced as a teenager in the Soviet Union. Image from entry

NATO attacks Russia with propaganda factsheet -– Foreign Ministry - By trying to make Russia the culprit in the current Ukrainian crisis, NATO has outperformed its own propaganda efforts from the aggressive time against Yugoslavia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Thursday's statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website is a reply to a number of recently circulated papers, including a NATO factsheet called “Russia’s accusations - setting the record straight”.

Russian diplomats claimed that the factsheet was an attempt to lay the blame for the crisis in Europe on Russia. Image from entry, with caption: Foreign Affairs Ministry on Smolensko-Sennaya Square in Moscow

Snowden appears with Putin on propaganda show - At 2:59, Snowden appears by video from the “video lineup center.” They call it a sensational outrageous message from someone who “revolutionized the world by leaking the information about American Secret services.” With that, Snowden gets the floor. “Recently the United States, two independent White House investigations as well as a federal court all concluded that these programs are ineffective in stopping terrorism. They also found that they unreasonable intrude into the private lives of ordinary citizens, individuals who have never been suspected of any wrongdoing or criminal activity. …I’ve seen little public discussion of Russians own involved in mass surveillance. …Does Russia store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?” Putin replied,

“Mr. Snowden, you are a former agent, a spy. I used to be working for an intelligence service. We are going to talk one professional language. First of all, our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law. … You have to get a court permission to stalk a particular person. We don’t have a mass system of such interception and according with our law, it cannot exist. Of course we know that criminals and terrorists use technology for their criminal acts and of course special services have to use technical means to respond to their crimes including those of terrorist nature. But we don’t have a mass scale uncontrollable like that. We don’t have as much money as they do in the states. Our special services thanks God are strictly controlled by the society and the law and regulated by the way.” There you have it. Now we’ve seen it all: Snowden turned journalist. Uncaptioned image from entry

U.S. Media Propaganda: Russia Accused of Spreading “Conspiracy Theories” on Ukraine - Timothy Alexander Guzman, The anti-Russian crusade carried out by the American mainstream media is more apparent as the crisis continues. The media reports are even sometimes laughable. Russian state media has been skewered in the West for its often outlandish coverage of events in Ukraine.  The "misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and occasionally, outright lies," reverberate "hour after hour, day after day, week after week" on Russian TV, according to "The New York Times" on April 15. But according to a poll, conducted in late March by the state-funded Public Opinion Foundation, some two-thirds of the Russian population trust government-controlled television more than any other medium. A lecture by a history professor, apparently recorded in mid-April, sheds some light on Moscow's media strategy and why it seems to work. "Television determines the agenda," says Valery Solovei, in his hourlong talk at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). "The methods that I am talking about create a world view, something that's called a 'reality.' A reality is created for us. If we see this reality the way it is brought to us by television, then we act in accordance with this reality."

Most Russians Want McDonald's Closed, Poll Says - The Moscow Times:  Liberal Democrat Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky's call to close all McDonald's restaurants in Russia received a lot of media attention, and a recent poll shows that most Russians would be glad to see the back of the fast food chain. Sixty-two percent of respondents support the closure of all McDonald's in Russia, according to a survey conducted by

SuperJob's Research Center in the week that followed the company's announcement that it was shutting its three restaurants in Crimea. Younger Russians were more likely to defend the Big Mac purveyor, with 33 percent of those aged below 24 saying they wouldn't like to see the golden arches disappear from their towns. Image from entry, with caption: Sixty-two percent of respondents support the closure of all McDonald's in Russia.


From: Tom McKay,"Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It's Not a Democracy," Image from entry

April 15-16 Public Diplomacy Review

"Trying to get foreigners to like us is the default endeavor of the State Department’s public affairs officers, and, in my view, it’s largely a waste of time."

--Former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James Glassman; image from


The Future of Diplomacy - "This innovative half-day summit will explore the nexus between technology and social media and how they are changing modern diplomacy. These agents of change are acting as constructive disrupters by modernizing systems and by bringing new voices into old ones.

The summit will bring together public diplomacy experts, leaders in policy and influencers in global partnerships to discuss best practices and offer engaging insight into the future of diplomacy and global issues. Follow live on @diplocourier #DiplomacySM #digitaldiplomacy." Image from


Theater of the Absurb: Recent pieces, under Questioning Russophile eyes, on Ukraine and Sochi - John Brown, Notes and Essays

Image from Gila Monsta, "Oprichnina," cited in one of the entries ("Tsar Vladimir's Masks in Ukraine")


Hair advert mocking Kim Jong-un upsets North Korean officials: A West London barber's poster poking fun at the North Korean dictator's hairstyle upsets country's officials -


U.S. Takes Off The Gloves In Rhetorical Rumble With Russia - Carl Schreck, "The U.S. administration has ratcheted up the rhetoric as it wrestles with Russia over mounting tensions in Ukraine, engaging the Kremlin in the kind of confrontational and caustic war of words it largely eschewed during U.S. President Barack Obama's first five years in office. From a campaign to debunk Russian claims point by point, to social-media dust-ups teetering on the edge of 'flame wars,' the media blitz contrasts sharply with Washington's public diplomacy under Obama's 'reset' policy with Moscow during his first term. 'There's certainly a change in tone, but there's also a change in tone...on the Russian side as well. It takes two to play at this game,' a former U.S. official who worked closely with the Obama administration on its reset policy says. Even a severe deterioration in bilateral ties in 2013 -- including over issues like the U.S. Magnitsky Act sanctions, the bloody civil war in Syria, and Russia's decision to grant asylum to fugitive U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden -- did not spark the type of coordinated, multilayered information crusade from Washington like the one it's waging in response to the Ukraine crisis. ... Even before mass protests erupted in Ukraine in late November, some in Washington saw several personnel changes in the Obama administration as portending a shift away from reset-era realpolitik and toward a tougher line with Moscow. These included the appointment of Victoria Nuland as U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, whose candidacy was backed by foreign-policy hawks John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Republican senators who have accused Obama of glad-handing the Kremlin. Nuland, who was confirmed by the Senate in September 2013, has been a prominent face and voice at the front line of Washington's support for the Ukrainian government in Kyiv and for opponents of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. But the rhetorical sea change in Washington has primarily been driven by the extraordinary events in Ukraine, whose implications are seen by U.S. officials as having far more profound and unpredictable reach than other bilateral disputes in recent years, says Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. ... But some critics in Washington say the Obama administration is failing to back up its tough talk."

Swearing-in Ceremony for Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Rick Stengel [incluces video] - Remarks, John Kerry, Secretary of State, Ben Franklin Room, Washington, DC, April 15, 2014, U.S. Department of State: Kerry: "One of the things that I think about in this job a great deal, more and more as I look at the number of failed and failing states and the challenges of a cacophonous, turbulent world with an extraordinary amount of sectarianism, religious extremism, ideological radicalism, and teams of young people all in touch with the rest of the world through their smartphones, all looking for the promise of prosperity, jobs, education, and too many of them looking out at a political wasteland – so communicating in the midst of all of that is more important than it has ever been.

And one of the things that I’m looking for and really was excited about sitting down with Rick to explore was the question of: How do we tell America’s story with credibility? How do we validate our own values and reach out to the world in this difficult time? And how do we sell – and maybe “sell” is the wrong word – I think how do we promote, advocate for the values that put that great seal up there and made this the Ben Franklin Room and have created a tradition and history of diplomacy that we are so proud of?" Stengel: "[W]e’re a country not based on blood, not based on religion, but based on ideas. And a country based on ideas has to tell its story. It has to tell its story over and over again, it has to tell its story to ourselves, to the folks abroad, and we have to test that story. We have to debate that story. That is part of the story that we are telling people all around the world – that we’re not infallible. In fact, that gentleman, Benjamin Franklin, as Walter knows, on his speech, when – the day that the Constitution was ratified and signed, he said, 'Let’s all doubt a little bit of our own infallibility.' It’s, in fact, democracies that question themselves. Autocracies never question themselves. And that’s part of the story that we need to tell." Kerry/Stengel image from

Former Time editor sworn in at State Department - Keith J. Kelly, New York Post: "Stengel actually started work as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in February, but the official swearing-in ceremony did not take place until Tuesday afternoon in the State Department’s Benjamin Franklin Room. There, Secretary of State John Kerry

joked that Stengel was back sharing an apartment with Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson, another former top editor of Time — and CNN — who now runs the Washington, DC-based think tank, the Aspen Institute. In their salad days at Time Inc., Stengel and Isaacson shared a summer home in Sag Harbor with Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. A number of top Time magazine people, including Michael Crowley, Mark Halperin, Michael Scherer and Bobby Ghosh, were on hand for the ceremony as were NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Ali Zelenko, a former senior VP of Communications at Time, now at NBC News." Stengel image from entry

El redactor jefe de Time Magazine es nombrado jefe de la propaganda estadounidense [site provides English translation]- "Richard Stengel fue juramentado el 15 de abril de 2014 como subsecretario estadounidense de Propaganda (Public Diplomacy) y Relaciones Públicas (Publics Affairs). ... Al tomar posesión de su nuevo cargo, Stengel mencionó el artículo de opinión donde el presidente ruso Vladimir Putin lanzaba una advertencia sobre el 'excepcionalismo estadounidense', advertencia a la que el nuevo director de la propaganda oficial de Estados Unidos respondió ahora afirmando que una nación cuya fundación se basa en el principio mismo de la libertad tiene que ser excepcional. Según Richard Stengel, el primer objetivo de la propaganda estadounidense deber ser convencer de que Estados Unidos es 'el país de la libertad."

Рик Штенгель назначен на должность заместителя госсекретаря по публичной дипломатии и связям с общественностью: По словам Штенгеля, одним из факторов, побудивших его принять назначение, стала статья Владимира Путина в The New York Times [site provides English translation] - "Госсекретарь США Джон Керри утвердил в должности заместителя госсекретаря по публичной дипломатии и связям с общественностью Рика Штенгеля – 16-го главного редактора журнала Time. Церемония присяги прошла в Вашингтоне. По словам Керри, Штенгель идеально подходит на должность заместителя по публичной дипломатии – в особенности учитывая момент его назначения. «Важен вопрос, как мы расскажем американскую историю, как подтвердим наши ценности перед миром в тяжелые времена. Найти этот путь – искусство, и поэтому мы нашли того, кто подходит для этого вызова. Никто не знает этого лучше, чем бывший редактор одного из ведущих журналов», – сказал глава внешнеполитического ведомства США. В своем выступлении Рик Штенгель отметил, что одна из причин, в силу которых он принял назначение, – статья Владимира Путина в The New York Times. 'Есть глубокие причины, по которым я решил пойти на это, – заявил Штенгель. – Прошлым летом Владимир Путин опубликовал статью в The New York Times, в которой сказал, что очень опасно для народа думать о себе, что он – уникальный. Я думаю, что это опасно, когда американцы так о себе не думают', – сказал Штенгель. – И вот почему: как никакая другая нация на земле, мы не сформированы одной религией, одной кровью и даже не одной культурой; мы сформированы общим выбором людей, согласно которому все люди созданы равными и имеют равные права'."

Why Do Diplomats Tweet? - Michael Rubin, Commentary: "Not only does the State Department tweet, but so does John Kerry. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tweets constantly, even if at timesnonsensically. While it’s all well and good to embrace the new communications tool, the technology is no substitute for substance. Last month, the Public Diplomacy Council published an insightful interview with Laurence Pope, an experienced diplomat with long service in the Middle East. Pope was asked a long-overdue question with regard to the State Department’s Twitter outreach: [‘]Q:  The Department has embraced the social media to re-shape public diplomacy and transform American diplomacy.  What contribution can it make? POPE:  There is nothing wrong with the use of Twitter and Facebook and Zillow and Youtube and all the rest of it, but diplomacy requires speech on behalf of the state, and social media are individual expressions by definition.  This can easily create confusion —think for example of Susan Rice tweeting about the need to bomb Syria while the President was changing his mind about that.  I don’t know how many Facebook pages and Twitter accounts there are at the State Department —hundreds if not thousands.  When individuals speak through them, one of two things are true: either they are expressing American policy, in which case 140 characters is unlikely to be a useful way of doing so, or they aren’t, in which case their views may be interesting, but there is a risk of confusion… The Youtube videos newly minted ambassadors make are downright embarrassing.  They give an impression of proconsular self-regard which is in bad taste.  Diplomacy is premised on a world of sovereign states.  The State Department’s  fascination with social media suggests that it no longer thinks that is the world we live in, a strange notion for a foreign ministry. [‘] Just as diplomatic correspondents and the secretaries of state they cover err by seeming to conflate miles flown with success, so too does the State Department fail by believing tweets matter. Russian President Vladimir Putin must laugh when, against the backdrop of ordering the invasion of Crimea, he faced little more than a cavalcade of angry tweets from Power. The sad thing is that the State Department now spends millions on public diplomacy, Twitter, and translations of its Twitter feed without once asking what good its Twitter feed does. That is not to deny that outreach can be positive, but it’s silly to spend such money without ever establishing metrics by which to judge Twitter diplomacy—and sillier to treat new communications technology as a substitute for substance."

U.S. Leadership Rating Rises. Huh? - James K. Glassman, Strange indeed are the results of the annual Gallup survey of U.S. leadership. The massive survey, mainly conducted face to face, asked roughly 1,000 people in each of 130 countries, ‘Do you approve or disapprove of the job performance of the leadership of the United States?’ For the 2013 survey, 46 percent approved and 24 percent disapproved. That is a marked improvement over 2012, when approval was 41 percent. In 2008, the last year of President George W. Bush’s final term, approval was 34 percent. It jumped to 49 percent in 2009, then dropped slightly to 47 percent in 2010 and 46 percent in 2011. The five-point jump over the past year is hard to explain — except when you consider that the surveys in many of the countries took place as long ago as the spring of 2013, before the initial revelations by Edward Snowden that June, the U.S. false start after Syria’s use of chemical weapons, and the Russian seizure of Crimea. Even so, isn’t it clear that this administration has been abdicating leadership, leading from behind, leading by letting others lead? ... [I]f you look carefully at the question, you’ll see that the survey is not exactly about leadership anyway. It asks how our ‘leadership’ (that is, President Obama) has performed. No doubt, foreigners don’t think the president has fulfilled his promise, but they generally like what he’s done. ... The poll raises a question that I found on my own plate when I became the U.S. official in charge of public diplomacy toward the end of the Bush 43 administration: How important is it that citizens of other countries like us — or judge us favorably? The objective of foreign policy is to secure the defined interests of the United States — for example, preventing the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon or the Russians from taking over other countries.

Often, that means persuading foreigners to do what we want them to do. It may appear to be easier to succeed at such an endeavor if those foreigners like us, but don’t be so sure. ... Trying to get foreigners to like us is the default endeavor of the State Department’s public affairs officers, and, in my view, it’s largely a waste of time. Their job, instead, should be to use the tools of soft power to achieve our foreign policy and national security ends — directly, by, for example, telling the story of Vladimir Putin’s imperial ambitions to the people of Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova. Telling it not by preaching or explaining but by showing, with the most imaginative means, including the best technology.  ... Perhaps President Obama’s high favorability is ground in the respect side of his formulation. But not so fast. Respect is more than listening. It is also honoring other countries by showing that they can rely on our word. Is the leadership of the United States, 46 percent rating or not, really winning respect by reneging on its red lines and its promises to Ukraine and Afghanistan?" Image from

The Sources of Russian Conduct - Richard N. Haass, "[T]he West does not have the luxury of waiting to make sense of recent events in Ukraine, simply because there is no assurance that what occurred in Crimea is unique. ... A public-diplomacy dimension to Western policy is ... needed. Russians might think twice about supporting their government’s foreign policy if they came to appreciate its impact on their standard of living. And they might be surprised to learn the full extent of Putin’s personal wealth, a matter that should be documented and publicized."

Is Hillary the best choice for top job? When Clinton does step into the presidential ring a lot of attention is likely to be paid to her time as Obama’s secretary of state - Gordon Robison, "Clinton’s most important accomplishment [as Secretary of State was]... her effort to rebuild America’s image abroad after eight years of the George W. Bush administration. Public diplomacy is often derided by diplomats who operate in a more traditional, behind-closed-doors, arena, but it is hugely important.

Hillary’s willingness especially during the first year or two of Obama’s presidency, to use her star power should not be dismissed. In places like Indonesia and Pakistan she held unscripted Q &A sessions with students and other ordinary people. The contrast with previous administrations was striking, and the benefits should not be underestimated. That does not necessarily make her a better president (though it might make her a better candidate). Neither does it mean she should simply be handed the keys to the White House. It does, however, give her a compelling case to make as the 2016 political season grinds into gear, and that is worth remembering before anyone tries to brush away her time as America’s top diplomat." Image from entry

OMEGA’S Chairman: We Must and Will Support Freedom Of The Press and Individual Liberties in Haiti - "A strongly worded warning issued only days ago by Haiti’s CONATEL – the government agency that assigns radio frequencies and television channels, and also regulates the privately-owned commercial media – is now fueling a country wide rebellion against the new tyranny that is nearly fully established by President Michel Martelly and the autocratic government of the nation’s Prime Minister, Mr. Laurent Lamothe. ... 'No representative system of democratic government anchored on the rule of law, can emerge and take hold in any country, without a free press,' says omega world news’ chairman, prof. Parnell Duverger, an economist and professor of economics who is thoroughly familiar with Haiti’s economic, social and political problems.

When questioned about what many critics see as an apparent lack of response from the U.S. embassy in Haiti against the blatant establishment of a new totalitarian government that has occurred on their watch, given the huge financial support extended to Haiti by American taxpayers during the last few years for the development of a functioning democracy anchored on individual freedoms and the rule of law, prof. Duverger stated his belief that: 'America is a force for good in the world, and this can be seen in the behavior and achievements of not only U.S. diplomats, but also in the way the brave servicemen and women in the various uniforms of the U.S. military carry out their mission, throughout the world. More often than otherwise, quiet diplomacy is more effective than public statements made in the glaring lights of the news media, and there is a great likelihood that freedom of the press is among the broad issues on which the United States, the 'core group' and 'MINUSTAH' actively cooperate to help Haiti becomes a better country for the good of its own citizens.' I am sure, says Prof. Duverger, 'that Ambassador Pamela White, who has extensive knowledge of and established friendships in Haiti, is an excellent judge of when and how to use public diplomacy in lieu of a quiet but potentially more effective approach.' At any rate, it is up to Haitians to fight to transform their nation into a free society supported by strong institutions of liberty. A free press is one such institution." Image from entry

U.S. International Broadcasting: Framing the Challenge – Apples or Fruit Salad? - "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) met again last week in its ongoing efforts to manage and improve our international broadcast operations. As both a public diplomacy practitioner and as a U.S. taxpayer, I have a keen interest in seeing that our limited resources for international broadcasting are spent as effectively as possible. As such, I have followed the long and ongoing debate over where and how we should broadcast, as well as how to measure the impact and effectiveness of our efforts with considerable interest. ... The BBG and its services are not – and should not be – driven by a commercial desire for profit. Nevertheless, by framing them – either consciously or unconsciously – in the model of a conventional commercial broadcaster we run the risk of adopting global audience and budget-to-audience ratios as proxy commercial measurements of effectiveness. Instead, we should uncouple BBG performance from such measurements and use that freedom as a comparative advantage as we pursue our true objectives of advancing U.S. foreign policy and promoting access to objective news and information. In the end, we may find that the most effective ways of doing that involve targeting smaller audiences in particular markets or adopting all-digital internet platforms in others. Fortunately, many of these conversations are already taking place. Let’s just not get distracted by the global aggregate budget and audience numbers, avoid conflating fruit salads with apples, and stay focused instead on what really matters here. Jonathan Henick is a career diplomat with over 20 years of experience ... . He is currently working as the Public Diplomacy Fellow at the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at George Washington University." On BBG, see.

ZunZuneo: Do Former Users Even Care That It Was Secretly Built by USAID? - Yuliya Komska, U.S.-bound political narcissism obscures ... [t]he fact that imported 'public diplomacy' only takes off when the domestic preconditions are there.

Our criticism of the U.S. government’s covert or 'discreet' funding of communication channels like ZunZuneo or RFE presumes that they try to seed something non-native. But in reality, they often succeed precisely because they hit the nerve of the pre-existing discontent. Let us not deny authenticity to those who deserve it the most." Komska image from entry

U.S. Public Diplomacy Mission Statements - John Brown, Notes and Essays: Compares a 2003 State Department mission statement on public diplomacy with its most recent one.

Haifa University launches course in pro-Israel propaganda - Ben White, Middle East Monitor: "The University of Haifa has launched an academic course to combat the online 'delegitimization of Israel', in what it claims to be a 'first' for academia. In a press release dated 30 March, the University proudly describes the four credit course, offered by the Department of Multi-Disciplinary Studies, as preparing 'students to be unofficial 'ambassadors' for Israel on the Internet'. In the University press release, programme instructor Prof. Eli Avraram cites Israeli Apartheid Week as an example of the kind of 'phenomenon' students are taught to 'fight', describing the annual, globally-observed event 'an expression of pure anti-Semitism' (IAW also features in this promotional video for the programme). The 'Ambassadors Online' course began life as an extra-curricular project, before its 'upgrade' to the level of 'a full academic course' contributing credits towards a student's degree.

According to the University, 'achievements' by students to date have included 'an operation room that propagated the reality in Israel during the military operation Pillar of Defense', initiating 'propaganda delegations abroad', and creating 'viral memes' (including in support of Scarlett Johansson). The University notes praise for 'Ambassadors Online' by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose officials have instructed students on how 'to use social networking sites to defend government policies'. Other elements have included 'writing Wikipedia entries, publicizing hasbara (public diplomacy) talking points and confronting anti-Israel activists in online chat rooms'. The project is described on its own website as 'a joint partnership of several academic and student offices', including the Dean of Students Office and Haifa University Student Union. The programme works 'together with' relevant Israeli government ministries, as well as established lobby groups like StandWithUs and the Israel on Campus Coalition." Image from entry

Minister Hoxhaj: Parliamentary diplomacy and civil society play an important role in the recognition process Prishtina, April 7, 2014 – "Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Mr. Enver Hoxhaj, hosted in two separate meetings, on Monday, a delegation of Members of the Assembly and a group of civil society representatives, who in the past month have conducted lobbying visits for recognition of Kosovo’s independence in Romania and Cyprus. These two visits were organized in the course of intensifying efforts of cooperation and relations with the five countries of the European Union, which are still hesitating to recognize Kosovo. Lobbying visits are undertaken within a joint project of the MFA with the British Embassy and the British Council in Prishtina.

During the meetings, Mr. Hoxhaj thanked both delegations for their contribution and stressed the importance of lobbying on several levels, beyond the institutional and diplomatic efforts. Minister Hoxhaj emphasized that public diplomacy, often accompanied in parallel with parliamentary diplomacy and civil society, plays an important role in shaping public opinion in countries where recognition is required and can positively change the broad spectrum of political, economic, and social approach." Uncaptioned image from entry

Abu Dhabi’s New Approach to Cultural Diplomacy - William Rugh, "The Abu Dhabi government has therefore taken on a major role in cultural diplomacy that is new in the Middle East, and the motivations for it are different than those behind American cultural diplomacy. This new type of cultural diplomacy does not mean that the

Emiratis are exporting their culture abroad, but instead they are sponsoring major international cultural projects at home. While the shaikhs aim to benefit the Emirati public, they are also trying to use foreign culture to put Abu Dhabi on the map as an international player and to demonstrate tolerance, sending a message that the UAE not only welcomes foreign businesses but also other kinds of foreigners. In the process, this strategy benefits America’s image in the Gulf." Uncaptioned image from entry

Challenging the Pakistani Taliban Through Culture - Cynthia P. Schneider, "With these fighting words, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari did something no other Pakistani politician has done: publicly defy the Taliban (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan or TTP): ‘I want to tell the terrorists that Sindh will…be the battleground where we will fight and save our Islam…The grandson of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the son of...Benazir Bhutto, wants to tell you that Islam’s message is of humanity, of serving the people...Through Sindh Festival we have shown the world we are alive, and hand in hand with the contemporary world.’

The venue for Bilawal Bhutto throwing down the gauntlet to the ‘barbarians who want to take us back to the Stone Age”’ was the closing ceremony of the 15 day Sindh Festival  that the young Bhutto organized in order to ‘save our heritage and culture…’ and reclaim the social and cultural space Pakistan has ceded to the extremists.  ... What is clear from Bilawal Bhutto’s contentious and courageous debut at his cultural festival is that he alone in Pakistani politics is willing to take on the Taliban. And he has done it while celebrating the music dance, art, kite flying and other aspects of Pakistani culture the Taliban would like to eradicate." Uncaptioned image from entry

The Daily: Weibo Diplomacy Makes the News - Michael Ardaiolo,

Reimag and Kantine - Louis Clerc, "A little one to emphasize a new research project funded by the Academy of Finland: 'Reimag', for Reimagining Futures in the European North at the End of the Cold War. The goal of the project is to explore the systemic transformation of international politics and economics at the end of the Cold War as it was experienced in Finland and its external geopolitical environment in Northern Europe. The whole enterprise is based on the fact that archives concerning the late 1980s are slowly opening in Finland, giving the possibility to look at events unfolding between 1989 and 1992. My contribution to the project aimed at looking at the way Finland’s trade promoters, cultural diplomats and public diplomats did conceive of the changes happening in and around Finland. A part of this project concentrated on studying Kantine, a public diplomacy committee that gathered between 1987 and 1990. The article mostly makes use of Kantine’s archives, and tries to replace this committee in the developments of Finland’s national image management during the Cold War. The article has now been published by the Hague Journal of Diplomacy, over there."

Are terrorists 'media smart'? - "In an interview with Robyn Williams, commentator for The Science Show with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ASU professor Steve Corman discussed how research at Arizona State University is unlocking patterns in extremist media. ... The Center for Strategic Communication is a research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a strategic initiative of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Established in 2005, the center promotes advanced research, teaching and public discussions of the role of communication in combating terrorism, promoting national security and improving public diplomacy."


U.S. Student Visa Update: Upward Trend Continues - According to the latest figures from the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, a record 10,867 F-1 (student) visas were issued in Fiscal Year 2013, which ended on 30 September 2013.  That represents a 5%  increase over FY2012.  As you see from the chart below, the take-off phase, which reflects the rapidly expanding Vietnamese economy and the concomitant growing ability to pay, began in 2005.  With the exception of a spike in FY08 and a significant dip the following year, the increases have been steady.

Russia Is Quick to Bend Truth About Ukraine - David M. Herszenhorn, New York Times: Bluster and hyperbole, misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally, outright lies about the political crisis in Ukraine

have emanated from the highest echelons of the Kremlin and reverberated on state-controlled Russian television, hour after hour, day after day, week after week." Image from entry, with caption: Singing the national anthem at a pro-Ukrainian rally on Tuesday in eastern Luhansk, where ethnic Russians are the majority.

Putin’s Propaganda Campaign: Journalists struggle to disseminate the truth about recent events - Jillian Kay Melchior, Propaganda has played a central role as the situation has escalated in Ukraine. Disseminated by Russia and, until recently, the Yanukovych regime, misinformation has undermined the efforts of the Maidan reformers and also contributed significantly to the destabilization of Ukraine’s eastern regions.

You Tube Shatters Russian Lies About Troops In Ukraine: Putin Denies Truth To Obama - Paul Roderick Gregory, With the covert invasion of southeast Ukraine by its special forces, the Russian propaganda machine is struggling to keep the lie of Russian non-involvement afloat.

Inside Russia’s Gaffe-Prone Propaganda War: As tension mounts in Ukraine, the Kremlin's spin doctors appeared to make an epic oops - From Joseph Stalin’s socialist sloganeers to Vladimir Putin’s spin doctors, Russia has a long history in the propaganda business. But a series of gaffes by Kremlin-run TV in recent months suggests they haven’t exactly perfected their craft. Case in point: Ukraine. Earlier this year, Western-leaning protesters toppled a pro-Moscow president. All along, the Kremlin’s line has been that ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat from “fascists” the new Ukrainian government allegedly supports. And state-run television, the main source of news for most Russians, has done its best to reinforce this hotly disputed message—often with bizarre results.

Fule: Russian propaganda now more aggressive than during Cold War [subscription] - European Union Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule has said that Russian propaganda today is more aggressive than during the Cold War, and should be urgently counteracted.

Unidentified Troops And Dangerous Propaganda: The Latest Comment On Ukraine - It’s easy to assume that the unmarked troops appearing in eastern Ukraine are Russian, but a more nuanced approach is needed, says Volodymyr Ishchenko in today’s Guardian.
The way in which the attacks have been co-ordinated all point to Putin's involvement,  he says. But we should take a closer look at the situation, as “this does not necessarily mean that Russian special operations units are directly taking part.” “Those men could be former Ukrainian riot police officers,” writes Ishchenko, “many of whom fled to Crimea and Russia to escape punishment from the new government.”

Deputy Says CIA Wrote Songs for Soviet Musician Viktor Tsoi - Anna Dolgov, The Moscow Times: A lawmaker from Russia's ruling political party has lashed out at legendary Soviet rock musician Viktor Tsoi, accusing him of having been a CIA agent who worked to destroy the U.S.S.R. with a song that demanded social and political "change."

The iconic song titled "We Want Change!" — released amid the easing of Soviet restrictions on the freedom of expression in the late 1980s — was supposedly "given" to Tsoi by CIA spymasters, Deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov from the United Russia party said in an video published early April on his website. Tsoi image from entry, with caption: Legendary Soviet rock musician Viktor Tsoi had a tremendous cult following in the Soviet Union.

Japan's propaganda will not alter facts: Chinese FM - Japan's ongoing propaganda will never change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands are an inherent part of China's territory, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday at a daily news briefing. On Monday, Japan published materials on its Foreign Ministry website, alleging there was no basis that the "Diaoyu Islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times." "China has sufficient historical and legal basis," Hua said. "The Diaoyu Island and the adjacent islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times." No matter how Japan tries to propagandize its wrong position on the Diaoyu Islands, it will never change the objective fact that China owns sovereignty over the islands, Hua said.

Pretty Environmental Propaganda Posters from 1980s China - Rebecca Onion, Slate:  The great site offers deep thematic coverage of Chinese propaganda posters from the collections of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. The images below are from their collection of environmental posters of the 1970s and 1980s. In introducing the images, the curators of the site point out that this group of posters, produced at a time when Chinese authorities “became more aware of the impact of environmental problems on the country’s economic performance,” don’t represent negative outcomes of industrialization (pollution, blight, acid rain). Instead, citizens are asked to attend to their immediate personal environments—to pick up litter and plant trees. Among the images: