Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 21-22

"This is an infinitely boring country, which, though it has not the slightest idea about this, is condemned to a sad and pitiful fate."

--U.S. diplomat George Kennan on the United States (1953), architect of the containment policy regarding the Soviet Union; image from


Chinese Aircraft Carrier Gets Slick Propaganda Video - theepochtimes.com: "A state-run aviation company in China has produced a 'Top Gun' style music video for the Chinese military’s’ first aircraft carrier, the LiaoningThe video, commissioned by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, includes the Tibetan singer Rongzhongerjia in a white suit, singing karaoke on top of the carrier as planes rocket off, presumably to do battle against China’s enemies."


Remember This: Walking With Jan Karski - "Staged Reading With Academy Award Nominee David Strathairn

and Symposium Honor Jan Karski Centennial April 24 at Georgetown [Gaston Hall]  [.] World premiere work, collaboration of GU faculty, alumni, and current students celebrates the legacy of Karski, beloved late Georgetown Professor and Polish Underground Courier [.] ... 'Remember This: Walking with Karski' is free, but ticketed. Tickets can be reserved at performingarts.georgetown.edu." Via CS


Voice of America English news site ignores Kerry and Stengel, equates Obama with Putin - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "We found it interesting that Voice of America (VOA) English news website ignored the swearing-in of Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel, during which Secretary Kerry made comments about U.S. public diplomacy and Under Secretary Stengel commented about Vladimir Putin. ... 'Many experts believe a genuine and durable partnership could only be achieved with new leaders in Washington and Moscow' was the concluding sentence in a VOA news analysis.

Most experts would agree that this conclusion about the change of leaders is certainly true when applied to President Putin. But to suggest that President Obama is equally or even partially to blame for the recent deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations seems preposterous . ... The swearing-in of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and remarks by him and Secretary Kerry on U.S. public diplomacy and foreign policy may not be the most important news of the day, but considering the current crisis in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s information war, and VOA’s status as a public U.S. international media outlet, ignoring these remarks by top U.S. diplomats seems at least strange." Image from entry; see also.

Is Voice of America hobbling along? – Ariel Cohen, Blanquita Cullum, David Ensor, Dan Robinson respond -  BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "At the Heritage Foundation panel discussion today (April 21, 2014) on 'Propaganda, Disinformation, and Dirty Tricks: The Resurgence of Russian Political Warfare,' all panelists were highly critical of the management of U.S. international media outreach, particularly management of the Voice of America (VOA).  ... We had posted earlier a link C-SPAN video which shows most of the discussion but did not include Voice of America Director David Ensor’s remarks that VOA is not 'hobbled.' ('Don’t think VOA is hobbling along.') or a response to Ensor’s statement from a former VOA senior White House correspondent Dan Robinson that 'VOA has been hobbling along — very clearly hobbling along.' The latest example of VOA’s hobbled state was observed on Sunday, April 20, 2014. VOA’s English, Ukrainian and Russian services provided no online original reporting, much less news analysis, on the White House announcement about Vice President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to Kyiv on Monday. ... Social media pages of VOA’s Ukrainian Service (Facebook and Twitter) were not updated on Sunday evening for up to eight hours. A VOA Russian Service Facebook post on Biden was also not updated for many hours and did not include the latest information from the White House or any original reporting or analysis from VOA. Earlier this month, the host of a highly popular VOA Ukrainian television news program confirmed what critics have been saying all along: VOA management has not provided the Ukrainian Service with sufficient help and resources to do its job during the crisis. ... [Included in this entry]: audio files and partial transcripts of some of the remarks about Voice of America at the panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation on Monday, as well as a YouTube video from the Heritage Foundation which is now available online."

Deutsche Welle offers two news analyses on Biden’s trip to Ukraine, Voice of America – a short news item from Reuters - "Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) has posted on its English-language website two lengthy news analyses on U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine on Monday.

Meanwhile, U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) had no original news report on the Vice President’s visit to Ukraine and managed to post only a short news item from Reuters. UPDATE: VOA later removed an attribution to Reuters, which was there earlier can be seen in a screenshot below, and slightly changed the wording. The VOA report still has only 231 words plus a video not related to Biden’s visit. The video, which was produced on Sunday when it was already known that Vice President Biden will be going to Kyiv on Monday, makes no mention of Biden’s trip." Image from entry

BBG Marks The Loss Of David Burke, The Board’s First Chairman - bbg.gov: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors today paid tribute to David Burke, the first chairman of the agency’s governing board and a veteran news executive, who died late last week at age 78. 'David Burke was a media giant and a leading figure in advancing freedom of the press worldwide,' said Jeff Shell, the BBG’s current chairman.

'His name is synonymous with journalistic excellence. And he is remembered in the hallways of our agency as an inspirational figure.'” Uncaptioned image from entry

U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy - Remarks, Tom Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, Fort DeRussy, Waikiki, April 17, 2014 - U.S. Department of State (also cited at )- "[I]t’s no surprise that the Asia-Pacific has been a priority for President Obama since he took office in 2009. The administration based this vision on America's stake in a prosperous and stable region. In this, President Obama’s second term, we continue to build on those commitments to modernize our alliances, strengthen regional institutions and respect for rule of law, and engage more effectively with emerging powers such as China. Our policy is not merely words: we are dedicating more diplomatic, public diplomacy and assistance resources to the region. And we are diversifying to put more of a focus on economic development, on energy, people-to-people exchanges, and education."

Federal Register Table of Contents - insurancenewsnet.com: RULES Public Diplomacy Program Material within the United States ... Availability, 22016-22018 NOTICES Meetings: U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, 22177"

Russian Troops Unmasked - Brian Carlson, Public Diplomacy Council: "[O]ne of the jobs of public diplomacy officers is to lobby inside the USG for the release of information

that can be used to support our foreign policy objectives. Sometimes that means making the argument for declassification of evidence and information from the intelligence community." Image from

Press Releases: English Access Microscholarship Program Alumni Convene in the U.S. to Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Access - officialwire.com:  
“From April 20-May 4, a select group of English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) alumni from 23 countries will participate in a special exchange program in the United States in recognition of the Access program’s 10th anniversary. These high-achieving alumni will travel to both Bozeman, Montana and Washington, D.C. to develop leadership and community service skills and to learn more about the U.S. higher education system. In Montana, the students will stay with host families, volunteer at local area food banks and meet with representatives from the American Indian Council. In Washington, the alumni will meet with U.S. Government officials, visit a local high school, and interact with community service organizations. The English Access Microscholarship Program is one of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ core public diplomacy programs. Over 100,000 students in more than 85 countries have participated in the program since its inception in 2004. Access provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 13-20 year-olds from underserved communities through after-school classes, cultural enrichment activities, and intensive summer learning activities. Through the Access program, participants gain English skills valuable to their future education and careers, and an appreciation for U.S. society and culture. Please contact ECA-Press, ECA-Press@state.gov, (202) 632-6552 for press inquiries and detailed agenda.”

Building diplomacy: One handshake at a time through Gulf Coast Diplomacy Council - Allison McCrory, BellaMagazine.com: "The Gulf Coast Diplomacy Council was founded in 2008 by Jena Melancon, who had been involved in a similar organization in New Orleans. Melancon, still the executive director, considers the council's events a perfect platform for citizens to forge bridges with members of other cultures. The organization will soon host its 1,000th world leader to visit Pensacola. Among them are women in leadership as well as novelists, journalists, musicians and human rights activists to name a few. Not only do they socialize with private citizens, they also meet with Pensacola leaders. ... The local council is part of a larger network called the International Visitor Leadership Program or IVLP. Since 1940, nearly 200,000 international visitors have engaged with Americans through IVLP. 'There are just over 90 cities in the country trusted with this work,' Melancon says. 'The IVLP is a major component of this country's public diplomacy efforts as it supports U.S. foreign policy goals by enhancing mutual understanding between the United States and other nations.'" On the State Department's IVLP program, see.

Life-Saving Exchanges: Tuberculosis and the Need for U.S.-Russian Cooperation - Tara Ornstein, uscpublicdiplomacy.org: "Diplomacy experts have also referred to exchanges as 'the most successful element of public diplomacy.' ... While the true impact of most exchanges can only be seen over a long-term period and their value is not always captured through quantitative evaluation, professional exchanges seeking to reduce the global burden of disease can yield measurable outputs. ... [E]ffective interventions for TB must include a wide range of perspectives and professional exchanges, which are a useful tool that can facilitate international collaboration. The urgent need to include the expertise of Russian professionals in international efforts to control the global TB epidemic

must override U.S. and European reservations about partnering with colleagues based in the Russian Federation. Eight million lives depend on it." Image from entry

On race, the US is not as improved as some would have us believe: Despite the legacy of civil rights, some doors remain firmly closed. And across the US, schools are resegregating - Gary Younge, theguardian.com: "At the march on Washington in August 1963, where Martin Luther King made his 'I have a dream' speech, the United States Information Agency, the nation's propaganda wing devoted to 'public diplomacy', made a documentary. It wanted to make sure that the largest demonstration in the history of the US capital, demanding jobs and freedom and denouncing racism, was not misconstrued by the nation's enemies or potential allies. Their aim was to show the newly independent former colonies that the US embraced peaceful protest. 'Smile,' they called to demonstrators as the camera rolled. 'This is going to Africa.' 'So it happened,' Michael Thelwell, a grassroots activist, told the author Charles Euchner, 'that Negro students from the south, some of whom still had unhealed bruises from the electric cattle prods which southern police used to break up demonstrations, were recorded for the screens of the world portraying 'American democracy at work'.'

The US's capacity to fold the stories of resistance to its historic inequities into the broader narrative of its unrelenting journey towards social progress is both brazen and remarkable. (Arguably, this is preferable to the European tradition of burying such histories and hoping no one will ever find them.) Tales of the barriers that come down are woven neatly into the fabric of a nation, where each year is better than the last; the obstacles that remain are discarded as immaterial. What is left is a mythology cut from whole cloth." Image from entry, with caption: An early, court-ordered integration in a US high school

Woolly cancels Russian theater festival amid chilled Russian-American relations - Peter Marks, washingtonpost.com: "The dire turn in Russian-American relations has forced Woolly Mammoth Theatre to cancel a major festival of contemporary Russian theater that would have brought four plays and as many as 90 Russian actors, directors and designers to the capital [Washington] this fall. The decision to scrap the event, 'The Russians are Coming! A Festival of Radical New Theatre from Moscow,' came as its American organizers realized that municipal officials who oversee the arts in Moscow were unlikely to come through on promises of financing and other necessities for the trip.

(Courtesy Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company) - Philip Arnoult.
    Many Russian theater companies depend almost entirely on the government for funding, and need its permission, for travel arrangements. Howard Shalwitz, Woolly Mammoth’s artistic director, said that two festival organizers for Woolly — stage director Yury Urnov and Philip Arnoult, director of the Maryland-based Center for International Theatre Development — received confirmation of the collapse in a sit-down this month in Moscow with officials of the city’s cultural ministry. ... The hope is the festival might be reconstituted in a future season." Image from entry

    Through CSTO, Moscow Readies For Ideological Battle With West - Joshua Kucera, eurasianet.org:  "Russia is gearing up for an ideological battle with the West, using its post-Soviet security apparatus to counter the threat of "color revolutions" around its borders. The Russia-led political-military bloc the Collective Security Treaty Organization recently held a roundtable in Minsk on countering "color revolutions," the motley collection of recent popular uprisings that, in the Kremlin's mind (or perhaps only its propaganda), are orchestrated by the U.S. and include such disparate revolutions as Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia, and Syria. 'All so-called 'color revolutions' are carefully prepared in advance by the creation and training of 'leaders' and special groups capable of organizing protest actions of the population aimed at creating informational-psychological pressure on the government,' said CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha at the event. And he called for the 'collective response using the CSTO' to combat those threats in CSTO countries (which, in addition to Russia, include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan). ... Specifically, Bartosh calls for upping the CSTO's 'public diplomacy' efforts: [']In the framework of countering nonmilitary threats the CSTO needs to create its own system of public diplomacy, one of the tasks of which should be to form a positive image of the CSTO on the national and international level....In this respect, the explanation of the national policy in the sphere of defense and security, as well as the role belonging to each country in the CSTO, should be the prerogative of the government of the corresponding governments. Each country should independently choose the methods of information and allocate the necessary resources. The goal: to ensure the public's understanding of the policies of the country and its role and place in the CSTO [.]'"

    Defining "Russian Culture" - Yelena Osiposa, Global Chaos: “Russia's ‘identity crisis’ has been much discussed (and lamented) since the demise of the Soviet Union, and caused confusion not just for public diplomacy and nation branding (What is the ‘image’ that Russia wants foreign publics to have?), but also for its foreign policy strategy and priority-definition. Of course, analysis of the official discourse, as well as that of actual foreign policy could provide pretty reliable indications of where Russia 'was coming from' and where it was headed. Yet, the lack of any clear definition of what Russia stands for and consequently, what its long-term objectives are, has been an issue for quite some time now, especially for public diplomacy. Seems like this is finally about to change. As I discussed in one of my earlier posts, my preliminary research demonstrated an increasing consensus on certain key ‘values’ and aspects which were to become quintessential characteristics of the ‘Russian culture’, particularly as that related to the soft power which Russia wants to wield around the world and, more importantly, in the region. Last week, a piece in Bloomberg View on this very subject caught my attention. The piece suggested that ‘Putin is planning to put the intellectual and ideological foundations of the new regime into words,’ and discussed the draft ‘Foundations of the State Cultural Policy’ document initially reported on by Nezavisimaya Gazeta. ...  In short, Putin tried to boil down the essence of The Russian Soul into something more clearly delineated and, more importantly, more marketable, at home and abroad. We received an official confirmation (and this is as formal as it can get) that Russia - (now, apparently) a communitarian and group-oriented culture, as decreed from above - will be sticking with ‘traditional’ values, promoting them abroad, and using that as both a point of contention with the West, but also as a tool against them.”

    Looking behind the screens of the ABC’s China deal - theconversation.com: "ABC International has reasons to be proud of its recent 'landmark' deal to provide ABC content in China. The deal, which will see the establishment of an online portal, also seems to make it harder for the government to justify scrapping the Australia Network, funded by DFAT and functioning as an official instrument of Australia’s public diplomacy initiatives. The benefit of exposing potentially 1.3 billion people to Australian media content is obvious: Australia is competing with many other countries to attract business, resources investment, education and tourism from China; and perceptions matter. Some may think that doing business with the Shanghai Media Group (SMG), the second-biggest media conglomerate after CCTV (Chinese Central Television), may have the added benefit of teaching the Chinese media a thing or two about what media in a liberal democracy look like. But it’s not that simple. ... Despite the fact that partnerships such as this are considered to be win-win arrangements, China can be expected to do its own cost-benefit analysis. And there is little evidence to suggest deals such as this will lead to a more open and free news media environment.

    In more than one way, it was a coup for a news and current affairs program such as Q&A to broadcast live from Shanghai. That said, China seems to have gained much more. First, it was able to show the world and its own people that, contrary to the popular belief about China’s lack of press freedom, China is open, cosmopolitan and willing to engage with global media. This is China’s most important impression-management objective. Second, there was little risk of the Chinese audience seeing the Chinese government placed in a bad light. While broadcast live to the Australian audience, the show was not live to the Chinese audience except those in the studio. And it was scheduled to be on the English-language channel of Shanghai TV, a channel mostly watched by English-speaking expatriates and Chinese social elites in Shanghai. To these people, little that was said on the Q&A program was new. Soft power diplomacy is a funny game. Win-win outcomes are always preferable, but who wins more is a matter of perspective." Image from entry, with caption: The Chinese TV market is hard to crack.

    Adjournment Speech by Mr Mike Summers, MLA (27/3) - falklandnews.com: "[J]ust to note as one of our Honourable Colleagues did earlier that our Colleague, Ian Hansen is currently in the Caribbean on a public diplomacy mission. And according to his e-mail this morning he and Emily are in full charm offensive so it must be something to be seen." See also (1) (2) (3)

    The Role of Non-State Actors in Sports Diplomacy – Neftalie Williams, uscpublicdiplomacy.org: “This CPD Photo Essay explores the role of non-state actors, acting both as ambassadors between countries and as ambassadors of sport to both domestic and international audiences. These photographs were taken on a recent trip to São PauloBrazil. ... After deliberations in various languages between, [sic] Vinicious, Tulio and I [sic], a plan was formulated to capture images that would accurately reflect a slice of Brazilian life.

    With the creation of one image and an informal, act of non-state sports diplomacy, a bridge was created between myself and the São Paulo and Brazilian communities. This new bond allowed me greater access to São Paulo and the surrounding communities than if I were simply an American tourist visiting the area. Using skateboarding as the initial tool for public diplomacy, I was granted access to document various aspects of Brazilian life from the market to the favelas to help create narratives about Brazil. ... Neftalie Williams is a second year public diplomacy student with a specific focus in sports diplomacy. His main area of research is how skateboarding acts as a tool for cultural diplomacy, and the intersection of trans-national networks and global construct identity formation." Image from entry

    Tourist arrivals from China rise three-fold - dailynews.co.tz: "'Many Chinese want to go Africa as tourists, but tourism facilities are holding them back,' Mr Lev Fengding, Vice-President of China Public Diplomacy Association, said recently."

    An Opinion and Related Literature Piece Covering a Political Anthropological Reading of Prof. Chester B. Cabalza’s Is [South] Korea Open for Soft Power Diplomacy (2011) - angunggoyniminerba.blogspot.com: "A regular feature of description is how soft power is rooted largely in a country’s values expressed through its culture in handling its relations with other states [Ishmael: 2013]. It is now seen how equally political is the question of how culture should be defined, as well as what aspects should be considered under its rubric in this given context. And this is more so the case with a considerable framing of popular culture (and eventually a distinction from mass culture), since culture and pop culture have developed a degree of synonymity or rather interchangeability, at least if speaking with reference to soft power-related news and usability.

    And further, how does soft power diplomacy also differ from cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy? What is sure is that popular culture can no longer be dismissed as something non-political given how scholars such as Press-Barnathan [2011] have observed that key states have begun referring to it as a soft power asset, regardless of the question of whether or not popular culture can have significant impact on other foreign policies. The politicization of popular culture is viewed to be practically by default. According to Press-Barnathan [2011], this nature of discourse would be classifiable under 'High Politics' which is a convenient catch-all for topics falling beyond if not beside the scopes of the political economic and economic competition. ... [Another] matter asks whether or not the success of the Korean cultural wave (hanllyu) transmitted through TV dramas and other forms of popular culture would encourage the government to use soft power as a diplomatic tool. For a matter of humble opinion, it would probably be more valid to consider hanllyu under the context of public diplomacy. Scholars such as Bouissou [2011] express pessimism, scribing that the effects of soft power based on popular culture are almost, by definition, slow and work best when not pursued by governments. According to Otmazgin and Ben-Ari [2011], this is most likely due to incompatibilities between these two nouns (popular culture and government). The nature (democratized) and marketing of popular culture would be best in a flexible and dynamic environment, while the government being rigid with its old style in terms of development policies encourages concentration of ownership and scale economies." Image from

    Ambassador Robert Gosende, a public diplomacy practitioner, speaks on public service - The Miscellany (posted at John Brown's Notes and Essays): "On Saturday, April 12, the College [Vassar] hosted a conference of student world affairs sponsored by the Hudson Valley World Affairs Council.

    The all-day conference allowed members of the general public and students from nearby Poughkeepsie schools to discuss topics including 'Global Governance, Democratization, Human Rights, Sustainable Development, Education, and International Security' (hvworldaffiairscouncil.org). The Council is a forum to stimulate interest in international world affairs and to raise public understanding of important issues affecting the country and the world. ... According to the Yale Undergraduate Journal of Politics, 'Gosende served 36 years in the US Information Agency, and went on tours of duty as a Cultural Affairs Officer in Libya, Somalia and Poland and as Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs in South Africa and the Russian Federation.' He also served as the Special Envoy for Somalia for Bill Clinton from 1992 to 1993. ... According to Gosende, 'One of the failings we have had is not calling out on [the youth] on doing what [they] need to accomplish in this world.' He went on to suggest that the US should have a national service obligation for two years for everyone. ... Although he promoted the idea of involvement of the people in our own government, Gosende raised critical questions about the military or otherwise involvement of the US in international affairs." Image from entry

    Passion to Succeed: Sehreen Noor Ali recognized by President Obama - Sehreen Noor Ali worked directly with the White House on President Obama’s Muslim Engagement strategy and also led an effort to increase science and technology outreach. Sehreen Noor Ali is one of those people who don’t wait for dreams to come true – they make them happen. She is currently working as a Director of Partnerships at Noodle Education a company listed on Forbes as one of the 10 Greatest Industry-Disrupting Startups of 2012.

    Sehreen is often described as a sharp and a talented young woman who has a strong personality, is political savvy, and has a passion to succeed in whatever she puts her mind to. For five years Sehreen worked for the State Department as a public diplomacy strategist. She worked directly with the White House on President Obama’s Muslim Engagement strategy and also led the effort to increase science and technology outreach. Uncaptioned image from entry

    Tuesday 6th May: Through the Lens – sights and sites of war - passengerfilms.wordpress.com: "Join us on Tuesday the 6th of May at 6pm for a FREE evening of film and discussion presented in conjunction with students and staff from the MSc in Geopolitics and Security at Royal Holloway, University of London, featuring a screening of the award-winning documentary Dirty Wars (2013, 87 mins) - winner of the Sundance award for cinematography in 2013. ... Moderator: Dr. Alasdair Pinkerton, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography (RHUL) Dr. Alasdair Pinkerton is a Lecturer in political geography and geopolitics, with particular interests in issues related to critical geopolitics, the media, and the ‘international relations’ of public diplomacy."

    Mixed: Four young alums open up about their multiracial heritage and how it shapes them - dartmouthalumnimagazine.com: "A double major in government and Asian and Middle Eastern studies, [Yuki] Kondo-Shah works as a public diplomacy officer at the U.S. embassy in Bolivia."

    Media Desk Officer - Neil Alvarado, network.nshp.org: "Job Description [:] SOS International LLC (SOSi) is seeking a Media Desk Officer to provide comprehensive advice and understanding to customer staff on cultural, social and political aspects/implications of communication in order to engage media, tailor messages, and monitor audiences more effectively in order to support the command’s strategic communication objectives. The Media Desk Officer will report to the SOSi In-Country Program Manager." See also.


    President Obama, disregarding his own red line, dithers on Ukraine - Editorial, washingtonpost.com: For weeks Mr. Obama has held back on forceful measures against Mr. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine on the theory that a measured approach matched with diplomacy would yield results. The policy has failed. Now Mr. Obama must act — or doom Ukraine to dismemberment.

    John F. Tefft is 'perfect' candidate to head US embassy in Moscow -- McFaul - voiceofrussia.com: Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul called John F. Tefft a "perfect" candidate for the new head of the US embassy in Moscow. On September 30, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Tefft as the next ambassador to Ukraine and he was confirmed by the US Senate on November 20, 2009.

    Tefft arrived in Ukraine on December 2, 2009 and President Viktor Yushchenko accepted Teffts credentials of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary on December 7, 2009. The Ambassador expressed his hope for fruitful cooperation. Tefft delivered his speech in Ukrainian. The Boston Globe article states that John F. Tefft, a Russia hater who served as US Ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania and promoted the invasion of South Ossetia while in Georgia, the current crisis and the resurgence of fascist forces in Ukraine and the rabid Russophobia and demonization of Russia in Lithuania, has been chosen to be the next US Ambassador to Russia. Tefft was extremely active and involved and one might say instrumental in bringing about the aforementioned anti-Russian events. As McFaul failed to organize the destabilization of Russia and the ouster of President Putin, apparently Obama is seeking more experiences hands. Uncaptioned McFaul image from entry

    Snowden Regrets Participating in Putin Propaganda - Joe Coscarelli, nymag.com: NSA leaker and indefinite Russian tourist Edward Snowden is not yet a pro at PR. After he showed up on state television to lob Vladimir Putin a question

    about the country’s own surveillance apparatus — Putin dunked an incredulous, anti-U.S. blanket denial — Snowden tried to explain that he was hoping to get Putin’s “evasive response” on the record. Now Snowden’s allies are admitting the whole thing was a bad look. “I don’t think there’s any shame in saying that he made an error in judgment,” an anonymous source close to Snowden told the Daily Beast. Uncaptioned image from entry

    Mark Nuckols: Putin's Propaganda Distorts US Role in Ukraine - Joe Battaglia, newsmax.com: Mark Nuckols, a professor at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, said that America's role in the Ukraine conflict is being distorted by Russian propaganda. "The portrayal in Russian state media is that these are simple, decent, honest, patriotic Ukrainians who are afraid of a fascist junta that's been installed in Kiev by the United States government," Nuckols said, "and they're simply trying to protect their own rights and to protect their own safety when, in fact, it seems increasingly apparent that these takeovers have been organized by special forces sent by the Russian military."

    The Real Truth About Those Anti-Semitic Flyers in Donetsk: Russia Has Its Fingerprints All Over Them - The Jewish daily Forward: David E. Fishman The world has roared with indignation at the anti-Semitic flyers distributed by masked-men outside a synagogue in Donetsk, in Eastern Ukraine. The flyers ordered local Jews to register with the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, in light of the fact that Jewish leaders in Kiev supported the Ukrainian “junta”. Since the Donetsk People’s Republic controls all of two government buildings that were seized by pro-Russian forces a week earlier, the flyers were mainly an act of political theatre. The intent was to frighten and intimidate Jews, not to register them. And perhaps to spark anti-Semitic sentiments among other local inhabitants.The authorship of the flyers is hotly disputed. Despite the ambivalence now expressed about the flyers in Donetsk, one fact is unequivocal: It is no coincidence that virtually all of the known anti-Semitic incidents since the fall of the Yanukovych regime have taken place in the Eastern part of the country — Crimea, Odessa, Donetsk, Nikolayev. It is the region where Russia exerts the greatest influence and interference. See also (1) (2) (3).

    Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Imperative: The Mainstream Media’s One-Sided Propaganda - Robert Parry, globalresearch.ca: The mainstream U.S. news media is flooding the American people with one-sided propaganda on Ukraine, rewriting the narrative to leave out the key role of neo-Nazis and insisting on a “group think” that exceeds even the misguided consensus on Iraq’s WMD.

    From protest to podium: Adam Michnik -- Polish writer and activist discusses threats to democracy in Ukraine, Putin’s role in conflict - Emily Wooldridge, browndailyherald.com: Michnik was a central figure in Poland’s struggle against communist rule. Michnik emphasized that a language that is “anti-Putin but not anti-Russian” will be needed to ease international tension and find a solution in Ukraine. “Russians learn daily from television that

    Americans want to harm and hurt Russia,” he said. “The natural weapon of discourse is the lie. … We need to find a solution, a way to respond to this propaganda.” Image from entry, with caption: Adam Michnik said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration poses a threat to emerging Ukrainian democracy, but successful dialogue could ease tensions between the countries involved.

    Baltics continue discussions to counter Russian propaganda TV - baltictimes.com: The Baltic States are in talks to set up their own Russian-language television channel in a bid to counter the deluge of propaganda aimed at their ethnic Russian populations by Moscow-backed media. Numerous Russian-language media outlets already exist in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania but most emanate from Russia and toe its line on politics and history - sensitive issues in a region that endured half a century of illegal Soviet occupation. This month, Latvia and Lithuania each suspended the television channel Russia RTR for "inciting ethnic hatred." Vilnius had already taken two other stations off the air.

    A cosy chat in the kitchen - Mark H. Teeter, themoscownews.com: Russians and Americans seldom get to try on each other’s stereotypes, but авторское телевидение/ auteur television, where the author’s personal creative vision shines through, provides just such a role-reversal opportunity. Russians, after all, sport a thousand-year history of collectivist impulses, from the medieval peasant commune to the medieval-minded Nashi.

    Americans, meanwhile, are the alleged “rugged individualists”, from the Minute Men to the Marlboro Man. So who do you think would produce more television programmes based on a single individual’s authorial vision? Google “avtorskaya programma” and you get well over 1 million hits. “Auteur television” barely draws 2,000; indeed, the concept is so un-American we had to borrow “auteur” from French film criticism to name it – and then we stretched it beyond recognition anyway (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer is generally seen as ‘auteur TV’”). Image from entry

    North Korea: the new generation losing faith in the regime - Tania Branigan, theguardian.com: After decades of absolute control, Pyongyang's iron grip on the lives of ordinary citizens

    is finally slipping, with not all people believing the propaganda. Image from entry, with caption: War veterans show their love for Kim Jong-un in 2013. But not all citizens are as dedicated.

    Chinese Government Threatens Dissenters With Forced Abortions, Sterilizations - Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse, lifenews.com: It is hard for persons in democratic societies to grasp how China’s party-state can control the fertility of China’s millions. The effort starts with a barrage of anti-child propaganda in the schools and workplaces, and then moves to open intimidation in banners and slogans posted in public places. Among the pictures of the kind of public threats the authorities make against those women who may be pregnant with “illegal” children, with the caption: “If it should be aborted and is not aborted, your house will be destroyed and your cow will be taken.


    Ludmilla (2006)

    “She seemed to belong to that pagan, primitive kingdom of birds and forests where everything was infinitely abundant, wild, blooming, and royal in its perpetual decay, death, and rebirth; illicit and clashing with the human world.”  ― Jerzy Kosiński, The Painted Bird

    --Via FW on Facebook

    --Putin image from


    Via Facebook

    Sunday, April 20, 2014

    April 19-20

    "discreet does not equal covert."

    --Matt Herrick, AID spokesperson, regarding the need for his agency to maintain a "discreet profile" in the funding of "ZunZuneo, which was part of a broader effort that began in 2009 to facilitate 'twitter like' communication among Cubans so they could connect with each other on topics of their choice." Image from


    Selling America to the world - CNN: "In a world increasingly consumed by a war of words and polarizing propaganda, the art of public diplomacy is paramount, and the new U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs has his work cut out for him today.

    Rick Stengel, who was sworn in by Secretary of State John Kerry this week, is actually a former journalist and managing editor of Time Magazine. He now steps into the powerful role of telling America’s story and laying out its foreign policy goals for the world. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour spoke with Stengel on Friday – his first TV interview."  Image from; see also; twitter reaction:

    Loved seeing our #StateDept boss @stengel touting#publicdiplomacy in interview w/ @camanpour!cnn.it/1kJK6oc (via @grahamlampa)
    19 Apr

    From Kiev to Damascus, Moscow to Caracas, there are very few international conflicts and debates where the actions and position of the United States is not influential.

    #Digitaldiplomacy Town Hall - Chrisella Herzog, .diplomaticourier.com: "Diplomatic Courier is excited to present the Diplomacy+SocialGood Summit in Washington, DC on April 22nd, bringing together embassy communicators, public diplomacy experts, and technology innovators to discuss the future of diplomacy and technology for social good. Watch the livestream here."


    (a) BIDD: Belgrade Initiative for Public and Digital Diplomacy - bidd.linkmedia.rs;  image from blog

    (b) دیپلماسی عمومی - Public Diplomacy


    Chairman Menendez Releases Report on the Obama Administration’s “Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific” - "The report examines the progress made, and the challenges that remain, for the Obama Administration’s strategic policy of 'rebalancing' to the Asia-Pacific. ... The report includes the following recommendations [including]: ... To better foster business, cultural and people-to-people connections, the State Department should redouble efforts to support U.S. students to study in the region, ensure faster processing for non-immigrant visas for tourism and conferences, and increase resources for public diplomacy."

    US Government Promoting Islam in Czech Republic - Soeren Kern, gatestoneinstitute.org: "The Czech government has approved a new project aimed at promoting Islam in public elementary and secondary schools across the country. The project—Muslims in the Eyes of Czech Schoolchildren—is being spearheaded by a Muslim advocacy group and is being financed by American taxpayers through a grant from the US Embassy in Prague.

    (The US State Department is also promoting Islam in other European countries.) The group says the Czech Ministry of Education has authorized it to organize lectures and seminars aimed at 'teaching Czech schoolchildren about Islamic beliefs and practices' and at 'fighting stereotypes and prejudices about Muslims.'" Uncaptioned image from entry

    Citing Ukraine Crisis, GOP Looks to Cut Open World Leadership Center - Hannah Hess, blogs.rollcall.com: "In response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, House Republicans want to slash funding for the Open World Leadership Center, an international exchange program established nearly 15 years ago to build relationships with post-Soviet countries. For fiscal 2015, the $6-million Library of Congress program would be reduced by 43 percent — representing the portion of participants Russia normally sends as delegates to the United States. House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole, R-Okla., called the move 'a sign of support for Ukraine,' and emphasized that the decision was made in consultation with Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., during the full committee markup on April 9. ... 'It’s important to stress that the Open World program does not just focus on Russia,' Cole said during the markup. Ukraine has the next largest group of participants in the program, which has brought more than 19,000 current and future leaders from Eurasia to the United States for firsthand exposure to Congress and American government. 'Therefore, we encourage the center to do more in Ukraine and with the other participating countries in the surrounding region,' he added."

    Department of State Public Schedule, April 18, 2014 - rockycoastnews.blogspot.com: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS RICHARD STENGEL Under Secretary Stengel is on travel to attend meetings and briefings at the New York Foreign Press Center."

    Government Executive quotes John Lenczowski and BBG Watch about BBG problems in Russia - BBH Watcher, bbgwatch.com: “Government Executive website, govexec.com, quoted from John Lenczowski’s Wall Street Journal op-ed and BBG Watch reports about management problems at the Voice of America (VOA) and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and U.S. media outreach in response the Kremlin’s propaganda. Both VOA and IBB report to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Government Executive reported that in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Friday, John Lenczowski, founder of the Institute for World Politics, argued that 'the Voice of America shouldn’t be a whisper,' saying, ‘Moscow has a virtual monopoly on the narrative.’”

    Eight Facts About ZunZuneo [April 7th 2014] - Matt Herrick "On Thursday, April 3, the Associated Press published an article on a social media program in Cuba funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The article contained significant inaccuracies and false conclusions about ZunZuneo, which was part of a broader effort that began in 2009 to facilitate 'twitter like' communication among Cubans so they could connect with each other on topics of their choice. Many of the inaccuracies have been re-reported by other news outlets, perpetuating the original narrative, or worse. The article suggested that USAID spent years on a 'covert' program to gather personal information to be used for political purposes to 'foment' 'smart mobs'

    and start a 'Cuban spring' to overthrow the Cuban government.  It makes for an interesting read, but it’s not true. USAID’s work in Cuba is not unlike what we and other donors do around the world to connect people who have been cut off from the outside world by repressive or authoritarian governments. USAID’s democracy and governance work focuses on strengthening civil society, governance, and promoting human rights. ... FACT: USAID works in places where we are not always welcome. To minimize the risk to our staff and partners and ensure our work can proceed safely, we must take certain precautions and maintain a discreet profile. " Uncaptioned image from entry. Via

    The Marriage of Religion and Politics in Pakistan - tankthoughts.com: "April 14, 2014 Host: The Atlantic Council Event: Rising Political Islam in Pakistan: Causes and Consequences
    Speakers: Amb. Husain Haqqani, Director, South and Central Asia Program, Hudson Institute Dr. Haroon Ullah, Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State ... Dr. Ullah is hopeful that public diplomacy and people-to-people exchanges can help facilitate change in Pakistan, however also conceded that it cannot do so alone."

    Western media are conscientiously Russophobic in covering events in Ukraine – Putin's spokesperson -
    voiceofrussia.com: Western media are trying to show Russia in an unflattering light when covering the Ukraine crisis and its stance is conscientiously Russophobic. 'They have a task to show Russia in an unflattering light, and this task is editorial,' Putin’s press secretary

    Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with the 'Right to Know' program on Russian TV channel on April 19. 'There are chronic inflammatory processes of consciousness that are deeply rooted in the 'Cold War' era. These processes have not gone anywhere. They were simply overlapped by new perceptions like the atmosphere of a 'reset' and globalisation when people started travelling and meeting each other and when a thing like public diplomacy emerged,' Peskov said, adding that phobias and Russophobia have always been present in media coverage of events related to Russia." Uncaptioned image from entry

    Geoana: Russia’s political purpose is to federalize Ukraine - romaniapress.com: "High Representative of Romanian Government for economic, strategic and public diplomacy projects Mircea Geoana told Radio RFI station on Wednesday that, in his opinion, the strategic interest of Russia in the Ukraine is to federalize this country."

    The Ministry Urges Universities, Cities for Strengthening Partnerships - Sileshi Yilma, haramaya.edu.et: "The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) urged various universities and cities in the country to form and strengthen partnership and twinning with their foreign counterparts across the world. In the 2006 Ethiopian calendar alone, 98 partnerships and twinning were formed, Dr. Yinager Dese, state minister of MoFA, disclosed in a workshop prepared by the Public Diplomacy Directorate on April 10, 2014 at Ghion Hotel. 'Partnerships would have benefits including successful public diplomacy, technology transfer, experience sharing, and image building,' he added. A presentation made by Abiy Berhane, director of Twinning and Cultural Promotion at MoFA, indicates that a number of Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) have been signed over the past several years by Ethiopian higher institutions and cities. However, according to the director, only few of these connections have turned out to be fruitful. Poor profile and MOU preparation, late or no reply to partnership and twinning requests, from abroad, and repeated changes of officials who follow up partnership cases were among the several problems often observed during such occasions. Haile Sellassie I University’s (Addis Ababa University’s) relationship with London University and the then Alemaya University’s connection with Oklahoma University were mentioned as the country’s earliest partnerships in the contexts of higher institutions."

    Xi Jinping’s Africa Policy: The First Year - Yun Sun, brookings.edu: "In ... [a] strategy to improve China’s image in Africa, the Xi administration has significantly enhanced China’s public diplomacy efforts on the ground. Senior Chinese diplomats are now eagerly engaging African media to explain and propagate China’s positions and their benefits to Africa. Under the 'China-Africa People to People Friendship Action' plan, Chinese embassies across Africa are seeking collaborations with African nongovernmental

    organizations and have implemented dozens of projects. Some examples include technical training programs in Botswana with the local Gopong Support Group; material assistance in central Africa with the Central African Republic Renaissance Foundation; donations to local elementary schools in Uganda; vocational training for local unemployed youth in Cape Verde; and women’s health programs in Benin. Although these projects are primarily led and implemented by governments, they serve to diversify China’s aid models in Africa and promote the exchanges and cooperation with the civil society. They have won some loud praise from the local populations." Uncaptioned image from entry

    Twiplomacy: il caso Australia-Indonesia - Patrizia Rizzini Cancarini, ilcaffegeopolitico.org: "Ad oggi nessun accordo è stato ancora trovato. Nel clima di incertezza attuale, un elemento sembra chiaro: dall’emergere delle tensioni tra i due Paesi, due importanti fattori sono stati evidenziati. Da un lato, la vicenda Indonesia-Australia rappresenta uno dei primi casi in cui problemi nei rapporti bilaterali tra due Stati siano stati affrontati più che intensivamente via social network. Chiaro segnale dell’importanza di tali strumenti, questo caso mostra come i social media siano diventati un’importante vetrina non solo per l’opinione pubblica ma anche per gli stessi leader e capi di Governo.

    In secondo luogo, lo sviluppo e tempistica dell’intera vicenda (prima le dichiarazioni su twitter, poi i fatti) profilano possibili nuove tendenze in fatto di public diplomacy: le scelte strategiche dei Paesi interessati vengono prima divulgate al grande pubblico, per essere implementate solo in una seconda fase. Non è ancora possibile chiarire quali siano stati i dialoghi 'a porte chiuse' tra i due Paesi: come e’ ovvio, molti rimarranno conosciuti solo dagli addetti ai lavori. Tuttavia, le modalità di interazione tra i due Paesi mettono in evidenza la particolarità di questo caso per le relazioni internazionali, mostrando in particolar modo il peso crescente delle relazioni diplomatiche digitali." Cancarini image from entry

    In Swedish, it doesn't sound quite so good: Increasing strength on the far Right, Muslim population growth, and boycotts of Israel are reaching all parts of Europe -- including Sweden • Jerusalem Institute of Justice holds hasbara event at Uppsala University to give a voice to Israel - Adi Rubinstein, israelhayom.com: "The signs that were posted throughout the university grounds [Uppsala University, whose campus lies a 45-minute-drive away from the Swedish capital of Stockholm] invite students to take part in a discussion that revolves around the provocative question: 'Who is responsible for the poor lot of the Palestinians?'

    For all intents and purposes, the conversation will be focused on Israeli hasbara (public diplomacy). The evening was initiated and organized by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, whose goal is to alter the academic and political discourse on the issue of human rights in the Middle East, with a special emphasis placed on the Palestinian question. The institute invites journalists a few times a year to observe pro-Israel activity and activism on campuses abroad. This time, the setting is Sweden. The organization is headed by Calev Myers, a Jewish Pennsylvania-born attorney who holds far-right views. He is also an activist who has taken up social welfare cases, including those of Palestinians, as well as of labor migrants fighting for their right to stay in a country that wishes to deport them. Myers is one of the more powerful figures in Israel as it relates to evangelical activity in the country. On the whole, he is one of the best ambassadors that Israel has to offer the world." Image from entry, with caption: An anti-Israel demonstration in Stockholm in 2010

    The Jerusalem Post Conference, my retrospective perspective - docstalk.blogspot.com: "But, for me, the defining moment came early in the conference – following the interview of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman by the Post’s editor in- chief, Steve Linde. It was precipitated by a question from the audience asked by a young pro-Israel activist, Justin Hayet, a Binghamton University undergraduate. After introducing himself, and articulating his – entirely correct – belief that the delegitimization campaign against Israel represents a grave strategic threat, Hayet asked Israel’s foreign minister, 'What is the Foreign Ministry doing to stand with college students, like myself, to fight BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] on campus?' Liberman’s response was dismaying, and should be a cause of grave alarm for all those concerned with the long-term future of Israel and its vital ties with Jewish communities across the world. Indeed, it encapsulated all the misperceptions, and mismanagement that have characterized Israel’s diplomatic strategy. In particular, it spotlighted the incomprehension and incompetence Israeli officialdom has displayed in the conduct of our public diplomacy, going a long way to explain Israel’s growing international beleaguerment. Dispensing with any semblance of civility, and any expression of encouragement of the voluntary efforts of young pro-Zionist activists in defense of Israel on hostile campuses, Liberman brusquely conveyed to Hayet that endeavors like his were essentially unnecessary, and largely a waste of time."

    Ahmadinejad is Gone, and so is Ahmadinejadism! - Kourosh Ziabari, internationalpolicydigest.org: "In his 8 years in office, he [Ahmadinejad] gave interviews to virtually all the world’s major newspapers, news agencies, TV and radio stations and sent out several fiery and drawn out letters to world leaders that were never responded to and simply led to further humiliation for the Iranian people.

    He justified his actions and decisions as part of his administration’s public diplomacy, but unfortunately, Ahmadinejad was stupendously ignorant about the art of diplomacy. He was the one who complicated and entangled Iran’s relations with the international community, especially the United States, by taking up an adamant and obdurate approach to the nuclear program, delivering tirades and directing verbal attacks against Israel, publicly denying the Holocaust and threatening his political rivals. He could never create an international alliance to build up support for Iran and even his outreach to Latin American and African nations was a failure." Image from entry, with caption: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s former president, speaking at the Natanz nuclear facility

    Arirang Concert - Suray's World: "Got some invitation for as many as 30 of my friends. We went to the National Gugak Center of Korea to watch the Arirang: The Soul of Korea Concert. Hosted by Senior Public Diplomacy Group, MOFA, this concert

    was to cater the need of Korean people and foreigners alike in embracing 'Arirang'." Image from entry

    Atypical career path: Culinary Diplomacy - Jessica Daniels: "Today I’ll tell you about an alumnus whose career is quite unlike that of most of our alumni.  Sam Chapple-Sokol F’12 has been writing and publishing on the topic of culinary diplomacy ever since he took Prof. Henrikson’s Diplomacy: History, Theory, and Practice. ... I reached out to Sam for a little more detail on his post-Fletcher work, and for some photos. He told me that he has been blogging and tweeting on culinary diplomacy

    (note that the Wikipedia entry actually refers to Sam), as well as continuing to write for publications, most recently for Public Diplomacy Magazine.  (The Public Diplomacy article drew some additional attention to his work.)  He has also worked at the White House as a pastry chef during two holiday seasons, and for other projects including celebrations for July 4, Halloween, the Inauguration, and the State Dinner during the visit of French President François Hollande.  When not putting his own culinary skills to work, he consults for Le Club des Chefs des Chefs, an elite organization for the personal chefs of heads of state." Image (Chapple-Sokol on left) from entry, with caption: The model of the White House is edible! Weighing 350 pounds, it was made from a foundation of gingerbread and covered with white chocolate, according to the White House.

    Is the federalist model working? Perspectives from the US and the EU, Brussels, 23 April 2014 - uef.be: "What can be learned from the US model and where should the future focus of Europe lie? In this event we will explore why the American model of power-sharing works and why the backlash is so strong from European sceptics. Our two experts [Akram Elias and Domenico Rossetti], one from the US and the other a European federalist will share their insights into this very current topic. Dr Akram Elias has over 27 years of professional experience as a consultant in the areas of public diplomacy, cross-cultural training, and communication. He has worked extensively with the U.S. Department of State and numerous private and international organizations to provide public diplomacy, cross-cultural analysis and training. Since 1995, Mr. Elias has been contracted by the U.S. Department of State to give in depth briefings on American government, politics, culture and society to international delegates from around the world."

    Cleveland Park Historical Society Annual Meeting 2014 - clevelandparkhistoricalsociety.org: "Myra Best (Quebec and 36th) is relative newcomer to Cleveland Park. ... As a Program Officer at Meridian International Center, Myra designs public diplomacy projects for the State Department on a range of topics, including human rights, sustainable development and civic activism."


    In Cold War Echo, Obama Strategy Writes Off Putin - Peter Baker, New York Times: Mr. Obama has concluded that even if there is a resolution to the current standoff over Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he will never have a constructive relationship with Mr. Putin, aides said. As a result, Mr. Obama will spend his final two and a half years in office trying to minimize the disruption Mr. Putin can cause, preserve whatever marginal cooperation can be saved and otherwise ignore the master of the Kremlin in favor of other foreign policy areas where progress remains possible.

    The manifestation of this thinking can be seen in Mr. Obama’s pending choice for the next ambassador to Moscow. While not officially final, the White House is preparing to nominate John F. Tefft, a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania. Image from, with caption: Ambassador John Tefft at opening of the Victor Kytasty American Library Ambassador John Tefft at opening of the Victor Kytasty American Library [in Kiev]

    How America Lost Vladimir Putin: A rupture between Russia and the West, 14 years in the making - theatlantic.com: David Rohde and Arshad Mohammed, theatlantic.com: As Russia masses tens of thousands of troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border, Putin is thwarting what the Kremlin says is an American plot to surround Russia with hostile neighbors. Experts said he is also promoting "Putinism"—a conservative, ultra-nationalist form of state capitalism—as a global alternative to Western democracy. It's also a dynamic that some current and former U.S. officials said reflects an American failure to recognize that while the Soviet Union is gone as an ideological enemy, Russia has remained a major power that demands the same level of foreign-policy attention as China and other large nations—a relationship that should not just be a means to other ends, but an end in itself.

    US fossilized propaganda against Russia - presstv.ir: Since Washington’s putsch in Kiev – and Moscow’s inevitable response in Russian Crimea to protect its Black Sea fleet – the provocation and isolation of Russia have been inverted in the news to the “Russian threat.” This is fossilized propaganda. The US air force general who runs NATO forces in Europe – General Philip Breedlove, no less – claimed more than two weeks ago to have pictures showing 40,000 Russian troops “massing” on the border with Ukraine.

    So did Colin Powell claim to have pictures proving there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What is certain is that Barack Obama’s rapacious, reckless coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap. Image from entry, with caption: Men wearing military fatigues ride on an armoured personnel carrier outside the regional state building seized by protesters in Ukraine’s eastern city of Slavyansk on April 18, 2014.

    Ukrainian Jews are caught in a propaganda war: Anti-Semitic fliers evoke horrific memories in eastern Ukraine - Amar Toor, theverge.com: Right-wing groups do have a presence in the new Ukrainian government, though they comprise a minority, and experts say their influence has been vastly blown out of proportion for political purposes. As a result, Ukrainian Jews have found themselves in a precarious situation, caught between the push and pull of East versus West.

    Syrian Jihadists Employ Soccer as Propaganda and Recruitment Tool - James Dorsey, Huffington Post: Soccer has long served jihadists as a recruitment and bonding tool. It brings recruits into the fold, encourages camaraderie and reinforces militancy among those who have already joined.


    --Via BB on Facebook

    --Via CR on Facebook


    Image from, with caption: A sign made by local school children welcoming Putin to Texas hangs from a cattle fence outside Crawford, Texas, in November 2001. Putin and Bush met to discuss nuclear-arms-stockpile reductions.