Tuesday, September 30, 2008
"I've called on private-sector mortgage banks and banks to be more aggressive about lending money to first-time home buyers. And the response has been really good."
--President George W. Bush (2004)
"If I had enough funds to assist the American economy, I would do all that I can.”
--Iraqi president Al-Maliki
Cartoon from The New Yorker
James Glassman, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, at the Aspen Institute – Tarek, Aspen Institute video: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy James Glassman joined us for a wide-ranging talk on his work at the Department of State and the challenges facing America in the 'war of ideas.' Glassman attempted to decode the byzantine connections between his office and the various services of the Broadcasting Board of Governors as well as the various communications tools of State and the Department of Defense. Aspen Institute CEO and President Walter Isaacson moderated."
Perhaps public diplomacy should be an even more urgent priority – Susan, Foreign Policy Association: Middle East -- The official Web log for Great Decisions 2007: “30% of people surveyed from 23 different countries in a BBC poll believe that the war on terror has strengthened al Qaeda. Skepticism is never unhealthy with respect to the accuracy of polling data, but this seems like a pretty compelling argument for the role of public diplomacy in foreign affairs, in addition to, uh, better policy.”
Op-Ed: Winning Hearts and Minds: Proceed With Caution – Suzanne, HarvardKennedy2009: “Might expanding the US Peace Corps -- a long established, highly regarded grassroots diplomatic program -- to more Muslim countries be an effective complementary strategy in fighting the 'War on Terror?' … But can a bunch of idealistic American college graduates living in villages in the Middle East really have an impact on winning the hearts and minds of Muslims across the world? The task is enormous compared to the capabilities of the program, but what the impact may lack in breadth, it makes up for in a depth that is genuine and lasting in a way no public diplomacy campaign could ever be. However, just as this unconventional war has required updated military tactics, the Peace Corps must adapt its structure in Muslim countries to reflect the cultural understanding it aims to foster. … Restructuring the program to help volunteers adapt to the unique constraints on life as a PCV in a Muslim country will enable a richer more lasting cultural exchange.”
What Holds Us Together - Jane Dammen McAuliffe, American Catholic National Weekly: "Institutions as diverse as the U.S. State Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations have launched programs to enhance interreligious and intercultural understanding. The social and political concerns sparked by recent world events and by accelerating demographic shifts have put interfaith relations on the agendas of many groups for whom this subject had not previously been a focus of attention."
Options for Influence – Jonathan Fryer: "‘Soft power’ and ‘public diplomacy’ have become buzzwords in both international affairs and domestic politics as countries and political parties hone their image and message. So the appearance of a new short book on the theme, Options for Influence (Counterpoint, £11.95), is timely. As the joint authors, Ali Fisher and Aurélie Brockerhoff note, ‘the aim of public diplomacy is not just changing people’s perceptions, but rather influencing the way people act.’… R.S. Zaharna, Associate Professor of Public Communication at Georgetown University in Washington, has correctly noted that networking has replaced information dominance as the new model of persuasion in the global communication era. This little study takes on board such changes and wise political parties are doing so as well."
The Spectrum Of Spectrums: A Review Of The International Relations Positioning Spectrum - Ali Fisher, Public Diplomacy Blog, Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California: “Difficulty, however, still exists around the Cultural Relations/Public Diplomacy overlap. Can a government/non-government divide between Public Diplomacy and Cultural Relations be pursued by a single organisation? An organisation with employees that hold Diplomatic status and access to the civil service pension scheme? In effect, if the conceptual divide were accepted, how would the divide/ compromise work in practise?”
See also Wandren PD
Principles of Strategic Communication part I, part II - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "Anchored in sixty year old legislation and functionally headquartered in the operational equivalent of the Department of Non-State, American public diplomacy was an effective tool in the war of ideas. That was before it was neutered in the switch to techno-centric solutions and a reversion to state-centric closed door diplomacy, however. ... Unlike public diplomacy, strategic communication has no history. The term comes from the Defense Community’s need to fill a theoretical and practical void left by ineffective or missing communication by the Government, notably the State Department."
Kremlin Can’t Pursue War Against Internet Without Hackers, Expert Says, But This Is No Consolation for Voice of America – Ted Lipien, FreeMediaOnline: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ decision to prevent the Voice of America from being a broadcaster in Russia has destroyed VOA’s ability to have any significant impact on the Kremlin and the Russian public opinion. With its radio broadcasts silenced by the BBG just 12 days before the Russian military forces attacked Georgia, the VOA Russian Service website is now just one of hundreds of thousands of news websites and blogs in Russia."
Egypt Blogs America – Rob, Arabic Media Shack: “USAID and the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism at the American University in Cairo are paying for eight Egyptians bloggers to blog about the US elections. Their impressions are interesting and worth reading. However, I am generally critical of these types of US-government sponsored programs. If the goal here is 'public-diplomacy,' ie improving America’s image in Egyptian society, the effect is going to be extremely limited. Why? Because those that get picked almost always come from unrepresentively elite social backgrounds. As for blogging, large majorities of the population have no idea what a blog is, of if they do, have never seen one.”
Reminder: Public Diplomacy and the War of Ideas: Agendas for the Next Administration Tuesday, September 30, 2008 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Marvin Center, Elliott Room, Room 310 800 21st Street, NW – Abu Aardvark: Participants: Hady Amr, Director, Brookings Doha Center; Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution; co-author of Engaging the Muslim World: A Communication Strategy to Win the War of Ideas; Michael Doran, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Support to Public Diplomacy, U.S. Department of Defense; Kristin Lord, Fellow, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, The Brookings Institution; author of the forthcoming Voices of America: U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century; Marc Lynch, co-director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communications, George Washington University; author of Voices of the New Arab Public. Please send RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org. UPDATE: this event will be televised on C-Span live, for those who can't make it.
Nominations Open for Second Annual Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy – Office of the Spokesman, Media Note, U.S. Department of State: The Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy is the most prestigious honor that the U.S. Department of State can bestow on American citizens who are making outstanding international contributions to public diplomacy. Nominations for this second annual award will be accepted from October 1, 2008 through December 15, 2008.
Exodus - Steve, Dead Men Working: “This has been the first administration in years that, rather than treat FSOs [Foreign Service officers] as experts and expert advisers, treats them instead virtually as servants, as pawns whose sole function is to follow orders and carry out policies devised, in many cases, by people with far less Foreign Policy expertise than even a junior-level FSO would possess.” Via Consul-at-Arms
Defending Obama's Foreign Policy - Tom Hayden, Nation: No candidate will move further left than their base demands and public opinion allows.
Straight talk about talk – Editorial, San Francisco Chronicle: When five former secretaries of state talk, the nation should listen. Their collective message: The next White House administration should talk directly to its enemies, not just isolate or demonize them.
Two steps backward -- Our view: North Korea, Iran remain formidable challenges for U.S. foreign policy makers – Editorial, Baltimore Sun: The next president must develop a new approach to halting Tehran's nuclear ambitions that advances U.S. interests without compromising the security of its friends in the region.
Remember Iraq?: The drop in violence has made the war an afterthought -- and allowed McCain to claim we're "winning." Here's why we're not -- and we can't - Gary Kamiya, Salon: Remember Iraq? McCain's talk of "victory" is not just logically false, it is morally obscene. Our unprovoked invasion destroyed Iraq. Iraq remains one of the most dangerous and violence-torn countries in the world.
Bush Favors Bankers Over Soldiers - Robert Fisk, Truthdig: "By grotesque mischance, $700bn -- the cost of George Bush’s Wall Street rescue cash -- is about the same figure as the same President has squandered on his preposterous war in Iraq, the war we have now apparently 'won' thanks to the 'surge' -- for which, read 'escalation' -- in Baghdad. …. We are, in fact, now fighting a war in what I call Irakistan. It’s hopeless; it’s a mess; it’s shameful; it’s unethical and it’s unwinnable.”
The Iranian President Makes More Sense Than Bush, McCain or Obama: Why America Should Listen to Ahmadinejad - Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch: Which vision of the future will win out? Ahmadinejad’s policy of peaceful co-existence or neoconservative desires for American world dominance?
Pakistan needs real alliance with US – Editorial Comment, Financial Times: Washington and Islamabad need to agree on ways to isolate and crush the jihadis before they penetrate the Pakistani mainstream. The current strategy is not working. Overeliant on U.S. air power, costly in civilian lives, and outside Pakistan’s control, it is alienating Pakistanis.
A Bad India Deal – Editorial, New York Times: The House of Representatives approved President Bush’s ill-conceived nuclear agreement with India last week, shrugging off concerns that the deal could make it even harder to rein in Iran’s (and others’) nuclear ambitions. We hope the Senate shows better judgment.
U.S. Should Recognize South Ossetia - Richard Lourie, Moscow Times: The United States should recognize the independence of South Ossetia. Short of a major war, South Ossetia will never be part of Georgia again, and half of the country -- North Ossetia -- is already part of Russia. The United States needs to create a new Russia policy based on a redefining of NATO's role -- especially in Ukraine -- and of U.S. energy interests in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Russia plows on: Oligarchs expand their reach - Rachel Ehrenfeld, Washington Times: While the U.S. keeps busy with the election and the financial crisis, Mr. Putin gets his way. See bio of Yul Brynner, well as website by his son.
Viewing Russia from Your Window: Reach for your inner Alaska, Governor - Ken Masugi, National Review: Americans do have different perspectives about the world, based on where they live. That geopolitics exists in every state and has shaped political attitudes and awareness is beyond dispute.
Cover from The New Yorker
We Have the Money: If Only We Didn't Waste It on the Defense Budget - Chalmers Johnson, TomDispatch: Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on present and future wars that have nothing to do with our national security is simply obscene. And yet Congress has been corrupted by the military-industrial complex into believing that, by voting for more defense spending, they are supplying "jobs" for the economy.
America pays the piper, big time - Robert Parry, Aljazeera.com, The hyping of the "Islamic threat" fit with the neocon exaggerated depiction of the Soviet menace in the 1980s -- and again the propaganda strategy worked. Many Americans let their emotions run wild, from the hunger for revenge after 9/11 to the war fever over Iraq.
Propaganda 101: How to Decode Political Ads - Stephen Ducat, Huffington Post: Theodor Adorno once said that propaganda is psychoanalysis in reverse. Propaganda functions to make us literally simple minded, to limit our thoughts and emotions, and channel them in a direction congenial to the interests of those in power. The goal of propaganda is not to wake us up but to put us to sleep -- whether that is the cozy somnambulation of shopping or the paranoid and violent sleep of the fascist rally. The aim of advertisers, commercial or political, is not just to have us dream but to put us in a dream of their own design.
What Youtube's 'Charlie Bit My Finger' Tells Us About Web 2.0: Our hunger to create, share, and talk is fueling a media revolution - Cole Camplese, Christian Science Monitor: Today the Web landscape is dominated by blogs, wikis, and social networks. It is finally fulfilling its original promise of interaction, engagement, collaboration, and conversation. We are living through a media revolution that is set to explode this political season. And who is driving this revolution? Teens. For them, this isn't "technology," it's just the way things are.
Night Vision Toy Lets Kids 'Own the Night' - Noah Shachtman, Wired: Night vision gear gave U.S. forces a huge leg up in the first Gulf War. These days, not only do most militaries worth their salt have their own see-in-the-dark gear -- kids can get "own the night," too. For just $79.99. Eye Clops Night Vision is "technically a toy and aimed for children," Ars Technica writes. But "it provides real, working night vision."