Monday, October 20, 2008

October 20

"I learned long ago to distrust my childhood."

--Barack Obama

"That great Cathedral space which was childhood."

--Virginia Woolf


Diplomacy on the Cheap - Steven R. Corman, COMOPS Journal: "On Thursday the American Academy of Diplomacy released a new report on the dismal state of funding for U.S. diplomacy and public diplomacy efforts, compiled by a Task Force of 14 former senior foreign service officers. They reckon that the diplomatic capacity of the United States has been 'hollowed out' since the fall of the Berlin Wall. … They also decry the 'militarization of diplomacy.' I can verify that even people at DoD are concerned about this. One staffer told me that they have all of the budget while State has all the authority, resulting in a sub-optimal situation for everyone. … [T]he report recommends an increase in funding of over $1.8 billion for various diplomatic activities by FY 2014. Signaling the importance of the function and the direness of need, Public Diplomacy would get about a third of the total. … Some will claim that we can’t solve our public diplomacy problems by throwing money at them. I would agree: We have to throw money at them and also make changes in the policies the prevent them from working.” See also. CARTOON: Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James Glassman.

Fortress Embassies
- David Comp, International Higher Education Consulting ™: A Source for News on International Education Issues: “I just read an interesting blog entry on the Foreign Policy Association Public Diplomacy and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election blog that I thought readers would find interesting. The blog entry entitled 'Our Backward Public Diplomacy' discusses how the traditional forms of U.S. public diplomacy efforts are decreasing/retreating and are now changing to the virtual world of the State Department website and to relocating U.S. Embassies from the center of cities to more fortified structures on the outskirts of world cities.“

Electronic (E)-Learning conference held in al Kut - Troop Scoop: Updates about our heroic troops and their successes in Iraq, and the courage of the Iraq people: “'Electronic learning is an exciting development, especially for Iraq,’ said Vanessa Beary, public diplomacy officer for the Wasit PRT [Provincial Reconstruction Team]. ‘Education is the key to the future for Iraq, the U.S., and the world.’"

Young Arab Leaders (YAL), in Partnership with Business for Diplomatic Action, Launches the Second Arab American Business Fellowship Program – Press Release, Zawya, United Arab Emirates “Young Arab Leaders (YAL), the region's foremost development platform for business, public sector and civil society leaders, has partnered with Business for Diplomatic Action, America's leading private-sector led public diplomacy initiative to organise the second Arab American Business Fellowship (AABF) program. The initiative is sponsored by Dow Chemical India, Middle East & Africa (IMEA) GmbH through its charitable arm, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation.”

Views of the Election in Indonesia – Melinda Brouwer, Foreign Policy Association: Public Diplomacy and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election: “NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ program ran a segment on Indonesian opinion of Barack Obama this week. Obama attended grade school in Jakarta, so one would expect Indonesia to be a bit of a ‘blue state.' … I recommend giving it a listen.” PHOTO: Obama’s third-grade classroom at Public School No. 1.

Documentary film on the History of Urdu Delhi 20th Oct 08 – O, Mumbai Ready Reckoner: “A documentary film in English ‘Urdu Hai Jiska Naam' in four parts with a total duration of around 96 minutes is being screened by INTACH at the India Islamic Culture Centre on Monday [in New Delhi] … . The Film Produced by Kaamna Prasad for the Ministry of External Affairs, Public Diplomacy Division, has been shot in Delhi, Aligarh, Lucknow, Rampur, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Hyderabad, Golkunda, Gulbarga, and Lahore. Shubha Mudgal and Dr. Aneesh Pradhan have composed the poetry of Quli Qutub Shah, Meer Taqi Meer, Ghalib and Faiz that has been sung by Shubha Mudgal. The Film has been anchored by Tom Alter.”


Propaganda offensive – Editorials, Toledo Blade: “Talk about a new American surge. Last month, four U.S. companies were awarded hefty contracts to produce news stories and entertainment programs designed to inspire Iraqis to support their government and U.S. military objectives in their country. … The contractors will work closely with the Defense Department in coordinating a disciplined message to support the war effort. The department describes the information and entertainment blitz as necessary to its counterinsurgency strategy and its mission to influence the hearts and minds of Iraqis. Using the blandest terms possible, the military refers to it as 'information/psychological operations.' A less charitable, but perhaps more accurate, description would be propaganda. … This new push to accentuate the positive goes beyond the crude schemes employed in earlier years, but it probably won't be any more effective. An ongoing war and military occupation have a way of making the occupied population skeptical.”

US national security's challenge: communication: History shows what happens when agencies don't talk - Kenneth Weinstein and Richard Weitz, Christian Science Monitor: The national security system has evolved slowly over the past 61 years. It now consists primarily of the State and Defense departments, the National Security Council, the intelligence community, the Homeland Security Department and the Homeland Security Council. Others participate when specific issues in their jurisdiction arise. The trick is getting them to work as a team rather than pursue their own bureaucratic interests as competitors or adversaries.

America's useless terrorism list: 'State sponsors of terrorism' sounds good but accomplishes little - Lionel Beehner, Los Angeles Times: The State Department's list of "state sponsors of terrorism" is one of the biggest farces of U.S. foreign policy. This blacklist exists solely to punish our enemies, not to cajole them to stop sponsoring terrorists.

Needed: new multilateralism - Robert B. Zoellick, Boston Globe: Multilateralism is a means for solving problems among countries, with the group at the table able to take constructive action together. Fate presents an opportunity wrapped in a necessity: to modernize multilateralism and markets.

Interview With Bernard-Henri Lévy: Why Europeans Love Obama - Beth Arnold, Spiegel: French provocateur Bernard-Henri Lévy on how the left is being destroyed by tolerance -- and the Europeans' fascination with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Obama Is Wrong About Colombia; Labor unions are much safer under Uribe - Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal: Mr. McCain missed an opportunity to ask Mr. Obama how he squares his antagonism toward Colombia -- whose president has an 80% approval rating -- with his promise to boost America's image abroad.

When the Gloves Come Off - Jonathan Schell, Nation: Isn't there a grave risk that Afghanistan will become Obama's war in the way that Iraq became Bush's war, and with a similar potential to destroy Obama's presidency? The United States seems likely to remain a country of immense strengths -- economic, political, even military --that will survive the collapse of its imperial delusions.

Afghanistan: Penetrating the Propaganda - Allan Millard, Orillia Packet & Times, Canada: While “GWOT” is clever word-smithing, the over-arching myth of the GWOT propaganda is that we are experiencing a clash of civilizations, or that there are religious extremists “out there” who envy our freedom or way of life and who spend every waking minute devising nefarious plans to cause us harm. Thus, our security is threatened and we have to fight them “over there” so that we don’t have to fight them “over here.” Check your brains and your civil rights at the door.

Afghanistan's emerging antiwar movement:Afghan NGOs are teaching human rights and Islamic law along with calls to end the war with a national peace jirga - Anand Gopal, Christian Science Monitor

Pakistan steps up antiterror fight - Morton Kondracke, Washington Times: The next president certainly will put more forces into Afghanistan. But as long as Congress is spending zillions on bailouts and stimuli, it ought to be able to come up with a billion for strategic Pakistan.

First person -- The missing ingredient for an Iraq recovery: trust: Sectarian violence may be down, but Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds remain wary of the future and one another - Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times

U.S. security pact hits impasse in Iraq: Al-Maliki's Shiite coalition denies support for deal that would maintain troops for 3 more years - Associated Press, Baltimore Sun

Their Own Worst Enemy - James Fallow, Atlantic: Most Americans are parochial, but (surprise!) most Chinese and their leaders are more so. The closer Chinese officials are to centers of political power, the less they know what they don’t know about the world.

Russia Unromanticized - John R. Bolton, Washington Post: U.S. opposition to Russia's recent behavior should not rest on a desire to "punish" Russia but on the critical need to brace Moscow before its behavior becomes even more unacceptable.

First justice, then peace in Sudan: An international warrant for Omar al-Bashir, accused of genocide in Darfur, could speed his political demise - Ana Uzelac, Christian Science Monitor: The Sudanese president may have been moderately cooperative on the war on terror, but the price has been allowing him to terrorize others. His country and the millions of its war-tired citizens deserve a different future. And the US deserves a better ally.

Turmoil in Southern Africa: The world has a big stake in not letting Zimbabwe and South Africa slide into chaos
– Editorial, Baltimore Sun: It's in no one's interest to allow either Zimbabwe or South Africa to devolve into failed states like Somalia and Sudan that threaten not only their neighbors but the entire world community.


Museum of propaganda: Do your shopping now

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