Thursday, October 2, 2008

October 2

"Frankly, if I had any money, I'd be buying stocks right now."

--President Richard Nixon (1970), in the midst of the longest bear market since World War II


The Desperate Need for Public Diplomacy Laid Bare - Jason, The POMED WIRE, Project on Middle East Democracy: On the heels of yesterday’s forum at George Washington University on public diplomacy comes the very disturbing results of a new BBC opinion poll. In Pakistan and Egypt, “positive” or “mixed” feelings toward al-Qaeda outweigh negative feelings. The report notes that in Pakistan, members of the secular upper-middle class are finding common cause with bearded reactionaries in protesting a variety of real and imagined U.S. policies.

Ben Franklin Award: honor or fruitcake? - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "Are the Ben Franklin Awards [The State Department’s Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy] really a good idea? If these organizations [corporations, academic institutions (schools, universities, etc), and not-for-profit organizations (non-governmental organizations, foundations, associations, etc.)] contribute to public diplomacy, it implies that everything they do is congruent with U.S. policy. On the flip side, many individuals, corporations, academic institutions, and not-for-profits, while happy to engage in activities abroad that speak well for the United States, will not want those activities associated with U.S. public diplomacy and therefore with U.S. foreign policy. This especially applies to universities, which must be academically independent."

SEE ALSO: Ben Franklin Would Roll Over in His Grave: Dr. Rice’s Awards for Public Diplomacy – John Brown, Whirled View

Remember the submarines, don’t mention the war - Forecast Highs: “[T]here is also a not-insignificant proportion of Germans who think it unfair that Iran be denied nuclear power when Israel is perceived to possess it. Another serious factor hampering Israel’s public diplomacy campaign against Iran on German soil is the perceived linkage between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. On this the German government and public agree: How can Israel paint itself as the victim of Iranian aggression when it is continuing to build settlements in the West Bank? The linkage, while extremely tenuous in reality, is palpable in German public opinion: You cannot be both a victim and an aggressor, the thinking goes.

Progress made in security cluster - Luyanda Makapela, press release, BuaNews Online: Releasing the report, Towards a Fifteen Year Review, Head of the Presidency's Policy Coordination and Advisory Service Joel Netshitenze said successes had been made in these areas through the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster. "South Africa needs better alignment of its political and economic diplomacy and stronger public diplomacy," the report said.

Inventing the Third World: Decolonization, Cold War Public Diplomacy, and the Postwar Atlas [lecture] - At Williams: Jason Parker is an Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University. His current work is on U.S. Cold War public diplomacy in the Third World.

Senate sends economic rescue bill to the House - Bill Swindell and Christian Bourg,” “House Democratic leaders have worked hard to keep from owning the bailout and insisted on a large level of GOP support that they failed to get on the first vote. Of 235 Democrats, 140 supported Monday's bill. Of 199 Republicans, 65 voted for it. … Underneath the public diplomacy there is an undercurrent of resentment at the Senate by Blue Dogs and others.”


Reconstruction and Stabilization Corps to be Enacted: Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: Bullets and bombs represent short-term tactical responses to a much larger strategic dilemma. Any text worth reading on insurgency or counterinsurgency recognizes and emphasizes the operational and strategic center of gravity is the people. Failing to address grinding poverty and disillusionment in regions creates fertile breeding grounds for extremists, terrorists, and insurgents to attack the national interests of the United States.

FDA Takes End Run to Award Contract to PR Firm - Robert O'Harrow Jr., Washington Post: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had an image problem. For months last year the agency had been pummeled by Congress for poor inspections of tainted vegetables, drugs and other products. FDA leaders decided to hire a contractor for a public relations campaign that would "create and foster a lasting positive public image of the agency for the American public," according to agency documents.

Travel Community Applauds Enactment of Legislation that Increases Security and Improves U.S. Visitor Entry Process: New Department of Homeland Security Measure Strengthens Airport Security, Streamlines Passenger Screening - Press Release, TIA: The Travel Industry Association (TIA) today praised the U.S. Congress and President Bush for enacting legislation that will fund significant reforms to America's visitor security and entry system. The Fiscal Year 2009 Homeland Security Appropriations bill includes several measures designed to strengthen U.S. security and reverse the decline in overseas travel to the United States since September 11, 2001.

The Legacy – Timothy Egan, New York Times: Bush entered the White House as a proponent of a more humble foreign policy. He leaves with a trillion-dollar war aimed at making people who’ve hated each other for a thousand years become Rotary Club freedom-lovers.
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Monsters' Ball: Global authoritarianism on the march - Joshua Kurlantzick, New Republic: As members of the Bush administration eye their legacies, they can be sure that their embrace of democratization has tarnished the very idea.

How Forgotten Iraq May Elect the Next President: Whose War Will Win the Election -- McCain's or Obama's? - Ira Chernus, TomDispatch: Let's just hope the next president is wise enough and open-minded enough to hear us when we point out: One presidency was wrecked in the jungles of Vietnam, another in the sands of Iraq. Don't let a third presidency be destroyed in the mountains of Afghanistan or Pakistan, or over Iran.

The Cost of Boots on the Ground in Iraq - John Basil Utley, Foreign Policy in Focus: It takes half a million dollars per year to maintain each sergeant in combat in Iraq. Ancient Rome simply taxed its citizens into ruin and clipped the coinage to pay for its armies. Higher taxes, a lower standard of living, and unending wars will drive us to the same end.

America's global fall from grace - John Gray, Globe and Mail: A new world is coming into being almost unnoticed, where the United States is only one of several great powers, facing an uncertain future it can no longer shape. John Gray is the author of Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia.

The Challenges of the New World Order - Wolfgang Nowak, Spiegel: America is no longer up to shouldering the world’s crises. But who is going to take its place? Russia, Brazil, China and India are all rising, but they are also competing with Europe and the US for finite natural resources. Only a common future -- a "change through rapprochement" and not a "clash of futures" can carry us forward.

Pakistan’s New Spy Chief - Editorial, New York Times: Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari is speaking out forcefully (in English, at least) about the need for Pakistan, not just America, to defeat the extremists. There’s no time to lose. The militants are fiercely holding their ground and using increasingly sophisticated tactics, weapons and communications to attack Afghanistan.

Why the US is losing in Afghanistan - Anthony H. Cordesman, Asia Times: The problem is not simply US troop levels. It is dealing with a failure to create anything like an effective overall strategy to fight the war, if strategy is defined as a requiring a practical plan to implement and the resources to act.

A Feast with the Beast: Ahmadinejad dines with church officials in New York - Mark D. Tooley, Weekly Standard

The World Shouldn't Fear The Collapse of North Korea - John R. Bolton and Nicholas Eberstadt, Wall Street Journal: A reunited, fully democratic Korea would likely be a strong U.S. ally, a geopolitical benefit too often ignored by our State Department. Let us not lose sight of that prospect as we deal with the perils and prospects of regime crisis in Pyongyang.

India aglow as nuclear pact approved - Siddharth Srivastava, Asia Times: After years of delays and debate in New Delhi and Washington, the final legislative hurdle for the civilian nuclear trade deal between India and the Untied States has been removed.

Who pushed Medvedev? - Andreas Umland, Asia Times: The clearer the larger implications of Russia's latest adventure in the Caucasus become, the more the Russian leadership's actions, in August, look dysfunctional. A growing number of repercussions from Russia's overreaction to Georgia's deeds in the breakaway region of South Ossetia have, by now, added up to a significant loss in Moscow's international standing.

Russia Again Demonstrates Its Past Is Unpredictable – Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL: In the great cultural counterrevolution that has been going on in Russia over the last decade or more, Stalin's name was long ago rehabilitated and has even become a fundamental element of the current system's ideology.

Georgia ♥ StalinTruthdig: With Georgia on the U.S. mainstream media’s map after its recent war with Russia, a new interest in Georgian history and politics seems to have come to life, especially concerning the cult of personality that Stalin still leads in his native land. PHOTO: Georgians march in downtown Gori, Stalin’s hometown, with a portrait of the Soviet leader in 2004.


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