Wednesday, October 22, 2008
“I do want to thank all those who have said prayers for me and Laura during our presidency. It's meant an awful lot. Thank you all."
--President George W. Bush
“You ... never know quite what you might end up doing. But I’ve been very happy doing international politics, and it’s been really great being Secretary of State.”
--Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Riz Khan - Brand America - 21 Oct 08 - Part 2 - Stop Bush Postcards: “The Iraq war has left America’s image abroad badly damaged. Jim Glassman, the US undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, has the task of polishing America’s brand around the world. He joins the show to discuss this.”
A 'hypocrisy audit' to restore America's image abroad - Josh Weissburg, The Exchange: "Moises Naim put a clever idea forward in last month's issue of Foreign Policy that addresses both the policy and public diplomacy challenges in one stroke: the next president should call for a 'hypocrisy audit.' Naim knows that we can't hope to scrub all contradiction from U.S. foreign policy -- but doing away with a lot of it out in the open would pay huge dividends.”
A Six Point Plan for the Next President: How to "Win" in Afghanistan - Steve Breyman, Counterpunch: “[D]o not extend the war to Pakistan. As tempting as it must be for field commanders to hammer Taliban compounds across the border with drones or commando raids, it’s clear that the micro-benefits of these tactics are heavily outweighed by their macro-costs in public diplomacy.”
The Listening Project - Andy Pryce, UK in USA bloggers, Foreign Commonwealth Office: “The Listening Project is a documentary film that examines what a range of people around the world think of America - I suspect a similar vox pop on the UK would produce a range of results (I am tempted to conduct one around DC some time soon). The question for diplomats like myself is whether a mixed opinion of my country amongst the public at large overseas makes it is more difficult to project soft power. It is tempting so say yes, of course. But the public at large in a number of countries are either disassociated or not interested in all but the most crucial foreign policy decisions. Simon Anholt gave his thoughts in the Foreign Office's recent publication on public diplomacy.” DIAGRAM: from Simon Anholt, "The importance of national reputation."
Mbeki leaves a great legacy for SA - Independent Online, SA: “South Africa's two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the Security Council was sullied by a contentious voting record with regard to delicate matters of Myanmar, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Defending principle is important where big powers are seen to abuse the UN Charter, but the lesson to be learnt here is the importance of public diplomacy in explaining the positions adopted.”
JFK, Cuba and McCaine - Post from ted thomas's Blog: Community Blogs, Obama/Biden: “It is, admittedly a highly subjective conclusion, but the last thing we needed in the White House back then was a President quick to draw lines in the sand, and enamored of the symbolism required to defend them. As one reads these minute by minute accounts of complex backroom negotiations, contingency planning, and public diplomacy, all occurring simultaneously, it's hard to place John McCain in the role that JFK actually played in leading us through this near-miss with nuclear war.”
Barack Obama for president - Aspen Daily News Endorsement: President Bush's leadership has been so dismal that it isn't only Americans who have lost some faith in the red, white and blue. The United States has lost the respect of the world. OBAMA POSTER: New York Times
The War Party Embraces Obama -- Just remember: you've been warned… - Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com: Obama wants to invade Pakistan and flood Afghanistan with yet more U.S. troops, and he will likely let two spies who funneled top secret intelligence to Israel off scot-free. Why wouldn't the War Party be perfectly satisfied with the election?
Right You Are, Joe: America's enemies will see Obama as weak - Pete Hegseth, National Review: America’s aggressive posture in defense of liberty, interpreted clearly by our adversaries after 9/11, has kept our nation free from another attack for the past seven years. Most of us on 9/12 thought another terrorist strike would be inevitable -- but it hasn’t happened. Why, now, would we want to elect a ticket which freely admits that its own presence in the Oval Office would invite another such attack?
American Gun Owner = Trained Jihadist - Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review: The Uighurs at Guantanamo are Chinese Muslims captured by coalition forces after the American invasion of Afghanistan. The men are jihadist trainees, all of whom received instruction in the paramilitary camps of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. The Uighur legal saga provides a window on Obama-style counterterrorism: Sure, the Uighurs may move in next door to you. But not to worry: Obama promises you’ll have the enormous satisfaction of knowing your reputation in the international community -- in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan -- is now markedly improved.
Next President Will Inherit Guantanamo Dilemma - William Fisher, Antiwar.com: The administration of President George W. Bush has decided not to close the iconic prison at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Elusive consensus on Iran - Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times: The trouble is that with US presidential politics going through a transition period, there is no longer a set US policy, for example on Iran, and this explains the extra efforts of US neo-cons to marshal support, even by enlisting some former diplomats from the graveyard of US diplomacy. The groups hope to erect tall barriers against any potential initiative by the next US president to steer Washington's Iran policy in a drastically new direction.
Iran's Preconditions: So much for Obama's diplomacy - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Iran is one of the toughest and most urgent foreign policy problems the new U.S. Administration will face. If Mr. Obama ends up in the Oval Office on January 20, he may find that solving it will take more than walking into a room and talking to Iranians "without preconditions."
A Critical Stage in Iraq - David Ignatius, Washington Post: The negotiations to complete a new status-of-forces agreement for U.S. troops are deadlocked. If Obama does indeed win, he could make an early show of leadership by telling Baghdad not to expect any sweetheart concessions.
Serving two masters in Iraq – Editorial, Boston Globe: The Iraq policy of the next American president will have to be rooted in a realization that Bush has opened Iraq to Iranian influence. The soundest way to counter that influence is to cease being an occupying power as quickly as possible and to strengthen ties with Iraqi factions that truly want a pluralist, independent future.
Iraq Moves Closer to Obama-Type Plan for early US Withdrawal; Cabinet rejects Security Agreement - Juan Cole, Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion.
Troubled Apologies Among Japan, Korea, and the U.S. - Press Release, Asians in U.S. Magazine: In international relations, formal, public apologies from one nation to another for historical injustices are supposed to be a prerequisite for healing the rift between aggressor and victim countries. Yet, even when the apologies are delivered, they rarely seem to achieve their goal
Hit and miss with Afghan air strikes - Gareth Porter, Asia Times: US air strikes have generated a rapidly rising rate of civilian casualties, creating a political climate marked by increased anger toward the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military presence, according to many Afghan and foreign observers.
Mexico's spreading drug violence: The U.S. must help Mexico deal with rising drug violence before security problems spread - Pamela Starr, Los Angeles Times: The United States is enabling the bloodshed in Mexico. We have a moral responsibility to stop arming the murderers and kidnappers -- our national security demands it. Pamela Starr is a senior lecturer in international relations and public diplomacy at USC, an adjunct fellow at the Pacific Council on International Policy and a senior fellow at USC's Center on Public Diplomacy.
Russia’s Resentment of the West Began with a Broken Promise - William Pfaff, Truthdig: It did not take the clash between Russia and Georgia to reveal that relations between Russia and the West have taken a bad turn. They have been deteriorating since the mid-1990s, when the decision was taken to expand NATO to include the former Warsaw Pact states. As a result of American blundering in the Middle East, and of increasing trouble in Pakistan, the U.S. has been forced to ask Russia to permit the major supply route for the Afghanistan war to pass by way of Russia.
Challenging US Global Dominance - Herbert Bix, Antiwar.com: America's future leaders need a new approach to Russia and to the rest of the world. As they consider how to rebuild at home and regain trust abroad, they should work with Moscow on all aspects of their relationship.
U.S. Defense Official Outlines Lessons Learned In War On Terrorism - RFE/RL: U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman spoke with RFE/RL senior correspondent Ron Synovitz about the changing dynamics of the war on terrorism and the lessons the U.S. military has learned from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Image from Boing Boing
The End of American Exceptionalism? Empire and White Supremacy - Corey D.B. Walker, Counterpunch: After eight years of the Bush-Cheney regime, the United States confronts these questions in light of a deep and profound crisis of legitimacy. The current crisis is intimately shaped by the demands of 21st century American imperialism and is reflected in the (un)spoken language of white supremacy.
If McCain wins, should we all move to Scandinavia? Imagine a land where presidents don't sprinkle holy water on wars, citizens have good healthcare and governments care about the environment - Louis Bayard, Salon: Despite the religious skepticism of our Founding Fathers, the exceptionalism that has marked America's character from the start has always demanded divine corroboration. Take away God, and our destiny doesn't look quite so manifest. The shining city on a hill becomes just another city, just another hill.
A manga adventure through the world of wine - Norimitsu Onishi, International Herald Tribune: A Japanese manga series, "The Drops of the Gods” was created and written by a middle-aged Japanese sister-and-brother team. The comic -- which appears every Thursday in Japan in a magazine called the "Weekly Morning" and has been compiled in 17 books so far -- rapidly became a hit in East Asia, where people are still learning to drink wine and may feel insecure about it.
Letter From America: The moral dilemma of turning Maoist propaganda into camp décor – Richard Bernstein, International Herald Tribune: “[Y]es, By all means, collect [Maoist posters], as I have done. They might even be good investments, but don't forget the truths that they conceal.”
Russian B-Boys lead world – Reuters, News24, South Africa - Russia and Korea confirmed themselves as some of the most stylish break-dancers in the world by coming first and second in the coveted B-Boy world championships in London this month. Russia has been developing its style since the early 1980s when break-dancers were arrested for anti-Soviet propaganda and encouraging American culture.
Propaganda - Sabrina, sabrinaris2012 : “Propagandas are the main aspect of the Russian Revolution. Colorful posters printed with small captions of messages given to the citizens; sets off their minds and urged the whole nation to move toward nationalism.”
Hitler planned 'Big Brother' style television - Will Stewart, Daily Mail: Adolf Hitler was on the verge of creating an Orwellian-style cable TV system to broadcast Nazi propaganda around Germany. Screens would have been set up in public places, including in laundries so housewives could tune in, according to a documentary based on papers and tapes found in his bunker.
Britain at War: The Blitz and the Home Front - Andrew Roberts, Telegraph.co.uk, United Kingdom: Despite the tragic deaths of over fifty thousand civilians during the Blitz -- and more were to die during the V-1 doodlebug and V-2 rocket attacks later in the war -- British morale did not break, as Hitler hoped and expected it would. Instead the determination that Germany needed to be defeated was immeasurably strengthened. To appreciate the courage and will to victory of the British people at the time, watch the contemporaneous films Mrs Miniver and Went the Day Well, which, although they were of course made as morale-boosting propaganda movies, nevertheless depicted an underlying truth about Britain in 1940.
War, Propaganda, Psychology – Colleen, Laughing off the Zeitgeist: “I do wonder if I'll ever get past this sense of shock and amazement I have towards mass mythology in action, which seems strange because I used to be programmed by that very same propaganda. It is poignant, frightening, and amazing when you start to examine statements philosophically and realize how many ridiculous lies, distortions, and outright contradictions can slip by people completely unnoticed.”
The Propaganda Of Starship Troopers, Fr. Philip Nerie Powell, Domine, da mihi hanc aquam…: "Unfortunately, it looks like the new Starship Troopers movie is going to be one long campaign ad against the war in Iraq. Youtube has a number of short clips up and most of them show the movie mocking the military, religious believers, patriots, etc. and trying to present those opposed to the war in the movie as heroes and victims of a fascistic state. Too bad. I really liked the first two movies."
Condi on Top - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog I keep track of Condoleezza's hairdo so you don't have to: "Condi did the most adorable interview of her entire career recently, with Girl Scout Magazine, and it was just posted on the State Dept. web site for all of us to enjoy. I believe that Cat Fancy is now the only periodical who has yet to interview her. It's cute: be true to yourself, blah blah blah, study hard, etc., etc."
McCain Is a Ford, Obama Is a BMW: Brand Study: Voters Find Both Candidates Resemble Starbucks - Michael Bush, Advertising Age: Voters associated Mr. Obama with BMW, Google and Target, while Mr. McCain was compared to Ford, Wal-Mart and AOL. PHOTO: John McCain Looks Inside Ford Plant.
PLATON PHOTO FROM THE NEW YORKER