Friday, October 3, 2008
"Boring but right versus exciting and wrong -- that's America's choice?"
--MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow, regarding the Biden-Palin debate
"In the past, a lot of this stuff was just some guy's dreams."
--A senior U.S. military official, regarding the Defense Department plans to pay private U.S. contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to "engage and inspire" the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government
Public Diplomacy and the War of Ideas – Marc Lynch, Abu Aardvark: “Tuesday's panel discussion which I organized for the Institute for Public Diplomacy (working title) and Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University, ‘Public Diplomacy and the War of Ideas: Agendas for the Next Administration,’ went extremely well. A standing room only crowd and live C-Span audience got to see an unusually substantive, thoughtful discussion of the bureaucratic, practical, policy and intellectual challenges facing the next administration - whichever it may be - in this vital policy area.” A detailed account of the discussion follows.
Who speaks for Islam: Part V - John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, GulfNews, United Arab Emirates: “The Gallup World Poll consistently confirms that the crucial issues in improving relations are the beliefs and perceptions of 'the other,' which affect and need to inform foreign policies. The war against global terrorism has been fought on three major fronts: military, economic and diplomatic. As military experts have noted, while the military can capture and kill terrorists, it is not equipped to win the struggle for minds and hearts. This, many today would argue, requires a public diplomacy that addresses the ideological dimensions of war: the war of ideas and the foreign policies created.”
Iran's President And The Battle For The Arab Street - Mardo Soghom, Payvand, Iran: “I left Egypt dispirited, pessimistic about the West's chances of influencing opinions in the Arab world. … The need for accurate information, for debate, for a marketplace of ideas in the Arab world is so great that the West must not be deterred from developing and implementing a massive, strategic public-diplomacy initiative in the Arab world.”
Campaign 2008: Iraq and the war against jihadism - George Weigel, The Tidings, CA : “So here are some questions that Catholic voters might pose to the two principal presidential candidates: … If the war against jihadism is, at bottom, a contest between two very different ideas of the just society, what will you do to enhance our national capacity to make the case for civility, tolerance and religious freedom through our public diplomacy? Is broadcasting American pop culture into the Middle East the most effective way to illustrate our convictions about the good society? What should we be telling an Arab Islamic world, caught in a narrative of failure of its own making, about the goods that freedom brings? Or should we just drop the subject?”
The Next Chapter: The United States and Pakistan - Stephen P. Cohen, Pakistan Working Group, Brookings: “Some of the key recommendations for strengthening U.S. policy toward Pakistan presented in this paper include: … Develop, invest in, and implement a farreaching public diplomacy program that emphasizes common U.S. and Pakistani interests in combating extremism, creating prosperity, and improving regional relationships instead of highlighting the struggle against extremism in Pakistan as part of the 'Global War on Terrorism.'”
U.S. to Fund Pro-American Publicity in Iraqi Media - AINA, CA: “[T]he size of the military's efforts dwarf those of the diplomats. State estimates it will spend $5.6 million on public diplomacy in Iraq in fiscal 2008. A provision in the fiscal 2009 Defense Authorization Bill has called for a 'close examination' of the State and defense communications programs ‘to better formulate a comprehensive strategy.’"
U.S. to Fund Pro-American Publicity in Iraqi Media -Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus, Washington Post: "The Defense Department will pay private U.S. contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to 'engage and inspire' the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government. ... The Pentagon is sensitive to criticism that it has sometimes blurred the lines between public-affairs activities and unattributed propaganda. As information operations in Iraq expanded, some senior officers warned that they risked a return to psychological and deception operations discredited during the Vietnam War."
The Choice - New Yorker: “There is still disagreement about the wisdom of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and his horrific regime, but there is no longer the slightest doubt that the Bush Administration manipulated, bullied, and lied the American public into this war and then mismanaged its prosecution in nearly every aspect. … The indirect costs, both of the war in particular and of the Administration’s unilateralist approach to foreign policy in general, have also been immense. The torture of prisoners, authorized at the highest level, has been an ethical and a public-diplomacy catastrophe.”
Watching Diplomacy – Melinda Brouwer, Foreign Policy Association: U.S. Diplomacy - A Great Decisions 2008 Blog: "Where can you watch Condoleezza Rice talk foreign policy and then play piano, James Glassman discuss public diplomacy, Tom Friedman read from his new book, and King Abdullah II of Jordan related the US-Jordan relationship? The Aspen Institute’s video blog. So far I’ve watched the first three of the above mentioned Aspen-sponsored events, and I highly recommend them. The questions put to Glassman are insightful, as are his responses."
Egypt calls it for Palin, Kinda - DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age: “How many US bloggers would stay up until 3am to watch the Egypt's presidential debates? As we look toward what works in public diplomacy, I think … [t]he world knows plenty about us. How much do we know about them? More importantly, what can we do to make us care?"
Romania: The MFA promotes Romania in Italy through the public diplomacy campaign "Piazza di Romania" – Isria: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with MSMECTLP, will organize between 28th September – 9th October, a public diplomacy campaign in Italy, in order to prove that there are more things linking the Italians to the Romanians and less those that seem to separate them. The campaign takes place under the slogan 'Romania: un mondo da scoprire' ('Romania: a world to discover') and sets forth to offer both Italians and Romanians the opportunity to participate together to certain cultural and artistic actions, to public events and different meetings and seminars which would stress both the strong filiations between the Romanians and the Italians, consisting of values, joys, interests, common hobbies, and mutual advantage offered to the citizens of the two countries due to the things that they have in common."
Opening of Central Asian office of Carnegie Foundation is to be opened in Kazakhstan - Kazakhstan Today: “Opening of a Central Asian office of Carnegie Foundation is supposed to be opened in Kazakhstan. Such proposal was presented by foreign affairs minister of Kazakhstan Marat Tazhin in his report ‘Kazakhstan in the global world’ in Washington at the Carnegie foundation on supporting of peace all over the world, agency reports with reference to the foreign affairs ministry. M. Tazhin also stressed a fruitful cooperation between the foundation and its partners in Kazakhstan. ‘Such often contacts of the experts and mutual interest just urges to the initiative of opening in Kazakhstan a Central Asian department of the Carnegie foundation. Moreover, today public diplomacy is a priority for our countries,’ said the head of foreign affairs ministry of Kazkahstan.”
Johns Hopkins Make Reports Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan - Spin of the Day, Center for Media and Democracy: "As part of a broader public relations and lobbying push, Kazakhstan's government paid Johns Hopkins University to author three reports about the country. The arrangement was brokered through APCO Worldwide, Kazakhstan's Washington DC lobbying firm."
Dance! - André Marty, Readers Edition, ein blogform project: Mention of “Public diplomacy, Israeli stile.”
Students revved up as Palin and Biden take center stage: More than 300 students filled the Annenberg lobby to watch the two VP - candidates spar - Catherine Lyons, Daily Trojan: Erin Kamler, a graduate student studying public diplomacy, interpreted Palin's performance as good for both candidates.
CNN promotes Poland – Polish Radio – External Service: The biggest advertising campaign to date presenting Poland kicked off on CNN television today. Two spots presenting Poland as a "place to be" and a "place to invest" aim at promoting this country as an attractive destination for tourists and businesspeople. VIA
A Touch of Xenophobia in the Night? Blaming America for economic woes around the world - Irwin M. Stelzer, Weekly Standard: The important thing is that the American model is dead. Or so foreigners think -- hope, to be precise.
The Nobel Literature Debate: Uncle Sam Has Bigger Problems - Ulrich Baron, Spiegel: Horace Engdahl of the Nobel Prize committee doesn't think American authors are good enough for the world's top literary honor. His comments are laughable, but they will certainly draw more attention to the awards this year.
As international airfares soar, Americans stay in USA - Gary Stoller, USA TODAY
U.S. Embassy to relocate in London - Stephen Castle, International Herald Tribune: The demand for more space, greater security and better energy efficiency have prompted the United States to plan a move from the smart Mayfair district to the Nine Elms Opportunity Area in Wandsworth, just south of the River Thames.
Fighting Terrorism: A failing war - Rami G. Khouri, International Herald Tribune: Something is very wrong if the U.S. and allies are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a global war, but the main terror group targeted continues to operate, spawning allies, and in most parts of the world is seen either to be holding its own against the U.S. or is maintaining public support. Perhaps many people think Al Qaeda is a bunch of despicable thugs, but they turn a blind eye to it because their daily lives are impacted more adversely by the destructive consequences of U.S. policies.
Will the Pentagon Be the Next U.S. Institution to Crash? – William Pfaff, Truthdig: The war on terror has been renamed the “Long War” because no one has a better name for it, and nearly everyone fears that it may go on forever, since it seems to be a war against disorder, failed nations, rogue states and the collective miseries of all the world beyond the frontiers of the United States and Europe.
Obama Was Willing to Lose in Iraq: A president cannot treat a war as if it's a game - Robert McFarlane, Wall Street Journal
McCain's Kremlin Ties - Mark Ames & Ari Berman, Nation: Despite McCain's tough talk, behind the scenes his top advisers have cultivated deep ties with Russia's oligarchy -- indeed, they have promoted the Kremlin's geopolitical and economic interests, as well as some of its most unsavory business figures, through greedy cynicism and geopolitical stupor.
Medvedev says no return to Cold War, hits out at propaganda - RIA Novosti, Russia: Speaking of "hypocrisy and recklessness, exacerbated by aggressive nationalism," Russian president Mevedev said that, "this is not the first time that the world has faced such an aberration and not the first time that people have fallen under the influence of unscrupulous propaganda." Russia has criticized Western powers for their support of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in the war over South Ossetia, and also the Western media for what it calls "biased" reporting.
Russia, Ukraine relationship going sour, say polls - Alina Pastukhova, Kyiv Post: The attitude of Russians and Ukrainians toward each other has deteriorated in recent months, according to parallel public opinion polls conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and Moscow-based Levada-Center. The significant attitude change is the outcome of Russia’s propaganda campaign against Ukraine, some say. The bigger fear is where all of this bad blood is leading.
N. Korea demands S. Korea end distribution of propaganda fliers: North warns that continuation could have negative effect on inter-Korean tourism and transit - Hankyoreh
Skype slams Chinese partner over monitoring - Richard Waters and Mure Dickie, Financial Times: Skype, the internet communications service owned by Ebay, on Thursday accused its joint venture partner in China of keeping it in the dark about a censorship programme that involved the monitoring of politically sensitive terms on the service.
Art with a spin - Times-Standard: Humboldt State University Art Professor Wayne Knight: ”The popular notion of propaganda is that it's always political and it's always a form of disinformation ... . The reality is that at its base it's simply an attempt to convince, whether right or wrong, whether it is a lie or the truth. All artists are attempting to convince in some form, the minute the object is put before the public, that it has value, that the vision is unique, or that it just has the right to exist.”