"[America] is renewal, the place where impossible stories get written. It is the overcoming of history, the leaving behind of war and barriers, in the name of a future freed from the cruel gyre of memory. It is reinvention, the absorption of one identity in something larger -- the notion that 'out of many, we are truly one.'”
--Commentator Roger Cohen; photo: Madonna on her Reinvention World Tour
“I do not reinvent myself at every turn.”
--George W. Bush, 1980, at the Republican National Convention
Transcript of Blogger Roundtable with Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Jim Glassman 28 Oct 2008 - U.S. State Department: James Glassman: "And today as the administration prepares to leave office, there's a strategy, there's a platform, there's a new way of doing business in place that are ready for the next administration. And I think an important question is what are the vulnerabilities of … strategy, platform and program. And I think there are really two. One is that there is a need for a scaling up of resources in public diplomacy and certainly in the war of ideas part of public diplomacy. … The second topic is Columbia. I just came back from Columbia. ... And the reason that I went was I felt that Columbia had a good deal to teach us in our war of ideas efforts in other parts of the world.” Transcript via
Alberto Fernandez on US public diplomacy to Sudan - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy. Islam on Line interview with Alberto Fernandez, the American charge d’affaires in Sudan, "one of the few who speak fluent Arabic at the State Department": "Islam on Line: What role has public diplomacy played in attempts to normalize relations between the US and Sudan? Fernandez: That is a better question I think for the Sudanese rather than for me. I think we are very active in public diplomacy in Sudan. We are being very aggressive about speaking with the press in Arabic and we make ourselves available. I certainly make myself available, sometimes I think more than I would like to the Sudanese press so they certainly have opportunities to ask me all kind of questions, negative questions and hostile questions, whatever they want, and we try to answer them as seriously and respectfully as possible. We also try to do as much outreach as we can in the public diplomacy field with the Sudanese people, for example, we are renovating the Ali Dinar museum in El-Fisher in Darfur which was the palace of the last sultan of Darfur and is a very lovely little museum there. We are doing other things as well. I am still frustrated that we haven’t re-established education exchange programs with Sudan."
Defining Public Diplomacy: Preparing for a new Administration - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: “[S]trategic communication targets both US and non-US audiences while public diplomacy targets only non-US audiences. Of course the bifurcation of global engagement by the U.S. is artificial, uniquely American, quaint, and ultimately not based on historical realities or modern requirements. … Rebuilding the arsenal of persuasion is difficult, but it is even more so when people can’t 'hang their hat' on an idea. We need an organizing principle and an organizing principal.”
Leadership & Vision (Seminar Day 6) – Broadnax, World-Wide-Matel: “One of my colleagues speculated about how the events around the Iraq war might have unfolded differently if we had sufficient diplomatic infrastructure on the ground in Germany & France to carry out strong public relations and diplomatic programs. … I am convinced that we had significant problems with public diplomacy after 9/11 because our public diplomacy infrastructure was so decimated in the 1990s and spread too thin.“
United States Experiments with African Command - Chris Janiec, Policy Innovations: “The Pentagon's newfound attention to Africa has been greeted with skepticism, both at home and in Africa, as the search for a country willing to host AFRICOM headquarters dominated initial discussions. Given the sheer size of Africa and the operational value of having personnel on the continent, a headquarters in Africa would have been preferable, but the legacy of colonialism and a lackluster public diplomacy campaign hampered the search process. As a result, the command will be based in Germany for the foreseeable future.” PHOTO: AFRICOM Commander William Ward inspects Ghanaian troops.
The arts of politics: Cultural groups say a lot is riding on presidential, Senate races - Rich Copley, Herald-Leader: "Americans for the Arts Action Fund, a bipartisan arts advocacy group, tried to take the artistic temperatures of the major-party presidential candidates, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. The fund's ArtsVote report detailed the candidates' positions on the arts … The Obama statement includes plans to reinvest in arts education to 'reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great,' promote 'cultural diplomacy' through artist exchanges with other countries, streamline visa requirements for artists and arts students visiting from other countries, provide health care and tax relief for artists, and support increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts."
Baseball Great Cal Ripken, Jr. to Travel to Nicaragua - harpBlaster.com News Wire: “The US State Department says baseball great Cal Ripken, Jr., will visit Nicaragua in mid-November in his role as an American public diplomacy envoy. A statement issued Wednesday says Ripken will make the five-day trip with Nicaraguan native Dennis Martinez, who played with Ripken for the Baltimore Orioles.”
Joe Lieberman - What Would A McCain Presidency Do? - FORA.tv: “Lieberman and his fellow panelists focus on how McCain would approach public diplomacy, trade, energy independence, and confronting America's adversaries. Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008.”
Kinderkrankheiten chinesischer Public Diplomacy - mrpresident, Hotel Villa de Art: Infidel’s Premium Choice
India's Flawed Regional Diplomacy at work in Sri Lanka - Madhavi Bhasin, American Chronicle: Madhavi Bhasin is a Doctoral Researcher at the Jadavpur University, India. Currently based in California and working on Indo-U.S. Missile Defense Cooperation and India's Public Diplomacy Strategy.
Beyond the Museum: Asmat bisj-poles gain new meaning in a Papuan refugee protest in Melbourne - Kipley Nink, Inside Indonesia, Indonesia: “Among the most spectacular exhibits in the [Michael Rockefeller] collection is a wall of nine bisj-poles, traditionally carved from the buttress of a mangrove tree to honour recently killed warriors in some Asmat communities. … The Rockefeller exhibition is just one example of the way in which bisj-poles have become divorced from their original context and meaning. More recently, they have been reproduced by non-Asmat people to represent West Papuan and Indonesian art, appearing on T-shirts and key rings and in carvings at significant sites such as Jakarta’s Sukarno-Hatta airport. They have also been used outside Indonesia to promote tourism and cultural diplomacy.“
Still No. 1 - Robert Kagan, Washington Post: The evidence of American decline is weak. America's image is certainly damaged, as measured by global polls, but the practical effects of this are far from clear.
Virtual JFK: The 44th President’s Foreign Policy Challenge - James G. Blight and janet M. Lang, Truthdig: If Americans elect the candidate whose bottom line is avoiding a military defeat, as it was for LBJ and as it is for John McCain, they will probably raise the odds of enduring many more military defeats. If, on the other hand, they elect the candidate whose bottom line is avoiding disastrous war, as it was for JFK and as it is for Barack Obama, they will probably increase the odds of meaningful victory -- a “victory,” that is, in Niebuhr’s sense, meaning having not made matters worse, and perhaps having made them a little better.
Bush's booby traps for Obama: The Bush administration is leaving behind foreign policy tripwires that could blow up on the next president - Rosa Brooks, Los Angeles Times: Tripwires in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.
Fork in the Road: Where Obama will lead if he goes left on foreign policy - Clifford D. May, National Review: With only a few exceptions (e.g. paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan and libertarian Ron Paul), going right has come to mean grasping that the West is engaged in a conflict as consequential as those that were fought against Nazism and Communism. If Obama is the next president and if, as Peggy Noonan suggests he is more likely to “go left in foreign relations,” we should at least understand where that will lead us.
America’s Military Attack in Syria -- Possible Reasons and Likely Costs: Daniel Levy, Prospects for Peace: A general effort seems to be afoot, now extended from the Afghan-Pakistan border region to the Iraq-Syria border with regard to U.S. military freedom of action in cross border missions. The Bush Administration has probably managed to yet further complicate the work of its successor in the Middle East with this latest act.
Syrian haven for killers, then and now - Rafael Medoff , Jerusalem Post: While the Bush administration has designated Syria a sponsor of terrorism and imposed the requisite sanctions, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and her aides recently met with Syrian officials to seek a "thaw" in relations. Does this week's US air raid demonstrate a rejection of the "thaw" approach or does it simply reflect the latest bump in an ongoing tug of war within the administration over how to deal with Syria?
Iraq Condemns US Raid on Syrian Village: American troops used Iraqi territory as 'staging ground' for attack - Patrick Cockburn, Independent/Common Dreams
US Cutoff Threat Unlikely to Save Iraq Troop Pact - Gareth Porter, Antiwar.com: Shaping the Iraqi political response to the US-Iraq status of forces agreement is the perception that the proposed agreement is the same type of unequal military relationship that Iraq had with the British for decades.
Auditors: Private security in Iraq cost over $6B - Associated Press, International Herald Tribune: No one knows for sure, but auditors think the United States has paid well over $6 billion to private security companies who have been guarding diplomats, troops, Iraqi officials and reconstruction workers in Iraq.
Nothing else matters: Iraqi heavy metal returns - Charles Levinson, USA TODAY: 250 Iraqi fans of heavy metal music fearlessly donned eye shadow, anarchist pendants and black T-shirts and came out of hiding to attend Iraq's first metal concert in five years.
Iraqi Party Comes to the United States – Spin of the Day, Center for Media and Democracy: The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq is launching a public campaign in the United States, "to educate and raise awareness of the goals of the leading Shiite political party that opposes Muqtada al-Sadr's group." The Council will spend an estimated $20,000 per month, to educate U.S. policymakers and the general public on "Iraqi Islamic culture."
Who's Behind the Council for a Democratic Iran? Who's Behind the Council for a Democratic Iran?: - Spin of the Day, Center for Media and Democracy: “The Virginia-based Council for a Democratic Iran (CDI) … [has] a major new contract with the Livingston Group lobbying and PR firm … CDI's founder, Dr. Behrooz Behbudi, ‘seems to be aligned with military hawks.’ In 2007, he ‘bought $250,000 worth of ads in major North American newspapers denouncing Iran's Muslims leaders and 'terrorists' and 'fascists' and warning they are a direct threat to the U.S. and Canada.’"
Lovely Obama Musical Propaganda - Petite Maoiste
More Fun with Obama Propaganda – Federal Review: A little something you can use on your own, homemade armband.
Viva la Propaganda: Political Art, October 18 - November 22, 2008 – Bear And Bird Boutique+Gallery: Our current exhibition is called "Viva la Propaganda" and features all different kinds of political artwork by South Florida artists.