Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 18

“Mr. Obama … said he hopes to have a laptop computer on his desk in the Oval Office, making him the first American president to do so."

--Reporter Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

IMAGES RIGHT AND BELOW FROM: Popaganda: The Pop Culture Revolution - Jeremy Barker, Popped Culture: “Who needs world wars, political ideology and elections to delve into the world of propaganda? Papa Smurf needs you and Waldo is watching. I've got a thing for spoofs and parodies, and if you can tie together two disparate cultural elements, I'm sold. I attribute it to a lifetime of watching shows like The Simpsons and The Muppets. So behold, a collection of pop culture propaganda posters."


Can Facebook Defeat Terrorism? – Steven Corman, COMOPS Journal: “In early January of this year, a 33 year old Colombian engineer named Oscar Morales expressed his indignation (and that of many other Colombians) against the FARC by launching a Facebook group called Un Millón de Voces Contra las FARC (UMVCF, “One Million Voices Against the FARC”). … UMVCF became the basis for an anti-FARC protest march on February 4th that was one of the biggest civil events in Colombian history. … Press accounts tend to credit the Facebook group itself with causing the march. For example, the Christian Science Monitor’s story carried the headline “Facebook used to target Colombia’s FARC with global rally.” [Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James] Glassman also seems to regard Facebook as a primary cause of the marches. … While there can be no doubt that Facebook played an important role in the events, it is a mistake to assume that it was the root cause of the movement. … Under Secretary Glassman and other commentators like Marc Lynch have correctly pointed out that Web 2.0 technologies may offer important asymmetries (in our favor, for a change) in the effort to resist terrorist groups. But at the same time, the full story of the anti-FARC marches in Colombia shows the danger of technological determinism in these efforts."

Propaganda War: Magic Laptops hit FARC, Chavez - Daniel Denvir, Indypendent, NY: “Since the Colombian government bombed a guerrilla camp on Ecuadoran soil March 1, it has orchestrated a highly effective media campaign backed by material allegedly found on laptops and hard drives belonging to a high-ranking member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the largest rebel group in Latin America. … These ‘magic laptops,’ which seem to supply evidence of FARC collaboration at an opportune moment for the Colombian and U.S. governments, have formed the centerpiece of a propaganda campaign launched by the Colombian government and security forces, abetted by the media in Colombia, the United States, and Spain.”

A new President, a new era for CD?: Will the U.S. move to a more long-term, sustainable policy on Cultural Diplomacy? Monika Revilla, Cultural Diplomacy News: “Historically the U. S. government has paid attention to cultural diplomacy during times of war, only to interrupt these efforts during times of peace. The success of cultural diplomacy cannot be measured, making it a difficult tactic to rely on, or invest in. After one hundred years, however, there is certainly proof of its importance – as the 'hearts and minds' literature that has recently emerged indicates. President-elect Obama appears to be aware of this, and we can only hope that he has the opportunity, and strength of character, to follow through with his plans.”

VOA in the Plum Book - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: “The presidential appointments are 'schedule C' jobs, given to political allies rather than through the competitive Civil Service hiring system. Each U.S. government agency gets a few schedule C's. Most of the schedule C employees I have encountered at VOA and the IBB have been hard workers, interesting company, and quickly get into the institutional spirit of protecting VOA's journalistic integrity. However, because U.S. international broadcasting can succeed only if it is credible, and it can achieve credibility only if it is independent, a senior adviser to VOA who ‘would report to Barack Obama’ is not a good idea.”

New Survey Suggests Continued Growth in International Student Enrollments at U.S. Colleges and Universities - Press Release, PRNewswire, MarketWatch: "International students contributed more than $15B to the U.S. economy in last year; International Education Week begins today International students and their dependents spent more than $15 billion in the United States during the 2007 - 2008 academic year, according to a new NAFSA report released today. … The results of an annual survey conducted jointly by eight leading higher education associations including NAFSA suggest that overall international student enrollments at U.S. colleges and universities are growing. … A NAFSA policy paper to the next U.S. president, issued before the election, emphasized the critical role of international education in advancing U.S. public diplomacy and foreign policy efforts at a time when the global reputation of the United States is at a historic low point.”

Book Review: Two views of what went wrong with the war in Iraq - Claude R. Marx, Boston Globe: "[In his 'Unintended Consequences: How the War in Iraq Strengthened America's Enemies' Peter W.] Galbraith's ideas for repairing the damage [regarding Iraq] include giving the UN more of a role in nation-building (and the United States less), deemphasizing the spread of freedom, using less public diplomacy and more one-on-one negotiations with countries we don't like.”

I am going to write some personal thoughts on the international relations or communication among people - 投稿者 Shigeru 時刻, Feel the Globe: “The Summit on Financial Market was closed in Washington. People say it is G-20 conference. I was a little surprised to see the way of organisation to the press. I can see the symbol mark and the meeting place's walls were covered with the sophisticated design. I am wondering who coordinated this. Which company, and who managed everything? I remember that I have learned a concept ‘public diplomacy’. It might be a good chance to show the US's power in terms of leadership among countries. I would say, the summit was a kind of 'stage' to perform or promote the US as a leader.”

Public Diplomacy and Smith-Mundt in the Asian Tribune - Matt Armstrong, Mountainrunner: “From the Asian Tribune yesterday: 'Sixty years ago, the elements of America’s national power – diplomacy, information, military, and economics – were retooled to meet an emerging threat. The National Security Act of 1947 and the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 were a direct response to a global ideological and military challenge posed by Communism.' Sound familiar? It should. The whole article was copied verbatim from this blog. Flattering, but give credit where credit’s due as requested under the Creative Commons License. I’ve asked they update their article with appropriate credit."

Video: Music and Public Diplomacy - Dennis, Hondo Mesa Records

Friends of Pakistan group for strategic partnerships with Pakistan - Mathaba.Net, UK : “Senior officials from a group called 'Friends of Democratic Pakistan' Monday noted Pakistan faces formidable challenges, and well coordinated international cooperation with Pakistan is needed to address those challenges, Foreign Ministry said.... The High Officials further noted that efforts in public diplomacy need to be made to reach out to the business community and media to positively project the Friends initiative.”


America’s Wars of Self-Destruction - Chris Hedges, Truthdig: Obama and those around him embrace the folly of the “war on terror.” But the only way to defeat terrorism is to isolate terrorists within their own societies, to mount cultural and propaganda wars, to discredit their ideas, to seek concurrence even with those defined as our enemies. Force, while a part of this battle, is rarely necessary.

Closing Guantánamo: Advice for Barack Obama - Andy Worthington, Counterpunch

No More Torture - Eugene Robinson, Truthdig: The new Obama administration has a duty to conduct its own investigation of the use of torture and tell us exactly what was done in our name.

Diplomacy, Diplomacy, Diplomacy – John Soltz, Huffington Post: It will be up to President Obama to follow-up on the promise of diplomacy to get Iraqi and regional players to all work towards their mutual interest.

Iran's green light in Iraq – Editorial, Boston Globe: Bush failed to achieve his aim of enabling Iraq to become unified, stable, and democratic. If Obama is to prevent Iraqis from descending into civil war after US forces leave, he will have to do so with political and diplomatic prowess, not shock and awe.

Iraq 'Fails' Upward: Iraq's security deal with U.S. shows gains amid 'failure' mantras – Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: It is evident the Iraqi government wants a continuing relationship with the U.S.

Iraq withdrawal plan offers a ray of hope: All sides will have to compromise to make the proposal work – Editorial, Los Angeles Times: A pullback from Iraq would allow the United States to restore its credibility abroad and, just as important, to begin to heal the wounds inflicted by the war at home.

The Blue and White Elephant in the Oval Office: Dual Loyalties Will Doom Obama - Rannie Amiri, Counterpuch: Alas, Arabs and Muslims under Obama’s spell have finally come to their senses. After excusing his behavior for far too long, bringing Biden, “Rhambo” and Hillary on board has confirmed their worst fears about the president-elect: "change" will not be coming their way and Middle East policy will remain decidedly unbalanced.

Barack Obama should address the need for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement sooner rather than later - Gershom Gorenberg, American Prospect

Should Obama chase Osama? On Sunday the president-elect told "60 Minutes" he wants to capture or kill bin Laden. Is he setting himself up for failure? - Juan Cole, Salon: The danger of mounting a major U.S. military campaign to kill or capture Osama bin Laden and destroy al-Qaida is that it risks alienating further the local Pashtun tribes who suffer collateral damage, as well as the Pakistani public in general.

Calling the Empire: With a tough election looming, Hugo Chávez grabs for Barack Obama's coattails – Editorial, Washington Post: Mr. Chávez is one of the hostile foreign leaders that Mr. Obama once said he would meet without preconditions. But the president-elect, has no reason to throw the self-styled "Bolivarian revolutionary" a lifeline.

Keeping Africa on Washington's radar - Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe: With attention focused on the domestic economy and Iraq, Africa rarely came up in the presidential campaign.

How the War on Terror pushed Somalia into the arms of al-Qaeda: It has been the forgotten debacle of the Bush years. But anarchy in the Horn of Africa may soon haunt the West - Martin Fletcher, Times (London)

Only in America? The Wrongheaded American Belief That Barack Obama Could Only Happen Here - David Berreby, Slate: The truth is that Obama-style chiefs of state -- people who came out of stigmatized ethnic minorities or "foreign'' enclaves to lead their governments -- are an uncommon but regularly recurring part of history.

Up in the Air : Will Barack Obama ground the missile defense program? - Alan W. Dowd, Weekly Standard: Candidate Obama was emphatic about his opposition to missile defense -- sort of.

U.S. Not a Threat After All - Alexander Golts, Moscow Times: Judging by the planned military reforms, it is clear that the top brass in their heart of hearts do not consider the United States and NATO as serious threats to Russia's security. But the leaders in the Kremlin and the Defense Ministry are not ready to admit it publicly, and that is why they remain silent about the reforms.

Pass the Colombian Trade Pact – Editorial, New York Times: We believe that the trade pact would be good for America’s economy and workers. Rejecting it would send a dismal message to allies the world over that the United States is an unreliable partner and, despite all that it preaches, does not really believe in opening markets to trade.

Hillary Clinton to accept Obama's offer of secretary of state job: President-elect Barack Obama reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration - Ewen MacAskill, Guardian

Re: Hillary the Statesman? - Eric Trager, Contentions, Commentary: It is hard to understand how Hillary Clinton would be an acceptable choice as our nation’s top diplomat. After all, Clinton has never studied international relations. She has never written on international relations. She has never advised anyone on international relations. And, during her career in the Senate, she has never sat on the Foreign Relations Committee, nor has she made international relations a major focus of her legislative work.

Hillary Clinton For Secretary Of State? Please No! - Martin Peretz, New Republic: The fact is that Mrs. Clinton, for all her practice in greeting foreign visitors and hosts, does not know much about international affairs.

Christopher Hitchens Calls Hillary Clinton As Secretary Of State a "Ludicrous Embarrassment" - Huffington Post

Hillaryvision - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog I keep track of Condoleezza's hairdo so you don't have to: "I don't know. It seems like picking Hillary to head the State Department would be a curiously shallow choice for Obama, somebody who we expect to be a little more pragmatic, a little less political. Plus, what's in it for Hillary? Wouldn't she have both more power and a longer shelf life (secretaries of state don't last long) representing New York in the Senate? It seems to me, too, that Richardson has way, WAY more experience in State Departmenty-type things."


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