Friday, November 21, 2008
"[W]hen I was getting my first experience living outside the US, US Information Agency Director Edward R. Murrow, gave a speech in which he said, ‘The really crucial link in the international communication chain is the last three feet, which is bridged by personal contact, one person talking to another.’ That, in a nutshell, is the role of Public Diplomacy."
--John Burgess, former US Foreign Service officer to the Middle East
SITE OF (MAYBE) INTEREST
Genderanalyzer: Man or woman - who is writing that blog?
American Influence in the New Age of Ideology - Shawn Powers, Intermap: "In the November/December edition of Foreign Policy, Bruce Jentleson and Steven Weber welcome their readers into a 'new age of ideology.' … Jentleson and Weber point to America’s ‘appeal for a war of ideas to defeat international terrorism’ as a metaphor for America’s failure to grasp the nature of political influence in today’s age of networks and information. ‘Ideas don’t go to combat; they vie for the commitment of individuals in an arena that is less like a battlefield and more like a marketplace.’ Indeed, Jentleson and Weber suggest that international influence—and I would add, public diplomacy—is now best understood in terms of a marketplace of ideas rather than a ‘battle’ for ‘hearts and minds,’ a reframing that dramatically changes the rules of international politics.”
Executive Summary: Reforming U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century - Tony Blankley, Helle C. Dale and Oliver Horn, Executive Summary #2211, Heritage Foundation: “For America, whose purpose is rooted in the aspirations of freedom for everyone, winning hearts and minds is a critical part of any effective foreign policy. Yet without substantial reforms in its structures and methods of public diplomacy, the United States will remain, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said, ‘miserable at communicating to the rest of the world what we are about as a society and a culture, about freedom and democracy, about our policies and our goals.’ It is time for Congress and the President to ensure that the United States fully engages in the war of ideas by creating a comprehensive strategy and framework that utilize strategic communications as an effective, proactive foreign policy tool.” See also
Mightier Than the Sword - Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: “The word is powerful. In fact, one might even say the word is power. No one is more acutely aware of this than Jeffrey Gedmin, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). … Today, the nonprofit, U.S.-funded RFE reaches 30 million people, in 28 languages, in 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Central Asian republics. All for the relatively low price of $83 million. That is approximately the cost of four Apache helicopters and, inarguably, provides a significant bang for the buck. ‘Give me the equivalent of six Apaches and we'd probably change the world,’ said Gedmin over coffee while in Washington this week.”
VOA's jazz history is still in the news - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
IV. 24: Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media
International education - Sandra Sedano, Collegian: “According to the Association of International Educators in the 2006-07 academic year, 241,791 students studied abroad for academic credit, which is an 8.5 percent increase over the previous year. With this increase, the number of students studying abroad represents approximately 1 percent of all enrolled students. ‘The challenges for the 21st century cannot be addressed by the government alone, and therefore, our public-private partnership with non-governmental organizations, businesses, educational institutions and communities are more important than ever to effective public diplomacy,’ Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement on the International Education Week Web site.“
America the Popular: A lesson from students about foreign exchange – Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: "In the media telling, America during the Bush years has been an unpopular and insular country. But one group would seem to differ: young people. The U.S. remains the top destination for students from around the world, while Americans are studying abroad in record numbers too. ... If there's a darker note here, it's that Congress remains uninterested in keeping those foreign students in the country once we've invested in their training -- witness the annual cap of H-1B work visas at 65,000."
Maplewood’s Stone getting noticed - Matt Wilson, City Paper, Nashville: “I looked on in disbelief when I saw that Ken Griffey Jr. was named an American Public Diplomacy Envoy by the State Department the other day. Griffey has always seemed like a spoiled brat who’s never happy with anything and has never really dealt with the press well. So he’s supposed to be a diplomat?”
Keep Gates: But Mrs. Clinton at Foggy Bottom? Can they be serious? – Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal: "On the face of it, the apparent offering of the secretary of state job to Hillary Clinton is a clever, interesting choice: An experienced and sophisticated workhorse with her own standing in the country, and bearing a name that is popular in the world, will be the public face of U.S. diplomacy. ... But the downside is equally obvious: To invite in the Clintons—and it's always the Clintons, never a Clinton—is to invite in, to summon, drama that will never end."
The team – zundel: “I have doubts about Clinton for State and Napolitano for Security. But it begins to make sense. Obama assembles a team that can work well with congress. And a team that can hit hard. Clinton has global name recognition—and global credibility. We need strong management of difficult diplomatic negotiation, and strong public diplomacy. She can do public diplomacy. If you’d like a metaphor, think basketball." NOTE: More on Clinton at Foggy Bottom below.
HSPI co-hosts symposium on "Homeland Defense and Security for the Next Administration - GWUMC News: “Under the banner of the Consortium for Homeland Defense and Security in America, the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) joined with the Center for Strategic & International Studies, the Heritage Foundation, and the Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership, to host their third annual symposium on November 19-20, 2008. … Three fundamental elements emerged from the discussion: the need to build international capacity and partnerships to further enable others’ counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency and counter-proliferation efforts; the importance of employing all elements of statecraft, and expanding our appreciation of non-kinetic measures such as public diplomacy, humanitarian assistance and economic measures; and the need to prevent radicalization by formulating, tailoring to context, and supporting counter-radicalization efforts, de-radicalization and disengagement programs.”
Missing the point on more than one level - Mike DeVito, The Smarmy Liberal: “Joe the Soldier, though we thank him for his service, isn’t automatically qualified for government because he did a tour as a grunt or a small unit commander. And his policy advice on national security probably isn’t any more useful than someone who has studied it on a theoretical level, because he only has a ground-level view. Public diplomacy, yes - they’ll have insights on that. But defense policy? Not so much.”
25 Citizens Undergo Diplomatic Training in Egypt - Analyst (Monrovia): “Twenty-five Liberians have departed the country for Cairo, Egypt, to undergo a two-week training program in diplomacy. The delegation, which left the country on Sunday, November 16, 2008, is to participate in a middle-level diplomatic training covering a wide range of topics including development diplomacy, conflict resolution and multi-track diplomacy, and media and public diplomacy. … According to a Foreign Ministry release, the training is being made possible with support from the Egyptian Technical Cooperation Fund under the Foreign Ministry of Egypt.”
Bracing for a Major Disappointment - William Pfaff, Truthdig: Because of the enormous expectations Obama’s election has aroused abroad, above all among America’s European allies, any Obama-Clinton restoration of Clintonism would be met with incomprehension and disappointment.
From Russia With Loathing - Cathy Young, New York Times: In his Nov. 5 speech, President Medvedev asserted that “we have no inherent anti-Americanism.” True enough, but in recent years, anti-Americanism has been carefully cultivated by official and semi-official propaganda, especially on government-controlled television, which manipulates popular insecurities and easily slides into outright paranoia.
Back-Scratching in America - Alexei Pankin, Moscow Times: Can Medvedev fully trust Obama when it is clear that he readily believes the U.S. media and, even worse, he develops his policy on Russia based on this biased information?
Judge orders release of 5 Guantánamo detainees - William Glaberson, International Herald Tribune: After the first hearing on the government's evidence for holding detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, a U.S. federal judge ruled Thursday that five of the prisoners were not being lawfully held and ordered their release.
Wrenching Choices on Guantanamo - Benjamin Wittes, Washington Post: Closing Guantanamo won't be easy, at least not if Obama means to change the substance of American detention policy rather than merely altering its geography.
What to do with Guantánamo's detainees: Saudi Arabia's rehabilitation plan works. Imitate it - Christopher Boucek, Christian Science Monitor: This Saudi "soft" approach, first formulated a few years ago by a Yemeni judge, Hamoud al-Hitar, is made up of three components: prevention programs to deter average citizens from becoming violent extremists, rehabilitation programs designed to encourage supporters and sympathizers to renounce violence, and aftercare programs to prevent recidivism and reintegrate people into society.
Talking With the Taliban – Editorial, New York Times: Afghanistan’s only chance is a long-term American commitment that also includes far more economic assistance and support for political development.
Middle East Priorities For Jan. 21 - Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Washington Post: In perhaps no other region was the election of Obama more favorably received than the Middle East. Immediate attention to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute would help cement the goodwill that Obama's election engendered. Not everyone in the Middle East views the Palestinian issue as the greatest regional challenge, but the deep sense of injustice it stimulates is genuine and pervasive.
The A Team - Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker: The team of Barack “Grandpa Was a Muslim” Obama, Hillary “I’m a Clinton” Clinton, and Rahm “Israel” Emanuel (that’s his real middle name! and he was a volunteer with the I.D.F. during the 1991 Gulf War!), with Joe Biden and Bill Clinton pitching in as necessary, would put the new Administration in an extremely powerful position to apply the kind of pressure that would give Israeli politicians the political cover they need to reach a settlement with the Palestinians.
The Iraqi-U.S. agreement - Austin Bay, Washington Times: Two events and one document frame the historical context of two pending agreements that will guide U.S.-Iraqi relations over the next three to 10 years: the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA).
A Framework for Success in Iraq - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Dealing with the new Iraq will not be easy. It has become a prickly nation, jealous of its sovereignty and determined to avoid even the appearance of American imperialism. But this also means it is becoming a "normal," self-governing country, in the midst of a national debate on its security just six years after the end of a vicious tyranny.
Stuff Happens: The Pentagon's Argument of Last Resort on Iraq - Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: Washington may continue in some fashion to garrison an economically desperate world, but it will never again have the money to occupy a country in the style of Iraq -- largely because the Bush administration managed to squander the American imperial legacy in eight short years.
To Do: Somalia -- The looming crisis in Somalia is an opportunity for Barack Obama to show that he won't repeat the mistakes of the U.S.'s recent past - Jonathan Stevenson, New Republic
US Diplomacy Is Also FDA, USDA, EPA ... – Avuncular American: “Many people are unclear as to what ‘diplomacy’ consists of, and generations of American Foreign Service Officers have tales of how they explain to friends and family that working for the 'State' Department does not mean a dreary job in Harrisburg or Tallahassee or some other state capital. ‘What do you do?’ in an embassy, anyway? Well, anything that the US Government does, to be concise.”
The State Department and the Leadership Agenda – Diplopundit: ”The State Department is an old, traditional organization, and it is set on its ways in more ways than one, kind of really like grandpa w ho likes his coffee at exactly 9 o’clock in the morning among other things. Although it is true that almost all entry level officers do serve in one or two consular assignments and are therefore, captive audience for the Consular Bureau’s leadership initiative, the non-consular coned officers move into different career tracks (such as political, public diplomacy, economic and management) after their first two tours. And while leadership development is embedded into the training of our soldiers, for instance – it is not the same for our diplomatic personnel.” Via
Diplomatically Trying to Close Overseas Pay Gap - Joe Davidson, Washington Post: When State Department diplomats are posted abroad, they lose locality pay. That's the amount added to a federal worker's salary based on where they work. Since 1994, when locality pay started, the increase for federal employees in the D.C. area has amounted to almost 21 percent. Moving overseas from the State Department's Foggy Bottom headquarters and other area installations means workers lose that differential. See also
Hillary Clinton Nomination Is On Track - Anne E. Kornblut, Washington Post
Stop Hillary! Yes we can! – Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com: With Hillary Clinton as Obama’s secretary of state, and a bevy of war hawks ensconced in key national security posts – just like the neocons in the Bush administration -- the War Party will be well-represented in the foreign policy councils of the new administration.
Obama: Don't Hire Hillary - Patricia DeGennaro, Huffington Post
Why Obama Can Keep Gates - Joe Conason, Truthdig: If the prospect of appointing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state irritates the Obama base, what will they make of keeping the man who has executed President Bush’s policies at the Pentagon
Why Obama Wants Hillary for His 'Team of Rivals' - Karen Tumulty and Massimo Calabresi, Time: Viewed cynically, bringing Clinton into the tent could co-opt a potential adversary in 2012 and put a leash on her globetrotting husband, who has a propensity for foreign policy.
One Reason Hillary Could be Extraordinary at State – Jeffrey Goldberg, Atlantic: Her uncommon understanding of the Middle East could truly revive revive peacemaking.
Clinton: Why She is Uniquely Qualified as Secretary of State - Jennifer Donahue, Huffington Post: If global women's rights is an issue, which it most certainly is, Senator Clinton is matched by no one in her past words and deeds in advance of this cause.
The Great Right Hope: Hillary Clinton? - Noemie Emery, Weekly Standard: As it is, foreign policy is the one area in which Hillary Clinton’s ideas seem somewhat in line with those of conservatives; and at any rate, she is the best thing they are likely to get. For the moment, Hillary Clinton will be the conservatives' Woman in Washington, more attuned to their concerns on these issues than to those of the get-the-troops-home-now wing of her party.
Substitute - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog I keep track of Condoleezza's hairdo so you don't have to: PHOTO: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with European Union Secretary General Javier Solana at the State Department, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce ceneta). COMMENT: "The State Department's revolving door had a busy day. And look! It's one of our favorites, excitable Javier Solana, who we love, love, love, even if we aren't sure why, am I right? Wow, is he looking forward to January, I bet! But I wonder where Condi is? But Princess, you say, she's right there! Oh, come on, now, look closer! That is totally, obviously the labor-saving, Disneymatic Condibot standing in while the real one, I don't know, gets her nails done."
Adolf Hitler was mentally unbalanced because he had only one testicle – Pravda.ru: The rumors of Hitler’s monorchism (a medical term designating the absence of one testicle) are not new at all. There is even a song about such a peculiarity of Hitler’s genitals. The lyrics are: "Hitler has only got one ball, Göring has two but very small, Himmler is somewhat sim'lar, But poor old Goebbels has no balls at all. Hitler has only got one ball, The other is on the kitchen wall, His mother, the dirty b——r, Chopped it off when he was small." The song was long reputed to be propaganda-oriented, although military reports confirm that Hitler had been wounded in the groin indeed during the Battle of the Somme.