Leif Gabrielsen, part of "Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia?" in Oslo. (Office for Contemporary Art)
November 24, 2008 C-SPAN: State Dept Briefing: Public Diplomacy & Online Activist Groups: State Department Under Secretary James Glassman opened the daily press briefing to discuss the Alliance for Youth Movements Summit, to be held in New York City December 3-5, 2008.
US State Department Chooses April 6th Movement to Take Part in Anti-Extremism Conference - Fathia al-Dakhakhni, U.S. Copts Association: “The US State Department said the April 6th Movement will take part in an international conference in New York on December 3-5. The conference is organized by the US State Department in cooperation with a number of its allies in the private sector under the title: The Alliance of Youth Movements. The US department described the Egyptian movement as the ‘largest’ youth movement in Egypt and said that its support to such movements resulted in disputes with some regimes. … US Assistant Secretary of State James Glassman said the April 6th, among 17 international organizations on the Internet, would take part in the conference that would be held at Col[u]mbia University in New York. He described the movement as Egypt’s largest pro-democracy youth group.”
Brookings Institution Report, Voices of America: U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century – Darren Krape blog: “What’s unique about the Brookings report is the proposal to create a new independent, non-profit, organization, similar to RAND or the British Council, which would work in service of U.S. public diplomacy efforts. Importantly, existing responsibility for public diplomacy in the U.S. government would remain unchanged. This is a key distinction, since other reports (such as this one from Heritage) have suggested consolidating all public diplomacy and strategic communication activities in a new agency (such as a reconstituted USIA).”
Wanted: a National Endowment for Public Diplomacy – Michael Allen, Democracy Digest: "A new agency, modeled on the National Endowment for Democracy, should be established to restore U.S. standing in the world, a new report on public diplomacy concludes. Like the NED, the USA-World Trust would be governed by a non-partisan board of directors, including members of Congress from both major political parties and representatives of key interests in American society."
The Delay-Sayers’ Mistake - Gershom Gorenberg, South Jerusalem “The job of anyone planning a diplomatic initiative includes public diplomacy: Efforts to alter the mood.”
Change From the Top - Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: “Obama may be the change he promised. He is uniquely positioned to change the world on multiple levels. As Jeff Gedmin, president of Radio Free Europe, recently put it: Obama is a weapon of mass attraction. That attractiveness isn't just physical, but is a matter of style. … The change we've been waiting for may not be immediately quantifiable, but personal responsibility, educational ambition and smart public diplomacy -- all by example rather than exhortation -- could go a long way toward curing what ails us.”
Helsinki Commission Urges Baku To Reconsider Moves Against RFE/RL, VOA – RFE/RL: “The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) has sent a letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, expressing its concern over the impending termination of radio broadcasts by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and the Voice of America (VOA) on local frequencies.”
This show's diplomacy is for real - and it's worth a hundred Milibands: The V&A exhibition takes Syrians seriously in their own capital, unlike the hectoring - Simon Jenkins, guardian.co.uk: “London's V&A museum has brought to Syria the first star-quality loan exhibition ever seen in the city. It is of 116 ceramic pieces from the finest collection in the world, plus a dozen added from the National Museum of Damascus. … Cultural diplomacy recognises that relations between states can be difficult, even hostile, without being engulfed in mutual abuse. They can continue through trade, tourism and academic exchange as well as through sport and the arts. Such ‘soft’ elements can inform the harder ones, or have no bearing on them. They rarely do harm. … Politics has always trumped culture in Britain's foreign relations. In more than half the world's countries, cultural diplomacy should be taking the lead over politics.”
New Zealand to Hold Cultural Presentation in Seoul Next Year – Korea Times: “Preparation was under way last week for New Zealand to share its cuisine, music, art and movies next April in Seoul. As part of the New Zealand Cultural Diplomacy International Program, the three-day cultural presentation will be the first and largest New Zealand event in Korea.”
Pakistan's Sufis Preach Faith and Ecstasy: The believers in Islamic mysticism embrace a personal approach to their faith and a different outlook on how to run their country’s government - Nicholas Schmidle, Smithsonian magazine: “Sufism is not a sect, like Shiism or Sunnism, but rather the mystical side of Islam—a personal, experiential approach to Allah, which contrasts with the prescriptive, doctrinal approach of fundamentalists like the Taliban. … Sufis represent the strongest indigenous force against Islamic fundamentalism. Yet Western countries have tended to underestimate their importance even as the West has spent, since 2001, millions of dollars on interfaith dialogues, public diplomacy campaigns and other initiatives to counter extremism. Sufis are particularly significant in Pakistan, where Taliban-inspired gangs threaten the prevailing social, political and religious order.”
APEC and Obama's message – Editorial, Jakarta Post, Indonesia: “President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has made several speeches and press statements where he took the opportunity to boast of his successes -- including his reduction of the poverty rate -- during his recent 13-day overseas trip which ended Tuesday night, to Washington and Peru, where he attended the G-20 Summit and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, respectively. … The President's trips should be fruitful not just in terms of public diplomacy and his own personal satisfaction, but also in more concrete economic terms for the country.”
Ethiopia, India still have enormous potential to expand tie; Minister Sufian Ahmed said - Walta Information Center, Ethiopia: “Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Gurjit Singh also said his country aims to diversify range of cooperation with Ethiopia in a way that can benefit next generation of the two nations. ‘Issues like alternative energy sources, cultural diplomacy, bridging the digital divide… and climate change… will bring out other issues on which India and Ethiopia can have important perspectives,’ the Ambassador said.”
Newly Elected US Congresswoman from Nevada Dina Titus Establishes her Writ in Democratic Congressional Caucus - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: “Professor Titus who declared at the September dialogue with the Sri Lankan community that, referring to Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers, ‘once you recognize an organization as a terrorist organization it should be treated as a terrorist organization and that such an organization cannot be brought to the negotiating table, was elected to the US Congress to represent the State of Nevada at the November 4 general election. … The gathering in early September that proved to have gained opening to have access to many US Congressmen through Dina Titus to establish a public diplomacy campaign to explain Sri Lankan’s battle against Tamil Tiger terrorism was organized by Sri Lankan political activist Sanje Sedera who chairs the Asian American Democratic Caucus in Las Vegas, a chartered organization by the State of Nevada Democratic Party, and Douglas Perera, a well known Sri Lankan social worker who is the deputy chairman of Sri Lanka America Association of Nevada. This writer was the other in that triumvirate.” PHOTO: Roman Emperor Titus.
Kafka and Uighurs at Guantánamo - Ray McGovern, Antiwar.com: We can be thankful for Barack Obama's pledge to close the Guantánamo prison, and for the fact that we are free to keep pressing him to proclaim liberty to captives and set free the oppressed -- including, of course, Uighurs and others in similar circumstances.
Don't Repackage Gitmo! - Michael Ratner & Jules Lobel, Nation: Not much will have been accomplished if Guantánamo is shuttered while the practices that underlie it continue.
Conflict Zone: Will James Jones and Hillary Clinton butt heads over Middle East policy? - Eli Lake, New Republic: With domestic policy looming so large in the coming year, few people expect Obama to immediately dive into Middle Eastern diplomacy. Even devoted peace processors have little hope of progress, given the looming Hamas-Fatah civil war.
Planet Obama: Global euphoria is better than the disrepute of the Bush years, but so far our new president’s appeal is entirely symbolic - Theodore Dalrymple, American Conservative: For all his transcendent appeal, Obama cannot overcome the harsh realities of a troubled world.
Deter Iran Using carrots and sticks - Louis Rene Beres, Thomas Mcinerney and Paul E. Vallely, Washington Times: We have elected a new president. To back up deterrence warnings, he will require a compelling infrastructure of sanctions and rewards.
Tutu, Obama and the Middle East - Amy Goodman, Truthdig: As President-elect Barack Obama focuses on the meltdown of the U.S. economy, another fire is burning: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
About Latin America – Editorial, New York Times
U.S. faces cyber threat from China – Editorial, San Francisco Chronicle
A Return to Liberal Warmongering? Peace Advocates Must Continue the Battle – Doug Bandow, Antiwar.com: The president-elect's rush to embrace the liberal interventionist establishment in choosing his foreign policy staff suggests that the next four years will be a lot like the last eight in substance if not tone, and a lot like the previous eight years in both substance and tone.
The Fall of Triumphalism - Michael T. Klare, Nation:
Not only will the United States be weaker in 2025 because of the hubris of Bush and Cheney; it will face a world of multiplied dangers, emboldened challengers and a paucity of reliable allies.
Obama Chooses An Unlikely Team of Hawks - Peter Beinart, Time: In Gates, Jones and Clinton, Obama's found people who can do more than sell his foreign policy to Iranians, Iraqis and Israelis; they can sell it to Americans too.
Hillary Clinton as diplomat: Obama's bold choice for his secretary of State shows the two can be partners on the world stage - Editorial, Los Angeles Times
Hillary of State : How much will this cost the Obama administration? – Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal: The price of neutralizing Mrs. Clinton as an outside rival, by bringing her inside, could make today's bailouts look cheap.
Clinton Cabinet: The politics of change look surprisingly familiar - Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, American Conservative: Obama is where he is today because he convinced voters that Hillary was yesterday’s news. Only time will tell if she and her old war-room buddies will get the last word.
The Tricks of Translating Thanksgiving - Michele A. Berdy, Moscow Times
IMAGE (Ms. Clinton in her youth)
See also: On the Matter of Size: The inexact science of penis measurement - Kent Sepkowitz, Slate