Saturday, November 8, 2008

November 8

"Bez buldirabi"

--Tartar for “yes, we can,” the slogan introduced a few years ago by Tartar President Shaimiev, intended to promote Tatarstan as a model of political and economic development in the Russian Federation

"young, handsome and well tanned."

--Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, regarding president-elect Barack Obama. Right: The PM


Dan Rather on the Broken US News Industry: Mentions international news coverage


International broadcasting versus two-way dialogue - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: “A main reason for the underperformance of U.S. international broadcasting is that U.S. decision makers, experts, and distinguished fellows think of international broadcasting as just another arrow in the quiver of public diplomacy. This is an attempt to shove the proverbial square peg into a round hole. The round hole is the audience for international broadcasting. They do not tune in to get influenced or persuaded, but to get news that is more reliable, comprehensive, and credible than the news they get from their state-controlled domestic media. Successful international broadcasters cringe when their profession is subsumed under public diplomacy. They recognize their job not as an attempt to change hearts and minds, because no one would listen to or watch such stuff, but to make sure audiences are well informed. Well informed publics vex dictators and terrorists. Two-way dialogue is great, and it should be a part of the U.S. public diplomacy effort. But it will never reach the numbers of people, and have the impact on nations as a whole, than does international broadcasting. And why can't broadcasting ‘engage people’? Good broadcasting absolutely does. It wouldn't have much of an audience otherwise.”

Obama to the World: Yes We Can - Charles J. Brown, Huffington Post: “An Obama administration also is likely to recognize the need to repair America's disastrously dysfunctional foreign policy apparatus: it will provide the State Department with the resources it needs; streamline foreign assistance; reestablish a robust and proactive public diplomacy; and clarify the overlapping (and often confusing) roles of State, NSC, Defense, and Homeland Security.”

Arab Foreign Policy Experts: Obama's "Islamic Family Roots" Will Make The Muslim World Like Us (Plus: Obama State Dept Going Pretty Much How You'd Expect) - Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric: “Any successful public diplomacy toward the Muslim world basically requires embracing their pathological anti-Semitism in a way that even a sophistication-enamored Democratic Congress has been unwilling to do.”

The U.S. is like this giant ant farm. The problem is, these people seem to hate ants - David Polansky - Conventional Folly: “[T]he first George W. Bush administration employed doubtless the worst public diplomacy in U.S. history. If a Martian had to glean an understanding of Earth’s geopolitics from the public statements of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, he would never imagine that they were speaking of putative allies, or that America and western Europe had millennia of shared history and culture behind them. … But the range and intensity of anti-Americanism in the world did not spring fully formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus, upon Bush taking office. … The problems of anti-Americanism are structural in nature. They result from the fact that we are the world’s largest power, that we continue to project our military force and our popular culture to the farthest corners of the earth … as long as Obama holds the maximalist view of our interests that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War … and as long as we remain atop the global pecking order, things are unlikely to change much past this initial honeymoon period.”

Friday, November 6 - Rob Rykowski, The Emerson Election Project: “It is too early to say with certainty how Barack Obama will lead this nation. I can only hope, and do indeed have faith, that we will return to a focus on public diplomacy better practiced during the Clinton years than the last eight … I hope and believe that this election is just the beginning. This election marks a turning point in America and the world at large, and the next time I am abroad, I will proudly say that I – am – American.”

President-elect's Queries to Briefers - Ray McGovern,“After a week lecturing at Kansas State University and then in Kansas City, Missouri, I could not shake the feeling that what Kansas and Missouri need most is the equivalent of Radio Free Europe, which was so effective in spreading truth around inside Eastern Europe during the Cold War.” PHOTO: Ray McGovern

Let's Bring Culture Not Only to the White House, But to All of American Government - Richard Jehn, The Rag Blog: Re John Brown, Rejuvenate Public Diplomacy: Bring Culture Back to the White House: “My only question is why would we not desire a Ministry of Culture? Such a government department or agency is commonplace in other nations; why would we not want one in the US?”

“Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy” Roundtable Book Discussion with Contributors – Events, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: “The USC Center on Public Diplomacy is proud to welcome contributors to The Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy to USC for a discussion on this major new publication, published in association with the USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School.”

Today's Rosy Headlines - Hugh Sansom, Apocalypse Road: “By the way, Kevin Hassett, co-author of Dow 36,000 was an economic advisor to the McCain campaign. James Glassman, the other co-author, replaced Karen Hughes as Bush's Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy — propa[ga]nda minister. All of which just goes to show, if you got The Official American Seal of Approval, you can't help but fall up, up, up, ever up.)"


Calm down! He's not President of the World: Everyone, from Australia to Kenya, seems to think Obama will improve their lives. They should prepare for disappointment - Matthew Parris, Times (London). "Calm down dear, it's only a US presidential election." See also John Brown," After the honeymoon: Electing Barack Obama president won't be enough to improve America's standing in the world," Guardian.

Arab Bloggers Size Up Obama - Josie Delap, New York Times:

Worse Than Bush? - Ted Galen Carpenter, National Interest online: America’s foreign policy cries out for drastic change, but it remains uncertain whether president-elect Obama will bring the right kind of change.

A View From Europe: Our Obama Problem - Jean Bricmont, Counterpunch: The Obama problem is his extreme popularity in Europe, which is based both on his skin colour and on his “image.” Because people don’t understand how much race relations in the United States have actually changed, they see Obama’s election as a sort of absolute miracle and, since the media present him as a strong alternative to Bush, and hardly report, for example, his plans to send more troops to Afghanistan, they think that he is far more progressive than he actually is.

'Obamamania' Hits Afghan MediaRFE/RL

The Return of Clintonia? Obama and Afghanistan - Lawrence R. Velvel, Counterpunch: Obama has said we should get out of Iraq, but fight in Afghanistan. If he really believes that instead of just having said it for campaign purposes, and if he really does it, then his presidency is already doomed.

Obama and Iran - Juan Cole, Informed Comment Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion: “What I cannot understand is why American politicians who speak publicly … not at least acknowledge that to the best information of the American intelligence community, Iran has no nuclear weapons research program, as opposed to a civilian enrichment research program.”

Old Think on a New Day - Editorial, New York Times: One day after the election, the Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, declared that he would put short-range missiles on Russia’s border near Poland if the next American leader follows through on President Bush’s plans to build a missile defense system in Europe.

Russia Welcomes the New US President-Elect - Updated - Cheryl Rofer, Whirled View

Conductor Defends Russia, to Strains of Prokofiev - Daniel J. Wakin, New York Times: Back in August, the conductor Valery Gergiev took the stage in Tskhinvali, the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, and denounced its “monstrous bombardment” by Georgia. Speaking both in Russian and, pointedly for the outside world, in English, he said Georgia had carried out a “huge act of aggression” and praised Russia as a savior. Then Mr. Gergiev — perhaps the world’s most famous Ossetian -- led the Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg in what was billed as a memorial concert for the dead in the five-day battle between the two countries. The event gave off a strong whiff of Kremlin propaganda and prompted a flurry of denunciations of Mr. Gergiev for supporting what many in the West saw as the bad actor in the war, Russia, which had intervened with overwhelming force after Georgia’s attack. But three months later Mr. Gergiev remains unrepentant, even proud, of his role.

Storied Figures: At Hillwood Estate, Porcelain Creations Offer A Revealing Glimpse of Russians' March Through Time - Paul Richard, Washington Post: Fragile Persuasion: Russian Porcelain and the Fine Art of Propaganda is on display at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW, through Dec. 31. "And, of course, we now see Joseph Stalin. At first the dictator appears to be a man of normal scale, but not for long. Stalin soon becomes a giant, towering high above the lesser folk he rules. In one big statuette -- by Aleksei Sotnikov (1904-1989) -- he strides across the land like a streamlined, smooth, implacable greatcoat-clad colossus. (Stalin, actually, was 5 feet 6 inches tall.) Free Americans, we like to think, have never been subjected to such pounding propaganda. But remember Rosie the Riveter? Well, here is Ludmilla the Welder."

Alexander Nevsky is one of the best pieces of propaganda ever made - Phobetor, jyte: “Baby-killing heavily-armored Germans...exciting battles...rallying the people...heroic Russian victory. It's funny in a way. And it's so damn well made.”[video]

Propaganda ArtLAMA: Latin America in the Modern Age: “A few years back, I came across a fantastic book entitled 'Revolucion!' After looking at page after page of the beautiful Cuban poster art inside, I was hooked. Propaganda art has quickly become one of my favorite forms of art around. Between 1960 and 1980, the Cuban government recruited the most talented Cuban artists to create these propaganda posters in order to promote and educate its citizens on everything from national literacy to opposing international political enemies. The posters spread throughout Cuban cities and has helped to define Cuban politics through bright and vivid imagery.”

Mao PropagandaUncle Bob’s Conspiracy Blog: Maoist propaganda from the People's Republic of China [video].

Update: Adorable Bear King Still Disappointingly Beardless -Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog I keep track of Condoleezza's hairdo so you don't have to: PHOTO: In a photo released from the Jordanian Royal Palace, King Abdullah II of Jordan meets with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Aqaba, Jordan, Friday, Nov. 7. 2008. Rice is on a Middle East tour to assess progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.(AP Photo/ Yousef Allan). COMMENT: “A while ago I would have been so excited that Condi was going to meet with King Abdullah, but ever since he started shaving, it just isn't the same. … Earlier, Condi met with Mahmoud Abbas, and they had a press conference, and she was all, like, 'Annapolis! Remember Annapolis?' like anything really happened there or something. It's pretty much all she has left. You'll always have Maryland, Condi!”


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