Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 9

“The first law for a secret agent is to get his geography right.”

--Ian Fleming, in The Man With the Golden Gun


Worldview: Obama has a chance to restore U.S. image abroad – Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Shortly after the election, I moderated a panel of journalists from Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America who discussed ‘How the World Sees the U.S. Presidential Elections’ for the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. What they said, along with the reaction from other foreign media and leaders, underlines the remarkable opportunities awaiting President-elect Barack Obama. He has a unique chance to stem the tide of anti-Americanism that threatens our security and our ability to lead. ‘That one picture of Obama and his wife, African Americans, holding hands with [Joseph R.] Biden [Jr.] and his wife was worth more than all of the hundreds of millions this administration has spent on public diplomacy,’ said panelist Paulo Sotero, former Washington correspondent for the Brazilian daily O Estado de S. Paulo.” PHOTO: American crocodile.

Obama faces daunting challenges - Earle Scarlett, Jamaica Observer: “On the international scene, former White House-inspired lecturing about the virtues of American values became tedious. The public diplomacy orientation of the present administration has been ineffective on several levels. In general, it smacks of poor Madison Avenue marketing techniques. Targeted audiences are not convinced. They want discussion - give and take - and mutual respect.”

Can the West be saved? - Serge Trifkovic, Locust blog: “Abroad, we are told, we need to address political and economic grievances of the Muslim impoverished masses, we need to spread democracy and free markets in the Muslim world, we need to invest more in public diplomacy. At home we need more tolerance, greater inclusiveness, less profiling, and a more determined outreach to the minorities that feel marginalized. The predictable failure of such cures leads to ever more pathological self-scrutiny and to ever more morbid self-doubt. This vicious circle must be broken.”

Death of Henry Loomis, VOA director 1958-1965 - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy


The Man of Tomorrow: His election has turned America's global image on its head - Desmond Tutu, Washington Post: The Bush administration has riled people everywhere. Its bully-boy attitude has sadly polarized our world. Against all this, the election of Barack Obama has turned America's image on its head.

Emptying Pandora's box - Roger Cohen, International Herald Tribune: Anti-Bushism, straying often into anti-Americanism, has been the defining ideological current of recent times. Its disappearance with Obama, or at least its retreat, leaves a gaping intellectual void needing to be filled.

Mr. Obama's War: The president-elect must both sustain and reform the fight against terrorism - Editorial, Washington Post: New legislation that would allow the detention of al-Qaeda militants in either the United States or prisons it controls abroad, while banning abusive treatment and providing for regular and full review by independent judges. An early proposal of such a regime by Mr. Obama to Congress, coupled with the announcement of Guantanamo's closing, would signal that he will be serious about fighting al-Qaeda -- and also that he will avoid Mr. Bush's mistakes.

Obama lovefest won't last - Jeff Jacob, Boston Globe: President Obama may speak more softly than his predecessor, but he will still be carrying a very big stick. Like other presidents, he will be loudly condemned when he uses it. As George W. Bush can tell him, the abuse goes with the job.

The U.S. Has Power. What It Needs Is Authority - Ron Suskind, Washington Post: The fact that so many people, from South Asia to Africa to South America rejoiced at Obama's election, provides a rare opportunity for the United States to start the slow, steady campaign to win their confidence, their trust and, over time, their support.

Show Me the Money - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: “So to everyone overseas I say: thanks for your applause for our new president. I’m glad you all feel that America 'is back.' If you want Obama to succeed, though, don’t just show us the love, show us the money. Show us the troops. Show us the diplomatic effort. Show us the economic partnership. Show us something more than a fresh smile. Because freedom is not free and your excuse for doing less than you could is leaving town in January."

Nuance on the March - Jim Hoagland, Washington Post: The Great Mentioning game that grips Washington after every presidential election is in full swing, with Jim Steinberg being mentioned repeatedly for national security adviser; John Kerry supposedly having first call on secretary of state; and Richard Danzig, Greg Craig and Susan Rice, among others, sure to land top jobs.

Kerry could've been honest with us - Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe: In Kerry's case, his interest in being secretary of state in a Barack Obama administration was widely discussed in Massachusetts political circles. The average voter deserved to be clued in.

Iraqi Public Opinion on the Presence of US Troops: Testimony of Dr. Steven Kull, Director, Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), University of Maryland, Director, -
“I will start with the most recent polling. … Seventy percent said they want the Multi National Forces to leave, with 78 percent of this group wanting them to leave within six months or less and 84 percent within a year.”

Score one for Teheran; Zero for Moscow Teheran's Olive Branch - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: It’s clear that the Iranian government wants to talk directly with President-elect Barack Obama about a number of issues.

Peace Be Upon Us: Islamic and Arabic traditions have long been part of American culture [Review of Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots by Jonathan Curiel] - Paul M. Barrett, Washington Post

Books: The Internet vs. books: Peaceful coexistence: The instant knowledge provided by the Web is invaluable, as is the deeper communion provided by books - Beau Friedlander, Los Angeles Times

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