"Yes, you are required to remove your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detector. This includes all types of footwear. Due to the Homeland Security threat level being raised for the U.S. aviation sector worldwide this is critical to protect the world's travelers who transit by air to and from the United States."
--TSA travel assistant
“Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist temples all require entrants to remove their shoes.”
--Brian Palmer, “Voting With Their Feet: What Do Iraqis Find So Insulting About Shoes And Feet?,” Slate
Monday, December 15 – Megan, Random Acts of Politics: “The Bush years saw an increase in public relations and the creation of a propaganda broadcast network in the Middle East, but a near denial of how international policies might be at the root of why the great majority of countries rated us so poorly.
Anecdotes from American tourists abroad alone could have told the public diplomacy experts: they don't like Guantanamo, they don't like our blind eye to the environment, they don't like our science denying policies, they don't like our war of choice. The Bush hype gave nation-building a bad name, and turned our brand into Bully. The Obama re-branding could not have come too soon.“
Stiffening Pakistan's Resolve Against Terrorism: A Memo to President-elect Obama - Lisa Curtis and Walter Lohman, Special Report #34, Heritage Foundation: “Moving the U.S.-Pakistan relationship away from its current turbulent track and setting it on a more even keel will be a tremendous challenge. Your Administration must be willing to exercise patience with the new democratic government and expend more resources on public diplomacy to convince the Pakistani people that fighting terrorism is in their own national security interest.”
Who will be the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq? – Passport, Foreign Policy: "Having evidently missed out on a place in the cabinet, serving as U.S. ambassador to Iraq is one of the few remaining positions appropriate to [Richard] Holbrooke's stature. However, he lacks the Middle East experience of the other candidates, as well as fluency in Arabic, which is crucial for public diplomacy."
Twitter and Kin - Karen Nelson, Streamline Training & Documentation: “The final item I encountered took me on a return visit to the dark side of Twitter — from a business perspective — its enabling of posting of time-wasting trivia. The instance in question was reported by Al Kamen in the December 10 edition of the Washington Post. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Colleen Graffy was off on a final round of overseas visits — to Iceland, Croatia, and Armenia — before the change in administrations in Washington, and she was using Twitter to keep the world informed of her activities. Although the substance of her tweets improved after Kamen weighed in with his report of tweets like ‘Dashing in to State Dept to pick up tickets, briefing books — white knuckle time — gotta catch that flight!’ and ‘Renting a bathing suit and getting ready to take the plunge into the geothermal hot springs and smear silica mud on my face,’ you have to wonder why she ever thought sharing trivia was a good way to earn her salary.”
How Political Commentators Can Destroy Our E-Democracy Dreams - Matthew Burton, Personal Democracy Forum: “Colleen Graffy is a State Department executive in the public diplomacy branch. Basically, public diplomacy is the ‘hearts and minds’ sector of diplomacy, the kind that deals more with everyday citizens than with heads of state. So her job naturally includes a lot of outreach. Graffy has been on Twitter as @Colleen_Graffy since November 17, and has been incredibly active ever since, averaging nine tweets per day. … She's doing a great thing. She's a government executive who is adopting a technology that could possibly change our democracy, and given her role as a liaison to foreign citizens, her personal touch is exactly how she should be using Twitter. But she's also taking a big risk. When public officials are caught acting not-so-officially, they become easy targets for journalists.”
Azerbaijan: Senator Lugar joins protest of planned foreign radio shutoff (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
Kyrgyzstan: "ulterior motive" for RFE/RL, BBC remaining off air (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
Just A Reminder: Arab Media Is A Cesspool Of Genocidal Anti-Semitic Incitement
- Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric: “[P]ublic diplomacy scholars keep insisting that it's embarrassingly unsophisticated to talk about incitement in the Arab media and I'm not so sure about that.”
Smith-Mundt Symposium Update - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: ”There are over 150 people registered to attend the Smith-Mundt Symposium on January 13, 2009, in Washington, D.C. Due to space limitations and my desire to keep people comfortable for the long day, the 165th person and after will be placed on a waiting list. This is about four times one estimate we had several months ago. This event is much more popular than I think anyone had anticipated.”
Monday, December 15, 2008 – Business Law Book: One of the chapter is the book It's Not Just "PR": Public Relations and Society by Sherry J. Holladay is: “Public Diplomacy: Government Public Relations Goes Global.”
Envoys for Change: How Will Obama Choose His Diplomats? - Morton Abramowitz, Washington Post: Obama can state that he will permit the appointment of non-career ambassadors -- usually 30 to 40 percent of our ambassadors -- only if they are uniquely appropriate for the job. Otherwise, ambassadorial positions will be reserved for experienced, capable career officials.
A History of Music Torture in the 'War on Terror' - Andy Worthington, Antiwar.com: U.S. military personnel were ordered to keep prisoners awake by blasting ear-splittingly loud music at them – for days, weeks, or even months on end -- at prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay.
How Blackwater Serves America: Think of our staff as soldiers who re-enlist - Erik D. Prince, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Prince, a former Navy SEAL, is founder and CEO of Blackwater Worldwide.
Bush's shoe toss: In the history of footwear and politics, the protest of Bush in Baghdad was short on style but long on Iraqi support – Editorial, Los Angeles Times:
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died in the 5 1/2-year war, and anger about the U.S. occupation is widespread, even among those who view the presence of U.S. troops as a necessity to avoid further sectarian conflict.
Free Two Shoes: Some may not have noticed, but the Zeidi incident demonstrates the success of Operation Iraqi Freedom - Mark Hemingway, National Review: It wasn’t that long ago that the preferred projectiles for expressing discontent with the powers that be in Iraq were bullets. With the hurling of shoes at Bush, the relationship between the people and their government has moved in the span of five years from a murderous tyranny, through armed resistance to a temporary occupation, to symbolic acts not any more threatening than you’d find in an unhappy marriage.
Bush Finds WMDs in Iraq, Umm, or WMHs - Robert Dreyfuss, Nation: President Bush finally found the long-missing Weapons of Mass Humiliation in Iraq. Iraqis, millions of them, are wearing them on their feet. Not exactly WMDs, but WMHs will have to do.
Official history details failures of rebuilding Iraq - James Glanz and T. Christian Miller, International Herald Tribune: An unpublished, 513-page federal history of the U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure.
Official Stories – George Packer, New Yorker:
“In the past few days, two official documents on Iraq and the war on terror have come out: a bipartisan inquiry by the Senate Armed Services committee into treatment of detainees, and a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Reading through the executive summary of the first and highlights of the second gave me a distinct feeling of nausea—a sense of being dragged back down into an extremely unpleasant experience in which I’d been immersed for years and that I’d only recently started to leave behind.”
Israel's coming test for Obama: He must be alert to bullying by Israel's likely next prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu - Walter Rodgers, Christian Science Monitor: Actually, Bibi has shown he's a super-Israeli nationalist and has not demonstrated any great fondness for America except as it accommodates his interest in "Greater Israel."
A Policy for Preventing Genocide – Editorial, New York Times: A new report by a task force headed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Defense Secretary William Cohen argues that it is possible to prevent genocide before it spins out of control. It offers practical policy suggestions -- what Mrs. Albright calls a “mechanism for looking at genocide in a systematic way” -- for the next administration.
Mr. Obama’s Internet Agenda - Editorial, New York Times: America now ranks 15th in the world in access to high-speed Internet connections. Restoring America to its role as the world’s Internet leader could be an important part of Mr. Obama’s presidential legacy.
The drum beating in Kashmir - H.D.S. Greenway, Boston Globe: A collapse of the Pakistani state into chaos would be an Indian nightmare, and an American nightmare, too.
Condi's Korean Failure: Putting diplomacy above disarmament - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Ms. Rice recently said the only alternative to her Pyongyang policy was short-term "regime change," which is a classic false dilemma. Her failure -- and Mr. Bush's -- was putting the appearance of diplomatic progress above genuine disarmament.
The End of Normal: Rice's Reality -- Don't Fix What You can Pretend Isn't Broken - Peggy Drexler, Huffington Post: Rice is the administration poster girl for all that went wrong: style over substance, image over reality, politics over progress and most damaging of all -- the unwavering refusal of accountability.
What next for missile defense? - Stanley Orman and Eugene Fox, Washington Times: We remain strongly supportive of the need to enhance the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capabilities and to deploy such systems overseas, but plead with the new administration to ensure we have a technologically proven BMD rather than a politically driven one.
Facebook Group In Serbia Glorifying Genocide - RFE/RL: Nearly 1,000 people have joined an Internet group on Facebook that glorifies genocide by proclaiming that the massacre at the Bosnian town of Srebrenica is a model for "fighting Islam," RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reports.
Iran: "additional measures to restrict internet" - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
RFA: China again blocks foreign websites unblocked during the Olympics (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
“The product may have been complex, but the branding was simple and consistent.”
Ken Wheaton, “Lessons From the Obama Campaign,” Advertising Age