Friday, December 19, 2008

December 19

“What matters to me is I didn't compromise my soul

to be a popular guy."

--President George W. Bush

“But what the President stood for and what was important about that trip to Iraq was he got to stand next to a freely elected prime minister of Iraq, in front of journalists who could speak their minds and even vent their anger. … So if America stands for its values, it might not always be popular,

but it will be respected.”

--Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice


DC Daughters and Sons Event: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - Council on Foreign Relations: "Speaker: Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State Moderator: Andrea Mitchell, NBC News: 'MITCHELL: Now before we go to the audience questions, when we speak of transformational diplomacy, it was very clear that the president went to Iraq to try to thank our troops, have a final visit with President al-Maliki but also to show that he could come in daylight, have an arrival ceremony, a red-carpet ceremony, outside of the Green Zone.

And instead, the image, unfortunately, I'm sure, for everyone involved, but the image that circulated around the world was of the shoes. What is your response to that? I mean, Iraq is clearly more pacified than it was, but you had this moment. And it generally doesn't help in public diplomacy because there are then people rallying on the streets of Sadr City, hundreds of them, with shoes. RICE: Well, Sadr City and the people of Muqtada al-Sadr's movement have never been reconciled to what is happening in Iraq. Look, I think in 10 years, maybe even in a year, what will be remembered is that the president of the United States went to Iraq to stand side by side with a democratically-elected Shi'a prime minister of Iraq, in a (multi-confessional?), multi-ethnic democracy that instead of invading its neighbors and using weapons of mass destruction

is now becoming a welcome member of the region where an Egyptian foreign minister goes for the first time in 30 years to Iraq, where I had the great pleasure of being in Kuwait and seeing the Iraqi flag fly voluntarily in Kuwait, an Iraq in which this journalist could throw his shoe at the president of the United States and probably only be brought up on assault charges rather than being executed because he insulted the great dictator. I can go on and on.” ABOVE HUGGING PHOTO from PSP: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gives a hug to Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs C. David Welch at the announcement of his retirement from the State Department on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008 at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom: Press Conference on Release of USCIRF Report on Religious Freedom Conditions In Iraq - Federal News Service, LexisNexis News: “Ms. Shea [Nina Shea, Commissioner, USCIRF]: "… the U.S. can have a foreign policy towards Iraq like it has a foreign policy toward every other country in the world. And we've had a military policy towards Iraq. We're shifting into another relationship with Iraq where the State Department, diplomacy, soft power becomes even more important. And so the United States will have to address these very important issues of public diplomacy and aid for -- our foreign aid.”

VIDEO: Public Diplomacy 2.0 with Undersecretary of State James GlassmanWashington Note:

"Steve Clemons and James Glassman discuss how the government can use Facebook, YouTube, and other online social networking tools to discourage violent extremism."

American Pd: Mission Still Not Accomplished - Rob Asghar, Public Diplomacy Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: “If we consider public diplomacy in the narrower sense, as one government's efforts to speak to the public of another nation, President Bush's visit to Iraq this weekend would be a, well, 'fitting' symbol of the state of American PD.”

Unconventional Warfare in the 21st Century: U.S. Surrogates, Terrorists and Narcotraffickers - Antifascist Calling... Exploring the shadowlands of the corporate police state: “On December 13, the whistleblowing website Wikileaks did investigative- and citizen journalists a great service by publishing the Army Special Operations Forces FM 3-05.130, titled Unconventional Warfare. … [From Unconventional Warfare:] … ‘It is important for the official agencies of government, including the armed forces, to recognize the fundamental role of the media as a conduit of information.

The USG uses SC to provide top-down guidance for using the informational instrument of national power through coordinated information, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the other instruments of national power. The armed forces support SC themes and messages through IO, public affairs (PA), and defense support to public diplomacy (DSPD). The armed forces must assure media access consistent with classification requirements, operations security, legal restrictions, and individual privacy. The armed forces must also provide timely and accurate information to the public.

Success in military operations depends on acquiring and integrating essential information and denying it to the adversary. The armed forces are responsible for conducting IO, protecting what should not be disclosed, and aggressively attacking adversary information systems. IO may involve complex legal and policy issues that require approval, review, and coordination at the national level.’”

Ex-OSCE Official Speaks of his Unauthorized Trip to Tskhinvali - The Financial, Georgia, “Lira Tskhovrebova [is] a head of the Tskhinvali-based group the Association of Women of South Ossetia for Democracy and Human Rights. … The Associated Press reported about its investigative piece about Tskhovrebova’s alleged links to the South Ossetian and Russian security services. The report came amid Tskhovrebova’s visit to the United States, which was organized and planned by U.S.-based public-relations firm, Saylor Company. The report was seized by the Georgian television stations, triggering anger of a group of Tbilisi -based non-governmental groups, which had cooperated with Tskhovrebova’s NGO in Tskhinvali in the past. In a statement they described these reports as 'a campaign' to discredit public diplomacy efforts.”

PSYOP, Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Information Warfare Without Limits - American Armageddon: “Does the Pentagon define any real limits to information warfare? Information operations can be used on both domestic and foreign audiences, in non-permissive or semi-permissive environments, on adversary and non-adversary, during peace, crisis and war, and in denied areas. Should we really expect anything less? They did tell us that their goal was full spectrum dominance.”

Thoughts on the so-called "War of Ideas" [Final? Version] – John Brown, Notes and Essays


Islamist Extremists will use Facebook for their Propaganda - After Spreading propaganda on YouTube, blogs and other social media websites with great success Islamic extremists, so called jihadists, are planning to put together their efforts on Social Networking sites, especially Facebook. “We can use Facebook to fight the media,” notes a recent posting on the extremist al-Faloja forum, translated by “We can post media on Facebook that shows the Crusader losses.”

Choosing the Next Round of American Ambassadors - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View:

"In my view, basic qualifications should include familiarity with the country to which the person is assigned as well as the ability to communicate in its official language or languages. The appointee must also be able to run – or preside over - an Embassy and perhaps most importantly understand the contours and nuances of US foreign policy as well as explain, discuss and be an advocate for those same policies - agree with them or not." IMAGE: The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger.

President Bush and the Flying Shoes: A Cautionary Tale - Robert Scheer, TruthDig: That an Iraqi journalist, whose family had been victimized by Saddam Hussein and who was kidnapped by insurgents while attempting to work as a TV reporter, came to so loathe the American president, as does much of the world, should serve as the final grade on the Bush administration. It should also serve as a caution to President-elect Barack Obama as he seeks to triangulate withdrawal from Iraq with an escalation of the far more treacherous attempt to conquer Afghanistan.

Bush and the new soft-shoe: People around the world understood why an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at Bush - Rosa Brooks, Los Angeles Times: To much of the world -- less rich and less powerful than the United States -- the United States in the Bush era looks like a greedy, bullying nation.

No surprise if plenty of people would be delighted to emulate Zaidi and throw their own shoes at Bush.

Bush Has Made Us Vulnerable: Two incompetently prosecuted wars have undermined our deterrent power - Mark Helprin, Wall Street Journal: For seven years we failed to devise effective policy or make intelligent arguments for policies that were worth pursuing. Thus we capriciously forfeited the domestic and international political equilibrium without which alliances break apart and wars are seldom won.

Bush Haters Worldwide Finally Have Their Unifying Symbol - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog I keep track of Condoleezza's hairdo so you don't have to: “Indeed, al-Zeidi performed a valuable public service by providing pretty much the entire world with a single, potent symbol of dislike for our dreadful outgoing president. Well done!”

Moral Surrender to Pyongyang - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: The negotiations with North Korea were worth a try. But diplomatic engagement does not require moral surrender. And when diplomats such as Christopher Hill are deployed, it does not signify that the adults have arrived. It means that hope is fading.

Iran, the missing guest – Editorial, Boston Globe: Iran was the only relevant power absent from a conference on Afghanistan held Sunday on the outskirts of Paris. Iran's snub of the conference raises questions about its interest in striking a grand bargain with the incoming Obama administration.

Image from

Obama's War - Patrick J. Buchanan, Afghanistan is going to be Obama's War. And upon its outcome will hang the fate of his presidency. Has he thought this through?

Top 10 Reasons Obama Should Resist Military Plans for American Bases in Iraq - Juan Cole: Informed Comment
Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion

What Foreign Policy Agenda Will President Barack Obama Set? – Doug Bandow, Overall, a foreign policy of nonintervention, not isolation, would better protect the liberty, prosperity, and security of Americans. Unfortunately, none of Obama's appointees believe in such an approach.

Obama's Hawk - Robert Dreyfuss, Nation: Today James Jones -- a retired general and former Marine commandant who headed the US European Command and was commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- will be at Obama's elbow in the White House as national security adviser. It's hard to imagine a less likely choice to be Obama's go-to guy on foreign policy. Hillary Clinton, Obama's nominee for secretary of state, and Robert Gates, his nominee for defense secretary, are already widely considered to be tough-minded hawks. But Jones is probably the most hawkish of all, and he seems least compatible with Obama.

The Bubble of Empire: It's been popped … - Justin Raimondo, The idea that the United States is the global hegemon, that we have first dibs on the title of world policemen -- indeed, our entire post-WWII foreign policy -- is nothing but a delusion.

Fighting Pirates Instead of the United States - Rose Gottemoeller, Moscow Times: In the Western hemisphere, Moscow conjures up the great power politics of the 19th century and attempts to replay Cold War games. Mercifully, the United States has responded with a light touch so far. Off the coast of Africa, however, Russia has joined with the navies of the United States, EU countries and India to confront a dire threat to the international order, piracy.

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