Saturday, December 27, 2008

December 27

“Ryback's use of the first person in describing his exploration of Hitler's books is sometimes irksome but occasionally highly effective - as when he describes opening a volume and finding a single, straight, black mustache hair. Presumably we know whose.”

--Charles A. Radin, "Using Hitler's own books, a telling story of the man [Review of Timothy Ryback’s 'Hitler's Private Library']," Boston Globe


Walk the Tweet [PHOTO: Singer Tweet]:

Regarding Colleen P. Graffy's Dec. 24 op-ed, "A Tweet in Foggy Bottom" -- Thomas J. Carolan Jr., Silver Spring, letter to the editor, Washington Post: “It is all very well for State Department officials and other practitioners, pundits and kibitzers in the field of public diplomacy to wax enthusiastic over their efforts and achievements in that area of mass communications. The fact is, however, that no amount of communications expertise, technical enhancements, financial resources, programming innovations or related gimmicks (e.g. blogging, and Twitter with its tweets) are likely by themselves to produce measurable changes in America's global image so long as our society and political leaders are seen to behave in ways that belie the values we profess to hold dear: freedom, human rights, self-determination, democracy, elemental fairness and equal justice under law.

This rings especially true with regard to U.S. policies toward the Middle East. In other words, it's not what we say or how we say it that will make a real difference in improving America's sagging image abroad, but what we do. To pretend otherwise is self-defeating. It is also hypocrisy.” ABOVE PHOTO: Deputy Assistant Secretary Graffy Conducts Web-chat with Politiken Readers on Guantanamo.

George W Bush: winning the war on terror -- Europe's political elites are no doubt salivating at the prospect of George W. Bush departing the White House in January - Nile Gardiner, “Some of the criticism of Bush's foreign policy is fair. … America's public diplomacy efforts have been poor or even non-existent, with little serious attempt to combat the stunning rise of anti-Americanism … Much of the condemnation of his policies though is driven by a venomous hatred of Bush's personality and leadership style, rather than an objective assessment of his achievements. Ten or twenty years from now, historians will view Bush's actions on the world stage in a more favourable light.” SEE ALSO (1) (2).

Building on progress is key to arts: Local funding has long been a staple in developing cultural ties. Let's partner with Obama White House - Lesley Friedman Rosenthal, Newsday: “President-elect Barack Obama has called for a more prominent role in the White House for the arts and culture. The arts … can work hand in hand with national security. Targeted cultural diplomacy, such as tours of American performers abroad through the U.S. Agency for International Development, could help us win friends worldwide. … President-elect Obama is right that our art and culture are the essence of what makes America special and deserves an expanded role in the White House."

Orchestrating Peace: Cultural Diplomacy in Iraq: Allegra Klein, Founder and Director of Musicians For Harmony, talks about their current work, Cultural Diplomacy News: "If the key to successful diplomacy is listening to your adversary, then the hallmark of musical diplomacy is a shared listening experience. Rather than negotiating with the limited tools of language, two opposing sides undergo a simultaneous, transformative experience through the transcendent power of music. … Music may be a ‘soft power’ tool, but through cultural diplomacy it also has the ability to penetrate thoughts and feelings, which in turn translates into changes in behavior.” PHOTO: Allegra Klein

Nonesuch Albums Abound in Year-End Best Lists - Nonesuch Records, NY: “PopMatters has Live at Carnegie Hall at No. 13 on its list of the Top 60 Best Albums of 2008. The site's Thomas Hauner asserts that this live recording ‘trumps anything put out under the Buena Vista moniker. This has to do entirely with an indescribable aura enveloping the musicians, audience members and historic concert hall all captured on the recording.’ He goes on to say: ‘The music is vivacious and visceral, tugging at one’s emotions in inexplicable ways. Most symbolically, though, this enthusiasm is all directed at Cuban nationals whose very performance mitigates the idea of diplomatic tension: tacit cultural diplomacy at its finest.’”

'Cultural diplomacy can't be quantified': Q&A: Karan Singh, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations - Business Standard: "The Indian Council for Cultural Relations was founded in April 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the country’s first education minister, to promote cultural and intellectual exchange with other countries. It is often considered the cultural diplomacy arm of the Indian government. ICCR President Karan Singh spoke to Business Standard on its relevance, challenges and plans." PHOTO: Karan Singh.

Photos Adel Samara and V&A: Syria’s most high-profile international exhibition, World Ceramics: Masterpieces from the V&A, drew to a close earlier this month. Countries, it seems, can bond over rare ceramics - Nadia Muhanna, Syria Today, Syria: “Ceramic history aside, the arrival of the touring V&A exhibition in Damascus has been heralded by the event’s organisers as an important cultural initiative for improving understanding between two peoples. British journalists shipped out for the launch party described it as a vital form of cultural diplomacy, one which works to soften the face of an uncompromising British foreign policy in the region.” On V&A, see.

Editor's Notes: The lame duck and the amputee - David Horovitz, Jerusalem Post:

“Abbas has not adopted domestic public diplomacy to emphasize to his own people the historic legitimacy of Jewish claims in the Holy Land - and thus to prepare Palestinians for the kind of viable compromise that Olmert and Bush relentlessly insist he is capable of both making and selling.” PHOTO: "Israel Launches 'Unprecedented Waves' Of Airstrikes On Gaza," Huffington Post.


Lame Duck Bush Administration Continues to Inflame Islamist Terrorism – Ivan Eland, Perhaps the incoming Obama administration will be more perceptive; learn the lessons of Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan; and develop a more restrained military policy overseas.

China lures top scholars home
- Bill Maxwell, Washington Times: A rising number of U.S.-educated Chinese scholars who are voluntarily returning to their homeland, a new phenomenon being closely watched by major American research universities.

Unscripted: Green Zone Theater and the Shoe Drama - Ramzy Baroud, While most Americans are likely to remember Bush's legacy as that of a man who has guided a nation into unprecedented economic mayhem, Iraqis, and others, will remember him as a brutal, self-righteous zealot, who invited untold bloodshed, humiliation and the destruction of a once a magnificent and leading civilization.

From Pax Americana to slacker Americans: Take it from a Brit: Losing the No. 1 world superpower spot won't be that bad. Really - Chris Ayres Los Angeles Times:The fact is that when you're No. 1, you always get blamed for everything. When you're No. 3, or No. 5 -- or No. 135 -- you can put your hands in your pockets and whistle tunelessly with a "Who, me?" look on your face, and no one ever asks any questions.


From a "Happy and Safe New Year" message from Yuri Avvakumov, renowed Russian artist

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