Caption: U.S. Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, is presented with an "I Love Sderot" T-shirt with a rocket in a heart by Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal as they stand in front of a display of rockets that landed in southern Israel, during a visit to Sderot, southern Israel, Wednesday, July 23, 2008.
Back to English Comp: Notes for a Public Diplomacy Primer - Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View: “Even if the Obama administration turns out to be as inspired (and brave) as many hope it will be, the PD task ahead is enormous. We need an under secretary who understands that PD is not advertising or public relations or propaganda or all the nice things that private citizens can do in their various capacities. It’s the official voice of the government of the United States of America talking to (and with) the people of the world about matters of critical importance to all of us.”
"Gaza" or "Hamas" – Marc Lynch, Abu Aardvark: “I do think that public opinion matters, at least indirectly in terms of shaping the terms of Arab politics, even if governments don't fall, treaties aren't broken or war declared. A whole industry of 'public diplomacy' and 'wars of ideas' is based on the concern that anti-American attitudes matter.”
Twitter and Public Diplomacy: Deputy Assistant Secretary Colleen Graffy (Part II) – Darren Krape blog: “Not everyone will agree with efforts like Graffy’s use of Twitter, but they demonstrate a real willingness to go beyond merely pushing a message to really trying to foster real conversations (both online and off), which, in the end, is what public diplomacy is all about.”
State Department Leads Effort in Leveraging New Media Communications Tools – Chris Battle, Security Debrief, a blog of homeland security: “[A]s Colleen Graffey put it, new media tools are simply one more way to connect. They are supplements, not replacements. And they are not going away. … We can ignore the blogs and the tweets and all the other new media with funny names. The conversation will simply go on without us, shaping the public perception of us wihtout our input. We simply miss another opportunity to connect, to push our message … to join the conversation that is already taking place — with us or without us.”
Radio Free Europe or Radio Free Putin?: Did BBG End U.S. Surrogate Broadcasting in Russia on Radio Liberty in an Attempt to Appease Mr. Putin and Pursue Its Marketing Strategy? - FreeMediaOnline.org & Free Media Online Blog: “This year … the BBG [Broadcasting Board of Governors] made good on its threat to end all VOA Russian radio broadcasts and implemented its decision just 12 days before the Russian military attack on Georgia last summer. When the war started, the Voice of America was prevented by the BBG from broadcasting Russian radio programs.
The two now former BBG members who were most responsible for this public diplomacy and foreign policy blunder were James K. Glassman, the BBG’s most recent neoconservative chairman who is now the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, and liberal Democrat, Edward E. Kaufman, who was subsequently appointed to succeed Vice President elect Joe Biden as a U.S. Senator from Delaware.” On BBG, see. Cartoon from.
War and social media: Israel's public diplomacy on Gaza - Nancy Scola, Personal Democracy Forum: “Israel's social media offensives -- on Twitter and on YouTube -- in the days since the start of air attacks in Gaza includes attempts that seemed aim at winning the war of public opinion on the idea that the military operation is a reasonable response to Palestinian rocket attacks and is targeted solely at Hamas properties and assets. … It's all rather similar to public diplomacy 2.0, the rubric used by State Department undersecretary Jamie Glassman to talk about using new media to win hearts and minds. We've been highlighting that work -- and in particular the Twitter use of State diplomat Colleen Graffy -- because it's a fascinating application of a new mindset on public engagement as applied in what can quickly turn into life-and-death situations.”
Israel Launches High-Tech Public Diplomacy Outreach To Explain Operation Cast Lead – Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric: “The Israeli consulate in New York has set up a Twitter account and a YouTube channel to help combat media bias … Israeli Communication scholars have been advising the MFA for years that they have to expand their public diplomacy. I'm generally skeptical about mass persuasion on the basis of sound argument - we live in a world of low information voters who nonetheless feel entitled to be gigantic tools - but it's certainly better than nothing. Although I think that they left comments open on their YouTube videos. That shouldn't last long.”
The Chance Of Biscuits– BagnewsNotes: “I've been checking out the Israel Defense Force YouTube channel, as well as the Israeli Consulate's Twitter site. Certainly, Israel has made substantial tactical and PR strides since Lebanon. Still, as much as these videos illustrate how heavy firepower can be confined to a limited footprint, these images still convey extreme shock and the sense that such overwhelming firepower couldn't possibly avoid all collateral damage in densely populated areas, especially given secondary explosions.”
The War Hits Facebook - Ethan Perlson & Benjamin Sarlin, Daily Beast: "Israel’s assault on Gaza has launched an emotional firestorm on Facebook—including violent threats, Nazi slurs, and pleas for reconciliation: Joel Leyden, an experienced PR consultant in Israel who sometimes lends his services to the government, created a pro-Israel Facebook group, 'I Support the Israel Defense Forces In Preventing Terror Attacks From Gaza,' two hours after the first bombs landed in Gaza to help sway public opinion."
Abba Edan's message rings clear again - Martin Schram, ScrippsNews: “Once again, Israel has shown that it will ‘never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity’ to capture the high ground in the news wars that are the main battleground in the Middle East these days. Even when it has the facts on its side. Israel failed to launch a first strike with its weapons of public diplomacy. Israel needed a global truth squad campaign to show the world Hamas' evil intent.”
We are paying a dear price for eliminating a bureaucracy - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy:
"In the 1990s, the Clinton Administration and Congress abolished the United States Information Agency, the key agency through which the nation fought its war of ideas with the Soviet Union. In the heady thinking of that decade, the spread of free markets and rising living standards across the globe were supposed to reduce the threats to our well-being from abroad. But while that 'Washington Census' held sway in the West, a rabidly anti-modern, anti-American ideology spread along the rocky terrain of Afghanistan and in mosques and madrassas across the Muslim world, planting the seeds of death and destruction. Thus came the bombings of the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, of the World Trade Center in 1993, of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and of the USS Cole in 2000, all of which culminated in the flames of 9/11." Lawrence J. Haas, North Star Writers Group, 30 December 2008. Elliott Comment: “All that because USIA was eliminated? And USIA did not disappear until 1999. The writer airbrushes out the fact that the late Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) was the prime mover in the folding of USIA into the State Department.” On USIA, see
Quoting History - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner:
“[T]he active backers of the Smith-Mundt Act … were peddlers of knowledge: Rep. Karl Mundt (R-SD) was a former school teacher and Assistant Secretary of State William Benton was the owner of the Encyclopædia Britannica (and proponent of The Great Books of the Western World).”
Liturgy - Aerothorn, Augmented Vision - “[T]hen the question is what class I drop. My first instinct is to drop my Hampshire course (Public Diplomacy) but that would probably be a bad idea, given that then I'd have ALL narrative classes (one in literature, one in video games, and one in film) and I have previously had few to none (depending on how you count things).”
Put Culture in the Cabinet - William R. Ferris, New York Times: Over the years, America has developed an impressive array of federal cultural programs -- in addition to the endowments for the arts and the humanities. The president should create a cabinet-level position -- a secretary of culture -- to provide more cohesive leadership for these impressive programs and to assure that they receive the recognition and financing they deserve.
Make love, not war - Cal Thomas, Washington Times: Officers with the Central Intelligence Agency have been handing out little blue Viagra pills to Afghan tribal leaders, some of whom have more than one wife. "Viva Viagra!" if it keeps Afghan warlords off the battlefield and keeps them in the bedroom while providing, in between sessions, useful information about the Taliban.
Israeli psyop calling Gaza telephones? - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
Party to Murder - Chris Hedges, TruthDig: Can anyone who is following the Israeli air attacks on Gaza -- the buildings blown to rubble, the children killed on their way to school, the long rows of mutilated corpses, the wailing mothers and wives, the crowds of terrified Palestinians not knowing where to flee, the hospitals so overburdened and out of supplies they cannot treat the wounded, and our studied, callous indifference to this widespread human suffering -- wonder why we are hated?
Our self-righteous celebration of ourselves and our supposed virtue is as false as that of Israel.
Will Things Ever Change? Gaza and the World - Ramzy Baroud, CounterPunch: One has to wonder if Israel kills a thousand more, ten thousand, or half of Gaza, will the US still blame Palestinians?
New US Policy Needed Toward Israelis and Palestinians - Jess Ghannam, San Francisco Chronicle/Common Dreams: President-elect Barack Obama has an opportunity to introduce desperately needed change in America's Middle East policy. Nothing would accomplish more than for Obama to speak out clearly against Israel's terrorism in Gaza.
Israel's options in Gaza: The longer Israel attacks Gaza, the more disproportionate its justifiable actions against Hamas seem - Editorial, Los Angeles Times: When the Bush administration sympathized with Israel's response to that provocation from Hamas, it wasn't simply catering to pro-Israel sentiments in this country; it was placing blame where it belongs. But Israel must desist as soon as it has neutralized the threat of rocket attacks, either through its own actions or as the result of a new and more robust cease-fire of the kind being pursued by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Gaza Clouds Obama's Prospects - Robert Scheer, Nation: Obama's challenge will be to turn his mantra of change into a practical road map for Mideast peace, a prospect made much more elusive by the Israeli blitzkrieg.
Tragedy in Gaza Hamas rocket attacks and the deadly Israeli bombing response have set the stage for another violent chapter in the long Mideast conflict; an early cease-fire is urgently needed - Our View, Baltimore Sun: The continuing showdown in Gaza is likely to present a serious challenge to President-elect Barack Obama, who pledged while seeking office to restore America's reputation around the world.
A Memo to Obama on Israel - Uri Avnery, Nation: Recommendation no. 1: As far as Israeli-Arab peace is concerned, you should act from Day One.
War Will Not Bring Peace in Afghanistan - Deborah Storie, Australian/Common Dreams
Who's Afraid of US-Iran Détente? Why Arab governments fight rapprochement, Muhammad Sahimi - Antiwar.com: Iran is ripe for fundamental changes. Its democratic movement will be greatly aided if negotiations do begin and result in a lessening of tension between the two nations. Once the threat of U.S. attacks on Iran is removed, Iran's hardliners will find themselves at a crossroads.
Russia's Woes Spell Trouble for the U.S.: Obama shouldn't reward dictatorial Kremlin with goodwill overtures – Leon Aron, Wall Street Journal: No matter what the Kremlin leaders and their propaganda stooges say in public, anything interpreted as approval or even a mere sign of respect by America, first and foremost by its president, is a huge boost to the government's domestic popularity and legitimacy. So the natural, almost protocol-dictated, inclination of the new administration to show good will must be balanced against firm support for the return to political and economic liberalization in Russia.
Time to Make Nice with Cuba? - Alex von Tunzelmann, Daily Beast: If Obama embraces his popularity in Cuba and abandons the embargo, the Castros will lose an enemy, the region will embrace us -- and it will ruin the place.
A new approach to Cuba: Evolving views of the local population and 50 years of failed U.S. policy suggest change is long overdue – Editorial, Los Angeles Times: Peaceful change in Cuba, 90 miles from Florida, is in the interest of the United States. We think communication, travel and trade are excellent ways to push for reform of the one-party state.
Cuba opening its airwaves is about as likely as the United States giving up a broadcasting bureaucracy - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy
Somalia: The Forgotten Front of the War on Terror - Stephen Smith, Antiwar.com: Hopefully President Obama will learn from the past and realize that the best way to rid Somalia of violence and radical Islam is to leave it alone and to encourage other countries to do the same.
Azerbaijan gets an earful about its decision to ban foreign radio - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy