Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12

“Almost 100 percent of Israelis feel that the world is hypocritical.”

--Yoel Esteron, editor of a daily Israeli business newspaper called Calcalist

"[M]ost people around the world, they respect America."

--President George W. Bush


GAO Calls for A New Priority On Public Diplomacy - Walter Pincus, Washington Post: “Improving the United States' image abroad is No. 5 on the Government Accountability Office's list of 13 urgent issues requiring the attention of Barack Obama and the 111th Congress during the first year of the new administration. …

Public diplomacy has for decades been a State Department preserve, although its standing and funding have withered since 1999, when the U.S. Information Agency was merged into the department. Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Defense Department was a bit player in this arena. In recent years, however, the department has expanded its programs under the label of ‘strategic communications.’ The Pentagon's money and manpower have put its strategic communications activities in a position where in many key countries they have equaled or exceeded the efforts of State's Foreign Service officers.”

Public diplomacy needs boost - Howard Leeb, Letter to the Editor, Athens Banner-Herald: “It was with great pleasure that I read the Friday column in the Athens Banner-Herald by two advocates of revitalization of our public diplomacy efforts by, in part, according public diplomacy the importance it deserves as a foreign policy tool (‘Don't squander worldwide feeling of hope for America’). As a retired U.S. Information Agency foreign service officer, I could not agree more. The suggestions from the authors - Keith Reinhard of Business for Diplomatic Action and Panag Khanna of the American Strategy Program - to incorporate the latest information technology into such efforts was particularly interesting. It also has been suggested by others that cultural centers and libraries be re-opened as a means of promoting the all-important element of person-to-person contact and exchange of views.”

Key Questions for Senator Hillary Clinton, Nominee for Secretary of State - Steven Groves, WebMemo #2201, Heritage Foundation: “In order to determine where the next secretary of state stands on … crucial issues, the following questions should be put to the nominee during her confirmation hearing: … Question #5: The Visa Waiver Program [:] Please describe your views regarding the Visa Waiver Program's role in America's overall public diplomacy strategy, including ongoing efforts to strengthen the program. [Recommended ?] Answer: The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a vital public diplomacy tool. Membership communicates to countries that they are trusted by the United States. And the VWP allows America to sustain relationships with our historical allies while forging new relationships with countries whose interests align with our security priorities. In this new Administration, it is vital that the U.S. continues to expand membership well beyond Western Europe, working to add key allies in Central and Eastern Europe and from across the globe, such as our NATO partner Poland and forthcoming NATO partner Croatia.”

The Bush Legacy: A Nuclear Iran? - Steve Yuhas, Opinion Editorials, VA: “The USA had our security apparatus neutered [sic] many espionage programs in order to please the political left at the expense of missing the human intelligence that is vital when conducting war and public diplomacy. The world knows that Iran is producing nuclear material – that is a fact and is not disputed by even Iran.”

State Department Official Meets with Egyptian Students in Second LifePerpetual Insomnia: “New World Notes reports that State Depatment official James Glassman … will hold a virtual meeting with student journalists in Cairo this morning. Among other issues, Glassman, who serves as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, is expected to field questions about the current Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza.” SEE ALSO.

James Glassman's Public Diplomacy 2.0 - David Comp, International Higher Education Consulting: “In late 2008, the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs entered the social networking scene with their ExchangesConnect website. In addition to the ExchangesConnect website you can find interesting posts on DIPNOTE (their new blog), a Facebook page, and YouTube. … An interesting case study on the use of these new public diplomacy/foreign affairs social networking and media tools is found with the Israeli New York Consulate Twitter Press Conference and subsequent updates on the current Israel-Gaza conflict.”

Soft Power And The Open-Source Ethics Of Public Diplomacy 2.0 - Craig Hayden, Public Diplomacy Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: “By providing the conduits for global conversation, perhaps the U.S. can acquire a kind of ‘network power.’ In the interim, at least PD 2.0 is firmly grounded in the goals of deterring violence through global dialogue. Perhaps it reflects the evolution of soft power to an as-yet-measured network power. Since the social and political impacts of social networks may be ‘emergent’ and at some level indeterminate, I think PD 2.0 may be difficult to reconcile with an enduring U.S. desire for a predictable, measurable, and effective investment in public diplomacy.”

Once More: That State Department Twitter-Diplomacy - Scott Lucas, Enduring America: “Time to upset my good friends working on State Department Twitter-diplomacy: DipNote has just Twittered that I can 'watch what the U.S. Department of State is saying about the Middle East today'. So I click the link, and it’s the Daily Press Briefing…from three days ago.”

America's Role in Asia: Asian and American “Th[e] volume,’ America’s Role in Asia: Asian and American Views,’ is the culmination of a year-long project on U.S.-Asian relations sponsored by The Asia Foundation. … [Among its recommendations:] [T]he United States must devote more attention to its public diplomacy efforts with the Asian people. This includes strengthening educational, intellectual, and cultural ties to civil society organizations and Asian opinion leaders.”

Exclusive Interview: Indonesia expert Don Emmerson - Everything Indonesia: Emmerson: “The question, I suppose, is whether a presidential visit to Indonesia would turn out to be substantively more than an exercise in public relations: the partial mending of an American image so badly damaged by George W. Bush. We need also to remember that, despite the distance from Java to Gaza, Obama's policies toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will also matter. What Obama says and does in that regard between now and a possible Indonesian visit will affect its success or failure as a venture in public diplomacy.”

Common Values, Shared Interests: The United States and Its Promise in the Western Hemisphere - Press Release, US State Department: “Sports Diplomacy Envoys: U.S. public diplomacy and sports envoys shared their time and talents with youth and coaches across the region. The lineup included Baseball Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Cal Ripken, Jr. in Nicaragua; world champion figure skater Michelle Kwan in Argentina; two-time Olympic soccer gold medalist and World Cup champion Cindy Parlow Cone and Women’s National Soccer Team staff coach Jeff Pill in El Salvador; former Major League Baseball player Elias Sosa and the Southern Command allstar baseball team to Panama and Nicaragua; former baseball all-star Barry Larkin to Colombia; Armed Forces baseball players to the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Nicaragua; and collegiate volleyball coaches Erikka Gulbranson and Ashley Dean to Brazil.”

We are not owners of environment - Justice Weeramantry - Sarath Malalasekera, Daily News, Sri Lanka: “The Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research (WICPER) concluded a Training for Trusteeship four-day residential workshop at the Subodhi Institute for Integral Education. … The seminar was held in conjunction with the Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO, the South Asia Co-operative Environment Program (SACEP) and the Public Diplomacy Section of the American Centre.”

My Virtual Decatur: city announces competition for virtual world builders – Aleks Krotoski, “The city of Decatur in the US state of Georgia has opened up their call for developers to create a virtual city, titled Virtual Decatur, in a massively multiplayer online environment. … This isn't the first time a city has been replicated in a virtual world. During the Second Life boom, several cities were recreated in that virtual environment (Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin). Additionally, it has been used for civic outreach; several governments opened up 'virtual embassies' and University of of Southern California's Annenberg Centre for Public Diplomacy set up shop.”

Why Israel’s Twitter Experiment Flopped - Dawn R. Gilpin, COMOPS Journal: “The lesson here is that social media can be used for effective public diplomacy, but only if those in charge of such efforts understand questions of symmetry, culture, and structure of the different platforms. Failure to do so produces the opposite of the desired effect: communication is seen as inappropriately controlling, out of place, and ultimately inauthentic."

God is Great: Faith and Public Diplomacy at Work:

A delegation of Islamic and social science scholars seeks to share and explain the importance of Islam in their lives on a three week tour of the United States - Muqtedar Khan - Middle East Online

Women and Islamic resistance - Maria Holt, New Nation: “The testimonies of Wafa [a university lecturer in Beirut], and many other women in Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories, formed the starting point for a conference on women and Islamic resistance which took place at the University of Westminster on November 7. … The discussion … moved to Lina Khatib's presentation on women ‘as public diplomacy tools’. Dr Khatib, who is based at Royal Holloway, examined the work of the Museum of Martyrs in Tehran and suggested that the Iranian regime uses women, including Lebanese and Palestinian women, as public diplomacy tools to promote a positive image of itself as an Islamic democracy.”

Great New Magazine On Global Stability Operations - Brent M. Eastwood, Science and Technology on the Hill: EasodScience And Technology On The Hill: “There is a great new magazine that has just completed its first year of publication called Serviam, which is latin for 'I will serve.' The magazine reports on the intersection of peace keeping operations, disaster relief, public diplomacy, and other ways to promote global stability."

Friday - Kathimerini English Edition, Greece: “Lecture by Professor Eytan Gilboa of the University of Southern California on ‘Public Diplomacy in the Information Age’ within the context of the event ‘International Relations and Public Diplomacy’ at the General Secretariat for Information 11 Frangoudi and A. Pantou, next to Pantion University). For details, see or”


In Israel, a Consensus That Gaza War Is a Just One - Ethan Bronner, New York Times: To Israel's critics abroad, the picture could not be clearer: Israel’s war in Gaza is a wildly disproportionate response to the rockets of Hamas, causing untold human suffering and bombing an already isolated and impoverished population into the Stone Age, and it must be stopped. Yet here in Israel very few, at least among the Jewish population, see it that way.

What Israelis see on the front pages of their newspapers and on their evening broadcasts is not what the rest of the world is reading and seeing.

Israel’s PR fails to impress away from home - Roula Khalaf, Financial Times: Israel would like the world to be on its side in its fight against Hamas. But far more important for the authorities is to maintain the support of Israelis. There the government has been more successful.

Israeli leaflets over Gaza - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Gaza propaganda war escalates on the internet: The Battle of the Blogosphere has seen both sides in the Gaza conflict use hoax videos to show the ‘beastly’ behaviour of their enemies - Brendan O'Neill, First Post

The Israeli 'Public Relations' Juggernaut Takes No Prisoners: Israeli Government Willing to Deliberately Lie About the Facts on the Ground in Gaza - Richard Jehn, The Rag Blog: Efforts by the Israelis to hide the facts, barrage factual reporting with negative commentary designed to obfuscate the facts, outright lying as in the letter from the Israeli PMO, and other more sinister, hidden efforts to affect the nature of reporting in North America on the conflict are detestable.

Israel Is Losing This War - Uri Avnery, The Progressive/ Common Dreams: In this war, as in any modern war, propaganda plays a major role. The disparity between the forces, between the Israeli army - with its airplanes, gunships, drones, warships, artillery and tanks - and the few thousand lightly armed Hamas fighters, is one to a thousand, perhaps one to a million. In the political arena the gap between them is even wider. But in the propaganda war, the gap is almost infinite. Almost all the Western media initially repeated the official Israeli propaganda line. They almost entirely ignored the Palestinian side of the story, not to mention the daily demonstrations of the Israeli peace camp.

Israel's Gaza Offensive: Israel's propaganda mainstay, Sderot, is a lie: It is built on the lands of a Palestinian village called Najd, which was ethnically cleansed by Jewish terrorists in May 1948, before Israel was declared a state - Michael Hess, BBS News

Equal rights for enemies? Israel has every right to exploit its military advantage against Hamas — victory requires it - Allan Richarz, Baltimore Sun: Whether it is the result of latent anti-Semitism, the desire to avoid inflaming fundamentalist Arab passions or simply an unrealistic belief in equality, world leaders are focusing too much on buzzwords. In the case of Israel, the buzzwords are the "disproportionate" and "excessive" use of force.

Ending the West's Proxy War Against Israel: Stop funding a Palestinian youth bulge, and the fighting will stop too - Gunnar Heinsohn - Wall Street Journal

Targeting Israel, whitewashing Hamas - Editorial, Washington Times: On Friday, the U.N. Security Council approved on a 14-0 vote a badly flawed resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. Instead of vetoing the measure, as it should have done, the United States abstained, even though the resolution failed to mention Hamas' practice of launching missiles into Israel. On Friday, the U.N. Security Council approved on a 14-0 vote a badly flawed resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. Instead of vetoing the measure, as it should have done, the United States abstained, even though the resolution failed to mention Hamas' practice of launching missiles into Israel.

Defending Condi: Olmert Shames Himself in Kick-in-the-Teeth Attack on Rice - Steve Clemons, Huffington Post: From an AFP story today: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was left shame-faced after President George W. Bush ordered her to abstain in a key UN vote on the Gaza war, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Monday. "She was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she did not vote in favour," Olmert said in a speech in the southern town of Ashkelon. SEE ALSO

The U.S. Votes 'Present' at the U.N. : Usually we stop anti-Israel resolutions - John R. Bolton, Wall Street Journal: No doubt President-elect Barack Obama, who believes in multilateralism and who voted "present" numerous times in the Illinois legislature, will find U.N. abstentions attractive, even though abstaining will neither help him avoid hard choices nor advance U.S. interests.

Seven Years of Torture and Lies: Seven Years of Guantánamo - Andy Worthington, Counterpunch

Reach out to Cuba: Obama should seize the chance to normalize relations with Havana - William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh, Los Angeles Times

Continuity We Can Believe In - William Kristol, New York Times: It seems that we can expect more continuity than change from President-elect Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

The State of the State Department - Leslie H. Gel, Daily Beast: Our diplomatic service no longer possesses the talent of the last fifty years. So Hillary has to look outside to the former great diplomats.

Propaganda, that’s our game - Alia Papageorgiou, New Europe: In the heart of Europe, as Brussels

is so oft described, a new report has been released showing that in fact the EU’s propaganda is a well oiled multi billion Euro funded machine. Open Europe a think tank made up of UK professionals followed its research tools and found that the EU is spending 2.4 billion Euro a year on initiatives to promote itself and its central aim of an "ever closer union."

1 comment:

Jack Reylan said...

Unless Greeks stop their soviet pipelines, the Visa Waiver Program must be prevented from taking place!