Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19

"Start low, go slow, rise high, strike fire and sit down."

--a Black preacher's dictum

“Be brief, be honest, and be seated.”

--A well-known line for a toast
"Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages."

--Dave Barry


Clinton's Goals Detailed - Walter Pincus, Washington Post: ”While Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton

spoke primarily in generalities during her four-hour confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, her formal introductory statement and her 79-page written answers to questions for the record laid out some specific programs and goals that offer clues and insight on the incoming administration's foreign policy. In the battle of ideas, she said, the United States would go on the offensive implementing President-elect Barack Obama's pledges to open ‘America Houses’ in cities across the Arab world. These facilities, fashioned after a Cold War-era program, would have Internet libraries, English lessons and stories about Muslims in America. An initiative labeled ‘America's Voice Corps’ would recruit young Americans with language and public diplomacy skills to speak with and listen to people in the area. Completing the package would be a Global Education Fund to provide $2 billion for primary education around the world. But, she said, there would not be a return of the independent U.S. Information Agency.”

How to Regain the Public Diplomacy Initiative - Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View: “It’s time to recognize that, in the world we inhabit today, sophisticated public diplomacy skills are as important as they ever were, I think. It’s time to rectify that naive post Cold War mistake and reconstitute an independent public diplomacy agency to serve as the voice of an open society and a democratic people. Only a single official public diplomacy agency can do the whole job, do it continuously, do it persuasively, do it cost-effectively.”

Restoring The US Standing Lies In Restoring Cultural Diplomacy - Martin Davidson, Australia.To: In a poll commissioned by the British Council, we found that nearly two-thirds of Americans were worried about the US's standing abroad, over 8 out of 10 thought it was important for the US to build better relationships with other countries and 79% said that improving the country's reputation and understanding abroad should be a major priority for the new government. … In my view, the answer to rebuilding these alliances lies precisely in Barack Obama embracing cultural diplomacy, or what we call cultural relations, as an invaluable instrument in his foreign policy toolbox and re-invigorating the resources depleted over the last decade. The United States Information Agency, which for almost half a century ran cultural and educational exchanges among other things, closed in 1999 when it was folded into the State Department. … Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, called for its resurrection during his election campaign. And last month the American think-tank, the Brookings Institution, recommended the creation in the US of a new public diplomacy body. But restoring trust and understanding in the US overseas won't be a quick fix. … Cultural relations is not about business, not about governments, not about institutions, it's about people. But for cultural relations to work there needs to be a clear distance between the organisations charged with this activity and the government of the day; it is not about direct messaging of the views of one or other government. Cultural relations is only effective when it is undertaken in partnership with others and informed by mutual respect for other cultures. Cultural relations is different from other areas of public diplomacy because it is built over, and for, the long term. PHOTO: Martin Davidson is chief executive of the British Council, the UK's international cultural relations organisation.

Think Again: Barack Obama and the War on Terror - David M. Edelstein, Ronald R. Krebs, Foreign Policy: “Yes, Obama, by his presence and personality, has changed the atmospherics of U.S. foreign relations. America's reputation around the world has for some time been at a nadir, so there is nowhere to go but up. But the United States' poor image abroad has not been the result of a marketing failure, and, thus, better public diplomacy will not lead to victory in the ‘Battle of Ideas.’

Anti-Americanism thrives, not because others misunderstand the United States, but because they perceive its aims and tactics all too well. The Bush administration's greatest perceived foreign-policy failures -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo, unimpeded global warming -- could not have been overcome with better public diplomacy, and recent improvements in trans-Atlantic relations cannot be credited to an improved sales pitch. The world is rightly waiting to see if Obama will match his words with actions. Public diplomacy can matter only at the margins.”

Obama Must Shoulder Weight Of Global Expectations - Jitendra Joshi, Daily News Egypt: “The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, summarizing contributions received from Middle East writers, thinkers and social activists in a new report, said the Arab world was agog at Obama’s victory. ‘Obama’s election was in a sense a public diplomacy triumph for the United States, the first real success the United States has won in the Arab world in a long time, and probably the most important one since president (Dwight) Eisenhower backed Egypt’s efforts to regain control of the Suez Canal in 1956,’ it said.

‘Yet the success may prove to be short-lived: Arabs were reacting to a concrete change (over Suez), not to words, and are likely to revert to the old hostility unless Obama’s words are backed by concrete changes in US Middle East policies.’” SEE ALSO

Janet Napolitano Testifies at Senate Confirmation Hearing: Hearing to Confirm Nomination as Homeland Security Secretary - Jennifer McFadyen, “When asked for her stance on the GAO recommendations for the visa waiver program and recent ESTA issues, Napolitano said that she had not had an opportunity to look at the the issue closely, but expressed her desire for balance--a balance that needs to be struck ‘between the security needs of our county and and public diplomacy.’"

Brookings: STI for the Arab World - John Daly, Thoughts About K4D: “The Brookings Institution has done some interesting studies on science and technology in the Arab States and how S&T cooperation between those states and the U.S. can be useful to U.S. foreign policy. These include: Science and Technology in U.S. Relations with the Islamic World [.] This is the result of a conference hosted by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in January 2005. ‘A consensus on several recommendations emerged from the workshop. The U.S. should set clear goals for its scientific and technological cooperation with the Islamic world, and develop an over-arching strategy to achieve them. This should be explained to the American public, and optimal use of U.S. public diplomacy in the Islamic world should be made.’”

Public Diplomacy Discourse Formation - Craig Hayden, Intermap: “So it’s been almost a week since the informative and evidently well-attended Symposium on the Smith Mundt Act of 1948: A Discourse on America’s Discourse. … Suffice to say, the conference grew to be much more than a meditation on this artifact of Cold War legislation. Here are some basic takeaways: 1) The dissemination ban contained in the Smith-Mundt Act was for many an irrelevance. … 2) The difference of perspective between what we might call 'traditional' PD experts, usually from the ranks of the former USIA (retired or otherwise), and those charged with implementing new policies of public diplomacy.”

Israeli Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group - Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group: Re “Israel recruits ‘army of bloggers’ to combat anti-Zionist Web sites” By Cnaan Liphshiz: “Sounds like New Media engagement by Civilian Irregular Public Diplomacy Auxiliaries. I’d love to see the Foreign Ministry’s list of ‘problematic’ English-language Web sites. The Bush Administration could have done something almost exactly like this, could have rounded up an Army of Counter Insurgent Supportive Bloggers to represent the pro-victory side on anti-war blogs, could have pushed back. Hook this Army of Bloggers up to GIYUS and Megaphone and let the CYOP begin.”

Thai-US [and US-ASEAN] relations should change little under Obama - Achara Ashayagachat, Bangkok Post Opinion, posted at KI Media:

“Harry Harding, Georgetown University professor of international affairs [:] … believes the Obama administration should be more engaging and involving Asia to fill the gaps due to Washington's previous selective engagements within the region. The US, said Mr Harding, needs to rebuild its power through both military, economic and soft-power influences, although the Asian region might not want to see any particular domination. ‘We need to be less rhetorical and be moderate in such issues as human rights and rebuild our economic competitiveness by being a champion of freer trade, and revive the vibrancy of public diplomacy to regain the US' soft power,’ the American scholar said.”

Leaders' Wives - Beril Dedeoglu, Turkish Press - “The wives of the Lebanese, Libya, Syrian, Qatari, Azeri, Jordanian and Pakistani leaders came to Turkey as the guest of Emine Erdogan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's wife. …

[T]he activities carried out by representatives of the state through official channels are supported by a less official channel thanks to their wives. In other words, while the men continue state diplomacy, the women carry out public diplomacy. The leaders aim directly at decision-makers, but their wives do this indirectly.”

Official elaborates on arrest of gang of saboteurs - Mathaba.Net, UK: “The [top Iranian Ministry] official said the U.S. administration was after bringing about a soft overthrow of the Islamic state in Iran by positioning its agents throughout the regional countries including the UAE, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, Kuwait as well as a number of other countries. The official, who serves as director-general of the anti-spy department in the ministry, further told reporters in a news conference here on Monday that the U.S. government used such pretexts as public diplomacy, cultural and scientific exchanges, joint research projects, direct connections among Iranian and American citizens, transfer of latest medical achievements and other tactics to advance its 'soft overthrow' programs.” SEE ALSO

Iran optimistic about Iraq’s security, national sovereignty: FM SpokesmanISNA: “Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi and Iraq's National Security Adviser, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie has conferred the two countries’ ties in political, cultural and media domains in Baghdad. … Qashqavi for his part underlined the importance of public diplomacy and the media role in this regard and said Iran could aid the country in technical and training issues of the media field.”

About me - Javad Rad, وبلاگ عکس مربوط به برادران راد: baba: “PhD student of North American Studies to: Understand and Inform the public about US Public Diplomacy and Soft Power.”
Vietnam 6Drew and Liz blog: “While my wife spent a week last fall in the Middle Kingdom, I traveled with my friend Gordon to Ninh Binh. … We spent some time practicing our Vietnamese talking to the owner, Toan Anh De, and his wife. He had just returned for a visit to the U.S. and couldn’t stop talking about it – he showed us a picture of himself in front of the Capitol that he planned to blow up and put next to the front desk in place of the current photo of him and the Deputy Prime Minister. He has studied U.S. hotels for his plans to build a new resort complex and talks about his wonderful trip to all his friends and fellow businessmen. Better public diplomacy than any Embassy officer can provide.”


Smart Power - Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker: Thesis: Hard Power. The kind fetishized by the outgoing Bush crowd, especially Cheney. Guns, bombs, tanks. Humvees, Hueys, M16s. All about blood and guts. Antithesis: Soft Power. The kind preferred by certain thinkers and political scientists, including, most prominently, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., the Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations at Harvard. Movies, books, songs. Ideals, diplomacy, moral authority. All about hearts and minds. Synthesis: Smart Power. The kind favored by -- well, here’s Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State-designate.

Pentagon IG Clears Pentagon Of Iraq Propaganda Push - Cernig, Crooks and Liars

How to Deal with Government Propaganda on the Web
- George Washington, OpEdNews: How should we deal with the onslaught of American and Israeli government-sponsored bloggers defending those governments' actions (see this and this)? Well, one way is to ask bloggers who appear to be parroting pro-goverment propaganda without any thought the following question: Has the American, Israeli and/or any other government directly or indirectly instructed or requested that you write supporting any of their actions, policies or positions, or helped to organize or in any way supported you in making any writings?

Mindjacking Down Gaza Way - M1, Swedish Meatballs Confidential: In the last two and a half years, Israel's army has learned a thing or two about psychological warfare. The most effective propaganda campaign in this war has certainly been waged by Israel.

Video: Hamas 'victory' propaganda film for kids - Israel Matzav: On the first day of the Hamas ceasefire with Israel, Hamas TV has released a propaganda film to bolster its claims that it won the war in Gaza and killed 49 Israeli soldiers. The animated film depicts Israeli soldiers as cowards, and vows that soldiers who dare to come to Gaza will face "certain death."

Some anti-Hamas propaganda from Israeli FM - Uncensored News from Israel: Those of us who lived in the Soviet Union won’t be shocked as similar event were common in Russian schools.

Why Israel won't survive - Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada: Israel began its massacres with full support from its Western "friends." Then something amazing happened. Despite the official statements of support, despite the media censorship, despite the slick Israeli hasbara (propaganda) campaign, there was a massive, unprecedented public mobilization in Europe and even in North America expressing outrage and disgust. Gaza will likely be seen as the turning point when Israeli propaganda lost its power to mystify, silence and intimidate as it has for so long.

Who’s in Charge—Obama, the Pentagon or Israel? - William Pfaff, Truthdig: Israel’s useless, senseless and self-destructive assault on the people of Gaza, and upon the U.N.‘s headquarters and warehouses of food and medicine, has proved globally devastating to the reputation and moral credit of Israel. Even in the United States, there has been a precipitous drop in support for what Israel has been doing, and for Israeli policy in general.

Livni's Smile: The Boss Has Gone Mad - Uri Avnery, Counterpunch: The Israeli Barak understands that if the American Barack gets angry, that would mean disaster. Conclusion: the horrors of Gaza must stop before the inauguration.

Eyeless in Gaza - Roger Cohen, New York Review of Books: Israel, backed by the United States, has been intent on proving that Hamas must wither and die rather than exploring ways in which it, like the Palestine Liberation Organization before it, can move toward being part of a two-state solution. That is a strategic mistake.

Obama should tell Israel to face facts - Roula Khalaf, Financial Times: The reality is that however belligerent and unpleasant Hamas’s policies may be, its popular support will not evaporate, and the organisation itself will not disappear. So if the Obama administration wants to help Israel find security, its advice must be to face reality.

U.S. Signs Peace Treaty with Al Qaeda, Agreeing to End Occupation of Afghanistan and Halt the Policy of Disproportionate Force - Drew Westen, Huffington Post: Everyone, regardless of which way their brain tilts on this issue, should be excited at the prospect of President Obama and his Secretary of State (perhaps with an assist from a second Clinton with some experience in the region) making better use of Camp David again.

How Not to Make Peace in the Middle East - Hussein Agha, Robert Malley, New York Review of Books: The surest way to diminish Obama's appeal to the region would be for him to present a plan with no real future in the company of leaders burdened by their past. Among the flurry of recommendations the next administration will receive, Obama could do worse than consider some simple advice. Don't rush. Take time, take a deep breath, and take stock. Who knows, fresh and more effective policies might even ensue. Now that would be change we could believe in.

How to Deal with Iran - William Luers, Thomas R. Pickering, Jim Walsh, New York Review of Books: The US can impose costs on Iran, but it cannot impose its will. The same is true for Iran. Progress requires on both sides a greater focus on strategy rather than tactics.

Pakistan in Peril - William Dalrymple, New York Review of Books: Eight years of neocon foreign policies have been a spectacular disaster for American interests in the Islamic world, leading to the rise of Iran as a major regional power, the advance of Hamas and Hezbollah, the wreckage of Iraq, with over two million external refugees and the ethnic cleansing of its Christian population, and now the implosion of Afghanistan and Pakistan, probably the most dangerous development of all.

Russia strategy needed - Janusz Bugaski, Washington Times: President Obama will face two stiff challenges -- rebuilding the Atlantic alliance and dealing with a neo-imperialist Russia. Above all, Washington must reject any moves toward redividing Europe into Cold War zones or sacrificing the security of any European state. This can be accomplished by intensifying links with all of Europe's new democracies and offering NATO aspirants a clearer road map toward inclusion.

What Obama Means to the World - Gary Younge, Nation: From inauguration day people's perceptions of Obama will no longer hinge on what he is but on what he does.

The Power of the Ballot - Fred Hiatt, Washington Post: Then incoming Obama administration seems to be inclining, in its foreign policy, toward a philosophy that says: Voting matters, but maybe not as much as economic development, or women's rights, or honest judges. Its adoption as U.S. policy would be a terrible mistake, for America's security as well as its moral standing.

He Kept Us Safe, but... - Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post: Under Bush, America has been put on a quasi-war footing, has spent billions on "homeland security," has massively complicated its immigration and visa system, has put friction into the gears of trade, has retreated from its open attitude toward foreigners, and has seen its Constitution circumvented. But Bush has kept us safe.

The Next War President - William Kristol, New York Times: Keeping us safe has been Bush’s most impressive achievement. That was winning the war in Iraq, and in particular, his refusal to accept defeat when so many counseled him to do so in late 2006.

Bush and history – Editorial, Los Angeles Times: The president defined himself by 9/11. But the terror attacks can't excuse his miscalculations.


Friday, 12 December 2008

A Reality Check on Public Diplomacy

By Hans N. Tuch, Guest Contributor, Whirled View

Hans Tuch retired from the U.S. Foreign Service as a Career Minister in 1985. He also taught at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Georgetown University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the disciplines of Public Diplomacy and Inter-Cultural Communications.

l. Public diplomacy (by definition of the word "diplomacy") is a Government process to communicate with foreign audiences in an effort to gain understanding and support for our nation's ideas and ideals, our institutions and culture as well as our national goals and policies.

2. The focus of U.S. public diplomacy is in the field--carried out by professional Foreign Service public diplomacy officers at our embassies and consulates (see Mike Canning's "The Overseas Post: The Forgotten Element of our Public Diplomacy"). Our field officers are guided and backstopped by public diplomacy headquarters in Washington which sets policy, advises the White House and coordinates with other government agencies and private organizations. (Radio and TV broadcasting and Internet operations, while located in Washington, are in effect also field operations geared toward the pertinent populations in foreign countries.)

3. Public diplomacy, in an attempt to affect the attitudes and opinions of foreign publics, involves the entire communications spectrum: contemporary communication technology, as well as such methods of intercultural communication as cultural and educational exchanges, libraries, publications, English teaching and, above all, people, among them professionally qualified foreign service officers specializing in public diplomacy.

4. Information and Cultural programs are inter-related: Long-term cultural and educational programs are designed to create a climate of knowledge and understanding of the United States that is necessary as a basis for foreign peoples to comprehend and accept policies and ideas promulgated through short-term information programs.

5. For U.S. public diplomacy to be effective it must include the very important "learning experience." If we strive to be successful in our efforts to create understanding and support for our society and for our policies, we must first understand the culture, language, history, psychology and motives of the people with whom we wish to communicate.

1 comment:

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