Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 24

"[T]he Arts Endowment [NEA] cannot and has never operated like a centralized ministry of culture. It has never possessed the resources to impose its will on the American arts world."

--NEA Chairman Dana Gioia

“[H]e would welcome a ministry of culture because then he would know where the enemy was.”

--Regarding the painter John Sloan; cited in John Brown, review of Casey Nelson Blake, Editor, The Arts of Democracy: Art, Public Culture, and the State (2007)

“The arts are, unexpectedly, big business.”

--Denise Low, poet laureate of Kansas


WW2 Russian Propaganda Art – posted by Samuel Dixon

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY (note: below posters from:99 WWII Propaganda Posters)

Public Diplomacy - Kevin Drum, Mother Jones: “Public diplomacy cheerleader Marc Lynch is unhappy over the news that Hillary Clinton may be about to choose an undersecretary of state for public diplomacy whose roots are in marketing, not statecraft. … Maybe Judith McHale will be brilliant at the job. Who knows? We'll have to learn more about her. But it would sure be nice to get someone for this job who speaks a few languages, has spent a lot of time overseas, and doesn't think of the job as merely a branding exercise. Stay tuned.” Comment by an Anonymous reader: “Well, her father was a diplomat. Maybe that qualifies her for foreign service work.”

"Selling A Message" - Patrick Appel, Andrew Sullivan Daily Dish, Atlantic: “Marc Lynch is worried by the rumors that Hillary Clinton will tap longtime friend and Democratic mega-donor Judith Hale as her undersecretary for public diplomacy.”

Daily Sources 1/23 - freude bud, Open Source Geopolitics: “Jeff Stein at SpyTalk reports that some of President Obama's first public diplomacy initiatives will target South America. Obama is scheduled to attend the April 17 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, ‘which may turn out to be his international debut as ambassador-in-chief.’”

Inauguration week round-up: Clinton, Geithner, China, and Gitmo - David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy: Tim Geithner [nominated Secretary of the Treasury] is going hard after the Chinese for manipulating their currency to keep prices low on their exports. While this is a legitimate concern, the monetary policy saber-rattling is political grandstanding here that is not the most effective way of delivering a message to a Chinese government that is already worried that an Obama Administration tactic will be to scapegoat them. …

Sometimes the best diplomacy is not the most public diplomacy.”

Launching Medical Diplomacy To Gaza – Gerald Loftus, Avuncular American: “I doubt seriously that there is any more urgent medical-humanitarian mission right now than Gaza. And whatever the form and amount of US aid to Gaza via the UN and the Red Cross, it doesn't have the impact - and, let's face it, the public diplomacy payoff - of a gleaming white hospital ship flying the US flag. Hospital ship - not gunboat - diplomacy - that's another way the new Administration could mark the difference with its predecessor.”

Hospital Ships: What exactly are they for? - Alanna Shaikh, Global Health: “The kinds of hospital trips are excellent public diplomacy. They are seen as evidence of American caring and generosity. … The problem is that you just can't provide very good care from a hospital ships. … Good medical care needs follow-up, and hospital ships don't stay in one place long enough to provide follow-up. … Hospital trips demoralize local health care providers, and reduce people's faith in their skills.”

Obama takes 'smart power' approach: Until Bush, the U.S. always knew military force alone wasn't enough, even for a superpower. As it rediscovers this truth under Obama, some see an opportunty for a grand unified theory in foreign policy - Lynda Hurst, Toronto Star: “The smart use of power is an updating of Woodrow Wilson's theory of liberal internationalism (stable democracies are less likely to go to war). It's the post-war Marshall plan to rebuild a shattered Europe in ways that would repel communism. It's John F. Kennedy creating the Peace Corps and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). … [T]the smart-power approach must include public or ‘citizen diplomacy,’ the exchange of ideas, peoples and information. … Problem is, though many soft power tools – from cultural and educational exchange programs to development aid – already exist, they're scattered throughout government, with nothing linking them with military power into a grand, unified approach to the rest of the world. Other tools have been gutted: foreign service hiring freezes; staff cuts at USAID; and the termination, after 46 years, of the U.S. Information Agency.”

Anybody Know What 'Smart Power' Means? - Lionel Beehner, Huffington Post: “Hand it to Hillary Clinton. She's managed to sum up the bold new direction of US foreign policy into a bumper-friendly catchphrase: smart power. … But let's face it: the phrase is nothing more than an empty policy that launched a thousand think-tank brown bags. …To me, the phrase's usage smacks of someone who really hasn't thought over what her policies are . … Also, I'm suspicious of the word ‘smart.’ … [T]he word ‘smart’ tends to sugarcoat nasty stuff. After all, smart bombs still kill innocents. Smart sanctions still mostly target civilians and not the government.”

Public diplomacy in the new administration - Emily Tavoulareas, zzzeitgeist: “Is it just me, or does the term 'Public Diplomacy' seem to buzzing all over DC these days? Particularly since the election of President Barack Obama, there has been a renewed discussion of how the new administration could/would/should rebuild America’s image abroad. …

I consider LISTENING to be the missing link in current US public diplomacy efforts. The development world seems to have a similar fault… . [T]oo much talking and ‘teaching’ and not enough listening and learning. Diplomacy should be, and can be, a two-way interaction. … While it is logical that the US government would focus on public diplomacy, I would argue that the best public diplomats are American citizens. Just as career diplomats play a critical role in government to government strategic communications, shouldn’t strategic communications with the general public be people to people?”

Public Diplomacy is not Public Relations - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: “America's ‘public diplomacy’ was until 2008 focused on changing the subject and hoping people would ignore today and focus on the future, both of which were unsurprising failures. Today, we have an opportunity to reestablish public diplomacy as the tool of national security it must be. The promised sea-change in our foreign policy and the return of the United States to a position of global leadership will not come from deeds alone. … The power to engage global audiences is a national security imperative and must not be a mere tool of public relations.”

From our readers - Western leaders don't 'get' global comms - Jem Thomas, director of CB3 Communications, PR Week UK: “[W]hen it comes to strategic communications and public diplomacy, senior leaderships of the West often fail to 'get it'. Despite a general recognition that domestic and foreign policy are linked, government interest in communications wanes dramatically once targets fall outside domestic borders. … 'Hearts and minds' is a tired cliche, but to nurture effective soft power and consensus, the most crucial battle for 'hearts and minds' should first be fought not on the global stage but in government offices, foreign ministries and development agencies.”

U.S. Foreign Policy: Dangerous - Destructive? - Hubertus Hoffmann speech at Trinity College Dublin, “As a great power, the U.S. will never have only friends. Yet she need not produce more enemies than necessary. The U.S. must be the Flag of Liberty and Democracy in the world and the Fire of Human Progress as the Founding Fathers demanded. Public diplomacy is essential for American foreign policy, as well as a clean, ethical image. America must believe and fight for 'absolute values' and it is important for the soldiers to follow a code of honor (Fritz Kraemer). The U.S. needs a Holy Fire.”

Will Cuban dissidents' dissent lead to the descent of Radio Martí? (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: “I thought the point of the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 is for senior appointments to be made by the firewall Broadcasting Board of Governors rather than by the president. If new senior managers, such as the the director of Radio/TV Martí and the director of Voice of America, are named by, or because of, the new administration, this would be an indication that U.S. international broadcasting lacks the independence necessary to achieve the credibility that is required for success in international broadcasting. It would also beg the question: why does the BBG exist?

Reflections of an Ambassador: Interview with Mary Ann Glendon - Irene Lagan, “Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, who represented the United States before the Holy See, has already returned to Boston, where she is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University. [Glendon]: ‘The Holy See has diplomatic relations with 177 nations; its moral voice reaches almost every corner of the earth, and its networks of parishes, dioceses, and humanitarian aid workers make it an extraordinary ‘listening post.’ Much of my work also involved ‘public diplomacy’ -- speaking and writing on issues of common concern to the United States and the Holy See.”

President chairs Institute for Peace and Democracy meeting - Antara, Indonesia: “President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono chaired Institute for Peace and Democracy meeting at Tampak Siring Palace here on Saturday morning. … Attendees from the Foreign Affairs Ministry [included] Director General for Public Diplomacy and Information Andri Hadi.”

Is Diplomacy Hot Again or What? – DS, Diplopundit: ”I have to admit that I got a little dizzy yesterday watching Steve Kashkett [a leader of AFSA, the State Department union]’s body movement as he spoke (if he is a PD officer, FSI needs to update its training modules on public speaking).

Sorry, but I want a diplomat there who can speak without notes. I hope AFSA is keeping notes for next time. Ambassador Bill Burns did his part just perfectly. I watched the videos and scrolled through the blog comments in the official blog, DipNote (under new management). It crossed my mind that Hillary may exactly be the remedy for the inattentiveness of the American public to the Foreign Service and the work of the State Department."

Program Analyst (Special Assistant): Job Code: ECA-2009-0045 - AILA Career Center: “This position is located in the Office of Private Sector Exchange (EC), Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) [State Department]. The Office is responsible for administration and oversight of the Department's Exchange Visitor Program. The Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges.“

Drank the Kool Aid – Cheryl, i kick english, they tell me lies: “There are a few other Master Programs I am interested in, so I will certainly look into that, as well. Maybe I will study International Studies in Vienna? or wait a year, and do Public Diplomacy at USC? Though somehow those programs both seem much tougher than the one I am applying to now, so maybe that's wishful thinking.”


Quincy Jones Leads Chorus Urging a Cabinet-Level Arts Czar - Jacqueline Trescott, Washington Post

Behind the Scenes: Will artists enjoy amazing adventures with Obama? - Lynn Israel, Columbia Tribune: “Here’s the Obama-Biden plan, edited for space reasons [including]: ● Promote cultural diplomacy: American artists, performers and thinkers representing our values and ideals can inspire people both at home and all over the world. Through efforts like that of the United States Information Agency, America’s cultural leaders were deployed around the world during the Cold War as artistic ambassadors and helped win the war of ideas by demonstrating to the world the promise of America. Artists can be utilized again to help us win the war of ideas against Islamic extremism. ● Attract foreign talent: Obama suggests opening America’s doors to students and professional artists in a kind of two-way cultural understanding that can break down the barriers that feed hatred and fear. As America tightened visas after 9/11, the world’s most talented students and artists, who used to come here, went elsewhere. Obama will streamline the visa process to return America to its rightful place as the world’s top destination for artists and art students."

Do live arts need federal boost? Theaters look to '30s in push for bailout - Gordon Cox, Variety: "As long as the government is handing out bailouts, how about one for the performing arts? … [G]overnment support of legit seems a near certainty. Obama's stated arts policy during the campaign included promises of boosted partnerships between schools and arts orgs; the promotion of cultural diplomacy; and health care and tax fairness for artists. ‘The government put money into General Motors,’ says Bernard Gersten, exec producer of Gotham nonprofit Lincoln Center Theater. ‘And they produce more flops than Broadway!’"

Obama stands behind the arts as a vehicle for real change - Denise Low, Kansas City Star: “I was delighted that Obama included poet Elizabeth Alexander in his inaugural ceremony.

This is a potent symbol. Also, he has a position paper that supports arts education, an artist corps, increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, cultural diplomacy, health care for artists and tax fairness for artists.” Denise Low is poet laureate of Kansas. PHOTO: Elizabeth Alexander

Professor examines the influence of US culture - Brendan Benedict, The Heights: “[C]ulture can be a double-edged sword. [Professor Martha] Bayles cites a Pew Global Attitudes Survey that found that a majority of citizens of Muslim nations, along with Russia and India, have negative views of American film and music, most likely due to the proliferation of sex and violence. Janet Jackson's infamous Super Bowl halftime show probably didn't help either.

Bayles said, ‘But when people with no other source of information about America take vulgar, violent, vitriolic examples of popular culture - the film 'The Dark Knight,' say, or the TV show 'Desperate Housewives' - as an accurate reflection of reality, the impact can be negative and far-reaching."

Musicians For Harmony Sets 3/20 Concert To Benefit Iraqi Student ProjectJazz: “Musicians For Harmony's commitment to cultural and educational work with Iraq continues to reap tangible results, and the March 20th concert reflects the growing success of M4H founder Allegra Klein's organization.

Established shortly after September 11, 2001, Musicians For Harmony has earned significant and growing attention for its charitable efforts in the years since. Each fall, they present a commemorative 'Concert For Peace' in New York City featuring internationally renowned classical and world music artists.”

Olympics choreographer arrives for residency - Lucie Zhang, Duke Chronicle, NC: “Shen Wei [is] founder and artistic director of Shen Wei Dance Arts. .... So far, Wei and his company have hosted master classes on [the Duke] campus, given presentations at the Franklin Humanities Institute and helped student choreographers with the upcoming Lunar New Year performance. Scott Lindroth, vice provost for the arts and professor of music, said that Wei's involvement in these events highlights his eagerness to show that ‘dance can engage issues broader than just pure choreography’ and that ‘art can serve as a tool for cultural diplomacy.’"

Cap in hand, calculator at the ready - James Bradshaw, Globe and Mail: “Canada's arts community has the federal government's ear more than at any moment in recent years, and its prebudget suggestions for how to boost the country's creative economy are piling up. … Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore has, in fact, all but promised that current funding levels are safe. Some critics, however, would like him not merely to avoid further cuts, but to reverse the ones his government has made. Most notably, they would like to see funding for touring and cultural diplomacy immediately reinstated.”

Iranian treasures bound for Britain - John Wilson - BBC: “Across a conference table in an Iranian vice president's office, tea and sweet pastries are offered before cultural diplomacy. An ancient clay cylinder, regarded by scholars as the world's first declaration of human rights, helps to seal a deal that could open a new diplomatic channel between Britain and Iran. … I'd been warned that, as a BBC journalist, I might not be welcomed into this Iranian government building in traffic-jammed downtown Tehran. The launch of the BBC's Persia TV service has prompted a furious denouncement of British 'spies' in the country. … Facing us on the Iranian side is a team led by a deputy vice-president. [Mr Neil] MacGregor’s [director of the British Museum] primary role is to secure the loan of artefacts, ornaments and Persian silk carpets for the British Museum's forthcoming exhibition Shah Abbas: The Remaking of Iran.”

Vietnam pursues foreign policy of peace in 2009QDND.VN: “In an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency recently, Mr [Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia] Khiem, who is also Foreign Minister, reaffirmed the country’s policy of pursuing peace in its foreign affairs in 2009 to create favourable conditions for the country to promote national construction and defence and to increase its international prestige.

… To do this, he said the Government will take a dual diplomatic approach, combining State-to-State diplomacy with people-to-people diplomacy while developing a comprehensive overall approach to diplomacy, politically, economically and culturally. With regard to cultural diplomacy, he said that efforts will be made to improve overseas Vietnamese affairs, better protect Vietnamese nationals and increase the efficiency of overseas-targeted information to meet the requirements of a new stage in cultural relations. 2009 has been chosen as the ‘Year of Cultural Diplomacy’ as it is one of the three pillars of a comprehensive diplomacy, he emphasised."


Teacher on a World Stage: Obama May Find It Hard Not to Overshadow the Club He Has Joined - Jim Hoagland, Washington Post: There is no reason to think that the political earthquake Obama launched in the United States three years ago will stop at the water's edge or has already run its course.

Radio Shack'd: Euphemized & Bettered – M1, Swedish Meatballs Confidential: Kinetic operations -- aka "shooting wars" -- are in contrast with "psy ops," psychological warfare, or civil affairs operations, such as building schools or setting up health clinics.

Israel’s Propaganda War in Gaza: Once David Now Goliath - Ong Weichong, Khaleej Times Online: In an age whereby anyone with a camera-phone and Internet access can instantly propagate his or her version of ‘truth’ to the world at large, militaries and governments must realise that it takes more than fuzzy images of so-called precision strikes to win the propaganda war. The military-centric approach and knee-jerk reactions of Israel’s propaganda Goliath suggest the lack of a clear credibile strategy.

Public Relations, Propaganda, Call It What You Will - Steve Schippert, ThreatsWatch.Org: Israel is responding to successful media campaigns by terrorist groups designed to shape international opinion and arouse loud condemnation. And both Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas have been wildly successful at doing precisely that. And that is the whole point of the Israeli communications efforts.

Appointing Mitchell: Obama's Signal to Peace – James Zogby, Huffington Post: In appointing former Senator George Mitchell as Special Envoy for the Middle East, President Barack Obama made clear his determination to pursue Arab-Israeli peace. Mitchell, an Arab American, was former Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate and widely recognized for his role in achieving peace in Northern Ireland. He has the stature the job demands.

Can George Mitchell Astound the Skeptics, Again? - Daniel Levy, Huffington Post

The Wrong Man for the Job - Scott Ritter, Truthdig: Not only has Richard Holbrooke (named emissary to handle Afghanistan issues) demonstrated a lack of comprehension when it comes to the complex reality of Afghanistan (not to mention Pakistan), he has a history of choosing the military solution over the finesse of diplomacy. The Dayton Accords, after all, were built on the back of a NATO military presence. This does not bode well for the Obama administration.

A False Move on Gitmo: Obama’s lofty talk does nothing to resolve detainee situation – Editors, National Review

What to Do About the Gitmo Detainees: The ball is in Congress's court - Stephanie Hessler, Weekly Standard: To close Guantánamo, there must be comprehensive legislation covering detainee trials, continued detention, and release. A few days after the election, the New York Times ran a full-page ACLU ad urging Obama to close Guantánamo "on day one, with the stroke of a pen." If only reality were as simple as rhetoric.

For Detainees, Obama Off to Good Start - Andy Worthington –

The Risks of Releasing Detainees - The Editors, New York Times

New Era of America Leadership? - Gordon Prather, Surely President Obama will soon realize -- as does most of the world -- that Iran has broken no NPT rule and that for at least the past eight years it is the United States that has been the most flagrant violator of NPT rules.

Is the US About to Treat the Rest of the World Better? Maybe... American foreign policy is subject to structural pressure that has not dissolved - Johann Hari, The Independent/UK/Common Dreams: Obama has made energy independence -- a massive transition away from foreign oil and gas, and towards the wind, sun and waves -- the centre of his governing programme. If the US is no longer addicted to Bolivian gas, then its governments will be much less inclined to topple anybody else who wants to control it.

Obama's Pentagon: Bowing to the Masters of War? - Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch: The American people did not elect the Pentagon. They elected Barack Obama based a good deal on his promise to get US troops out of Iraq sooner rather than later. Since he was elected, Mr. Obama has hedged on this promise.

Solutions For An Insolvent World – John Judis, New Republic: So US retrenchment of sorts is necessary -- and that requires compromise and choosing our enemies carefully. Our problem at the present is that we are limited in our exercise of hard and soft power.

Repudiate the Carter Doctrine - Michael Klare, Foreign Policy in Focus/Common Dreams: Twenty-nine years ago, President Jimmy Carter adopted the radical and dangerous policy of using military force to ensure U.S. access to Middle Eastern oil. This principle -- known ever since as the Carter Doctrine -- led to U.S. involvement in three major wars and now risks further military entanglement in the greater Gulf area. It's time to repudiate this doctrine and satisfy U.S. energy needs without reliance on military intervention.

The Return of Carterism? - Arthur Herman, Commentary: Now Barack Obama comes into office, trailing clouds of Carterite rhetoric and Carteresque ideas about the inutility of military force, the sovereign worth of “aggressive diplomacy” (an incoherent and meaningless phrase), and the need to accommodate ourselves to a world in which we are no longer even an economic superpower, let alone an example to mankind.

Bloggingheads: Barack Obama’s ExceptionalismNew York Times

The Bush Ambassadors – An Epilogue – DS, Diplompundit: Bush appointees can now sign up as a Bush-Cheney Alumni Association member. All employees, appointees, and interns of President George W. Bush as well as campaign donors and volunteers are eligible to join. Members will receive valuable benefits, including access to an online community, alumni updates, opportunities to be involved with the Association, and invitations to events and activities sponsored by the George W. Bush Presidential Center.


"The Americans are violently oral. ... Even the American passion for laxatives can be explained as an oral manifestation."

--W.H. Auden

"An oral fixation (also oral craving) is a fixation in the oral stage of development manifested by an obsession with stimulating the mouth (oral) first described by Sigmund Freud, who thought infants are naturally and adaptively in an oral stage, but if weaned too early or too late, may fail to resolve the conflicts of this stage and develop a maladaptive oral fixation. In later life, these people may constantly 'hunger' for activities involving the mouth.



coffee said...

Looks to me like Barack is off to a great start, on track to keep his word and restore some international credibility for the US

Anonymous said...

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