Monday, January 26, 2009

January 26

“One year from now, Gitmo won’t be closed … If it is, there will be an uproar in the U.S. about where to put these people.”

--Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush Karl Rove


Musicians For Harmony, in collaboration with The Iraqi Student Project, Saint Peter’s Church and the Midtown Arts Common, is pleased to present: MUSIC FOR PEACE, Friday, March 20, 2009 at 7:30 pm Saint Peter’s Church, Lexington Avenue at 54th Street. More information at


Brand Obama Trumps Brand America – Nancy Snow, Huffington Post: “For years, so many of us who work in the public diplomacy and nation branding business have bemoaned the loss of American credibility in the world. …

There were many symptoms of Brand America's power loss: Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Axis of Evil, Shock and Awe, Hurricane Katrina. Then along comes one guy who steps into this media and mind space to reboot our national image in a manner of a year. Brand Obama has trumped Brand America.”

Comment [no. 2] - Public Diplomacy is not marketing! - Greg Sanders: Better living through empiricism: “The idea that public diplomacy is ‘marketing’ or ‘selling America’ has been put forth by a combination of people who don't understand what public diplomacy is about and Bush administration critics and people who fall into both categories. … As a public diplomacy practitioner for the State Department I have never once been asked to ‘sell’ something or ‘market’ something. Indeed, if I was ever too heavy handed in trying to convince the foreigners that I worked with on a point of any sort I could have gotten into trouble. I'm sure Hillary and Ms. McHale [rumoured to be the next Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] understand this. I wish others like Mr. [Professor Marc] Lynch [George Washington University] would take a deep breath before bringing the knives out. The need for somebody who appreciates the importance of public diplomacy and who has both the imagination and management skills to reinvigorate it are too great to pile on before Ms. McHale has even had a chance to begin. At the very least we should wait for her confirmation hearings before commenting. I also have to disagree with the all too common contention that we need a 'new USIA'. …Trying to create a new bureaucracy would be a time sucking venture that would only lead to bureaucratic turf struggles that would detract from the core mission.”

Wither the War On Terror? - Michael Kraft, Counter Terrorism Blog: “The War on Terror is Dead, sayeth the Washington Post. But the struggle, or whatever we may wish to call it, continues. … [There is] the need to pay attention to the nuts and bolts programs, such as antiterrorism assistance courses for other countries. [There are] growing concerns about weapons of mass destruction, and the need to improve coordination, and public diplomacy efforts.”

Hillary Clinton: Telling America’s Story Largely the Task of the Voice of America, But the Bush Administration Leaves VOA Barely Surviving - Ted Lipien, & Free Media Online Blog

Assessing Global Learning Outcomes - Misha, Full Agenda: Musings on higher education, global learning, institutional growth and transformation, international development, politics and everything else...: “Evidence of the impact of global education could form the basis of a compelling argument in favor of the Simon Study Abroad Act, which aims to dramatically increase the number of U.S. students learning abroad.

Currently, the Simon Study Abroad Act is touted as a foreign policy tool to address U.S. competitiveness, public diplomacy and defense needs ... , but surely global education benefits the U.S. in other ways (this is not to mention the interests of the global community).”

Grigol Vashadze: No relations with Moscow while Russian[s] are still here - Pridon Dochia, Daily Georgian Times, Georgia: GT: What do you think about the role of public diplomacy and the relations between clergy in resolution of Russia-Georgia relationhip problems? … GV: ‘As for public diplomacy, I can say one thing here. All our citizens have to tighten, not cease, relations with their Russian colleagues, friends, and relatives. We have to tell the truth to all of them, but at the same time we have to be very careful when, let’s say, we establish contacts with NGO’s and select partners in Russia, because our good intentions might make us the unwitting participants in a KGB game.’”

When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder - Michael Barker, Swans Commentary: “In the past, [David] Barron [the chairman of the PR firm Barron-Birrel] served as the chairman of a group called the Jefferson Educational Foundation, an organization that, according to William I. Robinson, 'coordinated the [Reagan administration's] anti-Sandinista 'public diplomacy' programs" during the 1980s.'”

Dodgeball, Cricket and Roller Derby – Paul Rockower, Levantine: “After my morning of interviews, I trudged out in the rain and down to school for a dodgeball tournament. I set up a team of my classmates, the Pub D Fightin' Culls. We all got dressed up in ridiculous clothing- long socks, short shorts and headbands and began our quest for honor and glory. As team captain (oh captain, my captain), I gave the opening pep talk, telling the team that we had to focus on the basics of public diplomacy if we wanted to win. As a team, we had to listen to each other; we had to advocate; we had to culturally exchange the balls as fast as we could at the other team; we had to internationally broadcast our dominance; we had to carry out psychological warfare.”

Guantanamo closure a blow to Al-Qaeda propaganda: analysts - AFP: A US closure of Guantanamo Bay could deprive militants of a major propaganda tool and help Pakistan in the fight against extremism, analysts said Sunday.

President Barack Obama is shutting down Guantanamo, but the way he has done it is only a beginning. If he and Congress do not take additional measures, the United States will have shut down Guantanamo the wrong way - Brandt Goldstein, RFE/RL

Kosovo Albanian separatists hire propaganda firm - Serbianna: Kosovo Islamic Albanian separatists have hired a propaganda company Saatchi & Saatchi to portray their government in a positive image. Separatists are to pay pay $7.3 million for the propaganda spreading.

Sources: Nye to be named U.S. Japan envoyUPI: Former U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Joseph Nye has been informally designated as the next U.S. ambassador to Japan, sources say. Nye knows Japan well, Sunday's Yomiuri Shimbun said. He co-authored with former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, the "Armitage Report," which advocated a strong relationship between Japan and the United States. Nye is a proponent of the "soft power" diplomatic approach, which places importance on taking into account different cultures and values. PHOTO: Joseph Nye. SEE ALSO

Diplomacy returnsBoston Globe: Whatever the titles bestowed on former senator George Mitchell and erstwhile diplomat Richard Holbrooke, their respective appointments send a heartening message that President Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, are serious about elevating the role of diplomacy in US foreign policy.

Dear Barack, From Dima – Mark Teeter, Moscow Times: Moscow's version of Obamamania reached new and intriguing heights last Thursday, when RIA-Novosti announced that effective immediately its readers could "send a message to the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama."

How to warm US-Russia relations: The US should drop its schoolmarmish attitude and cooperate - Alexandra Vacroux, Christian Science Monitor: Involving other countries in programs we care about neutralizes the irritation and suspicion that Russians feel when Americans self-importantly march into Moscow, proclaiming they are ready to "teach" the Russians everything they need to know. Increasing opportunities for students and professionals to visit the US thus remains one of the best means of sharing and spreading our values.

Obama's challenge in Afghanistan – Editorial, Washington Times:
The main currently known foreign-policy challenge for President Obama during the next four years will be navigating troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan -- and determining how allied forces will be deployed in the latter military theater. So, what happens when American and NATO troops try to root out the poppy trade? The insurgency grows. The only way out of this is to find an alternative source of revenue for the people.

Obama's Vietnam? Friday's airstrikes are evidence Obama will take the hard line he promised in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But he should remember what happened to another president who inherited a war - Juan Cole, Salon: If Obama thinks the drone attacks on FATA are a painless way to signal to the world that he is no wimp, he may find, as Lyndon Johnson did, that such military operations take on a momentum of their own, and produce popular discontents that can prove deadly to the military mission.

Obama's Vietnam: Hey, hey, BHO, how many years until we go? – Justin Raimondo, CounterPunch: A Vietnam-style counterinsurgency conflict spreading across the Afghan-Pakistan border and reaching into the wilds of Central Asia would dwarf the present quagmire in Iraq by several degrees of magnitude. Yet Obama was and still is touted as a peacemaker and an agent of "change."

A War on Pakistan's Schoolgirls - Yasmeen Hassan, Washington Post: To avoid the mistakes of the Bush administration, not only should there be greater accountability for how the funds of 2008 Biden-Lugar bill in the Senate calling for a tripling of nonmilitary aid to Pakistan are used, but the money should be conditioned on the Pakistani government taking active steps to curb the Talibanization of the country and, in particular, to uphold and protect the rights of girls and women.

Fresh hope for US-China cooperation - Anne Wu, Boston Globe: Last but not least, the two countries should deepen mutual understanding at the grassroots level, including the general public and media. This year is the year of the bull in China. Hopefully, the inauguration of Barack Obama will usher in a bullish period for US-Chinese relations.

A little more on the Chinese censorship of Obama's speech - James Fallows, Atlantic: The people in charge of China's propaganda apparatus, among the least worldly and most rigid-minded people in the entire country, apparently considered it a good and prudent idea to cut off Obama -- even if the vast majority of their fellow citizens would consider such paranoia to be extreme and bizarre.

Gaza War Pushes Arabs to the Brink - Robert Dreyfuss, Nation

Gaza media update for 25 January 2009 - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

With Gaza, Journalists Fail Again - Chris Hedges, Truthdig: The assault on Gaza exposed not only Israel’s callous disregard for international law but the gutlessness of the American press. Israel waged an effective war of black propaganda. It lied craftily with its glib, well-rehearsed government spokespeople, its ban on all foreign press in Gaza and its confiscation of cell phones and cameras from its own soldiers lest the reality of the attack inadvertently seep out.

The newspeak of Israeli propagandists – Professor Avi Shlaim, Oxford, Letter to the Editor, Guardian: Over the last four weeks the powerful Israeli propaganda machine has been churning out lie after lie about Hamas in order to excuse its own inexcusable onslaught. Israel stopped journalists going into Gaza, preventing any independent reporting on the war crimes its forces were committing.

On Proportionality - Gaza; Peace n' Freedom: You don't have to be a hardcore activist to understand that the Israeli propaganda claims of 'self-defense' are skewed or outright lies (although there are always a few who wish to swallow propaganda rather than looking at the situation on the ground).

Geopolitical poker - Arnaud de Borchgrave, Washington Times: Peace Now activists to the contrary, the perennial Israeli-Palestinian crisis is one Mr. Obama can afford to leave in the hands of the diplomatic pros who have built careers on the "Mideast peace process."

Reality Check: Israel decimated Hamas; now it's time to bring it back to life - Efraim Halevy, New Republic: Surely the prospect of weaning Hamas from the hands of President Ahmedinejad is worth a try, and if successful, it could bring the Israelis and Palestinians closer than ever to peace.

On the Wrong Side - Uri Avnery, CounterPunch: Israeli leaders have relied on unlimited American support, from the massive supply of money and arms to the use of the veto in the Security Council. This support may now be reaching its limits.

Design Tutorial: Creating a Propaganda Poster - David Sykes,


IRAQ, AL-ASAD AIR BASE : US President George W. Bush waits behind a camouflage curtain before being announced to speak to the troops at Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq’s western al-Anbar province 03 September 2007. FROM; VIA

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