Friday, February 27, 2009
“'Katyń' re-creates one of the everyday terrors of living under totalitarianism: no one in power ever tells you the truth, and you live on rumor and hope."
--The New Yorker’s David Denby, reviewing Andrzei Waida’s film
"'[Orwell’s statement that] all art is to some extent propaganda' looks striking, but is greatly weakened by the 'to some extent,' and what, finally, does it mean? Only that all art is 'about' something, even if it is only about itself. 'Art for art's sake'—a concept Orwell would abhor—is just 'propaganda' for art itself, which the movement was well aware of."
--Julian Barnes, “Such, Such Was Eric Blair,” New York Review of Books; image from
Use this Financial Times graphic to find the twittering hot spots around the US and UK and to identify the most closely followed tweeting politicians.
To win hearts and minds, get back in the game – Richard Lugar, Foreign Policy: “As part of a broader overhaul of its public diplomacy effort, the United States should reinvigorate the old American Centers concept-putting, when possible, new ones that are safe but accessible in vibrant downtown areas-support active cultural programming, and resume the teaching of English by American or U.S.-trained teachers hired directly by embassies.
That would help draw people to the centers and ensure that students got some American perspective along with their grammar. America's best players in public diplomacy have always been its people and its ideas. The United States should get them back into the game instead of standing on the sidelines.” Richard G. Lugar is a U.S. senator representing Indiana. VIA MC
Wake Up Call for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - Jameson, Perspectives on Public Diplomacy: “We don't have that many embassy compounds within which to barricade all of these American Corners ... instead, we've partnered with local institutions to bring America to each locality in the way that matches the people, the time, and the place. Sens. Lugar and Kerry, you still haven't had enough? … You're going to need an abacus to count all of the American Corner locations on this spreadsheet that comes to you care of one of the four American Corner locations in Hungary alone. On top of the spreadsheet, the same American Corner in Eger, Hungary brings you a full agenda for 2008-2009 which includes a lecture series on American culture, a chance to talk with an economist about the economic crisis, a competition on knowledge of the U.S. for secondary students, workshops on studying in the U.S., a lecture series on the 1960s U.S. talking about the movements and people that shaped the decade, 'America through Hungarian Eyes' - an amateur photo competition for Hungarians, and a 'My America, or that's how I see the U.S.' multimedia art competition for primary and secondary school students.” Image from
Sen. Kit Bond Makes Powerful Statement in Support of Peace Corps on Senate Floor - Peace Corps Polyglot: The blog of the National Peace Corps Association: “Today, U.S. Senator Kit Bond of Missouri made statements on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to support expansion of Peace Corps and smart power initiatives. … Text of the Statement: … I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting an expansion of the Peace Corps and all of our nation’s Smart Power assets. Smart Power initiatives are our non-military diplomatic efforts, including educational exchanges, free trade, public diplomacy, economic and agricultural development, humanitarian assistance, and English language teaching just to name a few. All of these Smart Power initiatives contribute not only to a better life for so many in need, but also help create the conditions for a more stable, and peaceful world.” SEE ALSO; image from
Colin Powell, USGLC Leadership Applaud Obama FY10 Budget's 'Smart Power' Funding - Impact Wire: “The U.S. Global Leadership Campaign today applauded President Barack Obama's FY2010 International Affairs Budget request for $51.7 billion, an increase of 9.5% from FY2009's $47.2 billion, and called on Congress to fully fund the request. … The International Affairs Budget funds the State Department's diplomatic programs, global health initiatives on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and other development and humanitarian assistance programs to help stabilize fragile states, reduce global poverty and assist refugees. It also covers U.S. food aid and democracy, human rights and public diplomacy efforts critical to restoring America's image abroad.” Image from
Getting Beat in the War of Ideas - Steven Corman, COMOPS Journal: “al Qaeda talking points are being agreed-to by large numbers of Muslims in diverse areas of the world selected by random sampling. We are getting beat–nay, getting our asses handed to us–in the War of Ideas. Thinking about how to turn things around is a very tough problem. Jim Glassman, immediate past Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, decided to attack the al Qaeda 'brand' because he concluded (correctly) that America wasn’t selling. Though that was a reasonable course of action for his short term in office, in the long run it doesn’t really fix things. … A general guideline would be to take actions that disprove the above beliefs.“ Image from
Mobility – World-Wide-Matel: “The new media is more fluid, fragmented, decentralized and personalized than more traditional media. This creates challenges and opportunities for public diplomacy as well as for the traditional way we deliver messages at State Department. … Through all the changes in technologies, Edward R. Murrow’s famous observation remains true, 'The really crucial link in the international communication chain is the last three feet, which is bridged by personal contact, one person talking to another.'” Image from
Facebook Diplomacy: How Governments are Exploiting the Internet - Internet&democracy: “Th[e] mobilization of ordinary citizens to push government propaganda may be the most successful tactic for governments on the Internet, instead of public relations campaigns like the Bush administration’s failed efforts to ‘rebrand’ the US in the Middle East, or the Kremin hiring of a web-savvy PR firm to promote its agenda.”
The People-to-People People - Mark Dillen, Public Diplomacy: The World Affairs Blog Network, American Foreign Policy Association:
The World Affairs Blog Network, Foreign Policy Association: “Now is the time for all good men — and women — to come to the aid of public diplomacy. I have in mind citizen travel to countries that, until recently, were off-limits to Americans, like Iran, Libya or Syria.” Image from
A New Public Diplomacy Strategy for the United States - ThinktankWatch: “Now, as the Obama Presidency is generating a new positive wave, it seems America lives in a timely moment to change the mind of the world. Rand Corporation international relations scholars think that there are new opportunities. They argue that ‘U.S. strategic communication and public diplomacy have been the targets of scathing criticism and proposals for overhaul since shortly after September 11, 2001. Proposals and recommendations abound, but many reform efforts have stumbled or have been plagued by false starts.’”
Commission of Trend Communicator of Japanese Pop Culture in the Field of Fashion – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan: “With a view to promoting understanding of and confidence in Japan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now planning to make more active use of Japan’s pop culture, which has been enjoying very high popularity among young people around the world, in addition to the traditional culture and arts that the ministry has so far used for that purpose.
1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has therefore decided to give a few young leaders who are conspicuously active in the field of fashion the title 'Trend Communicator of Japanese Pop Culture,' commissioning them to conduct PR and other activities, and asking them to extend as much cooperation as possible for cultural projects to be carried out by Japanese embassies abroad and the Japan Foundation. 2. ... [T]he Director-General, Public Diplomacy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will hand over a letter to ... persons selected from, in particular, the fashion field out of pop culture." Image from
Can Israel make peace with Syria without leaving Golan? - Aluf Benn, Haaretz: “The common denominator of all the failed [ peace] attempts was that both sides hesitated to take the final step that would burst through the psychological barriers, but also put them in great political danger. Israel refused to withdraw to the line that the Syrians demanded, which would have given them control of the northeastern shore of Lake Kinneret. Damascus refused normalization measures and public diplomacy, which might have softened Israeli opposition to a withdrawal.” Image from
Cross-Cultural Awareness in the U.S. Military - International Higher Education Consulting Blog™: A Source for News On International Education And Public Diplomacy by David Comp
The Obamaist Manifesto - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post:
The president wants to transform America into Europe. Image from
Anger Grows in India over U.S. Visa Rules: It's protectionism, say Indian critics, that Congress has banned companies receiving bailout money from hiring foreigners on H-1B visas - Mehul Srivastava, Business Week
Why We Detain the Innocent - Aziz Huq, Nation: Last week, a federal court of appeals in DC said, in astriking ruling, that the seventeen ethnic Uighurs detained at Guantánamo Bay, notwithstanding the fact they posed no threat to the U.S., can be detained indefinitely without hope of judicial remedy.
The New Reality In Iraq: Why a timeline for troop withdrawal is no longer only Washington's decision - Michael Wahid Hanna, New Republic: Iraqi public opinion now matters, whether we like it or not, and behaving as if the question of troop redeployments is a question to be answered solely in Washington will further strain U.S. relations with Iraq and the Arab world. Image from
A War Fought in Ignorance - William Pfaff, Truthdig: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and India should be asked to a conference on regional stability, in which the U.S. puts on the table an offer of complete non-interference in the internal affairs, including the religious affairs, of these countries, unless there is further attack on the United States by any of them.
Lessons in Democracy From Bangladesh - Jalal Alamgir, Nation: Instead of allowing the local democratic process to choose winners and losers, the United States and its allies are quick to cry foul and interfere whenever an Islamist party threatens to win elections. In Muslim countries around the world, the United States really needs to let democracy take its own course. Image from
The $43 Billion Dollar Propaganda Film - Coyote Blog: Dispatches from a Small Business: “I think everyone was blown away by the Olympic opening ceremony last year in Beijing. I usually yawn at such events, but this one was spectacular. I enjoyed it, even though I knew in my heart I was watching the modern version of ‘Triumph of the Will.’”
Twitter 'fail whale' tattoo brings Internet notoriety, Baltimore Sun
Ryan Goff, a social marketing specialist at MGH advertising, shows off his tattoo of Twitter's iconic "fail whale," the symbol that appears when the social media site sputters out of service. He agreed to get the tattoo if the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association's Twitter profile surpassed 3,000 followers. He and friend Tom Rowe live-streamed video of the tattooing, attracting viewers from all over the world.