Friday, March 13, 2009

March 13

“[I]f there is no private diplomacy, there can be no public diplomacy.”

-Ambassador Chas Freeman, no longer in the running to head the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC)

“He was too much an outsize personality,

at least in this era of frequently mind-numbing ideological conformity, rife with group-think lick-spittles, ideological litmus tests, and assorted apparatchik-type dullards posings as 'experts'.”

--Gregory Djerejian, explaining why Ambassador Freeman “probably never could have--at least in this far more tedious era of technocrats climbing up the greasy pole to positions in the NSC and such--gotten a really top slot above things like Ambassador to Riyadh”; image from


Below images from IDF [Israel Defense Force] MONDAY; via; see also
Obama’s choice to visit Turkey ‘timely’ and ‘smart,’ say analysts - Ali H. Aslan, Today's Zaman: “For Ambassador Edward Djerejian, the founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, Obama's choice to visit Turkey on one of his very first trips overseas as president is ‘a very important decision underscoring the importance of the US-Turkey relationship.’ The visit, which has a great deal of symbolism, is also a signal of the importance that Obama attaches to relations with the Muslim world, Djerejian notes. ‘Turkey is a Muslim country that has a secular model of governance and can be a very effective bridge between the East and the West. This is an important step. Whatever he says in Turkey -- beyond the bilateral relationship, but to the Muslim world -- will be noted. This trip will be a major public diplomacy success,’ he asserts. President Obama will visit Turkey in the coming weeks, probably on April 6-7.”

A tale of two expectations: Optimists and pessimists alike on the future of the Middle East alongside Obama have little to go on yet - Amr Hamzawy, Al Ahram: “[T]he change in US policy with the election of President Obama and the favourable response this has met among all regional parties, regardless of their degree of friendship with or hostility towards the American superpower … has generated a form of collective drive to defuse the volatile situations in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and the Gulf.

The public diplomacy and the declared agenda of the new Democratic administration have created the impression that Washington is serious about prioritising the Middle East in its foreign policy and that it is determined to push for negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel and to withdraw as quickly and as safely as possible from Iraq. … Perhaps by the end of the year the terrain will become clearer and the various parties will have a clearer sight of their strategic options and their courses of action, at which point we can be more accurate in our judgement on the nature of the current phase.”

VOL. V NO. 6, February 27-March 12, 2009 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media: Contains, inter alia, article, “The Elusive Under Secretary: Former Ambassador William Rugh is suggested as the ideal candidate for the still-vacant Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.”

Links of the Day – Starbuck, Wings Over Iraq : “Matt Armstrong, ‘MountainRunner’, has informed us that Facebook has just now launched in Arabic and Hebrew. Which is cute for the whole Arab-Israeli conflict, because now they can poke each other and invite one another to play that stupid Vampire game until their hearts are content. It also opens up vast public diplomacy opportunities in an attempt to communicate and socially network with the Israelis and the Arab World. Bonus: I don't have to wait till Monday to get my IDF girl fix.”

Khouri discusses conflicts in the Middle East - Adam Thomas, University of Delaware: “[As] part of the 2009 Global Agenda series, 'Tinderbox: Understanding the Middle East' … [on] Wednesday, March 25 Shell Smith, U.S. Foreign Service officer who has served in public diplomacy positions in the Middle East. Smith will speak about, 'Dousing the Flames: Public Diplomacy in Action.'”

US public diplomacy, an exercise in futility - Joseph Chinyanga, Zimbabwe Guardian: “We all agree that the United States embassy in Harare has done a sterling job of convincing many unsuspecting Zimbabweans, of its 'benevolence'. … But most seem equally convinced that it has muddled itself up while interfering in the Zimbabwean crisis.U.S. public diplomacy is the object of a neverending, ultimately futile quest. And this is more conspicuous when one considers U.S. involvement in Zimbabwe.” See also.

Cuban commentary on the internet as Martí replacement (updated)- Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

The Reawakening of ReconstructionHarvard International Review: “The argument that the United States military should develop nations has considerable ‘public diplomacy’ appeal: it is a vision speech writers find hard to resist. It backfires, however, when the United States and its allies cannot deliver on the promises implied in nation-building speeches.”

Can we truly have light infantry? - Starbucks, Wings Over Iraq: “We talked earlier about a new series of tactics for Afghanistan which meant that armoured vehicles were actually detrimental to counter-insurgency, and we've also discussed the fact that mech[a]nization hurts counter-insurgency efforts. … Indeed, keep in mind that counter-insurgency principle regarding force protection, which states that "the more you protect your forces, the less secure you will actually be". (This also has [parallels] with public diplomacy).”

Event Details: Democracy In U.S. Security Strategy: From Promotion To SupportCSIS, Center for Strategic & International Studies:

“CSIS invites you to a discussion on democracy in U.S. security strategy with: § Larry Diamond, Stanford University § Francis Fukuyama, Johns Hopkins SAIS § Alexander T. J. Lennon, CSIS, project director Since its inception and throughout U.S. history, democracy has played a central role in U.S. engagement with the world. Yet, recent setbacks warrant reevaluating the place of democracy promotion in U.S. strategy. What role, if any, should democracy have in U.S. security strategy and public diplomacy today?”

Off the wall thinking - Dibyesh Anand, Indian Express: “Tibet has become a battleground over which the Chinese government is waging a war of public diplomacy against the Dalai Lama-led exiled Tibetans. China’s sensitivities spring from a mix of various factors — strategic, military, political, historical, and nationalist.”

Canada’s World Report is OutThe Patriotic Vanguard: According to the report, “Internationally, Canadians support investing in public diplomacy and call for Canadian businesses to build upon Canada’s well-respected commercial practices by becoming leaders in corporate social responsibility and engaging in fair-trade.”

程阳的博客 - 程阳的天空: “Peter Winter is deputy editor of US-China Today. He is a graduate student in Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.”

The throes of a long week - Paul Rockower, Levantine: “Tuesday was long, with grand work, cultural diplo on film (Donald Duck Diplomacy) and a presentation on Bollywood from Ms. Tabby. We reconvened for a phenomenal lecture from Shashi Tharoor. … He … laid out India's multitude of paradoxes, something I saw well in my travels. Its riches, and poverty; its hard and soft power; its Bollywood soft power- and the fact that in Syria, the only posters that ever rivaled Hafez al-Asad's where that of Bollywood stars … . Meanwhile I recently bought a jar of peanut butter.”

The Grass and the Roots Blog: “Contributors … Anoush Rima Tatevossian Rima is currently studying for her MA in Public Diplomacy at the USC School of Communications. … Evagelia Emily Tavoulareas currently works in the Strategic Communications group at ICF International. She specializes in Public Diplomacy, Public-Private Partnerships, Social Networking and New Media.”

Conservative Think Tank Adjusts to Tough Times: AEI Keeps the Open Bar, But Trims Other Costs – David Weigel, Washington Independent: “The most obvious cutback has been the fate of The American, the magazine launched in 2006 by James Glassman — the conservative editor who later served as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy — to replace The American Enterprise.”

More Preparation Before the Trip – Jon Russell, Restoring Trust in Government: “Today was prep[a]ration for our trip to the Philippines. 9:30pm We met with Mr. Kevin Burgwinkle Philippines Desk Officer, Bureau of East Asia Pacific Affairs at the US Department of State building. We discussed US-Filipino relations; public diplomacy.”

Above Image from


Below Nazi posters from

UNESCO test for multilateralism: Past stabs at sanctions on speech nettled U.S. - Louise V. Oliver, Washington Times: For the last five years, the United States has worked constructively with UNESCO's member states in many areas. President Obama has stated his intention to promote multilateralism and the use of "soft power" as the hallmarks of his foreign policy. What the administration does with regard to UNESCO - and when - will send a clear signal about the seriousness of his commitment to use international organizations to advance U.S. national interests and the global good. Louise V. Oliver served as U.S. ambassador to UNESCO from 2004 to 2009.

The Gitmo Five’s Burn Notice: Criminals usually kill people to get cash. Terrorists get money so they can kill people - Jonah Goldberg, National Review: President Obama has concluded that the criminal justice system can handle terrorists just fine.

The Growing Desperation And Absurdity Of Pentagon Propaganda and Media Misinformation - Bill Lindner, American Chronicle: The latest propaganda campaign being spun by journalistic lap dogs of the Bush administration and its military industrial complex tells us that five alleged members of al Qaeda -- which has been conveniently used by the CIA for years to further their illicit actions while trying to justify their existence and keep their crimes covered up, despite the fact that they have done more harm than good for the United States -- confessed to being involved in the attacks of 9/11.

US Propaganda and LBC TV
- As'ad,The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: "January 9, 2004 - After deciding not to renew SAIC's contract to run the Iraqi Media Network, the Defense Department replaces it with the Harris Corp., a military contractor based in Melbourne, Florida.

The company announces, "the Defense Contracting Command-Washington (DCC-W), on behalf of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) currently governing Iraq," has given it a renewable $96 million to develop Iraq's "antiquated" media network. The total value of the contract could be nearly $165 million. Its "local teammates" will be the Christian-owned Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. and telecommunications company al-Fawares of Kuwait. (Harris Corp. Web site, 4/27/2007)" (thanks David)

Personnel "attaboys" amid Obama's "heckuva job" start - Peter Feaver, Foreign Policy: Over at State, there are at least three good picks worth applauding (beyond the Kurt Campbell one I previously clapped for). Anne-Marie Slaughter is a deep thinker on international relations and so a solid pick to be Director of Policy Planning. If she can navigate the daunting State bureaucracy to get the ear of Secretary Clinton, she will be an important voice in the foreign policy debate. I have also been impressed with her deputy, Derek Chollet, who is a tough-minded strategist. And the recently rumored decision to make Dan Fried the special envoy for persuading Europeans to help us deal with Guantanamo detainees is inspired. That may be a hopeless task, but if anyone can deliver it will be Ambassador Fried.

How to Surge the Taliban - Max Boot, Frederick Kagan and Kimberly Kagan, New York Times: If we abandon Pakistan’s tribal areas , we will become blind to one of the most dangerous threats to our security, and also hand our most determined enemies an enormous propaganda victory — their biggest since 9/11. There is hard, costly fighting ahead in Afghanistan. But the fight is worth pursuing, and the odds of success are much better than they were in Iraq when we launched the forlorn hope known as the surge.

How to Leave Afghanistan - Leslie H. Gelb, New York Times: The strategy of containing and deterring is far better suited to American power than the current approach of counterinsurgency and nation-building. President Obama and Congress owe it to both Afghans and Americans to explore a strategy of power extrication before they make another major decision to expand the war.

Closer to the Cliff - Editorial, New York Times: Mr. Obama must ensure that any new aid to Pakistan strengthens democratic institutions, not just whoever is president. Already, some Washington analysts are suggesting there might be worse things than a return to military rule in Pakistan. We’ve seen this movie before, and it is not a strategy for long-term stability.

Viewpoint: Marching for democracy in Pakistan - Sahar Shafqat, Baltimore Sun: Today, thousands of Pakistanis are again marching to Islamabad to demand the full restoration of the judiciary. On their side are truth, justice - and, I hope, the American people.

What We Don't Know About Iraq - Philip Bennett, Washington Post: With U.S. forces set to withdraw from Iraq over the next 18 months, does it matter that we know so little about how Iraqis have understood and lived through the war? The invisible connection between the overlapping experiences of Americans and Iraqis -- and the blame, estrangement and hatred that has choked the air between them -- impairs our ability to see what happens next.

Europeanizing Europe: Europeans wanted Barack Obama. They may have got more than they bargained for - Victor Davis Hanson, National Review: While they accept that a Barack Obama would never make it to a major European ministry, they cannot accept that he knows that all too well himself — and should have little problem from time to time reminding the world of it as well.

Barack Obama, Meet Team B - Scott Ritter, Truthdig: President Obama received a lesson in international gamesmanship last week, when his secret offer to trade the deployment of a controversial missile defense system in Eastern Europe for Russian assistance in getting Iran to back down from its nuclear program was publicly rebuffed. The lesson? You don’t get something for nothing, especially when the something you’re looking for is, itself, nothing.

A Changing Community Now Wants Softer U.S. Policy on Cuba - Reese Erlich, Truthdig: Many Cuban-Americans maintain their strong opposition to the Castro brothers’ rule in Cuba and condemn their human rights violations, but they argue it’s time to admit that the embargo has been counterproductive.

A big opportunity for Obama and Lula: Together, they can make democratic politics and market economies work for everyone in Latin America - Jeffrey W. Rubin and Emma Sokoloff-Rubin, Christian Science Monitor: This Saturday, the two leaders – Brazil's first working-class president and the first black president of the US shake hands and take a picture, or they can roll up their sleeves and get down to work.

The President's Diplomatic Gifts - Rob Long, Wall Street Journal:

So how should Prime Minister Brown have responded to President Obama's box of classics? I suggest that Mr. Brown give Mr. Obama a copy of "Notting Hill": a bittersweet comedy about the up-and-down romance between a plodding, nervous Englishman and an egomaniacal, out-of-touch American with grandiose self-regard.


1 comment:

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