Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 17 -- Abridged Edition

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Obama, U.S. Public Diplomacy and the Islamic World - R.S. Zaharna, World Politics Review: ”When Barack Obama became the new U.S. president, one of the primary concerns for many observers was restoring America's image in the eyes of the world. During the eight years of the Bush administration, the favorability ratings of the United States had declined dramatically. Nowhere was the U.S. image more negatively viewed than among publics in Muslim-majority countries. Anti-Americanism had intensified in the Arab world, and spread from Nigeria in West Africa to Indonesia in the Far East. Despite the administration's vigorous efforts to win Muslim hearts and minds through innovative public diplomacy, when former president Bush left office, U.S. favorability ratings were at all-time lows. Although the Obama administration is only just out of the political starting gate, observers are already noting a distinct change in the prominence and tone of U.S. public diplomacy, specifically with respect to the Muslim world. Some suggest President Obama by his very person and style represents a game changer for U.S. public diplomacy in the Islamic world.” (full text by subscription only)

Interview: Iran Is Unlikely to Give Up Its Nuclear Enrichment ProgramCouncil on Foreign Relations: Interviewee: Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus, CFR; Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor, CFR.org: QUESTION: "Do you think this administration has too much public diplomacy right now? [ANSWER]: Much too much. They think they have to convince the world that they aren't George W. Bush, but everyone knows that. They don't have to convince the world. Barack Obama is significantly different from George Bush, and people understand that. They don't have to prove it every day. Sometimes they do quirky things too, in making major public announcements almost every day."

PSYOP and the Reverse Surge in Iraq - Lawrence Dietz, PSYOP Regimental Blog: “President Obama appears to be carrying through on his promise of ‘ending the war’. He recently announced that the combat mission in Iraq will be over by 2010. … There is no specific mention of support of an Iraqi journalistic infrastructure, nor are there comments on the future of military information engagement as this transformation unfolds over the next few years. Clearly there is no indication of how State Department Public Diplomacy would ramp up as military capabilities ramp down. I believe this is likely to be a critical fault of the overall exit strategy and perhaps a negative indication of President Obama’s ability to synergize all of his tools of statecraft simultaneously.“

Washington Times journalists train Diyala journalists - Multi-National Division – North: “Mr. Richard Tomkins recently gave a media class to local journalists at the Diyala Governance Center in downtown Baqubah, the capital city of Diyala province, March 11. A veteran journalist currently writing for the Washington Times, United Press International, and the Middle East Times, Tomkins … while embedded with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, in Diyala, Iraq, … indicated that he would be interested in giving some media training to many of the province’s journalists. A first for both the province and the journalists that live in the area, the training was coordinated through the assistance of the Diyala Provincial Reconstruction Team’s Public Diplomacy Officer, Jon Cebra and the 1st SBCT’s Public Affairs Officer, Maj. Chris Hyde.”

The Legal War behind the Impeccable Incident - James Kraska - World Politics Review: “With a weak but growing blue-water capability, China is carefully and deliberately promoting a vision that de-legitimizes the forward presence of the U.S. Navy in the region. Last week's bold and dangerous maneuvers by Chinese government vessels to disrupt a military survey mission 120 km from its coastline is the latest example of that effort. The manufactured 'incident' comes packed in an unorthodox but effective misinterpretation of the international law of the sea. Combined, they feed a narrative trumpeted by the country's efficient public diplomacy campaign, one that leverages a number of powerful story lines, including fanning Chinese nationalism and a sense of historical injustice inflicted by the West.”

It’s About the Journalism - Steve Coll, Think Tank, New Yorker: “Every major metropolitan newspaper, confronted with the digital revolution … has essentially adopted the same strategy - about eighty percent defense, twenty percent offense, with a bottom-line protecting emphasis on cutting costs to align with declining revenue. This strategy is often accompanied by (too often) self-deceiving hypotheses and public diplomacy organized around the notion that a smaller newsroom will be a smarter and more customer-focused one.”

The Order of Skull and Bones - faith4mankind, 911truth-sherbrooke.org: "During the Iran-Contra operations, the H. Smith Richardson Foundation was a 'private donors steering committee,' working with the National Security Council to co-ordinate the Office of Public Diplomacy. This was an effort to propagandize in favor of and run cover for the Iran-Contra operations, and to coordinate published attacks on opponents of the program."

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