Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19

"A thought that is spoken is a falsehood;
By stirring up the springs you will cloud them;
Drink of them, and be silent."

"Mysl' izrechennaya est' lozh'.
Vzryvaya, vozmutish' klyuchi,-
Pitaisya imi - i molchi."

--Fedor Tyutchev (1803—73); translation from The Penguin Book of Russian Verse; image from


Economic Crisis Hits an Already Damaged U.S. Image in the Middle East - Brian Katulis, TPMCafe: “[G]iven the strong and leading role that America's financial and banking sectors had in leading the world down this path and the global perceptions about what has happened in the economy, how we clean up the financial and banking mess will matter much more in re-shaping America's public image than who becomes the next Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy. What the Obama administration does on foreign policy and public diplomacy matters a great deal in improving our power and influence in places like the Middle East, but it is only part of the story - what our corporations and the private sector does speaks volumes in shaping America's image." Image from

Thinking Through a US Strategy Toward Gaza: A Congressional View - Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Palestine Think Tank: “A standing room only crowd of over 130 persons heard actual Congressmen (not just outsiders given a platform by Congressmen) objectively discuss the devastation recently visited upon Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces. … Daniel Levy, Director of the Middle East Task Force of the New America Foundation ... remarked that the Congressmen had done a service for America’s public diplomacy by restoring hope.”

Obstacles in the Communication Infrastructure - Craig Hayden, Intermap: “The U.S. can attempt to craft messages that are sensitive to ‘global’ audiences, but realistically, the best the U.S. can hope for is that at the U.S. perspectives are at least considered amongst the plurality of voices and frames that populate the ‘communication infrastructure.’” Image from

Sexy Images from the Voice of America and the State Department’s Public Diplomacy Mishaps – Ted Lipien, & Free Media Online Blog: “My commentary on the poor state of U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting, Sexy Images from the Voice of America, has produced management backlash against the Voice of America Russian Service journalists. It was unfortunate but not unexpected that the Agency’s management, rated by its employees as one of the worst in the Federal government and incapable of appreciating the irony of the commentary, would try to absolve itself of any responsibility and instead blame the journalists who are trying to do their job despite being barred from the airwaves and denied basic resources. The commentary was written to show that in a flagrant disregard for U.S. foreign policy and human rights interests, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) nearly killed the Russian Service and other VOA broadcasting units.”

Press Conference at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq - Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq:

PHOTO CAPTION: “Brett Bruen, Public Diplomacy team lead for Salah ad-Din's Provincial Reconstruction Team, addresses medical advances during a press conference on March 17, at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq. The press conference is held to talk about the future of Iraq's health plan by focusing on what will happen with Salah ad-Din's medical facilities once U.S. coalition forces leave Iraq."

Returning to Old School U.S. Public Diplomacy – Jameson, Perspectives on Public Diplomacy: “In what some herald as a return to the spirit of the good old days of U.S. public diplomacy, the State Department is pursuing expanded means of establishing exchanges. There is a portal for interaction that allows over 8,000 members from 170 countries to post and view content. In one of the latest projects, members could contribute, view, and vote on videos for the My Culture + Your Culture = ? Contest. I will withhold comment on the membership of the 'expert panel' that selected the finalists and allow you to draw your own conclusions there. Interesting little factoid shows that, as of November 2008, there were 66 Chiefs of State/Heads of Government around the world that are alumni of Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) programs.” Image from

Youth Exchange Program Brings Global Scholars to Mason County - Mason County News: “Mason County has been chosen to represent the United States in the upcoming school year as high school students on prestigious scholarships from around the world arrive for their academic exchange program. These scholars will arrive in Mason County to participate in an academic year or semester aimed at promoting peace, understanding and public diplomacy among high school youth.”

Your Daily Read - Dave Kasten, Argument By Spaghetti: “Why ‘carrots and sticks’ is a metaphor that harms public diplomacy [comment on the article by Kevin Drum in Mother Jones stating that “the popularity of the 'carrot and stick'metaphor that gets used so often when politicians and pundits talk about how we should deal with foreign powers. Most national leaders are comfortable with the idea of negotiating with us based on competing interests, but I don't think there's a leader in the entire world who doesn't bristle at the idea of being bribed like a schoolboy into cooperation with the United States"]. Image from

New Israeli method 'de-claws' plutonium for peaceful use - Doc’s Talk: “America, [Meir] Javedanfar [Iranian affairs expert and co-author of the Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran] argues, should try diplomacy for now, increase intelligence cooperation and adopt a comprehensive, ambitious public diplomacy campaign against Iran's nuclear program that does not rely on military threats. He added that the US could utilize an approach that strongly highlights the benefits of cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency and ending Iran's isolation.”

After Gaza, Israel Grapples With Crisis of Isolation: Ethan Bronner, New York Times: “Global opinion surveys are being closely examined and the Foreign Ministry has been granted an extra $2 million to improve Israel’s image through cultural and information diplomacy. ‘We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits,' said Arye Mekel, the ministry’s deputy director general for cultural affairs. 'This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.' … Mr. [Eytan] Gilboa, the political scientist, said branding was not enough. 'We need to do much more to educate the world about our situation,' he said. Regarding the extra $2 million budgeted for this, he said: 'We need 50 million. We need 100 million.'”

Muslim Strategies to Convert Western Christians - Uriya Shavit and Frederic Wiesenbach, Middle East Quarterly Spring 2009: “The strategies that the global Islamic media uses to promote conversion of Christians to Islam illustrate both the perceptions of Islamists and can expose themes to defend and promote in cultural and public diplomacy.” Image from

Estonia: Joint Declaration of Estonia and Italian Foreign Ministries Signed - Monitor Pack Isria: “In accordance with the declaration signed today, regular consultations will take place every year between the foreign ministries of Estonia and Italy. The most important themes that the consultations will be addressing are bilateral relations; current issues in the European Union, NATO, the UN and other international organisations; European Neighbourhood Policy; European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy; crisis regulation and management issues; energy security; facilitating trade and investments; consular issues; and public diplomacy.”

Public Diplomacy in a Changing World - The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Series: “Product Description [:] Although the concept of public diplomacy has been part of America’s wartime strategy as far back as the Revolutionary War, the term itself is relatively new. In the wake of the events of September 11 and the ensuing War on Terror, there has been an increasing awareness of the negative global image of the United States and intense concern over how communication may be used to improve that image. Within that context, the concept and term public diplomacy have become more notable among practitioners and the American public. Yet public diplomacy has mostly been neglected by scholars and only recently begun to attract academic attention. This volume of The ANNALS commences the first collection of scholarly articles focusing on public diplomacy.”

Is there such a thing as a course in nation branding and public diplomacy? – admin, Branding: ”If so, which universities offer it? What job opportunities are available?”

Competitive Identity – bopoly, paprikash: "If we are a brand, we need brand managers. No? Someone who helps manager is Simon Anholt, the brain behind one of those gloriously specilized journals that deals with a subject for which most people feel to have enough knowledge about to justify strong opinions. Not your Journal of Hematology; more like Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. It’s always interesting to see how novices react to this kind of topic taken this seriously."

Job Opportunity: Information Media Assistant - Aliyah Job Center [Israel]:

"Information Media Assistant Job Description Incumbent supports activities of the Press Office and the Information Officer and senior Information Media Specialist by cultivating an extensive network of contacts in the Israeli media and key Government offices dealing with the media and developing public diplomacy strategies to effectively communicate policies through the media." Image: "Job Opportunity If you love the sun…"

Richard Stone (politician) - “In February 1983, Stone served in the Department of State as Special Representative of the President for Public Diplomacy in Central America.”

Where Do I Sign Up? - Tfgray’s Weblog: “Pol[i]tico just outed the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy known as Journolist. OMG!OMG! Liberals talk to each other!!!! How evil!!!

Where do I sign up? Apparently the fact that some reporters and bloggers get story ideas from other reporters and bloggers, as opposed to, say, reading about them in the newspaper or seeing them on TV, or hearing them on the radio, or–god forbid–in person is evidence of Nefarious Doings. Apparently, this is also proof that the Bush White House memo-fueled Right Wing Echo chamber never existed. (I’ts apparently falling apart without those daily faxes. Within the last week or so Bill O’Reilly announced victory in the War on Terror while Sean Hannity announced surrender in the same alleged war.) Or that Sun Moon never funded the Washington Post, or that Reagan’s White House Office of Public Diplomacy never threatened journalists and editors who strayed beyond the Spin Zone.” Image from


Rare US-Cuban collaboration saves Hemingway’s papers - Marjorie Kehe, Christian Science Monitor. Image from

In Torture Cases, Obama Toes Bush Line: Legal Stance Appears to Contradict Earlier Statements From Obama and Holder - Daphne Eviatar, Washington Independent

A Prison of Words - Noah Feldman, New York Times: While President Obama has stricken the term “enemy combatant” from the war-on-terrorism lexicon, his policies may not be all that different from those of the Bush administration.

Increasing Insurgent Propaganda the Best Evidence of Afghan National Security Forces, International Security Assistance Force Success in Logar - International Security Assistance Force HQ Public Affairs, Systems

Talking with the 'moderate' Taliban – Editorial, Washington Times: The expression "moderate Taliban" is a comical oxymoron.

Mr. Obama agrees with at least half the Taliban agenda, the eventual departure of Coalition troops. The critical question is whether the U.S. would accept renewed Taliban rule, with all that implies: radical shariah law, oppression of women, destruction of the Afghan culture, and ruthless suppression of political opponents. Image from

Road Map for Afghanistan - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Obama inherits a messy war in Afghanistan. Australian counterinsurgency guru Kilcullen's advice consists of three "don'ts." Don't do it again; don't make it worse by overescalation; don't think you can pull out now without damaging U.S. interests. For Obama, that means a measured commitment, somewhere between a major escalation and a minimal force.

Our Must-Win War: The 'Minimalist' Path Is Wrong for Afghanistan - John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, Washington Post: The war in Afghanistan can be won. Success -- a stable, secure, self-governing Afghanistan that is not a terrorist sanctuary -- can be achieved. Just as in Iraq, there is no shortcut to success, no clever "middle way" that allows us to achieve more by doing less.

Saving Pakistan: The U.S. will need to foster political stability if it wants success against al-Qaeda and the Taliban – Editorial, Washington Post

I am not Jewish but... - Rupert Murdoch, Jerusalem Post:

Hamas knows that in some ways, dead Palestinians serve its purposes even better than dead Israelis. If you are committed to Israel's destruction, and if you believe that dead Palestinians help you score a propaganda victory, you do things like launch rockets from a Palestinian schoolyard. Whether Israel is ever found guilty of any war crime hardly matters. Hamas gets a propaganda win simply by having the charge made often and loudly enough. Image from

BBC rejects anti-Semitic Gaza propaganda playIsrael News: At least, BBC draws the line somewhere. The revolting play "Seven Jewish Children" is essentially a resuscitation of the ancient blood libel. Considering that Palestinian mothers are constantly praising the suicide missions of their sons, the play portrays an inverted version of reality.

The New Face of Israel - Roane Carey, Nation: Netanyahu now openly opposes a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the only game in town in the eyes of the international diplomatic community. This augurs frosty relations with the Obama administration.

Obama Rebuffs Israeli Hawk - Robert Dreyfuss, Nation: There are very worrying signs about Israel and Iran, amid new threats from Israeli officials that they won't long tolerate Iran's nuclear program before they strike militarily. But, at the same time, there are reports that President Obama's national security team isn't buying the Israeli line that time is running out.

Syria's very special court - Editorial, Boston Globe: Obama must approach the Assad regime without illusions.

Lebanon's hopes for democracy: More and more, pro-democracy forces look to the West for backing - Max Boot, Los Angeles Times:

If President Obama proves willing to compromise on Lebanese independence to reach a deal with Syria or Iran, he'll not only be undermining one of President Bush's signal achievements, he'll be consigning the people of Lebanon to a hellish existence.

Viewpoint: In Zimbabwe, hope amid the ruins - Ken Hackett, Baltimore Sun: All of us -- aid groups, the United Nations, other international organizations, the governments of the United States and the countries of Europe, Africa and now Asia -- must push hard to effect meaningful change in Zimbabwe.

Get War is Sell Online Right Now! - skyler5100587: “War is Sell” dissects the strategies of war propagandists -- soldiers armed not with guns, but with words, pictures and commercial advertising techniqus in their battle to win hearts and minds.

How do you sell a war? How do the techniqus of government propagandists, public relations consultants and commercial advertisers work, and why are they so effective? How did the United States become a master of domestic war propaganda over the course of the twentieth century? If, as many claim, human beings are biologically “hard-wired” to wage war, why should propaganda be necessary at all? Is it possible to train people to critically evaluate, and ultimately resist, deceptive propaganda messages? “War is Sell” uses archival films, television news coverage, propaganda images from WWI and the Iraq War and interviews with a diverse set of researchers to answer these and other qustions in a lively, absorbing manner. Official selection: Big Muddy Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, & Martha’s Vineyard Independent Film Festival.”



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