Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 8

"I have never understood multiparty democracy. It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution,

and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy."

--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, answering questions in front of 500 young Europeans at the European Parliament; "the remark provoked much headshaking in the parliament of a bloc that likes to trace back its democratic tradition thousands of years to the days of classical Greece" (Reuters); image from

"I'd be happy to take the appointment as assistant undersecretary for gag gifts. I promise no awkward mistakes."

--Matty Boy, a reader of Princess Sparkle Pony's Photoblog, from which this photo -- of the gift Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov -- is taken


Clinton rolls out foreign policy approach in trip - Euroenews 24: “PUBLIC DIPLOMACY [:] As she did during her first trip as top U.S. diplomat to Asia last month, Clinton's schedule was packed with back-to-back meetings with presidents and ministers but she also sought out nontraditional diplomacy. Clinton said the motivation for her work as top U.S. diplomat, was to help children reach their God-given potential and she made room in her schedule for youth events." Image from

Diplomatic Memo: In Mideast, Clinton Turns Up the Caution - Mark Landler, New York Times: “From Egypt to Israel and the West Bank, Mrs. Clinton dropped the penchant for plain-spoken analysis she had shown in Asia for a more formal style based on time-tested diplomatic formulations. … Asia was not without its land mines — North Korea’s ailing dictator, for one — but Mrs. Clinton sidestepped one of the biggest by playing down human rights concerns in her talks with China. And the general emphasis of that trip was much more geared toward climate change and public diplomacy.”

‘Love, forgiveness, friendship and family’ enabled Hillary Clinton to get over hubby’s adultery - “Reflecting on her life in the public spotlight, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said it was ‘love, forgiveness, friendship and family’ that enabled her to get past her husband’s adultery. During an interview on a popular women’s program on the Turkish channel, NTV, the former First Lady divulged when she fell in love and shared how she dealt with personal struggles. … The appearance on the show is part of Clinton’s plan to reach out to ordinary people through public diplomacy efforts.” (ANI) see also (1)(2). Image from.

Hillary Clinton, Public Diplomacy, and the Middle East - Jennifer Bryson, Public Discourse [January 20, 2009]: “America’s public diplomacy should be focused on fostering ideas in our interest that matter in key foreign audiences, not just on pro-America image marketing. … If Secretary of State … Clinton is only going to reproduce more business-as-usual in public diplomacy, and just promote the image of the U.S.A., there may be need for Congress to step in. It may even be time to remove public diplomacy from the State Department. After all, the core mission of the State Department is government-to-government relations, not concern with populations at large."

Smart Power in US Diplomacy (Part 2 of 2) - Kaitlin MacKenzie - PowerfulPeace.NET: “All negativities aside ... the new administration’s return to diplomacy is a refreshing change from the past 8 years’ reliance on hard power.

In line with the idea of smart power, Obama’s actions indicate his view that public diplomacy is about engaging foreign powers earnestly and directly, and taking time to listen and explain, rather than turning swiftly to the use of force. It appears that he prefers a more measured approach and understands that ‘people are going to judge me not by my words, but by my actions and my administration’s actions.’ One hopes the US will promote itself through prudent public diplomacy and the persuasive influence of its ideals, instead of acting irrationally, and becoming further mired in conflict.” Image from

Starry-eyed expectations for public diplomacy - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: “World public opinion will be affected by US policies and actions, not by any public diplomacy sophistries. The realistic job of public diplomacy is to combat misinformation and disinformation, in order to keep opinions about the United States from getting worse.”

Public Diplomacy, the Magazine - Peter Spiro, Opinio Juris: “Here. And who knew that there was an Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars, and that one can get a master’s degree in the field? Public diplomacy’s rise among both policymakers and academics has been pretty dramatic. In the government, what used to be a backwater, both in main State’s public affairs bureau and in the now defunct US Information Agency, was elevated in 1999 to an under secretary-ship that has attracted some relative heavyweights, including Bush confidantes Margaret Tutwiler and Karen Hughes and most recently the Washington-savvy — though perhaps not market-savvy, he of Dow 36,000 fame — Jim Glassman. … . But in another respect the development is puzzling. In the vastly expanded universe of media channels, the government’s voice seems so much less central and authoritative. It’s not as if you have to listen to the VOA to get your news any more. The very concept of ‘propaganda’ seems anachronistic. The new context demotes the government’s communications activities to something like corporate equivalents, a matter more of branding than diplomacy. Perhaps that requires more nuance and sensitivity than in the old world, but would also suggest that a marketing background might be just as useful as one in public affairs.”

The useful irrelevance of Smith-Mundt - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: “[L]awyers for the public diplomacy and international broadcasting agencies will occasionally remind employees about what materials can be distributed within the United States. For example, VOA does not send program schedules to shortwave listeners in the United States.”

Reality TV in Nation Branding - Reaching the Public:“Tourism is a part of nation-branding and public diplomacy … . In order to present our ‘society’, our ‘country’; we need -what I tend to call- Reality TV.”

An American Brand the World Already Believes In - Aaron Sherinian and Tom Miller, Huffington Post: "American generosity is the right product, and branding U.S. foreign assistance is a significant right step toward rebranding America's global image."

Four Theories Why Obama Is Throwing Britain Under The BusMere Rhetoric: “’[S]mart power,' where eager 30 something liberals who think that US history began when they started hating Bush in 2001 get to set mid-level diplomacy. This is where things like public diplomacy and Arab media outreach - which consistently seem to end in anti-Israel demonization - get filed.”

Turkey and US launch Young Turkey/Young America initiativeLondravizyon: "Turkey and the United States have launched a new initiative called 'Young Turkey/Young America: A New Relationship for a New Age'. The initiative has been launched during US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Turkey March 7 and announced in a joint press conference by Secretary Clinton and Turkish foreign minister Babacan in Turkish capital city of Ankara. It aims to diversify broad based bilateral relations between the Turkish and American people. The initiative, which is first in kind between the two countries, is likely to have been established to improve the image of the United States in Turkish public opinion, which has suffered a blow since the Iraqi war, while opening up new cooperation areas as a public diplomacy effort."

Michelle Kwan Blogging from the Ukraine - K. Kayin, Poetry In The Mind's Well: "Michelle Kwan is keeping a blog on her visit to Ukraine in her continuing role as an U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy. Some wonderful pictures of her on the site as well."

When Uncle Sam called the shots: 'Selling Democracy' turns a lens on the propaganda films of the Marshall Plan - and how they speak to today's reconstruction and recovery efforts - Mark Feeney, Boston Globe: "’All art is to some extent propaganda,’ George Orwell famously wrote. But what about the reverse - to what extent can propaganda be art? As regards film, that question usually gets posed in terms of totalitarian societies: Sergei Eisenstein's agitprop classic of Soviet cinema, ‘Battleship Potemkin,’ say, or Leni Riefenstahl's documentary ‘Triumph of the Will,’ about the 1934 Nazi Party rally at Nuremburg. What about when the propaganda is made by a democracy? More specifically, what about when the democracy is the United States? Well, it tends then to get called ‘public diplomacy’ rather than ‘propaganda.’ But the basic question remains, and it's implicitly raised by the series ‘Selling Democracy: Films of the Marshall Plan, 1948-1953.’" Image from

Solicitation for Media Team in Iraq Hints at Contracting-Overhaul Snags - Walter Pincus, Washington Post: "The Army wants a private firm to provide a seven-member media team to support the public affairs officer of the 25th Infantry Division, now serving as Multi-National Division-North in Iraq -- at least three media specialists, two Arab speakers, a Web manager in Iraq and a media specialist stateside. So last week it extended until next Sunday the deadline for bids on a contract to provide those services, continuing a practice that has vastly expanded during the past five years as the military has hired outside firms for jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan. … One result being sought: 'Expand public information reach beyond traditional recipients of media products in order to garner maximum exposure to publics in the U.S. on a 24 hour basis,' the work statement says. Except for informing division personnel and home station audiences, those tasks are normally handled by the State Department's public diplomacy officials and before that by the U.S. Information Agency, not the military."

Regarding Proxy Servers and Blocked Websites – Starbuck, Wings Over Iraq: A Web chronicle of aviation, Iraq, politics, astute social commentary and, of course, funny pictures that I stole from other websites:

“David Axe at War is Boring has notified us all that the US military has just now blocked his blog from their servers. Add this to a long list of milblogs that are on the US military's ban list, to include great ones like Andrew Exum's Abu Muquawama, (an actual .gov address from the US State Department), Global Guerillas, The Captain's Journal, and others (by some accounts, this includes Small Wars Journal, and other professional websites). …There should be no reason in the information age that we can't use social networking to change this dynamic. It's Public Diplomacy within the military.” Image from

European transparency center! - Samaneh Nazerian, Teheran Times: “On Wednesday morning, December 3, we had … several meetings with European Union officials and talks on subjects such as the Middle East, the EU’s public diplomacy, and its serious efforts to strengthen cultural-academic ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Question - Steven D, Booman Tribune:

“Why should anyone still consider the Washington Post a credible news source when they continue to give platforms to completely idiotic (and painfully wrongheaded) individuals such as this person? [former Under Secretary of State of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James K. Glassman]. … I can only hope Mr. Glassman sinks back into the obscurity he has earned and so richly deserves.” Image from


Obama's Afghan challenge – Editorial, Boston Globe: To fix the mess in Afghanistan, Obama will need to develop a sound counterinsurgency strategy.

Fear and loathing in Pakistan: Gains by Islamic extremists and anti-American sentiment among its people make it a tough test for Obama - Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

Middle East reality check - Roger Cohen, International Herald Tribune: The United States should follow the British example. It should initiate diplomatic contacts with Hezbollah.

On the Indictment of Omar el-Bashir: A war criminal at large – Editorial, San Francisco Chronicle: The war crimes charges against Sudanese president Omar el-Bashir by the International Criminal Court are morally satisfying but practically lacking. The Obama team should take aim at el-Bashir's gang. Line up allies that never trusted Bush policymakers. It's time to push hard on an issue that the world wants solved.

The Story So Far: Hillary Not as Photo-Oppy as Condi, but I Totally Hate This Coat - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog I STILL keep track of Condoleezza's hairdo so you don't have to: PHOTO: Belgium Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht welcomes US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before a 'transatlantic' dinner at Egmont palace. Clinton said Wednesday that she was very encouraged by the position of European nations on hosting inmates from Guantanamo prison, which Washington has moved to close. (AFP/Dominique Faget).

COMMENT:"The truth of the matter is that Hillary has turned into everything I feared: an uninspired dresser with neither poor nor great taste, a hairdo which fails to speak to me in even the tiniest voice, and an apparent preference to actually work rather than pose at working."


From: Saving The Women of Afghanistan, BagnewsNotes

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