Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15

"Augustus boasted that he found Rome a city of bricks and made it a city of marble. Baghdad was another city of bricks, and a coterie of American generals turned it into a city of cement."

--Washington Post correspondent Anthony Shadid; also cited in; image from


Re: Re: Averting Their Eyes - Jennifer Rubin, Contentions, Commentary: "The Orthodox Union subscribes to the serious concern, expressed by several participants in the meeting [with President Obama], that the Administration has allowed a perception to develop that the onus for progress toward peace between Israel and Arabs lies with Israel, and also that the U.S. is pressuring Israel to undertake various steps while demanding little of the Palestinians or other Arab governments. … The president is trying to pass this … off as a 'perception' problem, which is odd for a man who prides himself on his communication skills. To be understood so badly and to have so many take away an unintended message is indeed a failure of public diplomacy." See also. On Orthodox Union, see. Image from

Present at the Legislation – DJR, The War Quaker: "Things get curiouser and curiouser with regard to the CIA's 'very serious' covert action program, which the NY Times reports was in fact a program to capture or assassinate al-Qaeda leaders...potentially including American citizens. I stand by my previous post: I believe this is all about Panetta's CIA offering Congress a bureaucratic mea culpa while at the same time solidifying his control over the Agency. It's all image politics, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if your President's public diplomacy agenda is built around trying to convince the world that the U.S. isn't a pariah."

Full funding for more fully redundant broadcasts to Tibet - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "This 'full [USG] funding' is for both RFA [Radio Free Asia] Tibetan and VOA Tibetan, whose efforts are largely redundant. Merge RFA and VOA, and full funding would actually involve a budget reduction, while improving performance." Image from

Spectacular Fallout 3 Russian Live Action Roleplayers – Joshua Fouts, DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age: "[A] former senior State Department official last week … was lamenting that the problem with virtual worlds (and by association games) is that people will neglect the importance of physical world interactions.

This is a common refrain in government -- and especially among cultural and public diplomacy people for whom much of their work is centered around facilitating person-to-person discourse: They fear that using Internet-based social media technologies is some how binary, or a zero-sum game in foreign policy. As Rita J. King and I stated throughout our Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds project, virtual worlds should augment, not replace physical world interactions." Image from article.

Local Montanan, Scott Frazier Attends Presidential Summit In RussiaMontana Center for International Visitors: "The unique Open World Program is the only exchange program funded by the legislative branch of the U.S. government. The program is operated by the Open World Leadership Center housed at the Library of Congress. Since its founding by Congress in 1999, Open World has enabled over 6,000 American host families and their communities in all 50 states to play an active role in this ambitious public diplomacy effort. By hosting Eurasian delegates in their communities and homes, they have directly impacted more than 14,000 current and future Eurasian leaders and made lasting partnerships."

Defining Public Diplomacy (again) - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "Here’s my latest working definition of public diplomacy. Purpose of public diplomacy is to identify, empower, encourage (and possibly equip) self-organizing systems. The self-organizing systems engaged should be those that currently or potentially support, directly or indirectly, the foreign policy objectives of the public diplomacy-sponsoring actor. The support networks of groups that oppose or compete with the same foreign policy objectives should also be engaged as minds can be changed." Image from

That commenter on your blog may actually be working for the Israeli government - Cecilie Surasky, MuzzleWatch: "Straight out of Avigdor Lieberman’s Foreign Ministry: a new Internet Fighting Team! Israeli students and demobilized soldiers get paid to pretend they are just regular folks and leave pro-Israel comments on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. The effort is meant to fight the 'well-oiled machine' of 'pro-Palestinian websites, with huge budgets… with content from the Hamas news agency.' The approach was test-marketed during Israel’s assault on Gaza, and by groups like Give Israel Your United Support, a controversial effort to use instant-access technology to crowd-source Israel advocates to fill in flash polls or vote up key articles on social networking sites.” Blog cites the article The Foreign Ministry presents: talkbackers in the service of the State Calcalist 5 July 2009 By: Dora Kishinevski Translated for Occupation Magazine by George Malent, which notes that “'hasbara' will be translated as 'policy-explanation'. It may also be translated as 'public diplomacy' or 'propaganda' – trans.”

Bastille Day Parade - Feather in the cap for Indian Public Diplomacy - Madhurjya Kotoky, The Public Diplomacy Blog: "It was fascinating to watch the Maratha light infantry of the Indian Army LEAD the Bastille Day parade in Paris. It was full of symbolism that showcased the closeness of ties between France and India and also the importance of India in the new world order, where, just last week, the G-8 announced its own irrelevance and mooted the idea of a G-14 instead. … I am just curious to know the chain of events that led to it. How was the idea arrived at? Who mooted it first and why? Nonetheless, it does India's public diplomacy a lot good. I think it was a good 'stunt' to showcase the friendship, the relevance of India and also display a professional Indian army that can match the professionalism of the forces of a P 5 state." Image from

International Education and China - International Higher Education Consulting Blog™A Source for News on International Education and Public Diplomacy by David Com: "To blog on international education and public diplomacy and not mention China from time to time would be an oversight. … Last night I found … several articles related (in part or in whole) to international education and China."

Message from the Director - US Center on Public Diplomacy: "I am delighted to greet you for the first time as director of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. I am honored to have been selected to succeed Geoff Wiseman, and I look forward to working with the Center's wonderful staff on our ambitious agenda. We will be presenting events ranging from major conferences to lunchtime forums, a new publications series, a broad research program, professional training, an expanded presence in Washington, D.C., and numerous other activities bridging the professional and scholarly communities. I look forward to hearing from you about matters you think the Center should address as we work to advance the study and practice of public diplomacy. Philip Seib, Director USC Center on Public Diplomacy."

Karen Hughes to advise Speaker Joe Straus - Robert T. Garrett, Dallas Morning News: "Former George W. Bush adviser Karen Hughes

has signed on as one of two 'strategic counselors' to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus as he seeks re-election and girds for the next session of the Legislature, Straus' office announced this afternoon. Hughes, a former Dallas TV news reporter who was Bush's gubernatorial communications director and then White House counselor and U.S. ambassador at large for public diplomacy, will serve as 'communications counselor' to Straus." Hughes image from

The Criminal Right and the Obama Ultimatum - Laura Carlsen, Americas MexicoBlog: "Otto Reich is another name that has come up repeatedly since the Honduran coup as the man behind the scenes. … Reich is infamous for his involvement in the illegal Iran-Contra affair. A 1987 report by the U.S. Comptroller-General, 'found that some of the efforts of Mr. Reich’s public diplomacy office were ‘prohibited, covert propaganda activities,’ ‘beyond the range of acceptable agency public information activities….’' Under fire, Reich felt compelled to pen a guest column in the Miami Herald entitled 'I Did Not Orchestrate Coup in Honduras.'"

Sarah Carey -- "The Exhibit Was Just a Vehicle..." – Mark Taplin, Global Publicks: "Sarah Carey flunked

her Russian language test when she applied to be an exhibit guide in 1959, but still went to Sokolniki on behalf of Pepsi that summer, working in the American Home exposition. The experience, as she related in this recent State Department interview, led her to a lifelong connection with Russia, as an international attorney and most recently as the Board Chair of the Eurasia Foundation. She observes: 'The exhibit was just a vehicle. I mean, the exhibit was a platform and you’ve got these bright young kids who had broad liberal arts educations who were allowed to talk freely, and the questions ranged from atheism to space to material wealth...'" Image from


American aid to Africa: Those who expect Obama to shower the continent with gifts will be disappointed, but the president is building on a solid foundation of increased assistance overseas – Editorial, Los Angeles Times

World War II Posters - Propaganda and Social Commentary ... - EP Wohlfart, Past Presenters: "I don’t know if a picture is really worth a thousand words.

But when it comes to times gone by, I think that pictures often work better than words as commentary on contemporary values. This is especially the case with pictures from the recent past, where the differences -or lack thereof- are particularly striking. With that in mind, I have assembled this collection of posters from the Second World War that speak particularly to me. I hope that you’ll enjoy them as much as I have!"


State Department apparat asks Clinton to let him use Firefox
Posted by Cory Doctorow, July 14, 2009 9:13 AM

Last week's Clinton town-hall with the State Department featured an apparat begging to be allowed to use Firefox:
MS. GREENBERG: Okay. Our next question comes from Jim Finkle:
Can you please let the staff use an alternative web browser called Firefox? I just - (applause) - I just moved to the State Department from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and was surprised that State doesn't use this browser. It was approved for the entire intelligence community, so I don't understand why State can't use it. It's a much safer program. Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, apparently, there's a lot of support for this suggestion. (Laughter.) I don't know the answer. Pat, do you know the answer? (Laughter.)
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: The answer is at the moment, it's an expense question. We can -
QUESTION: It's free. (Laughter.)
Town Hall Meeting to Announce the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) (via Memex 1.1)

No comments: