Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2

"We changed the world, we did these great things... and then we fucked up the endgame."

--Congressman Charlie Wilson, as quoted in; image from


Blog of Interest: Global Publicks: "About Me: Mark Taplin: I am a U.S. Foreign Service officer on detail to George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs as its 'Public Diplomacy Fellow.' This blog is intended to support my academic and research activity at George Washington University, including my undergraduate course on public diplomacy and events sponsored by GWU's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication."

Obama soars abroad, but America's PR doesn't: The president's stirring Cairo speech demands follow-up, amplification, and explanation - John Hughes, Christian Science Monitor: "[P]ublic diplomacy cannot be a one-shot affair with a presidential speech. It demands follow-up, amplification, and explanation. Foreign audiences need interpretation of US government policies, and insight into the American way of life and love of freedom. … There are complaints that bureaucratic tasks disrupt actual public diplomacy. Twenty-five percent of public diplomacy officers abroad do not meet language requirements. In Arab countries, 36 percent of US public diplomacy officers assigned don't speak Arabic at the designated level.” Image from

US Envoy to Muslims World Plans a Reconciliation Strategy – AFP, posted at ukhan, Express News: "The US envoy Farah Pandith tasked with reaching out to Muslims around the world said Wednesday she expects to go beyond criticism of Washington’s foreign policy, outlining an ambitious program of reconciliation. Farah Pandith, in her first press briefing since she was appointed envoy last week, said her previous work in dealing with European Muslims showed the need for dialogue beyond objections against US policy in the Middle East. 'There are going to be a wide range of questions that come up,' the Indian-born Muslim American said. 'I know that because I did this on the ground in Europe.' ... The previous administration of president George W. Bush conducted public diplomacy aimed at boosting the US image among Muslims but it was criticized as ineffective because it failed to change policies hated by Arabs and Muslims."

U.S. Appoints First-Ever Special Representative To Muslim Communities - Heather Maher, RFE/RL: Farah Pandith is a Muslim-American who was born in Kashmir, India, and immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was an infant. Her appointment by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be the State Department’s envoy to Muslim communities around the world is a first --- the position is newly created and reflects President Barack Obama’s desire to improve not just the image of the United States within the Muslim world, but to actively listen and respond to Muslims in Europe, Africa, and Asia. … Bush used Karen Hughes, his undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, to reach out to Muslims, and in that role, Hughes also embarked on what she called a 'listening tour' of Muslim communities abroad. But the effort has largely been judged a failure because nothing changed as a result." See also (1) (2) (3). Image from

Time for an Israeli Strike? - John R. Bolton, Washington Post: "Those who oppose Iran acquiring nuclear weapons are left in the near term with only the option of targeted military force against its weapons facilities.

Significantly, the uprising in Iran also makes it more likely that an effective public diplomacy campaign could be waged in the country to explain to Iranians that such an attack is directed against the regime, not against the Iranian people. This was always true, but it has become even more important to make this case emphatically, when the gulf between the Islamic revolution of 1979 and the citizens of Iran has never been clearer or wider. Military action against Iran's nuclear program and the ultimate goal of regime change can be worked together consistently." See also (1) (2). Image from

Propaganda of the Deed - Afghan Aina, Perceptions through the Looking-Glass of Afghanistan: "Recently I was asked how our public diplomacy efforts are going over here... My answer was mixed. … When it comes to public diplomacy efforts before the recent surge of troops and retooling of our strategy here, a number of operational issues were inimical to our message. As forms of action, they far outw[ei]ghed any propaganda of the word: The first was lack of manpower and capability.

This is relatively self-explanatory and is indicative not only of our shortcomings in public diplomacy, but our overall mission goals as a whole. … Second, related to the first, was the growing number of civilian casualties. Third is saying one thing and then doing another. … There has been a disconnect between our message of good will towards the Afghan people and some of our forces carrying out search and seizures in towns and villages … . There are also other, more tactical considerations that warrant attention as well when discussing our public diplomacy and IO efforts here. Examples are the re-establishment of village elder authority and credibility, which has been eroded by the bullying of the Taliban as well as our own actions. … More than anything we can say, it will be Propaganda of the Deed that will win the day." Image from

Why Promote Democracy?The CIA Memory Hole: "While most U.S. democracy promotion does not involve the military, the highmilitary and opportunity cost of some activities currently associated with democracypromotion is criticized by many observers, especially when democracy is imposedby outsiders rather than initiated by local citizens. … Democracy promotion expenditures compete with domestic spending priorities. Critics note that using thevarious tools to promote democracy abroad -- foreign aid, military intervention, diplomacy, and public diplomacy -- can be very expensive and may provide littleassurance that real long-term gains will be made."

Iran, Green Dam and the ‘Man’ - CB3 Communications Blog: "If essentially undemocratic regimes are finally understanding that they cannot control information, then they will have to seek methods of joining the battle for audiences, just as democracies have had to do gradually over the last fifty years. … The problems are manifest – there is no legacy for playing this game, information structures will have to undergo major transformations, the very game encourages democratic and free market ideologies and the old guard may just never accept or understand the rules. Public relations, public affairs, new media, public diplomacy – these are all big factors in the game, all of which will have to be recalibrated, and dialogical communications must feature as part of a new engagement strategy." Image from

Governments are still struggling to get their heads around Social Media - redduffman: "I went to Canada House last Friday for the Global networks, local action: transforming communities with social media (Twitter hashtag #g2g). I thought I'd add a few thoughts about what I learned there. .. Colleen Graffy, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy at U.S. State Department recounted an unpleasant experience while using Twitter. She started micro-blogging in order to getter engage with her stakeholders only to find her thoughts, which included a few personal anxieties, exploited by the mainstream press. This was something she felt could be damaging and may deter other diplomats who are considering using Social Media. … Social Media, was not created to be sinister (unlike the Death Ray) but it can be used for sinister purposes. The discussion on 'Public Diplomacy' didn't sit well with some of the non-Government people that I spoke to afterwards. … Unfortunately, I don't believe that Government is equipped or inclined to face the many challenges that Digital Enfranchisement would present. … Broadly the lessons I learned was that Governments, (in the UK and US at least), see Social Media as another means of broadcasting their message. Holding conversations is fine but it must be within their own parameters."

Valuing Cultural Diplomacy and Engagement for the 21st Century (from ArtsWatch)ArtsBlog: "It is not difficult to understand

why the arts are powerful contributors to public and cultural diplomacy. By engaging individuals on a personal level, the arts can transcend political, social and racial barriers. They offer universal 'languages' by which commonalities among peoples are revealed. They often are the only safe gathering ground where stories can be shared and long term understandings forged. … To help arts advocates better understand and navigate the current policy environment, the first of several new tools for making the case for the value of U.S.-based cultural diplomacy and cultural exchange is now available on the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation New Initiative-International Cultural Engagement website. The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation has commissioned ground-breaking research on public and private support for cultural exchange after 9/11, which also examines the challenges, successes, smart practices and trends of engagement by participating arts and cultural organizations. The first of these tools is the Timeline of U.S. Public and Cultural Diplomacy 1999-2009. The timeline provides a fascinating journey through the historical milestones in U.S. cultural diplomacy—the highs and the lows. Organized by year and providing information in several categories including Appointments and Political Events, U.S. Government Initiatives, Legislation and Policy, Institutions, Investments and Partnerships, Resources, Reports and Conferences, it includes links to websites and reports, which collectively provide a comprehensive overview of America’s recent investments in international cultural diplomacy pre- and post-9/11." Image from

Poland - MFA - Remarks - Minister of the Foreign Affairs, Mr RadosÅ‚aw Sikorski, on the goals of the Poland’s foreign policy for 2009ISRIA: "Esteemed Members of Parliament, We have introduced to the Polish Foreign Service the notion of public diplomacy. The task of the public diplomacy consists not only in the widely understood promotion of Poland. It also consists in convincing the public opinion abroad of the merits of our evaluation and understanding of international issues."

Hezbollah in Western Eyes - Muntazirmosvi’s Blog: In an article published in 'The Philadelphia Jewish Voice' website on November 15th 2006, titled 'From Victim To Criminal,' writer Raanan Gissen discussed the importance of the public diplomacy to Israel. …The writer’s message was that Israel needs to work on its public diplomacy– on legitimizing its killing of civilians and its destruction of Lebanon’s civil infrastructure– because, as the writer explained, 'Armies fighting each other in the desert is a thing of the past. From now on it’s ‘dirty wars,’ and that means that the role of public diplomacy is much greater.'” Image from

Public Diplomacy Magazine » Nation “Branding”: Propaganda or Statecraft? -- propaganda definition - Just another BlogMas weblog

Boston Scenes: Local and Culturally Relevant Events this weekThe Bay State Banner: "Charles R. Stith, director of the African Presidential Archives and Research Center (APARC) at Boston University (right), recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on topics ranging from strategies for public diplomacy to a pre-brief on Stith’s upcoming trip to Africa. Stith served as U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania during the administration of President Bill Clinton, the secretary of state’s husband."

Vets Benefits Bill Sweetens July 4 CelebrationThe Queens Gazette: "Congressmember Carolyn Maloney has called on a House Appropriations Subcommittee to restore funding to the Greek Desk Service at the Voice of America on the grounds that it is essential to an accurate and balanced message to audiences abroad. A letter to the committee from Maloney (D- Queens/Manhattan) and Congressmember Gus M. Bilirakis, co-chairs of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus, stated the Greek Desk is 'an essential communications capability on which we rely to disseminate an accurate and balanced message to crucial audiences abroad. Losing the service means much more than the loss of an important information link between Greece and America,['] Maloney said. She added, 'It is a blow to our broader national security and public diplomacy efforts. Indeed, the elimination of the Greek Desk would be detrimental to the interests of the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean.'"

Fall internships at Business for Diplomatic Action - Mark Overmann, Working World: "Business for Diplomatic Action, a 'private-sector led initiative aimed at mobilizing the United States’ business community for public diplomacy efforts' and founded and led by advertising guru Keith Reinhard (of McDonalds 'You Deserve a Break Today' fame), is seeking two unpaid

interns for their New York office for fall ‘09. The application deadline is July 24, and selections will be made within a week, by July 31. Clearly they’re not messing around." Image from

NAFSA Applaud Newly Nominated Unesco AmbassadorI-studentadvisor: "NAFSA: Association of International Educators have publicly championed President Obama’s announcement that he has nominated David T. Killion to be the next US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to be the next ambassador, on their website. … In his tenure at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Killion has also had a leading role in advancing important international education and exchange initiatives to strengthen US foreign policy and public diplomacy. He was instrumental in helping to draft and shepherd through the House of Representatives a visionary piece of legislation, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act, which will dramatically increase the number of US students studying abroad."

Folks to Follow on Twitter - Ren’s Micro Diplomacy - "Shashi Tharoor: Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Barham Salih: Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Reza Aslan: Author If you know of any other interesting PD people on Twitter, comment back. … Finally able to register for classes today: Hindi I, Historical and Comparative Approaches to Public Diplomacy & Global Issues and Public Diplomacy. I’m scared to be leaving regular paychecks behind, but excited to take a leap in uncharted territory."

Getting Inspired by Audrey and Daniel from Uncornered Market

– Andy, Sharing Experiences: "Our passion about travel is obvious, but we are also passionate about photography, creativity, public diplomacy, street food, personal development, and technology. As generalists, we find a common thread woven between them all and experience the countries we visit through these different lenses."

The Foreign Service - Me Missy, Miseru: "Two minutes ago, I received an e-mail from the State Department saying I passed the foreign service exam and can move on to the next stage in the hiring process (five narrative essays, which, if acceptable, will lead to two days of oral interviews in Washington, D.C.). This is the second time I’ve taken the FSOT (foreign service officer test), and I am still in absolute shock that I passed. … Foreign Service Officers specialize in five core areas: management, consular, economics, political, and public diplomacy.”

Julius Uno – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I woke up early with a little angst on my photo project starting to stare me in the face. A little maneuvering at the photo shop kinda settled me, but it takes a lot of public diplomacy to put on a public diplomacy photo exhibit."


aedotcom: A very optimistic hypothesis about public diplomacy into Iran (updated). about 2 hours ago from RSS2Twitter

kempthead: @SusanDelacourt Think I prefer "human rights," "rule of law," & "democracy" to "human security," "public diplomacy" & "good governance." about 4 hours ago from web

CarlaSantiago: Proactive Public Diplomacy- my old school thesis!!! about 7 hours ago from txt

andrewkneale: @redduffman -saw your post on social media & public diplomacy via @ivante (per my last tweet). Thanks for sharing! about 9 hours ago from web

andrewkneale: #g2g #pdtweets #pd20 @dominiccampbell @lovisatalk @chrisheuer RT @ivante: worth reading on social media & public diplomacy about 9 hours ago from web

ivante: Worth reading on social media and public diplomacy about 9 hours ago from web

dominic_v: Preparing for my Public Diplomacy exam tonight as much as possible. about 11 hours ago from Twitterrific

RickRuth: The 4th of July weekend is a good time to recall that the American people are our greatest public diplomacy asset. about 11 hours ago from web

psfrc: Public Diplomacy- China;wires say that US WILL partcipate in Shanghai expo after earlier doubts, funding still unclear: h about 12 hours ago from
markoliias: RT @levantine18: Check out the newest edition of Public Diplomacy Mag: Great articles re "middle powers" 1 day ago from TweetDeck

levantine18: Check out the newest edition of Public Diplomacy Mag: Great articles about the middle children of pd. 1 day ago from web


Russia's Grand Inquisitor - David Ignatius, Washington Post: At a conference titled "What Does Russia Think?" Russian speakers described a country that is happy with what one called the "soft authoritarianism" of the Putin era -- where anti-Americanism is part of the political bedrock.

Obama stands with tyrants – Editorial, Washington Times: The United States is in an increasingly perilous position in Latin America and needs solid allies to stem the anti-American tide being led by Venezuela. Mr. Obama should think twice before rushing to stand beside the likes of dictators such as Mr. Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro. They support Mr. Zelaya because he is a fellow traveler, a socialist in good standing, a member of their anti-gringo alliance. There's no reason for America to support him.

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