Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 23

"[I]t doesn’t do anything for them."

--One US interrogator, on the effects of Michael Jackson on Iraqi detainees; Jackson image from


Toward a More Imaginative U.S. Public Diplomacy – Philip Seib, Huffington Post: "As long as U.S. policymakers continue to seek an answer to the post-9/11 question, 'Why do they hate us?' public diplomacy should be an integral part of America's approach to the rest of the world. Instead, the Obama administration, like its predecessor, has given little indication that it understands that today's world of global communication and dispersed influence requires systemic reform of the way public diplomacy is developed. … And those who implement U.S. public diplomacy must show enough humility to listen to other nations' messages, even when unpleasant. This will require imagination, which has been singularly lacking in recent American public diplomacy." Image from

Thanks for the umbrella, but it’s not raining yetThe National, Abu Dhabi: "Iran’s challenge to the US and the Arab world is not merely a military one, and any response to Iran should reflect this. The Islamic Republic’s inroads in the Arab world have been made possible by its claim to regional leadership against the US and Israel and through its effective public diplomacy. Until that appeal is eroded, a military build-up will do little to contain it."

Is Obama boxed in on the settlement freeze? - Evan Hill, The Majlis: "NYU Professor Michael Doran, a former Bush Administration official and experienced 'public diplomacy' hand, has a post up over at Middle East Strategy at Harvard that does some detailed analysis of what Doran calls President Obama's 'opening gambit': the public call for a total Israeli settlement freeze. Doran basically concludes that, for now, Obama has failed."

May: U.S. is losing the long war – Clifford D. May, Scripps Howard News Service: "Nor have American policymakers fought well on the battlefield of ideas. [In his new book, 'Winning the Long War,' Ilan] Berman observes that since the end of the Cold War, U.S. strategic communications has 'suffered death by a thousand cuts,' and that the current system is plagued by 'systemic dysfunctions.' One example: American broadcasting abroad is overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, part-time volunteers, mainly prominent businessmen and media figures. Berman quotes one board member, in 2002, saying: 'We've got to think of ourselves as separate from public diplomacy.' Why would an entity set up for the purpose of public diplomacy want to distance itself from that mission? What mission would it undertake instead? Why has this contradiction not been addressed by either the Bush or Obama administrations?" Image from

Web 2.0 lessons from Iran - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "For all the talk about Web 2.0, people in crises, and in closed societies, seek credible news. The United States provides credible news through its international broadcasting efforts. The Agency for Strategic Communication proposal would 'coordinate' international broadcasting with US public diplomacy. The audience would notice almost immediately that the news is 'coordinated.'

That would be the end of credibility and of the effectiveness of US international broadcasting. … Until the BBG provides a complete accounting of its recent Middle East audience research, people are going to believe commentators who dismiss Alhurra as 'doomed.' The data, for example, can be used to compare the number of Ahurra viewers, and of Radio Sawa listeners, to the number of followers of even the most wildly successful tweeters. (If 'tweeter' is a word; I can't keep track of the damn Twitter nomenclature any more.)" Image from

New website gives insight into china army – roshan, Hot Wall Papers: "The Ministry of National Defense (MND)(china) will launch an official bilingual website on Aug 1. The move, military experts say, is a leap forward for the Chinese army, which is attempting to be more transparent and focus more on 'public diplomacy'."

Why the US Should Import Ideas from India – Navi Radjou, "I genuinely believe that the US-India partnership is going to be the most beautiful geopolitical marriage of the 21st century. But for this marriage to work, both nations need to take the partnership to the next level — version 3.0 — this one characterized by 'public diplomacy.' …

Here I am not talking about traditional US public diplomacy tools like the Peace Corps. Such tools are still applicable today but they drive goodwill one-way — with US engineers and teachers heading to India to do social work. That’s a noble act in itself. But if Secretary Clinton is really eager to treat India as an equal partner, then she needs to run US public diplomacy as a two-way street, importing Indian talent and best practices to facilitate social innovation across America. To put it more bluntly: the US must learn to receive India’s 'smart power' as much as it is willing to bestow its own onto India." Image from

Yoga Diplomacy & new APDS Flier – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Yoga studios are becoming so ubiquitous, it makes a perfect entry point for India to conduct public diplomacy. It's not as far-fetched as it sounds. Thailand has engaged in gastro diplomacy, using the popularity of Thai restaurants as a cultural entry point into foreign lands. India could promote itself by partnering with yoga studios, or setting up its own yoga studios like other countries set up cultural institutes like the Goethe Institutes for Germany, or the Confucius Ins[t]itutes for China."

Tom Tuch on Kitchen Debate -- "What Gives With This Guy?!" - Mark Taplin, Global Publicks: "Hans 'Tom' Tuch was the U.S. Embassy's cultural attache and acting press chief in July 1959 when the American exhibition opened in Sokolniki Park. He was one of the most respected U.S. public diplomats of the Cold War period, and has written extensively in later years about the evolution of public diplomacy. Here [in a video] he recalls the atmospherics between Nixon and Khrushchev as they argued the merits of their respective 'systems' and a candid comment made by the former Vice-President on his way to the model kitchen where their debate was about to resume." Tuch image from

Nixon and Khrushchev, the End of an Unscripted Era - Serge Schmemann, New York Times: "Friday is the 50th anniversary of one of the more bizarre clashes of the cold war: the 'kitchen debate' between Richard Nixon, then 46 and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice president, and Nikita Khrushchev, the cunning peasant who at 65 had just finished consolidating his position at the pinnacle of Soviet power."

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts - Office of the Press Secretary, The White House: "Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts: … Alberto M. Fernandez, Ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Department of State … . Fernandez has served as US Charge d’Affaires to the Republic of Sudan from June 2007 to May 2009. He has served as Director for Near East Public Diplomacy from 2005-2007, Director for Iraq Public Diplomacy from 2004-2005. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Mr. Fernandez has also held senior public diplomacy positions at the US embassies in Afghanistan, Jordan, Syria and Guatemala. Mr. Fernandez was also a foreign service officer in Iraq, Kuwait, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and the United Arab Emirates and as USIA Desk Officer for Egypt, Yemen and Sudan." Fernandez image from

American Center Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Moon LandingUS Embassy Colombo: "This past Monday, July 20th, the American Center held a special double screening of the documentary '50 Years of Exploration – The Golden Anniversary of NASA' to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing’s 40th Anniversary. … Intern Andrew Weisberg was the embassy’s representative at both screenings, introducing the documentary and holding a short question and answer session afterward. … [From] His opening remarks from that panel discussion are listed below: Hello everyone, I’d like to begin by thanking the previous speakers for their kind words and introductions. My name is Andrew Weisberg, and I work in the US Embassy’s Public Diplomacy section."


SUpd: Student in Beijing discusses Public Diplomacy, World Expo 2010, and the solar eclipse: 26 minutes ago from web

TjChinastudies: #CSTJC The Ministry of National Defense will launch an bilingual website on Aug1,in attempt for transparency, focus on "public diplomacy". about 3 hours ago from web

nelldd: Congrats to @harvardbiz #socent fellow for high-quality, innovative program in service learning AND public diplomacy about 4 hours ago from TweetDeck

kattebel: RT @Batteriechef China ventures into "public diplomacy" with announcing website on its army (PLA). about 5 hours ago from web

Batteriechef: China ventures into "public diplomacy" with announcing website on PLA. about 5 hours ago from TwitterFox

Problemsmith: Visit the Facebook People's Embassy of Public Diplomacy. about 5 hours ago from web

artispolitical: Toward a More Imaginative U.S. Public Diplomacy : #Diplomacy #Asia #Clinton #Obama HuffPost via @Orbitus about 6 hours ago from web

PUBDIP: Northeast India in Indian Public Diplomacy: India's Northeast remains a distinct cultural unit within India. The.. about 6 hours ago from twitterfeed

TransAlchemy2: Philip Seib: Toward a More Imaginative U.S. Public Diplomacy: Much of American public diplomacy remains rooted i.. about 11 hours ago from twitterfeed

mg_politics: Philip Seib: Toward a More Imaginative U.S. Public Diplomacy: A simple definition of "public diplomacy" is a gov.. about 16 hours ago from twitterfeed

WhatsCurrentaff: Philip Seib: Toward a More Imaginative U.S. Public Diplomacy: Much of American public diplomacy remains rooted i.. about 17 hours ago from twitterfeed

USCAnnenberg: Prof. and CPD Director Philip Seib writes "Toward a More Imaginative U.S. Public Diplomacy" in Huffington Post: about 17 hours ago from web

Koshmarik: Face-off to Facebook: From the Nixon-Khrushchev Kitchen Debate to Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century about 17 hours ago from web

RensMicroDiplo: goldmine of new public diplomacy videos on about 21 hours ago from mobile web

planetrussell: At #OGI, @lovisatalk: DoS using SoMe tech to open new channels for public diplomacy + share experiences of what it's like to be an American. about 21 hours ago from web

Lynnstin: Can use technology to facilitate public diplomacy and get word out on what it is like to be an American @lovisatalk #ogi about 22 hours ago from web

andrewkneale: .@cath_sitterding sure -I'll definitely live tweet the GW Public Diplomacy & new media conf. tomorrow. Hastag= #GWpdconf about 22 hours ago from web


Short Cuts - Adam Shatz, London Review of Books: If the use of American music is a blunt assertion of imperial power, why are metal and gangsta rap the genres favoured by interrogators at Gitmo? One reason, Jonathan Pieslak suggests in his "Sound Targets: American Soldiers and Music in the Iraq War,"

is that metal is uniquely harsh, with its "multiple, high-frequency harmonics in the guitar distortion", and vocals that alternate between "pitched screaming" and "guttural, unpitched yelling." Via; image from

The Book on Information War - William S. Lind, American Conservative: Ideas as Weapons is the title of a new book, a collection of essays edited by two Marine Corps officers, G.J. David Jr. and T.R. McKeldin (the publisher is Potomac Books). Subtitled “Influence and Perception in Modern Warfare,” the volume is dedicated to exploring the aspect of war most neglected by the Second Generation American military, ideas. The U.S. armed forces have never grasped the centrality of John Boyd’s dictum that for winning wars, people are most important, ideas come second and hardware is only third. Via

Michael Yon the on the Positive Value of PropagandaThe Java Report: Michael Yon has one of his photos from Afghanistan of a man reading a military produced paper captioned this way: Lithuanian and Croatian soldiers spent three hours walking around handing out 'propaganda.' In American patois, 'propaganda' has a negative connotation but it’s important for the military to disseminate its message.

US Propaganda Posters - Right...Wrong...Rusty: "Since I have several posts depicting the propaganda practices of America’s traditional enemies, I felt it necessary to show that the US is one of the most prolific inductors of propaganda. One thing I have noticed, and maybe you will too, is the difference in subject matters, and artistic design. Dare I say, the US posters have some of the best artwork, but their message is somewhat tame compared to that of the North Koreans for example.

The US tends to focus on two themes throughout. The first has to deal with keeping your mouth shut. I guess during WWII, keeping secrets, and not talking about troop positions to anyone, was of highest priority. Another theme seen throughout is that of 'doing your part.' Through guilt, and sometimes overt omissions, the posters tell you to 'buy war bonds,' and, 'save your cooking grease,' all in an attempt to have everyone working towards the war effort."

No comments: