Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27

"I know that a lot of 'public diplomacy' is dinner parties, which kind of necessitates unimportant bullshit. I'm not a fan."

--Clara, writing in her blog, "love always, clara"; image from


Surge of US Image Implies Having Hillary Clinton As a Scapegoat for Antiamericanism - Bloggers of The Americas: "[R]ecently, with the silent complicity of the White House, the traditional opponents of United States have decided to leave Obama in peace and have focused on attacks against the Secretary of the Department of State, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton. … On the other hand Obama continues his honeymoon with the international public. … [The] United States is a country that invests more resources than any other country in the improvement of its image abroad … [through] cultural programs, academic scholarships and programs for visitors, some with decades of seniority. Through these exchanges, the U.S. has secured the allegiance of politicians, journalists and academics from around the world. These are the tools -plus media- with which the United States seek to regain the hearts of the world. Often said that United States is the land of opportunity, now is the time for Obama to show it." Image from

New book looks at "a century's worth of American propaganda" - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "In public affairs/public diplomacy, governments can handpick the facts they wish to disseminate, but they shouldn't lie. The press can be grateful to PA/PD for providing news leads, but it has the duty to treat this PA/PD skeptically and at least somewhat adversarially. This is why international broadcasting, which is primarily in the news business, cannot be part of public diplomacy." Via and see also.

Obama Hits The Reset Button With Al Jazeera's Anti-American Islamist Managing Director - Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric: “Not because we have any reasonable expectation that it'll improve Al Jazeera's coverage of the US. Karen Hughes already personally visited Khanfar's office back in 2006 when she was Bush's Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy. She asked him to try to be more fair to America. He politely told her to get bent. So that's not going to happen.” Image from

Why young Afghans won't vote : There are misconceptions about who pulls the political strings in Afghanistan.- Oliver S. Mains, GlobalPost: "Even at the American University of Afghanistan, where I teach international relations to students who constitute perhaps the country’s most politically aware demographic, apathy is in the air. … The truth is, while Afghanistan’s election will be a model of neither freedom nor fairness, the source of injustice will not be some grand American conspiracy.
The Obama administration and its representatives in Afghanistan have a strong interest in ensuring that the elections are as transparent as Afghanistan’s fragile infrastructure and worsening security situation will allow, and have advertised their impartiality extensively. But in the end, the constant accusations of meddling are only a symptom of what is a much deeper public diplomacy problem. Many of my students harbor a profound distrust of the United States. This was clear to me from the first days of the semester as students wondered aloud whether U.S. motivations in Afghanistan are driven by a desire to counter Russian and Chinese regional influence, to establish a puppet regime to ease the transit of oil through Central Asia, or simply to satisfy some neo-imperialist instinct. The source of this distrust is not some warlike Afghan nationalism, but growing anger toward continued insecurity combined with wildly exaggerated views toward American power. Oliver S. Mains is a senior lecturer in international relations at the American University of Afghanistan." Image from

US Immigration Policy - International Relations And Security Network - “This report examines US immigration policy, with a particular focus on crafting a nuanced strategy for reforming immigration policies and practices. The report argues that immigration is vital to the long-term prosperity and security of the US, both strategically and culturally. The report addresses both illegal and legal immigration, as well as the strategic, economic and public diplomacy significance of immigration. The report suggests a grand bargain in immigration reform, which includes the improvement and streamlining of legal immigration systems, more robust law enforcement and a legalization program. © 2009 Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)[.]"

Rebuilding a Republican Majority - Don Sutherland, "The United States has an enlightened story to tell.

It can embrace the world’s democratic countries and its peoples of all ethnicities and religions who seek to live free and prosperous lives. It can support the world’s free peoples and those who resist subjugation without embarking on Neoconservative adventurism. Public diplomacy, economic assistance, and an attractive ideology have been its most potent means of creating a better future." Image from.

Remembering the American National Exhibition in Moscow, fifty years ago - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "Could the United States fill an exhibition hall with US manufactured goods these days? A modern day exhibition would have to show how Americans now make their livings: tanning parlors, dog grooming parlors, tattoo parlors, etc. China, on the other hand, could do an exhibition of its manufactured goods. And it does, continuously, all over the United States. They're called Walmarts."

Citizen GE: Linking sustainability to public trustGE reports: Ricardo Melèndez-Ortiz, who is co-founder and chief executive of the nonprofit International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development:

“Companies that rely on globalized supply chains are right to be worried about de-globalization. Western anxiety about globalization and job losses remains high. Asian countries hit hard by the collapse in demand for the exports on which they relied so heavily are anxiously looking for signs that those markets will grow again. Nuanced public diplomacy, coupled with collaborative partnerships and a search for solutions along the entire length of companies’ value chains, are called for….” Image from

Media as Global Diplomat: Public Diplomacy 2.0: Rethinking Official Media. Video of the Institute of Peace conference on the subject.

New tool uses Facebook to improve Israel's image - Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz: "The realization that young people are increasingly living life through their Facebook accounts recently gave birth to a new and potentially powerful tool in the fight for Israel's image. Observing this phenomenon, a group of 23 students from Jerusalem's Hebrew University came up with a small application which uses the Facebook "status line" to inform hundreds of thousands of users at any given moment about positive facts about Israel." Via

What does an Arabic language TV channel get you? - Michael Hedges, "State run international broadcasting, radio and TV, has a storied history, long and interesting. Many of these broadcasters have developed over the years strong followings for their foreign language channels. Those with the deepest history – mostly Western governments – see international broadcasting as essential to public diplomacy; strengthening outreach in search of a minute or two of well-placed attention. For that they must speak the language. China Central Television (CCTV) launched its Arabic language satellite television channel this past weekend (July 25). … The Chinese government is not inclined to dabble in Arabic politics overtly through the new satellite channel. The primary interest is overcoming what it sees as 'biased coverage' of China." See also. CCTV headquarters building mage from

Chinese Ambassador on Public Diplomacy - Xinhua, A veteran Chinese diplomat said Sunday that public diplomacy needs to tell what it is, tell more and clearly.Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom Fu Ying made the remarks during an interview with Xinhua. "No country in this world is perfect, and China also has its own problems at the current stage of development, thus through public diplomacy, we should make the outside world not only learn our achievements, but also our active attitude in facing and resolving our problems," said Fu. She also said the public diplomacy needs "quick and early response" so that China's voice can be heard by the international community at the first moment and the world know about the truth timely.

China and Saudi Arabia Strengthen Ties AHN: [T]the Chinese broadcasting company China Central TV on Saturday night launched an Arabic language channel for the Middle East and Africa as part of the government's plans to improve its relations with the Arab and Muslim World. The channel is China Central's fourth foreign language channel after English, French and Spanish. … Among the competitors of the new Chinese programming will be Al-Hurra, an Arabic language channel established in the United States in 2004 with backing from the U.S. government as part of a public diplomacy campaign.

RT (née Russia Today) floats Obama as good cop, Biden as bad cop hypothesis - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Finland’s plans for managing its country brandNation Branding: Petri Tuomi-Nikula, the Director General for the Department of Communications and Culture at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and René Söderman, the First Secretary at the Public Diplomacy Unit at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland have contributed this article to about Finland’s country branding plans. Image from


¿Qué piensan

los mexicanos de EEUU? (DT)
- Ferrán Martínez i Coma,; image from

Set a date to close Gitmo: The president should follow his own advice and give Congress a deadline for shutting down the detention center – Editorial, Los Angeles Times

Reviews prompt suspension of Iraqi jobs program - USA TODAY The top U.S. aid agency has suspended a $644 million Iraq jobs program after two outside reviews raised concerns about misspending, including an inspector general's audit that found evidence of phantom jobs and money siphoned to insurgents. The Community Stabilization Program, launched in 2006, was designed to tamp down the insurgency by paying Iraqis cash to do public works projects such as trash removal and ditch digging. International Relief and Development (IRD), a Virginia-based non-profit corporation, ran the program, one of many it manages for the U.S. government.

A Nation Hard to Short – Roger Cohen, New York Times: Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who died last week, used to talk … about the summoning power of America, a land hardwired to the future … . That reason is the enduring belief of millions in America as a transforming power. McCourt image from

The War We’d Like to Forget - Ross Douthat, New York Times: America’s most important interest remains a stable, unified Republic of Iraq, even if takes longer than any domestic faction wants. Afghanistan may be “the good war” to most Americans, but Iraq’s size, location, history and resources mean that it’s still by far the more important one.

No substitute for victory – Editorial, Washington Times: President Obama isn't sure if victory is the U.S. objective in Afghanistan.

Wisely Doing Nothing - Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post: The hyperbole in America and Israel about apocalyptic mullahs with nukes missed the big story in Iran, which was that the mullahs were not apocalyptic, and they were fading in influence anyway. The best strategy is to do nothing. Image from



--1. verb: To use Facebook as a platform to brag. Normally about a job, internship, trip, purchase or anything else that nobody really needs to know but you'd like to tell everyone because you're awesome; item has a reference to the GW Kitchen Debate conference

"The old preppie nobility, composed of men who, like Dean Acheson and Averell Harriman, did the state some service, was long ago dismantled."

--Michael Knox Beran, Wall Street Journal

Image from; see also John Brown, "John Kerry and St. Paul's School - An Outsider's Recollections, Common Dreams

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