Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 5

“Russia for me is like a wife. I can scold her as much as I find necessary, but if somebody else does it, I will smash his face.”

-- Yelizaveta Likhacheva, a museum curator in Moscow, describing her countrymen's views toward outsiders, by citing an old Russian saying; image from


“Nuanced Approach” for US-Muslim Ties - amanavoice: "Outlining an ambitious program of reconciliation with Muslims, the new US envoy to the Muslim world has vowed new 'innovative' ways to bridge the gap with global Muslims. 'A strong part of thinking about engagement is to understand the nuances that are taking place in different regions,' Farah Pandith said in her first press briefing. … The Bush administration conducted public diplomacy to boost the US image among Muslims but it was criticized as ineffective because it failed to change policies hated by Arabs and Muslims. In a landmark speech to the Muslim world from Cairo last month, President Barack Obama vowed a new beginning with the Muslim world to overcome a decade of mistrust and discord. Pandith said being an American Muslim she would be in a better position to understand how to achieve US-Muslim engagement. … 'I think the might of the United States Government is not only one-way. It’s two-way, it’s how do you approach, how do you bring ideas together, how do you find initiatives that make sense?'” Image from

Public Diplomacy: Keeping our country safe - Michelle Kaffenberger, Heritage Foundation: "Public diplomacy, at its foundation, is an issue of national security. … But the State Department and USAID, the primary engines for public diplomacy, are short on public diplomacy leadership, personnel and strategy, leaving many gaps in the public diplomacy effort. The military is forced to fill in the gaps that the lack in civilian resources leaves, a role that the military was never meant to play and which diminishes its ability to defend the nation with hard power. … The Heritage Foundation, late last year, published an in-depth study of the nation’s public diplomacy which offers recommendations that could bring about vast improvement. The first recommendation is the establishment of a US Agency for Strategic Communications. Public diplomacy needs an umbrella agency to integrate and coordinate the various activities. Right now, efforts are so scattered that the right hand often may not know what the left hand is doing."

John Bolton Gets Another Op-Ed to Promote Bombing Iran - Meteor Blades: "This time, the bomb, bomb, bomb barker is John Bolton. One of the founding crew at the Project for a New American Century, he's been at his noxious efforts in various government posts since the Reagan administration. … Specifically, he wrote: … [']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.[']" See also. Image from

The far side of the digital divide is not necessarily Camelot - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "I think Persian speakers wanted to go online, and in fact many already were, before President Obama's video [an online video, known as the 'Noruz message,' of Obama speaking directly to Persian speakers]. But here's the thing about the digital divide: A scant three decades ago, people in many countries had radios with shortwave bands (shortwave was used for their domestic broadcasting). They could hear their moribund state-controlled domestic broadcasting service, or they could tune to BBC and VOA. That was it. Now, when these people cross the 'digital divide,' they will have access to tens of thousands of sources of news, entertainment, gossip, and disinformation. BBC, VOA,, and State Department Facebook and Twitter accounts will have to compete with all that."

Comparing Iran 2009 to Hungary 1956 (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: Mention of RFE/RL.

Iran media update for 4 July 2009 - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: Mention of possible expansion of Voice of America Persian News Network and RFE/RL Radio Farda; mention of BBC.

The Australia Post – Starbuck, Wings Over Iraq: "The town of Cairns

has shown incredible hospitality to the visiting ships, even hosting a 4th of July celebration, complete with concerts and a fireworks display which rivaled any of those found in the US. The service men of the ships, likewise, have spent the week touring the city, diving the reef, and, of course engaging in 'public diplomacy' in the streets of Cairns. That actually roughly translates into walking up and down the streets, downing beer and interacting with young ladies of virtue untrue, but hey, no harm, no foul." Image from

Iraqi tourism workers - Hotel Jobs, Hotel Careers,Hospitality Jobs Online: "More than 100 Iraqi tourism workers will go back to work when U.S. forces leave their base in the city of Hillah later this year. The workers, formerly employed by the Babylon Tourism Hotel in Hillah, will return when U.S. forces move from the hotel to a patrol base on the edge of the city. … The 66-room hotel has been a U.S. center since 2003. These days it’s known as the Regional U.S. Embassy Office in Al-Hillah and serves as headquarters for the Babil PRT and the 172nd Infantry Brigade’s Task Force 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment. Jeff Daigle, a public diplomacy officer with the Babil PRT, said four other PRTs moved from the hotel to other facilities a year ago. The Babil team will move to Patrol Base Hillah, outside of the city."

Is Freedom for Free? Join the Debate! - Editorial Team, "In a recent statement, Stefanie Babst, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Strategy, criticized the tendency of public diplomacy in general to be more about 'the talk and less about the walk.' In order to be a credible international actor, NATO should ensure complete continuity between policy and public diplomacy. This means that the Alliance must work more to ensure that the wider public is better informed." Babst image from

Borat indeed; Israeli Public Diplomacy in the age of Yvette - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "[A]ctually having a fascist night club bouncer for a foreign minister in Avigdor Lieberman makes Israel a diplomatic joke. Lieberman is a public diplomacy albatross. That this man sits in the seat once held by Abba Eban is a sad state of affairs for Israeli diplomacy. … Bibi [Netanyahu] has far too smart an understanding of public diplomacy to not know that Lieberman is a PD nightmare for Israel. Bibi's brief sojourn as Foreign Minister was a reminder of how good he can be in the art of public diplomacy, he has to know that Lieberman is a pub d liability. If you are serious about peace and Israeli PD, fire Lieberman and bring Kadima on board. Tzipi ('Believni') as FM and an Israel engaged in the public diplomacy and peace processes does far more to benefit Israel's security and Israel's standing in the world than an obstinate Lieberman and an isolated Israel."

Israeli Citizens Action Network ICAN For volunteer Public Diplomacy – Wouter, Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog: "Dear ICAN members who are members of the medical profession[,] Anti-Israel activity and campaigns in the medical press are unfortunately nothing new; however they have reached a new 'low' in the last few months. The most recent manifestation of the anti-Israel phenomenon infecting the medical world is a letter spearheaded by Dr. Derek Summerfield and signed by 725 physicians, 'publicly protesting and appealing against the recent appointment of Dr. Yoram Blachar, longstanding President of the Israeli Medical Association, as President of the World Medical Association.'" Image from


On International Relations and the Determination to Make a Real Change: Interview with Former US Congresswoman Patricia SchroederCultural Diplomacy News: "[I]n 1988 as a member of the US Congress’ Armed Services Committee she [Schroeder] visited Berlin, Germany to discuss some of the pressing issues of the cold war. Her visit brought her to the Amerika Haus, an institution affiliated with the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, where she gave a speech and was honored by women’s organizations. …

Schroeder: I find it very exciting that lots of the younger people I talk to from Europe don’t think of themselves as German or French or Greek or something, they think of themselves as Europeans. Now, that’s a really wonderful, larger thing. And I think they’re getting close to thinking of themselves as world citizens too. And I think a lot of young Americans have travelled so much more, done exchange programs and met all sorts of people. I find it very, very exciting. Through this, young people are not just seeing the world as a place where they can just make money, they’re seeing the world as a place where they can give back and do very important things." Schroeder image from

Italy unveils 14 artifacts returned by Cleveland Museum - "Italy has unveiled 14 artifacts, including a bronze statue of an archer and a pair of Etruscan silver bracelets, returned by the Cleveland Museum of Art after it was discovered they had once been looted. …

Culture Minister Sandro Bondi said Thursday the artifacts would be returned to their 'places of origin' under an Italian plan to display antiquities near the sites where they were found. 'This is a new success for cultural diplomacy and for the work of the magistrates and police,' he said of the deal with the Cleveland Museum." Image from article: A krater, a vase that was used to mix water and wine at banquets, is one of the 14 artifacts returned by the Cleveland Museum of Art. (Andrew Medichini/Associated Press)

Marketlink Direct Regrets The Loss of Michael Jackson - "MLX Entertainment a division of Marketlink Direct Inc specializing in entertainment and event marketing, mourns the passing of Michael Jackson, a musical icon whose contributions to pop culture are immeasurable. … 'Jackson’s artistry was a form of cultural diplomacy that broke down barriers and made him beloved by millions of fans throughout the world,' remarked MLX Entertainment Chairman Ezell Brown."

Benetton Wants to Bring Avant-Garde Architecture to...Tehran?! - Cliff Kuang, Fast Company: "Benetton's decades-old tradition of pinching cultural mores at the tenderest spots is still healthy: Last week, they announced the winning design in a competition to design two Benetton buildings in Tehran. This sounds innocuous, but Benetton, which is popular in Iran, has sparked local condemnation over its Westernizing influence. The 'Designing in Teheran' competition appears to be a very savvy bit of cultural diplomacy. ...

For 'Project A,' [above] Grzegorz Witold Woronowicz covered the building in traditional Persian motifs, while the shape was based on ancient ziggurats, found throughout Iran and the Middle East, which are some of the most ancient buildings known to man.'

Obituary - Philip F. Gould. "[Gould] spent several years as a newswriter for Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany during the early years of the Cold War, 1954-1959. ... In 1960, Gould joined the U.S. government as an information officer working for 31 years in Calcutta, Tel Aviv, Moscow, the Hague, Rabat, and Washington D.C. He has published two books, the novel Kitty Collins (1986) and a collection of three novellas The Eighth Continent: Tales of the Foreign Service (1991), as well as numerous articles and short stories." Courtesy LB.


New York Times: Decoding Russia: A Six-Step Plan - Clifford J. Levy, Americans, from intrepid travelers in the 1800s to recent missionaries, have often come to Russia and reached a singular conclusion: Russians want to be just like us. In fact, most Russians don’t. They envy the material comforts of the United States, and the level of anti-Americanism here is actually lower than in Western Europe. But they do not see the United States as a model. Image from

What the Russians Say About Us - New York Times: What do Americans not understand about Russia? On the eve of President Obama’s arrival in Moscow, The New York Times asked readers of its Russian-language blog at

Six Reasons Why Iran Cannot Be Explained in a Twitter Feed - Eye on Arab Media; via

N. Korea stability rests on abuses and propaganda, say critics - Jon Herskovitz, Reuters: "The people of North Korea live their lives subject to messages from the government of pride, paranoia and fear," said Kay Seok, a Seoul-based researcher for the international group Human Rights Watch. "What is remarkable about North Korea is that they have successfully brainwashed people into thinking that this is the only way by not giving them any alternatives or letting them know there are alternatives," Seok said. Image from

Remixed Messages - Rob Walker, New York Times: Nowadays, of course, nobody waits around for the authorities to adjust the meaning of their slogans and images. We just do it ourselves.

Pulling Out – Emperor Andronicus: NEPTUNE -

As the Empire prepares to celebrate Dependence Day this July 4, planet Neptune celebrated National Sovereignty Day. Imperial troops withdrew from all major Neptunian cities as Operation Quagmire drew to a close, ahead of the Empire's annexation of the planet, the cause of celebration. Meanwhile, the Empire built up for a reinvasion of Uranus, a world we invaded years ago. "We pull out of Neptune and immediately plunge back into Uranus?"

said one patriotic citizen. "Maybe we should have finished Uranus before invading Neptune?""There's nothing like an invasion to make me proud of my Empire," explained Chancellor Jack, appointed governor of Uranus, "except perhaps a reinvasion." Images from (a, Neptune) (b, Uranus)

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