Monday, July 6, 2009
"Are there not other alternatives than sending our armies to chew barbed wire in Flanders?"
--Question posed, during the bitter winter of 1914-15, by the first lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, to Britain's prime minister; Flanders map from
Say it ain't so, Joe – Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy: “It's hard to tell exactly what Joe Biden was trying to say this morning on ‘This Week’ with George Stephanopolous. But his remarks are being widely interpreted as a green light for an Israeli strike on Iran. If that isn't the case, Biden needs to issue a strong clarification immediately. If it is, then he has just committed the worst for[ei]gn policy blunder of the Obama administration. … [T]he regional media is overwhelmingly reporting the 'green light' headline interpretation of Biden's remark. Time to flex those public diplomacy and strategic communications muscles, folks...” Image from
Because the *real* audience is on Capitol Hill - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "It is perhaps not surprising that a commentator [John Hughes, writing in Christian Science Monitor, 2 July 2009] who was both an associate director of USIA and a director of VOA (he lists the two jobs in that order) tries, every few months, to re-muddle the distinction between public diplomacy and international broadcasting. The International Broadcasting Act of 1994 and VOA's separation from USIA happened because of an obvious conflict: the entity whose job is to report the news was located under the entity whose job was to advocate US foreign policy. US international broadcasting according to the Brownback plan ('the National Center for Strategic Communications ... would manage U.S. international broadcasts directly') would transmit content pleasing to Washington decision makers rather than serving the informational needs of any (former) overseas audiences."
Public diplomacy careers in flux - jjohnson47 Weblog: "The State Department began its stewardship of public diplomacy with a human resources deficit after USIA had lost a third of its budget during the 1990s, forcing years of downsizing and hiring freezes. State may hire as many as 1,000 new Foreign Service officers in Fiscal Year 2010 if Congress approves the Department’s budget request. Considering that there are no more than a thousand FSOs in the public diplomacy career track at this time, a healthy share of the thousand new officers could make a critical contribution to public diplomacy’s effectiveness by lowering vacancies and enabling adequate time for training between assignments. The new officers rightly call for more rigorous professional standards and training. That too will be necessary to improve the government’s public diplomacy programs overseas." Image from
Terrorist Watch: 23 Plots Foiled Since 9/11 - Jena Baker McNeill and James Jay Carafano, posted by John Frisby at Lux Libertas: "Continued expansion of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) would be an excellent way to improve global security without compromising global supply chains. VWP allows pre-approved travelers to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. The program has undergone substantial security upgrades and has become a valuable security device and a useful tool of public diplomacy and trade. By adding new VWP member countries, the U.S. would develop valuable information-sharing frameworks with countries around the globe."
US Vietnam war architect Robert McNamara dies - Agence France-Presse: ABS-CBN News: "President Lyndon B. Johnson -- who took over when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 -- ordered retaliatory air strikes on North Vietnam, and by mid-1968 the number of US soldiers sent to fight in Vietnam had risen to 535,000. 'If it was anyone's war in those early periods, it wasn't LBJ's war, it wasn't (top US general) Maxwell Taylor's war. It was McNamara's war,' Barry Zorthian,
who headed Vietnam operations for the US Information Service, the government's public diplomacy arm, told AFP Monday. 'He was very controversial,' added Zorthian, who said he traveled in 1964 with McNamara from Saigon to Hue and witnessed the defense secretary's 'can-do attitude' toward the war. 'His mood was upbeat. 'What do you need?' ' Zorthian recalled McNamara saying. 'Whatever you need you'll get it.'" Image: Barry Zorthian (R) with Gen. Westmoreland.
Neaman Document presented to Deputy FM Ayalon - Press Release, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "The Neaman Document, a study on Israeli public diplomacy, was presented on Sunday, 5 July, to Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon. The study was a joint project of the Neaman Institute, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The basic premise of the study was that Israel's battle over its image in the world will force it in coming years to face increasingly difficult problems. The project's objective was to devise a comprehensive policy to shape Israel's public diplomacy."
New Zealand Education - Perspectives in Public Diplomacy - Madhurjya Kotoky, The Public Diplomacy Blog: "India is a lucrative market for the international education industry. For institutions of higher education from Australia and New Zealand, growth depends on the influx of students from India and China. All these countries (primarily English speaking nations) have set up representative offices across Indian cities to aggressively promote their education among Indian students. US remains the first choice, now New Zealand too has joined the bandwagon." Image from
July 4: David Twomey – FeedRobot, A/H1N1 Swine Flu (Influenza) Timeline: "Mr. Twomey ... died Tuesday at age 27 from complications from H1N1, or swine flu virus . ... His professor and mentor wrote, “ ... [David] was and is an inspiration to all of us who have a passion for politics, and who believe in the promise of public diplomacy ..." . A 2001 graduate of Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine, Mr. Twomey pursued his love of new media and politics at Gannon University in Erie, Pa., graduating in 2005. He received his master’s degree in organizational and political communications in 2006 from Emerson College in Boston."
Obama's strategic blind spot: How many troops here; what anti-terror tactics to employ there -- those questions miss the point - Andrew J. Bacevich, Los Angeles Times:
The eighth anniversary of 9/11, now fast approaching, invites attention to the question: Are there not other alternatives than sending our armies to choke on the dust of Iraq and Afghanistan? Image from
The President's Mission to Moscow: Obama doesn't need to engage Russia's leaders. He needs to deter them - David Satte, Wall Street Journal: A population that lacks democratic rights and is subject to constant anti-Western propaganda can easily be mobilized against the U.S. By any measure, the state of human rights in Russia is unacceptable. Instead of resetting relations, we may just have to content ourselves with resisting Russian pretensions until such time as the mentality that gives rise to them can be changed.
Obama and Putin's Russia: Retro agenda: Arms control and arm-chair Kremlinology - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: This summit rests on a fiction: That Russia is an equal power to the U.S. that can offer something concrete in return for American indulgence. Some Russians see through the pretense. "Let's be frank: There's not a single serious global issue where the United States is dependent on Russia today," the pro-Kremlin political analyst, Gleb Pavlovsky, wrote in Nezavisimaya Gazeta last week. An American President in Moscow needs to keep his eyes on the bigger prize in Russia and the region. And that prize is an expansion of freedom, not a new START treaty.
Coverage of US Propaganda Against Iran – sakerfa, Dprogram.net
Countering Pal [estinian] Propaganda - Yisrael Medad Shiloh, My Right Word
Un-American Independence Day: What are Fourth of July celebrations like abroad? - Meredith Simons, Slate: All over the world, American diplomatic posts hold Independence Day events that are designed to mimic traditional celebrations.
Revelers eat backyard barbeque staples, listen to patriotic music, and, at the better-financed parties, watch fireworks. The fact that international July Fourth celebrations require the planning and participation of American diplomats means that for many embassy employees, the events are less an excuse to party than an opportunity to schmooze in a different setting. Courtesy MP. Image from