Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7

"I guess the real reason that my wife and I had children is the same reason that Napoleon had for invading Russia: it seemed like a good idea at the time."

--Bill Cosby; image from


FACT SHEET:U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission – Office of the Press Secretary, The White House: "The two Presidents agreed to create a Bilateral Presidential Commission, which they will chair and Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov will coordinate. The Commission will include the following working groups. … - Educational and Cultural Exchanges: Mikhail E. Shvydkoy, Special Presidential Representative for International Culture Cooperation, and Judith McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs." Image from

US first lady tours Russian school for orphans - Natalya Vasilyeva, AP: "Michelle Obama took time away from her husband's public diplomacy, summit speeches and protocol meetings Tuesday to visit a Russian school for orphans and a nurse training college in Moscow."

Finding an Anti-Sweatshop Strategy That WorksTeamSweat: "Workers' Rights should be a fundamental principle undergirding both 'democracy promotion' and our public diplomacy endeavors. The approach should be informed by the same caution that a community organizer uses to size up a neighborhood in distress, buffeted by multiple external and internal forces. It is surprising how little we know about how industrial relations play out in the world’s export-processing zones—even after twenty years of press reports and activists’ campaigns." Image from

U.S. Government Activities to Promote Democracy The CIA Memory Hole: "Specific executive branch bilateral government activities that support democracy reform include providing aid to support election procedures and good governance practices, assisting in building the legal system, assisting in military and police training, and teaching the importance of a free press. Public diplomacy programs such as U.S. international broadcasting, exchanges, and international information programs promote democracies overseas by showcasing American democracy and culture. Some exchanges provide foreign participants with training and experience in broadcast or print media techniques."

Questions for Judge Sotomayor on the Use of Foreign and International Law - Steven Groves, WebMemo #2525, Heritage Foundation: "[I]nfluencing foreign courts and creating a "good impression" is neither the duty nor obligation of a Supreme Court justice.
International politics and public diplomacy are by their nature functions of the political branches of the U.S. government, particularly the executive branch. Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that the Supreme Court should function in such a manner so that its jurisprudence influences foreign tribunals." Image from

Difficulties of the public diplomacy-cone - Mark Overmann, Working World: "Former State Department official Joe Johnston reminds us that there used to be a government agency that focused solely on public diplomacy. It’s been ten years since USIA was abolished and, as Johnston describes it, 'public diplomacy-coned' FSOs face real challenges in their career development. He also thinks, though, that sending a chunk of new FSO hires to the public diplomacy track could help with the problem."

Transcript: Roundtable Series on Public Diplomacy: Moscow, Washington, And The Future Of The Political Opposition In Russia - Council on Foreign Relations: "Speaker: Boris Nemtsov, Co-Founder, Solidarnost (Solidarity), Russia Presider: Daniel Senor, Adjunct Senior Fellow For Middle Eastern Studies, Council On Foreign Relations."

View the Democracy Video Challenge winners – Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "Last year the State Department embarked on an ambitious mission of encouraging others to describe what democracy meant to them.

This was a smart and creative use of social media to amplify and empower trusted and authentic voices to speak about subjects that matter to them. Let’s hope State continues the concept… . Six winners were selected from the 900 people from nearly 100 countries submitted videos in the Democracy Video Challenge." Image from

Q-and-A with Philip Seib: "I want to advance public diplomacy to be a more prominent part of foreign policy for the U.S." USC Annenberg News: "Journalism and public diplomacy professor Philip Seib ... was recently appointed the new director of USC's Center on Public Diplomacy. On his first day as director, Seib shared his plans for the Center, what sparked his interest in the field, and his former dream career. This interview is the first of a series of Q-and-A's with USC Annenberg faculty."

Former Guide -- and Current U.S. Ambassador -- John Beyrle on ExhibitsGlobal Publicks: "My colleagues at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and in the State Department's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs have put together a fascinating collection of interviews of former U.S. exhibit guides from the seventies and eighties, along with still photos of past exhibits which give a good idea of what 'typical' U.S. exhibits of that era looked like. Among the former guides who are interviewed is the current U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle." Beyrle image from

NATO Public Diplomacy: Six Colors / Six Couleurs - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "NATO Public Diplomacy is a bit different than US public diplomacy. Unlike US public diplomacy which is (quaintly) aimed exclusively foreign publics, NATO public diplomacy is aimed chiefly at member countries and secondarily at partner countries. From the American perspective of audience-based tactics, this seems to be more like public affairs but the methodology is certainly more like public diplomacy."

Spain - Constitution of the Governing Body of the Casa del Mediterráneo ISRIA: "The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, is participating in Alicante in the ceremony for the constitution of the Governing Body of the Casa del Mediterráneo, whose Articles of Agreement was signed on April 30. The focus of this new organization is to become an efficient and necessary means for promoting the coming together of the different societies, cultures and people from both sides of the Mediterranean. The Casa del Mediterráneo was created in the image of similar institutions promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation such as Casa de América, Casa Asia, Casa Árabe, Casa África, and Casa Sefarad-Israel. These are specialized public entities aimed at promoting Spain’s relations with regions of interest for foreign policy by means of public diplomacy." Image from

Notes from the Armenian Blogosphere The Armenian Observer Blog: "A group of Armenian and Azerbaijani parliamentarians and intellectuals initiated a one-day 'public diplomacy' trip visiting the Presidents and key officials in the disputed Karabakh region, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The action was designed to appeal to the publics in the conflict stricken region. Meanwhile, the Armenian bloggers were not impressed."

Tributes for retiring AusAID boss - Markus Mannheim, Canberra Times: "The long-serving head of the Australian Government's overseas aid agency has retired after 10 years in the job. AusAID's director-general, Bruce Davis, will leave his job tomorrow and take up a diplomatic post later this year. … Senior diplomat Peter Baxter, the head of the Foreign Affairs Department's consular, public diplomacy and parliamentary affairs division, will act in Mr Davis's position until a permanent replacement is found."


Though Obama Viewed Positively, Still Much Criticism of US Foreign Policy: Global PollWorldPublicOpinion.org

Russia and the Perils of Personal Diplomacy- The Editors, New York Times

Mr. Obama goes to Moscow - Ariel Cohen, Washington Times: To date, Russia has continued its policy of rapprochement with China, Iran and Venezuela - and consistent challenges to the central United States role in world affairs.

The global economic crisis has done little to change this behavior. Moscow has responded with minimal rhetorical nods, continuing its policy of push-backs and propaganda. If Russia reconsiders its anti-American stance and is serious about a new chapter in U.S.-Russian relations, the Obama administration should be prepared to offer real incentives. Image from

Don't Abandon Russia's Democrats
– Boris Nemtsov, Wall Street Journal: In recent remarks, the U.S. president referred to democracy and free speech as "universal values." This gives us a hint of how he would like to remake America's relationship with Russia. Mr. Putin, however, sees these values as a dangerous threat to his rule -- his values are power and money. As long as American and Russian leaders continue to be separated by such an enormous values gap, it is terribly naïve to expect a serious "reset" in our bilateral relationship.

Israel’s blatant threat to IranPakistan Observer:

There are clear indications that the United States is encouraging Israel to go for military aggression against Iran. In a latest development, US Vice President Joe Biden has claimed that the Jewish State has the sovereign right to attack Iran in a bid to eliminate Tehran’s nuclear assets. The statement of the US Vice President is accompanied by propaganda campaign by some sections of the Western press that the Gulf States especially Saudi Arabia would give tacit approval to such a misadventure. Image from

Several programmes in AIR, DD to counter anti-India propagandaBusiness Standard: With a view to counter anti-India propaganda

from across the border, several programmes have been introduced both in All India Radio and Doordarshan, government today said. In reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting C M Jatua said proposals for setting up of new high power/low power AIR and DD transmitters, FM transmitters, even at high altitudes in Jammu and Kashmir are considered and approved by the government as per the requirement. Image from

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