Thursday, August 13, 2009

August 12/13

"Is that the catering truck I hear? [G]et me something with bacon on it."

--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking in South Africa at a US-funded clinic where emaciated patients receive antiretroviral drugs. Note: A Google search for this quotation revealed that it appeared in only one source; confirmation/denial of its authenticity would be appreciated by your PDPBR compiler. Image from


Don't mess with Hillary Clinton


Supermodels without makeup; via


Clinton's Outburst in Congo Raises Concerns About Her Diplomatic Skills: While Secretary Clinton's reaction to a question in Congo may not have any political repercussions, some foreign policy analysts say it reflects her limitations as a diplomat - "In case it wasn't clear before, Hillary Clinton -- not her husband -- is the nation's top diplomat. The secretary of state curtly sent that message to a Congolese university student who asked her Monday through a translator what 'Mr. Clinton' thinks about China's growing influence. Turns out, though, the student was trying to ask what President Obama thought.

Some foreign policy analysts said while her reaction may not have any political repercussions, it reflects her limitations as a diplomat. 'If a student in the Congo can get under your skin with a mistranslation and you're unable to deflect it in a gracious diplomatic way, one gets a little concerned when an issue of more consequence comes along and she might indulge in a personal perspective as opposed to something that's good for the country as a whole,' said Robert Schadler, senior fellow in public diplomacy at the American Foreign Policy Council. 'It's inappropriate for a diplomat to be so harshly personal,' Schadler added. 'You can't imagine the great secretaries of state with expressing that unnecessary personal view when they would be overseas and talking to a foreign audience.'"

Response to Fox News about Clinton's 'diplomatic skills' – Aimee Kligman, "Well Mr. Schadler [Robert Schadler, senior fellow in public diplomacy at the American Foreign Policy Council: see above article], in case you have not been following Mrs. Clinton around the African continent these last few days, you may have missed quite a few issues of more consequences that came along, which Mrs. Clinton handled with uncanny aplomb."

Clinton's seven-nation tour has ups and downs - Legalbrief Africa: "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is emphasising public diplomacy during her 11-day, seven-nation tour of Africa, hoping to showcase the commitment of President Barack Obama's administration to the continent."

Internal State Department report criticizes Africa Bureau - Elizabeth Dickinson, Foreign Policy: "Do State Department bureaus mirror the turmoil in the regions they cover? If a critical new report (pdf) on the Bureau of African Affairs ('AF' in bureaucratic parlance) is any indication, the answer may be yes -- at least for certain offices.

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concludes her seven-nation tour of Africa this week, AF is receiving mixed and strongly worded reviews back in Washington. A periodic report just released by the department's Office of the Inspector General praised the work of a bureau strapped for resources and burdened with demands, while raising serious questions about staffing shortfalls, planning priorities, and a public diplomacy program that is, in the report's words, 'failed.' Compared with other regional bureaus, Acting Inspector General Harold W. Geisel said in an interview, the Bureau of African Affairs received a worse review."

Public Diplomacy: MIST has more Money than PAO – Domani Spero, Diplopundit: "Here is one more stark reality when it comes to public diplomacy programs funded by DOD and by State: 'AFRICOM also provided military information support teams (MIST) to engage the public. MIST teams have exponentially more money to spend in a country than do embassy public affairs offices. In Somalia, for example, the Embassy had $30,000 to spend on public diplomacy while the MIST team had $600,000. Given the urgency of combating terrorism in Somalia, money was needed and the reported successes of MIST programs elsewhere served as a recommendation. Under MIST, AFRICOM inherited an established military practice of working closely with embassy public affairs officers to develop and fund effective programs.'"

U.S. Not Adequately Challenging Radical Islam in Information War, Experts Say - "The aftermath of a car bomb explosion in Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. The attack happened at the entrance to a produce market, killing at least 11 people. Even as radical Islamists are reportedly operating more sophisticated media and communications operations, there is a growing concern that the United States is not communicating with citizens of countries in the Middle East the way it did with people behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War — when Radio Free Europe and Voice of America were used as weapons in the battle against communism. Radical Islam is a very different enemy, but many of those same tools can be applied, said Ilan Berman, vice president for policy at the American Foreign Policy Council. …

Berman and others say that the Middle East is ripe for more public diplomacy, defined as direct communications with the citizens of a country, as opposed to official diplomacy, which is engagement with foreign leaders. … Recognizing concerns about public diplomacy, the State Department will launch a program this year that requires embassies to develop 'public diplomacy implementation plans' that address outreach posts, department officials told the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The State Department also plans a pilot program in 12 countries to incorporate a 'campaign-style approach to strategic communications,' according to a GAO report released in May. … The U.S. spends one-third less on public diplomacy than it did during the Cold War. Part of the Peace Dividend meant dumping the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), as its functions were scaled down and folded into the State Department."

Pd In Pakistan, And Why Al Qaeda Knows Something The U.S. Could Learn - Rob Asghar, Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Al Qaeda speaks to Pakistanis' fear of survival, along with their aspirations as a Muslim society. … Pakistanis want jobs and education and opportunity at home and peace abroad. But most of all, they want survival, and they believe that is linked to an ability to fight India. For the U.S. to make progress in that part of the world, our public diplomacy and formal diplomacy must tackle the mutual distrust between Pakistan and India and must acknowledge the particular motivations felt by both the Pakistani elite and 'the street.'" See also.

US wants freedom of religion to be part of Indo-US dialogue - Lalit K Jha, Business Standard: "US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today said it wants to have freedom of religion and belief to be an integral part of the Indo-US public diplomacy."

The Usa Is Macedonia's True And Sincere Friend: Interview with H.E. Mr. Philip Thomas Reeker, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia - Macedonia Information Centre: "[Q:] The public diplomacy has become one of the more important activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia since 2006. As an American diplomat presented with the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy in 2003, can you tell us, Mr. Ambassador, what are the possibilities for expanding cooperation between our two ministries of foreign affairs in the field of public diplomacy? [A:] A major part of Public Diplomacy is simply being open to exchange with the public. If people see you as accessible and honest, that will considerably improve the relationship. This does not mean that you will always be able to give them or to say what they want, but I found out that if you are honest about it most of the time they will respect you. Another goal of ours in Public Diplomacy is to offer more information about the United States. Unfortunately many people believe that what they see in movies is what characterizes real life in America.

Even though there are several films that depict life in the United States very realistically, that is not the case with most films. That is exactly why we send people in exchange programs or to go to school in the United States. That is exactly why we bring students and professors here to work in the local institutions. That is exactly why we invite architects, writers, poets and researchers of the living environment to speak here. That is also the reason why each year we issue thousands of visas. We want people to go see our country and to shape their opinions, not to rely on how Hollywood or someone else depicts us. In reference to this I think that at the moment Macedonia is doing more to promote itself abroad. I know that in several places the Ministry of Culture has made several successful presentations that promote the talented people who live here. I think that this requires a lot of effort but it is a very clever way to promote Macedonia’s greatest value, its people."

Ted Bromund: Brown's red tape is separating Britain from its friends - Yorkshire Post: "Britain's new visa regulations, which came into force in 2008, made it impossible for citizens of most nations outside the EU to take entry-level jobs or internships in Britain. … The British system is a bad one. I'm no apologist for the US visasystem, which makes the same mistakes. The US gives out too few H-1B visas to well-educated foreigners, which hurts our hi-tech industries. The application process for a J-1 visa, required for interns, is cumbersome and expensive. By making it difficult to intern in the US, we are inflicting a public diplomacy defeat upon ourselves."

Embassies and “Talking to Our Enemies” - James Ketterer, Global Engagement: The World Affairs Blog Network: "[E]mbassies establish and maintain relations that are both wide and deep, analyze unfolding events in a way only possible through a deep understanding of the political culture, and present nuanced (hopefully) representations of US policy and society to a wide variety of audiences and in many different venues. Embassies carry out ongoing programs like the Fulbright exchanges and the International Visitor program that brings handpicked leaders to the US. All of this work takes time, knowledge, patience; it takes being there and developing good judgement and establishing working relationships. Embassies are especially important in a country with which the US has difficult relations."

Diplomacy Under Fire and the USAIDification of the US Foreign Service - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: "I spent nearly an hour Monday morning listening to NPR's special on the trials and tribulations of the State Department and the Foreign Service and whether or not the people and the institution will be able to meet the challenges required in the 21st century under the Obama administration. … But here’s the major weakness with the NPR broadcast: the argument made by former top US State Department diplomats including the now retired Nicholas Burns, Ambassadors Marc Grossman and Ryan Crocker that the qualities and skills needed for America’s diplomats today are substantially different from those of the past. …

[T]he skills and qualifications Burns, Crocker, Grossman and others interviewed identified for the new Foreign Service have all to do with civilian development work, democratization, agronomy, anti-narcotics and counter-terrorism. Management of these programs has become the new mantra: the traditional State Department skills of political and economic reporting (reporting, representation and negotiation in Grossman’s words), analysis or even running embassies and consulates are out. Gone too is negotiating ability. The need for public diplomacy and consular experience and skills were barely touched on despite a couple of human interest story interviews." See also John Brown, "Spreading Bush's Gospel,"

Public Diplomacy is not an influence activity and the DOD can only use PSYOP to engage foreign audiences - Matt Armstrong, "A paper by Daniel Silverberg and COL Joseph Heimann in the current issue of the US Army War College’s superb quarterly Parameters discusses the legal authorities of the Defense Department’s activities in strategic communication, public affairs, and public diplomacy. In doing so, 'An Ever-Expanding War: Legal Aspects of Online Strategic Communication' makes some startling statements on both the Defense Department’s and the State Department’s methods."

Obese in Obuse – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "We arrived to Obuse, a small town where we are having a host stay. … We were then off to another banquet, of whole grilled fish, eggplant and other assorted delicacies. … The night wound on and I played American public diplomacy ambassador. Someone asked if America was 'the best,' I replied that America wasn't the best but was 'better' than many other places. I remarked that while Japan is brilliant, it only has one way of thinking whereas America's pluralism lets it draw from many different ways of thought. I continued that Japan's formality and traditions means that there is not the same freedom of getting ahead. America's diversity makes it great, and that while it may not be 'the best,' it offered the opportunity to be better to more people." See also John L. Brown, "But What Do You Do?" Foreign Service Journal (1964), posted at American Diplomacy.

Practical + Theoretical = Useful New Stuff? – Broadnax, World-Wide-Matel: "I would like to bring together people for a conference including those who 'do' public diplomacy using the new techniques and technologies such as augmented reality, social networking, text mining & mobile together along with those who develop and study those things in order to discuss practical applications.

We need to discuss which technologies can be best used to deliver public diplomacy messages and that we and the larger public affairs community can use. Integral to addressing these issues are our organizational and mission imperatives, which directly affect the extent of use and acceptance of new methods. Not every new technology is useful for our work and not every useful technology can be used by us."

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center: "The information committee: The information committee called for Fatah's public diplomacy to be improved. It recommended that a Fatah information council of media personnel be set up, which would be given broad authority. It was also decided to establish a media institution which would include the satellite television station, the land channel, local radio, a daily newspaper and a website which would be supervised by Fatah's central information department." The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center opened in 2001. It is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) , an NGO dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the Israeli Intelligence Community and it is located near Gelilot , north of Tel Aviv. It is headed by (Col. Ret.) Dr. Reuven Erlich.

Interview-Israel shuts door on Turkish-mediated Syria talks - Reuters: "Like Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Ayalon is from the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party, junior partner to Netanyahu's conservative Likud in the coalition government. Lieberman keeps a low media profile and has largely ceded public diplomacy to [Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny] Ayalon, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington."

Knesset to mull bill on security staff lawsuits - Rebecca Anna Stoil, The Jerusalem Post: "One of the Knesset's highest-ranking reserve officers has proposed legislation that would provide a legal basis for an institutionalized program to defend former security forces personnel against international legal action as a result of their service.

MK Nahman Shai (Kadima) told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that his bill - together with the establishment of a working group within the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee - will help Israel take positive steps to reduce the phenomenon of such legal action directed against Israelis and help security personnel feel that they act with the state's support. … Shai believes that the legal-diplomatic arena is crucial to Israeli strategy. 'These legal challenges are a new front that combines political and legal pressure together with the military front. This is part of the phenomenon of public diplomacy, because it creates a front played out in the media worldwide,'" he said.

Punch and Jewdy - Jewin’ the fat, Galus Australis: "Welcome to the cut throat world of Jewish community public diplomacy – where in a surprisingly similar fashion to Israel, confusion abounds, bureaucracy is King, and the debate is most fierce behind closed doors. There are red lines that cannot be crossed, individuals that cannot be pushed aside, and powers-that-be which must be given the last word."

Nepal's Diplomacy for Visa Lust - Krishna H. Pushkar, Peace and Conflict Monitor: "Nepal’s diplomatic dexterity is a largely discussed and experienced text for its hapless concert. The global as well as Nepalese eyes are often found itch while touching the pollex of our diplomacy. Public have difficulties even to memorize or inhale any positive changes in diplomatic disposition except the figure of diplomats and its vested interest. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassies, Consulates and its dealers always claim for their outstanding performances, however general public have to often disappoint from their priesthood. Peoples read and watch huge lexis and flick in media that Nepal’s diplomats smart and they are intensively working for building multilateral and bilateral relationship efficiently and extending prosperous cooperation for national interest. They claim themselves their ongoing role is crud to maintain and enhance public diplomacy aboard. Moreover, diplomatic advocators laud rumor through channels for their self-proclaimed effective and efficient performance for the sack of welfare and support of Nepalese residing inside and outside the nation. … The aforementioned claims are just to enjoy the diplomatic privilege and immunities, to get appointment, promotion, remain in charming places and to popularize her/himself for further career or to achieve individual vested interests."

Washington Post Examines How Bill Gates’ Full-Time [words missing?] – fellowwringer, openair: ''According to the Post, observers believe that 'only Gates may be clever to clear' the obstacles the foundation faces in global health. Projects such as developing an HIV vaccine 'requir[e] public diplomacy, organizational efficiency, and monetary and human resources — challenges that Gates may be uniquely positioned to court on as one of the most loaded and driven businessmen of the era,' according to the Despatch."

World's Best Cities To Eat Well: These spots offer up the ultimate in global cuisine - Lauren Sherman, Forbes: "[T]he 2009 Anholt-GfK Roper City Brands Index, released in June … surveyed 10,000 people from 20 countries--each chosen for geographic and economic diversity--in April of this year. It asked them to rank 50 cities on such varied subjects as climate, physical attractiveness, restaurants and nightlife. Cities were judged on lifestyle, buzz, multiculturalism and attractiveness. … Formerly known as the Anholt City Brands Index, the survey was started in 2005 by Simon Anholt, who works as an independent adviser to 20 national, regional and city governments on brand strategy and public diplomacy."

Palin's 'Death Panel' and GOP Lying - Robert Parry, The Smirking Chimp: "Scores of documents, which were released during congressional Iran-Contra hearings, showed that CIA Director Casey and other senior Reagan officials had created a 'public diplomacy' apparatus that took aim not only at foreign public opinion but domestic as well. The operation was overseen by CIA propagandists and military psychological warfare experts steeped in a concept called 'perception management,' the idea that the reactions of the American people could be controlled if their perceptions of global events could be managed. …

According to one National Security Council memo dated May 20, 1983, U.S. Information Agency director Charles Wick brought private donors to the White House Situation Room for a fund-raiser which collected $400,000 for Accuracy in Media and other pro-Reagan attack groups. … A 'public diplomacy strategy paper,' dated May 5, 1983, summed up the problem. 'As far as our Central American policy is concerned, the press perceives that: the USG [U.S. government] is placing too much emphasis on a military solution, as well as being allied with inept, right-wing governments and groups. ...The focus on Nicaragua [is] on the alleged U.S.-backed 'covert' war against the Sandinistas. Moreover, the opposition ... is widely perceived as being led by former Somozistas.' The administration's difficulty with these perceptions was that they were on target. … So, a 'public diplomacy' apparatus took shape to carry out this "perception management" campaign. The operation was based in Reagan’s National Security Council and was directed by Walter Raymond Jr., the CIA's top propaganda expert until transferring to the NSC in 1982."

Documentary about Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty during the Soviet years on Australia's SBS - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy


Hillary Fights a Tide of Trivialization

Judith Warner, New York Times; image from

US Aid to Middle East Mixed Blessing for Promoting Democracy - - Mohamed Elshinnawi, VOA. Via

Soviet Art & The Art of Propaganda - homepageDAILY:

Soviet propaganda posters are an artform that is distinctive, bold and often confronting; such were their success that their style and imagery was replicated all throughout the socialist world, and in places like China and North Korea the effect of Soviet propaganda art is very clear. Image from article.


Arizona immigration debate at heart of littering case: The heated issue inflames a court case, in which an Arizona man is convicted for leaving water jugs for migrants in the desert - Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times: Walt Staton wanted to help people, and his tool was a water jug.

On the morning of Dec. 4, he and three others drove southwest from Tucson, to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, which tens of thousands of illegal immigrants traverse each year. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the plastic jugs he left for the immigrants endanger wildlife, and this week Staton was sentenced in federal court in Tucson on a charge of littering. He was given one year of unsupervised probation and ordered to spend 300 hours picking up trash. Image from

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