Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August 25


“More than 1,800 Gulf War veterans were sent letters from the VA informing them that they had a fatal neurological disease, many erroneosly [sic].“

--Headline in USA Today, August 25, 10:39 am; image from

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

Outlook: Inside Hillary Clinton's Foreign Policy Revolution - Washington Post: "David Rothkopf, author and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was online Monday, Aug. 24, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss his Outlook article titled 'Inside Hillary Clinton's Foreign Policy Revolution.' …

Washington, D.C.: How will Sec. Clinton utilize the existing Foreign Service to fit her new agendas? Why all the new appointees to tackle the big foreign policy issues -- is the present service not relevant?

David Rothkopf: My sense is that they see the foreign service as central to their strategy. How many 'new appointees' are you referring to? A handful. The bulk of the work will be done by the 62,000 employees of the department. …

Middlebury, Vt.: Dr. Rothkopf, I don't detect a 'revolution' here [in US foreign policy under Clinton]. What I see is acknowledgment of common sense, especially a move toward 'whole-of-government' policy that began playing out before Sec. Clinton. As for the impact of appointing the Best and Brightest, can you point to specifics? For instance, what exactly differentiates this 'revolutionary' approach to public diplomacy from so many failed precedents?

David Rothkopf: First, the 'revolutionary' changes come in the acceptance and acknowledgement by this administration of changes that have been taken place in the world for years. The rise of new powers. The centrality of new issues like climate change. The recognition that technological change affords opportunities to create new approaches to diplomacy that are no longer just government to government or embassy to embassy.

And so on. Could Bush have embraced such changes? Yes. He did not. The Obama Administration will not be the authors of the future, but if we are lucky then will recognize what is coming and adapt to it. My point is they seem to be trying to...and seem to be doing so with a willingness to change, to embrace new ideas, new vocabulary, new partners, new approaches to enemies, new technologies, etc. …

Washington, D.C.: RE: State and USAID. I really enjoyed your piece, but I wonder whether you could speculate on why after seven months there has still been no announcement of an USAID administrator -- or even whether the agency will continue to exist. As much as I admire Sec. Clinton, I find the lack of movement and transparency on this subject extremely demoralizing and worrying. Your thoughts?

David Rothkopf: Actually, she got some flack for expressing very clearly her frustration with her inability to get her candidate for the job vetted and in place. She has been, therefore, quite transparent at least to that degree. I think there is deep frustration in the White House and at State with the direction this issue has taken (which is a circular road to nowhere thus far) and there is a growing resolve to get it addressed sooner rather than later. …

Arnold, Md.: The YouTube reporting from the Iranian elections showed that the world is pretty tech-savvy. What is Cinton's State Department doing to produce a 'Radio America' on the internet?

David Rothkopf: I address this question in the article. Secretary Clinton hired one of President Obama's top tech policy advisors to be a special advisor to her on these issues and her Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale, former CEO of Discovery Communications is focusing on these issues all the time." Image from

Analysis: The Puzzling Impact of Obama's 'Glasnost' - Ernest Corea, Global Perspectives · Kommunikation Global: "The Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project 2009 interviewed 26,397 people in 25 countries in the period May 18-June 18, 2009. Here's the Pew Project's snapshot of how the world views America in the time of Obama:

'The image of the United States has improved markedly in most parts of the world, reflecting global confidence in Barack Obama. In many countries opinions of the United States are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office.' … Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut … pointed out … that Obama's popularity as recorded in a number of countries across the globe cannot be discounted. He felt that Obama's popularity would persuade foreign audiences to listen to what America has to say. This, one should add, is a great change from reactions across a wide swath of the world's population to US public diplomacy in most of the preceding years." Image from

The Pakistani People Are Our Friends? Really? - Ampersand, Alas, a blog! : "Back in February, Dave Kilcullen said this in his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: ['] All this suggests that the most appropriate diplomatic strategy is to identify, within Pakistan, our friends and allies (civilian democratic political leaders, some officials, and much of the Pakistani people) … ['] . Kilcullen is an actual expert who has been to the region, so it’s likely he knows something I don’t. But I find that claim more than a little odd. Contrast what Kilcullen is saying to this news story: [']After Ms. McHale, the Obama administration’s new under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, gave her initial polite presentation about building bridges between America and the Muslim world, Mr. Abbasi thanked her politely for meeting with him. Then he told her that he hated her. 'You should know that we hate all Americans,'

Ms. McHale said Mr. Abbasi told her. 'From the bottom of our souls, we hate you.'['] According to a Pew poll, 68% of Pakistanis have an unfavorable view of the United States. In fact, of the countries Pew surveyed, there are only four where the US is more hated. If our strategy in Pakistan depends on much of the Pakistani people being our 'friends and allies,' then we’re in deep trouble. (Don’t get me wrong, I’d like ordinary Pakistanis to be friends with America. But for the most part, they’re not.)" Image from

US and UK Outreach, Public Diplomacy To Iran Backfire Spectacularly - Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric: "It is interesting that there are foreign policy experts who ritualistically intone that Iran's paranoia over foreign interference is 'unfortunately' justified and foreign policy experts who insist that we have to embrace public diplomacy and those are often the same foreign policy experts. Not there's anything wrong in theory with trying to win Arab and Muslim hearts and minds. It's only when State's institutional imperatives for success run up against the reality that there's a deep ideological conflict between the West and large swaths of the Islamic world - only then do we get our diplomats going on obsequious apology tours and our foreign media outlets broadcasting antisemitic cant. "

Public diplomacy and social media - Becca Caddy, Wolfstar: "[A]s part of my dissertation, I decided to research how public diplomacy is practiced in the modern day, with a focus on how it has been relocated onto the internet and more specifically into the social media arena. … I already feel that for public diplomacy to be relocated online,

it must be integrated, use the right platforms effectively and have the ability to open channels for transparent dialogue in order for it to be taken seriously and avoid being labelled as merely clumsy propaganda." Image from

Ghana Hosts Africa Nation-Branding Masterclassm2online: "A master class nation-branding labelled ‘Nation Branding Africa’ and designed to help African nations get clear understanding of the strategies required to change their country’s brand image is set to hold in Accra, Ghana. Information has it that the master class will be led by Simon Anholt, an international expert on managing and measuring national identity and reputation. Anholt, it was revealed, plans to explain how having a positive image makes a substantial difference to a country, city or region, just as it does for companies and their products. Anholt first coined the concepts of 'nation brand', 'city brand' and 'place brand' twelve years ago. He is a member of the British Government’s Public Diplomacy Board and has advised governments of other countries, as well as organisations." Anholt image from

My Interview With Larry Greenfield – blacktygrrrr, The Tygrrrr Express: "I had the pleasure recently of interviewing Larry Greenfield. Larry currently works as a fellow in American Studies at the Claremont Institute. Before that he served for five years as the California Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. … [Greenfield:] ['] Removing Al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan and defeating Saddam and sons plus Zarqawi in Iraq, and rolling up much of the Al Qaeda network and funding base has been effective. We correctly went on offense after 911. We needed to do more with public diplomacy and winning the war of ideas. Our allies have actually been there with us — Obama lied when he castigated America for having lost all her friends. Australia, Japan, India, New Europe (Poland et al.), Italy, Germany, France, Tony Blair’s England, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, on and on, all these governments are center/right and/or supported the United States in confronting the terror war against the West. … 22 friends of the USA wrote an open letter of concern about Obama’s resetting tilt toward the Russians, ignoring our friends in new Europe. Obama’s apologizing around the world for the USA was despicable, and got us nothing, by the way. Not help in Afghanistan, not Chinese commitments on climate change, not Russian help regarding Iran.[']” Greenfied image from

Why the Washington Post Censored Robert Novak - Cliff Kincaid, Canada Free Press: "On the propaganda front, filmmaker Oliver Stone announced in January that he intends to do a sympathetic film about the Marxist ruler. … The husband of Post reporter Dana Priest works for the Center for International Policy (CIP), a far-left group. … A one-time registered foreign agent for Venezuela, Jennifer Schuett, had been a 'program associate' with the Cuba program of the CIP and a participant in the 'Imperatives for a New Cuba Policy' conference sponsored by the group in October 2007. The Cuba program, headed by Wayne Smith, former Chief of Mission at the U.S. interests section in Havana (1979-82), declared support for full normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba and claims the communist regime is not sponsoring terrorism. Schuett says she was a registered agent for Venezuela between September 2008 and May 2009, working on 'public diplomacy' and connecting communities in the U.S. and in Venezuela."

NATO’s New Strategic Concept conference to be held in Croatia - Croatian Times: "The international conference on the theme 'The New NATO Strategic Concept: - Challenges and Opportunities' will be held from 3 to 7 September in Slano near Dubrovnik.

The Conference is being organized by the Atlantic Council of Croatia, a non-governmental organisation operating in all NATO and Partnership for Peace members and NATO’s public diplomacy office." Strategic concept image from

Higher Education Effective Way for Canada to Redress its Neglectful Relationship With India, New Study Argues - press release, Marketwire: "Canada needs to redress its neglected bilateral relationship with India by harnessing a number of niche areas that can set a firm base for interaction with rising India, says a new paper released today by the Canadian International Council (CIC). A New Direction for the Canada-India Relationship, written by Ryan Touhey, concludes Canada has been slow to recognize the increasing prominence of India in the world economy. The author recommends cost-effective ways for better engagement through the creation of an India specific public diplomacy program that includes post-secondary and science and technology linkages with Indian students."

Iran softens its nuclear stance - for now - Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times:

"A new report on Iran's controversial nuclear program will be released this week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ahead of the September deadline set by the Barack Obama administration in anticipation of more multilateral sanctions on Iran. All indications are that after a temporary lull, the Iran nuclear crisis will loom large again come this autumn. … Israel[…] has continued to exert pressure on the IAEA by accusing it of withholding information on Iran's alleged proliferation. Responding to such tactics, which are embraced by elements of Western media, must form a crucial aspect of an Iranian public diplomacy offensive before the Iran Six consider a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran in September." Image from

Stubb: Foreign policy soon to be affected by economic crisis -- Foreign Minister speaks at meeting of Finnish ambassadors - Helsingin Sanomat:

"The after-effects of the economic crisis will increase the significance of foreign and security policy next year, predicted Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb (Nat. Coalition Party) at a meeting of Finnish ambassadors in Helsinki on Monday. … Stubb stroked the egos of the ambassadors, praising the personnel of the whole Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and by saying that he 'really enjoys' his job, and has a 'really good feeling' about it. At the end of his presentation, Stubb urged the diplomats to be in the public eye as much as possible. 'Public diplomacy is a part of diplomacy. Don’t be nervous. Be out in the front. Go on television, radio, write columns', Stubb said." Stubb image from

Independence and development - press release, MFA China: "Over the past 60 years, China's diplomacy has played an important part in upholding the country's sovereignty, security and development interests and in promoting world peace, development and cooperation. We have worked closely with other countries to address various international disputes with a responsible manner. We have vigorously conducted economic, cultural and public diplomacy and achieved fruitful results. The number of countries having diplomatic relations with us has increased from 18 in the early days of the People's Republic to 171 today."

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Letter from Cuba: Propaganda - David Friggieri, Malta Today: "Strolling around the streets of Havana and driving along the highway from Cayo Coco to Camaguey without coming across one single billboard of David Beckham in Calvin Klein underwear, or your local starlet urging you (with trademark wink) to 'go mobile,' is extremely soothing. All you see is the road ahead, landscape, people, a couple of oxen and sky. Besides, of course, the infinitely more poetic form of advertising commemorating '50 años de la Revolución' and the massive hand-painted murals of the Che looking into the distance with the words 'Patria o Muerte' inscribed underneath. Given a choice between Victoria Beckham pouting in Armani and the Cuban billboard which reads 'La libertad no tiene precio', my brain seems to have developed a marked preference for the latter."

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Inglouroius Basterds: Tarantino’s Dark Mirror?Overthinking It: “It’s a Tarantino movie/fantasy about Nazis. There’s so much to be said about this complex film’s intentions and interpretations that I’d be a fool to try to give the entire movie the Overthinking It treatment in one shot. Instead, I want to focus on Nation’s Pride, the propaganda piece that serves as the backdrop for the film’s climax, and its unsettling effects on a movie audience. … Hitler is having a grand old time.

We the movie audience are meant to be repulsed by the scene of Nazis enjoying Goebbel’s crass display of violence on screen. They’re killing the good guys, and we don’t like that. During the screening, one of the main protagonists shoots one of the main Nazis in the back. Audience reaction? They clap and cheer, of course. This Nazi had it coming, right? Did Tarantino intentionally sequence these events to elicit a cheer from the crowd shortly after Nation’s Pride elicited cheers from Hilter and Goebbels? … . Even if he didn’t specifically setup this particular moment of audience participation, the message is still pretty clear: Tarantino is calling out his audience for reveling in violence much like the Nazis did.” "Nation's Pride" image from article.

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