Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 27

"The latest rumor is that President Obama is going to have dinner on Martha's Vineyard with Oprah Winfrey. ... That's right, ladies and gentlemen. The most powerful person in the free world is going to have dinner with President Obama."

--Talk show host Conan O'Brien; cited in U.S. News and World Report Political Bulletin; image from

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

While You Were Watching The Health Care Debate….Understanding Government: "…the U.S. secretary of state was changing the face of American foreign policy. That’s the takeaway from David Rothkopf’s Washington Post profile of Hillary Clinton, who has now been running the show at Foggy Bottom for nearly seven months. … Rothkopf calls Clinton’s agenda at State 'tackling the problems of the future — in particular, how America will lead the world in the century ahead.'


This kind of lofty prose won’t hurt Rothkopf’s access to top State Department staff in the years to come (though his assertion in the print version of the profile that President Obama had recently visited China might raise a few eyebrows). But the Post reporter digs deep and points out the strategic steps Clinton has taken to strengthen her position at State, and strengthen U.S. diplomacy itself, which was in dire straits during most of the Bush administration. Clinton, for example, has sounded 'the death knell for the G-8' in favor of a G-20 approach that will expand U.S. diplomatic reach; she has moved technology to the fore in traditional diplomacy (its role in public diplomacy, a focus at Understanding Government, is not addressed in the article); and she has fought to restore State’s budget and expand the role of special ambassadors-at-large on key topics like climate change and women’s issues." Image from

How to Save the U.S.-Japan Alliance - Bruce Klingner, Backgrounder #2308, Heritage Foundation: "The U.S. Should Urge Japan to [inter alia:] … .

Enhance public diplomacy efforts to explain the utility of an enhanced alliance to offset Japan's current acquiescence and timidity, which would lead to decreased influence in Asia. … Japanese policymakers have not defined a strategic vision to address the evolving world environment. Such a grand strategy must be accompanied by bold, effective leadership to mobilize public support for Japan's regional and global role."

El efecto Obama y la diplomacia publica de los EE.UU: de Bush a Obama (DT) - Marta Jimeno Viñes – real instituto elcano:
"(2) LA DIPLOMACIA PÚBLICA DE EEUU: DE BUSH A OBAMA
(2.1) Las estructuras de la Diplomacia Pública de EEUU
(2.1.1) Introducción
(2.1.2) Documentos de referencia
(2.1.3) Estructuras de la Diplomacia Pública a nivel nacional
(2.1.3.1) Glosario de términos
(2.1.3.2) Under secretary para la Diplomacia Pública y las Relaciones Públicas
(2.1.3.3) La Comisión Asesora de Diplomacia Pública
Funciones Composición Presupuesto Su mandato Recomendaciones de la Comisión
(2.1.4) Hoja informativa sobre Política Exterior
(2.1.5) Recursos destinados a la Diplomacia Pública
(2.2) Visiones de la Diplomacia Pública
(2.2.1) La Diplomacia Pública de EEUU
(2.2.1.1) Administración Bush
Líneas conceptuales de la Diplomacia PúblicaLos sucesivos under secretaries
(2.2.1.2) Administración Obama y Diplomacia Pública
El efecto Obama.
(2.2.1.3) Cuadro resumen de los under secretaries
(2.2.2) Diplomacia Pública en transición
La nueva under secretary de Diplomacia Pública." Report cited at

NAFSA and International Education Community Mourn Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy - NAFSA - "NAFSA: Association of International Educators is deeply saddened by the news of the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. … In 2004, NAFSA presented him with its Global Leader Award. 'Sen. Kennedy was untiring in advancing his conviction that international education is a critical tool for U.S. foreign policy, security, and public diplomacy efforts,' said NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson." Below image from


Sen. Edward Kennedy - 'A great friend of Israel' - E.B. Solomont, Jerusalem Post: Jewish Agency Chairman and former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, imprisoned in the USSR: "Senator Kennedy was an important player both in public diplomacy and quiet diplomacy, and according to my wife, he also informed them about the steps that were being made through diplomatic back channels. I can tell you now that my wife knew some days before that I would be released, and Senator Kennedy was a crucial part of those negotiations." Image from

International china shop, Israeli bull - Colette Avital, Jerusalem Post: "The 'Swedish affair,' as everyone now calls it, is not about to dwindle and die, like the occasional weekly scandals tend to … . Last week's Aftonbladet article, which claimed that the IDF killed Palestinians and harvested their organs, was a slander piece indeed - one that none of us was willing to put up with. … Our foreign minister could, no doubt, have found a better way to deal with this issue without turning it into a political and public crusade. Voicing threats that the Swedish minister's visit might be cancelled, or that Swedish journalists will be refused entry into the country is both ridiculous and ultimately harmful. One lesson, to be learned from this story is that effective hasbara or public diplomacy should not be confused with heavy-handedness. After all, the proverbial bull in the china shop does not leave much behind him." See also. Image from

Iranian FM Mottaki invites Turkish counterpart to Iran – Yonca Poyraz Doğan, Today’s Zaman: "Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said that he invited his Turkish colleague, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, to Iran for a visit to take place in under one month. … Answering a question on whether he considers Turkey a mediator between Iran and the US, Mottaki said: 'Today, public diplomacy and different possibilities for expressing positions are there. We have very clear position towards the US. The results of the [George] Bush administration's policies in our region, whether in Iraq, Lebanon or Afghanistan, showed that the US needs some change. Now Mr. Obama says he is a man of change and that he would like to bring some changes to US foreign policy. I think everybody, in different parts of the world, wants to know what these changes are. What we are saying is, all the parties welcome changes to failed policies but the effectiveness of change depends on practical change, not a change in words.'”

Shri Vayalar Ravi addresses the Conference of Heads of Missions - Press Information Bureau, Government of India: “Shri Vayalar Ravi, the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs asked Indian Heads of Missions to take a strategic, medium to long term view of the overseas Indian community and to take the initiative to transform the overseas community into an effective resource through sustained and consummate engagement to further India’s interests. … [Ravi:] ‘As India’s global profile grows, we need to use public diplomacy as an instrument of our active engagement with the world. The traditional areas of diplomatic engagement have to widen. We need to reach out to multiple actors and networks, and cultivate a nuanced understanding of new issues and newer contexts. In this perspective, you must recognize the overseas Indian community as a strategic resource for inclusive and effective engagement.’” Shri Vayalar Ravi image from

UN Reform: Don't Hold Your Breath - Ian Williams, Foreign Policy in Focus: "Public diplomacy has hitherto meant states influencing people. The best, and sadly faint, hope for genuine UN reform is concerned citizens influencing states, particularly the United States and other permanent members, through monitoring and lobbying."

公共外交 (public diplomacy) Public diplomacy (public diplomacy) – Duanjp, duan.exblog.jp - Google translation of Japanese text mentions public diplomacy.

Vlugvoos, the Starr Report and the return of Che Pablo - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I had my Pub D Latin America class at 9am with Prof. Pam Starr. … We received an intro into the class, with Prof. Starr making it clear that the class was not a US foreign policy in Latin America course, but rather an examination of the public diplomacy of a variety of actors (state and nonstate) in the region and those with interests in the region. We would be examining the PD of the great powers like the US, middle powers like Canada, and regional powers like Mexico and Brazil, among the rest of the actors. Prof. Starr made a point that the perspective on regional heavyweights like Mexico can shift the perspective, ie Guatemala looks at Mexico in a similar fashion the Mexico looks at its bigger neighbor to the north. She also made a good point that for weaker states, PD is vital- the weaker you are, the more you need to rely on public diplomacy.

Also that the same pd tools create different outcomes in different places- this can be due in part to different cultures. She made a quote that I really liked, stating, 'culture is a consequence of shared historical perspective.' … [T]he Pew polls indicate a dramatic shift in attitudes in Latin America towards the US. What changed? President Barrack Obama and a change in American Public Diplomacy towards the region. A public diplomacy message by the US that there must be a better partnership and better communications- a message of respect and recognition that we have been arrogant in the past, but now we are going to listen and work with you on issues that are important not just to us, but to you as well." Starr image from

Masters in Public Diplomacy, Week 1Ren’s Micro Diplomacy: "…And we’re off! In PD history class we reviewed the first 9 pages of Cull’s 'The Cold War and the US Information Agency.' It’s a very succinct history of the major events in PD, and the lecture effectively explanded on the text. As for global issues class, we learned about things to consider when designing a PD plan. Here are questions to ask: What is program objective? Does everyone involved understand? What are the obstacles? Are there any cultural/political things to consider? Who are the stakeholders: within and outside the embassy? Who is the target audience? What’s the timeline? Are there any other events happening at the same time? Is the ambassador available? Are the stakeholders available? What resources are available: $ and personel? What are the indicators of a successful program?"

CITIZEN DIPLOMACY

An Insurance Policy for the US-Russia Reset - Matthew Rojansky, Across the Aisle: "To allow stronger US-Russian affinity networks to develop, both governments must lower barriers to travel, particularly the cost, delay and uncertainty of the current visa system. Compared with visa-free travel opportunities to Western Europe and even many former Soviet states for Americans, the process for securing a Russian visa is arcane and onerous. With increased openness to travel can come more extensive educational and professional exchange programs, modeled on the successful Fulbright and Murrow exchange programs for teachers and journalists. Direct citizen diplomacy of this kind is needed to break the barrier of cynicism and distrust created by negative and distorted media coverage on both sides."

Russian delegation to visit Nevada farm Thursday - Marlys Barker, The Tribune: "A rural Nevada couple has been asked to showcase Story County and Nevada, when a delegation commemorating the 50th anniversary of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s 1959 visit to Iowa makes a return to the state.

Bill and Nancy Couser will host a visit of the 'Khrushchev In Iowa' four-day commemoration tour’s participants Thursday, Aug. 27. … According to a media release, more than 30 organizations will be involved in the commemoration event, which goes back to September of 1959, when Nikita Khrushchev came to Iowa in an effort to allow Iowans to showcase the power of agriculture, trade and citizen diplomacy, and to reach across borders and thaw Cold War tensions." See also (1) (2). Image from

Belfast Hosts Landmark Sister Cities Convention - James Brooks, Nation's Cities Weekly: "The hallmark of the sister city movement — from the original vision of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 to the present day — has been the power of citizen diplomacy to build peace and mutual understanding. That message was in full evidence as more than 400 delegates from around the world were received in the Northern Ireland Parliament Building at Stormont by the two individuals whose respective political movements were in armed conflict with one another for more than three decades. … This year’s conference marked a milestone for Sister Cities International; it was the first year since the founding that its annual convention was held outside the United States. Global themes such as sustainability and climate change represented a significant part of the program as did workshops relating to social cohesion, cultural identity and conflict resolution."

Political party defections: A perspective on Obama, Clinton African policy - John M Amoda and A. Eze Nwagbaraji, Vanguard: "Elections and the conduct of elected officials in government are now centre-piece of American African Policy, a development that highlights Nigeria’s Foreign Minister’s exposition of notions of citizen diplomacy." See also. Below image from


Nigerian Detainees in LibyaTHISDAY: "[W]e believe the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and especially the Nigerian Embassy in Tripoli should be more pro-active in matters concerning citizens’ interests in that country, especially ones that have to do with life and death. This call will only give the government’s 'Citizen Diplomacy' mantra its real utilitarian meaning. Our officials should not stand by and watch the lives of … poor fellow citizens waste in vain, no matter their offences."

RELATED ITEMS

Obama's "Empire Of Envoys" - Jon Ward, Washington Times: When President Obama took office eight months ago, he scoured the foreign-policy community in search of the brightest and best envoys to take personal control over such pressing challenges as the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the crisis in Darfur and the quest for peace in the Middle East. Now, however, his appointments of nearly a score of special envoys and special ambassadors have created a confusing patchwork of policy fiefdoms inside the administration that lacks clearly defined lines of command and has the potential for miscommunication on a grand scale.

A War Won Less by Force Than by Persuasion? - C.J. Chivers, New York Times:

The war is soon to enter its ninth year. The doctrine has caught up, at least on paper. Out in the field, the way forward, day by day, mission by mission, is far less clear. Image from

The War on Terror is Over: Lawyers are about to smother the war on terror - Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal

Reform in Iran: Let It Be - Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View: At various times during the hard fought Iranian election campaign, defenders of the Ahmedinejad regime attempted to dismiss the reformers as tools of the U.S. or, more often, of Britain, home of the BBC, that very annoying purveyor of trustworthy news. (Would that VOA were still respected for its hard news!) … [S]igns are that the Obama administration may not be able to resist the American impulse to meddle and dominate.

USA Today reports that “the Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents,” even as President Obama continues to insist that the “U.S. is not meddling in Iran’s affairs.” … Obama can’t have it both ways. If you are pouring money into Iran, you are meddling—and you will be tainting the reformers, especially if you aren’t operating openly, secrecy and subversion being all too comfortable bedfellows. Image from

Berkeley, Iran and Diplomacy 2.0SFGate.com: There has been little progress in getting three UC Berkeley graduates released from detention in Iran, where they have been held since July 31. But family members are taking steps to keep the case on the front burner. The new Web site set up for the three emphasizes the accidental nature of their trespass from its name -- http://freethehikers.org/ -- to bios of the three that detail their respect for other cultures, their human rights work and their loving families, complete with family photo galleries dating back into childhood. Courtesy JS.

The National Endowment For Propaganda – Clifford, Red Stick Rant: Here's something to keep you awake at night - Team Hopenchange is apparently trying to use The National Endowment for the Arts - a federally funded agency - to promote its political agenda. This is yet another reason why the NEA should be eliminated.

Taliban Propaganda Watch: Couple of More Sites Down - Milnews.ca Blog

Journalism Students To Be Taught Propaganda by Kremlin Spin DoctorsAlleop's Blog:

The Kremlin backed Foundation for Effective Politics (FEP) is to run the ‘Laboratory of Public Dialogue’ at the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University, Novaya Gazeta (http://en.novayagazeta.ru/) reports. According to Kirill Tanayev, the FEP Director, “FEP participates in political and ideological planning and, in fact, operates as a branch of RF President Administration”. The new project is “aimed at bringing politics to the Faculty of Journalism” and vise versa – employing journalists for political campaigns. Image from

War is Boring: Russian War Documentary Fuels Propaganda Debate David Axe - World Politics Review: A widely viewed TV documentary produced by Russia's government-sponsored Channel 1 has sparked a bitter debate over Russia's manipulation of the media. "The War of 08.08.08 -- The Art of Deception" purported to dissect Georgia's propaganda tactics. But it did so with manipulated interviews and translations that themselves comprise propaganda, according to critics.

IMAGE



From "Frank: humans 'on display' at zoo," Boing Boing

ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

I know most offices, including mine, use answering machines. This makes more important, not less, the need for human interface.

--Shri Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs

12 comments:

Sten Dellby said...

Some reflections on your quotation from Jerusalem Post on "The 'Swedish affair”:

The author of the Post article criticize the Israeli foreign minister and thinks that he could learn a lesson from a public diplomacy perspective. As I see it so could the Swedish ambassador to Israel.

The Aftonbladet article did not actually claim that the Israel army harvested organs from killed Palestinians. The author merely passed on what some of relatives of the killed believe. Whether that is good journalistic practice to do so without any supporting facts can be discussed; but no one cared until the Swedish ambassador to Israel got questions from media.

In what could be seen as a quick and swift public diplomacy reaction the ambassador published a statement on the embassy’s official web where she repudiated the article.

She shouldn't’t gave done that. In Sweden the foreign minister Mr Carl Bild was asked by media whether the opinions of the ambassador reflected the government’s.

The foreign minister answered that the government, as matter of constitutional law, does not comment the content of media. The embassy removed the statement. And the whole thing escalated into a full-blown diplomatic affair.

Here in Sweden some conspiracy theorists believe that the Israeli government took the opportunity. It want to be able to dismiss Sweden as a mediator in a coming peace process (the Israeli government do prefer the Germans it is said). It could be as it is. But what for the ambassador must have looked like a quick public diplomacy reaction grow into a full-blown diplomatic crisis.

The foreign minister will be questioned by a parliamentary panel; he is probably not very happy with his ambassador´s handling of public diplomacy.

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