Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 4

"I do not need your consent to do good."

--Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790), speaking to his Belgian subjects; cited in Times Literary Supplement (July 31, 2009), p. 9; image from


Welcome to the official Twitter page of the US Embassy Seoul


Public Diplomacy Takes Center Stage - Kevin Drum, Mother Jones: "Along with practically everyone else on the planet, I've been extremely non-optimistic for the past decade about the chances for some kind of Israeli-Palestinian accord. And Obama or no Obama, I can't say that anything recently has changed my mind. It still seems politically impossible for Israel to take any serious action on the settlements, just as it seems unrealistic to expect that Fatah and Hamas can come to any kind of agreement that allows them to effectively represent Palestinian interests. There are distinct limits to what Obama's oratory can do, and this seems like one of them. But I'm glad he's at least trying." See also. Image from

What’s next for Obama’s Middle East push? – Matthew Bell, The World from Eagle Hill: "Obama’s special envoy George Mitchell talked with Mark Lander at the NYTimes and while he didn’t have a lot to talk about, a couple of things jump out. One, the US administration is planning a new public diplomacy effort aimed at Israelis and Arabs. And two, Mitchell lowers expectations for the deal (assuming it materializes) he’s going to make with the Israelis on settlements."

President Obama Texts Africans: Follow Hillary! - Dana Hughes, ABC News: "Ahead of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's seven-nation trip to Africa this week, the Obama administration is texting all Africans (or non-Africans in Africa, like this reporter) who sent a question or comment during last month’s Ghana visit. This time the administration isn’t asking to hear from Africans, but wants them to follow Hillary's trip on America.gov, Facebook, and Twitter using the searchable term #HillaryAfrica. Thousands of Africans sent in questions before, during and after President Obama’s speech in Ghana. The president answered selected questions chosen from various African journalists in a podcast shortly after returning to Washington, D.C., but as an immediate response, anyone who registered received highlights of the speech, and will continue to receive updates from the administration. … 'I think that the enthusiasm of Africans, especially young people, to use technology to engage with us shows the very potential and promise of the continent that the president stressed in his speech,' Judith Michale [sic], Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs told reporters last month. 'Africans are as technologically capable and eager for connections with the world as any people on Earth,' Michale said." Image from

The Need for a New Narrative - James K. Glassman, Perspectives, Layalina Productions: "[W]e must turn to the most pernicious strategic communications threat we face in Muslim -- not just Arab -- societies. This is the widespread belief that the United States and the West have, as their grand strategy, the objective of destroying Islam and replacing it with Christianity. ... Our main objective in strategic communications should be to change that narrative. ... The emphasis should be on them (Muslims) and not on us (Americans). We have done far too much explaining of ourselves in our public diplomacy. I find all the self-justification irritating myself."

The Uyghurs' struggle & "smart power" - Jeff Ballinger, hurriyetdailynews.com: "The U.S. sat helpless several months ago when the Tamil insurgency was being mopped up in Sri Lanka - with tens of thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire. The Tigers may have desired a negotiated way out - and the U.S. might have liked to oblige them - but there was little in the way of substantive ties to Western powers that would have made a difference, no 'public diplomacy' option. Such is not the case with the residents of western China. Since many of them are sent to work in export processing zones, consumers in the United States come across products they have made on almost a daily basis. The 'smart power' reported on so avidly during the presidential campaign has a role to play in addressing at least some of the most vexing issues here."

Dan Hoyle is Taking "Tings Dey Happen," His Award-Winning, Solo Play About Nigerian Oil Politics, on a Whirlwind Tour of Nigeria, Sponsored by the U.S. State Department – Press Release, PR.com:

"Dan Hoyle is taking 'Tings Dey Happen,' his award-winning, solo play about Nigerian oil politics, on a whirlwind tour of Nigeria, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. The show, based on Hoyle's year in Nigeria studying oil politics on a Fulbright Scholarship, will travel to five cities in two weeks this October as part of the State Department's public diplomacy focus on anti-corruption issues." Hoyle image from

The Fletcher Forum Of World Affairs By The Fletcher School at Tufts University - Reviewed by Philip Seib, CPD Book Reviews, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Edward R. Murrow’s contributions to public diplomacy are universally acknowledged but rarely explained. That’s a shame, because Murrow left behind more than just a few often-cited comments about the place of public diplomacy in foreign policy. His real legacy in this field is to be found in his unwavering insistence on maintaining values — often values rooted in journalism — to ensure the integrity of public diplomacy. … Murrow’s views about public diplomacy were just a starting point for the Fletcher symposium. The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs presents articles by some of the conference’s speakers and, despite a bit of redundancy here and there, this collection provides a valuable overview of modern public diplomacy."

Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List: Public Diplomacy Share - The Public Diplomacy Council's Notes: "The Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and the President of the American Foreign Service Association have co-sponsored the creation of a Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List

to serve as a resource for Foreign Service and Civil Service employees of the foreign affairs agencies. AFSA, the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, and the State Department's Ralph J. Bunche Library, Office of the Historian, and Office of E-Diplomacy have compiled the list, with help from regional and functional bureaus. The list seeks to identify useful books and websites to serve as a point of departure for career-long, self-directed professional development. [Includes four books on public diplomacy]. Image from

How do you prepare for a career in public diplomacy? – Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner.us

Guns, Drugs and Jihad: Iran-Contra Operationtherearenosunglasses: "Under National Security Directive 3, signed by President Reagan in 1982, Vice President George Bush was placed in charge of the entire global covert action program. It was Bush’s Special Situation Group (SSG), and Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), at the White House, that employed Oliver North, Richard Secord, 'Public Diplomacy' head Walter Raymond, and the entire Iran-Contra operators. Throughout the 1980s, the Afghan War was the largest single program under this Bush chain of command." Image from


Marines fighting Taliban strive to win Afghan locals' trust - Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY: By providing security, rather than just focusing on killing insurgents, the Marines hope to convince locals to turn on the Taliban and eventually hand control over to the Afghan army and police — mirroring the tactics that helped turn the war in Iraq a few years ago.

Kinder, gentler jihad – Editorial, Washington Times: The media have given a lot of attention to the myth that the Taliban are trying to minimize noncombatant deaths. The notion of a kinder and gentler Taliban in Afghanistan is more a public relations ploy than reality. While the insurgent group presents itself as a popular movement concerned for the welfare of the Afghan people, it is killing civilians in record numbers. Image from

Iran TV: Detained Americans propaganda toolAP: Iranian state television says that issue of the Americans who strayed into Iran is being used as propaganda against the Islamic republic.

A darker shadow over Iran: The regime's harsh reaction to presidential election protests is veering into brutality and paranoia – Editorial, Los Angeles Times

Too soon to leave Iraq: Studies of civil wars in many countries reveal that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq may be crucial to a real and lasting peace - Barbara F. Walter, Los Angeles Times

Islamophobia. Ignorance Or Propaganda? - Tim Marshall, Sky News: “Hamas, and the jihadists do enough terrible things without having to make things up about them.

Most of the stuff I read was outright, unthinking, gleeful, Islamophobia from people who clearly knew nothing about Arab popular culture. It's as is they really bel[ie]ve that because there are examples of child brides, it means all weddings are with child brides.” Image from

The Ethics of Cultural Collaboration – Joshua S. Fouts, DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age: While at the June 2009 140Conf, Rita J. King was interviewed by long-time Online Journalism guru, JD Lasica about the ethics of cultural collaboration, online identity and the evolution of journalism with the advent of social media.

Does Obama Need the Traditional Media? Yes and No - Holly Bailey, Newsweek: People tend to support people they like, and Obama doesn’t want to repeat George W. Bush’s mistake of being too walled off and out of touch. But there’s a dueling component here in posting all these photos and videos: by doing it themselves, the White House controls the images and the story. They are bypassing the media filter to get out to the public exactly the points they desire to make, without the messiness of perhaps an unexpected question or an unflattering image. In some ways, they aren’t busting the presidential bubble but increasing it.

New media and social change in the Arab and Muslim world - Eric Karstens, European Journalism centre Magazine, Published on July 23, 2008: The process of media-induced change in the Arab countries has only just begun, but will ultimately turn out to be unstoppable even by the most traditional governments and the most closed societies. However, that does not necessarily mean that the Arab nations are now on the fast track to European-style democratisation and open societies. Rather, they may be on the way to modernise their own traditions, however difficult and painful that might turn out to be in any given case. Via a valued PDPBR reader.

US Military May Ban Twitter, Facebook as "Security Headaches"Boing Boing

Video from EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation] panel/audience discussion on using technology in repressive regimesBoing Boing

Radio Free America - Nancy Sinatra, New York Times: The United States is one of a small number of countries where artists and musicians are not compensated when their music is played on over-the-air radio.

Because the United States doesn’t have performance royalties, radio stations in countries that do collect them do not have to pay American artists. In many of these countries, American artists make up as much as 50 percent of radio airplay, and this prevents millions of dollars — industry estimates are $100 million year — from flowing into our economy. Sinatra image from


Number of Americans taking antidepressants doubles - Liz Szabo, USA TODAY: The number of Americans using antidepressants doubled in only a decade, while the number seeing psychiatrists continued to fall, a study shows.

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