Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August 5

"Fundamentally, public opinion wins war."

--General Dwight D. Einsenhower; cited in Susan A. Brewer, Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 125; image from


Clinton’s Second Chance in Pyongyang: The real story behind President Clinton's surprise mission to North Korea dates back to the 1990s - Michael Hirsh, Newsweek: "The White House today described Bill Clinton's surprise visit to North Korea as a 'solely private' effort to secure the release of two captive American journalists. But the real story behind the trip very likely goes back to the public diplomacy that then-president Clinton was conducting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il nearly 10 years ago, during Clinton's final months in office. At the time, the United States and North were tantalizingly close to a deal to stop all North Korean missile exports, and for Pyongyang to cease development, testing, and deployment of missiles. In exchange, the North would get full diplomatic recognition, billions in aid from Washington and Tokyo, and, above all, a visit to Pyongyang by the U.S. president."

In Release of Journalists, Both Clintons Had Key Roles- Mark Landler and Peter Baker, New York Times: "North Korea, clearly seeing a propaganda opportunity at home and a rare chance for a measure of favorable publicity abroad, welcomed Mr. Clinton with the fanfare of a state visit."

Why did North Korea free US reporters? -- Feature - Earth Times: "The alleged desperate willingness for better ties with the US is grounded in the growing need by Pyongyang for outside help to support an economic restructuring campaign. …

Few analysts expect the release of the two US journalists to trigger an immediate thaw in US-North Korean relations. … For its part, the White House has downplayed the significance of Wednesday's events with regards to the overall issue of US-North Korean relations. … Nevertheless, observers believe North Korea has gained a propaganda victory with televised scenes of Clinton and the journalists smiling in Pyongyang, softening the communist government's bad-guy image." See also. Image from

Clinton returns with freed journalists: Far from being an impromptu mercy mission, Bill Clinton’s visit to North Korea was carefully choreographed through ‘back channels’ - Jack Bremer, The First Post: "Keen to avoid the North Korean propaganda machine milking the former president's visit, the White House line was that Clinton's trip was a private matter, and that he was concerned solely with securing the two women's freedom."

Let the Big Dog Run - Maureen Dowd, New York times: "Conservatives were screeching, naturally, that the Clinton trip would provide propaganda cover to the North Koreans to continue their nuclear shell game."

Paying Kim’s Price: Was Mr. Clinton’s visit the down payment for a larger set of American concessions?- Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: "[T]he important question going forward is whether Mr. Clinton’s visit was merely the down payment Kim extracted from the Obama Administration for a potentially larger set of American concessions.

That question is hard to avoid given that Mr. Clinton was met at the Pyongyang airport by Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator. North Korea may have had its own propaganda reasons for putting its diplomat in the photo-op, and the White House insisted that Mr. Clinton’s mission was strictly humanitarian and that he was not carrying any messages from President Obama. We hope that’s true." Image from

Bill Clinton's multi-pronged mission of mercy: Despite criticism from the right wing in the U.S., the former president won the freedom of two Americans while also sizing up N. Korea's ailing leader, who gained little from the meeting -

Editorial, Los Angeles Times; Warhol image from


(Below images from: North Korean Propaganda Series: Other 7On My Way to Korea)

Opposing Radical Islam Violates the First Amendment? - Keith Pavlischek, First Things: "Since the Islamists believe they are permitted, indeed obliged, by their canonical religious texts to use terrorism to advance their agenda, you would think that it would be in the national interest of the United States that 'moderate Islam' prevails in this internal struggle. In fact, as just about any expert will tell you, the primary goal of public diplomacy efforts should be to separate the jihadists from the broader non-jihadist Muslim population. To put it crudely, we want one side of this controversy within Islam to win and another to lose."

The Four Ps of Marketing (and Public Diplomacy) – John Matel, World-Wide-Matel: "Public diplomacy could be included as a subset of national promotion. … Next time you hear somebody talk about the the American image as something that can be branded or marketed as a product, remind them of how real marketing works and the real marketing constraints."

Nation Branding - Khalid Hasan, posted by Toufique at Branding & Marketing Communication: "Nation branding is all about positioning a particular country/nation in the minds of people. … Nation branding appears to be practiced by many developed states, where it is often officially referred to as public diplomacy) [.] There is an increasing interest in the concept from developing states on the grounds that an enhanced image might create more favourable conditions for foreign direct investment, tourism, trade, and even political relations with other states. Large countries like China and Russia have also taken measures for building a 'new image.' The concept of nation-building has become an integral part of public diplomacy. Therefore, any efforts by the government to support the nation branding mechanism -- either directly or indirectly -- becomes public diplomacy."

Great Planners, Great Thinkers, Great Minds… Great Eyes? - jorgevega, Jorge on Good Ideas: "I am researching the planning / strategic models used in the best ad agencies out there, how effective they are in driving culturally-relevant work, and how applicable they are to the public diplomacy practice. Part of this research deals with studying the actual conceptualization of insight as guided by the agency’s philosophy, or to make it sound smarty-fancy, the epistemology of planners: before asking ourselves which kind of insight and how and where to acquire it, maybe we can also try establish what it should be?"

Twitter, Facebook Banned by Marines on Military Network - Emily Miller, Politics Daily: "The U.S. Marine Corps on Monday banned social media Web sites Facebook, Twitter and MySpace from its computer networks. …

In contrast, the U.S. Army has taken steps to further embrace social media. The Army regularly updates the public with its own Facebook fan page, Twitter account and Flickr photos. … The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, uses Twitter to share insights into positive American military activities that often are overlooked by mainstream media outlets. … Also, Gen. Ray Odierno, the top American military leader in Iraq, has shown his understanding of the power of social media for public diplomacy. Odierno, the commanding general of multinational forces, uses his Facebook fan page to share positive stories from Iraq that are usually not reported by the mainstream media." See also.

Public Diplomacy and Legitimacy In The Age Of Transparency - Shawn Powers, Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "At a recent conference, David Weinberger … argued: ‘What we used to believe because we thought the author was objective we now believe because we can see through the author’s writings to the sources and values that brought her to that position. Transparency gives the reader information by which she can undo some of the unintended effects of the ever-present biases. Transparency brings us to reliability the way objectivity used to.’ …

As transparency becomes the norm for establishing knowledge—and it is—governments that previously had trouble establishing credibility with foreign audiences now have a means of conveying information that does not require a leap of faith by the audience to be trusted. Rather, by embracing the hyperlink, providing in-depth information to back up one’s arguments and stories and openly expressing one’s personal attachment to an issue—i.e. bias—public diplomacy practitioners have a newly established and ubiquitous means of engaging foreign audiences."

The Diaspora in Public Diplomacy - Indian & Chinese - Madhurjya Kotoky, The Public Diplomacy Blog: "India & China are two most populous nations in the world. Both these countries are home to half of the world's population and a huge number of Indians & Chinese live overseas. The diaspora of these two countries can play a huge role in boosting respective country's images."

Education exports: Government mute - Alex Duchen, the interpreter: 'The Australian Government has a bit of work to do on the overseas image of Australian education. That’s no surprise. What is surprising is the lack of visible public diplomacy from the Federal Government on what is becoming a severe problem for Australia’s lucrative education export industry. Education is Australia’s top services export.

It is the third largest export overall (after coal and iron ore). But, as reported by the ABC this week, the international education trade from India has been decimated. Then, to add insult to injury, this week saw the collapse of a large private college in Sydney."

Restoring Georgia’s Sovereignty, Redux - Spencer B. Meredith, Foreign Policy Journal: "Dr. Spencer B. Meredith, III is a Fulbright Scholar who worked on multi-track conflict resolution measures in Georgia and Abkhazia in 2007.

He has been a frequent guest lecturer for the US State Department’s public diplomacy program in South and East Asia, as well as a faculty advisor for study abroad programs in China and South Africa." Image from


Leadership Vacancy Raises Fears About USAID's Future - Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post: Clinton has backed the use of "smart power" -- employing a full range of economic, military, political and development tools in U.S. foreign policy -- but many aid experts are questioning whether the U.S. Agency for International Development could lose clout under her plans. While Clinton has championed additional personnel for USAID, aid groups worry that the once-autonomous agency could be swallowed up in the State Department, with long-term development goals losing out to short-term political aims.

Macho Propaganda, Russian Style (or... 'Show Us Ya Nipples!') - notes from eleanor bloom: When he's not tranquilizing tigers he's diving in mini-submarines to attach thingamees to whales.

What a handy guy to have around eh?And, fortunately for the laaay-dies Putin's been camping (for a whole day!) and oh yeah baby, he's putting it out there again! Get ya ruble notes ready! SMH -- The 56-year-old former president was kitted out in green military fatigues, impenetrable black sunglasses and a green slouch hat. He then posed for a series of photographs driving a motorboat, snapping twigs with his knee, building a fire, fishing off a rock ledge, feeding his horse - still topless - and surging out of a frigid lake. Image from article.

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