"We lost control of the context … That has to be fixed for the next war."
--Information warrior John Rendon, explaining the decline in popular support for Operation Iraqi Freedom; cited in Susan A. Brewer, Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 275; image from
U.S. no longer at war with 'terrorism': Administration deems terms from Bush era unacceptable - Jon Ward, Washington Times: "It's official. The United States is no longer engaged in a 'war on terrorism.' Neither is it fighting 'jihadists' nor locked in a 'global war.' President Obama's top homeland security and counterterrorism official on Thursday declared as unacceptable the terms crafted by the George W. Bush administration. It is now solely a 'war with al Qaeda' and its violent extremist allies, said John Brennan, head of the White House homeland security office, during a speech Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. … Mr. Brennan's speech was aimed at outlining ways in which the Obama administration intends to undermine the 'upstream' factors that create an environment in which terrorists are created. The president's adviser talked about increasing aid to foreign governments for building up their militaries and social and democratic institutions, but provided few details about how the White House will do that. ... James K. Glassman, who served as Mr. Bush's ambassador to the Muslim world as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, said the focus on 'upstream' factors was 'a good strategy because it's the same strategy that we had.'" See also (1) (2). Image from
Censoring the Voice of America: Why is it OK to broadcast terrorist propaganda but not taxpayer-funded media reports? – Matt Armstrong, Foreign Policy: "In the United States, airing a program produced by a U.S. public diplomacy radio or television station such as VOA is illegal. Oddly, though, airing similar programs produced by foreign governments -- or even terrorist groups -- is not. As a result, the same professional journalists, editors, and public diplomacy officers whom we trust to inform and engage the world are considered more threatening to Americans than terrorist propaganda. … In an age where a teenager with a keyboard can wield more influence than an F-22 Raptor, the time has long past for the United States to change its public diplomacy and communications strategy accordingly." See also (1) (2). Image from
Is Islam > First Amendment at the State Department? - Bill West, Blogspot: "On July 9, the Secretary of State’s office issued a cable to US embassies and consular posts around the world. The subject of this cable was 'PUBLIC DIPLOMACY RESOURCES FOR RAMADAN 2009.' … There do not appear to be similar religious outreach programs within the Department of State for Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus or any other religious group. It is clear the US Department of State, particularly at the senior levels, has an institutional affinity for Islam and Muslims. Legal officers within at least one division of DOS have raised serious Establishment Clause concerns about governmental programs with a religious focus. However, it appears no less than the Secretary of State has decided to ignore those concerns."
Romney and Nationalism - Daniel Larison, American Conservative: "As long as [former Republican presidential candidate Mitt] Romney sets the right mood, demonstrates the appropriate attitude of idolatrous reverence for the nation, and acts as the national cheerleader, his actual policy positions probably could be less hawkish and aggressive than Obama’s and he would be taken seriously.
Even if acknowledging past U.S. mistakes aids our public diplomacy and enhances American influence in another country by repairing tattered relations with a foreign government, what matters to the kind of nationalists to which Romney evidently wants to appeal is that the U.S. government never admit serious error, because to do so would be to diminish 'American greatness' and somehow invite foreign attacks." Image from
Obama, far-sighted peacemaker or naïve meddler? - David Turner, Israel, Zionism And The Diaspora: "If Obama's real diplomatic agenda is to achieve a breakthrough, a united front between Israel and the Arab states facing the Iranian threat accross the Gulf, and his adherance [sic] to the failed concept of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is diplomatic cover, then he and his administration will, in managing international affairs, be head and shoulders above any since the 1940's. If not, then Obama and his team of experts will simply add another sorry chapter to the long tradition of US bungling and misadventures in the Middle East. … So why does Obama make a Palestinian state the lynchpin of his Middle East diplomacy? Is it possible that the Administration is really as committed to the primacy of Palestinian statehood as they appear in public? I, for one, prefer to believe that Obama, Mitchell and Ross are more rational and realistic than their public diplomacy describes."
SWJ Blog - Pentagon Weighs Social Networking Benefits, Vulnerabilities – Recommended Readings, zenpundit.com: Re the article "Pentagon Weighs Social Networking Benefits, Vulnerabilities" by John J. Kruzel, American Forces Press Service -- which states that “A Defense Department review is weighing the benefits of social networking and other Web 2.0 platforms against potential security vulnerabilities they create. In a memo issued last week, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III directed a study of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in hopes of establishing a policy by October, Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters today” -- zenpundits writes: “This is an error on the part of DoD - and the effect will be compounded by the idiocy of the Left-wing Democrats in Congress trying to kill funding for public diplomacy, IO, EW while bloviating about nonexistent propaganda being directed at US citizens. A perfect example of risk averse bureaucrats opting for a closed information system that will retard our already lethargic and obtuse message capabilities.” Image from
Program on Terrorism and Security Studies course graduates 75 - Yvonne Levardi, Blackanthem.com: "Seventy-five participants from 45 countries, including Israel and the Palestinian Territories, graduated from the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies July 31 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies … The PTSS faculty works to increase participant knowledge about terrorism and emphasize methods of counterterrorism. Other topics include public diplomacy, law enforcement, countering terrorist finance and the use of military force."
On the Road in America - Victoria, 29°20'N,47°59'E: On the Road in America: "I just became aware of a television show that apparently aired on the Sundance Channel called 'On the Road in America', a combination of 'Road Rules' and a public diplomacy project to send Arab youth to the United States to instill greater faith in the American image in a time when the US is having a rebranding crisis in the Middle East." Left On the Road in America image from; Right Guantanamo image from
Chinese public diplomacy: Taking it to Britain - Amy King, the interpreter: weblog of the Lowy institute for International Policy: "China’s Ambassador to the UK (and former Ambassador to Australia), Fu Ying, believes China needs to do more on the public diplomacy front. … For all Fu Ying’s efforts, public diplomacy is, by definition, the process of engaging with foreign publics. Despite the Brown Government’s desire to build a new kind of engagement with China, it is not clear that the British public has come on board. … Yet this is slowly changing. The UK’s National Centre for Languages notes that the number of students undertaking degrees in Chinese Studies tripled between 2000 and 2006, although overall numbers remain low (less than 400 students enrolled in 2006). And around 10% of secondary schools in the UK now offer Mandarin teaching. Much of this is supported by the education arm of Chinese public diplomacy, the Confucius Institute. … Statistics on language acquisition and tertiary study on China signify that the country is becoming a more significant player in British eyes.
Yet public diplomacy still has a long way to go. The Brown Government’s desires to 'get the best for the UK from China’s development' are juxtaposed against a tendency in the British press and public to view China as a profoundly foreign, and often threatening, country." Image from
Australia delivers literature breakthrough in PNG - Keith Jackson's Png Attitude How It Looks From Here: Sydney 2009: "Yesterday I received, as a result of illicit third party trafficking in propaganda, a media release from the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby. It was entitled (and the caps are theirs) AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION SUPPORTS NATIONAL BOOK WEEK. The High Commission, on behalf of us taxpayers, had determined a strategic deployment of funds designed to benefit young Papua New Guineans. As High Commissioner Chris Moraitis expressed it, he wanted to 'reinforce the close friendship and cooperation between Australia and PNG'. Good thing too. This year’s theme, it turns out, is ‘BOOKS … Building Our Own Knowledge Society’. [OL BUK – Kamapim Save Bilong Ol Pipol – my loose translation]. The High Commissioner says sloganeering (sorry, Book Week) is about 'recognising the important role that physical books continue to play in PNG society and education.' 'Books will remain a vital source of information and learning for many years to come,' reflected Mr Moraitis in a media release issued by his spin doctor (oops, ‘Public Diplomacy Officer’), Oliver Nombri."
I can make a good case for South Africa - Leon – Cape Argus, South Africa: "On May 21, 2008, Tony Leon said: 'The fear remains that because of his dubious personal associates and past moral choices, under a Zuma presidency South Africa could revert to a stereotype of 'Big Man', African-style kleptocracy replete with redistributive and populist economics with lashings of demagoguery.'
This week, the government appointed Leon as an ambassador, apparently to Argentina. We asked him :… How will you sell South Africa? [Reply:] I rather think that 'A world in one country' is a fairly good description. It is a country of extraordinary diversity. And I understand that public diplomacy is not only about gilding the lily, but about painting an accurate picture." Image from
Indonesia, RP celebrate socio-cultural ties, economic exchange - Bob, Mindanao: "Indonesian and Philippine delegates, mostly represented by Mindanao students, historians, and government leaders get together in a forum organized by the Indonesian Consulate that highlights the two countries’ deeply-rooted socio-cultural and historical ties as well as its economic ties. Andi Hadi, Director General of the Information and Public Diplomacy of Indonesian Department- Department of Foreign Affairs said in his keynote speech that this relationship has grown significantly in terms of trade, culture, and economic relations in the framework of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia- Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA)."
When the Tactical Trumps the Strategic: Very Bad – Rob, Arabic Media Shack: "For me, the strategic is simply the 'Big Picture End-Goal' or more simply 'The Ends.' For the Crusaders in the movie this meant keeping Jerusalem under Christian control; for America in the 20th century it was 'win World War Two' or 'maintain a strong global alliance against the Soviet Union.' The Tactical domain relates to how you achieve the Strategic goals. What are the means to achieve the big picture ends? There are many, they could include strategic communications, public diplomacy, and without question, it sometimes means the use of military force." Image from
Preparing for a career in public diplomacy - Mark Overmann, Working World: "Matt Armstrong at MountainRunner points to a lengthy, online discussion from this past June among the well-known and respected 'old guard' of U.S. government public diplomacy (mainly retired foreign and civil service officers from the now-gone U.S. Information Agency). Take some time and read the whole exchange if you’re particularly interested in the discipline of public diplomacy and the debate behind PD in theory versus PD in practice."
An afternoon with Adrienne O’Neal, Diplomat-in-Residence - Ren’s Micro Diplomacy [July 30]: "This afternoon, I was luck[y] enough to be invited to a luncheon with Adrienne O’Neal, Diplomat-in - Residence at University of Michigan, for students who are interested in careers with the Department of State. She spoke about the selection process, the various 'career tracks' (don’t call them cones anymore!) and what it’s like to be a public diplomacy officer." O'Neal image from
Two Weeks to Go – Ren’s Micro Diplomacy: "Just two short weeks until I plunge into the Public Diplomacy program. I’ve finished Nye’s 'Soft Power' (you can see my Notes from Smart Power by Joseph Nye) and only have about 30-pages left of a Nick Cull reading."
Temporary Notes - Kennedy Mayong Blog: "SCHEDULE:7 Aug 2009: Public diplomacy in Dewan Kuliah Utama, UMS morning session (Le Meridien) 8 Aug 2009: Public diplomacy in Dewan Besar Membakut afternoon session."
Face-off to Facebook: Walter Roberts Remembers - Mark Taplin,
Global Publicks: "Dr. Walter Roberts, a former senior USIA and VOA official whose work in public diplomacy stretches back to the early days of World War II, kicked off the 'Face-off to Facebook' conference on July 23. Following an introduction by Prof. Sean Aday, Director of GWU's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, Roberts recalls how Nikita Khrushchev's new, more open approach to world affairs set the stage for more contacts and exchanges with the West, and how the 1958 U.S.-Soviet cultural agreement led to the first reciprocal U.S.-Soviet public diplomacy initiatives, including the American national exhibition at Sokolniki Park." Taplin image from
Madrassa reform key - Douglas M. Johnston, Washington Times: No one doubts that the key to impacting the hearts and minds of Pakistan's rising generation of leaders starts with educational reforms in the grade schools and high schools.
These schools are very influential, and reform of their curricula is not only possible, it's happening. The fact that it is needs the attention of the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development as well as the international donor community. The International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD), a Washington-based nongovernmental organization, has engaged a number of Pakistan's madrassas for the last five years, training more than 2,200 madrassa leaders and senior faculty from some 1,450 madrassas, including a sizable number in the more radical areas of the country. Image from
Blast Walls on Major Baghdad Streets to Come Down
- Sinan Salaheddin, Associated Press: Baghdad - The towering concrete blast walls that have both protected and suffocated Baghdad streets for the past two years will come down within 40 days, Iraq's government announced Wednesday.
Iraqis Freed by U.S. Face Few Jobs and Little Hope - Campbell Robertson, New York Times: 90,000 detainees have been released from American detention centers in the past six years, a process that will end sometime next year, when the last center is to be transferred to Iraqi control. Almost 10,000 detainees remain in American custody.
Bombs, bullets and ballots in Afghanistan: Holding an election now, amid the violence of war, is fraught with risk. But not holding one would be worse – Editorial, Los Angeles Times
The Propaganda Value of a Detained Journalist - William O. Beeman, New America Media: Editor’s Note: New America Media correspondent Shane Bauer is one of three Americans presumed to be detained by the Iranian government near the Iran-Iraq border last weekend. Commentator William O. Beeman writes that their situation raises profound political questions.
Iran’s Show Trial - Editorial, New York Times: For all of this week’s public shows, Iran’s leaders are determined to hide the truth of what is happening in the country. Rights groups say 40 journalists have been detained since the election.
The Iranian people have not been fooled. More abuse, lies and intimidation are only likely to feed their anger and the world’s revulsion. Image from
Iran's nuclear aspirations threaten the world: The Islamic Republic has proved it only uses talks with the West as a delaying tactic as it relentlessly pursues nuclear arms. Only severe sanctions backed by military threat will have any impact - Dore Gold, Los Angeles Times
There Is a Military Option on Iran: U.S. Air Force and Naval forces could do serious damage to Tehran’s nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails - Chuck Wald, Wall Street Journal: If the Iranian regime continues to advance its nuclear program despite the best efforts of Mr. Obama and other world leaders, we risk Iranian domination of the oil-rich Persian Gulf, threats to U.S.-allied Arab regimes, the emboldening of radicals in the region, the creation of an existential threat to Israel, the destabilization of Iraq, the shutdown of the Israel-Palestinian peace process, and a regional nuclear-arms race.
Georgia's Unmet Promise - Howard L. Berman, Washington Post: The United States has a significant stake in Georgia's future. We should use our influence with Georgia's political leaders to ensure that it continues to move in the right direction. In terms of building Georgia's political institutions, we need to put our money where our mouth is. Let's make the legacy of last year's war a renewed commitment by Georgia, in partnership with the United States, to fulfill the promise of the Rose Revolution. The writer, a Democratic representative from California, is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Russia and Georgia in verbal war – BBC News: Much of the South Ossetian capital is still in ruins. Georgia and Russia have stepped up a propaganda battle, each accusing the other of starting their war over South Ossetia, on the eve of the anniversary.
What does propaganda look like in real time? Is propaganda Right Speech or wrong? –
David Parker, examiner.com. Image: US PsyOp leaflet used in Afghanistan Source from
When Viral Marketing Goes Wrong: Nazi Propaganda for Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds - the Password is Swordfish: Film director Tarantino has unleashed a viral marketing ploy of questionable taste at best: a fake movie trailer for the film being screened at the climax of Inglourious Basterds. It’s the story of a noble, handsome young Nazi, who will become the hero of his country in the Nazi propaganda film, “Nation’s Pride.” It even mentions Goebbels. Are they so desperate to drum up publicity that they think that offending people with a Nazi viral ad is a good idea?
History through cinema with The Battleship Potemkin - Tim Yahner, examiner.com:
Most films that are historically significant become so through artistic merit, popular appeal or social commentary and significance. Few set out to directly influence politics, society and history, with the exception of the propaganda films. The Battleship Potemkin (1925) is the rare propaganda film that also brings considerable artistic merit to the table, which arguably made its point have that much more of an impact. Potemkin film image from article.
MORE QUOTATIONS FOR THE DAY
"[O]ur first question was, how do you confirm Twitter is down without Twitter?"
Eliot Van Buskirk, "Denial of Service Attack Knocks Twitter Offline (Updated)," Wired News
“Is it not sad ... that we are materially dependent on these savages, who are not a better class of human beings?”