Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 6


--The number of names in a sea of data called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE); image from


Global Responsibility: Towards a More Cognizant Foreign Policy - Sadia Ahsanuddin, Huffington Post: "President Barack Obama's recent gestures to the Muslim world, particularly significant in today's environment, are laudable: 'The United States is not at war with Islam,' and 'We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better -- including my own country,' being two such statements. Words such as these combat the effects of ideologues who spout hatred and increase enmity; indeed, words such as these were exactly what much of the Muslim world had been waiting to hear. On the other hand, belligerent and antagonizing words and gestures serve to drive people towards ideologues who assert that 'the West' will never understand 'the Muslim world' and is out to destroy it. In the preface of his book Unholy War,

John Esposito addressed the former administration, stating: 'The Bush administration remains challenged to remember that this is as much a political war as a military war...[that] in the long term, the most effective weapon will be public diplomacy... America will need to join with its partners in the international community, addressing the root causes of terrorism.'" Image from

Why Are Conservatives So Committed To Promoting Al Qaeda’s ‘Success’? - Matt Duss, The Wonk Room, Think Progress: "Over-stating the strength and prominence of Al Qaeda has been a tendency of the right for years. In Iraq, for example, even long after it had become clear that Al Qaeda represented a small part of the Iraqi insurgency, the Bush administration was still promoting it as the lead actor in the insurgency, because it fit within the administration’s narrative of why we’d gone into Iraq in the first place. But as Marc Lynch, who monitors Arabic-language media (and who wrote a great book on the subject which you should read), wrote at the time, this did real harm in the wider Arab and Muslim world, 'where the exaggeration of al-Qaeda’s role works directly and devastatingly against American goals.' It magnifies al-Qaeda’s perceived power, strengthening its own media campaign and feeding its most powerful propaganda instrument… The [Bush] administration in effect claims more power and military success for al-Qaeda in Iraq than al-Qaeda claims for itself — for which the al-Qaeda leadership can only be bemusedly grateful. Forget al-Hurra — if you’re looking for a real public diplomacy fiasco, you’ll be hard pressed to do worse than the US acting as al-Qaeda’s agent in promoting its Iraqi success.'"

Foreign Affairs for the 21st Century - William P. Kiehl, Layalina Productions: "To re-right the balance in America’s national security structure, the Department of State must be broadened into a true Department of Foreign Affairs (the original name by the way) and like the Department of Defense should be restructured to accommodate the many roles it must play.

Within the Department of Foreign Affairs there could be semi-independent sub-departments, similar to the departments of the individual services in the Defense Department, to deal with traditional diplomacy (i.e. state-to-state relations), public diplomacy (similar to the former USIA), foreign assistance (USAID), foreign trade (USTR, FCS, FAS etc.), stabilization and reconstruction (in league with DoD). These Departments within the Department of Foreign Affairs could function as the Department of Diplomacy, the Department of Public Diplomacy, the Department of International Development, the Department of International Trade, etc." Kiehl image from

That Failure on 12/25: It’s the Culture, Stupid! - Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View: "When I was working in USIA and then in the State Department, no one with the least shred of ambition shared information or contacts until those precious items had been milked as fully as possible for personal advantage. And that’s just in one agency. ... [T]hose all important national security dots are not going to be connected on a routine basis until warring, suspicious agencies and individuals can be persuaded that honest-to-goodness teamwork isn’t an idiot’s game." On USIA, see

Fulbright Program Announces Scholars: Each year the Fulbright Program sends Texas A&M faculty to universities around the world and brings foreign faculty to visit our campus. The most recent Fulbright Scholars for 2009-10 have been announced - press release, Media Newswire:

"Jason Christopher Parker was recently named a Fulbright Scholar recipient for 2009-2120. An assistant professor in the Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts, Parker will travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina in March to lecture on 'Carazones y Mentes: U.S. Public Diplomacy and the Alliance for Progress in South America' at the University of San Andres until June." Senator Fulbright image from

Michelle Kwan Finds New Mission Off Ice - Bae Ji-sook, Korea Times: "[Kwan] has been appointed the Public Diplomacy Envoy by the U.S. Department of State to promote and forge ties between the U.S. and other countries. Kwan is also working on a master's degree at Tufts University in international relations and politics. Her new job brought her to Korea for a six-day trip which started Sunday."

The Year Ahead: A Strategic Opportunity For European Public Diplomacy - Daryl Copeland, Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "With its peace, prosperity, safe and livable cities, social safety net, excellent public infrastructure, rich historical heritage and thriving artistic and cultural life, in the era of heteropolarity, Europa

seems destined to lead the world in soft power, the power of attraction. The source of Europe’s strength and the basis of its comparative advantage will reside in the demonstration effect, in the ability to project its success by example internationally. And if soft power is the fuel of influence, then innovative public diplomacy - based on meaningful exchange, reputation management and relationship building - will inevitably find application as the primary delivery vehicle." Image the Rape of Europa from

Chinese military to launch official Web site from – chinasecurityblog: "The Web site appears aimed at reassuring Asian and Western nations that the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] is becoming more accessible to the outside world, [e]xperts told the China Daily. 'As more attention is being given to online information, the Chinese army has moved one step forward in its public diplomacy,' Professor Li Xiguang, dean of Tsinghua University’s journalism school, was quoted as saying."

91% of Israelis say Tel Aviv faces acute image problem - Press TV:

"Opinion polls indicate widespread concerns among Israelis over Tel Aviv's 'acute' image problem and unprecedented criticism from the international community. A survey conducted by the Kelim Shluvim Research Institute at the request of the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs said 91 percent of respondents believed Israel suffers an 'acute' or 'very acute' image problem in the world." See also; image from

Israel’s PR Problem: The Jewish state is good at many things, like war and technology, but inept at promoting itself. It needs to get better, soon - Michael Hirsh, Newsweek: "Winning good will means an endless siege on world opinion, but Israel can no longer disdain the war that awaits it on this new battlefield."

Turkish Foreign Ministry makes web-chat-press meeting for first time "The ministry, which has previously announced that it would start using social networking tools such as 'facebook' and 'twitter' for public diplomacy activities, held a tele-conference in December for the first time."

'Big Brother,' big problem - Melody Sucharewicz, Jerusalem Post -

Melody Sucharewicz "is a spokesperson and adviser for public diplomacy and international relations in Israel. She is the winner of Israel's The Ambassador TV competition of 2006." Sucharewicz image from

Poverty Alleviation at a Rate of 7: The Unitus Model - "I spoke with Windy Wilkins and Steve Schwartz from Unitus, a non-profit that works to increase access to microfinance services, to learn about Unitus’ specialized model (instead of working directly with borrowers, Unitus identifies high-impact microfinance institutions (MFIs) and helps them attract capital and systematize processes) and why the organization is so effective. ... Steve:['] I got a degree in international relations and public diplomacy and I took that down to Wall Street to misuse it for a couple of years representing hedge funds. I then went into the Peace Corps and ended up in West Africa and Benin and did microfinance with a lot of women’s groups. I saw the potential impact microfinance had on these women’s self esteem and identity.[']”

Five undergraduates named Scholars in the Nation's Service – News at Princeton:

"Megan McPhee, a native of Sudbury, Mass., who is a Wilson School major and certificate candidate in Spanish, Latin American studies and musical performance. She held a summer internship with La AsociaciĆ³n Pro Arte y Cultura, a nonprofit organization in eastern Bolivia, and spent a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. McPhee hopes to combine her passion for music and the arts with her interest in international affairs, public diplomacy and stabilization initiatives through a career at the U.S. Department of State or USAID." Image from

How to Become a Diplomat - editor, How to Do Things: "This profession has five career tracks such as consular, political, management, public diplomacy, and economic. You can choose one career track from above given options."


A 'conspiracy' reconstructed - John R. Coyne Jr, Washington Times: It's interesting to note that President Obama's Oslo speech, which initially had his admirers in the major media speaking of an "Obama doctrine," with its emphasis on national strength and the need for just wars, and minus the occasional Niebuhrian felicities, could just as well have been read by George W. Bush.

Airline attack shows Obama's listless approach to terrorism - Michael Gerson, Washington Post

A case for presidential power on terrorism detainees - Ruth Marcus, Washington Post: Obama once envisioned legislation outlining his authority to detain terrorists. He's since backed away.

That's too bad. Image from

Another Iranian Revolution? Not Likely - Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, New York Times: The president would do well to look to China. Since President Richard Nixon’s opening there (which took place amid the Cultural Revolution), successive American administrations have been wise enough not to let political conflict — whether among the ruling elite or between the state and the public, as in the Tiananmen Square protests and ethnic separatism in Xinjiang — divert Washington from sustained, strategic engagement with Beijing. President Obama needs to begin displaying similar statesmanship in his approach to Iran.

Al-Qaeda In The Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Propaganda From The Washington Times - Gregg Carlstrom, The Washington Times op-ed page apparently has nothing better to do this morning than reprint propaganda from the Saudi government. It published an editorial on Iran's alleged connections to al-Qaeda.

The Blind Side of Avatar - Peter Ferrara, American Spectator: The movie seeks to apply the plain, straightforward, moral lesson of the story line to other situations where it does not apply. In particular, a couple of references in the movie suggest that what we are witnessing is analogous to the War on Terrorism.

Bad timing for this confused, misleading propaganda line. Because just a few days after the movie's appearance on theater screens, America watched a real world morality play on its television screens, as the terrorists we are at war with from al Qaeda sent one of their trained assassins to commit mass murder in attempting to blow 300 innocent Americans out of the sky on a flight to Detroit. Image from

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

two things I want to comment here:
1) I love AVATAR, great movie!
2) I read the Unholy War las summer in the middle of an Argentina travel I did alone.. and it was a great company. It brings me memories of my trip. Are you reading another one now? I want to start a new book but I don't know wich one... any recommendations?