"[T]he past is a map, not a compass."
--Piers Brendon, a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, author of “The Decline and Fall of the British Empire”; image from
Information on "Public Diplomacy" - ISN
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN THE NEWS
Russian Anti-Americanism: A Priority Target for US Public Diplomacy - Ariel Cohen, Helle C. Dale, Heritage.org: "Abstract: The Kremlin is using anti-Americanism as a strategic tool for pursuing domestic and foreign policy goals. Through media controlled or owned by the state, the Russian government is deliberately spreading poisonous anti-U.S. propaganda at home and abroad, blaming many of Russia's problems on the West, particularly the United States.
The partial success of this policy exposes a number of serious failures in U.S. public diplomacy, which has been in decline since the end of the Cold War. To counter Russian information warfare and to consolidate democracy and freedom in Eastern and Central Europe, the U.S. needs to reinvigorate its public diplomacy efforts, using both traditional TV and radio broadcasting and new media to reach the peoples of the former Soviet satellites and post-Soviet states." Image from
VIEW: Governing the governors of Pakistan - Syed Talat Hussain, Daily Times: "In the last 62 years, except for the brief spurt of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's public diplomacy, much of the country's relations with the US have remained a complex network of deals and personal understandings the rulers of the day give to the American negotiators dangling short carrots on long knives."
US embassy offered less land at higher rate - Imran Ali, DAWN.com:
"The embassy was initially offered 18.5 acres of land by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) at a price of Rs15,000 per square yard. Now the size of land has been reduced to 8.5 acres and the embassy will have to pay about Rs85,000 ($1,000) per sq yd. ... On August 19 last year, US Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale was quoted as saying that the proposed expansion reflected Washington’s desire to improve relations with Pakistan." Image from
VOL. VI NO. 4, February 12-February 25, 2010 - The Layalina Review:
"The Propaganda Battlefront As the war is raging in Afghanistan between the US-NATO coalition and the Taliban, propaganda and dissemination of information have brought forth a new dimension to the conflict many believe is key to the outcome.
Israel’s Re-branding Conundrum Israel has recently announced a new effort to re-brand its image as a militaristic, belligerent country in the wake of a report which found most Israelis feel international opinion of their state is too negative. The campaign will attempt to engage citizens as 'goodwill ambassadors' through leaflets and coaching classes before they travel abroad.
Showdown in Iran Amidst reports of clashes between opposition supporters and police, authorities stifle the media and opposition on the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In the meantime, the US is reassessing its approach to engagement with Iran and how to best encourage greater freedom in the country.
Avatar the Movie: Connections to Public Diplomacy and Theology? Despite Avatar's huge box office success, the controversy surrounding the movie has generated debate regarding its alleged connection to American propaganda and etymological roots to Hebrew words.
Clinton Seeks Gulf Cooperation on the Iranian Question US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocated open dialogue and equal partnership between the US and the Gulf region in recent visits to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Clinton mainly focused on Iran as she called for cooperation from other countries in the Middle East in putting pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Out With the Old, In the With the New: Development in the MENA Region Although little Arabic-language content is available on the internet, Google’s Vinton Cerf has recently discussed expanding services and information in the Middle East and North Africa region. Some experts advocate a shift in social media and marketing tactics, while others remain doubtful, citing the potentially negative effects of technology on society.
A Bleak Future for Al-Hurra? Al-Hurra is still considered a mouthpiece of the US government in the Middle East, and therefore enjoys little to no popularity or credibility in the region.
Obama Still Inspires Hope Despite a decline in popularity across the world, the US president manages to continue to inspire people who still expect him to deliver on his initial promises of engagement." Image from
In Our Own Backyard: Child Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the United States - Prepared Testimony Before Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Washington, DC February 24, 2010 - Luis CdeBaca, US Department of State: CdeBaca, Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons: “The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the most comprehensive worldwide report on governments’ efforts to combat trafficking in persons in all of its forms –for labor and sex, of children and adults, and of foreign born victims and citizen victims.
It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. Child sex trafficking is an issue addressed by the TIP Report and in our subsequent foreign government engagement. This year, our public diplomacy will be strengthened by incorporating in the TIP Report a self-assessment of the United States’ anti-trafficking efforts. We take very seriously our role as a global leader in the fight against human trafficking and understand that if we are assessing the world that we, too, must be assessed. Moreover, the United States gains a great deal of credibility by acknowledging and being transparent about our own challenges. We are currently working together with our interagency colleagues government-wide to carry out a collaborative self-assessment.” Image from
Obama and Human Rights in the Middle East: Suggestions for Act Two – posted at “Analysis of Joe Stork's article: "Obama and Human Rights in the Middle East" – Hudson New York: "The Obama administration’s promotion of human rights with abusive Middle Eastern governments, however, has been ambiguous and, in some cases, negligent, raising concern that the United States is still operating in a universe of double standards when it comes to confronting serious human rights violations by important allies. Human rights have certainly not been part of the public diplomacy surrounding the president’s meetings with the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan."
Keep Foreign Policy Unholy - Spencer Ackerman, Firedoglake:
"There’s no reason not to engage religious groups, or NGOs with faith components. But it’s just not worth it to suggest to foreign publics that the U.S. is on a religious mission. Are we supposed to use missionaries for development work in Afghanistan [italics], for instance? ... So the solution cannot be to then emphasize religion. Smart statecraft and smart public diplomacy emphasizes respect for religion and respect for diversity of viewpoints, and praises both local customs and the American model of keeping government from telling people what to believe or not to believe." Image from
The Fine Line between Public Diplomacy and Propaganda - Michele Acuto,
Diplomatic Courier: "The most dangerous interpretation of ‘public diplomacy’ is the one that derives from a realist viewpoint: through this understanding, diplomatic activity becomes a form of propaganda, as it is exclusively used to protect and promote national interests. In this sense, the dissemination of information is employed to build images, increase foreign support, and make use of reputation as a force-multiplier. Thus, propaganda becomes nothing more than another capability on the global balance of power chessboard. Consequently, the stronger actors engage in propaganda wars as it happened on the eve of World War II, and during the Cold War years."
The Shortcomings of Tweet-o-Diplomacy - Lena, Global Chaos: "While the US thinks social networking sites and 140-character-long messages can foster freedom and openness, it fails, once again, to capture foreign thinking and understand how things work elsewhere."
L and Q 2/23/10 Newhouse Social Media - Anne McCarthy, Newhouse Social Media: "PRL 530 - Newhouse Social Media // Class blog for PRL 530 Social Media class at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. See our class wiki at http://newhousesocialmedia.pbworks.com/
This was the first I have really heard of how social media is being used as a tool in public diplomacy, such as in South Korea where the United States Embassy has a 'cafe,' or online community in which to engage South Koreans and start and maintain a dialogue to address anti-American sentiment.
With social media being used in sovereign state affairs, it made me question whethere, despite China's censorship of social media use among its people, the Chinese government, and other communists regimes, will begin using social media to monitor and control people?" Image from
'Kingdom manages economy well' - Shaheen Nazar, Arab News: "Sharon T. Freeman, an expert in small business enterprises and author of several books on a variety of subjects including export and import, also praised the Saudi economy, saying the Kingdom has done well by building infrastructure and investing heavily in human resource development. ... Sharon T. Freeman, an expert in small business enterprises and author of several books on a variety of subjects including export and import, also praised the Saudi economy, saying the Kingdom has done well by building infrastructure and investing heavily in human resource development."
Consular Corner: February 2010 - Liam Schwartz, ILW.com - "Ten Questions With: Shaila B. Manyam, Foreign Service Officer U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince. ... Manyam: I'm personally taking a lot of comfort in seeing so many of us 'Haiti alums' return and in seeing the local staff. Nothing has made me happier than being able to run up the stairs of the Embassy and hug
my former public diplomacy team, the drivers and so many of the amazing Haitians who keep this Embassy going." Image from
DC Done, Back to Cali - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I had a crazy, fascinating and fruitful week in DC, and now I am back in Lalaland. ... Monday I was a guest for a cultural diplomacy symposiums held by Prof. John Brown for his Georgetown class. I spoke about the original Family of Man, my exhibit and talked shop about how to travel on the cheap or for free. After my shpeel, Dr. Richard Arndt spoke about the history of Cultural Diplomacy and the First Resort of Kings. The Godfather of Cultural Diplomacy remembered me from the Cultural Diplomacy conference we had and the table we shared. He gave a fascinating lecture, mentioning Grotius' notion of war as the last resort, adopted by Cardinal Richelieu who stamped 'Ultia Rato Regum' (the Last Resort of Kings) on the barrel of French naval cannons. If war is the last resort, Arndt stated, then cultural diplomacy must be considered the first resort. Too fascinating a lecture to sum up here, read his book for the details. After, I had lunch with Herr Doktor Arndt and we talked shop over Lebanese food. Fascinating chat over history, postings to Iran and Lebanon and the past and future of PD."
Public Diplomacy and the Obama Moment - Chatham House: "Wednesday 3 March 2010 17:30 to 18:30 Location Chatham House Participants[:] Philip Seib, Professor of Journalism and Public Diplomacy; Professor of International Relations; Director, Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California. The speaker will consider how Barack Obama's election
to the presidency was presumed to herald a new era for American public diplomacy and suggest that remarkably little headway has been made in improving perceptions of the United States throughout the world. He will argue that part of the problem may be the disconnect between public diplomacy efforts and US policy, which is something the US foreign policy establishment has yet to address." Image from
Public Diplomacy - State v. Non-State – Naomi Leight, Public Diplomacy Corps: "So it's my last semester in the Master of Public Diplomacy program at USC. I'm taking two classes this semester and I find it very interesting, one professor argues that only governments can conduct public diplomacy. Interestingly enough, my other professor posits that only nongovernmental actors can conduct public diplomacy. While they both are able to back up their claims I argue for a different path. I believe that both government and non-state actors can conduct public diplomacy."
Malvinas dispute floods cyber-space with curiosities - Buenos Aires Herald: "Everybody remembers US Secretary of State, Collin Powell at national TV trying to explain why the United States were going to war in Iraq.
That was a move that experts call 'public diplomacy'. But things turned drastically within the short term as US citizens started withdrawing their blind support to the Middle East invasion. The reason? Not even good publicity can sell a bad product." Image: February 5, 2003: "Secretary of State Powell, using a mock-up of anthrax during a Security Council presentation, believes weapons will be found." (Photo and caption, CBS News)
Trumpet player Arturo Sandoval remembers Willis Conover (updated: more VOA jazz) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Japanese Manga Diplomacy - Ralph A Stamm, The ISN Blog: "I didn’t take it seriously when in 2007 foreign minister Taro Aso launched the International Manga Award. The media ridiculed Aso for not being able to read Japanese properly, which some said was due to him preferring cartoons to books.
And indeed Aso liked to portray himself as a manga otaku, a freak. I thus saw nothing else in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ initiative to actively use pop culture in public diplomacy than the minister’s personal obsession. Even though it had never interested me much, I knew that many young people were attracted to Japan because of its manga and anime culture. But creating the post of an Anime Ambassador and filling it with Doraemon, the popular comic cat, didn’t seem like serious foreign policy to me. However, recently, a couple of impressions have changed my mind." Image from
British Council Explores if "Europe is Failing Its Muslims" - Joshua S. Fouts, The Imagination Age
Conference aims to strengthen ties with Latin American Jews - Fay Cashman, Jerusalem Post - "The strengthening of the Iranian diplomatic and economic presence in Latin America, coupled with the upsurge of anti-Semitic incidents and a deterioration in relations between Israel and many South American countries, led Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein to convene a three-day meeting in Jerusalem of leaders of Latin American Jewish communities. The Latin American conference was launched Tuesday evening at Beit Hanassi, where Haim Aron, a former ambassador to Colombia and currently the chairman of Edelstein’s Advisory Committee on Latin America, spoke of the Latin American contribution to Israel’s existence . ... He blamed the virulently anti-Israel policy of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
for bringing both the Foreign Ministry and the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry to the conclusion that Latin America was one of Israel’s major strategic challenges." Image: Graffiti found in Caracas in August 2006. (Jewish Agency)
Royalties – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Ok, where do I collect my shekels for offering the Israeli Foreign Ministry their idea for citizen public diplomats?? I published a blog on Jan 1st on 'Deputizing Public Diplomats.' Within days, Yuli Edelstein announced that Israel would do just that. Now there are a plethora of stories about how Israel is turning to its citizens to be citizen diplomats. Yuli, I want some royalties for my idea. Please send 10 agorot to Paul Rockower, c/o the Rockower Institute for Backpacking Diplomacy, located in the heart of sunny Molvania. Pay up Yuli, or I will send a Mossad squad after you. Or perhaps I will have a hit squad sent after me for giving planting that mustard seed that might inevitably lead to mustard gas in the form of a lot of hot air."
Government to add English hasbara site - Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post: "An English-language Web site will soon be added to the government’s new effort to involve average Israelis in the effort to defend the Jewish state abroad, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Wednesday. Edelstein said the Web site would be ready in April, joining the Hebrew site Masbirim.gov.il,
which around 150,000 people have entered since it debuted two weeks ago. Training sessions have begun, and a pamphlet about how to defend the country is being distributed at Ben-Gurion Airport." Image from Masbirim.gov.il site
Shanghai Expo to play pivotal role in public diplomacy of China: FM Qureshi - Associated Press of Pakistan: "Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said here Wednesday that holding of the mega event of Shanghai Expo is a gigantic effort in public diplomacy of China. The Expo will showcase Chinaâ€™s economic development and its qualitative intellectual growth, Qureshi said addressing at Shanghai Institute of International Studies (SIIS). See also.
Internship: The British Consulate-General, Chicago - Ren’s Micro Diplomacy:"Summer Internship The British Consulate-General, Chicago — the United Kingdom’s diplomatic mission covering thirteen Midwestern states — is currently offering competitive unpaid internships for summer and fall 2010.
Interns are sought to support the work of the Consulate-General’s Policy & Communications and Private Office teams. The teams are responsible for handling communication and public diplomacy on a range of issues including climate change, economy, and best practice policy exchange between the UK and US (poverty, families, economic recovery and employment, and education)." Image from
Like Rome Before the Fall? Not Yet - Piers Brendon, New York Times: Despite its grave problems, there are some relatively simple steps America could take to recover its position. It could bring its military commitments into line with its resources, rely more on the “soft power” of diplomacy and economic engagement and, as George Washington said, take advantage of its geographically detached situation to “defy material injury from external annoyance.” national self-esteem should not stem from global might but from cultural values and achievements. Faced by the prospect of decline, Americans could hardly do better than to cling to the noblest traditions of their own civilization.
Poll: Many see a China century - John Pomfret and Jon Cohen, Washington Post:
Facing high unemployment and a difficult economy, most Americans think the United States will have a smaller role in the world economy in the coming years, and many believe that while the 20th century may have been the "American Century," the 21st century will belong to China. Image from
Dutch Retreat – Editorial, New York Times: After the collapse of its coalition cabinet, the Netherlands is set to withdraw its 2,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. That decision is an embarrassment to the Netherlands, to NATO, and to Washington at a moment when President Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy faces a crucial test.
The Netherlands lands a blow to the Afghanistan coalition: The collapse of the Dutch government and the planned withdrawal of troops should serve as a warning to Obama – Editorial, latimes.com
Both Left and Right Are Wrong About Drones -David Rittgers, Wall Street Journal (subscription): The Obama administration has significantly expanded the use of unmanned aerial drones to kill al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. This decision has been criticized from both the left and the right, but it fits neatly into a broader strategy of countering terrorists world-wide.
Professors fuel fire of anti-Israel propaganda - Avraham Zuroff, Jewish Tribune: Israeli Jewish academicians that condemn Israel’s right to exist fuel the fire of anti-Israel rhetoric, said Dr. Yitzchak Mansdorf, former director of the pro-Israel campus advocacy David Project, at the recent Jerusalem Conference.
He was referring to the anti-Israel propaganda war on college campuses, saying that the new form of antisemitism challenges Israel’s legitimacy on a political, ideological and academic level. “Last week, [Israeli Ambassador to the US] Michael Oren ‘spoke’ at the University of California at Irvine. I say that he ‘spoke’ because he didn’t get in more than a few sentences at a time before he was heckled,” Mansdorf related. Image from
Fun with Pop Culture Propaganda Posters - The Faster Times: “Strength Through Unity, Unity Through Faith.” This V for Vendetta slogan echoed the dystopia of George Orwell’s 1984 -- and what better way to embrace it than through vintage-inspired propaganda posters that cite pop-culture influences? Why, they’re even sneakier than those Illuminati pop stars. After the jump, peruse some of our favorite propaganda parodies, featuring everyone from Captain America to Kermit the Frog. But before you look, be warned: You might just walk away brainwashed, ready to start a revolution. On Planet Melmac. See More Posters on Flavorwire