Friday, March 12, 2010

March 11/12

'I'm not a car dealer."

--Stefanie Babst, the deputy assistant secretary-general for NATO's public diplomacy division; image from


Analysis: Biden's get-your-act-together lecture - David Horovitz, Jerusalem Post:

"If Joe Biden had spent much of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories fuming at the Netanyahu government for Tuesday’s dysfunctional announcement of new building plans in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, he didn’t dwell overly on the issue in a centerpiece address at Tel Aviv University on Thursday. Nonetheless, Biden’s speech, while emphatically supportive and friendly, also sounded at times like a get-your-act-together lecture from a frustrated parent to a beloved but occasionally errant child. His brief finessing of the Ramat Shlomo fiasco – which was an act of spectacularly poor timing that simultaneously humiliated Israel’s best ally, united the Palestinians, the Arab world and much of the international community in condemnation of Israel, and likely spelled the delay rather than the acceleration of the construction project itself – constituted a lesson in astute public diplomacy that the prime minister would do well to learn from." Image from

Hill Testimony and Biden Trip Feature Public Diplomacy - Layalina Productions: "The US public diplomacy effort has been highlighted on a number of occasions recently, as the White House announced that Vice President Joe Biden will be sent to the Middle East, Under Secretary of State Judith McHale publishes a new 'roadmap' for public diplomacy, and former Under-Secretary of State James Glassman prepares for an upcoming testimony before the US Senate."

What will it take to dismantle the Apartheid state - Habib Siddiqui blog: "The Middle East is ... not Israel alone.

There is oil, produced in the surrounding Muslim countries, which the USA and other western friends of Israel need. That is where the face of US and EU public diplomacy comes that tries to present itself as a mediator to find an accommodation for the displaced, indigenous Palestinians in the Holy Land. In such negotiations, the United States ends up as 'Israel’s lawyer' rather than an honest broker." Image: The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell. Collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge, Mass.

Judith McHale's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations discussing public diplomacy – posted at Matt Armstrong, For other public-diplomacy testimonies (Evelyn S. Lieberman, Karen P. Hughes, James K. Glassman), see. See also.

State Department plans 7 new posts in public diplomacy - Nicholas Kralev, Washington Times: "The State Department plans to create seven new senior positions to ensure that a public-diplomacy perspective is always 'incorporated' in policymaking around the world, as well as to respond quickly to negative coverage of the United States in foreign media. In an ambitious strategy that goes beyond any previous efforts to reach out to other countries, the Obama administration 'seeks to become woven into the fabric of the daily lives of people' there, its top public-diplomacy official said Wednesday. 'We must do a better job of listening, learn how people in other countries and cultures listen to us, understand their desires and aspirations, and provide them with information and services of value to them,' said Judith A. McHale, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. Ms. McHale presented the administration's strategy, which emerged from an eight-month review of the government's programs in the field, at a hearing of a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee. She repeatedly used the word 'narrative' to describe how the United States is being depicted overseas. ... To spearhead such an effort, the State Department will create a new position of deputy assistant secretary for international media support, who will report to the assistant secretary for public affairs, P.J. Crowley. ... 'We are taking steps to ensure that our policies and programs are informed upfront by a clear understanding of attitudes and opinions of foreign publics,' she said. Including public-diplomacy officials in policymaking was also a priority for Karen P. Hughes, undersecretary of state in the George W. Bush administration. She became a full participant in then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's senior planning meetings, but a true integration of public diplomacy in the policy process has yet to be achieved.

The importance of such an integration across the government was cited by Mrs. Hughes and two other former undersecretaries, James K. Glassman and Evelyn S. Lieberman, during the same hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on international operations and organizations, human rights, democracy and global women's issues. ... Mrs. Lieberman, the first occupant of the undersecretary post when it was created at the end of the Clinton administration, said the State Department's 'public-diplomacy practitioners are not considered equal' to other diplomats. At the same time, both Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Glassman cautioned against an obsession with 'being liked' by foreigners, which Mrs. Hughes called a 'fundamental misunderstanding' of the purpose of public diplomacy.' 'Today, in the war of ideas, our core task is not how to fix foreigners' perceptions of the United States, but how to isolate and reduce the threat of violent extremism,' Mr. Glassman said. ... Edward P. Djerejian, a former career diplomat and founding director of Rice University's James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy, said there is no doubt that, in the current administration, President Obama is the nation's 'top spokesman.' 'They are using the president in a major way,' said Mr. Djerejian, who headed a congressionally mandated commission on public diplomacy in 2003. 'The undersecretary is a coordinator and a substantive manager to ensure the instruments of public diplomacy are used across the government.'" See also. Image from

The Narrative Gap in the New PD Strategy - Steven R. Corman, COMOPS Journal: "A new 'strategic framework' for U.S. Public Diplomacy has at long last been released. Oddly, it is a slide show rather than a paper ... . The slides say these goals are the first phase of developing a more detailed plan, which will be taken up by working groups. Fair enough. But the framework will guide the way the working groups think about the problem, and the guidance seems to be based in an outdated message influence model of strategic communication that fails to take account of the rugged landscape on which U.S. public diplomacy operates."

U.S. Public Diplomacy, Back to the Future - Mark Dillen, Public Diplomacy:

"An upgraded, integrated and well-funded public diplomacy will not overcome all obstacles or satisfy all critics. In Pakistan, U.S. drone aircraft missions transgress the country’s sovereignty and reportedly kill innocent civilians. Public diplomacy is hard pressed to deal with the consequences of such secret operations. Still, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have done an exceptional job so far of reaching out to world publics overall, and now, at last, there’s a sense that the cadre of professionals charged with supporting the President and Secretary in their public diplomacy efforts may finally get the authority and resources they need to do that job." Image from

Clinton's poor diplomatic scans – Editorial, Boston Globe: "At the State Department, they call it public diplomacy. This is a term used to describe outreach to average citizens and lawmakers in other societies. Such efforts assume that even the most wary foreigners may be brought around to like, or at least understand, America. That alluring hypothesis was found wanting when a group of six Pakistani legislators took umbrage at being asked to undergo a full-body scan last Sunday at Ronald Reagan National Airport. ... The legislators’ resentment ... ought to have been foreseen. It would have been easy for the State Department to arrange special screening. There was nothing wrong with the original invitation extended to the six Pakistani politicians during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s October trip to Pakistan. But if the aim of such public diplomacy is to counter Pakistanis’ anti-American paranoia, then it is a grave mistake to underestimate how deep-rooted that wariness can be. Before we can get them to understand us, we must understand them."

How Not to Run an International Visitor Program - Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View: "Even as U.S. international exchange programs are being reviewed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, an exchange program involving prickly proud parliamentarians has been gleefully revealed, on Pakistani TV, to have been a debacle, thus proving that the problems affecting U.S. public diplomacy over the past decade haven’t been a matter of funding, which has increased substantially, but of management. And worse, perhaps: an inability or unwillingness to understand other cultures. The International Visitor program looks so simple. You send people to the U.S. They travel around and meet the right people. They go home full of gratitude, singing the praises of the U.S. In fact, in all my years in U.S.I.A. (and briefly the State Department), I never debriefed an IV recipient who wasn’t happy with the U.S. and the program. But there was nothing easy or automatic about that outcome." Courtesy PK

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA): Request for Grant Proposals: The U.S./Pakistan Professional Partnership Program– govpulse:

"In his December 1, 2009, speech in West Point, New York, President Obama said that a new diplomatic initiative in Pakistan would be part of the U.S. strategy to bring peace and stability in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. As part of this initiative, ECA is seeking proposals for a new two-part program, called 'The U.S./Pakistan Professional Partnership Program.' This program will bring young professionals (ages 20-35) from the two countries together to develop cross cultural relationships and develop professional skills that will positively impact people's lives and will result in stronger ties between the two nations." Image from

US Policy Toward the Americas in 2010 and Beyond Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: Testimony Before the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives Washington, DC March 10, 2010 - US State Department: Valenzuela: "Through social and economic partnerships with governments, civil society, and the private sector we can leverage investments in people and infrastructure to make societies more competitive in the world and inclusive at home. Our public diplomacy initiatives—scholarships, exchange programs, in-country language programs, other activities through our bi-national centers—advance these goals, bringing huge return on our investment. We are now exploring the potential to significantly expand such programs. ... Strong public diplomacy has a vital tactical role in building wider awareness of the ways ... jointly developed partnerships for example, with Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean address shared concerns, strengthen institutions, and help build resilient communities in which people can thrive. Our diplomacy must also emphasize to publics all we do domestically to live up to our responsibility to address some of the key factors of transnational crime, including demand for drugs, and illicit traffic in firearms and bulk cash."

Cuba Is No Exception - Janice Mulholland, NAFSA Blog:

"NAFSA’s Senior Advisor for Public Policy, Vic Johnson, spoke yesterday at a press conference hosted by the Emergency Coalition to Defend Educational Travel (ECDET). The press conference, which brought together experts on the topic of academic travel to Cuba, ... called for the elimination of current restrictions on educational travel to Cuba. ... Enumerating the reasons why the current restrictions on academic travel should be lifted, Johnson stated that the retention of these restrictions, 'serves no articulated foreign policy, hemispheric, or public diplomacy purpose of this administration… precludes the very kinds of exchanges that the United States has used with demonstrable success to foster and support political change in other nondemocratic societies, and denies American students and academics the opportunity to know another society whose evolution will impact our country.'” Image from

US Government Efforts To Counter Violent Extremism: Daniel Benjamin Coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism Testimony Before the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee Washington, DC - US Department of State: Benjamin: "For many years while outside of the government, I have argued that the United States has to make countering violent extremism a priority. Now, in my position as Coordinator for Counterterrorism, I am both challenged and humbled by the tremendous responsibility of helping develop and coordinate the U.S. government’s efforts to undermine the al-Qa’ida narrative and prevent the radicalization of vulnerable individuals. ... We will ... work together with the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, with the Office of the State Department Special Representative to Muslim Communities, and with USAID to make sure that efforts to engage civil society and counter radicalizing narratives through existing programs are focused in the right areas."

Congressional Documents and Publications - press release, Insurance News Net: "In terms of interagency coordination, DoD's relationship with the Department of State is particularly strong. The Secretary of Defense has made a commitment to work closely with our Department of State colleagues to ensure that the Department provides them all of the requisite support possible in Washington and in the field. In numerous key locations, the Department provides the US Ambassador with a tailored military information support team that works through and with the host nation to promote effective strategic communications to counter violent extremism. Here in Washington, we are in regular dialogue with the office of the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and with the Ambassador At Large for Counterterrorism, as well as with regional bureaus on challenges specific to their area of responsibility. ... [W]e will continue efforts within the Department of Defense to balance capabilities essential to success in a counterinsurgency environment. These include expanding our language training programs, developing regional expertise, improving partnering skills, adding more Civil Affairs units, and recognizing the importance of knowing the 'human terrain' as well as we know the physical terrain.

Strengthening our capabilities in each of these areas enriches the contacts and relationships our forces have with local populations.... [i]n these efforts to persuade and influence, DoD is a supporting agency. We take guidance and focus from the Department of State, and work in close collaboration with the country team. Our campaigns and products are reviewed and approved by the US Ambassador. And what DoD does and how our efforts are framed in conflict zones is necessarily different from our efforts elsewhere. ... As the transition in Iraq progresses, our support to Iraqi security forces and the US Department of State will continue to shift towards public affairs and public diplomacy." Image from

Hillary Rodham Clinton widens her circle at the State Department - Lois Romano, Washington Post: "[A] little over a year into her tenure as secretary of state, allies and detractors alike say Clinton has made a vigorous effort to widen her circle, wooing and pulling into her orbit the agency's Foreign Service and civil service officials, many of whom said in interviews that she has brought a new energy to the building. ... Stewart M. Patrick, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who worked at the State Department under Colin L. Powell, agreed that Clinton 'seems to still be struggling with priorities' and questioned whether she has a 'grand strategic vision.' But, he added, 'there is no question from a public diplomacy standpoint, she has had a lot to offer in different parts of the world' because of her star power. ... One area of concern, say State Department sources close to the situation, revolves around who ultimately speaks for the department at media briefings.

'It's been like open-mike night over there,' said one aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley, who worked in the Clinton White House but had no previous relationship with Hillary Clinton, said in an e-mail that he is responding to a recent critical inspector general's report on his bureau and 'making the personnel and structural changes needed.' An earlier draft of the report touched on friction between Crowley and Reines, who is close to Clinton. Both acknowledged rough patches. 'There is far more collaboration than there was six months ago," Crowley said. 'We definitely have more work to do.'" Image from

Where Have All the Strategic Thinkers Gone? - Michael Cohen, - "It wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing to ask the Secretary of State to focus on public diplomacy if President Obama had placed strategic thinkers in other areas of the national security bureaucracy, but he hasn't. ... We're now 14 months in to the Obama presidency and we still haven't seen a national security strategy."

How to Win the War of Ideas - James K. Glassman, Foreign Policy:

"Much of the public diplomacy effort in the past has focused on America's own image, on how Americans are seen by others. But today, in the war of ideas, our core task is not how to fix foreigners' perceptions of the United States but how to isolate and reduce the threat of violent extremism. In other words, it's not about us. We began to develop such an approach during my tenure in government [as the last Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the George W. Bush administration] , calling it Public Diplomacy 2.0. ... The most urgent task confronting this new concept of public diplomacy is to dispel the pernicious idea in Muslim societies is that the United States wants to destroy Islam and replace it with Christianity." See also. Image from. On the U.S. as a zombie nation, see.

U.S. Faces Stiff Opposition From Rising Powers - Ben Katcher, The Washington Note: "Posted by JohnH, Mar 11 2010, 1:50PM - Link One thing for sure, you won't see Wigwag or Nadine complaining about Rachel Corrie's murder by the IDF. They only complain about Neda's death in Iran by unknown assailants. This kind of hypocrisy is what makes American public diplomacy so ineffective and why the US cannot win the war of ideas, unless it starts to apply a uniform set of values."

The answer is blowin' in the wind - Mythili Bhusnurmath, Economic Times:

"In a provocative paper*, ‘Watchdog or lapdog? Media and the US government’, Nancy Qian and David Yanagizawa look at the role of US media as an independent watchdog. The paper estimates the effect of strategic objectives of the US government on news coverage in US newspaper. ... The US Government can influence the media in two broad ways, say the authors. First, it can manipulate the supply of information using establishments like the Office of Public Diplomacy (OPD). Second, it can attempt to directly manipulate news reports by exerting pressure on editorial boards or incentivising journalists." Image from

Teach for the World - Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times: "Peace Corps and Teach for America represent the best ethic of public service. But at a time when those programs can’t meet the demand from young people seeking to give back, we need a new initiative: Teach for the World. In my mind, Teach for the World would be a one-year program placing young Americans in schools in developing countries. The Americans might teach English or computer skills, or coach basketball or debate teams. ... This would be a government-financed effort to supplement an American public diplomacy outreach that has been eviscerated over the last few decades."

5 Best Thursday Columns - Alex Eichler, Jared Keller, The Atlantic Wire:

"Nicholas Kristof on 'Teach for the World' Fresh off his 2010 'win-a-trip' contest, the New York Times columnist ponders the potential future of a 'Teach for the World' program. Kristof envisions a program that is both an important educational opportunity and a government-financed effort to 'supplement an American public diplomacy outreach that has been eviscerated over the last few decades.' After all, writes Kristof, 'America would be a wiser country if we had more people who knew how to translate 'doorknob.' I would bet that those people who know how to say doorknob in Farsi almost invariably oppose a military strike on Iran.'" Image from

Public Diplomacy: The World Should Be Teaching Us, Mr. Kristof - John Brown, Huffington Post: "American taxpayers could certainly use highly-skilled volunteers from other countries, including math teachers from 'developing countries,' for our poorly performing public secondary schools, in exchange for our own volunteers."

Ambassador Robert R. Gosende on Public Diplomacy and the Peace Corps - posted at John Brown, Notes and Essays

Gosende image from entry

Artful Diplomacy: Art transcends boundaries to link cultures - Sarah Tanguy, State Magazine (March 20), pp. 38-40:

"A native of Wyoming, U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso Jeanine Jackson wanted to exhibit art at the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou that emphasized the similarities between the native peoples of the Western Plains of the United States and Burkina Faso’s migratory people. She achieved her goal by working with the Art in Embassies program and Senior Curator Bob Soppelsa. Jackson said the resulting exhibition of 12 artworks at her residence 'transcends political, national and cultural boundaries and plays an important role in linking cultures.' 'Art expresses visually what can be difficult to capture in words, facilitating communication between people who speak different languages,' she said. 'Each of the works displayed was chosen for these linkages.' Ambassador Jackson’s view encapsulates the mission of the Art in Embassies office, a part of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations. Established in 1963, the office seeks to use art exhibitions to build bridges between the United States and host countries. It also helps to promote American artists." Tanguy image from

History professor studies how Appalachian culture became a part of US foreign policy: University News, Appalachian State University: "For a brief time in the 1960s and ’70s, exhibits about the Appalachia region were sent to Finland and Latin America with subtle messages about the U.S. government’s expectations of foreign leaders. Dr. Michael Krenn, a professor of history at Appalachian State University, has written a chapter about American public policy and Appalachia in the recently published book 'The United States and Public Diplomacy: New Directions in Cultural and International History.' ... Cultural diplomacy programs ended in the 1980s and 1990s, but they have seen a revival following 9-11. In addition to cultural exchanges, sports envoys such as U.S. professional snowboarders, figure skaters and former professional baseball players are participating in U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs programs. This time, the target audience is the youth of various nations. 'We want to reach young people with the message that America is a good place; that are a cultured, responsible, friendly nation and we don’t wish ill will on anyone,' Krenn said."

US Department of State Honors Zakeya Ahmed Ali Zada of Bahrain as State Alumni of the Month - US Department of State: "The U.S. Department of State has named Zakeya Ahmed Ali Zada of Bahrain as State Alumni Member of the Month. Zakeya is an alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In 2007, Zakeya participated in the IVLP project 'Promoting Tolerance through the Arts.' Today she implements concepts gained in that project when designing educational programming.

She works to raise cultural awareness among youth by organizing visits to key national heritage sites. During the annual “Spring of Culture in 2008,” she organized an exhibition for children to view and learn about the significance of masks in many countries around the world. Visitors to the exhibit in turn created masks to gain insight into their own cultural heritage." Image from

Networks, Theory, And Public Diplomacy - Craig Hayden, Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Obviously, the convergence of PD and diplomacy isn’t going to happen overnight, no matter what kind of theoretical framework is developed to comprehend 21st century diplomacy and public diplomacy. The boundaries are reinforced by considerable inertia in diplomatic institutions, yet the immanent necessity of attention to networks as the site of diplomatic activity may inevitably force transformation, and ideally inspire further conceptual and scholarly labor in the field of public diplomacy."

Advancing roles for women by example - Constant Brand, European Voice: "A woman who is hoping to change the image of NATO as a male-dominated workplace. Men only: for decades, that was the unwritten rule at NATO headquarters. But no more, says Stefanie Babst, who says women are playing an increasing and valuable role in security and defence issues at the alliance.

Men still dominate the organisation, which was created more than 60 years ago, but Babst, the deputy assistant secretary-general for NATO's public diplomacy division, is leading a vanguard of sorts to break the alliance's glass ceiling. ... Babst's day job is to craft communication strategies to explain NATO's security role to Europeans, North Americans and others, a gruelling and sometimes futile task given the current complexity of the Afghan war. Her work often involves meetings with other units on new media and outreach campaigns, an increasingly important task given the 24-hour news cycle and NATO's expanded global role. Babst, who has worked for NATO for 12 years, says her division's job is much more than just selling an image. 'I'm not a car dealer. Public diplomacy is very much about communicating and engaging,' she says. She attaches particular importance to trying to connect with the younger generation, notably young women. She is keen to get more women to join the alliance's international workforce, saying women offer a unique and different way of approaching security issues." Babst image from article

NATO's new Strategic Concept discussed in Warsaw - ISRIA: "For two days the Polish capital has become a hub of discussion on NATO’s new Strategic Concept – a document that, once agreed by all Allies, will shape the organisation’s future direction. The Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, began his first official visit to Poland on 12 March by taking part in the international conference 'NATO’s New Strategic Concept – Global, Transatlantic and Regional Challenges and Tasks'. The seminar ... [was] organised by the Warsaw Centre for International Relations and the Polish Ministry of Defence, with the support of NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division. "

Wilders is damaging Holland: minister - "[caretaker foreign minister Maxime] Verhagen said he wanted to improve the image of the Netherlands in the Arabic world and Muslim countries. It is particularly poor in Indonesia, Turkey and Egypt, he said. As part of this, the Netherlands has established three public diplomacy hubs – in Washington, Beijing and Cairo – which are responsible for shaping a regional approach to public diplomacy.

'Our primary, short-term goal is to respond to incidents and crises: damage control, if you will. Our secondary goal is to put our policies in context, with a view to building support,' Verhagen said." See also (1) (2). Verhagen image from

UK expert: Israel's new PR campaign is bad news - Raphael Ahren, Ha'aretz: "Conventional marketing wisdom has it that even bad news is good news, as long as people talk about you. But Jonathan Gabay, a leading London-based marketing and branding expert, disagrees, at least when it comes to Israeli hasbara, or public diplomacy. He is extremely critical of the new campaign recently launched by Israel's Information and Diaspora Ministry, which seeks to motivate Israelis traveling abroad to speak up on behalf of Israel. Dubbed Masbirim Israel, or Explaining Israel, the campaign advises citizens on how to discourse politely and provided a list of Israel's achievements to be highlighted in conversations. ... Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein rejects Gabay's criticism. He contests the campaign is succeeding, having stirred public discussion and brought 150,000 Israelis to visit its Web site to date."

'Ajami' and the Oscars: Who Really Represents Israel? – David Saranga, Huffington Post: "When the Israeli film 'Ajami' was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film,

I felt proud that an Israeli film would be competing in this category for a third time in a row. ... In recent years I have often wondered whether Israeli public diplomacy should use Israeli culture as a means for improving its image, even when it is critical of Israel, or presents negative aspects, which are not necessarily representative of the society as a whole. My answer then was the same as it is now: it depends on the quality of the work. If the work is good, then it should certainly be used, and the more the better! Even if a film is critical of Israel, I don't perceive this as a disadvantage, since beyond its cultural value, it is also an expression of the open character of our democracy. This is why I was truly astonished by the outrageous statement by Scandar Copti, the Arab Israeli director [of the film Ajami] who was born and raised in Tel Aviv-Yaffo, that he does not represent Israel.” Image from

China needs more public diplomacy, Zhao says - Zhang Haizhou, China Daily: "China needs a bigger public diplomacy campaign to better present the country to the world, said Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), on Monday. In an exclusive interview with China Daily in the Great Hall of the People, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the National Committee of CPPCC, said governmental diplomacy and public diplomacy are mutually complementary. 'Governmental diplomacy represents a country's sovereignty. (But) in many other international exchanges, many different people also participate, including leaders from public and sub-governmental organizations; influential people such as scholars, opinion leaders, and social activists; and ordinary people. This is public diplomacy,' Zhao said."

Locks turn in Nabucco door - Robert M Cutler, ‎ Asia Times Online - "Statements by Azerbaijani and Turkish diplomats indicate that the two sides have reached an agreement in principle concerning the price that Turkey will pay for gas from the offshore Shah Deniz deposit for its own domestic consumption. With these signals, the two countries are on the road to settling issues related to conditions for Shah Deniz gas to transit Turkey to Europe through the Nabucco pipeline. ...

Perhaps the clearest signal that Nabucco is fast becoming a reality is the statement two days ago in Houston by Paolo Scaroni, chief executive officer of Eni, the Italian company that is an equal partner with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom in South Stream, a proposed pipeline running from Russia under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on into Europe. Nabucco and South Stream should combine in order to cut costs, Scaroni said. This wholly new idea comes on the heels of, and contradicts, a month-long Russian initiative in public diplomacy in the region which seeks to portray the Nabucco and South Stream projects as both being capable of realization but does not even hint at their combination into a single mega-project." Image from

U.S. Embassy PAO Leaves Vietnam - maavn, An International Educator in Vietnam: "Earlier this week, I attended a farewell party hosted by Ambassador Michael Michalak in honor of Jim Warren, the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer (PAO) for the last few years. The Ambassador accurately described it as a 'bittersweet' event. He noted that it was Jim,

also new at the time, who organized his first trip as U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam to a 15th anniversary workshop for Fulbright in Hue, which I also attended back in August 2007. It was also Jim and his staff who were instrumental in organizing three consecutive and successful education conferences that brought together Americans and Vietnamese to talk about higher education exchange between their two countries, learn from each other and network. Jim is on his way to Karachi, Pakistan, where he will be the Senior Adviser for Public Diplomacy in the U.S. Consulate General there. Those of us of worked with Jim to promote U.S.-Vietnam educational exchange will miss him and wish him and his wife all the best as they begin the next chapter of their lives and one of ultimate professional challenges for a U.S. diplomat specializing in public diplomacy. We look forward to welcoming them back to Vietnam someday!" Warren image from article

Global Notes - Sherry Gray, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs: "MEMBERS AT WORK ... U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Officer, Brinille Eliane Ellis was promoted to the mid-level ranks of the Foreign Service. Brinille will complete her three-year assignment as a General Services Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul this summer. She will return to Washington for a year of Urdu language and Public Diplomacy training in preparation for her onward assignment as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan."

Iraq in the Fullness of Time – John Matel, World-Wide-Matel:

"Telling any story is always an act of choosing and even if we are being fair and thoughtful, our choices will always be subject to revision. We probably cannot arrive at THE truth, but we usually can come up with something useful or at least something that makes sense to us. I have been thinking about these things as I prepare to address a class in public diplomacy at USC. They want to know about strategic communications at a PRT in Iraq." Image from


Marja, Afghanistan: Pentagon Propaganda taken to new heights!- Robert L. Hanafin, Veterans Today Network

Internet making it easier to become a terrorist - Bob Drogin, Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times: The abrupt transformation of Colleen R. LaRose from bored middle-aged matron to "JihadJane," her Internet alias, was unique in many ways, but a common thread ties the alleged Islamic militant to other recent cases of homegrown terrorism: the Internet. From charismatic clerics who spout hate online, to thousands of extremist websites, chat rooms and social networking pages that raise money and spread radical propaganda, the Internet has become a crucial front in the ever-shifting war on terrorism. "The new militancy is driven by the Web," agreed Fawaz A. Gerges, a terrorism expert at the London School of Economics. "The terror training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan are being replaced by virtual camps on the Web." "Basically, Al Qaeda isn't coming to them," Gerges said. "They are using the Web to go to Al Qaeda."

Newest McChrystal Propaganda Photo - Jim White, Firedoglake:

A propaganda ploy perfected by the Bush administration and continued by the Obama administration is that for any message that is wanted, all that is needed is to get a picture of the fearless leader standing in front of banners conveying the message. Image from article

Comics as Propaganda: Cracked Counts Down Titles That Aimed to Program Kids - Caleb Goellner, Comics Alliance: As one of the most powerful storytelling mediums on the planet, comic books are extremely capable teaching tools. Unfortunately, however, that potential to educate has an even great potential to be horrifically abused propaganda style. Cracked has tapped into comics' potential for evil by pointing out six pretty hilarious examples of heavy-handed social/political/economic leanings shoved down children's' throats through the magic of sequential art and it is many shades of hilarious.


Look-at-my-scrotum lawsuit dismissed - Boing Boing; image from


"Being free to give offence does not mean that it is wise to give offence."

--The Netherlands’ caretaker foreign minister Maxime Verhagen

1 comment:

Samual said...

Safety cannot be compromised so where there are heavily populated areas around the demolition site the protection of the public is paramount.

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