Sunday, March 14, 2010

March 14


--How the area of operations of US Marines in the south of Afghanistan is referred to by some, given the Marines' methods, and their insistence that they be given a degree of autonomy not afforded to U.S. Army units; image from


The Path From Peace - The Daily Show With Jon Stewart; posted at


Russian Anti-Americanism: A Priority Target for US Public Diplomacy- [March 23 event:] ‎"U.S. public diplomacy is most effective when it has a receptive audience, a clear message and a thought-out strategy. This is not the case of the U.S. government's public diplomacy toward Russia. In contrast, the Kremlin's information operations inside the U.S. are highly sophisticated and pro-active. What is the Obama Administration doing to address Russian anti-Americanism? How can U.S. public diplomacy efforts and international broadcasting reach those segments of the Russian population that remain faithful to the ideals of liberal democracy and individual freedom?

In addition, what is the extent of Russian information operations inside the U.S. and how effective are they? Hosted By [:] Helle Dale Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy[;] More About the Speakers [:] Daniel Kimmage Senior Fellow, Homeland Security Policy Institute, Independent Consultant Former Senior Correspondent/Geopolitics Analyst, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty [;] Svetlana Babaeva Bureau Chief, RIA Novosti, Russian State Information Agency [;] Ariel Cohen Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security, The Heritage Foundation." Image from

Another government-inefficiency-to-fight-censorship bill – Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "A top US senator introduced legislation Thursday aimed at boosting US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA), citing disappointment at the pace of democratic reforms in key target countries. 'Certain governments still believe in blocking uncensored news from their citizens,' Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement. On the eve of the 14th anniversary of RFA's creation, Lugar unveiled a bill that would provide long-term budget authority for RFA, rather than obliging lawmakers to take up the matter annually. ... 'Permanent legal authority for Radio Free Asia would send a strong signal that the US supports freedom of the press across the globe,' said Lugar.' AFP, 11 March 2010. 'Governments routinely jam AM transmissions and hack into RFA’s websites and servers.' Senator Lugar press release, 11 March 2010. [Elliott Comment:] 'AM' as in amplitude modulation, the mode used on both shortwave and medium wave? Or the common American term for the medium wave band? RFA transmits mostly on shortwave, and it is mostly the shortwave transmissions that are jammed. Long-term authority for RFA would mean long-term division of scarce transmitting, newsgathering, and talent resources between RFA and VOA. And because the two stations often cover the same news, it would also mean long-term duplication of effort in a time when the US government should be finding savings and efficiencies. I am not saying RFA should go away in order to give VOA broadcasters more job security. I am saying that the two stations should merge, combining their strengths in order to compete more effectively in an increasingly competitive Asian media environment."

White House Spurs Innovation and Crowdsourcing - Defense Acquisition Enterprise 2.0:

"The White House released Guidance on the Use of Challenges and Prizes to Promote Open Government last week to promote crowdsourcing (without ever using the term). Jeffrey D. Zients, Deputy Director for Management at OMB issued the memo to build upon the Strategy for American Innovation and Open Government Directive. It cited recent success stories of [inter alia] ... • State Department's videos and writing contests to further U.S. public diplomacy." Image from

Appuntamento internazionale - Leonardo Tirabassi blog: "Su Foreign Policy, articolo su come vincere

la guerra di idee con il mondo islamico, cioè come uscire dallo scontro di civiltà prospettato da Huntington; è una discussione estremamente interessante sul ruolo di quella che gli americani chiamano 'public diplomacy' in alternativa alla diplomazia nelle segrete stanze e alle vecchie relazioni esterne. In pratica, la comunicazione come strumento della politica estera con lo scopo di influenzare la pubblica opinione degli altri paesi. Anche il nostro Ministero degli Esteri si sta attrezzando in tal senso ed ha attivato il primo corso interno sulla public diplomacy; nel sito della FERPI (Federazione Relazioni Pubbliche Italiane) si trova il materiale preparatorio del corso e anche dei cases studies. Ecco un breve rimando a siti di approfondimento: The USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Public Diplomacy on Wikipedia, Public Diplomacy Alumni Association, A study of London Foreign Policy, Public Diplomacy on PRConversations blog, A blog on Public Diplomacy and strategic communication in the 21st century." Image from

Afghanistan is not a fight against religion: NATO chief Rasmussen - Habib Toumi, GulfNews: Rasmussen: "We invited Oman and Saudi Arabia to join the ICI [Istanbul Cooperation Initiative] partnership in 2004, at our Nato Summit in Istanbul and I think that their accession to the partnership will make it even stronger and more dynamic. Of course at the end of the day, it is up to them to decide whether to join or not. It is their sovereign decision. Our door is open to Oman and Saudi Arabia. In the meanwhile, we are continuing to maintain dialogue with them, inviting them to participate in different events, like the public diplomacy conference we organised with the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2008, or the seminars on the new strategic concept we organised in Brussels and in Oslo."

Foreign ministry ready to facilitate public diplomacy - Tehran Times: "The Foreign Ministry

announced on Saturday it is ready to promote public diplomacy and scientific cooperation between Iran and other countries. The move is aimed at strengthening public diplomacy, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the Mehr News Agency. Tehran will make efforts to identify foreign organizations and institutions, including universities and research centers which have the potential to establish relations with those in Iran, Mehmanparast stated." Image from

War Crimes, Human Rights: A home Grown Solution - Dayan Jayatilleka, ‎ Sri Lanka Guardian: "In order to get the war crimes/human rights pressure off Sri Lanka, it is imperative to realise that such pressures are a symptom and by-product of something having gone wrong in our external relations and our ability to communicate with the world. There is a growing deficit of Sri Lanka’s ‘soft power’ and conspicuous failure in the realm of ‘the New Public Diplomacy’ (both phrases of Harvard’s Prof Joseph Nye)."

Tendo and British Embassy Launch Revamped Website - "Tendo Communications, a strategic custom publisher producing print and Web communication programs, and the British Embassy today announced the success of a revamped site

for the embassy's science and technology sector. Sponsored by the British Embassy, the UK Science & Technology (S&T) Network embarked on a $2 million public diplomacy campaign designed to generate interest from U.S. and Canadian researchers and investors. The UK S&T Network highlights initiatives ranging from stem cell research and nanotubes to renewable energy and wireless technology." Image from

Spotlight, Drawing Board - Corporate Makeover: If countries were cars, which would be the fastest, the safest and the sexiest? The answers are no accident. Nations are increasingly calling on advertising agencies to rebrand them as they have done other big business - Jo Bowman, CNBC Business: "Nation branding ... has become big business, with the cost of promoting countries, regions and cities topping around $1tn a year – most of it taxpayers’ money. Tourism and investment boards are increasingly turning to the consultants and ad agencies that have helped make the names of the world’s biggest soap powders and electronics brands in a bid to market their benefits to a worldwide audience. ... Simon Anholt is an advisor, and researcher on nation brands, and is behind the GfK Roper Nation Brands Index. 'If a country has a good and positive image, everything it wants to do or make or sell is so much easier,' he says. ... Dr Gerlinde Manz-Christ, head of communications for the principality of Liechtenstein and president of the Association for Place Branding & Public Diplomacy, says country branding done properly is measurable, but only if done with a clear goal and for the long term. ... Country brands can’t artificially be manipulated if the sell doesn’t match the product; just look at the US – the world’s richest and most ad-savvy country, which under George W. Bush had a poor international image. 'If you want to get a good image, you have to have a good country,' says Anholt."

Now Broadcasting From Dubai - Ren's Micro Diplomacy: "Landed in Dubai last night for a Public Diplomacy/Arab media tour with 10 other PD grad students. Our gracious hosts, the students and faculty of American University of Dubai, have arranged a packed itinerary with visits to the US Consulate, various local media organizations and even a desert safari."

Remarks by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the UK Preliminary Event for the Ninth "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students - press release, MFA China: Liu Xiaoming: "It gives me great pleasure to attend the UK Preliminary Event for the Ninth 'Chinese Bridge' Competition.

I would like to thank the LSE for its thoughtful arrangements for today's contest. I came to London two weeks ago on February 28. This is the first public event I ever attended in the UK. It may be coincidental that my public diplomacy here should start with an event about mandarin learning in Britain, but in a way it is quite natural, too. ... Language is a bridge of friendship between different countries and nations. With more than 30 years of reform and opening up, China has seen historic changes in its relations with the world. ... The education authorities of the two countries have established a mechanism of regular meetings and signed a number of agreements on mutual recognition of academic degrees and strengthening exchanges and cooperation. China-UK cooperation in education has become a major contributor and a highlight in our overall relations.” Image from


US looks to Shanghai Expo to help ease distrust - Elaine Kurtenbach, Ji Chen, ‎BusinessWeek: "For millions of Chinese, the USA pavilion's show at the Shanghai World Expo will be the closest they'll ever come to an experience of America. What they'll get -- apart from long waits -- is a warm welcome and a dose of Hollywood-style entertainment. The Expo, which begins May 1 and is expected to draw up to 80 million visitors, offers a chance at cultural diplomacy at a time when relations are fraying over broader trade and geopolitical issues. It's 'the single biggest opportunity to nation brand that's ever come along,' says Greg Lombardo, director at BRC Imagination Arts, the Burbank, California, company designing and producing the USA pavilion program at the Expo. ... BRC says the U.S. pavilion -- a mammoth gray steel structure meant to resemble an eagle stretching its wings in welcome -- is designed to handle up to 2,500 people an hour."

Oudin Signs with Virgin Mobile, Sap Stays In San Jose: This Week In Tennis - Justin Cohen, World Tennis Magazine: "Tennis Channel Chairman and CEO Ken Solomon

was sworn in as a member of President Barack Obama’s Committee of Arts and the Humanities. ... 'It is extremely humbling to be named to this esteemed committee, but the highest honor will come in what we’re able to accomplish,' said Solomon, who has more than 25 years of television and multimedia experience. 'Not only can we drive our nation’s economic growth via the arts and humanities, but through cultural diplomacy we seek to strengthen our relationship within the global family of nations as well. I welcome this service, the work ahead and the chance to advance the democratization of the arts through education.'” Solomon image from

1 Inf Div Band Toots Its Horns in Al-Kut - David Bennett, Systems:

"As cultural events go, the Wasit Arts Cultural Festival had plenty of laughing, singing and celebrating, and near the heart of it all was the 1st Infantry Division band. The Wasit Provincial Council sponsored a major cultural arts festival Feb. 27, 2010, at the Wasit Provincial Council Auditorium in al-Kut. The band's Cantigny Brass Quintet performed before a crowd of 400, including more than 25 children from surrounding schools and orphanages. Stephen Smith, public diplomacy officer for the Wasit PRT, said the event centered on the themes of "reconciliation and anti-corruption" and included a photography and painting exhibition, poetry recitation and a children's reconciliation event." Image from article

India opens 23rd Cultural Relations Centre in Dhaka - Anisur Rahman - Press Trust of India: "India today opened its 23rd Cultural Relations centre in Dhaka naming it after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and acknowledging her contribution to Bangladesh's 1971 Liberation War. 'Cultural diplomacy is very important as it enhances people to people contact transcending the (political) boundary,' president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Karan Singh told the opening of the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) at the Dhanmandi area in the city."

Pakistan to further expand bilateral relations with China: Ambassador - Associated Press of Pakistan:

"In an interview to 'China Daily' on the occasion of the annual session of the National Peoples Congress Ambassador Khan said that we have been planning high-level visits from Pakistan this year and in the same way we hope Chinese leadership will visit Pakistan. ... He said that ... China has led the world in a very effective manner by conducting bilateral, multilateral, public and cultural diplomacy. 'China is talking about a harmonious world and I do agree with Premier Wen Jiabao’s assessment that China has made tremendous contribution towards international diplomacy throughout 2009.'” Image from

Culture and Development - Mike van Graan, Secretary General: Arterial Network, posted at Jollofnews: "Parable [:] The following is a parable about African experience of cultural discourses emanating from elsewhere: There was Francine, sitting in Rwanda, minding her own – micro - business and creating her traditional cow dung paintings, when along came a Belgian development agency worker and suggested to her that she could get some funding to support her work if she could just frame her application in the language of culture and development. She was still working through the various definitions of development and wondering whether it was a good thing to be 'developed' or not, when another Belgian consultant dropped by and asked if she knew about the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions since cultural diversity was the new language through which to access funding. Francine had just learned the full title of the Convention when a German expert was parachuted in to explain to her that what she was doing was a cultural industry, and that cultural industries were now the next big thing in development-speak. No sooner had she learned how to spell 'entrepreneur' when she was approached by an international NGO to participate in their intercultural dialogue project, which they said, was on the cutting edge of contemporary cultural discourse. She was trying to tell them that this was something they were doing in Rwanda ever since you could say Hutu and Tutsi, when a guy in a raincoat flashed in front of her, urging her to participate in a culture and climate change project which had just received a flood of funding! Just then, along came a European theatre troupe to train Francine, a painter, in cultural diplomacy."


Hillary Rodham Clinton's harsh words stun Israel:

A spat over the Ramat Shlomo housing project in East Jerusalem becomes a bigger clash as the secretary of State calls it 'an insult to the United States'- Paul Richter, Last year, the Obama administration demanded a freeze in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but Israelis resisted. Talks between Israelis and Palestinians broke down over the issue, and Biden traveled to the Mideast last week in an effort to restart the process and smooth relations. Israelis were perplexed by the U.S. criticism because Biden on Thursday expressed satisfaction with the Israeli response to the flap and pronounced his visit a success. Clinton's criticism came after that. Image from

Five myths about the war in Afghanistan - Michael O'Hanlon and Hassina Sherjan, Washington Post: The people of Afghanistan do not despise foreigners. Despite downward trends in recent years, Afghans are far more accepting of an international presence in their country than are Iraqis, for example, who typically gave the U.S. presence approval ratings of 15 to 30 percent in the early years of the war in that country. Average U.S. favorability ratings in recent surveys in Afghanistan are around 50 percent, and according to polls from ABC, the BBC and the International Republican Institute, about two-thirds of Afghans recognize that they still need foreign help.

If the Iraq war is over, does Bush get the W? - Carlos Lozada, Washington Post: As the United States struggles with wars abroad and political gridlock at home, even temporary public indifference to Iraq may feel like a strange sort of victory.

Election puts Iraq's future decidedly in Iraqi hands - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Last Sunday's election shouldn't be seen as a victory celebration, least of all by the United States. There's more pain and violence ahead, and there will be moments when analysts will be wondering anew if Iraq can hold together. But at least the country truly belongs to its people now. Above image from

China's soft power and the rape of US history textbooks - The Peking Duck, GlobalPost: "All education is going to have a propaganda element to it. I remember a high school textbook from the Cold War in which all the photos of Moscow and East Germany were taken on gray, rainy days, with people walking with their faces turned down against the wind. However, I also remember being taught to question the government, to understand the importance of checks and balances over a system that could easily be corrupted, and to remember the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow and, yes, the massacre of Native Americans. And then I remember the description in River Town of all the political slogans built into the Chinese curriculum, of the extolling of the one-party system, of the deification of Chairman Mao, etc. This is a radically different approach to the US system, and we see its manifestation in the writings of Hong XIng and Math and others who seem incapable of a nuanced discussion that doesn’t paint the US as inherently evil and China as inherently great. I’ve had no choice but to conclude that while the US educational system is deeply imperfect, it’s way lower on the brainwashing scale than China’s."

Bandera's supporters ready for new battle - Natalia A. Feduschak, Kyiv Post: Thousands of people from around the globe have signed a petition protesting a recent resolution by the European Parliament asking President Viktor Yanukovych to reconsider the Hero of Ukraine award that was posthumously bestowed on Stepan Bandera. During the World War II era, the nationalist freedom fighter led the difficult struggle for Ukrainian independence. Assassinated in 1959 by a KGB agent while living in exile, Bandera headed one branch of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and backed its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which fought against Poles, Soviets and Nazis. ... Andriy Levus, who heads the [petition] service, said when the petition reaches 5,000 signatories, it will be presented to representatives of the European Parliament in Kyiv. ... Most of the signatures come from western Ukraine, which has remained the stronghold of Ukrainian nationalist and independence movements for centuries. The main goal behind the appeal is to return to the country historical truths, Levus said. “We still live with the stereotypes of Soviet propaganda, which is now Russian propaganda. The petition demonstrates that Ukrainians are not indifferent to their history,” he added.

Image from article: Ukrainian nationalists hold flags during a celebration honoring Stepan Bandera as Hero of Ukraine in his native village in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast on Jan. 29.

Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, By Jeffrey Herf - reviewed by Robert Irwin, Independent: Nazi propaganda, narrowly focused as it was on anti-imperialism and anti-Zionism, was repetitive. Since Herf's book follows the content of the broadcasts quite closely, it too is repetitive. The facts he has dug up do no credit to the propagandists or their Arab collaborators. But there were very few of the latter and there was no great jihadist uprising against the British or even any significant acts of sabotage. In a final chapter, Herf considers the possible influence of Nazi propaganda on post-war Islamist ideology and at this point his book becomes contentious and speculative. Of Sayyid Qutb, author of an immensely influential commentary on the Qur'an, as well as radical Islamist treatises, Herf writes: "It is plausible that Qutb listened to Nazi broadcasts". Well yes, but it is a matter of record that what turned him into a fundamentalist was his trip to America in 1949-50 and his perception of the moral decay he found there, as well as the anti-Arab prejudice he encountered.

Ugly American Propaganda Promises To Kick Your Murder Habit - Meredith Woerner:

Spend all day mutilating baby bunnies because someone didn't refill the coffee, again? Perhaps you should check out the television series Ugly Americans' propaganda posters and clips, wherein social workers help demons, werewolves and the undead solve their anger issues. Image from article

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