Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 25

“He that has truth in his heart need never fear the want of persuasion on his tongue.”

--John Ruskin; Ruskin image from


Kenneth A. Osgood and Brian C. Etheridge, The United States and Public Diplomacy: New Directions in Cultural and International History (Brill, 2010): From the publisher: “Public diplomacy is the art of cultivating public opinion to achieve foreign policy objectives. A vital tool in contemporary statecraft, public diplomacy is also one of the most poorly understood elements of a nation’s 'soft power.'

This book adds historical perspective to the ongoing global conversation about public diplomacy and its proper role in foreign affairs. It highlights the fact that the United States has not only been an important sponsor of public diplomacy, it also has been a frequent target of public diplomacy initiatives sponsored by others. Many of the essays in this collection look beyond Washington to explore the ways in which foreign states, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens have used public diplomacy to influence the government and people of the United States.” Image from site


In trust-building atmosphere, US, Pakistan pledge strategic ties -‎ Associated Press of Pakistan: "Pakistan and the United States on Wednesday expressed their resolve to foster a mutually beneficial durable partnership, with the top U.S. diplomat affirming a 'new phase' in bilateral ties and declaring that Washington sees its key regional anti-militancy ally’s struggles as America’s struggles. At the launching of the first ever ministerial level strategic dialogue, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made opening statements in a friendly trust-building atmosphere, marked by intermingled seating arrangment for senior officials from both sides. ... The American side comprises [inter alia] ... Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale."

Hitting the Reset Button with the Russian Public‎ - While Moscow has contributed to much of the Russian public’s distaste towards the United States, Washington has focused on resetting relations with Russia’s government rather that its people. Yesterday, a panel hosted by The Heritage Foundation, 'Russian Anti-Americanism: A Priority Target for U.S. Public Diplomacy,' focused on U.S. public diplomacy efforts in Russia. According to a Pew Foundation 2009 public opinion poll, 62 percent of Russians regard the influence of the United States as bad, compared to 15 percent who regard it as good. While Kremlin-supported youth organizations, think tanks, documentaries and movies, and a robust media campaigns according to Daniel Kimmage, Senior Fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute, often blame the United States for Russia’s declining international power, the United States has done very little to counter these measures. The first step towards addressing this problem should be to create an account of Russian information operations in the United States.

In other words, the State Department needs to conduct extensive research on Russia’s activities and find out how effective they are. Once this is completed, according to Kimmage[,] the U.S. must push back and counter these efforts. It also must be kept in mind that reaching out and engaging the Russian public, rather than the Kremlin is the public diplomacy objective. The U.S. should focus on launching internet campaigns, increasing international broadcasting and print media as well as revamping academic, student and business exchange programs. Furthermore, as U.S. public diplomacy is meant to promote democratic values abroad, the Obama administration should continue to fund those programs committed to promoting liberty and equality. The U.S. should work with an audience willing to listen rather than one which merely rebuffs advances in relations." Image, with following caption: It’s interesting but just before the communists got to power as a result of October Revolution of 1917, there was a USA friendly propaganda in Russia. For example this poster is from 1917, a few months before the communists' takeover. It says: “Friends-Democrats - Uncle Sam and Ivan”. But just a few month later uncle Sam became a negative hero and stayed so 70 years.

VOA editorials in the news. (Or maybe I should rephrase that) – Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Live on Radio Martí, Gloria Estefan supports the Ladies in White - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Hegemony and Information - Tim Fernholz, Tapped:

"[T]he U.S. cannot escape the impact of mass communication, which should reinforce our own willingness to do the right thing on controversial issues of international public impact, especially in the area of human rights. While growing public diplomacy efforts are key to framing the portrayal of the U.S. around the world, even the best communications strategy can't fix problems in the product." Image from

Netanyahu's First Year: A Prime Minister Leading Nowhere‎ - Yossi Alpher, Forward - "Israel’s international isolation is growing by the day. Washington’s frustrations are overflowing into blunt criticism. ... [T]he international campaign to delegitimize Israel has taken off. Netanyahu’s government has responded with an asinine public diplomacy, or hasbara, campaign under the assumption that telling the world Israel is a high-tech superpower while ignoring the occupation will solve everything."

Swim-brief public diplomacy: à la Lukashenko – Lena, Global Chaos: "The Belarusian President has been exploring new avenues of diplomacy over the past week and, apparently, he made sure not to neglect the public diplomacy element, either.

During his visit to Venezuela several days ago, he gave an interview to Argentinean Diario La Nacion newspaper on the beach wearing his swim briefs, which, just by the way, were red and green: the colors of the official Belarusian flag. The staged appearance in front of the camera also featured the President telling the Argentinean reporter about his country and people 'who are the most beautiful in the world', while presenting him with two guide-albums on Belarus." Lukashenko Image from

The Role of Cultural Relations in Conflict Prevention and Resolution - Matt Armstrong, "On March 2, 2010, the British Council, with NATO and Security Defence Agenda, hosted a conference in Brussels at the Bibliothèque Solvay titled 'Conflict Prevention and Resolution: the Role of Cultural Relations.' The purpose was to discuss the value of building dialogues between groups that can be non-linguistic – such as sport, art, or civic development – to create opportunities for engagement, understanding, with goal of, as the title said, preventing and resolving conflict. ... While the purpose of defense-minded groups and cultural relations experts are the same – decreased conflict – they rarely seem to find the common ground to discuss and support each others requirements. ... At the conference, for example, Martin Davidson, CEO of the British Council, described cultural relations as important to building trust and dialogue while Martin Howard, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations, rejected the phrase 'cultural relations,' preferring, in the context of engagement in Afghanistan, 'not going against Afghan grain.' ... Nearly thirty years ago, Frank Ninkovich wrote that in the US, cultural relations is a fringe area of 'diplomatic marginality.' The remains generally true today. To change this, and we must, requires both the cultural and the military folks to appreciate the importance of the work of the other and, most importantly, shared goals."

Henry Raines Show 03/21/10 Hour 2 – American AM’s podcast: Guest: "Ambassador Edward Peck ... . In November 28,... he led a elegation of former US diplomats and and American citiens on a 16-day tour of the Middle East ... .

This tour was part of an ongoing Council for the National Interest Foundation program to increase Public Diplomacy to the region" Beck image from

China's public diplomacy: understanding the importance - Federica, The New Diplomacy 2010 B: "Let[']s leave the arguable public diplomacy of the United States, and the arrogant one of Israel; today I would like to present a little of China’s public diplomacy."

China's Public Diplomacy -- Have You Ever Tried to Call the Chinese Embassy? - John Brown, Notes and Essays

Propaganda Renamed??? – Camara, The New Diplomacy 2010 A: "Public Diplomacy is a mechanism that states use to promote their country in other countries. It can be done in different ways, via television or media such as the voice of America, the Alliance Française (which ... promotes French language worldwide), the Fulbright program (cultural and educational exchange), websites or even radio. ...

As Berridge pointed out, Public Diplomacy is the new term given to white propaganda because government tend to avoid the word propaganda for its reputation of spreading lies amongst people to achieve an objective, per say, brainwashing. Many however, find this definition inadequate and reflecting on old diplomacy." Image from


ObamaCare and American Power: The lesson of Europe is that the U.S. can't fund a health entitlement and maintain superpower status – Max Boot, Wall Street Journal (subscription)

Google's good deed in China - Editorial, Washington Post: It's not often that a major multinational corporation sacrifices profits and the possibility of substantial growth for a human rights principle.So Google deserves praise for its groundbreaking decision to move its China-based search engine from the mainland to Hong Kong and end its censorship of searches.


Mobs Are Born as Word Grows by Text Message - Ian Urbina, New York Times: PHILADELPHIA — It started innocently enough seven years ago as an act of performance art where people linked through social-networking Web sites and text messaging suddenly gathered on the streets for impromptu pillow fights in New York, group disco routines in London, and even a huge snowball fight in Washington. But these so-called flash mobs have taken a more aggressive and raucous turn here as hundreds of teenagers have been converging downtown for a ritual that is part bullying, part running of the bulls: sprinting down the block, the teenagers sometimes pause to brawl with one another, assault pedestrians or vandalize property. Philadelphia officials added that they had also begun getting help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to monitor social-media networks. And television and radio stations are helping to recruit hip-hop artists to make public service announcements imploring teenagers to end the practice.


--"Remember how it felt to feel safe?" from

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