Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18-19

"[T]he diplomacy of our nation, which has been from the very beginning, one of the principal tools of what we do, has never been fully and well understood by the general public. It appears in the minds of many to be official meetings mostly conducted by men in three-piece suits with other men

in government buildings and even palaces to end wars and resolve all kinds of impasses. And of course, there is still that element, not only with men any longer, but nevertheless, the work of diplomacy is still in the traditional mode. But it is so much more today, because it is also imperative that we engage in public diplomacy reaching out to not just leaders, the citizens of the countries with whom we engage, because even in authoritarian regimes, public opinion actually matters."

--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; image from


Secretary Clinton Speaks about Innovation and American Leadership - Secretary Clinton: "[I]t is ... imperative that we engage in public diplomacy reaching out to not just leaders, the citizens of the countries with whom we engage, because even in authoritarian regimes, public opinion actually matters. And in our interconnected world, it matters in ways that are even more important. So we have tried to use the tools of technology to expand the role of diplomacy. Similarly, with development, I have long been passionate about what our assistance programs mean around the world, how they represent the very best of the generosity of spirit of the American people. And USAID, which was started with such high hopes by President Kennedy, did so much good work in the 1960s and '70s. The Green Revolution, the absolutely extraordinary commitment that the United States, our researchers, and our agricultural scientists made to improving agriculture around the world, transformed the way people were able to feed themselves and to build a better future. Then over time,

USAID became hollowed out. It became truly a shadow of its former self. ... So the work that used to be done by development experts housed in the U.S. Government became much more a part of contracting out with NGOs here at home and around the world. So the identity, the reputation of USAID no longer was what it needed to be. So when I came into the office of Secretary of State, I sort of followed the example of the Defense Department which has for many years conducted what's called the Quadrennial Defense Review. And when I was in the Senate, I served on the Senate Armed Services Committee and I realized what a powerful tool that 2DR was. Because it provided a structured planning experience internally for the Defense Department that would then be shared throughout the executive branch, presented to Congress and to the public, and help to guide what it was that our country would be doing for the next four years when it came to the nation's defense. So I embarked upon the first ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review which will come out by the end of this year. It's quite an undertaking to do it for the first time, because you have to question all of your assumptions and your presumptions and try to figure out how best to present what we do in the State Department and USAID, for which I am also responsible, and to set forth a vision with strategies and objectives that will take us where we want to go as a nation. I'm also working very hard to make it not just bipartisan, but nonpartisan, because certainly our national commitment to defense is nonpartisan and has bipartisan support in the Congress and I want the same for diplomacy and development." See also; image from

New Public Diplomacy Strategies of the Obama Administration - Zhou Wenzhong & Wang Baodong, posted at "Public diplomacy is an important component of overall diplomacy in the U.S. It mainly refers to the U.S. government’s interactions with the foreign public, including publicity and cultural exchanges. It also includes the related activities of non-governmental U.S. organizations funded or guided by the government. One of the main motives of publicizing U.S. foreign policies and values to the foreign public is to increase knowledge of the U.S. social system, history, culture and diplomatic policies. This is, in turn, to increase sympathies and support for the U.S., construct beneficial public opinions and thus influence foreign diplomacies and policies dealing with the U.S. in an effort to maintain U.S. interests, safety and global supremacy. ... Due to national and international developments, the Obama administration made major strategic adjustments to the Bush administration’s hardline unilateral diplomacy, adopting instead a flexible diplomatic strategy. There is now an increased value attached to developing public diplomacy inside and outside of U.S. borders.

Thus, public diplomacy is now of unprecedented importance within U.S. diplomacy and foreign relations. ... Overall, in this era of globalization, information and the Web, as the world’s only superpower, the U.S., with its national strength and intentions, will be able to change its image and protect national interests and national security if it proactively performs public diplomacy. The U.S. is strengthening public policy only to publicize and export its own ideologies and values, to promote U.S. 'liberal democracy' and free market economy and to maintain its global supremacy. Thus, despite advertising 'mutual trust and respect' as the principle underlying public diplomacy, as long as the U.S. maintains its bullying nature and does not abandon hard power diplomacy, the effectiveness of public diplomacy is likely to be limited.(Zhou Wenzhong was the Secretary-General of the Boao Forum for Asia, previous Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and editor of 'Public Diplomacy Quarterly' [Chinese journal]; Wang Baodong is the press counselor of the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. Article has been abridged.)" Image from

Russian Advances in Central Eastern Europe - Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation: "What does the United States government do so as not to lose its strategic influence with a set of relatively new, but staunch, allies in Eastern Europe?

•Reform the U.S. Visa Waiver program, which still means that Polish residents have to line up for visas to enter the United States, when travelers from other European countries do not; •Work with the countries of CEE on security cooperation and democracy promotion. Make U.S. officials visible and available to the publics of these countries and reestablish public diplomacy institutions, such as America houses, that have been allowed atrophy since the Cold War; •Reexamine U.S. decisions on international broadcasting into the former Soviet Union, where services have been cut even in the absence of local free media." Image from

Why Does Turkey Have The Leverage? - "Posted by JohnH, Oct 19 2010, 11:39AM Apart from gobs of noble rhetoric in public diplomacy (propaganda), where is evidence that the US cares about the character of regimes, as long as they support US interests?"

Ethiopia - Let Ethiopians Hear America's Voice‎: Ethiopian Citizens Have the Absolute Constitutional Right to Listen to the VOA - Alemayehu G. Mariam, "So many lessons to learn from Columbia University! When dictator-in-chief Meles Zenawi spoke unceremoniously at Columbia on September 22, he was talking trash about the Voice of America (VOA). He said he decided to jam VOA broadcasts in Ethiopia "by taking a page from U.S. policy"[1 ]. He wildly alleged that an evil cabal of supporters of the defunct Ethiopian military regime disguised as journalists had taken control of VOA's Amharic service. ... When the Voice of America's Amharic Service interviewed me on October 1, 2010 to comment on Zenawi's legal and policy justifications for jamming the VOA by taking a 'page from the policy of the United States,' I told them it was a no brainer: 'U.S. policy and laws are completely irrelevant to the exercise of expressive freedoms in Ethiopia. Ethiopian citizens have the absolute constitutional right to receive broadcasts of the VOA or 'any other media of their choice.' Zenawi has no legal power or authority of any kind to prevent Ethiopian citizens from listening to VOA broadcasts. ... In fact, Congress prohibited domestic U.S. broadcasts by the VOA to make sure that it is not abused politically by any individual or groups, and to make sure that the kind of state media abuse seen historically in totalitarian and other communist countries did not happen in the U.S."

Richard Lobo sworn in as director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. But, then, you were probably there - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Broadcasting Board of Governors Highlights, 18 Oct 2010: "The new director of the International Broadcasting Bureau, Richard M. Lobo, was sworn in Monday afternoon (18 October). Video of the event is available. [Elliott comment:] The first I heard about this swearing in ceremony was Monday morning, when someone noticed the two good looking ersatz-leather chairs in my next-door colleague's office. The chairs were invited to the ceremony (they were needed on the stage of the VOA auditorium), but my colleague was not. Nor was I. Which is fine, because not being invited provided me with a convenient excuse not to attend. (Whenever I can avoid a room full of bureaucrats, I do.) As those of us who were not invited were leaving the building at COB Monday, we could hear, behind a curtain, down the corridor towards to auditorium entrance, a large crowd enjoying the reception after the swearing in. Judging from the noise, we uninviteds may have been the smaller group.

The topic of discussion today at 330 Independence Avenue SW will likely be who was and who was not invited to the swearing in of the new director, and, more importantly, who was and was not able to partake of the refreshments afterward. The resulting disapprobation could help restore BBG/IBB/VOA as the worst place to work in the federal government. Image

In California, Vietnamese-American radio broadcaster (and VOA domestic disseminator) taken off the air
- Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Study in nine countries explores relationship between mainstream and social media - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Moscow's Man in the Street - Yale Richmond, American Diplomacy: "During the Cold War, whenever there was some big event in U.S.-Soviet relations, the Voice of America (VOA) would send a telegram to the American Embassy in Moscow and ask for the reaction of the Russian 'man in the street.' ... As the Embassy’s Counselor for Press and Culture, I was not going to go out on the street and get some Russian into trouble with the authorities by asking what he or she thought about the defection.

However, I did come up with an innovative alternative. ... I had a new Plymouth station wagon, and I learned that if I parked my car on a busy Moscow street, opened the hood, and with a screw driver began to tinker with the engine, I would soon be surrounded by a crowd of Russian men full of questions about my car. They wanted to know how many 'horses' the engine had, how fast the car could go, the gas mileage in liters per 100 km, and what the car cost. After answering those and other questions, I would pop my question, and VOA would have its 'man in the street.'" Richmond image from article

The Power Politics of Demonization in Iran: The Necessitated ‘Enemy’ and Its Functions - e-International Relations, "[D]emonization of the West with its emphasis shifting between the US and UK, whose public diplomacy measures against the theocratic ideology of the Islamic Republic are feared most by the conservatives in power, is necessary to maintain the anti-evil Islamic identity the Iranian state has long projected

of itself and thus necessary to secure the support of its core proponents within the country. Resorting to the enemy discourse and accusing the evil Western enemy of plotting against Islam in general and the Islamic system in particular enable the Iranian rulers to blame 'foreigners' (biganigan) and 'global arrogance' (istikbar-i jahani) for all the internal and external economic, cultural and socio-political problems the country faces in its way toward universal prosperity, peace and justice, and thus to prevent the 'disillusionment' of their supporters at home and abroad." Image from article

Portuguese women scientists briefed by senior NATO official - "In the run-up to the Alliance’s Lisbon Summit in November of this year, the NATO Public Diplomacy Division is prioritizing communications efforts with key Portuguese audiences. In this context, and with a view to the upcoming anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security,

on 18 October a group from the Portuguese Association of Women Scientists (AMONET) were welcomed at NATO Headquarters. Acting Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Dr Stefanie Babst briefed the group on NATO’s New Strategic Concept." Sexist image from

NATO - Expansion of SILK-Afghanistan connects additional 9,000 students to global information highway - "This project was initiated in 2002 under the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme and is being managed by NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division. Over the past eight years it has provided free high-speed Internet access via satellite to the academic communities in the Caucasus and Central Asian countries. Afghanistan’s Kabul University was included in 2006."

Students rebuke NATO approach in Afghanistan during Istanbul meet - "Academics, NATO experts and students from Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO member countries exchanged views with each other at the 5th NATO Afghan Student Forum, which is being held at Kadir Has University in Istanbul Oct. 18-22. ... Afghanistan was a very complex country with all its concerns and aspects and NATO has followed the wrong approach in the country, said NATO Public Diplomacy Division Information Officer for Afghanistan and Central Asia Daniele Riggio.

He said there had been a lack in sources and doctrine in the past through which the NATO mission could have met its end state more efficiently. 'The counter-insurgence is spoken of in NATO [circles] every single day, but no one knew what it was until a couple of month ago,' he said, adding that NATO as an institution did not even have a counter-insurgence doctrine." Reggio image from article

Israel - Summary of editorials from the Hebrew press, 19 Oct 2010 - "Yediot Aharonot suggests that 'Like many of his predecessors, [Foreign Minister] Liberman is not making the vital distinction between public diplomacy and leading a diplomatic move. The essence of public diplomacy is to convince others how good and just we are and how bad our rivals are. While public diplomacy is not unimportant, it in itself is incapable of creating any real diplomatic move. A diplomatic move, on the other hand, is created when some influential third party becomes interested in initiating an action that coordinates with our interests, or at least the price that we pay for it is less than its benefit. The essence of diplomacy is identifying those actors and creating incentives for them to act in a way that serves us.' The author adds that 'It seems that this basic rule is not what has guided Israeli diplomacy in recent years. We act in the opposite manner: We hasten to issue statements that create automatic opposition and, at the same time, insult potential mediators. Acting in this manner indeed requires a redoubled public diplomacy effort afterwards.'"

India-Nepal Relations: A Perspective From Nepal‎ - Chiran Jung Thapa, Eurasia Review: "An Indian national with longstanding ties with Nepal recently remarked –'Indian policy in Nepal appears as if oceans separate the two countries.

For a country that aspires to be a world power and a Security Council member, its public diplomacy and relationship capabilities remain infantile and its behaviour towards smaller neighbors juvenile.' These sentiments resonate with Nepalese. ... Of all the countries in the world, Nepal should have been India’s dearest and vice versa." Image from

Comment: False affection erodes credibility‎
- Roula Khalaf, Financial Times: "Public diplomacy requires awkward gestures at times. Planting a kiss or two on the cheeks of an adversary must rank among the most unpleasant. What was going through the mind of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri when he kissed Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad during his visit to Beirut last week? For Mr Hariri, the Iranian leader is a troublemaker bent on destabilising Lebanon. ... The fake display of affection is first the result of customs and tradition – Arab and Persian men are not satisfied with a bow or a handshake; they greet each other with a kiss. ... Arab leaders are not particularly fond of each other and there are usually several disputes brewing at the same time when they assemble.

But they put on a show of camaraderie, thinking that this is what the public wants. Few people, however, take the artificial solidarity seriously – they want real unity, not pretence." Image from

Azerbaijani ambassador: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is striking example of fact that war impedes intercultural dialogue
- S. Suleymanov, Trend: "A war doesn't lead to an understanding, only peace and prosperity can promote dialogue between different peoples and cultures, the People's Artist, the Azerbaijani ambassador to Russia Polad Bulbuloglu believes. ... Bulbuloglu is a member of the Group of public diplomacy on Nagorno-Karabakh. The group also includes a professor, the Baku Conservatory rector Farhad Badalbeyli."

Lt. Gov. Lawton speaks on panel for Wisconsin diplomacy - Pam Selman, "Lieutenant Gov. Barbara Lawton said Wisconsin will be a national model for diplomacy at an upcoming summit on global civil politics by encouraging interaction between states and foreign countries. Lawton led a round table discussion Monday to spread awareness of Wisconsin’s participation at the U.S. Summit and Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy in Washington D.C. next month. ... According to Lawton,

more than 6,500 non-governmental organizations and 11,000 other individuals will participate in the summit — an undertaking that has not been accomplished since Eisenhower’s presidency. The summit intends to generate a higher level of activity between states, national governments and organizations and the global world, Lawton said. A panel of five local specialists from private, public and non-profit sectors spoke alongside Lawton to discuss the need for citizen diplomacy. The panelists encouraged students at the University of Wisconsin to utilize their time on campus in ways that will enhance diplomacy. While Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., has pushed for state and national education funding, his retirement leaves pressure on students to realize the role of higher education in creating citizen diplomacy, said Mark Johnson, an assistant professor of public diplomacy at UW and a panelist. 'Involvement of citizens is vital in citizen diplomacy, but there is a tremendous role of state leadership in all of this,' Johnson said." Lawton image from article

Public Diplomacy Via Innovative Social Media - Tac Anderson, "The first speaker that I was able to see at the Social Media for Defense and Government Conference was Dr Mark Drapeau. Mark is the Director, Innovative Social Engagement, Microsoft US Public Sector What follows is my near real time interpretation of what Mark spoke on but I would add that I probably got some of this wrong and if it’s not wrong it’s probably totally out of context. Mark’s background: PhD in Animal behavior. Biology – Defense Policy – Innovative Engagement ... No social media solution should be dependent on any one tool or piece of software. The future of social media monitoring are integrated dashboard, not independent search tools. Social is increasingly a feature of business software. Experiment, Monitor, Learn."

Ideas Matter: Restoring the Content Of Public Diplomacy - Freedom1, Public diplomacy has a particularly vital mission during war, when the peoples of other countries, whether adversaries or allies, need to know why we fight.

What are the ideas so dear to us that we would rather kill and die than live without them? And what antithetical ideas do our enemies embrace, about which they feel the same way? After all, it is a conflict of ideas that is behind the shooting wars, and it is that conflict which must be won to achieve any lasting success. Download this ebook from the Heritage Foundation." Image from article

Acorn International Announces Resignation of James Hu as Chairman, CEO and Director; President Don Yang Named CEO of the Company - press release, The Company's Board of Directors has named Mr. Don Yang, who is currently President and a Director of Acorn, as the Chief Executive Officer. ... In addition, the Board of Directors has appointed Mr. Robert Roche, co-founder and a current Director of the Company, as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Acorn, effectively immediately. ... Robert Roche is an entrepreneur, attorney and private equity investor and is a co-founder of Acorn. ... Mr. Roche is the current Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai Board of Governors and is a Board Member at the USA Pavilion at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo. Previously Mr. Roche served as a member on the Board of Governors for the American Chamber of Commerce Japan. He is a Member of the Board of the Public Diplomacy Collaborative Initiative at Harvard."

Detroit's 140 Character Conference Aims To Be Unique And Fast-Paced - "From musicians and marketing execs to realtors, PR specialists and everyone in between, Detroit's 140 Character Conference is the place to be on October 20, 2010.

Previous conferences, held in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Tel Aviv, included topics as varied as 'The Media,' Advertising, Celebrity, Politics, Fashion, Real Estate, Music, Education, Public Safety and Public Diplomacy." Image from


How propaganda is disseminated: WikiLeaks Edition - Glenn Greenwald, Salon: This is how the U.S. government and American media jointly disseminate propaganda: in the immediate wake of some newsworthy War on Terror event, U.S. Government officials (usually anonymous) make wild and reckless -- though unverifiable -- claims.

The U.S. media mindlessly trumpets them around the world without question or challenge. Those claims become consecrated as widely accepted fact. And then weeks, months or years later, those claims get quietly exposed as being utter falsehoods, by which point it does not matter, because the goal is already well-achieved: the falsehoods are ingrained as accepted truth. Image from

North Korea warns again about South Korean propaganda
- Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Georgy A. Arbatov (1923-2010), End of an Era - Patricia H. Kushlis. Whirled View: Yale Richmond: Georgy Arbatov ... was an enigmatic figure in U.S.-Soviet relations. Some of the many influential Americans he knew saw him as a very effective propagandist and apologist for a series of Soviet leaders starting with Brezhnev, whose protégé Arbatov was. Other Americans, however, saw Arbatov’s Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies as a place where visiting Americans could get an accurate reading of Soviet policies, and where visitors could also be assured that their views would be transmitted by the Institute to Soviet leaders.

The Institute’s work was classified but its researchers had carte blanche for things Western. They could read things other Soviets could not. They were the first in the Soviet Union to have Xerox machines, and they could call long distance when other Soviets had to book overseas calls 24 hours in advance. Arbatov’s staffers also had most favored status in selection for the many grants for study in the United States under various exchange programs. As a result, the Institute became a place where seeds were planted for the glasnost and perestroika that emerged during the Gorbachev years. And for that we have to thank Arbatov. Image from

Messing Up the Message
- Daniel Johnston & Joel Suss, thelinknewspaper: The power of the Canadian media is held in only a few select hands. Postmedia Network Inc. owns more than a handful of newspapers, including The Gazette and the National Post. Quebecor Media Inc. also shares the same corporate power over newspaper publications as Postmedia Network Inc. Le Journal de Montréal and the Toronto Sun are both owned by Quebecor. Because of their sheer size and domination of the mass media market they are able to not only deliver what people want to hear, but also tell people what they should want to hear. “Propaganda does not have to be fully believed to be effective,” meaning that even though we might dismiss something we read as false, it still has an effect on us.

Lesley Stahl and the 7 pillars of conventional wisdom - Lesley Stahl's report from Sunday's "60 Minutes" about the illegal Israeli colony "the City of David" is an unadulterated, albeit very sophisticated, piece of Peace Industry propaganda. It is a case study for how the media sets the "appropriate" parameters of debate according to "conventional wisdom" of "serious people".

Image: This fascinating story behind the famous Israelite community began in 1903. Benton Harbor, Michigan was the location chosen by Mary and Benjamin Purnell to begin their communal order. The House of David order attracted a worldwide following, produced a legendary baseball team, two traveling jazz bands (amongst the best in the 1920s), and built the premiere "pre-Disney" amusement park in mid-America. Image from

Chinese Art Appears With Health Warning - Antoaneta Becker, Ai Weiwei is best known in the West for conceiving the steel latticework body of Beijing's Olympic Stadium, nicknamed the "bird's nest",

and for his later disillusionment with the whole Beijing Olympic project as a piece of state propaganda. Ai Weiwei image from article

Abstract Expressionism and the State Department - John Brown, Notes and Essays

Image from article


Condi Met With Obama Friday, But Photographers Were Not Present, So I'm Forced To Use This Unflattering Shot From Earlier In The Day - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog:

"Oh, Condoleezza, you are so boring these days! I mean, I suppose I didn't expect her to be swinging from chandeliers during her book tour thing, but still! Loosen up, girl!" Image from article


Centenarians whose numbers in the United States have increased to 96,548 in 2009 from 38,300 in 1990, according to the Census Bureau.

--New York Times



--"Much better than the misuse of 'narrative,' which does violence to great works of literature": comment by a PDPBR reader


Poland to build world's largest Jesus Christ statue: A small Polish town has sought to place itself on the global tourist map by building the world's largest statue of Jesus, eclipsing Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer - Matthew Day, Via LB.

Image from article: The statue of Jesus Christ in Swiebodzin is due for completion in November 1


"While change is a theme again this year, today even top Obama aides concede it won't be a change they can believe it."

--NBC reporter Viqueira; cited in Bulletin News, LLC

"To dismiss the Nazis or the Soviets as beyond . . . historical understanding is to fall into their moral trap."

--Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands, as cited by Matthew Kaminski, "Savagery in the East: How Stalin and then Hitler turned the borderlands of Eastern Europe into killing fields," Wall Street Journal


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