Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16

"Instead of prattling about ‘cultural relations’… pouring out millions in largess, and begging an exchange of singers and dancers, we went straight to the governments with a plain statement of purpose."

--George Creel, head of the Committee on Public Information (1917-1919); from his Rebel at Large: Recollections of Fifty Crowded Years (New York, 1947), 169-70; cited at; Creel image from; book image from


Exchange: The Journal of Public Diplomacy. Officially launched on October 15, 2010 at the 3rd Annual Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars Symposium at Syracuse University. Featured articles:

The Public Diplomacy Enlightenment
Andrew Kneale

Public Diplomacy in the Digital Era – Toward New Partnerships
Michael Schneider

Public Diplomacy Scholars and Practitioners: Thoughts For An Ongoing Conversation
Bruce Gregory

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: PD As It Is Practiced Abroad
William P. Kiehl


What is the US trying to do? - Rami G. Khouri, The Daily Star: "It is probably safe to assume that eight major issues in the Middle East stand out as important ones for US national strategic interests: In no particular order of importance, they are oil and energy flow security; Israel’s security; the situation in Iraq and the US withdrawal from it; fighting terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction; the war in Afghanistan; public diplomacy and outreach to the Islamic world; the nuclear and other issues related to Iran; and Arab-Israeli peace-making. ... One of the important lessons that Obama and his team should have learned by now is that the United States fights these battles with one hand tied behind its back.

The US is severely handicapped by a significant lack of credibility that is a direct consequence of its own foreign policy incompetence in the Middle East in the past several decades, especially the past decade. Most people and political movements, and a few governments, in the Middle East neither respect nor fear the US. More and more of them routinely defy the US, or actively resist it when it suits their purposes. ... The US has a massive military machine that it can use at will in the region, especially via remote controlled drones and missiles; but it has a seriously degraded and limited ability to accomplish any clear goals using old-fashioned diplomacy, soft power, and engagement with the locals across sectors like economics, security, diplomacy, civil society, education and science and technology." Image from

US withholds flood aid unless Pakistan raises taxes - [Comment by a reader:] "Way to go Clinton. This is the kind of public diplomacy that can win the US hearts and minds IMO. Most Pakistanis see international aid as being misused and gobbled up by corrupt politicians anyway, and to hear the US speak up against the rich and powerful evading taxes will resonate with the average Pakistani far more than the KLL. It may still not be enough to paper over the anti-American sentiment due to the Drone attacks and Afghan invasion, but is nonetheless a positive move."

Take it to the People - Robert Shrum, Foreign Policy: "Facing a continuing array of grave challenges abroad and an even more divided and hostile Congress a mile down Pennsylvania Avenue,

Barack Obama will have to either surrender to short-term political pressures or invent a new form of public diplomacy, one aimed at Americans themselves. ... To lead in the national interest, Obama should go beyond the familiar pattern of forging a bipartisan coalition of 'responsible' members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. There won't be enough of them. On critical issues like Afghanistan and Iran, Obama will need to take his case to the people directly, as he did so convincingly as a candidate. This means a continuing conversation in town halls and speeches that connect both emotionally and logically with a majority of Americans. Foreign-policy-speak just won't do. ... Obama needs to become the diplomat-in-chief -- not just for U.S. allies overseas, but for his own citizenry at home." Image from

Assessing the Public Diplomacy Assessment Model Report - Graig Hayden, Intermap: "At their September 28 meeting, the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy announced a report they had commissioned from a research team at UT Austin. Its subject of evaluation and measurement for public diplomacy is undoubtedly important and a significant priority for governments engaged in public diplomacy around the world. This report owes its existence to the efforts of the Advisory Commission’s former Executive Director, David Firestein – an intelligent and articulate advocate for public diplomacy concerns. ... The report itself, however, is not perfect. ... [It] is a comprehensive, systematic, if a bit idiosyncratic attempt to standardize performance metrics. In some sense, it reads like a catch-all field manual to direct attention to what 'counts' as evidence – offering often reasonable, sometimes truly inspired, and yes, some logically dubious reductive attempts to demonstrate linkages between outputs and outcomes. It’s the Scout Handbook

for Public Diplomacy evaluation. ... It may very well be that a truly deductive and predictive model for public diplomacy interventions is impossible given the range of circumstances, contexts, and priorities at stake. In this scenario, the most social-scientific approach probably will amount to a sophisticated structured case-comparison method, where multi-method cases of PD interventions are assembled and tagged in a useful way for policy-planners. Such an archive can allow policy-planners to reference a database of programs that yield useful clinical knowledge, matched to appropriate circumstances. But the ambition of PD-MAP also suggests that particular, targeted quantitative analysis of specific public diplomacy interventions are not only possible but should be encouraged in order to amass comparative data. I agree." Image from

Advance Australia Where? Nation Brands And Soft Power Down-Under - Nicholas J. Cull, Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The bottom line for Australia is that the country’s prime need is not to say more overseas or just circulate a new logo, but rather to ensure that people at home do more to conform to the first class brand that Australia still enjoys, even in India.

For Australia’s brand to be secure for the future a whole range of Australians need to see themselves as partners in Australian public diplomacy. Australia’s universities are waking up to the task but Australia plainly needs to bring civil society into step with its internationalist brand." Image from

United Nations Security Council Elections and the Canadian Brand: The End of the Illusion? - Daryl Copeland, "Diplomatic performance is in large part a function of, and is conditioned by ...the investment of economic and political resources. In recent years, DFAIT [Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada] has faced a debilitating budgetary squeeze, and the department has been sidelined in the process of international policy decision-making. The conduct of public diplomacy, which for a country like Canada is its ace in the hole vis-a-vis the competition, has been made all but impossible as a consequence of the unprecedented centralization and control over all communications. Absent sufficient resources and the fundamental prerequisites of confidence, trust and respect, employee burn out and organizational rust out become near inevitable.

Why the EU Must Take the Lead on Burma Democracy - Neil Campbell, "The upcoming elections in Burma on November 7 and the possible release of Aung San Suu Kyi a few days later have transfixed policy discussions on one of the most closed societies in the world. Rather than using this opportunity to come up with a common and proactive approach, the European Union has instead allowed the ruling military junta’s manipulation of events to split its policies and bring into question its commitment to international law. ... It is the EU, not China, that has the next move to make on Burma policy.

This will be the first UN General Assembly under the EU's new Lisbon Treaty. The first at which the EU has an international legal personality (if not representation), an ongoing institutional shakeup and leadership changes designed to make it a more effective actor on the global stage. Now that they have a seat at the table, the predominant concern of European policy makers should be to reflect the fundamental rights all 27 EU member states have agreed to, rather than use the Burmese resolution as a risk-free public diplomacy exercise." Image from

China's Public Diplomacy - "As China emerging as a world power, so China wants to present itself as a responsible, admirable state and for that purpose China has to make public orient foreign policies. In 21st century public opinion matters a lot, to formulate policies for other states, a state must keep in mind that its foreign policies should attract the public of other states, and then a state can achieve its national interests, because of the rise of globalization the States have been using new strategies to promoting their national interests and achieve consideration of foreign audience; the public diplomacy is a tool to impress the public of other state and China knows how to use this tool. Public diplomacy (PD) of any state can influence scholars, opinion makers, and social activists; and ordinary public of any state. In 21st century states are using public and cultural diplomacy to promote their self-interests. PD promotes soft power of any state. China’s leadership wants to improve Chinese image on international level by using PD."

Haunted by ghosts: Self-proclaimed anti-Israeli saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and prog rock legend Robert Wyatt have joined forces to make musical magic and "political noise" - Yaron Frid, Haaretz: "It would be a big mistake to assume that Gilad Atzmon's music is marginal and negligible compared with all the other noise he manages to make nonstop as a popular and prominent pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist activist.

The music is important, superb, surpassingly sublime and acknowledged as such by international awards. ... I think about Gilad Atzmon the way that Arik Einstein thought about the girl he saw on her way to school in the iconic song: that to us, he is lost. Israeli public diplomacy lost someone who could have been one of its finest voices: articulate, charismatic, brilliant. The score, for now: 1-0, Palestine leading." Image from

Sarajevo, Tarik and family reunification - Helen Storm, [Google translation:]"I discovered that the currently most popular television series in Bosnia-Herzegovina is Turkish and some I've spoken with believe that people even plan their leisure activities after this series transmission - one, albeit unconscious, very efficient Turkish public diplomacy-bet. ... Helen Storm is working since 2007 at the [Swedish] Embassy in Ankara."

Protocols frozen, civilian efforts flourish between Turkey, Armenia‎ - "Although one year has passed since Turkey and Armenia took a major step and signed protocols in Zurich to improve relations, they have both failed to approve them.

Despite the official stalemate, civil society contacts and projects have been active on both sides of the closed border between the two countries. ... Ozdem Sanberk, a former Foreign Ministry undersecretary and director of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (USAK/ISRO), said Turkey has not worked on public diplomacy since the signing of the protocols and has, therefore, failed to stress its peace and security-seeking goals in the Caucasus." Image from

Azerbaijan: Baku Reaches Out to Armenian Hard-liners in Karabakh PR Bid - Shahin Abbasov, "Some Baku residents probably did a double-take when the news broke recently: two members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutiun, a nationalist Armenian party fervently opposed to Azerbaijan’s claims to Nagorno-Karabakh, had arrived in the Azerbaijani capital on a surprise visit. ... [M]embers of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutiun (ARF), who are often called Dashnaks, have a particular reputation among Azeris. Media outlets in Baku regularly characterize the party as a 'terrorist organization.' ... Asked to comment on the government’s decision to allow the two ARF representatives to travel to Baku, Yeni Azerbaijan Party Executive Secretary Ali Ahmadov offered a surprise response. He described the decision as part of a public diplomacy campaign."

Bataan Death March; Frankenstein; Ramblon - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "And I read the brilliant classic Frankenstein, the original version by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I have always loved her husband’s work, but I have now found affection for hers as well. I don’t so much find books, as they find me. Her brilliant prose had me wondering if my journeys were a monster. But who would have thought that I would find public diplomacy in Shelley’s gothic tale? ... Frankenstein beseeches Captain Walton to listen before continuing on his own fool’s errand- just as his monster entreated Frankenstein to listen.

The most forgotten aspect of public diplomacy is related to listening. Listening to well-intentioned advice so we do not make the same mistakes over and over; listening to our adversaries to better understand them and understand that they are likely not the monsters we believe them to be." Image from

Soft Power: The Consumer View
- Robin, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "We tend to talk about soft power as a property of a country, eg America’s soft power. This hides the fact that soft power lies in the relationship between the country and the person who is being influenced. ... [S]oft power is not simply about looking admirable it’s about being and looking successful in a way that’s relevant to the person or group who are ‘buying’. As new models of success emerge in world politics the market for soft power will become more competitive and more fragmented."

3rd Annual Public Diplomacy Symposium — Visual Communication Panel -


Obama's foreign policy: big ideas, little implementation - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Obama's achievement is that he has reconnected America to the world. The United States was much too isolated and unpopular when he came into office. That isn't so true now. But even though the United States is less hated, it may also be taken less seriously by other nations.

Obama has turned the page in American foreign policy, but he hasn't written enough yet on that fresh, blank space. Image from

Petraeus: NATO has facilitated Taliban movement
- AP: Commanding Gen. David Petraeus confirmed Friday that coalition forces have allowed Taliban representatives to travel to Kabul for peace discussions with the Afghan government, but a Taliban spokesman said all such talk is only propaganda, designed to lower the morale of the movement's fighters.

'Invisible black hand' controls all said, done‎ - Peter Goodspeed, National Post: "The role of the propaganda system in the current era in China is akin to that of the church in medieval Europe," says Anne-Marie Brady, a China expert who wrote the book Marketing Dictatorship: Propaganda Thought in Contemporary China.

The department monitors, instructs and censors all of China's newspapers, magazines, film, television and radio broadcasting, the Internet, the publishing industry and all aspects of cultural and information production. Image from

N. Korea repeats threat to shell S.Korea propaganda sites‎ - AFP: North Korea threatened Friday to attack sites in South Korea if Seoul carries out its threat to start cross-border propaganda broadcasts and leaflet launches. The communist state's military renewed its earlier threats of a strike in a message to the South's armed forces, Pyongyang's official news agency reported. The loudspeakers and other sites will face "a physical strike from our army" if the official propaganda campaign is launched, the North said.

Hitler Exhibit Explores a Wider Circle of Guilt - Michael Slackman, New York Times: As artifacts go, they are mere trinkets — an old purse, playing cards, a lantern. Even the display that caused the crowds to stop and stare is a simple embroidered tapestry, stitched by village women. But the exhibits that opened Friday at the German Historical Museum are intentionally prosaic: they emphasize the everyday way that ordinary Germans once accepted, and often celebrated, Hitler. This show, “Hitler and the Germans: Nation and Crime,”

focuses on the society that nurtured and empowered him. It is not the first time historians have argued that Hitler did not corral the Germans as much as the Germans elevated Hitler. But one curator said the message was arguably more vital for Germany now than at any time in the past six decades, as rising nationalism, more open hostility to immigrants and a generational disconnect from the events of the Nazi era have older Germans concerned about repeating the past. Image from article

Forgotten hero of the First World War to be remembered in exhibition: A new exhibition is to reveal the story of how a heroic British merchant navy captain tried to ram a German U-boat intent on sinking his vessel before he was executed by the Germans for his actions - Jasper Copping, During the war, British merchant sailor Charles Fryatt's death

was compared with the execution of British nurse Edith Cavell, who was killed by the Germans in 1915 for helping British soldiers escape from occupied Belgium, but it now remains the less well known of the two. Nick Hewitt, a historian at the museum, said: "As with Edith Cavell, it was a catastrophically stupid decision by the Germans. In both cases, they might have had a technical entitlement to execute them both, but they would have had a far more significant propaganda success if they had sentenced them to death and then pardoned them." Fyatt image from article


--The world according to San Francisco, Boing Boing


Putin image from; boy scout image from

1 comment:

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