Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28

"Today, rock almost seems like a soft-power anachronism, along with most shortwave radio broadcasts; underwritten overseas English-language training; and other pricey, legacy public diplomacy programs paid for by the European Union and the United States."

--Andras Simonyi, former Hungarian ambassador to the United States and NATO and Markos Kounalakis, former publisher and president of Washington Monthly and currently a senior fellow at the Center for Media and Communication Studies at Central European University in Budapest; image from


Guitars, Google, and guns: a new view of Western power‎: As the West gears up for a NATO summit, free nations must consider how to be smarter about their tools of influence - Andras Simonyi - Markos Kounalakis, Christian Science Monitor: "How is the free world going to lead in an age when its values are increasingly under attack? When it is facing threats and challenges unknown in the past? And when its economic model – the source of our power and freedoms – is being questioned? ... The buzzword for dealing with these challenges in the corridors of power in Washington and European capitals is 'smart power.' But a buzzword is no substitute for honest reflection. What the West needs most is a fresh look at the full range of its capabilities and interests. Only then can its power fulfill its purpose. Seen as a wonder tool, smart power has been embraced as a fresh and benign aspect of power; a definably formulaic mix of soft (cultural) power and hard (military) power. The reality is that the need for hard power has not vanished. And soft power alone will never suffice to win a war, push down threatening dictators, or keep a peace. We still live in a world that requires both swords and plowshares. ... Power – hard or soft, American or European – is still just power and it is spectral. At the two ends of the visible power spectrum

are the extremes: strategic nuclear forces at one end and cultural diplomacy on the other. Hot, hard war tactics are on the red end of the spectrum and cool, soft sells to societies are at the opposite, bluer end. There is a lot of space in between: for example, military assisted humanitarian actions or helping fight devastating disease in Africa. ... The concept of spectral power is essentially a new way of looking at our power toolbox in a more integrated manner. Free and democratic countries, alliances, and organizations will have to begin to see more clearly the subtle colors, shades, and mixtures of power that a full and wide spectrum view allows. The most important expected result will be a framework that will help define a more efficient and effective use of our human, economic, military, scientific, and cultural assets." Image from

CSF to give $750 million by November-end: Tapi project, land surveying mapping bill approved by Cabinet - Jalil Hassan Akhtar, Business Recorder: "The Federal Cabinet in its 66th meeting held here at Governor's House on Wednesday with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in the chair, expressed satisfaction over the recently concluded third round of Pak-US Strategic Dialogue. ... He [Federal Minister Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira] said the PPP-led coalition government had the credit of expanding the scope of this strategic dialogue from five to 13 sectors, adding that now the food security, agriculture, industry, energy as well as public diplomacy and IT sectors had also been incorporated in the dialogue. The Pak-US relations were being made people-centric to strengthen democracy in Pakistan, he said."

Head of USA Pavilion says its expo commission accomplished‎ - Xinhua: "The USA Pavilion has achieved its goal of public diplomacy in China with the Expo serving as an unparalleled platform to communicate with the vast public of the country, the United States commissioner-general to the Expo said. But the eagle-shaped structure, for which the world's largest economy scrambled

together 61 million U.S. dollars from corporate funding for construction and operation, is unlikely to remain on its original site in the Expo Garden, according to Jose Villarreal. 'The Expo authority is mandating that all the Expo Garden be removed, except for a few permanent structures such as the China Pavilion,' Villarreal was quoted as saying by Thursday's China Daily, adding that the regulation and rules have yet to be finalized by Expo authorities. ... And after 180 days of operation, the 5,600-square-meter pavilion has welcomed more than 7 million visitors. That is one of the largest for a foreign participant at the Expo, which attracted more than 190 nations." Image from

A Response from VOA’s Director - Alex Belida, VOA Media Watch: "[VOA] Director Austin notes a decision was made long ago by U.S. government-funded international broadcasters 'that Americans living abroad and English speakers in democracies that enjoy a free press are already well served by commercial television and don't require programming subsidized by American taxpayers.' He goes on to say that at VOA, 'we continually work to improve our television efforts--over 300 hours of original television are produced every week... These programs are in the vernacular language of the markets to which they're broadcast, and are often carried as part of a local affiliate's program mix.' That said, VOA does offer English-language video, audio and text through our English-language web portal, which is accessible to anyone with an Internet connection."

VOA's English-teaching program adds mobile apps - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Radio giveaway in Afghanistan goes awry: "We were mobbed" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting:

"'Radio Liberty' is Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which has lately been abbreviating itself RFE rather than RFE/RL. Its service for Afghanistan is called Radio Azadi (competes with VOA's Radio Ashna), unless its for the part of Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, in which case it's called Radio Mashaal (competes with VOA's Deewa Radio). Maybe better for RFE to become a wholesaler, ensuring that low-cost radios with adequate frequency coverage get to the shops and tradesmen." Image from; see also.

Commando Solo may add digital transmitters - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Nagorno-Karabakh deserves more attention from US & EU‎ - RIA Novosti: "The presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet on October 27

to discuss the unresolved conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave inside Azerbaijan with an ethnic Armenian majority. Russia has long acted as the principal mediator in the dispute. ... Alexei Vlasov, editor in chief of Vestnik Kavkaza, a news and analysis website devoted to the Caucasus, shares his views with RIA Novosti’s Samir Shakhbaz. [Vlasov:] ... I believe Russia has struck the right note. Russia is providing consistent support for the negotiations and trying to come up with different ways to resolve the dispute. For example, public diplomacy or the gradual return of refugees – in other words, anything that could move the process past this deadlock. I don’t see any other options. The recent protocols signed by Armenia and Turkey has shown that Hillary Clinton and Sergei Lavrov can exert pressure, but ultimately the public will have the final say. And the public does not see any possibility for an open, honest and transparent reconciliation at this point, but let’s hope it will some day." Image from article: The presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan

Sweden named 'best embassy' in US capital‎ - The "The Swedish embassy in Washington, DC has been named the city's best embassy by the readers of the Washington Post newspaper, by virtue of its design and programme of events. ... The embassy is now conducting its 11th Public Diplomacy programme which has its starting point in Sweden's progressive image and spans politics, culture, trade and research/science."

Top Israeli chef cooks for homeless - Suzanne Kurtz, Washington Jewish Week - "Top Israeli chef Mika Sharon, her face flushed and her hair swept up in a clip, last week shared with her D.C. dinner guests the Mediterranean-inspired menu that she had prepared for them. ... These dinner guests, however, weren't typical: They were homeless. ... During her four-day visit to Washington, Sharon, who apprenticed at trendy and well-known New York establishments like Nobu and Tribeca Grill, also prepared a private lunch for World Bank executives. The Miriam's Kitchen meal

was included on her visit because, said Noam Katz, the embassy's minister of public diplomacy, 'We saw Mika's visit as an opportunity to also do something for the local community.'" Sharon image from article

China Radio Int'l to reach out to Nepali listeners through FMs‎ - Raj Koirala, Republica: "As a part of its growing engagements in Nepal lately, China is preparing to take programs of China Radio International (CRI) among Nepali listeners across the country through local FM radios. ... As the China´s international radio station, CRI aims at promoting understanding and friendship between the people of China and people throughout the world with over 30 overseas bureaus. Currently, the radio broadcasts 1,520 hours of programs every day all over the world in 58 different languages. According to a research report published by Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) recently, China is using various components of public diplomacy to influence the media in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia lately." Image from

The Tiger's Tail cont - Paul Rockower, Levantine: India has been reaching out to Japan for trade and investment. I'm hoping to see these efforts accompanied by public diplomacy outreach in cultural diplomacy and exchange. But perhaps that is what this forum is for, to push such things. Meanwhile, I am wondering about Indian-Filipino public diplomacy.

I was in Cebu and saw a lot of Indians in the business district where there are a lot of IT projects and call centers. I'm curious if anyone in the network knows of specific Indian public diplomacy outreach to the Philippines. It is an interesting country for India and could be a good country for Indian pd. Maybe some call center exchange programs?" Image from

Maritime Bureau Blames Somali Pirates for Almost Half of Worldwide Attacks - "Pirates have seized nearly 2,400 hostages and have received an estimated $100 million in ransom. Many countries have sent naval forces to patrol the region. But since nearly 30,000 ships transit the Gulf of Aden each year it is a difficult area to protect. Silvia Kofler, Head of Public Diplomacy with the European Union Delegation in Washington, says the EU has been involved in the region since 2008 when it launched its first naval operation called 'Atlanta.'"

How easy to leave social media? - "John King, the CNN Live host,

expressed in his video message to the 3rd Annual Public Diplomacy Symposium at Syracuse University keynote speaker section, [his belief that] the boom of social media provides people more data but less certainty in current news circumstance. It was so easy to get lost in the mass media now than before." Image: CNN Ken-doll Chief National Correspondent John King and CNN congressional correspondent, Dana Bash from

life like a bouquet of flowers - "Happiness is the crystallization of the struggle, hard apology monument ④ happy, always shrouded in you. If you hand from the sparse public diplomacy over the rice bowl of the warm feel of Hope, that is happiness; as a result of your enemy's to read in the light, doubt, chewing friendship, that is happiness; if you stand alone corner, quietly listening to music, Er read attentively, that is happiness ⑤"

Media Specialist/Webmaster (Training level) - "The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli is seeking an individual for the position of Media Specialist/Webmaster in the Public Affairs Office (PAO). ... Excellent knowledge of Public Diplomacy (PD)

information tools and programs and media techniques is required." Image from


Time to reboot our push for global Internet freedom - Jackson Diehl, Washington Post: "[W]hile State is polishing its policy and preparing yet more training programs, Iranians and people from dozens of other countries are trying to get free access to the Internet. The technology exists to give it to them. State has the money in hand to pay for it. Yet after years of delay, the agency still hesitates to act. Via

$#*! My Prof Says - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "Prof. Pastor ... [in] a 2008 article for Foreign Affairs ... addresses

a few assumptions about U.S. security and economy and argues that Mexico and Canada have a greater impact on both than any other country. ... Hard power standards like economic collaboration, customs unions, and an investment fund to reduce the income gap between Mexico and its neighbors are part of this strategy. But it also relies on soft power as well, namely in the form of generating goodwill and a ... spirit of common purpose . ... [B]lind pursuit of personal interests will inevitably lead to going home alone--only slightly less crass . ... One suggestion involves sponsoring centers for North American studies ... to promote regional solidarity." Pastor image from

Palestinian Fair: ‘Propaganda’ or cultural awareness? - While many relish the chance to live in another county, Allison Schmitt says the two years she spent in Jerusalem left her “gut” in turmoil. Schmitt, who worked with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, says she witnessed first-hand what she felt was the systematic oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli government. Israel controls where Palestinians go to school, work and even where they live, Schmitt says.

Schmitt says the international media have largely ignored the plight of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Which is why Schmitt and a group called Northfielders for Justice in Palestine/Israel are hosting a Palestinian Fair at First United Church of Christ on Nov. 6. The intent of the fair, organizers argue, is not to be anti-Semitic, but to promote Palestinian culture and the issues they face. Image from article: Palestinian “dabkeh” dancers perform in a photo taken by Northfielder Allison Schmitt, who lived in Jerusalem for two years.

Propaganda war: The Indian media is happy to indulge its government every once in a while - For all its shortcomings, the Nepali media takes the role of permanent opposition more seriously than its Indian counterparts. However, when national integrity is under attack from foreign propaganda, the media has to line up with the government and the opposition to withstand the pressure.

British Propaganda Posters WW2 - The co-ordination of domestic propaganda in Britain during the Second World War was carried out mainly by the Ministry of Information, established at the outbreak of war in 1939. Its prime purpose was to sustain civilian morale and its functions included the production of propaganda posters both for itself and for other branches of Government.

These “weapons on the wall”, as they were sometimes known, had the advantage of being cheap to produce and easy to distribute. Posters were not the totality of Government wartime propaganda in Britain. They were often used as part of a coordinated campaign together with films, radio broadcasts, pamphlets, and articles and advertisements in newspapers and magazines. The most powerful mass medium of our contemporary society – television – was not, of course, available during the Second World War. Image from article

1 comment:

Robert Jacobson, PhD said...

John, regarding Commissioner General Villarreal's comments regarding the "USA" pavilion in the Xinhua article, "Head of USA Pavilion says its expo commission accomplished‎" (a confused and confusing heading), two words come to mind: hyperbolic and disingenuous.

By studiously ignoring all that was wrong with the "USA" pavilion beginning with the private usurpation of an historically public diplomatic function, Villarreal has wasted his appointment as Commissioner General. He leaves us with no way of repairing the damage, diplomatic and political, done by the private company that ran the "USA" pavilion without public oversight or even formal authority, and by the 70-plus American and Chinese multinationals who invested in it (together with the Chinese government, a face-losing situation). The ramifications are global and reach right back into the workings of the US State Department at the highest levels and possibly include involvement in the US Chamber of Commerce's secret campaign to defeat Democrats in the current election -- a great irony, given Secretary Clinton's personal effort to raise tens of millions of dollars for the "USA" pavilion money factory.

Villarreal is supposed to point out what can be improved as well as (in this case, trivial) achievements of our nation's supposed public representation in Shanghai. He could have started with the lack of public oversight at every stage of the event, right up to the present -- but then, that was his job. If he chose to avoid it, who can be held responsible? And what about Expos to come? Are we doomed to more of the same?