Friday, October 8, 2010

October 8

"The term 'public diplomacy' is now attributed to so many activities that is has lost useful meaning."

--Kim Andrew Elliott; image from


(1) Cows & Cows & Cows

(2) Wonder Girls


Cut Off Aid to Pakistan - Steven Metz, New Republic:

"As Secretary of State Clinton explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee in December 2009, she understood that the U.S. 'commitment to Pakistan' had 'been questioned by the Pakistanis in the past' but, really, the Obama administration intended to 'make sure that the people of Pakistan know that we wish to be their partner for the long term, and that we intend to do all that we can to bolster their futures.' A massive boost in financial aid provided the obvious answer—last year Congress approved a five-year, $7.5 billion civilian assistance package, on top of an already huge military aid program. And with that, muted critiques, fewer ultimatums, more effective public diplomacy, and the rest of the litany. Unfortunately, both assumptions were soon revealed to have things exactly backward. ... [F]or anyone who’s picked up newspaper over the past few months, should it be necessary to point out that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign to win South Asia’s hearts and minds has accomplished nothing in terms of curing Pakistan’s delusional insistence on blaming Washington for each and every ill that plagues that benighted country. ... In truth, then, America really has only one option left in its diplomatic toolbox: Cutting off U.S. assistance." Image from

Global Jihad on 9th Anniversary of US Afghan War - Pakistan Defence: "It is important for the United States to go beyond the rhetoric about winning the battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims. It is now time to step up its public diplomacy along with necessary foreign policy changes and a sincere charm offensive to try and win the hearts and minds of the common people in the Islamic world. Only then can the Islamic militants be isolated, marginalized, and eventually defeated."

Change proves too hard for Obama: Most Americans believe the president does not have a clear strategy to solve the nation's problems or create jobs - Marwan Al Kabalan, Gulf News: "Obama has not so far been running a successful foreign policy . ...

The Middle East peace process is in tatters due to Israel's intransigence on colonies. Obama's public diplomacy initiative to the Islamic world also did not significantly redefine the game." Image from article

Department of State Completes Selection of Deputy Assistant Secretaries for Public Diplomacy - Office of the Spokesman, U.S. Department of State: "The State Department announced today that it had completed a key component of its strategic framework for public diplomacy, with the selection of Deputy Assistant Secretaries for public diplomacy in the Department’s six geographic bureaus and a Deputy Assistant Secretary for international media engagement in the Bureau of Public Affairs. 'The Department of State’s strategic framework for public diplomacy was designed to strengthen our ability to match strategies and programs to our country’s top foreign policy priorities,' stated Judith A. McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. 'These new Deputy Assistant Secretaries will provide valuable public diplomacy leadership in this critical endeavor, and ensure the close integration of public diplomacy with policy formulation.'”

iCow app and methane belches - Michael Hardy, "Now you can manage the breeding periods of your cattle with iCow, the winner of the Apps4Africa contest the State Department conducted. The competiton 'brought together local technology entrepreneurs to build tools that serve the needs of local nongovernmental organizations and their communities,' according to a State Department announcement. 'Your work to develop 21st century solutions to Africa’s challenges is a powerful example of what individuals can do to shape a dynamic, successful future,' said Secretary Hillary Clinton in a video message.

Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale launched the competition in 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya. It brought in more than 20 entries from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania." Image from

“It is most appropriate for the U.S. to train journalists in foreign countries” - Civic & Citizen Journalism Interest Group: "Mitch Land, interim dean of UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism, is visiting Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, on invitation by the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia. Professor Land’s task is to train Liberian journalists in preparation for the general election scheduled for October of 2011. His 10-day visit, which began September 28, has sparked discussion of whether the U.S. Department of State should train, or influence the training of, journalists in foreign countries. ... [Q:] Is it appropriate for the U.S. Department of State to train journalists in foreign countries? [A:] Absolutely. The U.S. State Department’s public diplomacy section is tasked with building capacity—which includes providing training for journalists—in every country where the U.S. has an embassy. I provide the material as I see fit with no interference from the U.S. government."

Image from article: Mitch Land (left) with Ernest Kiazolu, who is information assistant in the public diplomacy section of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia and formerly a reporter and producer with Star Radio, Monrovia.

A gateway to friendship - Partners in Public Diplomacy: A blog from the participants of the IVLP progrm 2009 organized by Department of State: "It was July 14, 2009 and I was visiting American Library Associations’ annual conference in Chicago, representing my country Pakistan on this international event as a state guest. As I was passing through different stalls at the convention center, a stall attracted me with its simplicity and calmness, which was hard to find anywhere else in this mega event and that was SCOMM stall. I curiously watched what is going on at this stall, I saw two men just sitting in front of a small electronic device like digital notepads. I then surprise to find that this unique machine is known as UBIDUO and the stall was set up to market this product. On my turn, I started my communication through this machine with one of the rep., our chat was displayed on both ends and we started our discussion, you would not believe it, this machine enabled me to understand a person with disability and performed as a GATEWAY, without learning any special sign language. ... I had an ultimate communication experience as promised with a very healthy conversation with plans to market this product here in Pakistan besides knowing these guys well."

Mr. Isaacson, Please Wake Up! (or: RT Strikes Back) - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "In his keynote address at the reception marking the 60th Anniversary of the first RFE broadcast, held at the Newseum on September 28, 2010, BBG's new Chairman Walter Isaacson, stressed the need to end the mostly top-down and 'info-dissemination' approach of most of America's foreign broadcasting, emphasizing the importance of engagement with the audience . ... It's great that the BBG is finally, seriously, considering social media and engagement as a priority task, recognizing those as keys to enhancing public diplomacy effectiveness. Yet, the irony is that by the very fact of framing his speech in the context of war and struggle, Mr. Isaacson undermined his previous point of true engagement and emphasis on the interactive communication model. He also seems to have missed that many of the commercial-owned media are, in fact, making very good use of social networking and various other 'engagement' techniques. ... I'm afraid, Mr. Isaacson has got the whole idea of information diversity, engagement, and decentralization of communication - which would inevitably lead to a countless multiplicity of 'truths' - badly wrong... And the best example of this was, perhaps, the fact that Russia Today TV did actually respond to his statement, describing the channel as 'an enemy'. Welcome to the world where others are also actively broadcasting, Mr. Isaacson. And not only are they transmitting information, but they are also actively listening - to you, as well - and are able to respond with strong and - have to admit - very good arguments." Below image from

Russia Today (RT) riled by its apparent inclusion among "enemies" in BBG chairman's speech - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "It is common for executives of U.S. international broadcasting to appeal for more money by citing the budgets and output hours of stations in other countries. But it is audience size that really matters. During the Cold War years, Radio Moscow had more transmitters, languages, and broadcast hours than any other international radio station, but its audience was at best as large as those of BBC or VOA."

Responses to a blogger's assertions about VOA Persian News Network's audience size - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Joseph Nye plugs international broadcasting into the wrong theoretical framework -Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Re International Herald Tribune, 4 Oct 2010, Joseph S. Nye Jr: "USIB has a a global weekly audience of 170 million. Will the US government or any NGO achieve 170 million face-to-face encounters each week? Mass communication exists for a reason. Successful [underscored] international broadcasting satisfies the audience's need for news that is more reliable than the audience can get from domestic sources.

It is not about sending 'a message.' Cultural barriers are not as much of a problem for US international broadcasting as Professor Nye imagines. Almost all of the language broadcasters are natives of the target country, and thus are native speakers of the target country's language. If the international broadcaster sticks to solid journalism, cultural differences are even less problematic. ... Perhaps we need to divide public diplomacy into official public diplomacy and citizen public diplomacy, the latter using the word "diplomacy" metaphorically. As for international broadcasting, best to leave it out of any discussion of public diplomacy, official or otherwise." Nye image from

VOA TV Program Becomes an Iranian Favorite - Press Release, VOA: "A satirical television show called Parazit has become one of Iran's most popular programs, even though it is broadcast from Washington and produced by the Voice of America. The 30-minute weekly show, which pokes fun at Iranian officialdom, has a Farsi language Facebook page that now routinely records about 500,000 impressions after each new program is posted. Last month, Parazit's Facebook friends surpassed 100,000 - up from 60,000 just two months earlier.

Many viewers also watch the show on satellite dishes, which are illegal in Iran." Image from article

Is Radio Farda pointed in the right direction? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

A notional model for evaluating public diplomacy - Matt Armstrong, "The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy met last week to discuss its biennial report to appraise U.S. Government activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics. In 2008, the Commission come out with a report on the human resource aspect of public diplomacy. This time, the Commission outsourced its commitment to the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. The project’s purpose was to review current public diplomacy measurement methods, assess gaps in the various measurement methods, and develop a comprehensive measurement framework.

The result was the Public Diplomacy Model for the Assessment of Performance (PD-MAP). ... The report and the model reflect the sincerity and hard work of the students. Theirs was not an easy task. However, the value and utility of their year-long effort is unclear. The PD-MAP arrived at conclusions that are painfully obvious to anyone who scratches the surface of public diplomacy, let alone in the area of measuring effectiveness. ... The report did uncover some interesting 'key themes' during their research, interviews, and survey. If these results are not the result of a defective sample or defective data collection, they should raise some flags. For example: •62% percent of the respondents mentioned disseminating information on US foreign policy and goals as one of the purposes of public diplomacy. •24% percent of respondents mentioned increasing understanding regarding US foreign policy and goals as one of the purposes of public diplomacy. •43% percent of the respondents identified influencing foreign audiences to comply with US foreign policy and goals as one of the purposes of public diplomacy. [emphasis mine] ... Download links: •Final report: 'Public Diplomacy: Model for the Assessment of Performance' (PDF, 3mb) •Presentation: 'An Assessment Model for U.S. Public Diplomacy Efforts' (PPT, 2mb)" Image from article

VOL. VI NO. 20, September 24 - October 7, 2010 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media:

"Attack of the Drones
The CIA recently intensified covert drone attacks in Pakistan in a preemptive effort to quell potential terrorist attacks in Europe. The unmanned air strikes reflect a broader military defense strategy in which drone aircraft target Al-Qaeda cells in Pakistan and Yemen, places where the US does not have combat troops.
Obstructions on the Road to Peace
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are in peril after the Israeli government allowed a 10-month freeze on Israeli West Bank settlement building to expire, despite President Obama’s request for a two-month extension of the moratorium.
Muslim Brotherhood Revamps Internet Image before Elections
The Muslim Brotherhood group announced plans to run in the upcoming Egyptian parliamentary elections in November, despite strong opposition from Egypt's ruling party. The organization also launched a social networking site meant to improve its image in the media.
Technology: The Final Frontier against Extremism?
Chairman of the BBG Walter Isaacson announced the broadcasting board’s plans to embrace the growing influence of social networks. Others echo his message, pointing out that radical organizations have already used technology to their advantage while certain Arab governments still repress various forms of online expression.
The Blogfather, Locked Up
An Iranian court sentenced Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan to nearly two decades in prison as a result of his controversial blogs protesting the Iranian government. The incident reflects a trend across the Middle East in which governments are continuously suppressing bloggers for online dissent.
Muslim Hero to the Rescue

A new comic book series by Liquid Comics will feature a disabled Muslim superhero with the power to control minds and metal. Meanwhile, critics comment on the constitutionality of President Obama's endorsement of similar cartoons as part of an effort to reach out to the Muslim world.
The Real World of Warcraft: Dealing with the Taliban
The makers of the latest version of the popular video game franchise Medal of Honor announced that the game would no longer refer to enemy combatants as “the Taliban.” Meanwhile, the real Taliban is becoming increasingly successful in disseminating propaganda throughout Afghanistan.
The Moroccan Monarchy's Media Crunch
The Moroccan government may be responsible for driving a magazine out of business because it published a poll chastising King Mohammed VI’s efforts in alleviating poverty. Nichane was the largest Arabic-language magazine in the country." Image from

A Long History of America's Dark Side - Peter Dale Scott and Robert Parry, the psy-war doctrinal debates were not resolved by the Vietnam War. "Counterinsurgency advocates regrouped in the 1980s behind President Ronald Reagan, who mounted a spirited defense of the Vietnamese intervention and reaffirmed U.S. resolve to employ similar tactics against leftist forces especially in Central America. ... Reagan also added an important new component to the mix. Recognizing how graphic images and honest reporting from the war zone had undercut public support for the counterinsurgency in Vietnam,

Reagan authorized an aggressive domestic 'public diplomacy' operation which practiced what was called 'perception management' -- in effect, intimidating journalists to ensure that only sanitized information would reach the American people." Image from

'Half of Westerners doubt 9/11 event' - "Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says half of people in Europe and America are suspicious of the September 11 events in the United States. ... He also made a reference to the recent visit of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to New York for a United Nations General Assembly session on the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and said President Ahmadinejad's 'trip to the UN was a good opportunity to set forth Iran's public diplomacy, which conveyed Iran's message to the world.'"

Climate forum paves way to Cancun meet - "China will use a three-day meeting on climate change as a platform for public diplomacy to show the world its sincerity in reducing carbon emissions.

The event will also serve to strengthen climate change talks and help the Cancun conference – scheduled for the end of the year – achieve a legally-binding document, a top policy advisor has said. From Friday, about 20 climate change and environmental ministers from such countries as Denmark, Germany and Mexico will join 600 officials, experts and entrepreneurs worldwide at a high-level climate change forum in Beijing." Image from

Spain - Meeting between Mr Moratinos and the Minister for Public Diplomacy and the Diaspora - ISRIA: "The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, met the Israeli Minister of Public Affairs and the Diaspora, Mr Yuli Yoel Edelstein, at the Palacio de Santa Cruz. The ministers exchanged opinions about the current state of the Middle East peace process and the effect of the moratorium on the building of settlements. ... Miguel Ángel Moratinos also pointed out that next year will be twenty-fifth year since the start of diplomatic relations between Spain and Israel and both ministers agreed upon their determination and desire for this anniversary to be commemorated with an ambitious programme of activities, both in Spain and in Israel. Mr Moratinos referred to the work of Casa Sefarad-Israel as an instrument of public diplomacy for developing ties of friendship and cooperation between the Spanish and Israeli societies, going on to say that it also encourages a deeper understanding of Jewish culture."

Conflict could have been settled by Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples - News.Az: "News.Az interviews Veli Alibeyov, vice president of the Association of Development of civil public in Azerbaijan. ... [Q:] Being the vice president of the Association of assistance to the development of civil community, do you believe in the success of people’s diplomacy, like the recent mission of the representatives of Azerbaijani and Armenian intellectuals to Baku and Yerevan?

[A:] If the destiny of the Karabakh conflict was in the hands of Azerbaijani and Armenian people, we could have settled it with our methods, either on the level of people’s diplomacy or presidents. But we are aware that the conflict settlement is not in the hands of our peoples. In this sense, no popular diplomacy will help in this issue, no matter how much our representatives tried. Therefore, I do not believe in the success of public diplomacy." Alibeyov image from article

Going too soft? - purplegirl: "India has often celebrated the success of its soft power. It is somewhat an asset to our grand nation be it the bollywood movies, or its portrayal in Hollywood with the Oscar-worthy Slumdog, Gandhian ideals or even as an instrument to promote regional peace with media campaigns like Aman Ki Asha. Sometimes it becomes unclear as to whether the success of soft power is being seen as a panacea to some of the larger issues at hand, perhaps limiting the vision of our citizens as well as the influential ones in power. ... We tend to eulogize pluralism and secularism that are at the heart of our democracy. Our freedom of speech is constantly applauded, by this virtue of which the media has launched public diplomacy campaigns and the political parties have thrived on articulating their differing viewpoints but not conceived a solution. Somewhere down the line our discourse has turned its focus to soft power in an attempt to perhaps cloud the fiasco of hard power."

‘New Media and Public Relations’ and ‘Focus on Asian Public Relations’ - "It is most important to note ... that one theoretical model cannot cover all aspects of public relations in Asia, and that as a result of this different types of management and practice should be applied where necessary. Even within each country there may need to be different practices applied to different regions due to differing public relations focuses and needs

(e.g in China, the public relations emphasis in Beijing is on government, or public affairs and public diplomacy. Meanwhile, in Guangzhou, there is a stronger focus on the consumer market.)" Image from

EU-Korea relations - calls for tenders/proposals 2010 - European Union External Action: "Call for Proposals 'Public Diplomacy, Policy Research and Outreach Devoted to the European Union and EU-Korea Relations' Application deadline: 27 January 2011"

Alum goes from farm to foreign affairs" Thumbing through old issues of National Geographic in her attic as a child, Deborah Sisbarro gazed into the far corners [...] - Deidre Helton, DU Today: "Sisbarro’s journey began while attending Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., where she took a computerized test to determine what career to pursue. According to Sisbarro, no matter how she answered the multiple-choice questions, the result always came back the same, reading 'Foreign Service Officer.' So she entered the foreign service, which led her to posts in a variety of places including Frankfurt, Germany; Kiev, Ukraine; and Tbilisi, Georgia. After serving three years in a public diplomacy position in Moscow, Sisbarro came to Denver — where her husband was assigned — and began work on her master’s degree at DU [University of Denver]. 'The mid-career program at DU was perfect for me because it allowed me to pick up courses I needed to fill the gaps in my experience,' Sisbarro says.

'My classes allowed me to take the time to look at issues from an academic perspective, rather than just being knee-deep in an issue.' After receiving her master’s degree, Sisbarro spent a year working in Afghanistan in the U.S. Embassy’s public affairs section focusing on U.S. educational and cultural programs before moving to Brussels to work with NATO." Image from article: Deborah Sisbarro stands in front of the Citadel in Herat, Afghanistan where she monitored the budget for its preservation." Sisbarro image from article

AusAID Jobs for Public Affairs Officer - "AusAID is the Australian Government Agency responsible for managing Australia s overseas aid program. Australia has been a dedicated development partner to Indonesia for more than 50 years. Through the development assistance program Australia and Indonesia work together to alleviate poverty and promote regional peace, stability and prosperity.

We are looking for a self-motivated, experienced professional to take part in these exciting new roles of: SENIOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER. ... The Senior Public Affairs Officer will assist the Public Affairs Manager to respond to media inquiries and provide strategic advice on fast moving media issues, including disaster response. The officer will also contribute to the development and implementation of public diplomacy plans." Image from


The White House Embraces Smart Power: Now What? - Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation: “Smart power” is supposedly the Hegelian synthesis of soft and hard power instruments of foreign policy. In reality, though, it usually means downgrading hard power in favor of soft power, which is precisely what is happening in America today. Now, “smart power” has received its official stamp from the White House with the signing on September 22 by President Obama of a long-awaited Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on Global Development. In order to be a useful strategy document, the QDDR report,

when it finally materializes, should preserve meaningful divisions of labor between the Department of State, USAID, and the Pentagon. The synthesizing “smart power” approach tends to erase the distinctions, roles, and responsibilities that must be clearly delineated in order to be effective. It should also reflect directly on real-time foreign policy objectives. Image from

How Iran Portrays the U.S. - MEMRI: Since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's return home from his annual appearance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, his anti-U.S. rhetoric has scaled new heights. Iran's ideological stance towards the U.S., which it calls "the Great Satan," is well known; since Ahmadinejad became president, Iranian spokesmen's anti-U.S. statements have become even more extreme. This paper will examine three aspects of Tehran's current attitude towards the U.S., primarily among circles close to President Ahmadinejad: a) the Iranian regime's depiction of the U.S.; b) the Iranian depiction of U.S. President Barack Obama; and c) the issue of who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.

Behind propaganda, Iran fights fuel sanctions - Emma Farge and Humeyra Pamuk, Reuters: Iran's assertion that it has side-stepped some international sanctions and become self-sufficient in gasoline is political propaganda, experts say, but it could become a reality as early as 2013.

Propaganda: PR With an Oppressive Agenda - Heidiminx, Huffington Post: "Last week, China's cabinet issued their report on 'Progress in China's Human Rights, 2009.' The eight-page report has already been dubbed an economic report which includes statistics on 'increased car ownership.' As I delved into this report,

I also was reviewing an advance copy of the Laogai Research Foundation's report on China's One Child Policy, and Human Rights Watch's July report on conditions in Tibet since the March 2008 uprisings, 'I Saw It With My Own Eyes.' The testimony in these latter two reports, along with most information publicly available outside of censored Internet regions, illustrates just how tight-lipped China is as it pushes its 'perfect PRC' message in its propaganda." Image from

Speaker criticizes lies behind U.S. helping Israel - Pauline Kennedy, As an activist, Kenneth O'Keefe speaks out against American imperialism and its support of Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Although an American-born citizen, he is now a resident of London and a citizen of Ireland. O'Keefe said the ability of the media and government to use propaganda to further their agenda is one of the most dangerous parts of the world today. He said many events in history, like U.S. involvement in WWII and the Vietnam War, have been direct results of false information given to the American people.

Image from article: O’Keefe, former U.S. Marine, Gulf War veteran, and prominent organizer of the Free Gaza Movement, speaks in Forum Hall on Tuesday evening. O’Keefe criticized American support of Israel.

All-out battle of the bands - The Economist: For many years, those unfortunate soldiers chosen to man the border between North and South Korea have been subject to a barrage of propaganda, blared out through loudspeakers on both sides. During the era of the South’s “sunshine policy” though, relations thawed, paving the way for an agreement struck in 2004 to stop inflicting this sort of migraine on one another’s troops.

However, in the wake of the Cheonan incident, the South resumed its broadcasts, prompting the North to make the predictable threat in June to “launch an all-out military strike” against the offending speakers. Image from article

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