Monday, December 6, 2010
"I am writing a cable about it, which I'm sure you'll find soon on your closest website."
--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, regarding the ceremony at the State Department for recipients of this year's Kennedy Center Honors — who include Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney.
"Well, this is interesting. President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan today. Complete surprise. Nobody knew he was going, except of course the WikLeaks guy."
--Talk Show host Jay Leno, as cited Bulletin News, LLC.
re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange (Gilbert Doctorow, Belgium) - World Association of International Studies: "[T]he arrogance of one Julian Assange is surely matched and exceeded by the arrogance of the powers that be whom he has taken on. Let us remember that open and transparent diplomacy was the rallying cry of President Woodrow Wilson when he railed against the secret covenants of Europe’s balance of power diplomacy which allegedly got the Old Continent, and the world with it, into WWI. President Wilson offered us instead 'public diplomacy.' And Wilson’s idealism is precisely the well from which the Neoconservatives who have dominated American foreign policy thinking for the past twenty years have been drawing their water. Ditto the Democratic liberal hawks who now run Washington. But why reason abstractly? Let us speak concretely of the rank hypocrisy of the US government
in its pretended shock and awe over the Wikileaks disclosures judged against its own words within the very recent past. Our present Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered the programmatic statement of the newly constituted Obama administration in a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington on July 15, 2009. So let’s put on our thinking caps and go over it. Borrowing from the hyped-up writings of Joseph Nye and his spin doctor’s approach to the conduct of foreign policy, Mme Clinton assured us that we are living in a new age, an age of globalization and transparency. ... Well, it appears, that in the person of Julian Assange and Wikileaks, civil society has taken Mme Secretary at her word and used instant worldwide communications and interactivity to bite back." Image from
US and Iran worlds apart in Bahrain - Roula Khalaf, Financial Times: "Although the US and Iran did not interact, not even for a moment, during the high-level weekend security gathering in Bahrain there were plenty of messages flying between them, days before their diplomats face each other in negotiations in Geneva on Monday. ... The awkward effort at public diplomacy at the Manama conference, an annual event organised by London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies, reflected the complexity of starting a dialogue between the US and Iran after more than three decades of enmity. It also underlined the challenge facing diplomats from six world powers who are due to meet Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator for the first talks in more than a year."
Leaks damaged US credibility: Turki - Siraj Wahab, Arab News: "Former Saudi ambassador to Washington Prince Turki Al-Faisal Sunday felt that America's credibility and honesty have been seriously compromised following the recent publication of hundreds of confidential diplomatic cables. Speaking at the concluding session of the 7th International Institute for Strategic Studies Regional Security Summit at the Ritz-Carlton,
Prince Turki said officials will henceforth find it extremely difficult to engage in frank discussions with American diplomats. ... In response to a separate question from a delegate on public diplomacy, Prince Turki appreciated the fact that US diplomats were now 'lecturing less and listening more.' 'I can speak only for my country, and can state for a fact that the previous ambassadors were reluctant to go out and meet people. They would rather confine themselves to their fortified embassy in Riyadh. Now, however, they are beginning to go out and interact with the people ... They are going out to the rest of the Kingdom which is a good development. It is important for them to understand what people feel about them.'" Turki Al-Faisal image from article
United States Embassy Busted in Zimbabwe - Munyaradzi Huni, Zimbabwe Herald, posted at panafricannews.blogspot.com: "The regime change operations of the American government in Zimbabwe over the past three years have been exposed following the leaking of a Fiscal Year 2010 Mission Strategic Plan from the US Embassy in Harare which details how the mission sought to push President Mugabe out of power through a three-pronged approach. ... Under Goal Number 6 to Promote the Free Flow of Information in Support of Positive Political Change, the embassy said: 'The mission will emphasise information and cultural programmes that engage and influence target audiences in order to promote understanding of American values and policies . . . We will target youth and students as a way to influence the leaders of a post-change Zimbabwe . . . 'As part of an active media presence, PAS (Public Affairs Section) will strengthen the independent media and improve journalistic standards through workshops and the dissemination of resources, including IIP (International Information Programmes) products and publications that offer basic American principles, policies and values . . . Our programmes will work to promote a positive image of the US and USG programmes. Media events and publicity will seek to increase awareness of US contributions, both private and USG, to Zimbabwe . . .' Under
its public diplomacy, the embassy in the FY 2007 targeted to have 750 Zimbabweans visiting its IRC (Information Resource Centre) per month but it surpassed the number to 850. The embassy claimed that pirate radio station Voice of America (VOA) in FY 2007 managed to reach out to about one million listeners 'despite jamming by the Zimbabwe Government'. In FY 2008, the US government wanted VOA to reach out to about 1,5 million Zimbabweans while in 2009 it targeted 1,8 million and in 2010 it targeted two million that it would bombard with information seeking to spruce up its image." Image from
Public Diplomacy vs. Private Diplomacy - James Joyner, South Capitol Street: "In a New Atlanticist piece titled 'WikiLeaks Show American Diplomats in Good Light,' I rounded up some analysis showing that the recently leaked diplomatic cables showed an American foreign service that is highly professional and insightful and argued that, to the extent the private and public diplomacy differed, it was necessary. But Joshua Kucera has a slightly different take. His title 'U.S. Diplomats Aren’t Stupid After All' and subtitle ('How WikiLeaks restored one journalist’s faith in the State Department') suggest otherwise but his compliments are decidedly backhanded. Basically, his dealings with American diplomats had convinced him that they were mindless drones. ... He notes in particular a briefing from Ambassador Richard Hoagland on Kazakhstan which seemed totally divorced from reality, portraying the corrupt autocracy as if it were more-or-less democratic and progressive. Happily for Kucera, the cables displayed a different picture. ... Well, great.
But why are American diplomats lying to American journalists in off-the-record sessions? ... See, I happen to find that troubling." Image from
Public Diplomacy and WikiLeaks - Delbert's Blog, globalabq.blogspot.com: "Salon article shows that U.S. public diplomacy has shown that it is not always truthful in its approach to foreign people and governments, as the WikiLeaks documents show. Perhaps tha makes citizen diplomacy all that more important."
Panel Discussion on Entrepreneurial Education - Remarks Judith A. McHale Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Gadjah Mada University (UGM) Yogyakarta, Indonesia December 6, 2010 - U.S. Department of State: "It is a pleasure to be here today at Gadjah Mada University and to be joined by my colleagues to discuss entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education. ... The U.S.-Indonesia relationship is a critically important partnership. We are constantly looking for ways to mutually strengthen the relationship.
One particular area in which we engage with young people in Indonesia is entrepreneurship. As President Obama has said, 'Entrepreneurship is an area where we can learn from each other; where America can share our experience as a society that empowers the inventor and the innovator.' Entrepreneurship is also a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Before I started working for the United States Government, I had the opportunity to work with two special entrepreneurial organizations that you might have heard of – MTV and Discovery Communications." Via DS
US Embassy [Kuala Lampur] Invites Applications For Ambassadors Fund For Cultural Heritage Restoration - Bernama
Adopt an International Student for Holidays - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos:
Image and caption from article: Arguably, America's greatest Public Diplomat! Represented Arkansas for 30 years.
J-1 Student Visa Abuse: Foreign Students Forced To Work In Strip Clubs, Eat On Floor - Holbrook Mohr, Mitch Weiss, and Mike Baker, Huffington Post: "Lured by unsupervised, third-party brokers with promises of steady jobs and a chance to sightsee, some foreign college students on summer work programs in the U.S. get a far different taste of life in America. An Associated Press investigation found students forced to work in strip clubs instead of restaurants. Others take home $1 an hour or even less. Some live in apartments so crowded that they sleep in shifts because there aren't enough beds. Others have to eat on floors. They are among more than 100,000 college students who come to the U.S. each year on popular J-1 visas, which supply resorts with cheap seasonal labor as part of a program aimed at fostering cultural understanding. Government auditors have warned about problems in the program for 20 years, but the State Department, which is in charge of it, only now says it is working on new rules. Officials won't say what those rules are or discuss on the record the problems that have plagued J-1 visas. ... 'If you wish to dance in USA as a J-1 exchange visitor, contact us,' ZM Studios,
a broker for topless dancers, advertised on its website this year." Via MP; image from
NATO debates appealing to a 'milkman in Omaha' - Barçin Yinanç, Hurriyet Daily News: "The relevance of NATO has been questioned by the wider public since the end of the Cold War, and for this public diplomacy needs to be given more importance, many experts said at Friday’s meeting organized here by the Atlantic Council of Turkey. Recalling that the strategic concept, the document that defined the alliance's new missions and was endorsed at NATO's summit last month, is 11 pages long, 44 paragraphs on over 30 topics, 'This is not the way to communicate to the world nor to the next generation,' said Mustafa Aydın, the rector of Istanbul's Kadir Has University. Aydın’s criticism met the objection of a Turkish official, who noted the call to NATO officials to prepare a crisp and short strategic concept that would be understandable even for a milkman in Omaha." See also.
NATO's 'red book' was rewritten - Nuh Yilmaz, Director of the Washington SETA, posted at fashionstyletrendy.blogspot.com: "NATO's strategic concept that we discussed in our part of the experts, academics and journalists as civilians, a little also, therefore, developed to overcome the problem of the legitimacy of NATO's public diplomacy as part of one of the methods, engages in discussion with them on shared. For this reason, NATO's strategic documents by the year 1991 was opened to the public, back to the military dimension in mind, the parties to the debate were amplified."
New Serbia, new NATO - transconflict.com: "NATO’s new Strategic concept, which was adopted during the Lisbon Summit in late-November, has been discussed and debated today during an international conference, entitled 'New Serbia, new NATO – Future Vision for the 21st Century'. ... The two-day conference was organized by the Forum for Ethnic Relations, TransConflict Serbia and Klub 21, and supported by the Czech Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Balkan Trust for Democracy and NATO Public Diplomacy Department."
Keep Dreaming: When the Greeks saved Hanukka - David Breakstone, Jerusalem Post: "Ever since emerging victorious from the Six Day War, there is a certain bravado that characterizes the way in which we conduct ourselves. We believe we cannot be vanquished and dismiss any suggestion that we face an existential threat to our survival. ... If ever our bravado falters, it is quickly held up by our sense of arrogance. Too often too many of us dismiss the importance of public diplomacy, of making friends, of taking into consideration what others think. Since 'we’re right and they’re wrong, and as they hate us anyway,' we feel justified in forging ahead with whatever we believe is our (Godgiven?) right to do, pursuing our own self-interests – which, unfortunately, we far too often define far too narrowly."
Rivlin: Knesset set to hold first meeting on fire - Rebecca Anna Stoil, Jerusalem Post - The Knesset will hold its first discussion of the Carmel forest fire Monday,
with the subject opening the week’s plenum agenda in the late morning, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced Sunday afternoon. ... [O]n Monday, the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee will hold a hearing to coordinate aid efforts from Jewish communities and organizations worldwide. Committee chairman MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that during the previous 24 hours, a number of Jewish organizations had contacted him, asking his committee to help coordinate donations that they were collecting to restore the Carmel region." Image from
Brown Lloyd James Partner Discusses The Bid that Brought the World Cup to Qatar - Tonya Garcia, PRNEwser:
Last Thursday, FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup soccer event to Qatar, the first time the event will be staged in the Middle East. ... [R]ead the Q&A we conducted with Mike Holtzman, partner at Brown Lloyd James, fresh off a plane from Zurich. The firm served as the international PR representative for Qatar’s World Cup bid committee working in Doha, London, and New York. How did you and the firm first become involved with these international sporting bids? ... We’ve been in Qatar for about 10 years and we represent a number of interests in Qatar. In terms of how we got into this line of business, it was purely by accident. The firm specializes in what we call public diplomacy, which is introducing one country or culture to another culture using strategic communications. We had first done work like this on behalf of the Chinese for their Olympics bid, which was as much a political campaign as it was trying to get votes to support China for the Olympics. It was talking about China, opening up China should they win the Games, talking about China’s culture, the benefits of engaging China through the Olympics. So these [bids] take on an almost political, cultural dimension as much as they are about understanding sport and the Olympic movement. The World Cup was done more for our love for Qatar in the sense that we see this as such a dynamic and fascinating and fast-moving country with such a great story to tell." Image from article
Qatar and the World Cup - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Mabrouk to Qatar for securing the World Cup. They have always been deft diplomats willing to use their oil beneficence to get the job done. This is a keystone achievement for their public diplomacy and internationalist nation-branding efforts. See my Qatar paper ... for more on this."
North Korea: What is the End Game? - Akram Elias, securitydebrief.adfero.com: "Akram Elias
writes about public diplomacy, cultural intelligence and Middle Eastern security. In his 22-year career as a public diplomacy, cross-cultural training and communications consultant, Elias has worked extensively with the U.S. Department of State. He is the founder and president of Capital Communications Group, Inc., based in Washington, DC." Elias image from blog.
Spanish Web Manager and New Media Web Editor - indiglit.wordpress.com: "Federal Agency in Washington, DC is looking for a Spanish Language Web Manager to assist with public diplomacy, information outreach, and counter-disinformation operations. The candidate operates a Spanish-language website and Spanish-language Twitter site page to reach audiences in the Western Hemisphere. The website reaches key decision-makers, people of influence, members of the media, and civil society via direct access to the site, active outreach efforts through new media platforms, and links by overseas US diplomatic missions. This position will assist online communications to grow and become more sophisticated, The Agency needs to ensure that its digital communications are timely and accurate, and that it establishes a presence in new and growing Mexican, Latin American, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean social media platforms."
Afghan poll shows falling confidence in U.S. efforts to secure country - Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Jon Cohen, Washington Post
The Wikileaked Cables: So That’s What Diplomats do! - Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View: No one is going to stop talking to American envoys, who, by and large, are highly skilled, very persistent and, often,
charming. Image from
Guarding the State Department's Secrets: The release of the WikiLeaks cables sent Hillary Clinton's team scrambling to do damage control. Dayo Olopade talks to State Dept. officials about their efforts to step up cybersecurity - Dayo Olopade, Daily Beast: On the sixth floor of State Department headquarters, in the office of eDiplomacy, a team of 60 is hard at work modernizing the way American diplomats talk to each other confidentially. Here, cables of the sort currently wreaking havoc among America’s allies and enemies alike no longer exist—replaced by a highly secure system dubbed Diplopedia, by which ambassadors and their staffs can compare notes, pass tips—and yes, offer withering reads on the objects of their diplomatic entreaties. “The cables are a mid-20th century technology,” says Bruce Burton, who has been with State since 1975. Boly estimates that the all-text, point to point cable system that carried the WikiLeaks revelations represents only 10 percent of communications. “We retained it because people are familiar with it….
But with the end of the Cold War and 9/11 the realization was that we had a real information management problem and we needed to do much better.” Today Diplopedia, which is accessible only from secure State Department servers, has nearly 13,000 articles created by 4,000 employees. The eDiplomacy team wants to allow diplomats to communicate freely—perhaps not with the Wikileaks audience, but with one another. more updates to State communications and intelligence sharing are on the way: "The Corridor," an internal social network like Facebook or Linked in, will allow diplomats to see where their work histories and postings overlap. Clinton's "Virtual Student Foreign Service" puts the work of 79 embassies from Iraq to China in the hands of American college kids. Image from
US believes Al Jazeera is 'propaganda tool of Qatar' - Guy Adams, Independent: The United States government thinks the broadcaster Al Jazeera is being used as a propaganda tool by the government of Qatar to help to advance its agenda on the international stage, according to a memo published by WikiLeaks yesterday. A confidential cable from the US ambassador to Qatar, Joseph LeBaron,
alleges that the television station is being used as what amounts to a bargaining chip in the country's dealings with its neighbour Iran, with which it shares a gas field, and "problematic players such as Hamas, Hizbollah and Syria." Image and caption from article: Ambassador Joseph LeBaron, far right with Hillary Clinton and Qatar's ambassador to the US, says reporters at Al Jazeera in Doha enjoy editorial freedom that other Qatari media outlets are denied.
Akdoğan calls cables 'covert propaganda' - Today's Zaman: The leak of US State Department cables alleging corruption against the Turkish government is basically a form of “covert propaganda,” according to the chief consultant of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In an article published in Turkish daily newspaper Star, Yalçın Akdoğan, also a professor of political science, first of all noted that “covert propaganda” is a kind of propaganda in which both the initiator and the goal remain unclear.
Iran says WikiLeaks is U.S. propaganda ploy - infoworlds.info: The WikiLeaks publication of secret cables was not the embarrassing blow to U.S. diplomacy many people assume, but a deliberate ploy by Washington to improve its image, a senior Iranian official said. “The WikiLeaks documents are a kind of public opinion engineering to save the catastrophic situation that the U.S. has in the eyes of world nations,” state-run Press TV quoted Iran’s human rights chief as saying on Sunday.
WikiLeaks – A conspiracy to isolate Iran - Afshain Afzal, pakobserver.net: The recent so called Wikileaks are the latest conspiracy by the western countries to create a long lasting enemity between the various members of the Islamic world.
Media uses propaganda to distract from Assange, WikiLeaks - Phil Rockstroh, thepeoplesvoice.org: [video from Russian Today]
Some notes on (limited) opportunities for AM-band broadcasting into North Korea - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
The Decline and Fall of the American Empire: Four Scenarios for the End of the American Century by 2025 - Alfred W. McCoy, TomDispatch
Once the world’s leader in science education, the United States has fallen far behind. It ranks 21st out of 30 developed nations in terms of student performance on international science tests.
It ranks 27th among developed nations in the percentage of students who graduate from college with degrees in the natural sciences and in engineering. Right now only about 6 percent of young college graduates in this country have degrees in science or engineering, as opposed to about 10 percent in many developed nations. Image from
--Brent Staples, New York Times
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Is punctuation necessary when meaning is so clear?"
Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, regarding e-mails from sources in Iraq describe the daily carnage
The below for the countless students, in both undergraduate and graduate programs, who don't know the difference between "its" and "it's"; or, more generally, about the use of the apostrophe in the possessive.
”In honor of this holy season,” Saint Peter said, “You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.”
The man from England fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. “It represents a candle,” he said.
”You may pass through the pearly gates,” Saint Peter said.
The man from Scotland reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, “They're bells.”
Saint Peter said, “You may pass through the pearly gates.”
The Irishman started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties. St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, “And just what do those symbolise?”
The Irishman replied, “These are Carols.” Via WB