Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11

"For whoever is exalted with pride, whoever is tortured by the longings of covetousness, whover is relaxed with the pleasures of lust, whoever is kindled by the burnings of unjust and immoderate anger, what else is he but a testicle

of Anti-Christ?"

--St Gregory the Great, in his Moralia in Iob; cited in Michael Dirda, "Freelance," Times Literary Supplement, March 4, 2011, p. 16; image from, with caption: The participants of the so-called 7th annual World Testicle Cooking Championship get a first taste of a dish that they prepared


North Korea puts on a show


Clinton warns against US abandonment of Pakistan -‎ Associated Press of Pakistan: "U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned against abandoning Pakistan again as she urged Capitol Hill to back the administration’s request for assistance for key allies including Islamabad. .... Clinton noted that the U.S. standing in Pakistan is difficult. 'When I became secretary of state, I realized that our public standing was as low in—was the lowest in Pakistan of any country in the world. And there are many reasons for that. But one of the problems was we were not really trying to respond to a lot of the criticism and a lot of the accusations.

So when the question came, I think from this side, about the increase in personnel, I mean, we’re beefing up our public diplomacy. We have a great story to tell about America, and we’re going to keep telling it. And we are telling it under very difficult circumstances." See also. Image from

North Korea – a Multi-Faceted Threat to Peace and Stability‎ - Bruce Klingner, "Testimony before Committee on Foreign Affairs United States House of Representatives March 10, 2011 My name is Bruce Klingner. I am Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own . ... U.S. policymaking toward North Korea has repeatedly stumbled over a binary debate over whether Washington should use pressure or engagement. The reality, of course, is that pressure and highly conditional engagement—along with selected and fully monitored economic assistance, military deterrence, alliances, and public diplomacy—are all diplomatic tools to influence the negotiating behavior of the other side."

Board Meeting, March 11, 2011 - Events, Broadcasting Board of Governors: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)

will meet on Friday, March 11 at the headquarters of Radio and TV Martí in Miami, Florida. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. and will be webcast [article provides links." Via. Image from

Terrorist Use of the Internet: Information Operations in Cyberspace - Catherine A. Theohary Analyst in National Security Policy and Information Operations John Rollins Specialist in Terrorism and National Security ... There are several methods for countering terrorist and insurgent information operations on the Internet. The federal government has organizations that conduct strategic communications, counterpropaganda, and public diplomacy activities. The National Framework for Strategic Communication guides how interagency components are to integrate their activities. However, these organizations may be stovepiped within agencies, and competing agendas may be at stake. This report does not discuss technical and Internet architecture design solutions.

Some may interpret the law to prevent federal agencies from conducting 'propaganda' activities that may potentially reach domestic audiences. Others may wish to dismantle all websites that are seen to have malicious content or to facilitate acts of terror, while some may have a competing interest in keeping a site running and monitoring it for intelligence value. ... Cybersecurity proposals from the 111th Congress such as S. 3480, which contained controversial provisions labeled by the media as the Internet 'Kill Switch,' are likely to be reintroduced in some form in the 112th Congress. ... With growing interest in strategic communications and public diplomacy, there may also be an effort to revise the Smith-Mundt Act." Image from

Cuba Shouldn’t Throw Away the Sofa! - Fernando Ravsberg, "Since it’s known that the US tries to penetrate Cuba with its propaganda, it should be of no surprise to anyone that for years Washington has financed — with taxpayers’ money — both a radio and a television station that broadcast exclusively to the island. Cuban engineers have been so successful at interfering with those transmissions that very few people have heard the radio broadcasts and I don’t know of anyone who has seen 'Television Marti.' Cuba authorities mock the attempt saying it’s 'the TV channel you don’t see.' ... Yet the greatest danger that Cuba faces is falling for the temptation to retrench and adopt a defensive position by 'dynamiting' bridges — in this case the Internet — in order to impede any 'enemy' advance. ... The danger faced with the US cybernetic campaign is to think that the way to prevent 'ideological contamination' is through a bell jar that restricts freedom and communications, and isolates Cuba from the rest of the world. To limit the Internet would be like throwing out the sofa on which you found your partner being unfaithful."

Wikileaks : Viewing cable 09MEXICO3423, MEXICO: Scene setter for A/S Valenzuela - "2009-12-04 20:33:00 09MEXICO3423 Embassy Mexico UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY ... FOR A/S VALENZUELA FROM AMBASSADOR PASCUAL ... SUBJECT: MEXICO: Scene setter for A/S Valenzuela (6-8 December) ... ¶14. (SBU) We have scheduled a public diplomacy event at our Benjamin Franklin Library,

with citizen participation groups and new media networkers to support their efforts to engage the Mexican people on a zero-tolerance approach to violence. Discussion will focus on raising popular awareness and building a national consensus against crime and violence." Image from

Thing 23: Virtual Worlds - Liz Akinbulumo, "Question 1: Discuss some potentials uses for using a virtual world for public diplomacy. Answer: •Virtual world as a computer-generated universe it can be used to reach out to those who hang out in the online community like the youth. •Discussions on topic of interest to the youth can be on virtual world. •Real life programs can be moved into virtual world so that people who are unable to attend the real life session can get some information as those who attended received. •Interactive billboards on real life presentation could be left in the virtual world for follow up and comments. •IRC [Information Research Centers supported by the State Department] can market products and services in virtual world •Social Networking can also take place ... . Question 3: How might my Embassy use a virtual world environment for program? Answer: To reach out to a larger audience not just to the community where my Embassy is located, digital online program like webchat; Web CO.NX should be adopted if fund is available."

e-Mandarin classes offer new opportunities for Taiwan diplomacy - ‎Paul Rockower, Taiwan Today: "It is crucial Taiwan promotes its cultural relevance within the global community as a means of boosting the nation’s international visibility. As part of this push, the country is planning to engage in linguistic diplomacy through the Taiwan Academies initiative. Set to be created around the globe, these linguistic centers will become an alternative to the mainland Chinese-run Confucius Institutes, and an ideal way of showcasing local culture and teaching Mandarin. They should also help reinforce Taiwan’s reputation as a site of traditional Mandarin scholarship. ... [I]nstead of trying to compete with mainland China’s Confucius Institutes, Taiwan should innovate and make its academies virtual.

Rather than confine the country’s presence to locations where it has cultural centers, Taiwan would be wise to ramp up its global pedagogical presence via the Internet. Through the use of digital technology, e-Mandarin language promotion could be pioneered as a form of cultural diplomacy. ... Creating virtual Mandarin classrooms as part of an online program would showcase the nation’s creativity and innovation, thus creating public diplomacy opportunities to promote the country. This will allow Taiwan to maximize its cultural outreach, as well as reinforcing its reputation as a hub of innovation." Image from

By dint of dramatic irony, we learn why Chinese international broadcasting probably won't succeed - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Russia: Sochi Mascots, Politics, and Some Twitter - Yelena Osipova, Global Voices Online: “Zoich, an alternative [Sochi Olympics] mascot created by popular designer Yegor Zhgun, deserves special mention ... . Intended as political satire, it quickly gained popularity around the RuNet and seeped in to the traditional media . ... While some online commentators seemed to be excited about the possibility of Zoich representing Russia internationally, the authorities clearly tried to manage the situation,

not only largely ignoring the issue, but also providing some commentary on their international mouthpiece, Russia Today TV. ... Whether or not it would have been a success in terms of public diplomacy is arguable. After all, a blue hairy hypno-frog would have made for great satire. But what would it say about Russia? The mascots are a symbol, and as such, were taken seriously by the authorities, and although they arguably tried keeping politics out of it, all the hype surrounding the process was bound to get political." Image from article, with caption: Image by Yegor Zhgun

Interfaith Dialogue: Indonesia-Lebanon Agrees to Improve Cooperation in Education and Community Networking - "The second round of interfaith dialogues by the Indonesian-Lebanese civil society was held in Malang, Jakarta, and Depok from February 28 to March 5. The recommendations from the dialogue were established in the Al-Hikam Islamic Boarding School in Malang, East Java,

which was led by K. H. Hasyim Muzadi. 'Religious leaders and scholars from both countries shared their experience in managing the various cultures and religions to create a harmonious life. They also discussed the role and the efforts from the religious leaders in promoting and helping to establish peace both in the national and international level. In addition, they have also been striving to find cooperation opportunities in education between the civil societies of both countries,' the Public Diplomacy Directorate of the [Indonesian] Foreign Ministry said in a statement." Image from


Obama Seeks a Course of Pragmatism in the Middle East - Mark Landler and Helen Cooper, New York Times: With the spread of antigovernment protests from North Africa to the strategic, oil-rich Persian Gulf, President Obama has adopted a policy of restraint. This emphasis on pragmatism over idealism has left Mr. Obama vulnerable to criticism that he is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Arab street protesters. Mr. Obama is balancing his idealistic instincts against his reluctance to use military action in Libya, where the United States does not have a vital strategic interest.

One step at a time on Libya: As in the 1990s with Bosnia and Rwanda, U.S. policymakers are debating how best to intervene - Doyle McManus, Obama's approach to democracy in the Middle East: He's been enthusiastic in principle but stingy

in practice. Obama and his aides hoped that Libya would be like Tunisia or Egypt, an immaculate insurrection without any need for intervention. That, alas, was wishful thinking. Image from

The Case for Backing Libya's Rebels: The U.S. has a strategic and moral interest in helping Libyans fight for themselves, and in preventing Gadhafi and his sons from restoring their reign of fear - Paul Wolfowitz, Wall Street Journal

Taliban is losing its advantage in Afghanistan - Michael Gerson, Washington Post
The New Mideast Will Still Mix Mosque and State: After Ben Ali and Mubarak, many Arabs and Muslims in the region identify secularism with tyranny - Nader Hashemi, Wall Street Journal: Westerners should avoid the so-called problem of transference: the natural tendency to assume that our historical experience is universal. It is misguided to assume that because the West—after centuries of bloodshed and experimentation—arrived at a broad consensus around democracy and secularism, so has the rest of world. The historical experience of Arab and Muslim societies has been qualitatively different.

What’s the Matter with Boycotting Israel? - The true nature of the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanction) movement against Israel is not complicated in the least. At its heart, it is a manifestation of the propaganda war against the Jewish State — the “soft war,” if you will.

The soft war is itself supplemental to the armed conflict against Israel, and both work in tandem to effect the same terrible end. Furthermore, the entire program of the Israeli BDS movement is in fact predicated entirely upon vicious anti-Semitic mythology created by terrorists and terrorist sympathizers. Image from article

N.Korea Ratchets Up Campaign Over Defectors - North Korea's propaganda website Uriminzokkiri on Thursday published letters purportedly written by the families of four North Koreans who have defected to South Korea. The four were among 31 North Koreans whose boat drifted into South Korean waters early last month. The handwritten letters are two to four pages long and all say, "We're waiting eagerly for your return." See also.

Armenia, Karabakh Defense Ministries Slam Azeri Propaganda - The defense ministries of Armenia and Karabakh Wednesday called Azerbaijan’s latest attempt at misinformation an “immoral” and “cheap” effort to ward off criticism of its own cease fire violations. The Azeri defense ministry on Wednesday alleged that Karabakh forces had shot and killed a nine-year-old Azeri boy in a village close to what is known as the line of contact.

Image from article, with caption: Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman, Davit Karapetyan


"I like Donald Rumsfeld. I've always thought he was a hard-working, intelligent man. I respected his life in public service at the highest and most demanding levels. So it was with some surprise that I found myself flinging his book against a wall in hopes I would break its stupid little spine.

'Known and Unknown,' his memoir of his tumultuous time in government, is so bad it's news even a month after its debut. It takes a long time to read because there are a lot of words, most of them boring. At first I thought this an unfortunate flaw, but I came to see it as strategy. He's going to overwhelm you with wordage, with dates and supposed data, he's going to bore you into submission, and at the end you're going to throw up your hands and shout, 'I know Iraq and Afghanistan were not Don Rumsfeld's fault! I know this because I've now read his memos, which explain at great length why nothing is his fault.'"

--Commentator Peggy Noonan; image from


No comments: