Sunday, March 13, 2011

March 13

"One of the things that ultimately led me to leave mathematics and go into political science was thinking I could prevent nuclear war."

--Paul Wolfowitz

“He should have stayed a mathematician.”

--David Rieff, author of the book At the Point of a Gun, regarding Paul Wolfowitz; image from


Afghans pay the price for Libya war - M K Bhadrakumar, Indian Punchline; Reflections on foreign affairs: "Read through the secret, classified proceedings of the NATO meeting of defence ministers in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. The NATO meet turned out to be US Secretary of State Robert Gates’ show, which wasn’t quite unexpected. But what emerged was that it was Gates’ finest hour - delivering when the boss wanted it most. [Barack Obama should have picked him for secretary of state's job in 2008 and offered a new post to Hillary Clinton as, say, Secretary of Public Diplomacy.]

Gates is a great diplomat indeed. He did a masterly thing when speculations began and europe started pressing for a ‘no-fly’ zone over Libya, by explaining how bloody it will be to venture into any such frightful thing that can have unforeseen downstream consequences." Clinton image from

How crucial is soft power to the successful conduct of diplomacy? - Saheed Adegbite, International Relations and Diplomacy: "[P]roponents of soft power often overstate how crucial it is from a point of view of ‘attractiveness’ by ignoring to recognize that hard power resources like military might, economic dominance have an element of attraction. The US as the strongest military and even China as a rising economic giant are attractive. In the latter case the economic hard power has made it easier to accept soft power messages. A common resource or tool of propagating soft power used in Public Diplomacy Campaigns is cultural exchange programmes for example learning languages. Adegbite image from article

The rise in the number of students globally interested in learning mandarin, studying Chinese art, music architecture or studying in Chinese universities can be attributed in no small part to the knowledge that China is an economic (hard) power. Implementing an event such as the recent Beijing Olympics, by all accounts a very successful conduct of diplomacy in the use of soft power required enormous economic strength. One of the aims of diplomacy and can be judged to be successful where there is a changed perception positively of the country. American popular culture that has been integrated into many other countries is a strong indication of the power of media in Public diplomacy. In the Middle Easy [sic], especially since 9/11, there has been a growing need to use soft power to change perceptions of US in the Muslim world. Hollywood is recognized as the key driver and US made films and music is especially penetrating the youth in the Muslim world. In addition to this a review of Public Diplomacy strategies highlighted the internet as a major tool of leveraging soft power."

What is diplomatic policy - "In order to promote soft power, countries often rely on public diplomacy.

Public diplomacy is the act of promoting a country’s interests, culture, and institutions by influencing foreign populations. In essence, it is a public relations campaign carried out by a country." Image from

Campus Conversations #36 – Part 3 of 4 - True-life WorldJust As Is: "'Campus Conversations' is a 30-minute series that explores a variety of issues, programs, and topics of interest to both the Montgomery College community and the greater community. ... During the show, Montgomery College’s Professor Deborah Solomon and students, Steve Coupe and Jen Tonon discuss the college’s gaming program and highlight an award winning game called Hydro Hijinx, created by Steve, Jen and 10 of their classmates. The game, designed to promote discussion about international water rights issues, earned second place in the Reinventing Public Diplomacy through Games Competition hosted by the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy."

Craig Newmark – a TechZombie TV presentation (2 of 2) - "Spencer Striker’s TechZombie TV presents an interview with Craig Newmark. Craig Newmark,

world famous Internet entrepreneur best known for being the founder of the San Francisco-based international website Craigslist, took time out of his busy day to talk to students in Spencer Striker’s Social Media Optimization & the New Web class at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. About Craig: ' ... . Craig is involved with a variety of community efforts and is particularly interested in organizations promoting public diplomacy, mideast peace and new forms of media such as participatory journalism.'” Newmark image from


Showcasing American Art and Culture Across the Atlantic Sea - Well, Maybe - Patricia Kushlis, Whirled View: "The March 2 Arts Section of The New York Times showcased the contemporary American art collection of the US Ambassador to the UK extolling its quality and importance to the London arts scene. ... It’s nice that the Susmans want to decorate their walls with fabulous paintings, but wouldn’t it be far more effective if they launched a public-private sector initiative that established a permanent collection of American art in a gallery in London like the Lauder one in New York or the Georgia O’Keeffe in Santa Fe, New Mexico with room for traveling exhibitions and the possibility of holding programs on America on premises? It wouldn’t have to be huge – just something small, classy, and accessible to a discerning public that stays permanently. ... comment by John Brown ... Would not 'opening up' the Winfield

art to the public be a way (if the London Embassy is not already doing this) to show that American diplomats, at the highest level, are ... sharing their taste/thoughts with the wider public[?]" Image of Winfield House, residence of the American AMbassador to the Court of St. James's, from

'ME revolts fueled by Islamic awakening' - Press TV: "The best way for Iran to counter the West’s cultural invasion is to counterattack in the same manner, former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati said on Thursday. Velayati, who is currently the Supreme Leader’s advisor for foreign affairs, made the remarks at a cultural conference in Tehran. Certain Western countries have been trying to negatively influence the cultures of Muslim countries through their media outlets, television networks, and websites, and thus it is necessary to respond to their evil efforts through cultural measures, Velayati stated. He added that efforts should be made to introduce Islam and present its message to the entire world. Speaking at the same conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said a document on 'strategic joint cooperation' between the Foreign Ministry and the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO) should be drafted. ICRO is responsible for cultural diplomacy and it has an important responsibility, and thus cooperation between the Foreign Ministry and ICRO should be 'strong and meaningful,' Salehi stated."

said on Thursday. In a gathering of former cultural ambassadors, the Iranian foreign minister said that the youths who created these events needed a model, referring to Iran's Islamic revolution, IRNA reported. Salehi also noted that the cultural factor is needed to improve the political interests of the country. He reiterated that Iran should seek new methods to deliver its message to the world in line with the new sophisticated technologies." See also. Ali Akbar Salehi image from article

Laugh like a European - "The 16th European Film Festival that opens today invites you to 'Laugh like a European' – or 'Europeans' , in the pluralistic way of the continent. In an East-greets-West gesture of cultural diplomacy, 19 EU member countries have submitted a film each for this touring festival, which will visit other seven Indian cities from March to May this year."

PM releases a book and film on Karan Singh - Press Information Bureau, Government of India: "The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh has addressed the gathering on the launch of the film 'I Believe'- universal values for a global society on the philosophy and vision of Dr Karan Singh for India and the World in the 21st Century. He also released the book titled “Kashmir and Beyond: 1966-84” – select correspondence between Indira Gandhi and Karan Singh, in New Delhi today. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion: ... . 'Dr. Karan Singh

has been a vocal and passionate advocate of India's cultural diplomacy and soft power. As the President of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, he has been instrumental in expanding India's cultural footprints across the world. There is renewed interest in India across the world and people are keen to know what makes India tick. I believe that India's commensurate role within the comity of nations should encompass a much larger element of cultural diplomacy and exchange. It is through the wisdom and vision of people like Dr. Karan Singh that we can make this happen.'" Singh image (right) from


State Department Spokesman Out, After Comments on Prisoner - Michael D. Shear, New York Times: P.J. Crowley,

the state department spokesman, stepped down Sunday after saying publicly that treatment of Wikileaks suspect Pfc. Bradley Manning in military detention has been “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” Crowley image from

War, what is it meant for? The question is relevant as the U.S. considers what action to take in support of rebels in Libya - Editorial, Libya today doesn't meet the test for military intervention.

Eisenhower, master of the Middle East: Pundits may approve of Ronald Reagan's costly actions in the troubled region, but Obama would do well to follow Dwight Eisenhower's firm, steady lead - David A. Nichols, Eisenhower embraced the tides of history.

He pressed America's allies to bury the corpse of colonialism in the Middle East. Today, we need the equivalent — a rigorously defined, clear-headed commitment to democratic movements that avoids the ad-hocracy of Reagan and his successors. Image from article

Maryland contractor Alan Gross draws 15-year sentence in Cuba - Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post: A Cuban court sentenced a Maryland man to 15 years in jail Saturday for bringing computer gear onto the island illegally as part of a U.S. pro-democracy program, a development that could further strain relations between Washington and its Cold War enemy. Alan Gross, 61, a subcontractor on a U.S. Agency for International Development program, was found guilty of working on a "subversive"

U.S.-sponsored project aimed at undermining Cuba's communist system, according to a statement read on Cuban government television the Associated Press reported. Gross worked for a Bethesda firm, Development Alternatives Inc., which had won a $6 million U.S. government contract to distribute computer and satellite phone equipment to Cubans to help them get Internet access. Most of Gross's work was with the island's Jewish community, according to his family and U.S officials. The program was part of a greatly expanded effort begun by the George W. Bush administration to promote democracy in Cuba. But it has been criticized by congressional aides and Cuba analysts as poorly conceived. Gross barely spoke Spanish and traveled frequently to the island on a tourist visa, making him an easy target. Image from

Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go: Cyber-utopians who believe the Arab spring has been driven by social networks ignore the real-world activism underpinning them - Evgeny Morozov, Via. See also.

From ‘End of History’ Author, a Look at the Beginning and Middle [On The Origins of Political Order, by Francis Fukuyama] - Nicholas Wade, New York Times: Dr. Fukuyama makes clear that the modern liberal state is still in his view the end of history.

Image from


"[A]s a former VOA Cold War warrior, can state that none of my colleagues ever bragged that it was western broadcasts that unilaterally brought down the Berlin Wall. There was an intricate tapestry of events & reasons & people that tore open that hole in the Iron Curtain over several decades including USIA exhibits over 30 years, jazz & Conover, cultural exchanges, the beat of the Beatles, the Soviet golden youth, the list goes on & on. We were proud to be a part of it. And leave the rest to the historians."

-Marie Ciliberti, in a email to your PDPBR compiler; reproduced here with her kind authorisation

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