Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17

"[I]n a land of 1.2 billion, I have something that not one other person here possess[es]: a master's in public diplomacy."

--Blogger extraordinaire Paul Rockower, noting that "I was called in to consult with the Indian Public Diplomacy Division yesterday." Rockower image from his blog


Egypt’s Youth Coalition snubs Clinton: Time to grow up and move on - Sherine Badawi Walton, Newswire – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[A] coalition of Egyptian youth groups had rejected an invitation to meet with U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Apparently, Clinton was being punished by the Coalition of the January 25 Revolution Youth which has spearheaded Egypt’s pro-democracy movement, for 'her negative stance towards the revolution during its inception and the approach of the U.S. Administration towards the Middle East Region.' ... 'Today, Egypt is rising,' Clinton said at a joint press conference with Egypt’s new foreign minister, Nabil el-Araby. 'Om el-Donya (Egypt, the mother of the world),

is now giving birth to democracy.' ... Clinton pledged a $90 million grant for 'near-term' assistance to Egypt and discussed Congressional legislation aimed at establishing a U.S.-Egypt enterprise fund. Not a bad piece of public diplomacy. But judging from some of the responses in the blogosphere to the Coalition’s stance, it seems no amount of goodwill gestures from the U.S. will make up for what is widely perceived as the administration’s missed opportunity at the outset of the revolution." Image from article

Time to Rethink the Broadcasting Board of Governors - Helle Dale, Nick Zahn, "At this time, Congress should seriously consider replacing the board with a more professional broadcasting management structure or potentially giving it advisory (as opposed to managerial) responsibility."

More coverage of VOA Persian News Network's "Parazit." And Radio Farda has a satire show, too - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

A Sinister Equation - federica, Public and Cultural Diplomacy A22: "[T]he US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has proposed new funding for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (Bbg), an organization responsible for all non-military media sponsored by the US government, which controls, among others, Radio Free Europe,

Voice of America and Radio Martì. ... Here the old question that everybody keeps on asking re-emerges: is public diplomacy mere propaganda? Is it just an embellished word for a concept that is unthinkable in democratic societies? Will America ever learn from its past?" Image from

Public Diplomacy and Nostalgie de la Boue - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "'We need an avalanche of unique American voices speaking about their beliefs and representing our country abroad. Our Peace Corps volunteers are those fulltime citizen diplomats. Even dressed in sandals or covered in mud, they have shown the best of America day in and day out to the people of almost 140 nations.' --Judith McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs[.] Consider this quotation:

'The French have a deliciously helpful phrase for just about everything, and one of the best is nostalgie de la boue. Nostalgia for the mud, roughly meaning an artist's or a reader's fondness for slime, muck, sewage, degradation, treachery and perversion. It's a specialty of the comfy bourgeoisie, who yearn for the real and the raw as experienced through the lens of literature or cinema. As far as actually, ick, touching the mud ... no thank you.' Perhaps the next time Ms. McHale meets with her foreign counterparts in official ministries of culture/information -- or with the internet-savvy successor generation worldwide -- she should be covered in mud. Might be fun for all involved." Image from

Of course cross-cultural communications is integral to Public Diplomacy! - Jonathan Southgate, Public Diplomacy and the Real World: "A more robust strategy for implementing a public diplomacy plan should focus on mutual understanding and increasing awareness of the uniqueness of each culture, instead of imposing cultural values on other cultures where those values are not necessarily seen as important. China does this in its PD strategy, raising awareness of its culture but not actively imposing its values on others. This is where American PD strategy is severely handicapped in my opinion. America cannot continue to be the hegemon through soft power, since in many respects the cultural traits of America do not correlate to those of other cultures."

Framing the War's Progress‎ - Joshua Foust, Comment by 1 Briandot: "Jones [Seth Jones, Beating Back the Taliban: The Afghan surge has been a success

] is not a propagandist, but he is a political scientist focused on the security sector, and because of his position has become part of the military’s public diplomacy apparatus to some extent." Image from

Jonathan missing from US list of most influential Nigerians - Peter Nkanga, Next: "Although he was the nation’s number two citizen at the time, the United States did not consider [vice-president] Goodluck Jonathan worthy of inclusion in a list of our country’s most influential personalities of the period. On October 24, 2008, former US ambassador Robin Sanders sent a cable to her principals in Washington detailing 'a list of Nigerian leaders who would play a major role in keeping Nigeria either on track, off track, or trying to put it back on track'.

Justifying the rationale for drawing up the list, Ms. Sanders said, 'Understanding who matters, not what matters, is often half the battle in Nigeria.' ... US diplomats constantly looked for who had the ears of the 'elite' in government. They, in turn, wormed their way up to those personalities. In the cable, Ms. Sanders said she knew well and had access to Aliko Dangote, 'a major PDP financier'; and Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank, 'with whom the Mission enjoyed a favourable relationship on a number of public diplomacy and AID projects.'” Sanders image from article

How the West wasn't won - Yoav Fogel, Menachem Gantz, Ynetnews: "To publish or not to publish? That was the question asked in Israel again and again this week ever since the brutal massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar last Friday night. To respect the dead and conceal the pictures or distribute the horrific images in the hope that the West won't be able to look the other way from yet another brutal attack by Palestinian terrorists.

After a great deal of consideration and indecision, the Israeli government – through the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs – decided to deviate from its usual custom and distribute photos from the heinous attack to any media outlet interested in taking them. It's a shame that one important issue wasn't taken into account: The 'target audience' of the shocking pictures – Western media and their followers – didn't really want to see them." Image from article, with caption: Just another attack? Fogel family funeral

When words lead to murder - "When I saw my daughter crying while watching the news about the horrible murders in Itamar last Saturday night, I finally decided I had enough. Enough of the barbaric ‘humans’ who slaughter a four month old baby, but also enough

of the relentless campaign that caused the death of three Jewish children and their parents. ... 'Settlers' are generally being treated only in one way; we are less than human beings. Our villages our branded 'illegal' and in the end we ourselves have become 'illegal beings'. Last year during the launch of our public diplomacy project Missing Peace in Amsterdam, a Ha’aretz journalist asked how an information desk run by a director living in the West Bank could be reliable. Get it? By living in the West Bank one is automatically an unreliable outcast." Image from article

Israeli flight attendants turn diplomats - New initiative will see dozens of flight attendants speaking out for Israel on breaks between flights. First: North America Ronen Medzini - Ynetnews: "A new joint initiative between the Foreign Ministry and El Al will place flight attendants at the forefront of Israeli diplomacy. They flight attendants will undertake PR assignments which will, among other places, include university campuses around the world. As part of the project, dozens of attendants will undergo a series of interviews and training program in Public Diplomacy ahead of their participation in the project, which will see them taking advantage of their stay abroad for PR missions.

El Al was surprised by the enthusiastic response: Over 100 flight attendants and pilots volunteered for the project. Airline employees chosen for the special project will undergo one month's training where they will be instructed by the Foreign Ministry and personnel from the Stand with Us organization. ... Al stressed that this wasn't 'established diplomacy' and that 'a group of employees will be presenting ideas from across the political spectrum and will focus on showing the beautiful face of Israel reinforcing the identity of society and state, rather than addressing controversial issues.'" Image from

Israel - Summary of editorials from the Hebrew press, 16 Mar 2011‎ - "Yediot Aharonot comments on the C-704 anti-ship missiles that were seized onboard the Victoria and asserts that 'If these missiles had reached Gaza, the Navy would have had to substantially alter its activities in the area. ... Yisrael Hayom contends that as far as public diplomacy is concerned, 'Foiling the weaponry smuggling does not come at an especially auspicious time,' due to the fact that global attention is focused on Japan, but adds that 'Even if the public diplomacy gains are small, the security gain is huge.'"

Israeli students embark on 'hasbara' journey to UK campuses - Joshua Hamerman, Jerusalem Post: "Twenty-four young Israelis will leave Thursday for a 10-day trip to what some would consider the lion’s den of anti-Israel propaganda and incitement – British university campuses – to combat anti-Israel messages students there are receiving from Israel Apartheid Week activities. More importantly, they hope their presence will humanize Israelis in the eyes of British students. ... 'We want to let people see that we don’t have horns and we don’t have pitchforks – we are ordinary people who live in a very complex area,' said Alon Kimhi, the founder of a new independent hasbara (public diplomacy) organization."

OPT: Blockade frustrates Gaza students - "Deputy director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy, Danny Seaman, ... said: 'Hamas uses access to Israel to perpetrate terror attacks against our civilians and this immediate threat outweighs the concern over increased militancy

amongst youth in Gaza.'” Image from

World Leaders Reach New Heights - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "[T]here was the news of the photo of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern-day Turkey, being flown to the orbit onboard the Discovery Shuttle. Pretty neat idea by a Turkish man, who responded to NASA's public call for photos (and/or names), submitting that of Turkey's much-revered founder. ... The unfortunate thing, however, is that - despite its great potential - the public diplomacy aspect of the story never actually materialized. The foreign media never picked up on it, and although I don't know whether Turkey's national and international broadcaster

- TRT - ever paid any attention to the story. ... On Monday, Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva signed a decree finally assigning a name to the nameless 4,446 m (14586 ft) high mountain in the Tian-Shan Ridge. It's official: henceforth, the mountain will be called 'Pik Vladimira Putina' (i.e. Vladimir Putin's Peak). ... I cannot help but emphasize its significance, not just in terms of it being an obvious demonstration of Russia's continuous influence (muscle?) over the region, but also in terms of its public diplomacy gain. Apparently, there already was a peak named after former President Yeltsin, but given Putin's 'macho' image, this news can be viewed in a completely different light. After all, just as this Prime Time (on Russia Today) anchor noted, wouldn't it be cool to 'climb Vladimir Putin today'? Or even better: 'Hike on Puts'?!" Mustafa Kemal Atatürk image from article

Bahrain: U.S. Backs Saudi Military Intervention, Conflict With Iran - Rick Rozoff, OpEdNews: "In 2008 a NATO-Bahrain Public Diplomacy Conference was held in Manama. 'The Conference brought together the Secretary General of NATO, the North Atlantic Council, the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee and NATO officials, with government representatives, academics and senior scholars from countries in the Gulf region invited in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.'"

This Blog is On Tour… - Robin, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "This week I’m at the International Studies Association Convention in Montreal along with a large part of the Public Diplomacy blogosphere so not much blogging…"

Research / Communications Assistant - "The Australian High Commission, Nairobi is seeking applications from suitably qualified individuals for the position of Research/Communications Assistant Duties ... Assist in arranging public diplomacy activities / events, producing publications, and reaching out to relevant stakeholders and partners on issues of importance to Australia."


Petraeus' Propaganda War on Congress: The Truth Behind His Testimony - Rep. Mike Honda, Huffington Post: Today, we will spend roughly $325 million fighting in Afghanistan. Twenty million dollars was spent just during Gen. David Petraeus's testimony to Congress this morning. This month, we are on track to spend more than $10 billion in Afghanistan. This year, we expect to spend $120 billion fighting the war there.

And for what? Image from

FBI Chief: al Qaeda Using Internet to Incite Terrorism; Homegrown "Radicalized" Muslims a Threat - Rusty Shackelford, - The Director of the FBI testified to the House Judiciary Committee today. Here are the money quotes: "Terrorism, in general, and al Qaeda and its affiliates in particular, continue to present the most significant threat to our national security. As we have seen in recent months,

al Qaeda and its affiliates remain committed to conducting attacks inside the United States, and they constantly develop new tactics and techniques to penetrate our security measures...We also confront the increasing use of the Internet for spreading extremist propaganda and for terrorist recruiting, training, and planning." Image from article

Zionist tales of “passionate longing” for Palestinian lands‎ - Stuart Littlewood, Redress Information & Analysis: Stuart Littlewood analyses a recent document published by the Board of Deputies of British Jews which appears to be “little more than a propaganda exercise to soft-soap Christians into coming on-side for the continuing land-grab and the making of Israel’s occupation permanent."

Chinese Propaganda Tries to Save an Apprehensive Regime‎ - Dileep Yogi, Obviously the Chinese authorities are nervous. They are nervous about the perhaps unlikely repeat of a Chinese version of the Jasmine Revolution which has thrown out autocratic regimes in Egypt and Tunisia and may yet succeed in Libya. The Chinese authorities are so anxious that they have come out with state-sponsored propaganda to brainwash their own people.

Azerbaijan approves registration rules for NGO representative offices‎ - Trend News Agency: The Azerbaijani government approved the rules for negotiating and concluding contracts on the state registration of branches or representative offices of foreign states’ NGOs in Azerbaijan,

the Cabinet of Ministers reported on Thursday. The organization cannot be engaged in political or religious propaganda, must respect the Azerbaijani people's national and spiritual values and also must comply with the Azerbaijani Constitution, its laws and normative and legal acts. Image from


--Bag Balm ad, 1943, a jolly moment in agricultural competition


Paul Rockower said...

haha, before I bandy about my credentials, I should probably make sure I don't have typos.

www.coruñ said...

It won't truly have effect, I suppose so.