Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 18-19

“There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.”

--John Kenneth Galbraith; image from


Insult to injury - "Barely had Raymond Davis been released and flown out of the country when a drone strike on Thursday killed at least 40 men at a jirga in North Waziristan. The insensitivity of this attack is shocking on multiple levels. ... Then there is the even trickier issue of public diplomacy.

For almost two months, Pakistan has been gripped by the Davis saga which had whipped up anti-Americanism to perhaps unprecedented levels. Anger at the drone strikes now threatens to make partnering with the US even more challenging for the Pakistan government in political terms." Image from

President Obama's Visit to a Favela in Rio: Below the Surface Calm - Vanda Felbab-Brown, Huffington Post: "A part of President Obama's visit to Brazil is to be an outing to a favela, a slum neighborhood, in Rio de Janeiro." Comment by Staarla Haasse: "The Obama visit to the favelas is part of a public diplomacy social media play to make him popular to Brazilian people. His experience will be about as tame as Bill Clinton eating at his favorite restaurant in Harlem. It has been announced that his children will be accompanyi­ng him to the favela and that they will be giving their own little speeches about education. They receive expensive private school education at the Sidwell Friends school that costs around $50,000 a year per child. Favela kids will be lucky to earn that much in their entire lives in the straight economy."

Rethinking Our Policy on Religious Freedom - Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Center For American Progress: "In 2009 the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, and the Center on Faith and International Affairs at the Institute for Global Engagement issued a joint report on 'The Future of International Religious Freedom Policy: Recommendations for the Obama Administration,' co-authored by Thomas F. Farr and Dennis R. Hoover. One of the report’s three main critiques is that U.S. international religious freedom

policy 'has not been integrated into U.S. democracy programs, public diplomacy, counterterrorism, or multilateral diplomacy or international law.' The report recommends bringing religious freedom policy 'into the mainstream of foreign policy.' ... The administration should develop a coordinated approach to each country and its religious, cultural, and political issues." Image from

U.S. Post 9/11 Public Diplomacy - Yaldaz, Public and Cultural Diplomacy: A reflective group blog by students on the Public and Cultural Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University: "Almost 11 years after the tragic event of 9/11, there is not agreement of to what an effective public diplomacy is, and what should the public diplomacy goals be. This are the questions the current US administration heavily preoccupied to provide an answers to. Since the failure of Bush’s public diplomacy agenda of 'telling America’s story to the world' has not managed to restore US’s credibility on world stage, the Obama administration is busy promoting the new 'engaging with the world' agenda."

Muslim-American Country Singer Talks About Working With the State Dept. - Aya Khalil, "Country singer Kareem Salama

shares his cultural exchange tour experience in the Middle East and talks about his unique upcoming album, City of Lights. Last year the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsored a cultural exchange tour for Kareem Salama and his crew in the Middle East. 'We went to a number of countries and we did a number of performances, interviews and some outreach … where we would go and perform and talk about some of our experiences and issues relevant to [that country]. It was unique,' said Salama, the 33-year-old country singer . ... Marjorie Ames, director of the Cultural Programs Division with the U.S. State Department said that the program supports cultural exchanges in the arts area all over the world." Image from article

Virtual Worlds - Van Tran, Thing 23: "Virtual Worlds are used for a range of applications including entertainment, commercial applications and research. Nowadays, it is also being used by public organization or government to perfrom public diplomacy. Virtual Worlds

can be use to raise funds, to promote an event or organize a public survey or campaign. ... The Consulate can use a virtual world environment for a Speaker program or seminar, or even a conference. It would help to attract more audiences and keep them abreast of update information about U.S." Image from

Education and Training: The Foreign Service’s Challenge
- Anthony Quainton, "[T]he Service could recruit more intentionally for the public diplomacy track in schools of communication and journalism, for the management track in schools and departments of management. The existing Foreign Service examination does not rigorously explore the knowledge and education which incoming officers may already have. Recruitment materials do not require or even encourage students to acquire expertise in these areas before applying for entry into the Service. There may be some important diversity issues related to this situation, but I am convinced that State can do better."

Swedish justice department use private "legal adviser" from US Firm - "As Ambassador [to Denmark during the Bush administration, James P.] Cain

oversaw the 13 agencies of the American government that comprised the 150-person U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. His energies focused on areas of national security, counter-terrorism, energy security, commerce and investment, and promotion of shared values. Ambassador Cain was a strong believer in public diplomacy, getting out of the Embassy and 'Selling America.'" Image from article

Cable 112480, Una perspectiva del Cono Sur para enfrentar a Chávez y reafirmar el liderazgo de EE.UU - "DATE: 6/18/2007 14:45 ORIGIN: 07SANTIAGO983 SOURCE: Embassy Santiago ... SUBJECT: A SOUTHERN CONE PERSPECTIVE ON COUNTERING CHAVEZ AND REASSERTING U.S. LEADERSHIP ... 16. (U) Public diplomacy will be absolutely vital to our success. We cannot win in the marketplace of ideas unless we have active and effective outreach, especially to the young and those active in addressing social ills and education needs. Embassy Santiago septel addresses many PD areas in which we could be more active. People-to-people contact at the grassroots level with local leaders, NGOs, youth groups, community activists, and cooperatives is key."

Time to Rethink the Broadcasting Board of Governors - Shortwave Central: "Recent strategic decisions by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) on Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts to China suggest that the time has come for Congress to take a serious look at the way the U.S. government manages its international broadcasting services.

Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 1, expressed strong concern over the state of U.S. international broadcasting. Of course, Clinton herself has a seat (usually deputized to Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale) on the BBG, so she has the opportunity and responsibility to act on her concerns. The fact is that, as currently constituted, the mostly unpaid, part-time BBG, which meets once a month and has no real CEO, is no way to run a complex media organization with over $750 million worth of broadcasting entities paid for by U.S. taxpayers." Image from

Conference on the history of Radio Free Europe will take place in Munich, 28-30 April
- Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Bye NPR. Hello BBC, Al Jazeera, Chinese Radio - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "The decision by Congress to defund NPR and block local public radio stations from using federal money to acquire NPR content is, like any action, likely to have interesting unintended consequences. ... The most likely winner, at least the short term, will be foreign government broadcasters. Already, local public radio stations often fill gaps in programming with news from the BBC."

Hiring American PR firm to brand Israel undignified, may make matters worse - Martin Sherman, Martin Sherman Blog: "'[B]randing' is not a new idea. It was, in fact, the centerpiece of Tzipi Livni’s public-diplomacy strategy during her term as foreign minister. And we all remember what splendid success that turned out to be! For despite all of her efforts to adopt a pliable posture vis-à-vis the international community, despite all attempts to present Israel as 'cool' hedonist hub, a haven of tolerance for gays, brimming with vibrant pubs, and sensual beachfronts adorned with curvaceous bronzed bodies, who can forget what glorious 'victories' Israeli public diplomacy achieved under her stewardship? From the frittering away of unprecedented world support at the start of the Second Lebanon War; through the increasing volume

of voices from a wide range of academic, professional and labor organizations clamoring for censure and sanctions against Israel; to the torrent of unfounded, unfettered and unfair attacks on Israel because of the IDF’s actions ('Cast Lead') to quell the bombardment of its civilian population in the south, and which finally culminated with the grotesque Goldstone report. These diplomatic debacles under Livni expose the entire notion of 'branding' as a failed – and somewhat self-demeaning – exercise …which makes the latest burst of renewed enthusiasm for it rather difficult to understand." Image from

Gay Community Faces Rift Over Cancellation of a Pro-Palestinian Fundraiser: Activists Clash Over Criticism of Israel for its Treatment of Palestinians Despite Its Acceptance of Gay Rights - "Ido Aharoni, Israel’s consul-general in New York, is the driving force behind Israel’s branding effort and the idea of focusing public diplomacy on issues beyond the Israeli-Arab conflict.

'Branding means that it is just as important for Israel to be attractive as it is to be right,' Aharoni said. He said that the gay community is 'one niche among many we are trying to reach out to,' and stressed that by doing so Israel is talking to each community 'about issues they care about.'” Image from article, with caption: Debate: Ido Aharoni (right), Israel’s consul general, aims to brand Israel as open to gays, while professor Judith Butler (left) charges that Israel’s gay rights profile is being used to justify other abuses.

Editor's Notes: Wanted: The PM's vision for Israel - David Horovitz, Jerusalem Post: "There is no shortage of reasons for Israel’s abiding public diplomacy failures. They range from the refusal to invest the necessary resources at home, to demographics abroad: It takes a politically suicidal politician in most countries where Muslim voters greatly outnumber Jewish voters – and much of Europe falls into this category – to stand up for Israel. But at the heart of Israel’s difficulties in setting out its narrative is that it has no unifying narrative. And any advertising executive will tell you that it is difficult to market a product whose basic features are unclear."

When words lead to murder - Yochanan Visser, Ynetnews: "Last year during the launch of our public diplomacy project Missing Peace in Amsterdam, an Israeli journalist asked how an information desk run by a director living in the West Bank

could be reliable. Get it? By living in Judea and Samaria one is automatically an unreliable outcast. Do not think this is only the opinion of a leftist Israeli journalist, I know of plenty of European officials who think the same." Image from

Fitna in Iran, but no Revolution - Reza Akhlaghi, "Since his appointment in August 2009, Iran’s Minister of Intelligence, Hojjat-al-Islam Heydar Moslehi, has taken an increasingly prominent role in domestic politics and public diplomacy, and may be leading the regime’s response to internal dissent."

Lessons for Japan in 2004 Tsunami - Joshua Kurlantzick, Council on Foreign Relations: "In December 2004, I was in Bangkok and southern Thailand, working on a series of articles, when a massive tsunami hit the country's west coast, along with other parts of South and Southeast Asia, killing over two hundred thousand people. ... The 2004 tsunami occurred in the middle of a soft power charm offensive by China, which had used aid, cultural ties, and better public diplomacy to change its reputation in Southeast Asia from an aggressor into a solid partner. At the same time, the United States was extremely unpopular in much of Asia,

the result of the Iraq invasion. Yet the tsunami showed that, despite China's growing ambitions, it still remained far from able to deliver public goods. It did contribute some $85 million to tsunami relief and reconstruction. But the region's nations, including Indonesia, Thailand, and India, had to rely on the U.S. Navy to coordinate relief efforts. ... As in Indonesia, the tsunami could provide the opportunity for a kind of reset in Japanese politics and society, as well as a chance for more decisive leadership, since the country will need it in the coming months." Tsunami 2004 image from

Here it is "Longitude", italian monthly magazine of foreing policy! - Non Solo Politica Vox: "The first Italian monthly foreign policy journal 'Longitude' to be published in English and distributed around the world. This public diplomacy initiative arose from an idea contributed by Pialuisa Bianco, head of the MFA Strategic Forum and editor in chief of the journal, the first issue of which is already on the newsstands with a focus on Europe and a special report on Turkey."

Key to the Future: Public diplomacy in Poland and nation branding - Magda, Key to the Future: "Public diplomacy is a pretty new term for Poland. First steps towards nation branding were made during polish engagement with democracy. Since then Poland was slowly entering the world of diplomacy. However, it was not always with very successful results."

Bo hot micro earthquake in Japan, the formation of a positive impact on public opinion - airmax158: "[S]tarting from March 13 to Sina microblogging represented 9.0 earthquake in Japan has been dominated's list of hot topics, although during a short period of time in a number of changes, but the topic standings reprint volume and attention is still the highest. China's Internet media, especially the exchange of information on micro-blog, as observed in public diplomacy at a crucial moment. public diplomacy is essential Referring to the Sino-Japanese relations, the two sides attach great importance to each other, scholars of public opinion formation. This is a multifaceted role in the formation of public opinion results."

Sports Diplomacy - Pilar, Public and Cultural Diplomacy C: A reflective group blog by students on the Public and Cultural Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University: "The United States have several diplomatic envoys who are athletes, such as Michelle Kwan (figure skater), Barry Larkin and Joe Logan (baseball players). Michelle Kwan was appointed as envoy in 2007 and has visited Argentina, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Ukraine among others. ... Sports

diplomacy is indeed a big part of public diplomacy. Its advantage lies in the fact that sports is something universal and which has the capacity to unite people in one way or another." Imager from

Alum Profile: International Relations
- Peter DiPrinzio, "Name: Ryan L. Palsrok Current job title: Consul/Deputy Chief, American Citizens Services, U.S. Embassy Beijing What are typical entry level positions in your field and what does a career path look like? ... Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) make up the majority of American staff at one of 265 U.S. embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic missions around the world. FSOs select one of five career tracks: Consular, Economic, Management, Political, and Public Diplomacy. Over the course of a career, FSOs will live in numerous countries, perfecting several languages and serving as the face of U.S. interests abroad."

The Internet and Foreign Policy (Headline Series) - Parenting and Families Books: "The Internet has become a powerful information tool and an important network for building communities.

What is its role in foreign policy? What are the different types of sources available and how susceptible are we to misinformation. This Headline Series describes information on foreign policy topics available online and examines how the government uses the Internet as a tool for public diplomacy." Image from article

Public Diplomacy Course-US Practices - Hope Fellowships: "On Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 training on Public Diplomacy-US Practices will be held and facilitated by Michael Parmley."

Lets [sic] bring some theory to the study of public and cultural diplomacy! - Monika, Public and Cultural Diplomacy D: A reflective group blog by students on the Public and Cultural Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University:

"The interactionist assumption (where our public diplomacy domena lies) is that learning and socialization can change identities and is described by Wendt as 'complex learning'. What distinguishes constructivist model towards change in identity from other theories is a different conception towards reproduction of identities." Image from


On Libya, Suspicious Minds - Peter Catapano, New York Times

Be Ruthless or Stay Out - Roger Cohen, New York Times: The case against going in prevails unless the West, backed and joined by the Arab League, decides it will, ruthlessly, stop, defeat, remove and, if necessary, kill Qaddafi in short order.

Obama’s ultimatum to Moammar Gaddafi - Stephen Stromberg, Washington Post: The president has much lot more explaining to do as America gets more involved in Libya.

The Libya tightrope: A U.N.-authorized no-fly zone could end the strife. But the U.S. must be wary of open-ended commitments - Editorial, Los Angeles Times: After the American experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration needs to be clear about its objectives, realistic about whether they can be attained and wary of open-ended commitments.

As global crises mount, Obama has become the world’s master of ceremonies - David J. Rothkopf, Washington Post: The world is witnessing an American president who appears less inclined or less able to assert his country — or himself — as the dominant player in global affairs. He seems more comfortable with the bully pulpit than the “big stick,” more at ease working within coalitions or even letting other nations take the lead where Washington once would have stood front and center.

Image from article, with caption: Young boys look at photographs of dead and missing that hang on the walls outside the court house and head office of Libya's opposition party in the port city of Bengazi, Libya.

No-fly zone: Putting a leash on Kadafi - The U.N.-approved no-fly zone can protect rebels from atrocities by Libya's leader - David Scheffer,

Gaddafi-controlled media wages propaganda war: Libyan rebels portrayed as rats as Gaddafi regime uses blackout of alternative media to step up fight against opposition - Ian Black, Guardian:

Image from article with caption: The Libyan rebels' media centre in Benghazi is struggling against the Gaddafi regime's broadcasting and publishing power.

I Was a Sock Puppet for the CIA: Well, not really. But I could be, and so could you, thanks to a plan by the US military to create fake online personae to spread pro-US propaganda - Dan Tynan, ITworld: Are you seeking an exciting career pretending to be multiple fake people online while serving your country?

It could be just a phone call away. The US military has contracted with a California-based company that makes it easier to create and manage fake identities online. Ntrepid Corp. will be receiving $2.75 million of your and my tax money for the purpose of spreading pro-US propaganda overseas by making it appear that the sentiments are coming from actual living humans and not digital sock puppets. See also: (1)(2)(3) (4). Image from article

Experiment: "Americans Biased Against Al Jazeera English? Not If They Think They’re Watching CNN" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Russia Objects to NATO "Propaganda" in Georgian Schools - Joshua Kucera, EurasiaNet: Georgia's government believes it's never too early to teach the youth about the importance of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture, and has been opening up "NATO Corners" in schools across the country. The corners are "mini-libraries" that include "informational materials on NATO, Georgia’s relations with NATO and other international organizations, papers on international politics, etc." There are even NATO-themed comic books, and a cartoon, “Ani and Rati’s Wonderful Journey to NATO." (Sadly, YouTube does not appear to have the cartoon.) The centers are sponsored by various NATO member embassies. But Georgia apparently has gone one step too far with its latest NATO Corner, in a school in Ergneti, on the de facto border with South Ossetia, and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a stern statement: “The choice of the settlement of Ergneti for carrying out the propaganda action was not accidental obviously, after all this is the venue for regular meetings within the framework of the mechanism on incidents prevention and response on the South Ossetian-Georgian border which Russian border guards and representatives of the EU Observer Mission also participate in."

Video: 5 Classic Nuclear Power Propaganda Films — Dave Gilson,

Propaganda posters from the war on dino-Nazis - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing: Dino D-Day is a forthcoming video game set in an alternate reality where Nazis team up with dinosaurs to fight WWII.

The collateral for the game -- propaganda posters, newspapers, newsreels -- is really great and funny-weird/funny-ha-ha.

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