Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21

“Now a no-fly zone is not enough."

--Senator John McCain, regarding Libya; image from


Obama's dueling foreign policy: friendship, might - Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press, posted at "Nowhere have President Barack Obama's foreign policy approaches been in starker relief than during his unfolding travels in South America. Right now the use of military power in Libya is overshadowing his lead-by-example

public diplomacy in his own hemisphere. ... Obama has ... blended his Latin American visit with the events in the Middle East to advance a single theme. The successful transition of Latin American countries to democracy, he has argued, offers a template for a positive outcome in regions undergoing turmoil now." Image from

Doubts about Libya - TJ, I Should Have Stayed Home... Was: Two guys working in Iraq doing their best to clue you in on the ground truth. Is: Guys who have relevant ground & policy experience trying to analyze stuff from a different perspective: "By coming in on the side of the rebels, the West is trying to make a clear statement of support for the Arab spring. But the risk will grow every day that the public diplomacy campaign will be overwhelmed by the message that this is just more western interventionism - and it is a message that will be pushed not only by Islamists, or autocrats like Assad, but even by mainstream politicians, like Amr Moussa, who are better judges of the public mood than we can ever be. And the more the message is pushed, the more it will take hold."

The way out of the Libyan labyrinth‎ - Tanvir Ahmad Khan, GulfNews: "There is little doubt that history is being made in Arab lands. A younger generation has provided the vanguard of movements that seek a new social, political and economic compact.

Consistent with its public diplomacy since the turn of the century, the West interprets the upsurge as the long-awaited quest for democracy and freedom. This reductionist discourse does not acknowledge that the ‘rage' is also rooted in pent-up emotions left behind by Israel's wilful frustration of Arab governments' initiatives to get justice for the Palestinians. ... It is crucial to prevent mindless reprisals threatened by the regime but it is no less important to save Libya from a protracted conflict with the international community with its intended and unintended consequences. There is still an important role for Arab diplomacy." Image from

The Cultural Aspect in PD - Jessica Williams, Occasionally Clever: A semi-regular blog on public diplomacy: "[T]he human connection is the backbone of every country’s diplomatic engagement, regardless of the goal or strategy. It is unfortunate that the U.S. Department of State struggles against bureaucratic, funding and domestic bipartisanship challenges—all of which co-mingle to thwart solid, cultural diplomatic policies that help diplomats be brilliant ones. [Richard] Arndt writes that he is 'trying to bring the issues buried in PD out into the open so that… all American citizens may come to see the need for protecting the fragile cultural dimension of U.S. overseas outreach, and working together, to reach out to neighbors abroad.' And may we all listen and do something about it!"

Is culture diplomacy enough for the U.S to change it's [sic] image? - Silvia, Public and Cultural Diplomacy E: A reflective group blog by students on the Public and Cultural Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University

BBC World Service to sign funding deal with US state department: Low six-figure investment will aim to help combat censorship of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China - Ben Dowell, Via AH, JM. Image from article, with caption: Customers in an internet cafe in Changzhi, China. The US government's investment is intended to help people circumnavigate state censorship.

News with entertainment value: State Dept to provide funds to BBC World Service to combat TV jamming and web blocking - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "This story of full of ironies. Senator Richard Lugar recently proposed that US funds for net circumvention be transferred from the State Department, which he suggested has not been spending them quickly enough, to the Broadcasting Board of Governors. At a 15 Feb BBG conference on Capitol Hill, BBG chairman Walter Isaacson applauded the idea. A 'rollicking, inter-agency competition for federal funds' seems to be ensuing. The latest volley is that State is giving its circumvention funds not to BBG, but to rival BBC.

By way of precedent, USAID has given BBC World Service Trust funds to help re-equip Nigerian radio stations. And on 9 Mar, BBC Global News dircetor Peter Horrocks told the UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, 'We will shortly be making announcements about, new circumvention technology that helps users on the internet to get round some of the blocks put in the so-called great firewall of China. We have received funding-interestingly, from the US Government, rather than from the UK Government-in relation to researching that.' I'm surprised that BBC World Service, which guards both its independence and the appearance of its independence, would want to be associated with State Department money." Image from

News about media and propaganda in Libya (including: RFE interviews VOA): Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Pro-Israel Student Ambassadors to Speak at British Universities during Apartheid Week - "Twenty-four young Israelis are on a 10-day trip touring six British universities to promote Israel during the annual Israel Apartheid Week, an annual series of university lectures and rallies held in February and March around the world, taking place in the UK this year from 21- 26 March. ... The new pro-Israel hasbara group was founded by 28 year old Alon Kimhi, and the current trip participants range in age from 25-30 and are both native-born Israelis as well as immigrants from the US, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Iran, and Kuwait. ... The organization, which does not yet have an official name, was established three months ago after meeting with a government official who discussed difficulties related to overseas hasbara (public diplomacy) efforts. ... According to organizers,

the aim of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement." Image from

Revolutions and emotions in the Middle East - Madhurjya Kotoky, The Public Diplomacy Blog: "[T]here is a tendency to assume that Islam is antithetical to democracy. In fact, India is the best example where the second largest Muslim population in the world have embraced democracy. To pit Islam against democracy, and, adopt a line of discussion/news reporting that encourage such a demarcation will only lead to a 'clash of emotions.'"

Qatar - a shining star on the stage of Public Diplomacy - Rebecka, Public and Cultural Diplomacy E: A reflective group blog by students on the Public and Cultural Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University: "[U]nlike its neighbours on the initiative by Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani

Qatar has pursued a very specific form of Public Diplomacy – namely Niche Diplomacy. Niche Diplomacy can be defined as the concentration of 'resources in specific areas best able to generate returns worth having' (Ungerer, 2007, p.548)." Image from article

Human Right Report: Killing of Bangladeshi Citizens by Indian BSF •Killing of Felani Khatun - "Over the last decade, Human rights organisations have documented cases of over 930 Bangladeshi nationals that have been killed by Indian BSF [Border Security Force]. ... Bangladesh lacks of effort and even failed to internationalize the issue and promoting strong support from other countries and international body to condemn such Indian actions. Bangladeshi policy makers could not assume a strong stance against border killing in the institutional and policy declarations. Besides, we are lacking public diplomacy and track two diplomacy to promote mutual understanding between both the countries by arranging non-official people to people contact to raise awareness against killing and human rights violation in border areas."

Diplomacy in Public Services - Aparajitha Vadlamannati, MountainRunner: "Public diplomacy was believed to be a job solely for the state department but it takes more than Foreign Service Officers to do the job well. It is important for every

citizen, resident, official, supporter, etc. of a nation to do their best to fairly represent the nation they associate with to a foreign (i.e. those from a nation different than their own) audience. ... Learning skills such as identifying foreign diplomats in airports and treating victims of immigration scams with respect, if not minimal decency, can only enhance the job that these men and women already do while having them positively contribute to US public diplomacy." Vadlamannati image from article

Public Diplomacy/Soft Power Papers from ISA 2011 - Robin, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "I’m flying back from Montreal today. As well as pre-conference working group on public diplomacy there is a growing interest in PD. Over the next few days I will post some comments and thoughts on the state of the field. In the mean time I’m posting links to a selection of papers on PD and related topics that have been posted to the online conference archive [includes listing of articles]."


Giving The Enemy A Propaganda Coup - One wonders how this rash move [in Libya] will harm the chances of getting out of Afghanistan. The Taliban is relishing the West's move: “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns this politically motivated and uncalled-for intervention and adventure by the Western countries in the internal conflict of the people of Libya,” the Taliban announced in a statement e-mailed to news organizations with the names the insurgents’ three key spokesmen. This will be grist for conspiracy theories and

Jihadist recruitment for a long time. Suddenly, the whole debate has moved from what the Arabs can do for themselves back into the old, awful dynamic of the Arab world versus the West. This is why so many of us backed Obama in the first place: his pledge never to go back to this dynamic. And yet one can see only one difference between Obama and McCain in this respect: about three weeks. Welcome to the Clinton-McCain administration. Image from article, with caption: A Libyan rebel walks past dead bodies of a member of Moammer Khaddafi forces in al-Wayfiyah, 35 km West of Benghazi hit by French warplanes on March 20, 2011.

Libya: It's not our fight: Regardless of its good intentions, the U.S. intervention in Libya will be depicted once again as aggressive, predatory and anti-Muslim - Edward N. Luttwak, Once again the United States is bombing a Muslim country to liberate its people from their own sanguinary rulers. Once again we are told that innocent civilians are being massacred and that the United States must intervene as a matter of moral duty, in its capacity as a great and good nation. But in this case — even as part of a broader, U.N.-sanctioned coalition to enforce a no-fly zone — the U.S. should not have intervened at all.

A Very Liberal Intervention - Ross Douhat, New York Times: War and moralism are uneasy bedfellows, and “low risk” conflicts often turn out to be anything but. By committing America to the perils of yet another military intervention, Barack Obama has staked an awful lot on the hope that our Libyan adventure will prove an exception to this rule. 

Our view: U.S. moves deftly on Libya, but how will it end? - USA Today: Military intervention should always be a last resort, and if ultimately necessary, it should be aimed at a clear, attainable goal and fought with total commitment. Whether the Libyan attack meets that standard remains to be seen.

‘Drinking From a Fire Hose’- In times of trouble, Obama often looks to his predecessors for guidance. But amid such a pileup of disasters, crises, and wars, who’s the best model? - Christopher Dickey, Newsweek: As David A. Nichols points out in his just-published book, Eisenhower 1956, the president had his hands full in October and November of that year. The 66-year-old former commander of Allied forces in World War II had been weakened by a heart attack and by an operation for a blocked colon. The nation was grappling with the predictions that if all-out war erupted with the Soviet Union (a very real possibility at the time), an estimated 65 percent of the U.S. population would be killed or need emergency medical attention, most of which would not be available. Yet the people of Hungary, encouraged by American propaganda,

had risen up against Moscow’s domination. And at almost the same time, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser had nationalized the Suez Canal—and Britain, France, and Israel had launched a war to take it back. Eisenhower made two incredibly tough calls: he declined to support the Hungarians, because he had no doubt that doing so would lead to war with the Soviets; and he firmly opposed America’s erstwhile allies in London and Paris, forcing them to abandon their fight and their last dreams of colonial empire. Image from

What Revolution is in Saudi Propaganda - As'ad AbuKhalil, The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب : "I did not expect the word 'revolution' to appear in a large headline in a Saudi propaganda newspaper. But it did in the mouthpiece of Prince Salman and his sons, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. The wide and large headline reads thus: "King Abdullah Launches An Economic Revolution in Saudi Arabia." I am not making this up: and they were referring to the announcement of the $93 billion bribe that the royal family has offered to the Saudi population. I never disliked revolution until I encountered its usage in Saudi propaganda."

Reel China: Hollywood tries to stay on China's good side: Without Beijing even uttering a critical word, MGM is changing the villains in its 'Red Dawn' remake from Chinese to North Korean. It's all about maintaining access to the Asian superpower's lucrative box office - Ben Fritz and John Horn, See also.

Image from article, with caption: Lea Thompson in the 1984 version of "Red Dawn."

U.S. Wartime Production, Control, and Patriotic Propaganda, 1942
- JF Ptak Science Books: The War Production Board (WPB)--the entity responsible for printing the leaflets in this entry--was instituted 16 January 1942

as a federal effort to direct U.S. wartime production and allocation of essential commodities. The WPB also was responsible for hearts-and-minds campaigns at home, too, because so many people, such a huge proportion of the population, needed to be involved in the war effort, not only from the production standpoint but also for strategic conservation. Image from article

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