Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22

"U.S.-Led Assault Nears Goal in Libya"

--New York Times online headline, 8:49 am March 22. Click [at the time of its appearance] on this headline and you are led to this other headline:

"American Warplane Crashes in Libya as Ground Fighting Continues," with the following text:

"[T]he firepower of more than 130 Tomahawk cruise missiles and attacks by allied warplanes have not yet succeeded in accomplishing the more ambitious demands by the United States — repeated by President Obama in a letter to Congress on Monday — that Colonel Qaddafi withdraw his forces from embattled cities and cease all attacks against civilians." Image from


Satire: CIA's 'Facebook' Program Dramatically Cut Agency's Costs. Via


Nuclear Reactor Cutaways; via


Obama Cites Latin Americans as Example for Others‎ - Jackie Calmes, New York Times: "With his first trip to South America eclipsed by war and upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa, President Obama sought to connect the two in a speech here on Monday, calling Latin America a model for those

trying to throw off dictatorships in favor of democracy and broadly shared economic growth. ... Plainly tired after days of juggling public diplomacy with private deliberations about the military action in Libya, Mr. Obama said 'the lessons of Latin America' could be 'a guide for people around the world who are beginning their own journeys toward democracy.'” See also.

Minor Bomb Attack At Chilean-North American Cultural Institute - The Skeptical Bureaucrat: "About 10 PM last night, just before President Obama arrived in Chile, someone tossed a small bomb into the front yard of the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura in Viña del Mar. The bomb was so small that some local reports referred to it as a 'noise bomb.' Windows were broken, but no one was injured. There was no claim of responsibility. Viña del Mar is not on the President's itinerary. The Instituto is a Binational Center, an autonomous institution governed by boards of local citizens and employing local staff, which have long been a mainstay of U.S. public diplomacy efforts in South America. The BNCs in Chile were established in 1941."

New Public Diplomacy for the New Arab World - Philip Seib, Newswire – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The development of new politics in the Arab world requires [a]... sweeping redesign of U.S. public diplomacy. To a great extent, America’s public diplomacy, like that of many other nations, has drifted farther and farther into self-promoting 'branding' that will win over only the most gullible.

Such an audience is unlikely to be found among Arabs who are deeply suspicious of the patrons of recently ousted dictators. ... A comprehensive public diplomacy initiative that recognizes the complex new political dynamics of the Arab world and supports economic justice rather than trying to promote 'America the lovable,' might win some valuable new friends."

The Arab League’s No-Fly Flip-Flop - John Guardiano, frumforum.com: Comment by Frumplestiltskin: "Public diplomacy on the one hand is one thing, blowing the hell out of Gadhafi[']s home is something else entirely. I have zero doubt that if they can get Gadhafi in their sights and he is in a military installation they will take him out."

US Africa Command Seen Taking Key Role‎ - Eric Schmitt, New York Times: "When the United States Africa Command was created four years ago, it was the military’s first 'smart power' command. It has no assigned troops and no headquarters in Africa itself, and one of its two top deputies is a seasoned American diplomat.

Indeed, the command, known as Africom, is intended largely to train and assist the armed forces of 53 African nations and to work with the State Department and other American agencies to strengthen social, political and economic programs in the region, including improving H.I.V. awareness in African militaries and removing land mines. Now the young, untested command and its new boss, Gen. Carter F. Ham, find themselves at their headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, setting aside public diplomacy talks and other civilian-military duties to lead the initial phase of a complex, multinational shooting war with Libya."

Public Diplomacy in Uniform: The Role of the U.S. Department of Defense in Supporting Modern Day Public Diplomacy - Rachel Greenspan, American Diplomacy: "The U.S. military’s 'war of ideas' against extremism has increased Pentagon involvement to

support public diplomacy efforts abroad. Whatever one may believe about our efforts at 'winning hearts and minds', that role is becoming more and more a military one. –Ed."

Western Hemispheric Affairs (WHA) FY 2010 Program List‎ - press release US Department of State: "The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of countries around the world through a variety of international programs based on the benefits of mutual understanding, educational and cultural exchange, and leadership development. ECA programs engage participants from a range of backgrounds and specialties. Detailed information about these programs may be found at http://exchanges.state.gov. Social networking amplifies people-to-people exchanges and enhances U.S. public diplomacy. ECA’s social network ExchangesConnect is at http://connect.state.gov.

American Art At Home and Abroad - A Modest Proposal - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: "US Ambassadors and former American Ambassadors to London should spearhead a public/private sector fund-raising initiative to establish and maintain a permanent museum of American art in a historical home with American connections ... . [P]ass a law that instructs the State Department and the White House to enforce a provision that two afternoons per week at a minimum, official

Ambassadorial Residences must be available to admit guided tours of the art collections by school classes, art students and clubs. ...[T]the legal niceties that govern the State Department’s Art in Embassies program should be rewritten to make it possible for paintings on loan in US Ambassadorial residences to be truly available for public viewing - beyond the walls of Fortress Americas."

Great Robot Race Reaches Sisattanak High School in Laos - Ajarn Charlie: Tales and news of overseas teaching and living; from Korea to Germany, and all points in between!: "On March 17, 2011, the U.S. Embassy’s Public Diplomacy Section Information Resource Center and the Sisattanak High School organized a video showing of the 'Great Robot Race.' The documentary film is about a competition to create a robotic, driverless vehicle. The Information Resource Center chose to show the move because it helps Lao students practice their English and learn about the U.S. technology field, including robot design and the absolutely crucial role of teamwork in creating and testing new machines."

Cultural Diplomacy for Pakistan--Where Would One Start? -- peacedawg, Diplomatic Studs: A collection of unique perspectives on current public diplomacy issues: "[I]nternal security concerns

take the upper hand in Pakistan right now, and people-to-people exchanges are poo-pooed by the elite as something the 'common classes' might do."

State Dept to provide funds to BBC World Service to combat TV jamming and web blocking (updated: it's BBC WST grant application) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

U.S. State Department to Pay for BBC's Anti-Jamming Campaign in China, Iran - Neal Ungerleider, fastcompany.com: "Industry analyst Kim Andrew Elliott has noticed that USAID has been sending the BBC World Service Trust funds in order

to help Nigerian radio stations replace 'dilapidated equipment' back in February. USAID is a government agency providing economy and humanitarian assistance around the world. This means that USAID was, essentially, funding British public diplomacy."

BBC America will offer commercial-free royal wedding coverage. Public diplomacy or loss leader? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "BBC America is a commercial channel, for the purpose of making money for the BBC in the UK. If it is commercial-free during the wedding, is this an exercise in UK public diplomacy? Or a loss leader? Or just too tacky to insert commercials during the event?"

Write Together a New Chapter of Common Development: Speech by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi At China Development Forum 2011 - press release, MFA China: Jiechi: "We will work for steady growth of relations with major countries, deepen

friendly cooperation with neighboring countries, strengthen traditional friendship with developing countries, and actively engage in economic, security and public diplomacy."

China: Rebranding 101 - Roseline Twagiramariya, MountainRunner.us: "I do applaud China for recognizing the power of cultural diplomatic and making it an important part of rebranding efforts. By now, we have seen how important and an effective tool it can be; there may be no other way to cross cultural boundaries and have the opportunity to reach and connect with audiences that have a negative perception of country. However, it is time that they take the next step and be more transparent, both in their PD efforts and as they work to improve conditions at home. Roseline Twagiramariya is from Rwanda and is a first-year public diplomacy student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism."

Culture in development cooperation: cultural sectors in sustainable development policy - Lidia Varbanova, "The present memorandum prepared by an unofficial working group of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland suggests elements to be used as content for the theme of culture and development. The memorandum provides opinions and objectives on the role and potential of culture

in development co-operation in general and more specifically from the perspective of capitalising on the strengths and resources of the Finnish cultural sector. These sectors include libraries, communications, creative industries, the system of intellectual property, research into the information society and intercultural interaction as part of public diplomacy."

Portuguese Ambassador Almeida promotes trade ties with Turkey‎ - Muhlis Kaçar, Today's Zaman: "The top Portuguese diplomat in Turkey [Ambassador to Turkey Luisa Bastos de Almeida] has said the two countries could benefit from sharing best business practices which each has developed over many years and help each other out in markets where they have developed competitive leads. ... The ambassador also shared her impressions of a trip to the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin, where she was accompanied by a number of EU ambassadors led by EU Ambassador to Turkey Marc Pierini. ... Describing the trip as informative and eclectic, de Almeida says the city of Mardin ... has lots of potential to be developed. In her view, the authorities worked hard in order to bring the region up to the level of other developed regions in the country. 'All the authorities that we met were in line in getting the region in general and the city in particular ready for EU standards. As for civil society, they voiced some frustrations, as some authorities did as well, regarding the Turkish-EU negotiation process, so in that sense I think there are a lot of misperceptions. For me it was very clear that this kind of public diplomacy that we were being part of and the public diplomacy with the civil society is the one we should do more often, again to get rid of those misperceptions that exist. And each country should do its best to get rid of those misperceptions,' she says."

When Irish eyes stare you down‎ - Moran Sharir, Ha'aretz: "[Israel's PM] Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently avoided interviews in the local media, but abroad he has a whale of time.

This is how he firmly established his image as a top minister for public diplomacy issues, which is what they are now calling hasbara - that peculiarly Israeli mix of explanation and self-justification."

Revolution in the Arab World - Review William A. Rugh, American Diplomacy: “'Revolution in the Arab World: Tunisia, Egypt and the Unmaking of an Era' is a 217-page book that has been produced by the journal Foreign Policy in an on-line format. ... [T]he editors have assembled a fascinating collection of 37 essays . ... Tom Malinowski has a provocative essay on the role of Wikileaks. ... Malinowski’s conclusion is that the leaked cables were helpful not only to Tunisians but also to US interests, and he ponders how that fact might be utilized. He says he has had conversations with US officials about speaking out more in public to convey American criticism of the domestic policies of dictators who are friendly to the US, and he suggests that Washington to consider more public diplomacy that finds a way to make clear what we really think of their domestic behavior."

Monday, March 21, 2011 - Lynn, SIS Public Diplomacy: The Group Five Blog - "Nick Cull, in Jamming for Uncle Sam: Getting the Best From Cultural Diplomacy,

explains the four major types of cultural diplomacy, which include: the prestige gift; cultural information; dialogue and collaboration; and capacity building."

While you were out... - Molly Sisson, Public Diplomacy and Student Exchanges: Experiences of American Students in Britain: "My supervisor Robin Brown was at a conference in Montreal last week ... . His paper, Public Diplomacy and Social Networks, looked at some of the current challenges in PD studies and argued for a social network approach to PD studies. There were quite a few points that really hit home for my research. ... As far as I know, nobody has studied the social networks of student exchange participants. Yet they are a prime subject for it--one of the objectives Fulbright himself put forward was the establishment of international peer networks."

From business journalism to the foreign service
- Talking Biz Exclusive: "Sarah Talalay has traded in her journalism notebook for a passport. The sports business reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel resigned from her job earlier this year to become a foreign service officer with the State Department. This summer, she will begin her first overseas posting in Chennai, India.... [Talalay:] As a foreign service officer,

I will spend some time doing consular work — processing visas and assisting U.S. citizens who need help overseas – so being able to communicate well is key. Foreign service officers are required to report on issues abroad. Later in my career, I will be working in the area of public diplomacy, which will include assisting the media overseas. I will be arranging interviews and answering questions, so my journalism experience will be invaluable."


Leading article: The West must be careful not to lose the propaganda war - Independent.co.uk: Like all conflicts in which the West is nowadays involved, the war in Libya is asymmetric. At the weekend, French, US and UK forces began to hit Muammar Gaddafi's air defences.

And the Libyan dictator is fighting back, not with his own planes and missiles, but with propaganda. The West should not underestimate how effective such propaganda could be, particularly if civilian deaths are verified over the coming days. Allied to dangers of a reversal in the propaganda war is the threat of mission creep on the part of the Coalition. Image from

Libya is launching a propaganda offensive against Denmark - cphpost.dk: Libya’s national TV station this morning reported that Sunday’s attack on Gaddafi’s headquarters in Tripoli was controlled by Denmark, reports the BBC. The announcer, who suddenly switched from Arabic to English, accused Denmark of having led a “campaign against Muslims for years” with its insulting Mohammed cartoons.

Mysterious capitalism and black propaganda - Rob Gowland, The Guardian (Australia): There has been for the last couple of weeks an amazing outpouring of “black propaganda”

about Libya and Gaddafi: false news reports, rumour stated as fact, propaganda designed to present a “factual” picture that is as false as Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Image from

Gadhafi Propaganda Passed Off As Global Research‎
- Patrick Ross, The Propagandist: While “Globalization studies” scholars may ply their trade under the guise of academia,

the non-existent academic and professional standards within the field reduce the discipline to nothing more than a propaganda arm of the far-left. Image from article

Five questions about dramatic move against Gadhafi - Jim Michaels and Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today: Five questions about dramatic move against Gadhafi 1. What is the goal of the attack on Gadhafi? 2. How strong is the coalition? 3. Will the USA have to lead the effort? 4. How is the Arab world reacting? 5. Do the Libyan rebels need more than airstrikes to prevail?

5 things the U.S. should consider in Libya - Alan J. Kuperman, USA Today: •Do not intervene on humanitarian grounds in ways that benefit rebels unless the state's retaliation is grossly disproportionate. •Deliver purely humanitarian aid — food, water, sanitation, shelter, medical care — in ways that minimize the benefit to rebels. •Expend substantial resources to persuade states to address the legitimate grievances of non-violent domestic groups.

•Do not coerce regime change or surrender of sovereignty unless also taking precautions against violent backlash — such as golden parachutes, power-sharing, or preventive military intervention. •Do not falsely claim "humanitarian" grounds for intervention driven by other objectives. Image from

On Libya, Obama should stay quiet - Anne Applebaum, Washington Post: Because the bombardment of Libya has begun and the no-fly zone is in place, there is no point now in arguing the case for or against intervention. We have intervened, and, for better or for worse, we will now be partly responsible for the outcome — and one of the ways in which we can promote a better outcome is to make sure we keep expectations low.

Obama is dragged into doing the right thing on Libya - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Obama claims his Libyan approach as a model of American leadership. It isn’t. On Libya, America was not the leader but the led.

Obama’s response to the Libyan revolution fits the pattern of his foreign policy, established during the Green Revolution in Iran and the recent Egyptian uprising: The reaction hesitant, the process chaotic, the outcome late. Image from

Is it America’s duty to intervene wherever regime change is needed?
- George F. Will, Washington Post: "America has intervened in a civil war in a tribal society, the dynamics of which America does not understand. And America is supporting one faction, the nature of which it does not know. In Libya, mission creep began before the mission did. A no-fly zone would not accomplish what Barack Obama calls 'a well-defined goal,' the “protection of civilians.” So the no-fly zone immediately became protection for aircraft conducting combat operations against Gaddafi’s ground forces."

More bombs bursting in Libya. What for? Moammar gets his mojo back. And the next thing you know... - Michael Kinsley, latimes.com: Was there nothing we could have done between sitting on our hands and launching something close to all-out war? Sure there was.

We could've done what we did for Eastern Europe, which helped bring victory in the Cold War: verbal support and financial support for dissidents and democrats. Make clear which side we're on, but without overpromising. Image from

Planning for a Post-Qaddafi Libya - Max Boot, New York Times: To avert the worst, we must work with the nascent opposition government, the National Transitional Council, to develop a plan for a post-Qaddafi state. Post-Qaddafi Libya will most likely need an international peacekeeping force.

Obama's missed break in Libya: The president slowed things down to set up the play he wanted rather than the play the moment needed. As a result, Moammar Kadafi regained his balance - Jonah Goldberg, latimes.com: Now that America is rescuing losing rebels rather than lending support to winning ones, we will "own" the next Libyan regime.

Obama, who campaigned on ending Middle Eastern wars, not starting them, wanted a war completely on his own terms. He got what he wished for. Image from

At War in Libya
- Editorial, New York Times: Muammar el-Qaddafi is erratic, widely reviled, armed with mustard gas and has a history of supporting terrorism. If he is allowed to crush the opposition, it would chill pro-democracy movements across the Arab world.

Libya in its Arab Context - Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy: Libya matters to the United States not for its oil or intrinsic importance, but because it has been a key part of the rapidly evolving transformation of the Arab world. For Arab protestors and regimes alike, Gaddafi's bloody response to the emerging Libyan protest movement had become a litmus test for the future of the Arab revolution. If Gaddafi succeeded in snuffing out the challenge by force without a meaningful response from the United States, Europe and the international community then that would have been interpreted as a green light for all other leaders to employ similar tactics.

New rules could allow pro-EU propaganda campaign - ‎Jeff Taylor, The Economic Voice: Euro-sceptics have branded controversial new rules coming out of Brussels as a licence for the EU to spend our money on a pro-EU propaganda campaign. The ‘outrageous’ new rules say critics could allow MEPs to spend many millions of pounds of our own money on promoting the EU by swamping the country with a constant barrage of pro-EU literature, together with radio and TV programmes just before any ‘EU in or out’ referendum.

Soft Power in Gandhian terms - Paul Rockower, Levantine: In my own Gandhian terms, hard power is the power of fear. Those bend to your will because they feel compelled to do so out of some deeper fear.

Soft power, on the other hand, is the power of respect. Those who follow your lead do so because they respect you, and are influenced therein. Image from

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