"The military does not conduct public diplomacy."
--Rachel Greenspan, "Public Diplomacy in Uniform: The Role of the U.S. Department of Defense in Supporting Modern Day Public Diplomacy," American Diplomacy; image from
Arab League Wavers On UN-Sanctioned Airstrikes - Liz Halloran, NPR: "Two Middle East experts, Samer Shehata and Michael Rubin, weighed in separately on the new sense of nervousness from the Arab League. ... NPR: How legitimate are charges that oil is again playing a role in Western involvement in the Arab world? Shehata: It's a real issue, and one that Gadhafi himself has highlighted — asserting that
he'll take a country's current position into consideration in future oil deals. ... Rubin: It's a tired charge, but one with resonance. Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti — there was no oil involved; the common denominator seems to be humanitarian. But this points to how weak American public diplomacy is." Image from
Army issues apology for photos leaked in war-crimes case - Hal Bernton, bellinghamherald.com: "Early in their investigation into possible war crimes, Army sleuths realized the explosive potential of photos taken of two Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers who posed next to the body of an Afghan who they have been accused of murdering. ... Public-diplomacy expert Kristin Lord of the Center for a New American Security, a nonpartisan national-security think tank, said she believes the impact of the photos will be felt beyond Afghanistan. 'The vast majority of Americans and American soldiers will consider these acts despicable and revolting,' Lord said. 'But the photographs will have strategic consequences as they are disseminated globally. Their coverage in the media is likely to overwhelm coverage of the many more positive but less visible acts that Americans engage in every day.'"
Under Secretary of State Judith A. McHale Travel to California - press release, U.S. Department of State: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith A. McHale will travel to San Francisco, California,
March 23-25th, 2011. During her visit to California, Under Secretary McHale will take part in The Global Technology Symposium, a leading investment conference on technology and entrepreneurship in emerging markets, and will participate in a virtual exchange program between Pakistani and American students." Image from
Secretary Clinton’s Culture Complaint - Mitchell Polman, Newswire – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy:
"During recent testimony in front of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee Secretary of State Clinton made a splash when she commented, 'I remember having an Afghan general tell me that the only thing he thought about Americans is that all the men wrestled and the women walked around in bikinis because the only TV he ever saw was Baywatch and World Wide Wrestling.' ... The Secretary has already taken one important step by drawing attention to the problem. ... The pertinent question that has been left dangling is – if the secretary's comments are accurate then what do we do about it? Anyone who has spent a modicum of time overseas has their stories to tell about how people they met perceive the U.S. Whether or not such concerns are valid or not it wouldn't hurt to do a few basic things to improve the foreign public's knowledge of American culture." [The article suggests concrete ways to deal with this issue]. Image from
World Poetry Day celebrations continue - Khulani Nkabinde/ Masimba Biriwasha, NewsDay: "Celebrations to mark World Poetry Day which was commemorated on Monday are still underway with various events taking place around the country. In Harare, the US Embassy Public Affairs Section held an event that featured well-known poet Mbizo Chirasha while Bulawayo will have a similar occasion in Tshabalala on Thursday. ... 'The embassy is pleased to mark this important day. Poetry calls forth those voices in society that would otherwise go unheard and gives them a powerful tool for expressing their deepest feelings, thoughts and beliefs. Poets have the power to influence hearts and change minds,' said Michael Brooke, public diplomacy officer at the US Embassy in Harare."
Western Hemispheric Affairs (WHA) FY 2010 Program List: Fact Sheet, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs - isria.com: "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. ... Social networking amplifies people-to-people exchanges and enhances U.S. public diplomacy." [Fact sheet lists ECA programs]. Image from
PD vs. CD - Faizullah Jan, PD Globbers: Thoughts and Analyses on Public Diplomacy: "Richard T. Arndt, in his article entitled The Hush-Hush Debate: The Cultural Foundation of U.S. Public Diplomacy, draws a distinction between Cultural Diplomacy and Public Diplomacy calling for enlisting universities' role in bridging the gap between CD and PD. PD, Arndt says, is the art of shaping, adjusting and communicating national policies to foreign governments and publics, while CD aims at a longer-range of policy to strengthen dialogue between a nation's intellectual and professional leaders and their students with counterparts in the world, based on the culture of the universities. ... [A]cademia and students should be involved in the cultural diplomacy of the U.S."
State Department: We are not giving internet censorship funding to the BBC… yet - Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy: "Foggy Bottom is flat out denying a British news report on Sunday that said State Department money would be awarded to the BBC to combat Internet censorship around the world. 'The BBC World Service is to receive a 'significant' sum of money from the US government to help combat the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China,' the Guardian reported. In fact, State has not yet made any decisions on how to spend the $30 million of congressionally appropriated money for fighting internet censorship that is sitting in its coffers. The BBC World Trust Service is just one of the 61 organizations applying for the funds, but has not gotten any approval or grants. ... On Capitol Hill, there's a bipartisan push to make sure most of those funds go to the U.S. government funded Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her to immediately transfer no less than $8 million of the funds to the BBG. Lugar is concerned that America is falling behind in the public diplomacy competition to countries that are expanding their external media operations, such as China." Image from
American anger at BBC World Service Trust's bid for US funding - Ben Dowell, Guardian: "An application by the BBC World Service Trust for US government funding to help combat censorship in countries such as China and Iran has met with a furious response in America. Some figures within rival US international broadcasters such as Voice of America are said to be 'deeply angry' that, at a time when the Congress is embroiled in a delicate budgetary standoff with the Obama administration, the World Service Trust
is hoping to receive US tax dollars. One Washington source said that the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the US government agency which distributes about $760m of public money annually to five US international broadcasters, should receive the funding and not the BBC World Service Trust. ... Courtney Austrian, office director, policy planning and public diplomacy at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said: 'To clarify the situation, earlier this month the BBC World Service Trust, along with many other organisations, was invited to submit a proposal for funding in the area of internet freedom to the state department. This invitation was extended based upon a statement of interest the World Service Trust had previously submitted. We have not yet received a full proposal from any organisation and no funding decisions have yet been made.' A spokeswoman for the BBG, which funds America's five international broadcasters – Voice of America, Radio & TV Marti, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe and Middle East Broadcasting Networks – declined to be drawn on the row. 'Competition for funds from the state department is ongoing,' she said." Image from article, with caption: Bush House, home of the BBC World Service.
US anger at World Service funding bid - Andrew Laughlin, Digital Spy: "Courtney Austrian, office director for policy planning and public diplomacy at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said that no decision has yet been made on the World Service funding application."
State Dept and BBC World Service stepping out on the BBG? Not really worth getting angry about - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Senator Richard Lugar has proposed that federal funds for the circumvention of net censorship be transferred to the Broadcasting Board of Governors from the State Department, which he believes has not been spending them quickly enough. Until and unless Senator Lugar's idea is implemented, the State Department has funds for internet freedom projects which must be granted to someone. Unlike some software startup companies that might apply for these grants, the independently and charitably funded BBC World Service Trust has an excellent reputation for the work it has done over the years. And it is connected to the BBC World Service, which has the technical expertise to develop anti-net-censorship and anti-satellite-jamming techniques. BBC World Service Trust would provide additional brains to those of
the BBG and IBB already working on these challenges. If BBC World Service Trust uses the State Department money, and then does not share the results of its research with the BBG and other friendly international broadcasters, so that the BBC retains the competitive advantage, then this matter would justifiably become controversial. It would be helpful to have a central, global clearinghouse keeping track of, and reporting, what stations are jammed on what satellites, and perhaps even determining the origin of the interference. This could become an additional revenue stream for BBC Monitoring, which is subject to the same budget cuts as the rest of BBC World Service." Image from
"Time to Rethink the Broadcasting Board of Governors" needs more thought - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "[T]he present structure of US international broadcasting is untenable. Any attempt to recalibrate US international broadcasting within that structure will also be untenable. The BBG must lead the way by proposing a much bolder, more thoroughgoing, and necessary reform. ... US international broadcasting needs a CEO."
Journalist Exchanges Promised from US-Russia Conference - press release, Scoop.co.nz: "Building on the Obama administration's efforts to improve relations between the United States and Russia, a group of prominent media leaders from the two nations have come up with their own ideas to confront stereotypes and increase mutual understanding. The executives, representing leading U.S. and Russian media companies - both traditional and social media, and nongovernmental media organizations - met
in Boston March 2-4. They agreed to work on a number of joint projects, including an exchange program for young professional journalists, a roundtable on journalism ethics, and new communication platforms to continue their dialogue on media. ... [D]elegate John Della Volpe, founder and managing director of SocialSphere Inc., agreed to establish an online platform to keep the conversation going, and announced plans to work with the Public Diplomacy Collaborative at Harvard University to develop more comprehensive strategies. The Collaborative, housed within Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, seeks to deepen interaction between media leaders and public diplomacy officers at U.S. embassies around the world." Image from
U.S. Travel Association Requests Chile and Brazil Added to Visa Waiver Program - Laia Drendall, Power News Network: "In an effort to increase tourism and support public diplomacy, the U.S. Travel Association is urging President Obama consider and discuss adding Chile and Brazil to the Visa Waiver Program during his visit to South America this month. ... The Visa Waiver Program allows leisure and business travelers from participating countries to visit the United States without obtaining a non-immigrant visitor visa for up to 90 days. Currently, there are 36 countries participating."
The new Pakistani nationalism - Mosharraf Zaidi, The News International: "Generals and politicians in Pakistan have developed the bad habit of what Altaf Hussain once referred poetically to as, 'meetha-meetha hupp-hupp, karwaa-karwaa thoo-thoo.' This is the Urdu equivalent of having one’s cake and eating it too. In the age of Al-Jazeera, Geo, Twitter and multiple tracks of public diplomacy, this habit is becoming a bit like smoking – a habit that eventually catches up with you and gives you asthma, emphysema, and cancer of the mouth, throat and lungs. Simply put, you cannot have your cake and eat it too."
Envoy Wu Sike expounds problems in Middle East - Peking University News: "China's Middle East envoy Wu Sike attended a lecture (specialized for the contemporary situation and policies) in Qiulin Lecture Hall of Peking University (PKU) on the afternoon of March 18, 2011, during which he analyzed and expounded the situation problems existing in Middle East. ... Wu Sike mentioned, 'Public diplomacy has become an important theme today, and it’s difficult to distinguish international problems and domestic problems.'
He said that China should not only take part in international affairs, but also make our own voice heard. With anticipation for PKU students, he expected more talents with high quality to go abroad, devote themselves to public diplomacy, and publicize our country’s image truthfully." Image from article
DirecTV Commercials: Russia, You Have a Problem - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "In a series of papers, Ivan Katchanovski has demonstrated the negative representation of Russia and some other former Soviet countries in American news coverage, as well as in popular culture. ... Just like on many occasions before, such representations only reinforce the not-so-positive images of Russia held by so many Americans, cashing in on long-held stereotypes. ... This is a major issue to be addressed by Russia as a part of its public diplomacy effort. ... In my capstone project I am focusing on Russia's public diplomacy, particularly its image in the US, and *all* opinion polls and research has indicated that public perceptions are mostly (if not strongly) negative. I am not saying that it's all due to Hollywood or such commercials (but rather bitter history, politics, foreign policy, etc, etc...), but those *do* perpetuate such negative perceptions and make breaking stereotypes all the more difficult."
Small Country Diplomacy - Gnana Moonesinghe, Groundviews: "[W]here India is concerned Sri Lanka has taken the right steps. Our relations with India
have been strengthened; there is mutual trust and respect and healthy interaction in several important areas. This is a unique example of the effective way in which we have consciously and constructively used the three f’s to focus, to be flexible and to act fast, while public diplomacy has been used to reap a significant measure of success." Image from
Edelstein calls on Facebook to remove Intifada page - Jerusalem Post: "Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein sent a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday asking him to make sure that a page calling for a third Palestinian Intifada be shut down. Nearly 230,000 people have expressed support for the group since it was launched less than a month ago. 'On this Facebook page there are posted many remarks and movie clips which call for the killing of Israelis and Jews and the 'liberating' of Jerusalem and of Palestine through acts of violence,' Edelstein's letter to Zuckerberg read. The minister of diplomacy and diaspora affairs went on to say 'It is important to note that this page's inflammatory calls are supported by over 230,000 'friends' at the time of the writing of this letter.'"
Grapevine: A season for shamrocks - Greer Fay Cashman, Jerusalem Post: "When foreign rulers leave a country that they have dominated, something usually remains. It may be language, cuisine, architecture or even fondness for a particular sport. For example, after the British left, the Indians continued to play cricket.
Those who came to live here brought the game with them, and found additional enthusiasts among immigrants from other Commonwealth countries. Cricket fever has risen to a pitch over the last month, with the cricket World Cup matches in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Taking advantage of the upsurge in interest, the Indian Embassy decided to use the game as a public diplomacy tool, and in cooperation with the Israel Cricket Association and various other cricket clubs organized a Twenty20 Knockout Cricket Tournament, with the competing teams vying for the India Trophy. ... The matches were held in locations in which there is a significant Indian presence. At the closing ceremony Ambassador Navtej Sarna remarked on how nice it was to see the Indian community keeping the game alive." Image from
The Face of Indonesia in the City of a Thousand Churches - isria.com: "The face of Indonesia appeared in Camaguey, the city of a thousand churches in Cuba, through a Photography and Movie Exhibition in Larios Art Gallery and Nuevo Mundomovie theater from March 15-20, 2011. Camaguey got its nickname from a myriad of worship houses in nearly every street corner in Cuba's second largest city. The exhibition was held by the Indonesian Embassy in Havana in cooperation with the local government of Camaguey Province as part of cultural and public diplomacy, in addition to the efforts to explore the potentials for cooperation in economy and trade with various provinces in Cuba."
Social Power - Laura McGinnis, manIC: Public Diplomacy and International Communication -- in blog form: "[G]ood advice for PD ... while the target and message may change, the keys to success are the same: Do everything within your power to appear more likable and more reasonable than your opponents, and maintain good rapport with gatekeepers and decision-makers.
Al Jazeera English in the USA: the discussion continues - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Taliban uses media they formerly banned "to affect the opinions of both Afghans and foreigners" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Kadafi's long reach: The nations of Europe will pay a price for their reliance on a steady flow of oil and petrodollars from Libya - Eric J. Weiner, latimes.com: As populist movements spread from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, where protests have erupted in Bahrain and Yemen, the U.S. will probably face similar issues over its troubling economic alliances, particularly with Saudi Arabia.
So U.S. leaders would be wise to pay close attention to what happens with Libya and Europe. An entire continent is wondering: If not the Kadafis, then who? And it probably won't be long before America is asking the same questions about its friends as well. Image from article, with caption: Italian Eurofighter jets prepare to land on March 23, 2011 at Trapani-Birgi airbase in Sicily. NATO debated the same day whether the alliance should join the no-fly zone in Libya as Western allies.
Discord Among Allies - Editorial, New York Times: The United States took the lead in knocking out Libyan air defenses. That made sense because it alone has the cruise missiles for the job. Now the Obama administration rightly wants to hand off military leadership to its NATO partners.
Four reasons to support Obama on Libya strikes - Joseph S. Nye, belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu
Who's on First? How not to run a war in Libya - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: War is not an Abbott and Costello routine, but it's hard to tell the difference this week regarding the coalition of the confusing that is bombing Libya. Five days into the campaign, the allies—is that the right word?—still can't decide who or what should run the no-fly zone, what the desired outcome is, much less who should do what in the war's aftermath
Hugs From Libyans - Nicholas Kristoff, New York Times: The momentum has reversed. More airstrikes on Colonel Qaddafi’s artillery and armor will help.
So would jamming his radio and television broadcasts. Arab countries are already delivering weapons and ammunition to the rebels, boosting their capabilities and morale. In short, there are risks ahead but also opportunities. Image from
Analysis: Propaganda will prove crucial in Libya war - William Maclean, reuters.com: Propaganda may prove to be the most important battleground for Western forces seeking to protect Libyan civilians. From Gaddafi's point of view, the battle for hearts and minds may offer him his best hope of political survival. Perhaps because it was created at such short notice, the multinational alliance is struggling to speak with one voice as it explains its aims to sceptical Arab and domestic audiences. The information war is an urgent priority for Western powers because the policing of a U.N.-mandated no fly zone inevitably places lives on the ground at some degree of risk. But Gaddafi will face some propaganda challenges of his own. Graham Cundy, a British military specialist at Diligence, a security and intelligence consultancy, said Western strikes were intended to build a "counter-narrative" to Gaddafi's to show his military forces were vulnerable no matter where they were. There are signs that some of this is having an effect.
China seizes on Libya for propaganda war against West - Chris Buckley, reuters.com: A plot to seize Libya's oil. A warning to the world that the West will cling to dominance. A flagrant display of hypocrisy over human rights. China's ruling Communist Party has countered the West's air strikes against Libya's Muammar Gaddafi with a torrent of such criticisms in state-run newspapers and television, mounting a propaganda campaign to deter the public from any temptation to copy Arab insurrections against authoritarian rulers.
U.S. must take sides to keep the Arab Spring from Islamist takeover - Ray Takeyh, Washington Post: America has a stake in the future of the Middle East and should not shy away from cultivating the nascent democratic movements sweeping the region.
The five principles driving war propaganda are in play in Libya - Duncan Cameron, rabble.ca:
The blog empirestrikesblack cites Belgian investigative journalist Michel Collon who has outlined five principles driving war propaganda: 1. Obscure one's economic interests; 2. Appear humanitarian in work and motivations; 3. Obscure history; 4. Demonize the enemy; and 5. Monopolize the flow of information. Image from
Israeli Terrorism: From Tragedy to Useful Propaganda - Khaled Amayreh, Al-Jazeerah.info: The Israeli occupation army and paramilitary Jewish settlers continue to terrorize Palestinians all over the West Bank following the brutal killing earlier this week of five members of a settler family at a Jewish colony near the Northern West Bank town of Nablus. The victims, who included young children, were stabbed to death by two unidentified assailants who fled after committing the crime. The Israelis say they are sure that the perpetrators are Palestinian "terrorists". Israel, which has killed hundreds, if not thousands of Palestinians, including children, knowingly and therefore deliberately, was in no mood to let the matter calm down. Instead, Israeli officials and media were busy trying to reap the maximum propaganda dividend from the tragic incident.
Israeli propaganda - The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب : "No one has been arrested yet in connection with the Itamar killings, but Israeli officials and news media blamed Palestinian militants, resulting, Palestinians say, in revenge attacks by settlers. The Israeli government has placed a gag order on the investigation, after rumors that Thai and Filipino guest workers had been rounded up for questioning in the attack."
The Condibook Figures Are In - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog: So how did the Condibook do? Publishers Weekly released their 2010 Facts 'n' Figures round-up, and Extraordinary, Ordinary People juuuuuuust barely made the "sold 100,000" cut, so it was a success! George W. Bush's book sold over 2 1/2 million copies; Keith Richards sold over 800,000, and Sarah Palin's under-performing second book sold nearly that many. Laura Bush –Laura Bush!– managed to move over 600,000 copies of her lightweight nonsense. Image from article.
Soviet propaganda similar to American imagery - Jesse Rifkin, dailycampus.com: "The William Benton Museum of Art recently finished presenting an exhibit of communist propaganda posters from the Soviet Union. While attending the exhibit this week, I observed something shocking: most of the images were not that different from images seen in America. One poster shows a Soviet military officer pointing directly outward, as if to recruit the viewer to the communist cause. It's not that different from the famous 1916 poster of Uncle Sam pointing directly outward saying, 'I WANT YOU FOR U.S. ARMY' to enlist soldiers during World War I – an image that has been referred to as 'the most famous poster in the world.'"
Propaganda Posters for the Spring Farming Season - dailynk.com: Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) released images of posters to encourage people to get ready to work hard in the spring farming season. In North Korea, early May is the time when the people are mobilized to go into the fields and help farmers with their work. This poster
shows people heading for the fields alongside trucks of fertilizer and rolls of vinyl plastic, and proclaims on the big sheaf of wheat that farming is the people's "lifeline." Image from article
WWII Propaganda Posters for Employee Ideas - leanblog.org: "I love old WWII Posters, particularly the production posters aimed at helping the war effort."
Image from article