Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 6

“It’s great for getting the conversation going.”

--Marjorie Susman, wife of the current US Ambassador to the Court of St. James's, regarding the American art they have on display at their residence; image from


Clinton on Propaganda Budget: U.S. Losing ‘Information War’ - Alex Newman, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress on March 2 that the American government was losing an information war around the world as foreign media entities continue their rise to power, explaining that the U.S. government needed to step up propaganda efforts to promote its international objectives as the American media was becoming increasingly irrelevant. ... Various 'news' services like Voice of America and other operations like Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe are among the openly admitted organs. ... Rather than focusing on an 'information war' and using American taxpayer money to promote the government’s propaganda around the world with even more ferocity, the United States should concentrate on obeying the Constitution.

Foreigners would be far more likely to have positive opinions about a peaceful, freedom-loving country than, say, a global empire that has thousands of military bases around the world; engages in torture, spying and undeclared wars; spreads propaganda across the globe; and doesn’t even live up to its laws or founding principles." Image from

Hillary Clinton: US Losing Information War to Alternative Media [includes video]- "The US is losing the global information war, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared while appearing before a congressional committee to ask for extra funds to spread US propaganda through new media. Clinton said existing private channels are not good enough to handle the job, naming as rivals Al Jazeera, China's CCTV and RT -- which she watches, she added."

Clinton media criticism buoys Al-Jazeera - AP: "A decade ago the U.S. government attacked Al-Jazeera as a propagator of anti-American propaganda. Now Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is citing the network for fine news coverage — and tweaking the U.S. media in the process. The Arab broadcaster says it's ready to take advantage of what it considers a major boost in its acceptance in the United States."

See also. Image from

US Mission Pakistan: When is a good time for a post drawdown? Strategerically-speaking, like never.... - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "A Pew Research Survey indicates that only 17% of Pakistanis have a favorable view of the United States. ... In 2010, when the Office of the Inspector General reviewed the US Mission in Pakistan, it says that 'Security for U.S. Government personnel is among the highest mission priorities. ... The security situation also limits the mission’s efforts ... to conduct broad public diplomacy outreach; and further the person-to-person exchanges across social, economic, and political lines that are the foundations of diplomacy.' "

[What is in it for the Americans?] A UN resolution as a US public diplomacy nullifier - Mehmet Kalyoncu, "On Feb. 18, when US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice

... block[ed] the adoption of the Security Council resolution that condemned the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, she created yet another reason for American tourists abroad to prefer outfits with the Canadian maple leaf. ... From Casablanca to Jakarta, every single Muslim detests the United States for unconditionally, unfairly and shamelessly supporting Israel to the detriment of the Palestinians under any circumstances." Rice image from

Gaza and the world today - InPurplish: "The US veto against the United Nation Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlements in West Bank has come at a time when emotions against the US-backed dictators in the Middle East have been running high and the revolutionary forces are honking the horn of change in the region. ... Be it Palestine, Pakistan or Afghanistan, the USA needs to realize that some of its acts justify a local sense of anti-Americanism. They leave the field open for extremists who have twisted it for their own personal interests. Consequently, many of its positive efforts throughout the world have misted away, hurting its peace corps and many of its diplomats who are doing public diplomacy in most nations."

Egypt: A Virtual Smoking Gun? - Maidhc Ó Cathail, Media Monitors Network: "On January 12, 2009, US Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James K. Glassman joined a group of Egyptian political bloggers from the Virtual Newsroom of the American University in Cairo. ... Prior to his involvement with 'democracy promotion,' Glassman was a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the neoconservative propaganda mill that pushed the concept of a 'global war on terror'

primarily to advance the national interest of Israel. ... Evidently, Glassman’s neocon paymasters were not put off by his unenviable financial track record. In his 1999 book Dow 36,000, written shortly before the dot-com bubble burst, he predicted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would rise to 36,000 within a few years. Commenting on the 'hysteria' that fueled the deregulation-induced financial crisis nine years later, Ralph Nader singled out Glassman’s bestseller, joking that he would send it back to Glassman with one of the zeros missing. Let’s hope that the Egyptian activists who put their faith in Glassman’s 'public diplomacy' haven’t a similar rude awakening in store." Image from

Five Years After the Kenyan Government’s Raid on the Standard and Two Years After the Oscar Foundation Murders, Impunity Reigns and a “Local Tribunal” for Post Election Violence Remains a Pipe Dream - Ken, Kenya, East Africa and the United States Today: "As I have previously written, I have to miss the frenzy of reading the Wikileaks diplomatic correspondence, but the Kenyan newspapers are full of articles related to a few of the cables newly leaked. ... Some of the material dates back to the Government’s raid on the Standard media house on March 2, 2006. Enough of this outrageous incident (really series of incidents) has long been well known and public that in any country with leadership at all serious about press freedom and the rule of law there would be some people in jail. ... While U.S. Ambassador Bellamy was sharply critical at the time, there is no indication that this has been on the public diplomacy agenda since."

Declared policy of the U.S. Internet frustrating for China - [Google translation from Vietnamese] - Boxitvn1: Respect for the Truth: "Judging from recent developments in Washington, the officials are regarded as serious is the risk of funding cuts and loss of power when foreign policy to the public (public Diplomacy)

take steps to quit the political and budget. Nghị trình 'quyền tự do nối kết' tạo cơ hội cho một cuộc phản công chính trị và quan hệ quần chúng tại Mỹ. Agenda 'freedom linked' to create opportunities for a counter attack politics and public relations in America." Image from

US Updates the Brand It Promotes in Indonesia‎ - Norimitsu Onishi, New York Times: "On the third floor of a [Jakarta] shopping mall ... , around the corner from a Gap Kids and a Wedgwood china outlet, a new tenant is busily promoting what is perhaps the world’s biggest brand: America. The tenant, called @america, represents the United States government’s first attempt at creating a full-fledged cultural center since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

A high-tech, interactive operation heralded as the digital-age successor to the venerable American Cultural Center, it is also American public diplomacy’s latest effort to win over young foreigners, especially in Muslim countries. ... The tension in American public diplomacy — the desire to reach out versus the fear of becoming a target — was evident in @america’s entrance: located in a discreet corner of the third floor, it offered no spot to peek into what lies inside. ... Not surprisingly, walk-ins have accounted for only a small fraction of the 5,000 visitors each month, said Mr. McGowan [Matt McGowan, 36, an American from upstate New York whose company, PT Ganesha Aggies Jaya, has been contracted to run the center]." Image from article

Transatlantic Misperceptions: Part II - Mai’a K. Davis Cross, Newswire – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "How should Europe present itself in this age of smart power and public diplomacy? I suggest three images that Europe could strive to promote to foreign audiences, especially the US. ... First, following from the EU motto, Europe’s image should be 'united in diversity.' ... The second image Europe needs to project is that it does not just talk, it acts. ... Third, Europe’s image should be one of a smart power. It effectively combines both hard and soft power through its comprehensive approach to crisis management, access to its single market, and processes of enlargement, among other things. ... There are at least two major strategies of public diplomacy: hierarchical and network-based.

A hierarchical approach conveys messages that are centrally generated and typically informational in nature. A network-based approach is one that involves mutuality, or two-way communications. It is based on the formation of transnational networks that promote all of the actors involved. Although it has become more popular in recent years to adopt networked approaches to public diplomacy, both strategies are necessary for Europe. ... Europe’s cultural institutes are ideally positioned to compliment more hierarchical approaches to public diplomacy. Since Europe is one of the top destinations for visitors in the world, cultural diplomacy can actually happen at home, even while it is directed at foreigners. ... The choice of the United States as a target audience may not be in line with current European priorities, but it should be." Image from

China slowly learning public diplomacy: Huang Youyi - Wang Ke, "Richard Lugar, the leading Republican on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recently claimed China had overtaken America in terms of 'soft power' and called on the Obama administration to take urgent action. But Huang Youyi dismissed the Senator's fears. 'In fact,' he said, 'China's public diplomacy is at a very early stage.' Not that Huang, who is vice president of China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and secretary-general of the Translators Association of China, underestimates the importance of

influencing world public opinion. Huang thinks public diplomacy has many advantages over inter-governmental contacts. Official diplomacy, which deals in power relationships, necessarily retains hard-edged and ideological aspects. But public diplomacy is much more about image, influence and persuasion. 'In public diplomacy, the participants don't have to restrict themselves to diplomatic rhetoric, because there are no treaties to sign or official announcements to make,' Huang said. 'They can cover a wider range of issues and use more straightforward language.' ... Huang pointed to initiatives like the 2009 Boao Forum for Asia conference on Hainan Island which attracted more than 1,700 politicians, business leaders and academics from around Asia, and the 2010 Shanghai Expo, which attracted more than 70 million visitors, as examples of public diplomacy in action. But he underlined that the West's approach is far more sophisticated than China's, noting that the term 'public diplomacy' was coined as far back as 1965 by Edmund Gullion, a US career diplomat." Huang Youyi image from article

From Tahrir to Tuananmen: Will the Flames Spread? - Anand, Geopolitics: My perspective on international issues of geopolitical significance: "The Communist Party of China (CPC) has been ruling the nation for over 50 years with an iron fist. ...

The media is heavily monitored and the state controlled media is used as an extension of state propaganda and for the projection of its soft power and public diplomacy efforts targeted at the domestic as well as the foreign audience. The alternative and new media like the internet and social networking sites are also strictly under the control of the state. ... Increasingly, nationalism is being used by the government to consolidate the population, enhance the national stability and to divert the public attention away from the social issues. This is used as part of the governments’ latest public diplomacy efforts, as evident in the successful conduct of international events like the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou and the Shanghai world expo or the successful space programme including the manned mission and the Chang’e lunar exploration project (named after the Moon Goddess)." Image from article

Riots will not be inspired in China - - "'Some media have said the problems in the Middle East will infect China, and that there have been such signals in China. I have said explicitly, with confidence, that such comparison is very absurd and does not match the facts,' Zhao Qizheng, spokesman for the Fourth Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said at a news conference on Saturday. ... Chen Haosu, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, warned at the news conference on China's public diplomacy that excessive foreign intervention in the turbulent nations will have negative results. And if such riots were introduced into China, the world's second largest economy that is making a great contribution to global economy, not only China but also the world will suffer, he said."

Budgeting India’s Military Modernisation with Myopia
- Team SAI, "Can India sharpen the Look East Policy to counter the String of Pearls?

This would take the sheen off the string and enable India to concentrate on Public Diplomacy to meet its ends on this front. It will require a commitment borne out of a high degree of pragmatic application of India’s politico military diplomacy. Are we ready to use this instrument? This notwithstanding, Indian military needs to modernise despite a counter to the string of pearls through public diplomacy." Image from article

Livni: Netanyahu's peace policy shows an utter lack of leadership: Speaking days after the Prime Minister's Office indicated the premier was preparing a new policy speech, the opposition leader says 'a speech cannot replace policy.' - Barak Ravid, "Livni dismissed Netanyahu's purported peace efforts, saying that the discussion in Israel today isn’t policy but, 'what speech will the prime minister make to be on good terms with America. That is a complete lack of leadership.' 'A speech is not real content, and hasbara [Israeli public diplomacy] cannot replace policy,' Livni said, adding that 'Israel's standing in the world will not be determined by speaking fluent English at the [U.S.] Congress or on CNN.'"


In London, U.S. Art Enjoys Diplomatic Showcase - Carol Vogel, New York Times: "This showcase has been assembled by Ambassador Louis B. Susman, a lawyer, retired investment banker and longtime Democratic Party fund-raiser, and his wife, Marjorie. 'From the moment Louis got the appointment I thought about bringing American art to Winfield House,' said Ms. Susman, a petite woman with a Midwest twang. The couple, who are from Chicago, have been art lovers and collectors for decades. ... When they moved to London in 2009, much of their art came with them. There is a delicate red-and-black watercolor by Brice Marden; a 1997 dark blue curved canvas by Mr. Kelly (who provided them with detailed installation instructions for the move) and two abstract paintings by Ad Reinhardt. Bringing their own things made them feel at home, Ms. Susman said. But with its 35 rooms Winfield House has a lot of space to fill. So even before she arrived Ms. Susman started talking to museums, dealers and collectors about loans. She also teamed up with the State Department’s Art in Embassies Program,

which was created in the early 1960s to organize and facilitate loans to American outposts abroad, especially diplomatic residences. 'We made a dream list of what we wanted,' Ms. Susman said. 'We see this as a way of combining our passion for art with our new diplomatic role.” Image from

New England Foundation for the Arts receives $200K from Robert Sterling Clark Foundation for Cultural Diplomacy Program - "The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation has awarded $200,000 to the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) in support of the U.S. Department of State’s Center Stage effort, a pilot program that will bring performing arts ensembles from Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan to the U.S. in 2012. ... Visit"

Early named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences commission - Newsroom, Washington University in St. Louis: Gerald L. Early, PhD, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and director of the Center for the Humanities in Arts & Sciences, has been named to the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences established by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. ... Congress asked the academy to respond to the following charge: What are the top ten actions that Congress,

state governments, universities, foundations, educators, individual benefactors, and others should take now to maintain national excellence in humanities and social scientific scholarship and education, and to achieve long-term national goals for our intellectual and economic well-being; for a stronger, more vibrant civil society; and for the success of cultural diplomacy in the 21st century?" Early image from article

Zubin Mehta takes the Israel Philharmonic to town - Zachary Woolfe, Capital New York: "Despite their lack of support from the Israeli government (eight percent!),

the Israel Philharmonic is still seen by some as perhaps the most visible example of the country's cultural diplomacy, or at least as complicit with the country's policies, and the Carnegie concert last week attracted a small but loud protest outside the hall." Mehta image from article

Looking East: Cultural diplomacy must start with a stretch and a step - Takamasa Sakurai, The Daily Yomiuri: "Upward of 100,000 people attended the New York Anime Festival (NYAF) back in October; I attended as both a guest and a journalist. Of the overseas pop culture events I've attended, it was probably the most exhausting as I was completely preoccupied with my duties for its three days. At the same time, it gave me the strongest sense of camaraderie: It all started two months earlier in New York on my way home from the Otakon, Convention of Otaku Generation, in Baltimore. During that stopover,

I had an all-night talk with several Japanese about the significance of Japan's cultural diplomacy through pop culture. The members included Yukihiro Ohira of the Japan Foundation, Yuki Yamagishi of the Japan National Tourism Organization and Toshihiro Fukuoka, editor in chief of Tokyo Kawaii Magazine, a magazine app for the iPhone. ... With Yamagishi, I started to work on a plan merging anime cultural diplomacy, one of my areas of expertise, and her group's public relations activities to promote tourism in Japan. The theme became 'pilgrimage to the sacred places of anime.' Image from

Romanian Cultural Diplomacy After Communism - Seton Hall University News & Events: "Corina Suteu, the indefatigable director of the Romanian Cultural Institute

in New York City, will present a talk 'Romanian Cultural Diplomacy in Post-Totalitarian Times: From Dominance to Interaction in Cultural Cooperation.' A distinguished diplomat and cultural critic and one of the most respectable contemporary ambassadors of Romanian culture, Corina Suteu is a researcher and consultant in the fields of cultural policies, cultural management and international cultural cooperation." Image from article

Taiwan envoy attends Oscars - Focus Taiwan News Channel: "Taiwan's representative to the United States attended the 83rd Academy Awards in Hollywood Sunday at the invitation of the organizers of the film industry's annual extravaganza commonly known as the Oscars.

'I feel honored to be invited to the Oscars,' Jason Yuan said, adding that his attendance symbolizes the success of Taiwan's cultural diplomacy." Image from article

OIC - Ihsanoglu calls for settlement of disputes through peaceful means - "Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC [Organisation of the Islamic Conference] underscored OIC’s principled position with regard to settlement of dispute through peaceful means warning the international community against any possible military intervention in dealing with the situation in Libya. Speaking at the High level Segment of the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Secretary General

... called for ‘Preventive Cultural Diplomacy’ beyond the event-based call for engagement and within the human rights framework to deal with the worrying trend of Islamophobia." Ihsanoglu image from

Try a new way to make use of arts 'imports' - "I was observing Compagnie A's modern puppetry workshop, as part of the ongoing French-Thai Cultural Festival, or La Fete, at the Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts in Bangkok on Thursday, and was reminded of how important it is that when foreign artists are invited to perform here, organisers should make sure they have more opportunities to interact with locals than just to perform and answer questions in the post-show talk.

And so I have an idea: How about arranging for foreign artists to arrive in Thailand earlier and create new productions with dramatic content that's more relevant to Thai audiences? " Image from

Confucius say: generous gifts hide ethical compromise - Matthew Robertson, ABC Online: The Sydney Morning Herald reported recently that the People’s Republic of China is going to throw a big bucket of money ($200,000) at the NSW state Education Department in exchange for being allowed to teach Australian kids Chinese.

... The Herald piece quotes a research paper by Falk Hartig from the Queensland University of Technology that characterises the institutes not as 'propaganda tools' but an 'instrument of China’s cultural diplomacy' to 'bolster Chinese soft power globally.' Yet for China’s communist cadres there isn’t much difference. Li Changchun, the propaganda czar, described the Confucius Institutes as 'an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.' For the Chinese Communist Party, none of this is isolated. Confucius Institutes fits into a broader scheme called the Grand External Propaganda Strategy." Image from article

Doing business with China cultural nous helps smooth the way - Arthur Chin, "Boardroom negotiation with the Chinese may be confusing but is not a minefield. Familiarity with Chinese cultural diplomacy is a skill that showcases the rules of engagement."

Deputy PM receives former Japanese Ambassador‎ - "Japan’s former Ambassador to Vietnam Norio Hattori has been warmly welcomed back to Hanoi. ... During his long term of office in Vietnam from 2002-2007, Mr Norio greatly contributed to enhancing relations between Vietnam and Japan, especially in economic and cultural diplomacy."


Kabul rejects US apology for deaths: Afghan president says civilian casualties are unacceptable while roadside blast in country's east claims several lives - Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has rejected a US apology for the deaths of Afghan children in a NATO air raid, saying that apologies for civilian deaths are "not sufficient."

In a meeting with Karzai, US General David Petraeus, the overall commander of international troops in Afghanistan, apologised for the deaths last week of nine children in the eastern province of Kunar, saying the killings were a "great mistake" and there would be no repeat. Hundreds of people chanting "Death to America" protested in the Afghan capital against the recent spate of civilian deaths. Protesters later burnt an effigy of Barack Obama, the US president.

The $110 Billion Question - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: Ever since 9/11, the West has hoped for a war of ideas within the Muslim world that would feature an internal challenge to the violent radical Islamic ideology of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. That contest, though, never really materialized because the regimes we counted on to promote it found violent Muslim extremism a convenient foil, so they allowed it to persist. The truth is we can’t do much to consolidate the democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia.

But we could do what we can, which is divert some of the $110 billion we’re lavishing on the Afghan regime and the Pakistani Army and use it for debt relief, schools and scholarships to U.S. universities for young Egyptians and Tunisians who had the courage to take down the very kind of regimes we’re still holding up in Kabul and Islamabad. Image from

Why the Mideast revolts will help al-Qaeda - Michael Scheuer, Washington Post: Bin Laden and his peers are counting on the fact that the uprisings' secular, pro-democracy Facebookers and tweeters - so beloved of reality-averse Western journalists and politicians - are a thin veneer across a deeply pious Arab world. They are confident that these revolts are not about democratic change but about who, in societies where peaceful transfers of power are rare, will fill the vacuum left by the dictators and consolidate power. These men also know that the answer to that question will ultimately come out of the barrel of a Kalashnikov, of which they have many, along with the old tyrants' weapons stockpiles, on which they are now feasting.

Our view: No-fly zone in Libya holds more risks than rewards - Editorial, USA Today: With military assets assembling in the region, no-fly zones or even air operations in support of rebel offensives remain options if Gadhafi does something extreme, such as unleashing his supplies of chemical weapons. For now, though, continuing the steady ratcheting up of international pressure that has built up over the past week is a better course, even if it's not as emotionally satisfying as a military punch in the nose.

Opposing view: A moral obligation to intervene - James M. Fly, USA Today: Unfortunately, as chaos in Libya has grown, the response of the Obama administration has been to equivocate and waver. Intervening is a moral obligation for the United States — a moral obligation we've all too often ignored in similar cases in the past, with disastrous consequences. This time we need to get it right. It's time for President Obama to lead.

The First Chinese Exchange Students [Review of The Fortunate Sons: The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized an Ancient Civilization by Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller] - Deborah Fallow, New York Times: The story of these 19th-century scholars is a useful reminder of how long exchanges between our two countries have been under way,

and of the risks and rewards that these connections have brought to both sides. Image from article, with caption: Visitors: A Chinese Educational Mission baseball team in Hartford, Conn.

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