Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8

"I’m, like, perpetually jetlagged."

--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; image from


Embrace the PD Kitsch - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Hey Hill, Rather than bemoaning the fact that US PD is losing to Baywatch and WWE, embrace it. A prof who will go

nameless to save his academic reputation won the PD Interactive 'Greatest Public Diplomat' challenge by successfully mounting the case that David Hasselhof won the Cold War (The Hof was in Berlin, shortly before the Wall fell- coincidence, the judges thought not). Meanwhile, I have blogged ad nauseum [sic] about the case for supplex diplomacy and the global popularity of wrestling. This kinda burnishes my argument, no? If you aren't careful, I am going to take my PD advice to Mexico and push their lucha libre diplomacy program. sincerely, PD Barnum." Image from. On Hasselhof, see, with below image

Al Jazeera on Clinton's Information War - Lena, PD Globbers: Thoughts and Analyses on Public Diplomacy: "Here's an 'Inside Story' episode on Clinton's remarks first aired on Al Jazeera on March 5 [video]. Although a great discussion, it is somewhat frustrating to hear the guests discussing Clinton's 'confusion' of international and domestic media,

while her testimony was aimed precisely at that: convincing the Congressmen of the need to keep the financing of foreign broadcasting, because the American domestic media, and more importantly, because its pop culture ... cannot do the all-important job of public diplomacy." Image from

The Arab world isn't clamoring for our help - Anne Applebaum, Washington Post: "We should enforce sanctions in Libya, offer humanitarian aid and put in place a no-fly zone, to be activated if the rebels really begin to lose. But at the moment, even if our military had unlimited funding - which it doesn't - the Pentagon is not equipped to launch democracy in Libya. That is a job for our underfunded international radio networks, especially

the ones that broadcast in Arabic; for independent institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy; for groups that train judges and journalists. Unfortunately, we don't have the contacts such groups need. We should start making them now." Image from

As Public Broadcasting and Community Media Face Potentially Massive Cuts At Home, Hillary Clinton Calls For Increased Funding For U.S. Propaganda Overseas - indypendent.org: “'The United States is in an information war and we are losing that war,' said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week as she praised Al Jazeera’s dedication to 'real news.' To win the war, Clinton called for expanding U.S. propaganda TV and radio broadcasts overseas. At the same time, public broadcasting and community media are under attack in the United States. Last month, the House voted to eliminate

all financing for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by the year 2013." Image from

Clinton wants more propaganda, I want less - David Swanson, usa.mediamonitors.net: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has declared that other nations are doing a better job of propagandizing the world and that the United States needs to do more. However, we already invest far more in foreign propaganda than in domestic public media, and virtually nothing in domestic media trust busting. The distinction between our domestic and foreign public media is part of what makes them both so weak in credibility (the other part is the size of the lies they tell), and we should invest ... in public media at home that actually reports on the U.S. government as on all others, and then share that abroad (if we actually want to model democracy rather than peddle a load of lies)."

Launch Twitter in China - Joseph Bosco, Politico: "After social media’s role in helping bring regime change to Tunisia and Egypt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the State Department will launch Twitter feeds in additional languages — including Chinese.

That’s good news for Chinese citizens who seek uncensored information and have Internet access or mobile devices. But that limited opening will be more than offset by the administration’s concurrent plan to end the Voice of America’s short-wave radio and television broadcasts into China, and also cut Radio Free Asia’s budget. ... Today’s Pentagon budget must expend billions to cope with new Chinese weapons systems. But we can fund outlets of freedom like VOA and RFA that can eventually reduce that threat by fostering political reform in China for a fraction of the cost." Via AH; image from article

State Dept launches Twitter feeds in Arabic, Farsi, with Chinese, Russian, Hindi to be added (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

"Exit interviews" with Jeffrey Gedmin, departing president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

The Launch of the 100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through International Exchanges - Remarks Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State Washington, DC March 7, 2011, U.S. Department of State: "Now, this program represents just one of the ways that we at the State Department and in the Obama Administration are elevating the role of women and girls in our foreign policy. We are working with the private sector to provide grants to NGOs in many countries in order to help women and girls. We are encouraging your governments and your own business sector to invest more in women and bring women into the financial system.

We think that’s a good return on investment for those banks and other financial entities. We have something called the mWomen program, and that is to try to get more mobile technology – cell phones – into the hands of more poor women, because there’s such a gap. ... Judith McHale is the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy. But before that, she was one of the three original founders of the Discovery Channel. Have any of you ever heard of the Discovery Channel? Well, Judith was one of the people who started the Discovery Channel, which I think has programming in maybe 150-or-60 countries. And so she is a very successful businesswoman, a very successful investor and entrepreneur, who I enticed to come to work for me to try to do a better job of communicating on behalf of our country." Image from

State Department Hosts Sister Cities International - Reta Jo Lewis, ethiopianreview.com: "Sister Cities International held their 55th Annual Conference in the Washington area, March 2-5 2011. The goal of this Annual Conference was to 'provide an educational and interactive environment for networking, sharing best practices, engaging elected officials, having robust roundtable discussions, and gaining knowledge about the latest trends in diplomacy. I, along with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Maura Pally, welcomed nearly 300 guests from over 20 states all across the United States and over 14 other countries.

Represented countries included Canada, China, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, Pakistan, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Russia, and South Africa. The Haiti delegation shared their story of receiving help from many sister cities in the time of their need following the earthquake. Following the welcome, some of the participants enthusiastically attended a briefing covering the Department’s work in the Western Hemisphere Affairs presented by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli. ... U.S. Department of State." Image from article, with caption: About the Author: Reta Jo Lewis is the Secretary’s Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs.

@america - Laura McGinniss, manIC: "According to the New York Times, the United States opened its first cultural center since September 11, 2001 in Jakarta this past December, and the tech-heavy hot spot has attracted thousands of curious students, but its influence on perceptions is unknown. ... At first blush, @america seems to be well designed, engaging and open.

It's not going to revolutionize attitudes about the U.S. overnight, but I hope it may stand as an example of U.S. innovation, technology, openness and information-sharing. But, of course, the best and worst enterprises will be eclipsed by the influences of U.S. policy, so I may do better to hope that domestic and foreign policies demonstrate the country's commitment to those ideals as well." Image from

PD for the Jilted Generation - Laura McGinniss, manIC: "In my opinion, the best way to promote transformational diplomacy would be to increase collaborative engagement. Social media would be helpful for this, but I think traditional methods of collaboration and interaction are even more important. Exploit the 'last three feet' and create meaningful relationships and partnerships to create a base for cooperation and information exchange. There's nothing particularly radical about the suggestion. Which is probably why PD practitioners have been making it for decades."

Social Media a resource burden for State Department, OIG finds Embassies making strides, but still have room to improve - Alex Salta, ohmygov.com: "The Inspector General's office, which studied the social media programs of 22 U.S. embassies, then goes on to define social media as an 'important public diplomacy tool,' and notes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's embrace of this technology as a means to communicate with a worldwide audience. The primary goal of embassies that use social media is to reach a younger audience more familiar with Facebook and Twitter than with, say, the American Consulate to Bangkok. The OIG acknowledges that State employees in charge of social media for their respective embassies face the delicate balancing act of maintaining their Mission Strategic and Resource Plan (MSRP) while keeping their social media presence fresh and accessible." Below image from

OIG reviews social media use by 22 embassies -- says extensive, but labor-intensive - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "The report is surprising[ly] thin and although it provided some recommendations, it did not identify the missions reviewed, nor broke it down according to regional bureaus. It also provided no insight on social media funding sources."

Jumpstarting the Visa Waiver Program to Increase Security and Economic Prosperity - Jena Baker McNeill, WebMemo #3184, Heritage Foundation: "Representatives Mike Quigley (D–IL) and Dan Lipinski (D–IL) and Senator Mark Kirk (R–IL) announced plans today to introduce the Secure Travel and Counterterrorism Partnership Act in both the House and the Senate. This act would introduce several reforms to modernize the Visa Waiver Program (VWP),

including a switch from visa refusal rates to overstay rates as a standard for admission. Congress should ensure that any reforms of the VWP maintain the program’s security and economic benefits while promoting participation by America’s key allies. ... In addition to tremendous public diplomacy benefits and economic boons for businesses in the United States that depend on travel and tourism, one of the most compelling reasons to promote the expansion of VWP to qualified countries is that the program has become a vital counterterrorism tool." Image from

"ISP of America" as "last-resort provider for connectivity" when regimes shut down the internet
- Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Network World, 2 Mar 2011, Andreas M. Antonopoulos: 'Instead of glamorizing Facebook, perhaps the west needs to consider the serious implications of the ease with which these regimes are able to disconnect their countries from the world. Turns out the Internet 'was designed to survive a nuclear strike', but falls easily to BGP [border gateway protocol] null-routing or good old-fashioned garden shears on a few carefully selected cables. The countries that need communication redundancy and survivability the most have so few connections to the Internet that they can easily be turned off. There's a solution to this problem: satellite Internet uplinks providing local guerrilla-GSM with pico cells. During WWII and also the cold war, western nations broadcast pro-west propaganda into hostile nations with the Voice of America. Western intelligence services also provided short-wave radios to get information out of the country. Today's equivalent would be the 'ISP of America', a last-resort provider for connectivity to cell phones and satellite modems. Such a satellite service could be rapidly positioned over countries with communications blackouts providing an ISP-in-the-sky. Low cost satellite modems and GSM pico cells could be air-dropped, smuggled over borders or built locally out of consumer electronics by geek rebels.' [Elliott comment] -- I'm no engineer, but it seems to me that a satellite that can be 'positioned' over a country would have to be in geosynchronous orbit,

thus not so cheap, easy, or rapid to launch. (LEOs and MEOs already in orbit might be more useful.) Also, it would take an awful lot of picocells to cover a country. Mobile phones are, with very few exceptions, not satellite phones, and cannot easily be converted for a satellite connection. Nevertheless, these are ideas worth exploring." Image

America’s Outspoken Ambassador - United States Ambassador to Estonia Michael C. Polt: "We deal with central governments and we deal with people.

We have an official diplomatic channel of communication, that’s the government of the country. And we have a public diplomacy which addresses the people to people contact." Polt image from article

Babil Museum opens gate to past - Staff Sgt. Garrett Ralston, Blackanthem Military News: "The Babil Provincial Reconstruction Team, with support from 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, officially opened the doors of the historic Babylon Museum Sunday.

The restoration of this historic landmark is a reflection of the U.S. Government's commitment to implementing the Strategic Framework Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq, and these efforts will assist Iraq in preserving its heritage. ... 'A rehabilitated and protected Babylon site will create sustainable tourism development for the people of Babil province and ultimately, the world,' said Bob Wong, Public Diplomacy Officer for the Babil PRT." Image from article, with caption Framed and backlit photo illustrations hang on a wall in the newly renovated Babil Museum during an opening ceremony held Sunday.

China’s charm offensive - Philippe Le Corre, europesworld.org: "What we have, in short, are the makings of a major public diplomacy effort directed by the Communist Party and the highest levels of the Chinese government, which is estimated to have invested about $8bn in this sort of international propaganda. ... [T]he public diplomacy that seems to have become the trademark of modern China should be accompanied by a genuine international strategy that includes active involvement in resolving conflicts along with diplomatic and even humanitarian crises. Yet nothing so far points to a major shift in this direction, whether it be close to home in the Korean Peninsula, or further afield in Afghanistan, Africa or the Middle East. It will be several years before we can assess the political impact of Beijing’s public diplomacy push." See also.


Libyan Closure - Roger Cohen, New York Times: Arabs have no need of U.S. or European soldiers as they seek the freedom that America and the European Union were content to deny them. Qaddafi can be undermined without Western military intervention.

The U.S. Should Keep Out of Libya: Gadhafi might survive the current civil war. But the U.S. does not need the burden of another vaguely defined intervention in a country where American interests are less than vital - Richard Haas, Wall Street Journal

If Gadhafi Survives Other regimes in the region will wonder just what, exactly, are the benefits of an alliance with a diffident America - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal:

At the moment when more than just the future of Libya and the safety of its people lies in the balance, Mr. Obama has left things to chance. Image from

The Moral Propaganda for U.S. Intervention in Libya - Bob Confer, The New American: The Obama administration has been touting a moral obligation that we have to save the Libyan people from continued oppression and death. They want us to believe that we can’t sit idly by and watch from afar as Muammar Qaddafi unleashes his forces and hired guns upon his people, murdering them in his attempt to prevent an overthrow of his rule. The mass media have been more than happy to assist in this endeavor, promoting the propaganda ad nauseam.

Taking Stock of the Arab Revolutions - Marc Lynch: "I want to put in a plug for the "Revolutions in the Arab World" FP e-book which I

edited with Blake Hounshell and Susan Glasser. ... Now is the time to listen to and engage with the whole Arab public in all their complexity – because they will play an important role whether we like it or not. The model and metaphor should be Tahrir Square: Muslim Brothers, Christians, liberals, conservatives, wired youth, workers, all together. I'd like to see the administration articulate a new strategic vision for the region, which aligns the United States with the aspirations of this rising, newly empowered Arab public as it actually is... not as we wish it were or fear that it might be."

Obama's new Gitmo policy is a lot like Bush's old policy - Dana Milbank, Washington Post

Europe Hectors America: One reason it's hard to take Europe seriously - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The London Telegraph reports that in 2009 the EU gave at least €2.6 million ($3.6 million) to groups lobbying against the death penalty in America.

Europe can't find the money to pay for its fair share of NATO but it can spare a dime to hector its main defense benefactor on criminal law. This is why fewer and fewer Americans take Europe seriously. Image from

U.S. exchange student's body found in Spain - usatoday.com: "Before I came to Spain, I was told by all of my advisers that I should try to keep calm at parties and not try to be the typical loud and drunk American," 22-year-old San Diego State University business student Austin Bice wrote. "I have done exactly that, staying back and watching hilarious drunken events occur from a relatively sober mind. The Spaniards at the party were not following along with this ideology." On his last post on Feb. 25, he said he was going out: "Hopefully it will not disappoint (I assume it will not). It's in Madrid and it should be a fun night." He added: "Now, I truly must be going, my Spanish roommates are expecting me to prepare some authentic American food ... Hope they like Hamburgers!"

China Media Push Into the Web - Loretta Chao, Wall Street Journal: As increasing numbers of Chinese go online, China's state media outlets are aggressively expanding beyond their traditional roles as propaganda outlets and competing with private Internet companies.

Image from article, with caption: A man tests a computer during a launch ceremony last month for the Panguso search engine, the latest Internet foray by Chinese state media. Image from article


Paul Rockower said...

Gratias tibo ago, Ioannes Bruneus

John Brown said...

Paul: Thank you for your kind words. But should it not be Gratias tibi ago ...

Best, John

Paul Rockower said...

yeah, just a typo. I and O are neighbors on the keyboard.