Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 11-14

"Not public diplomacy, but important events."

--Mark C. Toner, Deputy Department Spokesman, U.S. Department of State, regarding the Secretary of State's activities during her upcoming foreign travels

"[I]t's a key part of what we're trying to do, to really have people engage with each other, to learn about each other. So it's not public diplomacy ..."

--Outgoing Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale (November 2010); image from


God and the Atlantic [review of Thomas Albert Howard, God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011] - John Brown, American Diplomacy


Islamabad, Washington to resume strategic dialogue Focus on energy and market access - Baqir Sajjad Syed, Dawn: "Continuing to work on their rocky bilateral relationship, Pakistan and the United States agreed on Monday to prune the strategic dialogue to make it more 'focussed and result-oriented'. ... In March last year, when the strategic dialogue was upgraded, Pakistan and the US

had identified 13 segments and formed the working groups for preparing action plans and discussing their implementation. Three sessions of the dialogue were held last year, but after that the relationship hit one rocky patch after another — first with the arrest of CIA operative Raymond Davis and then the US Abbottabad raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. No significant results could be achieved this year, frustrating both Islamabad and Washington if media reports are to be believed. The spread-out strategic dialogue will be limited to four priority areas, which probably include energy, law enforcement and counter-terrorism, water and market access. The rest — communications and public diplomacy, defence; education, health, science and technology, security, strategic stability and non-proliferation, women empowerment, economics and finance — will be put on the backburner." Image from

How the US and Pakistan really see each other: The relationship between the United States and Pakistan has deteriorated into a purely transactional relationship, writes Rob Crilly - telegraph.co.uk: "Every Sunday a quietly spoken lawyer leads his family in a dignified protest outside the American consulate in Lahore. Mohammed Ejaz-ur-Rehman is not an activist or a rabble rouser, but his family's tragedy - once headline news, now forgotten - is a damning indictment of US public diplomacy and a reminder of why America is hated in much of Pakistan. Almost six months ago he stood and watched helplessly as his brother, Ibad, was killed - knocked off his motorbike by a 4x4 travelling too fast on the wrong side of a busy street. It was hurtling to the rescue of a CIA agent who had shot dead two men and was in danger of being torn apart by an angry crowd. With his rescue bungled, the spook, Raymond Davis, was arrested, sparking an excruciatingly awkward diplomatic wrangle between Pakistan and the US. The existence of a covert American operation in Lahore was problematic for a Pakistani government trying to manage widespread anti-Western anger and for an administration in Washington keen to prove its operations in Pakistan were all above board. So it was not particularly surprising when the problem - and the two murder charges - was made to go away before the public scrutiny of a trial. The price was reportedly $2m to $3m in diyya, or blood money, paid to the relatives of the two murdered men. Davis was immediately whisked back to the US. (Although Hillary Clinton said the US did not pay the money, Pakistani officials suggested the money was stumped by Islamabad to be reimbursed by Washington later.) But that leaves Mohammed wondering whether his family will see justice."

Diplomat: I Helped Lose Hearts and Minds in Iraq ‎- Kelley B. Vlahos, Antiwar.com: "One of the reasons why the American public has heard so little about ... [US] sordid epic fails [in Iraq] is not just because the bureaucracy worked overtime to put a pretty face on all of its overspending ... , circling the wagons anytime SIGIR (Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction) issued a report about the waste, fraud and abuse associated with reconstruction projects,

but because the embedded media was so conflicted about writing anything critical of their military handlers. Since the military had dominated everything on the ground there—including public diplomacy and reconstruction—to call out PRTs [Provincial Reconstruction Teams] was to call out the Army and Marines and journalists were unlikely to go there." Image from

Security and Hospitability Can Go Hand in Hand: Expand the Visa Waiver Program - Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation: "When President Obama went public with his support for expansion of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) while in Poland last month, it was a long-overdue acknowledgement of not just Poland’s but Europe’s critical importance as an ally of the United States. ... Poland clearly deserves to be party to the VWP, which allows travelers from certain countries to enter the United States for 90-day visits for vacation or business without the hassle and expense of obtaining a visa. That Poland and European allies like Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia still remain outside the program is a public diplomacy issue that Congress needs to address. ... As Obama concluded his European trip in Warsaw ... he finally announced his support of the most recent attempt at revising the VWP, the Secure Traveler and Counterterrorism Partnership Act of 2011. This is a welcome (if somewhat belated) step forward on the part of the Obama White House and State Department. The President expressed support both in conversations with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and in a letter to Congress in favor of the legislation, which is sponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R–IL) and Barbara Mikulski (D–MD) in the Senate and has 14 co-sponsors in the House. The bill aims to decouple biometric exit control of foreign visitors from the eligibility of candidate countries to join the program. The two are entirely separate issues that got lumped together in the last VWP legislation of 2007. The changes in the VWP were soon reflected in the number of travelers to the United States from the new member countries. Out of eight new participants in the program, six experienced a surge in travelers across the Atlantic. The most dramatic increase was in the Czech Republic, which registered a 17 percent increase in temporary visitors over 2007. Furthermore, visitors to the United States tend to come away with a much improved view of the country, a bonanza from a public diplomacy perspective. Foreigners who visit the U.S. are over 74 percent more likely to view it favorably and 61 percent more likely to support the U.S. and its policies than those who have never had first-hand experience of America and Americans."

Obama Admin. Aims For Religious Freedom Worldwide - posted at tamraboe85.typepad.com: "Rev. Suzan Johnson-Cook was recently sworn in as the Obama administration's Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Rev. She has been a leading voice of faith in NYC, ministering to the city's police officers to Wall Street financial wizards. Johnson-Cook's new post will take her around the world to monitor the state of religious freedom on an international scale. Host Michel Martin [NPR] speaks with

Johnson-Cook about her duties. ... MARTIN: No, I understand that, but I also say that there are strategic and global partners of the United States who don't share the United States' perspective on religious freedom. And so the question I would have is is that is it your intention to elevate the role of religious freedom as part of our international priority? COOK: The tools are available to me is certainly promote religious freedom, diplomatically - public diplomacy, meaning being in places where, really, I'm the poster child of religious freedom. And to elevate it. Clearly to elevate it. And where there are no allies, they're, on the flip side of it, is that there allies. And so what to begin to do is you work with the allies that we have as partners and then you begin with diplomacy where there are pragmatic openings, begin to sit down and strategically plan to see if there could be partnerships where there have not been in the past." Johnson-Cook image from

Defining Space Security for the 21st Century - Remarks by Frank A. Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, geneva.usmission.gov: Rose: "Our efforts include conducting regular Space Security Dialogues with both established, as well as emerging, space-faring nations.

This is important not only for our broader national security and foreign policy concerns, but also in carrying out our diplomacy and public diplomacy responsibilities under the President’s National Space Policy." Rose image from article

AIDS and Public Diplomacy‎ - Philip Seib, Huffington Post: "In what may be the greatest accomplishment of the George W. Bush administration, the United States in 2003 committed $15 billion over five years to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Its goals were to provide antiviral treatment to 2 million HIV-infected persons, to prevent 7 million new infections, and to support care for 10 million people fighting the disease. ... Although not labeled as such, this is public diplomacy as it should be done. It is about service, not advertising. It improves (and protects) people's lives, and as a result wins friends and serves the diplomatic interests of the United States. Although the funds are passed through governments, the outcome is America directly touching the lives of citizens of other countries. The political impact is hard to measure, but it certainly exists at a significant level. U.S. public diplomacy is sometimes wrapped in condescension and self-aggrandizement that detracts from its effectiveness. Responding to AIDS is too important for that. Doing it right, as PEPFAR has mostly done, will have its rewards: medical, moral, and diplomatic."

Those on the Front Lines of Diplomacy - Steve Clemons, Huffington Post: "My good friend Fay Lewis died last September, and I've been mulling her passing the last many months. For years, I had grown used to Fay calling me up and shaking me out of my self-importance and a schedule that I thought couldn't bear any more meetings. Lewis had become America's super-agent for placing foreign visitors that the Department of State had targeted as prospects for serving as better bridges between their countries and the U.S. Through her demands issued to me from her perch at the Meridian International Center,

directing the Center's work with the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program, I met somewhere around 1,000 people since she first put me to work for her. Now when I travel around the world -- almost anywhere in the world -- I know a prominent journalist, or someone who has become a mayor, or Ambassador, or even head of government, as in the case of Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard who visited the US in this very same leadership program years ago. We talked a lot when Gillard visited about DC's lucrative think tank business. I know regular folks who came through these programs -- and despite my impulses of real irritation now and then that Fay Lewis just didn't understand how busy I was, I am so grateful to her for never allowing me to say no. We are led to think that diplomacy is a function of this or that Secretary of State, or the exchanges between Presidents -- and of course, that's true. But the foundation of public diplomacy happens through the tight knots tied through high quality, high impact people to people encounters. This kind of diplomacy is vital if America is going to eventually bridge an embarrassingly large gap between this country and many countries in the increasingly turbulent Middle East North Africa region -- or in South Asia. And frankly, it's also vital in places the US thought were checked off boxes." Image from

The Heineken Factor? Using Exchanges to Extend the Reach of U.S. Soft Power - Giles Scott-Smith, American Diplomacy: "[C]ultural exchange, if managed with care and awareness, can only result in more openness, not less."

Ketchup On Your Face: Cross-Cultural Business Promotions and Public Diplomacy - k2globalcommunicationsllc.wordpress.com: Dealing with cross-cultural business promotions and public diplomacy it is always a good idea to revisit 'The Great Ketchup Fiasco' perpetrated by a major U.S. condiment manufacturer/supplier in Japan as a self-check on ones PR-MKT-ADV Campaign(s). It was discovered that in Asia (still popular today), people used ketchup

with water added as a form of fast food/instant tomato soup. Looking to capture the untapped market segment a prominent U.S. condiment manufacturer/supplier rushed in with no consideration to cross-cultural adaptation of its product and the packaging. As it would be their product did not sell or move of the store shelves, why? 1. They tried to sell it in a four-pack packaging format with the number equating to death in Japanese culture. Think the number '13' in the U.S. with no 13th floors in buildings or even 666 (mark of the beast/death) in Christian theology. 2. Throughout the Asian Market lightweight plastic squeeze bottles are more desirous, popular over heavy glass containers. The United States Government has an infamous record of globally for their gigantic and quite memorable Cross-Cultural Gaffs." Image from

Desperate Housewives - 7.04 Sneak Peek #6 rus sub - remlightflirt: "A Wikileaked cable from the US Embassy in Riyadh has some home truths about what works and what doesn"t in public diplomacy: 11. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX said."

Warsaw- My Best Post - Yale Richmond, American Diplomacy: "In my 30-year career in the Foreign Service, Warsaw, where I served as Cultural Officer 1958-61, was clearly my best post. ... It was three years of practicing Public Diplomacy, although the term had not yet been coined. And now, a final reason why Warsaw was my best post.

A few months before departing Washington for Warsaw, I was married and subsequently embarked on a three-year honeymoon in Poland at government expense. Amor vincit omnia!" Image from article, with caption: Polish women perusing Ameryka magazine (From the cover of Practicing Public Diplomacy by Yale Richmond)

What The American Public Shouldn’t Know – Kourosh Ziabari, eurasiareview.com: "How much difference is there between the United States which is trimmed and made neat to be put before the eyes of the international community and the United States which mercilessly and inexcusably deprives its own people of getting informed about the latest developments in the world? Isn’t it ironic that the same United States whose leaders always boast of democracy, freedom and equal opportunities set off media outlets to direct black propaganda against countries such as Iran while preventing its people from having access to the content of such media? If you’re familiar with the conventional double standards and hypocrisy of the American type, you might have heard about the US Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, popularly known as the Smith-Mundt Act. This discriminatory and indefensible act which was first signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on January 27, 1948 after getting approval by the 80th Congress is, in a nutshell, a regulation which allows the United States to establish and initiate media outlets which are aimed at non-American audiences in order to further the diplomatic and political objectives and interests of the U.S. overseas; however, these media outlets, including radio and TV stations, are unavailable to the U.S. citizens, and to put it more succinctly, it’s forbidden

for them to have access to these media channels. ... According to this law, the materials which are produced to be broadcast through certain American media outlets cannot and should not be disseminated and publicized domestically and can be only available to the members of Congress and academicians. With the concerted efforts of several U.S. Congressmen, the Act was amended to read: 'no program material prepared by the United States Information Agency shall be distributed within the United States.' ... Seven radio and TV stations are covered by the Act, two of which are exclusively dedicated to Iran: Radio Farda and Voice of America. It means that the American citizens cannot watch the TV programs which VOA airs and listen to what the Radio Farda broadcasts. This clearly shows that the U.S. statesmen and politicians have predetermined and programmed plans for the nation of Iran and it’s on their agenda to sow the seeds of discord between different groups of Iranian nation by airing programs in which nothing can be traced but mere propaganda, falsification and fabrication." Image from

Newsmax writer describes VOA as "propaganda agency," and probably meant it as a compliment - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Unable to verify his claims, Radio Farda did not broadcast interview with Iranian who infiltrated opposition - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Radio Free Europe leaflet campaigns of the 1950s: poking holes in the idea of balloons for propaganda - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from, with caption: Balloons headed for the East Hoover Institute

Gingrich slams Obama, commits to Israel in speech to Jewish Republicans - jewishjournal.com: "Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Summer Bash on Sunday, June 12, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gave the most extensive foreign policy speech of his now- embattled Presidential run. If elected, Gingrich said that on his first day in office he would move the United States embassy to Jerusalem. He also pledged to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority until it breaks its ties with Hamas, 'explicitly reject the concept of a right of return for Palestinians,' reestablish the United States Information Agency as a vehicle of public diplomacy and fundamentally reform the U.S. State Department." Gingrich image from

Newt Gingrich wants to expand the federal bureaucracy - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "So Newt Gingrich would roll back the action initiated by the late Republican Senator Jesse Helms to combine USIA into the State Department. Senator Helms did this to streamline the foreign affairs bureaucracies: much of USIA's work was done in conjunction with, and within the facilities of, and with the approval of the State Department and its embassies. Recreating USIA would have excellent boondoggle value. It will establish an entire building full of high level plum jobs. USIA never, as far as I know, had an 'independent board of governors.' It has always had an advisory commission, but its role has always been, well, advisory. If USIA coordinates with, but is not be controlled by, the State Department, it can make statements at odds with those of the State Department, or say things the State Department would not say at all. International publics could then choose from the contending messages of the growing family of foreign affairs agencies. Sounds like a situation as chaotic as, well, the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign."

The Voice of Russia presents its new project in Washington - Inessa Frolova, The Voice of Russia: "The Voice of Russia’s brand new US project was unveiled in Washington: there will now be live broadcasts from the US capital. For the first time, the Russian radio station’s shows broadcast in the US will be created on American soil, whereas before, they all came from Moscow. The Voice of Russia can be heard on AM 1430 in New York and AM 1390 in Washington. This is a very important step for the company, because for the first time in the station’s history, shows delivered to US audiences will be made on location, said the chairman of the Voice of Russia, Andrei Bystritsky. Shows will be broadcast from Washington six hours a day, seven days a week, during morning and evening primetime.

Just a stone’s throw away from the White House, a team of American and Russian journalist will bring timely live reports on global events to American listeners from a cutting edge Washington studio. ... Experts are sure that the Voice of Russia’s new project will help foster deeper mutual understanding between the two countries. This was one of the issues addressed at the National Press Club roundtable in Washington. A discussion titled 'From the Cold War to a ‘reset’: the changing image of public diplomacy in Russo-American relations' was held as part of the presentation of the new Voice of Russia project." Image from article, with caption: Collage "The Voice of Russia"

The Aspen Institute and Royal Opera House Muscat Announce the ROH Muscat - press release, CSRwire.com: "The Aspen Institute Global Initiative on Culture and Society and the newly built state-of-the-art Royal Opera House Muscat (ROH Muscat) of the Sultanate of Oman have announced their strategic partnership and the planning of an unprecedented ROH Muscat - Aspen Creative Arts World Summit to be held in Muscat, Oman, November 28-30, 2011. ... With its Grand Opening scheduled for October 12, 2011, ROH Muscat will engage diverse audiences domestically, regionally, and globally in the groundbreaking public diplomacy strategy and cultural development path championed by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said."

Estonia - Foreign Ministry Supports Afghanistan with Good Administrative Practice Training for Diplomats and State Officials - isria.com: "The Foreign Ministry is supporting the training of ten Afghan diplomats and state officials at the Estonian School of Diplomacy. The two-week training, which will focus on the European Union and NATO, will take place in Tallinn in the fall. ...

During the two-week course, various facets of the EU and NATO’s Afghanistan-related activities will be introduced. The Afghan representatives will be introduced to various opportunities for creating ties with EU and NATO institutions, international negotiations will be carried out, and there will also be training in public diplomacy." Image from

Secretary Information to visit NATO HQs on Tuesday‎ - Associated Press of Pakistan: "A 10-member delegation of spokespersons, pubic relations and communication experts headed by Secretary Information and Broadcasting Taimur Azmat Osman will visit NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday. The purpose of the visit on the invitation from Public Diplomacy Division of NATO, aims at strengthening political dialogue and creating greater awareness among media experts and bureaucrats from Pakistan about NATO’s role and engagements in Afghanistan."

East Sea: When strength doesn't come from force - VietNamNet Bridge: "If public diplomacy was a power in the Vietnam War, in the 21st century, it is still a great power."

Emerging Domain of Public Diplomacy - pratiyogita.mediology.in: "In brief, public diplomacy refers to government sponsored program-mes intended to inform or influence public opinion in other countries. It tries to cultivate a positive country image among foreign audience. In this sense the public diplomacy as an idea is distinct from both propaganda and public affairs. While propaganda intends to garner the support of public through informing them about an specific activity or idea of a nation, the public diplomacy is much broader and positive notion which strives to cultivate popular support for the foreign policy and image of a country in international arena. The public policy is also distinct from ‘public affairs’ as the latter is primarily concerned with seeking the support of domestic publics to the policies and programmes of a government, whereas public diplomacy is more concerned with external public opinion about the foreign policy and international image of a country. ... Though Indian foreign policy has been using the tools of public diplomacy for long time, it has assumed special significance in recent years in the era of globalisation.

Government of India established in 2006 a separate Public Diplomacy Division under the Ministry of External Affairs. This Division strives to foster a greater understanding of India and its foreign policy concerns. Its mandates enable it to organise and support a broad range of outreach activities, both in India and overseas. ... However, Indian public diplomacy has long road to cover. The unprecedented disconnect between India’s self perception and world’s view about India should be addressed effectively. This requires effective utilisation of our soft power resources to build an image of rising, vibrant and stable nation." Image from

Young Egyptian activists in Turkey seeking inspiration‎ - Sunday's Zaman: Last week in Turkey, there were more than 50 such young people from Egypt who were the real spark igniting the recent revolution in the country. The leaders of the Jan. 25 Tahrir Youth wanted to see the Turkish experience in person, so they spoke with Turkish statesmen, attended rallies and met with politicians. ... We should also touch on the sheer love for Turkey expressed by so many Egyptian youth. It is difficult otherwise to relay the pure excitement. It is impossible not to see the love and admiration on their faces after even a brief conversation. Those listening to Davuto─člu were anxious to record much of what they were hearing and feeling on Twitter: 'But we are just as much a part of history. History is not in the hands of the white man, as Kipling said (another reason to love Davutoglu),' writes one Shimaa Rashad. We ask her whether 'love' isn’t a bit of a strong word here, to which she replies:

'But our emotions are very sharp. We experience both love and hate very strongly.' This group of Egyptian youth come to Konya to meet with Davuto─člu for 20 minutes, but ended up staying late, until 2 a.m., talking. Again on Twitter, the young El-Katatney tweets, 'General mood after FM speech is big smiles and inspired mood.' As a last note, let me say this: This visit was not just about learning for Egyptian youth. It was also a great example of the 'public diplomacy' which we have been hearing so much about recently, and a great sign that Turkish statesmen and Turkey have really learned this business well."  Image from

Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, and Identity: Another Term for AKP - Efe, efesevin.wordpress.com: Last year, I wrote a short post about Turkish public diplomacy where I practically claimed AKP and Erdogan were the biggest obstacles to a robust PD strategy. Yesterday, AKP won its third consecutive elections, and will be governing the country for another term. And I still have the same concerns about Turkish PD. ... Long story short, AKP and Erdogan’s Turkey is a ‘not-so-Middle Eastern’ Middle Eastern country, and Turkish citizen is a prayer/worker/voter male or a prayer/mother/voter female.

Indeed this image might be beneficial for PD project towards the Middle Eastern countries in short term. But in the long term, the political oppression and move towards the Middle East are likely to backfire, and utterly destroy Turkey’s image as a modern democracy, and Turkish people as ambassadors showing the compatibility of Eastern and Western values." Image from article, with caption: Another AKP Victory: the End of Turkish PD?

Students from Nordic Society visit Consulate General - ScandAsia.com: "Recen[t]ly, a group of nine students from Fudan University, one of China’s most prestigious universities, visited the Norwegian Consulate General in Shanghai. Though they study different subjects, these students are united by one shared love: An appreciation for the culture, society and values of Nordic countries. ... The visit was concluded by a gift of CDs and books by Public Diplomacy Advisor Flora Lu after a short presentation by Consul Per Bardalen Wiggen.

Australian politicians discuss public diplomacy and stereotypes -- stereotypes other countries could only hope for - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Amaechi's Speech: The Potentiality Of Diplomacy - Odimegwu Onwumere, modernghana.com: "It will never elicit any form of argument to say that providence has made Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers one of the blessed-people in Nigeria, no matter all odds. But he seems to not know how to present his speech most times. Many people have characterized his speeches as 'blunt, annoying, but although brilliant' in his first tenure as governor. ... While it is reported that Amaechi said that he loves using unsettling way in his political speech so that he would continue not to being untruthful to self, political self-censorship, battle against the truth and a contradiction of his owed favour for openness and accountability, he should embrace the fact that there is Public Diplomacy through Political Oratory. We

have agreed that 'true success does not come from doing or saying nothing, or avoiding annoying truths on friends nor is it about the fear of making mistakes' but there are still ways to say the TRUTH without offending anybody. This is called diplomacy. Speeches at the Brandenburg Gate: Public Diplomacy through Political Oratory by John Poreba: 'Political speech may achieve notoriety simply by virtue of the environment and political context into which it is delivered. Each speech attempted to convey its points through the timely inclusion of vivid imagery, logic, and, of course, symbolic and tangible backdrops (i.e., the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall).(George Bush's 'Bullhorn address' at Ground Zero following the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center is another example of how venue can amplify the impact of a speech. In response to a rescue worker's shout, 'I can't hear you,' President Bush -- although not particularly known for his eloquence -- shouted back, 'I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!' The crowd erupted in cheers and patriotic chants).[x] Symbolism allows the speech to resonate long after it's over. In 1963, Berlin provided such an environment for President Kennedy.'” Amaechi image from

The Practice of Public Diplomacy [Review of The Practice of Public Diplomacy: Confronting Challenges Abroad, Edited by William A. Rugh, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, March 2011] - William P. Kiehl, American Diplomacy: "Dr. Rugh put this collection of 14 essays together from term papers submitted by his graduate school students at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. ... This book is recommended for those studying public diplomacy at the university level. It provides insights into the subject that can be found otherwise only in a few articles by retired professionals.

Since there are almost no contemporary public diplomacy case studies to be found in the literature, this collection does make a significant contribution. Admittedly, public diplomacy professionals and those with experience in the field would find much of the book either oversimplified or obvious."

New Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Good news, pd friends and colleagues. I have been appointed new Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy for Secretary of State Arnold Vinick's State Department. I look forward to conducting the public diplomacy of the Santos Administration."

Image from, with caption: Jimmy Smits as Matt Santos.


Spare Us the Propaganda on Afghanistan - Bill Boyarsky, Truthdig: The White House account of President Barack Obama’s meeting with his Afghanistan team was insultingly vague for anyone wanting to know when—or if—the Afghanistan war will end. After Monday’s session, which followed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ much-publicized trip to Afghanistan, this was all that was available on the White House web (propaganda) site: “The President led his monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his national security team this morning. During this session, the President received briefings on progress in implementing our strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan following the death of Osama bin Laden.” An increasing number of people want to know how long we’ll be in Afghanistan, not to mention why we are there. Hopefully, their ranks will grow, and Obama, worried about re-election, will listen.

New Government Stealth Internet-Because the last one failed - Douglas Stewart, yourdaddy.net: The New York Times ran an expose on the new “stealth” internet funded by the Obama administration. This new “internet in a suitcase” can be deployed anywhere on the globe and allow dissidents living under oppressive regimes to communicate free from interference. But they did that already.

It was called TOR (previously onion routing) and it failed so spectacularly that this new State Department project was created in a rush to replace it. No mention is made in the Times article of TOR, nor does it mention that the US Government even tried to create something similar in the past. Well, they did. And as Michael Reed of the Naval Research Laboratory, and one of the creators of TOR, has spoken openly about the advantages of having everyone use your technology. See also. Image from article

Libyan State TV Talk Show Not The Usual Propaganda‎ - Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR: There's a war Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is waging in addition to the one against Libyan rebels and NATO: a propaganda war on the airwaves. His goal is to persuade Libyans to support him, and his top commander in that effort is a U.S.-educated political scientist. The Libyan pundit hosts a nightly show broadcast from Tripoli that he claims is styled after some of America's most popular television programs. The show, called Ashem al-Watan, or "Hope of the Nation,"

isn't your usual Libyan television fare. Instead of lengthy anti-NATO diatribes by commentators or images of Gadhafi accompanied by patriotic songs, the program's host, Yosif Shakeir, prefers to get his message across using a talk show format. Recently, he featured several American guests who denounced the international campaign against Gadhafi as misguided. How popular his show is cannot be objectively measured in a country where minders manipulate information, but it's clear the TV host has fans — like one group of protesters who argued with foreign journalists in front of the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli. "I like Shakeir because he's telling the truth, and giving facts with proof," says one protester who says his name is Assad Ali. Yosif Shakeir image from article, with caption: Yosif A. Shakeir is host of Ashem al-Watan (or "Hope of the Nation"), which is seen on the Libyan state TV channel. The show is using the airwaves in Libya to keep hope for Moammar Gadhafi's regime alive.

Syrian regime unleashes online propaganda campaign‎ - FRANCE 24: While opponents to Bachar al-Assad’s regime seem determined to pursue their all-out efforts despite violent repression, supporters of the Syrian President are stepping up their online propaganda campaign. The aim being to discredit international media and their coverage of the situation on the ground.

Syria regime wages propaganda war - Financial Times: After almost three months of anti-government protests in Syria, the regime of embattled president Bashar al-Assad is fighting back with propaganda as well as brute force. According to Syrian state television there is no bloody crackdown on protesters or torture of activists.

Instead, armed gangs continue to terrorise the population, supported by either Islamist extremists waging a sectarian war or foreign powers intent on Syria’s destruction. Meanwhile, the photogenic head of state television, Reem Haddad, has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera to react with incredulity at suggestions that the regime is killing its own people, or that refugees are escaping across the border to Turkey. “They are just visiting their families,” she said. Haddad image from article

A massive propaganda drive - S.H.Moulana, Asian Tribune: Israel is involved in a massive propaganda drive to counter Palestinian UN bid. It is reported that secret cables have been sent to all Israeli embassies to exert maximum pressure on the countries they are in to thwart the international recognition of Palestinian state.

Roosevelt creates Office of War Information June 13 1942‎ - Andrew Glass, Politico: In 1942, six months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Office of War Information. It served as a government propaganda arm throughout World War II, chronicling — in films, photos, posters, news releases and radio programs — a nation mobilizing for an all-out war effort against the Axis powers. Elmer Davis, a CBS broadcaster, was named head of the office. “The easiest way to inject a propaganda idea into

most people’s minds,” Davis said, “is to let it go through the medium of an entertainment picture when they do not realize that they are being propagandized.” In October, the White House transferred the documentary photography arm of the Farm Security Administration, which had reported on the government’s fight to end the Great Depression, to the Office of War Information. The Library of Congress has put much of this historical material online, includingthe webcast “Rosie the Riveter: Real Women Workers in World War II.” Image from


"[P]ublic diplomacy is a sharp weapon to win the world’s support to our war of resistance."

--Chief negotiator of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Binhs, about the success of the 1973 Paris negotiation


Image courtesy of SL.

MORE AMERICANA (from TomDispatch)

Let’s look at this, war by war:

Iraq: Now largely the dregs of a counterinsurgency operation, this war will not end in 2011. At his confirmation hearings, for instance, Panetta cited the existence of al-Qaeda in Iraq as a reason for U.S. troops to remain beyond an agreed-upon year-end withdrawal date. Should those troops actually leave, however, the war will still go on, even if in quite a different form. A gargantuan, increasingly militarized State Department “mission” in that country, complete with its own “army” and “air force” of perhaps 5,100 mercenaries, will evidently keep the faith.

Afghanistan: This remains a full-scale U.S. Army-run counterinsurgency war, backed by a major special operations/CIA counterterror war.

Pakistan: A full-scale CIA-run drone war in the Pakistani borderlands is actually expanding. In the post-9/11 era, this has been the first of Washington’s “covert” or "shadow" wars (which no longer means “secret” -- it’s all over the news almost daily -- but something closer to “off the books,” as in beyond the reach of any form of significant popular or congressional oversight or accountability). Panetta is calling for more emphasis on such off-the-books wars in which U.S. military operatives might, as in the bin Laden operation, temporarily find themselves under the command of the CIA.

Libya: Officially a NATO air war, this one is nonetheless partially run by the Pentagon with targeting assistance from various U.S. intelligence agencies. It involves both direct U.S. air strikes and support for strikes by various NATO and Arab allies fronting the operation. It is also, for Americans, a “war” in name only since, except in the case of engine malfunction, there is essentially no way the Libyans can harm a U.S. pilot. It is also an example of another air war that, while destructive, has proven itself incapable of fulfilling its stated aims. Months later, Gaddafi remains alive and more or less in power, while NATO flags.

Yemen: Another of those “covert” air wars, being run, according to the Times, by the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, closely coordinated with the CIA out of a secret office in the Yemeni capital.

The Global War on Terror: While the Obama administration officially discarded the Bush-era name, it expanded the war and the forces meant to fight it in places like Somalia. U.S. special operations forces now pursue war-on-terror tasks in at least 75 countries and who knows how many CIA and other intelligence agents are involved as well.

1 comment:

Paul Rockower said...

If McHale doesn't think that is "public diplomacy" then I am glad she is leaving now, and I'm sorry she stayed as long as she did.