Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26

“Civilization is seduction. What separates man from the animals is seduction.”

--Celebrity intellectual (and self-styled séducteur) Bernard-Henri Lévy; image from

"[S]eduction, by its very nature, is a form of delusion."

--LA Times book critic Orli Low, reviewing La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life by Elaine Sciolino


Safari time in Africa for first lady, family‎ - Reuters: "After nearly a week of public diplomacy and outreach in Africa, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and her family went on safari

on Saturday and had an encounter with an elephant. Obama, who is traveling on her second official solo trip abroad, went to see wildlife at Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa, roughly an hour away from Gaborone, Botswana, where she spent the previous night." Image from article

Strengthening U.S. Engagement with the World: A Review of U.S. Public Diplomacy - Council on Foreign Relations: "Speaker: Judith A. McHale, Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Discovery Communications Presider: James P. Rubin, Executive Editor, Bloomberg View; Former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State June 21, 2011 ... MODERATOR: It does appear, Judith, that you really have worked very hard to build the public diplomacy system in such a way that there's input before decisions are made, and when it comes to the new media world, the output tools are there. Whether all that can, you know, work down the road, I guess will be up to some of your successors. But you seem to have laid a great foundation for that. And I congratulate you.

Thank you very much." Image from

Why Does Religious Freedom Matter? - Jennifer Marshall, Heritage Foundation posted at "The most secure and consistent protection for religious liberty needs to be rooted in constitutional government. U.S. public diplomacy can support the development of such robust religious freedom by telling America’s success story. That requires that U.S. policymakers understand and be able to articulate the role of religion in the American constitutional order. In the 21st-century war of ideas, U.S. public diplomacy must rely on the bedrock of American founding principles in the fight against potent ideologies that present strong, coherent, and deeply misguided explanations of the nature and purpose of human existence. Evaluating religious dynamics around the world should become a regular function of analysis, and articulating the role of religion in the U.S. should be a consistent feature of communications strategy."

Sung Kim, Obama's choice for stable management of NK, public diplomacy‎ - Lee Chi-dong, Yonhap News: "With the pick of Sung Kim, a Korea-born career diplomat, as his new ambassador to Seoul, U.S. President Barack Obama aims to handle the North Korean nuclear issue in a more professional way and step up public diplomacy with South Koreans, officials and experts here said. Kim, 51, is on a path to become the first person of Korean origin to serve as U.S. ambassador to Seoul, a historic nomination comparable to Obama's naming of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke of Chinese descent as top envoy to Beijing. ... Kim, the State Department's top Korea expert, has attended the six-party talks several times and traveled to the North more than 10 times. ... Many also say Kim's

designation reflects Washington's efforts to reach out to ordinary South Koreans and enhance its image in a country often caught up in anti-American protests. ... Kim spent his childhood in South Korea and later married a Korean woman. Fluent in Korean, he often uses the language in private conversations with South Koreans here. Officials said Kim will play a key role in Washington's public diplomacy and also give hope to millions of Korean-American people working in various fields in the U.S." Kim image from

KPRT helps Afghans strengthen Afghanistan - DVIDS: "Projects are in the works to help local Afghans stabilize their country and strengthen their government through the efforts of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team. The KPRT consists of both military and civilian personnel working together to empower the local government through the people. 'We try to increase the opportunities that the Afghans have,' said Aditya Raval, a public diplomacy field officer working for the KPRT. Working closely with public diplomacy is a big part of the job, Raval said. He said that many of their projects are funded through public diplomacy grants and some of them allow Afghans to travel to America for eight-to 10-week seminars to learn skills such as business development, and upon return they are able to pass on what they have learned to their fellow Afghans. ... Raval and his teammates work closely with the Kandahar Governor’s Office to ensure they are spreading the good word about projects under construction, he said."

The Naresh Chandra Task Force on National Security: A Timely Step - Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses: "According to media reports, the government has set up a task force of experts under Mr. Naresh Chandra, the former cabinet secretary, to review national security against the backdrop of a rapidly changing international security environment and fresh challenges to India’s security. This is a welcome and much needed step. ... The country’s diplomatic structures are in urgent need of reform too. India simply does not have enough diplomatic resources to meet the new challenges.

The government needs to have strong universities and think thanks where thinking on national security, foreign policy and international security is done. Think tanks must be strengthened and encouraged to participate in foreign policy debates. Careers in national security for young minds should be created. Security agencies should be professionalized. The government’s interface with the public through coordinated public diplomacy must be encouraged." Image from

Mixed use facilities: China Radio International plans 8 regional bureaus to gather news and promote Chinese culture - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Proposed 70% budget cut for Radio Netherlands awaits vote Monday by Dutch parliament - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Arabi's promise of new Egyptian foreign policy on hold, as new FM takes over - "Newly appointed foreign minister Mohamed El-Orabi is to take his oath of duty within days before ruling Supreme Military Council chairman, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, thus assuming the duties handed over by his predecessor Nabil El-Arabi, who held Egypt's top diplomatic job for just four months. ... Egypt's Africa focus was clearly underlined in the statements of El-Arabi

during his 16 weeks in office, especially during two visits that he made to Sudan. 'In fact, the renewed interest in Egypt's Africa relations had its origins during the last few months of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's rule, driven by the growing insistence of upstream Nile-basin countries that Egypt reduce its share of the Nile's water,' said a foreign ministry official who follows the Africa file. He acknowledged, nevertheless, that the approach adopted by El-Arabi in pursuing this renewed focus on Africa, as well as the public diplomacy initiatives launched by Egypt post-revolution, had much greater credibility. Yet the prevalent attitude within the corridors of the Egyptian foreign ministry is that post- or pre-revolution, Egypt's foreign policy parameters are basically unchanged, a perspective that seems to be shared by much of the foreign diplomatic community in Cairo."  Image from

Government admits Swazi request for loan - "After weeks of denials, the director-general of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Jerry Matjila, said in parliament on Wednesday that the Treasury was considering a request for financial aid from Swaziland. This was followed by an announcement on the department's website on Thursday, that 'the SA government is in receipt of a loan request from the Swaziland government. In this regard, the SA government is considering the request'. Saul Molobi, chief director of public diplomacy at the department, said on Friday he could not comment beyond the statement because of the 'sensitivities'."

The King's Public Diplomacy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "'This devilish device

will change everything if you won't. In the past all a King had to do was look respectable in uniform and not fall off his horse. Now we must invade people's homes and ingratiate ourselves with them. This family is reduced to the lowest, basest of all creatures...we've become...actors.' -The King's Speech Good movie. Based on a true story, which usually means what it means. But well done. But....fwiw, you are all still inbred to me."


Obama’s Afghanistan speech: A missing piece in the puzzle - Joseph Nye, Power & Policy: "As I argue in The Future of Power, a smart strategy for the U.S. in the 21st century would return to the wisdom of Dwight Eisenhower:

strengthen the domestic economy and avoid involvement in a land war in Asia. Afghanistan violates both those considerations." Image from

What Would Nixon Do? - Gideon Rose, New York Times: In Vietnam, Mr. Nixon

and Mr. Kissinger sought to extricate the United States from a war even as the local combatants continued to struggle. The Obama administration should try to do the same in Afghanistan — while planning carefully for how to keep withdrawal from turning into defeat. Image from

It Has to Start With Them - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: Wariness about Afghanistan comes from asking these three questions: When does the Middle East make you happy? How did the cold war end? What would Ronald Reagan do? After a suicide bomber killed 241 U.S. military personnel, Reagan

realized that he was in the middle of a civil war, with an undefined objective and an elusive enemy, whose defeat was not worth the sacrifice. So he cut his losses and just walked away. He was warned of dire consequences; after all, this was the middle of the cold war with a nuclear-armed Soviet Union. We would look weak. But Reagan thought we would get weak by staying. As Reagan deftly put it at the time: “We are not bugging out. We are moving to deploy into a more defensive position.” Image from

Obama’s prudent policy on Afghanistan - E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: Among Dana Carvey’s most brilliant sketches on “Saturday Night Live” were his dead-perfect impersonations of President George H.W. Bush,

which made a permanent contribution to America’s political language. “Not gonna do it!” Carvey-as-Bush would say. “Wouldn’t be prudent!” What Carvey grasped is that Bush 41 was a conservative not so much by ideology as by temperament. Prudence really was one of his cardinal virtues. ... But his effort to find a more stable middle ground in foreign policy deserves more support than it’s getting. There are worse things than to deserve comparisons with George H.W. Bush, Dana Carvey’s brilliant barbs notwithstanding. Image from

After the honeymoon - Electing Barack Obama president won't be enough to improve America's standing in the world – John Brown, Guardian (26 June 2008): The new administration should 

not give overseas audiences the false hope that its arrival on the world scene will mean a sudden, drastic departure from the policies of Bush, despite his low reputation at home and abroad. The American political system, which leads presidential candidates to adopt "centrist" positions, leaves the options for restructuring American foreign policy limited. Image from

Obama: His Words and His Deeds - David Bromwich, New York Review of Books: Being president of the world has sometimes seemed a job more agreeable to Barack Obama than being president of the United States. This goes with another predilection. Obama has always preferred the symbolic authority of the grand utterance to the actual authority of a directed policy: a policy fought for in particulars, carefully sustained, and traceable to his own intentions.

Obama's popular in Europe, where it doesn't count: His fame there doesn't do him much good at home, where voters are no longer in thrall to the uniqueness of the half-Kenyan, half-Kansan politician - Doyle McManus, In 2012, Obama's biography and his race will be even less a factor than they were in 2008.

He won't be running as an African American or an Irish American or even a hybrid American; he'll be running as an incumbent with a record. His popularity in Europe won't help; nor will his newfound roots in Moneygall. Only an economic recovery will. Image from

Coming soon to a theater near Yuri: U.S. movie studios increasingly rely on Russia and other emerging foreign markets that once were of little consequence to them - France, Germany, Britain and Japan remain the most lucrative foreign markets, but are fast losing ground to countries where rising middle classes with more disposable income have fueled a multiplex building boom. In China, where box-office receipts hit a record $1.5 billion in 2010, according to research firm Screen Digest, the number of screens doubled to more than 6,200 in the last four years and is projected to double again by 2015. In the last decade, China has gone from the world's 23rd-largest movie market to No. 6. Russia crossed the $1-billion box-office mark for the first time in 2010, a more than fifteenfold increase since 2001. The former Soviet Union now has about 3,000 commercial movie screens, with 1,000 equipped for 3D, which remains more popular overseas than in North America.

"People now flock to movie houses on weekends to watch U.S. blockbusters not only to get entertainment but to get some encouragement and hope," said Daniil Dondurei, editor in chief of the Art of Cinema magazine. "American movies teach people to be honest, kind, patriotic, brave, to work hard, be good friends, respect family values and be tolerant — something a Russian series or movie no longer aims at." Image from

Red Tourism: A Thriving Economic Industry Or Tool For Ideological Propaganda? – Namrata Hasija, Red tourism refers to an aspect of the tourism industry which is dedicated to developing sites historically related to Mao Zedong and the revolutionary struggle carried out by the Communist Party of China against the Kuomintang. It has generated not only tremendous revenue for the government but has also revived interest in the country’s history, especially the role of Mao Zedong. The government views this programme as a means to reinforce socialist ideas in order to address problems of rising corruption and social inequality. Although initially it might have been a purely economic move, party leaders are now using it for reinstating the party’s image before its 90th anniversary and emphasizing the superior nature of socialism. In a way it is a two-pronged strategy, which is not only bringing rich economic dividends to poor areas but also consolidating the Communist Party of China’s grip on power.

Arab propaganda - Ted Belman, Israel kills 24 refugees in occupied Golan Heights By Elham Asaad Buaras, Muslim News. The truth is that less then 10 were killed and they were all killed trying to cross the border. They also threw molotov cocktails which burst into flames in a minefield. Some of the mines exploded. The occupation is not illegal. There is no right of return.

Getting on board with peace in Israel: An Israeli American explains why she will be among many boat passengers trying to break through Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip - Hagit Borer, We wish to say to the Palestinians that, yes, there are people in Israel who know that any viable future for the Middle East must be

based on a just peace — not the forced imposition spelled out by Netanyahu to Congress — or else we are all doomed. Image from article, with caption: Israeli right wing activist holds a sign reading 'No to 67 borders, Yes to Israel's security' during a counter demonstration against thousands of peace activists.

Scholarship, Advocacy, and Antisemitism at Yale - Scholarship on anti-Semitism needs scholars on anti-Semitism and anti-Israel propaganda in the Western mass media in the 21stcentury.

The Ways of Silencing - Jason Stanley, New York Times: "One of the best investigations of propaganda was presented by Victor Klemperer, in his book "The Language of the Third Reich.” The data for Klemperer’s claims was the language used by the Third Reich. But the points he makes are applicable to propaganda in the service of much more mundane endeavors, be it to pass health care reform or to increase or decrease taxes. The use of propaganda is not limited to a single political affiliation or intent. As Klemperer writes in “The Language of the Third Reich,” propaganda “changes the value of words and the frequency of their occurrence … it commandeers for the party that which was previously common property and in the process steeps words and groups

of words and sentence structures in its poison.” When writing these words, Klemperer was thinking of the incessant use of the term “heroisch” (“heroic”) to justify the military adventures of the National Socialist state. Obviously, the mechanism described by Klemperer is not used for such odious purposes today. Nevertheless, there has been a similar appropriation of the term “freedom” in American political discourse. Citizens who grow up in a state in which the authorities deliver propaganda have no experience with trust. So even if the members of that society have access to reliable news, say via the Internet, they do not trust it. They are trained to be suspicious of any organ marketing itself as news. Silencing is only one kind of propaganda. In silencing, one removes the ability of a target person or group to communicate. Image from article

Book Review: 'La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life' Elaine Sciolino shows how the French have developed a lifestyle that emphasizes the art of living well, and they want the world to learn from them - Orli Low, For Sciolino, understanding the French art of seduction is the key to understanding France, a once-powerful global force reduced in recent centuries and even decades to a very well-dressed date whom suitors would rather gaze at than pay any real attention to. This is a country that, since the time of Louis XIV, had shown the world how to really live but had seen its global influence decline after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. So was born a national survival strategy to ensure that France would still matter. It would own culture, intelligence and refinement. And we would all want a part of it. In fact, seduction is portrayed by some in France as a form of war, though victory must seem effortless. It's a game to ferret out the weakness in someone else by sharing something pleasurable, wooing them to win them over.

Merely defeating their designs isn't good enough. Do we Americans revel in a carafe of wine at lunch? Do we exalt the art of conversation? Do we marvel at the smiles, the cleavage, the legs of great marvels of Paris, its women? No, we are too hardworking, abstinent, eager and pragmatic. But where has it gotten France? Toward the end of her exhaustively researched treatise, Sciolino concludes that in the 21st century, seduction itself "is the best that France has to offer." So much for French exceptionalism, since seduction, by its very nature, is a form of delusion. Sciolino image from article


"There is nothing American in Transformers, and it is far more like a Japanese video game than a U.S. movie."

--The director of of the film festival in Moscow where Transformers was shown

"Manal al-Sharif, the woman arrested in May for posting videos of herself driving, was quickly lauded as the 'Rosa Parks of Saudi Arabia.' The Facebook group she created, Women2Drive, had more than 20,000 members within a few weeks. It is no surprise that she and Wajeha al-Huwaider, the two most prominent female leaders of the Women2Drive campaign, have both been employed by Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, which plays an important role in Saudi modernization."

--Isobel Coleman, "Women’s driving protest may signal changes in Saudi Arabia," Washington Post; image from


Social Networking...or Self-Impersonations?
by Jaxn Clothing and Entertainment LLC on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 1:21am
Social Networking...or Self Impersonations?
By: Derrick Jackson(To be posted on the upcoming Team Jaxn website)

Over the last few years, social networking sites have become almost inevitable in everyday-life. It started with Myspace, which has since become the new headquarters for all things spam so the purpose of further discussing that is obsolete. But now it's Facebook and quickly transitioning to Twitter and Skype. But what do these sites really mean to us? For some it's a way to connect with friends and family we may have lost touch with over time. For others, such as entrepreneurs and celebrities, it's a way to stay in touch with thousands of people at a click of a button. But then there are those who utilize these sites as a stage for what I like to call, Self-Impersonations.

Let's just take Facebook for instance. You can post pictures, statuses, and other features that help express 'you' to the world, but it seems that people are starting to filter their personality so that you only get the cream of the crop. In one photo, I saw someone with a gun

in their hand and bandanna tied around their face as to depict the image of a “gangsta” (you know who you are). I may be a little ignorant on that subject, but last time I checked, "gangstas" were too busy killing and fleeing from police to save pictures on a computer then 'browse' and 'upload' them. #ImJustSaying

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of censorship when posting things to your facebook. By all means, keep your clothes on and keep details of your personal life to a minimum especially if you plan on having a salary one day as opposed to a minimum wage. While I respect the idea of professionalism, it contradicts the concept of a personal profile. Nobody believes you really wear 3 piece suits everywhere nor that you only say Abraham Lincoln quotes in general conversation. Just be yourself. People are going to talk about and judge you regardless so why switch things up in an effort to cater to them? Some people go so far as to intentionally create the ideal version of who they want to be. Something that is like them, but definitely not. Just a mere 'Impersonation'

I've never been the one to front personally, but you don't have to be like me. Just be like you because you have nothing to lose by being real, unless you've built your legacy on being fake. #ThatIsAll. Image from article

1 comment: said...

Quite useful material, much thanks for this article.