Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2

"But learn that to die is a debt we must all pay."

--Euripides; image from 


Public Diplomacy of the Deed: Revitalizing Public Diplomacy - Keith Boyea's Blog: "Thesis: Public diplomacy, or 'communicating with foreign publics to inform and influence,' works best when the communication is an action. For the past several years the United States has become less popular with foreign publics. One mild antidote to our unpopularity is public diplomacy (PD). When PD works best, it is active, rather than a passive communication of information. Below are ten active things the United States could do in the field of PD. (A couple of caveats: Becoming popular around the world shouldn’t be our primary consideration when designing policy. The PD approach has to be balanced between foreign policy interests and the desire for popularity. Additionally, this list assumes infinite amounts of money, political will, and foreign support for the initiatives. Lastly, some of these are easier than others.)

10.) Wind down the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The quicker the better. 9.) Make a sustained push for a real Israeli-Palestine peace agreement, and if one cannot be reached, leave the parties to themselves. 8.) Speak with foreigners in their own language. (Further suggestion: Start a two-year State Department Language Academy that would train 2,000 students a year in strategic languages. Give the top graduates immediate access to the Foreign Service. Pay the students a small salary while at the institute.) 7.) Radically increase the size of the Foreign Service. Push FSOs out to foreign communities whenever possible. 6.) Stop building fortress embassies. Make them more accessible to the general public. 5.) Provide free English classes to the local public as facilities allow. 4.) Open consulates in as many medium-sized cities as possible. The more people we are close to, the better. 3.) Create lending libraries in said consulates. 2.) Be wary of easy answers like social media, twitter and blogs. There is no substitute for face to face exchanges. 1.) Dramatically increase the number of available visas, especially for highly skilled workers and college graduates. If we are so sure of our righteousness, we should not hesitate to invite others to share in it. This communicates to the entire world that we want to help the realize their dreams. *This post is based on a paper I wrote for graduate school." Image from

VOA overseer creates static with switch to Internet, social media - Bill Gertz, The Washington Times: "The Obama administration is sharply restructuring the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency in charge of all U.S. government broadcasting, while being urged to increase the spread of unfettered news and information around the world. Cuts in official U.S. radio broadcasting to Russia and the Middle East since 2001 and plans to end Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts to China in October have sown 'chaos and confusion' in the agency, one senior agency official said. The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is shifting broadcasts from radio to the Internet and social media.

Critics say the move will make programs more vulnerable to disruption by governments that oppose U.S. efforts to promote democracy and freedom. ... A BBG report outlining the 'realignment strategy' for shortwave and medium-wave radio broadcasts stated that 'the process and transition will be as painful as they are necessary.' According to the report, the radio outlets face tight budgets, an 'onerous' federal labor structure and aging technology. The draft strategy calls for using more joint facilities, overturning legislative obstacles and 'de-federalizing' the workforce - shifting from federal workers to contractors, a process likely to involve large-scale layoffs. Plans to cut short- and medium-wave radio broadcasts are projected to save $75 million annually and be carried out in phases by closing VOA stations in the Philippines, on the Pacific island of Saipan, in Germany and in North Carolina, and scaling back Kuwait-based stations. The goal is to cut $82 million by 2014, the report said. ... [T]he report stated that BBG’s new focus is on creating a 'global newsroom' using 'inter-entity connectivity, content sharing and virtual studies.' New media, such as Facebook and Twitter, will be expanded through 'robust Internet connectivity. Another part of the proposed reorganization is to move BBG operations out of the large headquarters building in Southwest Washington, the Wilbur J. Cohen Building, and relocate employees to the Dulles Town Center area in Northern Virginia." Image from

The restructuring of US international broadcasting, shifting from radio to the internet and social media - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting [comment on above article]: "Although there are some inaccuracies, credit to Mr. Gertz for providing an overview of a complicated reorganization in what is already a complicated bureaucratic structure. As recently as a quarter century ago, US international broadcasting would face media environments in target countries that would consist of a moribund state-controlled broadcasting monopoly, plus external broadcasts from VOA and/RFE/RL, BBC, and perhaps one or more other foreign shortwave stations. It was a time of information scarcity. Now, even in unfree societies, the websites and social media of US international broadcasting must compete with hundreds of domestic websites, tens of thousands of social media participants, and dozens of television channels. It is the present day overabundance of information and entertainment that is causing the 'chaos and confusion' in US international broadcasting. Competing in this environment will be difficult. The necessary first step is to transform US international broadcasting from its present feudal collection of entities that compete among themselves, to a single-branded multimedia entity that can cope with the real competition. Mr. Gertz is incorrect in writing that 'the Obama administration provided China with broad access to U.S. airwaves for its state-run media.' China Radio International and CCTV were on US radio stations and cable channels during the George W. Bush administration and probably before that. It is the outcome of US press freedom, and the desire of some private US radio stations and cable channels, that might not otherwise have opportunities for profit, to make money by brokering time to international media."

Wither VOA? - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "In what strikes me as the worst PD move since USIA was folded up and America international broadcasting was placed under the aegis of the BBG,

it appears that VOA is moving away from radio broadcasts to a push for internet broadcasting and social media outreach.  Not to be a PD luddite, but the vast majority of the world still connects via radio not internet.  VOA is being a tech dilettante and pushing for PD 2.0 when the world still requires PD 1.0."  Image from

Egyptian secularists scathing! - mowood12.blogfa.com: "The Egyptian revolutionaries asked about the trial and punishment, Hosni Mubarak, who is soon to be fulfilled and also put emphasis on the establishment of Islamic rule in Egypt, can be clearly concluded that Americans in the field of public diplomacy-Public Diplomacy-in have failed because the American public diplomacy, they were trying to informal means of influence on public opinion and to give expression to them and to guide their side to do that. البته اين توضيح ضروري است كه ديپلماسي عمومي آمريكا تنها بر پايه پروپاگانداي رسانه اي و ارتباط آنها با حاكمان مرتجع عربي بوده و بنابراين از آنجايي كه با مردم و ملت ها ارتباط نداشته اند با افول حاكمان سرسپرده و دست نشانده با يك وضعيت بن بست در حوزه ديپلماسي عمومي مواجه شده اند. It is necessary to explain that the only U.S. public diplomacy based on media propaganda and reactionary Arab rulers and their relationship with it because people and nations are not associated with a decline of loyal and puppet rulers in a deadlock situation public diplomacy have been met. نفرت و انزجار افكار عمومي منطقه از آمريكا و اذنابش كه خيزش و خروش اسلامي ملت هاي منطقه بهترين گواه آن است باعث شده است حتي مبالغ هنگفت و نجومي كه شوراي مديران پخش برنامه هاي برون مرزي آمريكا براي انحراف افكار عمومي مردم مصر هزينه كرده اند نيز كارگر واقع نشود. Hatred and disgust of the American public and the rise and surge Aznabsh Islamic nations is the best proof that even large and astronomy has led the Board of Directors for the diversion of public broadcasting programs overseas, U.S. workers the Egyptian people have the cost of not really. شوراي مديران پخش برنامه هاي برون مرزي آمريكا (BBG) تنها در سال 0201 بيش از 070 ميليون دلار بودجه دريافت كرده بود تا ديپلماسي عمومي آمريكا را تقويت كند. Board of Directors of U.S. overseas broadcasting (BBG) in the year 0201 had received more than 070 million dollars to strengthen U.S. public diplomacy. بودجه درخواستي «بي بي جي» حتي براي سال 2201 افزايش يافته است. The budget request 'Bibi G' is increased even for the year 2201. اما علي رغم همه اين هزينه ها امروزه به وضوح مي توان ديد كه جريان سكولار مورد حمايت آمريكا در مصر جايگاهي ندارد و حسني مبارك متحد استراتژيك رژيم صهيونيستي و آمريكا در آستانه محاكمه و مجازات است و اين رويدادها مبتني بر خواست و اراده توده مردم به سرانجام رسيده است و اين به مفهوم آن است كه ديپلماسي عمومي آمريكا با شكست سنگيني روبرو شده است. Despite all these costs can now clearly see that the secular American-backed strategic ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Israel and the U.S. has no place on the eve of trial and punishment, and events based on the will of the people This concept has been that U.S. public diplomacy is faced with a heavy defeat. علاوه بر حجم انبوه كدها و نمونه ها در اين زمينه، اشاره به تحليل واشنگتن پست كه در شماره 4 روز پيش -82 ژولاي- اين روزنامه آمريكايي منتشر شده است نيز خواندني است. In addition to the large volume of code and examples in this context, refers to a Washington Post analysis in -82 days before July 4 - The American newspaper has been published and read. واشنگتن پست تصريح مي كند: «مردم مصر به دنبال سياست خارجه جديدي هستند كه با خطوط استراتژيك آمريكا فاصله دارد.» The Washington Post said: 'The Egyptian people are looking for a new foreign policy with U.S. strategic lines away'."

My WILD summer: Whiling away hazy, lazy days listening to broadcasts of China Radio International on a local AM station - Alex Beam, Boston Globe: "Not enough people know that WILD-AM (1090) has stopped broadcasting the loony rants of the Rev. Al Sharpton and is now airing a variety of loony, semi-normal, and just plain odd shows emanating from China Radio International in Beijing. The locution is dodgy - John Boehner is often 'Boner' or 'Bonner' - and the politics are occasionally suspect. Yes, I was listening when the State Council Information Office released its Assessment Report on the National Human Rights Action Plan of China. 'Thirty-five percent of the binding targets and over 50 percent of the targets concerning the people’s livelihood had been met ahead of time or exceeded,' I learned. Pip, pip! ... Chinese agitprop, you say? Sure. But what is propaganda, really? The United States spends $200 million a year blasting the Voice of America all over the world. So is the VOA desperately needed enlightenment for a world floundering for truth, or US propaganda? Have you ever read a corporate annual report, where the white guys in suits explain that their bonuses were necessary for the betterment of mankind? The State Council Information Office has nothing on them.

CRI, intended for foreign audiences, plays it, well, almost straight in reporting on events in China. For a while, they were my only source of information about the July 23 bullet train crash that killed at least 39 people. ... On the other hand, it was China’s blogging community that reported many details left out of CRI’s version of events." Image from

VOA executive editor discusses "extraordinary move" to pull story from the VOA Horn of Africa website (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Commentator compares VOA and BBC coverage of Kosovo border clashes - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

NATO assistant secretary general invited to Armenia - news.az: "Armenia's ambassador to NATO, Armen Yedigaryan, has met the new NATO assistant secretary general for public diplomacy, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. He congratulated Grabar-Kitarović on her appointment

and invited her to visit Armenia this autumn. The diplomats discussed the development of cooperation between NATO and Armenia in public diplomacy and raising public awareness of Armenia’s defence and security improvements and of the contribution of Armenian peacekeepers to NATO missions." Grabar-Kitarović image from article

Sohn Jie-ae's priorities - Oh Young-jin, koreatimes.co.kr: "There is no better choice than Sohn Jie-ae for the daunting job of leading Arirang TV, Korea’s supposed window to the world, because revamping Arirang will require the expertise and experience of somebody with Sohn’s stature. Actually, the former CNN Seoul bureau chief expressed her concern about whether she could adroitly handle the tough task of leading the state-run multi-lingual channel during a telephone conversation a couple of days ago in a humble manner. ... Arirang is suffering from a set of chronic diseases ranging from identity crisis among the staff and its audience and loss of relevance in a broader context of society to financial difficulty that arrests its development. Someone like Sohn with her background and creativity is the most suitable one to fix the situation. ... What is crucial now is that Sohn sets up a merit-based selection system that can be continued with those who come after her.

This will establish a precious precedent of independence for broadcasters from the influence of those in power and help lay the groundwork for the search for solutions to other issues that have plagued Arirang ― a strong sense of purposelessness among its staff that is testified by a high turnover rate and reflected in some of its programming that perplexes viewers, sometimes making them wonder why they watch Arirang in the first place. Sohn has the ability to do it. In doing so, she will be able to uplift Korea’s public diplomacy - helping the rest of the world gain a better understanding of Korea. Her skills and extensive training will increase the chance for Korea’s initiatives and culture to be accepted globally in a coherent manner and strengthen its leadership position. Sohn should aim high, she has the right connections as one, who just finished her stint as a presidential secretary and a spokesman for Korea during the G20 summit last year." Image from 

Audi India to drive the Future of Change design and strategy competition - wheelsunplugged.com: "Audi, the German luxury car manufacturer, in association with theIdeaWorks, has announced the start of registration for the AUDI- INDIA Future of Change design and strategy competitions. The two contests aim to foster and reward creativity and innovation among engineering, design and management students and young professionals. ... INDIA Future of Change is a unique Brand India program launched by theIdeaWorks last year and is supported by the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs. The program uses multiple contest platforms to engage students across the best campuses in the world with contemporary India. IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Bombay, Financial Times, INSEAD, University of Reading, NID Ahmedabad, Stanford Design for Change Center and CIID, Copenhagen are amongst those who are partnering this global effort."

India - Interview of Foreign Secretary to Smt. Kalyani Shankar for All India Radio - isria.com: "Foreign Secretary: Well, I look back at the last two years as a marvellous journey, full of excitement and full of discovery. I speak from the personal point of view and also from the professional point of view. I think it has been an action-packed tenure and the Ministry

and its work have been very much in focus during this period. ... I also look back at the expansion of the public diplomacy division, the Libya evacuation, the completion of the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan, which is the new building of the Ministry of External Affairs." Image from

Ministry invites young foreign journalists for one-month stay in Finland - isria.com: "The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has invited 20 newly graduated or graduating journalism students to attend a four-week media training programme in Finland. The average age of the students on the Foreign Correspondents’ Programme (FCP) is 24 and they come from Armenia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, India, Japan, Germany, Poland, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, the UK, Ukraine, and the United States. ... In the longer term the programme can be seen as an investment in future media relations and as such as an integral part of the Ministry’s efforts in the field of public diplomacy. The first ever training programme was organized in 1990. Since then almost 300 foreign journalists have had the opportunity to learn more about Finland through the media training programme."

Singapore’s Art Soft Power -  Eddie Walsh, diplomat.com: "Southeast Asian artwork, such as Indonesian batik, Vietnamese porcelain, and Thai stoneware, has garnered the attention of traders and collectors from around the world. In contrast, Southeast Asian contemporary art has only emerged on the international scene in the past few decades. Still, despite the relative novelty, awareness of the region’s artists has been growing among important buyers around the world. Like all cultural exports, Southeast Asian contemporary art provides Association of Southeast Asian Nation members with a soft power mechanism for expanding international influence. Yet neither ASEAN nor the majority of ASEAN countries demonstrate a serious commitment to advancing their national interests through contemporary art. Singapore represents the clear exception. ... While

sceptical about the prospects, some experts remain hopeful that more ASEAN countries will someday recognize the economic and diplomatic value of contemporary art. Some even believe this could lead to new investments, such as the promotion of national contemporary artists abroad through formally organized ASEAN travelling exhibitions or coordinated embassy programmes (perhaps modelled after the US State Department’s Art in Embassies Programme). ... While Singapore's prominence may be unrivalled within ASEAN for at least the next decade, Singapore is facing serious competition from China as the centre for Southeast Asian contemporary art. ... For many, though, the rising cultural affluence of Singapore and Chinese isn’t a zero sum competition over wealth, power, and influence. Having two major regional powers promoting Southeast Asian contemporary art promises to increase international interest and demand. Uncaptioned image from article

Socialite Spotlight - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "My friend and PD classmate Katherine (KK) Keith

was highlighted in the glossies: Wiles Magazine did a profile on this lovely, talented public diplomatess in its Socialite Spotlight.  What the mag didn't mention is KK's pet project spearheading Socialites Without Borders." Keith image from

Cohen - The Dangers of an Israeli Apology to Turkey - calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com: "Efraim Cohen's career as a U.S. diplomat spanned nearly 25 years, and included assignments to London, Capetown, La Paz, Tel Aviv, and Baghdad. He retired from the diplomatic corps after his second tour in Tel Aviv - as Cultural Attache - and now lives permanently in Israel, where he is a Senior Fellow at Bar-Ilan University's Center for International Communications, and a Fellow at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. He is also an adviser to the U.S. Department of State's Office of Civil Rights. Mr. Cohen writes on Israel, the Middle East and public diplomacy."


Lowering America’s War Ceiling? Imperial Psychosis on Display - Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: So here’s a question at a moment when financial mania has Washington by the throat: How would you define the state of mind of our war-makers, who are carrying on as if trillion-dollar wars were an American birthright, as if the only sensible role for the United States was to eternally police the planet, and as if garrisoning U.S. troops, corporate mercenaries, and special operations forces in scores and scores of countries was the essence of life as it should be lived on this planet?

Pentagon Faces Possibility of Hundreds of Billions in Spending Cuts Over 10 Years - Elizabeth Bumiller, New York Times: Under the terms of the debt ceiling deal, agreed to on Sunday by Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders to avoid an impending default by the United States, so-called security spending would be capped at $684 billion in 2012, compared with $689 billion

that is being spent this year. Security spending includes the Pentagon, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs and intelligence spending, among others. Image from

The Obama Downgrade, Alphabetically H is for Hillary, who would have made a better president - B. Stephens, Wall Street Journal: "Snapshots from President Obama's efforts to improve America's standing in the world, 923 days into his administration: A is for the Arab world, and our standing in it: This year, Zogby International found that 5% of Egyptians had a favorable view of the U.S. In 2008, when George W. Bush was president, it was 9%. ... G is for Guantanamo, which remains open, and for Gadhafi, who remains in power, and for Greece, which offers a vision of America's future if we don't reform our entitlement state. ... L is for Laden, Osama bin. The president's greatest triumph, which will forever put him one notch—if only one notch—above Jimmy Carter. ... Z is for zero, which is the likelihood that one of the current GOP hopefuls will defeat Mr. Obama in 2012."

A ‘sign of weakness’ in the propaganda of war - H.D.S. Greenway, Boston Globe: We may comfort ourselves by saying we are winning the war against the Pashtun insurgents whom we lump together as Taliban. Once, when the war was young, Afghans did not feel they were under a foreign occupation. Now too many of them do. Time is not on our side, and the danger is that we may begin to believe our own propaganda.

Preventing Civil War in Syria: The key is peeling the minority Alawite community away from the Assad mafia - Elliott Abrams, Wall Street Journal: There appears to be no U.S. strategy except prayers that Syria doesn't turn into Libya: a full-fledged civil war. We should end the American equivocation and say clearly that Assad must and will go. We can use our voice and influence to persuade Syria's minorities that they have a secure future after Assad is gone—and help all of Syria's communities agree on the rules for the post-Assad era that is coming.

propaganda on Syria - The Angry Arab News Service: The propaganda for and against the Syrian regime intensifies at a feverish pitch. Syrian regime TV is an insult to anyone's intelligence. AlJazeera continues its propaganda that ignores news: it is now the YouTube channel.

Syria lobbies India to prevent UN condemnation as Italy recalls ambassador: Syria has called on India as chair of the United Nations Security Council not to give into "Western propaganda" about its crackdown on protests, as Italy recalled its ambassador - telegraph.co.uk.

Image from article, with caption: Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad (C) shakes hands with Indian Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna (R) in New Delhi

Propaganda and Warfare in Cyber World - Farzana Shah, paktribune.com: From Pakistan’s perspective, unlike any other conventional threat, cyber warfare is rather a new battle field. Pakistan is not geared nor prepared to respond to this latest threat.

US grows a tree of tension with Iran - Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asian Times: A full-fledged tree of tension with Iran has been nurtured by Washington, firmly rooted in a comprehensive regime of sanctions, military encirclement, propaganda and psychological warfare, and a low-intensity proxy war through ethnic terrorist groups. It is now spiraling toward yet another confrontation in the Middle East.

Official: Iran's Military Power Poses No Threat To World Countries - Bernama: Dismissing the west's propaganda, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parasat said that Tehran's military power poses no threat to its neighbors and other world states.

The Sri Lankan High Commission in Brussels insists upon the European Union to ban the fund raising groups on behalf of the LTTE - slbc.lk: The Sri Lankan High Commission in Brussels requests once again from the European Union to ban the groups those who raise funds and engage in propaganda activities on behalf of the LTTE.

Why Government Rhetoric and Propaganda Might Divide Sri Lanka - groundviews.org: Sri Lanka’s “propaganda counter offensive based on true facts” imagines Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty as under threat of attack by the EU, the US and the UN and envisions her in a cold war of sorts.

Baer On Internet Freedom - Editorials, Voice of America: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Daniel Baer testified recently before the U.S. Helsinki Commission in Washington on ensuring a free and open Internet within the regions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

"The United States champions Internet freedom because it derives from universal and cherished rights — the freedoms of speech, assembly, and association," Deputy Assistant Secretary Baer said. "An open Internet gives people a neutral platform from which to express their legitimate aspirations and shape their own destiny. We believe that people in every country deserve to be able to take part in building a more peaceful, prosperous, and democratic society." Image from article, with caption: Chinese youth use computers at an Internet cafe in Beijing

The Myth of Russian Mafia in Latin America - Nil Nikandrov, tiwy.com: Washington continues to sell Cold War-era stereotypes – the images of Russia as an evil country and a nuclear-armed monster - to Latin American countries. US-made computer games and movies

supplied in quantities to Latin America employ the story line by which the Russian mafia grabs Russia's nuclear arsenal and puts it to work for global blackmail. The message the Empire thus sends to the continent reads that Russians are disreputable and treacherous partners to be avoided at all costs. Image from article

Filmmakers play pivotal role in 2.0 society - Iain Alexander, filmindustrynetwork.biz:
Films are becoming an interactive experience thanks to web 2.0 and more than ever people are turning to visual creativity as a communication tool. It is no secret that movies have been used as propaganda tools since the dawn of motion picture history, but their use has evolved. From feature comedies to shorts, infomercials,

political messages and how-tos, films are the medium that create a connections between people. Why is film playing a pivotal role in today’s highly connected society? Simple. Moving images tell a bigger story than words. Having a picture or conversation in text using chat is just one step in the interactive game of the web. Now youtube, Facebook, and pretty much any other social network is hardwired to video. 2.0 is not new, but people are still getting to grips with what video means on the web. In a way you could say filmmakers hold the ‘interactive’ keys to the way persons experience information. Image from article

CUBATV: photos of Cuban televisions and environs - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing: Simone Lueck‘s gallery of photos of TV

in Cuban families’ homes are in print in a handsome volume, recently out from Mark Batty: “In Cuba, television is the most important communication medium and a national pastime. No matter that the TV sets themselves are outdated, pre-revolution relics imported from America or sets from Russia over fifteen years old; green-hued beasts jimmy-rigged with ancient computer parts and fantastically adorned like religious altars.”


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