Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August 9

"A picture magazine is long overdue in this country. A war, any sort of war is going to be natural promotion for a picture magazine."

--Time picture editor Daniel Longwell, in a 1935 memo to his boss Henry Luce during preparations for what became Life magazine; cited in Alan Brinkley, The Publisher: Heny Luce and His American Century (2010), p. 210; above image from

--Image from


North Korean propaganda broadcast for children


Is Diplomacy Broken? With too many hot spots around the world and too few seasoned staffers, the U.S. Foreign Service is coming up shorthanded - Phil Primack, tufts.edu: "As Hillary Clinton put it in her 2009 confirmation hearing to become Secretary of State, 'We must use what has been called ‘smart power,’ the full range of tools at our disposal—diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural—picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy.' But the vanguard of American diplomacy, the Department of State’s Foreign Service, faces strong headwinds as it tries to fill that important role in a world that changes with geopolitical cyber-speed. Budget battles are hitting nearly all sectors of government, but the State Department also faces ingrained skepticism among some members of Congress and others about the worth and work of foreign aid and diplomacy. Indeed, April’s keep-the-federal-government-open budget deal cut President Obama’s funding request for the State Department

and other foreign operations by about 15 percent, or $8.4 billion. ... Jeff Levine, director of the State Department’s Office of Recruitment, Examination and Employment, agrees that his agency needs to boost Foreign Service staffing and training, though he also recognizes political reality. 'State embraces any recommendation that highlights career-long training,' he said. 'We are asking our officers to assume a lot more responsibility, and we need to train them for every assignment they are about to do. We, too, compare ourselves to the military, which has large blocks of time and budget to train their officers.' ... [A]bout 22,000 people took the latest Foreign Service exam, which is offered three times a year. The roughly 40 percent who pass that written test face further hurdles, including evaluation panels and an oral exam. Then they must pass security and other clearances. 'Only about three to four percent of the applicants who start the process end up with the job,' said Levine. 'And we expect we will not be hiring at the numbers we have been' in recent years. This leaves people like ... Patrick Elliot ... —the kind of talented, experienced young people needed to make smart power happen—uncertain about whether they will ever reach the end of the long road to becoming a Foreign Service officer. ... Elliot was also attracted by the opportunity to be on the front line of American diplomacy. 'I love the variety of the work that Foreign Service officers do—reporting on domestic and international politics and engaging local leaders, providing crucial services to Americans abroad, implementing U.S. public diplomacy abroad,' he said. 'It’s an exciting job at a challenging time.' But growing pessimism about his chances of ever getting in .... has led him to look for 'opportunities elsewhere,' including other government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and private-sector consultancies." Image from article

Sports Diplomacy - World-Wide-Matel: "I wrote about music in public diplomacy a few posts back. This one is about sports diplomacy. ... This one [in Brazil] was also depended [sic] on the generosity of individual Americans, this time NBA basketball players.

This program was also a great deal for us [presumably the State Department]; it cost us absolutely nothing except our time to support the activities and publicize them. ... Sports, like music, engage people that we [?] often cannot engage with our programs. Also like the music, we [?] could not possible [sic] afford to pay the participants what their talent is worth, so we [?] are grateful that they give it freely." Image from article

VOA Cannot Retreat from China - Jing Zhang, freemediaonline.org: "The Internet offers undeniable advantages. However, it cannot replace radio broadcasting. In today’s China, foreign radio broadcasts in Chinese are still a crucial source of outside information for the majority of the population who lack access to the Internet. Voice of America not only provides indispensable and truthful news reporting, it also upholds the image of the United States and is a valuable antidote to the Great Foreign Propaganda Plan of the Chinese regime. Not only would the elimination of VOA’s Chinese language

service be contrary to the spirit and values of America’s Founding Fathers, it would inflict irreparable harm on generations of dissidents and advocates of freedom and democracy, and silence the most vulnerable groups in Chinese society—the women and children. Women’s Rights in China urges the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration to face the reality of the China of today, to maintain Voice of America’s Chinese language service and to leave a legacy that could stand up to history. Jing Zhang suffered five years in prison for her belief in freedom and democracy. After leaving China, she built a career for twenty years as a newspaper editor in Hong Kong and the United States. ... She founded Women’s Rights in China in 2007 to popularize the concept of women’s rights and advocate for the weak and underprivileged in China." Zhang image from article

Siria, Perduca: viva le "armi di attrazione di massa" di Anonymous! Adesso il mondo sia davvero dalla parte dei siriani, si riconvochi il Consiglio di Sicurezza - radicali.it: "Le intrusioni telematiche di Anonymous ai danni dei siti del regime siriano ci dicono che ancora l'uso della armi di attrazione di massa è ancora possibile e che la contropropaganda pro-nonviolenza,

o la public diplomacy o comunque la si voglia chiamare, può ancora essere un'alternativa all'uso della forza o alla paralisi politica." Uncaptioned image from article

Communicating Change Through Media - blasoplecenter.com: "One of the important skills that a civil service executive must possess is the ability to communicate using different forms of media. The challenge and opportunities confronting the bureaucracy are on how best to promote the message of positive change and good governance, based on the principles and agenda of the new administration. CESOs, given their stature in the bureaucracy, are often tapped to be advocates of government programs and services. They also play a key role in public diplomacy which basically revolves around the art of political communications to build networks of support within and beyond traditional constituencies. The Blas F. Ople

Policy Center and Training Institute [Philippines] in partnership with the Career Executive Service Board (CESB), has developed a two-day seminar cum workshop to equip our career executives with the knowledge and skills needed to communicate in such a fast-paced media environment. The BFO Center intends to tap media and public relations practitioners to ensure that all discussions are aligned with current practices and realities on the ground." Image from article 

- The View from Taiwan: "EVENTS: Jerome Keating, next meet up is SUNDAY Aug 21. Speaker is internationally experienced doctor on public diplomacy and health."


In Afghanistan, the rise and fall of ‘Little America’ - Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post: What will be the legacy of America’s effort — this time so costly in blood as well as treasure — to transform Afghanistan over the past decade? A high-priced endeavor, with outsize goals, conceived in partnership with Afghans seeking rapid change, that leaves behind but a modest contribution.

A false sense of national security: A premature triumphalism may put the nation at risk. A weakened Al Qaeda can still attack, and so can a slew of other terrorist groups - Max Boot, latimes.com: U.S. government officials are probably premature when they rush to proclaim,

as the Washington Post reported, that Al Qaeda is "on the brink of collapse." Image from article, with caption: In this photograph taken on May 5, Pakistani seminary students gather in front of the final hiding place of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. The U.S. government shouldn't be so hasty to declare victory over Al Qaeda and other radical groups.

War, Famine And Facebook: Deadly Propaganda Of Somalia's Al-Shabaab Terrorists: Millions of people in Somalia are suffering from hunger – not least because militant al-Shabaab Islamists are refusing to let aid organizations in with food supplies. Meanwhile, the group with ties to al-Qaeda is seeking converts to their cause with a bizarre social media campaign - Christian Putsch, Die Welt: Systematically,

al-Shabaab leaders use other channels to recruit new members, such as emotional speeches or DVD presentations at religious assemblies. The propaganda is mostly produced in English so as to reach as wide an audience as possible. The organization is even active on Facebook. Although the social network platform forbids content that incites violence, Islamic groups get around that. Al-Shabaab, for example, set its page up as the "Al-Kataib Media Foundation" and uploaded its videos there. The page has been taken down, but that won’t stop them: the content will be copied onto a new page and become available online again. Image from article, with caption: Refugees in Limen, Somalia

The War Against Israel Goes On - Guy Millière, Hudson New York: Propaganda and disinformation have not stopped. We have now reached the next phase : the effects of propaganda and misinformation. These are firmly anchored in the minds of millions, and have begun to take root in reality. The aim is still to wipe Israel off the map, but to do it by using other means: demonization, suggesting that Israel is a criminal state whose demise is perhaps even necessary; exploitation of prejudices; boycotts that, if pursued literally, would only deprive the boycotters of medicine and technology that they they have no intention of going without; willful blindness over both the history and the facts of the growth of the state of Israel, and falsifications leading to other falsifications.

North Korea's carrot-and-stick strategy: North Korea's theatrics are aimed at completing its revolution and irreversibly evicting U.S. troops from the peninsula - Sung-Yoon Lee, latimes.com: By now, 20 years into the North Korean nuclear saga, it should be apparent that Pyongyang has persistently sought to gain the upper hand over its adversaries through periodic military provocations and peace ploys. It's a strategy that North Korea will not abandon for short-term rewards such as aid or relaxed sanctions, and certainly not for the gift of a peace treaty.

İstanbul court issues arrest warrant for propaganda website generals - todayszaman.com: An İstanbul court on Monday issued arrest warrants for 14 suspects, including seven senior generals,

as part of an investigation into allegations that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had set up websites to disseminate anti-government propaganda. Image from article, with caption: Former 1st Army Commander retired Gen. Hasan Iğsız, Lt. Gen. Mehmet Eröz, Aegean Army Corp Commander Gen. Nusret Taşdeler and Maj. Gen. Hıfzı Çubuklu


--From Boing Boing, under the headline "More Sad Guys On Trading Floor."

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