Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 28

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"

--Albert Einstein; Einstein image from


The US in the Obama Era: Superpower or Doormat?‎ - Helle Dale, "Regrettably, 'It was only a speech' applies to so much of the Obama Administration’s diplomatic efforts, going back to

President Obama’s hapless attempt to secure the 2012 Olympics for his hometown of Chicago in the first months of his presidency. ... It will be the hard but necessary job for the next U.S. President—whoever it may be—to restore the international standing and credibility of the United States. Preserving the nation’s military strength, bolstering its international diplomacy, and using public diplomacy to remind the world of U.S. achievements and clout should all be a part of that task." Image from

Proactive response‎ - Frontier Post: "[I]t is only the Chinese who have spoke up for Pakistan amidst ... American blusterous onslaught. No voice in its support has from any other world capital. If at all something is happening on the diplomatic channels on this score, that is the official echelons’ closely guarded secret. But clearly this global reticence is all due to this country’s official hierarchy’s utter fall in the public diplomacy domain. Pakistan’s case

is very strong and impressive. Only its hierarchy has failed to put it across to the world in any coherent, sustained or orchestrated manner. But the Americans have employed this public diplomacy weapon shrewdly and cunningly to put Pakistan in the dock for their own grand failures in Afghanistan. ... Indeed, so apathetic has this Islamabad hierarchy been to public diplomacy that never has it bothered to demolish the myth of US aid to Pakistan. The insiders say the actual reality about this aid is very unpalatable; firstly, because the figure being cited by American panjandrums is far too bloated; and then much of it is just reimbursement of what Pakistan has spent from its own pocket on fighting America’s false war on terror. Yet in the face of Islamabad’s apathy, the Americans have played up this aid charade so shrilly that the world has come to view the Pakistanis as very dishonest people who have eaten up the American money without delivering what they were expected to." Image from

Dale Carnegie of the Middle East - John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus: "U.S. democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East have been based on a bizarre notion: that U.S. society can serve as a model for the region. Talk about a tough sell. Congress is a bruising rugby scrum, and the U.S. economy is a shambles. U.S. warplanes and drones target Muslims abroad, and Islamophobia permeates the political discourse at home. Washington has supported Arab dictators and stood by Israel through thick and thin. We’re telling the world about the benefits of fruits and vegetables and then turning around to sell what looks like wormy apples and rotten tomatoes. No wonder that U.S. public diplomacy has largely fallen flat in the Middle East. As the U.S. brand sits dusty on the shelves, consumers in the Middle East are eagerly lining up for the competing product: Turkey. ... Standing up to Israel is not the only policy that has endeared Turkey to the Arab world. 'Starting with the Jasmine Revolution, Turkey began to condemn violent crackdowns and encourage leaders to listen to the voice of the people,' writes Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) contributor Richard Javad Heydarian in Arab Spring, Turkish Harvest. 'Ankara explicitly welcomed the strongly secular, populist, and even liberal character of the popular uprisings, setting itself apart from other regional powers.'"

Backpack Diplomacy - Di Wu, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Before travelling to Beijing, United States Ambassador Gary Locke bought coffee at a Seattle airport Starbucks while carrying his backpack. Several days later, United States Vice President Joe Biden had lunch at a small Beijing eatery after talks with high-level Chinese leaders. The two scenes seemed ordinary to Americans, but they were so unusual for the Chinese people that stories about the two American officials went viral. The mainstream media grouped the two stories together as they both represented informality and down-to-earth behaviors of the U.S. officials. Some Chinese netizens even compared them with Chinese officials’ lavish behaviors. The most quoted article was Chen Weihua’s writing in China Daily that 'in China even a township chief, which is not really that high up in the hierarchy, will have a chauffeur and a secretary to carry his bag.' However, close scrutiny of the two stories reveals that it caused different reactions among Chinese netizens, as

Ambassador Locke received overwhelmingly positive comments, while public opinion of Mr. Biden’s lunch was negative. ...One of the obvious reasons behind the different feedbacks is that while Locke’s visit to Starbucks was authentic, Biden’s visit to the small restaurant was intentional. Genuine behaviors have better effects because audiences are not favorable to contrived plots. More specifically, the Chinese public is familiar and even tired with political shows conducted by Chinese leaders. It is not rare to see Chinese leaders going to small villages and having simple lunches with villagers. Biden’s lunch only added one more example to that list. On the contrary, seeing a high-level official with his family at an airport is unusual, let alone seeing him order coffee by himself. Furthermore, as Locke later said to the press, buying himself coffee and carrying his own bags is common for him. This genuineness earned him praise. ... [S]ocial networking sites as media channels are critical to successful public diplomacy. Biden’s 'noodle diplomacy' was first picked up by Chinese state media, but Locke’s backpack photo was taken and posted onto Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) by a Chinese entrepreneur. His intention was not to show the down-to-earth side of Locke. His original microblog post says he saw the Ambassador at the Seattle airport and wished him good luck. People tend to trust their friends more than traditional media, especially in a country with information censorship. In such countries, projecting information through traditional media may weaken the effectiveness of the message, while people-to-people communication can be more powerful." Locke image from

BBG may delay birthday present for PRC; no immediate RIFs of VOA journalists - "BBG Watch has learned that due to overwhelming protests, including a full bipartisan rebuke by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Broadcasting Board of Governors may delay the planned termination of Voice of America radio and TV broadcasts to China. BBG executives initially picked October 1, the start of the new U.S. government fiscal year, as the date for ending these broadcasts. This is also the anniversary of the founding of communist China, something that these foreign policy, journalism, public diplomacy and Congressional relations experts apparently did not know. They are also accomplished and sensitive managers, not. They chose Valentine’s Day to tell 45 VOA China Branch reporters that they will soon lose their jobs because China no longer needs their TV and radio news. We hear that 45 VOA journalists who specialize in human rights reporting to China, whom the BBG wants to fire, will not receive their pink slips this week and may be safe for the time being, but we don’t know for how long."

Voice of America likes Facebook - Intelligence Online (subscription)

Members suggested that the United States restrictions on Chinese Reporters - "Most Americans think that China is the world’s most likely to challenge the United States of America countries, Related Topic: American media around Europe but look on China for help, many people even think that China will replace the dominant position of the United states.

The United States lawmakers finally realized this challenge. This is not only the military and economic challenges, but also extends to the media and public diplomacy. At least, Congress determined that some people face these challenges, the United States to ensure that the Chinese government will not be brazen opportunism that we did not examine media freedom and the chance to succeed in the environment." Image from

Looking Ahead to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit - Christopher Ford, "HEU [highly-enriched uranium] removal has been a major U.S. policy priority, with numerous successes, for many years – with 22 research reactors being converted under the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) program created in May 2004 by President Bush. ... But all is not entirely rosy. The most dramatic recent setback has been in Belarus, which amidst some fanfare in December 2010 signed an agreement with the United States whereby it would transfer its HEU back to Russia in return for supplies of LEU [low-enriched uranium]. ... Thinking that how he brutalizes his own people is nobody’s business but his own, Lukashenko

did not take kindly to this – and promptly suspended the HEU agreement. Belarus now says that it will resume HEU relinquishment only if Washington lifts the human rights sanctions. This is obviously a setback for the NSS agenda, but it really points to a bigger issue than just the misbehavior of one particular dictator: the potential moral hazard problems that can arise when showy multilateral public diplomacy initiatives get entangled with the acquisitive politics of a wayward few." Lukashenko image from

Enough talk, Julia Gillard, time to do something‎ - Greg Sheridan, The Australian: "While our aid budget balloons beyond the wildest dreams of bureaucrats who struggle to find ways to throw the money away fast enough, we cannot fund a diplomatic service even in Asia. The French and Germans do more on public diplomacy in Asia. We do not have consulates across China and India and Indonesia, as we should have. We do not even have an embassy in Mongolia. We do not need another inquiry to tell us this, we need a government with some sense of national priorities."

Weekly school news, Sept. 29 -- Ambassador talk — Bangor Daily News: "BANGOR — Retired U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, in Gracie Theatre at Husson University. His topic will be 'Is the Monroe Doctrine Still Relevant — Adapting U.S. Policy to a New Reality.' ... As former ambassador to Venezuela, Duddy

is one of the Department of State’s most senior Latin American specialists with broad experience in trade, energy, public affairs and crisis management. He oversaw one of the most complex political, economic and public diplomacy portfolios in the Western Hemisphere. Duddy image from

The Privilege of Doing Good - Michele F. Gartner, Social "I’ve studied power and privilege since I was an undergrad, writing a thesis on white privilege, and a graduate thesis on restoring power to the public, in public diplomacy.

I do not admit at all to having the answers or the expertise on how to overcome some of these challenges. But I do know that once aware of our privilege and of the power it wields, we do have the possibility of moving forward." Gartner image from her blog


Kennedy Center Criticized for Staging Red Ballet: ‎Work glorifies Maoist campaign that murdered hundreds of thousands - Matthew Robertson, The Epoch Times: The communist regime in China sometimes has a funny way of building international understanding. Last weekend, for example, propaganda and cultural czars took the bold step of holding a Cultural Revolution-era “red ballet” at the Kennedy Center in Washington. The ballet, called The Red Detachment of Women, glorifies the history of the communist land reform campaign in China, which included torture, arson,

live burials, smashing, and theft directed at “class enemies.” Image from article, with caption: Chinese human rights activist Wei Jingsheng testifies before the House of Representatives' Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in 2009. Wei spoke of China's communist propaganda ballet "The Red Detachment of Women," presented recently at the prestigious Kennedy Center, as "very dangerous."

Russian Propaganda Station Supports US Protestors - Kremlin propaganda station Russia Today is openly supporting the tiny, but growing wave of anarchist/socialist/communist led protests currently building across America. In true Soviet style, the Russians are trying to spin the actions of a few leftist malcontents as the beginnings of a mass movement against the existing American social order.

From the Russia Today website: "Cops might be cracking down on Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City, but activists are now bringing their big-bank bashing across the country with demonstrations springing up from coast-to-coast. More than a week after protests began in Lower Manhattan, the Occupy Wall Street movement is moving, well, off of Wall Street. Both Los Angeles, California and Chicago, Illinois have both hosted demonstrators in the days since the first protest kicked off in New York, and now dozens of more locales across America are expected to be swarmed upon by citizens sick and tired of corrupt corporations and financial institutions run amuck by mismanagement and greed." Image from article

Western media criticized for negative propaganda‎ - Pakistan Observer: Peshawar—A one day conference on problems of peace and pashtun was held at Pashto Department University of Peshawar in which speakers uprooted lack of tolerance, diversion from its own cultural norms and lack of development in education and manufacturing sector as the main cause of turmoil on Pashtun soil. They said, peace is becoming a global challenge but the big powers are not serious to take long term measures to annihilate its very basic causes and in most cases they themselves are becoming culprits in creating a war like situation in the under privileged countries. The participants criticized western media for a negative propaganda against pashtuns and their soil, and blamed them of presenting a false picture of pashtuns to the world, thus bringing a bad name to them. They said that western media is manipulating the facts while the exact scenario is that actually external powers are using our soil as a battle field for their long term financial and strategic gains.

Al-Qa'ida online magazine lauds September 11 attacks‎ - Paul Maley, The Australian: Al-Qa'ida has marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks by publishing a special edition of its online propaganda magazine Inspire, dedicated to the "greatest special operation of all time."

Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula, the al-Qa'ida franchise behind the English-language magazine, also takes the Islamic Republic of Iran to task for spreading "ridiculous" conspiracy theories about the 2001 attacks on the US. Image from

Al Qaeda To Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Stop Pitching 9/11 Conspiracy Theories - Al Qaeda’s propaganda division reportedly wants Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to shut his big yapper. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, Al Qaeda propagandists are sick of Ahmadinejad saying the U.S. government was part of a conspiracy that carried out the 9/11 attacks. The Al Qaeda sympathizers reportedly published a lengthy opinion piece in their English-language magazine Inspire. Abu Suhail, the author, reportedly suggests that Ahmadinejad is trying to deflect credit for the 9/11 attacks from Al Qaeda because, in essence, Iran is jealous.

Chinese Mistrust State TV's Claim to Reform Itself‎ - Fang Xiao, The Epoch Times: Faced with a growing public credibility crisis, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece China Central Television (CCTV) says it will “reformat” one of its primary news programs to be more in touch with the lives and livelihoods of common people. But Chinese people think that’s beyond the realm of probability.

CCTV, one of the main organs used by the communist regime to disseminate Party propaganda and shape public opinion, is planning to make a change to its primary evening news program “Xinwen Lianbo” next year by increasing coverage of common people’s lives, Chinese media reported on Sept. 21. Although the news program is aired daily by most mainland TV channels, many Chinese say they have stopped watching it years ago; as it is controlled by the Communist Party they have no trust in its reporting. Image from article, with caption: The China Central Television (CCTV) complex is pictured behind a barbed-wire fence in Beijing on Aug. 13, 2010.

‘Bully for Garibaldi’ - Don H. Doyle, New York Times: Appointed minister to Belgium by President Abraham Lincoln, Shelton Sanford also served, unofficially, as head of American secret service operations in Europe, running spies, fostering propaganda and planning covert activities. Sanford had arrived in Italy with an offer, authorized by President Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward, inviting Giusseppe, Garibaldi, the celebrated champion of Italian unificationto serve as major general in the Union Army. It was the purpose of the war that seemed to concern Garibaldi most. “Could slavery not be abolished?” he asked Sanford. If it was not being fought to emancipate the slaves, he told

Sanford, “the war would appear to be like any civil war in which the world at large could have little interest or sympathy.” Since his arrival in Europe, Sanford had been trying to tell Seward that Europeans expected this to be a war of liberation, without which they would as soon see the nation fall apart. But to Garibaldi’s question Sanford could do no more than explain Lincoln’s legalistic apology for the federal government’s limited constitutional power to interfere with slavery in the states. Sanford image from article

1 comment:

muebles zamora said...

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