Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 13

"I can't stand people who switch on the record player as soon as you arrive for drinks. Either we listen to Mozart or Vivaldi, or we talk."

--J. G. Ballard, cited in The Times Literary Supplement (September 30, 2011), p. 6; image from


State-Sponsored Terrorism Threat ‎- James Jay Carafano, "On October 11 in New York, the Justice Department charged Manssor Arbabsiar, an Iranian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, and Gholam Shakuri with an array of charges related to a plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir, by bombing a public venue in Washington, D.C. ... While the foiling of this plot demonstrates that effective counterterrorism investigative and information-sharing
tools are essential for stopping attacks against the U.S. before they come to fruition, dealing with state-sponsored terrorism demands additional measures. The Administration should [inter alia]: ... Target public diplomacy to expose the regime’s human rights abuses. Such a campaign should document the abuses and aid victims, step up broadcasting and support for independent Iranian broadcasters outside the country to expose corruption of officials and the regime’s lavish aid to terrorists, and educate Iranians about genuine representative democracy." See also. Image from

The cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran‎ - Rob Sobhani, CNN: "After consulting with its Persian Gulf allies, U.S. policy towards Iran should consist of five simultaneous pillars. First, President Obama should appoint an Iran Czar to coordinate the overall goals of his approach to Iran. Second, should the regime in Tehran wish to talk with the U.S., diplomacy should always be on the table as an option. Third, impose targeted economic sanctions such as freezing the enormous assets of the regime’s leaders hidden in Swiss, Canadian and Asian banks. Fourth, while Washington should keep a close eye on the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, our public diplomacy should refocus on the violation of human rights in Iran. Finally, serious consideration should also be given to the wishes of the Iranian people."

Bipartisan Policy Center Releases Groundbreaking Economic and Public Diplomacy Recommendations for U.S. Policymakers to Enhance Relations with Egypt and Offer a Path Forward for Democracy - press release, MarketWatch: "General Jim Jones, Ambassador James Glassman, Secretary Dan Glickman Discuss Challenges and Solutions to the Crisis in Egypt The Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) National Security Project held a panel discussion today on the future of the country, its implications for the region and the challenges for U.S.-Egypt relations following last weekend's sectarian unrest in Egypt. The discussion followed the Project's release of two papers that offer concrete, constructive recommendations for U.S. policy going forward. Investing in the Revolution: Economics and Prospects for Democracy in Egypt, authored by BPC Senior Fellow and former National Security Advisor General (ret.) Jim Jones, assesses Egypt's economic crisis and its impact on democratic development in the post-revolution state. Strategic Public Diplomacy: The Case of Egypt, a case study of BPC's Strategic Public Diplomacy Initiative (SPDI), co-chaired by Ambassador James Glassman and former Secretary Dan Glickman, analyzes U.S. public diplomacy toward Egypt over the past 15 years and examines how such diplomacy can serve U.S strategic objectives today. ... Today's discussion also focused on the strategic importance of reaching out to Egyptian citizens through public diplomacy. 'Egypt is an important test case for examining the efficacy of U.S. public diplomacy,' said Glassman, who served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy for President George W. Bush. BPC's Strategic Public Diplomacy Initiative's case study of Egypt is part of a longer project that examines the effectiveness of United States' public diplomacy in achieving strategic foreign policy objectives. ... SPDI analysis asserts that the U.S. did support the development of democracy in Egypt, and that public diplomacy efforts in Egypt have gained traction since 2001. But it also found that U.S. public diplomacy efforts are not fully aligned with overall strategic objectives. According to SPDI co-chair Dan Glickman, former CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, 'U.S. public diplomacy has suffered from a lack of strategic direction. Even when U.S. foreign policy objectives are well defined, public diplomacy has struggled to adopt policies that support those goals.

We have focused more on the means of communications without thorough consideration of the message.' Key Recommendations: BPC's Strategic Public Diplomacy Initiative recommends three core lessons for policy makers and practitioners of public diplomacy: Public diplomacy--reaching out to non-government audiences--can complement official bilateral relations. Public diplomacy requires a strategy for achieving not just outreach to broad audiences but ways of advancing U.S. goals among those audiences. Public diplomacy requires thoughtful messaging that advances its strategy. ... BPC's National Security Project launched the Strategic Public Diplomacy Initiative this year to help re-conceptualize America's public diplomacy and outreach to audiences around the world. The Project's steering committee seeks to develop recommendations on ways to deploy U.S. public diplomacy to meet 21st century strategic challenges like the crisis in Egypt. To learn more about the Project, visit" Image from

Broadcasting Board of Governors to Meet on October 13 - "At the October 13 meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the Board will focus on its plans to restructure international broadcasting. The Board will consider recommendations based on the year long strategic review as well as other Board operations including committee membership and the 2011 Board schedule.

The International Broadcasting Bureau Director and directors of the Office of Technology, Services and Innovation, and the Office of New Media will update the Board on agency operations and innovations; broadcast executives will update the Board on programming and coverage issues. There will also be discussion of BBG journalists who have been harassed or jailed as a result of their work. The meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m., will be webcast both live and on-demand, at" Via; image from

Adapting to a Porous World - Benjamin Ho, "According to Matthew Armstrong, executive director of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the changing information and human environment has shaped the way communities relate with each other. Older forms of thinking, which assume territorial boundaries and bureaucratic control as fundamental to political governance, are being replaced by alternative social and political configurations. As Armstrong put it: ‘Today’s world of communication has increasingly porous boundaries (resulting in) the formation of new forms of non-national diasporas.’"

Experts call for public diplomacy development in China ‎- Mu Xuequan, Xinhua: "Experts from the United States and Britain discussed the development of public diplomacy in China at a seminar hosted in Beijing on Wednesday, stating that they hope China will invest more in developing public diplomacy. Public diplomacy, also known as second-track or 'people-to-people' diplomacy, is a relatively new discipline and profession, but it has become more valuable as countries become more interconnected, said Ernest Wilson, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the 'Public Diplomacy in The Age of Globalization' seminar. As China has developed rapidly in recent years, it needs make more efforts to build understanding and trust with people from other nations, Wilson said. However, China's public diplomacy has so far failed to catch up to that of Western countries, he said. ... Alistair M. Michie, secretary-general of the 48 Group Club 'The Icebreakers,' the most senior British economic and trade promotion organization to China, said he hopes China can learn from Britain's experience, as Britain has a long track record of success in public diplomacy. More people-to-people communication will boost respect

for different cultural values between China and Britain, Michie said. 'There is a deep need for investment and training in order to build up the China's public diplomacy capability, and the need is urgent,' Michie said. 'China's public diplomacy, which is just on the rise, has gained support from government, non-government organizations, universities and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC),' said Zhao Qizheng, a member of the National Committee of the CPPCC, adding that China's public diplomacy personnel will make more efforts to fill the gap between China and Western countries. ... The seminar was held by the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the CPPCC National Committee. More than 100 experts and scholars attended the seminar." Image from, with caption: Zhao Qizheng (center), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Alistair M. Michie (left), honorary secretary of the 48 Group Club of Britain and Ernest J. Wilson III, dean of Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, attend a forum on "Public Diplomacy in the Age of Globalization" in Beijing on Wednesday. See also.

US reporter: China needs more efforts to explain itself‎ - People's Daily Online: "People's Daily Online conducted an interview with U.S. journalist Andre Vitchek, who recently wrote 'The West Perfecting Its Techniques to Hurt China', in which he criticized the role the Western press plays in bashing China. Below is the interview: PD Online: China has now put more emphasis on public diplomacy. For example, it has established foreign language television stations in the U.S. And China's national promotional film has been broadcasted in the U.S, etc. Would you say something about this? Vitchek: This is absolutely essential! It is the only way forward. China is the biggest country in the world, the second largest economy and enormous alternative system. It has to use all means to make people all over the world familiar with its thoughts, plans, and dreams! China has to promote its arts, its philosophy, show people its ancient cities, its countryside, through television and other media. It should make children all over the world fall in love with its fairytales, its wonderful dragons

and other mythical creatures. It should show Chinese films, open more cultural centers all over the world. This would have tremendous psychological impact. I saw it in Australia, for instance, where Chinese Confucius Institute in Sydney offers free performances of Chinese Opera periodically, where there are great art galleries with contemporary Chinese art (like White Rabbit) and entire gardens with Chinese landscaping. Urbanites in Australia and New Zealand are now much more understanding, much more respectful to China, than in Europe which is mostly ignorant about Chinese culture. ... China needs to do much more. Look at RT (Russia Today). Many people are switching to it, from the BBC and Al-Jazeera. Even where local cable and satellite programs do not carry them life, RT is watched on line. For many people who are disillusioned with Western media, RT is like some dissident channel. They have brilliant talk shows with people like Stiglitz or Chomsky appearing on them. And RT is very respectful, very objective towards China. ... So far, China did very bad job at explaining itself. Many intellectuals in the West either accepted Western propaganda or got convinced, by other means, that China is only interested in business, enriching few. ... I insist that it would help the people in the China itself and all over the world, if Chinese media would get stronger and explain; define what is happening in the country." Image from

Silence falls on Palestine's bid for full UN membership‎ - Francis Matthew, "After the drama of Mahmoud Abbas' presentation of the Palestinian demand to join the United Nations as a full member, almost total silence has fallen. We assume that there is lots of lobbying going on behind closed doors, although we assume that the United States will veto the proposal. We also assume that the State Department is working hard to find an alternative to a flat ‘no', since that would be an embarrassing vote against their own president's clear statement that Palestinian statehood

is a vital security issue for the United States. It may seek to raise the Palestinians from being an observer entity (as they are at present) to being non-member state (like the Vatican, Taiwan and Kosovo) although not to full membership.But all these assumptions might be wrong. The Palestinian leadership may have made their dramatic gesture of seeking full membership in the knowledge that nothing would happen. The startling silence backs this interpretation of events. There is very little public diplomacy happening, and there are no marches in the streets of Arab capitals. The case for Palestinian statehood has not become a popular cause. Image from article

Tehran, Moscow share similar views on Caspian Sea: official‎ - Tehran Times: "Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast

says Iran and Russia hold similar views on the issues relating to the Caspian Sea. Mehmanparast made the remarks during a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in the Russian capital Moscow late on Tuesday. ... During the meeting, Mehmanparast also called Tehran-Moscow ties historical and said the two countries should utilize their great potential to promote mutual cooperation in all spheres including media. ... Elsewhere in his remarks, Mehmanparast called the role of public diplomacy in helping Iran and Russia realize their capacities as prominent and said providing accurate and timely information would prepare the ground for expansion of bilateral ties as well. For his part, Bogdanov described relations with Tehran as close and said Moscow is keen to enhance mutual cooperation in all areas including press and media." Mehmanparast image from article

Is Occupy Wall Street "the the world's first genuine social-media uprising"? And is RT the go-to channel for coverage? - Kim Andrew elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Business Beat: October 12, 2011 - "Silvia Kofler is head of press and public diplomacy at the delegation of the European Union to the United States.

She says the EU needs to solve the debt crisis in Greece, and set conditions for growth and increased financial stability in the Euro countries." Image from article, with caption: Flags of the European Union and Greece

Chasing after Indonesia - Rachelle Nessia, "I ['Philipina journalist'] vigorously attacked the boutiques and department stores, buying up a wardrobe apropos for my IT in Indonesia: blazers and slacks for the courtesy calls to governors and Indonesia's Director General for Information and Public Diplomacy (I assume this is their version of the agency I work for); collared shirts for the tours and museum visits; a long flowy dress and a green pleated skirt for the dinners; and a couple of modest swimsuits for the romp in Bali that will culminate the 10-day trip."

The Deliberate Use of Art Diplomacy - Public Diplomacy: "Later this month our Symposium, Building Bridges: The Tools of Public Diplomacy, will feature a panel discussing art as a tool of public diplomacy. It must be noted, however, that such public diplomacy must be used carefully. The main goal of art as a tool of public diplomacy is to create a common experience among those of different cultures. Art diplomacy doesn’t often have the feel of an imposition of a policy, and often its lack of an explicit governmental message is its selling point. Such a tool can be used to express similar values

in those cultures or even as a simple piece over which to have a conversation. ... In the end, ethical public diplomacy requires us to be honest in our message and reciprocal in our tactics. Art must be no different. Hopefully on October 27th our questions will be answered." Image from


Libya: Has playboy Mutassim Gaddafi been captured by rebels?‎ Confusion as revolutionary forces close in on Mutassim - Tom Leonard, Daily Mail: Confusion has been growing in Libya over reports that Colonel Gaddafi’s son Mutassim was captured trying to flee the ousted leader’s besieged home city of Sirte.

In what would be a propaganda coup for the rebel forces, the playboy - an inveterate womaniser and his father’s national security advisor - was reportedly seized after a four-hour gun battle. Mutassim Gaddafi image from article

North Korean Junket – part 1: [Video] This documentary is a look at a North Korean propaganda march from 2004. The trip was organized by a group called the Korean Friendship Association. A group of westerners are taken on a tour of North Korea in exchange for participating in some propagandistic reunification marches.

Hard-Headed Idealist: The man who drafted the Bill of Rights later helped Thomas Jefferson conduct a back-channel propaganda war [Review of James Madison By Richard Brookhiser] - Aram Bakshian, Wall Street Journal: Madison helped Jefferson conduct a sometimes sordid, back-channel propaganda war against Washington's efforts to establish, with Hamilton's

prodding, a credible federal authority and a thriving national economy. Among other things, Madison enlisted gutter journalists like James Callender to smear leading Federalists, Hamilton in particular. Image from article


Are Americans More Prone to A.D.H.D.? - New York Times: Whether you call it hypochondria or American exceptionalism, the numbers are plain: Americans lead the world in diagnoses of mental health problems. For some conditions, perhaps wealth explains the disparity: in developing nations, more people are focused on pressing needs like food and shelter, making depression a “luxury disorder” in wealthy nations like the United States.

But are there other factors at play for conditions like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, that may be "culture-specific"? Maybe the condition is more common in the United States because the high-energy, risk-taking traits of A.D.H.D. are part of America’s pioneer DNA. Or maybe the same behavior is common elsewhere, but given another label? Some critics would argue that American doctors, teachers and parents are simply too quick to diagnose A.D.H.D. and medicate children. Do the American medical and educational systems inflate the numbers? Image from

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