Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26

"There are few nudities so objectionable as the naked truth."

--Agnes Repplier; on Repplier, see; Repplier image from


Toward a Smarter Power: Moving Beyond the Rhetoric - Justin Polin, World Affairs: "[Bush] Administration officials ... focused on the ideological front of the War on Terror. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, no agency or office in government played a lead role. While there were a number of program attempts—led by former advertising executive Charlotte Beers and Bush loyalists like Republican politicos Margaret Tutwiler, Pat Harrison, and Karen Hughes—these administrators and their initiatives were widely panned as vacuous and ineffective. Beers, while an under secretary of state, developed the Shared Values Initiative to demonstrate that Muslims were happy and well treated in the United States. Hughes, a later public diplomacy chief, went on a Middle East 'listening tour' that was criticized for its lack of attention to substance. State’s approach was characterized as a series of weak attempts to counter anti-Americanism rather than an effort to explain US policy or stimulate dialogue within Muslim communities. ... President Obama believes that engagement—through diplomacy both private and public—can improve the US position while weakening support for terrorism. A centerpiece of his engagement strategy, the June 2009 Cairo speech, did produce a certain amount of goodwill in Muslim countries. Yet only one year later, according to a June 2010 Pew study, US favorability in Pakistan and Egypt was lower than in 2008. There were only modest increases in Jordan and Lebanon. ... These setbacks in Muslim countries are complemented by a number of public diplomacy missteps in other areas. ... The overall impression is of an administration that treated its allies rather shabbily as it engaged with the likes of Iran, Syria, and Russia. ... Smart power

is only smart if it enables the US to solve national security problems. There is little indication that Obama administration 'smart power' has done so. It has failed to settle any of the most serious US foreign policy challenges . ... Ideological efforts during the war on terrorism have suffered from a failure of imagination as well. While many current and former government officials describe the ideological front as the most important component of the war, there is no one office or department with responsibility for the effort. What’s more, activities have consisted largely of government messaging and public diplomacy designed to bolster the US image. There is little indication of a serious effort to stimulate debate among Muslims or empower Muslims who oppose radical Islamist ideology, despite such efforts being the key to victory."  Image from, with comment: Product Type: Functional: Energy Drink: Diet; Container: 16oz (473 ml) can BevNET Review: Smart Power Energy Drink is a low-carb, sugar free energy drink designed to give you a boost without the crash. It supposedly does this by using "natural regulators" which, analyzing the nutritional panel appears to be a cocktail of ingredients (such as L-theanine, DL-Phenylalanine and n-acetyl-l-tyrosine) to help counteract the lows associated with a caffeine crash. In terms of how it drinks, the lightly carbonated energy flavored formulation delivers a decent energy flavored body that's sweetened with ace-k and sucralose. The biggest issue for this product is its design, which has a somewhat cluttered appearance that's in need of a spiffier look. The "no crash" is certainly the biggest selling point, but it's hard not to be distracted by the word "smart" -- a word that is overused in the energy category. In our opinion, they should simplify the branding so that the lack of crash is what gets your attention. Otherwise, we weren't blown away by what's inside the can, but it's definitely an above average formulation.

Remarks on Statelessness and Gender Discrimination - Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, Refugees International Event, U.S. Institute of Peace: "Under Secretary Clinton’s leadership, the State Department is advocating on behalf of stateless people with foreign governments and civil society organizations. U.S. diplomats around the world are working to generate local political will to reform discriminatory nationality laws. We are also working with partners like those on the panel today to identify and provide documentation to stateless persons. And we are working to protect them from abuse, ensure that they too have access to basic services. In doing this work, our objectives are straightforward: 1. We want to use the strength of our public diplomacy to increase global awareness of women’s nationality rights. 2. And we want to persuade government officials to amend nationality laws that discriminate against women; we want to ensure universal birth registration; and we want to establish procedures and systems that help stateless people acquire citizenship. Because, at the end of the day, statelessness is not just a humanitarian or human rights issue -- it is a matter of human security and the protection of individuals."

CPD speaker on using public diplomacy to address human rights issues - Jessica Zech, "The USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School welcomed Bernard Duhaime, the incoming Canada-U.S. Visiting Research Chair in Public Diplomacy, to speak about the relationship between human rights and public diplomacy. Duhaime, who is conducting research and teaching in the Master of Public Diplomacy program this fall, explained how the

growth of international human rights has created space for new actors, usually nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), to participate in complex diplomacy strategies to eradicate human rights violations. 'In my opinion, obviously when we are looking at public diplomacy and human rights we can look at human rights as a method of public diplomacy in order to change behavior, but essentially public diplomacy is the tool to ensure that human rights work is respected,' Duhaime said." Duhaime (left) image from article

Innovation for the Public Good: An Open Agency Culture Is Key to Innovation: Four Kinds of Permeability Are Important to Fostering Innovation - Kristina Costa: "The most innovative thing about the Department of State’s 'Apps4Africa' public diplomacy project isn’t the immediate outcome—small cash prizes for the best mobile phone applications—but the process. This year, Apps4Africa

will bring together local innovators, entrepreneurs, NGOs, and government officials in 15 African nations to develop local solutions to mitigate the problems caused by climate change. Competitions will be held in East Africa, West and Central Africa, and South Africa. Three winners from each region will receive help from private-sector companies and foundations to implement and scale up their ideas." Image from

Brand America Rated #1 - The 2011 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index was released on October 12th. Brand America was once again ranked as the most admired country in the world. This is the third year in a row Brand America was ranked #1. This is in spite of the fact America doesn’t make the top 10 for either the way it governs domestically or behaves internationally. ... I wanted to get a better understanding of what is driving the #1 ranking

for Brand America. So I asked GfK’s Xiaoyan Zhao (Director of the NBI study) 'What’s the most surprising finding about Brand America this year?' 'Brand America continues to lead, and expands its lead over second place Germany. And this momentum bucks the trend for other developed countries many of which have experienced downward movement of NBI scores or have stalled in the last 4 years, but Brand America’s score has been steadily growing. The historic moment of President Obama’s election in 2008 propelled the United States to the top rank the following year. Our NBISM 2008 study showed that the United States was ranked last among the G7 countries on the overall NBISM. In the years since the inception of NBISM in 2005 this has been a consistent pattern, despite the highly visible public diplomacy communication efforts from the U.S., whose administration’s unilateral foreign policy, among other things, alienated many around the world. Following the historic election of President Obama and particularly with his new leadership style shown at the first G20 meeting in April 2009, and his new domestic policy orientation, the world’s connected citizens took notice of the behavior change, and boosted the United States to the top of the 2009 NBISM overall rankings. Image from

LA Times editorial criticizes Radio/TV Martí "spam" text messages sent to Cuba - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Capture the essence of the Colombo Plan - Julie Bishop, The Australian: "Australia is far less secure under the Rudd-Gillard Labor Government than at any time in recent history given the number of embarrassing mishaps that have damaged relations with key friends and partners in the region. One area that requires enhancement and refinement is the field of public diplomacy, promoting our national interests including our national security through greater understanding of, advocacy with, listening to and influencing countries and peoples in our region. Much more must be done to broaden the dialogue between Australian citizens, Australian institutions, private groups and other diverse interests and elements within our society and their counterparts in countries in Asia. I have long argued that mutual understanding and engagement with our region can be achieved if Australia can commit to the exchange of information, ideas, values and beliefs that can occur through greater two-way student exchange. While many student exchange programs are supported through private sector organisations and our universities, direct government support for student exchange programs is limited. Through the Colombo Plan,

the Menzies Government reached out to our region, drawing in the best and the brightest students in the region to universities in Australia. Students who came to Australia under this plan developed a lasting impression and an understanding of our country and its way of life. ... It would be a worthwhile exercise to renew contact with the Colombo Plan alumni from 1950 to 1985 given that no complete record exists. This represents a lost opportunity of continuing engagement with a significant body of people who have a deep understanding of Australia. Strengthening alumni associations of students who study in Australia generally could contribute significantly to our efforts in public diplomacy. ... Cultural diplomacy, with exchanges in sport and the arts must also be a focus of our future investment in our region. Only through embracing ideas at home and through smart diplomacy abroad, that focuses on Asia, can Australia properly prepare itself for the changes that lie ahead." Image from article, with caption: Shadow foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop says Australia could learn a lot by taking a closer look at the Colombo Plan.  On the Colombo plan, see.

Fiji Explores Its Options - "Over the next few months, The Diplomat will be running a series of interviews with Washington DC-based ambassadors on defence, diplomacy, and trade in the Asia-Pacific region. In the second of these interviews, conducted by Washington correspondent Eddie Walsh, Ambassador Winston Thompson of the Republic of Fiji discusses the opportunities and challenges facing his government following the 2006 military coup. ... [Question:] Fiji participated in the Shanghai World Expo in 2010. How important is cultural diplomacy to advancing your countries national interests abroad? What countries are the main focus of such outreach? [Thompson Answer:] Fiji participated in the Shanghai World Expo in 2010. How important is cultural diplomacy to advancing your countries national interests abroad? What countries are the main focus of such outreach? We aren’t doing too much in public diplomacy. We do have regular attendance at such expos, a military band that travels, a festival of arts held in the South Pacific,

and shows like Pacific Night in Washington, DC and elsewhere. However, I don’t know if there’s a systematic plan to exploit this area on the world stage. It is just not being thought of – we don’t have the resources to do much about it. It has nothing to do with our present government status. I think it’s increasingly realized that we need to get a brand though. The fact that Fiji Water is such a recognizable brand matters. We now are launching Fiji Pure Mahogany as a brand. The government is increasingly realizing it needs a systematic approach to building a brand. The government is going to have to take the initiative and spearhead building a brand. It will need to put resources into it and get input from agencies in other countries." Thompson image from article

Experts vow to boost mutual trust between China, Japan - Zhang Yunbi and Feng Zhiwei, China Daily: Prominent policymakers and think tanks from China and Japan on Tuesday vowed to boost trust in political and security affairs and public diplomacy. Hunan province and Japan's Tokushima Prefecture also signed an agreement on Monday to mark the establishment of their official friendship at the third annual meeting of the Fifth 21st Century Committee for China-Japan Friendship, an advisory panel to both governments. The committee recommended that government and powerful political figures from both sides make a greater effort to view their counterparts in an objective way and 'handle issues concerned properly'. ... Emphasizing the role of public diplomacy, the committee called for additional funding for communications and visits between young people of the two countries. Around 20,000 students from both sides will participate in friendly activities and visits over the next five years, Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa said during a speech at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Oct 19. Chinese film festivals in Japan, Japanese cartoon exhibitions and a recent pop concert in Beijing also serve to diversify bilateral communication, Niwa said."

Beijing's message masters try to shape views - Teddy Ng, China News Watch: "Analysts generally say that Chinese officials' appearance in international media is part of Beijing's campaign to sharpen its public diplomacy and promote China's soft power. The ideas behind this are generally the same as China spending billions of yuan since 2009 to expand the presence of state-run media organisations overseas.

China has been trying to improve the international public's opinion about itself since the 1990s - after its international image was tarnished by its bloody crackdown in 1989 - by promoting a positive view of the country in terms of social, economic, political and opening-up policies, and welcoming foreign investment." Image from

Mascot Diplomacy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "There is a great story about the Washington Nationals' mascot Screech visiting with the Taiwanese Ambassador ahead of his trip to Taiwan (xie xie Abba). First, I love the historical irony that the Nationals are sending their mascot to the island of the KMT nationals.

Beyond the historical irony, it is smart public diplomacy all around. Smart because Taiwan loves the Washington Nationals because the Taiwanese pitcher Chien Ming-Wang is on the club. The Nats' 'W' hat was pretty ubiquitous in Taipei, as was Wang jerseys." Image from article

Management and the British Council - Robin, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "Public diplomacy sits between communications, politics and organization. I think that the organizational dimension is essential in explaining why PD activities turn out the way that they do rather than following the dictates of strategy or the prescriptions of effective communication. With this in mind this morning’s offering is a pointer towards a couple of papers on the management and organization of the British Council. ... In thinking about effective PD one issue to keep in mind are the incentives that actually operate for organizations and the people within them. Lee, J.M. (1995) ‘The Reorganization of the British Council: Management Improvisation and Policy Uncertainty’, Public Administration, 73: 339-55. Venters, W., and B. Wood (2007) ‘Degenerative Structures that Inhibit the Emergence of Communities of Practive: A Case Study of Knowledge Management in the British Council’, Information Systems Journal, 17: 349-68."


State Department buys $70,000 worth of Obama books - Jim McElhatton, The State Department has bought more than $70,000 worth of books

authored by President Obama, sending out copies as Christmas gratuities and stocking “key libraries” around the world with “Dreams From My Father” more than a decade after its release. The U.S. Embassy in Egypt, for instance, spent $28,636 in August 2009 for copies of Mr. Obama’s best-selling 1995 memoir. Six weeks earlier, the embassy had placed another order for the same book for more than $9,000, federal purchasing records show. About the same time, halfway around the world, the U.S. Embassy in South Korea had the same idea and spent more than $6,000 for copies of “Dreams From My Father.” One month later, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, spent more than $3,800 for hardcover copies of the Indonesian version of Mr. Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope,” records show. Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, a watchdog group, said if the federal government is looking to cut costs, eliminating purchases of Mr. Obama’s books is a good place to start. “It’s inappropriate for U.S. taxpayer dollars to be spent on this,” she said. “This sounds like propaganda.” Image from

U.S. pulls its ambassador from Syria - Paul Richter and Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times: Robert Ford returns to Washington for now amid safety concerns prompted by what U.S. officials call a campaign of "malicious and deceitful propaganda"

in Syria's state-run news media. The Obama administration has temporarily withdrawn its ambassador to Syria, citing threats against his personal safety following his outspoken criticism of the country's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Image from article, with caption; U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford, pictured last year, has been withdrawn

Barack Kissinger Obama - Thomas Friedman, New York Times: In his own way, President Obama has brought the country to the right strategy for Bush’s “war on terrorism.” It is a serious, focused combination of global intelligence coordination, targeted killing of known terrorists and limited interventions — like Libya — that leverage popular forces on the ground and allies, as well as a judicious use of U.S. power, so that we keep the costs and risks down. But while Obama has been deft at implementing Bush’s antiterrorism policy, he has been less successful with his own foreign policy. His Arab-Israeli diplomacy has been a mess.

For the U.S., a forced withdrawal from UNESCO: If the organization accepts Palestine as a member, the U.S. will have to resign - Timothy E. Wirth, It is clear that whatever happens at

UNESCO, Palestinians will continue to seek membership in the U.N.'s many specialized agencies. And each time they succeed, the United States will have to resign from another world body, thereby losing influence and input on international issues. Image from

Pro-Israel Lobby Courts African Americans - Ira Glunts, Hasbara is the Hebrew word for a particular type of pernicious propaganda first employed by early Zionists leaders to explain the unexplainable actions of the Jewish administration in Palestine. In recent years, hasbara has been disseminated by certain Christian fundamentalists who believe supporting Israel brings them closer to God, and also by many members of the United States Congress who have been co-opted by the powerful pro-Israel lobby. Now the lobby has its sights set on a new group of potential collaborators: African Americans.

Islamic world media urged to help defuse western media propaganda - Managing Director of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) Ali-Akbar Javanfekr urged Islamic world’s journalists Wednesday to help defuse propaganda of western media against Muslims.

Javanfekr made the remarks in a meeting here with a group of foreign journalists currently in Iran to attend an upcoming meeting to discuss establishment of a union of the Islamic world’s press. Javanfekr image from article

Libya: Lies, Damn Lies & Western Propaganda - Ed Strong, Sexual Media Artist: NATO has assassinated Gaddafi. Now the puppets can dance. This is not about democracy, as the “new” leaders are a combination of Gaddafi’s ex-cabinet officials and ex-Mujahideen who took out the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan in the 80s and installed the Taliban for the CIA.

Chinese Communist Film Premiere at Lincoln Center a Big Flop - Jenny Yang, Epoch Times: The Chinese communist regime’s United Front soft-power propaganda war aimed at shaping world opinion through culture, film, and media, has just fired an embarrassing dud, with not a single audience member showing up at the 2011 China Movie Culture Week opening night at New York’s Lincoln Center.

The 2011 China Movie Culture Week, hosted by China’s Ministry of Culture, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, and Columbia University, encountered an embarrassment--no one showed up at its Oct. 17 premiere of the movie “Founding of a Republic,” not even anyone from the hosting organizations. The flop has become a joke on international Chinese media. Image from

S. Minasyan: Azerbaijan gained a new chair for propaganda - "'Azerbaijan has made use of the potential of Islamic conference organization member states and countries having anti-Western moods caused by the recent statements of the French President, allowing them to get a UN Security Council seat,' said expert Sergey Minasyan to Referring to the impact Azerbaijan’s new seat can have on the process of resolution of NK conflict, the expert has said that the negotiations are being held in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group, and that the only role it can have is a chair for propaganda. 'Official Moscow, Paris and Washington will never authorize the removal of the issue to the UN Security Council, which has been repeatedly declared,' said S. Minasyan."

The Propaganda Posters of the 1% - Benjamin Starr,

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