Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 18-19

--Via RS on facebook


Vientiane: US Ambassador Stewart Raps at StreetWave05
; via LB by email/DiploPundit; Stewart image from, which notes: "Ambassador Stewart

graduated .... with a B.A. with honors in astronomy ... and pursued further studies in astronomy at the University of Virginia."  Another Stewart video, "Ambassador Stewart's Gotta Feeling," at


Obama in Australia: Could do better ‎- Rory Medcalf, Lowy Interpreter: "So Obama has left his mark on the Australia-US alliance: a whirlwind visit, an historic speech on Asia strategy, an important shift towards US military access, and a genuine message of thanks and support for Australia's men and women in uniform. But as a major public diplomacy opportunity to consolidate America's closest Asia Pacific alliance, it could have been done considerably better. ... [T]he Obama Administration and the Australian government failed fully to exploit the chance to give the Australian public a sense of ownership and identification with the big policy messages of this visit. ... [I]t was a

shame – and a public diplomacy error – that Obama stayed in the country for just over 24 hours and did not visit a single one of the big, striving, multicultural cities where most Australians labour and live. ... [T]his visit was special – it was about sending a message to Australians, to Asia and to the world about America's strategic priorities and its antipodean ally's place in that framework. So the maximum effort should have been made to cultivate and, frankly, charm the wider Australian public, in whose name, security interests and democratic values this is being done." Image from article

Cold War Gains Momentum - Team SAI, "When US president Barack Obama announced in Canberra that he was refocusing US military attention in the Asia-Pacific region, he was in effect sounding the bugle cry for a new Cold War – this time with China. .... US bravado and Chinese assertiveness ... annunciates a new era of proxy wars in which the regional grass is going to be trampled upon by these two elephants jostling for influence. In the Indian context, USA wants to thin down Chinese influence for which it needs India’s support. The theory of String of Pearls may well be a part of this public diplomacy initiative to let India and China keep each other engaged." On the theory of String of Pearls, see

Digital diplomacy: Facebook users build good will for Obama Indonesia visit: US embassy Facebook page has more than 430,000 fans - Alice Lipowicz, "The welcome mat in Indonesia for President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week was partially created on Facebook. The US Embassy in Jakarta has generated a fan base of 430,000 Indonesians with its two-year-old Facebook page.

Embassy staffers have been operating the Facebook site as a base for public engagement, conversation, news, culture and tourism promotion. The Jakarta embassy’s Facebook Page has more fans than all the other U.S. embassies on Facebook combined, according to the Citizen 2.0 report released on Nov. 3 by Switzerland-based Redcut. ... A State Department team created the embassy Facebook page in 2009, with the goal of reaching Indonesia’s 40 million Facebook users, second in size to the United States’s. ... When President Obama first visited Indonesia in May 2011, the announcement on Jakarta embassy’s Facebook page quickly amassed over a thousand posts, 'likes' and positive comments, the Redcut report said. 'People invited Obama to their home or asked him what Indonesian meal he was going to eat, etc. The overall experience underlined the growing success social media has had as an efficient tool of public diplomacy, enabling a country to improve its perception abroad,' the report concluded." Image from

A Call for An Enlightened US Foreign Policy Toward Latin America - Robert Works, Honduras Weekly: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney ... has recently laid out a 43-page document detailing his vision for US foreign policy. In a formidable feat for Republican regional policymakers, he actually presents (if nothing more) to address a vision for Latin America, promoting regional integration, over the current bilateral approach directed primarily toward Washington’s allies in the War on Terrorism. Romney ... details the creation of a regional institution called the Campaign for Economic Opportunity in Latin America (CEOLA), in order to promote 'a vigorous public diplomacy and trade promotion effort in the region.' ... [T]he mere offer of such a new template contrasts sharply with the approaches currently being proposed by other candidates and the Obama administration, which has hardly done better in offering much and delivering little."

A Eulogy to Peace Corps Kazakhstan - "I finished my service in Peace Corps Kazakhstan in August 2011 . ... Yesterday, I wrote ... about the decision to close

Peace Corps Kazakhstan . ... If I were the US Embassy Public Diplomacy Department (and I have already told them this), I would invest all of our money into exchange programs. Exchange programs like FLEX (high school), UGRAD (university) and MUSKIE (grad school) create many alumni who are both patriotic citizens of their country, excellent ambassadors of their experiences in American culture and education, and initiators of positive change and reform in their communities. Let’s not forget that the exchange is still alive in this direction, even if it has been discontinued in the other." Image from

American Centers vs Fortress Embassies - "H/T to John Brown's Press and Blog Review for posting a link to the agenda transcript for the May 2011 Public Meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Check the date of that meeting - May 2011. And yet the transcript was only released a couple days ago. Did it take that long to clear the publication? Better late than never. One part of the transcript piqued my own personal special interest. In the presentation by Ms. Betsy Whitaker, Strategic Communications Officer, Office of the Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, she remarked on the ongoing attempts to maintain some public diplomacy outreach facilities outside of the Department's famously forbidding Fortress Embassies ... The issue here is the legal requirement that all U.S. diplomatic offices abroad be collocated on a single embassy compound in the principal place of USG business in that city. ... The collocation requirement may be waived, and so the R Bureau routinely puts up a fight to keep public diplomacy outreach facilities outside whenever new embassy compounds are planned. The position as Ms. Whitaker stated it, i.e., that the Department ought to consider waiving the collocation requirement on a case-by-case basis, is impeccably reasonable. This is basic risk management. The program benefits of making public diplomacy facilities easily accessible to the public can, in a rational world, be articulated and weighed against the security risks, and the increased security costs, of having a comparatively 'soft target' official facility in an annex across town from a new embassy compound. ... My personal interest in this matter is only indirectly with public diplomacy, in that I liked the old independent American Libraries

and think they ought to be brought back into the mix of PD platforms, but I am directly interested in good risk management. As the wise man who hired me for my first job in DS said when he gave me the Foreign Affairs Handbook that contained our security standards: 'These are the standards, but, of course, they have to be applied by reasoning human beings.' I have always tried to apply reason to them, and I find they are much more persuasive that way." Image from article: The Archer K. Blood American Center Library at the American Center, Dhaka, Bangladesh. On the State Department "R" Bureau, see.

Hip hop: A culture of interpretations - "ISLAMABAD: As part of its cultural diplomacy initiative, the US State Department invited the FEW (Fifth Element Warriors) Collective, a multi-disciplinary performance troupe, to Islamabad. Their recent performances at Kuch Khaas — The Centre for Arts, Culture and Dialogue and at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad featured a cocktail of hip hop numbers (with both a cappella and background vocals), Arabic-African songs, break dancing, poetry and hip hop renditions of Pakistani classics. But beyond cultural diplomacy, what can be said about the Collective as artists and musicians? FEW’s style is all about fusion as they merge a variety of disciplines — something familiar to Pakistanis, given the popularity of our own fusion music. And yet, local media reports have so far focused on the political textures of the initiative — direct links being made between the FEW Collective ambassadors and bolstering the US State Department’s public persona. Others have spoken about diplomacy, cross-cultural exchange and softening America’s image abroad but little has been said about the performers themselves; what they do and what they’re about. Composed of a cast of diverse artists — Asad Jafri (DJ Man-O-Wax), Alsarah (Arabic and African vocals), Aquil Charlton (hip hop/rap), Manal Farhan (spoken word), Daniel Haywood (break dance) and Jonathan St Clair (hip hop dance) — the FEW troupe

seeks to engage and address contemporary issues through music, dance and art. ... [Q:]How did the Pakistan tour happen? [A:] Jafri: The US Embassy State Department contacted us directly. I was actually here in April to do a workshop at Kuch Khaas and looked for recruits for the cultural exchange programme. Alsarah: I’ve never been to Pakistan so it’s my first day here. The food is amazing. I may not have a lot exposure to the region but I’m a huge Lollywood and Bollywood fan. I’m also really excited about buying fabric that I can take to the US with me." Image from article

Iron Chef Meets Afghanistan [video] - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Check out this promo for '59 Minute Duel,' an Iron Chef-like cooking competition that pairs Afghan and American chefs. The US PAO [Public Affairs Officer] in Afghanistan was the judge."

Smartpower - Shayna Padovano, International Communication: "smARTpower is the newest Cultural Diplomacy initiative to come out of the State Department’s Education and Cultural Affairs. In conjunction with the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the program has begun sending several of the 15 selected visual artists to participate in an exchange overseas with underserved youth. The goal is to promote people to people diplomacy through artistic collaboration and develop lasting ties between members of both countries. I am a firm believer in the power of cultural diplomacy.

Art, whether visual or performing, is a platform to express the human condition. As well, it is a form of communication that has the ability to cross social, linguistic, and cultural barriers. Art provides a common vocabulary for a diverse group of people to engage, learn, and acknowledge the other in him or herself. The presentation this week on US Public Diplomacy, the goals of which are to Inform, Influence, Engage, really got me thinking about how valuable cultural diplomacy can be." Image from

Privacy Statement - US Mission Geneva: "We link to social networking and other kinds of third-party websites. We use social networking websites to interact with the foreign audiences and to engage in public diplomacy worldwide. Social networking websites are used to publicize embassy events, and engage with members of the public. We also use web measurement and customization technologies to measure the number of visitors to our websites and their various sections and to help make our websites more useful to visitors."

Cat’s daily selection of top links FromOverHere #036 - "Branson says Screw Business as Usual: example of good leadership from business sector.

Government tends to be massively behind the curve on working with these kinds of leaders on a systemic rather than ‘for the cameras’ basis. Nevertheless, good support for entrepreneurism and recognition of what the business sector can bring to the public goods debate from US State’s Public diplomacy and Economic Policy guys. This stuff needs to be more mainstreamed though." Brason image from

U.S. Mission in Sri Lanka lacks grass-root reach/ analytical reporting/judgment – Gaya Gamage, "[O]bservations of [and Gamage comments on:] a comprehensive investigative ‘in-house’ report, unclassified but marked sensitive, by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the State Department following an inspection of the US Embassy Sri Lanka conducted in Washington and in Colombo, Sri Lanka between April 6 and May 4, 2010. ... Political Section [:] Public diplomacy and strategic communication, political investigation, obtaining sensitive information on political development, understanding twists and turns within those developments, maintaining professional as well as personal contacts with principal players and their immediate acolytes, understanding the mood of various sections of the society including city workers, educated youth and village peasants, clergy, rural leaders and using all these information/data to develop judgment, analyses and recognizing future trends and developments are the tasks of any political section of an American Embassy. ... It is the lack of professionalism that the Washington investigators of the OIG found in the Colombo Mission’s most vital section the Political Office. ... What State Department lacks [:] The U.S. State Department significantly lacks expertise, diplomatic and intelligence tools.

Inadequate developed techniques to propel its overseas diplomatic missions for wider reach to engage with diverse community leaders and communities in the periphery. Insufficient language skills to make its Foreign Service Officers (FSO) to interact with host country indigenous population. The Department is filling inexperienced junior officers in senior public diplomacy positions who lack requisite experience and expertise to perform effectively. ... The seriousness of the inadequacy of reporting and the political reports based on conflicting information and assessments from U.S. overseas diplomatic missions was candidly summarized by Hillary Clinton’s deputy in the state department Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale in a keynote address inaugurating Harvard Public Diplomacy Collaborative in September 2009 in the following manner: 'We cannot sit behind embassy walls and speak only to the people who agree with us. We have to engage, even when we disagree with others. We have to communicate-two-way communication, not one-way messaging-through both government-to-people dialogue and people-to-people dialogue.' What they said in 2008 and 2009 have now been confirmed by the 01 November 2010 investigative report of the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. State Department." Image from

U.S. International Broadcasting Reaching Record Audience, Assessing Impact Questioned - Adam Clayton Powell III, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Voice of America and other American international broadcasters now reach 187 million people every week, an increase of 22 million from 2010 and an all-time record number of listeners and viewers, according to data released yesterday. That increase was a complete surprise, according to Bruce Sherman, Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Performance Measurement of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). ... Sherman also came under repeated questions at a forum today in Washington about the impact of BBG broadcasts, and one question asked repeatedly was whether the BBG’s metrics on impact - 'moving the needle' - go beyond total numbers of listeners and viewers. 'Impact cannot be reduced to audience,' Sherman replied, 'but you cannot have impact without audience.' He added that you need to look at specific audiences – not just traditional elites, but young people and women. 'The biggest success on the planet' is how Sherman described U.S. broadcasting in Afghanistan, where 2011 data show three-quarters of the entire country watches or listens to American broadcasts. Additionally, 400,000 Afghans subscribe to BBG text messaging services. ... One questioner at today’s forum, held by the Public Diplomacy Council, said he could not find the phrase 'public diplomacy' anywhere in the Strategic Plan.

Sherman acknowledged that was correct, and he said that was for a reason: Objective journalists by and large, he said, don't subscribe to the idea that they are changing people’s attitudes. 'Attitudinal and behavioral change' is the hope, but not a direct goal, explained Sherman. 'We don't do the advocacy piece. Good things will come from good journalism.' If public diplomacy cannot be found in the new plan, BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson, in his remarks when the Strategic Plan was released, placed international broadcasting at the center of national security." Image from

Broadcasting Board of Governors announces a record USIB weekly audience of 187 million - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "For the USIB audience, Afghanistan and Iraq are first and second in terms of reach by percentage of population, and third and fourth by numeric size of audience. Th[is] suggests a strategy for international broadcasting: first, militarily occupy the target country, then set up a network of terrestrial radio and television transmitters in that country."

Al Jazeera and "the unfortunate trend of disappearing independent journalism" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "The most recent survey in Egypt shows Alhurra viewed weekly by 16 percent of adults, amounting to about nine million people. Those are

good numbers for international broadcasting." Image from

Tufts Democrats: What did you think? - "The Tufts Democrats got an earful from me about how US foreign policy on cyberspace hasn’t advanced significantly in fifteen years. I complained that a whole lot of basic questions haven’t been settled, and drew on some key national documents to verify that is the case. They were more impressed with my rapid-fire interactive summaries of Hollywood takes on cyberwar and cyber dystopia. Or so they tweeted. ... Excellent questions afterwards: ... What do you think about American public diplomacy in the age of Facebook, crowdsourcing, and mashups? –I follow Alec J. Ross’ Twitter feed."

Indialogues – India’s TED – India future of change
- Amit Shahi, founder Idea Works and initiator of Indialogues welcoming: "Navdeep Suri, public diplomacy, has been instrumental. Indialogues is a catalyst for bringing youth from all over the world to contribute to the cause of India. This conference is to bring them together to brainstorm and share… [Suri:] India communicates too much, but we hear multiple voices. What is public diplomacy – changing attitudes or influencing attitude in broadest of the terms. It is overt. It is a tool to influence hearts and minds of men and folks alike; has been in existence since Chanakya in 4th century. Public is being informed, not just be govt, but by TV, social medial 24 X 7. Old way of govt to govt is not the way any more. We have multitude of factors going into this. We diplomats and govt need to evolve as the technology is changing rapidly. Joseph… We are trying to put all effort in fostering cohesive narrative and creating soft power of India. We can be a catalyst in creating soft power. We have magnificent history – culture, yoga, dance…then iconic Gandhi, Tagore…. IT industry, pharma, automobile, emerging industries… Can we work on communicating by partnering with organizations like IDEAWORKS, taking Idea India to youth at all universities. It is about integrating and collaborating between youth of India and in other world. Government will be in the back seat as a facilitator of this process. ... In public diplomacy, how do we engage the youngsters – we moved into social spaces – FB, Twitter and You Tube.

This platform is growing and is enabling us to do a few things, can we create communities of friends of India, with whatever background you are from. Can I engage you, can I use twitter to get relevant, pertinent issues across to you. If you have interest in any of the areas, we would like to build the rapport and connection. In this age, propaganda is dead and it is all about credibility. We cannot do a fast one, we have to engage, that is where social media can be of immense value and public diplomacy of external affairs, we are keen on engaging with young people." Image from article, with caption: Navdeep Suri, diplomat and head public diplomacy division, MEA

India Blog Series: Gastrodiplomacy: Winning Hearts Through Feeding The Stomach - Hend Alhinnawi, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Blogger Paul Rockower describes gastrodiplomacy as a way to use 'culinary delights to appeal to global appetites, and thus helps raise a nation's brand awareness and reputation.' The Indian dishes served all around Los Angeles are a large part of India’s public diplomacy because they are closely related to India’s rich history, diverse regions, and religions. A single bite, robust with the different spices and flavors, captivates the essence of India’s spirit and culture. ... I am looking forward to speaking with Indian government officials in the Public Diplomacy Division on how food diplomacy will ease Indo-Australian relations. Has gastrodiplomacy been tried in other countries by Indian students, and if so, what were the results?" See also.

China - Yang Jiechi Talks about President Hu Jintao's Attendance at the 19th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting
- "During his stay in Hawaii, [Chinese President Hu Jintao] ... broadly engaged with U.S. people from all walks of life and carried out public diplomacy. During his meeting with U.S. business leaders from a broad range of industries, Hu expounded China's positive attitude of deepening economic and trade cooperation with the U.S.. He emphasized that under the current situation, China-U.S. economic and trade relations face both challenges and important development opportunities."

Obama's epic fail - "[Obama] Administration officials may well believe they can deter a nuclear Iran​—​without figuring nonstate actors (and possible delivery mechanisms) like Hezbollah into the equation. But the fact that the Obama White House decided not to pursue further sanctions against the Iranians for the plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington​—​an operation that might have killed hundreds of Americans​—​signals that the administration has no credible threat of force, not even against a nonnuclear Iran. Accordingly, Israel may well escalate its public diplomacy campaign​—​and may move beyond diplomacy if it thinks a mortal threat is being ignored.

There are options short of a full-scale bombing campaign that Jerusalem might take: an aerial strike on one facility, or even a ground operation designed by a defense minister obsessed with commando raids​—​anything that might make the international community, and especially the United States, take the Iranian threat seriously. Israel may not be able to destroy the Iranian nuclear program in its entirety by itself, but it might settle for less than that in the hopes of inspiring others to finish the job." Image from

Obama’s Iran Failure: Israel turns up the heat - Lee Smith, "After more than half a year of relative quiet as the Arab Spring rolled through the Middle East, the Israeli government has helped shift the regional conversation back to Iran. It’s hardly surprising that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are reportedly in favor of a strike since their historical legacies might rest on how the Iranian issue is resolved. However, the fact that Israel’s president Shimon Peres now calls military action 'more and more likely' suggests that, regardless of the eventual decision, Israel has embarked on a public diplomacy campaign intended to seize international attention. ... Administration officials may well believe they can deter a nuclear Iran​—​without figuring nonstate actors (and possible delivery mechanisms) like Hezbollah into the equation. But the fact that the Obama White House decided not to pursue further sanctions against the Iranians for the plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington​—​an operation that might have killed hundreds of Americans​—​signals that the administration has no credible threat of force, not even against a nonnuclear Iran. Accordingly, Israel may well escalate its public diplomacy campaign​—​and may move beyond diplomacy if it thinks a mortal threat is being ignored. There are options short of a full-scale bombing campaign that Jerusalem might take: an aerial strike on one facility, or even a ground operation designed by a defense minister obsessed with commando raids​—​anything that might make the international community, and especially the United States, take the Iranian threat seriously. Israel may not be able to destroy the Iranian nuclear program in its entirety by itself, but it might settle for less than that in the hopes of inspiring others to finish the job."

Israeli rebranding conference in NY looks to be circle-wagons affair - Philip Weiss, "This Sunday a Jewish school in Westchester County, N.Y., will be hosting a 'Day of Learning... Engaging with Israel: Advocacy in a Complex World.'

It is clear from the offerings that the program is extremely defensive. The brand is tanking. I am most curious about what Fern Oppenheim of the Brand Israel Group regards as the 'great divide' in American views of Israel. I'm guessing she means the country's changing image among the young. The event features Yossi Klein Halevi, who lives in occupied East Jerusalem, a representative of AIPAC, and someone from the rightwing David Project." Halevi image from article

Israel seeks minorities, gays for propaganda efforts - "The Israeli government hopes to draw attention away from its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and ongoing human rights abuses by recruiting minorities and members of the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual (LGBT) community to conduct 'public diplomacy' and to 'sell Israel as a democracy.' ... Palestinian and solidarity activists have also highlighted Israel’s attempts to

'pinkwash' its colonization of the Palestinian territories by exploiting Israel society’s supposedly accepting attitude toward the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual community (LGTB), thus portraying itself as a bastion of liberal democracy." Image from article, with caption: A demonstrator holds a sign that protests Israel's efforts to pinkwash the occupation. Israel's propaganda attempts are sometimes called hasbara. The Israeli government often relies on volunteers to conduct "public diplomacy" by advocating for Israel to acquaintances and on the internet. See also.

Kosovo - “Germia Hill” gathers together about 100 diplomats from across the world in Prishtina - "At the start of the “Germia Hill” Conference which will be held on November 18 and 19 in Prishtina, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, Petrit Selimi held a press conference to present the details and aim of the conference. Deputy Minister Selimi said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, in cooperation with the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and with the support of the British Council and British Embassy during the next three days is expecting the largest number of guests to have ever come to Kosovo for such a conference. He emphasized that the aim of the conference was to raise public awareness and to improve Kosovo’s image, by using public diplomacy as a method by which the Republic of

Kosovo can strengthen its presence in Brussels and in capitals of states that have not yet recognized it. ... Arjeta Emra, director of the British Council in Kosovo said that this conference is part of the project which the MFA, the British Embassy and British Council began in July of this year. 'A fund has been established to promote Kosovo in public diplomacy. For the first time, a forum of this level and with this participation is being held tomorrow and the next day in cooperation with the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) which is one of the most important organizations at the European level', said Emra. She said that this conference is a continuation of public diplomacy activities that started in September of this year." See also. Image from

Romania - Minister Teodor Baconschi has received the ambassador of the Swiss Confederation, Jean-Hubert Lebet - "Today, 17 November 2011 Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi has received the new ambassador of the Swiss Confederation to Bucharest, Jean-Hubert Lebet. The head of the Romanian diplomacy evoked the excellent relations between Romania and the Swiss Confederation, the increasingly better cooperation in many areas, as well as the consistency of the bilateral political dialogue at high level. The anniversary of 100 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Romania and Switzerland, marked in 2011, shed light on a common history with special traits. The two officials underscored the importance of maintaining a constant dialogue between the Romanian authorities and the representatives of the Swiss business milieus in Romania, the same as the relevance of joint actions in the fields of culture, education and public diplomacy."

Boren Fellows - The New Faces of Public Diplomacy? - "Our group presented our paper: Public Diplomacy and Nation Branding through International Exchange Programs this week to highlight the role and/or effects of international exchange and cross-cultural educational research in efforts of public diplomacy. We focused on the Fulbright (a tool of fostering international goodwill), Peace Corps (international service), and the Boren Fellowship. I wanted to focus on Boren for the sake of this blog entry. Boren, unlike the other two, is overtly tied to U.S. national security goals, making it a unique tool used by the government to achieve these goals. This fellowship goes to mostly graduate students to enable their international research related to national security interests with the explicit mandate that they return to work for the U.S. Government. The National Security Education Program funds the program, mostly from the Department of Defense. The reality is that restrictive laws on public diplomacy (through the Smith-Mundt Act) have forced the U.S. to get creative with public diplomacy.

International exchange programs like this are an effective alternative to an imposing military presence or DOD-led public diplomacy initiative. Because of this, the U.S. has expanded traditional definitions of national security outside of a security-military-only focus and this scholarship also goes to those doing international development or priority-language projects. Whether intentional or not, these student recipients are like citizen ambassadors, going out into the field and creating connections with those in other countries that help them understand Americans better and vice versa. In some ways, they add to this concept of “branding” the nation as well, and raise questions of an accurate depiction of Americans versus the U.S. Government’s agenda for the American image." Image from article

The Land of Ambassadors - Weebles Kabul but They Don't Fall Down: "This is Ambassador Eikenberry.

He was the AMBASSADOR while I was in Kabul for most of my tour (through July). In addition to the AMBASSADOR, we also had four other ambassadors - Ambassador Wayne, Ambassador Keith, Ambassador Todd, and Ambassador Klemm. I keep using the word ambassador because I want you to feel what it is like to work surrounded by AMBASSADORS. Good points: lots of leadership models, lots of time to interact with the front office. Bad points: lots of different people in leadership with different styles, lots of time you have to interact with various parts of the front office. So overall, a wash. But lots of good lessons learned for sure - and I liked my job and working with them. In addition to the ambassadors, for the first part of my tour the Director for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communications was David Ensor. David is great and is now heading up VOA. He was a CNN war correspondent for years and brought a different perspective (i.e. not government) to the mix - very valuable since in the foreign service, we can sometimes see only the Foreign Service way. He was a fabulous boss and I consider him a friend and mentor." Image from article

Brzezinski in Athens for the new 'Lavrentiadis Chair for SE Europe at CSIS 08 December, 2009 - European Bailout Fund For Greek Money Laundering And Fraud - "One of America's foreign policy and diplomacy doyens, Zbigniew Brzezinski, spoke at an event here on Monday to commemorate the establishment of a new SE European studies chair at the prestigious Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). ... The spry 81-year-old Polish-American academic opened his remarks by praising the initiative of Greek business executive Lavrentis Lavrentiadis to establish the new CSIS seat, which will be headed by veteran analyst Janusz Bugajski. ... Asked specifically about Greece's contribution, the prolific public diplomacy author said increased aid funding and specific initiatives, such as financing programmes to dissuade Afghan farmers from growing opium poppies, could somewhat substitute for additional military contingents."

Names: Nossel to head Amnesty International USA - Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy: "Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) has named State Department official Suzanne Nossel as its new executive director. Nossel, who most recently served at the State Department

as deputy assistant secretary for international organizations, will assume her new role at AIUSA in January. In the meantime, she is working as a visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. A long time human rights lawyer and activist, Nossel's portfolio at State included multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women's issues, and public diplomacy." Nossel mage from

Fred Iklé: Missile Defense Champion‎ - Douglas J. Feith, Richard Perle, Wall Street Journal: Fred Iklé, who died last week at the age of 87, influenced American and world history enormously and for the good, far out of proportion to the scant public attention he attracted. In particular, he helped make it possible for the U.S. government to transcend the appalling idea that 'mutual assured destruction' is a necessary and desirable aim of nuclear strategy. ... Iklé helped devise specific ways to challenge the Soviet Union. One way was through military means, supplying Stinger missiles to the Afghan resistance and developing strategic missile defenses. Another way was economically, opposing the Soviet gas pipeline to Europe and using export controls to limit the USSR's exploitation of Western technology. He also worked to undermine it politically, through encouraging pro-democracy Soviet dissidents and improving U.S. 'public diplomacy' to attack the legitimacy of Communist rule."

The Public Diplomacy Reader - Chris Carter, "The first in the IWP course reader series, The Public Diplomacy Reader provides a look at slices of public diplomacy: the art of communicating with foreign publics to influence international perceptions, attitudes and policies. Like any art form, the real definition of public diplomacy is subjective, and can be the source of lively and often bitter debates.

Rather than attempt to create a specific definition of public diplomacy, this edited volume takes some of the most insightful and historically significant writings, statements and official documents, from a variety of professional disciplines and political perspectives, so the reader can develop his or her own sense of what the field is all about. This book makes no pretensions about completeness. The editor found it challenging to keep it under 500 pages of actual text. Here is how The Public Diplomacy Reader is designed to serve the user: To provide in a single volume a useful primer on public diplomacy, straight from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners across time and culture. Edited by J. Michael Waller." Image from


Obama in Oz: President Obama forges a military alliance with Australia - Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal: More than half of the Aussie public supports the idea of having American troops on their soil, according to the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based think tank. Australia's defense establishment has grown increasingly worried about the end of America's "unipolar moment" in the world, given China's increasingly aggressive military posture in the region. Even the country's biggest businesses -- energy resources companies -- see an upside, as they worry about the safety of their investments.

Decline of American Exceptionalism - Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Is America exceptional among nations? Are we, as a country and a people and a culture, set apart and better than others? Are we, indeed, the “shining city upon a hill” that Ronald Reagan described? Are we “chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world” as George W. Bush said?

This year, for the first time, most Americans did not say yes. According to a report issued on Thursday by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, when Americans were asked if they agreed with the statement “our people are not perfect but our culture is superior to others,” only 49 percent agreed. That’s down from 60 percent in 2002, the first time that Pew asked the question. We have to stop snuggling up to nostalgia, acknowledge that we have allowed a mighty country to be brought low and set a course to restitution. And that course is through hard work and tough choices. Image from

Outrage Over Pentagon's Guantanamo "Propaganda" Video - Jason Leopold, Truthout: A video released by the Pentagon showing several Guantanamo detainees praying, exercising and playing soccer has angered Kuwaitis, who believe one of the prisoners is a citizen of the country and is being used by the US government as a "propaganda" tool in an attempt to demonstrate the humane conditions of nearly a decade of indefinite detention, according to attorneys representing the man. The one-minute-and-19-second video, according to a Defense Department spokesman, is "B-roll footage" that was shot on November 4 by Joint Task Force-Guantanamo personnel and provided to the media covering the arraignment at the prison of high-value detainee Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.

The video, which does not show the detainees' faces, was shot in Camp 6, which houses "cooperative" detainees. The detainees, some of whom are wearing sneakers, shorts and beige and white prison garb, are also seen taking what appears to be a leisurly stroll on the prison grounds. Image from article, with caption: Attorneys for Guantanamo detainee Fayiz al-Kandari say he is one of the detainees who appeared in 'B-roll' footage the Pentagon released to the media two weeks ago.

Don’t Forget Guantánamo Prisoners Cleared For Release But Still Held – Andy Worthington, At various points from May 2009 onwards, the Pentagon, or other agencies, claimed that 1 in 7, 1 in 5 and 1 in 4 of the released prisoners were engaged in anti-US activities, but never provided the evidence to back up their claims. The allegations can only objectively be viewed as propaganda.

Rustmann: CIA Must Use Political Covert Ops - Fred Rustmann, In order to influence political events in a particular country it is necessary to recruit foreign correspondents to write articles favorable to the U.S. position, or for the CIA to plant articles designed to influence public perceptions in the foreign media. The bad word for this is propaganda; it is a very effective tool.

Covert action has been described by one colorful former CIA officer as something between the State Department’s “nice doggy” and the military’s “whack over the head with a big stick.” The United States desperately needs something between diplomacy and military action. The CIA must get back into the business of using covert action to advance U.S. goals around the globe in a cost effective way. We need to become pro-active; not reactive. Rustmann image from article

UK retreats from war rhetoric on Iran - The British government has retreated from the war rhetoric on Iran after it realized the propaganda

against Iran's nuclear activities failed to mislead countries in the world. Image from article

South Korea's 'Weasel' ferrets out the funny: Wildly popular podcast host Kim Ou-joon takes on any and all politicians, but his favorite target is President Lee Myung-bak. It's a daring move in a country with little tradition of political humor - John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times: Every week, Kim Ou-joon does what was once unthinkable in South Korea: Kim, 42, is South Korea's foremost Internet rebel, a satirist who lights into any elected official he sees as insincere, greedy or out of touch.

In the world's most wired nation — 99% of people younger than 40 regularly use the Internet and 4 in 10 people own a smart phone — Kim has used digital media to rally disenfranchised youths in a challenge to the status quo, and caught the establishment flat-footed. His free weekly audio podcast, which can be downloaded from Apple's iTunes store and Kim's website, combines Jon Stewart pithiness and "Saturday Night Live" slapstick. Image from article, with caption: Kim Ou-joon, an outspoken and influential South Korean political commentator who spreads his barb-filled humor through a weekly podcast called "I'm a Weasel," is wildly popular, except with the politicians who fall under his withering criticism.

Putin Wins China’s Confucius ‘Peace’ Prize for Opposing UN on Libya - Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister and the man referred to by some as the “iron hand,” is the unlikely winner of this year’s so-called “Confucius Peace Prize.” The prize was set up last year supposedly with the official backing of the Chinese regime’s Ministry of Culture. The prize was apparently a reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, which enraged the Chinese regime. Princeton University professor Yu Yingshi says the prize is a joke. [Yu Yingshi, Princeton University Professor]: “The so-called Confucius Peace Prize itself is fundamentally a joke, it ultimately has no value. I also feel that Russia’s prime minister won’t be interested in it, I’m not clear if he will accept it or not. I feel, in brief, this is a really laughable thing, it demonstrates how the Communist Party’s propaganda is completely out of touch with the times.” Yet the Chinese regime may have realized many in the West saw through last year’s prize as a propaganda trick. This year the prize doesn’t have the backing of the Chinese regime. The Ministry of Culture announced in September that the award would not be given this year and disbanded the prize committee. Yet committee member Qiao Damo says he has set up a new committee in Hong Kong and the prize will go ahead—independently of the Chinese Regime. He cites Putin’s opposition to NATO operations in Libya and his toughness in suppressing Chechnyan rebels as Putin’s contribution to world peace.

Azerbaijani propaganda invents new national hero – Ilham of Macedon - ", which is known for its unskillful falsifications, reported that allegedly in the program 'President' on German TV channel ProSieben, presenter Thomas Nitscher declared that in 2012 Azerbaijan will already launch active military operations against Armenia. Moreover, French President Nicolas Sarkozy allegedly said to U.S. President Barack Obama during the G20 Cannes Summit: 'It is difficult to oppose Aliyev, he is like the Macedonian,' the Azerbaijani new agency wrote on behalf of the presenter, noting that Aliyev somehow reminds of the Grand Master

who establishes control over the whole region. Certainly the Azerbaijani news agency gave no link or video of the report. Moreover, it became known that there is neither a program nor a presenter of that name in the mentioned TV company. There is no doubt that chess player Ilham of Macedon will become the hero of many anecdotes, cartoons and satirical articles. The disservice of the Azerbaijani propaganda to their supreme commander-in-chief will turn out badly more than once. However, they hardly think about the absurdity of such kind of false reports." Image from

Obama’s Mission Accomplished Moment – Margaret Kimberley, The amount of propaganda directed towards the American people is immense and growing at a rapid pace. We face a daily onslaught of grotesque imagery, all of it meant to keep us programmed and compliant in the face of an expanding empire. Sporting events have become the domain of worship of the military and its actions. It isn’t possible to watch a high school, college or professional sporting event without being subjected to flyovers from fighter jets, drill teams, or marching bands.

Anyone who simply wants to watch their favorite football team on a Sunday afternoon cannot do so without the now required greetings from uniformed troops in Camp Liberty, or Camp Freedom, or Camp Patriot in Iraq or Afghanistan. The apex of public ugliness for the Obama administration came last week on Veteran’s Day, which has morphed from a minor holiday among public celebrations into a festival of celebration for death and destruction. As in all other things, Barack Obama used the occasion to out shine his predecessor George W. Bush. Image from article

TLL Classic: This Soviet Propaganda Poster Totally Looks Like Rage Face Meme -


There are atheists in foxholes: The Army may not think atheism is a faith, but in fact atheist chaplains could help an atheist service member just as a Christian or Jewish chaplain can fortify believers - Editorial, It seems like a contradiction in terms: Atheists in the U.S. military want to participate in the armed services' chaplaincy program — a program designed to meet the religious needs of service members.

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