Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29

"When a man’s actions are just and honorable, the more they are known, the more his reputation is increased and established. If I was sure therefore that my valet de place was a spy, as probably he is, I think I should not discharge him for that, if in other respects I liked him."

--Benjamin Franklin, widely acknowledged as America's first "public diplomat"; image from


"I receive

the PD Press and Blog Review at my State [Department] e-mail address each day ... There seems to be no firewall. Since it's not forwarded to me, but sent instead via a listserv, maybe there's a good technical explanation for the issue that your source indicated." Image from


Open-Source Diplomacy: Instead of hunkering down in the wake of the WikiLeaks fiasco, Foggy Bottom should move toward a less secretive diplomacy  - Jonathan Spalter, democracyjournal.org: "It has been the role of so-called 'public' diplomacy to manage the increasingly important government-to-citizen and citizen-to-citizen interactions on behalf of the United States. And by any measure, the mission of public diplomacy has become only more central to U.S. foreign-policy objectives. Nevertheless, of the total $54.6 billion budget requested for 2011 by the State Department, public diplomacy programs accounted for just $1.29 billion—less than 2.5 percent of the department’s total

budget request for the year. With only 1,070 public diplomacy officers within the Foreign Service, public diplomacy is the second smallest of the department’s five career tracks. Indeed, as of 2009, the State Department employed 60 percent more diplomatic security professionals than public diplomacy officers. The consequences of these trends have not been auspicious. ... What WikiLeaks—and the open-source technology environment of which it is as much a symptom as a catalyst—has made jarringly clear is that the U.S. government alone can no longer fully control what remains classified and out of public reach. ... The fundamental question for American diplomacy will be whether it will withdraw more deeply into a musty and increasingly outmoded cathedral of secrecy, or if it will seek to accelerate efforts to be more transparently and muscularly engaged in managing the nation’s interests in an open-source world." Spalter image from

Did You Know Your Perceptions Are Being Managed? - Dava Castillo, allvoices.com: "Perception Management, although coined by the Department of Defense, has migrated into American culture to mold and influence public opinion to everything from political motifs to what kind of insurance you 'should' be buying. Perception Management is also known as 'public diplomacy.['] It is a propaganda strategy originally devised for controlling how a target population views political events refined by intelligence services as they tried to manipulate foreign populations.

The practice eventually found its way into domestic U.S. politics as a way to manipulate post-Vietnam-War-era public opinion and into a public relations strategy for corporations and advertising. ... Branding is an extension of Perception Management. Branding delivers a clear message of a corporation’s image, confirms credibility, connects the target population to the prospects of the corporation emotionally, motivates the 'buyer' of the image, and cements user loyalty. ... Is it ethical for corporations to hire ‘perception management’ firms to influence public opinion? Do you ever manage perceptions? How? Are these actions about telling truth or the illusion of truth?" Image from article

Ambassador Munter Promotes Leadership, Partnership and Solidarity at LUMS - "Ambassador Munter and his wife, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, focused on inspiring Pakistan’s next generation of leaders on the first day of their visit to Lahore. Addressing more than 150 students at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) today, U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter emphasized the themes of leadership, partnership and solidarity. ...  On partnerships, 'LUMS has partnerships with eminent American institutions like Harvard

and the University of Chicago. LUMS has partnerships with leading American businesses like Pepsi and Citibank. Together, we can do great things.' ... Dr. Wyatt inspired young students at the Children’s Literature Festival held in Lahore today. Reading from the American classic Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Dr. [Marilyn] Wyatt remarked on the power of books to inspire the best in children. The U.S. mission provided a $10,000 grant to support the two-day festival." US Islamabab Embassy image from, with caption:  Ambassador Munter visits  [with Dr. Wyatt -- JB] Eidgah Shareef Shrine in Ralwalpindi.

Raising awareness about HIV/AIDS through street art - kubatanablogs.net: "Graffiti artist, Maxx Moses, arrived in Bulawayo on Sunday as part of a U.S. Embassy program to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS through street art. Moses, who calls himself a 'concrete alchemist,' will spend a week in Zimbabwe’s second largest city working with local artists to create two murals on the sides of major buildings. ... 'Worldwide, AIDS activists are focused on creating an AIDS-free

generation. In order to do this, we need to use every possible tool to get prevention messages across to young and old alike. Maxx’s work is the perfect medium to do this – it’s innovative, engaging, and certainly eye-catching,' says Michael Brooke, Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Embassy. ... Issued by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section." Moses image from article, with caption: Maxx Moses with local artist Enock aka “Just Kause” in Makokoba, Bulawayo on Monday.

Rare Cultural Diplomacy US-China Relations Hearkens to the Past - globaldiplomacy.wordpress.com: "Ever wonder what cultural and public diplomacy looks like? These pictures of the 'Jazz Ambassadors' will help, and a related NPR blog tells the story. So will this story focusing on a successful and important Asia Society program that appears to be a rarity in this era of budget shortfalls and short-term thinking: 'The event was part of the U.S.-China Forum on the Arts and Culture, which brought over such artists as Mr. Ma, the actress Meryl Streep, the director Joel Coen and the authors Amy Tan and Michael Pollan. It included an organic cooking class (in the land of MSG and pesticides), a discussion on media censorship (in a country with elaborately monitored Internet), movie screenings and, at the Friday night concert, the improbable sight of Mr. Ma and Ms. Streep mock-kowtowing to each other, ending up prostrate on the floor and leaving the mostly Chinese audience in stitches. via Cultural Exchange Offers Respite in U.S.-China Tensions – NYTimes.com.' Don’t miss the observation of public diplomacy’s slow death by Nick Cull, one of the top experts in the field at USC."

Success is bittersweet for VOA’s Croatian journalists - Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post: "A tall, elegant man with a goatee and an Eastern European accent ushered a guest into an office where meat pies, apple strudel and red wine were spread out on a table. 'We are having a party now,' Zorz Crmaric said, 'celebrating our own demise.' It was a funerary feast for the Voice of America’s Croatian service, of which Crmaric was chief until last Wednesday. Born in 1992 as bloody ethnic wars strafed the former Yugoslavia, the service was eliminated as Croatia, a NATO member, stands poised to join the European Union. ... In 1992, when Yugoslavia was breaking apart, 'there was no question' that VOA services were needed, said John Lennon, the associate director for language programming. But VOA is now putting more emphasis on Africa, the Middle East and East Asia. The

last one to close was the Hindi service, in 2010. ... Ten other former East bloc language services, opened in the 1940s and ‘50s, including Polish, Hungarian, Czech and Estonian, were closed in 2004. New services have opened: Kurdish in 1992, Bosnian in 1996, Macedonian in 1999, and Somali in 1992 and again in 2007. In 2006, VOA started a Pashto-language radio station aimed at a lawless region on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Yugoslav service, which started in the early 1940s, split apart in 1992." Via LB. Image from article, with caption: Voice of America has a bittersweet reception, celebrating its last Croatian service broadcast in Washington on Nov. 22, 2011.

VOA Persian's "Parazit" gets some static on Al Jazeera English - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "The concept of news that is funded by a government but not controlled by that government is slightly difficult to explain."

Image from

On C-Span, several interviews with the several directors of the several USIB entities - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Korean ambassador to speak in Reno on Thursday - recordcourier.com: Asian trade issues are often discussed by state leaders trying to find ways to improve Nevada's economy. This week, Nevadans will have a rare opportunity to hear about Asian trade and economic issues first-hand, from the Ambassador from the Republic of Korea to the United States, Han Duk-soo,

as well as the former Ambassador from the United States to the Republic of Korea, Kathleen Stephens. ... Stephens served as ambassador from September 2008 until October 2011 and is a career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service. Before serving as ambassador, she was principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the U.S. Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, responsible for overall bureau management and public diplomacy and for management of U.S. relations with Japan and Korea. Han Duk-soo image from article

Graduate and Undergraduate Student Presentations: Summer Research and Internship Experiences - mgoabroad.blogspot.com: "Wednesday, November 30 12:00-1:30 pm  Room 1636 International Institute 1080 S. University Brussels: a Lesson in Public Diplomacy and Culture Alina Charniauskaya (BA REES/Political Science, Modern European Studies Minor) CES-EUC Summer Research and Internship Grant recipient."


Doctrine of Silence - Roger Cohen, New York Times: As the U.S. military prepares to depart from Iraq (leaving a handful of embassy guards), and the war in Afghanistan enters its last act, he owes the American people, U.S. allies and the world a speech that sets out why America will not again embark on this kind of inconclusive war and has instead adopted

a new doctrine that has replaced fighting terror with killing terrorists. (He might also explain why Guantánamo is still open.) Image from

Pakistan's Border Outrage: A break with America isn't in Islamabad's best interests - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: For both the U.S. and Pakistan, the better option remains to repair this dysfunctional and damaged alliance—in the words of former

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, to "keep working" at a "troubled marriage." Pakistan has an interest in a stable Afghanistan, and it can help first by backing the elected government in Kabul over the terrorists hiding in its own hills. Sometimes a relationship has to hit bottom to bounce back. This is where we are with Pakistan. Image from article, with caption: Pakistani protesters shout slogans against America and NATO in Lahore, Pakistan.

What Happened on the Border? - Editorial, New York Times: It’s not clear what led to NATO strikes on two Pakistani border posts this weekend, but there can be no dispute that the loss of lives is tragic.There are many questions that need to be answered. Who first fired on the American-Afghan force? Pakistan’s army is far too cozy with the Taliban. Were fighters sheltering near the Pakistani outposts? What about Pakistan’s claim that the NATO strikes continued for two hours even after Pakistan alerted allied officials? What needs to be done differently going forward? The two sides need answers if there is any hope of finding a way back from the brink.

U.S. Faces New Afghan Test - Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal [susbcription]: The Obama administration faces a real-time test of its elaborate strategy for supplying troops in Afghanistan following a deadly allied airstrike that sent relations between Washington and Islamabad to new lows. At least for now, the incident leaves U.S. troops in landlocked Afghanistan dependent on alternate supply routes that have been painstakingly set up to help steer clear of the region's treacherous geopolitics.

WWII "gremlin" Safety posters - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing.

Image from entry


"In its origins 'propaganda' is an ancient and honorable word."

--Ralph D. Casey, "What is propaganda?," War Department Education manual EM-2 [published during WWII], Section on "The Story of Propaganda"; image from item

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