"[T]he State Department's enthusiasm for technology has surpassed its understanding of it."
--Social media commentator Evgeny Morozov; image from
(a) Концерт ковбойской музыки в резиденции посла США (Cowboy music concert at the residence of the USA Ambassador [in Moscow]). Via HS on Facebook; see also (1) (2)
(b) “Be My Baby” from the K-pop stars the Wonder Girls
PD Under Secretary-Designate’s Advice: Watch China - Adam Clayton Powell III, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Tara Sonenshine, nominated to serve as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, offered advice this morning to public diplomacy observers: Watch China. 'We are challenged every day by what the Chinese are doing in public diplomacy,' she said. Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she is Executive Vice President, Sonenshine pointed to China’s paid print supplements in the Washington Post and other newspapers, including the New York Times. 'You may not read it,' she said, but readers are 'embraced' by the paid supplements, which Sonenshine called 'brilliant.' These supplements have not been without critics, focusing on blurring of editorial and paid propaganda content. And an article on the Nieman website described them as 'content-as-advertisement strategy.' That may be good news for China’s public diplomacy -- and confusing to readers who miss the sometimes subtle cues that label these sections as paid advertising. Second, said Sonenshine, are the Confucius Institutes, China-funded centers that have spread rapidly to U.S. universities from east to west and north to south. She said the buildup of the Institutes’ Chinese language
CCTV. Sonenshine, formerly a producer at ABC News, recently visited CCTV’s new Washington studios, which she described as a major broadcast production center. ... Sonenshine also noted Russia has started to follow China’s PD model in the U.S., with its Russia Now section in The Washington Post and its 24-hour English language Russia Today television channel and website. 'Do you want to lose the public diplomacy battle with China and Russia?' she asked." Image from
Today in Congress: budget day in the House, waste of day in the Senate - David Waldman, Daily Kos: "Today's [March 27] House committee schedule: FOREIGN AFFAIRS [:] ... 2:30-Open [:] Oversight and Investigations Subc. On price of public diplomacy with China. Public witnesses. 2172 RHOB."
Piracy Off the Horn of Africa: Remarks, Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs; Remarks to the Center for American Progress, Washington, DC - ethiopianreview.com: "The international community has adopted innovative steps to address the problem of piracy. For our part, the United States has helped lead the international response and galvanize international action. ... In January 2009, the United States helped establish the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia to both prompt action and coordinate the efforts to suppress Somali piracy. The Contact Group is based on a voluntary membership and was established concurrent with the UN Security Council’s passage of Resolution 1851.
Report: State Dept. has more than 150 people working on ediplomacy - Josh Rogin, The Cable, Foreign Policy: “The State Department now has more than 150 employees working full time on ‘ediplomacy,’ the use of the Internet to achieve policy goals, as well as at least 900 part-time ediplomats, according to a new study. ‘The US State Department has become the world's leading user of ediplomacy," states the new report put out by Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy, highlighting a range of initiatives that Foggy Bottom has included in its ‘21st Century Statecraft’ Initiative.’ In some areas ediplomacy is changing the
here." Image from
The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost - Chris Hedges, motivationalbooks.com: "I covered the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua from 1983 to 1988. Press members who reported on the massacres and atrocities committed by the Salvadoran military, as well as atrocities committed by the U.S.-backed Contra forces in Nicaragua, were repeatedly denounced by senior officials in the Reagan administration as fellow travelers and supporters of El Salvador’s Farabundo Marti National Liberation (FMLN) rebels or the leftist Sandinista government in Managua, Nicaragua. The Reagan White House, in one example, set up an internal program to distort information and intimidate and attack those of us in the region who wrote articles that countered the official narrative. The program was called 'public diplomacy.' Walter Raymond Jr., a veteran CIA propagandist, ran it. The goal of the program was to manage 'perceptions' about the wars in Central America among the public. That management included aggressive efforts to destroy the careers of reporters who were not compliant by branding them as communists or communist sympathizers. If the power to lock us up indefinitely without legal representation had been in the hands of Elliott Abrams or Oliver North or Raymond, he surely would have used it. Little has changed. On returning not long after 9/11 from a speaking engagement in Italy I was refused entry into the United States by customs officials at the Newark, N.J., airport. I was escorted to a room filled with foreign nationals.
"Call to Action on Public Diplomacy" includes call to action on US international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Entertainment as a strategy of neutrality for Voice of America - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "[A]s far as the BBG strategists are concerned, silencing of VOA radio to Tibet will not be a big loss. Tibetan monks cannot be easily surveyed in Tibet about their radio listening habits. Those fearing reprisals do not share such information with strangers. If they can’t be counted, they don’t exist. What can bring the BBG a large audience in China are English lessons with juvenile humor that the regime censors will not prevent from circulating on the Internet. The BBG plans to pay for expanding such program offerings by abolishing not only VOA Tibetan radio but also the entire VOA Cantonese Service. VOA radio programs to communist-ruled countries like Vietnam, Laos, as well as to Georgia, are also set for elimination. Serious journalism and long-format news reporting and analysis that offend dictators cannot be placed on local networks and do not produce audiences that can be easily measured. The BBG therefore also plans to reduce drastically VOA English and Spanish programs, while China and even Iran are expanding theirs. ... [T]he Broadcasting Board of Governors current commercial programming and marketing philosophy designed to maximize the audience size by diluting the message. It reminded us of one of Marshall McLuhan’s keen observations other than
One Organization, Many Brands, Much Confusion - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "BBG Strategy, 19 Mar 2012, Bruce Sherman: 'One organization, many brands' is integral to the BBG’s new strategy, Impact through Innovation, and Integration. The ability to have multiple brands offers several advantages. The BBG’s major brand names are, of course, the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Alhurra TV, Radio Sawa, Radio Martí and TV Martí. There are also various sub-brands such as Radio Azadi (RFE/RL) in Afghanistan and Deewa Radio (VOA) in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Popular BBG programs — Parazit in Iran, OMG Meiyu in China, and Studio 7 in Zimbabwe — often acquire identities in their own right. Differential branding is beneficial.
previous post. I argue for a single, unified, global USIB brand in 'US International Broadcasting: Success Requires Independence and Consolidation'." Image from entry
BBG's "busy" Victor Ashe visits RFA and VOA offices in Bangkok and RFA and VOA offices in Phnom Penh - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.
Former VOA journalists in the news - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Sri Lankan politician calls for closure of VOA relay station - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Image Making Mumbai - Bob's World: High Points Low Points, What's the Point? - "Some time after World War II the Propaganda bureau gave way to the Office of Public Diplomacy, a more gentile [sic] term for selling a nation. There are now public diplomacy Phd programs and fresh faced public diplomats flourishing all over the world. Only along the North Korean DMZ–same place Obama visited a few days ago—do they still blast real propaganda and martial music at the enemy through huge loud speakers. Public diplomacy creates lots of government PR jobs, but doesn’t hold a candle to pop culture.
India to wage documentary war countering West’s exposure of Sri Lanka crimes - tbcuk.net: "The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi has embarked on deploying India’s expertise in cinematography to campaign against recent exposures of Sri Lanka’s war crimes by Western documentaries and to defend the partnership efforts of the two Establishments in the island. Leading film makers in India have been hired by the ministry to produce a documentary that will be showing an interview with
India: The Last Handwritten Newspaper in the World - Rezwan, sjpaderborn.wordpress.com: "The earliest forms of newspaper were handwritten and now ‘The Musalman‘ probably is the last handwritten newspaper in the world. This Urdu language newspaper was established in 1927 by Chenab Syed Asmadullah Sahi and has been published daily in the Chennai city of
It is presently run by Syed Asmadullah’s grand son Syed Arifullah and six skilled calligraphers work on this four pages newspaper everyday. With a circulation of approximately 23,000 the paper covers news in Urdu language across a wide spectrum including politics, culture and sports. ... Check out this video [on the Musalman, included in entry] directed by Ishani K. Dutta and produced and uploaded to YouTube by the Public Diplomacy Division of India’s Ministry of External Affairs. Image from article, with caption: Signboard of the office. Screenshot from the video The Musalman
The Media and South Korean Public Diplomacy - Ashley Turner,
sutradharsmarket.wordpress.com: "There are two things the South Korean government is completely sure of – that the local pop culture has been good for the country economically and that it has carved out a distinguishing trait that correlates with the country’s desire to become more dynamic in the eyes of the world. South Korea has successfully individualized itself in Asia by forming a mainstream culture that has increasingly isomorphic qualities in the Eastern Hemisphere. This also coincides with the government’s public diplomacy strategy of successfully promoting Korea as a brand. However, South Korea now has its sights set on moving beyond that region into one where cultural values tend to be more segregated: the West. This alone will not halt any progress currently being made, but with a still-developing tourism industry, the knowledge and resources will be necessary to repeat that same success on the other side of the world. South Korea is already reaching out to expand its network, which in Asia already has vastly embedded connections. However, they are missing integral connections to bridge those connections in Asia to create a substantial network in the West. There are already preparations for this in the country’s active involvement in globalization. There is a need to be noticed and appreciated by the rest of the world, and the connection with the United States is still fairly weak. If seriously pursued, South Korea will proceed to export its popular culture westward after which it will undergo another change courtesy of its usage of transnationalism."
South Africans recall their own history during Israeli Apartheid Week - nl-aid.org: "This year’s Israeli Apartheid Week in South Africa created a buzz nationwide. BDS South Africa and other Palestine solidarity groups teamed up with trade unionists, political parties, student bodies, churches, youth organizations and activists in Gaza to reach out to a wide audience. Organizers used various means to inspire broad-based support for boycott, divestment and sanctions activism. Huge billboards were put up to announce Israeli Apartheid Week. Durban-based GangsOfGraffiti inspired fellow street artists and graffiti writers to participate by creating works with 'Free Palestine' as the theme.
National film tour, 5-11 March 2012,' BDS South Africa). According to an article in The Jerusalem Post, the Israeli 'Public Diplomacy Ministry' had sent a delegation to South Africa to 'battle the apartheid label,' but Israel’s messengers did not succeed in changing the perception held by many South Africans that Israeli apartheid is similar to apartheid in South Africa ('Envoys to fight Israel Apartheid Week on campus,' 19 February 2012)." Image from article, with caption: In Johannesburg, a graffiti artist helped promote this year’s Israeli Apartheid Week.
The THNK Tank: Why Amsterdam Wants Your (Creative) Brains - fmartindesign's Space: "The city of Amsterdam, the Dutch government, and a host of private sponsors are funding an accelerator for 'successful dropouts and Harvard alumni' from around the world. The goal? More talent in Amsterdam. ... Participants come from a variety of backgrounds--and are working on some very interesting projects.
Tribewanted, Gines Haro Pastor is behind The Guardian's ambitious Social Enterprise Network, and Shona McDonald's Shonaquip produces low-cost wheelchairs for rural areas. ... The public diplomacy portion of THNK also comes up thanks to a recent visit by Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan to India. THNK staff members traveled to Mumbai and Bangalore as part of a trade mission, where they hosted leadership workshops for like-minded local firms. Six of the initial thirty participants in THNK are Indian." Uncaptioned image from article
Why KONY 2012 is Bad Public Diplomacy - Marissa Cruz-Enriquez, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "In early March 2012 the international non-profit organization, Invisible Children (IC) ... began an awareness raising campaign to bring African warlord, Joseph Kony, to justice. While Invisible Children and other NGOs have been conducting on-the-ground activism in Uganda for years, KONY 2012 is not a call to action beyond the act of purchasing an action kit, sharing a video, and clicking 'Like' on Facebook. Providing assistance to citizens in Africa to take back control over their own futures is where the real solution lies. Any approach that does not consider this aspect is severely misguided. This public diplomacy mandate touches on another criticism leveled against KONY 2012, that of the 'White Savior Industrial Complex'
where Africa is merely a backdrop for Western egos to be projected upon. The video can be seen as a fantasy of heroism where a 'nobody' from the Western world can be a godlike savior in Africa. ... The goal of public diplomacy is to communicate and engage in a meaningful and mutual way with foreign publics. Now non-state actors such as Invisible Children have the ability to do just that. However, with the democratization of information sharing, thanks to new media tools, comes great responsibility. Social media is an excellent tool for bringing together different stakeholders, in this case Invisible Children and its supporters, but there also needs to be more than just raising awareness for real change to occur: raising awareness is a noble cause but it is not enough. Invisible Children’s campaign has proven that social media can be used to spread an idea to all reaches of the world but the danger lies in assuming that social media campaigns alone have the power to bring about concrete changes. Social media present an exciting dynamic
from; below image from an article which states: “'Invisible Children' filmmaker Jason Russell, who created the viral 'Kony 2012' video, is seen nude yelling and slapping the ground in a new video that emerged yesterday highlighting his bizarre behavior last week. His family said Russell was under stress and that he 'never had a substance abuse or drinking problem, and this episode wasn’t caused by either of those things.'”
But the longer-winded tropes of “public diplomacy” carry keys to their own undoing - Newspeak: [no additional text]
Remembering Priscilla Buckley - Mike Brownfield, heritage.org: "Heritage Foundation President Edwin J. Feulner issued the following statement on the passing of Priscilla Buckley, longtime managing editor of the National Review, who died Sunday at age 90. Priscilla and I served together for seven years on President Reagan’s U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.
Guest Post: the Relationship Between EU Identity and Sports - Emina Vukic, Ren's Micro Diplomacy~ a public diplomacy and soft power blog: "Emina Vukic is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. She is an Annenberg scholar, born and raised in Croatia. Emina has worked for Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia (for several years as a human rights activist after the war), the Hague Tribunal office in Belgrade, and later for USAID’s Local Government Reform Program in Serbia. Emina’s public diplomacy interests lie in nation branding through cultural diplomacy, primarily of post-conflict countries."
Noses, Shaking Hands: Social Norms in Kenya - Ryna Keith, A World Not Our Own: A Public Diplomacy Blog: "This world is not my own, I am just passing through" - "Even after a year and a half of living in Kenya, I am still everyday amazed at the difference in cultural norms. The minute you step into this country you realize how different everything is. My favorite cultural difference is the extended greetings. It makes the world seem so friendly when every person you meet greets you with a smile and a loud 'Habari Yako!!' And then you must stop to shake their hand, greet them in return, and have a short conversation about their family or yours. If they are strangers, this can get a little tedious; walking through town can take five times as long if you stop to talk to every person you meet. Even the language barrier does not stop the friendliness from overwhelming you. If I pass an old mzee on the road, he will stop and take my hand in his wrinkled grip, and say hello in the local mother tongue. I smile and greet him back and, when he goes off on a long rant in kiborana, I tell him I only know a little Kiborana ('Afan anin kiborana'). Undaunted, he will continue to chat amicably, not at all concerned that I am not answering. Eventually, he will wave, say his one English word, 'Goodbye!', smile, showing off his yellowed, chipped or missing teeth, and continue on his way. And this encounter will be repeated by every person you meet. If you are in a hurry, you can get away with a wave and just call the greetings over your shoulder until you are over the next hill. My least favorite social norm is the acceptance of
from; below image from blog, with caption: Ryan and Katharine Keith
4,000 days of war in Afghanistan? - Rachel Maddow, Washington Post: Our public and political willingness to accept the costs of the Afghanistan war in years one through 11 (so far), may not hold for years 12, 13 and beyond. If so, it should not be lamented as a failure of will on the part of the American people but, rather, as an expression of our will.
Американцы летят в Афганистан - radulova.livejournal.com: Военнослужащие сидят на борту военного самолета США - они летят в Афганистан из транзитного центра в киргизском Манасе. (American military on a US military plane flying to Afghanistan from the transit point in Manas (Kyrgystan)
Image from article
Is Russia America's #1 geopolitical foe -- and if not, who is? - latimesblogs.latimes.com: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently called Russia "without question, our No. 1 geopolitical foe" while criticizing President Obama for remarks he made to Russia's president about missile defense that were picked up by a live microphone. At the United Nations Security Council, "who is it that always stands up for the world's worst actors?" Romney asked on CNN on Monday. "It is always
New York Times on Syrian developments: where do I begin - As'ad, The Angry Arab News Service: So the writers [not identified in entry] of this article in the New York Times really believe that it is impossible to find tens of people inside Syria who are supportive of the regime? What about the hundreds of thousands of people who have demonstrated in support of the regime over the last few months? Were they also bused in? And where they injected with a chemical that made them look enthusiastic? Why can't the media report on the story without an obsession with the propaganda agenda?
Propaganda changes lanes in Chongqing - David Bandurski, cmp.hku.hk: Offering further indication of the shift away from the politics of Bo Xilai, who was removed as the leader of Chongqing on March 15, a report in today’s Chongqing Daily offers what seems to be a mea culpa by the municipality’s head of propaganda, He Shizhong (何事忠). According to the report in Chongqing Daily, the official “mouthpiece” of the municipality’s top leadership, He Shizhong told a gathering of propaganda leaders on March 26 that “the cultural and propaganda work of the whole city must firmly and resolutely maintain a high degree of uniformity with the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.” He Shizhong emphasized that Chongqing propaganda leaders needed to “realistically summarize and analyze propaganda and culture work over the past few years, in which there are a number of areas that require improvement.” Specifically, He said there was a need to “improve activities and methods, reducing as much as possible collective theatrical performances, firmly avoiding movement-style [propaganda] methods.” Just over a year ago, as Bo Xilai’s campaign of “red songs” was in full swing in the city, He Shizhong defended the Chongqing’s policies on propaganda and culture. Below image from, with caption: Cute as a Chinese Baby: Radar rounds up Chinese propaganda posters in honor of their underage gymnastic team.
Soviet Space Program Had A Ball Spreading Propaganda On The Moon - Radio Free Europe/RadioLiberty: The "Luna 2" slammed into the Moon by design in 1959, becoming the first manmade object to reach the lunar surface. American artist Randy Regier, who frequently employs old parts from military or industrial equipment to great effect, shared a replica of that Soviet memento in a flickr photo set he calls "Who's On First?" It's a sphere made of pentagonal silver panels with the Soviet state symbol and "USSR January 1959" repeated in Cyrillic in relief. And it's one of at least two copies of those objects used in the actual mission, the other having been gifted to U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower by Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev. Says Regier: "I'm an object person, So, it goes with the territory that I tend to trust them (objects). The first on the Moon? Well, object-ively speaking? The Russians, Damn it." The photos come from a visit to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, which in addition to genuine spacecraft also houses artifacts from the history of spaceflight.
Regier also shared an image of what is presumably the placard that apparently accompanies the orb:
The Huns and Germans? - media-news.net: "My albeit weak understanding is that the Huns were a barbarian horde from Asia, that conquered most of Eastern Europe during the dark ages. Why then, do you sometimes Germans being referred to as Huns? The best example I can think of is Wartime propaganda calling Germans 'the Huns.' Hi. Back in the days before World War I, Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II, known for his outrageous speeches, gave one to German troops setting sail to put down the Boxer Rebellion in China in which he urged them to 'act like Huns' and make sure no Chinese would ever offend a German again – show no mercy like Atilla and his Huns of old. The name was then in fact later used as propaganda against German troops during World War I. Cheers. 'The comparison was helped by the Pickelhaube or spiked helmet worn by German forces until 1916, which was reminiscent of images depicting ancient Hun helmets'. The ostrogoths, or the eastern goths had served under the Huns during the battle of Chalons."
Katy Perry 'Part of Me' video branded "propaganda for the Marines" - Lewis Corner, digitalspy.com: Katy Perry has been criticized by a feminist author for her latest music video. The singer's visual for new single 'Part of Me' sees her joining the US Marines after discovering that her partner had cheated on her.
New Website Launches to Satisfy Hunger Games Superfans - digitaljournal.com: PanemPropaganda.com recently launched, creating a place for super fans to immerse themselves in the world of the smash hit Hunger Games and extend the fantasy beyond the books and movie. The fictional voice of PanemPropaganda.com is the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem, the ruins of what was once North America. The site posts regular stories from the fictitious “Ministry of Propaganda” but is often “hacked” by the burgeoning rebellion. The site boasts original Propaganda art inspired by the story, hand-drawn Panem maps and a wide variety of Hunger Games merchandise. Dan McCall, the accomplished artist and satirist of LibertyManiacs.com, creates the art for the site. "We're huge fans, basically writing between the lines of Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins’ world. It's part fan site, part fan fiction. We know there are tons of fans out there who want to totally immerse themselves in the story, just like us, so this has been a creative outlet for that." says Dan McCall of PanemPropaganda.com, “We are offering something different from the other fan sites in that we stay in character, offering fans the feeling that they are actually living within the story, in Panem.” It's a family affair. McCall's sister, Molly Amberson, is editor and head writer of the site's content under the ‘Games’ name Lollia Grey. Another sister, Emily Greenfield, runs the business end of things. “It's amazing to see the response from fans to the site, especially the positive reaction from students and teachers.