Monday, April 2, 2012
"The task of a public service officer seeking to explain and gain support for a major policy is not that of a writer of a doctoral thesis. Qualification must give way to simplicity of statement, nicety and nuance to bluntness, almost brutality, in carrying home a point."
--Dean Acheson, chastising George Kennan; cited in Hannah Gurman, The Dissent Papers: The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), p. 61; image from; on Acheson and Kennan, see
Obama 2008: Jerusalem Capital of Israel, 'Must Remain Undivided' - breitbart.com: "It caused quite a stir this week when the Washington Free Beacon discovered a State Department press release which referred to Jerusalem and Israel as two separate entities. The not-so-subtle categorical slight was all the more shocking for how it contradicted decades of foreign policy and President Obama's own words from an AIPAC speech in 2008. ... Let's begin with the State Department, whose press release clearly mentions Jerusalem and Israel separately: 'Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Kathleen Stephens is traveling to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Jerusalem, and Israel from March 23 to April 5 to meet with a broad cross-section of government officials, students, NGOs, and exchange program alumni.' ... Shortly after this was discovered, the State Department, in no surprise move, quickly scrubbed the release from the Internet and corrected the 'error' by swapping out 'Israel' for 'Tel Aviv.'
Statement by Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Alec Ross – Office of the Spokesman, U.S. Department of State, April 1, 2012: "At a recent meeting with me at American University pertaining to the subject of public diplomacy, students in the audience recorded my statements via twitter. A brilliant blogger not present at this event accused a university twitterer of inaccurary in summarizing my comments (which were not taped or transcribed), and one detailed-minded former teacher, also not among the audience, castigated this same twitterer for misrepresenting, by the use of quotation marks, my remarks, which are not available in written form.
While I am far too busy innovating/twittering myself to comment on the accuracy/inaccuracy of the tweets regarding my AU presentation, I wish to praise those who came to the defense of what I really had to say even if they never actually heard me say it. I apologize to them for using more than 140 characters as I most gratefully laud their courageous struggle on my behalf."
‘ What’s important to these extremists is not the evidence but the scare’ - Anthony Watts, wattsupwiththat.com: "[T]he U.S. national security system can provide resources efficiently, but it also can do so inadequately and tardily. Flawed responses recur in issue areas as diverse as biodefense, public diplomacy, and military intervention. They also occur across many presidential administrations, from the onset of the Cold War to the present day. The piecemeal organizational reforms enacted to date have not fostered improved policy outcomes or decisionmaking, while capability building, especially in the civilian national security agencies, remains less than optimal."
Tibetan woman challenges Gallup and Broadcasting Board of Governors - USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch, usgbroadcasts.com: "Speaking up at a panel discussion on media freedom, an unidentified Tibetan woman challenged the Broadcasting Board of Governors over the BBG plan to end Voice of America Tibetan radio broadcasts. The March 28 panel discussion in Washington was organized jointly by the BBG and Gallup. A moderator from Gallup repeatedly tried to silence the Tibetan woman, but she was allowed to finish her comments thanks to an intervention by BBG member Michael Meehan who was one of the panelists. ... BBG Watch applauds Governor Meehan
TNR on RT: "Why are liberals lending credibility to a zany Russian TV station?" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Israeli Soldiers’ Stories - ocjewishlife.com: “[T]wo Israeli soldiers recounted their personal experiences and shared insights of serving in the IDF. On March 1, Lital and Elad came to UCI to discuss their own backgrounds and life in Israel and then answer questions. Their West Coast tour, sponsored by StandWithUs, the international Israel education organization, also took them to Cal State Long Beach and UC Riverside. College Republicans and Anteaters for Israel also sponsored the UCI talk.
'Abbas perpetrating political terror against Israel' - Jerusalem Post: In the wake of Friday's Land Day protests in Israel and abroad, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon
'The Truth About the Peace Process' and 'The Truth About the West Bank' in which he attempted to present a historical narrative meant to help wage Israel's public diplomacy battle. 'Social media in general and YouTube in particular are major battlegrounds in the clash of narratives and public diplomacy. It is vital that a strong rights-based Israeli presence is seen and heard, especially for the YouTube demographics who are more interested in easy to digest explanations,” Ayalon's office said in a statement released last year. Ayalon image from article
Télégramme secret exclusif - nuzothie.wordpress.com: "In exclusivity, États de la Liberté has obtained a document of great interest. This cable illustrates the work of high-ranking officials involved in the management of military and diplomatic operations that great powers are carrying out to stabilize a tormented region. As the password of the archive that contained this document was written on a paper that was lost on a bus, the document is published immediately, unredacted.
March 28, 3019
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ORTHANC 001380
STATE FOR NEA/IR, NEA/NGA, NEA/ARP, T
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/3025
TAGS: PREL, MARR, IZENG, MRDR,
SITUATION REPORT ON ANTI-TERROR AND STABILIZATION OPERATIONS
Classified By: CDA URUG RAVURBARG; REASON 1.4 (B, D).
1.(C) A meeting with high-level Orthanc officials took place on March 25 to discuss security and stabilization operations, assessing progress and reviewing priorities. Government of Isengard (GOI)officers assured that they are 'long-term allies', and offered their input on security. 5.(C) Press coverage in Rohan has been distinctly unfavorable. Figures of the opposition use criticism aimed at Grima to sustain a campaign of virulent anti-mordorism. Editorials in the mainstream press have claimed that the legitimacy of the government is tainted by corruption, one-candidate election, and the head of State begin under magical control of a foreign power. StW (PLEASE PROTECT) agreed to further efforts to promote Sauron public diplomacy in the Middle Earth, particularly by underlining the Hobbit threat to the Orcish way of life; and by pursuing the systematic evisceration of civilians and magical control of government officials, which GOI call 'winning hearts and minds'."
Five myths about Obama’s foreign policy - Martin S. Indyk, Kenneth G. Lieberthal and Michael E. O’Hanlon, Washington Post: 1. Obama is “leading from behind.” But to the extent that the president does “lead from behind,” it is mainly where American interests are secondary or, in cases such as Egypt’s revolution, where Washington’s role cannot be too great lest it delegitimize local allies. 2. Obama apologizes for America. For every Cairo speech acknowledging past mistakes, there has been another — such as the one in Oslo later that year, when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize — in which Obama has reminded the world that his top responsibilities are to protect the American people and unapologetically command the nation’s military forces in the wars they are fighting. 3. Obama has markedly improved America’s standing in the Muslim world. Despite his Cairo speech, despite his time growing up in Indonesia, despite his effort to pressure Israel to freeze settlements and despite his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Obama enters his reelection campaign with his own popularity (and that of the United States) in the broader Islamic world mired at levels similar to those of the late George W. Bush presidency.
Syria in the balance: Op-Ed If the international community wants to stop the bloodshed and prevent disaster, it needs to act rather than react - Henri J. Barkey - latimes.com: What we need to do is show all parties that there is a tremendous price to pay in terms of Syrian lives and other consequences for noncompliance with international demands.
Iraq Casts a Pall Over U.S. Effort to Fathom Iran - James Risen, New York Times: Today, analysts and others at the C.I.A.
From Belarus, a cry for help - Fred Hiatt, Washington Post: Stanislav Shushkevich is the leader of Belarus as it emerged from the Soviet Union 20 years ago. Shushkevich said the Obama administration could do more to help his country’s beleaguered democrats stand up to their tyranny.
How War Came Home to Stay [Review of The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow] - Janet Maslin, New York Times: Ms. Maddow’s point is that the way we go to war has changed: that there has been an expansion of presidential power, a corresponding collapse of Congressional backbone and a diminution of public attention.
Why Nations Fail - Thomas J. Friedman, New York Times: Co-authored by the M.I.T. economist Daron Acemoglu and the Harvard political scientist James A. Robinson, “Why Nations Fail” argues that the key differentiator between countries is “institutions.”