"It's not what you say. It's what they hear."
--Slogan printed on the firm of Frank Luntz, "whose biggest triumph was rechristening the estate tax as the 'death tax'"; image from
America’s ‘engagement’ delusion: Critiquing a public diplomacy consensus - m.gaz.sagepub.com: AbstractThe Obama administration has embraced ‘engagement’ as the dominant concept informing US public diplomacy. Despite its emphasis on facilitating dialogue with and among Muslims overseas, this article demonstrates that, in practice, engagement aims to leverage social media and related technologies to persuade skeptical audiences to empathize with American policies. Indeed, its primary means of implementation – participatory interactions with foreign publics – is inherently duplicitous. Through the authors’ description of how engagement is rooted in long-standing public relations and corporate marketing discourses, and in light of the historical and structural foundations
Full Text (PDF)" Via CR on Twitter; image from
State Dept’s New Cartoon Spotlights Iran’s Online Censorship - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "The State Department recently started promoting its new cartoon called 'Behind the Electronic Curtain' highlighting online censorship in
Iran. It promoted the video on Twitter in English, Chinese, Farsi and Arabic with the hashtag #ConnectIran. It has yet to catch fire. Here is the official blurb: [‘]In his March 20 Nowruz message to the Iranian people, President Obama said ‘the United States will continue to draw attention to the electronic curtain that is cutting the Iranian people off from the world. And we hope that others will join us in advancing a basic freedom for the Iranian people: the freedom to connect with one another, and with their fellow human beings.’ Please watch an animated video highlighting how the Electronic Curtain isolates the Iranian people from the world. [‘] In late 2011, the State Department rolled out its Virtual US Embassy Tehran. It was blocked by Iranian authorities within hours of its launch. ABC News reported that the English and Farsi versions went live at 6a Eastern time and by 5pm both were blocked inside Iran. Iran will either block this cartoon or will put out its own version. In related news, the State Department Persian spokesperson, Alan Eyre was recently interviewed by a conservative Iranian website, only to have the interview pulled down following official criticism and condemnation. Radio Free Europe quotes Iran Culture Ministry’s statement of April 4 saying that there was no justification for the Alef website to allow what it called a U.S. ‘intelligence officer’ the opportunity to respond to questions from Iranians. These online skirmishes will continue until the warmongers get their way and start yet another war.”
Hypocrisy of Free Speech: Only If We Agree with What They Say - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "A story of our times as RT.com tries to pull back the curtain on the hypocrisy of US government statements about web freedom. They were kind enough to quote me: [']The State Department since 2008 has spent $76 million overseas on Internet freedom, giving tools and support to bloggers and journalists and online people around the world, particularly in countries that we have difficulties with,' he said. 'At the same time, the State Department… has found Internet freedom to be inconvenient in the form of WikiLeaks, and has worked just as hard and probably spent even more money trying
Thomas Friedman, all-American pundit - pulsemedia.org: "The following is an excerpt from a review by
China's CCTV9 and France Télévisions agree to "fast-track co-productions and acquisitions" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on international Broadcasting
As part of CBC budget cut, Radio Canada International will "move away from shortwave," drop Russian, Portuguese, and "news bulletins" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on international Broadcasting.
Australia's ABC, expanding to Middle East and Africa, will have to decide between "projecting messages" or reporting the news - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on international Broadcasting
Your Ideas, Your NATO: Increasing transparency 1.3 - Chris McCourt, the-pryer.co.uk: "Editor’s Note: The following is an extract from a collaborative policy memorandum by Costinel Anuta, Andrew Barr, Stephanie Theresa Baulig, Daryl Morini, and Megan Ann Reiss. In this section of the policy memo the writers call for NATO member-states to increase transparency by communicating clearly and openly both with one another and with the public. It recognizes that failure to do so will adversely affect the peceived legitimacy of the Alliance. ... The full memorandum can be viewed here. If NATO is to remain relevant, it must foster cohesion and unity based on Allies’ commitment to mutual values and interests. The following policy proposals focus on forging this unity by closing the gap between Member states’ perceptions of each other within the Alliance. ... The full memorandum can be viewed here. ... [highlighted in text - JB] 1.3. Increase NATO’s strategic communication transparency. The following recommendations will improve strategic communication
Quote- Unquote - Indonesia Now with Duncan Graham: Interpreting Indonesia with a Western perspective: Improving inter-cultural relationships: “WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? The relationship with
Jazz and the State Department: A Night on the Rhythm Road - Robert Keith Thomas Donahue, DipNote: "Each April, the State Department, in concert with music lovers around the world, celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month. In honor of this uniquely American art form, musicians, museums, schools, embassies, and others in the United States and around the globe host jazz-themed events to highlight jazz's contributions to our country and to the world. ... The Department of State's musical exchanges are a direct continuation of the Artistic Ambassadors programs of the 1950s and 1960s.
External news services reviewed - english.vietnamnet.vn: "A national conference was held in Hanoi on April 3 and 4 to review external news service and the dissemination of information on the country’s seas, islands and border demarcation last year. The conference emphasised the improvement of the external news services in the
Indo-Bangla celebrations to mark Tagore's 150th birth anniversary - twocircles.net: "As a tribute to Rabindranath Tagore, artists of India and Bangladesh have begun jointly performing various cultural shows, including drama, on the themes penned by the Nobel laureate bard. Bangladesh's Monipuri Theatre group staged Tagore's noted drama 'Debotar Grash' here Friday night. 'A 32-member Bangladesh artists' troupe along with a large number of Indian artists would present various cultural shows in Agartala Sunday,' Tripura government information and cultural department secretary Shantanu Das told reporters here. Tripura chief secretary Sanjay Kumar Panda, who inaugurated the two-day joint cultural show, said: 'Tagore had pooled the people of India and Bangladesh. With this cultural performance, the closeness would be further strengthened. With this cultural diplomacy, the people of the two nations, especially the younger generations, would know each other for the future prosperity of the two countries,' said the Bangladesh government's mission head in Agartala, Obaidur Rahman."
Santorini Biennale of Arts 2012 - Stella Tsolakidou, greece.greekreporter.com: "Researcher and Professor of Cultural Economics and Cultural Diplomacy Kikos Papadopulos has great pleasure in announcing the inaugural Santorini Biennale of Arts, taking place between July 1 and September 30 2012. The Santorini Biennale of Arts aims to support the exchange of arts and experiences, while pursuing both a regional and
U.S. sees gains on Iran intelligence as boost to confidence and access - Joby Warrick and Greg Miller, Washington Post: The expanded intelligence effort has coincided with a covert campaign by the CIA and other agencies to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program and has enabled an escalation in the use of targeted economic sanctions by the United States and its allies to weaken Iran’s resolve.
United States and Afghanistan sign deal on night raids - Sayed Salahuddin, Washington Post: The United States and Afghanistan signed a deal on night military operations on Sunday, resolving a major source of friction between President Hamid Karzai and Washington.
The Big Bang: Zbigniew Brzezinski and Robert Kagan on the State of America [review of Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power By Zbigniew Brzezinski and The World America made By Robert Kagan] - Jonathan Freedland, New York Times: Reading the books side by side is to be reminded not only of Carter versus Reagan but also of Kerry versus Bush. And yet the great surprise is how much they agree with each other, especially on what matters.
America’s Place in the New World - Charles A. Kupchan: The democratic, secular and free-market model that has become synonymous with the era of Western primacy is being challenged by state capitalism in China, Russia and the Persian Gulf sheikdoms. Political Islam is rising in step with democracy across the Middle East. And left-wing populism is taking hold from India to Brazil. Rather than following the West’s path of development and obediently accepting their place in the liberal international order, rising nations are fashioning their own versions of modernity and pushing back against the West’s ideological ambitions. As this century unfolds, sustaining American power will be the easy part. The hard part will be adjusting to the loss of America’s ideological dominance and fashioning consensus and compromise in an increasingly diverse and unwieldy world. Washington has long presumed that the world’s democracies will as a matter of course ally themselves with the United States; common values supposedly mean common interests. But if India and Brazil are any indication, even rising powers that are stable democracies will chart their own courses, expediting the arrival of a world that no longer plays by Western rules. This century will be the first time in history in which multiple versions of order and modernity coexist in an interconnected world; no longer will the West anchor globalization. Multiple power centers, and the competing models they represent, will vie on a more level playing field. Effective global governance will require forging common ground amid an equalizing distribution of power and rising ideological diversity.
The failure of Al-Qaeda propaganda - S Iftikhar Murshed, thenews.com.pk: For several years Al-Qaeda has persevered with a relentless propaganda campaign against Pakistan, but there has been no effort on the part of the government to neutralise this blitzkrieg. Suicide bombings, targeted assassinations, kidnappings and other outrages are justified by Al-Qaeda and its affiliates as jihad. Yet the report of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) does not even acknowledge that the foremost threat that Pakistan faces emanates from terrorism. The inconsistencies in Al-Qaeda statements betray both panic and increasing frustration over its inability to achieve its ambitions in the region. The inescapable conclusion is that it has been considerably weakened because of the success of the military operations and the refusal of the tribal Pakhtuns to do its bidding. What is also needed is a parallel effort to counter the Al-Qaeda propaganda broadside against Pakistan. The government, which has the habit of forming commissions and committees on any and every thing under the sun, should constitute a cell consisting of representatives from the ministries of information and interior to collate Al-Qaeda statements, expose their contradictions, translate these into Urdu and Pashto and disseminate them widely with the help of the print and electronic media.
Book review: ‘Pakistan on the Brink’ by Ahmed Rashid - Bruce Riedel, Washington Post: Pakistan on the Brink depicts a nation with a severe socioeconomic crisis, and with political leadership that has neither the courage nor the will to carry out essential reforms and is building the fastest-growing nuclear arsenal on the globe. The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is in a state of virtual meltdown, Rashid rightly contends, with both sides to blame.
The information war over Syria: With international media not allowed into the country, both government and opposition are resorting to propaganda - aljazeera.com
Iraqi wartime PSYOPs against Iran - ibna.ir: Propaganda and Psychological Operations in the Iraq-imposed war on Iran is the title of a book by Ali Mohammad Naeini published by Revayat-e Fath publication center.
NKorea's Bethlehem is birthplace of Kim religion - Jean H. Lee, Associated Press, deseretnews.com. Image from article, with caption:
"Dreaming in French," by Alice Kaplan: A study of three iconic American women -- Jackie Kennedy, Susan Sontag and Angela Davis -- viewed through the window of their time in France - Megan Doll, startribune.com: 'If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast," Hemingway famously wrote. In "Dreaming in French," Alice Kaplan