Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 26-27

"Many medical schools tell their students that half of what they've taught will be wrong within five years -- the teachers just don't know which half."

--Scientific American (October 2012), p. 91; image from


Keynote Speech at Partnership for a Secure America - Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Washington, DC, posed at "We find ourselves immersed in a swirl of rage and violence directed at American Embassies over a video that we had nothing to do with. We see voices of suspicion and mistrust that seek to divide countries and cultures from one another. So we must think about the message that we want to convey to the world. We must convey that – as Americans – we stand for certain inalienable freedoms. That we stand in defense of freedom of speech as we reserve our right to reject the content of speech which we find despicable. That we also stand for religious tolerance, and we are the home to people of all religions – including millions of Muslims. So we defend the right of that video to be made, just as we reject its denigration of religion.

We also stand for the unfiltered freedom of the Internet: It should be the forum for all opinions and perspectives – as well as a place from which to report atrocities and outrages, or to report on natural disasters, or share best practices. This is not the place to dig deeper into that debate. But my point is this: The importance of getting this and other messages right is absolutely crucial. To people around the world, it also sends a powerful message: we are Americans with shared purpose, values, visions, and solidarity. That’s a core principle of public diplomacy. Our position in the world becomes stronger and more secure when we support democratic representation, human rights, and inclusive economic institutions. When we enhance prosperity abroad, we create opportunities for U.S. investment, and for trade. That creates jobs for our people." Sonenshine image from

Putting 21st Century Statecraft Into Action - Tara Sonenshine, DipNote: "A robust team at State is making use of every tool in the proverbial toolbox to communicate U.S. foreign policy and American values while identifying new and innovative ways to engage audiences. ... Social media and new technologies also allow us to connect to more people than ever before in history. ... We also reach people through what we used to call 'soft power,' but what is really 'smart power.' Music, sports, food. ... In short, public diplomacy goes on, despite all the vicissitudes of global events. We are communicating and engaging every second of every day. And we are working, as journalist and public diplomacy practitioner Edward R. Murrow once said, to close that crucial link:

the last three feet." Image from

Allen West’s Vision Of Public Diplomacy Derived From Biker Tattoo - Noah Rothman, "Florida Republican Rep. Allen West has been a reliable and vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s administration, particularly on matters of international security and foreign relations. He took issue with President Barack Obama’s address to the United Nations on Tuesday, suggesting that it was an expression of weakness and equivocation in the face of clear threats. I share his frustration with the president’s pandering address to representatives of the global community. However, Rep. West’s statement today suggests that his impression of what a statesmanlike projection of

strength looks like is a cartoonish, juvenile and amateurish vision of how an American president conducts public diplomacy.  On Tuesday, West slammed Obama for being too soft on the global community – and on Iran, in particular. In a post on his Facebook account, West claimed that he would have made it clear he intends to wreck 'havoc and destruction' on anyone who would attack U.S.interests. ['] My statement to the United Nations would have been, ‘The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence.' ['] The image above was almost certainly derived from a post-9/11 tattoo design; the bald eagle with an Old Glory neckerchief swooping down on Osama bin Laden with a cluster of JDAMs in both talons." Image from article

I am not Seeing Capitulation - Steven L. Taylor, "I started to weigh in in the comments section of Doug Mataconis’ post about the president’s speech to the UN in which he addressed The Innocence of Muslims (among other issues), but several specific thoughts occurred, so I thought I would go full post on the subject (and because the issue goes beyond Doug’s post, as I have seen these issues discussion elsewhere as well). As I noted in the comment threads of another of Doug’s posts on this subject over the weekend, I am not getting the outrage over attempts at public diplomacy on this issue.  ... My basic objections are rooted in word choices and the starkness of claims.  Over the weekend, I wondered about the words 'timidity' and 'kowtowing' and I wonder today about 'capitulation' (the title of the post was 'President Obama Capitulates On Freedom Of Speech Before The United Nations'). I was vexed over the weekend as to where the US had 'kowtowed' to anyone and I further confused as to what the 'capitulation' was today."

"Anti-US protests and the challenges of '21st century statecraft': In a speech on Tuesday, President Obama touched on the realities of information-sharing technologies playing a wide role in world affairs - Lizzy Tomei, "Philip Seib, a professor of journalism and public diplomacy at the University of Southern California and the author of 'Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era," cautioned that social media as a tool of diplomacy, despite its rise, will always face limitations. 'I think the '21st century statecraft' efforts have been successful but not transformative. In many parts of the world, reaching the desired audiences must rely on 20th century methods because of slower technological development,' he wrote in an e-mail to GlobalPost.

Social media use is one among several diplomatic tools that needs to be carefully wielded in response to recent protests and the strong feelings that have accompanied them, he said. 'Social media can be helpful in the aftermath of this upheaval, but only as part of larger engagement strategies. Experienced diplomats know that they must not neglect face-to-face contacts as well as electronic ones.' 'Diplomats must know when to try to slow the pace of their work rather than always trying to respond to events instantly,' he added. Nonetheless, Seib pointed out that social media has provided new eyes and ears on the ground for dimplomats [sic]. 'Social media provide the ultimate open source intelligence for policymakers,' with benefits that include 'the enriched information flow that enhances decision making at many levels of the policy process,' he wrote. 'Many US diplomats are putting considerable energy and creativity into their electronic engagement projects and connecting with the public to an unprecedented degree,' he added." Image from article, with caption: A burnt pick-up truck is seen during clashes between Egyptian protesters and riot police near the US embassy in Cairo on Sept. 13, 2012.

Department of Babel - James Jay Carafano, The National Interest: "Say what you will about the controversial Cairo statement released by the U.S. embassy in Egypt only hours before the tsunami of anti-American protests that have swept the Islamic world. But the 'Long Telegram' it was not. The statement was so bad—even lacking appropriate punctuation at one point—that it produced a rare moment of true bipartisanship. Neither presidential candidate thought much of it. Romney attacked it. Obama withdrew it. But while the declaration mostly will be remembered for its place in the squabbling over the race to the White House, there is a more important question: Does Obama’s State Department know how to talk to the world? If you click on the link to the statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo, you get an error message: 'HTTP 404 Not Found.' That’s because the page was pulled from the embassy’s website. And don’t go looking for it in some future volume of the State Department’s Foreign Relations of the United States, the compilations of key historical documents. This is one statement that Foggy Bottom hopes the world will forget. It’s understandable that the administration would want to put this page in the past.

Nor should we be too unforgiving if the Cairo embassy panicked and put out an ill-considered statement to try to stem a story that was spinning out of control. But it’s a mistake to bury this history too quickly and not reflect about what was fundamentally wrong with what was written. The State Department’s job is to explain to the world what America is all about, not just express convenient sentiments. The Cairo statement condemned defaming religion. Fair enough. But Americans also reject mindless violence against innocents. Americans believe in legitimate freedom of speech—no matter how personally offensive. These is an essential element of what makes the United States an exceptional nation, a country constructed for the purpose of pursuing liberty. In failing to articulate who we are, the Cairo statement is a perfect example of a failure of public diplomacy." Image from

Foreign policy and the Internet do not cause global warming - "Since we continue to support regimes like Pakistan where human rights are scarce, the

country’s public diplomacy policies must include more intelligible interactions instead of putting up a facade of stubborn democracy." Image from

Cameron Munter urges long-term ties with Islamabad - Faisal Farooq, "Underscoring the enhancement of people-to-people contact, former US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter

has urged for a broader approach to fostering long-term ties between Pakistan and the United States. ... He also proposed a much greater US emphasis on forging people-to-people contacts, business and educational ties, and public diplomacy." Munter image from article

Pakistani and Indian athletes building bridges through football  "The United States State Department has an Sports Exchange program called 'Sports United' under the umbrella of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This program hosts athlete delegations from various countries and sends US athletes to other countries to learn about culture and philanthropy through sport. Sports United encompasses fair play principles to build bridges and empower youth.

From September 11-22, 2012 it hosted 18 young women and two coaches from India and Pakistan. The ten-day program offered opportunities for the athletes and coaches to speak with sports management and offers conflict-resolution workshops. These young women gained access to young athletes, nutritionists and sports professionals during this exchange. They were provided with a tour of ESPN studios in WashingtonDC for a tutorial in Sports Media. They met with State Dept Rep James Moore (Deputy Assistant for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of South and Central Asia)  to discuss their challenges, obstacles and share ideas and provide encouragement for one another." Image from entry, with caption: Footballers training onsite

LaRocco replies to reader's question about State Department sponsorship of European trip - Dan Popkey, "Yesterday, I wrote about former Idaho Democratic Congressman Larry LaRocco's new business, a joint speaking gig with former Rep. Scott Klug, R-Wisc. A reader, 'erico49,' questioned why the U.S. State Department would use tax dollars to pay the pair to speak in the Czech and Slovak republics next month on the upcoming presidential election. I asked LaRocco to respond. He replied that the government sends speakers to 'talk about our democratic institutions and election process. It makes perfect sense to promote discussions abroad about our free and fair elections.' The State Department pays travel expenses and a $200 per day honorarium, LaRocco said. ... Bottom line: Former Members are often used in our public diplomacy mission abroad and we often volunteers."

How Is Social Media Changing Diplomacy? - Alex Fitzpatrick, "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocates for what she calls 'twenty-first century statecraft,' the use of technology and social media by ambassadors and their staff to connect and engage with their local communities. But can Facebook and Twitter really change the art of diplomacy? That was one question posed to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs for Digital Strategy at the State Department Victoria Esser, Indonesian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Dino Patti Djalal, Mexican Ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana and American Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray during a panel at the 2012 Social Good Summit. ... Esser, subtly acknowledging the situation at the American Embassy in Cairo wherein a staffer sent tweets later reported to have gone without authorization, also said that Washington largely gives individual missions free reign to tweet as they will. ... Ambassador Ray shared a unique story of using Facebook to circumvent a local government’s obstructionism. 'When the government discovered our face-to-face meetings with young people were having an effect … they started disrupted meetings. They hated it with a passion. So we came up with alternative, which was a wild suggestion at the time: A live Facebook chat, along with SMS, Twitter, and YouTube. In the first one, 200 people enrolled and we had 250 comments in the first 30 minutes. Facebook didn’t replace face-to-face diplomacy, but it filled a gap, it became a tool we could use to do face-to-face diplomacy when that wasn’t available.' For Ambassador Djalal, Twitter especially has become a crucial mechanism for interacting with Indonesians at home and in the United States."

Using #SMEM Lessons Learned for Public Diplomacy - Monica, "The diplomatic and pundit community ought to take note of the crisis communications insights the Social Media for Emergency Management (SMEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) crowd on Twitter has developed and tested the last few years. Many of these insights could be useful in the U.S. Department of State’s transition to 21st century diplomacy and the

debates it faces over whether diplomats should keep on tweeting and whether the public—which can be nondiplomatic and unstrategic as well as culturally unaware—can be trusted to help address misperceptions about the United States abroad. A key point to remember in those debates is that the public is going to engage in conversations across borders whether diplomats and pundits like it or not.  You can join with citizen diplomats (and minimize the risk of having the public’s actions force the hands of governments on foreign policy issues in an undesirable way). But you cannot stop global conversations… at least without resorting to draconian measures, such as cutting off the Internet." Image from article

Public engagement essentials - Robin Low, "With social media, public diplomacy is not just sending official diplomats to a country to build relationships. On social media, people can organize, influence and engage better than the official government channels."

Re-thinking Audience and Purpose - mflash16, "As the U.S. attempts to re-define itself not as the only alternative to communism but as the 'beacon for freedom and democracy' public diplomatists will have to work to define freedom and democracy for individuals at all levels of society. Whether it is defining freedom in the form of music and culture or democracy in terms of supporting a new Libyan government, targeted audiences shift as goals shift and practices must shift as well."

Commentary: The independence experience of the OECS and prospects for the future - Part 3 - Comment by a reader: "Here is what the Heritage Foundation is recommending to the US government [:] Cancel or suspend all beneficial commercial arrangements with ALBA countries. These would include, among others, waivers of the type granted to Nicaragua and all trade preferences in whatever form. Oppose grants and concessionary loans to ALBA countries from the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. Fund, where possible, nonpartisan pro-democracy groups in ALBA countries. Push back with public diplomacy in response to particularly egregious statements from ALBA presidents to point out the many failings, inane statements, and erratic behavior of these very leaders."

Human rights leaders in Russia condemn mass firing of Radio Liberty journalists - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "Reports in Russian media say that a letter of protest sent to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Congress, which was signed by Russia’s most famous human rights leaders, condemns the management of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) for engineering a mass firing of Radio Liberty journalists in Moscow. The signatories of the letter include such giants of the Russian human rights movement as

Lyudmila Alexeeva, Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group; Sergei Kovalyov, Chairman of the Russian human rights group 'Memorial'; writer Vladimir Bukovsky, a former political prisoner in the Soviet Union; and Tatiana Yankelevich, daughter of Elena Bonner who was the wife of Andrei Sakharov." Image from entry, with caption: Lyudmila Alexeyeva

Nasrallah’s Public Diplomacy - Tammy Mehdi, "A few days ago, tens of thousands of people gathered in Beirut, Lebanon, for a rare public appearance by Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, who has made a conscious effort to stay out of the limelight since the Israel-Hezbollah War in 2006. Clad in green and yellow, the colors of Hezbollah, supporters cheered as Nasrallah called for the continued protests against the Youtube film, Innocence of Muslims, '[for] as long as there’s blood in us, we will not remain silent over insults against our prophet.' Nasrallah has been one of the leading forces behind an anti-American movement in the Middle East. He is using this video [Innocence of Muslims] to continue to spread his message. It has fueled his fire, and he will continue to inspire people to react for as long as people are willing to listen.

Nasrallah is smart. People who don’t believe in Hezbollah’s ideology are now looking at him with admiration for fighting for Islam, all the while respecting other religions (he had planned the protests days after the Pope visited Lebanon.) No matter the content of his speeches, audiences listen when Nasrallah talks. Many believe what he says, and they act on it. His influence spreads far and wide beyond the borders of Lebanon, even if people don’t agree with everything Hezbollah stands for. I would argue that public diplomacy practitioners could learn from Nasrallah’s tactics. We are so quick to dismiss his 'terrorist propaganda,' yet I wish the US could get the attention Nasrallah gets when he rises to the podium, and I wish the US could get a message across as effectively as he does. Let us study him. What makes him so popular? Why do people respect him, and therefore listen to him? All the efforts the US has made to curb anti-Americanism in the region became irrelevant the moment Innocence of Muslims went viral – so what can the US do to convey to the Muslim people that the video is not a representation of the American viewpoint? And how do we fix this situation?" Nasrallah image from article

Netanyahu's Public Diplomacy: Counter- Productive and Desperate? -  Umbridge,  "As far as Netanyahu is concerned talks are nothing more than a waste of time. Just as happened before, the P5+1 will put forward their proposals, Iran will prevaricate, stall some more, and eventually forward their own, unacceptable, plans. All the while, the centrifuges spin and Tehran nears its ultimate goal. Perhaps this explains Netanyahu’s recent, public call for red lines. His attempt to pressure the Obama administration was clumsy and could well prove counter-productive. Indeed, he either completely misjudged the situation, or he acted out of desperation." 

Indo-China public diplomacy: Need for changed mindsets - Ambuj Thaku, "Public diplomacy has always been an important tool in galvanising opinion among the masses about important matters affecting the state of the nation directly, or even indirectly. The cornerstone of a good neighbourly policy lies in educating the people, through various media, about the history, geography, language, culture and society of other countries in the vicinity. Once this is achieved with reasonable success, one can then proceed towards the establishment of people-to-people contacts through multiple programmes, both at the official and non-official levels. The youth form the most dynamic and impressionable element of a country’s population. Harnessed judiciously, this significant volume of raw, but unadulterated, energy can contribute towards national prosperity in a very big way. An extension of this could be the promotion of regional well-being through the inter-linking of such power among the various states in the international arena. After two millennia of contact through the strenuous efforts of pilgrims, philosophers, merchants, ambassadors and admirals, China and India find themselves at an important crossroads today. ... But it must also be acknowledged that there exists a huge information vacuum about each other. In order to reduce this trust deficit, a youth exchange programme was taken up by both countries as one of the measures. The decision to exchange 100-member youth delegations between China and India had been taken during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India in 2005. It was agreed to extend the period of such exchanges for another five years during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s India visit in 2006. The first Indian youth delegates had their tryst with the land of Confucius and Mao in 2006. On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations in 2010, Premier Wen visited India in December that year. On his personal initiative, the number of delegates, from either side, for the year 2011-12 was increased to 500. ... Unless we realise the values of mutual benefit, mutual accommodation and peaceful-coexistence ... it will be very difficult for India to develop to its full potential. Mindsets have to change. For public diplomacy to succeed, a pro-active role has to be played by the state to encourage its youth to break taboos and learn more about others. ... Youth exchanges should continue. Language programmes for teaching Chinese in India should be encouraged as also the provision of greater scholarships to study in China. Are we ready then?"

Japan says sovereignty of disputed islands not in doubt - AFP, Japan hopes to resolve a territorial dispute with China and Taiwan over a remote island chain peacefully, but regards its sovereignty there as indisputable, officials said Tuesday, September 25. 'We do not believe that

there is a dispute to be resolved,' said Naoko Saiki, deputy director general for press and public diplomacy at the Japanese foreign ministry, as officials briefed reporters in New York." Image from article, with caption: East China Sea Islands known as Diaoyu by Beijing and Senkaku by Tokyo. Photo courtesy of Japan Security Watch, New Pacific Institute

Tackling the big questions of Chinese investment into Australia - "In his keynote speech Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull urged China to reflect on the state of its public diplomacy and corporate communications in Australia and more generally. 'I imagine there are many more excellent speakers of English in China than there are Australians. But why is it that we so rarely see a Chinese official or business leader explaining their policies or strategies in our media?

A lot of the concerns about Chinese investment come about through the uncertainty which is a consequence of a lack of transparency. So much of the concern about Chinese investment - the political or public concerns, if you like - would be allayed if their representatives were more publicly transparent,' Mr Turnbull said. 'And so I would strongly encourage - and I have made this remarks in Beijing at the International Department of the Communist Party and other places - that I think a more overt public explanation of China's strategy, its ambitions, its rationale would be enormously helpful. Enormously helpful for China and would help inform the debate.'" Image from article, with caption: In his address, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said the state was well-placed to build on its strong trade and investment partnership with China.

Oz Fest to script new Australia-India culture exchange - Calcutta News.Net, posted at "Australia and India will open a new chapter in public diplomacy and cultural exchange with the ‘Oz Fest’, Australian high commissioner to India Peter Varghese said in the capital Tuesday. The festival is a five-month cultural bouquet of indigenous cricket, music, performance arts, movies and food. It will be held Oct 16, 2012-Feb 5, 2013 with 100 events in 18 cities."

Bratislava will welcome NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning - "On October 2nd and 3rd, Bratislava will host the international leaders in security issues. At the conference, organized by the Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA) under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic and the NATO Public Diplomacy Division. The participants will try to answer questions related to the future of the Alliance, the extension of new partnerships and also to the effective defence during the financial crisis."

A thought on diplomacy - John Daly, "One of the important global trends has been towards democracy and away from autocracy. It occurs to me that that trend should require a change in diplomatic practice. In dealing with an autocratic government, 'realist' approaches might work well -- bargaining to advance important interests. In dealing with democracies, the feelings of the people count more. Public diplomacy that advances mutual understanding between peoples should play a larger role. Indeed, the people in a democracy tend to dislike it when their government bargains with foreign dictators, making deals that strengthen their dictatorial powers.

In dealing with anocracies -- weak states with competing (often armed) internal forces -- public diplomacy might also be important. While the world is probably a safer place, given that it seems that democratic nations seldom if ever go to war against each other, it should not be assumed that democratic peoples will always have good feelings for each other. There remain cultural and religious differences among peoples that create barriers to understanding, and conflicting economic interests among nations. While public diplomacy by a national government can achieve much, there will be increasing need for diplomacy in multilateral agencies; the United Nations, the IMF, the World Trade Organization and other intergovernmental organizations can serve as neutral brokers and as safe forums for international discussion." Image from entry

Karen Hughes, Jerry Jones set for 2012 Murphy Center Leadership Luncheon in Dallas - Ambassador Karen Hughes, who

also is global vice chair of Burson-Marsteller, will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 UNT Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship Leadership Luncheon in Dallas, where Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones will receive the Murphy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship. The Leadership Luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 9 (Friday) at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. This year marks the event's 11th anniversary. Before joining Burson-Marsteller in 2008, Hughes was responsible for reaching out to audiences across the world on behalf of the United States as U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs from 2005 – 2007. Hughes image from article


At U.N., Obama urges Muslim world to support free speech: President Obama condemns an anti-Islam video made in the U.S. but urges Muslims to end anti-America violence and embrace free speech - Paul Richter and Kathleen Hennessey, Obama used his 30-minute speech to the U.N. General Assembly in the heat of a U.S. presidential campaign to offer an impassioned embrace of freedom of expression and a poignant appeal to end the anti-American riots that have erupted around the globe, killing dozens of people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Below Obama image from

Mr. Obama’s refreshing defense of free speech - Editorial Board, Washington Post: It is important for the president and his administration to try to make clear to the majority of Muslims — who do not participate in demonstrations but follow the controversy — that the United States does not sponsor or endorse religious slander. That fact, while obvious to Americans, is not widely understood in the Middle East. But it is just as important to send the message that American free speech will not be curbed to suit religious sensibilities and that violence will not be tolerated.

Defusing Israel's 'detonator' strategy: The country needs to trade militarism for negotiation and compromise - Patrick Tyler, Over six decades and through as many wars, the U.S. has escalated its commitment to Israel's security, but it has neglected a corresponding insistence that Israel develop the institutions of diplomacy, negotiation and compromise necessary to fully engage the Arabs during a crucial period of Arab awakening. Every president since Eisenhower has pressed Israel to make the kind of concessions that are necessary for peace.

The Message Obama Should Have Sent: Forget about a 'red line.' Try a warning to Iran in black-and-white - Alan Dershowitz, Wall Street Journal: Being ready for war with Iran, after all, might be the only way to deter that country from going nuclear. Were Mr. Obama to affirm America's dedication to blocking Iran's nuclear ambitions through military force if necessary, he would maintain his flexibility to act while putting pressure on Iran's mullahs.


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