Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4

"What else is love but understanding and rejoicing in the fact that another person lives, acts, and experiences otherwise than we do…?"

--Friedrich Nietzsche; image from


Global Verdict on Obama’s Crumbling Foreign Policy - Helle Dale, "Recent survey results show that the Obama Administration’s foreign policy has been unsuccessful in the promotion of America and in improving hostile relationships, especially in the Middle East. What’s more, polls taken by Transatlantic Trends 2012 show that the disapproval of the current Administration continues to grow. Directly linked to the approval (or disapproval) of Obama’s international policies is favorability toward the United States. Barack Obama rode to victory in 2008 declaring that he would improve relations with the Middle East. Fast forward four years, and favorability toward America in Middle Eastern countries among (nominally, at least) U.S. allies such as Jordan (12 percent), Pakistan (12 percent), and Egypt (19 percent) is lower than it was during the Bush Administration. In addition to the Transatlantic Trends poll, a Pew Global Attitudes Project report in June showed that confidence in Obama has decreased internationally—in some cases, dramatically. Not that currying favor abroad should be the top priority for a U.S. President, but in this case, what is so striking is that the numbers have plummeted in countries to whom Obama has tried to cozy up. In China, approval of Obama’s leadership

has plummeted from 57 percent to a dismal 27 percent. In Russia, it has decreased from 40 percent to 22 percent. And, as recent events can attest, in Muslim countries, approval is getting close to rock bottom, with a decline from 34 percent to 15 percent in the last three years. Obama rose to 'celebrity status' on the promise to restore America’s reputation in the world, but he has fueled the fire of anti-Americanism around the world by his repeated apologies for the U.S. and its founding values. He has given credibility to the view that the U.S. is no longer the global superpower that promotes freedom around the world but a declining power that must apologize for its past transgressions. Helle C. Dale is The Heritage Foundation .  Senior Fellow in Public Diplomacy studies, and she contributes posts at The Foundry." Image from

Top Ten Things Mitt Romney Gets Wrong about US Middle East Policy - Juan Cole, Informed Comment: "As a new generation democratizes and public opinion becomes important, US public diplomacy and reaching out to young people becomes crucial. Seeking a modus vivendi with ascendant political Islam is now pivotal, because the US has fewer and fewer puppets under its thumb. Are you good at public diplomacy toward the Muslim world, Mr. Romney?"

Public Schedule for October 4, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 12:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends a luncheon to honor the women participating in the inaugural U.S. Department of State

and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, at the Department of State.(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)[.]" Image from

New American Consul General for Jeddah - "The US has a new Consul General in Jeddah, Anne Casper. While I’ve never met Ms Casper in person, I was familiar with her name as she spend considerable time in the Arab world within the Public Diplomacy division. She’s not the first female Consul General to Jeddah, nor is she the first Public Diplomacy officer, but given her background I think she may be among the best of them."

In Saudi Arabia, BBG and BBC officials make the case for international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Iran resumes satellite jamming of VOA, BBC, Farda, possibly due to currency protests - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting. See also. Image from entry

China takes ads in major US newspapers to argue claim to disputed East China Sea islands - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

How to communicate UK government policy and influence people overseas: Government communicators in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office used the GREAT campaign to impress Cuba - Michelle Patel, Guardian: "Here at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I run an internal blog for our in-house communicators, who support more than 270 embassies and high commissions around the world, each one of them doing its bit to communicate UK foreign policy. I took over as head of communications excellence in March 2012. Before that, I ran marketing campaigns for other government departments for10 years, with a stint in crisis communications, and before that, I worked in magazines and newspapers, and had a little branding consultancy on the side.

It's my job to help colleagues across the office get the skills, guidance, and support they need to deliver excellent communications work as part of excellent foreign policy. It's a fantastic opportunity to work on global issues and alongside some of the most dedicated and capable people in public service. We often call it public diplomacy, and it works best when it draws on our 'soft power'. In a nutshell, power is the ability to get what you want. You can go about this by threat or by coercion (hard power), or you can attract and co-opt others so that they want what you want (soft power). The phrase soft power, coined by Harvard professor Joseph Nye in 2004, is now widely used in international affairs and it is acknowledged that it is now less possible than ever before to achieve our international goals by exerting hard power alone. We need to make the most of all the things that have potential to make us attractive - our culture, values and policies. There are many examples of these. Here's just one. At the beginning of 2012, we went to Buenos Aires to work with the communications teams across Latin America. We talked about lots of things, including the Falklands, but what really came out of it for me was a gem of an idea about using the GREAT campaign and our soft power to reach out to a new generation in Cuba. The idea came from our comms officer there who went back to Havana and put together a good business case (so good, in fact, that commercial sponsors like Virgin Atlantic and Diageo found funding for it), for a campaign which included music, theatre, dance, cinema, historical exhibits and a marketing communications push. In the words of our then-ambassador to Cuba, the campaign transformed our visibility and enabled us to reach a popular audience usually off limits to an embassy, change attitudes towards the UK and further our prosperity and London 2012 objectives. Cuban contacts, including ministers, have lined up to shower praise on the embassy while the rest of the diplomatic corps cannot hide their envy. ... Michelle Patel is the head of communications excellence at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office [.]" Image from article, with caption: The GREAT campaign aims to showcase wonderful British events to the rest of the world.

Moscow and Baku: 20 years of relations - "On September 30th the 20th anniversary of signing the Treaty on Free Trade between Russia and Azerbaijan was marked. Russian-Azerbaijani diplomatic relations has lasted for two decades. Russian and Azerbaijani experts discuss economic cooperation, political relations, and development of a dialogue between civil societies of two countries. Alexei Vlasov, editor-in-chief of Vestnik Kavkaza, head of the political scientific center 'North-South' [:] ['] When we speak about solving bilateral problems, we often turn to the competence of presidents and foreign ministries; now the dialogue between Russian and Azerbaijani parliaments becomes intensive.

However, we should remember another powerful resource which isn’t used to its full extent in our relations. I mean public diplomacy, i.e. communications in the non-governmental sector, communications between educational structures and youth organizations. ... Today public diplomacy, Russian and Azerbaijani information, youth and humanitarian funds should consolidate their efforts. At the same time, it should not be a simple cooperation at the level of holding conferences and round tables; it should include the establishing of common sense, preparation of a strategy and conceptual reports which touch on the problems of youth policy or information policy of Russia and Azerbaijan, and in a prospect of the South Caucasus." Image from article

Bulgaria development minister on working visit to Prague - FOCUS News Agency: "Bulgarian Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Lilyana Pavlova will be on a working visit to Prague, the press office of the Bulgarian ministry announced.

Minister Pavlova will deliver a lecture themed 'Public diplomacy and European funds – first programme period for Bulgaria: lessons learned and perspectives' at ... the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Prague." Image, evidently of Pavlova, from article

PM Ponta not agrees the Public Diplomacy Office proposed at CSAT meeting [complete article available only by susbcription] - "[Romanian] Premier Victor Ponta on Wednesday assured the members of his Cabinet that he will never agree that the constitutional responsibilities of the government or ministries are taken over by other institutions, referring to the proposal tabled during the meeting of the country's Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) regarding the establishment of a so-called ‘Public Diplomacy Office' within the Presidential Administration."

Building Innovative Strategies in the Era of Big Data - Ali Fisher, "The potential in the era of big data comes not from drowning in a sea of data but navigating the most useful ways to derive insight and develop innovative strategies from that data.  I explore this concept in a recent article in Public Diplomacy Magazine. Faced with complex problems, limited resources, and an increasingly small world many private and public diplomacy organisations are seeking to increase reach and influence through developing partnerships or unlocking their innovative potential through collaboration.

At the same time the development of new technology has spawned new ideas, opportunities, and approaches to engaging with people around the world. Protesters demonstrated the ability to construct dispersed communication networks and coordinate action in the ‘battle in Seattle’, as recorded by John Sullivan. Similar network based approaches to public diplomacy have been identified in a recent article in Foreign Service Journal and at a conceptual level by Brian Hocking. As a result of these shifts, there is now potential to develop innovation in public diplomacy through 'Big data'." Image from


The 'Andar Uprising' and Progress in Afghanistan: The war is far from won, but a path to victory remains evident and viable if we have the will to pursue it - Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan: Success in Afghanistan remains possible. As tragic and regrettable as they are, recent "green-on-blue" attacks against U.S. forces do not signify the failure of U.S.-Afghan partnership efforts or the enmity of the Afghan National Security Forces and Afghan people. Incidents spectacular enough to grab headlines in an overheated election year have badly distorted our understanding of what actually has happened on the ground in Afghanistan this fighting season.

The most important developments have been the failure of a determined Taliban effort to regain key terrain that they had lost, and the displacement of continuing violence away from populated areas and toward remote locations. Add to that the resiliency of the Afghan Local Police in key villages under determined Taliban attack, and the emergence of new anti-Taliban movements in former Taliban strongholds. The war is far from won, but a path to victory remains evident and viable if we have the will to pursue it. Image from article, with caption: U.S. Army Lt. Jameson Bligh of First Platoon, Delta Company, consults with a member of the Afghan National Police during a joint patrol in Kandahar province, Sept. 12.

A framework to end the Afghan war - David Ignatius, Washington Post: While the overlooked war in Afghanistan grinds on, a group of officials in Washington, Kabul and Islamabad are exploring a bare-bones strategy that would narrow each side’s demands to a set of minimum conditions for escaping the current diplomatic dead end. Given the dead end in Afghanistan, you might think that the war there — and strategies for ending it — would be a big topic in the U.S. presidential campaign. But sadly, soldiers and diplomats continue to operate in a political vacuum, and the candidates act as if the brutal Afghanistan conflict will somehow solve itself.

You Die, She Lies (Libya Edition) - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Hillary must be tipping the diplomatic sherry again, because she seems to be just making this stuff on Benghazi

up as she (burp) goes along. Image from article

Hollywood Masters propaganda war on Iran - GD/HSN, "As for entertainment, popular American television shows, I will discuss two I watched, while fighting back nausea, last night. One was the popular HBO series 'Homeland,' one of President Obama’s favorites. The show is about an American soldier tortured by Islamic militants for eight years, a man who converted to Islam and, of course, has now become a 'terrorist' himself. Before the show was on for 10 minutes, we hear a litany of Israeli propaganda including the oft repeated mistranslation of Iran’s statements about the fate of Zionism. The real statement about Zionism 'disappearing from the sands of history' was again purposefully and knowingly mistranslated as 'Iran is trying to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews.' The show suggested that the United States use nuclear weapons to destroy Iran. These pronouncements came from a child and were intended clearly to influence the American public as to the acceptability of a nuclear first strike killing millions of innocent people because it would serve Israel. ... Our second television show

is called 'NCIS Los Angeles.' The real organization, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, in real life, spends 90% of its time arresting high ranking officers for having sex with the wives of their underlings or arresting enlisted men and women for use of street drugs or speaking too openly in public about the incompetence of their leaders. On TV, however, the obsess on Iranian 'terrorist gangs' that roam Los Angeles in Mercedes 600 sedans, wearing Armani suits and waving guns in public. ... With up to 1000 channels, thankfully many handling sports, food preparation of 'reality,' better described as 'bad manners' and 'social discord,' there is still a continual flow of wild historical and archeological misinterpretation, mostly centered around the Middle East, depicting Israel and the primary ancient civilization with Persia, Egypt and Greece only having significance as to how they interacted with the Israelis." Image from

Govt should counter China's propaganda on Senkakus - The Yomiuri Shimbun: China's propaganda campaign over the Senkaku Islands has run rampant, conveying false and improper messages to the world. The Japanese government should counter China's campaign by demonstrating the legitimacy of Japan's territorial claim on the islands to the international community. The newly reshuffled Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has approved the government's basic policy over the Senkaku Islands, which stipulated that the government will "fulfill its duties of defending the nation's land and territorial waters, including isolated islands, in accordance with international law." The government should redouble its efforts to tell the world that the Senkaku Islands are an integral part of Japan's territory.


"I was at the big annual street fair in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Big turnout, beautiful day, many thousands of people clogging Third Avenue from the 60s through the 80s, what looked like more than a hundred booths. The people filling the avenue were an incredible mix—young and old, infants and grandmas, all colors and nationalities, families, kids in groups, all kinds of garb—young Arab women in headscarves and abayas, Italian kids from the old Bay Ridge, elderly Irish women who go to the local evangelical church, young Latinos, tall blond Nordic-looking girls in black suede leather boots, Filipino families. In the beauty shop on 76th Street where my mother popped in to get her hair done everyone spoke Chinese, including a 5- or 6-year-old Asian girl so proud of her new bangs. One booth looked like a gold souk and sold Arab dress. Another sold Catholic saints' cards, crucifixes and Rosary beads. At the Obama 2012 booth, some members of 'Brooklyn Democrats for Change' teased me, gave me an Obama button, and posed for pictures. (No Romney booth, alas.) At another, evangelicals offered a free New Testament, and when I said I already had one, they asked if they could pray for a specific intention. I said yes, my back’s bothering me, and a white-haired woman put her hands on my neck and back, said a prayer and asked for a healing in Jesus Christ’s name. A Mexican woman across the way had a headset on and was telling everyone how to make the best salad ever with her Super-Hyper-Veg-O-Matic.

She had a big crowd. Young Asian kids with iPhones were tweeting what they were seeing as they walked behind their grandparents. Two teenage Arab girls were sitting on storage boxes and laughing, and as I walked by I saw they were breezing through pictures on an iPhone and posting them on Facebook. I’m walking along with my niece and her baby and fiancé, Dominic, and suddenly in some new way it hits me. 'The entire political future of America is on this street,' I said. Everyone different, everyone getting along, everyone feeling free to be who they are but everyone also—you could just kind of see it—feeling free to be different from who they are, too. Everyone selling their wares, not just material ones but spiritual ones." Image from, with caption: Genius Veg-O-Matic:  Free Shipping Across India

--Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, "The Big Mix."

"By the time they are 18, American children — who watch an average of four hours of television per day — will see 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence, according to the American Psychiatric Association."

--Emily Esfahani Smith, "Hollywood’s cynicism is breeding disconcerting cultural standards," Washington Times


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