Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 6

"Culture is to know the best that has been said and thought in the world."

--Matthew Arnold; Arnold image from


American voices


‘Special operation’ at Radio Liberty Moscow – Part Two - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty executives did not seemed worried how the mass firings at the Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) office in Moscow are going to be viewed by the Russian public opinion, but Radio Liberty journalists did.

You might be surprised to learn that they worried about the reputation of the station that was firing them and about America’s image in Russia. They were, in fact, engaging in pro-American public diplomacy. The RFE/RL management was not. Quite the opposite." Image from entry

Broadcasting Board of Governors Information War Lost: Iran - The Federalist, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "They’re at it again. The gift that keeps on giving. The Broadcasting Board of Governors/International Broadcasting Bureau (BBG/IBB) is whining about effective countermeasures by the Iranian government, blocking its programming going into Iran. And the Iranians are doing it quite well. ... We should also remember that this is the agency [BBG] that canned one of its supposedly popular programs to Iran. It’s 'Parazit' satire program. The BBG/IBB has never come clean as to why the show got yanked off the air. And they won’t. The BBG/IBB isn’t about coming clean: with the Congress, the American taxpayers or its audiences. ... [A]s far as this latest whining from the BBG/IBB is concerned: it doesn’t mean much – except to the sycophants and self-promoters on the Third Floor of the Cohen Building. If it has any meaning at all, it is yet another example of the inept and incompetent state of US Government international broadcasting (or whatever these guys think they are up to these days)."

Not Fake: State Department Highlights Their ‘Culinary Diplomacy’ - "Via State Department: This month, the State Department welcomed 25 chefs and foodies from all over the world to Washington, D.C., as part of an exciting new International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). From Brazil to Vietnam, every country in the world has a unique food culture, and the United States is no exception. Throughout this IVLP, participants are meeting with high profile chefs to discuss the influences of food and culture on American communities.

Their U.S. exchange coincides with the Office of the Chief of Protocol’s launch of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, which seeks to elevate the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts. At the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership’s launch, U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall discussed how food can connect individuals, leaders, and nations. White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass discussed food’s importance to our interactions with others and the growing responsibility of chefs to support healthy eating. Jose Andres, Rick Bayless, Marcus Samuelsson, and 80 other chefs have already signed up to be part of this “American Chef Corps.”. . . I, for one, feel safer that our State Department is devoting resources to the culinary quirks of places like, say, Libya at the expense of security. (Headline corrected) — Greg Pollowitz [.] " Image from entry

‘Middle Powers’ Like South Korea Can’t Do Without Soft Power And Network Power - Yul Sohn, "[T]he success or failure of public diplomacy for middle powers like South Korea seems to depend on the efficacy of promoting and using soft power and network power. ... [P]ublic diplomacy should be a two-way street. In a networked world, the state has to deal with an increasing number of motivated actors with a vast array of tools to spread their message. The solution is to become part of the conversations ― to engage with foreign publics and to validate the country’s messages and modify them as needed. In doing so, the government will need to formulate customized packages of public policy messages that cater to local needs and tastes. Public diplomacy’s efficacy depends on whether the government arduously and effectively communicates with foreign publics to shape and reshape its own messages."

Australia’s campaign for the UNSC: an optimistic view - Caitlin Byrne, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "I am optimistic about Australia’s campaign for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). To be clear, I am optimistic about the campaign, rather than the contest. It is almost impossible to predict the outcome of the three-way competition between Australia, Finland and Luxembourg for the two available seats; a contest that will be determined by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on 18 October. ... Quite apart from the outcome of the contest, the campaign has provided the backdrop against which Australia has demonstrated the potential that creative public diplomacy partnerships hold for addressing issues of global significance. The Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), now in its second phase of operation (with $4.26 million in AusAID funding) is one such example."

New NPCU book on public diplomacy in Spanish - "María Luisa Azpíroz has published her PhD research as a new book, Diplomacia pública: El caso de la 'guerra contra el terror', with Editorial UOC.

MªLuisa was a visiting PhD researcher at the New Political Communication Unit supervised by Ben O'Loughlin, and based at Facultad de Comunicación, University of Navarra, Spain. Her supervisor there was Professor María Teresa La Porte Fernández-Alfaro." Image from article


USAID Leaves a Remarkable Legacy of Achievements - US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, "[A]s a result of a decision by the Government of Russia, the USAID Mission in Russia will discontinue its activities in Russia. We regret this decision. Over the last twenty years, the USAID Mission in Russia has worked with Russian government officials and Russian non-governmental organizations to achieve a remarkable record of success. USAID programs, always developed in cooperation with Russian partners, have contributed to improving public health and combating infectious diseases, addressing child welfare issues, protecting the environment, developing a stronger civil society, and modernizing the economy.

Most recently, USAID has helped to facilitate contacts between our two governments and societies in many of the working groups of the Bilateral Presidential Commission." Image from entry, with caption: After a chemical spill severely polluted the Amur River in 2005, more than 5 million Russians were affected. A joint project with the Khabarovsk Kray administration installed water purification and monitoring equipment, ensuring clean and safe drinking water for tens of thousands of people. Above, a local resident shows bottles of drinking water collected before and after the project. Photo credit: Fund for Sustainable Development

48 hours in Syria - David Ignatius, Washington Post: If the United States wants the Syrian rebels to coordinate better, it should lead the way by coordinating outside help. The shower of cash and weapons coming from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and other Arab nations is helping extremist fighters and undercutting any orderly chain of command through the Free Syrian Army.

New style, same old North Korea: Will Kim Jong Un preside over economic reforms? Don't count on it - Bruce Klingner, It would be naive to think that Kim Jong Un's embrace of some Western cultural icons or even economic reforms supersedes long-standing North Korean resistance to capitalism, democracy and a nonthreatening foreign policy.

As such, the United States and its allies should be wary of growing calls to retread the same tired path of offering concessions without gaining reciprocal actions by Pyongyang. Image from article

EU threat to ban Iran's gas, propaganda campaign: Oil Ministry - The Iranian Oil Ministry says the recent threat posed by the European Union (EU) to ban gas imports

from Iran is mere ‘propaganda campaign’ as Iran exports no gas to the European bloc. Image from article

LA-based Venezuelans weigh in on possibility of Hugo Chavez's reelection - Ruxandra Guidi, Image from entry, with caption: Propaganda for national elections showing a poster of opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles daubed by supporters of

President Hugo Chavez is seen in Caracas on October 5, 2012. National elections will be held on October 7. The leftist president, who is favored to win another six-year term after almost 14 years in power, has accused the opposition of having 'destabilization plans' in case it loses.

Azeri propaganda reaches sky level - Information-Analytic Agency Azerbaijani anti-Armenian propaganda takes off to the sky and this time Russian Sibir Air Company is to blame. Without being satisfied with the huge propaganda machine, ‘bloggers’ are coming to help. An Azeri blogger ‘has found’ exclusive information for Azerbaijani propaganda, reports. It has cleared out that the Air Company ‘S7 Airlines’ operating Baku-Moscow flights distributes among children a brochure about Armenia.

And the ‘exclusive’ reporter speaks up about the fact that the brochure has information on Armenia’s history and the Armenians. It was too much for Azeris who are likely to forbid any information on Armenia as only Azerbaijani position about the South Caucasus is the true one. The ‘S7 Airlines’ operate flights almost all over the CIS states." Image from article

Central Committee Notice Concerning Strengthening Propaganda and Ideology Work, July 28, 1989 - As CDT readers know, we regularly post propaganda orders which we call Directives from the Ministry of Truth. These posts are only possible because of the Internet; journalists leak the orders online and CDT verifies them before posting them. But without the Internet, China’s propaganda regime is notoriously opaque, with very little public information about what orders are given to journalists or how media work is guided. For this reason, a document recently discovered and translated by Rogier Creemers of the China Copyright and Media blog, offers a unique inside look at how authorities guided propaganda and ideology work in the wake of the June 4, 1989 crackdown on protesters in Beijing.

Banking protest mural resembling Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda to be removed from East End - A mural depicting money-grabbing bankers will be removed following complaints that it resembles the anti-Semitic propaganda of Nazi Germany. The provocative painting has appeared on a wall in the predominantly Muslim area of Brick Lane in East London, once a thriving Jewish community. The mural, by international graffiti artist Mear One, shows moustachioed and hooked-nosed bankers huddled around a Monopoly board supported on the backs of the working class, seemingly drawing on long outdated Jewish stereotypes.

Now the artist has been accused of anti-Semitism, a claim he vehemently denies. But with its continued presence causing public tolerance to fray, council bosses have set a deadline for its removal. Mear One - real name Kalen Ockerman - completed the painting last month in an area steeped in Jewish history. Orthodox immigrants fleeing persecution in Tsarist Russia first settled in Brick Lane in the 1880s and the area remained a proud Jewish neighbourhood until the 1960s. Local councillor and long-term resident Peter Golds has urged the police to pursue the inflammatory artist under race hate laws. He said: "When I saw the mural I was shocked. It’s horribly similar to the propaganda used by the Third Reich in Nazi Germany." Image from article, with caption: Azmel Hussain, pictured, is defending the artwork which has been painted on his property. He described the wall as showing world leaders playing monopoly on a table held up by tax payers.


According to a section called "False attributions" in Churchill in His Own Words, edited by Richard M. Langworth, as related by NB in The Times Literary Supplement (September 28, 2012), p. 32:

--"This is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put" [unconfirmed]

--"A sheep in sheep's clothing," said of Arthur Balfour [unconfirmed]

--"Jaw, jaw is better than war, war" [Harold Macmillan]

--"Nancy Astor: Sir, if I were married to you, I'd put poison in your coffee. Churchill: "Madam, if I were married to you, I'd drink it." [the remark is found in the Chicago Tribune, January 3, 1900]

--"I am going to make a long speech today; I haven't had time to prepare for a short one" [goes back to the mid-seventeenth century, when Pascal said it about a letter]

--Churchill Image from


Tracking down the Czech Republic - Letter to the Editor, Washington Post: "Sarah Halzack’s obituary of actor Herbert Lom [Metro, Sept. 28] took note of his 'cultured Eastern European' accent. It’s now been a generation since the Velvet Revolution, so I had hoped that such misconceptions had for the most part been dispelled. Indeed, Prague, Lom’s

birthplace, lies west of a beeline between Berlin and Vienna. Are all these cities in 'Eastern Europe?' The Czech nation was Christianized from Rome, not Constantinople, and has always been part of Western thought and culture, except for the 42 years of its involuntary servitude in the Soviet Bloc. The Czech Republic is a member of both NATO and the European Union. Labeling the Czechs as 'Eastern European; is like forever referring to a rehabiliated ex-convict as a criminal. Robert W. DoubekWashington [.] " Image from


"La chose la plus importante de la vie est de faire son lit chaque matin."

--From a French-speaking friend, a PDPR subscriber, with the hope that it is grammatically recorded; image from


Associations in Civil Life

In this excerpt from Democracy in America, Tocqueville examines the decentralized, voluntary associations he found throughout the United States and contrasts them with his native France, where the state played a far more central role in people's lives.

["]The political associations that exist in the United States are only a single feature in the midst of the immense assemblage of associations in that country. Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. If it is proposed to inculcate some truth or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form a society. Wherever at the head of some new undertaking you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association.

I met with several kinds of associations in America of which I confess I had no previous notion; and I have often admired the extreme skill with which the inhabitants of the United States succeed in proposing a common object for the exertions of a great many men and in inducing them voluntarily to pursue it.

I have since traveled over England, from which the Americans have taken some of their laws and many of their customs; and it seemed to me that the principle of association was by no means so constantly or adroitly used in that country. The English often perform great things singly, whereas the Americans form associations for the smallest undertakings. It is evident that the former people consider association as a powerful means of action, but the latter seem to regard it as the only means they have of acting.

Thus the most democratic country on the face of the earth is that in which men have, in our time, carried to the highest perfection the art of pursuing in common the object of their common desires and have applied this new science to the greatest number of purposes. Is this the result of accident, or is there in reality any necessary connection between the principle of association and that of equality?

Aristocratic communities always contain, among a multitude of persons who by themselves are powerless, a small number of powerful and wealthy citizens, each of whom can achieve great undertakings single-handed. In aristocratic societies men do not need to combine in order to act, because they are strongly held together. Every wealthy and powerful citizen constitutes the head of a permanent and compulsory association, composed of all those who are dependent upon him or whom he makes subservient to the execution of his designs.

Among democratic nations, on the contrary, all the citizens are independent and feeble; they can do hardly anything by themselves, and none of them can oblige his fellow men to lend him their assistance. They all, therefore, become powerless if they do not learn voluntarily to help one another. If men living in democratic countries had no right and no inclination to associate for political purposes, their independence would be in great jeopardy, but they might long preserve their wealth and their cultivation: whereas if they never acquired the habit of forming associations in ordinary life, civilization itself would be endangered. A people among whom individuals lost the power of achieving great things single-handed, without acquiring the means of producing them by united exertions, would soon relapse into barbarism… .

Unhappily, the same social condition that renders associations so necessary to democratic nations renders their formation more difficult among those nations than among all others. When several members of an aristocracy agree to combine, they easily succeed in doing so; as each of them brings great strength to the partnership, the number of its members may be very limited; and when the members of an association are limited in number, they may easily become mutually acquainted, understand each other, and establish fixed regulations. The same opportunities do not occur among democratic nations, where the associated members must always be very numerous for their association to have any power.

I am aware that many of my countrymen are not in the least embarrassed by this difficulty. They contend that the more enfeebled and incompetent the citizens become, the more able and active the government ought to be rendered in order that society at large may execute what individuals can no longer accomplish. They believe this answers the whole difficulty, but I think they are mistaken.

A government might perform the part of some of the largest American companies, and several states, members of the Union, have already attempted it; but what political power could ever carry on the vast multitude of lesser undertakings which the American citizens perform every day, with the assistance of the principle of association? It is easy to foresee that the time is drawing near when man will be less and less able to produce, by himself alone, the commonest necessaries of life. The task of the governing power will therefore perpetually increase, and its very efforts will extend it every day. The more it stands in the place of associations, the more will individuals, losing the notion of combining together, require its assistance: these are causes and effects that unceasingly create each other. Will the administration of the country ultimately assume the management of all the manufactures which no single citizen is able to carry on? And if a time at length arrives when, in consequence of the extreme subdivision of landed property, the soil is split into an infinite number of parcels, so that it can be cultivated only by companies of tillers will it be necessary that the head of the government should leave the helm of state to follow the plow? The morals and the intelligence of a democratic people would be as much endangered as its business and manufactures if the government ever wholly usurped the place of private companies. Feelings and opinions are recruited, the heart is enlarged, and the human mind is developed only by the reciprocal influence of men upon one another. I have shown that these influences are almost null in democratic countries; they must therefore be artificially created, and this can only be accomplished by associations.

When the members of an aristocratic community adopt a new opinion or conceive a new sentiment, they give it a station, as it were, beside themselves, upon the lofty platform where they stand; and opinions or sentiments so conspicuous to the eyes of the multitude are easily introduced into the minds or hearts of all around. In democratic countries the governing power alone is naturally in a condition to act in this manner, but it is easy to see that its action is always inadequate, and often dangerous. A government can no more be competent to keep alive and to renew the circulation of opinions and feelings among a great people than to manage all the speculations of productive industry. No sooner does a government attempt to go beyond its political sphere and to enter upon this new track than it exercises, even unintentionally, an insupportable tyranny; for a government can only dictate strict rules, the opinions which it favors are rigidly enforced, and it is never easy to discriminate between its advice and its commands. Worse still will be the case if the government really believes itself interested in preventing all circulation of ideas; it will then stand motionless and oppressed by the heaviness of voluntary torpor. Governments, therefore, should not be the only active powers; associations ought, in democratic nations, to stand in lieu of those powerful private individuals whom the equality of conditions has swept away.

As soon as several of the inhabitants of the United States have taken up an opinion or a feeling which they wish to promote in the world, they look out for mutual assistance; and as soon as they have found one another out, they combine. From that moment they are no longer isolated men, but a power seen from afar, whose actions serve for an example and whose language is listened to. The first time I heard in the United States that a hundred thousand men had bound themselves publicly to abstain from spirituous liquors, it appeared to me more like a joke than a serious engagement, and I did not at once perceive why these temperate citizens could not content themselves with drinking water by their own firesides. I at last understood that these hundred thousand Americans, alarmed by the progress of drunkenness around them, had made up their minds to patronize temperance.

They acted in just the same way as a man of high rank who should dress very plainly in order to inspire the humbler orders with a contempt of luxury. It is probable that if these hundred thousand men had lived in France, each of them would singly have memorialized the government to watch the public houses all over the kingdom.

Nothing, in my opinion, is more deserving of our attention than the intellectual and moral associations of America. The political and industrial associations of that country strike us forcibly; but the others elude our observation, or if we discover them, we understand them imperfectly because we have hardly ever seen anything of the kind. It must be acknowledged, however, that they are as necessary to the American people as the former, and perhaps more so. In democratic countries the science of association is the mother of science; the progress of all the rest depends upon the progress it has made.

Among the laws that rule human societies there is one which seems to be more precise and clear than all others. If men are to remain civilized or to become so, the art of associating together must grow and improve in the same ratio in which the equality of conditions is increased. ["]

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