Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 18

(From Dubrovnik, Croatia)

"Movie Name: Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Roman Castevet: Rosemary...
Rosemary Woodhouse: Shut up.
Roman Castevet: Rosemary...
Rosemary Woodhouse: Shut up. You're in Dubrovnik, I can't hear you."

--Movie Quotes for Dubrovnik; image from


A Rare US Approach to Soft Diplomacy - Reid Liddow, "Easily overlooked amid the flurry of reforms in Burma, a diplomatic retooling is taking place at the US Embassy in Rangoon. Cubicles that were once empty have found new occupants, relationships that had turned cold during two decades of political isolation are thawing and public diplomacy is flourishing. Spearheading this silent shift is Ambassador Derek Mitchell, a diplomat whose ambitions extend beyond remaking the US-Burma relationship: Mitchell is writing the 21st century edition of how the US could engage adversarial states. ... Rather than watering the poison plant of the military, Mitchell—with the advantage of normalized diplomatic relations—was cultivating new diplomatic channels through dialogues instead of threats. The US does not need to wear a tank top to show its muscles—the threat of force only goes so far—and Mitchell’s diplomacy has revealed itself as quite effective. Government officials in

Burma’s capital in Naypyidaw are reacting to what Mitchell identifies as 'windows of opportunity' to make meaningful political reforms and capitalize on an emerging relationship with the US, as neighbors to the north and east draw closer, placing Burma in a geostrategic pickle. ... The challenge for the United States today is not to talk at more states, but to engage more governments in conversation – friendly or adversarial. This should become increasingly easier, and one hopes, common. Mitchell has proven that initiating a dialogue with an adversarial regime, with few (i.e. low level) or no preconditions for engagement, can yield reforms. What has been revealed in Burma is that the 'power' in 'smart power' has been taken out of the equation and replaced with 'diplomacy.' The Burma case has illustrated that talking with a state, which operates differently than the United States, is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength and confidence in one’s diplomats." Image from, with caption: U.S. President Barack Obama on a street in Rangoon, Burma, Saturday.

Why do the Taliban fear Malala Yousafzai more than American missiles? - Michael Duffin, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[E]ducation is now a central element of American public diplomacy and nation building in Afghanistan."

Israel and Hamas Battle Fiercely on Social Media - Lauren E. Bohn, "The Gaza conflict is being fought online, as well. Twitter is the main new front in a propaganda war between Israel and Hamas, but experts say the use of social media for public diplomacy is a double-edged sword.

Social media can help convey a message to the public, but Twitter can be used carelessly, with a danger of overplaying things." Image from

Israel, Gaza trade strikes - The Washington Post, posted at: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ... took his country’s case to European leaders. In conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic, Netanyahu argued that 'no country in the world would agree to a situation in which its population lives under a constant missile threat,' according to a government statement. The Israeli government announced that it was starting a special operations center for public diplomacy, centered on 'the unified message that Israel is under fire.'"

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld: ‘If they dare to strike Tel Aviv… we’ll wipe the whole place out’ - "[T]he Government’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs announced that it was mustering '25,000 activists' globally to explain

Israel’s version of events, presumably on social media." Rosenfeld image from

Ethiopia to send public diplomacy delegates while Cairo pushes Ethiopia to scrap the dam - "While the new leadership of Mohamed Morsi escalating its war rhetoric over Nile and increasingly challenging Ethiopia to scrap the grand renaissance dam, Ethiopia has formed a public diplomacy committee to send to Egypt for diplomatic normalization of both nations."

Ministry bankrolls football despite cutbacks - "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed it paid $85,000 towards the All Whites' trip to China for a friendly football match. The decision to put taxpayers' money towards a sporting trip was slammed by former foreign affairs minister Winston Peters, who said he was 'astonished' MFAT was dabbling in sport. ... MFAT said [:] 'The NZ government contribution recognises the benefits of the

All Whites- China match in broadening our relationship with China and profiling NZ in the key Shanghai market. We have contestable outreach funding that can be used to support the ministry's public diplomacy activities - this can, on occasion, include sporting activities.'" Image from article, with caption: Mfat paid $85,000 towards the All Whites' trip to China for a friendly football match.

Gastrodiplomacy meets the Academe - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I have a new article on gastrodiplomacy in the academic journal Public Diplomacy and Place Branding. Thanks to its editor Prof Nick Cull, who invited me to submit my gastrodiplomacy missives."

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