Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December 25

"He doesn't pass the puck."

--Regarding Secretary of State-nominated John Kerry's hockey-playing, in the 1960s, at St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire, according to the perhaps unsubstantiated view of an SPS alumnus; image from

NOTE: This PDPBR contains items appearing in December (before the 25th of that month) that were overlooked by Google's "sort by date" search engine for "public diplomacy."


Kerry will take risks - Blake Hounshell, Foreign Policy: "John Kerry was a great choice for Obama's second-term secretary of state. Granted, he wasn't the president's first choice. But Obama may have stumbled into a pretty good decision.

The main reason is that Obama's second term is going to involve a number of lines of sensitive, patient diplomacy that could be politically unpopular at home, or at least easy to attack. ... These .. hard problems ... are exactly the sorts of thankless tasks that Kerry excels at -- the kind that Hillary Clinton was either too busy thinking about 2016, spread too thin, or too disempowered by the White House to do much about. Remember: She wasn't a diplomat when she took the Foggy Bottom job; she was a politician. Yes, she has excelled at public diplomacy -- 'townterviews' and the like. That was important in the wake of the Bush years. And yes, the State Department has done some solid diplomatic work in Asia under Clinton's watch. But there are only a few episodes (that we know of) where the secretary's personal, private involvement was crucial to a deal. ... Kerry is of course also a pol, but he has nothing left to lose. He's already run for presidency and lost. He seems at peace with himself. He'll shrug off personal attacks. Yes, he can be pompous and long-winded at times. But I think he's going to throw himself into this task, and the arc of his career shows a man willing to take risks when the moment demands it." Kerry image from, with caption: Ready for take-off ... democratic presidential candidate John Kerry

John Kerry: From good soldier to secretary of state - Kim Ghattas, BBC: "In many ways, Mr Kerry is the quintessential American diplomat. Kerry commanded attention as chair of the senate foreign affairs committee. His father was in the Foreign Service. Mr Kerry has lived abroad and speaks French. He can sit for hours sipping tea with world leaders. But it's often hard to tell where he stands on the issues. Mr Kerry will have big shoes to fill.

Mrs Clinton's tireless public diplomacy has helped repair the damage to America's standing on the global stage and world leaders have been begging her to stay in the job. President Obama, too, asked her to keep serving. At the state department, Clinton laid the foundations for a 'smart power' approach to the exercise of American leadership. Although Mr Kerry's view of American power is similar, his style will be very different. It's unclear whether he will be keen on public diplomacy." Kerry image from article

Senator Kerry, US Secretary of State: New US foreign policy trajectory toward Sri Lanka - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "Sri Lanka is fortunate that a person of the calibre of John Kerry who has been handling foreign policy issues for the United States for decades and who understands Sri Lanka issues well as manifested in his December 2009 report is taking over the helm of the state department. And Sri Lanka is equally benefited that not a foreign policy hawk is t at the helm of America's public diplomacy and strategic communication."

eDiplomacy: Hillary Clinton's legacy beyond 140 characters - Andreas Sandre, bigthink.com: "Not without criticism, hostility, and step backs, Secretary Clinton was able to integrate traditional diplomacy with new technologies and social media: from public diplomacy to consular affairs, from Ambassadors’ Twitter profiles to Facebook accounts, from foreign policy to internal communication. All State Department’s operations have been influenced by the shift to ediplomacy and 21st Century Statecraft expanding Clinton’s reach to millions of individuals at home and abroad. ... Ediplomacy is certainly an area where innovation – rather then technology, per se – play the central role.

We need to realize how the power of ideas can create visible results and transition traditional diplomacy to a new phase, where people are new players, and politicians and diplomats are not elites any longer. We need to realize ediplomacy has the potential to bring to a true lasting pivot, thus making diplomacy the most extraordinary tool our governments can have in fulfilling our foreign policy agendas and engaging with the world." Clinton image from

The Effects of Diplomacy as Subversion - Maximilian Forte, counterpunch.org:  "Almost immediately after the armed attack in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, which resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty, added to the destruction and looting of the U.S. facility in Benghazi, various columnists immediately took to issuing pronouncements on what had happened in Libya and what it meant. They all sounded so certain. Yet, the only certainty has been the deliberate production of uncertainty, with multiple layers of obfuscation, questions asked and never answered, and some questions not even asked yet. This is largely the case even now, four months after the attack and with the December 18 release of the findings of a State Department investigation into the attack. ... The production of this report, and its intended public consumption, is part of what might be kindly called the U.S. government’s 'public diplomacy' effort, or in more disquieting terms, strategic information operations. The report is largely an exercise in impression management. ... What is odd is that at times the report seems to almost blame Stevens for his own death: 'Embassy Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security for Special Mission Benghazi' (p. 4)."

Foreign Service needs support - Thomas Boyatt, Ronald Neumann and Abelardo Valdez, The Hill: "[D]o we have enough Foreign Service Officers in Benghazi, Libya, and at our other 245 posts overseas to achieve our national security objectives? Second, are these personnel properly trained? ... We are now in a transition from an emphasis on the use of military power to the use of smart power led by diplomacy and development. Our most recent report, Diplomacy in a Time of Scarcity, makes it very clear that the diplomacy and development functions still suffer from shortages of personnel and adequacy of training. 10 percent of overseas positions are unfilled and 30 percent of language designated positions are not filled with officers with the necessary skills.

The report details how overcome these shortages to meet the unprecedented challenges we now confront.The report makes very specific and documented recommendations: the addition of 722 Foreign Service positions in core diplomatic and public diplomacy functions to meet existing requirements, and 490 training complement positions to facilitate language training to meet Congressional mandates and to provide for necessary professional development. These are modest numbers and the cost will hardly move the needle in the overall International Affairs Budget (Account 150)." Image from

Korn Fired: Meltdown at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - Judy Bachrach, World Affairs: "Radio Liberty ['s] ... highly problematic president, Steven Korn, a former CNN executive who has both led and fueled its meltdown ... will be going on permanent vacation. Come February, he was privately informed ... , he must leave the helm of Radio Liberty and its sister outfit, Radio Free Europe.

Last week, his closest aides denied all talk of resignation to the RFE/RL staff, but then no one knows how long that inner circle will last either once they lose their champion. ... Under his brief aegis and that of his most trusted aide, Julia Ragona, who is vice president for content, Radio Liberty, a onetime free speech and hard news beacon, has turned into a bloodbath, full of fear, fury—and almost no sound at all." Image from article

U.S.-Canada: Two countries, increasingly intertwined - startribune.com: "'How do you describe the structure of quicksand?' asked Andrew C. Holman, professor of history in the Canadian studies program at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. 'Culture is always moving and not easily described or captured in one glimpse.' Holman, a native of Canada, said that for the most part capturing Canadian and American culture is mostly focusing on similarities. But, he added, there are self-definition differences. ... Holman believes the ethnicity ethos is different, too. America's vision is more melting pot, while Canada's construct is more mosaic. 'There's more of a celebration of diversity in terms of ethnicity, immigrant origins, importance of maintenance of traditional inherited values, like the 'French fact' in Quebec.

Canada has never had any intention of becoming a melting pot. In fact, in the other direction, in some years it has embraced multiculturalism in government policy.' For instance, a policy put in place years ago to protect Canadian culture on radio and TV, the so-called Canadian Content Regulations ('CanCon'), requires that a considerable percentage of content be of Canadian origin, especially during peak periods of the day. (Other policies support Canadian content in the publishing sector.) To some, CanCon, developed in an analog age, is increasingly irrelevant in the digital age. 'New media has the potential to blur distinctions,' Holman said. 'Ordinary people now are going to be doing the kind of public diplomacy that institutions and governments used to do before. There is just no check on what they say to represent Canadian culture to the rest of the world.' There are economic and cultural considerations keeping CanCon in place, said Prof. Bart Beaty, a scholar of Canadian culture who heads the English department at the University of Calgary. Besides jobs, there is 'the cultural argument -- we need to be telling Canadian stories, expressing our voices. Otherwise all we get is American media, which is so loud, so prominent,' Beaty said, explaining that Canadians get U.S. culture 'plus this kind of subsidiary culture, this other layer that augments it. ... In [former Prime Minister Pierre] Trudeau's analogy, we're the mouse in bed besides the elephant. And if the elephant is going to roll over, that's going to be a problem for the mouse.'" Image from

NATO Military Training FaciIities in Persian Gulf - globalresearch.ca: "The allocation of a piece of land to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) in Kuwait is part of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) launched in 2004, a senior Kuwaiti official has said. 'The move consolidates Kuwait’s interest in international missions, especially that Kuwait was the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country to join the ICI,' Shaikh Sabah Al Khalid, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, said. The land will be used by Nato as a training site under the ICI, he added. ...'We can see how we can enhance military-to-military cooperation, inter-operability and public diplomacy so that we can better explain Nato and what it does and, at the same time, we at Nato can better understand the region,' said Appathurai, Nato spokesperson from 2004 to 2010."

Change brings renewed hope for Sino-US ties - James DeShaw Rae, china.org.cn: Both countries should seek out new ways to enhance cooperation and ensure that the relationship always remains vital, constructive, and peaceful. First, historic and cultural friendship is a hallmark of Sino-U.S. relations, but one that is often overlooked in ideological disputes. ... Educational, scientific, and cultural exchanges also allow people to directly experience each other's society. Programs like the American Fulbright scholar exchange and China's new Hanban (Confucius Institutes) will not simply improve linguistic and cultural ties but will create a favorable environment to reduce political tensions and prepare the public to better accept occasional diplomatic conflicts. ... Second, dialogue and diplomatic contact at the highest levels has become regular, normalized, and increasingly cooperative. Finding agreeable plans to address global threats from the financial

crisis, global terrorism, climate change, nuclear proliferation, or piracy have led to shared solutions or commitments to work together. Greater opportunities for military-military exchanges would assuage mutual concerns over defense budgets and ambitions, and might alter the current calculation of an 'assertive' China and the defensive posture of the American 'pivot' to Asia. Moreover, public diplomacy has long been a tool in America's foreign policy kit. Secretary Clinton status as a female world leader along with President Obama's unique personal story was an attractive element for an American reputation largely in tatters after destructive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not since Deng Xiaoping has a Western audience seen a Chinese political leader that has demonstrated a dynamic personality that General Secretary Xi seems to represent. His 2012 visit to Iowa where he had experienced an exchange program in 1985 and attendance at an L.A. Lakers NBA basketball game along with his official meetings was a fantastic choice that hopefully he chooses to repeat on subsequent trips. Likewise, his talented wife is an asset that will hopefully return to the public eye. Finally, and most importantly, the two largest economies in the world also happen to be deeply and inextricably intertwined. ... The author is Associate Professor of Department of Government o f California State University, Sacramento. He is the Fulbright Scholar (2011-2012) to China Foreign Affairs University." Rae image from article

Suzhou Special: Suzhou debuts its new animated promo film in Times Square - Hao Nan, China Daily: "Advertising spaces do not get much more high profile than New York's iconic Times Square, often called the Crossroads of the World. The square, located in the heart of Manhattan, one of the busiest entertainment and shopping centers in the world, is considered as a prime location to promote major brands, or, in China's case, a city's image.A short film called A Home in Poetic Suzhou, China was broadcast there on Dec 20, local time. It is expected to offer Americans a further insight into the lives of people in this beautiful city in Jiangsu province.

Actually, it is not the first promo the city has aired in Times Square. Suzhou city government officials have planned a series to promote its image and tourist resources. The first advertisement debuted back in early December 2011. The ad high-lighted the city's 2,500 years of history and ran 38 times a day for 62 days. ... These two short promos are part of the public diplomacy campaign by the Suzhou government. Jiang Hongkun, Party chief of the city, said Suzhou should continue 'going global' and enhance its international influence and reputation through building up its image." Image from article, with caption: Two-thirds of the area of Taihu Lake, one of China's largest freshwater lakes, is located in Suzhou."

Better understanding makes it a less dangerous world - Pu Zhendong, China Daily: "He has been a keen observer of China for the last 19 years and he had witnessed its grand transformation from a country of bicycles to motorcars. Alistair Michie believes this nation has fantastic stories to tell, but the message is just not getting across, at least not for now. The 65-year-old Scot is an adviser to Newland International Communication Group (NICG) and to a number of Chinese government bodies, and he has committed himself to the upgrading of China's communication techniques as international exchange increases over the years. 'I can make contributions in helping China be better understood by the world,' says Michie. 'And through that process, I want to make the world a less dangerous place. That's my ultimate mission.'

Last week, he attended the Conference on International Exchange of Professionals in Shenzhen, Guangdong province at the invitation of Zhao Qizheng, director of the foreign affairs committee of the top political advisory body, his friend of more than 10 years. It was in 2002 when Michie was working on a media project about Chinese porcelain that he met Zhao, who was then head of the State Council Information Office. The project aborted, but the friendship remained. 'Zhao is one of the few Chinese who believes China has to be a better communicator,' says Michie. 'I have huge respect for his commitment.' Zhao, too, has high praise for Michie's perseverance. 'We met frequently during the past 10 years and discussed a wide range of topics from economic ties to public relations,' Zhao says. 'Michie is an outstanding advocate of public diplomacy, and has given the government many detailed suggestions.'" Michie image from article, with caption: Alistair Michie is a keen observer of China.

Graffiti changes the game on campus - Talya Feldman, jpost.com: "Early in the fall semester, the University of Pittsburgh's Panthers for Israel group kicked off the year with free giveaways, music and a creative twist. Three renowned graffiti artists from New York attracted hundreds of Pitt students as they painted an homage to Pittsburgh and Israel on campus walls. ... The graffiti artists at Pitt that day are three among thousands of artists across the world who have been supporting Israel as members of the Artists 4 Israel organization. 'We noticed we had an important ability to attract what was a young, hip, influential and diverse crowd, a crowd no one else was able to reach,' said Craig Dershowitz, executive director and co-founder of Artists 4 Israel,

'We decided we had to keep going and create an organization that could utilize the unique talents of our artistic friends to spread the truth about Israel and her beauties and freedoms.' After 400 people crowded a small New York art space in 2008 to see over 50 works of pro-Israel graffiti art, a live wall painting performance, a hip-hop routine, and body-painted models in support of Israel during Operation Cast Lead, Dershowitz and a few friends launched Artists 4 Israel with the mission of becoming a 'security fence against cultural terrorism.' Since that night in 2008, Artists 4 Israel, which Israel's Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs has called 'one of the most effective advocacy organizations in the world,' has hosted pro-Israel activities that include drawing and painting classes, art exhibitions and an off-Broadway play talking about gay rights in Israel, painted bomb shelters in Sderot, murals on the security fence and schools in Tel Aviv, and it has brought the Bomb Shelter Museum and a project called Engage*Educate*Spraypaint to dozens of North American college campuses." Image from article

Social media in war: The potential and limits - Yoel Cohen, jpost.com: "The IDF’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza will go down in the history of the Arab- Israeli conflict as one of the unexpected victories in the information wars. ... [T]he information campaign in Pillar of Defense proved successful. A CNN poll midway through the operation found that 57 percent of Americans justified the Israeli operation. ... The way the information was distributed – rather than waiting for a daily news conference as in earlier wars – was a tactical decision. While IDF military plans have long contained an appendix for information handling – a recognition that the information element has to be taken into account at the policy planning stage – it went further now with key heads of branches of government involved in hasbara (public diplomacy) . ... . Interdepartmental coordination proved itself – not an easy feat with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry headed by politicians from three different parties. The Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs established its own situation room full of volunteers tweeting and facebooking in various languages. Yet, as a State Comptroller’s recent report remarked, the IDF’s monopoly on operational military information, together with the media’s appetite for this information, has raised the question of how agencies like the Foreign Ministry can ensure that the broader diplomatic goals and messages get projected in public diplomacy. ... In Pillar of Defense, as in so many other conflicts beforehand, geopolitical strategic national interests determined the outcome, and mass media and public opinion were, at best, secondary factors determining the environment in which policymakers functioned. ... An awareness of the other’s goals does give domestic public opinion a new role in the age of social media in making its voice heard in government at home. This is particularly important given the strengthened role of public opinion in the Arab world since the Arab Spring. But lost is social media’s original goal of encouraging dialogue – or 'networking.'”

Yacimovich calls for return to peace talks: Labor leader lays out party's security-diplomatic platform, says socio-economic issues still her priority - Lahav Harkov, jpost.com: "MK Nachman Shai, who moved from Kadima to Labor, criticized Netanyahu’s constant use of the word 'strong' in his [PM] campaign. 'We can’t just live off of tanks and planes. There’s also soft power, a country’s values that determine its international status,' Shai, who wrote his dissertation on public diplomacy, explained. 'The terminology of power that the prime minister and foreign minister use deeply harms Israel’s international status.' Shai called for a 'new order' in international relations, in which Israel declares it is strong militarily, but also emphasizes its

Zionist vision, its Jewish morals and the values that tie it to other countries around the world." Zionist movement founder Theodor Herzl image from

Dead but Not Buried: Israel, Palestine and the Two-State Solution - Aaron David Miller, World Politics Review: "It’s a testament to the enduring character of the two-state solution that even Netanyahu has bought into it in some form. Whether the current Israeli government or the next one has the political will to seriously move to negotiations to realize it, Israel will not abandon the idea. First, the Israeli political universe is filled with serious political figures -- Ehud Olmert, Shaul Mofaz, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni, among others -- who actually believe in and support a version of two states that is much more forthcoming than the current prime minister’s. Second, for all kinds of reasons -- public diplomacy, image, relations with the United States and Europe -- Israel’s political class can’t proactively abandon the two-state paradigm without doing extensive damage to its credibility. Much like the British in India, Israelis are susceptible to moral considerations and their own self-image. Indeed, they need an alternative vision to at least persuade themselves that they are reasonable and serious about an end to conflict, too."

Why Academic Boycotts? - Jake Lynch, Daily Beast: "Technion University in Haifa ... is home to the Samuel Neaman Institute, which in 2009 published the Neaman Report on public diplomacy, commissioned by the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry. This is a research report, which recommends ways to present and promote Israel’s image abroad, in response to the perceived 'problem' of international public opinion about the conflict with the Palestinians. One of its recommendations is to identify 'beneficial clients'

of public diplomacy including 'educational organizations.' There is a significant risk of continued academic cooperation, of the kind provided for by fellowships at universities outside Israel, being seen as a form of this public diplomacy, based on attempts to 'change the subject' away from Israel’s breaches of international law and treatment of Palestinians." Image from article, with caption: A Palestinian boy waits for an Israeli police patrol to pass by before playing soccer under Israel's separation barrier.

Google helps brings lost Jewish Spain to life - Marion Fischel, jpost.com: "Google and the Spanish Network of Jewish Quarters (Red de las Juderías) made news in Madrid last week when they unveiled a joint project promoting the once-lost Jewish heritage of 24 Spanish cities, from Ávila to Tudela. ... Google technology has allowed Red de las Juderías to organize content dating back to the third century CE through the use of Google maps and layers. The website, located at www.redjuderias.org, visits Spanish cities that include Barcelona, Girona, Segovia and Oviedo. ... The project has been welcomed by the Spanish government, fitting into the new branding of Spain as a cultural and historical treasure trove, which, with Google’s technical support, will be able to reach a much larger market than heretofore. It also fits in with the latest trends in Spanish public diplomacy. José Angel Lopez Orrin, the Spanish Foreign Ministry official in charge of 'branding' for Spain, said at the ceremony that it was 'a magnificent contribution' [to] the brand."

Maikel Nabil Sanad, Political Activist and Blogger Brings Tidings From Egypt to Israel - algemeiner.com “'I’m breaking a taboo coming to Israel, but I’m not the first Egyptian to do so,' said Maikel Nabil Sanad, a political activist and blogger who was jailed and tortured for 302 days for criticizing the Egyptian army post-Mubarak. He was pardoned by the Egyptian military

in January 2012 following international pressure and efforts of several different human rights organizations including UN Watch. ... Today, Sanad lives in Germany where he is pursuing a master’s degree in public diplomacy. He says that he is an atheist who doesn’t believe in any religion." Sanad image from article, with caption: Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad at Hebrew University press conference on Sunday, December 23.

Challenges waiting for president-elect - Lee Joo-hee, Cho Chung-un and Shin Hyon-hee, koreaherald.com: "With public diplomacy emerging as a crucial tool of statecraft, Park will have to shake off her out-of-touch image and engage peoples at home and abroad. Her vision for an 'era of diplomacy by the people' includes broader opportunities for the Korean youth to take part in development programs, more overseas Korean language schools and support for cultural exports. She has also pledged to scale up official development assistance and house at least five more international organizations here. Countries around the world have been stressing 'soft power' to promote national interests and elevate national prestige. Diplomats are engaged in greater outreach efforts, while inviting other sectors such as culture and sports to create synergy. At the same time, rapidly advancing social media and information technology are aiding agenda-setting and instant communication. 'The world of traditional power politics was typically about whose military or economy would win. In today’s information age, politics is also about whose ‘story’ wins,' Joseph Nye, a former U.S. assistant secretary of defense and now a professor at Harvard University, said in a 2010 essay."

Kurdistan govt's growing international activism - Ayman el-Dessouki, english.alarabiya.net: "Although the 2005 Iraqi Constitution makes foreign affairs the exclusive domain of the federal government, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has noticeably increased its international involvement in recent times. ... The KRG is involved in direct relationships with different international actors, including nation-states, international organizations, sub-national entities (e.g. provinces and regions) and transnational actors (e.g. global companies).

Further, Kurdish officials participate in international conferences and in multilateral negotiation schemes on a geographical or functional basis. The Kurdish government places branding and public diplomacy campaigns, organizes its own international trade conferences, and appeals for foreign aid and assistance. ... [T]he KRG is venturing into the international sphere to defend its economic, cultural and political interests among others. Kurdish economic interests include attracting foreign investments, marketing the region’s oil and gas reserves, receiving international aid and assistance, etc. Its cultural interests comprise asserting the cultural Kurdish component in Iraq and enhancing Kurdish culture in other countries." Image from

Year of Sport and Healthy Lifestyle in the CIS - Vestnik Kavkaza: "2012 has been the Year of Sport and Healthy Lifestyle in the CIS. Sport and physical culture are enduring human values, they are the foundation of our prosperity, both for each family and in the framework of the Commonwealth.

The Council of CIS Heads of State at the informal summit of 8 May 2010 decided to declare 2012 the Year of Sport and Healthy Lifestyle in the CIS. ... 'Culture, education, science, sport are fields that offer great potential and human contacts and strengthen bilateral relations,' Sergei Naryshkin, head of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, stated. 'Public diplomacy in these areas between two states of the Commonwealth is in demand, because between us there are thousands and thousands of historic ties, thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of common destinies and family ties. Therefore, public diplomacy in the CIS is expanding, and this is actively used by both the Council and the Foundation for Humanitarian Cooperation, which in recent years carried out a huge amount of projects, activities, involving nearly a quarter of a million people.'" Image from

Explaining political behaviour! - Haider Mehdi, nation.com.pk: "[M]ere window-dressing, image-building exercises, and massive public diplomacy through media and television campaigns cannot be a substitute for the real-time change of political direction and ideological discourse needed in present-day Pakistan."

The logic of contemporary Western cultural war on Iran - presstv.com: "[T]he logic of this strategy is based simply on [a] the logic that since the western elites do not represent the masses, especially in peace-time (on what seem to be aggressive international affairs approach), then attempts to approach these

two groupings as not naturally distinct groupings is important with each relevant tailored messages targeting the respective groups; for example, that of public diplomacy with the masses and one for the elites via diplomatic channels, and [b] also because by breaking the monopoly of communications enjoyed by the western elites, it means the Iranians or any third-parties, will thrive to rectify the lies, and 'barbarian representation narrative', that are attempted to be fed to us, the western masses, by our western political-media-security elites, from government ministers, or official parliamentary reports to BBC and newspaper articles." Image from article

Samuel Rose gets Cabinet secretary nod from governor - Tad Stoner, compasscayman.com: "Samuel Rose

has been named to replace Orrett Connor as Cabinet secretary upon his February retirement. ... He is a licensed social worker and has recently completed a United Nations course in public diplomacy." Rose image from article

Bucci Tapped to Head Heritage’s Allison Center - heritage.org: "Steven P. Bucci, an Army Special Forces officer who went on to serve as a top Pentagon official before joining The Heritage Foundation, has been promoted to director of the leading think tank’s Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. ... Previously focused on the defense budget, cyber security, special operations and military support to civil authorities, Bucci takes on daily management of the Allison Center.

The internationally recognized institute is devoted to crafting and promoting policy positions in such critical arenas as national security and defense, terrorism, missile defense, public diplomacy, and U.S. interests in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa."

Return of a Savior Presents Only Problems - Howard Beck, New York Times: "Where does a 30-year-old former All-Star [Amar’e Stoudemire] with suspect knees, an albatross contract and a redundant skill set fit on a talent-rich, title-contending team? Does he fit at all? ... In his prime, Stoudemire was the N.B.A.’s most lethal finisher in the pick-and-roll.

But that role has been usurped . ... The obvious solution is to have Stoudemire anchor the second unit, running the pick-and-roll . ... But playing as a reserve means fewer minutes and a diminished profile. For all his public diplomacy, it seems doubtful Stoudemire would be content. On Thursday, he told reporters he was ready to 'return back to dominance,' which hardly sounds like the words of a player ready to cede the spotlight." Image from article, with caption: Amar’e Stoudemire told reporters Thursday that he was ready to “return back to dominance.”


Encouraging signs toward peace in Afghanistan - David Ignatius, Washington Post: The recent moves toward serious negotiation with the Taliban

suggest that the Afghan situation, bleak as it may look to most Americans, offers some hope of progress in the new year. Image from

Will 2013 see action on Iran’s nuclear program? - Jackson Diehl, Washington Post: President Obama’s first-term adviser on Iran, Dennis Ross says, the Iranians “are not convinced we are prepared to use force.” Consequently, he says, “at this point I would still put the prospects for diplomacy at less than 50-50.” And: “If by the end of 2013 diplomacy hasn’t worked, the prospects for use of force become quite high.”


“God’s command is a hard command. In order to obey it, we must disobey ourselves.”

--Father Mapple, the preacher in the whaleboat pulpit early in Melville’s “Moby Dick”


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