Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28

"What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That’s a huge question, to my mind. It really should be part of the overall campaign plan."

--Recently deceased Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the seemingly no-nonsense Desert Storm commander; Schwarzkopf image from


Completed Evaluations - [State Department] Bureau Of Educational And Cultural Affairs: Promoting Mutual Understanding: "The Division’s evaluation projects are large-scale, 18- to 24-month studies designed to assess outcome achievement and long-term impacts, with respect to overall State Department, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and program goals. The evaluations are retrospective, examine cross-cutting themes, and employ both quantitative and qualitative research methods, including surveys, focus groups, interviews, and document review.

If after reading the one-page and/or executive summary, you are interested in a copy of the full report, please contact us on email at Recent Evaluations + Journalism and Media Exchange Programs + English ACCESS Microscholarship Program + Fulbright Visiting Student Program + Global Connections and Exchanges Program + Jazz Ambassadors Program + Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES)[.]" Image from

Balkh Media Information Center - "Category Explanation: Public Diplomacy [;] Expected Number of Awards: 1 [;] Estimated Total Program Funding: $250,000 ... CFDA Number(s): 19.501 -- Public Diplomacy Programs for Afghanistan and Pakistan... Description [:] The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan announces an open competition for assistance awards through this Request for Grant Proposals (RFGP). PAS invites all eligible organizations to submit a proposal to establish a Media Information Center (MIC) based in the governor’s office of Balkh Province. The grant’s goals will be achieved by strengthening provincial capacity to engage in proactive, effective, and truthful outreach to both public and private media. This solicitation calls for the establishment of the regional Media Information Center (MIC) to include staffing, training, operations, and equipment to provide initial assistance in disseminating accurate and timely information—especially on governance and development success stories that extend the Afghanistan narrative beyond security issues and create a sense of national unity."

Review: "The Last Three Feet: Case Studies in Public Diplomacy" - Pat Kushlis, Foreign Service Journal.

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Fact Sheet – The United States Information Agency – American Security Project: “The United States Information Agency (USIA) ran America’s public diplomacy efforts from 1953 until it was disbanded in 1999. What did it do?

Who were the key figures? Whatever happened to it? This fact sheet takes a look at some of these issues, telling a brief history of the program and how public diplomacy is operated today. Download the report here or view below.” Image from

Report: Embattled RFE/RL president Steven Korn will depart - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Music Time in Africa Time in America: public radio report on VOA's Leo Sarkisian - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Hispasat removes Iranian international channels Press TV and Hispan TV - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Actress, diplomat among Ottawa High hall of fame inductees - "An actress, Wake Forest professor of physiology and pharmacology and an accomplished military veteran and diplomat are among the seven individuals and one basketball team selected as inductees to the 2013 class to the Ottawa Township High School [Illinois] Hall of Fame. ... He [Bill Bach] joined the Foreign Service and was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria. After returning to Washington D.C. in 1981, he worked in a number of positions with the U.S. Information Agency, and with the National Security Council, publishing during that time several articles in foreign policy journals while completing a Master’s degree in International Public Policy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

He was later assigned to Bonn, Germany working with two U.S. ambassadors on short-range nuclear deterrence and détente, assisting with German unification after the fall of the Berlin Wall and dismantling of the U.S.S.R. and the Warsaw Bloc. Bach concluded his diplomatic career with an assignment with the State Department as director for public diplomacy and public affairs for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs." Image from

A facebook comment on V. Pozner, a USSR-USA "public diplomacy advocate" - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "Known to some aged American TV audiences, Vladimir Pozner (he was on a U.S. television talk-show decades ago the name of which I can't remember), is a not-so-amiable, soft-talking chameleon/survivor/fellow traveler from Communist Russia

from whom I had to endure a silly question on 'why Americans are fat' (we have enough to eat, I said), at a-made-for-Russian-TV session at a U.S. NGO involved in promoting U.S. -Russian understanding, years after the "capitalist vs. Commie" ideological conflagration/nonsense was over. It turns out that Russian apparatchiki are no longer willing to subsidize good ol' -- supposedly thin -- now head-shaven Vlad." Pozner image from


John Kerry Smart Choice For Smart Power - Caroline Espinosa, The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition released this statement from Executive Director Liz Schrayer on President Obama’s nomination of Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State: “Senator Kerry is a smart choice for a world that needs a smart power agenda.  He has been a strong leader in making sure the State Department, USAID, and other civilian agencies have the resources they need to keep our country safe

and our economy strong.  As one of the most respected foreign policy leaders with a stellar security background, Senator Kerry will bring strong leadership to build on the Secretary Clinton’s legacy of elevating diplomacy and development in our foreign policy to ensure America’s leadership in the world.  Our vast coalition of business, NGO, military, and faith-based leaders stands ready to work with Senator Kerry to build a better, safer, and more prosperous world.” Click here for complete smart power profiles on Senator Kerry. The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition ( is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world. Image from, with caption: John Kerry and his PCF94 crew in '69

After facing up to world of change, 
Clinton leaves a legacy of caution - Guy Taylor, The Washington Times: Mrs. Clinton has visited more nations — 112, according to the official count — and spoken to more foreign populations than any U.S. secretary of state in history. Impressive as that may be, her critics say Mrs. Clinton has fallen far short of making much of an impact on several foreign policy challenges facing the United States, not to mention the fate of democracy around the world. Mrs. Clinton’s admirers say she has sought tirelessly to redefine U.S. foreign policy away from government-to-government “talks” and toward direct interaction with foreign citizenry.

Russian ban on U.S. adoptions meant to cast Americans as abusers - Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times: Anyone unfamiliar with the hyperbole of post-Cold War politics might be perplexed by Moscow’s move to outlaw American adoption of Russian orphans. More than 60,000 Russian children once condemned to a hellish institutional life have been brought into U.S. homes over the last two decades, most of them suffering disabilities that would have gone untreated had they been left in the Dickensian orphanages of their homeland. The disabled remain victims of stigma in Russia, while a struggling economy and the Stalin-era brand of orphans being “children of the enemies of the people” continue to dissuade Russians from adopting their own unfortunates. But Russians’ inability and unwillingness to take care of their legions of unwanted children is nevertheless the source of deep embarrassment and wounded national pride, Russia experts say.

And having Americans swooping in and rescuing them by the thousands each year nurtures an inferiority complex that has only deepened since the superpower rivalry purportedly ended with the Soviet Union's 1991 breakup. Paul Gregory, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, said Putin’s followers have churned up public animosity toward U.S. adoptions by resurrecting the Soviet-era propaganda tactic of casting the United States as a dangerous and depraved nation. Image from article, with caption: A campaign by Russian lawmakers to cast U.S. adoptive parents as depraved child abusers has stirred up public support for a ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans. A woman stands outside the upper house of the Russian parliament on Wednesday with a poster declaring "Russia! Do not give children to USA."

Taking Syria back from the extremists - Mohammed Alaa Ghanem, Washington Post: The United States must do all it can to bolster the legitimacy of civilian councils and other moderate organizations, including delivering aid through the coalition and regional councils rather than third-party nongovernmental organizations. This would help enable civilians to run their communities and increase the likelihood that a post-Assad Syria will become an inclusive democracy, rather than a failed state.

China closing Web loophole: Virtual private networks, used to penetrate the Great Firewall, are being blocked, reflecting concerns before Xi Jinping takes office as president - David Pierson, Los Angeles Times: For years, China's net censors turned a blind eye to a major loophole. Anyone who wanted access to blocked overseas websites like Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, the New York Times, only needed to download foreign software called a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent the Great Firewall. But in recent weeks, even these tools have begun to falter, frustrating tech-savvy Chinese and foreign businesspeople who now struggle to access Internet sites as innocuous as and The tightening appears to be part of a broader and continuing campaign by China to rein in the country's Internet, which has nearly 600 million users and challenges the government's monopoly on information. Michael Anti, a Beijing-based critic of Web censorship, believes the current pushback on the Web reflects paranoia over incoming President Xi Jinping's crackdown on official corruption. Local officials could be pressuring propaganda departments to curb freedom of speech online, he said. "Officials hate the Internet," Anti said. "They're afraid of being victims of the anti-corruption campaign."

China looks to meat exports to boost ties to Arab world - William Wan, Washington Post: China’s government has thrown considerable diplomatic and political resources during the past five years into building up Middle East ties. Lavish conferences have been sponsored across the country, ethnic festivals held to celebrate Chinese Muslims’ heritage, and trade delegations sent out from both sides, including

two visits to Saudi Arabia by outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao. The most recent large-scale event — an economic forum that included high-level dignitaries from China and the United Arab Emirates — took place this fall in Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia. In private conversations on the sidelines, Chinese officials described an overall strategy of outreach to the Middle East that was laid out in broad terms by central authorities, then planned and executed in more detail by local officials. Image from article, with caption: Chinese visitors sit in front a huge screen at a trade fair during the China-Arab State Economy and Trade Summit in Yinchuan, in China's Ningxia region on Sept. 21, 2011.

Politics and the Chinese Language: What Mo Yan's Defenders Get Wrong - Perry Link, Asia Society: Since the 1950s, the Party’s Propaganda Department has disseminated lists of words for the media “to stress” and “to downplay” as political needs come and go,1 and the unchanging assumption has been that this word-engineering helps to “guide thought.” It is crucial to remember that we are speaking of not just any native language but a specific one — Mao-language — which is much more freighted with military metaphors and political biases than most. Mao-language has seeped into daily-life Chinese and is still very much there.

China Tightens Control Over Tibet After Unprecedented Self-Immolations - Michelle FlorCruz, Chinese officials have also taken to countering separatist propaganda with even more propaganda by organizing campaigns condemning self-immolations and continuing to publicly blame the Dalai Lama for the unrest and disruption in the area. However, it is understood among Tibetans that they are protesting against what they see as the erasure of their cultural heritage by the Chinese.

North Korea Does Not Believe in Unicorns: But it does believe in promoting a fanciful version of its own history - Isaac Stone Fish, Adam Cathcart, In early December, the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's state wire service, provoked much online merriment when it reported that archaeologists had "reconfirmed" an ancient "unicorn lair" in the heart of Pyongyang. The discovery, "associated with legend about King Tongmyong, proves that Pyongyang was a capital city of Ancient Korea," the article claimed.

A Korea scholar quickly debunked that interpretation, explaining that "unicorn" was a mistranslation. The mythical beast was actually a kirin, a four-legged creature with the head of a dragon and the body of a tiger. And it turned out that the North Koreans weren't using the fanciful story to prove that the kirin actually existed. Instead, they were reinstating their claim on the king's birthplace, to remind their people and their neighbours that North Korea was once a great nation, and can be so again. Image from article

Wahhabis launch anti-New Year propaganda in Russia - Radical Islamists in the Russian republic of Tatarstan are urging Muslims to refrain from celebrating the ‘pagan festival’ of New Year claiming it is ‘shirk’ – an unforgivable sin. As the country prepares to celebrate one of its most favorite holidays, Wahhabis have launched an anti-New Year campaign in the Central Russia’s republic, which has a large Muslim population.

Through slogans that appeared in the capital, Kazan, and posts on social networking services, Islamists try to convince believers that New Year is a pagan holiday and those who celebrate it are idolaters. In their view, all the symbols of the holiday – Father Frost and his granddaughter the Snow Maiden, a decorated fir tree and a party (even if it is alcohol-free) – are not appropriate either, writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily. Opponents of the celebration stress that it is absolutely unacceptable for men and women – particularly those who are not married – to gather for a feast at the same table. Image from article, with caption: Tatar Santa and Snow Maiden respectively, at their residence in the village of Novy Kyrlai, Tatarstan


Via JB on Facebook

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