Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 7-12

"Diplomacy not just for diplomats; but not diplomacy without diplomats."

--Tom Fletcher, the British Ambassador in Beirut, writing about the use of digital media in carrying out international relations; cited in DiploPundit; image from


Reaching Across the Airwaves, FSO Shayna Cram Sings in Pashto - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "FSO Shayna C[r]am is doing something not usually seen in public diplomacy outreach. She is a public diplomacy officer reportedly assigned to the US Consulate General in Peshawar, Pakistan ... [In this video she sings] [t]he Pashto song 'Jenaiy', which means 'girl', was written reportedly as a tribute to Malala Yousufzai, the young girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban." See also.

Syria Propaganda Looking a Lot Like Iraq Propaganda [video featuring George W. Bush and Barack Obama among others] -


Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #63 - Bruce Gregory

Place Branding and Public Diplomacy,Volume 8, Issue 3 (August 2012): Table of Contents


Public Schedule for December 12, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY TARA SONENSHINE 6:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends

the Year of Italian Culture Celebration, at the National Gallery in Washington, DC. (MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST)." Image from

Deputy Assistant Secretary Bay Fang Concludes her Visit to Azerbaijan [08 December] - APA: "U.S. State Department Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy Bay Fang concluded her December 5-6 visit to Azerbaijan, APA reports. The main purpose of her visit to the country was to become familiar with the United States Mission to Azerbaijan’s Public Diplomacy programs and to meet Azerbaijani officials, youth, and members of civil society. Ms. Fang met with Azerbaijani youth in Baku, Sumgait, and Salyan, to discuss exchange programs and other opportunities for young Azerbaijanis to learn about the United States. Ms. Fang also met with Salyan District Executive Committee Chief Tahir Kerimov to discuss the Salyan American Center and other issues related to Public Diplomacy."

Public diplomacy as a tool to promote the interests of women and gender equality [Google translation from the German] - amerikadienst: "Here we publish an article of the Special Ambassador for Global Women's Issues at the U.S. State Department, Melanne Verveer, who on the website of the Center on Public Diplomacy appeared the University of Southern California.

President Barack Obama appointed Melanne Verveer Goodwill Ambassador for Global Women's Issues. In her role as head of the new unit for global women's issues in the U.S. State Department, Ambassador Verveer coordinates foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women around the world." Image from article, with caption: Ambassador Verveer visited a microfinance project of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Cikarang.

Bringing Global Connections and Exchange to Life - David Potter, "[T]he Global Connections and Exchange Program (GCE)... [is a] hidden gem among more well-known

State Department exchange programs, On April 27, 2011 at the US Institute of Peace 'Exchange 2.0 Summit,' Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale recognized the program ... In October 2012, the new Undersecretary Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Tara Sonenshine, similarly lauded Global Connections." Image from article

Pentagon drops "strategic communication," but Washington will never let go of such a dubious concept - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting:  "USA Today, 3 Dec 2012, Tom Vanden Brook: 'The Pentagon is banishing the term 'strategic communication,' putting an end to an initiative that had promised to streamline the military's messaging but instead led to bureaucratic bloat and confusion, according to a memo obtained by USA TODAY. Strategic communication had aimed to synchronize the military's messages with its actions. Instead, it led to creation of offices and staffs that duplicated efforts of traditional public affairs offices, according to the memo. In the memo, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little wrote that over the past six years, strategic communication 'actually added a layer of staffing and planning that blurred roles and functions of traditional staff elements and resulted in confusion and inefficiencies.' [Elliott comment:] The term 'strategic communication' will not disappear. There are others in Washington who see opportunity in the 'creation of offices and staffs that duplicate efforts.' 'Strategic communication' will probably move to another agency, or to a new agency that attempts to 'coordinate' the international communication activities of the various agencies. If the US international broadcasting entities are serious about being news outlets, they must insist that practice of journalism is not consistent with 'strategic communication.' Foreign Policy, 6 Dec 2012, Rosa Brooks: '[R]eports of strategic communication's demise are greatly exaggerated. The memo obtained by USA Today -- also obtained by yours truly, and available here -- isn't really about the demise of strategic communication at 'the Pentagon,' which is, after all, an awfully big building. On the contrary: this latest memo is just another shot fired in the ongoing skirmish between those who believe that strategic communication is merely an unnecessary euphemism for 'communications' -- meaning, basically, press statements and talking points -- and thus should be controlled by public affairs offices, and those who believe strategic communication is a confusing term, but one that has nonetheless come to stand for something complex and important, something that has more to do with 'strategy' than with 'communications.' I'm in the latter camp." See also John Brown, comment on facebook: "I have always felt 'strategic communication' is an insult

to the English language, indeed to communication itself; communication, at its best, is not 'strategic,' it is a free-wheeling exchange of ideas and opinions, as Plato underscored centuries ago." See also John Brown, “On Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy or, Don't Fence Me In,”

Notes and Essays (December 7, 2012) and "Strategic Communications: The Debate Continues" (Huffington Post, 2009). Top Image from; below image from

FOIA release of VOA emails in ongoing UN Correspondents Association dispute - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

That About Sums It Up - Caitlin Morrison, fourtherecordpd: "[T]he Goethe-Institut is undoubtedly a forerunner of cultural diplomacy, among the ranks of the world-renowned British Council. Every center is a hub of language learning, cultural expression, collaboration, and bonding. Their situation in Germany along with their extensive system of partnerships makes the institute extremely capable of credibly conducting cultural diplomacy globally. Despite the possibility of continued budget cuts or freezes, there is very little doubt that the network of Goethe-Institut enthusiasts will ever let them fail."

Public Diplomacy: What it is and What it is Not; Lesson Learned - Caitlin Murphy, "Public Diplomacy is a multi-layered approach to building relations with countries without threatening or forcing."

PD Recommendations - libbyokane, "Public Diplomacy has to change in the new media landscape to engage more networked audiences." Below image from

Digital Diplomacy.... - indah nuria Savitri, my purple world: "While security and political issues are still considered sensitive and tend to be handled in more traditional ways, many foreign ministries expand their public diplomacy efforts focusing on social, economy and cultural exchanges through social media."

My Last Hurrah - Shaina, Thoughts on Public Diplomacy: Group 2 of Applied Public Diplomacy: "Am I ready

to become a public diplomat? ... [M]aybe when I finally finish off a PD masters I will be." Image from


A call to arms for Syria's rebels: It's not about them; it's about us — and the influence we'll have when they win - Doyle McManus, Here's the problem: By refusing to supply weapons, the United States has been left with little say in which rebel groups receive arms.

Consequently, much of the weaponry has gone to militant Islamist groups favored by Saudi and Qatari donors rather than to the Free Syrian Army, the military organization the U.S. favors. Image from article, with caption: Rebel fighters take part in a demonstration against the Syrian regime in Aleppo..

A permanent war on terror: In trying to prevent terrorist attacks, the U.S. risks eroding civil liberties - Petra Bartosiewicz, It may be politically expedient for the president to err on the side of national security against civil liberties for fear of being seen as soft on terrorism, but he should consider his legacy. Bush is the president who launched the war on terror. Will Obama go down in history as the one who made it permanent?

A Korean Missile and a Policy Misfire: Pyongyang's new leader studied in the West, but hopes that he would be a reformer were misplaced. His missile program proves it - Jack David, Wall Street Journal: The ultimate goal should be to help bring about the regime's collapse, not to extract the next promise that Pyongyang can renege on.

North Korea Rocket Launch Is Propaganda Coup - the country has indeed put a satellite into space, which would confirm its long-standing claim that all this is about pursuing a peaceful space programme.

The launch will prompt a wave of propaganda within North Korea. It is designed to solidify the leadership of Kim Jong-Un, who is in his early-30s and hugely inexperienced. Image from article, with caption: A South Korean TV report on the trajectory of the rocket

‘Propaganda’ on Syrian Chemical Weapons [video] - John Glaser, Charles Glass on Democracy Now talks about the Syrian conflict, the Islamist opposition, and Western threats about the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. Of the latter, he says, “It sounds to me pretty much like the propaganda that was used prior to the invasion of Iraq, where the chemical weapons were held up as an excuse to bring about Western intervention, ultimately, when it wasn’t true.” See also.

Looking at Anti-Iran Propaganda - Jeff Nygaard, What we’re seeing is the deployment of Propaganda against an O.D.E., or Officially Designated Enemy, of the United States.

Anti-Israel Propaganda from Moscow and the Institute for Policy Studies [video] - Trevor Loudon, In this video, Moscow funded propaganda channel, Russia Today, which claims several million American viewers, gives a forum to one of Israel’s most effective enemies – Phyllis Bennis, of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Report on propaganda chief Liu Qibao released: Xinhua reports on Liu Qibao's excursions after prolonged absence fuels rumours of a downfall - Cary Huang, A report about the recent official activities of Liu Qibao, the new propaganda chief whose conspicuous absence from the limelight for nine days has sparked intense speculation among overseas media and pundits, was released yesterday by Xinhua.

Some online postings on mainland chatrooms and overseas media reports say his mother has died while others allege he was implicated in the downfall of the Sichuan vice-party boss Li Chuncheng, Liu's former subordinate when he was Sichuan party boss. Xinhua reported last night that Liu had made visits to the office of foreign propaganda, which is more commonly known as the Information Office of the State Council, and the cultural ministry, recently. The report did not specify when the visits were made, but its release last night was apparently aimed at dismissing rumours about him. Liu Qibao image from article

America’s second chance at global leadership - Frederick Kempe, Today, the relative decline of U.S. political and economic power, an ongoing euro zone crisis that saps key allies’ energies and confidence, and the rise of China weaken American leverage. According to the National Intelligence Council’s 140-page “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” report by 2030, Asia will surpass North America and Europe “in terms of global power.” The factors are a combination of economic size, population, military spending and technological investment. The NIC says China will pass U.S. GDP in the 2020′s. Though dampened, America’s ability to lead remains significant through 2030 due to its unique economic, social and military assets and the lack of any single or group of powers willing to supplant its global role.

That Crush at Kosovo’s Business Door? The Return of U.S. Heroes - Matthew Brunwasser, New York Times: So many former American officials have returned to Kosovo for business — in coal and telecommunications, or for lobbying and other lucrative government contracts — that it is hard to keep them from colliding. The State Department has no policy that forbids former diplomats from lobbying on behalf of nations where they served or

returning to them for profit, beyond the one applying to federal employees as a whole, which prohibits senior officials from contacting agencies where they once worked for one year and bans all federal employees for life from advising on the same matters. Kosovo is not the only nation where former officials have returned to conduct business — Iraq is another example — but it presents an extreme case, and perhaps a special ethical quandary, given the outsize American influence here. Pristina, the capital, may be the only city in the world where Bob Dole Street intersects Bill Clinton Boulevard. Image from article, with caption: American flags streamed recently above the main street of Pristina, Kosovo’s capital. One of the world’s newest countries, Kosovo separated from Serbia, with the support of the United States.

The devil wears an ambassadorship? Anna Wintour considered for London, Paris posts - Jake Tapper, Richard Coolidge, Devin Dwyer, and Sherisse Pham - Power Players:  President Obama's reelection means we will have new officials in the Cabinet. It also means we will have some new ambassadorships, and democrats in the know tell me one of the big names being considered for a plum ambassadorship to the UK or France is Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Two of the most important ambassadorships are our top diplomat in the U.K. -- following in the footsteps of former U.S. presidents including John Adams, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams -- and our top diplomat in France -- a prestigious position held by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and founding Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver. So whom do Democrats say is now seriously being considered?

Vogue editor Anna Wintour, a towering figure in the fashion community known for elegance, taste, and a cruelty so intolerable a best-selling book and film were written about it. "The Devil Wears Prada," written by a former assistant to Wintour, cemented the editor in pop culture legend for her mean streak.

Are You Ready for the Naked Diplomat? FCO’s Man in Beirut Strips Down - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: Tom Fletcher CMG, the British Ambassador in Beirut since August 2011 has an interesting piece in the Dec/Jan issue of The Today’s World. An iPad rather than letters of credence? A digital demarche? The need to interact, not just transmit? Are you ready to abandon the banquet in favor of the smart phone?

Renesys lists 61 countries most at risk of internet shutdown due to few outside connections - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Google “Keep the Internet Free” Propaganda: What Lies Beneath - Mihaela Lica Butler, It’s a Google Internet, after all, but the search giant’s dominating position seems to be threatened by rising stars, like Facebook… and then some. A few competitors are trying to call for “fair search” and their voices are heard by the FTC and the European Commission.

All this back and forth is perceived by some as a threat to the very core of the Internet, which, as it stands now, is dominated by Google. And the search engine calls out to you, the users, to Keep the Internet free and open. What lies beneath revolves around this snippet of information: “Other [government] proposals would require services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders. This could limit access to information — particularly in emerging markets.” Google is already threatened by such laws. Image from article

How Hitler tried to enlist Ireland in his propaganda war -  Mein Leben für Irland

(My Life for Ireland) was the second of two Irish-set films commissioned during World War Two by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. Image from


The U.S. ranks 6th in fourth grade reading - Ranking America: According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, in 2011 the average United States fourth-grade reading score was 556, which makes the United States rank sixth out of forty-nine participating countries. Hong Kong ranks first, with a score of 571. The average score for all countries was 500. Here is the list of the top eleven countries and their scores:


"Back when she was an assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration, she [U.S. UN Ambassador Susan Rice] appalled colleagues by flipping her middle finger

at Richard Holbrooke during a meeting with senior staff at the State Department, according to witnesses."

--Dana Milbank, "Susan Rice’s tarnished resume," Washington Post; image from; see also John Brown, "Richard Holbrooke: Able and Insufferable," Huffington Post (2009)

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