"Almost every person in Waziristan is becoming mentally sick because of day-and-night flights of drones. This is more dangerous than polio."
--Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a North Waziristan Taliban leader, cited in "A phony CIA vaccination program used to help track down Osama bin Laden leads militant leaders to ban a polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan's Waziristan regions," by Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times; image from
Letter to President Obama on Yemen: More Aid, Fewer Drones, Please - arabnewsblog.net: "The Atlantic Council and The Project on Middle East Democracy are worried about the drift in Obama administration policy on Yemen, about the lack of attention to urgent development and humanitarian issues there, and about the indiscriminate use of drones, which are likely to do more harm than good. So they did up a five-page letter to the Obama administration on the Yemenissue, which I thought well of and signed on to. ... [From the letter:] While there are some in the US government who understand the need for a comprehensive approach, the current public diplomacy and implementation of US policy in Yemen conveys the opposite.
Although the Department of State, USAID, and others have invested millions in development and governance projects, the perception both in the US and in Yemen is that US policy is singularly focused on AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula]. The Yemeni people need to know that their country is more than a proxy battleground and that the US long-term commitment to the stability, development, and legitimacy of the country matches the more immediate and urgent commitment to the defeat of AQAP. To do that, the US should fundamentally shift its approach beyond the narrow focus on counterterrorism and should clearly articulate that it seeks to advance Yemen’s social, economic, and political development. The US should recalibrate its economic and governance assistance so that it represents a greater proportion of overall assistance compared with military and security assistance. The US needs to ensure that its focus is on achieving long-term goals, not only short-term objectives." Image from
Exclusive LGBT Pride Interview with Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy - Tanya Domi, thenewcivilrightsmovement.com: "Under Secretary of State Tara D. Sonenshine, who is the chief of public diplomacy and public affairs at the State Department, gave an exclusive interview to The New Civil Rights Movement this week on the occasion of LGBT Pride month. Sonenshine, who came to the State Department from the U.S. Institute of Peace as the Executive Vice-President, has a distinguished career in communications and government, including an award winning tenure in television journalism at ABC’s Nightline as a producer and reporter where she garnered 10 Emmy news awards. She was sworn in on April 24th and is the seventh person to hold this position (the photograph of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulating Under Secretary Sonenshine following her swearing-in was provided by the author). Just two months into her tenure, the savvy social media under secretary can be found on Twitter @Tsonenshine.
This week she makes her inaugural debut in a live global tweet on Wednesday, June 27, 11:00 a.m. EDT. Using @StateDept with hashtag #AskState or @USAenEspanol using hashtag #AskUSA (seven other languages will also be accessible), interested followers can ask Sonenshine questions about the State Department and her responsibilities. Since her swearing-in, Sonenshine has hit the ground running, traveling to China (along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Chen Guangcheng crisis) and later to Pakistan. In between, she delivered graduation remarks to Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs graduating class. And not skipping a beat as she pivoted into June’s Pride month, Sonenshine enthusiastically shared the latest public diplomacy efforts to promote LGBT human rights over the weekend in Germany, where the U.S. Embassy participated in Berlin’s famous Christopher Street Day parade. According to Sonenshine, Ambassador Philip Murphy joined Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, other diplomats and local politicians to open this year’s parade. U.S. Mission staff and (gays and lesbians in foreign affairs agencies) representatives from Frankfurt and Hamburg came to Berlin to participate alongside their Berlin colleagues. A cheering crowd of between 500,000 and 700,000 watched the parade wind its way through central Berlin–from Kreuzberg, through Mitte, before ending in front of the Reichstag (the national parliament building)." Clinton and Sonenshine image from article
Public Schedule for June 28, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: "Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine: 12:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine delivers remarks at American Security Project, in Washington, DC. ... 2:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine delivers remarks at a departure event for participants of Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program, at the Department of State ... 3:15 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine addresses American Fulbright students and scholars at their departure orientation, at the Department of State ... 5:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends the annual Dean Acheson lecture series, featuring U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, at the United States Institute of Peace."
Public Schedule for June 27, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine: "Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine: 11:00 a.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine hosts a live Q&A via Twitter, at the Department of State. Please click here for more information. 12:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends a meeting at the White House. ... 1:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine and Under Secretary Otero co-host a luncheon to discuss youth issues with foreign ambassadors, at the Department of State.”
UT Partners with US State Department to Empower Women, Girls through Sports - "The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is partnering with the US Department of State to engage women and girls from around the world through sports. UT’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society has been awarded a $1.2 million cooperative agreement to implement the Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative. The center is part of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. The initiative, a key diplomatic effort by the State Department, aims to engage young girls and women on how success in athletics can develop important life skills and improve academic achievement. It also is designed to increase cross-cultural understanding between international participants and Americans. 'We’re honored to be selected and to be part of this important US public diplomacy effort,' center director Sarah Hillyer said. Hillyer and center co-director Ashleigh Huffman were in Washington, DC, last week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the US Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, the flagship component of the initiative. UT is crafting the program’s curriculum and will coordinate the logistics, including travel and lodging.
Ann Stock, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, noted that 'the University of Tennessee’s legacy of empowering women and girls through sports is a rich one. We look forward to partnering together to blaze new paths where girls world wide can pursue their potential,' she said. About 135 girls and women from developing countries will participate in the program. The initiative has three components: the US Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, which pairs up to twenty international emerging leaders with leading American women in the sports world; Sports Visitors, which brings women and girls from overseas to the United States for an exchange that teams them up with their American counterparts; and Sports Envoys, which will send professional US athletes, coaches, and sports administrators overseas to engage underserved youth in clinics and leadership discussions." Image from article, with caption: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets Sarah Hillyer (center) and Ashleigh Huffman (right) of the UT Center for Sport, Peace, and Society on Thursday, June 21
Empowering Girls & Women Through Sport Across the Globe - Impact blog, usaid.gov: "Even though great progress has been made to provide equal access to education and sports opportunities for girls and women across the country, there is still so much work to be done. Today there are 1.3 million fewer opportunities for girls than boys to participate in high school athletics and girls often still receive inferior equipment, facilities and scheduling. The President’s Council understands the importance of everyone having access to sports and physical activity and supports the many organizations around the country that are working to further opportunities for young girls, promoting and investing in the next generation leaders. This issue is not limited to the United States. I have seen this first hand through my work as a Public Diplomacy Envoy for the U.S. Department of State. In many countries, women and girls do not have the same opportunities that we have here in America. If fact, there are some countries where cultural or political mandates for females, including specific attire and access to fitness facilities and programs, make it unsafe or impossible for them to participate in sports.
I have traveled around the world, using my experience in sports as a tool for diplomacy to strengthen international relationships and impact change by offering solutions to cultural barriers that affect female participation in sports. It is important for me as an envoy and Council member to help women and girls discover how athletics can help them develop life skills and achieve success in the classroom. The State Department recently launched an initiative called 'Empowering Women and Girls through Sports,' with a goal to increase the number of females worldwide who are involved in sports. A component of this initiative called the Global Sports Mentoring Program was created to connect international and American women and girls and to create sustainable sports opportunities for underserved women and girls worldwide. As a member of the Council to Empower Women and Girls through Sports, I am proud to be part of this program, alongside current and retired athletes, coaches, executives, journalists, and social activists. Together, we will engage audiences at home and abroad to elevate the conversation about sports participation opportunities for women and girls." Kwan image from entry
U.S. seeks to influence a youthful world: In places like Zimbabwe and Zambia, America is competing with China for hearts and minds of the next generation - Thomas F. Schaller, baltimoresun.com: "[T]he U.S. State Department (which, full disclosure, sponsored my trip here and to Zambia) is preoccupied with building relations with global youth. Relatedly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (America's third woman to serve as America's top diplomat) has prioritized outreach programs for women, especially in those corners of the planet where gender parity is a notional absurdity and female subjugation is often a national tragedy. 'Young people tend to focus a lot on their future, rightfully so,' says Sharon Hudson-Dean, the public affairs director for the U.S. mission in Zimbabwe. 'The big problems develop in places where they can't see a future — no jobs, poor educational opportunities, death from HIV/AIDS. That is where the intersection of our foreign policy and young people is most important. ... Zimbabwean high school seniors graduated last Friday from the United States Achievers Program. All 21 are headed to American universities this autumn on fully paid scholarships worth a combined, four-year total of $4.7 million. Built from nothing in 1999 in Zimbabwe by State Department educational adviser Rebecca Zeigler Mano, the program has since expanded to 13 other developing nations. Every one of the nearly 300 students Ms. Zeigler Mano has sent to the states has graduated, with an average GPA of 3.86. Why does any of this matter? Here's why: At top diplomatic levels, the United States worries about resource-hungry China's deep investments in Africa. The Chinese are building literal bridges, but the metaphorical bridges the United States builds provide a critical counterbalance in the battle for the hearts and minds of millennial generations in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world."
Iraq Students to Get Music Training from Clayton Graduate - "Clayton High School graduate Patrick David Clark will leave St. Louis on Wednesday to teach music composition to high school students in Iraq. 'It's really a cultural exchange, it's not a one way thing,' said Clark, who holds a master's in orchestral conducting from the University of Missouri (MU).
He expects to learn a lot about Iraqi and Kurdish culture during his visit, and he hopes to present what he knows as an American composer. He will teach until July 15 in Erbil—the country's fourth-largest city—as part of American Voices, according to a news release. For 16 years, the organization has presented summer arts education and programming throughout the world. He will work at American Voices' YES Academy." Image from article; via
The BBG’s Culture of Secrecy - Helle Dale, heritage.org: "[A]s the BBG defends press freedom abroad, it seems to be doing the opposite at home, a deeply concerning trend antithetical to its core mission." See also.
Rep. Rohrabacher – BBG strikes blows against government transparency and Congressional oversight - BBG watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "In a letter to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) condemned the recently-passed BBG resolution on non-disclosure of internal deliberative information as 'a blow to government transparency and a threat to the abilities of Congress to effectively conduct oversight.'”
Tips for Success: U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century - Gabby LaVerghetta, A Hard Look at Soft Power: Global Public Diplomacy: Questions, comments and perspectives from a group of American University graduate students regarding global shifts of communication and information: "The 21st century has changed the game of public diplomacy by injecting more players and new tools. During the first twelve years of the new century, the U.S. has learned several lessons about how to succeed in public diplomacy with these new rules. Alec Ross presents one of the lessons – the lesson that technology is a neutral tool. Developments in the Middle East during and after the Arab Spring highlighted that technologies can be used to enforce existing ideologies. They are just as potent for protesters as for authoritarian governments. A second lesson is that public information is global information. The traditional separation between U.S. public diplomacy and public affairs is impractical and illogical. Knowing all of this, U.S. public diplomacy faces a host of challenges, ranging from organizational issues to the rise of citizen diplomacy. A condensed list might look like this, with each item building on the previous: National strategy [;] Organizational issues[;] More stakeholders."
When matching the strategic objective of preventing war to resources, can the US Navy prevent war in the 21st century, and if so, how? - Jan Van Tol, informationdissemination.net: "For the purposes of the Cooperative Strategy (CS21), what does 'war' mean? What does 'preventing' entail? Only with some reasonable working definition of those terms in the CS21 context is it possible even to consider whether the US Navy could accomplish the stated objective of 'preventing war,' and what resources it might require to do so. CS21 describes a litany of 'Challenges of a New Era.' It suggests the diverse consequences of globalization, increased demand and competition for resources, widespread access to information, and growing proliferation
of technologies with military applications to an ever broader range of state and non-state actors are all potential sources of future conflict. ... The central tension within CS21 thus lies with its imperative to use seapower in conjunction with the joint force and perhaps other agencies of government to prevent any significant disruptions of the global system (of which those caused by wars may be the worst) versus the traditional requirements to deter and if necessary win wars directly involving the United States and its allies should they occur. That tension is unnecessarily and unreasonably intensified by CS21’s exhaustive list of factors that the United States and the Navy should act to ameliorate in order to prevent conflicts from breaking out. To note a few problems with this expansive view: ... Non-emergency humanitarian assistance efforts, while useful for the sake of public diplomacy, are necessarily far too small in scale to ameliorate internal sources of turmoil such as corruption, mass poverty and underdevelopment serious enough to threaten governments. ... The US Navy ... can ... play a major role in helping to prevent (deter) the outbreak of the most dangerous kind of wars, those involving aggression by major adversaries, whether directly against the United States or its forces or against genuine US allies and selected other security partners, by strongly reinforcing perceptions on their part that the Navy and the rest of the joint force exist first and foremost to fight and win in war. This is the critical element in preventing war. Navy resources not dedicated to that purpose are resources misallocated." Image from article, with caption: Which of these prevents war?
Victory – Consulate Stays In La! - Tomi Hinkkanen and Jonny Kahleyn, finntimes.com: "Last October the Foreign Ministry of Finland announced plans to shut down the Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles and move its operations to Silicon Valley. Finntimes mounted a vigorous campaign to keep the consulate in L.A. where we feel it rightfully belongs. ... The Foreign Ministry has revised their plans and made the absolutely right decision to keep the Consulate General of Finland in Los Angeles after all. ... Consul General of Finland
in Los Angeles, Kirsti Westphalen, has worked tirelessly to secure this monumental decision. She spoke exclusively to Finntimes right before the decision was made public. ... [Westphalen:] 'The major savings will come from our rent costs. Currently the Consulate General occupies an office in Century City. We will be looking at cheaper alternatives, which will not be too far from the current location. We are aiming to relocate in the 405-corridor in West L.A.. Substantial savings can be achieved this way. We also have to cut from our operating expenditure, but in such a way that we still hope to be able to retain our core functions to be of service to Finnish citizens and public diplomacy work on education and clean, sustainable solutions, including the support to creative Finns in Los Angeles.'” Image from article, with caption: Consul General of Finland in Los Angeles Kirsti Westphalen
Azeri "Public Diplomacy" in DC - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "You might or might not have heard of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival held annually on the National Mall. I'll be honest, having lived in DC for three years now, it is the first time that I actually made it there . ... I was absolutely shocked (and honestly, pleasantly surprised - at first) to see 'Azerbaijani food' among other concessions (such as barbecue and comfort food). Putting the exclusive "Azerbaijani" label on dishes such as dolma or kebab was a little too politically incorrect, I thought (OK, they even had Efes, which is perhaps the one thing everyone will agree is not Azerbaijani). But if others do it, why can't Azeris do it, too... right? When I got to the Mall, I was curious to check out their food stand. The lines were pretty big. And yes, I was actually impressed, at first.
Then, I saw the T-shirts. Apparently, the Karabakh Foundation is also sponsoring twoevening Azerbaijani concerts - Mugham performances - which, although are not yet labeled as being related to ‘Karabakh’, will surely be used for related informational ends, as well. Nothing wrong with a political statement? The thing is, the Festival is supposedly about culture, heritage, and history, and with such a politically loaded statement and the promotion of the local region's culture as exclusively Azerbaijani, the Karabakh Foundation might have overstepped the bounds. And not just ‘a little bit’. The region has been very diverse for centuries (if not, millennia), even if one forgets the current de facto status on the ground. So, presenting it as ‘Azerbaijani’ at such an event actually defeats the very purpose of the festival (and of the Foundation itself), supposedly aimed at celebration and preservation of cultural heritage. All this within an environment where very few, if any, know about the issue at all, much less about the complexities involved. This, therefore, goes beyond the traditional public (or cultural) diplomacy, and easily crosses the line into manipulation and propaganda. However, I do not (and cannot) forget that there is the other side to it all, too: the Armenian propaganda side, taking similar (the same?) steps, just - perhaps - within a different context." Image from article
The Orientalist's Bizarro World - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Well, it took me less than a week to fall in love with Kurdistan. ... Traveling through the Middle East, my public diplomacy is usually in overdrive. No need here. I have had so many people say to me: Welcome, so nice to have an American here; Americans are our brothers.' It[']s nice not to feel like I have to be so guarded. Meanwhile, while people are religious here, it is much more low key and tolerance seems pretty across the board. It's like all the fun of my Orientalist dreams without the animosity, religiosity and angst. I could really see myself doing more work here. ... Kurdish PD, here I come."
Set-backs in Taiwan's soft power - Public Diplomacy and International Communications: Thoughts and comments about public diplomacy, soft power and international communications by Gary Rawnsley: "My core belief about Taiwan's soft power strategy is that it emphasises the wrong story: the narratives of Taiwan's successful democratisation and its current position as the first Chinese democracy are routinely ignored in favour of attempts to label Taiwan as the preserver of traditional Chinese culture. However, there is a significant flaw in my argument to which I need to draw attention, and that flaw is the continued use of the death penalty."
PM asks Foreign Office to project soft image of Pakistan - "Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was given detailed briefings by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Secretary Foreign Affairs Jalil Abbas Jilani and other relevant senior officials on Pakistan’s foreign policy at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday. The prime minister in his observation underscored the importance of projecting a soft image of Pakistan through public diplomacy by encouraging people to people contacts, cultural exchanges and promotion of business and trade the world over.
The prime minister also emphasised the urgency of interacting with the third generation of expatriate Pakistanis especially those living in Europe and the USA as sustainability of their attachment with Pakistan will be a great asset for the country. The prime minister directed the Foreign Office that it should focus on African countries as well because there exists immense potential of bilateral cooperation and that is the reason as to why focus of many emerging powers was shifting to those countries." Image from article, with caption: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf accompanied by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on his arrival at Ministry of Foreign Affairs for briefing on Thursday
Pakistan Embassy in UAE holds lecture on Regional Peace and Security - onepakistan.com: "Embarking on yet another public diplomacy initiative and the first-ever of its kind, the Pakistan Embassy in the UAE Wednesday organized interactive lecture on regional and trans-regional route to peaceful coexistence and collective security as a means to raising awareness on contemporary political discourse. Pakistan s envoy to the Emirates Jamil Ahmed Khan delivered the hour-long lecture which drew a good number of participants including university students, academics and guests from other walks of life. During the course of his talk, Ambassador Khan underscored the importance of regional alliances in maintaining collective peace and security in various parts of the world."
‘sup, Diplomacy? World Edition – Cameo Cheung, exchangediplomacy.com: "This is the first in an ongoing series featuring students and alumni of the Syracuse University Public Diplomacy Program. Coming at you from Kampala, Uganda; capital of the Pearl of Africa (so named by Winston Churchill on his tour of Africa back in the day). As an intern with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in democracy/governance/conflict and public affairs, I have spent much of the last month catching up
on the incredible work that USAID is doing in Uganda. I am coming to understand that much of USAID’s work in supporting, implementing, and overseeing programs carefully and consciously aligns with broader U.S. government priorities. Each person’s role in the grand scheme may seem small, but every one of my colleagues is also integral to ensuring the long-term success of the agency’s development work. ... The more I get into this work, the more each experience reinforces my conviction that the decision to pursue public diplomacy was the right one for me." Image from entry, with caption: Cameo Cheung by the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala, Uganda
Status of individual leadership initiatives of phase IV - Hope Fellowships: "Hope Fellows that implemented their leadership initiatives [include]: ... Arjeta Emra: 'Strategic and Coordinated Public Diplomacy.'”
Real Time Diplomacy in the Social Media Era with Philip Seib - williamsclub.org: "Title: Real Time Diplomacy in the Social Media Era with Philip Seib Description: Tuesday, July 10 6:00pm Reception 6:30pm Lecture 8:00pm Dinner Cost: Reception & Lecture only: Free for Members; $10 for Guests Reception, Lecture & Dinner: $49++ for Members; $59++ for Guests Philip Seib’s new book, Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era, offers insights into one of the most important challenges of the 21st century: How can policymakers shift away from being mere spectators and address the political realities of a social media- oriented society? Real-Time Diplomacy analyzes the essential, but often unhappy, marriage between diplomacy and new media, evaluating media’s reach and influence, and determining how policy makers might take advantage of media’s real-time capabilities rather than being driven by them.
In Real-Time Diplomacy, Professor Seib asks a vital question: How can any policymaker keep afloat in the flood of information coming from a vast number of sources? And, as the events of 2011 illustrate, power can emanate from the public, and so developing and maintaining ties with publics around the world is an essential element of foreign policy. Philip Seib, Princeton class of 1970, is a professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and is director of USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy. He is the author and editor of many books, including Headline Diplomacy, The Global Journalist, Beyond the Front Lines, The Al Jazeera Effect, and Toward a New Public Diplomacy." Image from
Survey: Anti-US sentiment on the rise in Pakistan - Los Angeles Times: In the last couple of years, Washington has tried to earmark a bigger chunk of its aid to Pakistan for civilian projects that would engender goodwill with the country's intensely anti-American populace. The latest polling suggests that the step-up in that aid isn't doing any good.
About 75% of Pakistanis regard the U.S. as an enemy, according to a new poll released this week by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. Three years ago, 64% of Pakistanis surveyed said they viewed America as an enemy. A growing number of Pakistanis also feel that improving relations with Washington isn't a major priority, the poll found. Last year, 60% of Pakistanis surveyed said strengthening ties with the U.S. was important; this year only 45% said they feel the same way. According to the Pew survey, only 17% of Pakistanis surveyed said they support U.S. drone strikes as a tactic against Islamic militants based in Pakistan. Image from article
Payouts to jobless troops exiting military approach $1B - Gregg Zoroya, USA Today: The cost of unemployment compensation for troops leaving the military without jobs approached a billion dollars last year, though the rate of increase slowed to just 2% over 2010, figures from the Department of Labor show. A key factor behind the trend easing was that the Army, the largest of the services, saw the benefits it pays out decline slightly from 2010 to 2011. The military spent $944 million last year in unemployment benefits — the largest amount since the recession of 2008.
Burma’s lure is a slippery slope - Editorial Board, Washington Post: So far, the Obama administration has carefully modulated its Burma policy, easing sanctions to welcome fragile democratic progress while recognizing the long distance still to cover. Now the modulation is at risk. Administration officials are debating whether to allow U.S. oil companies to do business with Burma’s state-owned energy company. U.S. companies reportedly have been lobbying hard. The state-owned oil company has been on the wrong side. Until it takes steps to shift over, the United States should show that it meant what Ms. Clinton said. Rather than give in to oil-industry arguments against leaving the field to other nations, the United States should lead those nations in insisting on transparency as a condition of investment.
Cut aid to Egypt's generals: In the face of a power grab by its armed forces, the U.S. should suspend some or all of its military aid to Cairo - Sarah Chayes, latimes.com: Military assistance is now flowing to Egypt at a rate of $170 million a month.
Beijing, a Boon for Africa - Dambisa Moyo, New York Times: Since China began seriously investing in Africa in 2005, it has been routinely cast as a stealthy imperialist with a voracious appetite for commodities and no qualms about exploiting Africans to get them. It is no wonder that the American government is lashing out at its new competitor — while China has made huge investments in Africa, the United States has stood on the sidelines and watched its influence on the continent fade. Despite all the scaremongering, China’s motives for investing in Africa are actually quite pure. To satisfy China’s population and prevent a crisis of legitimacy for their rule, leaders in Beijing need to keep economic growth rates high and continue to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And to do so, China needs arable land, oil and minerals. Pursuing imperial or colonial ambitions with masses of impoverished people at home would be wholly irrational and out of sync with China’s current strategic thinking. Moreover, the evidence does not support a claim that Africans themselves feel exploited.
China rising as big market for big U.S. films: Threat of creeping censorship remains a major hurdle - James Frazier, The Washington Times: With its population of approximately 1.3 billion, China has Hollywood salivating at the prospect of its vast potential as a market for American movies. It’s probably no accident that China has been getting perceptibly friendlier treatment in American movies lately than Russia. In telling contrast with China, Russia remains a plentiful source of Hollywood villains.
Google Tries Something Retro: Made in the U.S.A. - John Markoff, New York Times: It’s a trickle, but some American companies
are again making products in the United States. Image from
The secret ingredient for successful cross-cultural communication - Jessica Stillman, gigaom.com: According to David Livermore, president at the Cultural Intelligence Center, the really secret ingredient to leading cross-cultural teams well is simpler and rarer – good, old fashioned patience.
South Korean taxi driver arrested for North Korean propaganda - Nathan Schwartzman, asiancorrespondent.com: On the 25th prosecutors in Incheon indicted 49-year-old Mr. A, a taxi driver, on charges of writing internet posts praising and sympathizing with North Korea in violation of the National Security Law. According to prosecutors, at the end of 2010 Mr. A began writing over 60 internet posts praising North Korea’s three-generation system, its Juche ideology, and its military-first policy.
Thought Control in Free Societies: The Propaganda Effect of the Mass Media - Ben Langan, stonedsocrates.wordpress.com: In a world of unequal distribution of power the ability to communicate ideas will also be hierarchical. The ability to define and dictate the dominant agenda is in the hands of the mass media. The most urgent function of the media should be to hold to account our own institutions of power, and sometimes this means telling people what they don’t want to hear. This will not happen until principled and educated citizens begin to challenge their narratives.
Social networking propaganda posters were designed to win likes and minds - Much like in the console vs PC, iOS vs Android, and Mac vs Windows battles, there are social network fanboys. There are Facebook fans who scoff at Twitter, Twitter fans who think Google+ is a ghost town, and G+ fans who think the other social networks are for less evolved creatures. In fact, it gets so bad sometimes that members of the media have cheekily referred to these conversations as battles in the “Social Networking War.”
Graphic Designer Aaron Wood is no stranger to social networks, but seeing these verbal and literal skirmishes over social networks drove him to put together a collection of fantastically amusing social propaganda posters in a book. The book, titled “They Wanted a War, So I Made it a War” is a collection of 26 posters with a page explaining the inspiration behind each. These posters look like propaganda posters, with each social network as a warring faction. Image from entry
--Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko with his youngest son Nikolai. Image from
DR EVIL AND MINI ME