Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30


"It is possible to imagine a distant future in which most other species of life are extinct but the ocean will consist overwhelmingly of immortal jellyfish, a great gelatin consciousness everlasting."

--Nathaniel Rich, "Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?" New York Times


The Paper Prince of Pakistan: Della Mae performing "Paper Prince" on Pakistan Radio. Via PR of America Voices


The Extraordinary Power of Ordinary People - Ambassador's Notes: Embassy Sarajevo: Views from U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Patrick S. Moon, and his Embassy team: "We welcomed the U.S. State Department’s top public diplomacy official – Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine – to Bosnia and Herzegovina this week to meet with students, NGO representatives, civic activists, government officials, the media, and our Public Diplomacy team at the Embassy. Under Secretary Sonenshine

is a passionate champion of U.S. programs around the world that foster mutual understanding and cooperation between the United States and other countries. I was pleased she chose to visit BiH because the US Embassy in BiH has some of the most successful and innovative public diplomacy programs in Europe, and I wanted to introduce her to our work and our local partners. Under Secretary Sonenshine met with two dozen high school students who recently returned from a month in the U.S. on the Youth Leadership Program. The students told her how the program in Seattle, Washington, and Washington, D.C., inspired them to be active participants in their communities back here in BiH. Under Secretary Sonenshine also met with LGBT activists and heard about their inspiring grassroots work promoting human rights and tolerance. She heard from women leaders about their challenges and achievements in promoting the role of women in society. They confirmed their intention to continue working for the economic and social progress that is possible when women are appropriately represented. And Under Secretary Sonenshine talked with a group of local web portal journalists about the State Department’s work to engage all audiences, but especially youth, with technology. While I spend much of my time in meetings with politicians and government leaders, meeting the ordinary citizens who work each day for a better BiH keeps me motivated and optimistic about BiH’s future. These 'ordinary' citizens are truly the extraordinary people who will help this country move forward. I was very pleased to introduce Under Secretary Sonenshine to some of the people who inspire me the most. We also took a few moments to honor two of our extraordinary American colleagues who lost their lives here in BiH during the siege of Sarajevo. Under Secretary Sonenshine presided over a ceremony at the Embassy where we dedicated our largest conference room and our Information Resource Center in honor of Doctor Joe Kruzel

and Colonel Nelson Drew, who, along with Ambassador Robert Frasure and French Corporal Stefan Raoult, died tragically on the Mount Igman road in 1995. They lost their lives for the cause of peace, stability, and prosperity in Bosnia and Herzegovina – goals the United States and our extraordinary local partners continue to work for today. Getting out to our embassies and seeing the work we are doing on the ground is vitally important for the leaders of the State Department. I thank Under Secretary Sonenshine for taking the time to hear a few of the stories of remarkable people who believe a better future is possible for all citizens. The US Embassy’s Public Diplomacy team will continue working to find new and exciting ways to reach out to those in Bosnia and Herzegovina who are committed to a sovereign, democratic and prosperous country anchored in the Euro-Atlantic community of nations."  Images from entry, with the captions, above (U/S Sonenshine and Ambassador Moon with recently returned Youth Leadership Program participants from Sarajevo and East Sarajevo) and below (U/S Sonenshine and Ambassador Moon at the dedication ceremony in honor of Doctor Kruzel and Colonel Drew.)

America’s dismal image in the Arab and Islamic worlds - Khalid Al-Seghayer, "In the past, people looked at the US as a beacon of hope, the motherland of freedom and a country that has numerous good values and cultural practices. People had high respect and admiration for the American people themselves, for being generous, kind, understanding, open-minded, and considerate. In contrast, today, both the American people and the country as a whole are viewed negatively by people the world over. ... They say that Americans are obsessed with money, live in a racially divided society, and are ignorant of the outside world. Moreover, American society is perceived to be uncultured, crime-ridden and uncaring. This is all the result of the unwise and thoughtless manner in which the US has conducted itself in the arena of world politics of late. ... After the invasion of Iraq, the US launched a vast public relations campaign in the hope of changing the negative attitude of the Arab and Muslim worlds toward it. Since the youth are the target in this well-funded campaign, the US issued in July 2003 a magazine called Hi.

Then, in 2004 the US launched a TV satellite channel called Al-Hurra. Additionally, the US replaced its Voice of America Radio broadcasts to the Arab world with Radio Sawa. These efforts occurred during the George W. Bush era and more endeavors were seen throughout the first term of Barack Obama’s presidency. In attempting to win the hearts and minds of Arab and Muslim youth, the US has also lately undertaken public and cultural diplomacies. Recently, the US seems to have eased its tight restriction on issuing visas and has opened its borders to visitors and tourists, welcoming again foreign students. The US also encourages its journalists, writers, and reporters to pay regular visits to the Arab and Muslim worlds and welcomes return visits. Such visits will offer an opportunity to develop a better understanding of both worlds. Further cultural or intellectual public diplomacy which is an essential component of diplomacy has already taken effect by starting new radio stations, launching more satellite channels, encouraging American TV channels to ease the restriction on allowing Arab satellite channels to rebroadcast prominent American talk shows and movies, and translating well-known American books into Arabic. And there will be more to come. In June 2009, President Obama delivered a historic speech at Cairo University entitled 'A New Beginning' hoping, as a central goal of his presidency, to change America’s dismal image in the Arab and Muslim worlds. But have these efforts led to the desired consequences? My view is that they have probably produced some positive effects in the short run, but not in the long run. Whatever the case, they do not completely change the increasingly dim view that youth in both the Arab and Muslim worlds have toward America. This is because the US generally tries to find quick and temporary solutions to problems, overlooking the long-lasting cure." Via KAE. Image from

StateDept ‏@StateDept: "Have a question for Under Secretary @TSonenshine’s Global #Twitter Q&A on December 5 at 10 AM ET? Submit it using #AskState.'

When you have basically nothing to do, get on a plane - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "[T]hey, the [US] Secretaries of State, shuttle from place to place -- much of it PR to show that they're 'doing something,' calling it (in some instances) 'public diplomacy.'

Such non-stop motion is meant to suggest solutions, but I'm not convinced that anything is actually getting done." Image from

Former RFE/RL Russian journalists launch Radio Liberty in Exile website - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from entry

Ted Lipien shared Владимир Абарбанель's photo - Facebook - "Story of a handicapped Radio Liberty web editor Alexei Kuznetsov fired without any warning by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty executives - Facebook entry:

His father Anatoliy Kuznetsov, also a former Radio Liberty journalist, wrote 'Babi Yar,' a famous Soviet-era book about the Holocaust." Image from entry

BBG welcomes Syrian release of Alhurra cameraman Cüneyt Ünal, but reporter Bashar Fahmi still missing (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Cuban-based producer of TV Martí program remains in detention (updated: released) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Sinai Today: Iron Dome diplomacy - Warren Goldstein, Jerusalem Post: "Israel has won the military battles, but lost on the battlefields of public diplomacy and world opinion, where it struggles to keep up with its enemies, who, over the decades, have managed to make their narrative of the conflict the dominant one in the world. ... What is the way forward? ... What is needed is a paradigm shift to 'Iron Dome diplomacy,' which requires a comprehensive and integrated strategy to persuade world opinion of the justice of the cause of the State of Israel. In broad strokes, it requires the Israeli government to, firstly, build a communications organization to rival the IDF in budget, human resources and strategic thinking. Teams of the best and the brightest must be assembled to create a worldwide dazzling and sustained communications campaigns in all print and electronic media, in a scientific manner testing messaging through polls and focus groups in key countries across the world.

'Iron Dome diplomacy,' secondly, requires developing a comprehensive and proactive plan to create and strengthen international alliances with leading people and organizations in all areas of society, such as government, business, religion, academia and media. This means Israel must develop an organization, on the same level of excellence as its security forces, which can proactively reach out to these groupings in important countries, and engage with them through meetings, seminars and trips to Israel. ... In Israel’s early years its leaders realized that a Jewish state in the Middle East would only survive if it had powerful military capabilities. Public relations and diplomacy, by contrast, were traditionally regarded as an afterthought at best, and un-Zionistic, at worst. For many of these leaders, leaving behind the exile to create a new kind of Jew and a free and independent country was expressed in the famous words of former prime minister David Ben-Gurion: 'It doesn’t matter what the gentiles think, but what the Jews do.' Israel now needs a new way, one which is rooted in our eternal Torah principles. The Sages of the Talmud instruct us to implement the moral and strategic imperative of 'darchei shalom' – good relations between the Jewish people and the nations of the world." Image from

Soft power: A British perspective - Paul Madden, "Monocle's annual survey has placed Britain at the top of its Soft Power league table this year. When I was running the FCO's Public Diplomacy department (2003-5) I would have been delighted. ... Of course, as Joseph Nye pointed out in 1990, soft power is not just about making people like you, it's about influencing behaviour to get particular outcomes. Some of the impacts of our long Olympic summer provided direct support to our international economic agenda. Our businesses have shown they can deliver, and millions more tourists will have decided to visit. But some of the underlying values which Britain projected, consciously or unconsciously, were also important in influencing the way people think about the UK's role in the world. ... Because the IOC, rather than the host nation, owns the Olympic brand, Britain developed

a separate GREAT campaign to capitalise on London's summer in the world's eye. The FCO ran 200 events in 60 countries.  ... One of the biggest cultural impacts Britain has around the world today is through its media. The BBC, the FT and The Economist have a significant impact on how people get their understanding of the world. But the government's role in that is essentially passive: we let them flourish. Even with the BBC, which receives public funding, we have no influence on its editorial lines. People in countries with media censorship suspect this independence can't be true, but in their hearts they know it is, and that's why they tune in. Open, transparent societies put much of the soft power in the hands of the people." Uncaptioned image from article

Getting to the Last Three Feet - evanmcarlson, The Diplomatist: "There is no question that bridging the last three feet is vital to successful public diplomacy, however, put bluntly, it’s no good going up to a person to have a conversation if, by the time you get to them, everything they’ve been told about you makes them want to hate you. The last three feet are vital, but no less so the first contact. The whole frame with which people will view you is based on a first impression, and while impressions can be changed over time, it is infinitely harder if you get off on the wrong foot. This is why robust new media and broadcast media strategies are so important.

They get information out fast, almost instantaneously in some cases, so they have the ability to set the frame of the debate. The last three feet provide the individuals with the self-efficacy to make the final decision for themselves. What is maddening to me is there is, at least implied, a belief that one negates or takes away from the other. There may be a genuine fear within the PD community that a focus on virtual communication will result in a loss of funding for much needed in-person programs, and so they minimize the importance of new media to protect these programs. This view is simply short-sighted. By diminishing one aspect of public diplomacy, the whole practice is diminished." Image from entry

Here's one for Cultural Diplomacy - Dominique Lopes, Applied Public Diplomacy Group 3 Blog: "The question was brought up in class of whether or not Cultural Diplomacy should be practiced. In light of the difficulty to measure and evaluate its outcomes and impacts and on the various ways to define 'culture', Cultural Diplomacy can be seen to be an irrelevant avenue for the policy persuasion attributed to public diplomacy practitioners. However, I believe that Cultural Diplomacy allows PD officers a unique outlet for interacting with foreign publics on a very basic level. Arts, food, and local folk lore are common to every nation and therefor present an informal gateway for persuasion."

The Necessity of Higher Education in Public Diplomacy - mflash16, Public Diplomats: "[W]ithout higher education, who could a PD Officer know what practitioners who went before them consider to be, 'necessary skills'? ... [T]he necessary skills for a PD officer are, '(1) a mastery of language and rhetoric, (2) an aptitude for narrative…, and (3) a heightened awareness of the elements that contribute to allegiance.'

While all of these things may appear to be common sense, parsing them out to precise skills and aptitudes requires not only the training to recognize what the included skills are, but also learning the actual skills." Image from


Rules for Targeted Killing - Editorial, New York Times: The White House reportedly is developing rules for when to kill terrorists around the world. The world may never see them, given the Obama administration’s inclination toward unnecessary secrecy regarding its national security policy.

But the effort itself is a first step toward acknowledging that when the government kills people away from the battlefield, it must stay within formal guidelines based on the rule of law — especially when the life of an American citizen is at stake. Image from

Keeping Egypt’s Republic - Roger Cohen, New York Times: President Mohamed Morsi's seizure through decree of near absolute power, placing him above judicial oversight, recalls the famous phrase of the French diplomat Talleyrand: “Worse than a crime, it was a mistake.” Morsi must correct his mistake and Obama should work hard behind the scenes to ensure that.

How U.S. can deepen ties in the Americas - Robert B. Zoellick, Washington Post: As the president looks west across the Pacific and is pulled to the Mideast, he also needs a fresh north-south vision. North America can become a new rising power. And the foundation of the future global system can be “Made in the Americas.”

Secretary of State or Minister of Propaganda: The Susan Rice Dilemma - Susan Rice's basic untrustworthiness disqualifies her from being appointed as Secretary of State.

NYT Reporter Falls for Hamas Ploy; NYT's David Carr thinks terrorists are journalists because they spray-painted 'TV' on their car - The New York Times has again attempted to negate the presence of terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Reporter David Carr claims that two senior Hamas terrorists killed last week in precision Israeli airstrikes were in fact journalists. Image from article

Zionist propaganda trickery in the New York Times: the false symmetry trick - The Angry Arab News Seervice: Look at this sentence: "Israel bombed more than 1,000 targets in Gaza and the militants fired more than 1,500 rockets into Israel..." They counted the number of rockets that were fired on Israel but they did not count the number of bombs, rockets, missiles (from the air, land, and sea) that Israel dropped on Gaza. In fact, Israel often drops more than 10 or 20 bombs on the same target. So the sentence should have read: militants fired weak 1500 rockets on Israel, while Israel dropped more than 15000 (at the very least) bombs, missiles and rockets on Gaza. Who do you think that you are fooling with these numbers? Do you have a doubt that Israeli terrorist military released this count to the media to make it look as if Israel dropped less bombs and rockets than the other side?

In crisis, Israel keeps a shtick upper lip: The jokes were flying faster than the rockets during the latest conflict with Hamas - Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times: Predictably, Hamas was a frequent target, particularly after it sent propaganda messages in Hebrew. "Next time you want to scare people, please use your spell-check," countered an Israeli video clip. When Israeli forces killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari in an airstrike on his car, a satirical Times of Israel guest blog read, "Hamas chief's death reveals dangers of driving in Middle East.


Birth rate in U.S. plunges 8% to record low - Gretchen Livingston and D’Vera Cohn, Washington Times: The U.S. birth rate dipped in 2011 to the lowest ever recorded, led by a plunge in births to immigrant women since the onset of the Great Recession.

The overall U.S. birth rate, which is the annual number of births per 1,000 women in the prime childbearing ages of 15 to 44, declined 8% from 2007 to 2010. The birth rate for U.S.-born women decreased 6% during these years, but the birth rate for foreign-born women plunged 14%—more than it had declined over the entire 1990-2007 period. The birth rate for Mexican immigrant women fell even more, by 23%. Image from

California Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rate To Record Low: Study - Huffington Post: Between 2010 and 2011, California experienced a drastic 20 percent decrease in juvenile crime--bringing the underage crime rate to the lowest level since the state started keeping records in 1954. According to a recently released study, much of that improvement can be credited to the decriminalization of marijuana.


Via Facebook

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 29

"America is approachable."

--Digger, Life after Jerusalem: The Musings of a Two-Spirit American Indian, Public Diplomacy-Coned Foreign Service Officer: I think you know I love being a Public Diplomacy officer; image from


Reaching People - Digger, Life after Jerusalem: The Musings of a Two-Spirit American Indian, Public Diplomacy-Coned Foreign Service Officer:  "I think you know I love being a Public Diplomacy officer. And while a few years back, I'd never have thought I would be saying this, but I really like public speaking. And in this job, I get to do it a good bit. I often end up talking about study opportunities in the United States, and Tuesday's talk at the Estonian School of Business was one of those a catch. ... Anyway, the talk went well, and after I was done, a guy walked in late. At the coffee break, he said he wanted to talk to me about the elections. ... We chatted for a good ten minutes. ... He said he wanted to talk more so I gave him my email address.

Because this is Public Diplomacy. This is reaching an individual and explaining America, one on one. And he told a member of my staff that he had been surprised I had been so approachable. This is Public Diplomacy. I got to do two things by having that conversation with him. I got to reach an individual, explain our country and our values, and make Americans seem less remote to him. But you know what else? I also sent a message to the other students in that room who watched me talk to him that America is approachable. The Embassy is approachable. That an American diplomat will sit down and talk turkey with a 20-something year old student. Because that is how we reach people. Because THAT is Public Diplomacy." Image from

Turkmenabad - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "[W]e headed on to the American Corner. The American Corner was full of teens on the internet or reading American books. There were about 20 of them in the little conference room to have an opportunity to practice their English in a chat with Della Mae. The Dellas introduced themselves, their states and their music. It was a fun interchange, and I am quickly becoming a fan of the American Corner initiative. In a place like Turkemenastan, where internet penetration is probably counted on one hand, the American Corner is a phenomenal way to draw in youth and indirectly connect them with America. ... The concert was great. The crowd loved them [the Dellas]. There were a lot of students on hand from the morning program, and they were dancing to the music. It is funny, I watch the Dellas play everyday, and I love their music a bit more each day. I find I have a new song stuck in my head on a daily basis."

Public Schedule for November 29, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE [:] Under Secretary Sonenshine is on foreign travel

to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey." Image from

How to Get Along with Your State Department Person - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "Following our guide for State Department personnel deployed with the military, we offer this set of tips for military working with State Department people. Everyone is special in his/her own way, so take what applies below and leave the rest. ... All Statie’s are assigned to 'cones,' area of specialty. The formal ones are political, economic, consular, public diplomacy or administrative."

Persuasion and Power: The Art of Strategic Communication Book Review Essay - Patricia H. Kushlis - Whirled View: "James Farwell’s soon to be published book Persuasion and Power: The Art of Strategic Communication (Georgetown University Press) is a 'how to book for professionals and wannabe professionals as well as an interesting read for those who simply want

to learn more about how governments and politicians (elected and non-elected) have informed and influenced publics about their policies and candidates. ... Farwell is a long-time political campaign and US military strategic communications consultant. ... Farwell's basic argument is that the overriding goal of any information campaign is not only to inform but also to influence the people who matter."

Interview on Public Diplomacy with a Dubrovnik mass medium (Dubrovacki list) - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "4. Can we notice public diplomacy making effect on our lives? How does it differ from cultural diplomacy? [John Brown:To some, public diplomacy deals with fast-media, getting hard-hitting headlines to brand a country positively, moving the 'needle' of foreign public opinion to promote national interests. Cultural diplomatist enthusiasts argue that they deal with long-term processes -- e.g., educational exchanges – that will eventually bring universal harmony. Having been a US public diplomacy practitioner for over two decades, I believe that this craft is an often uneasy mixture of both these points of view."

The Voice of America is a different kind of animal – Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadasting:  “Washington Post, 13 Nov 2012, Voice of America director David Ensor as interviewed by Tom Fox: ‘Our staff hails from countries all around the world. It’s a bit like the United Nations. Generally, people tend to share two passions. One is about this country, which so many of them have adopted as their new home. The other is the desire to provide people in the lands of their birth with accurate and balanced information, something that’s quite often in short supply. What they seek from VOA management is a sense that we understand and support what they’re doing, and some strategic guidance from time to time on how to reach audiences better.’ Broadcasting Board of Governors Budget and Strategy Committee meeting, 15 Nov 2012, Bruce Sherman, BBG director of strategy and development, discussing VOA broadcasts to Latin America: ‘I would just add that the mission of the Voice of America, as we talked about during the closed session before, is representing America and presenting and discussing US policy is, in addition to the news, a good part of what The Washington Bureau program effort accomplishes for VOA in places like Peru, and Colombia, and Mexico, all across the region. And the fact that in these even advanced media markets in places like Mexico, we're able to secure affiliations, suggests that we're adding value. That even with the competition VOA today is able to find a very productive niche that generates not only mission fulfillment but actual audiences that we can count.’ [Elliott comment]: So, from no less than BBG senior staff, this public reminder (goodness knows what they said during the closed session) that VOA is the duckbill platypus of international broadcasting.

VOA is a news-providing mammal and a US-policy-presenting bird. Do Latin American stations rebroadcast The Washington Bureau because of the mammal or because of the bird? How is the audience for this program supposed to know when it is getting the mammal and when it is getting the bird? Compare, regarding content and audience numbers, with CNN en Español and BBC . Image  from

Public diplomacy delegates to head to Cairo - "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to send a delegation drawn from various sections of the society to Egypt to explain that the Millennium Dam Project would not have any negative impact on the flow of the Nile waters to Egypt. The delegation that included Reporter newspaper editor Amare Aregawi, Dr. Yacob Arsano and and Miss Ethiopia winner Hayat Ahmed will travel to Egypt next month to tell the Egyptian government and people that the dam will not affect lower riparian states. The acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Berhane Gebrekirstos briefed the delegation on the efforts of the late Prime Minister to improve the once frosty relations between Egypt and Ethiopia which had been strained under the previous regimes. He further explained that Meles had ordered a research on the dam to show empirically that the construction of the dam would not negatively affect the outflow of the Nile Waters to Egypt, which still maintains monopoly over the Nile water outflow. Some critics viewed the so-called public diplomacy effort as a futile and awkward exercise aimed at pleasing the Egyptian government while the government claimed that Ethiopia would assert its rights for equitable share over the Nile Waters."

Master of Arts Degree in Diplomacy, Sarajevo School of Science and Technology - "In cooperation with the renowned University of Buckingham in the United Kingdom, the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology announces its second call for applications for the postgraduate study for a Master’s Degree (MA) in Diplomacy Studies for Spring Semester 2013. The

Master in Diplomacy Studies is a two year program, designed in such a way as to offer students in-depth practical and theoretical knowledge of the craft of international diplomacy and the role played by diplomats in advancing their governments’ objectives. Accordingly, the program will offer eight courses that include segments on foreign policy making and the forces that drive it, history of diplomacy, public diplomacy, EU Diplomacy, diplomatic negotiations, as well as the practice of diplomacy." Image from

Evaluate the Success of the Obama Administration's Public Diplomacy - "Evaluate the success of the Obama Administrations customary diplomacy  [.] By Venita Subramanian [.] Abstract Public Diplomacy is seen by many as a governing factor of Obamas foreign policy, the soft mogul president. In an attempt to improve the public double of the United States, Barrack Obama addresses his global audience through his several(a) speeches and campaigns in support of his foreign policy agenda. Although the speeches seem to be over ambitious and targeted, the administration is often seen struggling to deliver. This analyze has been premised around the argument that there exists a direct affinity between the impact of foreign policy of a rude and its public diplomacy, and the alert imbalance between the two in glance of the U.S foreign policy under the Obama administration.

This essay has been organize into three main analyses, with the first one focusing on the incoherence of the U.S. foreign policy and its scrutiny by scholars in this field of research. The second focus is predicated based on the existing imbalance between policy and public diplomacy, and finally the view on Obamas message to the Arab world. The essay further concludes with more or less key recommendations. The argument in this essay is in isolation from the Wikileaks cable leakage to maintain strict focus on the role played by the Obama administration in maintaining their strategic relations. ... If policies are unpopular, no amount of snazzy marketing will make them beloved. If national interests are fundamentally at odds, no amount of dialogue will... If you want to get a full essay, order it on our website: is a professional essay writing service at which you can buy essays on any topics and disciplines! All custom essays are written by professional writers!"


Obama’s challenge: Thinking big - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Can America think bigger during the next four years — not in the usual terms of expansive foreign policy but in terms of rebuilding its economic and technological mastery? It’s likely that Obama will get a budget deal that builds a sound macro-economic foundation for growth, but how will he build on it?

Morsi as Master: The West underestimates the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet again - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal:

Even now, Western analysts continue to misread Mr. Morsi, imagining that his primary political challenge is to improve the Egyptian standard of living. Not so. His real challenge is to consolidate the power of the Brotherhood. Image from

German lawmakers call Google campaign 'cheap propaganda' - Madeline Chambers, Reuters: Senior German politicians have denounced as propaganda a campaign by Google (GOOG) to mobilize public opinion against proposed legislation to let publishers charge search engines for displaying newspaper articles. Internet lobbyists say they are worried the German law will set a precedent for other countries such as France and Italy that have shown an interest in having Google pay publishers for the right to show their news snippets in its search results.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 27-28


"The American people are free to do exactly what they are told.”

--Ward Churchill, former professor of ethnic studies in Colorado at Boulder from 1990 till 2007; image from


Democracy is... - YouTube:  "Animation made by Johannes Strater and the Team of the Media Education Centre in January 2010. Film is in official competition of the Balkan PLUS film festival."


Travel of Under Secretary Sonenshine to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State: "Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine will travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey November 27-December 1, 2012. In Sarajevo, Under Secretary Sonenshine will meet with LGBT community activists, discuss women’s empowerment with NGO leaders, and talk about U.S. foreign policy with media representatives. The Under Secretary will also meet with Youth Leadership Program students who recently returned from four weeks in the United States. At the U.S. Embassy, the Under Secretary will dedicate two rooms in honor of Colonel Samuel Nelson Drew and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Kruzel, both of whom perished in Bosnia in 1995 while working for peace. In Ankara, Under Secretary Sonenshine will visit a Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program product fair, discuss U.S.-Turkey partnerships in education at the Ministry of Education and English language program leaders in Turkey, and explore women’s empowerment issues with NGO leaders. At Bilkent University, she will speak with students on the topic of The Freedom to Communicate and Connect: Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century. She will also meet with her counterpart at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In Istanbul, the Under Secretary will meet students and teachers at the Tohum Autism Foundation, discuss multiculturalism in Turkey with leaders of the Anatolian Cultural Foundation, and explore the impact of U.S.-Turkey professional exchange programs with alumni. Her trip concludes with a discussion of freedom of expression with senior journalists and academics." Image from

Turkey in Turkmenistan - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I spent the evening chatting with two Turkmen girls who work for the US Embassy. Both had studied in the US (Idaho and North Carolina) under the FLEX exchange program and a college exchange program. Sadly, budget nitpickers are cutting these academic exchange programs. What I have found across the ‘Stans are so many people who work for the US embassies who had previously studied in high school or college exchange program in America. The return on investment is quite incredible. The present and future generations of FSN [Foreign Service Nationals; locally hired non-American staff] have studied and lived in the US, and are socialized to American norms and values and end up being key players in American cultural and public diplomacy outreach. This is an incredible bit of public diplomacy socialization, that is drying up over short-sighted budget cuts."

All the leaves are brown - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "In what was probably the most surreal bit of cultural diplomacy I have ever seen, while in Turkmenabad Della Mae was serenaded with the song 'California Dreamin' by the Mamas and Papas

by a troupe of Turkmen choir girls in beautiful red dresses with giant, gorgeous colored broaches and long braids down to their waists. Caleefornia dreamin, on such a vinter's day..." Image from

Andrew W.K. Cultural Ambassador Role Not Happening After All - Bradley Klapper, Huffington Post: "Andrew W.K. won't be taking his party to Bahrain after all. The American performer announced on his website that he had been named a cultural ambassador to Bahrain, where he'd promote 'partying and world peace.'

He had been tentatively invited by the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain to visit the country, but the State Department had second thoughts. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday that the invitation to 33-year-old singer of songs including 'Party Til You Puke' had been rescinded by senior U.S. officials because they deemed him an inappropriate choice for outreach in the conservative Muslim kingdom. Andrew W.K. describes himself as a singer-songwriter and motivational speaker, among other things." W. K. image from entry

“Digital diplomacy” – digital media as a foreign policy tool [includes video] - "One of the things I hope to have the opportunity to look into during my fellowship at the University of Washington is the use of digital media in the field of diplomacy and foreign affairs. ... "Richard Boly, the Director of eDiplomacy at the State Department, kindly pointed me in the direction of a fascinating study on eDiplomacy that was published recently by Fergus Hanson from Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy. Through a fellowship programme with the Brookings Institution in Washington, Fergus had unprecedented access to some of the key figures who have been working on digital diplomacy in the State Department, including Alec J Ross (Hillary Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Innovation). The study by Fergus Hanson comes in two parts (the first published in February this year, the second in October): Revolution @State: the spread of eDiplomacy  Baked In and Wired: eDiplomacy@State. ... Although the USA’s digital media initiatives in the field of public diplomacy have received more public attention, I find some of the knowledge management initiatives implemented by the US State Department (for example, their internal wiki Diplopedia or their Corridor platform for in-house networking) equally impressive. The use of digital media as a tool for diplomacy and foreign policy is also catching on in Europe. ... The European External Action Service (EEAS) has established a presence on TwitterFacebook and Flickr.

Twitter is used mainly to share statements from Catherine Ashton, the conclusions of Councils and other official meetings. The content posted on the EEAS Facebook page is more visual and the tone more conversational. The EEAS has recently begun to use Storify as a platform to pull together content from different sources around major events, such as the United Nations General Assembly in September or the EU-Egypt Task Force in November. And many of the EU’s 140 delegations around the world are also using social media. ... So, what does the future hold? Will the USA continue to drive the use of digital media as a foreign policy tool after the end of Hillary Clinton’s term as Secretary of State? Watch the video interview below between Fergus Hanson and Alec J Ross for some insights into the likely future of digital diplomacy, both in the US and globally." Image from entry

Brookings Institution Publishes Foreign Policy Paper on eDiplomacy at State - Newsroom - Noteworthy, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Baked in and Wired: eDiplomacy @ State, part of the Brookings Institution's foreign policy paper series, is a comprehensive report documenting the history, current state, and potential future of eDiplomacy at the U.S. Department of State. Of special note is part three, which discusses the increasing importance of public diplomacy. The report is written by Fergus Hanson, non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. ... To read the PDF of the full report, click here."

Culinary Diplomacy: A Taste of Thanksgiving [includes video] - Kristie, "In light of last week’s holiday (and a great example of this week’s discussion on public diplomacy), I spent a majority of November organizing an event as part of the State Department’s culinary diplomacy initiative. The 'Diplomatic Culinary Partnership' was launched in order to 'elevate the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts' (source: Press release). Entitled Taste of Thanksgiving, the event was filmed at the Blair House, the President’s guest house, and available for live streaming. Members of the American Chef Corps, a network of the nation’s distinguished chefs, worked with other locally renowned chefs to prepare traditional Thanksgiving meals.

An audience from over 75 countries watched the chefs cook, collected recipes, and participated in Q&A’s. Embassies abroad expressed great interest in the event, and requested translated versions of the event to broadcast later. The success of the event was heavily dependent on the social media used to promote it; State is making a big effort to integrate technology in its diplomatic efforts. ... Press release: ... [Comment by:] BlehrNovember 27, 2012 8:04 PM Kristie this is such an interesting post, thank you! I’m actually really glad you brought up this topic. The other day I read a very interesting article in one of the daily metro newspapers about chef José Andrés (one of the chefs in the State Department’s American Chef Corps) and his endeavor to bring the American Thanksgiving tradition to Spain this year. ( As a part of a cultural diplomacy effort to promote American culture and values in Spain, chef Andrés is sharing the gastronomic tradition of the Thanksgiving meal with the Spanish population. Andrés first cooked a Thanksgiving meal at the American Embassy in Madrid, and also partnered with the Spanish company Cascajares to provide a Thanksgiving meal ‘package’ to sell to the Spanish public. According to the Think Food Group’s press release about the effort, Cascajares will provide 1,000 roasted turkeys in Spain this year with the goal of continuing to increase this number each year going forward. (
It is very interesting to see, from your example of the State Department's event and from the efforts of José Andrés, that the Thanksgiving meal is being used as a tool for cultural diplomacy." Image from

Expert Views on Public Diplomacy: The Next Four Years - Mary Jeffers, On November 13,  IPDGC [Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at George Waashington University] had the privilege of sponsoring Public Diplomacy: the Next Four Years, a terrific 'insiders' discussion featuring two former Under Secretaries of State for Public Diplomacy (James Glassman and Judith McHale), a key Senate senior committee staffer (Paul Foldi), and a former State Department Assistant Secretary / spokesperson (Philip 'PJ' Crowley).   These are all people who not only have a vision of what America’s public diplomacy can and should do, they also know a lot about what it actually does.

Panel members enthusiastically debated the role and strengths of contemporary U.S. public diplomacy. One area of complete agreement:  two-way engagement is a big priority over one-way messaging. Another consensus: information technology is a game-changer in diplomacy and foreign affairs. Key Takeaway:  Signficant [sic] discussion revolved around how diplomacy itself – not just public diplomacy – is changing.  The implication was clear that  diplomacy must change even more in this modern world of globally shared challenges and exponentially more information networks." Image from entry

My "State of Public Diplomacy" Address - Amanda, Applied Public Diplomacy Group 3 Blog: "What are the main challenges and opportunities for practitioners of public diplomacy? Here are a few of the challenges I see for PD practitioners in the field today: Definition of Public Diplomacy . ... Smith Mundt Act . ... Training and Professional Development . ... Despite these challenges, there are still a number of opportunities out there from which PD practitioners can benefit: Public-Private Partnerships . ... Social Media . ... Cultural Diplomacy."

RFE/RL Board plans to hear directly from fired Radio Liberty journalists -  posted by Ted, Blogger News Network: “Sources told BBG Watch that in an unprecedented move, the Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Board of Directors plans to ask representatives of the fired Radio Liberty journalists to raise their concerns directly with board members in a teleconference scheduled for next month between Washington and Moscow. according to sources, the invitation for the fired Radio Liberty journalists, which can only be viewed as a sign of major doubts about RFE/RL President and CEO Steven Korn’s leadership, was agreed to by key board members. The RFE/RL’s corporate board is made up of all presidentially-appointed members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). It is chaired by BBG member Dennis Mulhaupt and co-chaired by BBG member Susan McCue. ... According to sources, even BBG members who initially supported Korn’s mass firing of Radio Liberty journalists in Moscow became appalled by reports of his dismissive comments about Russian human rights leaders and their concerns, details of the brutal treatment of the fired staffers, Mr. Korn’s refusal to provide information to the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee, and sexually suggestive videos produced for RFE/RL’s programs in Kazakhstan

after half of experienced broadcasters of the RFE/RL Kazakh Service in Prague were also fired on orders of Mr. Korn. The videos, which have been removed from the RFE/RL website after numerous protests, also make fun of gays and Latinos and include swear words and obscene gestures, according to Kazakh speakers who contacted BBG Watch. The videos can still be viewed on other sites on the web. ... Link to Radio Liberty Kazakh Service sexually suggestive video. ... Numerous Russian and international media reports described actions taken by Mr. Korn as a public diplomacy disaster for the United States in Russia. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is an ex officio BBG member and is represented at BBG meetings by Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine. The BBG has also received numerous protests against the firings and statements of support for the dismissed journalists from all major anti-Putin opposition leaders in Russia, including Mikhail Gorbachev.” Image from entry

Rep Rohrabacher believes "abrupt dismissal" of Radio Free Asia Tibetan director was "for political reasons" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Cuban diplomat says "we do not censor" the (heavily jammed) TV and Radio Martí - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Strategic Communications: How NATO Shapes and Manipulates Public Opinion - "A collection of documents recently obtained and published by Public Intelligence provides a complete guide to NATO’s training process for 'strategic communications' activities, including public diplomacy, public affairs, information operations and psychological operations.

The documents, compiled for participants in a NATO training summit, describe the doctrine behind strategic communications and provide practical examples of their use in a number of recent conflicts from Libya to Afghanistan. ... NATO’s Military Concept for Strategic Communications states that 'the vision is to put Strategic Communications at the heart of all levels of military policy, planning and execution' as it is 'not an adjunct activity, but should be inherent in the planning and conduct of all military operations and activities.' Strategic communications at the political level encompasses both public diplomacy and public affairs . ... NATO’s Public Diplomacy Strategy for 2010-2011 states the primary goal of communication efforts should be conveying 'the values and principles that NATO stands for, first and foremost the principle of Allied solidarity, will feature prominently in NATO’s communication and outreach efforts, in particular towards the young generation.'” Image from

On Citizens' Day, Estonia Recognises Promoters of Public Diplomacy - Estonian Embassy in Moscow: "In honour of Citizens’ Day today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet is recognising active promoters of public diplomacy with certificates of recognition. The recipients have demonstrated a long-term commitment to introducing Estonia and strengthening its ties with other countries. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet noted that every Estonian can help increase Estonia’s foreign political influence and good reputation abroad through public diplomacy. 'Public diplomacy is a good opportunity for small countries, and we wish

to encourage and support public diplomacy activities. Close communication among people plays a vital role in introducing Estonia and in intensifying relations with foreign countries,' stated Paet. 'We highly value the contribution of those people who have taken it upon themselves to introduce Estonia and to actively maintain Estonian culture abroad,' he added. This is the third time the Foreign Ministry is giving certificates of recognition to promoters of public diplomacy in honour of Citizens’ Day. The certificate of recognition is given to those who have voluntarily made a long-term and significant contribution to forming and maintaining Estonia’s positive image in their country of residence." Image from entry

On Russia - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Bouncing through old Sovietica, and seeing all the continued Russian cultural influences, I am marveling about the continued Russian influence on Central Asia, from music to culture to food. Fascinating. Makes the work of one Lena [Yelena Osipova] and her research on Russian public diplomacy and soft power in the former Soviet Empire all the more fascinating."

London 2012: Everyone’s a winner - John Worne, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Perhaps it's time to recognise that English, education, and culture - along with a sustained commitment to international development - are some of the UK's biggest and best contributions to the world in the 21st century. Here in the UK we should learn to talk about that more, with due humility and just a little national pride, because everyone is a winner when we share."

Shalom Achshav: Israel Should Welcome UN Vote on Palestinian Initiative - Lara Friedman, "'...the correct line of public diplomacy for Israel is to warmly embrace the idea of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel and welcoming the UN vote. The Palestinian bid should be seen as an Israeli achievement because affirmation of its contents would be a de facto historic recognition of the borders of Israel and negation of the historic Palestinian aspiration to wipe Israel off the map.' So wrote APN's sister organization Shalom Achshav -- the Israeli Peace Now Movement -- in a letter it sent today to Israel's Foreign Minister and Minister of Information. Shalom Achshav also sent suggested talking points for Israeli government officials to use in their efforts around the UN initiative.

200 Russian Speaking Young Leaders from Europe Trained in New Media - EJP, "Young Russian speaking Jewish leaders were trained to fight the de-legitimization of Israel during a conference held this weekend in Maastricht, Holland, organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry. During the conference, leaders from 12 countries across Europe were trained in public diplomacy skills in the age of new media.

The educational conference was intended to help develop a young Russian speaking Jewish leadership across Europe. The conference, which concluded today, was attended by over 200 Russian speaking young Jewish leaders between the ages of 20 and 30 who have been involved in Jewish Agency programs in recent years. The Jewish Agency estimates that hundreds of thousands of Russian speaking are currently living in central Europe and most are not involved in traditional community organizations or activities. This conference was intended to strengthen their connection to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. During the conference, the participants developed technical skills for working with online and social media through lectures and practical sessions. The training was conducted in English, German and Russian by leading experts in public diplomacy and new media." Image from article


The Pace of Leaving Afghanistan - Editorial, New York Times: There is no reason to delay the troops’ return home by another year.

Shaping the 'new Egypt': The United States should present Egyptian leaders with a set of choices - Vin Weber and Gregory B. Craig, While it is a mistake to believe the United States can persuade or compel the Islamists governing Egypt to give up their deeply held ideology, it is not wrong to base policy on the idea that American leverage can affect Egyptian behavior. We call this a policy of "engagement without illusions." Specifically, we recommend that President Obama agree to certify to Congress that Egypt must fulfill two well-defined sets of commitments — on regional peace and on bilateral strategic cooperation — as a condition of continued U.S. aid and political backing for international loans. In addition, through private conversation and public messaging, the president and congressional leaders should explain to Egyptians an informal condition: The United States can maintain a close and mutually beneficial relationship only with a government that is moving forward on constitutional democracy and not engaged in substantial violations of human rights or measures against women and religious minorities. Finally, the administration should use a portion of Egypt's military aid — at least $100 million to start, and increasing over time — as incentive for more aggressive efforts to combat terrorism in the Sinai, given the urgency of this issue to U.S. interests. We urge the administration to engage with the broadest possible spectrum of political actors in Egypt. Image from, with caption: Egyptian protesters hold a banner depicting President Mohamed Morsi as a pharaoh during a demonstration over his presidential decrees

An untidy compromise in Egypt: President Mohamed Morsi backs down somewhat in his battle with the judiciary - Editorial, The U.S. State Department, which had profusely praised Morsi for his role in achieving a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas just a couple of days earlier, reminded him publicly that "one of the aspirations of the revolution was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution." (Private comments were presumably more vociferous.) Morsi and his allies need to induce disaffected members of the body to rejoin the deliberations to ensure that the constitution that results protects the rights of women, Christians and secularists. If that isn't the result, Morsi might face intervention from a powerful institution that has been quiescent in the most recent controversies — the Egyptian military.

Egypt's 'moderate' despot: The West has been in denial about President Mohamed Morsi, who has deftly built the apparatus of despotism to consolidate power - Jonah Goldberg, Ever since the Muslim Brotherhood broke its promise to stay out of Egypt's presidential election in the aftermath of the revolution, many Western observers have been in denial about what has been going on. In less than half a year, Mohamed Morsi has deftly built the apparatus of despotism.

Renew the Mideast peace process? Not now: The last thing anyone needs is another failed U.S. effort to bring Israel and the Palestinians together - Chuck Freilich, It is standard diplomatic practice to view crises as an opportunity to seek fundamental change in the situation.

Well before Operation Pillar of Defense started, strategists and pundits were calling on President Obama to devote his second term to a renewed effort to promote the long-moribund peace process. They are wrong. The last thing the Middle East needs today — especially Israelis and Palestinians — and the last thing the U.S. needs is another failed American-led peace process. And it would fail. Image from

My Secretary of State - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: Since the end of the cold war our secretaries of state have racked up more miles than they’ve made history. Before 1995, the job involved ending or avoiding superpower conflicts and signing big arms control treaties. Those were the stuff of heroic diplomacy. Fortunately, today there are fewer big wars to end, and the big treaties now focus more on trade and the environment than nukes — and they’re very hard to achieve.

Georgia’s government takes a wrong turn - Editorial Board, Washington Post: Within weeks of taking office, the new regime, headed by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, has brought criminal charges against more than 20 senior officials of the previous administration, including the former ministers of defense and interior and the armed forces chief of staff.

The magnate-turned-prime minister said last week that his first official visit to the United States had been postponed, which is a good thing. As long as he is imprisoning opposition leaders and seeking to monopolize power, Georgia’s new leader should not be welcome in Washington. Image from

The Middle East Propaganda War - Scott Baker, We live in the age of the televised war.  War as shock and shame has given way to war as entertainment and opining.  Most of the media gets high ratings for relatively little risk. Although journalists do still die in "theater," gone are the days when the only way to get the story was to accompany soldiers for days on end in the muddy field, though these excursions were often more honest, less censored, and ultimately, more influential. However, journalists ensconced in media towers are no longer necessarily safe. Israel is now targeting journalists there too, with high-speed planes firing more-or-less precision missiles, blowing up media headquarters, occupied or not . Leila Fadel, NPR's Cairo bureau chief states: The Israeli bombardment of Gaza continued today by sea and air. According to local sources, one strike left a family of at least 10 - mostly women and children - dead. Another struck a media building and injured six journalists, raising concerns that journalists in Hamas-run area are now targets."

Israel Has Turned Propaganda Into a Game, And It’s Pretty Gross - Luke Plunkett, To help spin the good spin in its current stoush with Hamas, the Israeli Defence Force has launched a program called IDF Ranks. Which is, essentially, a game about being a mouthpiece for the Israeli Defence Force.

It's aimed at young internet users, both inside Israel but especially internationally, who are told that by signing up they'll be joining "the ultimate virtual army", and be rewarded with promotions and medals for jumping on social media and spreading the good word about... well, war. Enlisting the common man to do your propaganda work is a trick as old as war itself, but this kind of candy-coloured "gamification" is certainly new. Image from entry

Saudi 'Propaganda Center' Opens in Vienna - Gatestone Institute: Saudi Arabia has officially opened the doors of a controversial new "interreligious and intercultural dialogue center" in the Austrian capital, Vienna. The King Abdullah International Center for Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Dialogue was inaugurated during an elaborate ceremony at the Hofburg Palace in downtown Vienna on November 26. More than 650 high-profile guests from around the world attended the event, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the foreign ministers of the center's three founding states, Austria, Spain and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis say the purpose of the multi-million-dollar institution -- which will be headquartered at the Palais Sturany in the heart of Vienna and will have the status of an international organization -- is to "foster dialogue" between the world's major religions in order to "prevent conflict." Critics, however, say the center is an attempt by Saudi Arabia to establish a permanent "propaganda center" in central Europe from which to spread the conservative Wahhabi sect of Islam.

Photos of Modern, North Korean Apartments Used as Propaganda - In this series of photos, the Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, visits a family of young factory workers. However, despite how it looks, this is not the average standard of living for most North Koreans. In fact, these photos are a form of propaganda aimed at the rest of the world and offer a distorted perception of reality. Among the photos:


a)  Wealth rises in USA's heartland: Small-town America is better off: Inflation-adjusted income is up 3.8% per person since 2007 - Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY: Small-town America is better off than before: Inflation-adjusted income is up 3.8% per person since 2007 for the 51 million in small cities, towns and rural areas. The energy boom and strong farm prices have reversed, at least temporarily, a long-term trend of money flowing to cities. Last year, small places saw a 3% growth in income per person vs. 1.8% in urban areas.