Friday, February 1, 2013

February 1

"We don’t need to explain."

--Israel's Director-general for public diplomacy Gideon Meir; image from


Memo to Washington: Foreign Policy Begins Abroad - Nader Mousavizadeh, New York Times: "John Kerry’s overwhelming confirmation as the next U.S. secretary of state presents a welcome opportunity to consider what the point of the job is. Now that Hillary Clinton has left Foggy Bottom for a well-earned rest, it’s worth stating that public diplomacy — even of the remarkably successful kind that she embodied — was not Thomas Jefferson’s idea of being the country’s chief diplomat, nor, one suspects, Clinton’s. An extraordinarily able and shrewd politician with an unmatched global Rolodex, Clinton accepted early on a circumscribed definition of the role for reasons that probably only she truly knows. For the United States, and the world, however, it has left a legacy of diplomatic detachment from a range of conflicts and challenges that require more than occasional presidential rhetoric and judicious reserve about the use of military force. Looking back, it is clear that the role of secretary of state in the Obama administration was constructed around primarily domestic priorities ... What this legacy bequeaths to Kerry are two false choices that he must confront without alienating that same White House from which he will ultimately derive his influence. First, it is time to recognize that foreign policy begins

just as often, and just as importantly, abroad. ... Second, Kerry must mount a new challenge to Washington’s ossified debate about intervention as an instrument of foreign policy. Syria will soon present him with the best (or worst, as the case may turn out) reason to do so. ... But such has been the near-complete militarization of U.S. foreign policy over the past decade that for all intents and purposes the only alternative presented to an invasion of the country is a combination of drone strikes and targeted killings. The tried and tested principle of diplomacy backed by the threat of force has seen a near-total inversion. Axiomatic now as the only alternative to doing nothing is the use of lethal force backed by the occasional choice of diplomacy as clean-up job. This is unworthy of a great power — and a great foreign service. During his confirmation hearings, Kerry stated that 'American foreign policy is not defined by drones and deployments alone.' If that remark is to be remembered as more than one man’s expression of hope over experience, he will have to make it so. To engage, to cajole, to give and take, to offer incentives to allies and enemies alike in pursuit of interests global and national, political and economic, to wield diplomatic power and influence as only America can: That is Kerry’s opportunity now — and his challenge." Image from

Analysts: Hillary Clinton’s record as top U.S. diplomat falls far short of greatness - Hannah Allam, McClatchy Newspapers, "Fans ... note that Clinton was a strong proponent of “digital diplomacy,” shaking up the calcified State Department by putting young people in charge of online initiatives and giving diplomats in the field unprecedented autonomy in social media. That move allowed the embassy in Cairo, for example, to publicly challenge the Muslim Brotherhood’s statements before thousands of followers on Twitter in a way that obviously wasn’t scripted in Washington.

Clinton also won praise for handling the public diplomacy surrounding the covert U.S. raid that killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. She was forthright once the mission came to light, analysts said, and firm in her defense of the decision not to tell the Pakistanis in advance. Individually, such accomplishments are the fruits of a hardworking secretary who surrounded herself with smart advisers and held her own in Obama’s war Cabinet. But taken as a whole, the successes just don’t add up to an overarching doctrine that will shape the department for years to come." Image from

Israeli Textbooks Under Scrutiny - Akiva Eldar, "Israeli public diplomacy is about to lose one of its trump cards — the argument that 'Palestinian' textbooks are fraught with incitement and delegitimize the other side. This card is always played after the 'there-is-no-Palestinian-partner' joker. A new US-government-funded study undermines this argument, to great uproar in Israel. The study reveals that though Israeli textbooks don't contain explicit incitement, they are guilty of marginalizing the other side. It may be that the Palestinian side has more incitement towards hatred, but when it comes to the Israeli side, incitement sometimes comes in the form of erasing 'the other.' In other words, 'We're the only ones here, and the other side has no history, geography or political existence.' Al-Monitor has learned that upon receiving a copy of the study, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, headed by Moshe Ya'alon, went to great lengths to prevent its publication, scheduled for this coming Monday, Feb. 4. ... The US Department of State, which funded this study with a $500,000 grant, capitulated to senior government officials' demand to delay publishing the findings until after Israel's Jan. 22 general elections. It's hard to understand why, after so many years of the prime minister's office lodging complaints and warnings against incitement in the Palestinian educational system, the Israeli side is the one to seek to postpone the publication of this comprehensive study. A report presented by the Ministry for Strategic Affairs last December contended that 'most maps in Palestinian Authority textbooks do not designate Israel or include the Green Line. Even on maps that do show the Green Line, Israel's name is deleted.'
Yet the ministry has now learned that a comprehensive study, funded by the US government, indicates that Israeli textbooks also ignore the Green Line, the line that separates the sovereign Israel from the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Alon ordered the Green Line expunged from all the official maps as early as the 1970s. The omission of the Green Line is obviously not just a technicality: this was a salient way to brand into the minds of Israel's youth the message that all the areas of the land of Israel — from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean — belong only to the people of Israel and that the Palestinian people have no political or historical claims for any part of that land. This isn't the first time that the ministry has countered attempts to put Israeli and Palestinian textbooks on the same level. During his first term in office, 15 years ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 'discovered' the potential of Palestinian textbooks. The fact that during those years the Palestinians used Israeli and Jordanian textbooks didn't stop him from translating them into a public diplomacy effort, citing them as the ultimate proof that the Palestinian Authority teaches its children to hate Israel. (The Palestinians started producing their own textbooks, under European funding and supervision, in 2000.)  ... Al-Monitor approached the US Embassy for a comment about the criticism leveled at the study by the Israeli Ministry of Education, but no comment was received by the time of publication." Image from

Advancing U.S. Interests and Values at a Time of Change in Egypt - Brian Katulis, Peter Juul, and Ken Sofer - "[T] the United States does have some ability and leverage to influence outcomes in ways that protect core U.S. interests and objectives—specifically, an Egypt that is a foundation of stability and progress in the broader Middle East, as well as at peace with its neighbors. To that end, there are six major steps the United States can take to achieve optimal outcomes [among them]: ... Undertake more and better public diplomacy about U.S. values and interests. With the rise of multiple centers of power in the wake of Mubarak’s fall from power, it is more important than ever for the United States to communicate with the broader Egyptian public. The United States should make clear where it stands on critical issues and articulate its support for Egypt’s political and economic transition.

The United States should also make it clear that support for transition does not entail support for any one group at this juncture. The muted U.S. response to President Morsi’s decree in November 2012 ultimately did not serve U.S. interests and values." Image from article, with caption: Egyptian riot police arrest a man during clashes with protesters near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, January 30, 2013.

A Snapshot of Public Diplomacy in Action - Tara D. Sonenshine, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs: "Public Diplomacy Programs Programs by Area for the Week of January 14, 2013." Below image from entry

U.S. Department of State and mtvU Announce Artists to Help Nominate Candidates for 2013-2014 Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, January 31, 2013 - U.S Department of State: "The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, announce today musical artists Imagine Dragons, Rita Ora and Steve Aoki will help review and nominate candidates for the 2013-2014 Fulbright-mtvU Fellowships. The Department of State sponsors Fulbright-mtvU Fellowships to promote music as a global force for promoting mutual understanding. Fellows are chosen through a multi-tiered, merit-based selection process including reviews by U.S. and foreign academic leaders and area experts. The final selection is made by the presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. ... Competition for the next Fulbright-mtvU Fellows is now open. Applications will be accepted through March 1, 2013. For more information on how to apply visit: or"

Shocker: GAO finds duplication in US international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Braocasting: "U.S. Government Accountability Office, 29 Jan 2013: 'Nearly two-thirds of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) language services--offices that produce content for particular languages and regions-- overlap with another BBG service by providing programs to the same countries in the same languages. ['] ... [Elliott comment:] A quick look at the websites of its entities shows that duplication is pervasive in US international broadcasting. Since 1989, I've been writing about, and seeking to eliminate, this duplication. ... The GAO report considers the possibility of duplication with the international broadcasters of other democracies. ... Elimination of duplication would allow VOA to shift its resources to coverage of the USA. ... The report also addresses duplication with US private international broadcasting efforts. USIB attracts its audience because of its news, not because of any public diplomacy function. The private sector also provides news. If private broadcasters can supply news to foreign audiences at not cost to the US taxpayer, this is a good thing.

USIB should not duplicate, or compete with, or undercut the profit potential of US private international broadcasting. ... It might be said that CNN cannot substitute for VOA because CNN does not speak for the US government. Such a statement, however, would be an admission that VOA is not entirely a news organization. To the extent VOA adds advocacy to its output, it subtracts from its credibility. In this duplication-elimination exercise, VOA should no longer duplicate the work conducted by the public diplomacy offices of the State Department. The best way for VOA explain the policies of the United States is through its news and current affairs coverage. ... In the long term (I hope not too long), consolidation is the only satisfactory way to eliminate duplication. Consolidation would reduce the number of senior management structures from seven (BBG, IBB, VOA, RFE/RL, RFA, MBN, OCB) to one. The senior managers who stand to lose their jobs as a result will resist mightily." Image from entry

MPD in China 2013: The Four Schools of Chinese PD - Sarah Myers, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "With the advancement of the concept by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and governmental bodies, there is an impetus from the powers that be for China to focus on developing more effective public diplomacy as an element of China’s peaceful rise. Yet upon deeper reflection, because the very notion of public diplomacy is still in its nascence, how to implement an effective public diplomacy strategy remains highly debated. One of the best depictions of the contrasting views on public diplomacy in China came from Professor Zhao Kejin of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, who classifies the study and practice of

public diplomacy into four schools: the ‘Soft Rise School,’ who see public diplomacy as a means of advancing China’s soft power abroad and as an alternative to Western norms, the ‘National Image School,’ who see the main goal of public diplomacy as advancing China’s national image and countering Western biases, the ‘National Interest School,’ who feel that public diplomacy won’t be able to help solve the real problems of conflicting national interest and thus it doesn’t deserve much investment, and the ‘Discursive Power School,’ which seeks to advance Chinese discursive power to offset the 'China threat theory' and to give China greater voice in world affairs. ... Defining a public diplomacy with Chinese characteristics is the next great project for scholars of Chinese politics, made ever more important alongside China’s rise on the world stage." Image from

Konkuk night Judy researcher, Public Diplomacy Conference Group appointed: foreign scholars, one year honorary ambassadors role [Google translation] - "Korean college newspaper reporter songahyoung] Konkuk University's state-of-the-art Institute of Life Sciences (Director hanseolhui) Stem Cell Research Center Filipino Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Judy researcher (Prof. Judy Grace Filipino people Menor, 36 years old, Lee, Jeong - Ick) on April 29, academic groups 'public diplomacy' (Scholars Group for Public Diplomacy) awarded commissions received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

16 people selected public diplomacy, the academic group of domestic research at the University of the foreign professors and scholars about Korea and Korean culture in the next 12 years as honorary ambassadors of 'public diplomacy' (Honorary Envoy for Public Diplomacy) the government or contribute to the foreign media unfolds against the people of country of origin, and policies related to public diplomacy of the proposed excavation and advisory activities related to Korea and held a lecture. Koreans and life experiences and exchange a lot of these foreign scholars to increase their understanding of the public at home and abroad on public diplomacy policy, country-specific, customized interactive public diplomacy strategy of public diplomacy as an academic group to perform many roles. Public diplomacy to spread a positive image about Korea Korean culture widely introduced to the public and foreign academic group is expected to contribute." Uncaptioned image from article

What will Netanyahu's new Israeli government look like? - Yossi Verter, "The Likud ministers, who on Sunday met for the first time since the election, found their leader in an angry mood. Netanyahu had read the weekend papers. 'From now on,' the prime minister ordered the ministers, 'interviews will be given only with authorization, and the messages will be coordinated.' The ministers were surprised. They thought the election campaign with its daily message sheet was behind them. But no. The campaign may be dead. The party almost died. But campaign discipline lives on. ... Sunday was International Holocaust Day. Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein, whose ministry is in charge of the relevant activities abroad, presented the subject and talked about recurring worldwide anti-Semitism. The prime minister spoke and a few ministers also added some concerned remarks."

J'lem plans to bring non-Jewish US leaders to Israel - Herb Keinon,“'Seeing is believing' is the philosophy behind a Foreign Ministry proposal to bring 3,000 North American non- Jewish campus influentials to Israel to show them the country and combat what ministry director-general for public diplomacy Gideon Meir called the “industry of lies” against the country. Meir recently presented the NIS 50 million proposal to the Finance Ministry. The plan would move the government wholesale into the sphere of bringing opinion-makers and influentials to Israel, a role currently played on a smaller scale by various American Jewish organizations. The idea, Meir said, was to bring to Israel college students who had been pinpointed as future leaders and opinion-makers, and give them a first-hand look at the country. While the Foreign Ministry does bring over groups, mostly journalists, Meir said it was just a drop in the ocean compared to what was being proposed now. A similar proposal is in the works to bring over European non-Jewish opinion-makers. The plan was approved by the Foreign Ministry.

Meir said the idea was for the government to partner with Jewish philanthropists who would help defray the costs. 'I’m not talking about propaganda,' he said. 'I just want them to see things with their own eyes.' He said that the groups would be given the opportunity to meet Palestinians. 'I’m not afraid of that,' Meir said. 'I believe that our cause is just.' The idea was to combat what Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky termed the 3Ds – the demonization, double standard and deligitimization of Israel – with 3Es: education, engagement and exposure, Meir said. The plan was especially pertinent now, he added, at a time when Israel’s 'stock internationally is on the decline.' Meir said the program was an effort to move into areas beyond traditional hasbara, or public diplomacy. 'We don’t need to explain, or apologize, but become more proactive and assertive,' he said, adding that he hoped to widen the lens and give the visitors a wider context of Israel beyond what they were provided in the media." Image from article, with caption: Jerusalem's Old City

Game Change: The New Rules of Global Leadership - Stuart W. Holliday, "There really is no single magical rule for successful leadership in the global landscape. However, there is a winning combination: the use of public diplomacy strategies to collaborate and build a high-impact network of partners around the world, and a focus on fulfilling the vision for a better quality of life which stakeholders now hold for themselves, their communities, and their countries.

Consider this the checkmate used by leaders who succeed in this new game of Global Leadership. Ambassador Stuart W. Holliday is President and CEO of Meridian International Center, a leading nonpartisan public diplomacy institution in Washington, DC. Ambassador Holliday served as a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for special political affairs from 2003 to 2005." Uncaptioned image from article


U.S. launches probe after suicide bombing at embassy in Turkey kills two - Guy Taylor and Cheryl K. Chumley, The Washington Times

World media pleased with new US secretary of state - BBC: Media in China, Russia, Afghanistan and elsewhere strike an upbeat tone as John Kerry takes over from Hillary Clinton as the new US secretary of state. Some commentators, however, expect to see little change.

Political Scene: Evaluating Hillary Clinton - posted by Matthew McKnight, New Yorker: On this week’s Political Scene podcast, John Cassidy and Ryan Lizza discuss Clinton’s performance with the host, Dorothy Wickenden. “She was incredibly diligent, as she always is,” Cassidy points out. “She flew all over the place; she logged nearly a million miles; she visited a hundred and twelve countries.” Still, echoing a post he wrote earlier this week, Cassidy doesn’t rank her among America’s great Secretaries of State, who “tend to be associated with big foreign-policy doctrines.”

Clinton’s role, Cassidy explains, “was as the sort of front man for the U.S. while [Obama] was busy taking care of business at home,” which didn't leave much time for formulating or articulating a clear vision for America’s place in the world. Many observers have had in reaching clarity about Obama’s foreign-policy vision. Steve Coll doesn’t expect much change from the “status quo” second-term foreign-policy team. Four years from now, we probably won't have a Kerry doctrine—instead, we'll likely still be asking about Obama’s.

What is Clinton’s legacy at State — and her future? - Anne Gearan, Washington Post: Clinton leaves with a mixed record: She has garnered wide admiration around the world but has no major diplomatic achievements on par with those of other well-known secretaries of state, such as Henry Kissinger or George C. Marshall. Many of Clinton’s successes appeared to be due largely to her personal popularity and famous work ethic — attributes that were on display in her final days in office. Robert Schmuhl, a professor at the University of Notre Dame and author of “Statecraft and Stagecraft: American Political Life in the Age of Personality,” said Clinton’s “personal stature helped open doors, but her diplomatic skills kept them open.” “In most places, there’s a higher regard for the United States as she leaves her post,” he said. “That in itself is a significant achievement, proving that her endless travel had consequence.” Hillary Clinton salted the State Department with campaign aides and longtime citizens of “Hillaryland” and ran the place a bit like a permanent campaign. She immersed herself in the wonky minutiae of American diplomacy as well as the more glamorous travel and told aides still bitter about the 2008 primary loss to get over it.

Hillary Clinton and the Art of Defending American Power Linguistically - Stephan Richter, The idea underlying Hillary Clinton's era as Secretary of State was bafflingly bold. America reins supreme because it is the nation that, by tradition and aspiration, best embodies Western values. And, by the way, Western values are very much seen as universal values. Savor the arrogance: Western (meaning American) values are the universal values. This comes from a nation that prides itself on other occasions on its terrific relationship with Asia — and for its promotion of the interests of other dynamic nations, from the BRICs onward to other emerging markets.

The 2012 U.S. presidential campaign has demonstrated once again the apparent appetite of the American people to hear acclamations of their own greatness. Either way, from Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton on down, administration officials have been very hesitant to expose the American people to the reality of a far more limited global influence. Hiding that fundamental truth from the American people, insular as they are by nature and by force of geography, does them a disservice. Maintaining the myth of American exceptionalism and dominance is not what is required to help the American people become more realistic in their expectations. It remains to be seen whether John Kerry, Hillary Clinton's successor in the post of U.S. Secretary of State, will prove to be more down to earth in his approach to American "exceptionalism." Via LJB. Image from

Africa’s lawless lands - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Entire regions — sometimes attached to a given nation only by an accident of imperial mapmaking — lack just and effective government. Americans, being Americans, are drawn toward technological solutions to political problems. Drones strike targets in Somalia and Yemen. This imposes one narrow form of order — the removal of specific threats — but it does not encourage political stability or improve local conditions. The most important goal, however, is not to provide temporary substitutes for sovereignty but to strengthen that attribute itself. This is the opposite of colonialism — the building of local military and civil capacity and improving public health and economic growth. These are the most difficult tasks in development, and the easiest to cut in a budget retrenchment. They are also cheaper, in the long run, than constantly fighting to contain the chaos.

Another Mideast War? The result of U.S. detachment in Syria is more disorder - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The U.S. has vital national interests in the Syrian war. One interest is to inflict a strategic blow to Iran by deposing its principal Arab client. Another is to cut Iran's military-supply link to Hezbollah, a terrorist group that has killed hundreds of Americans. A third is to prevent Syria's unrest from spilling into its neighbors. A fourth is to avoid the outbreak of a wider regional war. A fifth is to make sure that the U.S. might have some leverage and standing with a post-Assad government in Syria. A sixth is to prevent further thousands from being killed. The U.S. doesn't have to put boots on Syrian ground to help bring the Assad regime to an end, such as by imposing a no-fly-zone over Aleppo and the rest of western Syria. A similar no-fly-zone over Libya in 2011 helped spell Moammar Gadhafi's demise. Below image from

How the U.S. Can Help Avert a Failed State In Syria: Time to stop 'leading from behind' and get involved before Syria disintegrates [subscription] - Naser Danan and Louay Sakka, Wall Street Journal

While France Fights, America Watches: Barack Obama says the war against al Qaeda is over. Tell that to victims of the In Amenas massacre, or to Malians fleeing their homes - Con Coughlin, Wall Street Journal: Rather than atone for his serious misjudgment in supporting the Arab revolts in the first place, Mr. Obama has convinced himself that the war against al Qaeda is over, and that there is no need for American forces to involve themselves in distant conflicts.

Study Puts ‘Cost’ to Landing Embassy Post - Nicholas Confessore, New York Times: In a recent study, two researchers — Johannes W. Fedderke and Dennis C. Jett, both professors of international relations at Pennsylvania State University — computed theoretical prices for different postings. Titled “What Price the Court of St. James’s? Political Influences on Ambassadorial Postings of the United States of America,” the paper looks at diplomatic appointments in the Obama administration through January 2011. The authors found that politically connected ambassadors, including former aides as well as donors, were statistically more likely to be posted to countries in the Caribbean, North America and Central America. But those whose political connections to Mr. Obama were measured in dollars, rather than administration service, had an increased chance of representing the United States in Western Europe, and a markedly smaller chance of serving in, say, Central Asia or sub-Saharan Africa. The study found that political ambassadors who had made campaign donations of $550,000, or bundled contributions of $750,000, had a 90 percent chance of being posted to a country in Western Europe.


"While I know public diplomats are fans of hyphenated diplomacy, ... duck diplomacy [is] taking it a step too far."

--Sarah Myers, a graduate student pursuing a Master's degree in Public Diplomacy from USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, reporting on her visit to Beijing with her classmates. Image from


Americans Rip Up Retirement Plans: Nearly Two-Thirds of Those Between 45 and 60 Plan Delays, a Steep Rise From Two Years Ago - Lauren Weber, Wall Street Journal: Nearly two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 45 and 60 say they plan to delay retirement, according to a report to be released Friday by the Conference Board. That was a steep jump from just two years earlier, when the group found that 42% of respondents expected to put off retirement.

The U.S.ranks 7th in homicides - Ranking America: According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), in 2010 there were 14,748 intentional homicides in the United States, enough to make the United States rank seventh out of eighty-seven countries ranked in that category.

India ranks first, with 41,726 intentional homicides in 2010. Image from entry


--From: Современные художники Gao Brothers \ Art

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