Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 11-13

"The public diplomacy FSO [Foreign Service officer] comes next to the ambassador."

--"Job Responsibilities Of A Foreign Service Officer," foreignservice

"se non è vero, è ben trovato."

--From; image from


February 28, 2013 Media as Global Diplomat: Media that Moves Millions: "Sponsored by USIP and ITVS, the Media as Global Diplomat series of summits has highlighted the expanding power of today's media to transform public diplomacy and promote peaceful international relations since 2009. This year's summit, Media that Moves Millions, will look at the unprecedented phenomena of user-generated media campaigns that have inspired masses of participants and rocked political systems."


Social Media Embarassment; Also, Happy Chinese New Year - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "[I]it is only right to celebrate Chinese New Year here by contrasting two social media videos, one made by the American Consulate in Hong Kong and the other by the British Consulate in Hong Kong."

Thomas Glenn - YouTube: "[Canadian] Thomas Glenn trains with China's celebrated Peking Opera performer Jiang Qihu. As part of I SING BEIJING, he will be the first Western to perform Peking Opera in the NCPA in Beijing."


Toward a New American Policy - Daniel C. Kurtzer, "Tactical choices are quite important, but the United States should approach tactics with flexibility and avoid confusing tactics with policy. Do smart diplomacy. There are many useful guides for what worked and what did not work in the past. A first order of business, as the integrated policy is adopted, is to stand back, assimilate the tactical lessons of the past, and empower our diplomats to act creatively, flexibly, and boldly. ... Public diplomacy. The United States already invests heavily in public diplomacy.

With a good product—that is, strong and determined policy—savvy public diplomacy can focus on bringing the Israeli and Palestinian publics to support the peace effort. From the president and the secretary of state on down, American officials should talk directly to the people in the region about the requirements of peace and all the good that will flow from a peaceful settlement." Image from

Human Rights and the Failings of U.S. Public Diplomacy in Eurasia - Amy McDonough, Huffington Post: "The United States has two distinct approaches to human rights violations in the countries of the former Soviet Union. When it is in Washington's perceived strategic interest, the U.S. government normally remains quiet. When its strategic interests are not at stake, U.S. officials speak forcefully and work to expose human rights violations and corruption. This inconsistent approach fuels cynicism toward the United States when it professes support for human rights. The approach also limits the incentives for governments in the region to improve their behavior and it fosters the perception that the United States is not a legitimate global protector of human rights. These inconsistencies become abundantly clear by comparing U.S. officials' public statements on Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan and Russia, as shown in a recently published OSF policy paper, ‘Human Rights and the Failings of U.S. Public Diplomacy in Eurasia.’"

Shoreline at College Conference in India - "Shoreline Community College is joining the world in helping India embark on perhaps the biggest expansion of education ever. Shoreline President Lee Lambert and Ann Garnsey-Harter, Shoreline’s virtual college director, are in New Delhi at the request of the Indian government and the U.S. State Department to present at an international conference on community colleges. Why India? Because the government there has a goal of launching 200 new community colleges for 2013 academic year and adding thousands more in the coming years. 'India is taking serious the challenge that the demographic dividend poses for them,' Lambert said from India. 'As the youngest nation on the globe, with about 600 million individuals 25 and younger, the nation of India could have a positive global impact if they could educate more of their citizens.' The conference, titled 'Mainstreaming Skills Education: Creating Relevant Human Resource,' drew participants from the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. ... The conference was opened by India’s Minister of Human Resource Development HRD Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju.

In his remarks, Raju stressed the need for more skill-based education and appealed to the educational institutions to tailor courses to the needs of industry. He said the new community colleges would offer short duration credit-based modules aligned with established education standards. The goal, he said, is to quickly move students into employment, but also help them accumulate credits that lead certificates and degrees. Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, is leading the U.S. contingent." Image from

Public Schedule for February 12, 2013 - U.S. Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 10:15 a.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine delivers remarks to 100 Youth Exchange and Study (YES) and 15 American, Serbian and Montenegrin Youth Leadership Exchange (A-SMYLE) international students attending a Civic Education Workshop, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 6:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends a dinner on the occasion of the State of the Union Address with the Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine's roundtable with student leaders - Urvi Gupta, "The round table discussion with US Under Secretary of State Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Tara Sonenshine got underway at 10.30 a.m on February 7th at the American Centre. The theme of the discussion was the role of youth in India's growth taking into account the demographic dividend with special emphasis on role of women. Naturally, the panel consisted of student leaders, youth bloggers, LSR journalism students and representatives of ABVP, Janki Devi Memorial College Student Union, St Stephens College Student Union and Shiv Nadar University Student Union. Students on the panel raised a number of pertinent questions related to freedom of speech and expression with reference to the Aaron Schwartz case which Ms. Sonenshine responded to by saying that, 'Although information is oxygen, and the internet a tool, any person using the technology brings values to it and must use his own wisdom of judgment'. There was a lot of concern over oppression of women in India in light of the recent gang rape case. The panel unanimously agreed that oblivion to women's plight has to be done away with for good. A germane question that arose and struck a chord with everyone was, 'Where does someone's freedom begin and someone else's begin?'. Ms. Sonenshine stressed the importance of harnessing the full potential of women which was underscored by her statement that women are 'half the sky'.

When asked what women themselves can do to change the situation, change mind sets and conquer strait jacketing by antiquated beliefs, she responded by saying that critical thinking and informal learning is the solution. Polarising the media and using theatre, culture and role models to instil in people the importance of education for people. She said every woman must live by the 3Cs – Community (bonding with other girls and women in the society), Contacts and Confidence. It was pointed out to her that change isn't all that easy specially when there are educated women saying the girl should've cooperated with the men who raped her; this could've saved her life. In such a scenario, how is one to move forward? Ms. Sonenshine said it is necessary for discussion to happen. The more views are expressed, the more likely it is that mentalities will change. Moreover, change must begin at home. She wanted the youth to actively participate in society in a leadership role by reaching out to girls and women across the state and informing them that they're not bereft of rights. Finally, she was asked, 'How do you want us to change?' She said 'I'll leave that to you to figure out and tell me the next time I'm here.' This interaction with Ms. Sonenshine proved a fruitful exchange and imbued the youth with encouragement to do more." Image from, with caption: King Arthur presides at the Round Table with all of his Knights.

Diplomatic Official Calls for Nuanced Approach to African Politics - Emma Iannini, "Michael Pelletier (SFS ’86), deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs in the U.S. State Department, argued for a nuanced interpretation of growing turmoil caused by violent extremism in West Africa on Monday afternoon. Pelletier discussed the recent strife in Algeria and Mali and cautioned the audience to be mindful of labelling political organizations in West Africa."

All American Baseball and Softball Coaching Camp at Imphal Date: February 13-14 2013 at Khuman Lampak Sports Complex, Imphal - "The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has teamed-up Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Barry Larkin and Olympian Natasha Watley as U.S. sports envoys to India reaching Manipur on February 13. Working with Major League Baseball and USA Softball, ECA designed this first-ever joint baseball and softball program to encourage youth participation in sports. Joseph (Joe) Logan, a former player with the Montreal Expos organization and coach of the Orlando Reds Baseball Club in the U.S., will accompany Larkin and Watley.

At the press conference and throughout the exchange, local media in Manipur will be briefed on how sports can play into the development of academic, leadership, and teamwork skills. ... Sports diplomacy builds on the U.S. Department of State's public diplomacy efforts. This particular U.S. Consulate Kolkata outreach embraces the use of baseball and softball—to bring people together, foster greater understanding, and empower youth worldwide. Image from article

A Breitling Colt Aficionado Found Among An Extensive Breitling Ambassadors List - JamesW, "In search for a famous name to couple with breitling colt I have exhausted all the available forums and blogs that lists and mention all famous personalities who were photographed and spotted with a Breitling on their wrists. I haven’t found any in association with The Breitling Colt. Well fate rewards the nifty and at last I’ve found one; and he is the MLB Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. with a Colt II. ... The sturdiness, performance and reliability clearly gear this new model into achieving thrilling actions just like Cal’s performance in Major League Baseball that had broken almost three previous world records. Cal’s soft heart makes him an ideal Special Public Diplomacy Envoy to the U.S. State Department a role he performed to the highest degree of success.

The new Model’s rhythmical motif that plays on colors and the exclusive rounded numeral adornments on the dials together with the steel bracelet reflects youthful fresh dynamism reinforced by the Breitling Super Quartz TM movements, paving the future of Replica watches. This model is available in three versions chronograph and a ladies watch all equipped with famed Breitling movements." Image from, with caption: The breitling colt is one of the less expensive watches by Breitling. Intended for the military it is as precise as necessary. The new design is just an update and upgrade in looks but the same precision and reliability is maintained. With the old Colt dismissed as being an entry level watch, new models are definitely remarkable. With the looks of sculpted timepiece carved in steel, solid construction and water resistance to 300 meters.

TV Chef’s Cooking Tips for Big Flavor, Low Calories - "While attending Yale he spent his summers at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and after graduation from Yale, Ming [Tsai] moved to Paris and trained under renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme and then on to Osaka with Sushi Master Kobayashi. ... In 2012, Ming was invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to represent the U.S. with the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative/American Chef Corps.

The Chef Corps is a network of chefs from around the country that participate in a number of official government programs that use food as a foundation for public diplomacy efforts at home and abroad." Image from article

Why Public Diplomacy Should Love the Advisory Commission - Brian Carlson, Public Diplomacy Council: "Established in 1948 (before USIA existed), the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy is charged with appraising all U.S. Government activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics and to increase the understanding of and support for these same activities. In December, 2011, via a little noticed action, the Commission was not given funding by the Congress. It ceased operations and the single employee, the executive director, returned to the private sector. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed, and in January, 2013 the Senate Armed Services Committee re-authorized the Commission via the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The only sign of action on restarting the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy is a small note on the State Department website promising that the Commission's ‘website, email, Twitter, and Facebook accounts will be updated after the office is staffed and operations restart.’

Why should the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy send a Valentine and welcome the Advisory Commission back to the Department? Here are a few reasons. One of the first principles of successful public diplomacy is: seek allies.  You can’t do it all yourself.  The Advisory Commission is fundamentally an ally of public diplomacy. ... Second, the commissioners can do things that even the Under Secretary can’t do. ... A third reason to love the Commission is because it is not part of the Department.  ... Commissioners, individually and as a group, have the objectivity, independence and standing to speak out in public or network quietly in the background. ... State should show some affection for the Advisory Commission for a fourth reason, one that is particularly important to how our nation communicates with foreign publics, the essence of public diplomacy.  This group of seven Republicans and Democrats is charged by law to ‘appraise United States Government activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics.’ [Section 1280 (c) of the 3013 NDAA] Look closely. The Commission does not appraise the State Department only.  The law authorizes, no, instructs, the Commission to examine all U.S. Government activities – including those of the military, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and presumably other three-letter agencies – that spend taxpayer dollars attempting  to influence foreign publics. Congress has been expressing disquiet about growing Defense Department influence activities for several years. Many wonder if the military is getting into State Department business?  Secretary Clinton just departed Washington with a telling shot below the BBG’s waterline. The door is open to some interagency leadership on public diplomacy.  The public diplomacy profession is being offered an ally, and an opportunity. Time to show some love for the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy?" Image from entry

Uncovering Logics of Technology in U.S. Public Diplomacy - Craig Hayden, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "In 2012, Fergus Hanson released two reports covering the scope of 'e-diplomacy' within the U.S. State Department. ... When ... Hanson claims that e-diplomacy techniques are 'baked in' to the State Department, he is making a tacit argument about institutional logic. This does not mean that there is a singular logic, but rather that the at-times skeptical and uneven embrace of new media technologies at the State Department signal the presence of conflicting perspectives and traditions. These logics have different priorities and demand competing resources. What does this analysis look like? First, it means examining (like Hanson) exemplar programs that represent the convergence of technology with practice. Second, it requires finding strategic documents and public statements that reflect the frames and narratives that support the use of technology, especially in ways that might transform the purpose of public diplomacy. Finally, it necessitates getting the perspectives of practitioners - former and current - on how they perceive the role of technology for the purpose of statecraft."

Hillary Clinton’s Public Diplomacy Legacy - Philip Seib, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "More than any previous Secretary of State, Clinton 'got it' in terms of understanding the importance of public diplomacy as a foreign policy tool.

As he takes command of the State Department, John Kerry has the opportunity to follow up on Clinton’s work by refining many aspects of public diplomacy, ranging from increasing the strategic impact of cultural diplomacy to finding a new recipe for the unappetizing stew of international broadcasting efforts." Image from

First time since 1948, propaganda is now legal in the U.S. - "On 12/29/12, President Obama signed HR 4310, the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1078 (thomas.loc. gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.4310:) of the bill authorizes the use of propaganda inside the US, which had previously been banned since 1948 when the Smith-Mundt Act was passed. ... This bill appears to not only open the door to legalization of the dissemination of propaganda in America, but would also legalize covert infiltration of media organizations by government agents and even the creation of media outlets that legally operate entirely as government fronts." [Entry lists various versions of the bill].

The Real State of the Union for February 12, 2013 - "1st Amendment: Condition: Critical [ -- ] With the repeal of the Zorinsky Amendment to the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, odds are it is only a matter of time when a national emergency is created or declared leaving the government an alleged no choice but to force mainstream and internet broadcaster to either abide by the dictates of the Federal Government regarding content and carrying the broadcasting arm of the Feds or be shut down.

The newspapers are already in line and willing to force content on users without regard to accuracy or bias and television, be it cable or broadcast, is no longer a vast wasteland but a willing servant to the political and corporate elites. The silencing of the masses must occur via the seizure of mainstream radio broadcasting and the internet and with the current regime in power, there is little doubt that it is a matter of when, not if." Image from

Drones, Media Propaganda and the Satanic Obama Administration Cover-Up - "In 2012, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act sponsored by House Representatives Mac Thomberry [sic] and Adam Smith called the 'The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012' stated that this would [modify] a Cold War-era law that hampers diplomatic, defense, and other agencies’ ability to communicate in the 21st century. Thomberry [sic] went on to say: 'We continue to face a multitude of threats and we need to be able to counter them in a multitude of ways. Communication is among the most important,' Rep. Thornberry said in a statement. 'This outdated law ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible and transparent way. Congress has a responsibility to fix the situation.' Smith confirmed that the original Act was formulated to combat communism in the 1940s yet with a new revival it would be an 'effective strategic communication and public diplomacy should be front-and-center as we work to roll back al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among disaffected populations. An essential part of our efforts must be a coordinated, comprehensive, adequately resourced plan to counter their radical messages and undermine their recruitment abilities. To do this, Smith-Mundt must be updated to bolster our strategic communications and public diplomacy capacity on all fronts and mediums – especially online.'"

The State of America’s Voice - David Ensor, From the [VOA] Director: "In a world where too many governments still try to keep their people ignorant and afraid, VOA -- and its sister organizations

Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN) and the Office of Cuban Broadcasting (OCB) -- are among some of our nation’s best investments. Around the world, VOA remains a trusted source of unfiltered news, and of information about America." Via LJB. Image from

Afghanistan Media Boomed During War, But Faces Uncertain Future As U.S. Withdraws - Michael Calderone, Huffington Post: "Since U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban government in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, U.S. government agencies and international aid organizations have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into building up the Afghan media industry. That sector now boasts over 75 television stations, 175 FM radio stations, hundreds of print publications –- including more than a dozen daily newspapers -– and several news agencies. ... There’s a clear reason for governments and aid organizations to support Afghan media: a burgeoning democratic country not only deserves, but needs, a functioning and free press. Given that U.S. officials have long spoken of needing to win 'hearts and minds' amid warfare, funding for media outlets -- offering not just news, but entertainment and music options -- is one way to try doing so. ... Pajhwok Afghan News, now Afghanistan’s largest independent news agency ... currently receives support through USAID and the U.S. Embassy’s Public Diplomacy program. Via

North Korea’s Defiance - Editorial, New York Times: "China and the United States should be working to covertly disrupt the North’s nuclear program, as was done with Iran.

The United States should invest more in Radio Free Asia so that more outside information could reach North Korea’s people. Still, it should keep seeking dialogue. No good comes from ignoring North Korea." Image from

US Treasury Dept sanctions include Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Cites, inter alia, "US Department of the Treasury press release, 6 Feb 2013: 'According to human rights groups, Iran is using state-media transmissions to trample dissent. They point to distorted or false IRIB news reports and the broadcasting of forced confessions of political detainees, such as one involving Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari, who was forced to give a false confession in front of state media outlets while jailed in 2009. In March 2012, the European Union placed individual sanctions on Zarghami for authorizing, as head of IRIB, the broadcast in August 2009 and December 2011 of forced confessions of detainees and 'show trials' that constituted a clear violation of international provisions on fair trial and the right to due process. Additionally, Iran is engaged in a campaign to filter out unwanted TV content and broadcast its own propaganda. After the 2009 presidential election in Iran, jamming of foreign channels, particularly the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Voice of America (VOA), increased in intensity. Then, in the wake of the Arab Spring movements, Iran increased its jamming of the BBC, VOA, and other Western networks with Persian-language news channels. The move was intended to prevent Iranian audiences from seeing foreign broadcasts that the Iranian government found objectionable. Zarghami has admitted using such tactics, according to Iranian state media reports.'"

US embassy "concern" over Tajikistan's refusal to accredit RFE/RL reporter - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Afghan Youth Orchestra Goes From Kabul to Broadway [includes video] - Brian Allen, VOA: "The Afghan Youth Orchestra, the first orchestra created in Afghanistan in over 30 years, is currently on a tour of the United States.

The group is comprised mostly of children who grew up on the streets of Kabul. Now, they are on Broadway." Image from

Representatives to NATO commend Montenegro’s NATO bid - "Montenegro's Minister of Defence Milica Pejanović-Đurišić met with permanent representatives to NATO in Brussels, Ambassador of Slovenia Andrej Benedejčič, Ambassador of Luxembourg Jean-Jaques Welfring, Ambassador of Croatia Boris Grigić and Ambassador of Slovakia Frantisek Kasicky. Minister Pejanović-Đurišić informed the ambassadors about the reform of the defence sector and further Montenegro's steps towards NATO membership. She underlined the importance of the regional cooperation and added that Montenegro will continue its collaboration with the countries that share the same strategic objectives and values, expecting support from the partners in the further reform process. She also highlighted that Montenegro has to make efforts in the field of public diplomacy in order to increase the public support for NATO accession. Ambassadors commended Montenegro’s progress in the Euro-Atlantic integration and underlined that it can count on full support of their governments on its way tawards NATO."

You could become ‘another Goldstone’ — friendly warning to Yale prof whose study cleared Palestinian textbooks of demonization charge - Philip Weiss, "An important new study funded by the State Department that exonerates Palestinian textbooks of demonizing Jews has been rejected by Israel, because it contradicts a central propaganda point. And now the State Department and the Reform Jewish leadership seem to be walking away from the study! According to a long report in the Forward by Naomi Zeveloff and Nathan Jeffay, the study is now an ‘orphan.’ First the Israelis sandbagged the study: The harshest criticism, however, has come from the Israeli government. In a press release issued before the study went public, the Ministry of Education attacked the very concept of examining both sides’ textbooks in tandem. Then once the Israeli government attacked the report, the Israeli body that commissioned the study disavowed it--it was the Israeli government’s fierce response that forced the Chief Rabbinate, a member of the council [of religious institutions that had commissioned the study], to walk away from the study. And once the Israelis trashed the study, even the Americans associated with it seem to have backed away. In particular notice the weaseling by the Reform Jewish leadership: The U.S. State Department, which fully funded the study, has refused to comment on it. And the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which sent out a press release February 5 announcing that it would host a Washington rollout for the study, has now called that release’s distribution an accident.

Bruce Wexler is the Yale psychiatry professor who led the study--along with Israeli and Palestinian counterparts. And Wexler, who is Jewish, has been warned that he could be excommunicated for his role in the study, just as Richard Goldstone was." Wexler image from

How not to win friends and influence people - Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post: "South Africa, the country that gave us 'Zionism is Racism,' is about to become the first country to declare official sanctions against Israel. ... As if that wasn’t bad enough, later this year, South Africa will chair the Organization of African Unity, and it is for certain they will bring their boycott Israel policy to a resolution in that important chamber which, given the increasingly Islamic nature of the African continent, will be adopted. So the delegitimization virus will spread throughout Africa. Who is to blame for this political and diplomatic disaster? The foreign office. Actually, all the government offices and agencies that deal with diplomacy and public diplomacy. It’s a total and abject failure, and a damaging one for Israel. The problem here is not simply a failure to declare any policy regarding the Palestinians. The real issue has been a failure of contact, of communication. ... It is the total dereliction of duty, public diplomacy duty, at the heart of the decision making process. The foreign office, the prime minister’s office, the government spokesman’s office, or the ministry of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs – all have proven themselves to be incapable of addressing the urgent need to present Israel’s position on leading issues, particularly the Palestinian issue. We have a strong case to make. We, who are active advocates for Israel, are making it every day. The government, it seems, is not. ... People at the top apparently don’t have the answer or the desire to face reality and see what a failure our image has become due to lack of leadership, lack of budget, lack of numbers of trained and affirmative advocates at government level, lack of support for the excellent organizations who are doing sterling work in the field of public diplomacy. In short, government-wise, we are barely on the battlefield for hearts and minds, while the Palestinians and their supporters seem to have endless resources and are succeeding to win the world away from us."

Foreign Ministry employees protest 'wage erosion' - Niv Elis, Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post: "Yaakov Livne, the spokesman for the workers’ committee, said that Israel had essentially abandoned its Foreign Service. 'Even though the country’s leaders are aware of Israel’s complicated situation in the world and the need to change its public diplomacy, in practice the situation is worse than it ever was.

Those who neglect diplomatic activity abroad are critically harming Israel’s national security,' he said. According to a report prepared by the workers’ committee, the number of Israeli diplomats posted abroad is in steady decline, with the figure today standing at 220. Israel had representatives in only 60 percent of the 160 countries with which it has diplomatic relations, the report said." Image from article, with caption: Municipality [sic] workers protesting

The 4th Annual “Chelm Awards” reveal the quirkier side of Israel - "The 2012 Chelm Award for the Weirdest Behavior by an Israeli Politician goes to Ron Prosor for a matchless stroke of public diplomacy. When the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations discovered that his counterpart from the Ivory Coast was none other than Youssoufou Bamba, Prosor decided to cement good relations between the two nations by introducing the African diplomat to Bamba – Israel’s popular peanut-flavored melt-in-your-mouth snack food of popped corn grits, telling the Ivorian that his name was 'on the lips of every single child in Israel.'”

Yesh Atid’s No. 19 supports party platforms on burden of service, lower housing costs, downsizing gov’t. - "[Q:] What are the first three bills you plan to propose? [A:] I am currently studying. I don’t know what specific bills I will propose yet.

I will focus on political negotiations in the Middle East, public diplomacy, helping youth movements, informal education, and the agricultural communities in the periphery." Image from article, with caption: Ronen Hoffman, the 19th MK on Yesh Atid's Knesset list

Iran repeats accusations against journalists accused of working for "psychological operations organization" BBC - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

MEA consultative body deliberates on India's cultural diplomacy in Rajgir - "External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid hosted the first meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on External Affairs for 2013 at Rajgir on Tuesday. According to an MEA release, the meeting deliberated upon India's cultural diplomacy and the role envisaged in this regard from Nalanda and South Asian Universities. Public outreach programmes of the Ministry of External Affairs through its Public Diplomacy initiatives to create general awareness of India's diplomatic efforts, also came up for discussion during the meeting. ... The Nalanda University will be the centre piece of India's cultural diplomacy, and act as a bridge between the past and the future. The meeting was held in Rajgir to provide a first-hand experience of modern Nalanda and a better appreciation of its contribution to reviving our links with the East and South Asian countries and an innovative combination of parliamentary and public diplomacy interface."

Cultural diplomacy: Artists from India and France collaborate in a three-month media blitz - "The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Institut Francais and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations along with the Alliance Francaises network in India are organising the second edition of the Bonjour India this year.

Encompassing exhibitions, visuals and digital arts, performing arts, food festival and film festivals, literary and educational events, seminars and round tables, the festival will be held through January-February-March in different cities including Jaipur, Chandigarh, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Goa and Pune." Image from article, with caption: Choreography: Brigitte Chataigner and her team members perform in Kolkata for Bonjour India 2013.

Putin urges Russian diplomats to apply "soft power" more extensively - Xinhua, "'Russia should enhance its 'soft power' in international affairs to supplement the traditional diplomacy, President Vladimir Putin said Monday. 'Obviously, the time of the classical diplomacy has either gone or it (diplomacy) has changed substantially. You the diplomats have to deal with economy, business relations, support various economic projects, and open new markets,' Putin told a meeting with the Foreign Ministry's staff. He stressed that diplomats ought to shift their efforts toward exporting Russian values worldwide and support the Russia-born people wherever they live in the world. 'The priority has been shifting to the literate use of soft power, strengthening positions of the Russian language, active promotion of Russia's positive image abroad, and skillful embedding into the global informational streams,' he said."

Neo-Ottoman influence on a strong pace in the Balkans - Joannis Michaletos, Rimse: Radical Islam Monitor in Southeast Europe:  "[T]he continuous involvement of Turkish public diplomacy in the Balkans has as a consequence the interaction of

Middle Eastern politics with those of the Balkans, leading potentially to situations that will have a destabilizing nature for all actors involved." Image from

Canadian Performs Red Opera at Beijing Propaganda Show: Guided by regime-affiliated Confucius Institute, sings of raiding a ‘bandit’s lair’ - Matthew Robertson, "Every year in China the communist regime stages a long variety show on the only national broadcaster, China Central Television, ringing in the Chinese New Year with a good helping of pro-regime propaganda. Joining the gaudy hosts and crooning singers in their annual ritual, the Spring Festival Gala, this past Saturday was a Canadian opera virtuoso, Thomas Glenn. He co-sung part of an old communist 'red opera' that was freighted with more meaning than he realized, or was told by his Chinese handlers. The performance Glenn participated in, along with Yu Kuizhi, a well-known Beijing opera singer, was a section from 'Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy,' one of the Eight Model Operas. ... Organizations associated with the Chinese regime guided Glenn into the performance. He first learnt to sing that opera in 2011, as part of a Chinese regime-sponsored program called I Sing Beijing, which inducted 20 Western singers and had them perform Chinese opera. National Public Radio included Glenn in a profile of I Sing Beijing. ... Organizations associated with the Chinese regime guided Glenn into the performance.

He first learnt to sing that opera in 2011, as part of a Chinese regime-sponsored program called I Sing Beijing, which inducted 20 Western singers and had them perform Chinese opera. National Public Radio included Glenn in a profile of I Sing Beijing. ... I Sing Beijing was founded by Hanban, an organization headed by the Chinese regime which also runs the Party’s global network of Confucius Institutes. (The latter attracted controversy recently in Canada after a university closed its Institute down due to its discriminatory hiring practices.) 'I gather CCTV got ahold of my performance through I Sing Beijing, and the Confucius Institute asked me to do the performance for the Gala; it was the Confucius Institute that was the liaison,' Glenn said.” Image from article, with caption: Thomas Glenn and Yu Kuizhi together sang a section from the red opera "Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy" during the recent Spring Festival Gala, hosted by China Central Television. They sang that after “raiding the bandits’ lair" it must be "absolutely turned upside down!” The term "bandits" was a pejorative political phrase for soldiers belonging to the Nationalist government.

WETATi International Women’s Conference 2013 - Margaret Dureke, "On March 29-30, hundreds of delegates from the United States, Africa and the Caribbean will descend on Linthicum, Maryland to attend the 2nd annual WETATi International Women’s Conference. The conference will be held at the Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport Hilton. WETATi stands for Women Empowered To Achieve The Impossible. The theme of this year’s conference is 'Woman Power: Front and Center in the 21st Century-the mindset of a WETATi Woman.' ... Some of the issues to be discussed include procurement from U.S. government agencies, investments in Africa and the Caribbean, women and HIV/Aids, funding for women and minority owned businesses, the role of technology in women’s lives, and micro credit. Members of the African Female Diplomatic Corps will have a special forum to discuss the role of women in public diplomacy."

Culture Posts: Relationalism – Implications for Public Diplomacy - R.S. Zaharna, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Public Diplomacy viewed through the lens of relationalism has several implications.

Most immediately, discussions about relations and relationship-building – the hallmark of the 'new public diplomacy' – can move to a more sophisticated and nuanced level. Relationalism is a 3rd dimension that falls in between individualism and collectivism. What is most significant about relationalism is that it assumes that everything is connected. This is a radical shift in perspective. ... Relationalism is based on the implicit understanding that no entity is truly separate, or dis-connected from others even on a global scale. Any effort to assert one answer may have unintended consequences that ultimately reverberate back to the original source. The move from competitive to cooperative to collaborative public diplomacy represent significant shifts in the conception and practice of public diplomacy." Image from

Darwin Day: Reflections on a year of evolution and politics - Dominic Johnson and Anthony Lopez, Evolutionary Politics: "[M]any scholars will continue to be wary over the potential reappearance of Social Darwinism, and it will take time for the academic community as a whole to shed popular but flawed impressions of evolution and replace them with a modern, rigorous one, replete with its necessary complexity and nuance. Lastly, therefore, if consilience is to be successful it must couple academic collaboration with good old-fashioned public diplomacy. Evolution: This View of Life has prioritized public diplomacy as a central aim, and in collaboration with The Evolution Institute and The Social Evolution Forum, it has been instrumental in sparking active and constructive discussion at the intersection of academia and the public eye."

A letter from my professors - Rebekah Creswell, Journey East: "Dave and I wanted to write a quick note to let you know what a sincere pleasure it has been to work with and get to know you over the past month. During our travels in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, we had the good fortune of stringing together a number of experiences that, to our knowledge at least, are without parallel or precedent.

Some highlights include: ... Meetings with several US government officials, including the Public Diplomacy Chief in Hanoi and a range of senior officers from the US Embassy in Bangkok on issues from the shifting sands of Thai politics to human trafficking to the history of the US-Thai relationship." Crewell image from her blog

Interning at the U.S. Embassy - "After an arduous eight-month application process, this Fall I had the privilege of serving as an intern in the Press section at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires. The Embassy itself has more than 300 staff members, roughly half Americans and half locals, both Argentine and non-Argentine.

The Press section, however, a small division of Public Affairs, has just four staff members – and me! ... [inter alia] I created and delivered an hour-long crash course in social media to section heads from other departments in the Embassy, the first step of many in the State Department’s quest to more thoroughly use social media as a tool for public diplomacy." Image from entry, with caption: Here I am with the President at the Election Night party.

Richard H. Curtiss, USIA chief inspector - Megan McDonough, Obituaries, Washington Post: "Richard H. Curtiss, 85, a Foreign Service officer and former chief inspector of the U.S. Information Agency, died Jan. 31 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring . ... Mr. Curtiss was the USIA’s chief inspector from 1978 until his retirement in 1980. He was previously a deputy assistant director of USIA programs in the Near East and North Africa. Earlier in his career, he was the director of a Voice of America station in Greece and a public affairs officer in Lebanon. ... He received the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in public diplomacy and USIA’s superior honor award."


Obama's less-is-more agenda: In his State of the Union speech, the president readjusts for reality - Doyle McManus, There was important foreign policy in the speech too, a sign that like most second-term presidents facing a difficult Congress, Obama is discovering the rewards of acting as diplomat in chief. He promised to bring home half of the 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan by next year, and the other half a year later.

He called for a free-trade agreement with Europe, a goal that sounds boring but could turn out to be the most historic proposal in the speech. And he said he would work to negotiate new nuclear arms reductions with Russia, a measure that, not incidentally, could save real money. Image from article, with caption: President Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

State of the Union: President Obama pledges counterterrorism transparency - Erik Wemple, Washington Post: President Obama is apparently still trying to create the “most transparent administration ever.” In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, his remarks appeared to reflect an awareness of just how impenetrable a black box his government has erected against inquiries on counterterrorism policy. And particularly on the “targeted killing” program that features drone strikes at suspected terrorists overseas. Here’s the relevant passage: "That’s why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we’re doing things the right way. So in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world." That’s some fantastic wording right there. “Even more transparent,” in this context, appears to imply that the level of openness regarding the pursuit of terrorists is already considerable.

The other drone question: Are we creating more enemies than we are killing? - Doyle McManus, As former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden has noted, there's an anomaly in the law: The government has to go to court for the authority to wiretap a U.S. citizen in Al Qaeda, but not to kill him. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the committee chairwoman, said she wants to consider setting up a similar system for targeted killing: a court that would scrutinize the "kill list" and provide an independent review of the targets. Intelligence community lawyers I've talked with hate the idea — "Why on earth would you want to get a judge involved?" one asked — but for a nation founded on the notion of a separation of powers, the principle of outside review is sound. Are drone strikes effective in the long run, or are they creating more enemies than they kill? That's a worthy target for Senate and House committees to go after.

“State-run propaganda”: Why does the press protect drone secrecy? A stunning admission from the New York Times lays bare the news media's dangerous collusion with government - David Sirota, Salon: You have one of the most powerful news organizations in the world publicly admitting that it refused to report a story [on drones in Saudi Arabia] not because it was concerned about the safety of Americans (aka “national security") but because it believed that doing so might result in people finding out about what’s going on and consequently forcing a change in government policy.

Put another way, one of the world’s most powerful news organizations — an organization that is supposed to be a check on governmental power, mind you — literally refused to publish a story in order to keep Saudi citizens from finding out exactly how their dictators were working with the United States to intensify a global military action. “State-run propaganda” is a term Americans may not be comfortable with — but unfortunately it’s a term that accurately describes more and more of what we see, read and hear when it comes to national security. Image from article

Drone TV Propaganda Financed by Lockheed Martin - PBS ombud Michael Getler (1/31/13) responded to FAIR activists who wrote to him about the recent Nova special on drones (1/23/13) that was underwritten by Lockheed Martin, a major military contractor and drone manufacturer. FAIR (Action Alert, 1/28/13) pointed out that this connection violates PBS‘s guidelines concerning sponsorship and conflicts of interest. Getler agreed, explaining that “the Lockheed funding does present a perception and commercial test problem for PBS. My feeling is that this particular program would have been much better off without Lockheed support.” There was a further lack of disclosure. Getler noted that he "saw no mention of Lockheed when I watched the program online or when I looked at the Nova website. And there was never any mention of Lockheed in the body of the program, even though that huge defense company is heavily involved in drone development, which I didn’t know and I’m sure vast numbers of online viewers–unless they are in the Air Force or CIA–also probably did not know." That lack of disclosure left Getler feeling “deceived by Nova"–though he noted that “Lockheed Martin was clearly identified on screen” as a funder in the broadcast version of the program. Getler concluded by writing, “I think Nova handled this situation poorly and did not comply with the spirit, at least, of the guidelines when it came to being upfront with viewers.” Nova thought otherwise. Its statement began: "WGBH fully adheres to PBS funding guidelines and takes our public trust responsibility very seriously. With regard to Nova 'Rise of the Drones,' Lockheed Martin’s sponsorship of Nova is not a violation of the PBS underwriting guidelines."

Obama's Nuclear Fantasy: The president is setting the stage for a world with more nukes in the wrong hands - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: The Obama administration seeks to slash the U.S. arsenal to about 1,000 strategic warheads. President Obama has often said that he wants to live in a world without nuclear weapons. Who wouldn't? But the real choice isn't between more nuclear weapons or fewer. It is between a world of fewer U.S. nuclear weapons and more nuclear states, or the opposite. In his idealism, the president is setting the stage for a more nuclearized world.

The Obama Doctrine —- look the other way - Richard Cohen, Washington Post: Obama's foreign policy has lacked any sense of moral urgency. As a result, the situation in Syria has worsened. It is now becoming a regional catastrophe that will soon enough pull in the United States anyway. Obama purportedly feared making the war worse. By inaction, he has.

All About Oil: Former US Ambassador to Iraq Now Works for Exxon - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Demonstrating the core values of service and loyalty, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey now works directly for Exxon Mobile. Jeffrey was America’s man in Baghdad, helming the World’s Largest and Most Expensive Embassy there from 2010-2012.

The problem Jeffrey was most likely hired to resolve is oil, specifically oil in Kurdistan. The Kurds live in the northern chunk of Iraq and have always wanted to be an independent nation, separate from the Sunni and Shia Arabs who fill up the rest of Iraq. The “issue” of Kurdistan is one of the many significant genies the U.S. let out of the bottle with the 2003 invasion of Iraq that was left unresolved. The Kurds have oil, which Exxon would like to have. Image from entry

North Korea on the Home Stretch: Tougher measures are needed to stop a threat to the U.S. homeland - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The goal should be depriving the regime of resources so that it faces a choice of giving up the bomb or falling. Military strikes would be a last resort, but they should be put on the table early to make it less likely they would be needed.

North Korea’s Lesson: Nukes for Sale - Graham T. Allison Jr., New York Times:
Mr. Obama should send Mr. Kim a direct, unambiguous message, with a carbon copy to the Chinese leadership in Beijing, warning that if a nuclear bomb of North Korean origin were to explode on American soil or that of an American ally, the United States would respond precisely as though North Korea itself had hit the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile. An unambiguously forceful warning, backed up by a credible threat of commensurate force, is the only guarantee that even the zealous, isolated North Koreans would hear.

Hit Kim Jong Eun where it hurts: His wallet - Sung-Yoon Lee and Joshua Stanton, Washington Post: Washington and Seoul should target Pyongyang’s greatest points of vulnerability: the Kim regime’s overdependence on its “palace economy,” and its systematic oppression of its people through a vast network of gulags and an omnipresent secret police force. Obama and Park should realize that only a credible deterrent will compel Pyongyang to negotiate disarmament in good faith and to relax — even if in increments — its totalitarian control of its populace.

The Latin America mistake -- Memo to Secretary Kerry: Stop funding the bad guys in Honduras - Dana Frank, stop arming Honduran thugs and allow those in the opposition the space to define their own future, free of U.S. interference.

Zombies Invade Reykjavik or What Are You Doing With Young Zombies in Your Host Country - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: The U.S. Embassy, Skjárinn and BíóParadís cooperated to present a zombie party and special screening of the first episode of Season 3 of the U.S. television series The Walking Dead. Ambassador Arreaga and other embassy staff joined a large group of zombie enthusiasts

who organized a “Zombie Walk” from Hlemmur to BioParadis. At BioParadis, the ambassador presented awards to the Best Dressed, Bloodiest and Scariest zombies. Image from entry, with caption: Ambassador Arreaga during the zombie walk; see, even zombies need eyeglasses!

Despite Young Leader, N. Korea Still Cranks Out Old-Style Propaganda - Scott Neuman, Given the risks of underestimating North Korea, the West might do better to study, rather than laugh at, its propaganda, says Anthony Pratkanis, a psychology professor at the University of California.

Just like the denouement of the Hitler regime, North Korea faces a struggle to maintain a grip on the population amid desperation and hunger. Image from article, with caption: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, in a photo released last summer. For North Koreans, it was stunning to see the first lady at the leader's side. But North Korea still produces heavy-handed propaganda as well. Image from article

West uses Syria's displacement crisis for propaganda purposes: James Jatras [video] - A political commentator tells Press TV that the Western states, which are supporting and sponsoring foreign militants fighting against the Syria’s government, do not care about the plight of the displaced Syrians in camps inside neighboring countries and only use the issue for "propaganda purposes."

Syria's propaganda war continues as opposition leader accused of backing Israel - An Israeli newspaper allegedly quoted on Saturday a top Syrian opposition leader as saying if the opposition took over Syria, the Jewish state had “nothing to fear.” But according to Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib and the Israeli paper he was accused of making the comments to, he said nothing of the sort.

Western propaganda and Libya revolution - William Festus: They (West) use their propaganda machine (Western Media) to turn Gaddafi into Mr. Jekyll and Hyde (man with two faces) in the eyes of his neighbours as well as around the world portraying him (Gaddafi) as a tyrant/dictator/terrorist hated by his own people and the world over. In their “War against Terrorism,” they finally succeeded to get behind Gaddafi’s skin particularly after 9/11 because he started working with them behind the scenes hence made him more enemies than friends within the Arab community because he allowed them (West) access to Libya and its facilities (marking the beginning of his downfall).

However, the financial and technical cooperation enjoyed by many West African countries under the regime of Gaddafi must be acknowledged, - countries such as Sierra Leone, Guinea-Conakry, Chad, Niger, Mali, Senegal, and Burkina Faso - because it shows the other side of Gaddafi that the world did not see. Image from

WWII interviews: Propaganda through the eyes of a child [video] - Carole Buhl was growing up in Kirkland during World War II. She shared memories with Harlem High School students: she remembers she and her friends didn’t like Uncle Sam’s pointed finger in war propaganda. Harlem students interviewed about a dozen people Saturday and plan to continue interviewing for a full-length documentary on everyday life on the home front during World War II.


"Truth is art’s highest calling. For it the facts must sometimes be adjusted."

--New York Times columnist Roger Cohen


"Not all toilet paper is created equal."

--Ad on American television; image from

Late Night Political Humor:

David Letterman: "Top Ten People Not Nominated For A 'Best Spoken Word' Grammy Award"

10. Former President George W. Bush ('Are my testicles black?')

9. Joe Theisman ('My prostate was giving me fits')

8. Brad Pitt (Chanel No. 5 ad)

7. Al Roker ('I pooped my pants...not horribly')

6. Former Governor Mitt Romney ('I like being able to fire people')

5. Mayor Michael Bloomberg ('I don't think we've had a murder in the past 2 or 3 days')

4. This woman ('Constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating - that's me')

3. Me, Dave (Face down over desk making motorboat sound)

2. Vice President Joe Biden ('This President has a big stick').

[1] Missing

From: Bulletin News, LLC


"I have got to hand it to President Obama. This is his first State of the Union Address in his second term and he is very - he is full of confidence, really kind of cocky and full of himself. At the end of his State of the Union Address, he showed America his Kenyan birth certificate."

--David Letterman, from Bulletin News, LLC

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