Sunday, February 17, 2013

February 17

“How could they tell?”

--What author Dorothy Parker (see) reportedly asked when President Calvin Coolidge's death was announced; Coolidge image from


Soviet TV advertisements from the 1970s and 1980s -


Brazil public diplomacy overview - World-Wide-Matel: My personal observations and opinions. I write about what was happening around me and this blog reflects my idiosyncratic interests. I do my own writing, take my own pictures and I speak only for myself. My opinions are not those of my employers or the various organizations I work with. Feel free to share: "We are experiencing a wonderful time in Brazilian-American relations. Our priority to link American and Brazilian education networks coincides with those of Brazilians. Brazilian leaders have resources to fund their aspirations in ways previously impossible.

Changing Brazilian demography and a burgeoning middle class are creating new demands for quality education and related PD items like English. Building on work of earlier colleagues, we enjoy spectacular relations with Brazilian leaders. In this auspicious time for public diplomacy, Mission Brazil is expanding, with two new consulates set to open within the next two years. We have taken and extended opportunities and will continue on this path that will influence Brazilian-American relationships for generations." Image from

New paradigms of Russian foreign policy - Vestnik Kavkaza: "It is a modern tendency that Moscow’s position on major international issues is explained not by official representatives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, but the head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Alexei Pushkov. He is an experienced journalist and is able to present paradigms of state policy in a simple form. ... [Pushkov:] Russian-American have stepped into the reformatting stage. 'The reset' launched in 2009 as a sum of relations is not acute anymore. The 'reset' has fulfilled its duties – the tone has changed, cooperation spheres were defined, but major disputable spheres, like the problem of the missile defense system, were not settled. After three years of delicate behaviour toward Russian internal policy the US broke down and in December 2011 Hilary [sic] Clinton criticized heavily the parliamentary elections in Russia. Putin replied quickly. The essence of his answer was that the USA supports the non-systemic opposition in Russia. Since that time we have turned from mutual moderation to sharp statements about the internal policy of Russia, which doesn’t improve our relations with the USA. One thing is that the Americans express their views on non-public diplomacy. Another thing is that the US makes statements which in fact means they are ready to confront our authorities."

55th GRAMMYs Show That GREAT British Music is Here to Stay [February 11] - "Throughout the telecast

of last night’s GRAMMY’s show, viewers saw an exciting showcase of British music – the show included big British names performing and taking home top prizes, making the night a reminder of what makes British music GREAT. ... Talk about public diplomacy." Image from entry

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine ‏- Twitter: "Wonderful to meet @USCAnnenberg students - future #PublicDiplomacy professionals - at the State Department."

‘Israel neglects diplomacy at the expense of arms’: Foreign Ministry employees issue report on underfunding and understaffing, pan effects on country’s standing abroad - Ilan Ben Zion, "Israel neglects its foreign relations by underfunding and understaffing the Foreign Ministry, according to a report published by the ministry’s staff on Tuesday. Israel’s annual diplomatic budget is the lowest of all developed countries in the world in terms of percentage of GDP, a mere 0.15 percent, the report said. That number pales in comparison to Norway’s 0.9%, Denmark’s 0.85%, the United Kingdom’s 0.75%, Germany’s 0.4%, and Canada’s 0.25%, of their respective GDPs.

Iran, by comparison, invests only 0.1% of its GDP to its diplomatic service. Furthermore, the report noted, the budget for Israel’s Defense Ministry is 100 times larger than that of the Foreign Ministry. 'Israel neglects its foreign relations. Even though the heads of the state acknowledge Israel’s complex position in the international arena, and the need for change in everything related to public diplomacy, in practice the situation is the worst it’s ever been,' members of the Foreign Ministry Employees Committee said in a press conference." Image from article, with caption: The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem

China's Media Engagement in Ghana - The Official Blog of Amb. David H. Shinn: "A recent academic article titled "Partner, Prototype or Persuader? China's Renewed Media Engagement with Ghana" by Iginio Gagliardone, Nicole Stremlau and Daniel Nkrumah appeared in Communication, Politics and Culture. It examines the strategic importance of Chinese media assistance to Ghana along three dimensions: the potential appeal of the Chinese approach to information regulation for countries struggling to balance development and risks to political stability;  the direct intervention of Chinese companies in the media and telecommunications sectors through the provision of loans, equipment and technical expertise;  and the stepping up of China's public diplomacy strategy through the expansion of international broadcasters and the increase of exchange and training programs targeting Africans."

Pictures Of Public Lecture “Japan Public Diplomacy - Among the images the below (without caption):

International High School Exchange Program [February 15] - Florida Gulf Coast University: "Don't miss the ASCA and US State Department FREE Webinar - International High School Exchange Program - today at 3PM Eastern time. The presentation will be lead by Michele Peters, Youth Programs Branch Chief at the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). During the webinar you will learn to: • Become familiar with Department of State-sponsored exchange programs for high school students • Understand the important role of U.S. schools in supporting U.S. public diplomacy and foreign policy goals • Recognize the benefits of hosting international exchange students in your school, including globalizing classrooms and bringing current events to life • Become aware of several Department of State-sponsored scholarships available for U.S. students to study abroad To register for the webinar please go to"


CIA's covert drone program may shift further onto Pentagon: Such a move would allow more public disclosure of targeted killings overseas, which have been criticized in part for their secrecy - Ken Dilanian, Under U.S. law that governs the military, known as Title 10, operations may be kept secret but officials have the option of disclosing them. Under the law applicable for the CIA, Title 50, covert operations require a presidential finding and stay classified unless the president expressly declassifies them.

Given those restrictions, it is uncertain how much more transparency the Pentagon would provide than the CIA. However, many at the CIA would welcome a reallocation of more drone operations to the Pentagon to help the agency refocus on its traditional mission as a spy service. It also could ease mounting congressional concerns about mission creep and a lack of accountability for errors, including civilian casualties. Image from

Sunday Dialogue: U.S. Policy Toward Russia - Gary Hart, Letters to the Editor, New York Times: It is dismaying to read that the Obama administration is “quietly adopting a new approach to its old cold war rival, the cold shoulder” (“Another Reset of Relations With Russia in Obama’s Second Term,” news article, Feb. 2). Once again, this suggests a triumph for the anti-Russian brigades that seem to occupy American foreign policy circles. [Includes comments on this letter]. Image from

Book review: ‘Invisible Armies,’ a history of guerrilla warfare, by Max Boot - Gerard DeGroot, Washington Post: The best guerrillas are adept at publicity. Americans have been notoriously bad at the war of words. Granted, it is difficult for any invader to convince those on the ground that his intent is noble. The United States has also failed, however, to convince Americans at home that the struggle is worthy of the sacrifice.

Now Onstage in Spain: Austerity - Zachary Woolfe, New York Times: Two successive governments have desperately cut spending to meet targets for aid from the European Union. If anything, the budget decisions have failed to stem the crisis and have been devastating for culture. A far greater proportion of arts budgets in Europe — often upward of 50 percent — comes from government subsidies than in the United States. Private donations in Europe are generally not tax deductible, so when subsidies are cut, it is hard to generate new income to compensate. In Spain ticket sales, the largest remaining source of revenue, have been affected by a large hike in the value-added tax on tickets, to 21 percent from 8 percent. A calmly devastating report produced for the Culture Ministry and updated at the end of 2012 found that since 2009 the average cultural organization had reduced its budget or volume of activity by 49.8 percent. While major institutions have been cut badly, smaller ones have been decimated. In the coming years arts institutions in Spain and throughout Europe will have to turn, for better and worse, toward an arts financing system more like America’s privatized model.

US proposal of direct talks with Iran "propaganda": speaker - Iran's Majlis (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani said U.S. officials are spreading "propaganda" through proposing direct talks with Iran, Tehran Times daily reported Sunday. On Feb. 2, US Vice President Joe Biden said the United States is prepared to hold direct talks with Iran over the country's nuclear program when the Iranian leadership is "serious." The US proposal of direct talks with the Islamic republic is a "propaganda," said Larijani, adding that the United States is seeking to influence the Iranian people's determination by bringing up such issues.

David Cameron begins propaganda war against Scottish independence: David Cameron has praised the “unbreakable bonds” between England and Scotland as he launches a new phase of the campaign against Scottish independence - Patrick Hennessy, In an article published on the Downing Street website, the Prime Minister restates his “passionate” belief in retaining the historic Union between the two countries, declaring: “I will make the case for the UK with everything I’ve got.”

Cuban musicians on propaganda tour for Castro dictatorship defect in Mexico - Alberto de la Cruz, Reports coming out of Veracruz, Mexico, indicate that fifteen Cuban artists part of the Guaracheros de Regla musical troupe checked out of their hotel rooms but never showed up to catch their flight back to Cuba. It is suspected that the artists have defected and due to the close proximity to the American border, they will eventually make their way into the U.S. The musical troupe is part of the dozens of artistic propaganda operations run by the Castro dictatorship that tour the world promoting the dictatorship in Cuba while at the same time earning the Castro regime hard currency.

4 Works of Propaganda That Prove Dictators Suck at Photoshop - Luis Prada, Dictators have nearly limitless power. They're living out everyone's childhood fantasy of getting to do whatever you want all of the time because they've brutally murdered their parents, leaving nobody to check their random outbursts of craziness. Yet when it comes time to illustrate their propaganda, every single one of these dictators seems wholly unable to find people with any Photoshop experience, or indeed anyone who has ever seen Photoshop before in their entire life. Among the examples: Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak tweaked this Reservoir Dogs shot of him tagging along for some Middle East peace talks at the White House ...

to put himself at the front of the group, despite the fact that it makes no logical sense that he would be leading the way to a room in someone else's house.

Sex, Violence and Propaganda at the Military-Football Complex - David Yearsley, Football as foreign policy: the Super Bowl is now the Military-Football complex’s version of the Doomsday Machine in the War on Terror. The Super Bowl is a riot of sex and violence, propaganda and lies. That’s all to be expected and enjoyed, Budweiser in hand. But don’t be surprised that so many who watch it grow up to make war at home and abroad. See also.


Warrior Petraeus - Thomas Powers, New York Review of Books: "[I]n the mid-1960s when General William Westmoreland was playing tennis two or three times a week in Saigon, where his formal title was Commander of the United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam, or COMUSMACV. His preferred courts were at Le Cercle Sportif, a private sports club near the Saigon River, built by the French colonial regime in the 1890s.

It was there in March 1966, while the army under Westmoreland’s command was climbing toward its ultimate peak of 540,000 men, that the general suffered his only wound during four years of war—a fractured wrist suffered when he fell on the court." Image from

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