"Лентрош [Ленин, Троцкий, Шаумян]
Lentrosh [Lenin, Trotskii, Shaumian]"
--One of the first names given to Soviet children; via LZ on Facebook; image from
John Kerry Sworn In - U.S. Department of State: "On February 1, 2013, at 4:04 p.m. EST, John Forbes Kerry was sworn in as the 68th Secretary of State of the United States.
He will address employees upon his arrival at the State Department on Monday, February 4 at 9:00 a.m." Image from entry. Via JD on Facebook; on Secretary Kerry, see the high school confessions of your PDPR compiler (pardon the typographic infelicities) at.
Report – msaphawaii.org: Making a Difference Through the Arts Strengthening America’s Links with Asian Muslim Communities: "This Asia Society report, Making a Difference Through the Arts: Strengthening America’s Links with Asian Muslim Communities (2010), was conceived as an effort to stimulate new thinking and to identify extant resources that can enhance connectivity between the United States and Muslim communities in Asia.
It is addressed to a broad range of constituencies: nongovernmental organizations seeking to initiate or expand their own projects; donor organizations active in economic, social, and cultural development; policy makers charged with considering the role of culture in public diplomacy initiatives; academic institutions seeking to enrich international studies programs; advocacy groups, scholars, and journalists; and entrepreneurial individuals with a passion to make a difference." Image from entry.
Chuck Hagel, Mali and US policy in North Africa and the Middle East - Eric Davis, new-middle-east.blogspot.com: "Cultural warfare, in the form of public diplomacy, e.g., increasing educational opportunities for Middle Eastern students in the US and the West, must extend to the political realm. If Kurds in Turkey feel their grievances are being addressed, they will not support the violence-oriented PKK. Sunni Arabs, in the so-called Sunni Arab Triangle of north central Iraq, will not support al-Qa’ida or the Islamic State of Iraq, and the Tuareg in northern Mali and southern Algeria will not fight alongside radical forces (indeed the MNLA has cut its ties with Ansar al-Din because it has come to realize that the organization is not interested in helping the Tuareg address their ethnic grievances).
Once again, Barack Obama has demonstrated his political savvy in foreign policy decision-making by appointing John Kerry to be Hillary Clinton’s replacement as Secretary of State and Chuck Hagel to replace Leon Panetta at Defense. ... The good news is that the US can, through more effective cultural, public diplomacy and reconstruction strategies, in cooperation with international and local partners and UN agencies, win the support of those civilians who are caught in the cross-fire of the type of conflict currently underway in northern Mali. The local populace seeks political stability and economic prosperity, not the sustained violence which leads to the destruction of their towns and cities." Image from
Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Says Goodbye, For Now - PBS NewsHour: "RAY SUAREZ: 'Clinton also worked to help free political prisoners, like Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent years under House arrest. She was the first secretary of state to visit that country in more than half-a-century. Clinton has overseen the State Department while the U.S. military has fought wars on two fronts, in Iraq, where the forces are now gone, and in Afghanistan, where American combat troops have begun drawing down. Clinton also used social media and the Internet in her soft power and public diplomacy efforts. The secretary garnered high approval ratings, both abroad and at home. In a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, 67 percent of Americans expressed a favorable opinion of her. It's an open question whether her tenure includes a standout foreign policy achievement. Still unresolved issues include Iran's nuclear program, the lack of a Middle East peace process, and the raging war in Syria.'"
Hillary super PAC readies launch - Marc Ambinder: "In an interview that aired last night on 60 Minutes, Clinton said neither she nor President Barack Obama "can make predictions about what's going to happen tomorrow or the next year," referring to the prospect of a presidential run.
Clinton confidantes have said that Clinton has not telegraphed to them in any way what her intentions are after she takes a well-deserved break from the stresses of the public eye and public diplomacy." Image from entry, with caption: "ReadyForHillary" is, well, ready for Hillary.
Get the lady out of town -- Thoughts on ex-SecState Clinton - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "When Barack Obama selected Hillary Clinton -- with her limited experience in foreign affairs, far more limited than her knowledge of the sad affairs of her marital (martial?) heart -- a thought immediately came to my overly cynical mind: 'It's Barack's way to getting her out of town.' It turns out that Hillary, who many (including, doubtless, herself) expected to be president in 2001, has more than fulfilled the president's wish to have her far away as possible from the White House. No Secretary of State (some claim) has traveled to foreign lands -- i.e., been kept away from
But Hillary's peregrinations, while delighting (relieving is perhaps a better word) the president, were not really breaking a precedent. ... I am referring to the good 'Dr.' Condoleezza Rice, an intellectual fraud if there ever was one, for whom distance covered (as if diplomacy were a football game) was a sign of 'diplomatic' success or, as she pretentiously coined it, 'transformational diplomacy.' ... Think about it. One false way to convince 'people' the world over (including in the USA) that you're 'doing something' when you actually have nothing to do/decide upon, is to be 'on the move,' with the complacent media, eager for any story, 'reporting' on your 'new initiative.' Make sure to have 'town hall meetings' with respectful, carefully chosen natives in furren lands -- 'public diplomacy' at its most superficial -- without dealing in depth with substantive issues, a sine qua non of effective diplomatic negotiations -- a painstaking process few in the homeland (or, for that matter, among foreign 'public opinion') want to be bothered about. So just smile for the camera and look 'sincere.' It works wonders! (Whatever these wonders may be.) ... Much of 'diplomacy' is, in fact, a show. Tell me about it: I was the press guy at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade during the Dayton Peace Process ... and the joke then (mid-90s) was: [']What's the most dangerous place in the Balkans? Between Dick Holbrooke and a TV camera. ['] But there's an important caveat: When diplomacy becomes a total media circus -- e.g., the twitter under-140-characters communications regime promulgated by State Department social media guru Alec Ross, who genuflects before Madam Clinton (“The secretary is the one who unleashed us ... She’s the godmother of 21st-century statecraft”) -- diplomacy becomes yet another sad illustration -- to cite (out of context?) the words of the Bard centuries ago -- of a supposedly all-too-human, but nevertheless significant, activity that can regrettably become, in our media-infested age, 'full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'" Image from
Clinton says farewell at CFR - Josh Rogin, thecable.foreignpolicy.com: "Clinton praised the State Department's outreach to non-governmental entities in foreign countries and touted the expansion of public diplomacy into new mediums, such as Twitter, during her tenure.
She also railed against the Broadcasting Board of Governors, of which she is a board member, and said that organization was failing in its mission and losing ground to foreign competitors. 'We have basically abdicated, in my view, the broadcast media,' she said. 'I have tried and will continue from the outside to try to convince Congress and others, if we don't have an up-to-date, modern, effective broadcasting board of governors, we shouldn't have one at all.'" Image from article
Future of Global Hegemony: The Core Features of the Peaceful Chinese Ascent - syedmayo, syedmafizkamal.com: "The Chinese communities are veined into every corner of the globe playing an influential role in the respective local economies. May it be in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia or Australia; the Chinese diasporas have integrated into the local economies both vertically and horizontally. On one hand we see the Chinese chicken farmers in Africa, the Chinese small businesses in Chinatowns or the Chinese restaurant owners in Europe and America and on the other hand we see the Chinese business tycoons making deals with Western companies, the Chinese companies building ports in Asia or the Chinese corporations going into Africa to extract oil for their oil-hungry nation. These ranges of activities are backed-up by the Chinese state and supported and/or mobilized by the Chinese diasporas. The Chinese communities have created a global network which is well-connected and well-communicated. They are motivated to do business with everyone without sacrificing the needs of their communities by helping each other. The communities act as the engines of global trade and flow of ideas. Additionally they contribute to public diplomacy. The United States unlike China never had such communities around the globe to foster its global hegemonic agenda. Instead it had to invest its efforts and resources in creating such a societal outreach. With an increased effort by the Chinese state to bridge the gap between its diasporas and to manipulate this existing network, China’s global influence will have an unique communal characteristic which would be a new trend in the world hegemonic order. China will peacefully shape a better world: Nations around the world are tired of American policing and its hegemonic activities disguised under the mask of democracy and free market. They seek an alternative. And China poses such an alternative. The above discussed factors of Chinese global outreach based on multilateral cooperation, mutual understanding, public diplomacy and regulated capitalism will create the backbone of the future global political economy. These features which have led to the Chinese rise are strictly economic and do not include any aspect of political confrontations with United States (or any other major power). On the contrary it extends a hand of friendship based economic interdependence and cooperation. China has managed to start rising without upsetting its neighbors and simultaneously advocating on behalf of the developing countries. ... Reference Acknowledgement: The ideas of this article are inspired from the book ‘Adam Smith in Beijing’ by Giovanni Arrighi"
Ethiopia: Are the Islamists Coming? - Alemayehu Fentaw, TRANSCEND Media Service: "[I]t has to be noted that different governmental actors have been engaged in misguided efforts to counter the growing Wahabi influence in Ethiopia. ... Both USG and GoE have failed to comply with the ‘Do No Harm’ principle of conflict prevention and resolution. ... [A] source of interference is the Government of the United States (USG) if the diplomatic cables that came out of the US embassy in Addis Ababa ending up in wikileaks are credible enough to deserve our attention. Recent wikileaked cables have made the security concerns crystal-clear and confirmed ongoing public diplomacy as well as cultural programming efforts sponsored by Embassy Addis Ababa."
Brazil-U.S. Exchange: Empowering Underserved Youth through Social Media - Adventures of a Gringa: www.riogringa.com/"This month, the
The program, called Empowering Underserved Youth through Social Media: A Community Journalism Exchange, was inspired by a visit from young Brazilian journalist Rene Silva and his colleagues to the
Millennium Stage presents: Ensembles of Afghanistan National Institute of Music - kennedy-center.org: The Kennedy Center, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan present a FREE Millennium Stage Performance Ensembles of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 at 6 p.m., Concert Hall [.] The Afghanistan National Institute of Music was founded in 2010 by Dr. Ahmad Sarmast. The tour to the United States of students from the Institute is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the World Bank, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Asian Cultural Council. Ensembles and artists performing include the Afghan Youth Orchestra, Young Afghan Traditional Ensemble, Sitar and Sarod Ensemble, conductor and arranger William Harvey, violinist Mikhail Simonyan, and members of the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra.
The program features selections of traditional Afghan and Indian music as well as William Harvey's The Four Seasons of Afghanistan, a recasting of Vivaldi's masterwork in a thoroughly Afghan context. The concert will be simulcast online, but not in the Grand Foyer." Via CS on Facebook. See also. Image from, with caption: U.S. Embassy Supports Afghan National Institute of Music’s Gala Concert
Latest Russian media reports on Radio Liberty crisis focus on Holocaust video story - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com: "Russian media continues to report on the ongoing crisis at Radio Liberty. Latest reports focus on the video shot at the former Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz by fired Radio Liberty journalist Mumin Shakirov, which the Russian Service website ignored. Shakirov is receiving media attention for taking with him to the Auschwitz concentration camp two young Russian women who had become famous in Russia for admitting in a television show that they knew nothing about the World War II Jewish Holocaust. The Russian media is reporting on this story, pointing out that Shakirov was fired from Radio Liberty last September along with dozens of experienced journalists. Shakirov had proposed the Holocaust video project to the previous Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) management team, but his request was ignored. New president of RFE/RL Kevin Klose was appointed a few days ago, but most members of the previous management team are still working at the U.S.-funded media freedom broadcaster."
The Cold War Psyche - Forum Res Publica: "With the communist threat gone, the United States languished without a defined geo-political foe. To sustain the familiar Cold War institutions that Americans were so accustomed to, and that had taken on a sort of permanent appearance in the wake of an extended conflict, a new enemy was constructed. Spurred on by thinkers like Samuel P. Huntington and his The Clash of Civilizations, American policy makers—particularly in the Bush administration—constructed a new enemy for the United States to direct its energies against; as it was, the 'red threat' would become replaced by the 'green threat' of Islamo-Fascism. ...  The sense that the Cold War provided definition to American culture and life is not new, although to my knowledge there has been no substantial works discussing a Cold War nostalgia for the circumstances that provided that definition as I attempt to do.
For example, Stephen Whitfield provides an overview of American culture as it became defined by the Cold War, probing the question 'Without the Cold War what does it mean to be American', see Stephen Whitfield. The Culture of the Cold War (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996); Laura Belmonte focuses primarily on public diplomacy and U.S. propaganda, but also makes the suggestion that U.S. propaganda in the Cold War partially engineered what it meant to be American, see Laura Belmonte. Selling the American Way: U.S. Propaganda and the Cold War (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010)." Image from
The global struggle for soft power [Google translation] - Rasmus Elmelund, information.dk: "When the new great powers experimenting with different versions of the so-called 'soft power', it is because they have learned from the old great powers that hard power is best maintained with soft power. India and Brazil are ahead, while Russia is lagging behind, including because they overplay their criticism of the West, says experts . ... [Professor of political science at Aarhus University] Mette Chess ... referring to the Russian broadcasting service Russia Today: 'They need to shake the images of the U.S. and Western media, painting. But it is very significant that we here at home can watch TV satire about Putin's Russia called Monte Carlo loves Putin. Russia is to guarantee the BRIC country with the least soft power. Putin himself is overzealous in terms of turning its policy and public diplomacy towards offensive against Western media, institutions and actors - and he's probably also eager to topple Tigers pounding,' she says."
The Czech Presidential Election: Old Dog, New Tricks? - Robert Kron, cepa.org: "Along with the rest of the Central European region, Czech Atlanticism has been ebbing in recent years. This regional trend has been under way for some time, and the United States is not blameless in the process. Poor rhetorical missteps and insufficient public diplomacy to explain policies such as the 'reset' with Russia or the 'pivot' to Asia have taken their toll. As such, seizing the opportunity for heightened engagement with the country, for example with a swift invitation to Washington for the new president
[former Social Democratic Prime Minister Miloš Zeman], would go a long way." Zeman image from
The Maestro: cultural diplomacy through music [video] - Mick Krever, CNN: The greatest compliment conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim ever got was from a young man in the Gaza Strip. ‘We feel the world has forgotten us,’ Barenboim recounted a man from Gaza telling him. ‘Some people remember us and they send food and medicines – but then, you would do that for animals, too. But you came and played music, made us feel like human beings again.’ Barenboim is an Israeli, and at 10 years old stepped onto the world stage as a child-prodigy pianist. Now, the world-famous conductor brings together bitter enemies to share music stands and the orchestra pit. His aim, he has said, is to find out whether 'music really is the universal language.' When Barenboim mentored a young Palestinian boy, Karim, in the late 1990s, the divide was starkly evident. 'Israelis to me were something that - something that's not human even,' Karim later recounted. 'And for me to actually meet people who have the same interests as me and lead relatively similar lives, it changes my view of what a human being is almost.' When a Syrian cellist and an Israeli cellist sit down in his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Barenboim said, supposed enemies are playing the same notes, with the same intensity, with the same goal. 'After you've done that for six hours,' Barenboim said, 'you look at this monster a little bit different because you see that he also has some of the same preoccupations - not political - that you have.' But he is realistic about how much the diversity will change his musicians. 'We don't look for a political consensus in the orchestra, not at all,' he said. 'The consensus on Beethoven is more than enough for me.'”
Industry chambers suggests MEA to work on visa liberalisation - zeenews.india.com: "Industry chambers, including CII and Ficci, have recommended that the External Affairs Ministry should work on further liberalisation of visa regime for movement of businessmen in different countries. According to an official, the chambers recommended this during their meeting with Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and Secretary (Economic Relations) Pinak R Chakravarty. ... MEA's continued outreach programmes through new divisions such as energy security, investment and technology promotion, public diplomacy and the development partnership administration were also highlighted."
Of Information Wars and Journalistic Ethos - southasianidea.com: "Public diplomacy initiatives and the use of information as a vital tool of psychological war have always retained supremacy in the affairs of nations. Information Warfare (IW), as the perennial and most potent tool available to nations, is gaining its due prominence in today’s intense IW environment. When nations have hostile relations swinging somewhere between war and peace, as in the case of India and its neighbours, this assumes greater significance. When you are not firing live ammunition at each other, you are focusing all energies to undermine the defence preparedness of the potential adversary.
The most critical target is to attack the morale of its forces. It is here that media, which is forever in quest of stories, is the omnipotent force multiplier in serving (or not serving) the national interest. The recent bout of reporting by some revered journalists and media houses on the beheading of an Indian soldier on the line of control, seen in this light, signal a Pakistan victory in the psychological domain." Image from article, with caption: Pak complaints to UNMOGIP, a defunct arrangement, make for the basis of the story
Acoustic Artillery: Songs of War - Public Diplomacy and International Communications: Thoughts and comments about public diplomacy, soft power and international communications by Gary Rawnsley - "In May 2012, Al-Jazeera broadcast a programme called Songs of War which discusses how music has been used as an instrument of psychological warfare, torture and as the soundtrack for Americans engaging in combat in Iraq (Songs of War). ... This is a very disturbing programme that contributes to our understanding of modern psychological warfare."
Internship Programme - cnpd.co.za: "The Department of International Relations and Cooperation is inviting applications for a twelve (12) month Internship Programme as a contribution towards Skills Development as well as giving unemployed graduates an opportunity to gain experience in various areas. Interns will be placed within the Department of International Relations and Cooperation at the Head Office in Pretoria. It is therefore required that candidates should have their own transport and accommodation. ... ♦Marketing/Public Diplomacy 12489/05."
What's the Afghanistan mission? The debate shouldn't be about how fast we withdraw troops or how many will stay. We should ask what we hope to accomplish and how we can do it - Doyle McManus, latimes.com: After 2014, when all U.S. combat troops are scheduled to be out of Afghanistan, the Obama administration still foresees two missions for a "residual force": training and advising Afghan forces, and waging counter-terrorist operations against Al Qaeda and its allies. It's difficult to imagine that those missions could be very effective if we leave behind only the 3,000 U.S. troops the White House has been said to favor. But at this point, deciding on a number is less important than deciding on a mission. We shouldn't ask American troops — or our Afghan allies — to risk their lives for a cause that can't be won.
Alleged terrorism ties foil some Afghan interpreters’ U.S. visa hopes - Kevin Sieff, washingtonpost.com: For years, Congress has considered amendments to an immigration policy that often brands innocent visa applicants as terrorists, an inadvertent byproduct of a post-9/11 homeland security initiative. But little progress has been made, U.S. officials say, and the government remains unable in many cases to discern the difference between allies and enemies. Immigration attorneys say the denial — which they and others who follow the issue refer to as the “terrorist bar” — is common for applications from countries across the world, particularly Afghanistan. In a country with a tumultuous 30-year history of coups, warring tribes and armed uprisings, some say attempts to cull terrorists are preventing U.S. allies from receiving visas they deserve.
Eastern Afghanistan residents wary of U.S. departure - Carmen Gentile, USA TODAY: Residents of Moqur district, long-plagued by the Taliban, are concerned Afghan security forces won't be able to provide security once the U.S. withdraws.
Image from article, with caption: Abdullah sell[s] apples in the Moqur market in Ghazni to feed his family. Months earlier, however, much of the market was shut down by the Taliban until U.S. and Afghan forces moved into the region.
PBS "Rise of the Drones" Documentary: Public Service or Propaganda? - thenewamerican.com: On January 23, PBS aired a much-hyped documentary on the increasing presence of drones. The program, part of the NOVA Science series, is called Rise of the Drones, and the promotional material produced by PBS said the program shows the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful as we see how a remotely-piloted drone strike looks and feels from inside the command center.
From cameras that can capture every detail of an entire city at a glance to swarming robots that can make decisions on their own to giant air frames that can stay aloft for days on end, drones are changing our relationship to war, surveillance, and each other. As the documentary began, PBS ran a list of benefactors who helped make the production possible. Included in that credit roll was Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is the nation’s second-largest defense contractor, earning billions annually in revenues from government contracts. In 2009, for example, 74 percent of Lockheed Martin’s total revenue came from military sales. Image from entry
The hard work ahead of John Kerry in Syria - David Ignatius, Washington Post: John Kerry’s first task as secretary of state should be to develop a coherent policy for Syria, where U.S. sanctions are proving counterproductive, the fighting around Damascus is deadlocked, the economy is in ruins and the country is headed toward a sectarian breakup. Rebel military sources argue that the most effective step the United States could take would be to train hundreds of elite commando forces, which would be well-armed and have the strong command-and-control that has generally been lacking in the Free Syrian Army. These disciplined paramilitary forces, like groups the CIA has trained in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, could shift the balance on the ground — away from the Assad forces but also away from the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra.
Another Reset With Russia in Obama’s Second Term - Peter Baker and Nicholas Kulish, New York Times: Four years ago, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. used an audience of world leaders at an annual security conference in Munich to propose a “reset” with Russia, the Obama administration’s first big foreign policy statement. But as Mr. Biden arrives in Germany for the same conference this weekend, the United States is quietly adopting a new approach to its old cold war rival: the cold shoulder.
Can John Kerry Fix the Administration's AIDS Budget Problem? - Matthew Kavanagh, Huffington Post: Secretary Kerry's first few days could save quite a few lives if he can fix the White House's AIDS budget problem.
Blowback via Hollywood: “Zero Dark Thirty” as an Anti-American Propaganda Film - Bob Scofield, CounterPunch: Such a movie would have been unthinkable during the Cold War. When the U.S. was competing with the Soviet Union and vying for the allegiance of other countries, especially among the non-aligned nations, an American movie would not have had the Americans acting as torturers. The movie will not play well in lot of other countries, and the problem will not always have to do with torture. There are some disconcerting scenes depicting the C.I.A.’s ability to listen to phone calls and watch buildings and people throughout the world. Despite all the controversy about torture, “Zero Dark Thirty” has the potential to scare the world-wide public with the image of the U.S. as a menacing big brother.
Emperor Obama and the Ministry Of Propaganda - Marisa Martin, wnd.com: “History is a set of lies agreed upon,” Napoleon Bonaparte famously said as the self-anointed emperor of France. Surely he was in a place to know, as he waged fiercely successful propaganda campaigns on several continents. Bonaparte created and wrote for two newspapers dedicated solely to his own promotion and glory. He adroitly manipulated the press by keeping unsavory personal details buried under heaps of red herring and frivolity. Artists such as David and Delarouche were commissioned to paint him swashbuckling and heroic: “Superman with a sash saves France!”
Napoleon’s exploits were glorified in theaters and novels and his face postered all over Paris, followed by swooning citizens and a fawning press. Two centuries later the White House is similarly inhabited by a man obsessed with public opinion and attempting a government made in his image. Streams of rhetoric gush from paid barkers and their collaborating machines (formerly known as the free press.) President Obama is variously compared to JFK, Lincoln, FDR or other titans of humanity with virtually no specific similarity or substance mentioned. Strike a pose and presume ignorance of the masses – and it’s been working. Image from entry
Propaganda, Red Hat-style - itwire.com: The best publicity comes from others, yet companies are increasingly trying to manipulate public opinion by being their own best friends and spreading their own, masqueraded word. Red Hat, the biggest and best-known Linux company, has been hard at work on this front for the last three years.
Deadly Spin: Propaganda Practices in the USA - John Scott G, enewschannels.com: Wendell Potter, formerly a propagandist for various avaricious
and venal corporations, ‘fesses up and reveals the prevarication, lying, deception, and obfuscation of the industries that pick your pocket every day. Image from entry
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Colin didn’t seek to deceive anyone. None of us did."
--Condoleezza Rice, cited in "Ten years later, still fighting over Powell’s WMD speech," Washington Post
(a) The U.S. ranks 1st in breast augmentation - Ranking America: According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2011 there were 284,351 breast augmentation surgeries performed in the
That is enough to make the
(b) Barney Bush [George W. Bush's dog], 2000-2013; via GWB on facebook
-- The striking plasticity of James Houston's nudes. Via DR on Facebook