--The Angriest Black Man in America; image from
Hard Diplomacy and Soft Coercion:
Russia's Influence Abroad [by James Sherr, Chatham House] - June 2013: "During the Cold War, Soviet influence and Leninist ideology were inseparable. But the collapse of both systems threw Russian influence into limbo.
In this book, James Sherr draws on his in-depth study of the country over many years to explain and analyse the factors that have brought Russian influence back into play. Today, Tsarist, Soviet and contemporary approaches combine in creative and discordant ways. The result is a policy based on a mixture of strategy, improvisation and habit. The novelty of this policy and its apparent successes pose possible dangers for
Russia’s neighbours, the West and Russia itself." Image from entry
In this book, James Sherr draws on his in-depth study of the country over many years to explain and analyse the factors that have brought Russian influence back into play. Today, Tsarist, Soviet and contemporary approaches combine in creative and discordant ways. The result is a policy based on a mixture of strategy, improvisation and habit. The novelty of this policy and its apparent successes pose possible dangers for
Bottom Line Diplomacy: Why Public Diplomacy Matters - Remarks, Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, June 18, 2013 - U.S. Department of State: "Bottom line diplomacy isn’t about reducing everything to how much it costs. It’s the opposite. It’s about expanding our perspective so we see – and reap – the long term benefits for our own citizens. In other words, bottom line diplomacy is the fusion of economic statecraft and public diplomacy. ... I will miss my work at the State Department where, on any given day, the breadth and depth of our capabilities are palpable. Secretary Kerry emerging from a bilateral meeting with a world leader.
Students from Libya, Tunisia, or Egypt, or religious scholars from Chad visiting my office [.] Community leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean meeting with Department officials to look for ways to improve the safety of all citizens in our hemisphere. Translators delivering our messages to Arab, Chinese, Urdu, Russian and other audiences. Regional bureaus communicating with embassies around the world. Experts communicating with critical audiences around the world via video feeds and CO.NX links. The message is clear: We are proactive and responsive in the fast-breaking, constantly evolving global conversation of the 21st century – and we are not stopping." Image from
Saudi American Educational and Cultural Initiative Grant - grants.gov: "The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now accepting proposals for a new grant called the Saudi-American Educational and Cultural Initiative Grants (SAECIG) and is for Saudi and U.S. non-governmental and community organizations, universities, entrepreneurs, cultural organizations or qualified individuals who propose to work together to develop or expand educational, professional and cultural exchange activities and promote dialogue and partnership between the people of the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The new grant will support innovative forms of collaboration to expand the diversity of activities in the U.S.-Saudi partnership and develop the next generation of leaders, especially among youth, young professionals and women, and to promote mutual understanding and respect through long-term partnership and cooperation between our two countries. ... Estimated Total Program Funding: $250,000." Image from
How to identify CIA limited hangout op? - Webster Griffin Tarpley, presstv.ir: "The operations of secret intelligence agencies aiming at the manipulation of public opinion generally involve a combination of cynical deception with the pathetic gullibility of the targeted populations. There is ample reason to believe that the case of Edward Joseph Snowden fits into this pattern. We are likely dealing here with a limited hangout operation, in which carefully selected and falsified documents and other materials are deliberately revealed by an insider who pretends to be a fugitive rebelling against the excesses of some oppressive or dangerous government agency. But the revelations turn out to have been prepared with a view to shaping the public consciousness in a way which is advantageous to the intelligence agency involved.
At the same time, gullible young people can be duped into supporting a personality cult of the leaker, more commonly referred to as a 'whistleblower.' A further variation on the theme can be the attempt of the sponsoring intelligence agency to introduce their chosen conduit, now posing as a defector, into the intelligence apparatus of a targeted foreign government. In this case, the leaker or whistleblower attains the status of a triple agent. ... Another suspicious and tell-tale endorsement for Snowden comes from the former State Department public diplomacy asset Norman Solomon. Interviewed on RT, Solomon warmly embraced the Snowden Project and assured his viewers that the NSA material dished up by the Hong Kong defector used reliable and authentic. Solomon was notorious ten years ago as a determined enemy of 9/11 truth, acting as a border guard in favor of the Bush administration/neocon theory of terrorism." Image from
Samantha Power: The Quintessential ‘Blame America First’-er - allfiredupmedia.com: "Samantha Power’s alarming transnationalism is also expressed in her enthusiasm for the
John Paul Jones: American Cossack - Emma Hutchins, Public Diplomacy Intern, usembassykyiv.wordpress.com: "Many American students are familiar with the legendary U.S. Naval Officer John Paul Jones, whose daring bravery during the American Revolution has often captured the attention of textbooks and the imaginations of schoolchildren. However, beyond his role as one of the 'Fathers of the United States Navy,' John Paul Jones was involved in a number of international naval battles, including the Battle of Liman, where he fought with the Russian Imperial Navy alongside Ukrainian Cossacks against an Ottoman fleet.
On June 16-17, U.S. Ambassador John F. Tefft visited Ochakiv and Kherson, respectively, to commemorate the 225th anniversary of John Paul Jones’s induction into the Cossack Brotherhood after the battle." Image from entry
FBI names former USC professor to list of most wanted fugitives: Walter Lee Williams faces charges of sexual exploitation of children abroad, the agency says. He taught anthropology, gender studies and history - "The author and
Fulbright Award winner received several accolades for his work, including the USC General Education Outstanding Teacher Award in 2006. He was also recognized for his work with the gay and lesbian community." Image from article, with caption: Former USC professor Walter Lee Williams faces charges of sexual exploitation of children overseas.
Cultural diplomacy's 'strange truths': With few books and fewer patrons, Turkmen library surprises UI writers - Christopher Merrill, uiowa.edu: "The beauty of cultural diplomacy: we learn strange truths; dispel stereotypes and correct misimpressions; meet one another on common ground, this time in a library. ... Christopher Merrill, director of the UI International Writing Program, traveled with fellow writers to
Organized each spring in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, the tours are designed to introduce American writers to a country or region with a relatively sparse history of literary liaisons with the United States and strengthen ties between creative communities.Turkmenistan hosts only 7,000 tourists a year, making it one of the world’s least visited places (behind even Afghanistan and North Korea)." Merrill image from entry
Voice of America English website posts a one-sided report on Turkey - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com: "The U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) English news website has posted Sunday a one-sided and incomplete report on the protests in Turkey and the Turkish government’s violent response to these protests. The VOA English report failed to note that pro-government rallies of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters are carefully staged with party loyalist being bussed to a gathering point while peaceful anti-government protesters face tear gas and water cannons.
The report possibly also overestimated the number of pro-government rally participants and had very little information about much larger spontaneous anti-government demonstrations, their violent suppression by the police, and the specific issues behind the protests. This kind of superficial reporting angers pro-democracy protesters and damages U.S. public diplomacy. Turkish protesters are already angry with the local mainstream Turkish media for practicing self-censorship. It appears that VOA English service has no reporter on the ground in Turkey. The Voice of America English Central Newsroom has been drastically scaled down in recent years by officials of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) who have been expanding the bureaucracy and technologies at the expense of programs and journalistic positions. IBB managers have been repeatedly rated in the official Office of Personnel M anagement (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys as being some of the worst in the federal government." Image from article, with caption: VOA English website screen shot.
American and Iranian Relations After Ahmedinejad - Eric M. Tope, securityobserver.org: "The primary focus of this article is Iran’s interest in nuclear research for military application, however it is noteworthy that many have concluded Iran’s nuclear activities are at least partially motivated by energy concerns. As much as 80% of Iran’s foreign currency is derived from oil exports and in one observer’s words, 'Due to the depletion of its oil resources and the desire to remain a strategic oil and gas exporter, Iran feels an urgent need to develop nuclear energy. The current tensions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program could ease if Tehran were to adopt a three-pronged strategy: normalizing its nuclear file through greater cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); carrying out cost/benefit analyses for its nuclear industry; and using public diplomacy more effectively to present its intentions and performance. See: Abbas Maleki, 'Iran’s Islamic Revolution and its Future,'Payvand News, 2, Nov. 2009.'"
Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher - Alpher, peacenow.org: "[T]he impending exit of outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad deprives Israel of an extraordinary public diplomacy tool: it's much easier to direct international anger
and suspicion at a Holocaust denier and a primitive loudmouth. Rowhani with his six languages and cosmopolitanism will make life harder for Netanyahu. But he might just make life easier for all of us. Let's wait, guardedly, and see." Rowhani image from entry
He’s No ‘Moderate’: Iran picks a new leader to read from the same script. - Lee Smith, Weekly Standard: "Aside from the fact that Iran’s English-language television station Press TV calls him a moderate, what exactly, in the eyes of the West, makes him one? After all, former president Muhammad Khatami labeled his public diplomacy campaign a 'dialogue of civilizations,' which played right into Western ideas of tolerance and moderation. But Rouhani has nothing similar in his past."
Rouhani Victory Pushes Back Israeli Strike On Iran Another Year - jewsnews.co.il: "Iran’s mullahs may have rigged last Friday’s presidential election in order to present a moderate face to the world. The goal? To engage in further stalling tactics (otherwise known as 'diplomacy') and continue to build its nuclear program. This serves Iran’s purposes, but it also aids Western leaders, who have no real will to stop the Iranian nuclear program. ... So as Iran advances its program to build a nuclear bomb, Western nations will no doubt engage in public diplomacy. And Israel will bide its time, waiting for the right moment to strike."
Canada’s brave new world of digital diplomacy: Is Canada's digital outreach to Iranians diplomacy, propaganda or subversion? - Natalie Brende, thestar.com: "The official position from Ottawa is that while bilateral relations between the Canadian and Iranian governments are suspended, relations between Canada and the Iranian people continue unabated. For that reason, our government is at pains to emphasize that this digital outreach to Iranian citizens is part of the high and honourable practice of diplomacy. 'Direct diplomacy,' 'digital diplomacy' or 'public diplomacy' have all been labels used for it. One Foreign Affairs diplomat tweeted proudly of the 'new model of diplomacy' shown in the venture, while another insisted it was just another tool in the 21st-centurey [sic] diplomatic tool box.
However, a Globe and Mail article last week called the experiment 'anti-diplomacy,' and quoted Munk School director Janice Stein drawing a distinction between this project and the 'diplomatic relationship' with Iran being pursued by other nations. Why do these nuances of naming matter? Because the venture opens the door to a world of potential campaigns by governments to forge digital contacts with citizens of other countries for political ends. No one can predict what directions those will take in years ahead. If and when such outreach is ever conducted by a hostile foreign government against Canadians, it won’t be labelled diplomacy but something much less high-toned, such as propaganda or subversion. ... Imagine a rising Asian superpower eager to show Westerners that their governments’ economic system and freedoms are fallible. Imagine it pulling off a massive manipulation of our online shopping or banking or government service accounts, with the aim of letting Canadians ‘assert their freedoms’ against companies, banks or government. And imagine that country doing so under the label of ‘public diplomacy’ or ‘digital diplomacy’—as a way of reaching out to us in Canada, over the protests of our government, in order to sway our sympathies and political energies in a direction favorable to its own interests. The scenario may sound far-fetched, but it’s likely to happen some day in some form. ... We must recognize ... that Canada’s venture is opening up a brave new world of diplomacy that will lead in unforeseeable directions – potentially, one day, to our own government’s danger and dismay." Image from
Political Lying and Syria - Karl Naylor, karl-naylor.blogspot.com: "The only conclusion to be drawn from William Hague's consistent 'public diplomacy', on the British government being able to safely supply the 'right rebels' with weapons that won't fall into the 'wrong' hands, is that he is either divorced from reality or is willingly taking colossal risks."
A Pain in the Butt - myrightword.blogspot.com: "Naftali Bennett was a guest speaker at the Yesha Council annual Public Diplomacy conference: Here is Haaretz: [‘]Idea of a two-state solution has reached 'dead end,' Bennett says [.]Economy minister says
What he actually said [and now, here's the video, in Hebrew] was that many ask 'what can be done to solve the conflict? and there are some conflicts that are nigh impossible, if at all to solve. but still people press us Israelis and in this situation one has to make a choice'." Image from
China, Japan, South Korea Trilateral Cooperation: Implications for Northeast Asian Politics and Order - Andrew Yeo, isn.ethz.ch: "Despite historical animosities and well-documented territorial disputes, trilateral cooperation
between Northeast Asia’s dominant states is gaining momentum. The cooperation ... will complement existing US bilateral ties rather than challenge them. ... Trilateral cooperation took another step toward institutionalization at the 2010 meeting when South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak proposed establishing a secretariat for trilateral cooperation. In addition to providing administrative support and secretarial services for various trilateral consultative mechanisms, the secretariat would explore new agendas for cooperation and actively engage in public diplomacy. The new Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) opened in Seoul on September 2011." Image from
Cash crunch hits cultural diplomacy - Devirupa Mitra, newindianexpress.com: The country’s primary cultural diplomacy agency is suffering from a funds crunch and faces the ignominy of scaling down events at a prestigious European fete, which focuses on India, even as it puts on hold expansion plans for Indian cultural centres abroad. 'The Indian Council for Cultural Relations is in danger of closing down activities if it does not get additional funds,' ICCR Director General Suresh Goel told Express. The ICCR, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), has been India’s primary instrument for cultural diplomacy since 1950. But, for the last couple of years, it has seen funds trim drastically. Earlier this year, the ICCR officials got a nasty shock when the Union Budget did not allocate funds for the Europalia Festival 2013, which focuses on India. Europalia is a biennial international arts festival in Brussels, that invites a single country and showcases its cultural heritage. ... Not surprisingly, ambitious plans to open 10 new cultural centres abroad have been put on hold. 'We can’t pay for existing centres, so it will be difficult to consider opening new centres now,' the official said. Indian cultural centres abroad have already been told to cut down on organising events and the ICCR has also reduced the number of cultural troupes being sent abroad."
Book Review : A record of India-Pakistan interactions [Book Review: India-Pakistan Relations, 1947-2007: A Documentary Study Author: Avtar Singh Bhasin Publisher: New Delhi: Geetika Publishers; 2012] -- Ishtiaq Ahmed, dailytimes.com.pk: "The publication of a massive 9062-page, 10-volume work, India-Pakistan Relations, 1947-2007: A Documentary Study by Avtar Singh Bhasin, who retired after a three-decade long career in the Indian External Ministry, is a work of outstanding merit produced with a passion and devotion that would elicit respect and admiration from anyone who has worked with the tiresome and frustrating task of sifting, selecting, categorisation and classification of documents.
States enjoy almost a monopoly over the maintenance of the written record of events, past and present, and without such primary sources the study of politics and history is handicapped. The author has brought forward reports, including top secret intelligence ones, written by Indian high commissioners in Pakistan. The documentary study has been conducted in cooperation with the Public Diplomacy Division of the Indian External Ministry. When states begin to make public classified documents, it is indicative of growing confidence and transparency." Image from entry
Sri Lanka: Unified control of foreign and national security policy - Daya Gamage - Asian Tribune: "Sri Lanka's defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa's address at the Kotelawala Defense University on his nation's 'National Security Concerns' delivered 13 June has raised a significant issue: the need for combined control of Sri Lanka's foreign and national security policy at a single center. Or under a single authority. ... The secretary is well aware that the areas of foreign interference and developments overseas are not within the purview of his portfolio, nevertheless his references to global activities of secessionist Tamil Diaspora underscoring their lobbying maneuvers over INGOs and foreign policymakers/decision makers connect well to domestic national security issues and concerns.
Addressing those external concerns is the sole responsibility of the ministry of external affairs, and mishandling of those issues such as the failure of public diplomacy and strategic communication allowing secessionist Tamil Diaspora movements to define Sri Lanka complicates the 'unified, single framework' that Secretary Rajapaksa is advocating with the integration of the nation's 'defense, law and order, foreign policy and economic policy'. ... Using public diplomacy and strategic communication to bring an end to the cohabitation between the secessionist Tamil Diaspora elements and western policymakers and lawmakers has become an urgent need when Mr. Rajapaksa, in his address, connected that unfulfilled task to an imminent threat to Sri Lanka's national security. The failure of devising a protracted overseas public diplomacy campaign immediately after the demise of the LTTE to bring Western lawmakers and policy wonks in line with Sri Lanka's post-war rebuilding/rehabilitation efforts gave rise to secessionist elements strategically maneuvering to influence the West. Secretary Rajapaksa very eloquently placed facts about these Global eelamist groups who had a free ride in the name of human rights unchecked by those who handled external affairs for Sri Lanka." Image from article, with caption: Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressing Kotelawala Defense University June 13
Hongqi H7 as official vehicle for foreign minister - china.org.cn: "Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi now rides a Chinese made car, the official microblog of the public diplomacy office of the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday. The official has chosen to use the Hongqi H7 sedan as his official vehicle, a move unusual for Chinese diplomats who normally drive foreign cars.
The Hongqi H7 sedan was launched in China on May 30 this year, competing head-to-head with foreign manufacturers such as Audi, and Mercedes in the luxury car market. China FAW Group Corporation took four years to produce the Hongqi H7, a project costing over 5.2 billion yuan (about 850million US dollars), chinanews.com reports. Hongqi is China's first domestically produced sedan. The make was the official car for top leaders including Chairman Mao Zedong, and state guests since the 1960s." Hongqi H7 sedan image from entry
Precious Afghanistan heritage reclaimed: A Melbourne exhibition of Afghan treasures is a remarkable affirmation of a troubled land's ancient culture and a tribute to the people who saved them - Sue Green,
scmp.com: "Afghanistan – once a vital trading hub on the legendary Silk Road, a land Venetian explorer Marco Polo wrote of as rich with gold and gems – now stars on the television news as a scene of destruction. But it is also the subject of an extensive exhibition at the Melbourne Museum, one featuring golden artefacts so priceless the Australian government is paying the insurance
bill and its value is a well-kept secret. It is a superbly presented exhibition, curated by a man with his own astonishing story to tell about the rediscovery of these treasures: archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert, a National Geographic Fellow. The collection is showcased in an innovative display created in Melbourne. ... Staging the exhibition drew strong federal government support because of 'the opportunity for people in Australia to see a different side of Afghanistan but also in terms of public diplomacy between this country and Afghanistan with Australia’s participation in the war and reconstruction efforts there', Greene [the museum’s chief executive Patrick Greene] says. Image from article, with caption: an enamelled glass beaker
Garden party guests savor tastes of Italy [scroll down link for item] - Mike Peters, China Daily: Argentina's ambassador Gustavo Martino and Xie Yuan, vice-president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, introduced Jia Lin and Peng Danyang
as the winners of the first China Argentine Tango Championship earlier this month at the Public Diplomacy and Culture Exchange Center. The duo won tickets to travel to Buenos Aires in August to participate in the international competition Tango Buenos Aires Mundial 2013.
New Book on French Scientific and Cultural Diplomacy…in English - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "I get quite a lot of hits on the blog from people searching for material on France so I’m pleased to be able to draw your attention to a new publication from Liverpool University Press, French Scientific and Cultural Diplomacy by Philippe Lane. ‘Lane is Professor of French Linguistics at Rouen University and is currently seconded to the French Foreign Ministry as Cultural Counsellor to the French Embassy in Jordan.’ This was originally published in French as Présence française dans le monde: L’action culturelle et scientifique (I’ve no idea why cultural and scientific have changed places as they cross the channel) [.] Before you rush over to Amazon to buy a copy a word of warning. Rather than an academic study this is in the vein of an official discussion; it has forewords by Foreign Minister and the head of the Institute [sic] Française. It deals with the recent changes in the organization of French cultural diplomacy such as the creation of the Institute Française. What it doesn’t do is put the changes in a historical or comparative context or really explain or justify the underpinning assumptions."
Why projecting soft power is so hard to do - Nicholas J. Cull, russia-direct.org: "The theory of soft power, as articulated by Joseph Nye, rests on the notion that admirable culture and attractive values can be harnessed to the ends of foreign policy as power. His book 'Soft Power' (2004) was subtitled 'The Means to Success in World Politics.' The problem is that the quest for success is not itself value neutral: a nation that is too obvious in the way it uses soft power to advance its own ends can end up repelling rather than attracting. ... Countries too eager to embrace soft power can come off like the stereotypical Don Juan, whose powers of attraction eventually taught women to be wary. Others, overconfident in their positive qualities, choose the wrong aspect to emphasize and end up the butt of jokes. In the context of soft power, this mockery is leveled against countries whose public diplomacy degenerates into propaganda. A further problem stems from a divergence in tastes in what is considered attractive. Soft power – like beauty – is in the eye of the beholder. The same tactics don’t work in every context. For example, the soft power of the United States is rooted in an identification of its culture with the sovereignty of the individual; in contrast, Russia presents itself as guardian of the principle of the sovereignty of the nation-state. ... In the final analysis, soft power lies in the allure one person feels for another. And this is why the most enduring soft power strategies have been those founded on people-to-people exchanges. Despite all the efforts of a state government to control its image through a soft power campaign, in the end it comes down to winning the hearts and minds of individuals – something that cannot be ordered from the top down." See also.
W5: Real-Time Diplomacy Challenges (And Benefits) - Kim Starfield, AU Public Diplomacy Group 4: "As diplomats continue to do their work and strategize, the role of the public has been allowed to expand through real-time media outlets, and diplomats therefore must bring the public into their work, making 'public diplomacy' more important than ever."
Tulsa Global Alliance Meeting Strengthens International Communication - ktul.com: "Hundreds gathered at the Tulsa Global Alliance to strengthen international communication. Dr. Jami Fullerton is a professor at Oklahoma State University and was the keynote speaker of Monday's "Propaganda, Promotion or Public Diplomacy? How U.S. Government Sponsored Global Media Campaigns Change Attitudes Toward America" speech. Topics included how the government influences audiences abroad and also how other nations form opinions of America. 'It's important
to come together and talk about these issues,' Dr. Fullerton says. 'The U.S., and even Tulsa, is part of a bigger community, and it's important to us to reach out to our global neighbors and encourage understanding, and, hopefully, we will get along better.' Tulsa Global Alliance's goal is hosting international visitors and improving Tulsa's relationships with other cities around the nation. Dr. Fullerton's current research program is focused on mediated public diplomacy efforts since 9/11." Image from entry
This summer discover diplomacy - Anca Ştefana Ciolacu, blogunteer.ro: During the period 25 to 31 July , the UN Youth Association of Romania will organize the third edition of the Summer School on Diplomacy . Event " Summer School - New Perspectives on Diplomacy "will bring together 50 students from home and abroad and will be held in institutions such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Faculty of Law, University of Bucharest. ... theoretical module will include the following seminars: What do we mean by Diplomacy? Traditional and Modern Diplomacy Diplomacy Public Diplomacy Cultural Diplomacy."
Amplifying Government: The Role of the News Media in Diplomacy - Katherine Brown, cgcsblog.asc.upenn.edu: "I argue ... that the U.S.’s narrative-setting power is limited among global publics– especially in countries where U.S. foreign policy has a serious impact. ... Katherine Brown is a Ph.D. Candidate in Communications at Columbia University and an Instructor at their School of International and Public Affairs. Her research examines the interplay
of news media and international relations, and public diplomacy policy. Professionally, Katherine’s served on the editorial staff for Bloomberg News; as a Professional Staff Member at the Committee on Foreign Affairs at the U.S. House of Representatives; as a Communications Adviser at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul; and as an assistant to the U.S. National Security Adviser. She has an M.A. and M.Phil. in Communications from Columbia." Image from
June 16th - life through my eyes From Africa to New Beginnings - tiatour2011.wordpress.com: "So I want to end this blog post with a few things that I have been blessed with this year: A closer family, the best little brother, the bestest friends, Sabrina and Johanna Rinaldi, Public Diplomacy Family, Syracuse in the Final Four, 3.9GPA, Believers Chapel, SUPRA, VERA house, Kenya, Rick Hull taking my moms dogs, fellow Patriots fans, good health, a surprise stop in Egypt, Beth’s family, best friend visits, thanksgiving football, country music, answered prayers and a knowledge that one day I will see her again."
U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou : Vacancy Announcement # 13/051t - lefaso.net: "The U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso is seeking individuals for the position of Information Assistant in the Public Diplomacy Section."
Obama’s German Storm - Roger Cohen, New York Times: Hillary Clinton made an open and secure Internet supporting freedom around the world a cornerstone of her tenure as secretary of state. She called it the “21st century statecraft” agenda.
It was an important program. Little survives of it, however, if its primary supporter — the United States — turns out to be the main proponent of mass global surveillance. No wonder the Chinese and Russians are reveling: You see, we told you so! See also John Brown, "How does USG internet snooping jibe with 'internet freedom'?" Notes and Essays (June 9). Image from
Put the Spies Back Under One Roof - Tim Shorrock, New York Times: Congress must act now to re-establish a government-run intelligence service operating with proper oversight. The first step is to appoint an independent review board — with no contractors on it — to decide where the line for government work should be drawn. The best response to the Snowden affair is to reduce the size of our private intelligence army and make contract spying a thing of the past. Our democracy depends on it. See also John Brown, "Salaries, Spooks, and Ambassadors," Notes and Essays (June 11)
To Get a Truce, Be Ready to Escalate - Wesley K. Clark, New York Times: If Mr. Obama can convince Iran that he is serious, and is ready to back up his new promise of aid with additional forces, Iran and Russia will know the risks: Mr. Assad could lose his regime, and most likely his life.
A Promising Moment in Iran - Editorial, New York Times: The election of Hassan Rowhani as Iran’s next president creates an opportunity to move forward on a negotiated agreement to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program and to begin to repair three decades of hostility with the United States.
Iran’s election hints anew at the desire for change - Editorial, Washington Post: The election demonstrated that a majority of Iranians continues to yearn for a freer society and reject the reactionary policies of Mr. Khamenei and his clique of hard-line clerics. If Mr. Rouhani is not allowed to take steps to answer those aspirations, both he and the regime could face another popular challenge.
Did sanctions shape the Iranian election? - Mehdi Khalaji, Washington Post: One should not forget that Rouhani’s justification for negotiations during the campaign was to relieve the pressure without giving up the program. This means that while the West should approach negotiations with cautious optimism, the West has to remain insistent on Iran having only a peaceful nuclear program that is verifiably far from a nuclear weapons capability.
A 'Pragmatic' Mullah: Iran's new president Hassan Rohani is no moderate - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: Now the West is supposed to be grateful that Mr. Ahmadinejad's scowling face will be replaced by Mr. Rohani's smiling one—a bad-cop, good-cop routine that Iran has played before.
Western concessions will no doubt follow if Mr. Rohani can convince his boss, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to play along. It shouldn't be a hard sell: Iran is now just a head-fake away from becoming a nuclear state and Mr. Khamenei has shown he's not averse to pragmatism when it suits him. Image from
Obama, Syria and the Aspin Doctrine: The ex-secretary of Defense noted a slope isn't slippery if you're willing to walk away - Doyle McManus, latimes.com: Obama's decision last week to send weapons and ammunition to the rebels fighting Bashar Assad's regime in Syria won't transform the situation on the ground. The rebels may well suffer more reverses in coming weeks. But with similar aid from Britain, France and other countries, the U.S help could speed the process of turning the rebels into a more effective army — one the Assad regime won't be able to destroy. Increased aid to the rebels doesn't need to be a slippery slope — as long as the president remembers to keep his footing.
Jordan's Web policy mistake: The last thing King Abdullah II needs is to associate his traditionally enlightened monarchy with the practices of his repressive neighbors - David Schenker, latimes.com: This month, Jordan blocked local access to about 300 domestic websites. The Obama administration has not commented on the blocking. No doubt Washington is not pleased. But given the broad range of threats to Jordanian stability, the curtailing of civil liberties ranks fairly low. However, it is all but certain that the administration is quietly conveying its concerns to the palace.
Tomgram: Nick Turse, Blowback Central - TomDispatch: As the war in Afghanistan -- a conflict born of blowback -- winds down, there will be greater incentive and opportunity to project U.S. military power in Africa. However, even a cursory reading of recent history suggests that this impulse is unlikely to achieve U.S. goals. While correlation doesn’t equal causation, there is ample evidence to suggest the United States has facilitated a terror diaspora, imperiling nations and endangering peoples across Africa. In the wake of 9/11, Pentagon officials were hard-pressed to show evidence of a major African terror threat. Today, the continent is thick with militant groups that are increasingly crossing borders, sowing insecurity, and throwing the limits of U.S. power into broad relief. After 10 years of U.S. operations to promote stability by military means, the results have been the opposite. Africa has become blowback central.
Immigration reform can prove U.S. strength and security - Robert Kagan, Washington Post: Many people around the world, and many Americans, have doubts that we can address any of the big problems facing our nation.Immigration reform is a good place to start proving them wrong.
State Department Sleaze Accumulates without Real Response - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Attempted suicide after a harsh interrogation? Hiring armed guys with criminal backgrounds? Senior officials having sex with subordinates, prostitutes and minors?
Investigations into all of the above covered up or halted? That’s the news, not from Gitmo or some banana republic, but from your U.S. Department of State. Better get out the hand sanitizer, this blog post gets filthy fast. Image from entry. See also
Secretary Kerry. . . . Please Fix It . . . Now - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: How many more embarrassing reports revealing the underside of the State Department need to leak to the media before the new Secretary does something about cleaning up the administrative swamp into which this once venerable institution has sunk.
Tracking Edward Snowden, from a Maryland classroom to a Hong Kong hotel - Carol D. Leonnig, Jenna Johnson and Marc Fisher, Washington Post: Snowden wrote about using the Foreign Service as a path to success: “It’s an amazing deal if you can swing it. I’m not talking Foreign Service Officer, either, just standard IT specialist positions. They pay for your (ridiculously nice) housing and since you’ll be posted overseas, the first ~$80k you make will be tax-free.”
FY1929: Wife Gets One Year Salary of Deceased Husband, the Late U.S. Consul in Panama – $4,500 - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: The total Diplomatic and Consular funds appropriated by Congress in 1929 was $88,375. That’s $1,201,750.12 in today’s money. Not even enough to run the current US Mission in Baghdad for a month.
The 'Man of Steel' is just more propaganda from a protected racket - Max Keiser, Russia Today: The movie industry itself; the actors, the directors, and writers are all protected by powerful unions.
This absurdity is writ large with gasbags like FoxNews’ Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh railing against unions even though they are in unions themselves. Additionally, the movie industry - the propaganda arm of America’s Pentagon - is protected by powerful lobbyists like the MPAA. Image from article, with caption: The 'Man of Steel' poster photo
See USSR: two sides of Soviet Union propaganda - Anna Richardson Taylor, creativereview.co.uk: New gallery GRAD in London stands for Gallery for Russian Arts and Design, and in keeping with its aim of presenting this art from a refreshingly new angle, its inaugural exhibition presents a fascinating insight into Soviet Union propaganda.
The exhibition of posters, magazines and textile designs is jointly curated by GRAD and Irina Nikiforova, chief of the department of European and American Art 19-20th Century at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. It shows the external proganda by the Soviet Union aimed at selling an attractive vision of the USSR to the tourists of western Europe and America in the late 1920s and 30s.
A series of posters, commissioned in the 1930s by Intourist (the organisation responsible for foreign tourism in the Soviet Union), enticed the West with stunning visions of the country, advertising such pursuits as hunting and adventurous car journeys. See USSR brings some of them together for the first time after extensive research into the relatively short time-span of this particular approach to propaganda. "Through Intourist's posters you really see this country that never existed," says curator and director of the gallery Elena Sudakova. "They used this European language, this very glamorous language. They are trying to attract European and American tourists, by means of the language that was familiar to them." Top image from entry, with caption: Intourist poster by Aleksandr Zhitomirsky, 1939; other mage from entry, with caption: The Crimea by Sergey Sakharov, 1935
Obama ancestor monument knocked down - David Jackson, USA Today: Police in Georgia are investigating possible vandalism of a monument to an ancestor of first lady Michelle Obama. The monument in Rex, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, is dedicated to Mrs. Obama's great-great-great-grandmother, born into slavery in the mid-1800s. From the Associated Press: "Clayton County Commissioner Sonna Singleton tells WSB-TV that a stone monument
to Michelle Obama's great-great-great-grandmother, Melvinia Shields, was pushed over and will need to be inspected for cracks. The report was aired Monday. ..."Officials say the monument was installed about a year ago, and the county commission organized a celebration later this month to recognize Shields' connection to the White House. "It wasn't immediately clear when the monument was toppled." Image from entry
Nude Kim Kardashian statue unveiled in L.A. - Ann Oldenburg, USA Today: Her name is "L.A. Fertility." She's artist Daniel Edwards' sculpture tribute to Kim Kardashian's expectant motherhood shape. The life-size nude statue
was unveiled at the
MORE QUOTATIONS FOR THE DAY
"I woke this morning with a new name."
--Former Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden, referring in 2010 to his gaming avatar,"Wolfking. Wolfking Awesomefox."
“You have not lived until you’ve rolled over to post-coital Krispy Kremes. That’s what being an American is all about.”
--Edward Snowden; image from
"At a party a few years ago, a young reporter bounded over to my cluster of social nodders and, with the breathlessness of a born tweeter, chirped: 'What’s the new hot thing?!'
Without disturbing my mascara, I replied: 'Anonymity.'
She looked befuddled.
I continued: 'To be Googled and to have nothing turn up. That’s hot.'
Too late, alas, even then.
In these post-Snowden days, the notion of anonymity is ludicrous."
--Kathleen Parker, "Googled to tears," Washington Post
Caption to image, via DR on Facebook: Artist Nathan Sawaya opens the "largest LEGO solo show ever" tomorrow in New York.
ONE MORE IMAGE
Anti-Pervert Hairy Stockings For Girls In Summertime; via FW on Facebook