"It's since Bush we've been doing this. We're getting better at it."
--Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), on the federal government amassing a database for at least seven years containing details on virtually every telephone call made within the United States or between this country and telephones abroad; image from
Episode 6: PJ Crowley, Former State Department Spokesperson - Mark Leon Goldberg, "On the podcast this week is PJ Crowley, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. Mark and PJ talk about the role of public diplomacy in US foreign policy, PJ’s long career in the Air Force, and how speaking out against the treatment of accused Wiki-leaker Bradley Manning marked the end of his career in public service."
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN THE NEWS
Public Diplomacy's Role at Various Stages of Conflict Resolution - Remarks, Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, The Stimson Center, Washington, DC, June 6, 2013 - U.S. Department of State: "Conflict and violent extremism thrive on a lack of alternatives and on cynical exploitation. Public diplomacy is about finding a dynamic linkage between our civilian and military assets so that we can deepen and expand our engagement. When we do that, we can build viable alternatives to cynicism and conflict. We can set the foundations for sustainable peace."
U.S. Soft Power and the Rebalance: Public Diplomacy in New Zealand and Indonesia - Jack Georgieff, cogitasia.com: "Perceptions across the Indo-Pacific are of a United States that has rhetorically given lip service to the so called ‘rebalance’ but it is just that: lip service. With the reality of budget cuts looming, it gives rise to a perception that the military and diplomatic U.S. muscle needed for the rebalance will simply not be maintained. Yet there are tangible examples of soft power in action, particularly as a form of public diplomacy. It engages partners in the parts of Oceania and Southeast Asia that may otherwise be ambivalent to stronger relations with the United States. The cases of New Zealand and Indonesia illustrate the success of such soft power and public diplomacy engagement. ...
Public diplomacy remains a critical yet underutilized facet of the U.S. rebalance to Asia. ... U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner has played a major role in expanding the bilateral relationship to a variety of stakeholders in New Zealand society: young people and ethnic minorities most notably. He is an avid user of social media and has used that platform to bring the
John Ferguson spreads goodwill for America through the power of music: "Pianist John Ferguson founded American Voices, a nonprofit whose mission is to help aspiring young artists around the world pursue their interest in American jazz, Broadway, break dancing, and classical music - Tibor Krausz, csmonitor.com: "Ferguson also works with US embassies across the developing world to help stage jazz festivals, offer training (as well as musical scores and instruments, if needed) to struggling youth orchestras, and engage in 'hiplomacy' by flying in American teachers to coach youngsters from Guatemala to Sudan in hip-hop and break dancing as a form of artistic self-expression.
He also directs the American Music Abroad concert series for the US State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which has just sent the Boston-based bluegrass band Della Mae on a tour of Central Asia, including Islamabad, Pakistan. Similar tours by US jazz quartets, folk bands, and gospel choirs are in the works for other poor nations." Image from article, with caption: John Ferguson (c.) poses with a class at the YES Academy in Bangkok, Thailand, during a week-long workshop in American musical genres.
What the Scandals Reveal: The Obama administration’s childish worldview leads directly to the abuse of power - Mario Loyola, National Review online: "Government becomes [dangerous] when leaders see themselves as infallible and their opponents as intrinsically corrupt. ... [A] predictable product of that worldview ... may be said of the Benghazi fiasco. ... Susan Rice, head of the U.S. mission to the United Nations, was scheduled to make the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to highlight her work the U.N. General Assembly’s plenary debates, scheduled for that week, and instead was forced to talk about the attacks in Libya and Egypt. She hewed closely to the then-current version of the official talking points, which had gone through a dozen revisions in the interagency process, and which omitted any mention of al-Qaeda and stressed that the attacks occurred during what appeared to be spontaneous demonstrations. ... [T]he outrageous abuse of power that was obvious from the start, namely the administration’s decision to blame the attacks [on the U.S. mission in Benghazi] on a short video that portrayed Mohammed in an unfavorable light. From one end to the other, administration officials condemned the 'disgusting' video. The president himself went before the United Nations to berate those who would offend 'the prophet of Islam,' though he was apparently unfazed by a display of the heinous Piss Christ, a photograph of a crucifix floating in urine, hanging at the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery a few blocks from the U.N. Henry Kissinger put his finger on the real problem here: These statements by senior officials imply that the U.S. government will now engage in preventive suppression of free speech as part of its public diplomacy."
Can Pakistan Stop Drone Attacks? - Haider Mehdi, opinion-maker.org: " [T]he incoming Pakistani Prime Minister has strongly condemned the Obama Administration’s recent drone attack that killed an important Taliban leader in Pakistan: 'The drone attack was not only a violation of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity but an action that has been declared a violation of international law and the UN charter,' said Mian Nawaz Sharif. Well done, Prime Minister – but a part of your statement is alarming: 'Obama…claimed to exercise care and caution while using this technology.' Does this statement mean a drone strike is justified when some kind of 'care and caution' is applied? What does 'care and caution' exactly mean in the context of an overall Pakistani strategic and policy approach to drone attacks on Pakistan’s territory and its citizens? Is the incoming Prime Minister’s above-mentioned statement for public consumption and a part of public diplomacy? Can the PM’s statement restore this nation’s public confidence in the incoming government’s seriousness and resolve in stopping drone attacks? It is imperative to understand the political behavior of all players involved in a conflict situation. Let us admit some basic facts: The US is a deadly adversary."
Summary - Latin America Goes Global: Americas Quarterly [AQ] Spring 2013 Launch - Caitlin Watson, as-coa.org: "'Increased trade and connectivity also influence Latin Americans’ perceptions of the United States. Andy Baker, author of the article 'Gringo Stay Here!' in the new issue of AQ, challenged the perception that Latin Americans dislike the United States. In fact, Baker argued that Latin Americans’ views of the United States are overwhelmingly positive, due in large part to trade relations. He noted that countries in Latin America with a higher volume of trade with the United States and a greater number of U.S.-bound migrants have the most positive attitudes toward the United States. As a result, Baker argued, trade agreements like the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] and progressive immigration policies become a form of public diplomacy that generates goodwill across borders."
Human Rights Watch Asks Obama To Back Rights Reforms At California Summit - Tendar Tsering, hngn.com: "'Xi Jinping's rhetoric suggests he and the government is feeling some heat of public pressure for change, yet the central leadership appears to have ruled out any fundamental reforms,' said Sophie Richardson,
New summit takes leaders back to the future - James Deshaw Rae, China.org.cn: "Xi’s 2012 American visit helped China’s public diplomacy when he reunited with old colleagues in Iowa and attended an NBA game; this summit affords another moment to address misperceptions in the West about both China’s leadership style and ambitions and the country’s promotion of its soft power. Of course, some important strategic issues will certainly be on the agenda when the two presidents meet."
On the table - By Global Times – Beijing Times: "During a White House conference call Tuesday, US administration officials said the US has a very broad agenda to cover with the Chinese [at the Obama-Xi upcoming meeting], including the situation in North Korea, territorial disputes and maritime security issues in the Pacific region, and the ongoing necessity of cyber security. ... Chen Mingming, a member of China's foreign ministry's Public Diplomacy Advisory Panel, said China and the US do not have substantial disputes when dealing with issues on the Korean Peninsula."
Cybercrime: Admit nothing and deny everything -- Barack Obama says he is ready to talk with Xi Jinping about Chinese cyber-attacks. That makes one of them - Xi Jinping's first meeting with President Obama as head of state on June 7th is also the first such summit to feature prominently the issue of alleged Chinese cyber-attacks on American companies and interests. It has taken a long time for the issue to take centre stage in diplomatic relations between the two countries. After years of ineffectual and perhaps overly discreet grumbling about Chinese hacking, American officials are finally forcing the issue. The prospects for effective public diplomacy on hacking appear grim. The Americans have placed some hope in 'naming and shaming' China for hacking, and in recent months there has been no shortage of that. Senior American officials, big Western news media and Mandiant, a security firm, have issued a series of detailed reports and accusations of widespread Chinese hacking: of defence industry technology, of energy companies, of blueprints for American infrastructure, and of the e-mail systems of American officials and journalists. Mandiant’s report in February traced many attacks to the area around a People’s Liberation Army facility in Shanghai. ... Chinese officials have at least agreed to talk about the issue. ... Mr Obama could also try to persuade Mr Xi to be more selective by stressing the damage to China’s reputation."
A new stage of interaction - Sun Hongbo, China Daily: "China and Mexico will work together to safeguard each other's national interests and the interests of developing countries [.] President Xi Jinping's visit to Mexico shows the new Chinese leadership's support for Mexico's development and their will to expand and deepen cooperation. On Tuesday, Xi and his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto, pledged they will enhance political dialogue on bilateral, regional and global issues so as to consolidate the China-Mexico comprehensive strategic partnership. ... The two countries ... should also expand people-to-people exchanges and strengthen cultural and educational exchanges and contacts. Mexico has the most Confucius Institutes in Latin America and the National Autonomous University of Mexico has set up the Mexican Center in China. Cultural and academic exchanges between China and Mexico are frequent and the two sides may consider expanding the number of exchange students. In addition, the two countries should also strengthen public diplomacy to deliver a real and vivid national image to each other's people. Finally, relations between the two countries must take into account the United States."
Addressing China’s ‘soft power deficit’ - Andrew Hammond, blogs.reuters.com: "[T]here has been too little emphasis from
One solution is expanding the numbers of individuals and non-state groups – including from civil society networks, Chinese diaspora communities, student and academic groups and business networks – involved in public diplomacy. While this may make
June 5, 2013, 6:37 pm - thecaddyspace.com: "[P]ublic diplomacy is crucial for Sino-US relations, and may help the United States, two reverse these pessimistic views on bilateral pessimism so useless."
Tell 'Chinese foreign affairs story' with new media - He Lu and Zhu Weilu, People's Daily Online: "In recent years, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has attached great importance to the use of new media to carry out public diplomacy. As early as 1998, the ministry launched its official website. Since 2011, it registered microblog accounts in Sina, People's Daily Online and Tencent. With humorous language, it communicates and interacts with netizens, becoming a pioneer among government agencies in catching up with the new media application trend. On May 7 this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs once again tried a new platform to seek advice from netizens by launching its public Wechat account, which became the first official Wechat account of the state ministries. WeChat (or Weixin in Chinese) is Tencent's over-the-top (OTT) content service. The free application is the most popular mobile application in China. Zhu Xiaozhong from the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, 'In recent years, the rapid development of new media is incomparable.
The ministry has already gained some experience in the use of new media through years of trying with microblog. The launch of account on Wechat platform is another attempt to promote public diplomacy.' According to reports, the ministry will assign staff to collect information from its Wechat account. Currently, its regularly launched sections include: important diplomatic activities information; important speeches, articles of senior diplomats; embassies activities reports; consular assistance and diplomatic knowledge Users of tablet PCs and mobile phones grow substantially in recent years. 'If we only publish information via the website, we cannot reach more users, so in the past two years, we have tried to enter the mobile Internet, not only had we register the official microblog account, but also launched app of Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on the New Year's Day this year. Internet users can get the information of the Ministry's website through their phone and iPad applications,' Zhu said."
Iran Today: Is The Quest For A Unity Candidate Over? - enduringamerica.com: "In his speech on State TV on Monday, moderate Presidential candidate Hassan Rohani said that he planned to use experts in his 'government of hope and prudence' if elected --- a promise made by other candidates as well, notably Saeed Jalili and Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf. ... Rouhani said that public diplomacy -- even with the United States -- was important for Iran, across issues like culture, sports and religion." Image from article
The education of the settlers’ army: The Israel Defense Forces need another NIS 4 billion. For what? To be instructed by Elad, which promotes Jewish settlement in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem - Editorial, Haaretz: "The Israel Defense Forces need another NIS 4 billion or so, according to the defense minister and the chief of staff. The army’s cash shortfall is necessitating painful cuts in training, procurement and other vital activities. But it turns out that the defense budget includes some protected corners − money that can’t be touched. ... Granted, it’s only
The winning issues: A week with Norwegian friends of Israel taught me how to best present the justice of Israel’s cause - David M. Weiberg, Jersualem Post: "[I]t was heartwarming and inspiring to discover that Israel has broad grassroots support in Norway, and that friends of Israel have organized themselves into an effective and increasingly respected lobby. The group, Med Israel for Fred (www.miff.no), or 'With Israel for Peace,' is led by Morten Rasmussen, Gabriel Edland and Conrad Myrland. ... Believe it or not, Israel really does have many devoted friends out there. I was so impressed. I was even more impressed by the sophistication of MIFF’s approach to hasbara (public diplomacy).
Norwegian MIFF activists have learned that it is simply not enough to explain Israel’s security dilemmas or to revisit Israel’s diplomatic generosity toward the Palestinians. What’s needed is a much more basic restatement of Israel’s cause and purpose: Israel as a grand historic reunion of people and land, as a shelter for the Jewish People, and as a just and moral actor in the medieval and violent Arab Middle East. Particularly important in this regard is education of the non-Jewish public about the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Nobody knows about the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were expelled from Arab lands and absorbed by Israel, and when they learn of this it dramatically changes the discourse. As opposed to a conversation about Palestinian rights vs Israeli security, the conversation becomes a debate about a balance of rights: about Israeli/Jewish rights and Palestinian/Arab rights." Image from article, with caption: An idyllic scene in downtown Bergen, Norway.
10,000 Christians sign Jerusalem Covenant - Lev Kharkov, Jerusalem Post: "Faith-based public diplomacy NGO Israel365 founder Rabbi Tuly Weisz and Knesset Christian Allies Caucus director Josh Reinstein presented caucus chairwoman MK Gila Gamliel (Likud Beytenu) with 10,000 signatures from Christians on the Jerusalem Covenant Tuesday. The original Jerusalem Covenant, an acknowledgement of the miraculous return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, was drafted in 1992, the 25th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification, and signed political, military and spiritual leaders. Upon receiving the signatures, gathered in a period of three weeks, Gamliel said they prove Jerusalem is the center of the world and that Israel has a historic right and obligation to keep the city united."
Naftali Bennett, on a mission to champion Diaspora Jewry: Naftali Bennett, on a mission to champion Diaspora Jewry: With efforts to advance religious pluralism in Israel, the Habayit Hayehudi chairman is demonstrating his value to Diaspora Jews while balancing the interests of his settler constituency - By Joel Braunold, Haaretz: "The public diplomacy and Diaspora affairs and the religious services portfolios have the greatest potential to shape the relationship between Israel and her Diaspora. Both of these jobs were demanded by
Bennett, head of the Habayit Hayehudi party, home of the national religious the settlers." Bennett image from article
The frightening stupidity of the Israeli government in our fight for our legitimacy - Barry Shaw, canadafreepress.com: "There may be a case to be made that the Israeli Government is not supposed to be active in public diplomacy but to represent Israel, officially, in real diplomacy, government to government. This only partially explains why groups and NGOs find visits to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Knesset forums so frustratingly vacuous. The Israeli government is not taking the assaults on Israel’s legitimacy seriously. ... For those of us fighting the good fight it seems to us as if our anti-Israel enemy has a bottomless well of funding, and he never sleeps. On the other hand, some Israeli embassies have commercial and military attaches. None have public diplomacy attaches. The Israeli government, it seems, does not officially deal in public diplomacy. It dabbles (badly) from time to time, but it does not professionally have a strategy or game plan. The Israeli government is aware of the dangerous threat of demonization and delegitimization, yet it has no answer and no action plan. Neither is it willing to listen to the advice of those fighting the good fight as to how they can help the cause and win the battle. With the inauguration of the new government the first victim was the Ministry of Public Diplomacy. With the elevation of Yuli Edelstein to the Speaker of the Knesset his ministry was dismantled. ... Such is the disastrous state of Israeli public diplomacy."
Israeli Judge Resigns after Stunning Comments on Girls and Rape - Sharona Schwartz, theblaze.com: "[Comment by:] ADINAF Posted on June 6, 2013 at 10:41am Here is the beginning and end of it, and this is a subject I am all too familiar with: Israel’s leftist system has infiltrated and penetrated the courts, academia, media, public diplomacy and cultural entities.
These same leaders are Arabists to their core, hence, it is no surprise that this judge demeaned the rape victim in such a manner." Image from comment/entry
Hon. Gil Lainer, Israeli Consul General for Public Diplomacy, Keynotes Hatzioni End-of-Year Luncheon - Zev Markowitz, Yeshiva University: "On Wednesday, Hatzioni hosted its End-of-Year Luncheon, which featured Hon. Gil Lainer, Israeli Consul General for Public Diplomacy. Lainer, a career diplomat who has held postings in Africa and the United States, talked about what Israel has to offer and its importance in the Middle East region. During this meeting, the club honored outgoing presidents Shlomo Anapolle, Eli Weinstein, and Binyamin Pfeiffer."
Hezbollah's Calculus in Syria - Abu Anas, islamicsystem.blogspot.com: "On May 25th, Hezbollah's chief, Hassan Nasrallah, declared that his Lebanese based Shia militia will fight with all its capacity to save the Syrian regime. After several maneuvers in the last few months, walking the tightrope of public diplomacy, he finally admitted his direct involvement in supporting
Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown on the Syrian Revolution. In pushing out the Israeli occupation from Lebanon in 2000 and it's [sic] tactical victory over Israel in 2006, Hezbollah skyrocketed in fame amongst all Arabs, including even Sunnis. Siding with the oppressive regime in Damascus, however, has destroyed any goodwill Hezbollah had within the Sunni majority of the Middle East." Image from entry
So let us then make no apple trees: In Turkey, created on the margins of protests around the Gezi Park a civil society beyond the parties. She wants to participate in Erdogan's lonely decisions [Google translation from the German] - Michael Martens, "On the Taksim Square and the adjacent Gezi Park, ... a small group of environmentalists
wanted to prevent the felling of some trees . ... [T]he 'Office of Public Diplomacy', a kind of PR department of the Turkish government in Ankara to all accredited foreign correspondents in Turkey sent an email again, which states that proposed development project in the city would be 'the green spaces not reduce the Taksim, but larger.'" Image from article, with caption: Much Concrete, little Green: The Taksim Square next to the Gezi Park in Istanbul is a large construction site
‘New’ Georgia invents a new kind of diplomacy -Fineko/abc.az. "Baku: Georgia has invented a new kind of public diplomacy - 'cycle diplomacy'. The Georgian organizers say that from 25 June to 19 July Azerbaijan will host an open cycle race JL and Eurasia of UN ambassador of peace and protection of nature and owner of 14 records from the Guinness World Records 74-year-old Jumber Lejava and his team. 'The project goal: to discover a new Georgia for the Azerbaijani society, strengthen friendly ties, promote a healthy lifestyle, classical, folk and extreme sports, advertise companies, attract business partners, tourists in Georgia, etc.
It is planned a reception by President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in Baku, meetings with the population in 26 large cities and regions,; it was reported. The length of the marathon route is over 1,700 km. 'The aspiration of friendly-for-Georgia Azerbaijani people to tops of sports fame, support of the president and the entire leadership of the country in this important and kind business gives us confidence that the program of the cycle marathon will be successfully implemented for the benefit of the Azerbaijani and Georgian people, it was informed." Image from article
Revolt builds up in MEA over multi-candidate foreign secretary contest - Saurabh Shukla, Daily Mail: "India's diplomatic establishment is facing one of its biggest crises, which could end up being a huge embarrassment for the UPA government. Several top officials, including senior ambassadors, have told the bosses in South Block that they will quit if they are superceded in the selection for the next foreign secretary.
African approaches to maritime security - sadsem.org: "Maritime experts from West, East and Southern Africa gathered at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 7 and 8 May
to deliberate on the state of African maritime security. They found the world of maritime security complex, and its management challenging. ... Enhanced cooperation issues were thought to include: ... [T]he need to better understand the exercise of hard and soft power, public diplomacy, and breaking the sea-blindness spell (if it exists at all.)" Image from entry
Falklands Governor speaks to the nation - penguin-news.com: "His Excellency the Governor Nigel Haywood spoke of the challenges of the last year and the aims and aspirations for the future in his address to the nation on Tuesday at the opening of the budget session of Legislative Assembly. ... [from the speech:] The Falkland Islands Government has continued its international public diplomacy strategy. The Queen's speech at the opening of the UK Parliament in May made it clear that the British Government will continue to support our freedom to determine our own political future. In addition, the Overseas Territories White Paper issued in June last year by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office sets out a number of areas for support and joint working. So far this year more than 100 international journalists from over 20 countries have visited the Islands and the members of Legislative Assembly have visited more than 40 countries in support of this effort. It is also noteworthy that many locals have been enthusiastically vocal in support, at home and abroad and young Falkland Islanders attended the Commonwealth Youth Parliament last year. The 43rd annual Commonwealth parliamentary Association Conference for the British Islands and Mediterranean Region was held in Stanley this year and was widely regarded as a great success with nearly 40 delegates attending. It has been, and will continue to be, a challenge for the Falkland Islands to resource this effort. Nevertheless, it is a challenge well worth pursuing. The Falkland Islands Government is devoting considerable resources undertaking its own public relations and will continue to do so, to make sure that the Islanders' voices are heard and their right to self-determination is promoted. We need to make sure that key messages about the Island's status, constitutional and legal position, and the overriding determination of the community to remain a British Overseas Territory are fully understood internationally. However, we also need to make sure that as many people as possible are aware that the Falklands have a modern community, a successful economy, a commitment to the highest levels of environmental stewardship and a huge tourist potential."
Coming in October: “The United States and the Challenge of Public Diplomacy” - James Thomas Snyder, jamesthomassnyder.com: "I’m pleased to announce that Palgrave Macmillan USA will publish my book, The United States and the Challenge of Public Diplomacy in October 2013. Based on my six years’ experience in public diplomacy at NATO and more than 15 years in strategic and political communications, Challenge explores the experience of public diplomacy and makes recommendations for improving American PD policy and practice. Importantly, the book focuses on practice as the critical ground to cover — the 'last three feet' in the words of Edward R. Murrow — in order for our public diplomacy to succeed. I look at not just the traditional modes of public diplomacy such as educational exchange, cultural engagement and international broadcasting but propose launching an arts restoration initiative, reforming military communications, expanding the definition of public opinion, reconsidering the Internet, and partnering with civil society. I’ll launch the book with Palgrave Macmillan when it’s published but I hope you’ll look for it when it’s on book shelves and online after the summer."
The Arts of International Affairs: Time for a New Conversation about Culture - Robert Albro, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy": “'Art' is one mode through which international affairs are culturally configured. Let’s start treating it that way."
it says.In addition - 192erty0i, quizvista.com: "CO: The phrase 'public affairs' is usually related to domestic issues while 'public diplomacy' apparently has more to do with foreign ones. What do you think are the differences between these two concepts? Chen: In my opinion ... 'public affairs' is often used by non-governmental entities such as enterprises and social organizations. But 'public diplomacy' is almost exclusively used by governments. That's the major difference. Zhang: If 'public diplomacy' is mainly used when inter-state relationships are concerned, 'public affairs' can be related to the activities of any institutions such as schools or enterprises. When they try to promote their public image, we can say they have engaged in public affairs."
Dr. Huang Ling - thinkinchina.asia: "Born in 1981, Dr. HUANG was awarded a BA in diplomacy and an MA in international politics from China Foreign Affairs University. Since 2010, she has been a Ph.D. student in European Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), where she also serves as an assistant researcher.
Her main research interests are public diplomacy, media and public opinion, national image and identity, and Sino-EU relations." Hunag Ling image from entry
Apres Moi, Le Deluge - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "As has now been announced, I am vacating my position at American Voices. Applications and interest are quickly coming in. I dare say this could be the most coveted open PD position this side of the Undersecretaryship. Tough shoes to fill? Naw, I wear sandals or go barefoot."
Full-time Computer Management Assistant at U.S. Embassy - bizmean.com: "Location: Nairobi ... Analysis, System Performance and Operations – The incumbent is responsible for monitoring and analyzing system performance, creating and maintaining user accounts and profiles, and providing hardware and software support analysis to determine if existing infrastructures adequately meet end-user requirements and needs. The position requires the ability to solve a variety of hardware and software related problems and identify, recommend solutions for existing and potential problem areas. While these duties and responsibilities apply primarily to DIN hardware and software, the incumbent is expected to carry out similar functions on all Embassy LAN’s when/as required. When outages/problems occur, he/she must coordinate restoration efforts with Consular Affairs, Department of State, Public Diplomacy, FAS personnel or Internet providers."
US Says It Gathers Online Data Abroad - Charlie Savage, Edward Wyatt and Peter Baker, New York Times: The federal government has been secretly collecting information on foreigners overseas for nearly six years from the nation's largest Internet companies like Google, Facebook and, most recently, Apple, in search of national security threats, the director of national intelligence confirmed Thursday night.
The confirmation of the classified program came just hours after government officials acknowledged a separate seven-year effort to sweep up records of telephone calls inside the
Documents: U.S. mining data from 9 leading Internet firms; companies deny knowledge - Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras, Washington Post: The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley. Image from article
Despite Ambivalence, a Strong Embrace of Divisive Security Tools - Peter Baker, New York Times: Two weeks ago, President Obama went before an audience of generals and spies to declare that “all wars must end” and that he could see a day when even the amorphous struggle with terrorists would essentially come to a close. But that day is clearly not here. The disclosure of the government’s vast surveillance of American telephone records and foreigners’ e-mail and other Internet communications on Thursday served as a potent reminder that Mr. Obama
continues to deploy many of the national security tools he inherited from his predecessor even as he seeks to turn the corner in the way the
President Obama’s Dragnet - Editorial, New York Times: Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights. Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability. The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue.
The government needs to explain about the NSA’s phone data program - Editorial, Washington Post: In the days after the Boston bombings, many asked why the government didn’t connect the dots on the Tsarnaev brothers. Now, many are asking why the government wants so much information about so many Americans. The legitimate values of liberty and safety often compete. But for the public to be able to make a reasonable assessment of whether these programs are worth the security benefits, it needs more explanation.
Where's the enemies list? When it comes to attacks on terrorists, Congress and the public have a right to know with whom we're at war - Doyle McManus, latimes.com: As Obama has made clear in Afghanistan and Syria, he's looking for ways to get out of old wars, not into new ones. The effect, if any, will mostly be to limit the freedom of Obama's successor to use force. But there is one thing the incumbent president can do: He can tell his Pentagon to be clearer and less secretive about the criteria it uses to decide which terrorists merit the application of U.S. military force. If there's an enemies list, Congress and the public have a right to see it — a right to know with whom we're at war.
Thank You for Data-Mining: The NSA's 'metadata' surveillance is legal and necessary - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Surveillance is more critical than ever to stopping terror attacks now that
Mr. Obama has all but abolished extended interrogation and military detention and invited Congress to limit drone strikes. Image from article
US Spy Chief Slams Leaks on Surveillance Program - William Gallo, VOA: The top U.S. spy chief has slammed the leak of top-secret documents that have shed light on how the government collects information on people's telephone records and Internet use. In a statement late Thursday, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, defended the programs as crucial to U.S. anti-terror activities, and warned their exposure threatens national security.
"The unauthorized disclosure of a top-secret U.S. court document threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation," said Clapper. Clapper was referring to a report in The Guardian, which published a secret court order demanding communications company Verizon to hand over to the National Security Agency millions of phone records of Americans on an "ongoing, daily basis." Clapper image from article
Can Pakistan Make Peace Next Door? - Ahmed Rashid, New York Times: The key to ending the war in Afghanistan, allowing American forces to exit honorably, holding credible Afghan presidential elections and negotiating a power-sharing deal between Mr. Karzai and the Taliban is to generate momentum for a cease-fire agreement.
Trying too hard to deal with Iran: In pursuit of a diplomatic solution, Washington and its allies persistently ignore the fact that they are dealing with a deeply deformed political state - Ray Takeyh, latimes.com: Unlike the tired Soviet revolutionaries of the late 20th century who cloaked themselves in rhetoric they increasingly did not believe, Khamenei is sincere when he speaks of emancipating the Middle East from the clutches of the "Great Satan."
Iran's nuclear ambitions can only be understood in this context, as the clerical state perceives that it can best enhance its prestige, protect its allies and displace its adversaries armed with the ultimate weapon. Image from article, with caption: When Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks of the glory of resistance and America's dark plots, he is not seeking to mobilize some abstract constituency but expressing his genuine worldview. Above: Khamenei delivers a speech in a ceremony marking the anniversary of the death of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, shown in the picture in the background.
Syria's religious war: The rebellion may have begun as a nonsectarian protest against Bashar Assad's corruption, but it is quickly being dominated by Al Qaeda and other radical and terrorist forces - Jonah Goldberg, latimes.com: Edmund Burke was right when he said, "Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other." What is happening in the Middle East is a horror. But some lessons can only be learned after exhausting the worse alternatives first. There may yet be a role for America to minimize the horror. But a lasting solution can only be found when the people on the ground are ready and willing to take it to heart.
Message from the ruins of Qusair - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post: President Obama doesn’t want U.S. boots on the ground. Fine. No one does. But between nothing and invasion lie many intermediate measures: arming the rebels, helping Turkey maintain a safe zone in northern Syria, grounding Assad’s murderous air force by attacking airfields — all the way up to enforcing a no-fly zone by destroying the regime’s air-defense system.
The Muslim Civil War: Standing by while the Sunnis and Shiites fight it out invites disaster - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: It's tempting to rejoin that Syria is small and faraway, and that if Vladimir Putin or Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei want to play in the Syrian dung heap they're welcome to it. But these guys aren't dupes getting fleeced at a Damascene carpet shop. They are geopolitical entrepreneurs who sense an opportunity in the wake of America's retreat.
In defeat at Qusair, Syrian rebels’ painful failings - David Ignatius, Washington Post: The Shiite-Sunni divide is driving a wedge through the Middle East that could splinter the entire region, even as it devastates Syria. That’s why the U.S. still hopes, after two years of diplomatic failure, that it can convince Russia to help broker a negotiated political transition.
Handy Quiz for Intervening in Syria - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: here is a handy checklist to consult before deciding to intervene further in Syria. Is it Iraq again? That went well. Does it have oil? Does it pose a direct threat to America, i.e., knife to our throat? Can you define specifically what U.S. interests are at stake (no fair just citing generic “world peace” or “evil dictator”)? Is Syria’s evil dictator somehow super-worse than the many other evil dictators scattered across the world where the U.S. is not intervening? Did Syria attack any U.S. forces somewhere? Kidnap Americans? Commit 9/11? Does the U.S. have a specific, detailed follow-on plan for what happens if Assad departs? Does the U.S. have a specific plan to ensure weapons given to the rebels, some of whom are openly al Qaeda, won’t migrate out of Syria as they did in Libya? Does the U.S. believe its secret deal with the rebels to hand over Syria’s chemical weapons after they take power is airtight? Can the U.S. tell with accuracy the “good” rebels from the “bad” rebels? Has the U.S. considered in detail what affect a rebel (Sunni) victory in Syria will have on chaotic Iraq next door? Why are Syria’s chemical weapon so different than say North Korea’s or anyone else’s that intervention is a good idea? Extra Credit Questions If the U.S. is regime-changing in Syria, why does the U.S. still diplomatically recognize the Syrian government? Discuss. Why did the U.S. render prisoners to Syria for torture by Assad just a few years ago but now thinks he is an evil dictator? Discuss. Since the American electorate overwhelmingly chose Obama over McCain in 2008, why is Obama acting more like McCain every day? Discuss. Exactly why, after Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and drone wars everywhere, does the U.S. need to get sucked in to yet another Middle East quagmire? Discuss.
The hollowness of US-Israel propaganda against Assad - Seema Mustafa, dnaindia.com: The tide is turning in Syria. And not quite as the US, Israel and, of course, the Arab states supporting their gameplan for West Asia had expected. Two years into the violence generated by the US-supported-and-armed rebels, President Bashar al Assad is slowing gaining the ground he had lost, diplomatically and militarily.
The good news in Turkey: The country has been heading in the wrong direction under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The latest protests may help revive its secular and democratic heritage - Daniel Pipes, latimes.com: If President Obama once bragged of his "close working relationship" with Erdogan, last month's White House meeting between the two showed neither the personal chemistry nor the practical results vis-a-vis Syria that Erdogan had sought. In short, it appears that a decade of electoral calm, political stability and plentiful foreign investment has come to a halt and a new, more difficult era has begun for the AKP government.
Obama and Xi Must Think Broadly to Avoid a Classic Trap - Graham T. Allison Jr., New York Times: In 11 of 15 cases since 1500 in which a rising power rivaled a ruling power, the outcome was war. Can Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi successfully defy those odds?
China and the U.S.: a little big summit: Obama and China's Xi will meet without the usual highly structured agendas - Jonathan D. Pollack, latimes.com: Paradoxically, the relationship between America and China is far more extensive and interactive today than at any point in the last four decades. But the two countries have yet to realize a shared concept of global and regional order to govern 21st century politics, economic development and international security.
Without such a concept, both countries could retreat into narrow self-interest that would deny the possibility of a larger political transformation that both claim to seek. Image from article, with caption: President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at week's end for an unusual two-day summit at a Southern California estate. Above: Obama and Jinping last met in 2012
The United States and China need to overcome mutual misunderstandings - Wesley Clark, Washington Post: There is no better means to resolve the myriad headline issues of the moment than longer-term strategic understandings. These could, and hopefully will, emerge from the Obama-Xi meetings.
Desmond Tutu's plea: Stand up for Liu Xiaobo: When Obama meets Chinese President Xi, he must urge the release of his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate. If he won't do that, who will? - Desmond M. Tutu and Jared Genser, latimes.com: By all reports, when President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in California this week for their first summit, their most important task will be to establish a strong rapport so they can manage the increasingly critical and complex U.S.-China relationship. Although the focus of their conversations will surely cover such topics as North Korea and Iran's nuclear programs, cyber attacks and trade, it is critically important that Xi also hear from Obama directly about the importance of China curtailing its persecution of dissidents and their families.
China is not the world’s other superpower - Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post: The meetings between Obama and Xi are important. Both countries need to take a clear-eyed look at the relationship and find a new path that could define a cooperative framework for the future, as Nixon and Zhou did in 1972. Both sides should seek to create a broad atmosphere of trust rather than to work through a “to-do” list. China is the world’s second-largest economy and, because of its size, will one day become the largest. (On a per-capita basis, it is a middle-income country, and it might never surpass the United States in that regard.) But power is defined along many dimensions, and by most political, military, strategic and cultural measures, China is a great but not global power. For now, it lacks the intellectual ambition to set the global agenda.
At White House, liberal hawks ascend: The elevation of Susan Rice as national security advisor and Samantha Power as U.N. envoy hints at a foreign policy fight - Jacob Heilbrunn, latimes.com: Will Obama remain aloof in Syria, or will a liberal president once again accede to the cries of the hawks? His elevation of Rice and Power suggests that the pressure will be on from within his own administration.
Both Rice and Power are personally much closer to the president than Kerry and could seek to undermine him. Even as Rice controls foreign policy from the White House, Power will occupy a potent pulpit at the United Nations, historically a highly visible platform for moralistic defenses of America and denunciations of evildoers abroad. In naming Rice and Power, Obama, you could say, is staging his own potent intervention on behalf of the liberal hawks. Image from article, with caption: President Obama walks with (from the left) Tom Donilon, Susan Rice and Samantha Power after an announcement at the White House on Wednesday.
Susan Rice, a provocateur in the West Wing - David Ignatius, Washington Post: In appointing Rice to become national security adviser in place of Tom Donilon, Obama is trading a reliable gray sedan for a flashier but more temperamental sports car. Rice’s biggest challenge is to help Obama project a more strategic view of foreign policy. Donilon took on the big issue of rebalancing U.S. diplomatic and military power toward Asia — culminating in this weekend’s summit between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. But beyond the pivot to Asia, policymaking during the Donilon years sometimes seemed reactive and event-driven — closer to crisis management than systematic strategy. Obama said Wednesday that Donilon combined the strategic and tactical, but the world saw more of the latter.
Could Rice’s appointment signal a more activist U.S. foreign policy? - Editorial, Washington Post: Mr. Obama appears to be the animating force behind what increasingly looks like a broad U.S. retreat from its longtime role as the world’s “indispensable nation.” The replacement of Thomas E. Donilon with Susan E. Rice, which Mr. Obama announced Wednesday, offers hope that the president will hear more advice from his inner circle in favor of an activist foreign policy.
In Obama's Image: Advisers who share his desire for a diminished U.S. role in the world - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: President Obama reshuffled his national security team Wednesday, and it's a sign of the times that the reaction was mostly yawns. His choices for national security adviser and ambassador to the U.N. are loyalists who share Mr. Obama's view that the U.S. is no longer the world's "indispensable nation" (as Bill Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once put it). In 2003, Ms. Power wrote in the New Republic that much anti-Americanism in the world is irrational and wrong.
But she added that "much anti-Americanism derives from the role U.S. political, economic, and military power has played in denying such freedoms to others." She suggested that "We need: a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States." In other words, they will love her at the United Nations. Image from article, with caption: Susan Rice (C) speaks in the Rose Garden after US President Barack Obama (R) named her his new national security adviser at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 05 June 2013. Obama also named Samantha Power (L) as the new US ambassador to the United Nation
Hearts and Minds: An American soldier falls for the food, and the people, of Iraq - Felicia Campbell, I was among the first wave of American troops in Iraq; it would be months before military living quarters and chow halls and roads were in place.
Though I have since eaten many meals in the Arab world, my cravings remain unsated.
I continue to look for Iraqi chicken. Above image from article; below image from, with caption: A good shitbath for the prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
U.S. Army To Use Anti-Guerrilla Propaganda Radio Novella In Colombia To Stop FARC Rebels - Carolina Moreno, The Huffington Post: The U.S. Army seems to have a new solution to the half-century long violence propelled by Colombia’s insurgent guerrilla group -- soap operas. Well, radio novellas to be exact. On May 22, the Regional Contracting Office (RCO) in the South American country’s capital, Bogotá, requested proposals for a 20 episode anti-guerrilla propaganda campaign to be broadcast via radio.
The radio soap opera series will promote demobilization, deter recruitment by the FARC rebel group, as well as tackle cultural issues across the country. So for all those Colombian soap fans out there tired of rosy tales of love, heartbreak and love again -- do not worry -- the U.S. military will save you from the monotony of fictional drama. In fact, the 15-minute long episodes will be based on statements from real, demobilized guerrilla fighters. Image from article
South Korea to block North's new online propaganda platform: South Korean authorities are set to request the blocking of recent North Korea propaganda efforts on Facebook - thecommentator.com: Authorities in Seoul, South Korea, are expected to block access to North Korea’s latest propaganda endeavour, Korean Central Television (KCTV), which broadcasts through Facebook.
The North’s official broadcaster, KCTV began to deliver live news broadcasting on its Facebook fan page in March 2013, in an attempt to promote the North Korean regime and its ideology. After launching a French-language version of its Facebook account in May 2011, KCTV put up a German version in February and the Korean version on May 29 this year. But South Korea's National Police Agency said on Thursday that it will request the Korea Communications Commission to ban online access from within South Korea to the site. Image from article
'He will be good at propaganda' - Pravit Rojanaphruk, nationmultimedia.com: Appointing Buri Ram Governor Apinan Chantharangsi as chief of the Public Relations Department may be seen as a means for the government to rein in the state media and feed pro-government propaganda to the public, Chulalongkorn University political scientist Trakoon Meechai said. He added that he knows Apinan personally and realises that he would become very effective at communicating the government's message to the public. This said, Trakoon raised doubts as to what the government has planned for the public.
State Hosts Tech@State: Moneyball Diplomacy Conference: U.S. Department of State Hosts Tech@State: Moneyball Diplomacy Conference - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, June 5, 2013: "The U.S. Department of State will host Tech@State: Moneyball Diplomacy on June 7, 2013. The conference will explore how use of the latest technologies to conduct rigorous economic analyses can produce new insights, improved forecasting, and reliable predictions that can enhance diplomacy and development. ... Career Ambassadors Alan Larson and Marc Grossman will join Cukier in a discussion of Moneyball Diplomacy.
The morning session will include a panel of economists who will examine the impact of geo-economic issues on foreign policy and conclude with a series of five-minute Ignite sessions. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan, will deliver the afternoon keynote address, followed by breakout panel discussions on prediction markets, behavioral economics, and predictive data analysis. A speech by William Hall III, author of Changing the Game: How to Profit From Your Passion for Sports, will close the conference." Image from
Whither the Hatchet Job? - Clives James, New York Times: America’s global economic clout can be belittled only if you believe that no American cultural product is any good.
Since it is undeniable that the occasional American cultural product is marvelous, I was left looking for cultural things that the Americans couldn’t do. The only one I can think of is hostile literary criticism. The whole secret of literary journalism is to express both sides of a question at once, and that only in America could that imperative seem abnormal. Image from article
The Nazi Propaganda Charges Against Uber - bleedingcool.com: Avatar Press have a hit book on their hands at last. Uber, by Kieron Gillen and Canaan White, telling the story about
the final days of the Third Reich in Nazi Germany, and their last ditch attempt to create superheroes and turn round the war. It has been accused by some of being Nazi propaganda. Image from entry
Median CEO pay rises to $9.7 million in 2012 - Christina Rexrod, USA Today: The head of a typical large public company made $9.7 million in 2012, a 6.5% increase from a year earlier that was aided by a rising stock market, according to an analysis by the Associated Press using data from Equilar, an executive pay research firm. The highest-paid CEO was Leslie Moonves of CBS, who made $60.3 million. He beat the second-place finisher handily: David Zaslav of Discovery Communications, who made $49.9 million. Five of the 10 highest-paid CEOs were from the media and entertainment industry.
If CEO pay says anything about what our country values, then we like coffee and online shopping but love TV. In addition to Moonves and Zaslav taking the No. 1 and 2 spots, Bob Iger of Disney ($37.1 million) was No. 3; Philippe Dauman of Viacom, which owns MTV ($33.4 million) was No. 4; and Brian Roberts of Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal ($29.1 million) was No. 6. Image from