Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 28-31

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Bruce Gregory's Public Diplomacy Resources: Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites # 66 August 20, 2013. Gregory image from entry


Russian-American Youth Summit - "The 2013 Russian-American Youth Summit (RAYS) will take place from August 27 – 29, 2013, bringing together entrepreneurs create a platform for cooperation and trust amongst the first generation of Russian and American leadership born after the Cold War. Participants will collaborate within six specialized working groups dedicated to identifying opportunities for civilian Russian-American cooperation: entrepreneurship, information technology, sustainable development, student leadership, media communications, and scientific research. ... WHERE Savery Hall (SAV) University of Washington Seattle, WA USA." Via BB on Facebook


US Embassy Malta Gets a Viral Video But — Not the Kind You Want - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "On August 28, the US Embassy has reportedly admitted that the American [arguing about parking] in the video is an embassy employee. 'The US Embassy can confirm that the subject of this video was an embassy employee who has since departed,' the embassy said in a statement cited by The Times of Malta." Image from


Egypt Ambassador's Parting Letter Shows You Don't Mess With 'Murica - Brian Principato, "Outgoing United States Ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson did not take too kindly to personal accusations made in an article featured in Wednesday’s Al Ahram newspaper, an Egyptian daily. The official correspondence posted on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo’s website is hardly the State Deparment's status quo approach to public dissent, but it underscores the prevalence of misinformation and ambiguity in

the turbulent Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. ... Earlier this summer, Ambassador Patterson was accused of supporting the pro-Morsi Muslim Brotherhood despite no evidence to support the claim. At the time, Patterson said that she follows the unspoken diplomatic call to maintain a decorum of neutrality and was supportive of movements towards peace and democracy in Egypt.  ... Ambassador Patterson, as well as many of her U.S. Foreign Service colleagues leading missions around the world and members of their teams, experience criticism of all degrees from official and unofficial stakeholders. Rarely do diplomats, who serve as champions of public diplomacy, respond so starkly and transparently, though it has happened in the past. Patterson's letter is an example of hard-hitting diplomacy (read: soft power) and she should be commended for defending the Egyptian people's fundamental right to have uninhibited access to correct and fact-based information. Well played, ambassador.” Patterson image from article

Washington Watch: Public diplomacy, not threats, needed - Douglas M. Bloomfield, Jerusalem Post: "Getting the Israelis and Palestinians to the peace table wasn’t easy, and keeping them there is proving a challenge for a very determined Secretary of State John Kerry. His greatest worry has to be that both sides may be looking for a blame-avoiding excuse to take a walk. ... [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas broke Kerry’s gag rule on the talks by complaining to visitors that no progress had been made in the first three sessions because of Israeli foot-dragging. Kerry has insisted – and until now successfully – that what happens in the room stays in the room. He was to be the only one authorized to speak publicly; in his view the less that leaked out the better the chances to avoid pressure from the varied interests outside the room and the greater the chances for success. Abbas’ leak may be part of his strategy to raise the pressure on Washington and Jerusalem. It came in a meeting last week with leftist Knesset members in which he complained that the Israelis are stalling.

If it were up to him they’d be meeting every day or two instead of every week or 10 days, he said. His interview also serves a worthy purpose that Netanyahu could do well to emulate: Public diplomacy. ... Remember it was Sadat’s public diplomacy in November 1977 that changed the Middle East; there may be no Sadats today, but even lesser men like Netanyahu and Abbas can reach out across borders and speak directly to the people. ... Netanyahu needs to engage in greater public diplomacy, not with speeches on Capitol Hill, lectures in European capitals or cartoons at the UN but right in his own back yard. ... It is time for both leaders [to speak frankly to their own people and to their neighbors about the compromises ahead, and how neither can have everything they want – or have been promised. There will be compromises on borders, refugees, security and Jerusalem. It makes no sense to persist with maximalist demands unless you’re making a case against peace. It’s time to stop making threats and questioning the other’s side’s motives. Leadership means leading, not kvetching." Image from article, with caption: Secretary of State John Kerry hold press conference with Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat, July 30, 2013.

White House hiding Rice role in Syria outreach? - Ed Morrissey, "My friend Olivier Knox points out a curious omission (Olivier calls it 'maddening') from the White House’s data on their diplomacy in dealing with the chemical-weapons attack in Syria. Susan Rice, who had conducted public diplomacy as the administration’s UN ambassador for more than four years, has moved to the national-security adviser position this month. She has been active in conducting diplomacy, but the White House won’t account for her calls ... [T]he decision to leave her outreach out of a White House-released list of calls that President Barack Obama and senior national security aides placed to their foreign counterparts is one reason it’s impossible to use the list to get a clear picture of the U.S. response. The other reason is that the National Security Council quite forthrightly described the list as accurate, but incomplete — that there have been other phone calls 'at all levels' that are not included. This looks more like protocol than malice, but it’s still odd. ... Rice ... has a ... track record as a public face for Obama’s foreign policy, and certainly as a diplomat. Why not highlight Rice’s role in the efforts to craft a coalition to support intervention in the Syrian conflict? Or does the White House worry that the Benghazi debacle that they hung around her neck is a liability to their credibility now?"

U.S. Department of State Announces Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship Winners - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC: "The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, announced today the four 2013 Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship recipients. Fulbright-mtvU is an academic exchange program established in 2007 to promote 'the power of music' as a global force for mutual understanding. The Fellowships were awarded to: Phil Babcock, a graduate of Tufts University, who will create an online record label devoted to digital distribution of music in Ghana; Garret Rubin, a graduate of the University of Rochester, who will create a music outreach program for Iraqi refugee children living in Jordan; Melinda Reyes, a graduate of Georgetown University, who will research musicians specializing in hybrid genres of national identity in Turkey; and Sara Skolnick, a graduate of Boston University, who will research Internet-driven, low-barrier access to digital music production in Colombia."

Protocol Chief Marshall Bids Farewell to Diplomatic Corps - Gail Sullivan, "Martha Stewart may be the American icon of hospitality, but Capricia Penavic Marshall gives her a run for her money. As U.S. chief of protocol at the State Department since August 2009, a position that carries the rank of ambassador, she has been on the front lines and behind the scenes of America's diplomatic engagement at home and abroad. ... When it comes to meeting the cultural expectations of a global guest list, Marshall consults her counterparts in protocol offices around the world and seeks input from embassies here in Washington, D.C. (also see 'Meridian Spotlights Work of Embassy Social Secretaries' in the February 2013 edition of the Diplomatic Pouch online). Last year, Marshall convened the first-ever Global Chiefs of Protocol Conference (also see 'The Power of Protocol' in the August 2012 edition of Pouch). Almost 100 representatives of nations and organizations from five continents gathered at the State Department to discuss best practices and share ideas for strengthening the role of protocol in diplomacy. ... As chief of protocol, Marshall has been an innovator. She founded the Diplomatic Partnerships Division to implement four programs aimed at encouraging cultural exchange and giving the local diplomatic corps more insight into American people, culture and institutions. The State of the Administration Speaker Series provides an opportunity for off-the-record discussion between foreign ambassadors posted in D.C. and high-level U.S. officials, including cabinet secretaries and White House chief of staffs.

The monthly gatherings have greatly expanded ambassadors' access to top U.S. officials, as well as other high-profile figures from Washington. ... Another initiative Marshall is especially proud of is the Experience America program, begun under her predecessor, Nancy Brinker. Since 2009, ambassadors from more than 100 countries have participated in trips to Alaska, Arkansas, Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Wyoming to meet with local government officials, business executives and normal American families. (The Diplomat chronicled one such trip in its January 2013 issue in 'Arkansas Odyssey: Envoys Experience BBQ, Business and the Natural State.') ... Last year, Marshall brought diplomacy to the dinner table, establishing the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership program, which enlists America's best chefs to prepare meals for foreign leaders and participate in public diplomacy programs designed to engage foreign audiences. Members of the American Chef Corps include prominent Washington-area restaurateurs such as José Andrés and Bryan Voltaggio (also see 'State Department Mixes It Up With Culinary Outreach' in the April 2013 edition of the Diplomatic Pouch). But one of the crowning achievements of Marshall's tenure as protocol chief is the establishment of an endowment for the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, which she describes as 'one of the prizes of our government that many people don't know about.'" Image from article, with caption:  U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall, right, greets the new Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero before he presents his credentials to President Obama at the White House in January 2012.

Shooting of Australian Student in Oklahoma Raises Questions About Perceptions of America Abroad - Jami Fullerton, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The Travel Promotion Act of 2009 established The Corporation for Travel Promotion, a public-private partnership that was later dubbed Brand USA. The bill created a multi-million dollar global marketing effort to promote the U.S. as a travel destination. The resulting campaign was first launched in May 2012 in the UK, Japan, and Canada. The centerpiece of the promotional effort is a 60-second music-driven commercial known as 'Land of Dreams.' According to Brand USA’s August newsletter, plans to roll out Land of Dreams in Australia are under way. Is this an appropriate time to invite Australians to visit America, and 'discover this land like never before?' Probably not. Hopefully the executive team at Brand USA will be sensitive to this international dilemma and postpone the advertising schedule. What does this mean for public diplomacy? Obviously the random individual murder of one Australian studying in the United States won’t disrupt the excellent political relationship the U.S. enjoys with the Australian government. But, how does news coverage of the incident impact opinions about America among Australian citizens, those who may have considered traveling here and those who may never travel? ... Despite the positive results of the Land of Dreams advertising among Australian audiences found in our study from last fall, advertising there now would be a mistake. In this case, a lesson from the brand management literature may be useful. In the face of a crisis involving the brand, regular brand advertising should be suspended."

America's Battle Cry Again -- This Time Syria - Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, "In the fall of 2001, the Rendon Group was given a contract to handle PR aspects of the U.S. military strike in Afghanistan. One year later, in September 2002, a 'meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein' was devised ... . As part of this strategy, an interagency 'Iraq Public Diplomacy group' comprising of NSC, CIA, Pentagon, State and USAID staffers was created. This group produced documentary and press releases showing interviews with Iraqi exiles and dissidents, chief among them the Iraqi National Council (INC) -- a 1992 project of the Rendon Group with Ahmad Chalabi at its head. ... Soraya has lived and studied in-Iran, UK, France, and has obtained her Master's degree in Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg and USC School for International Studies, Los Angeles."

Uncaptioned Image from entry

Jimmy Leach: Add Digital Diplomacy to the Long List of Failures Over Syria - Tech News: "Digital diplomacy, the hipster cousin of public diplomacy, has been enjoying something of a Golden Age recently, with any (Western) diplomat or minister of any note (and the more forward looking senior officials too) offering digital pronouncements, policy engagement and two-way conversations as a mechanic for gathering support and understanding around often complex areas of foreign affairs. It’s all been a very smooth digitisation process, with discussion not around whether public figures should take to the web, but how quickly. And not about whether it’s effective, but how to measure its impact.  And now digital diplomacy has run headlong into its first crisis of credibility. In the elongated Arab Spring (where are we now, Arab Winter?) digital diplomats had a ‘good war’. The emergence of digital tools to act as what Alex Ross, late of the US State Department, calls the ‘Che Guevara of the 21st Century’ gave foreign ministries the chance to listen, engage and understand with a whole new array of actors on the world stage. Where once the crowds who hits the streets in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and so on would have been ‘mobs’, we now had the chance to listen to the voices of protest on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere and understand the motivations and (sometimes) connect with the leading, or most coherent, figures. Digital diplomacy emerged from all that smiling with self-importance at its new influence and smirking at its cool-but-with-power status. Now, everywhere you look in diplomatic circles, there’s an ambassador blogging here, tweeting there, and hanging out just over there. From signing treaties to sharing moods, all has been fair game for sharing. And then Syria happened. And digital diplomacy never looked so small. Assad’s is a regime that doesn’t care what most other governments think, that doesn’t care for public support and could not give less heed to the molecule-thin trivialities of being a trend on Twitter. It’s not just digital diplomacy which is failing. The atrocities of Syria show up most aspects of diplomacy as ineffectual. Soft power and country brands suddenly seem like vanity projects when a figure like Assad reduces previously subtle power-and-influence games to callous murder and the strange maths of the UN where two (China and Russia) is more than three (US, UK and France). And two years of ‘hard diplomacy’ of condemnation and public and private diplomatic alliances have achieved almost nothing. All diplomacy requires participation to succeed, but nothing falls so flat as public digital pronouncements where one set of participants are banging in impotent fury on a door that nobody answers. A tweet saying how jolly cross you are about genocide just doesn’t make a mark. Even the ‘enabling’ side of digital diplomacy – keeping digital networks open to allow opposition groups to communicate, seems to have floundered. Military might and callous disregard for human life trumps all. Does this even matter? Is anyone looking to social media for answers in the face of atrocity anyway? The answer is, of course, no, but the (relatively minor) point is that digital diplomacy has too often become a vanity project – a mechanic of broadcast, measured in the number of followers, rather than in minds changed or policies influenced. Digital diplomacy has stagnated. Where there have been digital battles, they have been fought around issues of veracity and governments and foreign ministries have watched, largely silent, as those battles are fought between the Syrian regime and media organisations. Finding the truth about what’s happening in Syria is hugely difficult, and that work is being done by non-governmental organisations – Storyful’s verifications of videos of atrocities for example, and the global use of Twitter as a news feed to deliver more and more horror. The Syrian Electronic Army seems to be looking to attack media organisations, rather than governments, for a reason. The use of digital to monitor situations and opinions within Syria will, largely, have followed public accounts, like the rest of us, and relied on the verification processes of the media and social media, like the rest of us.
 So is the Golden Age of digital diplomacy over? Well not quite, but for the moment, it seems to be a ‘peacetime’ activity – fine for open engagement with willing parties and all very well when everyone behaves in a civilised manner. But the measurements of success – the number of re-tweets, the number of followers has rarely seemed so futile. When it all goes wrong, the cool kids look a bit wet behind the ears.For digital diplomacy to be an effective weapon in crisis, it needs to invest, innovate and adopt the mechanisms of the wider digital industry – to look for tools to verify and broadcast the truth, to find ways to connect safely with opposition leaders and to keep their digital networks open so that they can organise as they did in other countries in the early, optimistic, days of the Arab Spring. And most of all, to look upon digital tools in the way we look at all tools – as ways to get things done, not as amplifications of their own corporate vanity."

The cyber threat from Syria - James Lewis, CNN: "On Tuesday afternoon, the New York Times website experienced wide outage for several hours. Who has the nerve and ability to take down one of the most iconic newspapers in the world? The Syrian Electronic Army, which is loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, takes responsibility for the hack. This is not the first time the Syrian Electronic Army has attacked news organizations. The Washington Post, AP and others have been targeted in recent months as well. ... The Syrian Electronic Army's attacks are a form of protest against Western media's portrayal of the Assad regime. Most experts think the Syrian Electronic Army is not the Syrian government, but "patriotic hackers" who support it. This makes them harder to control and harder to find. The Syrian Electronic Army takes public diplomacy to a new level, letting individuals make their voices known on issues as easily as a government."

Iran: une femme porte-parole de la diplomatie pour la première fois - "Une femme a été nommée porte-parole du ministère des Affaires étrangères iranien pour la première fois dans l'histoire de la République islamique. C’est une première en Iran.

Une femme, diplomate de carrière, a été nommée porte-parole de la diplomatie. Marzieh Afkham, qui travaille au sein du ministère depuis près de trente ans, était depuis 2010 la directrice du Département des médias et de la diplomatie publique, ont ajouté les médias sans plus de précisions." Image from entry, with caption (in English): Negar Mortazavi @negarmortazavi #IRAN Foreign Ministry's first female spokesperson, Marzieh Afkham, appointed today. Was head of public diplomacy. See also (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Sharing the gains of cooperation - Pu Zhendong, China Daily: "Liu Guijin, China's former ambassador to Zimbabwe and South Africa and current president of the Asia-Africa Society of China, says mutual benefits and win-win results should be the cornerstones of all Chinese economic activities in Africa. ... Liu, who retired last year after a diplomatic career of more than 40 years, was also the special representative of the Chinese government on African affairs. He has handled several important assignments in Africa, with the most notable being his role as special envoy of the Chinese government in Darfur in 2007. 'As the special representative of China in Africa, I was responsible for clarifying China's stance on several important topics of interest, mostly through public diplomacy and conflict mediation measures.

It was not only a reflection of China's new diplomatic stance in Africa, but also of the way forward,' Liu says." Image from article, with caption: Liu Guijin, former Chinese diplomat and leading expert on African affairs, says that the Chinese government will continue to increase its input in Africa.

Most misunderstood country in the world: Projecting soft image of Pakistan - Malik Muhammad Ashraf, "We often hear our leaders hankering about projecting soft image of Pakistan internationally and calling for a paradigm shift in the conduct of our foreign policy, with greater emphasis on public diplomacy as an effective and indispensable ingredient of the strategy to achieve the desired objectives. But an incisive look at what has been happening over the years in regards to realigning our foreign policy objectives with the new emerging global realities and the new mechanisms evolved as a consequence of the ability of the emerging technologies to expand the horizons and options available to conduct public diplomacy, our record shows a rather regressive approach steeped into a visceral aversion to the well thought out and well researched decision making processes. The focus regrettably remains on traditional diplomacy and mechanisms devised to promote and facilitate state-to-state relations rather than public diplomacy which from its previous

emphasis on developing contacts between a state and publics of another state has of late transited into the realm of people-to-people contacts on bilateral level as well as state-to-global audience outreach. A phenomenon made possible by the new technologies like internet, digital communications and new techniques of public relations on the global plank through the use of the vast array of media outlets. Pakistan is the most misunderstood country in the world and the phenomenon of terrorism and religious extremism, arguably, is a leading factor in distorting its image on the global level. Pakistan as a front line state in the war on terror has suffered the most in men and material, has helped in dismantling the terrorist network of Osama bin Laden but regrettably our allies and western countries look askance at our endeavours, doubt our commitment to the cause at hand and decidedly remain oblivious to our national and strategic interests in the region. ... Traditional diplomacy has its own advantages and efficacy but it cannot match the power of public diplomacy conducted through media in changing perceptions and attitudes of the people and influencing their judgments. Pakistan needs a sustained and well orchestrated effort to use the power of media and the PR regime to address the issue of image building in the larger and long term interest of the country. Ashraf image from article

Russian interpretation of direct dialogue - "Sometime ago, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili expressed readiness concerning engaging in direct dialogue with Abkhazian and South Ossetian citizens. Ivanishvili was referring to the possibility of conducting dialogue with the occupied regions’ people and overcoming the current obstacles in relations. The statement suggested that solutions to the various problems can be found in public diplomacy. Direct contact, sharing of common joys and sorrows, mixed marriages, creating joint business ventures and similar activities, would facilitate the alleviation of the strain between Georgia and the separatist regions. 'Georgia’s democratic development and economic process will turn Abkhazians and Ossetians towards us and finally convince them that Georgia is their motherland,' stated Georgian PM. Just couple of week’s later Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, commented and provided an interpretation regarding the Georgian PM’s words. He emphasized that Russia welcomes the Georgian government’s position with regard to direct dialogue with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia’s desire is for Georgia to sign a direct agreement with the breakaway regions on the non-use of force. So, According to Lavrov, the reality is that Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia will sign the agreement. The position is absolutely unacceptable for Georgia, as signing such a document would represent indirect recognition of the occupied regions as independent juridical entities – independent states. Of course, neither Ivanishvili nor any other future leader of Georgia will take this step. Moreover, Georgia categorically demands that an agreement on the non-use of force be made and signed by equal, internationally-recognized entities, between Georgia and the Russian Federation. Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, commenting about Lavrov’s statement, stressed that Lavrov gave the wrong interpretation of Ivanishvili’s statement."

Jewish Diplomatic Corps to rejoin World Jewish Congress - "The Jewish Diplomatic Corps (JDCorps), an international network of Jewish professionals engaged in public diplomacy will be reintegrated into the structure of the World Jewish Congress (WJC)

and see its global budget and staff boosted. The corps’ precursor was set up in 2006 under the auspices of Peleg Reshef of the WJC. Today, the network comprises 130 young Jewish lay leaders from 30 countries world-wide." Image from entry

Adjournment Speech by The Hon Mr Ian Hansen 22/8 - Hon Mr Ian Hansen, MLA, Hansen: "I think the achievements of the past four years have been quite significant. I am not going to run through them all but certainly one that stands out to me is the fact that the public diplomacy move has been concentrated on the last four years. Certainly over the last two or three anyway it s been really quite successful and in some ways rather a brave and controversial move but I believe it has paid off." Image from

Adjournment Speech by The Hon Mr Mike Summers 22/8 - The Hon Mr Mike Summers, MLA, Summers: "Madam Speaker, Honourable members, it seems as though I spent little time in this House during the course of this year and little time in the Falklands. And for that I apologise to those who I have a duty to represent. But it is part of the public diplomacy process that my Honourable Colleagues have mentioned and in the central part of our work."

Adjournment Speech by Roger Edwards 22/8 - The Hon Mr Roger Edwards, MLA, Edwards: "I think we leave the Falkland Islands in a much stronger position, particularly public diplomacy where we have certainly countered the political lies and threats by Argentina and we have spread the message about the Falklands across the world."

First Resident Ambassador to Canada Takes Office - Gita Kalmet, Estonia's first resident ambassador to Canada, presented her credentials to Governor General David Johnston in Ottawa yesterday. ... Kalmet, born in Tallinn in 1959, attended the Estonian School of Diplomacy and Oxford University.

She has been with the Foreign Ministry since 1993 and was appointed ambassador to Holland in 2006. Since 2011, she has worked as the head of the ministry's public diplomacy department." Image from entry, with caption: Gita Kalmet (left) and David Johnston.

Public Diplomacy and the Third Metric - James Pamment, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The metrics used by PD practitioners do not determine the metrics used by students and scholars. They may be focused on money and power, but we retain the right to analyse PD campaigns according to criteria such as fairness, inspiration, wisdom, generosity, and well-being. While I do think PD research is better when it accurately represents the perspectives and problems of practitioners, one of the most important contributions a PD scholar can offer the field is alternative metrics rooted in reliable data."

New Rule-Makers in the CSR Game: The Dominican Labor Movement - Chanelle Yang, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "I spent the past few weeks in the Dominican Republic with United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), witnessing workers’ grassroots efforts to further basic human rights in the workplace. Conducting cultural diplomacy, American college students of USAS also work closely with Dominican workers to reform corporate social responsibility."

Braii Diplomacy – Paul Rockower, Levantine: “A great article in The Salt on Braii Day as a means to bring South Africans together.  A ‘braii’ is a traditional South African barbecue with boerewors (delicious South African beef sausages with coriander and nutmeg), and I did many of these when I was in SuidAfrika.  Reminds me that I need to write an article I have been trying to get around to on South African gastrodiplomacy via braii, biltong and Cape Malay cuisine. Braii diplomacy would be great culinary cultural diplomacy outreach to Texas and Memphis, and places like South Korea, among many others.”


Obama Will Seek Syria Vote in Congress - Peter Baker, New York Times: President Obama stunned the world and paused his march to war on Saturday by asking Congress to give him authorization before he launches a limited military strike against the Syrian government in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack. In an afternoon appearance in the Rose Garden, Mr. Obama said he had decided that the United States should use force but would wait for a vote from lawmakers, who are not due to return to town until Sept. 9. Mr. Obama said he believed he had the authority to act on his own, but he did not say whether he would if Congress rejects his plan.

War in Syria: Wading Into Chaos But What Happens After? – By Domani Spero, DiploPundit: The ‘we’re going to war’ news is on a furious march today.

U.S. must act against crimes against humanity - Editorial, Washington Post: Some ask why the United States should care about 1,400 deaths from gassing when more than 100,000 have died in Syria’s war. We’re among those who believe the administration should have done more, short of boots on the ground, to forestall those deaths, and we believe that any military action should be part of a strategy to influence the war’s outcome. But these deaths are different. A line has been crossed; if there are no consequences, it will be crossed again. Someday U.S. soldiers on a battlefield could be the victim of the resulting impunity. If the United States does not ensure that Syria faces consequences for crossing the line, no one will, and the U.S. response should be strong enough to prevent Mr. Assad from committing further atrocities.

On Syria, a measured response: Though a military strike appears likely, Washington should resist the siren call of regime-change - Editorial, Although conventional weapons cause death and injuries, since World War I chemical weapons have rightly been viewed by civilized nations as particularly abhorrent; if their apparent deployment in Syria goes unpunished, other governments and movements might be emboldened to violate that taboo, with far-reaching and potentially tragic consequences. The U.S. has made it clear that Syria would be better off without Assad. It has promised additional aid to some rebel groups and has worked to ensure that a post-Assad government would be democratic and inclusive. But a U.S. military campaign designed to overthrow Assad would be dangerous and provocative.

The risk of taking on Syria: Quick strikes rarely achieve enduring political goals -- and often produce more costs or unintended consequences than benefits - Robin Wright, As the U.S. and its allies take on Syria, they need to ensure that the costs do not ultimately outweigh the benefits, and that another military mission doesn't backfire.

Obama's limited Syria goals: The aim of any U.S. military action in Syria won't be to topple Assad's government but to deter it from using chemical weapons - Doyle McManus, Obama's immediate goal is to keep the crisis over chemical weapons limited, and to deter Assad from using them again. His medium-term goal is to keep the Syrian civil war within manageable bounds in hopes that the pro-Western rebels will gain strength. It's not a promising picture. The war could continue for years, claiming more dead on all sides. And, in the end, the moderates may lose. But the alternatives all look worse. Deterrence may be the least bad option there is.

Loose Lips on Syria: U.S. leaks tell Assad he can relax. The bombing will be brief and limited - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The attacks are primarily about making a political statement, and vindicating President Obama's ill-considered promise of "consequences," rather than materially degrading Assad's ability to continue to wage war against his own people. There is likely to be no good outcome in Syria until Assad and his regime are gone. Military strikes that advance that goal—either by targeting Assad directly or crippling his army's ability to fight—deserve the support of the American people and our international partners. That's not what this Administration seems to have in mind.

The Wise Men of Iraq Give Us Counsel About Syria: Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Paul Bremer, Elliott Abrams, and other experts speak - James Fallow, The Atlantic: Perhaps you will be surprised to learn that the experts recommend resolute military measures. Or perhaps you won't, since that is what they recommended for Iraq and are still recommending for Iran. Of course these would be controlled, "standoff" uses of force that will work just as planned and will bolster only "vetted moderate elements" of the opposition. Very much as the same experts foresaw the last time they had the stage.

Strike on Syria targets could draw U.S. into civil war
- Ernesto Londono and Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post: An imminent U.S. strike on Syrian government targets in response to the alleged gassing of civilians last week has the potential to draw the United States into the country's civil war, former U.S. officials said, warning that history doesn't bode well for such limited, retaliatory interventions. U.S. diplomat Christopher Hill, dispatched as special envoy to Kosovo, said there was an expectation that U.S. military intervention would be short and decisive. Some thought the bombing campaign would last a few days, he said, but it dragged on for 78. "The problem is that people expect, when U.S. military assets are deployed, that we will do so until the regime goes away."

Syrian rebels used Sarin nerve gas, not Assad’s regime: U.N. official - Shaun Waterman, The Washington Times: Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior U.N. diplomat said Monday. Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent. But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons, according to the BBC, but she added that more investigation was needed.

Bomb Syria, Even if It Is Illegal - Ian Hurd, New York Times: As a legal matter, the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons does not automatically justify armed intervention by the United States. There are moral reasons for disregarding the law, and I believe the Obama administration should intervene in Syria. But it should not pretend that there is a legal justification in existing law. Image from

How to Legitimize Intervention in Syria - Carol Giacomo, New York Times: While President Obama can’t expect much from Congress, he should still, at a minimum, secure backing from legislative leaders for military action. It would be better if the United States, Britain and their partners sought authorization, and legal justification, from the United Nations Security Council for any military action. Whatever Mr. Obama decides to do on Syria, he needs to clearly explain to the American people the legal basis of any operation, his strategic and tactical intent and how he plans to keep the United States from getting mired in another Middle East war.

Let’s Not Have Another War (Syria Edition, A Handy Checklist) - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Regarding intervening in Syria, he United Nations does not say to do it. The United Kingdom voted against it, the first time in two decades the U.K. has not supported U.S. military action. The U.S. Congress will not have an opportunity to vote on it, though many members have reservations. Many in our own military have doubts. Half of all American oppose it. Why does the president insist America must attack Syria? Obama’s reasons seem vague at best, something from the 19th century about “firing a shot across Assad’s bow” as if this is a pirate movie.

The Chemical Evidence: Kerry echoes Bush in making the case on WMD in Syria - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Kerry and the Administration are making a compelling case against the depredations of Bashar Assad and the need for a forceful world response. What they haven't done is make a case that their military punishment will be enough to match the magnitude of the harm and threat they describe.

Show of Farce: Obama's Syria approach defies satire - James Taranto, Wall Street Journal: Indications are that the Obama administration's response will be to drop a few bombs, break some stuff, and maybe kill a few bystanders. That comes nowhere near being a just punishment for the crimes alleged.

In trying to help Syria, an intervention would destroy it - Steven A. Cook, Washington Post: The complex and dreadful evolution of the conflict has shaken the moral and strategic justifications for intervention, even a short one focused on punishing the regime for its use of chemical weapons and deterring future use. American and allied cruise missiles would be degrading the capability of the regime’s military units to the benefit of the al-Qaeda-linked militants fighting Assad — the same militants whom U.S. drones are attacking regularly in places such as Yemen.

Absent on Syria - Editorial, New York Times: As President Obama moves toward unilateral military action in response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed more than 1,400 people, he is doing so without legal justification and without the backing of two key institutions, Congress and the United Nations Security Council. Both have abdicated their roles in dealing with this crisis.

Cameron's Defeat on Syria Is Also President Obama's: The prime minister's loss in the House of Commons was the first on such a question since 1782 - Daniel Johnson, Wall Street Journal: President Obama has "led from behind," which is as much as to say that he has not led at all. This abdication of leadership is apparent in the president's naïve mishandling of the disintegration of the old order in the Middle East, in his failure to anticipate or respond adequately to the wave of Islamist extremism that has imperiled Western interests in the region, and above all in his arrogant treatment of America's closest ally, Israel.

A Much Less Special Relationship - Roger Cohen, New York Times: Something broke in the U.S.-British bond with the Iraq invation. It is now clear that Barack Obama, for all the hopes vested in him, has failed to rebuild it. Britain and the United States will continue to matter a great deal to each other. But for anyone who believes in the ultimate beneficence of Pax Americana, in the values of the trans-Atlantic world and in the critical importance of American credibility on the red lines it draws for global security and against the horrors of gassing, the British vote represents a bleak turning point.

Egypt and the limits of democracy: For now, a liberal dictator may be better than an elected thug - Tsvi Bisk, The events in Egypt are causing a great deal of moral and intellectual confusion in Western circles, preoccupied as they are with the concept of democracy (after all, ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was elected).

Populist sentimentality abounds. But better a liberalizing dictator than an elected thug. Morsi was an elected thug; Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi, the head of the Egyptian armed services and now in charge of the nation, might turn out to be a liberalizing dictator who at least protects minorities and women. Image from article, with caption: Supporters of army chief General Abdel Fattah Sisi carry his portrait and wave the Egyptian flag in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

U.S., China and an unthinkable war: Both have planned for a conflict they hope to avoid - David C. Gompert and Terrence K. Kelly, Although the China-U.S. agenda is jammed with pressing issues, from cyber espionage to currency rates, time must be found to improve procedures and channels to defuse crises and avert military miscalculation, lest the unthinkable becomes unavoidable.

And political leaders in each capital should not wait for a crisis before scrutinizing war-fighting plans and insisting on ones that strengthen, not weaken, stability. Given the stakes, plans to win must not be allowed to make war more likely. Image from entry, with caption: President Barack Obama is seen with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat of the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Arab revolutions pose [sic]  - Joseph Nye, Jr., Washington Post: When we cannot be sure how to improve the world, prudence becomes an important virtue, and grandiose visions can pose a grave danger. This is sometimes forgotten by those who want Obama to place bigger bets in the revolutions of today’s Middle East.

Obama's Foreign Failure: The world hasn't lived up to his Pollyannaish expectations - Pete du Pont, Wall Street Journal: Overall the Obama foreign policy team seems to suffer from a Pollyannaish approach to the world. They do not seem to understand that those who hate America will hate us, and will try to harm us, whether our president is Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or Barack Obama. They do not seem to understand that the U.S. president simply declaring the war on terror to be over or that al Qaeda is decimated and on the run does not make such things true. They do not understand that, while it's good to extend an offer of peace to those who hate us, those who continue to abuse that effort and harm others need to know with certainty that they will feel the appropriate unpleasant consequences. They fail to understand it's OK to "speak softly" only as long as our enemies know we've got that "big stick" and are not afraid to use it.


Russian Tampon Commercial


22 Chinese Signs That Got Seriously Lost In Translation - Among them:


War Propaganda And Media Lies Within The Syria Conflict - YouTube

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 27

"In short, Luck's always to blame."

--Jean de La Fontaine; image from


The Case for Blowing Things Up - PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Despite the allure of soft power as a way to deal with international disputes, there is no getting away from the sad reality that hard power is sometimes needed.

Forceful action will speak to global publics as its own kind of public diplomacy. It is time to blow up at least part of Assad’s capability to slaughter innocents." Image from

US envoy bowing out - with satisfaction: But outgoing ambassador will stay on here to pursue business interest - Ravi Velloor, The Straits Times, posted at If Only Singaporeans Stopped to Think [scroll down link for item]: "Sitting on the verandah of his sumptuous villa near Holland Village, comfortably clad in a cotton shirt and khakis held up by a golfer's belt over leather loafers, Mr David Adelman looks out on tropical vegetation as he expresses satisfaction over his 31/2 year stint as the American envoy. Still, his innings in Singapore had a hint of controversy even before it began. At his confirmation hearings before the US Congress, Mr Adelman said he intended to use public diplomacy to work towards greater press freedoms, freedom of assembly and ultimately, more space for opposition parties in Singapore. Perhaps it did not need a heave from the American ambassador to accomplish that. 'Singapore has changed in many ways over the last four years,' he notes. 'PM Lee Hsien Loong described the elections in 2011 as a watershed. And he recently gave an interview to The Washington Post where he describes Singapore's politics as to-ing and fro-ing. Singapore's politics is increasingly a marketplace of ideas and continues to develop.' The Government here has made nascent moves to regulate the online media during his tenure here, prompting companies such as Google to write letters of concern. Mr Adelman defends online freedom, saying the content brought to the public square by such companies is a great benefit, promoting open discussion, which is a bedrock American principle. ... So, what now that his tenure is ending? Back to the land of Coca- Cola, as Bob Dylan would say, or is Georgia on his mind? Well, here is the surprise. 'I am going to stay here,' says Mr Adelman. 'I am going back to private life. I am going to have a business interest in Singapore and elsewhere in the region. My family is thriving here. The US will always be home. But Americans are increasingly engaged around the world and I am a part of that.'" Adelman image from below entry

S'pore top destination for US investments in Asia - Outgoing US envoy lauds country's 'very hospitable business climate' - Ravi Velloor, The Straits Times, posted at If Only Singaporeans Stopped to Think:  "Singapore, for the first time, has emerged as the most attractive investment destination in Asia for American companies, outperforming even China. 'The 10-year cumulative US investment in Singapore stood at US$138 billion (S$176.6 billion) at the end of 2012,' United States Ambassador David Adelman, who leaves his post this week, told The Straits Times in an interview. ... People-level contacts also have accelerated, with 27,000 American residents on this island, thousands of Singaporean students enrolled in American universities and at any given time, between 800 and 1,000 Singapore military personnel training in the US."

Back to the Future of Public Diplomacy - "In order to create an effective public diplomacy campaign, the United States might need to seriously

re-evaluate its own domestic and foreign policies that create unfavorable information." Image from entry

The Role of Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S. and Indonesia -

Image of event from entry

AM Fachir: ASEAN Community by 2015 Fast Should Socialized [Google translation] - Sutanto Johannes de Britto, "When holding Halal bi Halal and Media Gathering, Director General of Information and Public Diplomacy Ambassador AM Fachir convey that meaning and opportunities of the ASEAN Community from 2015 to be completely and immediately disseminated to the people of Indonesia. 'People should know what the impact of the ASEAN Community.

If employers likely already know, but people generally do not know,' said Ambassador AM Fachir at Warung Daun, Menteng, Central Jakarta, Tuesday, 27/8. ... On this occasion Mr PM Fachir also introduced a number of new Echelon II officials within DG IDP, including Director of Information and Media Sudarma Sofia, Director of Public Diplomacy Al Busyra Basnur for Diplomatic Security and Director of I Gusti Ngurah Ardiyasa." Image from article, with caption: Director General of Information and Public Diplomacy Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, AM Fachir
Netanyahu resurrects government's student public advocacy unit: The government would like to harness the skills of Israeli students to the make the case for Israel using social media; Israelis, who must have a command of a second language, would be part of an effort similar to the one Netanyahu ran as a diplomat - Shlomo Cesana, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to resurrect the government's student public advocacy unit to improve Israel's image overseas. After Operation Peace for the Galilee was launched in 1982, the Foreign Ministry had Israeli students and faculty members in American universities serve as unofficial spokespeople to make the case for Israel. At the time, a young Netanyahu served as a the head of the Public Diplomacy Department at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Although the student-led effort operated out of New York, the activities were held in campuses all over the U.S. After the Jan. 22, 2013 election, the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry was disbanded. Its various functions were transferred to the Prime Minister's Office, where Deputy Prime Minister Ofir Akunis runs the office's student-related activities. The new unit is designed to address the need for an effective body that would deal with contemporary challenges facing Israeli public diplomacy by tapping Israeli students' command and access to social media. The project will be run together with the National Union of Israeli Students.

Some 2.7 million shekels ($740 million) have been earmarked for this project, some of which would go towards scholarships for Israeli students who partake in this endeavor. ... The project would cater to Israeli students who have a command of foreign languages and who have lived abroad. They would be tasked with communicating Israel's policies by telling their own story as Israelis who have lived in the Jewish state and who have their own unique experiences, all the while steering clear of ideological refrains. The focus would be on Israel's right to exist and to defend itself. Students would counter the delegitimization efforts and highlight Israel's positive traits. Dr. Motti Friedman, who headed the public diplomacy organization in the U.S. during its previous iteration in the 1980s, says things are very different this time around. 'We didn't have Facebook; the cutting-edge technology at the time was a slide projector, but it was still effective,' he says. 'These new things can be harnessed to great use.' 'The trick is to use what is available,' says a veteran of Israel's public diplomacy apparatus." Image from article, with caption: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators.


Why ‘triplomacy’ is the new diplomacy - Deborah Winslow Nutter, "Is diplomacy dead? No, but perhaps it could do with a name change – think triplomacy. Governments today can no longer rely solely on 'diplomats' in the traditional sense. They need to harness the participation of multiple government agencies, private industries, NGOs and international institutions – specialists from various fields of expertise who as a group view issues through a triplomatic lens and who can collaborate in cross-cutting alliances."

Before You Conclude That 'Precision' Bombing Makes Sense With Syria ... - James Fallows, Fact 1: Atrocities are happening in Syria. Fact 2: The United States has bombers, cruise missiles, and drones. Putting those two facts together does not make the second a solution to the first. Consider the last twenty years: What has been achieved by (1) using cruise missiles to bomb a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan and (2) an obstacle course in Afghanistan, or (3) the endless attacks on air defense sites in the Iraqi no fly zone in the 1990s, or (4) the bombing campaigns of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars; and now (5) Obama’s ever growing drone campaign in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and god knows where else? While such precision-guided coercion operations may infatuate the foreign policy wonks, media elites, and feather the nests of defense contractors, the resulting strategy of drive by shootings has failed utterly to coerce the likes of Milošević, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi, or the Taliban to behave in ways our pol-mil apparachiks deem to be acceptable. Only ten years after the disastrous "what could go wrong?" "something must be done!" rush to war in Iraq, you would have thought these cautions would not need restatement. They do. In the face of evil we should do something, except when the something would likely make a bad situation worse.

The Problem Is Assad: The goal of U.S. military action should be regime change in Damascus - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The real problem in Syria isn't the chemical weapons. It is the leader who has used them, Bashar Assad. This is where to focus the military response.

Target Assad A strike directed straight at the Syrian dictator and his family is the only military option that could hasten the end of the civil war - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: The world can ill-afford a reprise of the 1930s, when the barbarians were given free rein by a West that had lost its will to enforce global order. Yes, a Tomahawk aimed at Assad could miss, just as the missiles aimed at Saddam did. But there's also a chance it could hit and hasten the end of the civil war.

And there's both a moral and deterrent value in putting Bashar and Maher on the same list that once contained the names of bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki. Image from article, with caption: Cruel duo: Syrian President Bashar Assad (right) and his brother Maher.

The U.S. must act against Assad - Eugene Robinson, If it is true that the regime killed hundreds of civilians with nerve gas in a Damascus suburb last week — and Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Monday that the use of chemical weapons is “undeniable” — then Obama has no choice. Such use cannot be tolerated, and any government or group that employs chemical weapons must be made to suffer real consequences. Obama should uphold this principle by destroying some of Assad’s military assets with cruise missiles.

Syrian war leaves no easy choices - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: A cruise-missile campaign to protest and deter the use of chemical weapons would do little to change the situation on the ground. And Obama would need to decide if this is his goal.

Enforcing a 'red line' in Syria: If new reports of a government chemical weapons attack are confirmed, the U.S. must act - Editorial, For almost a century there has been an international consensus that chemical weapons are beyond the pale because of their cruelty and potential for widespread loss of life. That understanding was reflected in Obama's comments about a "red line." The Syrian government must not be allowed to cross that line with impunity.

Attack on Syria could trigger terrorists acts against U.S., Israel - Guy Taylor, The Washington Times: With the White House closer to launching a surgical military strike on Syria, questions swirled Monday over the extent to which such an attack could trigger a wave of terrorism directed at the U.S. and Israel.

The evidence of chemical attack seems compelling – but remember - there’s a propaganda war on
The evidence so far for the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army is second-hand and comes from a biased source (August 22) - Patrick Cockburn, Independent: Pictures showing that the Syrian army used chemical weapons against rebel-held Eastern Ghouta just east of Damascus are graphic and moving. But they are likely to be viewed sceptically because the claims so much resemble those made about Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) before the US and British invasion of Iraq in 2003. Nevertheless, the present claim differs from previous ones in the number of dead, variously put at between 213 and 1,360 and the quantity of YouTube evidence of the dead and dying supported by interviews with local activists. Like the Iraqi opposition to Saddam, who provided most of the evidence of WMDs, the Syrian opposition has every incentive to show the Syrian government deploying chemical weapons in order to trigger foreign intervention.

Although the US has gone cold on armed involvement in Syria, President Obama did say a year ago that President Bashar al-Assad’s use of such weapons was “a red line”. The implication is that the US would respond militarily, though just how has never been spelt out. But the obvious fact that for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons would be much against their own interests does not prove it did not happen. Governments and armies do stupid things. But it is difficult to imagine any compelling reason why they should do so since they have plenty of other means of killing people in Eastern Ghouta, such as heavy artillery or small arms, which they regularly use. Every day, Damascus resounds to the sound of outgoing artillery fire aimed at rebel strongholds. The problem is that the evidence so far for the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army is second-hand and comes from a biased source. Image from article, with caption: A man inspects a site hit by what activists said were missiles fired by Syrian Air Force fighter jets loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, in Raqqa province, eastern Syria on 21 August 2013

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad takes to Instagram as a propaganda tool (photos) - In the midst of the Syrian civil war that has left more than 100,000 dead, according to a June U.N. estimate, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has taken to Instagram to showcase the good side of the conflict, or of his administration, anyway. Since his social media account became active in late July, Assad has been busy. He's posted more than 130 photos. Using the handle @syrianpresidency, Assad's new propaganda arm steers clear of the images of people in the hospital suffering from a chemical weapons attack (Assad denies his troops used chemical weapons), and instead focuses on photos of Assad shaking hands with troops on Syrian Army Day, meeting citizens (some in hospitals), Syrian award winners and recipients, and Assad's day-to-day work. The account also spotlights Syrian first lady and wife of Assad, Asma al-Assad, a British-born Syrian who married Assad in 2000. Asma al-Assad is shown serving food to "internally displaced families," kneeling to greet a woman in a wheelchair, and reaching out to children.

800 Public Libraries Bringing Islamic Propaganda to your Children - Janet Levy, This is a dangerous companion program to Common Core and CSCOPE designed to indoctrinate your children and grandchildren about Islam.

As part of a National Endowment for the Humanities program funded by $150 million of our taxpayer dollars, 25 books and a DVD are being provided to 800 public libraries. No books are included on Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Image from article

Winery says Hitler-themed bottles aren't propaganda, 'it's history' - Alyssa Kleven,  Lunardelli, an Italian winery, has been using Hitler and other fascist dictators to sell their wine for nearly 20 years. It certainly has always faced its share of criticism, but with a rise in anti-semitism in Europe, many are calling for the winery to change its ways. The winery contends it's not propaganda "it's history" and treats the marketing as black humor, since Hitler was actually a teetotaler.

KIRO Radio host Tom Tangney said at the heart of the matter, it is not an interest in history or fascist dictators that keeps the winery labeling their bottles with Hitler's face. It's capitalism. "I think if I ran across it, I would think of it as a novelty item," said Tom. He said if he were to buy a bottle, it certainly wouldn't be to support the Nazi cause. Image from entry, with caption: Gianfranco Bettiol receives wine from a bottle bearing the image of former Nazi dictator of Germany, Adolf Hitler, made by winemaker Alessandro Lunardelli, in a bar in in Acilia, near Rome, in this Aug. 21, 2001 file photo.


Via TP on Facebook


Hot-Dog Legs hit Hollywood

Image from

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26

“Air power is an unusually seductive form of military strength, in part because, like modern courtship, it appears to offer gratification without commitment.” Image from

--Eliot A. Cohen, who directed the U.S. Air Force’s Gulf War Air Power Survey from 1991 to 1993


Russian Army Choir Sings in English; via JMcC


Bruce Gregory's Public Diplomacy Resources: Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites # 65
May 28, 2013


John B. Emerson is the new U.S. Ambassador: With Berlin Döner is even more beautiful; Today, the new U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson presented his credentials to the President. Before he made a tour with his wife and three daughters -- and discovered  [Google translation] - "Emerson in blue and white polo shirt beige for jeans is very relaxed. This may be because Barack Obama has personally sent him to Berlin. A little bit but it probably has something to do with his wife Kimberley, also a lawyer as he and diverse dedicated expert on public diplomacy.

The early nineties, she worked as a public worker for the Clinton administration. At the time this subject was not so strictly involved in the government apparatus as today. In times of upheaval in Eastern Europe there were so room for creative solutions." Image from article, with caption: His daughters, Jacqueline, Taylor and Hayley and wife Kimberley showed the designated U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson his new work in Berlin.

An Interview with Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to Russia - Uriel Epshtein, McFaul: "My job is not actually to improve U.S.-Russia relations . ... I’m not sure that as an outsider, before I became the ambassador, I fully appreciated that this is what diplomacy is all about. ... A part of my job now is virtual diplomacy, where almost every day I am communicating directly to the Russian people something about our policy or our country. I have over 50,000 followers on Twitter and 12,000 Facebook friends and subscribers, for example, most of whom are Russians. Today, much of it is about Mr. Snowden, but it may also be about issues like how many Russians get visas. This is actually a great example because there is a great misperception in this country that you have a 50/50 chance of getting a visa. When I heard about this, I decided to investigate and found that over 90 percent of Russians who applied received visas. I tweeted this information and the tweet got a lot of attention. This was a major diplomatic success correcting misperceptions."

It’s Worse Than You Think - The Federalist, "Let’s focus on one area of inquiry – the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and its Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN) of Radio Sawa and Alhurra television in particular. That takes us on a short road trip south of DC to what we will call 'Fortress Springfield,' the location in suburban Northern Virginia of MBN, Radio Sawa and Alhurra television. Infrequently, some attention has been paid to these operations. ... These stations have been broadcasting to the Middle East for the better part of 12 years – first with Radio Sawa then followed by Alhurra television. The American taxpayer has been 'dimed' for millions of dollars for this effort which supposedly was intended to change the paradigm in the Middle East following the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001. ... It’s worth repeating: we don’t know what this operation is doing. To all appearances, it is in 'lockdown.' Don’t be looking for transparency from this operation or its senior bureaucrats. And that is wrong. We’re paying for this operation and need to know what we are paying for. We need to know what it is doing, the nature of program content being broadcast on Radio Sawa and Alhurra television. Since many of us are not conversant in Arabic, we need independent, authoritative Arabic linguists to assess the program content of these stations. Just as important, we need serious congressional scrutiny of these operations. Clearly, the sentiment in the Arab and Muslim world is increasingly hostile toward the United States, its government, its citizens – our way of life. That in itself is a clear indication that the millions of dollars spent on MBN programs over the past twelve years has been a bust. It is also an indication of how successful al-Qaeda has been with billions of US taxpayer dollars spent on an expanded domestic security apparatus to contend with an asymmetrical threat."

We need Voice of America here - Letter to the Editor, Marcus Sopher, Milford, Letter to the Editor,  "Does anyone remember the Voice of America? It is the official broadcast arm of the federal government. Its charter contains the following statement: 'VOA news will be accurate, objective and comprehensive.' It was designed to accurately inform people in countries where news and information was suppressed by their governments through official propaganda outlets. I propose that the VOA begin to broadcast to another country: the USA. It would be a welcome relief to have it pierce through our official news media to make people aware of important facts and information that is effectively being suppressed." Via TL on Facebook

2013 Fulbright Symposium pictures: Pictures from the [Australian-American] Fulbright Symposium - Among them:

A group of guests relaxing between sessions

Achievement in Korea-U.S. collaboration to correct N.K. history - "The 'Modern Korean History Portal' opened last Thursday by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a think tank dedicated to history of the U.S. Cold War era, can be considered an important step in this mission. ... Marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the South Korea-U.S. Alliance this year, the governments of South Korea and the U.S. have been busy celebrating the bilateral ties through glaring commemorative events and various projects, and trying to establish vision for the next 60 years. The Modern Korean History Portal can be considered a meaningful achievement that has been created through collective efforts by private think tanks and academia of the two allies, and 'semi-public, semi-private' public diplomacy. It is even more meaningful, given that to establish an accurate North Korean history will lay cultural foundation for reunification of the two Koreas."

2013 EPICS Forum, Sport for Development and Peace - "2015 Gwangju Summer Universiade Organizing Committee (hereafter GUOC 2015), in collaboration with the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), held the International Youth Mentoring Program, the EPICS Forum, on the 23rd in Gwangju. ... Laima Janusonyte, the first female vice-president of the International Sports Press Association, Jang Mi-ran, Olympic Gold medalist and chief director of her own foundation, and Ma Young-sam, the first Korean ambassador for Public diplomacy, attended the forum and gave inspiring speeches to the students and talked about their personal experiences in their field of expertise."

Syrian official: Israel 'first victim' in case of strike - "A member of the Ba'ath Party in Syria, Halef al-Muftah, said that Israel will be under fire if the US strikes in Syria. Al-Muftah, until recently the deputy to the Syrian public diplomacy minister, claimed that 'Israel is the one moving the American government.' He also warned that the Mideast 'will go up in flames' in case of a strike in Syria."

Why is a BBC journalist on an expenses-paid propaganda junket to Israel? - Benjamin Doherty, "Dozens of young journalists, including at least one working for the BBC, are in Israel this week for a government-backed junket designed to give them 'a more positive attitude' toward Israel’s policies. The journalists are attending the Media in Conflicts Seminar (MICS) at the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya (IDC Herzliya).

Now in its fifth year, the seminar is the brainchild of the advocacy group StandWithUs. The Media in Conflicts Seminar is 'hasbara for foreign media personnel, diplomats and youth from all over the world,' according to the website of Israel’s Ministry for Public Diplomacy (which was recently absorbed into the prime minister’s office). Hasbara is a Hebrew word that literally translates as 'explaining' but is used specifically to describe government propaganda and outreach efforts to gain support for Israel’s policies. According to the ministry, the Media in Conflicts Seminar specifically targets non-Jewish Europeans. Image from entry, with caption: Israeli army spokesperson Avital Leibovich speaks to MICS 2011 participants at IDC Herzliya.

Brand Israel self-destructs - "This month saw a further escalation in Israel’s propaganda activity rather than improvements to the Israel product. The Times of Israel reported that 'The Prime Minister’s Office is working to set up a network of advocacy units in Israeli universities, operated by students who will receive scholarships for their efforts totalling nearly $845,000.' The plan aims to harness 550 bilingual students drawn from the student pool at the country’s seven universities, who will target their efforts abroad. Haaretz, in its report, calls the initiative 'online public diplomacy (hasbara)'. ... PressTV points out that a liaison officer for the Zionist regime will oversee the dissemination of 'rapid responses' from Israeli officials to news events, and coordinate with the regime’s other official bodies that deal with public diplomacy, including the Israeli military. ... These are desperate times for the Israel brand… and truly desperate measures.

The regime will eventually have to face it. Theirs is the worst brand reputation on the planet because they have nothing to give the world except trouble. They can’t patch it up or make it smell sweet with more lies and distortions." Image from article

Fear and doubt about Indonesia - Bernard Lane, "Almost 50 per cent of Australians believe Indonesia is a threat to our national security, according to a landmark study that testifies to government concern about the effect of popular attitudes on bilateral relations. In the opinion poll ordered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, more people (59pc) agreed with the mostly misleading statement that Indonesia's law-making is based on Islamic codes than were able to recognise our neighbour as a democracy (47pc). The survey of 1,202 people, carried out by Newspoll in 2012 and yet to be released, is the first of its kind and will be used in efforts to promote better 'people to people' relations as DFAT pursues so-called public diplomacy."

New era for seaweed - Anshoo Chandra, "A new era has begun with the development of the seaweed industry in Fiji. ... While elaborating on the success of the seaweed industry, Abdurrahman M. Fachir, Director General for Information and Public Diplomacy at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it

provided a gateway to massive investment opportunities." Image from article, with caption: Mau villagers hold up seaweed collected during their seaweed training conducted by Indonesian seaweed experts last month at Mau Village.

Review – New Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century - Sue Jansen, "Public diplomacy (PD), traditionally defined as state-sponsored communications that strategically target citizens of other nations, has a long and controversial history. However, the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States triggered an urgent rethinking of the theory and practice of PD: an effort that soon expanded beyond the United States (U.S.), now involving academics and practitioners from many nations. James Pamment’s book contributes to this reassessment. Pamment’s work represents the inaugural volume in the Routledge series, New Diplomatic Studies, edited by Corneliu Bjola and Markus Kornprobt.

He distinguishes between traditional, gatekeeper and mass-mediated models of PD as well as newer approaches which take into account twenty-first century market-based globalization as well as new digital and satellite media environments. Contending that the ‘new public diplomacy’ (NPD) represents a paradigm shift in political communication theory, Pamment compares NPD theory to actual PD practices using case studies from three countries: the United Kingdom (U.K.), Sweden and the U.S. He offers systematic assessments of each case examining national policies, objectives of specific campaigns and evaluation methods, use of official documents, campaign artifacts, secondary accounts and interviews with senior diplomats, campaigns managers and measurement and evaluation consultants. The early chapters of the book distinguish between traditional PD and NPD, engage in extensive definitional exercises and examine some of the factors motivating the paradigm shift. They include a brief history of PD, an overview of NPD’s theoretical challenges, a critical assessment of PD evaluation methods and a preliminary examination of the theory-practice tension. Pamment then devotes a chapter to each of the three aforementioned countries and concludes with a provocative synthesis of his findings, which he uses to assess the future prospects of NPD theory." Image from entry

Propaganda and Public Diplomacy – Paul Rockower, Levantine: “A good piece by Monsieur Brun on the Paradoxes of Propaganda. I fully admit I am a propagandist. I propagate the faith in my own causes. But I do it through public diplomacy, which is different.”

European integration without EU membership: The different paths of Norway and Switzerland - "H.E. Mona Elisabeth Brøther

was appointed Norwegian ambassador to Canada in September 2012. ... Since 2009, she has been deputy director general of the department for cultural promotion, public diplomacy and protocol at the ministry of foreign affairs." Uncaptioned image from entry

Public Intellectuals: Theory and Practice [Course syllabus] - Henry Jenkins, "Among the readings in the course]:  Shiela T. Murphy, Heather J. Hether, Laurel J. Felt, and Sandra de Castro Buffington, 'Public Diplomacy in Prime Time: Exploring Potential of Entertainment Education in International Public Diplomacy,' American Journal of Media Psychology 5(1-4), 2012, pp. 5-32."

Jenkins image from entry

POSCO Visiting Fellowship Program for International Applicants at East-West Center in USA, 2014 - "The East-West Center is inviting applications for visiting fellowship program for outstanding scholars and policy makers. The East-West Center invites four to six visiting fellows to spend one or two months from March 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015 for carrying out research activities on Korean topics at the East-West Center. ... Fellows are provided with a stipend and round trip economy airfare between their home base and Honolulu. They are required to give one seminar, prepare a high quality paper to be submitted for publication, and join in East-West Center activities. The Fellow may also be asked to participate in local outreach and public diplomacy activities. Proposals for cost-shared fellowships are welcomed."


Questions for President Obama — Before He Pulls the Trigger on Syria - Andrew Bacevich, Let us posit that the Syrian government did, in fact, order last week’s chemical attack that killed hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women, children and others who had not taken up arms against the Assad regime.

First, why does this particular heinous act rise to the level of justifying a military response? Second, once U.S. military action against Syria begins, when will it end? Third, what is the legal basis for military action? Bacevich image from article

Syria Side Effects: Chemical weapons and other costs of doing nothing - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: As President Obama again considers military action in Syria, it's worth recalling that the use of chemical weapons isn't the only nasty side effect for the Middle East and U.S. interests from the 30-month uprising against Bashar Assad. No one knows if U.S. intervention two years ago would have prevented any of this, though we think it had a good chance of doing so. But one argument no one can credibly make is that U.S. action would have made things worse. Doing nothing made it worse. The United States can’t dictate the outcome in Syria, and it would be foolish to send ground troops in an effort to do so. But by combining military measures with training, weapons supplies and diplomacy, it could exercise considerable influence

Syria strategy can’t rely solely on military might - Editorial, Washington Post: The dangerous outcomes that Mr. Obama worried might be precipitated in Syria by U.S. involvement have mostly come about in the absence of such involvement. The fact that Syria offers no perfect outcomes or options does not mean that all possible outcomes are equally undesirable.

Syria's Gas Attack on Civilization: It takes a barbarian to employ poison gas. Assad joins the ranks of Mussolini, Hitler and Saddam Hussein - Andrew Roberts, Wall Street Journal: There is

a long and honorable history of the civilized world treating those dictators who use poison gas as qualitatively different from the normal ruck of tyrants whose careers have so stained the 20th and 21st centuries. President Obama, who talks endlessly of the importance of civilized values, must now uphold this one. Image from

Obama already missed chance on Syria: Analysts - As the international chorus grows louder for a military strike, some Middle East specialists believe such action would be too late to weaken the position of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. “Even if the U.S. does intervene militarily, the time window for its best option has already passed,” said Anthony Cordesman, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Syria will require more than cruise missiles - Eliot A. Cohen, Washington Post: As weak as the United States now appears in the region and beyond, we would look weaker yet if we chose to act ineffectively. A bout of therapeutic bombing is an even more feckless course of action than a principled refusal to act altogether. The question before the president is whether he will make matters worse by convincing himself that he has found a minimal solution to a fiendish problem. He will convince no one else.

While Egypt and Syria burn, Obama is Arsonist in Chief - Doni Kandel, Washington Times: If America attacks Syria, it is Israel that will be attacked in retaliation.

Obama has played a large part in setting the Middle East on fire and it is Israel that is constantly getting burned. Uncaptioned image from article

Adrift on the Nile - Bill Keller, New York Times: In the excruciating test that Egypt has become, America has seemed not just cautious (caution is good) but timid and indecisive, reactive and shortsighted, stranded between our professed commitment to change and our fear of chaos.

Reading Tweets From Iran - Editorial, New York Times: President Rouhani is sending strong signals that he will dispatch a pragmatic, experienced team to the table when negotiations resume, possibly next month. That’s when we should begin to see answers to key questions: How much time and creative thinking are he and President Obama willing to invest in a negotiated solution, the only rational outcome? How much political risk are they willing to take, which for Mr. Obama must include managing the enmity that Israel and many members of Congress feel toward Iran? And finally: Do the two sides have the courage to resolve a conflict that has been decades in the making?

Artists protest Russia's anti-gay-'propaganda' law - German artists are showing solidarity with gays and lesbians in Russia. However, while some are calling for a boycott, others believe there are better ways to get their voices heard and make a difference.

Image from entry, with caption: Gay rights activists demonstrate in Moscow, with a banner reading "Love is stronger."

Propaganda Pictures Depicting Women’s Role in World War II - Kaushik,
During World War II, the American government made a conscious effort to include women in the war effort using a vast array of media to urge the public. Large scale campaigns were launched to encourage women to enter the work force and fill places that were previously held by men, as they went off to fight a worldwide war across the Atlantic and the Pacific.

The military for the first time in history set out deliberately to recruit large numbers of women to fill not only essential nursing positions, but to meet military requirements across a vast array of officer and enlisted skills. Women were called upon to work in factories making bombs and aircraft parts, as air raid wardens, driving tanks, building shops and so on. Patriotism was used as a major recruiting device to lure women into the industrial workforce. The "Women's Bureau" of the "War Manpower Commission" had to work hard to combat initial reluctance among employers to hire women.

These overcome by advertising gender constructions that presented images of women at work while respecting the traditional separation of sex roles.

The propaganda worked as eight million women joined the American labor force between 1940 and 1944. These women not only entered the workforce in record numbers but they also entered the military.

Surprisingly, the propaganda changed as the war came to an end. After the war, images appeared in publications depicting men and women in traditional pre-war roles. Images from entry, in following order: (a) Students at Washington High School at class, training for specific contributions to the war effort, Los Angeles, Calif. Ralph Angar, instructor, explains propeller characteristics to students in the aeronautics class in September 1942. (b) This woman worker at the Vultee-Nashville is shown making final adjustments in the wheel well of an inner wing before the installation of the landing gear, Nashville, Tenn. in February 1943. This is one of the numerous assembly operations in connection with the mass production of Vultee "Vengeance" dive bombers. (c) Gist inspector, Mrs. Mary Betchner inspecting one of the 25 cutters for burrs before inserting it in the inside of a 105mm. howitzer at the Milwaukee, Wis. plant of the Chain Belt Co. in February 1943. Her son is in the army; her husband is in war work. (d) War production workers at the Vilter [Manufacturing] Company making M5 and M7 guns for the U.S. Army, Milwaukee, Wis. in February 1942. Ex-stage orchestra musician, checking an M7 gun with gage, after turning out on a gun lathe. Her two brothers and husband are in the service.


"Stanford offers more classes in yoga than Shakespeare."

--Allysia Finley, Wall Street Journal editorial writer


The Economic Crisis Makes Infidelity Too Expensive: Forget the mortgage. Hit by the economic crisis, Italian men can no longer afford mistresses - Barbie Latza Nadeau, Daily Beast: The Italian psychologist Florinda Bruccoleri, who has studied the issue, recently wrote on her blog that, these days, "infidelity is at least as stressful as the original marriage because of economic concerns.

It’s hard to reconcile keeping the equivalent of two wives.” Via JMcC; image from