Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 16

"How many PRT [U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team] staff members does it take to screw in a light bulb? One to hire a contractor who fails to complete the job and two to write the press release in the dark."

--Quotation from Peter Van Buren's We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (2011)

"Despite all of the website problems, the approval rating for Obamacare [see] has gone up. Unfortunately, I can't give you the exact number because it's listed on the Obamacare website."

--Talk-show host/humorist Conan O'Brien; image from


Engaging the Muslim World: Public Diplomacy after 9/11 in the Arab Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (CSIS Reports) [Kindle Edition] Walter Douglas (Author), Jeanne Neal (Author): "Public diplomacy supports the interests of the United States by advancing American goals outside the traditional arena of government-to-government relations. Since 9/11, with the rise of al Qaeda and other violent organizations that virulently oppose the United States, public diplomacy in Muslim-majority countries has become an instrument to blunt or isolate popular support for these organizations.
Efforts in this direction complement traditional public diplomacy that explains American policies and society to foreign publics. This report identifies six areas of primary concern. The first is a larger strategic issue; the other five are directed at the on-the-ground implementation of public diplomacy: (1) Define the goals; (2)Listen; (3) Measure success; (4) Reach the target audience; (5) Exchange people and ideas; (6) Get outside the bubble. There is no one path to success. Public diplomacy must be consistent, multifaceted, and localized to advance American goals in Muslim-majority countries. This report sketches a way forward to accomplish these goals."


US Politicians, Media Blame France for Washington’s Failure in Geneva Talks - "Foreign Policy wrote that France’s negative stance vis-à-vis the nuclear deal has two negative consequences: First after defeat of the negotiations only the military option will remain that no one even France does not support, and second if France insists on its stances, the US and Britain will most probably

reduce their cooperation with France.... The US realized that it has come to be the loser of public diplomacy due to France’s opposition, and the public opinion in the US and the world consider the West as responsible for the failure in negotiations, therefore US Secretary of State John Kerry in a futile scenario in the UAE tried to introduce Iran as blocking progress in the talks." Image from entry, with caption: Several US politicians and media blamed France for the dead-end in the recent talks between Iran and the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) in Geneva on November 7-9.

Debate Between American and Australian about War against Fanatical Islam - "American says, ... I'm talking about the hearts and minds issue. There is a hard core of dyed-in-the-wool militant jihadists with an uncompromising Salafist ideology.

They are not going to be swayed by US public diplomacy, or by forseeable changes in US policy. They can only be dealt with forcibly. They must either be captured or killed, and their plans must be disrupted." Image from

by my2cents » 24 Sep 2013, 12:34 - "Jendayi Elizabeth Frazer (born 1961) is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, heading the Bureau of African Affairs. She currently serves as a Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College and Department of Social and Decision Sciences. ... Frazer's tenure as Assistant Secretary of State was a controversial one: She was considered one of the most powerful and outspoken Assistant Secretaries in the Bush Administration. Yet, an August 2009 report by the State Department's Office of the Inspector General reviewed 50 years of Africa policy and criticized the Africa Bureau describing it as low resourced and being hobbled by low morale, and a lack of qualified personnel and a 'failed' public diplomacy program. The report focused on 50 years of the bureau's history and not specifically Frazer's tenure."

Saving Lives, Saving Knowledge - "I’m Richard Heffner, your host on The Open Mind. And those of you who have joined us here before know that each week I end our program…'As an old friend used to say, Goodnight and Good Luck'. Well, that 'old friend' – and dearly missed mentor – was, of course, Edward R. Murrow, America’s best and best known broadcast journalist. And this week, quite appropriately, I’m able to begin Open Mind with a Murrow reference as well. For as all who knew him understood, Ed was first and foremost an educator. And he was famously, indeed quite boldly to argue in his notable 1958 Chicago speech to the Radio and Television News Directors Association, for him, broadcasting’s instruments – radio first, then television – 'can teach…can illuminate…can even inspire…but only to the extent that humans are determined to use [them] to those ends. Otherwise, [they] are only wires and lights in a box.' Thus, Murrow the educator, tying him so closely to our program today about teaching and learning, about scholars and scholarship the world over, about IIE, the renowned Institute of International Education and its dedicated Scholar Rescue Fund, where, indeed, in the early 1930’s a young Edward R. Murrow became IIE’s Assistant Director, going on then for so many years to CBS and ultimately to John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Cabinet as Director of the United States Information Agency. So that we come full circle today, for joining me here to discuss IIE and its work 'Saving Lives, Saving Knowledge' around the world are two of its distinguished leaders. Dr. Allan E. Goodman is IIE’s 6th President. Previously, he was Executive Dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, served as Presidential Briefing Coordinator for the Director of Central Intelligence, and has had a long and distinguished career in foreign affairs and in the Academy. ... HEFFNER: Well, I’m very much aware of the Scholar Rescue work that you do. Interestingly enough, too, I’m … I realize you administer such programs as the Fulbrights [see]. Is that a significant part of IIE’s activities? GOODMAN: It’s really the flagship public diplomacy program of the US Department of State and the United States government. It’s been our privilege to administer it since the program was created in 1946. So we had a time when Edward R. Murrow was working on Fulbright and a time when he was the boss of Fulbright, when he was the head of the US Information Agency. So Fulbright is, is our nation’s gift to the world and our gift to future generations. HEFFNER: How have you two managed, over the years, to stay out of trouble at home? GOODMAN: In the education space you have to have an open mind. You have to listen, you have to understand where people are coming from … HEFFNER: Even those who don’t have open minds in this country? GOODMAN: Most Americans have an open mind about education. And most Americans are very glad that international students are here, that the Fulbright program exists because they 'get' what it does for mutual understanding and they “get” what it does for peace. And people would much rather have peace than war."

Book Review: American Statecraft [American Statecraft: The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service By J. Robert Moskin] - Steve Donoghue, “'Today,' J. Robert Moskin tells his readers in his magisterial new book, American Statecraft, 'U.S. Foreign Service members and retirees of the Department of State belong to an organization of more than 58,000 men and women. American Foreign Service officers serve at some 268 posts in 190 of the world’s 192 nations. They are honed to a professional proficiency.' Foreign Service members, he points out, are the face of

American diplomacy, the calming layer between foreign frictions, the bending, flexing ligaments that allow the bones and muscles of realpolitik to operate. ... Moskin clearly did enormous amounts of research in the preparing of this book, but he keeps that research firmly subordinate to narrative throughout his long book, constantly stressing the precarious challenge of the job itself: ['] The challenge of communicating directly with people is complex. An audience that is sophisticated and educated requires a certain level of material, while 'the street' demands a more simplified approach. Public diplomacy also has to meld the objectives that come out from Washington and the know-how amassed by USIS [U.S. Information Service] personnel in Upper Volta, Ouagadougon, Baghdad, or London.['] Moskin fills his nearly 1000 pages with all the great and famous names from American history. Presidents and senators rumble through these chapters, but always in the foreground is a cast of characters Moskin invests with far more detail: the men and women who took orders from those presidents and senators and then went out to their far postings and tried to make those orders work in the real world." Image from entry

Larisa GP - Facebook [on Peter Van Buren's We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (2011)] : "По существу, книга может служить практическим пособием по публичной дипломатии. В ней есть яркие примеры проектов американской публичной дипломатии, раскрываются причины, по которым они не работали в послевоенном Ираке. Почему 'мягкая сила' не улучшила имидж США во время 'пост-иракской' кампании ни на международной арене, ни в самом Ираке? Прочтите книгу, она подскажет. In fact, the book can serve as a practical tool for public diplomacy. There are vivid examples of American public diplomacy, disclosed the reasons why they did not work in post-war Iraq. Why 'soft power' has not improved the image of United States during the post-Iraq campaign on the international stage, in Iraq itself? Read the book, it tells you. (Translated by Bing)

Doug Christie Wants To Play Ronald Reagan - A Gentleman's view "'By the end of his term, 138 Reagan administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations.

In terms of number of officials involved, the record of his administration was the worst ever.' ... 1. Carl R. Channel – Office of Public Diplomacy, partner in International Business- first person convicted in the Iran/Contra scandal, pleaded guilty of one count of defrauding the United States 1. Richard R. Miller – Partner with Oliver North in IBC, a Office of Public Diplomacy front group, convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States." Reagan image from

Smart Geostrategy for the Eastern Partnership - Richard Youngs, Kateryna Pishchikova, "The European Union’s (EU’s) relationship with Eastern Europe and the Caucasus is at a turning point. Russia’s increasingly assertive tactics have chipped away at the ties that bind the six Eastern Partnership countries to the EU, and the entire Eastern Partnership is on the verge of unraveling. To rescue its association with its Eastern partners, the EU must deliver more tangible results. Europe can be both geopolitical and committed to reform—but to strike the right balance, the EU must be more strategic. ... There are a number of sectors in which legal scope exists for the EU to front-load the benefits it offers to Eastern partners in a way that provides targeted solidarity against likely post-Vilnius Russian restrictions. Better outreach and public diplomacy will be required to enhance support for the EU option, as at present Eastern populations remain largely ignorant of what the confusing array of association agreements and deep and comprehensive free-trade agreements really offers."

The new multipolar media world: consequences for media support: The BRICS countries' growing role was the focus of the German Media Development Network's (FoME) annual symposium. Patrick Leusch, head of DW Akademie's International Cooperation, looks at how that affects media support - "China is increasing its economic engagement in Africa, accompanied by China's growing interest in news production and the media. This is part of China's public diplomacy campaign. ... There are ... indicators clearly showing that China, with India close behind, will play a key role in the global economy. Both countries are well aware of their growing importance and are building global communication capacities to underline their presence and by using their own narratives. Russia has established Russia Today as the main platform for telling the Russian story the Russian way. The strategy is clearly to underpin Russia's global image via a quality global news channel and at the same time to increase coverage of the country's issues.

This is similar to China's strategy, but on a smaller scale. ... China is developing some of its national media as a global media. This began with the state news agency Xinhua and the broadcaster CCTV. China's global media strategy is thus not only aimed at professionalizing its news but also on creating a down-up approach to reach the users of social media. ... [I]n Africa, ... the Xinhua News Agency has 26 bureaus in Africa alone. In 2012 CCTV International began broadcasting a daily one-hour program from its state-of-the art news hub in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition to its news reporting capacity, China has begun investing in media markets, especially in South Africa. ... Among the BRICS countries, China and Russia are clearly focusing on news as a vehicle for shaping public opinion and pronouncing the 'rise of the rest' with a global soft power campaign. ... India's Foreign Office only recently created a division in charge of developing soft power strategies. Different from the news media approach, India's current influence on public opinion is based on its growing movie industry. ... [T]he Brazil media market has for more than 50 years been driven by large family-owned holdings. In the Portuguese-speaking world, Brazilian 'telenovelas' since the 1980s have been successfully exported to Angola and Mozambique. Since then, characters from successful telenovelas have been influencing lifestyles; children, for example, are often named after telenovela characters. Globo TV has licensed its most successful telenovela 'Brazil Avenue' to more than 106 countries and is increasingly turning its business model away from export and towards co-production. Brazil is a good example of how a country has managed to get its own narratives told using sun, beaches, samba, soccer and fashion. ... 'Tell your story your way' is certainly in the news and fiction sectors the common strategy being applied by most of the rising economies, and concerted efforts are being made to counter the dominance of Western-based global media. This process will increase over the next decade and other players will be investing in the same strategy. Al Jazeera has just launched a US edition of its TV channel, produced at the heart of New York with top US journalists on board and a state-of-the-art news hub." Image from

Bollywood´s African Safari In The Ethopian Capital Addis Ababa! - Bollywood fever is sweeping Africa’s political capital, Addis Ababa with a week-long festival of 14 films, including blockbusters like ‘Sholay’ and ‘Three Idiots’, enthralling cinegoers. The films are being screened at The National Theatre in downtown Addis Ababa. The Indian Film Festival, being advertised through the catchline ‘Come, fall in love with the magic of Bollywood’, kicked off with a screening of ‘Three Idiots’ May 20. The film had powerful resonance with Ethiopians as the film is about the failure of a regimented education system. 'I just loved it. We could identify with the story as everybody has a stake in the education system. The music was great,' Mathew Tadesse, who teaches at a high school said. There was a mini stampede when ‘Sholay’, the all-time Bollywood hit action thriller made in 1975, was screened at the 1,200-capacity hall. 'I loved the dialogues and dishum-dishum (fighting),' said Ellene Medhin, a 20-something student who has been sold on the charms of Bollywood since her teens. 'There was a virtual stampede at the screening of

‘Sholay’,' said Navdeep Suri, joint secretary in charge of public diplomacy division in India’s external affairs ministry, who conceived of the festival. Ethiopians can’t seem to get enough of Bollywood, with two shows being held every day since May 20. Romantic song-and-dance extravaganzas are as popular with Africans as action thrillers. The selection of films is an eclectic one, including critically acclaimed films like ‘Taare Zameen Par and ‘Iqbal’, blockbusters such as ‘Gadar’ and ‘Koi.. Mil Gaya’, as well as those that didn’t do too well back home in India – ‘Yaadein’ and ‘Paheli’, for instance. The films struck an emotive chord with the audience that included teenagers as well as the nostalgic elderly who had seen classics like ‘Mera Naam Joker’. In fact, Bollywood is an old weakness Ethiopians readily confess to, an affair that cuts across national boundaries in Africa. From Marrakesh to Maputo and from Dakar to Durban, Indian films and music are a rage. Legends like Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar to contemporary icons like Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai are equally popular not only in Ethiopia but across Africa." Image from; see also John Brown, "Is the U.S. High Noon Over? Reflections on the Declining Global Influence of American Popular Culture" (2004).

Keran: The Intelligence Games - Team SAISA: "Congressional committee system is a valuable scheme providing checks and balances and intentionally dilutes power. In practice, the lack of communication and coordination can create confusion and limit support, oversight, and understanding the requirements of various programs. In the context of national security, from strategic communication and public diplomacy to the balancing of diplomacy and military power, support and oversight of executive branch institutions, budgets, and programs need to be put in place."

A direct result of Kerry’s threat to Israel: Palestinian murders soldier in Afula - "[Comment by] anneinpt . ... Organizations like Honest Reporting, Stand With Us, all the links down my right sidebar, plus all the bloggers and Israeli news organizations

like the Jerusalem Post, Arutz Sheva, Times of Israel (NOT Haaretz, extreme leftist) are doing our best. Of course the haters call us agents of 'hasbara', not understanding that 'hasbara' simply means 'explanation'. It is used in modern usage to mean public diplomacy." Image from blog heading

French to Anglo-Saxons: English? Who Needs It?  - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: “I loved this report from the New York Times from earlier in the week Education First, a commercial education provider, has been compiling an index of proficiency in English across various countries. And apparently the French have been slacking: [‘]The study put the country’s average English language skills in the 'low proficiency' bracket, between China and the United Arab Emirates — and last among European nations. It also found that France was one of only two European countries where proficiency had decreased over the past six years. According to Ms. Bell, the level of English proficiency among French adults suffers both from inadequate teaching at high school level and the reality that — despite fears of French culture’s being overwhelmed by American pop culture, very little English is actually used in everyday life. France’s secondary school system, which has only recently started testing English oral skills as part of the Baccalaureate, is a major reason for poor language skills, she said.[']”


Not the Time to Squeeze Iran - Editorial, New York Times: A rare opportunity for a diplomatic resolution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program is at risk because many lawmakers, urged on by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, are insisting that Congress impose tougher economic sanctions, perhaps next week as an amendment to the defense bill. Sanctions have been crucial in keeping the pressure on Iran.

But doubling down on them at this delicate moment, when Iran and six major powers, including the United States, have made progress toward an interim agreement, could cause negotiations between the two sides to collapse and, worse, become a pathway to war. Image from

An Iran nuclear deal doesn’t have to be perfect — just better than the alternatives - Kenneth M. Pollack, Washington Post: We are still a long way from a formal international agreement restraining Iran’s nuclear program, but the contours of a deal — both an interim accord and the final agreement — are slowly coming together. It won’t be perfect, but our worst mistake would be to make an impossible ideal the enemy of a tangible, “good enough” agreement.

A changing world order? - Robert Kagan, Washington Post: Like the heralding of “American decline,” warnings about “the coming global disorder” have often proved premature. But with Americans and others rethinking the U.S. role in the world, and with no other nation, group of nations or international institutions willing or able to take its place, global disorder seems a more distinct possibility than it has since the 1930s. Perhaps the challenge is to fashion an international order that somehow accommodates both global wariness of U.S. power and Americans’ wariness of their global role. History does not offer much reason for optimism. The world order rarely changes by means of smooth transitions. Usually, such change is a result of catalytic upheaval.

Why Music? A Look at Art & Propaganda - Elizabeth Whitcombe, Music has always been an attractive vehicle for propaganda. Music’s power to persuade is at the heart of Plato’s argument for censoring the Arts [Plato, The Republic (Barnes and Noble, 2004).] The strong emotional pull, but vacuity of specific content, make music the perfect propaganda tool.

I can use the tune of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy to celebrate Humanism, Christ, or the European Union. Art doesn’t get much more pliable than that. The average person is a hearer, not a listener—people are uneducated about their own minds and the music they put in them. A perfect target for indoctrination! Image from entry, with caption: Matthias Grünewald, “Concert of Angels,” detail, 1515


Nov. 16, 1933 | U.S. Establishes Diplomatic Relations With the Soviet Union - Image from entry, with caption:

Maxim Litinoff was the Soviet leader at the time his country and the United States began a diplomatic relationship on Nov. 16, 1933.


--Naked volunteers pose for Spencer Tunick in the building Europarking in Amsterdam, June 3, 2007. (Reuters / Koen van Weel; image from

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