Monday, November 25, 2013

November 24-25

"In paratactic prose, clauses are loosely connected, creating a lopping discourse of here's another thing and another thing and another thing. . . . Paratactic prose occurs more frequently in narrative and explanation, and hypotactic prose more frequently in explicit arguments."

--Jeanne Fahnestock, Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011); image from


The third Public Diplomacy Council/USC  "First Monday" Forum, "Public Diplomacy as a Global Phenomenon: The Baltic States." The following distinguished diplomats will speak about their country's public diplomacy and how it is planned and implemented in the United States: Maria Belovas, Press and Cultural Officer, Embassy of Estonia; Jurijs Pogrebņaks Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Latvia; Simonas Satunas, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Lithuania. Date/Time:

Monday, December 2
The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA)
2101 E Street NW
Washington DC (Foggy Bottom metro).
12:00-1:00 PM

For more information, including about attendance, please contact:


Secret talks paved way for Iran deal - Bradley Klapper, "Matthew Lee and Julie Pace, AP - "With their destination and mission among America’s closest guarded secrets, the officials hand-picked by President Barack Obama boarded a military plane in March. The travel plans of the U.S. diplomats and foreign policy advisers were not on any public itineraries. But awaiting the Americans in the remote and ancient Gulf sultanate of Oman was the reason for all the secrecy: a delegation of Iranians ready to meet them. It was at this first high-level gathering at a secure location in the Omani capital of Muscat that the Obama administration began laying the groundwork for this weekend’s historic nuclear pact between world powers and Iran. Even America’s closest allies were kept in the dark.

Obama first shared the existence of the secret diplomacy with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September, and offered only a limited recounting of how long the discussions had been taking place. The Obama administration then informed the five other nations negotiating alongside the U.S. — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. And since then, much of their public diplomacy with Iran has focused on incorporating the progress made in the private U.S.-Iranian talks." Image from

Israel’s Netanyahu calls Iran deal ‘historic mistake’ - William Booth, Washington Post: "Since the first details of an interim deal were revealed three weeks ago, Netanyahu has been on a nonstop public diplomacy campaign designed to convince world leaders, and the U.S. Congress and the American public, that the United States and its five partners were about to sign 'a bad deal.'”

Taking Internet by storm, Iran stages diplomacy blitz: Tehran has latched onto Twitter and Facebook, launched refurbished news sites in bid to control flow of information - Ilan Ben Zion, "Protracted negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program ended early Sunday morning in Geneva with a momentous tweet by the head of Iran’s negotiation team, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif: 'We have reached an agreement.' Retweeted over 5,000 times, Zarif’s five-word statement on the microblogging site is part of a much broader public diplomacy campaign, designed by Tehran to present a fresh face to the West through new and conventional digital media." Image from

Iran’s Online Diplomacy Discomfits Israel - Robert Mackey, New York Times: "As Sweden’s foreign minister, Carl Bildt, noted in the wake of the interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program reached in Geneva on Saturday, the effort by Tehran’s negotiating team to explain and justify the country’s push for atomic energy behind closed doors was accompanied by a public diplomacy campaign conducted online."

The Trial of Chelsea Manning - Alexa O’Brien, "Former Ambassador Shearer [Professor Derek Shearer of Occidental College, who served as ambassador to Finland during the Clinton administration] said at USC: ... '[N]ow today, if you just go on the web and look at any American embassy or other country’s embassy, you are going to see a very vibrant embassy website. The ambassador is going to have a Twitter account. He is going to keep a blog or she will keep a blog. People will write in, locals, on their opinions and things. And, most of the old-time diplomacy has become what is now called in a broader sense public diplomacy. It is not just government-to-government, but public-to-public. And, there aren’t a lot of—there are technical secrets about weapons and some about troop movements, but most everything else is in fact public.'"

Comment: Russia pressure on Ukraine could be working - Ariel Cohen, "The following is testimony that Ariel Cohen, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, gave to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs about the Eastern Partnership. ... It is in the US national interest that Ukraine anchors its future in Europe; develops the rule of law and property rights; and becomes a fully democratic country. Unfortunately, the Administration did not view the future of Ukraine with due seriousness. It eschewed senior-level state visits; economic deal-making; and high-impact public diplomacy. Once again, in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, the US punched below its weight."

Echoes of Gettysburg in Yangon - Ei Thae Thae Hlaing, An event celebrating the 150th anniversary of US President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address was held by the United States embassy at the Practicing High School in Kamayut township on November 19. Ten students from the school participated in a

Gettysburg Address competition, in which they recited the speech. Afterward, the US ambassador to Myanmar, Derek Mitchell, delivered a short talk and answered questions from the student body. It was the ambassador’s first visit to a public school in Myanmar. ... Andrew Leathy, public diplomacy officer at the embassy, said every student in the United States is taught about the Gettysburg Address." Image from

Your Monday Cheat Sheet 11-25-13 - James Warren, "Of virtually no interest to the public is diplomacy in the Muslim world, even if it was a very big recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. The Center for Strategic and International Studies issues a report on the subject called 'Engaging the Muslim World: Public Diplomacy after 9/11 in the Arab Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.' The author is Walter Douglas, currently an official at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India."

Ex-Time editor Stengel got big bonus while laying off staff, heading to State Dept. - "Not long before he left his job as managing editor at Time magazine for a post at the State DepartmentRichard Stengel delivered some bad but not unexpected news — the magazine needed to cut staff to close a budget gap. But the cuts apparently only went so far. They didn’t extend to the more than quarter-million-dollar bonus that Time had doled in 2012 out to Mr. Stengel

 on top of his $700,000 base salary, records obtained by The Washington Times show.  And while Time Inc. has moved to freeze pay and lay off hundreds of employees this year, Mr. Stengel estimates that he is still in line to receive another bonus worth $100,000 to $250,000, according to a recent government ethics filing. The $289,000 bonus last year, as well as the anticipated bonus to be paid out early next year, came to light in a disclosure form Mr. Stengel filed following his nomination to undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs at the State Department. The White House announced the nomination in September. Mr. Stengel did not respond to a request for comment through the State Department, nor did Time after being provided a copy of the ethics filing."  Stengel image from entry

John Ferguson - Facebook: "11 minutes ago near Al Khartum, Sudan via mobile YES Sudan final concert a big hit with cast of 150+ a record-setting audience of 3000 or more. The last day was full of being cancelled by mysterious forces then finding our way back into permission. Audience waited patiently as we started two hours late....but all stayed til security literally pulled the plug on us at 11pm sharp. Some huge

discussion raging about us in the sudanese press. Art makes strange bedfellows. Photos and vids coming. Pls like YES Academy -Sudan! Bboys and big band we owe you stage time ! Its coming!" Ferguson image (center) from; on the YES program, see.

Pakistani Taliban: new leadership, old feuds -- Drone strikes have exacerbated an already tense situation between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US - Naveed Ahmad, "On November 1, a US drone killed Hakimullah Mehsud, a feared top commander of the Taliban in North Waziristan, a semi-autonomous Pakistan region bordering Afghanistan.  ... The outcome of Mehsud's death could have been appreciated better had

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif not returned from a three-day US visit with anti-drone rhetoric as his public diplomacy punchline. Nisar Ali Khan likened the renegade commander's killing with the demise of the peace initiative. He said a three-member team was to visit Hakimullah the day he was taken out by a US drone." Image from entry, with caption: The new leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, is known for his brutality

Obama: The truth Shall Set You Free - Miguel Contreras, "Promises Broken By Obama ... Launch a new 'America's Voice Corps' - 'Obama also would launch a new 'America's Voice Corps' to rapidly recruit and train fluent speakers of local languages (Arabic, Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa, Farsi, Urdu, and Turkish) with public diplomacy skills, who can ensure our voice is heard in the mass media and in our efforts on the ground.'"

Think about it: Netanyahu and the two-state solution - Susan Hattis Rolef, Jerusalem Post: "Last week I received an email from an acquaintance from abroad, who is actively engaged in Israeli hasbara (public diplomacy). He laid out the following dilemma: 'Many journalists here are very confused about whether the current Israeli government officially supports a two-state solution with the Palestinians, or whether, despite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s repeated declarations about favoring ‘two-states for two peoples,’ these do not express… the cabinet’s view, which is divided.'

Confusing? Certainly for someone who is not familiar with the Israeli government, or with the facts. In our parliamentary system of government, what the prime minister states is considered the government’s policy, even though there is no constitutional provision to that effect in any law or regulation. At the same time, unless a certain policy is formally approved by the government, it has very little long-term significance. With regard to the two-state solution, Netanyahu has stated on several occasions that he supports it within the framework of a genuine peace agreement, which would involve the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and firm security arrangements for Israel. ... The writer is a retired Knesset employee." Image from entry, with caption: French President Francois Hollande with President Shimon Peres and PM Binyamin Netanyahu

Soft power is sushi hot [Google "translation" from the Italian]- "The American scholar Nancy Snow (California State University, Fullerton, author of, among other things, 'Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy') is convinced that this is "old wine in new bottles" and that the term should be used with more accuracy. "Once defined, soft power - told the Reading from Tokyo - may be a constitutive element of propaganda. But soft power is not directed to the public. I would say this: that soft power is like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. The ability of seduction Cool Britannia Blairite, the Korean Wave or 'Italian elegance' depends on the individual, from me, not from those countries. And since the propaganda think first of their own interests and then to the audience's perspective, at the end of the play does not work. ... 'Here's the question: which soft power is a non-definition. ' Power is going to ability to act, to do, to transform, to control. Soft refers to liabilities, inexperience. It's a bit '- concludes Snow - how to say sushi hot. Rather, then, we must choose how to define the soft power as a function of what we expect: improving cultural relations for the good of all? Represent a cultural diplomacy to the interests of a country? Serve diplomatic purposes through intergovernmental relations and exchanges of students? Get more supporters for the national interests of a country? Well, if this is the end of soft power, happy birthday ... '." ( The Reading, November 24 )"

Palk Strait tightrope - Saurabh Shukla, "While in Sri Lanka, New Delhi sent out a message to Colombo that true devolution of powers in the Northern province and the rightful rights of the Sri Lankan Tamils should be protected. But with politics heavily guiding their diplomatic engagement, there was some element of smart public diplomacy

as well led by Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh. This was a first and was smart thinking especially at a juncture when India was faced with a crisis of sorts, with Pakistan making the most of India's absence through Premier Nawaz Sharif telling the Sri Lankans that Islamabad will be their partner of choice." Image from

Anti-Muslim stereotypes increase on TV, hinder understanding: Research - Peter Kenny, "With a decreased focus on the lives of Muslims in the Western world in U.S. and European TV, stereotypes and negativity have increased in the news, new research has found. This is according to new research from Media Tenor International, the global media research company, made public . ... .For more than 20 years Media Tenor's says its mission has been to contribute to objective, diverse and newsworthy news by bringing together the diverse parties who both impact and are affected by the news. Media Tenor's global research projects include analyses of election campaigns, investor relations, public diplomacy, corporate communications and other topics critical to news makers and news audiences."

One step at a time... - James J Zogby, "In the midst of the confusion and uncertainty that characterises current US-Egypt relations and with American and Egyptian attitudes towards each other having plummeted to all-time lows, I recently had the opportunity to take part in a 'little' gem of a project that shows a way forward. Last month, 20 young American and Egyptian professionals visited the US as part of a programme sponsored by the Shafik Gabr Foundation. This group of Gabr Fellows was evenly divided between nationals from both countries and included artists, academics, and specialists in fields ranging from law to energy.

The goals of the programme were to promote mutual understanding and to spawn implementable projects through which the participants could apply their expertise and their shared experiences to make a difference in improving the US-Egypt relationship. ... While some might dismiss his effort as 'a drop in the bucket', to those who participate as Fellows and to those who will benefit from the projects, Gabr offers a life-changing experience. One can hope that the unique model he presents for private sector direct engagement in 'public diplomacy' will become contagious. Should other private foundations and corporations get into the act, Gabr's projections of 40, 60, or 100 fellows per year could grow to include thousands. Should this occur, we might see a time in the future when US-Egyptian relations are being shaped by individuals on both sides who have had direct experience with the other side." Image from

Former Indian ambassador to U.S. joins Watson Institute: Nirupama Rao plans to write a book on the role of public diplomacy in Indian foreign policy - Wing Sze Ho, "Nirupama Rao, who finished her tenure as India’s ambassador to the United States earlier this month, has been appointed a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies for 2014, the University announced last week.

Rao is the third recipient of the Meera and Vikram Gandhi Fellowship and the first full-year fellow, said Ashutosh Varshney, director of the Brown-India Initiative and professor of international studies and social sciences. ... Rao is 'essentially free' to organize any activity that 'advances the purposes of the fellowship.' ... Rao wrote that she plans to write a book about 'the use of public diplomacy in managing key foreign policy relationships for India.' Rao, who holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in English literature, has previously published a collection of poetry, 'Rain Rising.'” Rao image from entry


Getting to Yes With Iran - Editorial, New York Times: The interim nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers is an important step toward resolving the increasingly dangerous dispute over Iran’s progress on production of a nuclear weapon. President Obama and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran deserve credit for resisting fierce domestic opposition and a 30-year history of animosity between the two countries to get to this point. Even though the temporary agreement does not achieve permanent and total dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear program, no one can seriously argue that it doesn’t make the world safer.

An Iran deal worth trying -- risks and all - Editorial, Washington Post: The agreement with Iran announced early Sunday in Geneva will cap the expansion of its nuclear infrastructure and lengthen the time Tehran would need for a “breakout” attempt to build a bomb.

Though the accord is freighted with risk, it is worthy as an interim step — and preferable to the military action that might otherwise have been deemed necessary. Congress played a vital role in bringing Iran to the bargaining table by passing tough sanctions, in some cases over the opposition of the Obama administration. But lawmakers would be wise to refrain from imposing sanctions that take effect while negotiations proceed. For now, the prudent course is to give diplomacy its chance. Image from

Oh, Brother! Big Brother Is Back - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: If we can get an airtight nuclear deal that also opens the way for Iran’s reintegration into the global economy, American officials hope that different interest groups — including more stakeholders in engagement with the U.S. and the West — will be empowered inside Iran and start to change the character of the regime. It may not work, but it’s a worthy bet because the only real security for Iran’s neighbors can come from an evolutionary change in the character of that regime.

Backstage brawl over a deal - David Ignatius, Washington Post: What Gulf Arabs and Israelis fear most is that U.S. engagement with Iran will be accompanied by American disengagement from the region. This is why Obama’s incessant talk about ending wars in the Middle East and his blink on using military power in Syria frightened these countries. They saw it as a prelude to a general U.S. retreat.

Obama must signal that an agreement with Iran is instead a bridge to a regional security framework in which U.S. power remains the guarantor. An agreement with Iran may be Obama’s greatest success. But it’s worth thinking unconventionally about potential risks, even as we savor the prospect of a diplomatic triumph. Image from

U.S. Allies Need Reassurance on Iran - Steven L. Spiegel, New York Times:No deal could completely allay suspicions about Iran’s sincerity overnight, and that could undercut the accord’s chances of making the region feel more secure. America must begin preparing for that now, by offering its allies a more certain security net.

Israel’s Iran Dilemma icitly renewable for a further six months pending a full accord (for a period to be defined), freezes Iran’s nuclear program about where it is — at a technologically advanced point short of militarization. But it fast-forwards American-Iranian relations and may thereby redraw the strategic map of the Middle East. This explains Israel’s over-the-top “nyet,” its insistence that a deal heading off escalation makes the region more dangerous. Israel is the status-quo Middle Eastern power par excellence because the status quo cements its nuclear-armed domination. Any change is suspect.

Pact on Iran could give Obama a rare boost in job performance rating - Dave Boyer and Ben Wolfgang, The Washington Times: The agreement on Iran’s nuclear program provides President Obama with a rare potential achievement in a blunder-filled

second term, but the move is also raising tensions with Israel, America’s most important ally in the Middle East. Image from

Iran's Nuclear Triumph: Tehran can continue to enrich uranium at 10,000 working centrifuges - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Obama seems determined to press ahead with an Iran deal regardless of the details or damage. He views it as a legacy project. A President has enormous leeway on foreign policy, but Congress can signal its bipartisan unhappiness by moving ahead as soon as possible to strengthen sanctions. Mr. Obama warned Congress not to do so in his weekend remarks, but it is the only way now to stop the President from accommodating a nuclear Iran.

The Iran deal makes clear it pays to enrich - Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: The deal points the way toward consent to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

The Long Goodbye in Afghanistan - President Obama has indicated that a residual force of American troops will remain in Afghanistan to train Afghan security forces and engage in counterterrorism missions. In all this time, he has not made a clear and cogent case for any particular number of troops or explained how a residual force can improve the competency of Afghan forces when a much broader and intensive American engagement over the last decade has not.

Snowden and His Fellow Fantasists: Declassified NSA documents disprove his claim that he could legally wiretap anyone - L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal: Before the Snowden

leaks put the NSA on the defensive, the agency was making the case for more power to gather anonymous data to identify terrorists. That's the debate we should be having. Image from

Georgia’s westward course - Jackson Diehl, Washington Post: Only Moldova and Saakashvili’s Georgia are now pursuing deals with the E.U. and the embrace of democracy and free markets they require. As for Saakashvili, he’s back where he started in the United States, having ended his second presidential term last week, a year after his party suffered a decisive defeat in parliamentary elections. He’s out of favor at home and in Washington, which in the Obama era no longer pays much attention to Georgia or other post-Soviet countries.

RUSSICA [video]

You Will Not Believe How These Russians Get This Car Out Of A Frozen Lake -


From; via OS on Facebook

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