"Gen. Robert Abrams, the regional commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Kandahar, has noted that 85 percent of Afghans are illiterate, which makes conducting complex operations difficult to plan."
--Douglas Ernst, "Afghan troops’ illiteracy hinders U.S. withdrawal plans," The Washington Times; image from
The English Language In 24 Accents - YouTube. Via RK on Facebook
Kerry, Drones and Cultural Diplomacy - Pierre Guerlain, Huffington Post: "Experience and scholarly analysis would seem to indicate that there is nothing smart about mixing drones and cultural diplomacy yet this is the preferred method. ... Can American leaders remain impervious to what is both costing tax payers too much and destroying the image of America? Drones achieve the exact opposite of what public diplomacy wishes to achieve. Why bother with cultural diplomacy if hard power, that is 'kill lists' and drones, block any positive effect?"
The endgame: ‘Taliban can be part of Afghanistan’s future’ - Kamran Yousaf, tribune.com.pk: "The United States is ready to open the door for talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, said US Ambassador to Islamabad Richard Olson in a policy speech delivered at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad on Wednesday.
The Afghan Taliban could be part of Afghanistan’s future if they met conditions to ensure long-term peace and stability in the war-torn country, he went on to say. The remarks by Ambassador Olson reiterated recent American emphasis on pursuing reconciliation in Afghanistan instead of its usual method of using military might. In this context, Olson said their new office in Qatar could be used for negotiations between the Afghan High Peace Council and representatives of the Taliban. ... In a question-and-answer session, Ambassador Olson refrained from making comments on US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal belt. He also avoided speaking on Pakistan’s nuclear programme. 'I think such issues must not be discussed through public diplomacy,' he replied, when asked to comment on apprehensions that the US wanted to de-nuclearise Pakistan." Image from
Public Diplomacy 2.0 - Brooke, talkingpoliticsjomc.wordpress.com: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bid the world a virtual goodbye on Jan. 29 during a ‘Global Townterview’ that allowed journalists and viewers at home to submit questions via Facebook and Twitter. The interactive, digital-friendly event served as a fitting end to her time in the State Department, which was defined by her passion for '21st century statecraft,' the use of social media and other digital platforms to achieve US foreign policy goals. Thanks to her push for innovation, the State Department and its embassies now boast 195 Twitter accounts and 290 Facebook pages with more than 15 million followers. ‘21st century statecraft’ and its social media strategies naturally go hand-in-hand with public diplomacy, deals with influencing public opinion overseas to promote positive perceptions of the US and build support for its policies. Thanks to its inherent interactive nature, social media fit neatly into Cowan and Arsenault (2008)’s discussion of public diplomacy, which emphasizes the importance of dialogue and citizen participation in winning trust and support from audiences overseas. The oldest methods of public diplomacy fall into the monologue, or one-way communication, category, which includes speeches, publications, cultural works, Voice of America broadcasts, etc. These certainly have their place in public diplomacy, as they allow the government to convey its ideas or perspectives clearly and eloquently (Cowan and Arsenault, 2008). However, for countries such as the
31 Jan 2013, Thu, SoS Clinton and Staff Schedule posted at rushlimbaughreport.blogspot.com:"UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 7:30 a.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine hosts a CO.NX digital video conference with embassies in South Central Asia, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 2:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine meets with the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 3:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends a meeting at the White House. (MEDIA DETERMINED BY WHITE HOUSE) 5:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine delivers remarks on Public Diplomacy and Foreign Policy in 2013: The View from State, at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. (OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)"
Hagel in the Senate Hot Seat - Helle Dale, blog.heritage.org: "The Senate Armed Services Committee is holding hearings today on the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) to head the Department of Defense (DOD). ... Hagel has a long history of commitment to engaging foreign audiences, speaking at The Heritage Foundation on U.S. public diplomacy in 2003.
It would be very interesting to hear Hagel’s view on the role of the Pentagon in synchronizing U.S. global actions and messages." Image from, with caption: Hagel as cheerleader for Iran [originally from Washington Times]
War in Africa: Countering China’s Influence. French Military oversees Power-sharing Deal with US in Central African Republic - Patrick O'Connor, globalresearch.ca: "On June 17, 2009, US ambassador Frederick Cook dispatched a cable, “French-CAR [Central African Republic] relations seriously strained ... '. Another cable sent five months later was headed 'Growing Chinese influence in the CAR evident.' It detailed the extent to which both American and French interests were losing ground to Beijing, which was 'ramping up its military cooperation, public diplomacy and development efforts.' The cable noted that whereas there were only four resident diplomatic agents in the American embassy in Bangui, the Chinese embassy had about 40 employees. It added that approximately 40 CAR military officers were being trained in China every year, compared to the two or three officers who went to the US and 10-15 to France."
Fox News story addresses news versus "messaging" in US international broadcasting - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "[Elliott comment:] [A] BBG statement says that the 'international media environment is flooded with broadcasters.' Actually, it's US international broadcasting itself that is flooded with broadcasters, often duplicating one another. The BBG's desire to 'get more money' is the all-purpose solution offered by every Washington bureacracy. Before US international broadcasting gets more money, it first needs to eliminate the duplication that pervades its operations. Duplication is a significant form of waste in federal spending. The BBC World Services still have a larger audience than USIB, even though the United States spends more than the UK on international broadcasting. This Fox news item might encourage a useful debate about news versus messaging in US international broadcasting. Many US decision makers seem to subscribe to simplistic bullet-theory notions of messaging in USIB. Understanding the role of news in the communication process of international broadcasting requires an intellectual leap, but not a very high one."
No more business class plane travel for RFE/RL executives under new acting president - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com: "BBG Watch has learned that one of the reforms planned by the newly-appointed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) acting president Kevin Klose is to put an end to business class plane travel for all RFE/RL executives regardless of their position.
Sources told us that Klose himself also plans to abide by this rule, which is in any case mandatory for employees of an institution like RFE/RL that gets all of its funding from U.S. taxpayers. The Fly America Act requires that federal employees and employees paid by federal grants fly economy class whenever possible. There are only very few and narrow exceptions to this rule." Image from entry
Kambiz Hosseini, formerly of VOA's Parazit, launches podcast distributed by human rights organization - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
[LINK] "Monumental Mistakes" – rfmcdpei.livejournal.com: “At Slate, Joshua Kucera examines a particularly clumsy piece of Azerbaijani public diplomacy. The Azerbaijani government financed the renovation of two parks in downtown
In one park, the Azerbaijani government placed a statue of the country's first president, Heydar Aliyev; in the other, a monument to the dead of the Khojaly Massacre, killed in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war. The statues were initially missed by a Mexican public caught up in other issues, but recently much public discontent has built up surrounding the placement of one statue to a dead foreign dictator and another to
Indonesia to hold Bali Democracy Forum in Dec. this year - nzweek.com: "An Indonesian official said on Thursday that Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) is scheduled to be convened from Dec. 7 to 8 this year, making it the sixth that has ever been held by the country. The BDF was originally intended to encourage democracy development in the participating countries. Since it was first founded in 2008, the BDF has actively discussed the democracy development among countries sending their delegates in the event. Information and Public Diplomacy Director General at the foreign affairs ministry AM Fachir said that delegates of countries attending the BDF would be able to share their experiences in applying democracy in their countries with other delegates."
U.S. policy toward countering al-Qaeda 2.0 - David Ignatius, Washington Post: The Obama administration is working with its allies to frame a strategy to combat what might be called “al-Qaeda 2.0” — an evolving, morphing terrorist threat that lacks a coherent center but is causing growing trouble in chaotic, poorly governed areas such as Libya, Yemen, Syria and Mali. U.S. officials liken this new problem to the spread of cancer cells: Al-Qaeda nodes emerge in diffuse places, feeding off local issues and grievances.
These cells have only a loose, ideological connection with what remains of the core leadership in Pakistan, but they are stubborn and toxic. So long as the cancerous nodes of al-Qaeda don’t threaten the American homeland, U.S. officials want to avoid using drone strikes or other such attacks. But as the local cells adapt and spread, al-Qaeda 2.0 will almost certainly move through the global bloodstream toward targets in the United States. Image from
Richard M. Walden, Operation USA's charity buccaneer: Almost 35 years ago, he and a friend rounded up six tons of relief supplies and a jet to ferry them to Vietnamese boat people in Malaysia. And he's still soldiering on - patt Morrison, latimes.com: Almost on impulse, almost 35 years ago, Richard M. Walden and a friend rounded up six tons of relief supplies and a jet to ferry them to Vietnamese boat people in Malaysia. Thus was Operation California — now Operation USA — born. A Times headline soon called him the "charity buccaneer," a red-tape-slashing contrarian who fretted about the "international web of neglect," and who still has sharp words for relief efforts unmet and relief agencies that don't measure up.
Curator, Tear Down These Walls - Roberta Smith, New York Times: Despite rising interest in and scholarship about folk art — and even after the wholesale rethinking of several
major American wings on the East Coast — the isolation of folk from academic is still the norm. Given that we live in a time of eroding aesthetic boundaries and categories, when many curators are experimenting with integrative approaches in international biennials and commercial galleries, it seems past time for the folk-academic division to soften. It undoubtedly has at some institutions, especially those with modest collections. Image from article, with caption: “Lake George and the Village of Caldwell,” left, by Thomas Chambers, challenges the perspective of John Frederick Kensett’s “Hudson River Scene.”
Image from [Soviet-Style Homosexual Propaganda] - istpravda.ru via VK on Facebook