Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 22

"[T]he average adult Facebook user has more than 300 friends."

--New York Times; image from


A U.S.-China Summit Diplomacy Rivalry: With a new summit this year, the U.S. can begin to compete with China for influence in Africa - Istvan Tarrosy, "To date, U.S. diplomacy has not extended to high-level summits to manage state-to-state relations with countries on the African continent. That is in stark contrast to the approach China has been taken, with its triennial Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC). Now, however, the situation looks ready to change, as President Barack Obama prepares to host the leaders of 47 African countries at a

landmark summit, the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, in Washington, D.C. on August 5 and 6 this year. ... Since the first FOCAC was held in 2000 in Beijing, China has done much to engage with Africa in a deep and continuous dialogue, and its pragmatic approach has produced some significant results. Can the U.S. catch up, especially when it comes to winning 'hearts and minds' so that other policies might be implemented? As Joshua Kurlantzick, author of Charm Offensive, noted, this rise of China by the second half of 2000 was coinciding with a 'sharp decline in America’s soft power,' reflecting factors such as 'cuts in American public diplomacy, scandals in American corporations, misguided trade policies, [or] a retreat from multilateral institutions.' ... Courting Africa with the recent presidential invitation and strengthening the soft aspect of its strategy could help the U.S. regain momentum in its Africa diplomacy." Image from

Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Transformational Diplomacy - Kennon H. Nakamura and Susan B. Epstein, "Due to a myriad of reasons, including the elimination of the United States Information Agency (USIA) and the transfer of its functions to State, some have contended that public diplomacy has become the weakest part of U.S. foreign policy and is in need of significant reform. However it appears that while public diplomacy programs were becoming weaker, the importance of public diplomacy quickly became apparent as the image and influence of the United States decreased around much of the world. Questions were raised as to whether the United States is losing the 'war of ideas and inspiration.' The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and others criticized State’s public diplomacy program for its general lack of strategic planning, inadequate coordination of agency efforts, problems with measuring performance and results, and posts not pursuing a campaign-style approach to communications that incorporates best practices endorsed by GAO and others."

Where is the Undersecretary? -- Update - Reaching the Public: Personal Reflections on Public Diplomacy and Place/Nation Branding:  "With Stengel in the office, I updated the graph and the data. I also added three dates for Richard Stengel’s tenure in the office based on the shortest, average, and longest tenures Undersecretaries before him had. Here, I am not trying to forecast when he is going to leave his post. Rather, I plan to use these dates to make arguments about vacancies and high rate of turnover in R. Let me share a short post about the vacancy data about the Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy position. Everybody who works in or studies public diplomacy knows that the position has seen high rates of turn over and has been vacant quite often. I was playing around with the vacancy data and created this timeline visual. Here is the data I used as a table. Below image from entry

Step Up 'Soft Diplomacy' [subscription] - Letter to the Editor, New York Times. According to Google search, mention of public diplomacy.

Towards A New Era Of Public Diplomacy: Twiplomacy -  Francesca Romana Bastianello, "Nowadays more than three-quarters (77.7 percent) of world leaders have a Twitter account, which they use to communicate with each other, to broadcast their daily activities to an ever-growing audience, and to answer to citizens’ comments and mentions. ... [T]he number of official Twitter accounts is growing as well as the number of their followers. However, Twiplomacy is still developing and has, consequently, some weak points that should be taken into account. First, not every leader is connected to the net, and many of them have created an account only recently. Second, we also have to consider that this social network is not equally popular in every nation—probably this is also why many governments also use Twitter as an automated news feed from their website or Facebook page. Third, the same leaders do not agree on the nature of messages they should write—more personal or political in nature? Fourth, politicians seem not to have understood the primary tool of social networks: to connect people with each other."

Developing An Assessment for the IO Environment In Afghanistan - “Jake” Bebber, "You may be wondering what an article about Afghanistan is doing on a site about maritime security. Well, I found myself asking a very similar questions when, within six months of joining the U.S. Navy and graduating from Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Pensacola, FL, I found myself in a land-locked country serving on a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) conducting counterinsurgency operations. The irony was not lost on me since I had joined very late in life (I was 35 when I went to OCS). The recruiter had said, 'Join the Navy and see the world!' Little did I know we’d be starting in alphabetical order … Meeting the requirements of an 'individual augmentee' – (Fog a mirror? Check!) – and having just enough training to know how to spell 'IO,' I arrived in Khost province in early 2008. I was fortunate to relieve a brilliant officer, Chris Weis, who had established a successful media and public diplomacy program and laid the groundwork for a number of future programs. I decided that before setting out to win the 'hearts and minds' of the local population, we needed to take stock of where we were and whether our efforts were achieving the effects we desired. The goal of Information Operations (or 'IO') is to 'influence, corrupt, disrupt, or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.' ... Information Operations traditionally suffer from a lack of available metrics by which planners can assess their environment and measure the effectiveness of their programs.

It may be impossible to show direct causation, or even correlation, between Information Operations and actual effects (i.e., did my influence program actually have its desired effect?). This often places IO practitioners at a distinct disadvantage when attempting to gain the confidence of unit commanders, who are tasked with allocating scarce battlefield resources and who are often skeptical of Information Operations as a whole. Given these constraints it was clear that the PRT in Khost province, Afghanistan, needed a tool by which the leadership could benchmark current conditions and evaluate the information environment under which the population lived. We hoped that such a tool could help provide clues as to whether our IO (and the overall PRT) efforts were having the intended effects. As a result, we developed the Information Operations Environmental Assessment tool, which can be used and replicated at the unit level (battalion or less) by planners in order to establish an initial benchmark (where am I?) and measure progress toward achieving the IO program goals and objectives (where do I want to go?). ... Since my crude attempt was first published in 2009, the U.S. Institute of Peace (yes, there is such a thing) developed the metrics framework under the name 'Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments' or 'MPICE.'' ... No doubt the MPICE framework is far more useful today than my rudimentary attempt to capture measures of effect in 2008, but I hope in some small way others have found a useful starting point. As I learned firsthand, and as practitioners of naval and maritime professions know, what happens on land often draws in those focused on the sea." Uncaptioned image from entry

Is the sword still the enemy of freedom? - Haime Luna, "The controversy this week over the nonexistent U.S. military base in Costa Rica brings to mind the year 1985, when U.S. Green Berets were training Costa Rican 'policemen' in Murciélago, just north of the Santa Rose Peninsula in Guanacaste. The training took place on a former ranch expropriated from Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza near the Nicaraguan border. Authorities invited members of the press to the graduation of a platoon of 'policemen,' with The Tico Times’ María Elena Esquivel coming away with photos of olive-green-clad troops marching with both Costa Rican and U.S. flags. ... In its public diplomacy campaign in favor of the Contras, the U.S. Embassy published polls stating that the majority of Costa Ricans supported the Contra cause. But the graduation event sparked controversy reminiscent of this week’s outcry over the U.S. 'military base,' albeit in the days before social media."

Where the China Lobby Meets Closed Doors: Congress - "With all the money and effort that the PRC and its tribunes have put into public diplomacy around the world, it’s striking how badly they’ve faltered when it comes to Congress. So far, perhaps, it can be said that this has mattered little, as other arms of the U.S. government plus the various world bodies have been more in a position to facilitate an enhanced status and role for China. However, if for reasons of economic or foreign policy we are headed into rougher bilateral waters, a failure to establish better connections on Capitol Hill could become more significant."

rayban sunglasses deputy executive director - “'Ministry of Foreign Affairs' ... the 13th reaffirm “Republic of China' government sovereignty over Diaoyu Islands stance called on relevant parties to observe 'East peace initiative ... ,' the spirit of self-restraint ... not to increase opposition action. According to Taiwan’s 'Central News Agency' reports ... coincides with the 13th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre 75. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the Chinese maritime patrol aircraft in an 11 am local time, shortly after GMT 10:00 flew into the airspace of the Diaoyu Islands. Japan subsequently dispatched eight F-15 fighters took off to deal with. ... Taiwan’s 'Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Public Diplomacy Coordination He Zhenhuan ... deputy executive director ... said the parties hope for peace in this area to take a favorable behavior, not toward non-peaceful manner."

IDF spokesperson to bring message here March 4 - Ed Wittenberg, "Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, head of the interactive media and communications branch of the Israel Defense Forces spokespersons unit, will speak on 'Defending Israel in the Media War' at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 4, at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, 27501 Fairmount Blvd. in Pepper Pike. ... In recent years, she

often has been at the forefront of Israeli and IDF international public diplomacy, especially during major military operations in the Middle East in which Israel was involved. Leibovich image from entry

Hasbara 2.0 is here - "Israel does not lag behind in the practice of Digital Diplomacy. On the contrary, it has one of the most active Digital Diplomacy units in the world. The vast majority of Israel’s embassies and missions abroad operate both Twitter channels and Facebook profiles with a large number of them also active on YouTube. In a recent research I undertook at Tel Aviv University, I found that Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has one of the largest following in the world. Out of a sample of 85 countries spanning the globe, the Israeli MFA’s twitter channel ranked fifth boasting more than 36K followers well ahead of Sweden, Germany, India and France. Israel’s MFA was also the ninth most active MFA on twitter. As for its Facebook profile, Israel’s MFA has more than 145K followers making it the tenth most popular MFA out of the 85 foreign ministries evaluated. This is Hasbara 2.0. It is already here. There is no need for a new word. ... If Israel is so good at Digital Diplomacy, why do most Israelis feel that we are losing the cyber war? First, there is the conventional wisdom regarding Israel’s lack of capabilities which is often fueled by foreign affairs commentators in Israeli news outlets. Commentators are a popular form of Israeli reporters who relish generalizations and have little regard for facts. Secondly, Israel’s opponents are just as active and just as tech-savvy. This is a war over narratives, and there are currently numerous battlegrounds shaping the discourse. Some are won, some are lost. Thirdly, there are the politicians from all sides of the aisles who use the topic of Hasbara when attacking the government. Finally, one must take into account that the problem is not with the medium or with the messenger but with the message. As Israel Barzilai, Israel’s former Minister of Health, said in June of 1967, 'As for Hasbara- there is, of course, much to repair and a lot to do, but sometimes I have the feeling that we turn this issue into a scapegoat and make it easy on ourselves. There are facts that even the best Hasbara will not be able to justify or to be understood by thinking people. If you blow up villages and force people out of their houses, it is unexplainable even with the best Hasbara'."

How to fix Israel's broken public diplomacy effort: Bring opinion leaders here, provide data to friends abroad, and don’t put Foreign Ministry in charge. [full article accessible through subscription] - Evelyn Gordon, Jerusalem Post: "Having long argued that bringing people to see Israel for themselves is the best way to change their view of it, I was delighted to discover that someone high up in the Foreign Ministry shares my view.

Unfortunately, Gideon Meir has just retired after 45 years in the ministry – after failing utterly to secure funding even for the modest effort of bringing over 3,000 non-Jews influential on American college campuses, at a cost of $12 million (NIS 42.1 million). That’s pocket change in a government budget of NIS 408.1 billion – a mere 0.01%. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Meir pointed out what ought to be obvious: Public diplomacy is as critical to Israel’s security as fighter jets, because without it, we won’t even be able to buy those jets. Uncaptioned image from entry

The world’s best refugee camp? - Ashlee Betteridge, "New York Times Magazine just released a fascinating feature titled ‘How to Build a Perfect Refugee Camp‘. It documents the Turkish government’s efforts to provide orderly, humane and safe accommodation for the growing numbers of Syrians flooding over the border to seek refuge from the ongoing conflict in their country. ... There are some interesting takeaways from the story [including] ... the way in which the Turkish government seems to view the provision of decent camps as a form of public diplomacy. When asked by the journalist why Turkey had made such efforts to provide quality camps for the displaced Syrians, a Turkish official responded: 'You have a refugee problem, what do you do? It’s a normal response'."

The need for public diplomacy - Yusuf Kanli, "This time, it appears that a Cyprus settlement might soon become discernible. Washington’s involvement or providing very strong support to the United Nations mediation efforts has helped so far in getting a joint statement built on 'constructive ambiguity.' ...  However, there is need for a massive public diplomacy drive to explain to the Greek Cypriots what peace would bring to them, and thus merit their support for a resolution."

The trilateral format: a vehicle for regional stability? - Zaur Shiriyev, "The recent meeting of the Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish foreign ministers in the

northern Azerbaijani city of Ganja on Feb. 18-19 was their third trilateral-format meeting. ... The ongoing institutionalization of the relations between these three strategic partner countries in a trilateral format demonstrates first of all that there is no easy recipe for this task, and secondly, that if it is successfully developed, the Azerbaijan-Georgian-Turkish strategic format could become a model for other countries in similar situations. Nonetheless, in order to develop the trilateral arrangement, bilateral relations in some areas (as mentioned before, media and science) must first be improved. It is not only media and science, but also other less-developed areas of cooperation (including public perceptions of each society, public diplomacy and people-to-people contact) that need to be enhanced." Image from

Single Men and Women Indonesia Qualified for Semifinal Austrian Challenge - "Indonesian men's singles victory over Andre Tedjono advance to the semi-finals of the Austrian International Challenge (IC) in 2014, after beating Wang Tzu Wei of Taipei 24-22, 15-21, 21-12. held at the Wiener Stadthalle Hall B on Friday. In the semi-final will face Andre Tedjono Fladberg Rasmus from Denmark. While the women's singles Maria Febe Kusumastuti advance to the semi-finals after beating O. Golovanova of Russia 21-13, 21-18. Counsellor for Information and Public Diplomacy; Protocol and Consular Affairs Embassy in Vienna, Dody sembodo Kusumonegoro to Between London, said Saturday, in the semi-final will face Febe Kusumastuti Pai Hsiao Ma of Taipei after beating Dr. Xu Wei of China 21-15, 21-18.

Dependency Aid is Dysfunctional: Time for Self-sufficiency - Clare Lockhart, "It is ... important ... to distinguish between 'aid' (such as life-saving humanitarian assistance and the financial or material donations it requires) and 'development engagement,' which is something quite different.

Development engagement can be low-budget, and should be designed to move a needy country toward self-sufficiency—so that the state can collect its own revenues and the people can support their own livelihoods—as soon as possible. Many recipient countries have enormous untapped domestic resources, and with some effort devoted to increasing those revenues and building the systems to spend them, could assume much more of the responsibility of meeting their citizens’ needs. Getting the toolbox right requires instruments that can best support this approach: the OPIC, enterprise funds, chambers of commerce, public diplomacy, scholarships, international financial institutions, trade measures, and the National Academies, among others." Uncaptioned image from entry

The Daily: Pride and Propaganda -- Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day - Michael Ardaiolo,

PASOS call for NATO Winter Academy 2014 10 – 14 March 2014, Prague – Extended Deadline - "PASOS is seeking 10 Czech university students interested in political science and international relations, NATO and security policy, and diplomacy to participate in the NATO Winter Academy’s panels and debates March 10-14 in Prague. The annual training seminar will be held at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is being held in coordination with Moscow-based Centre of European Security and NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division. Deadline to apply is February 14, 2014."

Apply for INDIAFRICA business venture contest, last date April 15, 2014 - "INDIAFRICA Business Venture Contest 2014 is an initiative supported by the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs. is the official media partner for the event.

The contest is for young African and Indian entrepreneurs under the age of 35 with business or social venture ideas. The ideas can either be around commercial business or social venture which can create value and disrupt the industrial or social sector in India and Africa." Image from entry

Catalyst of violence: Conflicting views on EU agreement spark violent protests in Ukraine - Zane Warman, "Evhenia Viatchaninova, a 2013 graduate in public diplomacy from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, is a native of Ukraine. She said protesters and their supporters want more economic freedom to decide what is best for Ukraine."

NARIP Leads Mission from Hollywood to Berlin, Creates Commerce, Music Placements -
"NARIP led a delegation on a mission of commerce, culture and copyright advocacy from Hollywood to Berlin during Sep 2013 and since to stimulate entertainment economic activities in both countries. The mission resulted in several music placements in American productions, including one of a German artist, and renewed interest in international creative collaborations.

Photo above (L-R): John B. Emerson, U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany with NARIP President Tess Taylor against the backdrop of the historic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. ... Mr. Emerson, originally from the suburbs of New York City, earned his Bachelor of Arts in Government and Philosophy from Hamilton College and his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago. More recently a resident of Los Angeles, he is married to Kimberly Marteau Emerson, who served in a senior role at USIA in the Clinton Administration and currently serves on several civic and non-profit boards, pertaining to human rights and public diplomacy."

Randy Garfield Announces Retirement from The Walt Disney Company - "Randy Garfield, president of the Walt Disney Travel Company and executive vice president, worldwide sales and travel operations at Disney Destinations, has announced his retirement, effective April 1. ... 'Although I have elected to retire from full time work at Disney

my intention is to stay involved in a few selected elements of our industry that have been critical to accomplishing my personal vision of travel’s role in economic development, public diplomacy and personal health,' Garfield told Travel Agent Central. 'Subsequent to my retirement and taking some time to unwind I will actually have more time to spend on the Board of Brand USA/Corporation For Travel Promotion to optimize its impact on our industry.'” Uncaptioned image from entry

Consultant - "Terms of reference for consultancy services to the Netherlands Representative Office in the Gaza Strip for the period March 2014 – March 2017 ... - Within the framework of NRO’s public diplomacy strategy the consultant will assist in (identifying) activities that serve to promote this objective in the Gaza strip."


Don’t Let Up on Iran - Michael Kassen and Lee Rosenberg, New York Times: We support the president’s diplomatic effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

We also believe the best chance for success in this purpose lies with continued congressional pressure on Iran throughout the negotiations. Image from

America's Global Retreat: Never mind the Fed's taper, it's the U.S. geopolitical taper that is stirring world anxiety. From Ukraine to Syria to the Pacific, a hands-off foreign policy invites more trouble - Niall Ferguson, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Obama's supporters like nothing better than to portray him as the peacemaker to George W. Bush's warmonger. But it is now almost certain that more people have died violent deaths in the Greater Middle East during this presidency than during the last one.

Whose Side Are We On? America can take a clear stand without intervening in Ukraine - Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal: Obama is destroying the American brand in the world. It is particularly important now for us to show the people of Ukraine, and of Europe, that America is not some exhausted shell of itself with no adherence to anything larger than the daily concerns of its welfare state, but still a nation with meaning. That it still stands with those who risk all for greater freedom, that it cares.

The coming crash of American diplomacy in the Middle East: Obama's policy failures on Iran, Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute will have devastating effects - John Bolton, Obama's view of America's international role:

His is a world of rhetoric and talk, not power. Image from

New internationalism: It’s time to reinvent global engagement [subscription] - David Ignatius, Washington Post

Exposed: Ukrainian ‘Protesters’ Backed by Kony 2012-Style Scam [includes video] - Paul Joseph Watson, As they seize weapons, take over government buildings and fire on media outlets, the US-backed Ukrainian protesters are being afforded legitimacy with the aid of a Kony 2012-style viral video which triumphs the grass roots nature of the demonstrations yet is linked to shadowy NGOs that have been directly involved in staging phony ‘color revolutions’ in the past.

'Five Came Back' spotlights Hollywood directors' WWII propaganda: Mark Harris' 'Five Came Back' explores the World War II work of U.S. directors John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra and George Stevens, who elevated propaganda films to a high art - M.G. Lord,
Propaganda today has a nasty connotation; it suggests something cheesy, manipulative, in the service of a dishonorable cause. During World War II, however, cinematic propaganda became an elevated art, practiced with unusual expertise by five great American movie directors: John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra and George Stevens.

Hitler threw down the gauntlet with Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" (1935), propaganda so captivating that it impelled even gentle Germans to thump their chests. When Riefenstahl's film appeared, Hollywood was torn between isolationists and interventionists By 1941, however, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the isolationists shut up. Hollywood and the War Department realized: President Franklin D. Roosevelt needed his own Reifenstahls — American directors who could rally U.S. citizens with film. In his meticulously researched, page-turning group biography "Five Came Back," Mark Harris, a movie critic for Entertainment Weekly, tells what happened to these five directors — not just during the war but after. Image from entry, with caption: Col. Frank Capra, right, of the U.S. Army Signal Corps confers with Capt. Roy Boulting of the British Army Film Unit on the editing of the film "Tunisian Victory" in February 1944

Your country needs you: propaganda a potent weapon in 'total war' - Richard Carter, As the bombs and grenades ripped through the trenches, the Great Powers were also waging another deadly battle, using the power of words and images to recruit, cajole and shock in "the first modern propaganda war." While British propaganda, at least in the early stages of the War before conscription, was focused mainly on recruitment, Germany and France sought to bolster morale on the home front and in the trenches as thousands perished daily. The Great Powers quickly realised the importance of controlling information about the slaughter and scrambled to set up whole government departments to disseminate propaganda, influence opinion-formers and win hearts and minds both at home and abroad.

As the war dragged on, propaganda efforts concentrated on demonising the enemy, disseminating stories, often wholly invented, about "war crimes" committed on the battlefield or in occupied territories. Tales of German soldiers bayoneting babies or gang raping young girls at gunpoint were legion and widely believed, providing a powerful recruitment tool and bolstering the determination of the Allied populations to "defeat the monster." And in the propaganda battle, as in many so other areas, what took place in World War I had a profound impact on the horrors of 20 years later. Historians generally agree that German military leaders believed the Allied propaganda effort superior to theirs in the Great War and that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler sought to ape the British techniques in World War II to turn the tables. Image from entry, with caption: An English propaganda poster by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, London, depicting a column of soldiers marching to war, while being joined in the foreground by men in a variety of civilian attire during the World War I


Ridiculous toilet at Yanukovych's palace

From (Note: A Facebook "friend" has claimed that this toilet is falsely attributed to being Yanukovych's).

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