Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 23-25

Abbreviated edition

"Soft power advocates ... have been distracted by cutesy projects such as 'gastrodiplomacy,' which may produce a few newspaper articles about the virtues of kimchi or mushy peas, but are unlikely to have any lasting effect on their audience."

--Professor Philip Seib, former Director of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy; image from


USC Public Diplomacy Magazine: Winter 2014 Issue: Gastrodiplomacy


How to Promote Human Rights in Iran - Ray Takeyh, cfr.org: "The United States should support freedom of expression in Iran. One manner of helping these organizations lies in the realm of Internet freedom and public diplomacy. The United States has made tentative forays into reopening Internet service to Iran in the face of the regime's efforts to choke it off, but more can and should be done. Washington should look into providing readily accessible means of communication to Iranian organizations, including software to help overcome Internet blockage and technologies to penetrate the Iranian government's obstructions of satellite transmissions.

The more its members can be enabled to speak freely, the more the Iranian public and the world will be able to hear their messages, and the better they can assert their views. The Iranian regime is deeply concerned about losing control over information technology and equally concerned that such measures will provide an avenue for highlighting its arbitrary practices." Image from entry

Policy Memo: Why are Sanctions Blocking Medicine for Iranians and How Can We Fix This? - niacouncil.org: "The Administration could heed the recommendation of a recent Atlantic Council report by '[d]esignating a small number of US and private Iranian financial institutions as channels for payment for humanitarian, educational, and public diplomacy-related transactions carefully licensed by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.' This measure would completely cut out the need to use foreign banks as intermediaries and ensure a clear and legitimate financial channel to facilitate transactions.

Social Media Makes the State Department Nimbler - nextgov.com: "One effect of the boom in online social activity in recent years has been a blurring of the lines between traditional diplomacy conducted by government officials behind closed doors and the realm of 'public diplomacy' where diplomats reach out directly to citizens of another nation, State Department officials said on Tuesday. 'It is just beyond imagination that you can walk out of your door, turn on your computer, pick up a newspaper and not think we’re in a new era of public engagement and public empowerment that has a material impact on traditional diplomacy,' said Macon Phillips, the department’s coordinator for international information programs and former White House director of digital strategy. Phillips was speaking during a panel discussion at Social Media Week in New York City. 'Private conversations are a heck of a lot easier when there’s a public space for leaders to make difficult decision and that public space is absolutely impacted by 'public diplomacy,' Phillips said. The State Department has roughly 800,000 followers on Twitter and 480,000 followers on Facebook. Numerous senior diplomats also have social media accounts, including Secretary of State John Kerry, who is the first head of the department to officially tweet while in office. Here are some lessons the department has learned from its work in social media: It’s good to engage on a personal level Personal tweets and Facebook posts from ambassadors and other high ranking officials can show a human side to policy that’s more difficult to convey through official profiles, panelists said. That’s a difficult line to tread at the State Department, however, which aims to speak with a single voice about international questions. Earlier this month, Secretary Kerry began tweeting again from the personal account he used as a U.S. senator. During his first year in office, Kerry occasionally tweeted from the official State Department

account and signed the tweets with his initials 'JK.'  Kerry also posted an #unselfie photo in November, urging followers to donate money to Typhoon victims in the Philippines, which helped increase donations. The #unselfie is a play on #selfie photos in which people hide their faces behind a piece of paper with text or a Web address that advocates for a cause. (In Kerry’s case, the digital team made sure the legal pad that carried a Web address for Typhoon donations left 'the very distinctive John Kerry hair' uncovered so people would be sure to recognize him, said Doug Frantz, assistant secretary of state for public affairs). But that personal touch can be risky. The personalization and the speed of social media engagement also means the State Department must be more tolerant of the minor errors or poorly formed thoughts that come out when people speak off the cuff rather than in official statements, Frantz said." Image from entry

Freedom of the Press: Government Does Not Know Best - newsjunkiepost.com: "Tara Sonenshine , United States Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, was certainly stating the obvious when she noted the heavy toll exacted against journalists across the globe. Speaking on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Sonenshine took note of the grim figure of 600 journalists who have been 'murdered with impunity since 1992' and the 250 journalists languishing in prisons globally. 'They are incarcerated for simply doing their work – reporting to all of us what is going on in their communities and in their countries.' The point is worth reiterating, especially to those in Sonenshine’s position. She admits that governments, 'misuse terrorism laws to prosecute and imprison journalists.' The material Snowden The material Snowden supplied, the subject matter in Miranda’s [David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, a key participant in the surveillance disclosures of Edward Snowden] possession when he found himself being detained at Heathrow was vital.

It served a fundamental purpose: to expose massive, unaccounted surveillance by supposedly free states against their own citizens and those of allied countries. The attitudes of the British justices suggest, even more than their American colleagues, a cozy approach to authoritarianism when it is deemed in 'the best interest' to exercise it. At best, it suggests a reluctance to gaze behind the veil of state impunity when it comes to matters of surveillance. The reasoning, crudely put, is that government knows best while journalists don’t." Uncaptioned image from entry

American Food 2.0: Culinary Diplomacy at Expo 2015 - Sam Chapple-Sokol, thepublicdiplomat.com: "The theme of the 2015 [Milan] Expo is food. The U.S. needs a culinary diplomacy plan that is both inclusive and exclusive. ... The U.S. Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010, with sponsors including Pfizer, Boeing, and PepsiCo, was generally regarded as a poor representation of our nation.

Let’s try to do better this time, and show off something our country does well: food." Via PR; image from entry

Public Diplomacy and Press Freedom - Philip Seib, Huffington Post: "The White House and State Department need to rev up the engine of public diplomacy and make it more central to U.S. foreign policy. Forcefully defending press freedom would be a good way to start. The world will take note."

How the world sees us - Alan Wallace, triblive.com: "What we consider best about ourselves and our nation isn't reflected much in the pop culture that America exports profitably. Martha Bayles' new book explores the often unflattering U.S. image that our movies, TV shows and music present to the world and its ramifications for U.S. interests. Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy and America's Image Abroad' (Yale University Press) draws on hundreds of interviews conducted in 11 countries. Its author, a reviewer and essayist who teaches humanities at Boston College, traces America's global image problem to the end of the Cold War. With the Soviet Union gone, Washington no longer saw the need for Cold War-style 'public diplomacy,' such as the goodwill tours it began sponsoring in the 1950s that featured jazz and classical music luminaries. And as a Weekly Standard review noted, the U.S. Information Agency was dismantled under legislation that the Clinton administration helped draft in 1999. The resulting void in terms of shaping America's global image was filled quickly by the U.S. entertainment industry. And the result, Bayles contends, is that U.S. movies, TV shows and music too often portray to foreign audiences little about Americans' fundamental values and much about the coarse, violent, corrupt and vulgar sides of American life. Yes, U.S. pop culture often sells well around the world. But it also often offends or puts off foreign audiences who see it as antithetical to their own values. Examples are TV's 'Friends' and 'Sex and the City,' shows that lead much of the world to think that Americans have few work, school or family responsibilities and spend most of their time seeking pleasure. And it's not just purely fictional American pop culture that's problematic. Bayles notes that our so-called 'reality' shows are popular worldwide and have been imitated in other countries including Russia, where the government encourages such programming. Such shows can make being spied on seem glamorous, which authoritarian regimes find useful. U.S. pop culture that portrays America as godless, greedy, hedonistic and arrogant can even backfire for our national interests, giving anti-American elements abroad something to rail against. And Bayles is willing to entertain the notion that what the pop culture we export tells us about ourselves is as worrisome in its own way as what it tells foreign audiences about America." Image from entry

Third Women in CE Career Forum Event Set For June - dealerscope.com: "Women in CE has announced that its third annual Women in CE Career Enhancement Forum will take place June 24 at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, as part of CE Week. The all-day event will feature a networking breakfast, sessions, workshops, and keynote speakers, before wrapping up with a closing reception. The opening keynote will feature

Charlotte Beers, the longtime business executive who served as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Bush Administration from 2001 to 2003. Beers is also a board member of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, an inductee of the Advertising Hall of Fame, and author of the book I'd Rather Be in Charge: A Legendary Business Leader's Roadmap for Achieving Pride, Power, and Joy at Work." Image from

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew spoke to Ukrainian opposition leader, Voice of Russia reported while Voice of America did not - BBG Watcher, BBG watch

Kerry calls Lavrov Sunday on Ukraine, Voice of Russia reports — no reporting from Voice of America - BBG Watcher, BBG watch

Who’s afraid of the Dalai Lama? - M K Bhadrakumar, indrus.in "[T]he US has a long history of involvement in Tibet, which according to the Chinese account, was a root cause of the 1959 rebellion. China alleged that the CIA-trained cadres and weapons were airdropped in Tibet to participate in the rebellion and to escort the

Dalai Lama to India. The US interference continued through the 1960s but following the normalization of Sino-American relationship, it took a different form and in the period since then got suffused with 'public diplomacy', one vector being the periodic reception accorded to the Dalai Lama by senior US politicians and another devolving upon the US’ substantial financial support for him." Image from entry, with caption: The Dalai Lama's meetings with US officials annoy China.

Think tank examines South China Sea - Wu Jiao and Zhang Yunbi, China Daily: "China is building a national think tank on South China Sea research to boost the country's maritime power strategy and deal with looming maritime disputes. Established in October 2012, the Collaborative Innovation Center for South China Sea Studies, based at Nanjing University in Jiangsu province, is among the 14 national-level research projects prioritized and supported by the government since 2011. Hong Yinxing, chairman of the board for the center, said it was established to meet the country's strategic demand to safeguard maritime rights and interests, develop resources and energy, and promote regional peace and development. ... Hong, who is also Party chief of Nanjing University, said the complexity of the maritime issue has required the country's research sector to eliminate barriers among the subjects and agencies to improve efficiency. ... Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said Chinese think tanks traditionally place more emphasis on historical studies than legal studies, and the aging of scholars is also a problem. The center will facilitate China's ambition of having a bigger say in the world as well as its public diplomacy, and it is expected to reduce the waste of research resources, Wu said."

China's president Xi Jinping mobbed in surprise public outing - straitstimes.com: Image from entry, with caption: Chinese President Xi Jinping is photographed visiting Nanluoguxiang, a popular street in Beijing, on Feb 25, 2014.

Mr Xi shocked locals by visiting courtyard homes and chatting with pedestrians near a popular shopping street on Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014, drawing praise from social media users for his unusual public diplomacy.

Chinese bloggers to help S. Korea promote its national image - Yonhap News Agency: "The South Korean Embassy here said Monday it will name a group of influential Chinese bloggers as civilian delegates this week to promote Korea's national image in China as part of its public diplomacy drive. The Chinese group, comprised of 103 bloggers, will be tasked with enhancing mutual understanding and trust between the two nations throughout the embassy's Weibo account, China's version of Twitter, the embassy said in a statement. South Korean Ambassador to China, Kwon Young-se, will host a launching ceremony for the Chinese bloggers on Wednesday, according to the statement."

Israel woos foreign film, TV producers with $6.3 million grants: The first recipient is NBC, which will film the series 'Dig,’ one of whose creators developed 'Hatufim,’ the original 'Homeland’ - Moti Bassok, haaretz.com: "To encourage foreign producers to shoot movies and television series in Jerusalem, the state and municipality are jointly providing up to 22 million shekels ($6.3 million) in grants this year and next for each qualifying foreign production in the city. The first recipient will be U.S. network NBC, which will soon begin filming its 'Dig' detective series in the capital at an investment of tens of millions of dollars in collaboration with Israel’s Keshet Media Group. The series’ creators are Gideon Raff – whose previous work includes 'Hatufim,['] on which ...  'Homeland' is based – and Emmy winner Tim Kring. The series centers around the exploits of an FBI agent in the Old City. PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi has said filming 'Dig' in the city would 'legitimize the annexation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the authenticity and character of the occupied city.' Cory Shields, executive vice president for communications for NBC Universal, responded by saying 'there was no plan made to film the series in the City of David National Park or in the village of Silwan,' a highly contested area. 'Furthermore, location scouting and planning will not begin until February 2014, and any decisions regarding possible production sites will be made with respect for all concerned parties.'

To qualify for grants from the program, which was announced last week, the plot must largely take place in the city, and recipients must spend at least around $7 million in Israel, including a minimum of around $1 million in Jerusalem. Grants will be limited to 25% of Israeli production expenses. For the first season of filming, projects will receive around $4 million, to be provided by the ministries of finance, economy, public diplomacy and Diaspora affairs, and tourism, as well as by the municipality. An additional grant worth up to around $2.3 million will be available for a second season." Image from entry, with caption: The Old City. Lights, camera, Jerusalem

February 24: Learning from Abbas: One or the other [scroll down for item] - Elaine Snowbell, letter to the editor, Jerusalem Post: "It seems that Israel’s hasbara (public diplomacy) is extremely impotent when it comes to countering the lie that Palestinians are an ancient people."

Amiran business development manager’s intriguing career path - Lillian Kiarie, standardmedia.co.ke: "[Q:] You [Gilad Milo] had an interesting career path. Where did it all begin? [A:] In the wee years of my career, I served as an editor and reporter for Israel’s Channel 2 News, and covered historic events such as the 9/11 bombing in the US and the war in Afghanistan.

After two years, I resigned from television and joined the Israeli diplomatic corps. I have served as deputy ambassador of Israel to Kenya and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Environment Programme and UN Habitat. I headed Israel’s public diplomacy efforts in Los Angeles, US, before returning to Kenya to work for Amiran, one of the largest agricultural companies in East Africa." Uncaptioned image from entry

Branding comrades, stop the logo blabbering – let’s start the brand building - Sergio Brodsky, marketingmag.com.au: "Russia must design policies that can boost entrepreneurship so existing and new brands can develop a truly global footprint and become iconic representations of what

Russianness stands for in the digital age. The synergies between heritage and commercial brands exist to aid the process. This should improve Russia’s public diplomacy, increase foreign direct investments and introduce meaningful new icons millennials can relate to. Opportunities are few but they do exist. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is the next big one. Let’s hope Brand Russia does not let it slide away like Sochi’s avalanche." Image from entry

Vuk Jeremic Confers With Sergei Lavrov In Moscow - inserbia.info: Vuk Jeremic, president

of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD), has been on an official visit to Russia on Monday, where he conferred with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov . ... During the stay in Moscow, the CIRSD delegation will meet the rector of the MGIMO University, senior officials at the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund in Moscow, and discuss the prospects for establishing institutional cooperation with the CIRSD, and possibilities for developing joint projects." Uncaptioned image from entry

The unmistakable negativity: Why New Delhi’s approach to Track-II is wrong Statecraft - Happymon Jacob, greaterkashmir.com: "[T]he Indian system of not allowing lateral entry into the ranks of the country’s bureaucratic decision-making process also prevents a healthy exchange of ideas between those inside the government and those outside: the government simply believes that there is no expertise outside of it! Pakistan, on the other hand, has always wanted to tell the world of its diplomatic positions through whatever means available to it, be it third party mediation, public diplomacy or track-two initiatives. Moreover, there is a dynamic relationship between those inside the government and those outside of it. We get to see many more prominent and expert Pakistanis from outside the government and bureaucracy being appointed to important positions. Moreover, Pakistan suffers from less colonial hangover when compared to India. For sure, this pig-headed Indian approach to track-two initiatives has been to India’s disadvantage. Indian diplomacy is often seen as arrogant, unwilling to be creative, unable to communicate and inadequate to take advantage of the newer mediums of modern day diplomacy."

From the Arab Spring to teenage revelry: Danish envoy has seen plenty in his four-decade diplomatic career - Daniel Bardsley, praguepost.com: "The Danish authorities ran an information campaign at home to remind youngsters they have to be 18 to drink in Prague, and sent over several police officers to liaise with their Czech counterparts. While there have been cases of underage drinking by Danish visitors, the problems have not been on the same scale as in early 2013. Indeed, this time around, the most high-profile incident has been down to young Swedes, rather than Danes, whose hotel room was set alight. ... The all-conquering toy manufacturer Lego is probably the highest-profile Danish firm operating in the Czech Republic, having a packaging center in Kladno that employs more than 1,200 – and there is a large Lego toy soldier in the embassy’s reception area – but there are many others. 'We have about 80 Danish companies established here. They can manage by themselves. Our task is to help new companies get into the market with their goods and services,' said

Hoppe [Christian Hoppe, the Danish Ambassador to the Czech Republic]. There is also the field of public diplomacy, especially in relation to culture, which is 'vaguely defined as promoting our image.' ... 'In general, Denmark has a good image. A lot of Czechs like our model of our welfare society, let’s say the Nordic welfare model, where you can have both good economic growth and protection of the environment – clean air, clean water and so on, where your products are sought after,' he said. 'With the other Nordic societies, we share that image of being societies which somehow are a model that others aspire to.'” Hoppe image from entry

Thousand Islands Inn to reopen with piano bar, new style, new owners - Katherine Clark, watertowndailytimes.com: "During his first job as a newspaper carrier for the Watertown Daily Times, Bradford J. Minnick said, he delivered papers to the Thousand Islands Inn. Now, after traveling the world as a diplomat, he and his partner, Jaime H. Weinberg, are excited to reopen the inn as a boutique hotel and piano bar. ... He said he ... went on trips to Beijing and served as a member of the Public Diplomacy Council and worked all around the world. Opening the piano bar and hotel is his way to thank the community for helping him with his future when he was young, he said." Image from entry, with caption: Jaime H. Weinberg, left, and Bradford J. Minnickare the new owners of the landmark Thousand Islands Inn in Clayton."


Ukraine’s Uncertain Future - Editorial, New York Times: The right move for the United States and the European Union is to make clear to the Ukrainians — in the Russian-oriented east and the fiercely anti-Russian west — that substantial financial assistance is forthcoming if they form a credible government of national unity and agree to a package of reforms.

Has the West Already Lost Ukraine? - Slawomir Sierakowski, New York Times: Should the West act with indecision on Ukraine, Russia could well decide to “come to the aid of” ethnic Russians living in Crimea, in southern Ukraine, who are already issuing invitations.

The retreat of power: Susan Rice embodies a do-nothing America [subscription] - Richard Cohen, Washington Post

The Kennan Diaries - George F. Kennan (Author), Frank Costigliola (Editor) - wwnorton.com:On a hot July afternoon in 1953, George F. Kennan descended the steps of the State Department building as a newly retired man. His career had been tumultuous: early postings in eastern Europe followed by Berlin in 1940–41 and Moscow in the last year of World War II. In 1946, the forty-two-year-old Kennan authored the “Long Telegram,” a 5,500-word indictment of the Kremlin that became mandatory reading in Washington. A year later, in an article in Foreign Affairs, he outlined “containment,” America’s guiding strategy in the Cold War. Yet what should have been the pinnacle of his career—an ambassadorship in Moscow in 1952—was sabotaged by Kennan himself, deeply frustrated at his failure to ease the Cold War that he had helped launch. Yet, if it wasn’t the pinnacle, neither was it the capstone; over the next fifty years, Kennan would become the most respected foreign policy thinker of the twentieth century, giving influential lectures, advising presidents, and authoring twenty books, winning two Pulitzer prizes and two National Book awards in the process.

Through it all, Kennan kept a diary. Spanning a staggering eighty-eight years and totaling over 8,000 pages, his journals brim with keen political and moral insights, philosophical ruminations, poetry, and vivid descriptions. In these pages, we see Kennan rambling through 1920s Europe as a college student, despairing for capitalism in the midst of the Depression, agonizing over the dilemmas of sex and marriage, becoming enchanted and then horrified by Soviet Russia, and developing into America’s foremost Soviet analyst. But it is the second half of this near-century-long record—the blossoming of Kennan the gifted author, wise counselor, and biting critic of the Vietnam and Iraq wars—that showcases this remarkable man at the height of his singular analytic and expressive powers, before giving way, heartbreakingly, to some of his most human moments, as his energy, memory, and finally his ability to write fade away. Image from entry


"There were no impromptu parties on city streets, because there were no city streets running through the heavily barricaded Olympic sites. There was little bonding between Olympic visitors and locals, because the language and cultural difference offered little common ground with no easy way or place to forge it.

It figures that one of the few connections with the Olympians and their surroundings occurred with their embrace of Sochi's many stray dogs, who seemed to be the only local creatures allowed to completely roam free, and even then, not for long."

--Bill Plaschke, "Sochi Olympics are nearly flawless but devoid of joy: The Sochi Games ran glitch-free with a palpable feeling of safety. But the Ring of Steel imposed by Putin to protect the Olympics also kept out their magic," Los Angeles Times; image from entry, with caption: Dancers form the Olympic rings during the closing ceremony of the Winter Games on Sunday in Sochi, Russia


--From Thomas Curwen, "Taking a step toward a machine that can think: A chip developed by UCLA professor Jim Gimzewski carries an ugly tangle of wires. But it demonstrates an ability to remember," Los Angeles Times, with caption A macro photograph of one of Gimzewski's computer chips, taken by Sillin, hangs on the wall of Gimzewski's lab. The silicon wafer is no bigger than a quarter, and at its center is an ugly tangle of wires randomly crisscrossed and interwoven like hairs in a tiny dust ball.


"[Y]ou can’t carry a large land-war Defense Department when there is no large land war."

--A senior Pentagon official

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