Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October 14

“Value art for art’s sake …”

-- Cynthia P. Schneider, Kristina Nelson, Mightier than the Sword: Arts and Culture in the U.S.-Muslim World Relationship. PHOTO: Ambassador Cynthia Schneider.

“you can’t ask culture to solve all of Naples’s problems.”

--Lorenzo Scotto di Luzio, a 36-year-old Neapolitan artist, who moved to Berlin recently. PHOTO: In the apse of a disused church now part of the Madre Museum for contemporary art in Naples, an exhibition examines the garbage crisis and civic identity.


Personnel Shortfall Slows State Department - Joe Davidson, Washington Post: “The study, ‘A Foreign Affairs Budget for the Future,’ [by the American Academy of Diplomacy, states that] "[t]he 'militarization of diplomacy' is noticeably expanding as DOD personnel assume public diplomacy and assistance responsibilities that the civilian agencies do not have the trained staff to fill … Reduced budget and staff have made selling the U.S. abroad -- an important part of State's mission -- tough work these days."

A Foreign Affairs Budget for the Future: Fixing the Crisis in Diplomatic Readiness - Internet Article Reviews, American Diplomacy: “The next U.S. President needs nearly 50 percent more diplomats in order to implement a successful foreign policy, according to a landmark study ["A Foreign Affairs Budget of the Future"] issued October 6 by the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Stimson Center. [Among its recommendations is] [g]reatly expanding public diplomacy activities, especially educational and cultural exchanges to achieve a more positive global attitude toward the United States.” See also: Melinda Brouwer, “Fixing a Hollow Service."

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project – Melinda Brouwer, Foreign Policy Association: Public Diplomacy and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election: “The Washington-based non-profits Search for Common Ground and the Consensus Building Institute have produced a major new leadership group report on improving U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Titled “Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World,” the two groups released the report last month to a packed house at the National Press club. From the Executive Summary: … Use public diplomacy to reinforce changes in policies and actions … Invest in cultural diplomacy through arts and entertainment programs, to deepen mutual understanding and challenge stereotypes.”

Mightier than the Sword: Arts and Culture in the U.S.-Muslim World Relationship – Cynthia P. Schneider, Kristina Nelson, Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World: “Although there exists a plethora of Bridging the Divide Initiatives and studies of public diplomacy, the United States lags behind European donors and governments … . The deepening divide between the United States and the global Muslim community is a cultural problem that could be responsive to cultural solutions.” See also: John Brown, “Arts Diplomacy: The Neglected Aspect of Cultural Diplomacy,” and “Review - The Arts of Democracy: Art, Public Culture, and the State”

Monday, October 13, 2008 - As'ad, Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: A source on politics, war, the Middle East, Arabic poetry, and art: “You see: George W. Bush was greatly successful in winning hearts and minds of the Arab people through skillful campaigns of 'public diplomacy.' Here, Henry Kissinger (a close adviser to John McCain) provides advice on how to win hearts and minds of the Iranian people: 'So the challenge for us is this: If one were to talk to an Iranian who is not seduced by visions of Islamic universality, one could say, you criticize us for our relations with the shah, but you misunderstand what that relationship was. That was a tribute to Iran.'"

Greece: High-Ranking US Diplomat on Environmental Policy, US Public Image – ANA, GreekNews, Greek-American Weekly Newspaper: “US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy in Europe Colleen Graffy briefed local journalists on Thursday over the Bush administration's oft-maligned global environmental policy as well as America's public image in the world. The meeting, held the US embassy in Athens, touched on Washington's need to listen to voices outside the United States, as well as to encourage communication between Europe and America on important global issues, like climate change.”

U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy Fran Drescher Raises Awareness of Women’s Cancer - Source: U.S. Embassy, Hungary, XpatLoop.com/Hungary - "U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy Fran Drescher successfully reached out to thousands of Hungarians on the important theme of cancer awareness and prevention during her recent visit to Budapest."

PHOTO: Fran Drescher (front row, third from left)

Handbook of Public Diplomacy – Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: “The Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy was published today. I won’t say how many months late it is, but it’s out and discounted 8% at Amazon so get a jump on your Christmas shopping while they’re a bargain at $161.81 each. … The book is edited by Nancy Snow and Phil Taylor. Nancy is Associate Professor of Public Diplomacy in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is Senior Research Fellow in the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. Phil is Professor of International Communications at the University of Leeds and acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities in propaganda history and public diplomacy. Seriously though, get or borrow a copy of this 400-page doorstop, there is some seriously good writing in it (mine excepted of course ;).”

Calendars Show Gov Palin’s Foreign Policy Experience: About 20 meetings for about 12 hours - David Corn, Mother Jones. Among them: “March 19, 2007: Palin meets with 10 exchange students.”

Joint Georgian - Russian Commission Formed in BakuDaily Georgian Times, Georgia: “With the mediation by the Azeri non-governmental sector, a permanent Georgian-Russian commission was set up in Baku last week. The latest developments in Georgia provoked bitter diplomatic crisis between politicians. So, the founders of the commission believe public diplomacy could be engaged, and say that people themselves should settle Georgia-Russia relations.”

Арктический мост" Канады и России - oondodz, live journal: "Народная дипломатия-Public diplomacy: “В Москве прошла конференция по созданию транспортного коридодора между портом Черчилль в Канаде и портом Мурмаенск в России. Вот это дело по для России полезное в экономическом и политическом плане.”

TEKNISK: Kontaktpersoner, Benjamin og Halvard, - INTER1000 Diplomacy: “Meningen med kontaktpersoner er for det første at Gamemaster bare vil forholde seg til en representant og en innbytter fra hver stat. For det andre kan det jo være en fordel for dere å ha enkle kontaktpersoner i forhandlinger, en capo og en consiglieri. Men for all del - noen vil kanskje foretrekke parlamentariske forhandlingsdelegasjoner, andre vil legge diktatorisk makt i en enkeltpersons hender og atter andre vil satse på public diplomacy, spionasje og kontraspionasje.”


Preventing the Other Meltdown - James Carroll, Boston Globe/Common Dreams: Over the signatures of Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman, the government released the statement "National Security and Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century." Obviously, the Bush administration will not succeed in getting a new nuclear weapon approved by Congress. What Gates and Bodman are doing here, at the behest of the diehard nuclear establishment, is putting an item at the very top of the next president's agenda.

The Latest North Korea Deal – Editorial, New York Times: President Bush finally removed North Korea from the terrorism blacklist after Pyongyang agreed to a compromise plan to let American and other inspectors verify that it is shutting down its weapons program. The next president will have to demonstrate persistence, vigilance and flexibility to try to move this deal ahead.

In Korea, Rituals of Absurdity - Anne Applebaum, Washington Post: In the week in which the Bush administration announced its decision to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, it's worth focusing again on the strange, ritualistic nature of the relationship between North Korea and the outside world: In its way, after all, that announcement was strange and ritualistic, too.

Diplomat Says U.S. Not Aiming For 'Military Victory' In AfghanistanRFE/RL: RFE/RL correspondent Heather Maher spoke with U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary for Southeast Asian Affairs Pat Moon on October 9. Moon: “Well, as I said, we're not there to win a military victory -- [we're there] to provide the appropriate security conditions so that we can provide the government services and the development assistance to the people of Afghanistan.”

Afghan War is Unwinnable – Gwynne Dyer, Japan Times: If victory is not possible, then in the end the Afghan government will have to talk to the Taliban and negotiate a peace settlement.

‘Collateral Damage’ Not Much Different From Targeted Killing - Robert Fisk, TruthDig: “But now I ask a question. When US troops massacre Iraqi civilians in Haditha because their buddy has been murdered, what is the difference between their revenge and that of Saddam? When a Taliban attack on Nato forces in Afghanistan provokes a US air strike on a village and leaves women and children torn to pieces in the ruins -- this now seems the inevitable result -- what is the difference between those innocent deaths and the destruction of the families of Abdullah’s grandchildren in Dujail?” PHOTO: An Afghan woman weeps as she holds photos of family members killed in a U.S. airstrike on Azizabad, a village in Herat province west of Kabul, in August. The U.N. reported as many as 90 civilians, many of them children, were killed in the attack.

Iraq opens bidding on oil contracts - Mary Beth Sheridan, Financial Times: US officials believe foreign involvement in the industry is essential since most of the American money to rebuild Iraq’s oil industry has now been spent, and this country’s own investments in the sector have been slowed by a sclerotic bureaucracy, the violence, and a lack of know-how and legal guarantees.

U.S. Proposal Yet to Reach Iran: Tehran Hints It Would Respond Favorably to Interests Section - Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post: Iran has yet to receive a request from the United States to open an interests section here, officials said Monday, but analysts added that such a proposal would probably get a positive response.

Iran's 'world without America' – Clifford D. May and James Jay Carafano, Washington Times: No one disputes that Iran is developing a robust long-range missile force. Few question that Mr. Ahmadinejad's regime is working on nuclear weapons development. Less well-known is that Iran has conducted missile tests from sea-based platforms, detonating warheads at the high-point of the missile trajectory, rather at the aim point over the target.

Condi's coded message – Editorial, Boston Globe: Rice was quite properly telling Kazakhstan's autocratic President Nursultan Nazarbayev that the United States accepts his commercial and military ties to the Kremlin. At the same time, she was signaling to the Kremlin that Washington is not trying to displace Russia as an ally and client of Kazakhstan. But to undo unnecessary tensions, the next president will need to be even more agile than Rice.

Turning Russia Into a Global Citizen - Aleh Tsyvinski, Moscow Times: Russia's foreign investment helps the country become a global citizen. Consider Russia's elites, who buy houses in London, ski in the Alps and educate their children in Switzerland. They have too much to lose from a worsening political climate between Russia and the West. It is time to make the country's big business -- and its government -- stakeholders in the world economy. RIGHT PHOTO: Daniel Graig, star of James Bond movies.

The cold guard - Henry Hamman, Financial Times: Now is the time for Russia and the US to write the definitions needed to put a final end to the cold war.

America Will Remain the Superpower: When the tide laps at Gulliver's waistline, it usually means the Lilliputians are already 10 feet under – Global View, Wall Street Journal: It's a safe bet that the era of American dominance will not be brought to a close by credit default swaps, mark-to-market accounting or (even) Barney Frank.

The damage to Brand USA needs urgent repair: The twin pillars of US policy - deregulation and spreading democracy - have had their day. New ideas must replace them - Francis Fukuyama, Times (London): The ultimate test for the US model will be its capacity to reinvent itself.

The Empire Strikes Out, Interview: Soldier-scholar Andrew Bacevich talks about his hot new foreign policy book, a less-costly Afghanistan strategy, and why he's disappointed with both McCain and Obama - Mother Jones: Bacevich: “this theme of American exceptionalism, of America possessing a special mission, is really a thread that runs throughout our history. It has come to be part of our mainstream foreign policy consensus that we are called upon to spread freedom and eliminate tyranny.”

Why Is America So Content With Mediocrity? - Alan Cumming, Huffington Post: Although the notion of America being a force for good is noble and beautiful, the reality of how the world sees America is very different: America is an imperialist power that invades oil and mineral rich countries on little or flimsy evidence, and at the same time turns a blind eye to blatant genocide taking place in other parts of the globe.

Liquidating the Empire - Patrick J. Buchanan, Antiwar.com: We no longer live in Eisenhower or Reagan's America. Even the post-Cold War world of George H. W. Bush, where America was a global hegemon, is history. In both relative and real terms, the U.S.A. is a diminished power. America needs a bottom-up review of all strategic commitments dating to a Cold War now over for 20 years.

America’s Political Cannibalism - Chris Hedges, TruthDig/Common Dreams: “An economic collapse does not only mean the degradation of trade and commerce, food shortages, bankruptcies and unemployment; it means the systematic dynamiting of the foundations of a society. I watched this happen in Yugoslavia. I fear I am watching it happen here in the United States.”
PAINTING: The opening of the Fifth Seal of the Apocalypse (El Greco)

Living in the Ruins – Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: In September 2001, the real damage was largely confined to a number of square blocks of downtown Manhattan, including the shut-down Stock Exchange on Wall Street, as well as part of a single building in Washington DC and a field in Pennsylvania. This, we were told, was "the Pearl Harbor of the twenty-first century." And soon enough, with a helping hand from the Bush administration, Americans from Akron to El Paso were officially -- and mistakenly -- terrified for their lives and for their country. In the next seven years, the Bush administration managed to turn that misplaced fear into something like prophecy and bring down the house.

Coca Cola: Building a Better Design Machine? Its Web-based design tool lets the beverage giant customize marketing for hundreds of brands globally while slashing the time it takes to reach consumers - Jessie Scanlon, Business Week: The mega-challenge faced by all global companies: How do you retain control of the brand -- or, in Coke's case, 450 brands -- and ensure that its image in markets around the world reflects the core strategy? And how do you do that while making the brand management system flexible enough to adapt to local market needs?

Amerikkkan Propaganda Posters - The Red Son, The Revolution Script: While many of them were blatantly racist and nationalist, there were some U.S. World War Two propaganda posters that gave good advice that is still relevant today. So these posters are OK but nothing compared to the poster art created in "communist" countries such as Cuba, the Soviet Union and particularly Maoist China.

Boing Boing Gadgets explains: "Just How The Hell Did I End Up In Infomercia?"Boing Boing: Welcome to Infomercia, a massive super-conglomerate turned government on an alternate Earth in which indiscriminate technological consumerism and promiscuous corporate partnerships have become the backbone of an oppressive, Orwellian dystopia. In Informercia, propaganda-driven consumerism is the method by which the masses are mollified, kept swollen and subdued by the government's encouragement of the blind pursuit of incrementally improved technology and the accumulation of crapgadgets.


Photos of trash cars – Boing Boing



das said...

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