Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October 28

“Yesterday, you made note of my -- the lack of my talent when it came to dancing. But nevertheless, I want you to know I danced with joy. And no question Liberia has gone through very difficult times."

--President George W. Bush, Speaking with the president of Liberia, Washington, D.C., Oct. 22, 2008

"God looks after drunks, little children and the United States of America."

--Bismarck, as quoted by Gore Vidal


The State Department, not the Pentagon, should lead America's public diplomacy efforts: Why is the Department of Defense getting so much money and personnel to carry out the mission?
- Kristin M. Lord, Christian Science Monitor: “The Pentagon should play an important role in public diplomacy, but as a partner – not the principal. For its part, the Congress should give public diplomats the tools they need to do their jobs, and then hold them accountable.”

Middle East Digest - October 27, 2008 - US Department of State, DC: “QUESTION: Does it not create, at a minimum, a public diplomacy problem for the U.S. Government that there are reports -- multiple in the case of Pakistan -- of U.S. military activities not at least publicly sanctioned and, in fact, publicly rejected and protested against by the Pakistani authorities -- U.S. military actions inside Pakistani territory? Here you have a series of reports which you do not appear to be in a position to deny, suggesting U.S. military activity again inside the territory of the sovereign, you know, country. At a minimum, surely, this is not helpful from the point of view of American public diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim world for there to be reports that you don’t deny of U.S. military forces attacking inside other country’s territory. [STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN] MR. MCCORMACK: Well, look, going all the way back to 2001, the United States and its friends and allies around the world have been – had to do difficult things in the war on terror. This is a tough fight requiring responses across a variety of different areas from diplomatic, to political, to military, to security, to intelligence-sharing, and as well as public diplomacy. And we’ve learned a lot and we have made really important strides in the struggle. And I expect that that’s going to continue over the years.”

Under Secretary of State James K. Glassman to Brief on “War of Ideas” - Notice to the Press, Office of the Spokesman, U.S. State Department: “Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James K. Glassman will brief on aspects of the ‘War of Ideas’ at 1 p.m. October 28 in the State Department Press Briefing Room (2109). The briefing will detail the background, structure, strategy, and programs used in the public diplomacy realm to combat violent extremism, reduce the threats to America, and to promote freedom across the world.”

Middle East Press Negative on US Attack on Syrian Soil – Juan Cole, Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion: “The USG Open Source Center surveys the Middle Eastern press reaction to the US raid on Abu al-Kamal in Syria, finding it mostly negative and based on Syrian reports. Lesson: If the US had just gotten word out about its side of the story more quickly and effectively, it might have blunted the generally negative reation in the region. It appears that Washington did no public diplomacy at all around the episode.”

U.S. Democracy Has “Come a Long Way,” State’s [Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs James] Glassman Says: International visitors get up-close look at action in battleground states - Michelle Austein, America.gov: “The 100 visitors from across the globe participating in the I-Vote program, an initiative sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will get a close view of the political action. In the days leading up to and including Election Day, the participants will observe the political activity in some of the country’s most competitive swing states, including Missouri, Colorado and Ohio.”

Jihad and the Relativist Enemy within - Jeffrey Imm, Family Security Matters, NJ: “From a relativist perspective, ‘engagement’ with some Jihadist groups against other Jihadist groups offers a tactical value in 'regionalized' areas of warfare. Even in the ‘war of ideas,’ James K. Glassman, the U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy tells the Washington Times how he is using the Al-Qaeda renunciations by Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif (aka Dr. Fadl) in a fight against ‘extremists,’ when Al-Sharif continues to call for jihad in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel, including the statement by Al-Sharif that 'Jihad in Afghanistan will lead to the creation of an Islamic state with the triumph of the Taliban, God willing.'"

Christopher Shays –The Hour Staff, The Hour Headlines: What are the top three issues facing your district and how would you address them? – “3) We have a national security crisis. Many have lost faith in our government's ability to affect global change, and we face a new set of threats from nuclear proliferation, global terror networks and reckless states. Our next president will have a tremendous opportunity to realign our foreign policy using ‘smart power.’ Military power (hard power) will continue to be a part of our foreign policy, but it is inadequate without simultaneous investment in soft power, which includes: … * Using public diplomacy, technology and innovation to reach global consensus on issues like energy security and climate change.”

The Transition - Charles J. Brown, Undiplomatic: “State: Joe Biden is likely to play a central role in foreign policy decision-making, and may serve as a de facto Secretary of State. … Obama will want someone who can be an effective leader with the capacity to push back against Biden (when necessary). He also should pick someone who can fix what’s wrong with the current bureaucracy, including the challenges facing existing foreign assistance and public diplomacy operations. That pretty much excludes both Kerry and Richardson, who are neither assertive nor reformers.”

London's diversity and public diplomacy – Andy Pryce, UK in USA bloggers, FCO Bloggers: Global conversations: “Are the ties that Londoners, or New Yorkers for that matter, have with other countries the type that allow influence at home? I understand that the Smith-Mundt Act prevents the US from undertaking this type of activity at domestically. But do readers see a benefit in engaging local communities with close ties to other countries? By the way, I would not agree with the definition of public diplomacy given in the Wikipedia entry on Smith-Mundt.”

Obama's childhood home in Indonesia up for sale - Robin Mcdowell, Huffington Post: "Anticipation that Barack Obama may become the next president has sent a steady stream of visitors to the colonial-era Jakarta house he lived in as a child, from potential buyers and journalists to an entrepreneur who wants to turn it into the 'Sweet Home Obama Bar.' Tata Aboe Bakar, the 78-year-old owner, is in no mood to move out. … But with a potential price tag of $3 million - and even more if Aboe Bakar can believe one broker's claims that a U.S. Embassy official is ready to pay five times the market price if Obama wins - he says he'll seriously consider it. Tristram Perry, the embassy's public diplomacy officer, was not aware of any such proposal.”

Australia is examining its international broadcasting as part of ABC review - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy - Elliott comments: “It seems that some Australians, like some Americans, have trouble grasping the concept of international broadcasting. It should not be the role of Radio Australia and Australia Network to 'build Australia's image.'"

Mark your Calendar for Smith-Mundt Act of 1948: Past, Present, and Future - Matt Armstrong, Mountain Runner: “Mark your calendar for January 13, 2008. That is the confirmed date for ‘The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948: Past, Present, and Future’, a symposium to discuss the legislation on which America’s arsenal of persuasion is anchored. The one-day event will be hosted in Washington, D.C., with the location and co-sponsor all but confirmed. The format remains as before: four 90 minute panels structured to maximize discourse rather than monologues.”

Repairing America's Image: SIS Event Information, Project on Middle East Democracy: Public Diplomacy in the Next US Administration: “Nancy Snow, John Robert Kelley, Rhonda S. Zaharna, Sherry L. Mueller, Moderator: Craig Hayden: Details: Throughout this year's US presidential race, the candidates have made America's standing abroad a important piece of their foreign policy platforms. What changes lie ahead in the way the United States presents itself to the world? The imminent arrival of the next US president opens the possibility of dramatic changes not only in the crafting of America's image but also the receptivity to America's role from overseas. This discussion convenes four panelist-contributors to The Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy (Routledge 2008) on the occasion of its release. On the basis of their contributions, they will evaluate the future prospects for American public diplomacy and offer suggestions and insights for its effectiveness.”

17th Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference October 30 - 31, 2008 - Charles Lenchner, Peace in the Middle East: "Transitioning the White House: Challenges and Opportunities for Arab-U.S. Relations". Participants include Ms. Dina Habib Powell - Global Head of Corporate Engagement, Goldman Sachs; former Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Deputy Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State; former Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel, White House.


The End of International Law? - Robert Dreyfuss, Nation: If it becomes a standard part of U.S. military doctrine that any country can be declared "criminal" and thus lose its sovereignty, then there is no such thing as international law anymore.

Bush's parting shots at Syria: There'll be a new president soon, and he'll inherit the fallout from a U.S. attack inside Syria - Editorial - Los Angeles Times: Bush, it appears, is conducting yet another experiment in Middle Eastern cowboy diplomacy, with the advantage (for him) that if it all blows up, someone else will have to pick up the pieces.

Getting Syrious – Editors, National Review: It must have come as a shock to Assad that, after years of dithering in the face of provocation, the United States decided it had had enough and, in a short, sharp operation, dispatched commandos from Iraq to a village a few miles into Syria.

Mr. Assad's Medicine: After sponsoring terrorism against three of its neighbors, Syria plays the victim when its own border is breached – Editorial, Washington Post: Israel has let Mr. Assad know that it is prepared to respond to his terrorism with strikes against legitimate military targets. Now that the United States has sent the same message, maybe the dictator at last will rethink his strategy.

Hitting Syria, Five Years Late: Soliciting Assad was one of Bush's biggest war mistakes – Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The Syrians interpreted diplomatic accommodation in the face of their anti-American acts as a sign of weakness to exploit. Mr. Obama has promised he'll engage Syria diplomatically as part of an overall effort to end the conflict in Iraq. If he really wants to end the war faster, he'll pick up on Syria where the Bush Administration has now ended.

The strike that shattered US-Syria ties - Sami Moubayed, Asia Times

One Last Bush Doctrine - Dan Froomkin, washingtonpost.com: Belittled domestically, President Bush is flexing his last working muscle: His control over the nation's military. And in so doing, he is adding one last addendum to the ever-changing Bush Doctrine, establishing yet another de facto U.S. policy on his way out the door, and leaving his successor with yet another controversial precedent to wrestle with.

Relief Disaster: Foreign assistance to African nations hard-hit by AIDS could have been the administration's greatest success. Then ideology interfered - Joshua Kurlantzick, Mother Jones

Making America safe for the world - Yu Bin, Asia Times: A specter is haunting the world, a specter of a dangerously growing gap between the United States presidential candidates' promises to make America safer on one hand, and an increasingly poorer, more unstable and more dangerous world on the other.

Why McCain Lost Me - Anne Applebaum, Washington Post: “Barack Obama is indeed the least experienced, least tested candidate in modern presidential history. But at least if he wins, I can be sure that the mobs who cry ‘terrorist’ at the sound of Obama's name will be kept far, far away from the White House.”

Campaign on Empty - Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: On foreign policy, once the centerpiece of McCain's campaign but now mostly an afterthought, McCain promises "victory" in Iraq and Afghanistan without telling war-weary voters how much more time, money or blood he will spend.

Obama, the first-rate Republican; Is there anything the front-runner will not say to become President? No progressive – Alexander Cocokburn, Independent: Whatever drawdown of troops in Iraq that does take place in the event of Obama's victory will be a brief hiccup amid the blare and thunder of fresh "resolve." In the event of Obama's victory, the most immediate consequence overseas will most likely be brusque American imperial reassertion.

The Right Choice? - American Conservative: Traditional conservatives have no clear favorite in the November election. Is there a lesser evil? Should we vote third party? Would we be better off just staying home? TAC asked 18 conservatives, libertarians, and independent thinkers how they plan to vote and why.

Out of Iraq? Not if Bush and Maliki Can Help It - Phyllis Bennis, Antiwar.com: Although much of the nation's attention is captive to the current elections, there's an immediate need for a strong response against the latest round of negotiations that includes, among them opposing any U.S.-Iraq agreement to maintain the U.S. occupation, whether it's for one month or three years.

Between Iraq’s needs and dreams - Roula Khalaf, Financial Times: Too many mistakes committed in Iraq have been driven by an American obsession with timetables that suited US interests but not necessarily those of Baghdad.

Head of Russia Today defends her channel - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Evil Under the Sun: Barack Obama and American exceptionalism - Noemie Emery, Weekly Standard: The United States was formed as the first country to be built on the idea of itself as a prime moral actor, on behalf of itself, and the world. America's heroes have always believed that evil exists, and the United States exists to confront it. How will America -- and the world -- fare with a president who rejects this tradition? We may be about to find out.

The End of the American Road: The New Neo-Con Reality - Paul Graig Roberts, Counterpunch: Looking at his defeated adversary, George W. Bush, brought down by military and economic failure, Iranian President Ahmadinejad observed: “The American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders.” Truer words were never spoken.

Airport security in America is a sham -- “security theater” designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items -- as our correspondent did with ease - Jeffrey Goldberg, Atlantic: The TSA budget is almost $7 billion. That money would be better spent on the penetration of al-Qaeda social networks.

U.S. spy agencies spent $47.5 billion in fiscal 2008USA Today: U.S. spy agencies spent $47.5 billion in fiscal year 2008, $4 billion more than in the previous budget year, according to National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell.

"Darker Shades of Red: Official Soviet Propaganda from the Cold War" on Display at Handwerker Gallery - Cheryl Kramer, Intercom: "Darker Shades of Red: Official Soviet Propaganda from the Cold War" is currently on display at the Handwerker Gallery [at Ithaca College]. The exhibition provides an opportunity to revisit the Cold War era through an exploration of the Soviet Union's official imagery. Strikingly graphic in its socialist imagery, the collection reveals the economic, social, and political ideology of the Soviet Union from the 1940s to 1991.

No comments: