Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November 5

“Nov. 4, 2008, will go down in history as the biggest day ever in the history of marketing.”

--Commentator Al Ries, Advertising Age

“Stick to a limited number of points, repeat them relentlessly, and turn people on.”

--Jack and Suzy Welch, Business Week, on lessons business leaders can learn from Obama’s victory


Ike for President (1956)


American Elections: Is it plastic surgery or a true opportunity for change? - Gilbert Doumit, Huffington Post: “The United States can now shift towards an example of a liberal democracy engaged in the world and willing to offer a model of peace and prosperity. This opportunity will be lost if the new president fails to capitalize on global and domestic support to change major policies that concern the world. The world will be watching this administration with a lot of hope and trepidation at the same time. Many people in the Middle East would like to see the new administration [among other steps]: choose public diplomacy and dialogue as the primary strategy for solving world conflicts.”

Time to rejoin the world -, NC: “We … have to pay far more attention to public diplomacy and outreach. Our Afghanistan and Pakistan policy is a mess in part because Osama bin Laden's approval rating in Pakistan (34 percent) is almost double America's (19 percent). You know we need a new approach when we lose a public relations competition to a fugitive mass murderer.”

Islam and the West: The Myth of the Green Peril - Leon Hadar, “[E]ven the more liberal and internationalist foreign policy pundits like New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, critical of some aspects of the neoconservative agenda, insisted that the U.S. needed to launch a massive campaign to help modernize/democratize/liberalize/secularize the Arab Middle East and by extension the entire Muslim world, preferably through public diplomacy and education, and as a last resort, military force. …[T]he time has come to challenge the grand idea that the Muslim world, or the Middle East, or the Arab world – terms that seem interchangeable in the American media – has a unique and monolithic political and economic culture that makes it resistant to the West's modernizing effects. … Notwithstanding Washington's propaganda regarding the global threat of Islamofascism, there are no common ideological foundations that unite the various strains of Islamic-influenced groups.”

Even Summary: "The Search for al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future"; Event Featuring: Bruce RiedelMiddle East Institute: “Riedel affirmed that a military operation alone will not succeed against al-Qaeda and called for a new strategy that would engaged the Islamic world with the US (Riedel cited the recent declarations by Muslim leaders such as King ‘Abdullah II of Jordan condemning al-Qaeda as promising), utilize diplomacy as a first policy, including public diplomacy and economic aid, and increase intelligence operations to understand, deflate, and ultimately destroy al-Qaeda.”

The Stanley Foundation: Next U.S. Administration Should Review U.S. Nonproliferation Policy - MaximsNews Network: “[T]he Stanley Foundation convened ‘Aligning Expectations: The United States, Major Powers, and the Future of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime’ as a roundtable discussion at its 49th annual Strategy for Peace Conference near Warrenton, Virginia. … [Among the panel’s recommendations was to] better explain reductions the US has already taken through renewed public diplomacy efforts aimed at bolstering legitimacy and credibility of the nonproliferation regime.”

Study of Alhurra Withheld From Public; Inquiries of Network’s Operation Deepens - Dafna Linzer, ProPublica: “The government board that oversees the US-funded Arabic satellite channel Alhurra has refused to make public an independent study commissioned last year to review the network’s content. People who have read the study, which was completed in July, described it as highly critical of Alhurra, a four-year-old government broadcasting effort begun by President Bush that has cost U.S. taxpayers $500 million and has been shrouded in controversy. Bush’s public diplomacy efforts have been widely criticized by Democrats and even within his own party and corners of his administration. It is likely that his successor will review some of the most expensive efforts such as Alhurra which was designed to promote a positive image of U.S. policies in the Muslim world.”

Got a Question for Sean McCorm[a]ck? Here’s Your Chance - Steven R. Corman, COMOPS Journal: ”I guess if it’s good enough for Queen Raina, then it’s good enough for State Department Spokesman Sean McCorm[a]ck. He will be taking your questions via YouTube video.” See also Briefing 2.0 – Answers – Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner

The Spectrum of War and Peace and the Role of Public Diplomacy - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: ”[P]ower is greater than the over-simplified DIME model – Diplomacy, Information, Military, and Economic – and the DIMEFIL/MIDLIFE model – DIME + finance, law enforcement, and intelligence. Power must also be intelligently and constantly updated. Representing this dynamic process is what I called the Smart Power Equalizer. By the way, I see public diplomacy having a key role across the spectrum, unlike other informational modes which kick in on the upward slope and drop away on the downward.”

Our American Cousin - Manfred Allseasons, Trip to Jerusalem: “Obama certainly says the right things … . McCain seems to be saying the right things to us, too … but this is all public diplomacy, the unimportant kind.”

Beyond belief: Canadians who target other Canadians: Alex Wilner - Globe and Mail: “When terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah run websites as sophisticated as those constructed by government agencies, it is clear that a propaganda battle for the hearts and minds of Canadians is at stake. … Winning the war of ideas will require a redoubling of efforts in the realm of public diplomacy that not only rebuffs the legitimizers of terrorism but also strengthens opposing viewpoints.”

Kenya – Andrew, Communications in the Global Village; Class blog: “I decided to go to the official government homepage of Kenya because I was curious to see how an African country deals with public diplomacy and what 'brand' they are trying to get across on it. By the look of the website, it seems that the Kenyan government is trying to get across an idea of centralization and organization, because the website really tries to show a stable country."


International Reaction To Obama's Presidential Election - Huffington Post

World celebrates Barack Obama victoryTimes (London)

America’s chance to re-engage the world - Edward Mortimer, Financial Times: The rest of the world is not going to support whatever the US wants just because there is a fresh face in the White House. Managing expectations on both sides will be crucial.

Four reasons why America went for Obama: The old politics has been swept away because the voters themselves have changed: they are richer, smarter and less white - Daniel Finkelstein, Times (London): In this election America was not looking simply for a candidate able to command its forces as it enjoyed undisputed hegemony. It was more anxious than that. It was looking for a leader, like Mr Obama, who could command and might deserve the respect of the world. IMAGE: From The New Yorker.

The Real America - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Huffington Post: Barack Obama's victory tonight has re-defined for the whole world the meaning of the word "America." The world will forever have a different view of who we are. We now have a new face, a new way of defining who we are as Americans.

Yes, We Did: Yesterday, America chose to practice what it has long preached to the rest of the world – E.J. Dionne, Jr., New Republic: For years, we have spoken of bringing free elections to the rest of the world even as we cynically mocked our own ways of doing politics. Tuesday, we chose to practice what we have been preaching.

The Promise: For many abroad, an ideal renewed - Ethan Bronner, International Herald Tribune: Obama's election offers most non-Americans a sense that the imperial power capable of doing such good and such harm -- a country that, they complain, preached justice but tortured its captives, launched a disastrous war in Iraq, turned its back on the environment and greedily dragged the world into economic chaos -- saw the errors of its ways over the past eight years and shifted course.

Morning Again in America - Robert Scheer, Truthdig: How refreshing for Americans to have elected a leader who was among the first to reject the imperial hubris that led this nation to invade Iraq over the objection of most of our allies.

We Have a New President: Sharing in hope - Michael Novak, National Review: What will the Obama presidency mean for U.S. foreign policy? A great nation is like a large aircraft carrier. It can change course only very slowly, a degree or two at a time. Thus, I doubt whether President Obama’s overseas actions will match some of his flights of rhetoric during the election.

No Obamamania In RussiaRFE/RL: According to a recent public opinion poll by the independent Levada Center, nearly two-thirds of Russians did not even pay attention to the U.S. election. Among the minority who followed the election, 35 percent supported Obama, 14 percent backed Republican John McCain, 37 percent said they did not care who won, and 14 percent were undecided.

President Obama: A new direction in challenging times, a new dawn in the nation's long struggle to bridge its racial divide – Editorial, Washington Post: Mr. Obama cannot erase Mr. Bush's legacy, but he has a chance to improve America's standing in the world, ending such noxious practices as torture and indefinite detention with minimal review that have diminished this country in the eyes of its allies.

Obama's victory is a mandate for change: The nation's choice for president is a historic opportunity to restore American principles and return to greatness – Editorial, Los Angeles Times: Obama must repair the United States' international relations and renew our ties to the multilateral organizations that President Bush neglected. He must repair the damage inflicted by the so-called war on terror, which has alienated the United States from many friends. Closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would be a welcome and symbolic start.

Obama's victory: The best of America – Editorial, San Francisco Chronicle: Obama has the opportunity to restore the image of the United States throughout the world. The upbeat global reaction to Tuesday's election bodes well.

America turns the page – Editorial, Boston Globe: America's wrecked economy and its estrangement from the world need immediate attention.

A Mandate to End the War: Not a mandate for more wars - Justin Raimondo, President-elect Barack Obama has a clear mandate to end the Iraq war as expeditiously as possible. We know what the American people voted against: they voted to end not only this war but the grim prospect of perpetual war, the "generational" conflict that served as a cover for the politics of fear and an unprecedented assault on our constitutional rights.

President Obama: Our view: Barack Obama's candidacy, victory inspired many Americans, black and white; his agenda for change could set the stage for a new era of collaborative government - Baltimore Sun: Around the world, Mr. Obama's popular appeal should give him a head start in rebuilding relations with nations bruised by President Bush's unilateral foreign policy adventures.

The Obama victory: What does it mean? - Thomas F. Schaller, Baltimore Sun: “Having traveled this year to speak about our elections in a diverse quartet of countries -- Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and South Africa -- I can assure you that people in all four were both rooting overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama and fully convinced the American people were incapable of electing him because of his race.”

Don't expect much from next Great Man - Ron Smith, Baltimore Sun: Consider that Obama’s platoons of foreign policy advisers consist largely of people who had the ear of Bill Clinton in the '90s -- people who believe that what's gone wrong under Mr. Bush is tactical failure rather than an illustration that the strategy itself is impossible to maintain.

New global expectations - Tulin Daloglu, Washington Times: Today, Americans will focus more on their own lives and their own circumstances rather than on those of people around the world -- which is only natural. But as with every presidential election, their decisions will play a role in shaping the lives of people around the world.

President-Elect Obama Likely to Chart More Afghan-Centric Foreign

Afghanistan's downward spiral - Fatima Ayub, Boston Globe: The international community in Afghanistan still fails to acknowledge its first critical missteps, as early as 2001 and 2002. Supporting a centralized government in Kabul, failing to encourage the growth of legitimate government at the local level, and drawing former paramilitary leaders - many of whom are accused of widespread human rights abuses - to posts of power, the international advisers in Afghanistan undermined themselves from the outset.

Focusing on Afghanistan: The president-elect must not ignore realities on the ground - Helle Dale, Washington Times: The failure to improve infrastructure and prepare for winter will leave the Afghan population further disillusioned about the commitment of the international community, the report says. In other words, the effort to "win the hearts and minds" of the Afghan people will have foundered.

The War Within – Editorial, New York Times: Israelis need a leader who can calm the forces that are tearing Israel apart and also negotiate a just peace. The new American president must be ready to fully support that effort.

The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace: What must our enemies be thinking? - Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, Wall Street Journal: The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have.

What Marketers Can Learn From Obama's Campaign: Change -- and Positioning -- You Can Believe in - Al Ries, Advertising Age: Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels was the master of the "big lie." According to Goebbels, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." The opposite of that strategy is the "big truth." If you tell the truth often enough and keep repeating it, the truth gets bigger and bigger, creating an aura of legitimacy and authenticity.

Man Hunt (1941): The Thriller As Propagandafilm noir: An entertaining thriller set in London on the eve of WW2 from Fritz Lang filmed a la noir, with inspired photography from Arthur Miller.


"What does this promised land look like? This Obamerica? … Jesse Jackson will be appointed lead editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal and Al Sharpton will assume duties at The National Review. Rush Limbaugh will inaugurate a series called 'Great African American Inventors.' Spike Lee will be invited to run Columbia Pictures and Amy Goodman will take over at NBC. The Newspaper Society of America will apologize for the lynchings and civil disturbances caused by an inflammatory media over the last one hundred or so years. A choked up Rupert Murdoch will read the statement on behalf of his colleagues. Change, Change, Change?"

--Ishmael Reed

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