Saturday, November 1, 2008

November 1


--the current nickname of Montenegro

The opposition again lost the election in Montenegro. Why? Because it offered everybody jobs.”

--Joke in the Balkans in the mid-1990s

"Separatists of the World, Unite!"

--Graffito in downtown Belgrade, mid-1990s

Professor Bruce Gregory's Public Diplomacy Reading List #42


Egypt Blogs America; Gets Arrested - DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age: “In their own country these [Egyptian] bloggers are fighting for freedom of speech and the press. Many of them have been actively harassed by their government for their efforts. … Imagine their surprise last night when enroute back to the US, two of the bloggers were arrested and detained; one for four hours and the other for ten before being released to do what they came here to do -- observe and record. … They were traveling with a letter saying they were coming to the US for a US Agency for International Development (USAID) funded election trip. There is a certain irony when one branch of the US Government spends hundreds of thousand dollars on a program to improve America's reputation among Egyptian bloggers and journalists (USAID has a multi-billion dollar budget to promote democracy, peace and security) while another branch undermines that goodwill.” See also John Brown, Notes and essays.

Public Diplomacy in Syria - “I have just returned from 2 great weeks in Syria. I will be posting some detailed observations shortly, but first is this footage from the Q&A discussion of a lecture that I gave to a Think Tank called the Syrian International Academy (SIA). This group invites a group of intellectuals, foreign diplomats, journalists, and people close to the Syrian government (including former officials) each month to discuss political topics. I was honored to receive the invitation, and to engage in dialogue with this group. It's more than I can say for the likes of Karen Hughes and Dina Habib Powell!”

The Near Future of the Middle East: Predictions and Prescriptions - Ted Thornton, Islamic Middle East Blog: “Julia Bennett, a research assistant at Tufts University’s Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, summarizes the predictions and prescriptions offered up by participants at a conference the Center held last March 27-28. … ‘Both public diplomacy and behavior inform Arab public opinion about the United States.’”

The US State Department will eat our brains - A. Peasant, News and Views, After Armageddon (c): “The U.S. government decided to extend its ‘war of idea[s]’ to the popular Internet sites, forums, chat rooms and blogs in the Russian segment of the global network. This was announced by the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, James Glassman, and refers to the State Department’s Digital Outreach Team program. … I often talk to fellow citizens on different forums and blogs about various topics, including the United States. … I must say that during the debate, my conversation partners often reach conclusions that the U.S. State Department would find very unpleasant.”

Q&A: Kristen Silverberg, US ambassador to the European Union - Brad Buchholz, Austin American-Statesman, TX – “Kristen Silverberg: Well, one of the things Secretary (of State Condoleezza) Rice believes in strongly is public diplomacy - the effort to make sure we effort to make sure we clearly communicate United States policy and make sure we spend time ensuring that the general public in Europe and other continents understands U.S. decision-making and our perspectives. Secretary Rice believes public diplomacy is a job for every State Department official. Karen Hughes, another Texan, spent a lot of time doing that.”

Into Africa: Bush Initiatives That Deserve Continuing Support - Thomas M. Woods, Backgrounder #2204, Heritage Foundation: “Educational support is a key aspect of ongoing U.S.-Africa engagement. … U.S. education support offers an extremely cost-effective development intervention, and the next Administration should further explore private-sec¬tor models to expand educational services and make them more efficient. Education programs should also be well integrated into U.S. public diplomacy outreach to reinforce positive images of democracy, American values, and the generosity of the American people.”

Foreign journalists following election process - Danny Henley, Hannibal Courier-Post: “[The] visit to the Hannibal Courier-Post and meeting with HCP Editor Mary Lou Montgomery was one stop during a 10-day tour the group of journalists from around the globe is taking in the days leading up to the election. The trip is being sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Press Centers. Babs Chase of the state department explained the objective of the expedition. ‘This tour is one of many that we’ve done throughout the election year to highlight democracy to countries all over the world,” she said. 'It’s a public diplomacy effort that the state department has been doing to show them all the exciting things going on with the election from going to rallies, talking to experts, talking to journalists about covering the campaigns, giving them the full picture so they can go back and share it with people in their own countries.’” BUST: Hannibal

School posts its ballot on upcoming US election – News from Poland, Polish Radio External Service, Poland: “The Herbert Clark Hoover School in Ruda Slaska was visited in September by US Deputy Assistant of State for Public Diplomacy Colleen P. Graffy, who was informed about the plans to hold the mock elections and the event on Thursday was attended by the US deputy Consul in Poland Aaron Damiet. He was very impressed with the knowledge of the pupils and their awareness of events in the US.” PHOTO: Colleen P. Graffy with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Persuasion and Enchantment – John Brown, Notes and Essays: “Public Diplomacy can't make up its mind about what it's about -- and that's fine. I'm thinking of writing a piece on the tension between persuasion and enchantment as the ‘goal’ of public diplomacy. … There's a role for enchantment (you want a definition? find it on the Internet!) in American public diplomacy: How about enchantment instead of ‘shock and awe’"?


American Universities flocking to India & China - Life After SMSA for Kbians: “Higher education is really big business nowadays. Perhaps for those of you who cannot afford to go to the US to study due to the financial constraints, can consider India and China as financially viable options. But remember before you apply to check with the Brunei Accreditation Council first."

Guilt by Insinuation: Barack Obama isn't a terrorist and neither are American Muslims. Why hasn't his campaign been more vocal in defending them? Tim Fernholz, American Prospect: “Many have suggested that Obama's election would be a symbolic victory, both in public diplomacy abroad and here at home, over the forces of discrimination. Muqtedar Kahn, an expert in Muslim Americans at the University of Delaware, wrote in a recent report that Obama seems to be ‘designed specifically to bridge every divide threatening to tear America apart today.’ The question remains though, whether Obama has gone far enough in ensuring that his message of hope and inclusiveness includes this [Muslims in the U.S.] community.”

A bumpy ride for the US over Syria - Farrah Hassen, Asia Times: Already, according to the 2008 Arab Public Opinion Poll, conducted by Professor Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland, 83% of those polled in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates hold an unfavorable view of the United States. The latest strike in Syria won't help burnish that impression. Increased anti-American sentiment does precious little to enhance US interests in the Middle East and throughout the world -- a fact both Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate John McCain should be mindful of.

US's Syrian raid sets Iraq on fire - Sami Moubayed, Asia Times: One symbolic Syrian step was to close down the American school in Damascus and the American Culture Center. The school, particularly painful for Americans because it is viewed as part of their cultural mission worldwide, was opened in 1956 by special agreement between the Syrian Foreign Ministry and then-secretary of state John Foster Dulles. Each party in Iraq has its own reasons for opposing the raid, and the possibility of further US confrontation with Syria.

The Law of the Jungle: Into Syria We Went - Binoy Kampmark, Counterpunch: The Bush doctrine continues to live a charmed life less than a week before the US Presidential elections. It has made sovereignty nigh redundant – attacks on the soil of Washington’s close ally Pakistan, and now, Syria. The Sunday attack on the village of Sukkariyeh near Abu Kamal, ostensibly to capture or eliminate the insurgent leader, Abu Ghadiya, is causing more problems than its worth.

Memo from Islamabad: Out of Control - Brian Cloughley, Counterpunch: The operation by special forces in Syria has increased the danger to their comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan. It caused alarm and despair in Europe and vastly increased hatred of America in the Middle East. It ripped up the United Nations Charter and was entirely counter-productive. These people are out of control.

Scandal of Six Held in Guantanamo Even After Bush Plot Claim Is Dropped: No evidence that men living in Bosnia plotted attack on Sarajevo embassy - Robert Fisk, Independent/Common Dreams: In the dying days of the Bush administration, yet another presidential claim in the "war on terror" has been proved false by the withdrawal of the main charge against six Algerians held without trial for nearly seven years at Guantanamo prison camp.

Closing Guantanamo - Stanley Kutler, Truthdig: The U.S. government’s failure to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center for alleged terrorists continues to haunt and color our standing in the world. Barack Obama and John McCain both endorsed closing the facility. Bureaucratic drift and inertia grip the problem of resolving Guantanamo’s status.

Why the World Will Be Disappointed by President Obama: We may find ourselves with a president untested and unprepared for the international challenges facing him. The world needs American power to maintain its fragile stability - William Shawcross, Daily Beast: Obama seems to think American power can be withdrawn from the world without dire consequences. This is nonsense.

I Fear Obama Is the Change Bin Laden's Been Waiting For - Greg Manning, Daily Beast:” I assume the world’s bad actors understand this calculus and have taken their own measure of Senator Obama, one that meshes with Joe Biden’s prediction that our enemies would move to test him as president, as Kennedy was pushed to the brink of nuclear war in Cuba and drawn into Vietnam and as Carter was embarrassed over Iran and then Afghanistan.”

Al-Qaeda propaganda chief killed in Pakistan strikeIrish Times: An Egyptian who has been described by the United States as Al-Qaeda's head of propaganda has been killed in a missile strike in Pakistan, security officials said this afternoon.

'The End of America': Naomi Wolf's 'The End of America,' a searing indictment of George Bush's 'fascist tactics,' has been made into an equally uncompromising documentary - Naomi Wolf, Independent/Common Dreams: With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantanamo in Cuba, America certainly has its gulag now.

Obama and Iraq - Robert Dreyfuss, Nation: Obama says that Americans will have to tighten their belts because of the "cost of the war in Iraq." He hasn't made his mandate stronger by adopting hawkish views on other, non-Iraq related issues: he supports a bigger military; he supports an expansion of NATO to include Ukraine and Georgia; he supports more troops for Afghanistan; he has called for cross-border raids into Pakistan to go after Al Qaeda officials; and, of course, he has hewed closely to orthodoxy in support of Israel.

The impending strike on Iran - David Fink, Asia Times: America will either attack Iran in the next two and a half months, or it never will.

Suspected U.S. missiles kill 27 in Pakistan – Associated Press, International Herald Tribune: The increased frequency of the missile attacks is straining America's seven-year alliance with Pakistan, where rising violence is exacerbating economic problems gnawing at the nuclear-armed country's stability.

A Middle East Vote: Shortly after the next American president takes office, Israeli elections will set the prospects for U.S. diplomacy – Editorial, Washington Post: As the Bush administration has discovered, intervention by the United States, even if energetic, cannot easily compensate for.the political weakness of both the Israelis and Palestinians who seek it a deal.

Is a 'Resurgent' Russia a Threat to the United States? – Ivan Eland, Denying Russia the sphere of influence in nearby areas traditionally enjoyed by great powers (for example, the US uses the Monroe Doctrine to police the Western Hemisphere) will only lead to unnecessary US-Russian tension and possibly even cataclysmic war.

A Middle East Vote: Shortly after the next American president takes office, Israeli elections will set the prospects for U.S. diplomacy – Editorial, Washington Post: As the Bush administration has discovered, intervention by the United States, even if energetic, cannot easily compensate for.the political weakness of both the Israelis and Palestinians who seek it a deal.

2 rivals in talks to finance 'Tintin' films - Michael Cieply, International Herald Tribune: After months of deal-making turmoil, the elaborate, two-film "Tintin" series planned by the directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson may find its financiers in a partnership being forged by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.

Japan general fired for war views - Norimitsu Onishi, International Herald Tribune: A high-ranking Japanese military official was dismissed Friday for writing an essay stating that the United States had ensnared Japan into World War II, denying that Japan had waged wars of aggression in Asia and justifying Japanese colonialism. The Defense Ministry fired General Toshio Tamogami, chief of staff of Japan's air force, late Friday night, only hours after his essay was posted on a private company's Web site.

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