Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 12

"Why not be an empire of love?"

--Yale history professor Timothy Snyder, regarding the United States. MAP: In the 18th century, sentimental cartography was very much √† la mode, with this map as one of the finer examples. ‘Das Reich der Liebe’ (‘the Empire of Love’) by Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf, was published in Leipzig in 1777.

“For he must understand (and if possible, love) before he can convince.”

-- John L. Brown (diplomat father of this review's compiler) regarding the role of an American Cultural Attaché

Changing International Broadcasting in the Obama Era? – Monroe Price, Huffington Post: “International broadcasting could move from primarily a means of projecting perceptions of the U.S. and reflecting (even if indirectly) U.S. policies to one which would be a platform for cooperation, mediation, and reception-- a mode of being informed as well as informing. … Public diplomacy and international broadcasting might be constructed on principles of deeper reciprocity as well as rearticulated targeting. There could be even more collaboration among international broadcasters to achieve this goal. … Reciprocity would involve taking steps to advance popular domestic American understanding of international events as well as penetrating consciousness in regions such as the Middle East or the Caucasus. It would mean a possible repeal of the Smith-Mundt Act, which bars transmission of U.S. financed international broadcasting within the United States, a somewhat pointless prohibition in the Internet era.” See also

USAID's public diplomacy in the Middle East. Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy.

US Navy mission not linked to Russia, VenezuelaAFP: “The six-nation medical mission of a US warship in the Caribbean is not a response to Russian military maneuvers due to take place off Venezuela later this month, the commander of the USS Kearsarge said here Tuesday. ‘Yes, I am aware the Russians coming into this area, but that has nothing to do with this mission, there is no nexus between this mission and their arrival,’ Captain Fernandez Ponds told AFP. … Asked whether the vessel's visit was part of US foreign policy and public diplomacy efforts, Ponds emphasized that ‘my focus and my focus only is humanitarian assistance.’"

A Good Stay in America...USAF Guy's Milblog: ”Colin Powell said of America that, ‘A good stay in our country is the best public diplomacy tool that we have.’”


War is from Mars, love is from Venus - Timothy Snyder, Boston Globe: Can the United States recreate itself as an empire of love? We would have to admit our mistakes, and learn from the past. We would have to relearn manners and graciousness.

Why Americans Shouldn't Go Home - Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: Americans really do want our troops to come home, that we actually are looking for "change we can believe in," which would include a less weaponized, less imperial American world, based on a reinvigorated idea of defense, not aggression, and on the Constitution, not leftover Rumsfeld rules or a bogus Global War on Terror.

Foreign policy realignment? - Leon Hadar, American Conservative: Opinion polls reflect declining public support for U.S. global interventionism. In short, there is clearly no enthusiasm for new global crusades, which means that the general public would welcome a more realist foreign policy approach by the Obama Administration.

US military: From kinetic to comprehensive - Carl Baker and Brad Glosserman, Asia Times: There should be a concerted effort to reduce the emphasis in previous national security strategies on military aspects and a more visible role for other agencies such as USAID, the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Strolling out of Iraq - Brian M Downing, Asia Times: Against all expectation of a year ago, Iraq might not prove to be the most arduous problems the new administration must deal with.

Iraq May Be the Easy Part - Marie Cocco, Truthdig: It may turn out that leaving Iraq is going to be easier than the calamities we confront when we turn our attention, as the president-elect likes to say, back to Afghanistan.

Kurdistan Is a Model for Iraq: Our path to a secular, federal democracy is inspired by the U.S. - Masoud Barzani, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Barzani is the president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Pass the Pact: U.S. economic woes strengthen the case for free trade with Colombia – Editorial, Washington Post

A Short Honeymoon – Alan Bock, Obama faces foreign policy challenges -- largely hangovers from the eight years of Bush foolishness, but also some that would have been apparent anyway -- that he seems to have little or no idea how to approach intelligently or constructively. The most obvious example is his apparent determination to ramp up the war in Afghanistan, already the graveyard of several empires.

The Audacity of Hype: Dissent in the Age of Obama - Justin Raimondo, Obama's battlefields of choice are Afghanistan and the wilds of Waziristan, instead of boring old Iraq -- which is, at any rate, just about played out as an effective narrative in the ongoing story of our eternal "war on terrorism."

Cold War Hawks Nesting With Obama - Robert Scheer, Nation: Improved relations with Russia are critical to the change toward a more peaceful world that Obama has promised, but it is disquieting in the extreme that some of his closest advisers are inveterate hawks with a history of needlessly provoking tension with the Russians during the Cold War days.

Guantanamo Closure Called Obama Priority - Peter Finn, Washington Post: Announcing the closure of the controversial detention facility would be among the most potent signals the incoming administration could send of its sharp break with the Bush era, according to the advisers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak for the president-elect. They believe the move would create a global wave of diplomatic and popular goodwill that could accelerate the transfer of some detainees to other countries.

Niall Ferguson On Obama And The Global Crisis: 'A World War without War'Spiegel International: In a SPIEGEL interview, British historian Niall Ferguson discusses Barack Obama's historical election, Europe's hopes for the new president, the consequences of the economic crisis and his idea of "Chimerica" -- the economic alliance between Beijing and Washington. Ferguson: "The United States has the opportunity to remake itself without Obama having to make many changes to its foreign policy. He will close Guantanamo and declare an end to torture. All he has to do is change the tone and the game will already change because he is the one playing it. That is the real phenomenon. By virtue of his sheer existence, he reestablishes American credibility.”

Where Obama Can Be Bold – Michael Gerson, Washington Post: When it comes to Africa, Obama's roots and popularity on the continent -- evidenced by jubilation at the news of his election -- are a significant foreign policy advantage. Continuing and expanding President Bush's emphasis on Africa would not be narrow but visionary -- and would find a receptive audience among Americans, including religious conservatives, with humanitarian commitments on the continent.

Obama Wins - Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker: A few months from now a blue-and-white Boeing 747 emblazoned UNITED STATES OF AMERICA will touch down on a tarmac somewhere in Europe or Asia or Africa, the door will open, and out will step Barack and Michelle Obama. That is something to look forward to.

Barack Obama and Audacity of Marketing: Bold Strategy Challenging Traditional Assumptions Offers Up an Object Lesson - Matthew Creamer, Advertising Age: At the same time Mr. Obama was building his brand with grand gestures, his campaign demonstrated an understanding of ground-level marketing strategies and tactics, everything from audience segmentation and database management to the creation and maintenance of online communities.

The World President: Great Expectations for Project Obama - Spiegel International: The "American Way of Life," that special blend of deliberate recklessness, wanton waste and a touch of megalomania, is reaching its limits. In recent years, the superpower has gone from one careless mistake to the next. The government was too arrogant, the banking industry was too greedy and the economy, after allowing itself to indulge in obscene scandals, was no longer innovative enough to be able to maintain the country's status as an economic superpower. This has left the United States with massive problems of historic proportions.

After U.S. Breakthrough, Europe Looks in Mirror - Steven Erlanger, New York Times: In the general European euphoria over the election of Barack Obama, there is the beginning of self-reflection about Europe’s own troubles with racial integration. Many are asking if there could be a French, British, German or Italian Obama, and everyone knows the answer is no, not anytime soon.

Information Technology and the Future of Al-Qaeda – Marc Lynch, Abu Aardvak: Al-Qaeda's grand strategy uses terrorism in the service of a "constructivist" mission: spreading and deepening Islamic identity among Muslims, defining this Islamic identity in very specific salafi-jihadist terms against the competing definitions offered by other Islamist groups, and establishing that Islamic identity requires costly participation in a very specifically defined jihad.

Disney set to entertain Middle East - Matthew Garrahan, Financial Times: Walt Disney is making its first foray into Arabic filmmaking with a film it will produce and distribute across the Middle East to tap into growing demand there for family entertainment. “There’s a really strong affinity between the strong family values in the region and the Disney brand,” said Jason Reed, general manager of Walt Disney Studios International Productions.

He Fought the Wars and the Wars Won - Gary Brecher, American Conservative: Our leader was a laughingstock around globe, and he made America the butt of the world’s contempt. But Bush got his wish -- he was a war president and then some. The rest of us were the casualties.

Deconstructing Propaganda - Matt Browner Hamlin, Hold Fast: All Chinese propaganda will do is put the tacky veneer of control over Chinese ongoing, illegal military occupation of Tibet. And as we saw this spring, Tibetans reject Chinese rule as much today as they did fifty-eight years ago when the first Chinese troops invaded Kham and Amdo in eastern Tibet.

12Nov08 - Barry, Propaganda Posters - “Intrigued by the graphic style in Obama’s Posters I couldn’t help it but think that this poster was somewhat similar to some old war propaganda posters from Russia, Germany and The United States. Although the colors are different, the simplistic style is certainly comparable to these old posters."


--Scientist John Hart created a remix of Shepard Fairey's Obama poster from 150 million carbon nanotubes, each of which measured tens of thousands of times smaller than a human hair. That sure is a lot of tiny Obamas. (from Boing Boing)

From The Daily Beast

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