Monday, November 17, 2008

November 17

"Earlier today, President Bush was in New York, and he gave a speech about the financial crisis and other major problems facing the country. That's right. The speech was called 'So Long Suckers.'"

--Talk show host Conan O'Brien

If this guy wants to sound like a real president, he will have to quit saying 'gonna' and 'gotta' all the time"

--Wonkette, a propos of Barack Obama


What Will the World Think of Us Now? - Nancy Snow, Huffington Post: “In my 2006 critique of U.S. foreign policy, I built a case that we were becoming seen as a one-hit wonder in international affairs--searching for a kind word for others to say about us or some small token of support for which we will heap out praise. Our public diplomacy reflected this search to be the world's American Idol. In the history of nations, we are a great power, often doing our duty as the ‘leader of the free world,’ but doesn't power when made so paramount give us a dizzying feeling? I, an American citizen, see no value in the U.S. being viewed as the Number One country in the world. Number One brings on so many challenges. And frankly it just doesn't hold.”

Re: "On Muslim Tolerance and Terrorists" - Consul-At-Arms: at Solomon's House ('Dialogue and commentary on Iraq, U.S. politics, Western society, more.') has a suggestion regarding Public Diplomacy. Money quote(s): ‘If the Public Diplomacy Officers of the U.S. Department of State made more of an effort to highlight the story of how the perpetrators of Abu Gharib were brought to justice throughout the Muslim World, could that help set things straight? What about concentrating these efforts on madrassa teachers, as Kamal Hamid suggests?’ If only there were more PD officers, perhaps enough to fill all those PD jobs currently vacant (to say nothing of increasing their numbers!).”

US Cultural Foreign Policy - Hollywood and Othering – Robert, volibarigm: “In American culture, undoubtedly Hollywood is an influential mean in U.S. public diplomacy either domestically or outside of its geographical borders.”

We Can't Win in Iraq - Here's Why - Paul Boshears, Kudzu Kongzi: “[P]ublic diplomacy matters, because this may be the only way to understand peace.”

Secretary Of State? Oh no … Mrs. Bill - Kilburn Hall's Weblog: “Hillary Clinton as Secretary Of State is a great choice- for America- … Should Benjamin Franklin, arguably America’s greatest diplomat, witness the harm Albright and ‘Condi’ have done to America’s relations with the rest of the world (and America’s public diplomacy) he would roll over in his grave.”

The Framing of the Georgian Conflict - Chris Borgen, Opinio Juris: “It is important to keep in mind that there are other issues at stake [in the Georgian-Russian conflict], such as (a) whether or not the Russian military action was actually an aggression or an act of self-defense or a treaty-based right; (b) whether the Russian military action was proportionate; and, (c) the big ticket question as to whether or not South Ossetia should be recognized as an independent state. These new reports are part of an ongoing battle to frame the debate–or ‘control the narrative’ as public diplomacy folks like to say– over South Ossetia.”

Medvedev Learned His PR Skills From Chavez - Vladimir Frolov, Moscow Times: “President Dmitry Medvedev's first state-of-the-nation address raised a lot eyebrows abroad both by its content and tone. If the objective was to make people shake their heads in bewilderment, it succeeded beyond expectations. But if the intention was to send a reassuring message to the international community, it was a stunning failure. It is hard to understand why, after so much preparation, Medvedev's team managed to deliver such a disastrous act of public diplomacy. … Medvedev's team deliberated for some time whether Medvedev should send Obama a warm, handwritten note or an impersonal diplomatic cable. They wound up sending him a public ultimatum on missile defense. ‘It was an almost caricature case of the Kremlin being tone-deaf,’ said one prominent Russia analyst in the United States.”

Medvedev Spoils the Party: It will take more than Obama's electoral triumph to improve the United States' strained relations with Russia - Jeffrey Tayler, Atlantic: Putin, Medvedev’s éminence grise, has, as of this writing, said nothing publicly about Obama’s victory at all. Medvedev’s speech and Putin’s silence seem to be calculated slights, intended to send a clear message to Obama: the United States should not take even cordial relations with Russia for granted. Considering how much ultimately rides on cooperation between the two giant countries, this is a matter of no small import.

Открылся блог регионального общественного движения "Народная дипломатия - Общество дружбы с зарубежь – Oleg, Кто не ест суши, тому не делают харакири: “Блог регионального общественного движения ‘Народная дипломатия - Общество дружбы с зарубежьем’. Народ не безмолвствует. Устав регионального общественного движения Blog regional public motion ‘Public diplomacy - a Society of the friendship’. Folk does not keep silent.”

Народная дипломатия-Public diplomacy – Entry pertains to Soviet soccer player Lev Iashin.

The [Pakistani] Army should respond immediately - Pragmatic Euphony: “More than any civil organisation, the armed forces have historically known the value of communication, propaganda and counter-propaganda. Public diplomacy is a fanciful term used very often nowadays by the military to denote truthful propaganda and the Indian armed forces used it to great effect against Pakistan during the Kargil conflict.”


U.S. schools' foreign enrollments soar - Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY: The number of foreign students enrolled in U.S. colleges surged 7% last year to 623,805, an all-time high and the largest one-year increase on record. It is the strongest sign yet that post-9/11 declines are history.

Study abroad flourishes, with China a hot spot - Tamar Lewin, International Herald Tribune: Record numbers of American students are studying abroad, with especially strong growth in educational exchanges with China, the annual report by the Institute on International Education found. The number of Americans studying in China increased by 25 percent, and the number of Chinese students studying at American universities increased by 20 percent last year, according to the report, "Open Doors 2008."

For Europe, Obama revives positive image of America's unique identity: US exceptionalism had largely been seen here as a messianic rationale for use of power by a nation assuming special prerogatives - Robert Marquand, Christian Science Monitor: The election of Senator Obama has has turned the "exceptional" discourse in Europe on its head -- suggesting the identity of America is not as fixed as it had seemed, that its "exceptionalism" has many meanings, and that America is exceptional as a force in the world whether it chooses to be or not, for good or ill.

Gitmo Disappointment Coming – Alan Bock, It was foolishness to establish the prison camp at Guantanamo without thinking through the possible ramifications thoroughly enough. But that mistake was made long ago, and it will not be easy to unravel.

Grappling With Gitmo: Barack Obama has said he wants to shut down Guantanamo. That's the easy part. What matters is what he does next - Bruce Falconer, Mother Jones: There are no signs yet how the Obama administration will handle the thorny issue of Gitmo.

Iraqis View Security Agreement as having a Flexible Timetable – Juan Cole, Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion

US wins early round over Iraq - Sami Moubayed, Asia Times: Following his cabinet's approval of a draft Status of Forces agreement with the United States regulating the US presence in Iraq, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has the hardest sell of all to convince Iraqis the pact is in their "best interests". Most Iraqis - both Sunni and Shi'ite - are vehemently opposed to the pact, as is neighboring Iran.

A pact with the devil - Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: The big bang is not that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's majority Shi'ite/Kurdish 37-member cabinet in Baghdad has approved the draft of a security pact with the George W Bush (and Barack Obama administrations allowing the US military to stay in Iraq for three more years; it's that the 30-strong Sadrist bloc will move heaven and Earth -- including massive nationwide protests -- to bloc the pact in the Iraqi National Assembly.

Obama urged to forgo Iran threats - Jim Lobe, Asia Times: - A strategy of threats and "provocations" against Iran by the incoming Barack Obama administration is likely to be counter-productive, according to a report released in Washington on Friday by a group of 20 former top US diplomats and regional experts. The group, co-chaired by former United Nations ambassador Thomas Pickering and James Dobbins, a top diplomatic troubleshooter under former president Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush, called instead for the new administration to "open the door to direct, unconditional and comprehensive negotiations at the senior diplomatic level", as well as unofficial contacts and exchanges.

US again misfires on Iranian arms in Iraq - Gareth Porter, Asia Times: The extremely small proportion of Iranian arms in Shi'ite militia weapons caches further suggests that Shi'ite militia fighters in Iraq had been getting weapons from local and international arms markets rather than from an official Iranian-sponsored smuggling network.

Kilcullen on Afghanistan: “It’s Still Winnable, But Only Just” – George Packer, New Yorker: Australian army officer and anthropology Ph.D David Kilcullen: “The situation in Afghanistan is dire. But the war is winnable. We need to focus our attention on the problem, and think before acting. But we need to think fast, and our actions need to involve a major change of direction, focussing on securing the population rather than chasing the enemy, and delivering effective legitimate governance to the people, bottom-up, at the local level. Do that, do it fast, and we stand an excellent chance of turning things around.”

Operation Enduring Disaster: Breaking with Afghan Policy - Tariq Ali, TomDispatch: Domestic pressure in the U.S. to pull out of Afghanistan remains weak, but could grow rapidly as the extent of the debacle becomes clearer and NATO allies refuse to supply the shock-troops for the future surge. In the meantime, they're predicting a famine in Afghanistan this winter.

No End to the Savagery in Afghanistan - Robert Fisk, Truthdig:[T]he very Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 were supposed to end the mass destruction of human life. And President Bush has torn them up. … Maybe a million Pushtu-language editions should be handed out to the Taliban and their followers as well as to the Nato combatants whom Barack Obama absurdly believes will win the Afghan war. But I doubt it would do much good.”

The remaking of NATO – Editorial, Boston Globe: The purpose of NATO in the new century, and its particular role in Afghanistan, will be better addressed in response to unfolding events over a few years, and in consultation with all members of the alliance. NATO was not created for the security environment of this era, and it will have to be remolded to cope with evolving threats.

Team 'Chimerica' - Niall Ferguson, Washington Post: Over the weekend, it was the United States that resisted European calls for a new international regulatory body, opposed significant redefinition of the International Monetary Fund's role and showed no interest in the idea of a global stimulus package. In essence, we need the Chinese to be supportive of U.S. monetary easing and fiscal stimulus by doing more of the same themselves.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? Yes! - Madeleine M. Kunin, Huffington Post: Madeleine M. Kunin served as Ambassador to Switzerland for President Clinton.

Hillary at Foggy Bottom? No way! No how! No pasaran! – Justin Raimondo, By sending the Clintons off on a four-year world tour, Obama rids himself of two rather formidable -- and uncontrollable -- rivals. He also rids himself of sole responsibility for the conduct and success of his foreign policy. Buttons from


Consul-At-Arms said...

Thanks for the quote and the mention.

I've linked back to you here:

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