Thursday, November 6, 2008

November 6

“No Drama Obama”

--Clive Crook, writing in the Atlantic

“How Obama's win may impact Americans' mental health”

--Headline in USA Today


Forschungsgruppe Public Diplomacy


Serving the Congress and the Nation - GAO (Government Accountability Office): “On this Web site, using its institutional knowledge and broad-based, nonpartisan work on matters across the government spectrum, GAO provides insight into, and recommendations for addressing, the nation’s major issues, risks and challenges.” “Urgent issues” include “Improving the United States Image Abroad.” Via.

Obama's victory was as historic as Reagan's - Martin Sieff, UPI: “Bush had close and trusted confidante Karen Hughes lead a public diplomacy initiative to try to undo the damage done to U.S. international standing by his no-holds-barred policies in the war on terror. Hughes toiled away for some time with no visible results. By contrast, Obama has reversed the popular international perception of the United States at a stroke by being elected. This may change if he starts pursuing a protectionist trade policy, as some of his constituencies will demand, but it is still no mean feat.”

We conservatives blew it - Daniel Gallington, Washington Times: "Assuming we went in to remove Saddam, there was never a persuasive explanation given that the mission had changed and that we now needed to establish a democracy in Iraq. While the president gave a few thoughtful speeches on the subject, there was a massive failure of public diplomacy from the White House to get the 'democracy' message across. Accordingly, most Americans were never sold - and are still not sold - on the 'democracy' mission in Iraq. The Iraqis don't appear to be sold on it either, nor do most leaders of 'democracies' in the Middle East."

The fast transitionForeign Policy Focus: “Bush successive administrations put in practice various programs of public diplomacy, none of them fully successful, because being permanently counter-weighted by an often contradictory political positioning in foreign affairs. … But, public diplomacy is only part of the overall representation of the system of values of a country. Its aim is to find the most appropriate language in order to make your messages understood by the addressed audience. .... Cynthia Schneider, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, made recently a very interesting evaluation of the current image deficit of America across the world and of what have to be done by the future administration in this respect.”

Rejuvenate Public Diplomacy! Bring Culture Back to the White House - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "Americans with an appreciation for the arts ... should encourage the new president, Barack Obama, to make the White House a more culture-friendly place. As was the case during the Kennedy years, the residence of our Chief Executive should be a venue for cultural activities of all types, ranging from concerts to poetry readings, to which foreigners (including, needless to say, visiting heads of state and other official representatives, including in the field of culture) should be invited."

Hope and Wait and See – Steven R. Corman, COMOPS Journal: "Obama’s election itself is good public diplomacy for the U.S., and that it has created a tipping point that is capable of shaking the current system.”

Congratulations, President-elect Obama - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: “The Obama-Biden victory is very good news for our national security and the public diplomacy and strategic communication communities of practice.“

Can Barack Obama Deliver On A Vision of Hope ? - Nissim Dahan, MidEast Youth: “Yes, government can fight wars, and yes, sometimes there is no choice but to fight; but in the final analysis, the answer for extremism will be in the hands of the people, who will talk to one another with common sense and with a sense of personal dignity, who will invest in one another to create jobs which protect the environment, who will use those jobs to neutralize the hold of extremist thinking, who will sell one another on a vision of hope which is given substance in reality, who will sustain the hope with public diplomacy, and who will fight against the forces of extremism, the forces which would render the possibility of hope null and void.”

Obama's Election: The View from Iraq - Lennox Samuels, Newsweek: “Even State Department employees, officially apolitical, look to Obama for a better future. ‘This is so affirming about the dynamic energy in our nation - the vibrant expression of the voices of our people,’ says a public diplomacy officer. ‘Yes, we want change.’ But many ordinary Iraqis remain unimpressed.”

Ask Us To Serve Barack Obama - Brian Till, Post Chronicle: “In December 2007, speaking behind a podium emblazed with a "Call to Serve" placard, Obama announced a plan to double Peace Corps ranks to 16,000 by 2011, the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's bold vision for foreign service. He planned to enroll fluent speakers of languages like Arabic, Urdu and Farsi in state department public diplomacy classes then send them overseas, so that the American voice might be better heard in the foreign language media. And he called for the creation of a Craiglist for service, a local, online means to pair those seeking to volunteer with the institutions and elderly that need help most. But in the face of a faltering economy, alongside a foreign policy portfolio that will demand more involvement than previous presidents have had to expound, it's quite possible that call will be abandoned, and, if not, at least subdued.“

I'm So Relieved Obama Is Our President - Paul Boshears, Kudzu Kongzi: “The Obama-Biden campaign has pledged to increase voluntary national service and to beef-up both the Americorps and the PeaceCorps as well as begin to develop other public diplomacy organs - I feel like these are really necessary and if coupled with large-scale infrastructure projects and a reduction of military occupations will spell the beginning of a good period for America.”

What Does an Obama Presidency Really Mean? Joe Pulcinella, Liberty Guys: “'Barack Obama will enable all Americans to serve: Obama and Biden will expand AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, engage retiring Americans, and set up an America’s Voice Initiative to send Americans who are fluent speakers of local languages to expand our public diplomacy.’ So, what we have to look forward to is a fascist-style service to the State (to serve its own ends, not yours) as a condition of citizenship.”

Most important day in American history and it feels like, wow - Shashank Shekhar, “While I’m very pleased with the results, I appreciate the way Senator McCain made a gracious exit and expressed his goodwill towards Obama who was also not overtly triumphant,” said Paul J. Houge, Deputy Director at the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy. “Above all we’re relieved that this election did not turn out to be as difficult as that of 2000,” said Houge pointing at the extremely narrow gap between incumbent President George Bush and his Democrat challenger Al Gore.

Barack Obama : un nouvel espoir pour le supérieur - Actualités - EducPros: ”L’importance des budgets de 'public diplomacy' sous la mandature de George W. Bush était liée à la détérioration de l’image des Etats-Unis à l’étranger.“

Reporters Without Borders Protests Restrictions on International Broadcasts in Azerbaijan; Voice of America Also Threatened By Its Own Broadcasting Board of Governors – Ted Lipien, and Free Media Online Blog

David Lightle: an unconventional nation branding expert – Andreas Markessinis, Nation Branding: “Nation branding is a newborn field in the crossroad of marketing, public diplomacy, international relations and political strategy, and most aspects of it remain to be invented. Within this context, one can find many different approaches to the science of nation branding, from the Simon Anholt’s policy-making approach to the corporate identity-inspired approach as proposed by Wally Olins. And yet there are other, more distinctive approaches - such as that of David Lightle, who approaches nation branding projects with an inmersive method by which he lives in the client country for years, absorbing the essences and character of the guest country.”

Significance of media role in social change highlightedThe News: “Speakers at the two-day 'Inter Interdisciplinary International Conference on Media and Social Change,' which began on Thursday at the University of Karachi (KU), agreed that the role of media was vital for a change in any society- whether positive or negative. … Prof Danilo Ardia from University of Padova, Italy, spoke in the first plenary session on ‘The new public diplomacy and the EU'. He informed the audience about the lobbyists in the EU countries just like the Jewish lobby in the United States and thought that European powers should be wise and balanced while dealing with other countries.”


from Spiegel International

World Reaction to the ElectionMelinda Brouwer, Foreign Policy Association: Public Diplomacy and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

Photo Gallery: The World Celebrates Obama VictorySpiegel International

Obama and the world: The president-elect has a window of opportunity to improve U.S. ties with other countries - Rosa Brooks, Los Angeles Times: If Obama puts into his foreign policy strategy one-tenth of the talent, innovation and discipline he put into his campaign, he'll be able to make real headway on a range of critical issues that include nuclear-threat reduction, relations with Russia and stability in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Obama to Seek Global Re-engagement, But How Much? - Jim Lobe, Obama will clearly present a far different image of the United States to the rest of the world than his immediate predecessor, or any other, for that matter. But that image, as well the foreign policy commitments he made during the campaign -- assuming that he holds to them -- may not be sufficient to ensure the kind of sweeping change in course that much of the world and many voters who cast their ballots for him here expect.

The World Reacts - UN: Hope that America Rejoins the World, Barbara Crossette, Nation: After the naming in Washington of a new secretary of state, the appointment most eagerly awaited at the UN is that of the next American ambassador.

Obama Victory Inspires Hope, Envy In Postcommunist World – Nenad Pejic, RFE/RL: “We can envy the achievements of U.S. democracy, but considering the tasks facing Obama -- the financial crisis, the clash of civilizations, two ongoing wars, and more -- I don't envy him personally. God help him.”

Europe Hopes for Change: Will Obama go along with the European push for a new economic world order? - Irwin M. Stelzer, Weekly Standard: The Europeans may be convincing themselves that the torch has passed from America to them, but every European leader sure wants to be the first to be invited for a chat with the new occupant of the White House.

And the Winner Is . . . Europe? Firms on the Continent may gain the most under Obama - Kyle Wingfield, Wall Street Journal: In just about anywhere outside U.S. borders, European industry could gain from American protectionism. None of these gains will materialize, though, if European governments take the Obama era of "change" as an excuse to halt their slow crawl toward economic reform.

Obama’s victory: a change the world should believe in
- Philip Stephens, Financial Times: The strategic threat to US power has come from rising anti-Americanism. The election of Barack Obama has disarmed it.

The World From Berlin: 'Barack Obama and the American Miracle'Spiegel International: German commentators served up a mixture of glee and caution on Thursday as newspapers published their first editorials reacting to Barack Obama's historic victory over Republican rival John McCain.

From Spiegel International:
Obama And Europe: Merkel Hopes for an End to US Unilateralism
China Wary of Obama's America
Short on Hope: Japan Wary of an Obama Administration

France Enthralled: Sarkozy Looks to the Obama Model
Concern in Israel: Jerusalem Skeptical of Obama's Middle East Policy
The Reaction in Britain: Managed Expectations in London
From Russia with Love: Rockets and Best Wishes for Obama
A Family Fest in Kenya: Obama's Granny Celebrates Victory

All Deliberate Speed: On Foreign Policy, Change and Caution - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Obama's advisers are thinking about how to use his youth, charisma and African American heritage to transform America's ailing image abroad.

The Obama Advantage: How Race Was His Ace In The Hole: Anne Applebaum – Slate: The USself-image has taken a battering. We are fighting two wars, neither with remarkable success. We have just experienced a cataclysmic financial crisis. We are about to enter a recession. We are unloved around the world, and we know it. Electing our first black president won't by itself solve any of these problems, but -- to use the pop-psychological language for which Americans are justly famous -- it sure makes us feel good about ourselves.

An Indian hymn to Obama - M K Bhadrakumar, Asia Times: In his childhood, Obama saw America from the "other end" of the tunnel, from Suharto's Indonesia. His background will help him weigh the usage of American power in hapless lands abroad. It will help him handle better the inexorable decline, even if in relative terms, of US global power. He might appreciate what it means to prefer diplomacy to muscle power or consensus to unilateralism.

Evangelical foreign policy is over - Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston Globe: The United States remains a nation of believers, with Christianity the tradition to which most Americans adhere. Yet the religious sensibility informing American statecraft will no longer find expression in an urge to launch crusades against evil-doers.

Under Obama, the Envoy Convoy May Screech to a Halt - Al Kamen, “In the Loop,” Washington Post: The traditional sale of most ambassadorships, so aptly carried on during the Bush administration, may not continue. Early speculation is that Obama may be more inclined to follow the Clinton model and select people, often political types, with some foreign policy credentials or knowledge of a country's language or culture.

Exclusive: Gibbs will be WH press secretary - Politico: Robert Gibbs, a top aide to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on his campaign and in his Senate office, will be named the White House press secretary, a top Democratic official said.

At Gitmo, life sentence for bin Laden propagandist - David McFadden, Washington Post: A U.S. military jury sentenced Osama bin Laden's media specialist to life in prison for terrorism, a victory for Guantanamo prosecutors who painted him as a hardened al-Qaida operative during his war-crimes trial.

The World Reacts: Amid the cheers, a first challenge from Russia - Editorial, Washington Post: The principal aims of Mr. Putin's foreign policy are restoring Soviet-style domination of Russia's neighbors, such as Georgia and Ukraine, and proving that Moscow can still act as a counterweight to the United States. So Mr. Medvedev yesterday blamed the United States for Russia's invasion of Georgia and said that international "mechanisms must be created to block mistaken, egotistical and sometimes simply dangerous decisions" by Washington.

Europe, Not the Us, Can Get Russia to Behave: Europe must take advantage of its special pull on Russians – Denis Corboy, William Courtney and Kenneth Yalowitz, Christian Science Monitor

Moscow’s missiles – Editorial Comment, Financial Times: There is much that binds Russia and the west, including energy and trade, and concerns about Iran, global terrorism and, most recently, financial stability. Reducing tensions over missile bases should be high on this list.

China to launch massive propaganda drive on Tibet - Phurbu Thinley, Phayul, Tibet

He Saw It Coming: The forgotten filmmaker [Peter Watkins] who anticipated our modern media madness - Michael Hirschorn, Atlantic: Like no filmmaker before or since, Watkins captures the constant manipulation and counter-manipulation of the modern media, the push-pull of image projection and message management that has blurred the line between news and propaganda. His films are testaments to central truths of the current media environment: that mere logic is powerless against a brilliant projection of personality, that self-conscious “objectivity” and truth-telling are very different things, and that compelling narrative is impervious to facts. From the selling of the Iraq War to the selling of Sarah Palin, Watkins, like Orwell before him, shows how we are lied to, and how we lie to ourselves.

Propaganda and the media: How consent is manufactured - Aaron Richner, INTHEFRAY Magazine: There exists no line between propaganda and information, but rather a continuum. From the very decision regarding what constitutes news to the interpretation of the facts of a given event, human bias is impossible to remove.

Condibot Malfunction? - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog I keep track of Condoleezza's hairdo so you don't have to: PHOTO: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pauses while meeting with reporters at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2208, to discuss Tuesday's presidential elections. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta). COMMENT: “Several Pony Pals™ have emailed me to report that the Condibot appeared to be ‘experiencing emotions’ during her little presser thing about the Obama election dealy. Well, what can I say? It certainly was convincing! Was it sincere? Well, I have a hard time ever applying that word to Dr. Ferragamo, so let's not push it now, OK?”

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