Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 10

“Everywhere we look, stories are breaking their constraints.”

--Author Frank Rose, who was interviewed in
DIP's Dispatches from the Imagination Age; image from

“Jumping aboard the public diplomacy high speed train”

--MissnanaDC, on Twitter; image from

Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #44: The latest list of books, articles, and websites on public diplomacy from Bruce Gregory, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University. Posted on MountainRunner


Turkish-American “Strategic Partnership”: On the Way to Rejuvenation? - Saban Kardas, Eurasian Daily Monitor, Jamestown Foundation: “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Ankara on Saturday, the highest-level direct contact between the administration of President Barack Obama and the Turkish government so far, highlighted the value each side places on sustaining the Turkish-American partnership. … Given the positive feelings of the Turkish people toward Obama’s election as president (EDM, November 7), the visit might indeed help improve the deteriorating American image in Turkey. A similar move in public diplomacy concerns attempts to diversify bilateral relations on the societal level. The joint statement announced that a new program called ‘Young Turkey/Young America: A New Relationship for a New Age’ would be launched. It would establish ties between emerging young leaders from both countries ‘to develop initiatives that will positively impact people’s lives and invest in future ties between the leadership of [the] two countries’ (http://www.turkey.usembassy.gov/, March 7).” Image from

Hillary! - Istanbul Calling: Yigal Schleifer, News From Turkey: “'Public diplomacy’ seems to be the new buzzword in Washington, which probably explains why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent visit to Turkey ended with her appearing on a popular television talk show, where she opened up about how she first fell in love and her challenged sense of fashion.”

Al Youm tests Alhurra's limits, in a relaxed environment - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "On Sunday, March 8, 2009, Alhurra Television will launch Al Youm (Arabic for 'Today') a ground-breaking live new television show originating simultaneously from five countries in three continents including Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem and Alhurra’s headquarters in Springfield, Va. Al Youm takes the American morning show format and tailors it to evenings in the Middle East.” Image from

Cuban commentary on the internet as Martí replacement: Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "The interest of the United States that Cuba has the Internet has nothing to do with fostering technological, scientific and cultural development. Internet media is the ultimate weapon that has to replace the failed Radio and TV Martí, which even more reports declare as obsolete and useless, to follow the frenzy of wanting to change the minds of Cubans. ahora.cu, 3 March 2009."

Advice to the Obama Administration on Islam and Religious Freedom - Keith Pavlischek, First Things: “The Hudson Institute has published a series of Presidential Transition Papers providing recommendations and advice to the Obama administration. Nina Shea’s The Contest of Ideas with Radical Islam:The Centrality of the Idea of Religious Freedom and Tolerance is worth particular attention. … She is, I think, quite right about the dismal state of our public diplomacy and our failure in the ‘war of ideas.’ … Shea says, rightly that the Obama administration will have many opportunities to work to change the ‘hostile ideology undergirding jihad terror through soft power policies’ and to ‘stand up for religious freedom and oppose punishment for apostasy, blasphemy, heresy, and related religious offenses.’” Image from

Kagan's "No Change" Narrative - Ilan Goldenberg, Democracy Arsenal: “[P]ublic diplomacy and the perception in the Muslim World really do[...] matter. President Bush early in his term referred to a ‘crusade’ against terrorism essentially convincing much of the Muslim World that the U.S. was at war with Islam. President Obama used his inaugural address to call for a relationship based on ‘mutual interests and mutual respect.’ This sounds pretty different to me."

Hacking Public Diplomacy, or can we make space for Counter-Public Diplomacy? – jranck, Nomadologies: “In public diplomacy 2.0 the staid, disciplined, foreign service idea of diplomacy based on an 18th-19th century discourse on sovereignty combined with public relations marketing and a concern for brands is mashed up with the more open, bottom-up, participatory … and inclusive architecture of the so-called web 2.0 technologies. …

Both these terms ‘public’ and ‘diplomacy’ need unpacking. Their genealogies shouldn’t just be taken for granted. Why is there a need for ‘public diplomacy’. … A desire to open up alternative futures–that is what we can do through hacking public diplomacy. … Rather than using ‘web 2.0’ to empower ‘public diplomats’ and potentially disempower ‘counter-public diplomats’ let’s think about how ‘web 2.0’ can enlarge the circle of debate and take that sometimes-empty-signifier ‘democracy’ and move it in more democratic ways as an unfinished project that the ‘West’ does not define but not relativize it into window dressing for despots.” Image from

Motion Picture Licensing Corporation comes around? - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: “[L]ast week’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s report titled 'U.S. Public Diplomacy--Time to Get Back in the Game' (see this post). The report recommended the State Department re-engage the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation to change overly restrictive licensing that severely inhibits public awareness of showings of American films by America’s public diplomats. … It is time for engaged leadership for America’s global engagement to understand and move public diplomacy forward. This means not only addressing the State Department apparatus, but interagency and 'whole of society' partners and pathways as well. To change analogies, America’s public diplomacy does not have an auto-pilot feature. Left leaderless it will wander and eventually (quickly) take a downward slope into the ground.” Image from

You Could Always Just Hire a Professional - Paul D. Kretkowski, Beacon: “Ex-FSO and PD gadfly John Brown argues for nominating Ambassador William Rugh to be the Undersecretary for PD and Public Affairs, hoping for a clean break with the recent string of hucksters, mouthpieces and so on that have held the position. (I know, I know--James Glassman is smart, he said the right things--but did he actually accomplish much during his time in office?) … The only objection to confirmation that others might raise is Rugh's involvement with AMIDEAST, which the folks at AIPAC tend to see as an Arab fifth column. But you can't have everything. Much more ominous is Brown's crippling ethical lapse in recommending Rugh--who once bought him lunch when Brown had 'forgotten' his wallet at home!” Image from

Public diplomacy or public relations? - CB3 Communications Blog: “Currently, the Obama administration is raising the very issue of what PD should be, but many in the US tend to bunch PR with advertising, marketing and branding, unlike in the UK.”

Crafting Strategy in an Age of Transition - Shawn Brimley, Parameters:

“The new administration also inherited nonmilitary instruments of statecraft that are struggling to rejuvenate an expeditionary ethos and capability that became seriously atrophied in the post-Cold War era. Despite a notable increase in funding for the State Department in recent years, resources and capabilities for diplomacy, foreign assistance, field development, and public diplomacy remain a fraction of what they should be.” Article cited in Taylor Marsh, Evaluating Security Challenges in the Obama Era

Army Infantry Center Band Plays At Phillips Center 3/23 - Broadway World: “For more than 50 years, the Army Infantry Center Band has taken great pride in entertaining the soldiers, military families and civilian audiences … . The Band's performances create esprit de corps among Soldiers and Veterans, as well as provide patriotic spirit within the civilian community. As a promoter of the Army's Strategic Outreach, the Band is involves in Soldier Support, Family Support, Recruiting Support, Public Diplomacy, Community Relations and Education." Image from

Video: Jim Murphy on public diplomacy Video - UK Minister for Europe Jim Murphy discusses the importance of public diplomacy in a globalised world.

Australia Network back to the private sector, again? (updated): Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: “Successful international channels can be publicly funded, but they succeed by providing an independent, credible news service, not by being "part of diplomatic activity." Australia's international television, previously called Australia Television, then ABC Asia Pacific, has gone back and forth between ABC and private control.”

Analysis: Iran faces shift in strategy from moderate Arabs - Brenda Gazzar Meir, Jerusalem Post: "Meir Javedanfar, … Iranian affairs expert and co-author of the Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran, feels that Obama should try to negotiate with the Iranians and show the international community that Iran is not that interested in stopping its nuclear program. ‘I think by that time, he'll have more leverage to impose tougher sanctions,’ he said. America, Javedanfar argues, should try diplomacy for now, increase intelligence cooperation and adopt a comprehensive, ambitious public diplomacy campaign against Iran's nuclear program that does not rely on military threats.”

Mohamed does la Hasbara! - Mo-ha-med, The Traveller Within: “Hasbara: from ‘lehasbir’, ‘to explain’. Hasbara is a uniquely Israeli concept, which goes far beyond ‘public diplomacy’ as used by their MFA. It is not only a government-led policy, where the State tries to embellish its image abroad. Israel has elevated hasbara to almost a national duty, the kind that everyone needs to engage in, constantly, whatever they do or say, whomever they speak to, whatever the topic.

'Everyday activism' is the euphemism for this constant service to forward a set of ideas.National effort’ was the term used by journalist Anshel Pfeffer here. Some use it interchangeably with 'advocacy', 'public relations', or simply 'Israel activism'. Promoting state propaganda would normally be ‘frowned upon’ in a democracy – even in an autocracy, for that matter. Not in Israel: it’s nearly a virtue. … [T]he purpose – and specificity – of hasbara is to defend Israel’s actions whatever they may be (despite what some will pretend). The danger of such course of action, of course, is visible to anyone with a little perspective: it suppresses critical thought.” Image from

Controversial Azeri Novel Takes On Double Taboos - Kristin Deasy, Khadija Ismayilova, RFE/RL: “A controversial romance novel about two gay men, one Armenian and the other Azeri, is flying off the shelves in Azerbaijan. … ‘I don't know if we need to talk about friendship between Armenian and Azerbaijani young people,’ [26-year-old reader of the novel Tural] Abbasli said. ‘But here it's not even a friendship. It's something that is against our traditions, mentality, and religion. I don't think this is an effort of public diplomacy to forge Azerbaijani-Armenian friendship. I think it's another attack on our morality.’"

Public Diplomacy and Public Relations - Toni Muzi Falconi, Fabio Ventoruzzo: “From March 3 to March 6 2009, the Italian Diplomatic Institute and Ferpi (Italian Federation of Public Relations) held in Rome a four session professional workshop on Public Diplomacy and Public Relations for 25 mid career diplomats.Here are the power point materials used in this event together with three presentations by three of the four guest lecturers: Sriramesh Krishnamurthy, Mindi Kasiga and Roger Hayes.The fourth guest lecturer, Dejan Vercic, mostly argued the concepts written in his essay on public diplomacy published in Global Public Relations Handbook (Routledge 2009) which had been pre-distributed to workshop participants.” Image from


Why We Must Rebrand Nigeria - Uche Nworah, The Long Harmattan Season: “A well managed nation branding campaign like the one being proposed by the Ministry of Information and Communications will help … to reposition our national image, rekindle the passion and spirit of patriotism in us and make us believe more in the beauty that lies in us, and in our country despite the challenges we may be facing today. … Nigeria as a country should embrace the concepts of place or destination branding. We must actively seek to market our country as a favourite destination for tourism, trade and investments.”

Some Friends: Hillary Rodham Clinton undercuts the State Department's own human rights reporting – Editorial, Washington Post: As the State Department has documented, Turkey is retreating on freedom of speech. In Egypt, the human rights situation also is getting worse rather than better.

By minimizing those facts, Ms. Clinton is doing a disservice to her own department -- and sending a message to rulers around the world that their abuses won't be taken seriously by this U.S. administration. Image from

Opposition in Syria is dying with dissident: Riad Seif's plight is a reminder of Syria's view of human rights, and what the Obama administration faces in dealing with Damascus. - David Schenker, Los Angeles Times

The Beat Goes On: Guantánamo Under Obama - Stephen Lendman, CounterPunch: Conditions at Guantanamo have not improved and continue in violation of the law.

Moralism on the Shelf - Richard Cohen, Washington Post: Obama's apparent willingness to divide the Taliban into awful and less awful is just the latest sign that a sterile but necessary realism has settled over American foreign policy. Obama is right to be realistic and to abjure bombastic rhetoric.

Enduring Blunder - Jeff Huber, Antiwar.com: In a March 6 interview with the New York Times, Mr. Obama said he is considering a plan to "reach out" to moderate elements of the Taliban. That's a fantastic idea, and the best possible way to reach out would be to have our troops line up and shake the hand of each and every one of those mother's sons and then climb on a plane for home. Image from

Can Congress Save Obama from Afghan Quagmire? Robert Naiman, Common Dreams: Members of Congress who want the Obama Administration to succeed won't do it any favors by keeping silent about the proposed military escalation in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, Less Can Be More - Arthur Keller, New York Times: While additional American troops may be an unavoidable necessity to provide security in the short and medium term, we should never forget that doing too much for a weak ally can be just as bad as doing too little.

A Convenient Scapegoat – Philip Giraldi, Antiwar.com: Iran is not going to go away, and campaign promises are easily forgotten as the Obama players line up to continue the Bush policy. Tehran will be cited as the agent provocateur if things go south in Afghanistan, as is all too likely. Image from

Iran's Anti-Israel Rhetoric Aimed at Arab Opinion: Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service, Huffington Post: Iran's anti-Israel rhetoric and support for Hamas and Hezbollah has been a successful exercise in public diplomacy in the Arab world, according to Seifzadeh [University of Tehran professor Hossein Seifzadeh, who is now a fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington]. In an interview with IPS, he said, ‘The whole image of Iran in the Middle East has changed. Ten years ago, Iran was regarded simply as a Shi'a state.’ Because of his high profile position on Israel and the Palestinians, however, Ahmadinejad has now become ‘the most popular figure in the Middle East’, according to Seifzadeh.” Image from

Making up for lost time - H.D.S. Greenway, International Herald Tribune: We never could prevent Iran from having the knowledge of how to build a bomb, but we might, still, if we address Iran's security concerns, be able to convince Tehran that completing one is not in Iran's interest.

It's Not Iran; It's Palestine -- Israeli consensus on priorities is dangerously out of line with reality - Matthew Yglesias, American Prospect: Neither the Israel Defense Forces nor a nuclear weapon can protect Israel from the catastrophic erosion of its international legitimacy that will result from a failure to resolve the Palestinian issue in a timely manner. This is not what Israelis want to hear, but it's the message that their real friends in the United States will have to send.

Haiti’s Despair, Continued - Editorial, New York Times: The Department of Homeland Security has decided to continue an ill-advised Bush administration policy of deporting illegal Haitian immigrants.

Obama's reliance on teleprompters - Editorial, Washington Times:

Is President Obama able to conduct a news conference without a teleprompter? Is he is an automaton in answering questions? With all the jokes about Karl Rove as George Bush's brain or cracks during the 1980s about Ronald Reagan supposedly being an amiable dunce, could you imagine the reaction if either president had used a teleprompter to answer questions? Above image from. Left image from

Obama's New Tech Czar: Vivek Kundra says he'll improve the federal government's technology, but he faces an immense challenge - Steve Hamm, Business Week

Twitter...Life in 140 Characters or Less - Brooke-Sidney Gavins, Huffington Post: The merits of Twitter and its impact on media will be debated for years to come.

Image from


Body odor: New proof of ID? - Shaun Waterman, United Press International, Washington Times: The Department of Homeland Security plans to study the possibility that human body odor might be used to determine when people are lying, or to identify individuals in the same way that fingerprints can. In a federal procurement document posted Friday on the Web, the department´s Science and Technology Directorate says it will conduct an "outsourced, proof-of-principle study to determine if human odor signatures can serve as an indicator of deception. ... As a secondary goal, this study will examine ... human odor samples for evidence to support the theory that an individual can be identified by that individual´s odor signature." Left Image from. Right image (from article): George Preti is seen at his office at the Monell Chemical Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Mr. Preti, a specialist at the Monell Center, is one of the foremost experts on excessive body odor.


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Gluing the Hats On: Power, Agency, and Reagan's Office of Public Diplomacy.1 - Doug Stokes, Bristol University Politics Department

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