Monday, March 30, 2009

March 30

"The [New and Revised Copywriter's Manual’s] 7 Words You Can't Say in Advertising are: Luxurious, Decadent, Sugary, Sexy, Exquisite, Bitchin', I.

The 7 Approved Replacement Words: Solid, Nourishing, Brown, Well-molded, Sustainable, Post-consumer, We."

-- Steve Simpson, Adweek; image from


Obama Heads Back to Europe, Challenges in Tow – John Harwood, New York Times: “Some foreign leaders, along with ordinary Americans, blame today’s [economic] predicament largely on Wall Street excesses. … Yet Mr. Obama’s status as the first black president may deflect some of that criticism. It will also place him at the center of the international spotlight. 'What Obama has that Clinton did not is the delicious elements of biography that make him a walking public diplomacy program for America, Mr. McCurry [Mike McCurry, former State Department spokesman and later Mr. Clinton’s White House press secretary] said. 'The other leaders will have to contend with the enormous interest in this new, young, popular president.'” Image from

America the Tarnished - Paul Krugman, New York Times: "These days foreign leaders are in no mood to be lectured by American officials, even when -- as in this case -- the Americans are right. The financial crisis has had many costs. And one of those costs is the damage to America’s reputation, an asset we’ve lost just when we, and the world, need it most."

Economy causes a double hit to PD – Aly Jiwani, Perspectives on Public Diplomacy: “The downfall of the US market has ripple effects everywhere and it has become a global economic downturn. Given the strong and leading role that America's financial and banking sectors had in leading the world down this path and the global perceptions about what has happened in the economy, how the US cleans up the financial and banking mess will matter a lot in re-shaping America's public image. … The stereotypical views about Americans being greedy and materialistic are accentuated. This again demonstrates how apart from the actions of the American government, the American private sector and corporations just like American tourists and businessmen speak volumes in shaping America's image.”

Mapping a New Strategy: Democracy in Former Soviet Areas Needs a Friend - Ludmila Alexeeva and Gregory Shvedov, Washington Post: "What can the Obama administration do now … [includes to] recognize the importance of the media and make sure that your commitment to the free flow of ideas never falters. Continue to support international broadcasting via Radio Liberty and Voice of America and step in to help independent media, especially Internet outlets. … [Also,] consider forming a single agency to direct democracy and human rights activities, and find new, effective leaders to run it. Now, too many cooks are spoiling the soup; we could accomplish more with less if there were one reliable forum for us to work together." Image from

Washington Diarist: In Which We Engage - Leon Wieseltier, New Republic: "Democratization, since it proposes to replace one political culture with another, is a policy of destabilization, and so it is an evolutionary enterprise, and takes time, and can be achieved only indigenously, by the people themselves. But often they need help, which, in the real world so beloved of Democrats, means American help. This help can take many forms."

A Mexican Standoff with Reality - “Thursday, in a statement that was issued in part for public diplomacy purposes, DNI Adm. Dennis Blair, dismissed any strategic implications regarding the strength of Mexico’s drug cartels that the Mexican government is struggling to suppress: ‘Mexico is in no danger of becoming a failed state.’”

Conspiracy and Propaganda Centers: Illegal US Consulates in Venezuela By Eva Golinger: Translated for Axis of Logic by Iris Buehler and revised by Les Blough, members of Tlaxcala - posted by Macu, Milfuegos: “Officially, the American Corners are partnership programs between the Embassy of the United States and certain local institutions that create small spaces, or 'corners', with access to information about the United States through the Internet, and books and documentaries produced by the Department of the State (DOS). Its goal is to create a kind of 'virtual consulate' that would not be sponsored formally by the government of the United States but by a local organization, association, school, library or institution. Actually, the American Corners constitute another propaganda instrument of Washington which works not only as launching pad for psychological warfare, but also subverts and violates the diplomatic regulations by establishing places for 'consular' access in a nation without the authorization of the host country's government.” Image from

Mideast: US Overtures to Iran Must Wait - Analysts - Meena Janardhan, IPS: "Referring to U.S. President Barack Obama’s video message on the occasion of the Iranian New Year last week, Christian Koch of the Gulf Research Centre (GRC) said Washington’s opening to Iran is a step in the right direction, but Tehran is likely to once again miss the opportunity. ‘Obama’s gesture introduced the critical element of public diplomacy by addressing the people and leaders of Iran jointly, finally acknowledging that trying to drive a wedge between Iran’s leaders and people is unproductive,’ Koch, director of international studies at the Dubai-based think tank, told IPS. 'Unfortunately,' he added, 'given the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s dismissal of the message means the likely result is the further isolation of Iran to the detriment of regional security.'’’

Israel and Peace in the Middle East: Shlomo Ben Ami - Aldo Civico, Huffington Post: “In past peace processes,

the parties were able to reduce the ocean to a river, but they remained incapable of crossing the river. The leadership of the United States, together with a broad international coalition, should propose to the parties bridging and binding proposals. If Obama inaugurates an era of new public diplomacy, we have a chance to make peace in the Middle East.” Image from

Annual Report on Human Rights 2008 – Pakistan: Publisher United Kingdom: Foreign and Commonwealth Office - posted at UNHCR Refworld: “U.K. action … . Our High Commission in Islamabad is funding and implementing 26 human rights-related projects in addition to funding support through donor organisations. Through the Public Diplomacy Fund, we are supporting projects on women's rights, training and creation of a lawyers' network of human rights advocates and on improving investigative journalism in Pakistan to encourage impartial reporting on political, electoral and human rights issues.”

Blogging the OAH: Day Three - Christopher Capozzola, Legal History Blog: “The third and final day of the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians featured a bonanza of sessions and events for legal historians. Among the day's offerings: … At a session on 'Sex, Race, and Empire across the West and the Pacific' chaired by Paul Kramer (Iowa), the audience heard a fascinating set of papers. Mary Lui (Yale) used the story of the 1950s goodwill tour of Korean-American Olympic diver Sammy Lee to explore gender, race, and nation in the reception of Cold War public diplomacy.” Image from

RELATED ITEMS - Evgeny Morozov, New York Times: This year’s report on “enemies of the Internet” prepared by Reporters Without Borders, the international press advocacy group, paints a very gloomy picture for the freedom of expression on the Web. But identifying “Internet enemies” only on the basis of censorship and intimidation, as Reporters Without Borders has done, obfuscates the fact that these are only two components of a more comprehensive and multi-pronged approach that authoritarian governments have developed to diffuse the subversive potential of online communications.

Air Force Takes Aim at Higher Recruiting Goal With Web Series: 'The Circuit' Targets Tech-Savvy Audience, Combats Idea That Service Is 'Just About Pilots' - Claude Brodesser-Akner, Advertising Age. Image from

Holbrooke Calls for "Complete Rethink" of Drugs in Afghanistan - David Corn, Mother Jones

Success and security in Afghanistan - Scott Payne and Peter O'Brien, Boston Globe:

Succeeding in Afghanistan will be hard, but that does not mean success cannot be achieved. With Obama's new strategy, we can secure America's interests in Afghanistan. Image from

Hedging on Afghanistan - Editors, National Review: To defeat this enemy, Obama argued, we need the “comprehensive” approach of a full-scale counter-insurgency -- encompassing security, governance, and economics -- rather the narrow counter-terrorism strategy some of his advisers favored. That minimalist strategy would have risked making all of Afghanistan into the equivalent of the tribal areas of Pakistan, where al-Qaeda operatives go unmolested except by the occasional Predator strike.

Obama's 'stronger, smarter' war: The President now owns Afghanistan – Editorial, Washington Times: The Afghan war is now Obama’s to lose. Governments in the region, as well as our NATO allies, will be watching closely for signs that the president lacks the fortitude to press the matter to a successful conclusion. In this respect Mr. Obama may fancy himself a smarter president than Mr. Bush, but it remains to be seen if he is stronger.

What to do about Afghanistan – Martin Peretz, New Republic:

The real question is whether Democrats have the gumption to support a battle that will not be easy, will be laden with inevitable error and cause many civilians casualties (like Israel in Gaza, and much more because we will be flying unmanned drones) and will put the country, with blood and gore, at odds with many many millions of Muslims not only in the two target states but elsewhere... and let's not say where. Image from

Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan: The President's plan for the increasingly troubled region is ambitious, although his goals are more limited than Bush's - Howard LaFranchi, Christian Science Monitor

Obama's Afghan plan: Leave Al Qaeda to others: Despite the surge, he wants others to take over and to ease the US out - Editorial Board, Christian Science Monitor

The Real Afghan Issue Is Pakistan: The president has his priorities reversed - Graham Allison and John Deutch, Wall Street Journal: For Afghanistan to become a unitary state ruled from Kabul, and to develop into a modern, prosperous, poppy-free and democratic country would be a worthy and desirable outcome. But it is not vital for American interests. The problem in Pakistan is more pressing and direct.

Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President - Ray McGovern, Common Dreams: It is wooden-headedness, in my view, that permeates the "comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan" that the president announced yesterday.

Obama's domino theory: The president sounds like he's channeling Cheney or McCain -- or a Cold War hawk afraid of international communism -- when he talks about the war in Afghanistan - Juan Cole, Salon: The Kabul government is not on the verge of falling to the Taliban.

The Great Afghan Bailout: It's Time to Change Names, Switch Analogies - Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: Unfortunately, the end result is likely to be that, as with A.I.G., we, the American people, could end up "owning" 80% of the Af-Pak project without ever "nationalizing" it -- without ever, that is, being in actual control. In fact, if things go as badly as they could in the Af-Pak War, A.I.G. might end up looking like a good deal by comparison.

Af-Pak Fever: The Obamaites go to war – Justin Raimondo, What Obama is proposing for Afghanistatn is more than a mere "surge" – it is a rising tsunami of unimaginable proportions, one that will make the Iraq war seem like a minor swell. Image from

US general: American forces may not leave key Iraqi cities: The top commander of ground forces in Iraq says that US troops may stay longer than the June deadline in Baquba and Mosul - Jane Arraf, Christian Science Monitor

U.S. Out How?: 50 experts on the moral dilemma of leaving IraqMother Jones. SEE ALL

"Ready to be Traitors": The Israeli Resistance - Hannah Safran, CounterPunch: "On January 8, 2009, 13 days into the war on Gaza, 45 people, Jews and Arabs, came together in Haifa to discuss how to proceed with our anti-war activities. Each one of those present in the room had already participated in more than one action against this war in Gaza. We belong to a growing public that does not buy into the Israeli propaganda of ‘there is nobody to talk with’ – the idea that we, Israelis, are eager to make peace but they, the Palestinians, are not interested. We have come of age during the past eight years of activism against all odds.”

Inversion of Reality: Where the victims are labeled [aggressors] + the Great Lie TheorySagazone: Inversion of Reality is the basic principle of anti-Israeli propaganda. This propaganda method is a product of Nazi Germany.

Mexico's war must be our war: Helping Mexico take on the drug cartels helps us, but the effort will require unprecedented cooperation between our two countries - John Kerry, Los Angeles Times

Biden: No plans to scrap Cuba U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday that the United States is not planning to lift its trade embargo on Cuba. Biden, who was in the Chilean resort city of Vina del Mar for a summit of center-left leaders from Latin America and Europe, replied “no” when asked by reporters if Washington plans to scrap the decades-old embargo.

Momentum Grows for Relaxing Cuba Policy: Senate Measure Would Eliminate Travel Ban - Shailagh Murray and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post

Russia's Reset: Mr. Obama isn't contemplating change solely on the part of the United States – Editorial, Washington Post:

The administration believes that it can develop constructive relations with Russia without sacrificing the interests of Russia's neighbors. Whether such a reset will be acceptable to Mr. Medvedev or to Russia's de facto top ruler, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, remains to be seen. Image from

Lost in translation: Listening to what Moscow says is instructive - John M. McHugh, Washington Times: To be sure, engaging Russia should be a priority of any administration; it is, after all, a once-great and now-re-emerging power. It should not be the first priority beyond all others, however. What the United States should do - and what we must do as a moral authority for human freedom around the world - is reaffirm our support for emerging democratic states seeking to exercise sovereignty and represent their peoples' interests.

Kremlin Should Seize This Obama Moment - Vladimir Frolov, Moscow Times: In Moscow, the desire to work with Obama's team is growing even as fears of being "duped" fuel suspicion. Moscow's priority seems to be to hold out for substantive changes in the U.S. position as proof of a genuine U.S. desire to take Russia's concerns into account. This stance could squander a strategic opportunity.

Kim's Latest Hostages: North Korea is trying to do to Obama what it did to Bush - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Having succeeded in extracting concessions from President Bush in exchange for promises to give up its nuclear program, Pyongyang is looking to get the new Administration to repay for the same phony terms.


"The film opens with Colonel Samuel Trautman (Richard Crenna) returning to Thailand (where the second film took place)

to once again enlist the help of Vietnam veteran John J. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone). After witnessing Rambo's victory in a stick-fighting match, Trautman visits the construction site of the temple Rambo is helping to build and asks Rambo to join him on a mission to Afghanistan. The mission is meant to supply weapons, including FIM-92 Stinger missiles, to Afghan freedom fighters, the Mujahideen, who are fighting the Soviets in the Soviet-Afghan War."

--Wikipedia, on Rambo III

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