Thursday, April 30, 2009

April 30

"What's happened is anti-Americanism isn't cool anymore."

--Top White House adviser David Axelrod, speaking to an audience of a few hundred at a conference in Washington sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Image from

“I hate the word hasbara.”

--Michael Oren, a candidate to be Israel’s next ambassador to Washington; on hasbara, see


Money trouble keeping US out of Shanghai Expo – afp, Daily Times, Pakistan: "The United States is conspicuously absent as major countries start to build their national pavilions in Shanghai for the largest-ever World Expo next year. … The six-month event is expected to draw 70 million visitors — 95 percent of them Chinese — and despite the financial crisis, others are seizing the event as one of the greatest public diplomacy opportunities in decades. For the Americans, the biggest stumbling block has been a law prohibiting the US State Department from funding pavilions at world fairs. The US State Department has authorized a private group headed by Nick Winslow, a California amusement park executive, and Ellen Eliasoph, a Beijing-based US lawyer, to raise money to build the pavilion." Image from

State Department 100-Day Report - Press Release, ENEWSPF: "In the first 100 Days of the Obama Administration, Secretary Clinton and the State Department have made significant progress in advancing America’s national security goals and promoting America’s values around the world. Secretary Clinton is already the most traveled Secretary of State in a new Administration. ... The work undertaken on these trips, the many bilateral and trilateral meetings hosted by Secretary Clinton, and the tireless efforts of others throughout the State Department have contributed to early and significant progress on the following priorities: Afghanistan/Pakistan policy, the Middle East, Iraq, Asia, Russia, North Korea, the Western Hemisphere, the climate crisis, engaging in public diplomacy, and other core issues."

Obama's first 100 days - Arsalan Iftikhar, New Age Islam: "Thus far, Obama has done a remarkable job in his outreach to the greater Muslim world, where perceptions of the United States had suffered immensely from the garbled rhetoric and actions of the George W. Bush administration. Many American leaders are also following suit in the quest to help bridge the public diplomacy gap with the greater Muslim world. For example, a bipartisan leadership group of 34 American political and civic leaders – including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Republican Congressman Vin Weber – recently published a report, Changing Course: A New Direction for U.S. Relations with the Muslim World, which suggests concrete ways to improve US-Muslim relations in the future." Image from

Planet Holbrooke and envoy nation - Laura Rozen, Foreign Policy: "Richard Holbrooke, the special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, has had to reschedule planned appearances on U.S. policy toward Pakistan before the Senate and House Foreign Affairs committees that were slated to be held this week, and will now be held next. … And just who is on Holbrooke's staff anyhow? And whom do you call to find out? Again, it's not so straightforward. The State Department press shop says it's not sure. Holbrooke seems to be operating somewhat independently of the department apparatus altogether. But there are some clues. Among those sources have established are working for Holbrooke: … Foreign Service officer and rising star Jared Cohen, who recently traveled to Afghanistan to do strategic communications planning, and who previously worked for James Glassman in the State Department's public diplomacy shop." Glassman/Cohen image from

Lieutenant General Quatto?The Quatto Zone: "The public diplomacy site MountainRunner carried a recent guest post by Mark Pfeifle, a Bush Administration Deputy National Security Advisor, and Jonathan Thompson, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. Among their proposals for fixing government communication is to put a three-star general officer in charge of communication for each of the military services. … This isn't a radical idea. … It is only an unworkable idea, at least for the moment."

Guest Post: Let’s Get Susan Boyle to Sing the National Anthem - Sherry Mueller - Mountain Runner: "At a recent Washington, DC symposium on public diplomacy entitled 'Public Affairs in a Global Information Environment,' I joked to a Swedish colleague: 'Success in public diplomacy will be getting Susan Boyle to sing your national anthem. That is not as far-fetched as one might think. What are the lessons all of us involved in practicing or studying public diplomacy can learn from the Susan Boyle phenomenon?" Boyle image from

NATO information jeep tours Latvian schools - From 30 March to 13 May, NATO's Public Diplomacy Division is supporting a mobile information campaignNATO/OTAN: "The 'NATO jeep' - for school children in Latvia. The project aims at raising awareness of the Alliance in the country, five years after it became a NATO member."

Outside-The-Box Ambassador? - Michele Chabin and Gary Rosenblatt, The Jewish Week: "In a hint at how he might approach dealing with diplomacy should he be named Israel’s next ambassador to Washington, as widely reported, Michael Oren said in New York on Monday that 'it would be preferable to excise the word ‘solution’ when dealing with Mideast tensions and talk rather 'about better managing the conflict and moving toward' answers. …

Israeli diplomats should place 'tremendous emphasis' on what Oren called 'public diplomacy' ('I hate the word hasbara'), utilizing every modern media tool at their disposal to promote Israel’s agenda and image." Image from

Global Health Fellows Program: Technical Advisor Needed in DR Congo - African Loft: “The DRC Global Fund Liaison (Liaison) will be the USG focal point on Global Fund activities, working under the direction of the USAID DRC Mission Director, who is the Second Vice-Chair of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM). … The Liaison’s principal responsibilities include: … Working with the Public Affairs Officer/Public Diplomacy Office and technical staff to prepare and disseminate periodic internal and external updates/status reports on Global Fund in DRC."

My Understanding of Diplomacy - Jamie Dineen, The New Diplomacy: The Reflective Blogs of the Students on the New Diplomacy Module at London Metropolitan University:
"As the world has globalized and countries have needed to cooperate and converse on a level never before needed, diplomacy has moved from the shadows into the forefront of politics. … The final important aspect of New diplomacy in my opinion is the role the public play. Public diplomacy allows countries to talk directly with the inhabitants of other states, it allows people to hear things 'straight from the horses mouth'." Image from

18th Day of Easter, Wednesday April 29: Acts 10:24-48 - Bill Bruce, Heretics Like Us: "Peter brings a crowd of his people from Joppa, up the coast to where Cornelius has gathered a crowd of his family and friends. This is public diplomacy, not a private party as it might be in our culture. Who defers to whom, and what are the consequences? What’s at stake, for whom, in such a meeting? What’s it like for orthodox folks from other Christian denominations, or from other faith groups, to visit secular irreverent communities like ours? The words attributed to Peter about his own starting presumptions against associations with Gentiles set up the conflict and reconciliation between the Jerusalem church of the circumcised, and Antioch’s church of Gentile freedoms."


Of Loos and Language - Roger Cohen, New York Times: A U.S. president who speaks good English, far better than his predecessor, seems able to communicate with that world. This may even be Barack Obama’s biggest achievement in his first 100 days.

Obama Aims To Change World Perceptions Of U.S.
- Jackie Northam, NPR

Communicator in Chief Has a Tone for Every Situation - Alec MacGillis, Washington Post: Obama’s trip to Europe demanded its own nuance -- putting on a friendlier face to the world without overdoing it. "There's been times where America's shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive," he said in Strasbourg, France. "But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times that Europe chooses to blame America for much of what's bad."

Axelrod: Anti-Americanism now 'not cool' - Jon Ward, Washington Times: Top White House adviser David Axelrod on Monday said that President Obama's trips to Europe, Turkey and Latin America in the last three weeks have made anti-American sentiment uncool and "created a new receptivity" to U.S. interests.

"What's happened is anti-Americanism isn't cool anymore," Mr. Axelrod said, speaking to an audience of a few hundred at a conference in Washington sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Image from

The First 100 Days: Grading President Obama - Ben Domenech, The New Ledger: Jennifer Rubin: “On foreign policy, excepting those areas outlined above, Obama is practicing a dangerous and unproductive brand of Jimmy Carterism, and in an unseemly fashion not seen even under Carter has attempted to bond with the world in their mutual anti-Americanism.”

When in Rome Fight Anti-Americanism -

Spike Spencer, Big Hollywood: We’ve all heard the old saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Now that doesn’t mean crucifixions, world domination, and little boy rump humping. That simply means live as the locals do. Blend in. We as Americans are notorious for doing exactly the opposite. Image from

19% defectors want to go to US - Straits Times: Despite relentless anti-US propaganda in North Korea, nearly one-fifth of defectors aspire to move to the United States, a survey said on Wednesday.


Q: Thank you, Mr. President.
During these first 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office? Enchanted you the most from serving in this office? Humbled you the most? And troubled you the most?
OBAMA: Now let me write this down.
OBAMA: I’ve got …
Q: Surprised, troubled …
OBAMA: I’ve got — what was the first one?
Q: Surprised.
OBAMA: Surprised.
Q: Troubled.
OBAMA: Troubled.
Q: Enchanted.
OBAMA: Enchanted, nice.
Q: And humbled.
OBAMA: And what was the last one, humbled?
Q: Humbled. Thank you, sir.

From: President Obama’s news conference — full text

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 29

"Fear not death; for the sooner we die, the longer shall we be immortal."

--Benjamin Franklin; image of Franklin death mask from


Sanctum FATA - Anthony Cordesman, National Interest Online: “There are several areas where more effective U.S. action [regarding Pakistan] is possible. A three-pronged 'long war' strategy that focuses on public diplomacy, military aid and economic development is Washington’s best bet. … To date, the public side of U.S. information warfare has been far too oriented toward U.S. values and perceptions, and has treated Pakistan far too much like a willing partner with similar goals rather than a very different state with its own goals and values. The United States can, however, use declassified intelligence to make an excellent case that al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hekmatyar and Haqqani are all now growing threats to Pakistan. It can demonstrate that U.S. military activities." Image from

Bringing Democracy Back - Allison Lombardo, The Citizen, The Student Newspaper of the Harvard Kennedy School: "Obama has promised to restore America’s reputation in the world, and the happy hour crowd is hopeful that they can be proud of their occupations again. Closing Guantanamo, denouncing torture, and rejoining multilateral coalitions are solid first steps towards this. Moving forward, the Obama administration needs to use public diplomacy to reframe what democracy promotion means for U.S. policy: a modern message about participation, peace, and partnership." Image from

Obama administration reverses Bush policies: Obama overturns Bush policy that allowed torture, retains warrantless wiretapping clause - Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, Daily Trojan: “'I think [the closing of Guantánamo Bay] affects America’s image significantly. It basically sets the administration up well, in the sense that people want the United States to be respected and admired in the world,' said Geoffrey Wiseman, director of the USC Center for Public Diplomacy and a professor of international relations. 'Having done these things, it makes it more likely that the U.S. will win back the respect of the large parts of the international community.'”

Release of Torture Memos Shows Administration Has Passed First Test on Transparency, Panel Discussion FindsSalfordOnline: "While leading journalists are cautiously optimistic about the administration's initial efforts on transparency 100 days in, they worry that reduced resources for reporting and the President's tendency to 'go unfiltered' will make news gathering more complex, a panel discussion in Washington, DC found. During the session hosted by The NewsMarket, panelists also discussed President Obama's approach to the media and his administration's public diplomacy in the Arab world." Image from

A Really Big ShowJames K. Glassman: Economics, Investing, Public Diplomacy, and More – “Now that I no longer have a seat on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, I can be less diplomatic in my reaction to the criticism of the Arab-language TV network Alhurra. … The real story is that, in less than five years, Alhurra, with a minuscule budget, has established itself as a significant source of news and information in the Middle East, with 26 million viewers tuning in at least once a week. …

My own view is that there is a pressing need for Alhurra to exist and to thrive. There is also a need to complement Alhurra by funding TV production that can be placed on other Arabic-lan[]guage networks. We did a bit of that at State when I was there, but it’s time to roll out significant programming. I was glad to see Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose Alhurra for an important interview a few days ago. … A final plea: The BBG, which includes Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio and TV Marti, in addition to Sawa and Alhurra, is in desperate need of a full complement of governors (it now has five; it should have nine), including a chairman." See also. Glassman image from

Alhurra is "pro-government." And not even the US government - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

An arrangement to do wheelies on the graves of Smith and Mundt - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "Gartner v. USIA ruled that VOA cannot distribute its materials within the United States, but any U.S. media operation can, of its own accord, use VOA material."

Improving America's image with adventure modules - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "International broadcasting deals with the digital divide by continuing to broadcast on shortwave to some parts of the world. This wouldn't work for public diplomacy, because people tune to foreign broadcasts on a shortwave radio to get news, not public diplomacy. Internet access is growing in developing countries. Access to mobile telephones in widespread, and an increasing number of these devices have some sort of connection to the internet. Keep in mind that even if internet access becomes more common, some countries block content from certain sources." Image from

All pigs are men: why we need to learn to manage infodemics, too... - David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy: "The punch line: modern information technologies offer important tools for both containing and amplifying threats such as those posed by the global spread of epidemics. Considerable work remains to be done however, in understanding how to use these tools and to limit their abuse...and new media like Twitter and social networking sites do not make this task any easier. (Although figuring out how to manage this in the context of a free society is an especially important challenge for governments worldwide, arguably much more important than popular media-policy intersections like 'public diplomacy.')"

Tweet of Approval: Bush-Era Public Diplomat Likes Obama Nominee - Nancy Scola, techPresident:

"Twitter tells us that one Bush-era diplomat most closely associated with State's new media efforts has expressed (reserved) approval for a criticized member of Hillary Clinton's new flotilla of diplomats. Colleen Graffy was the Deputy Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, and was perhaps best known to many of us as being a freewheeling Twitterer. … Graffy … is offering up a tentative seal of approval on McHale's nomination to succeed her old boss. 'Very good meeting w U/S Designate Judith McHale to talk re Public Diplomacy at the State Dept,' she tweeted. 'She might be exactly who we need 4 that job.'" Image from Pragmatism and the Nobility of Public Service - cnewmark: craig from craigslist indulges himself: "I have great hope for this Administration, since we see it bringing together the pragmatists and innovators in hybrid organizations. I've seen this first hand in the White House, in Offices including Science and Technology Policy, New Media, and Citizen Participation and Engagement. Also, I've seen it first-hand in the State Department, focusing on Public Diplomacy."

Lenses of Contact – Liz Losh, virtualpolitik: "Today, at the Persuasive 2009 conference, [Dan] Lockton presented part of his Design with Intent Toolkit, which outlined six possible 'lenses' through which to see the design process. Given this toolkit, Lockton's work is also obviously relevant to my own interest in government persuasion around the four trends that I followed in the Virtualpolitik book: public diplomacy, public diplomacy, risk communication, and institutional branding, as political institutions move away from print-based media and toward computational media platforms." Losh image from blog

Harnessing the power of activism - cb3blog: "[M]ost governments have always had difficult relationships with autonomous grass roots organisations, unless, of course, they’re onside already. As ever with trying to improve the performance of public diplomacy and foreign policy communications in a rapidly changing information environment, the above requires some serious unconventional and politically risky thinking."

Ukrainian teachers view U.S. model - "Katheran Wasson, A group of five educators from the Ukraine is in Frankfort [Kentucky] this week, looking at rural schools in the U.S. for strategies they can take home. … The visitors were in Frankfort as part of the Open World program, an international exchange sponsored by the Library of Congress through the Open World Leadership Center. They will tour schools in Indiana later this week, and meet with representatives of the YMCA, parent-teacher organizations and Junior Achievement. … 'It really does change how people view Americans,' Madden [Matt Madden, program manager for the World Affairs Council], said. 'It's a public diplomacy initiative, but at the grass-roots level, it's a citizen diplomacy initiative.'" Image from

No "real challenges"? Really? - James Lamond, Democracy Arsenal: Comment by reader Eric Martin: “Here are my capsule impressions of the foreign policy direction so far, arranged in descending order from better to worse. Public diplomacy and the promotion of general global feel-goodism: Very good.”

RE: I know this is old but... - Anonymous, OmniNerd: You're just a cog in the genius machine: "Yeah – Only the government should be allowed to use our dead bodies and coffins for their propaganda, I mean, public relations, I mean, public affairs, I mean, public diplomacy, er, strategic communication, rather, that is to say, outreach 'coordination'. That’s it. Otherwise, unofficial, unauthorized, disallowed use of our carcuses (carci?) is crass. Beyond the pale. Ugly. Doubleplusungod." Image from

Use "Smart Power" to Help Cubans – yuanyuan, Perspectives on Public Diplomacy: "Contrary to popular myth and public misunderstanding, if President Barack Obama wishes to change the U.S. policy toward Cuba, he has ample authority to do so. If he takes charge of Cuba policy, he can turn the embargo into an effective instrument of 'smart power' to achieve the United States' policy objectives in Cuba."

S. Korean FM Stresses Importance Of Public Diplomacy - tbs eFM 101.3 Seoul: "Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan says Korea needs to emphasize public diplomacy as it works to raise its international status. Public diplomacy refers to a country's efforts to communicate directly with citizens in other societies. Minister Yu pointed out that Korea's public diplomacy lags behind that of other nations."

The ‘King of Talk’ dedicates college diploma to ma, friends -

“’King of Talk’ Boy Abunda … one of the most respected television hosts in the country, … is now planning to take up a Master's degree either in International Relations on Public Diplomacy or Communication Arts." Abunda image from

Research And Graduate Studies Awards - Among the Texas A&M grant recipients: "Robert Shandley, Department of European and Classical Languages; 'Corazones Y Mentes: U. S. Public Diplomacy and the Alliance for Progress in Argentina.'”


Obama's Foreign Policy: A Grand Century of Days -- Light Years Away from Bush - Amb. Marc Ginsberg, Huffington Post: Highest on the kudo list: he has inspired a recalibration of America's tarnished image in the world. From each journey abroad (Europe, Turkey, Mexico and Trinidad), the president has brought back home to the American people a down payment of the lost currency of global respect which had been so patently squandered by the Bush Axis of World Contempt: Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld.

One Hundred – Editorial, New York Times: Americans can feel both pride and relief at the enthusiastic welcome Mr. Obama has received in his early travels abroad.

The president will soon have to find ways to leverage that popularity. Obama image from

Obama's doing the best with a short stack: Unlike the two previous presidents, he seems to know how to calculate the odds before taking a gamble - Gideon Rose, Los Angeles Times: Obama has pulled back from the Bush administration's bullying approach to the world while renewing and slightly increasing Washington's commitment to one particular suppurating wound, the situation in Afghanistan.

U.S. Needs to Clarify Cyberwar Plans, Panel Says - John Markoff and Thom Shanker, New York Times: The United States has no clear military policy about how the nation might respond to a cyberattack on its communications, financial or power networks, a panel of scientists and policy advisers warned Wednesday, and the country needs to clarify both its offensive capabilities and how it would respond to such

Pulitzer Prize Winning Story About Pentagon Propaganda Turns Out To Be Less Than Acccurate - Retired military officials are regularly featured in the media as experts on foreign policy and military affairs in general. This is nothing unusual, and certainly these retired officials have every right to make use of their expertise in the private sector and voice their opinions as free speech.

--Image from

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 28

"Old Age begins in the nursery, and before the young American is put into jackets and trowsers, he says, 'I want something which I never saw before'; and 'I wish I was not I.'"

--Ralph Waldo Emerson, cited in Paul Fisher, House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family (2008) p. 64; image from


100 Days, 100 Foreign Policy Achievements - Ilan Goldenberg, Huffington Post: "In 100 days, the Obama Administration has taken more than 100 actions that are reshaping American foreign policy, reversing the failures of the Bush Administration, and renewing America's standing in the world. [Among] … the most significant actions … : Re-engaging with Muslim nations through targeted, positive public diplomacy … Public Diplomacy [:] 98. Michelle Obama's activities around the President's Europe trip received an overwhelmingly positive reception and reinforced America's image abroad. 99. In a move reminiscent of Henry Kissinger's successful effort to bring the U.S. the 1994 World Cup, President Obama delivered a message to FIFA imploring soccer's governing body to grant the U.S. the right to host the Cup again in 2018 or 2022." Image from

Obama's First Hundred Days in the Greater Middle East - Juan Cole, Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion: "Obama has engaged in a number of acts of public diplomacy toward the Muslim world that were intended to change the image of the United States in the region and to marshal for his purposes American soft power, which is among its largest assets in the region. (Contrary to what the American Right used to confidently assert, the Muslim world does not hate 'our way of life,' but rather loves the idea of democracy and loves US media. What they say they don't like is a lot of sleeping around and tolerance of gays; in other words, Muslim public opinion is not so different from that of many Americans in the deep red states). … Obama did an interview with al-Arabiya, the Dubai-based Arabic satellite news station, soon after he got into office. He offered a hand of friendship to Muslims, insisted that you can't stereotype 1.5 billion people with the actions of a few terrorists, and implied that al-Qaeda seemed to be running scared that it had lost George W. Bush as a recruiting tool. … Obama's public diplomacy extended to Iran, which he addressed on the occasion of the Persian New Year. … The big moment for public diplomacy, however, was Obama's trip to Turkey. … [N]early 40 percent of Turks say that they have confidence in President Obama, making him the politician in Turkey with the very highest approval rating! … So, an 'A' on style, which is all that could probably be accomplished in 100 days. We need to come back and judge substance a year from now."

Score Card of Obama's First Hundred Days - "Last November, immediately following the US elections, the Salzburg Global Seminar held Session 458, 'The US and the World: New Strategies of Engagement.' … The sixth point in the Salzburg Seminar’s 8-Point Plan of last year was to 'Engage in Public Diplomacy Through Carefully Staged Events'. After the mixed reactions at home to his speech at the Brandenberg Gate during the campaign last summer, it was not risk-free to embark on such a high profile trip to Europe. … But if President Obama was afraid of scepticism at home about any distraction from the domestic economic crisis or facing the pitfalls of international diplomacy, he exhibited no signs of it. It was a confident performance at every turn that followed the Seminar’s script to a tee. … [T]his was impressive public diplomacy. There was not one message or style for the private meetings and another for public consumption. The strategy flowed straight from Obama; it was no add-on by aides. … In public, his references in Turkey to his upbringing in a Muslim country and having Muslims in his own family broke no new biographical ground, but it demonstrated the power of empathy to overcome the hostility aroused by the US in recent years. … If there is a cautionary note to this glowing review it is that public diplomacy can lead reality – but over time reality must begin to catch up with perception. … For the President, the polling back home shows that the trip helped consolidate his standing among independents and moderate Republicans. An A for public diplomacy." Image from

Obama wooing the Muslim worldThe New Nation, Pakistan: "During his first overseas trip since becoming US President, Barack Hussein Obama, continued to make the right sounds to distance his new administration from George W Bush. … But the real challenge will be in translating his words into deeds and delivering on his promises. … Obama's public diplomacy gambit is important in relieving tensions but what everyone is waiting to see is whether this translates into action."

The Victory of the Neoconservatives - Bernard I. Finel, Huffington Post:

"Obama's apparent diagnosis of Bush's foreign policy is not that it was wrongheaded - imperialistic and unachievable - but rather that it was implemented incompetently. Now with better public diplomacy and a retooled military, the policy of remaking the world in our own image - at the point of a gun if necessary - can proceed apace.” See also." Image from

Middle East portrayed by the media – Alexandra Kaplan, BetterLate311 - "The 2001 terrorist attacks changed the way Americans view Middle Easterners. It started a lot of controversy over religious stereotypes. The Maxwell School has recognized these views by adding a Religions, Media and International Relations study.... Maxwell's conference includes world class journalists, such as Lawrence Pintak who has worked in the Middle East. Pintak said he has found many connections between common stereotypes and negative public diplomacy in the Muslim and Islamic worlds."

William Robinson of UC Santa Barbara Spams Class With Graphic "Jews Are Nazis" - Cleveland Indy Media: “[B]latant lying and anti-Jewish tropes - that's the very definition of academic freedom. Besides, 'Jews are Nazis' is exactly the line toed by the State Department's flagship Arab public diplomacy outlet. So what's the big deal?"

Obama's homework before the Notre Dame test: Assignment II - Catholic Culture: "At that shrine [the Virgin at Guadalupe in Mexico], Madame Secretary [Clinton] professed great admiration for the miraculous image of Our Lady. But then she made a thunderous gaffe, asking: 'Who painted it?' Duggan [Joseph Duggan, in his American Spectator article, "The Icon and the Battle-Axe"] asks rhetorically: Was Hillary's public diplomacy fiasco a calculated insult addressed to something she regards as a superstition, or simply the unrehearsed utterance of a person so soulless that she cannot fathom believers' sense of mystery? Good question. When you get the answer-- as it applies Hillary Clinton in particular or the Obama administration in general … please let us know." Image from

What If? Barry Zorthian, Public Diplomacy Council: "What If we simply discarded the term and concept of 'Public Diplomacy' and consigned it to the same dust bin as the 'War on Terror' and 'Mission Accomplished' and other catchy phrases of the post 9/11 world that have since been challenged and abandoned? Would we lose very much? Valid question. My answer is 'no'." Zorthian image from

The Road to Moscow - Gary Hart and Dimitri K. Simes, National Interest: "Perhaps unsurprisingly in view of Russian history, today’s more confident Moscow often overreacts and overplays its hand, exacerbating almost any dispute it enters. As a result, even when Russia has an arguably legitimate case, like when Georgian forces attacked Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia in August 2008 or when Ukraine failed to pay its debts to Gazprom, Russian public diplomacy often suffers from exaggerated, haughty and dismissive rhetoric that undermines Moscow’s positions and rubs many the wrong way. … Moreover, as much as Moscow likes to remind the world of its new prominence, Russian officials understand that their country is not America’s strategic equal and see the advantages of being its partner."

World on alert as swine flu pandemic threatens - DispatchOnline: "At present there were no reports of swine flu in South Africa, the SA National Institute for Communicable Diseases said yesterday. While the national Department of Health spokesperson was not available to comment, the national Department of Foreign Affairs said they had not yet responded to the scare. 'We have not yet issued any travel advisory,' the department’s chief director of public diplomacy Ronnie Mamoepa said."

USC Public Diplomacy Department: Online Magazine Site Design/Development - Colin Wright, colin is my name: "Sustainable Designer - The University of Southern California’s Public Diplomacy Department needed a website built. This website was to serve as the online edition of their brand new magazine, the aptly-named Public Diplomacy Magazine. See the live site here. … The site needed to be a fully interactive online magazine, so I based the navigation on a category system that used the table of contents as a foundation. The articles and pages are all dynamic, and the PDM staff are able to swap out new issues as necessary, as the entire site is built on the Wordpress platform." Image from

Election Day-Off: Celebrating Democracy – Paul Rockower, Levantine: “I spent the day finishing up a presentation for my Media and Politics class. … I mentioned that we would do a public diplomacy-style campaign to educate on the correlation between the fact that the 21 advanced democracies (among many, many others) had voter rates nearly 25% higher than the US; concurrently 25% of eligible voters who didn't cast ballots cited conflicting schedules and inability to get out of work as reason for not casting a ballot."


Who Should Own the World's Antiquities? - Hugh Eakin, New York Review of Books:

The new détente between foreign governments and American museums should be seen as an essential step in confronting the urgent problem of the destruction of archaeological sites. For the most crucial challenge is not the aggressive nationalism of some countries or the voracious appetites of some museums: it is the disappearance of the ancient past so coveted by both. Image from

After Iraq's civil war, lessons in civility: New academy gives free music and etiquette lessons to teens, in a bid to boost tolerance and promote peace - Jane Arraf, Christian Science Monitor

Obama's First 100 Days: The Good, The Bad, and the Geithner - Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post: Now to the more tangible aspects of his presidency. Let's start with the pluses: Foreign Relations. From granting his first presidential interview to Al-Arabiya TV to loosening the embargo on Cuba to hanging an open sign on the State Department, Obama has signaled that the bellicose days of antagonism as our default foreign policy position are over.

And his decision to close Guantanamo also sent the right message to the world. Now for the minuses: Afghanistan. Obama has committed 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan but as many, including Obama himself, have noted, there is no exclusively military solution to Afghanistan. What's more, unlike with Guantanamo, Obama has adopted Bush's policies regarding the enemy prisoners being held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. Image from

In First 100 Days, Obama Plants Flag at United Nations - Stephen Schlesinger, Huffington Post: President Obama has dramatically re-established American relations with the UN through numerous steps. Overall, he deserves an A- grade for his first 100 days as regards the UN.

How Obama can succeed in the next 100 days and beyond: His first 100 days has been a sprint. But the success of his second 100 days -- and his presidency -- hinges on a series of tough decisions - Robert Reich, Salon

The big question here is whether foreign policy will come to define his presidency, notwithstanding his domestic ambitions. Squanderer in chief - James Kirchick, Los Angeles Times: Since swearing the oath of office, our president has traveled the world criticizing his predecessor, confessing America's supposed sins and otherwise flagellating the nation he leads on the altar of international "public opinion." Image from

Obama pulls the plug on Chavez propaganda show - Mary Sanchez, The Kansas City Star: Newt Gingrich went into overdrive, pontificating on morning television, “Everywhere in Latin America, enemies of America are going to use the picture of Chavez smiling and meeting with the president as proof that Chavez is now legitimate, that he’s acceptable.” What would have been more appropriate? Spitting in Chavez’s face?

US Bracing for New Prisoner Abuse Photos - William Fisher, Today, April 28, marks five years since the world got its first look at the sickening photographs from Abu Ghraib on the U.S. television program 60 Minutes. And a month from now, on May 28, the Department of Justice, acting under a court order, will release several thousand never-before-seen-in-public photographs of U.S. prisoner abuse from Afghanistan and from elsewhere in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda's PR Machine - Ben Johnson, Under President Bush, the United States enjoyed a reputation as a nation that vigorously prosecutes captured terrorists and defends those who stand on its front lines. In three months, President Obama has reversed that. Quite a 100-day accomplishment. Taken together, it becomes clear Obama seeks to elevate his image by turning the Bush administration into a moral pariah. However, his decisions are undoing the edifice that protected this nation for seven years – and even his administration publicly fears his latest move alone will supercharge al-Qaeda recruitment.

FM spokesman: Iran not threat to others despite West's propaganda - Xinhua:

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said on Monday that in spite of the West's propaganda, Iran is not threat to other countries, the official IRNA news agency reported. Image from

Links for WWI Propaganda - Mrs Duester’s Blog: You have been divided into two groups. One group will research the propaganda created by the Allies during WWI, while the other group will research the propaganda created by the Central Powers.


--"This poster, printed between 1936 and 1937, resembles the posters seen during World War II rather than others found during the New Deal era. It's a rather simple poster with a simple message. While It may seem an obvious idea, I like how the designer has made the typesize gradually decrease in the style of a Snellen chart."


Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27

"As some one once said, the Lodge mind was like the soil of New England -- highly cultivated, but naturally sterile."

--George Creel, head of the WWI Committee on Public Information, regarding Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (1850-1924) from Massachusetts; cited in Creel's How We Advertised America (1920), pp. 59-60; Lodge image from Wikipedia


Who Decides? - levinehank, Behind the Curtain:

"In the US we see a clear distinction between government and non-government actors such that the government does not concern itself with the kind of image of the US that Hollywood is projecting to the rest of the world. The Public Diplomacy bureau of the State Department and other agencies work to explain US policies and introduce others to US society. But the US government does not see itself as the protector of the overall US image abroad." Nonlinear Image Resizing Tool Image from

Torture, Boyd, and Strategy – AE, Rethinking Security: "We hear all the time about the need to win the 'information war,' but the battle of perception cannot be separated from the normative battle to define the structures, beliefs, and codes of conduct that guide theory and practice in the international arena. To pretend that we can engage in public diplomacy or information operations while straying from norms that we helped create is the height of folly. The issue goes beyond the canard that Obama supposedly favors 'civil rights for terrorists.' Whether or not to torture is ultimately a choice about what America is and the role we want to play in the world." Image from

New organization wants RFE/RL restored in Kyrgyzstan - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

RFE/RL, VOA now reaching Azerbaijan via Türksat - Kim Andrew Elliott Discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Up with USIA: In Which a Skeptic Is Converted to the Cause of a New, Independent U.S. Information Agency – Paul D. Kretkowski, Beacon: "I'm now fully on board with the new-USIA program. Extract the former USIA's functions from their current agency homes, and pour them into a new agency. Give nouveau USIA the authority to ask for its own budget. And let it start the quiet, decades-long business of rebuilding the U.S.'s reputation abroad." On USIA, see.

Sam B #82 - Pete M., hband: "From 1949–1953, the federal government cre­ated the information organizations that would form the backbone of America's PD efforts until the fall of the Berlin Wall—specifically, Radio Free Europe and the United States Information Agency. From the beginning, U.S. officials distin­guished America's truthful approach from the lies and deceptions of classic Nazi and Soviet propa­ganda; the term 'public diplomacy' came into general use by the 1970s to reflect this critical dif­ference. With a mandate for action, these organiza­tions were primed to battle Communist ideology and propaganda head-on. However, several events in the early Cold War caused Eisenhower and other American policymak­ers to scale back their original ambitious expecta­tions." Image from

PDiNgarde – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I picked up a research internship with the Center on Public Diplomacy for the summer and following year. I will be helping to research and aggregate news on Public Diplomacy for the PDiN service. Also write some analysis of PD trends for a media monitor post."

Ambassador Chris Hill in Baghdad - souljah boy, Mister Mayor goes to Iraq: "Ambassador Chris Hill comes to Iraq with an extensive history of public diplomacy. I recently had the chance to pose with the Ambassador in the Chancery of the New Embassy Compound in Baghdad." Image from cited blog

State Department official on campus April 28-29 - Skidmore College News: "Harry J. O’Hara, a counselor in the Senior Foreign Service who is a specialist in European Affairs with the U.S. Department of State, will visit Skidmore Tuesday and Wednesday, April 28 and 29, for a public lecture and visits with International Affairs students and faculty. … [He received the] Benjamin Franklin Award for public diplomacy, while serving in the Department of State, 2002.”

Cardboard Crazy! – Ryanlds, I got Worms!: "I was born in Provo, Utah, but lived most of my early life in Oregon (Salem for seven years, Bend for eight years). I then lived in Russia for two years learning Russian and serving as a missionary. I married at 21 and now have three children ages seven, four, and one. I am currently in the middle of the examination process to become a foreign service officer in public diplomacy."


Ironies of 'a Devout Non-Ideologue' - E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post:

Without question, the pragmatic Obama is winning the United States new friends in the world. He will need to show how this new affection translates into support for American positions and material help for American undertakings. Image from

Barack Obama and the new place of American power
A new spirit of humility is clearly evident, but will the Obama administration agree to expand the 'Big Five' on the UN Security Council?
- John Hughes, Christian Science Monitor

Kafka meets Orwell - Roger Simon, Washington Times: In organizing the Durban Review Conference, the United Nations -- besides wasting everyone's money -- emphasized and actually reinforced this marginal racism, providing developing nations and their representatives an excuse for their situation and a "distraction" from it (anti-Semitism above all).

So they blame others and don't bother to improve themselves. Orwell and Kafka would not have been surprised." Image from

Dispatches From Durban II: A Week Of Israel-Haters, Human Rights Abusers, And Other UN Shenanigans - Zvika Krieger, New Republic

Diplomacy Over National Security?: Obama may be planning to release some Gitmo detainees in U.S. - Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard

Yale Richmond’s From Nyet to Da (4th edition), Book Review Essay - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View:

What Richmond does best is to 1) explain the importance of understanding cultural and historical differences and nuances when negotiating with Russians; 2) describe these differences by comparing and contrasting American and Russian cultures highlighting how our respective cultures influence our respective negotiating behaviors – so this book should be useful to Russians interested in dealing with Americans too; and 3) provide practical suggestions for reaching successful outcomes.


Magnetic poetry-writer automaton - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing: "Today in London's Spitalfields Market, I was blown away by [a] wonderful little automaton, a tiny mechanical poet who writes graceful magnetic poetry when you spin a magnet beneath him. The proud maker -- who goes by Alefs in Wonderland -- let me shoot a little video of it."


Image from

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read."

--Groucho Marx; image from

“I doubt Winston Churchill ever said, ‘Whatever.’”

--Christopher Buckley

VOA Jazz Promoter Honored by US Congress - VOA News: "The United States Congress has proclaimed April 25 Willis Conover Day to honor a Voice of America broadcaster who spread American jazz music around the world during the Cold War.

The congressional resolution recognizes Conover and Voice of America for their 'joint contribution toward spreading the language of Jazz and American cultural diplomacy.' Conover called jazz 'the music of freedom.' He began broadcasting in 1955, at a time when many Eastern European countries banned the musical style as dangerous and subversive. But his shows were extremely popular and an estimated 100 million people heard his broadcasts." Image from

Why promoting democracy via the internet is often not a good idea - Evgeny Morozov, Foreign Policy: “[U]nfettered access to information is not enough to make people want democratic change … [T]here are many cyber-campaigns that authoritarian governments would actually like to encourage, particularly those that deal with identifying and punishing corrupt low-level officials. … I simply refuse to believe in the universality of this new human type of Homo Blogicus – the cosmopolitan and forward-looking blogger that regularly looks at us from the cover pages of the New York Times or the Guardian." Morozov image from article.

US-Saudi Relations in a World Without Equilibrium – Steve Clemons, The Washington Note: “On Monday, 27 April, I will be co-chairing a major national policy forum on US-Saudi economic and strategic perspectives on the Middle East and global economic and security system. … [Comment by Posted by Dan Kervick:] My guess is that the reason that there are no big-time supporters of Israel speaking at Steve's event is that, whether by accident or back-stage coordination, that event has now become part of a high-profile Saudi public diplomacy effort coinciding with a DC-Riyadh re-rollout of the Saudi peace plan. Perhaps most of Israel's serious supporters are uncomfortable being part of that sort of effort."

Mullen Cautions Iraq on Arab-Kurd Confrontations - Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service posted at - The Threat Report: War And Terrorism: [State Department Economic Officer] Lucy Tamlyn, the chief of the Regional Reconstruction Team … is in charge of development for the three provinces that make up the Kurdistan Regional Government – Erbil, Dahuk and Sulamaniyah.

Unlike the more well-known provincial reconstruction teams in the rest of Iraq and in Afghanistan, there are no U.S. servicemembers on the team, although they work with American servicemembers based in the region. The civilian workforce manages a large portfolio of projects aimed at improving life in the three provinces.'The Kurds like us and they don't want us to leave,' Tamlyn said. 'We're working with the Kurds on goals they have set including essential services, rule of law issues and developing the private sector.' The group also has a strong public diplomacy outreach effort." Image from

Turning the Page for Children of Kirkuk: 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs - Justin Naylor, Systems: "[A] program between the Iraqi ministry of education and U.S. State Department … began delivering 250,000 books to Iraqi schools throughout the Kirkuk province, Iraq, which began, April 16. … Over 900 schools in the Kirkuk province will be receiving books, said Sri Kulkarni, the chief of public diplomacy for Forward Operating Base Warrior's Provincial Reconstruction Team." Image from

Please look after our Turners, Mr Wen: The Government has pledged millions to underwrite an exhibition of the artist's work in Beijing - Brian Brady, Independent:

"The decision to send more than a hundred paintings by the English Romantic artist J M W Turner to be exhibited in Beijing – after the successful visit of the Terracotta Army to London – was a hugely symbolic move, part of a 'wider approach to building understanding between the two countries'. … The Foreign Office had to make an emergency request to the Treasury for permission to underwrite the near-priceless collection against loss or damage – and save an exhibition seen as 'a critical part of [Britain's] public diplomacy efforts' – when the Chinese made it clear they would not accept any financial responsibility for the paintings." Turner image from

Germany expands cultural diplomacy with new showcases - Vasilije Gallak, "Germany is to expand its cultural diplomacy abroad, reaching out to academics by building a series of missions to highlight German scientific and engineering achievements, officials said Thursday in Berlin. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the offices were part of a push to invest more in cultural diplomacy. The first such House of Science has been opened in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and more are planned in Moscow, New Delhi and New York." Steinmeier image from

Cultural ministry to hold fair to show rich tradition of culture - The Nation: "Thailand could counterbalance its unsettled image by showcasing its rich tradition of culture and arts, starting with a fair to impress the diplomatic corps here, the Culture Ministry said yesterday. … The Cabinet should form a panel using cultural diplomacy to restore the country's reputation and rebuild foreigners' confidence with the collaboration of the Foreign, Tourism and Commerce ministries."

Unesco Puts World's Major Works Online - Eric Pfanner, New York Times: "About 1,250 books, maps, artworks and other cultural items that went on display online Tuesday in an international library supported by Unesco and the U.S. Library of Congress. The project, called the World Digital Library, aims to 'promote international and intercultural understanding,' said James H. Billington, the U.S. librarian of Congress, speaking as the Web site ( was introduced at Unesco headquarters in Paris." Image from

The costly "game” with Ha Long Bay: UNESCO ’s recognition not enough? - Bich Hanh, VietNamNet Bridge: "Objectively, any positive selection related to Ha Long Bay is a chance for Vietnam to engage in cultural diplomacy. The selection is a way for Ha Long Bay in particular and Vietnam in general to capture the world’s notice even if it doesn’t end up as one of the top seven natural wonders of the world. However, there are concerns."

Nicolas Sarkozy's Big Mouth: Neither Asset Nor Liability, It Is a Way of Life - Harold Hyman, Culturekiosque: "Harold Hyman is a Franco-American journalist, based in Paris, specializing in foreign affairs and cultural diplomacy. He works for BFM TV."

Islamic State of Iraq Brings Internet Propaganda to the Streets - Abdul Hameed Bakier: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 10, Jamestown Foundation: "The Jihadi Media Support Battalion (JMSB), an internet-based jihadi propaganda group, has announced the launch of a new propaganda campaign entitled 'ISI: The Gate to Liberate Extorted Palestine.' The goal is to acquaint as many Muslims as possible with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and the Salafi-Jihadi creed (, March 13). The campaign has attracted many positive responses from jihadi forum members."

Mongolian people's republic - Justin Petrone, Eesti elu: "My research into Estonia's June communists has yielded some interesting results. The June communists were the armchair social revolutionaries and left-wing MPs drawn up by the Soviet legation in Tallinn in June 1940. … Most had some connection with Moscow. They were brought into its web of deceit and blackmail via Soviet cultural diplomacy programs. They had been invited to present their poetry for example, by their Soviet 'counterparts' in the USSR." Image: Estonia's Sandra Oxenryg.


Italian cruise ship fires on Somali pirates
- AP, USA today:

An Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people on board fended off a pirate attack far off the coast of Somalia when its Israeli private security forces exchanged fire with the bandits. Six men in a small, white Zodiac-type boat approached the Msc Melody Saturday and opened fire with automatic weapons, Msc Cruises director Domenico Pellegrino said. They retreated after the security officers returned fire and sprayed them with water hoses. The ship continued its journey with its windows darkened. Image from