Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 30-May 31

“I believe in teaching, but I don’t believe in going to school.”

--Robert Frost; image, "Robert Frost in New Hampshire" by James Chapin


Obama’s Speech to the Muslim World - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: "[T]he civilian foreign affairs bureaucracy has been decimated – in particular in terms of public diplomacy and foreign aid. These will take considerable time, money and effort to rebuild. The administration and the Congress are taking the first baby steps to do so – especially in the development field - but will they be enough and in time? And what about public diplomacy and restoring this country's image abroad?"

Obama's new way - Paul Kelly, The Australian:

"The first test of Obama's new public diplomacy comes with his Cairo speech that will seek to break through the destructive mindset that formed after 9/11. 'The whole Muslim world will be watching,' Indyk [Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel] says." More on Obama's Cairo speech in below "related items." Image from

Job OneJames K. Glassman -- Economics, Investing, Public Diplomacy, and More: "There’s a lot to like in the GAO’s May 27 report on public diplomacy, including a respectful and intelligent discussion of PD 2.0, highlighting both accomplishments and challenges. But the report, like nearly every study of this nature, gets off on the wrong foot. … In the first sentence, the Government Accountability Office says that the USG spends money on efforts to 'advance the strategic interests of the United States.' Yes! Exactly right. Then, in the next sentence, we are told that, despite these expenditures, polling data say that people don’t like us. … Can the GAO imagine circumstances where we can use PD to achieve the national interest without trying to make people like us better? I surely can. … 'America’s image abroad' is not Job One. It may help us marginally to get where we are going, but the real progress will be made through building networks that exploit interests we have in common with foreign publics."

Staffing Shortages/Lack of Mid-Level Officers Hinder U.S. Outreach Efforts - Diplopundit: "The GAO has just released its report on U.S. Public Diplomacy: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight on May 27 (GAO-09-679SP). It discusses the background, strategic and operational planning, performance measurement, and coordination of communication efforts on public diplomacy. It also talks about outreach efforts in high threat posts as well as the State Department’s Public Diplomacy workforce." Image: Water shortages in the long hot summer of '76

No Preconceptions - William Kiehl, My PD Blog: "The New Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale Comes On Board with No Preconceptions About PD's Structure. In a recent interview with VOA she had that to say about the future of PD's structure in the State Department. I welcome that willingness to look anew at the PD structure within State without any preconceptions. If Ms. McHale is as smart as her resume indicates then she will soon see how changes must be made to make PD and her role leading it more effective. Let's wait and see..."

Is Public Diplomacy Journalism Dead? - Alvin Snyder, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[T]here must be a wake-up call at the source to regenerate interest in the dialogue on U.S. PD among writers and readers of the subject, and that wake-up call must come from the White House itself." Image from

The Pentagon’s Secret Stash: Why we’ll never see the second round of Abu Ghraib photos - Matt Welch, Reason Magazine: "Looking ahead to the next four years, there is little doubt that the administration, its supporters, and Congress will use whatever legal means are available to prevent Abu Ghraib—the public relations problem, not the prisoner abuse—from happening again. The Defense Department has commissioned numerous studies about America’s problem with 'public diplomacy' since the September 11 massacre; all those compiled since last May hold up the iconic torture images as the perfect example of what not to let happen again."

Alhurra Bleeding Viewers, Poll Finds, But Spending is Up - Dafna Linzer, ProPublica: "Results from the largest public opinion poll in the Arab world indicate that Alhurra, the U.S.-funded Arab satellite station that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than half a billion dollars, is the least-watched station in the region and is losing viewers. … Despite the low ratings and a series of managerial and content problems, Alhurra continues to expand and spend. Since it went on-air in February 2004, Alhurra has cost U.S. taxpayers more than half a billion dollars. Its budget in the last two years alone has grown 20 percent . … One official who is likely to have a significant impact on Alhurra is Judith McHale, the new undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. McHale's predecessors in the Bush administration struggled to defend or resolve systemic problems at Alhurra." Image: The Primetime Emmy Awards aired and suffered from low ratings despite Heidi Klum flashing her rear end to show a bruised booty shot.

The latest on Alhurra -- Email from Letitia King, BBG - John Brown, Notes and Essays

Must-Read About Alhurra TV – Nancy Snow, Huffington Post

VOA adds satellites for Iran, citing increased jamming - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

'Mutual Interest and Mutual Respect': Ideas for U.S. Public Diplomacy toward the 'Muslim World' Featuring James Glassman, Marc Lynch, and Robert Satloff 2009 Soref Symposium – Conference Keynotes - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy: "James Glassman, Marc Lynch, and Robert Satloff addressed The Washington Institute's 2009 Soref Symposium to discuss challenges for U.S. public diplomacy efforts, and offer suggestions for the Obama administration as it attempts to improve America's image in the Middle East and beyond."

OPEC is Criminal Cartel Run by Saudis and Linked to Terrorism - J. Michael Waller, Palluxo: "[T]his, American strategists say, is the time for the United States to finish off OPEC once and for all. … Options worth considering include … [p]romot [ing] freedom and justice in the rest of the Middle East. …

[T]he United States must start telling the truth about the other regimes in the region, beginning with diplomatic and public-diplomacy efforts to highlight the systematic human-rights violations, institutionalized corruption, support for terrorism and decades of economic warfare against the United States by regimes such as those of Saudi Arabia and Syria." Image from

A Department for Arts and Culture - Creon Critic: "Efforts to expand American soft power and improve public diplomacy might benefit from being routed through an arts & culture department as opposed to the National Security Council's new 'Global Engagement Directive' or the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs."

Indian Strategic Power: Soft - Shashi Tharoor, Huffington Post: "Indeed, from the export of Bollywood to bhangra dances, India has demonstrated that it is a player in globalization, not merely a subject of it. … Pavan Varma, the current head of the Indian Council on Cultural Relations, has argued that 'culturally, India is a superpower,' and that cultural diplomacy must be pursued for political ends. So India is highly visible at cultural shows around the world, and the ICCR is rather good at organizing Festivals of India in assorted foreign cities." Varma image from

Emerging trends in higher education - India Blogs NE: "Our higher education plans should strive for more emphasis on global competencies with a view to prepare our students better to make them important participants in global issues in the time to come. These issues may range from subjects of global warming to global peace endeavours to public diplomacy."

Report suggests wider cooperation in higher education between the GCC and EU - AME Info: "Among the key components put forward by the report are twinning programs between national universities in the Gulf and Europe, regular working groups of key stakeholders to create ownership as well as to initiate and implement concrete cooperation projects, joint applications for research funding, establishing a partnership for research exchange, and developing a network of cooperation that include establishing programs in the fields of quality assurance, teacher training and teacher mobility. The numerous ideas are contained in a policy paper entitled 'Promoting EU-GCC Cooperation in Higher Education' released within the framework of the Al-Jisr project for on EU-GCC Public Diplomacy and Outreach Activities." Image from

Hanoi hopes to spread 'Vietnamese wave' in S. KoreaThe Korea Herald: "Vietnam is planning to open its first cultural center in South Korea to spread a 'Vietnamese wave' among the Koreans, amid the rising popularity of South Korean television shows and other cultural content in Vietnam, its prime minister said. 'As 2009 is Vietnam's year for cultural diplomacy, we are going to launch many cultural exchanges and promotion events in many countries, including the Republic of Korea,' Nguyen Tan Dung, the prime minister of Vietnam, said in an interview this week with Yonhap News Agency."

Ma Ying-jeou, first lady depart on Central America trip - Ko Shu-ling, Tapei Times: "President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) left on a 10-day state visit to Central America yesterday, along with first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) and a 159-person delegation, including local government heads, student representatives, college principals and a performance group. …

The government has billed the trip as 'grassroots diplomacy' and 'cultural diplomacy.' Ma will attend the inauguration of El Salvadoran president-elect Mauricio Funes on Monday, and will also visit Belize and Guatemala." Ma Ying-jeou image from

Territorial Conflicts in the East China Sea – From Missed Opportunities to Negotiation Stalemate (1) - Reinhard Drifte, The Asia Pacific Journal -- Japan Focus: "This paper analyses the political, legal, military and economic issues involved in the territorial and maritime border issues in the East China Sea (ECS) between mainly Japan and China. … The issues revolve around the dispute over the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands/Diaoyudao. … It is … important to highlight that both sides were initially willing as mentioned above to shelve the Senkaku dispute, which was convenient for both sides at the time in the 1970s. This did not mean, however, that China was prepared to renounce its claim to the islands. Instead it has continued since then to raise the issue in various ways, either through public diplomacy, diplomatic channels or encouraging or at least tolerating Chinese nationalists to try to enter the waters around the islands."


Obama Realism May Not Play Well in Cairo Streets - James Traub, New York Times:

Mr. Obama is seen throughout the world as the incarnation of American democracy, and who well understands America’s power to inspire both hope and resentment. Does he want to be seen as the architect of a policy that gives a dictator free rein in exchange for strategic cooperation? Would that even be a “realist” choice? Image from

The Egypt Speech: Obama's Watershed Moment - J. Scott Carpenter, PolicyWatch #1522, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy: By traveling to Cairo, Obama risks signaling a return to the era when the United States ignored human rights and democracy as an element of national security. Moreover, should Obama fail to deliver peace on their terms, the same undemocratic Arab regimes will blame him for the failure, providing Iran and others another stick with which to beat the United States for being on the wrong side of history. By seeking peace at the expense of democracy and long-term stability, the president risks achieving none of these regional objectives.

What Will Obama Say in Cairo? - William Pfaff, Truthdig: The possibility that scarcely seems worth mentioning is that Obama declares in Cairo that he wishes to withdraw all American forces from Muslim countries, and seeks the support of all Muslim governments to make this possible. Now that would make headlines, and history. Image from

Obama in the Muslim WorldWashington Post: The Post asked activists, journalists and policy experts what the president should say in his address in Cairo. Below are contributions from Ayman Nour, David Makovsky, Danielle Pletka, Steven A. Cook, Daoud Kuttab, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Martin Indyk, David Pollock and Curtis Cannon, and Aaron David Miller. Pollock and Cannon: In spite of what the Arab polls say, the United States has not been nearly as negatively affected by its poor image as is commonly supposed. Since 2003, the number of protests with any reported anti-American slant has slowed to a trickle. The number of Arab citizens granted visas to visit the United States has been steadily increasing since 2003. U.S. exports to Arab countries have boomed, from $16.3 billion in 2000 to $51.8 billion in 2008. And Arab governments have been increasingly cooperative with the United States over the past five years.

Engaging American Muslims Will Give a Far Better Message to the Muslim World than Speeches - Abdul Malik Mujahid, Common Dreams: President Barack Obama is planning to address Muslims from Egypt. But we American Muslims believe he would have made a better choice by engaging Muslims at home first.

British press vs. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs - Justin Clarke, Examiner: "Robert Gibbs must be the most flexible man on earth. No, I’m not talking about his ability to contort truth and stretch credulity while somehow managing to avoid answering any question of substance. His nasty swipe at the British Press today showed that he is capable of inserting his foot into his mouth when the very head that houses said mouth is already jammed far up another bodily region." Gibbs image from

Robert Gibbs starts a war with British pressThe Lonely Conservative: "Ok, call me stupid, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how President Obama is lifting our standing in the world. He disses our allies left and right while apologizing to our enemies. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out, maybe he’s trying some kind of reverse psychology or something. But really, there’s no explanation for Robert Gibbs starting a war with the British press."

A Quiet but Undeniable Cultural Legacy: U.S. Occupation of Iraq Will End, but a Host of American Influences May Linger - Anthony Shadid, Washington Post: From tattoos of Metallica to bellybutton piercings, from posters for a rap concert in Baghdad to stories parents tell their naughty children in Fallujah of the Americans coming to get them, the occupation has already left its mark.

The Trauma of 9/11 Is No Excuse - Richard A. Clarke, Washington Post:

On detention, the Bush team leaped to the assumption that U.S. courts and prisons would not work. Camps were established around the world, notably in Guantanamo Bay, where prisoners were held without being charged or tried. They became symbols of American overreach, held up as proof that al-Qaeda's anti-American propaganda was right. Image from

"New" Abu Ghraib photos aren't new: Salon published many of the shocking images now being discussed in news reports three years ago - Alex Koppelman, Salon

Friday, May 29, 2009

May 29

"The purpose of propaganda is not to provide interesting distraction for blasé

young gentlemen, but to convince, and what I mean is to convince the masses."

--Adolf Hitler Hitler image from; T-shirt image from


US Senator Lugar welcomes public diplomacy movesISRIA: "U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar today welcomed the Senate’s unanimous confirmation of Judith McHale as the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy…. The Senate also unanimously passed Lugar’s public diplomacy resolution, S. Res. 49, which calls for the Secretary of State to initiate a reexamination of the public diplomacy platform strategy of the United States with a goal of reestablishing publicly accessible American Centers, and to consider placing United States public diplomacy facilities at locations conducive to maximizing their use, consistent with the authority given to the Secretary in the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act. A Senate Foreign Relations Committee report sponsored by Lugar discovered that 49 percent of our American Centers are accessible to foreign publics by appointment only or not open at all to the public." Image from

New U.S. Public Diplomacy Under Secretary, Judith McHale - Globo Diplo: "Not everyone thinks this [McHale’s appointment] is a great step."

Wish You Were Here – Al Kamen, In the Loop, Washington Post [scroll down document for item]: "Be the first in your favela, barrio or arrondissement to get your very own set of six lovely postcards of President and Mrs. Obama and the kids! These are not sold in stores. In fact, they can't be bought anywhere. They are headed for embassies and other U.S. facilities to use as giveaways to local folks. Yes, it's the latest State Department public diplomacy initiative, taking advantage of the insanely high popularity of the U.S. president among the foreigners. Embassies traditionally give out biographical books of presidents and 'selected speeches' and such. And they have given out postcards for Earth Day and commemorative events. But these are the first-ever presidential postcards." Image from

White House announces ambassador nominations – Laura Rozen, Foreign Policy See also (1) (2)

The U.S. Foreign Offices - Mark Dillen, Public Diplomacy: The World Affairs Blog Network: "Fluency in the local language and knowledge of the local culture are, above all, public diplomacy qualifications. When a freshly-minted U.S. envoy possesses these gifts, the capacity of that envoy’s embassy (or mission) to conduct effective public diplomacy increases exponentially. Yet too often the public diplomacy qualifications of an ambassadorial nomination get lost in the tussle over whether a job should go to a career officer or a political appointee. The reality is that sometimes a political appointee has more experience in the public arena and a greater talent for the public role that an Ambassador should play than otherwise well qualified career State Department officers. Are the nominees selected so far by the Obama Administration gifted in the arts and practice of public diplomacy? Among the 30-some nominees put forward to date, there are clearly some potential winners." Image: The Ambassador’s design has not changed much since 1958. (Nick Kurczewski for The New York Times)

Robert Gibbs should apologise to the British press for his sneering rant - Nile Gardiner, "For all its talk of 'raising America's standing' in the world after the Bush years, the Obama administration is doing a spectacularly bad job of reaching out to its allies. Unfortunately this is the new face of America's public diplomacy, which will only serve to alienate public opinion across the Atlantic."

Cutting off communication one messenger at a time – Michelle Moghtader, niacInsight: Beltway insights for the Iranian-American community: “The US prides itself on promoting free speech around the world. The State Department has gone so far as to fund media sites such as VOA and Radio Farda

to open lines of communication with Iran. So why impose such broad sanctions which would limit the communication of Iranian youth who are most likely using the messaging technology? Perhaps the State and Treasury Department should start messaging each other so that they can stop undermining each other’s policies.” VIA; Radio farda image from

Operation HOPE Founder John Hope Bryant Joins Congressional Delegation led by Congresswoman Diane Watson for Official Visit to South Africa, Highlighting American Public Diplomacy Outreach, HOPE 2nd Year Anniversary in South Africa - "Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant joined Rep. Diane E. Watson (D-CA-33) as she made an inaugural donation of films to the Rosa Parks Library and Information Resource Center in Soweto, a township of Johannesburg, South Africa. The presentation is a culmination of her bill, H.R. 2553, the Public Diplomacy Resource Centers Act of 2007, promoting wider screenings of U.S. films at State Department libraries around the world. The presentation was also attended by Rep. Watson’s colleague and bill supporter, Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ-10). Congressman Payne is the sub-committee chairman on Africa in Congress." Watson image from

Public Diplomacy 2.0 - Peter Himler, The Flack: "The U.S. gets an 'F' for public diplomacy. That's the assessment of the General Accounting Office, which yesterday issued its analysis of the government's (futile) efforts to change negative foreign perceptions of the United States since 9/11." Image from

Why does the US get bad PR? It's not the propaganda - Jay Hancock's Blog, "The Government Accountability Office spends 43 pages 'analyzing' why the United States gets lousy global PR despite having spent billions on its image. Hint to the GAO: It's not the advertising. It's the policy."

Chump Change - GWOT Strategic PSYOP - M1, Swedish Meatballs Confidential (Pnsfw): "For the attention of the microscopically small brethren and sistren of folks interested, yesterday afternoon GAO released a critique of U.S. Public Diplomacy which touched upon the main GWOT Strategic PSYOP (leaving OGA [?] out of it, as it should be)."

Quote of the Day: Art in U.S. Embassies - public diplomacy journal:

"'...we really needed to step it up and get American artists and their work exhibited as a real symbol of American culture and the arts.' -- U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, speaking at the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies Dinner." Image: An oil painting titled “Floating” was selected for inclusion in the U.S. Department of State “Art in Embassies” program, Athens, Greece.

Η Ανάγκη Ενίσχυσης των Μονάδων και Στελεχών Δημόσιας Διπλωματίας (ΗΠΑ) - Γιάννης Παπαϊωάννου, Αν θέλουμε μπορούμε [Google translation: The Need of Assistance Units and Management of Public Diplomacy (USA - Yiannis Papaioannou,If we Can]: [Google translation of Greek text]: "In a recent presentation (Enabling Public Diplomacy Field Officers to Do Their Jobs, The Public Diplomacy Council, 2008) by William Rugh, former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen and the United Arab Emirates, the question of effective organization of units of public diplomacy in the diplomatic missions of the country emphasizing the importance of skills and staff of competent staff (Public Diplomacy Officers)."

Failed Eelam To Trans-State Nation: A Potential Clash between Nation and States? - Shelton A. Gunaratne, "Tamils feel that the international community, not just India and Sri Lanka, have denied them freedom and equality by failing to recognize their rich language, literature and vibrant culture. The contours of the grand plan are unraveling: Use public diplomacy or propaganda (through media outlets like and Tamil Guardian) to alienate Tamil Nadu from the nation-state of India and merge the wealthy and resourceful network of Tamil enclaves …. first as a notional concept of a trans-state nation, and subsequently as an independent nation-state, the formation of which might require wars of liberation from Canada, the EU, India, and other oppressors." Image from

Beware of Pakistanis coming for nefarious reason: US to India - Hindu: "'India must be wary of those Pakistanis seeking to enter India for nefarious reasons, but the signal India sent — openness to a better relationship with peace-loving Pakistanis — was a powerful psychological message,' said Gregg Sullivan, director of press and public diplomacy for the State Department's Bureau of South and Central Asia."

Death of a dissident - Natan Sharansky, Miami Herald: "In giving the Libyans a free ride on human rights, the free world has handed them the tools they need to lead the public-diplomacy campaign of the world of tyranny."

Outstanding Connecticut citizens to be honored in NYC - Stamford Plus Magazine: "Former U.S. Congressman Christopher Shays … will be honored alongside … at the One To World Fulbright Awards Dinner on June 4th at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Also honored will be Vanessa B. Kerry, Fulbright scholar to the U.K. and daughter of Senator John Kerry, for her contributions to global health and her international medical service in Ghana, Rwanda, and Cuba; … Christopher Shays, a longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives, supported nuclear non-proliferation, the work of the United Nations, and the increased use of public diplomacy." Image from


President Obama's Visit to Germany: Mythologies of Dresden Must Be Rejected - Ted R. Bromund, WebMemo #2460, Heritage Foundation: On June 5, President Obama will visit the German city of Dresden. This visit will be intensely controversial. Dresden is most famous for the Anglo-American bombing raid against it on February 13, 1945. The Dresden raid did cause serious loss of life, but in the Second World War it was not unprecedented or unusual. The myths that have grown up about the raid were fostered by the Nazis and spread by post-war Soviet propaganda.

Because of this spurious symbolism, President Obama's decision to visit Dresden is ill-advised. During his visit, the President must absolutely reject any equation of the Western Allies and the Nazis. Image from

Inflating the Guantánamo Threat - Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann, New York Times: the Pentagon should be as accurate as possible about how many of those released pose a threat to America. This is the only way that policy makers can make informed choices about closing Guantánamo, revising military commissions, deporting or repatriating prisoners or moving them to the United States, and keeping our nation safe.

US rejects newspaper report on Iraq prison photos - AFP – The US Defense Department on Thursday strongly rejected

a British newspaper report that alleged photographs of abuse at Iraqi prisons include images of rape and sexual assault. Image from

Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Wars in Cyberspace - David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, New York Times

The FM Mullahs and the Taliban’s Propaganda War in Pakistan - Mukhtar A. Khan, Jamestown Foundation: The Taliban radio broadcasters, popularly known as “FM Mullahs,” continuously transmit anti-American and anti-government sermons, calling democracy “un-Islamic” and those practicing it “infidels.” The Taliban are not shy about exploiting other traditional and modern media tools like night-letters (unsigned leaflets), pamphlets, CDs, DVDs and mobile messaging. They also make efforts to appear live on other electronic media to voice their unedited propaganda. … The best way to fight the illegal broadcasts is to launch local non-Taliban FM stations, possibly housed in the traditional Pashtun hujras (community halls). Image from

North Korea Will Never Disarm - B.R. Myers, New York Times: Over the past 15 years the regime in Pyongyang has painted itself into an ideological corner — or, to put it better, it has pushed itself up to the edge of an abyss. Kim Jong-il shook off responsibility for economic matters in the mid-1990s in order to avoid public blame for the famine. The propaganda machine claimed that his new “military first” regime would henceforth be too busy defending the country from the Yankees (who in fact were sending aid at that time) to bother with economic issues. This line not only maintained support for Kim, but also enabled officials at the provincial level to begin dismantling the command economy.

Comm professor lectures at SIFF - Pauline Diaz, Seattle University Spectator: Seattle University professor Jim Forsher is ready to get nasty at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Tuesday night, Forsher presented "Nasty Cinema," a showing and lecture featuring censored and controversial films from the 19th century to 1933. On June 2 he will present "Animated Enemies," a collection of classic propaganda cartoons. "I'm guaranteed to upset everyone at some point," says Forsher, an associate professor of communications. "I will not have done my job if I haven't insulted everybody in the audience at least once." Image from

Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 28

“Car culture is America's culture.”

--Wall Street Journal commentator Daniel Henninger; image from


Diplomacy Chief Predicts Turnaround in US Standing Abroad - David Gollust, VOA: "The U.S. State Department's new public diplomacy chief says she's confident America's image abroad can be rebuilt after sagging badly during the Bush administration.

Former media executive Judith McHale spoke in an interview with VOA on her first full day as Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. … McHale oversees a $1 billion a year array of State Department communications, cultural, educational and exchange programs. She promised a top-to-bottom review of U.S. public diplomacy efforts but said she enters the post with no preconceived notions about structural changes, though there are abundant study-commission reform recommendations."

Judith McHale Resigns DigitalGlobe Board Position - Consumer Electronics Net: "DigitalGlobe, a leading global content provider of high-resolution world imagery solutions, today announced the resignation of Judith McHale from its board of directors, effective as of May 26, 2009. Ms. McHale joined DigitalGlobe's board of directors in July 2008 and is resigning to accept the position of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Ms. McHale's resignation was expected by the Company."

North Korean nuclear test leaves us no choice but to reduce the broadcasting budget - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "The United States can open more radio and television broadcasts from the United States, but it's up to South Korea and to the 'West' if they want to increase their output to North Korea. An excellent way to improve US broadcasting to North Korea would be to merge VOA and RFA [Radio Free Asia]. That would bring together their strengths and eliminate duplication. Because of the reduced administrative costs, i.e. the elimination of one administration, the budget for broadcasts to North Korea would have to be reduced. To politico-bureaucratic Washington, any budget reduction is an appalling prospect." On RFA, see. Image: Underground nuclear test of the North Korean type

BBG's Blaya [Broadcasting Board of Governors member Joaquin Blaya] makes the case for Alhurra - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Bush's Propaganda Effort in Middle East Outed as Colossal Waste of Money, Effort - O'Dwyer's Blog: Covering PR, public affairs, marketing and the world of communications: "The Bush Administration spent millions for public diplomacy in the Middle East to improve the image of this country and bankroll the President's idea that 'freedom is on the march.' That march never left the starting line. The American propaganda campaign was a colossal waste of money and effort, according to a Zogby International poll released last week. Zogby asked more than 4,000 Arabs in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Jordan what are the two most important factors driving American policy in their region. 'Promoting democracy,' 'spreading human rights,' 'promoting peace and stability' and 'fighting terrorism' hardly registered among those polled. Those were 'talking points' of our public diplomacy."

White House Homeland Security Council Merged Into the National Security Council - Lawrence Dietz, Psyops Regimental Blog: "The Department of State is the lead for Public Diplomacy, but often lacks the resources and reach to exert information influence in many parts of the world where conflicts exist."

Danger Will Robinson! White House creates the Global Engagement Directive - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "I don't know if US international broadcasting will be among the activities 'coordinated' by this new office, but 'international communications' suggests this might be the case. It dovetails with the rumors that the Obama Administration has not nominated new members for the Broadcasting Board of Governors because it plans to eliminate the BBG. The best thing the BBG can do now is to place large pieces of furniture in front of the door. When staff of the Global Engagement Directive come to visit, be very quiet until they leave. Otherwise, eventually, someone in a goatskin tent in the desert will be listening to the news on VOA. He will say to his companion: 'It sounds like someone has coordinated this newscast. Please retune the radio set to the BBC.'" On BBG, see.

New GAO Report on Public Diplomacy is out (Updated) – Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "The report is interesting and worth reading. As others have said, this is a timely report that pulls together much of what has been said. However, there are ... points that need emphasis. First, the GAO does not quite know what to do with the emergence of two sometimes complimentary and sometimes adversarial labels for US engagement: public diplomacy and strategic communication. … Second, the report does not even footnote the abolishment of Defense Support to Public Diplomacy, the existence of the Global Strategic Engagement Center, or other interagency mechanisms beyond the PCC. Third, problems caused by the Smith-Mundt Act are ignored. ... Fourth, they only obliquely address the problems of bifurcating public affairs and public diplomacy. … Fifth, it is important the report notes the damage the lack of consistent leadership has had on formulating a strategy and improving the practice of public diplomacy. However, the report fails to note that the absence of immediate leadership – vacancy in the Under Secretary’s office – was just one part of the problem. Failure to understand the real requirements and purpose of public diplomacy notwithstanding, the report should have also noted the lack of support of the Under Secretaries (some of which was expected). The Under Secretary was incapable of substantial change without active and visible support from the Secretary and the President, both of which we can believe the new Under Secretary will have."

New media advocates see cracks in Obama's open government push - Aliya Sternstein, "Critics noted that with Obama articulating … grand visions [with the open government initiative], there is now a standard to which to hold him. 'So far he hasn't lived up to those expectations, [but] at least those expectations are there,' Kansa said. 'I didn't see this in the last administration.' In contrast, Craig Newmark, creator of craigslist, the popular community-moderated classified ad site, has nothing but praise for the Obama administration's transparency efforts. He noted the open government initiative is akin to the 1787 Constitutional Convention that gathered statesmen to draft the U.S. Constitution. 'It is something of similar spirit,' he said. 'Apparently the events of Nov. 4 got a lot of people to realize that this social media stuff is for real.' Newmark said he wants to contribute to the open government project by becoming a champion for government Web managers, the 'nerds and wonks' in the White House and the innovative public diplomacy officials at the State Department 'who are making it happen.' 'Customer service is kind of like public service, or it should be,' he said. "I have an opportunity to expand this customer service far beyond craigslist. They don't need my help making it happen. They do need the help of people who can bear witness to that." Image from

How Sweet It Is... Brazil's Sugar Ethanol Fuels China's Recovery - Eric Ehrmann, Huffington Post: "Interests in both hemispheres would be better served if Washington shined the public diplomacy lovelight on the Kremlin's new military cooperation agreement with Venezuela that counterpoises the US presence in Colombia. The big back to the future package features all the trappings of the Cold War deals the Soviets cut with Cuba, Somalia, South Yemen and Syria and represents a potential threat to North-South relations and trade logistics."

Garrard County Economic Development Director Tapped for High Profile Leadership Group, Travels to Australia - Cyberhillbilly: “'ACYPL [The American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL)] has the unique mission of proving select young leaders with an opportunity to travel internationally and engage firsthand in public diplomacy,' said ACYPL Chief Executive Officer Linda Rotunno.

'Our delegates have access to key leaders in the nations they visit. They engage in dialogue on sensitive issues, gain a unique perspective on the country’s politics and its relations with the US, and, most importantly, forge professional relationships and friendships that can last a lifetime."'

Jazz Heritage Center Celebrates Grand Opening of Its Media and Education Center With 'Jazz Ambassadors': A Retrospective Conversation With Jazz Legend Randy Weston, Moderated by Jazz Historian Dr. Herb WongPRNewswire: "The Jazz Heritage Center, San Francisco's only permanent complex dedicated to jazz history and culture, today unveiled details for the highly anticipated grand opening of its Media and Education Center, the second phase addition to the non-profit, aimed at keeping the rich tradition of Jazz alive in the historic Fillmore District. … Acclaimed by critics as 'the biggest sound of any jazz pianist since Ellington and Monk,' Randy Weston will inaugurate the JHC's Media and Education Center in a discussion led by noted jazz historian Dr. Herb Wong. Weston will share stories and insights from his 14-country diplomacy tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department in 1967. The use of American jazz greats such as Weston --- along with Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck and others --- in public diplomacy efforts sponsored by the U.S. government is the focus of the JHC's current major exhibit, Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World." Image from

Entrevista ao Professor Victor Marques dos Santos - CPA/AJPA: Blog oficial da Comissão Portuguesa do Atlântico e da Associação da Juventude Portuguesa do Atlântico: "Entrevista concedida pelo Professor Victor Marques dos Santos à AJPA, 12 de Maio de 2009. Victor Marques dos Santos. Professor Associado com Agregação. Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. How do you feel NATO handled the transition into a post-cold war era? The end of the cold war faced NATO with an awkward scenario where the classic enemy had apparently vanished. … The present situation implies handling an environment characterized by uncertainty, and sustained interactive processes of dynamic and synergic change. In this new context, NATO must develop a proactive public diplomacy effort, devising innovative ways to ensure sustained public acceptance, support and credibility as a reliable and legitimate player, to promote and provide security, while improving its visibility and image among friends and partners. NATO must be portrayed as being a part of the solution, through an increasingly flexible and diversified performance capacity, by responding to the new issues and challenges often involving non-military missions." Image from

Canada: We're the other guys (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "Is it Canada's use of 'cultural programs, international education, international broadcasting, trade, and investment promotion' that have resulted in its positive ratings in international opinion polls?"

Egyptian Broadcasters Escape State TV - 3almastaba’s Blog: "The main source of profit to any television comes from advertisements. The emergence of the independent channels slashed the state profits from television commercials. … State broadcast journalists are even confused about their job definition and mission. 'Obviously it is a public diplomacy,' said Amin [Yousef Amin, Nile TV anchor]. 'It should be a news tool a news channel.' The first definition of any channel comes within its agenda. 'There is definitely an agenda,' said Amin. 'Like any other news outlet.'”

Sri Lanka Tamil minority driven toward LTTE due to long abuse by Sinhalese majority, says ‘New York Times’ - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "The salient point for Sri Lanka to take note ... is (1) minority 12% Tamils in Sri Lanka were long oppressed by the Sinhalese majority (2) most were driven to the guerrillas as a desperation move after decades of abuse (3) until the government treats all of its citizens fairly, there is no chance for the peace (4) more autonomy in provinces where historically they (Tamils) have lived. And, these are the four main arguments that the United States, many nations of the European Union, some nations of the international community and the United Nations have been forwarding for a very long time. Strangely, Sri Lanka has not made any effort to use her overseas public diplomacy and strategic communication to meet these arguments allowing principal players of the international community to bring ‘undue’ pressure on Sri Lanka, which is fighting to safeguard her sovereignty and territorial integrity from a ruthless terrorist organization." Image: Sri Lanka. Political propaganda by SMS


Mr. Obama in Egypt: Will he speak to a rising generation of Muslims -- or the autocrats who rule them? – Editorial, Washington Post: If the Obama administration chooses to uncritically embrace autocrats such as Mr. Mubarak -- as it has so far -- the administration will merely repeat the failures of earlier U.S. administrations, which for decades propped up Arab dictators and ignored their human rights abuses, only to reap the harvest represented by al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. It will accomplish the opposite of what Mr. Obama intends, by alienating a young generation of Arabs and Muslims that despises the old order and demands the freedoms that have spread everywhere else in the world. Image from

Report: Iraq prisoner abuse photos depict torture, rape AP, USA Today: A former U.S. general said graphic images of rape and torture are among the photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse that President Obama's administration does not want released. Retired Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, who oversaw the U.S. investigation into the abuses at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, was quoted as telling Britain's Daily Telegraph in an article Wednesday that he agreed with Obama's decision not to release the pictures.

Students studying abroad face dangers with little oversight - Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY

Welcome to North Korea -- a backward and brainwashed nation - Ben Anderson, BBC reporter who filmed undercover inside the Dear Leader's North Korea, "North Korea is one of the world's most secretive societies. It is one of the few countries still operating under harsh communist rule. … There are three newspapers in North Korea, plus one radio and one TV station - all publishing the same kind of propaganda all day long. A typical front-page story I remember had a picture of Kim Jong Il at a goat farm, which he proclaimed great because protein is important.” Image from article.

The 'new' Auden poems aren't poems at all: His newly uncovered translations of Soviet propaganda are interesting, but they are not poetryCarol Rumens, Guardian

Top 10 Movies That Changed The World - Evan Andrews, Top Ten List: The prototypical propaganda film, Triumph Of The Will, is the prime example of the ways that art can be used for evil purposes. Ostensibly a documentary about the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremburg, Triumph Of The Will is in actuality a carefully constructed piece of propaganda designed to champion the ideology of Adolf Hitler.


13 May 2009: Opening Statement by Under Secretary-Designate Judith McHale Testifies before May 13 Senate Foreign Relations confirmation


"Girls embracing girls, girls embracing boys, boys embracing each other — the hug has become the favorite social greeting when teenagers meet or part these days. Teachers joke about 'one hour' and 'six hour' hugs, saying that students hug one another all day as if they were separated for the entire summer."

-- Sarah Kershaw, "For Teenagers, Hello Means ‘How About a Hug?’" New York Times

"Few places in Virginia are as draining to the soul and as numbing to the buttocks as the branch offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles. And yet, until recently, smiling was still permitted there. No more. As part of the DMV's effort to develop super-secure driver's licenses and foolproof identification cards, the agency has issued a smile ban, directing customers to adopt a 'neutral expression' in their portraits, thereby extinguishing whatever happiness comes with finally hearing one's number called."

--Nick Miroff, "As if It Needed to, Virginia Bans Smiles at the DMV," Washington Post

"In 1940, we had rivers on both coasts teeming with salmon; abalone steak was a basic dish in San Francisco; the New England fisheries were booming with cod and halibut. Maple trees covered the Northeast, and syruping time was as certain as the order of months on a calendar. Flying squirrels still leaped from conifer to hardwood in the forests of Appalachia, where they were eaten in stews."

--Mark Kurlansky, "A taste of America's past," Los Angeles Times

SOVIET PUBLICATION: "A GIRL AND UNCLE TOM [Сергей Михалков, «Девочка и дядя Том»]" (1968)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 27


“Among the other shifts at the NSC, a new entity, dubbed the Global Engagement Directive, will aim to coordinate public diplomacy, foreign assistance and international communications at a single White House desk.”

--Cam Simpson, Wall Street Journal

“Creating a new Global Engagement Directorate to drive comprehensive engagement policies that leverage diplomacy, communications, international development and assistance, and domestic engagement and outreach in pursuit of a host of national security objectives, including those related to homeland security.”

--Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, "Statement by the President on the White House Organization for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism"


Below images from Vibrant Chinese Propaganda Art, Part 2 - Lars Hasvoll Bakke, Crestock Stock Photos Design and Photography Blog: Seven Intense Years - "From the seven years between 1969-76, we are left with a vast heritage of marvelous propaganda material. In the second part of this series, we take a look at 50 carefully selected posters from that period."

1970's - Dazhai


North Korea: the world watches Obama - Simon Tisdall - "Given his rhetoric about engaging with enemies, Obama’s instinctive preference will be to talk. But if the US tries, once the dust has settled and a new punitive UN resolution is in place, to draw Kim back to the negotiating table, it must be clear about its aim, said authors Robert Kagan and Dan Blumenthal, writing in the Washington Post. 'If we decide to talk again, American diplomacy should expand beyond nuclear talks to begin preparing for the outcome it wants: a democratic, unified and eventually non-nuclear Korea,' they said. Engagement, if that was the chosen policy, should be whole-hearted. That meant expansive economic, cultural and educational exchanges, ambitious public diplomacy, and a big all-round effort 'to raise North Koreans’ standing of living and exposure to the west'." Image: 1971 - To go on a thousand "li" march to temper a red heart

Waging Peace Kerry Holds Hearing on Engaging Muslims Around World - Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: "Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Admiral William J. Fallon, USN (ret.), former commander of U.S. Central Command, offered their insights on 'Engaging with Muslim Communities around the World' before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Feb. 26. … Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), the committee’s ranking Republican, called for the president to appoint and support an undersecretary of state for public diplomacy to help explain the views of the United States. He also cited Senate Resolution 49, which calls for a reassessment of whether the U.S. can safely re-establish 'American Centers' to once again offer libraries, outreach programs, unfiltered Internet access, film series, lectures and English classes in foreign cities." Image: 1976 - Revolutionary committees are good.

Obama Integrates Security Councils, Adds New Offices: Computer, Pandemic Threats Addressed - Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post: "Among other things, Obama is establishing a new global engagement directorate to coordinate U.S. communications with other countries and to streamline U.S. diplomatic, aid, environment and energy policies in support of security objectives, officials said."

Obama Revamps National Security Posts - Cam Simpson, Wall Street Journal:

"Among the other shifts at the NSC, a new entity, dubbed the Global Engagement Directive, will aim to coordinate public diplomacy, foreign assistance and international Communications at a single White House desk." See also. Image: 1969 - The invincible thought of Mao Zedong illuminates the stage of revolutionary art!

Obama’s new Global Engagement Directorate – Alex Evans, Global Dashboard: "President Obama announced a raft of reforms to the National Security Council yesterday, summed up in this White House statement … . [O]f particular interest are two new directorates within the NSC: one on resilience ('a national security directorate aimed at preparedness and response for a domestic WMD attack, pandemic or natural catastrophe, officials said'), and ‘a new Global Engagement Directorate to drive comprehensive engagement policies that leverage diplomacy, communications, international development and assistance, and domestic engagement and outreach in pursuit of a host of national security objectives, including those related to homeland security.’ This has the potential to be an important step forward. But for the new directorate to work, it will be essential to understand that engagement isn’t some sort of stand-alone area of endeavour, and nor is it just ‘the public relations bit of foreign policy’. As David [Steven] and I wrote last year in a paper commissioned by the Foreign Office, 'What we are reaching for is a theory of influence for contemporary international relations, with the new public diplomacy at its heart. … Above all … the new public diplomat must be genuinely at ease with discussion of values (rather than mere interests), understanding that without clearly stated principles – and consistent adherence to them – it will be impossible to animate coalitions of state and non-state actors, and even harder for members of that coalition to work together to deliver a common goal.'" See also. Image: 1971 - Advance victoriously while following Chairman Mao's revolutionary line.

Going Global Means Thinking Domestic Too - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "Finally we may actually begin moving beyond bureaucratic structures based on quaint beliefs of US and non-US vectors and audiences [with the shifts at the NSC] … Personally, I prefer the phrase Global Engagement as a comprehensive umbrella term for public diplomacy, public affairs, foreign aid, etc. rather than stretching public diplomacy or public affairs. … [T]he White House is a learning organization and they are just beginning. More important is the intersection of the strategic thinking of President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Under Secretary McHale, and Assistant Secretary Crowley. This shift is about more than the trajectory of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. This is about the future relevance of the State Department and about a civilian counterbalance to the Defense Department. This is about transforming the Department of State into also being the Department of Non-State." Image: 1969 - The Chinese People's Liberation Army is the great school of Mao Zedong thought.

The Widening Public Diplomacy Chasm - Alvin Snyder, Public Diplomacy Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "President Obama is his own best public diplomacy spokesperson after all, and as such, White House media staffers (of which I was one for 5+ years during Nixon-Ford) can be expected to manage the big ticket items direct from Pennsylvania Avenue, with State PD batting way down in the lineup. Further diminishing things is that Ms. McHale is Hillary Clinton’s person, not the president’s, and trust and confidence are at play here. … Someday, the position of PD Undersecretary of State may be taken into the bosom of the White House, but I suspect this will not happen on President Obama’s watch — or Hillary Clinton’s."

Goodbye Clock, Hello McHale - Steven R. Corman, COMOPS Journal: "Judith McHale was sworn-in yesterday as Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

Accordingly the Countup Clock that has graced these pages for the last several weeks has been retired. The final reading was 129 days between President Obama’s inauguration and swearing in the new PD Chief. As others have noted as well, that’s not much haste relative to the importance of the job, and it does not bode well for the priority that the Obama administration plans to give public diplomacy…at least via State." Image: 1970 - A model of Patriotism and Internationalism

Polo Ralph Lauren board member accepts White House State Department position - Press Release, Trading Markets: "Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL), a designer, marketer and distributor of apparel, home, accessories and fragrance products, disclosed yesterday (26 May) that board member Judith McHale has resigned from her position after accepting an appointment as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs for the State Department in President Obama's Administration. McHale has been on the Polo Ralph Lauren board since February 2001." Image: 1970 - Struggle to increase the mechanization of agriculture.

U.S. Public Diplomacy: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight: Full Report -- Government Accountability Office[GAO]: "[T]he United States' current national communication strategy lacks a number of desirable characteristics identified by GAO, such as a clear definition of the problem, desired results, and a delineation of agency roles and responsibilities."

Government 2.0 and the web - what works, what doesn't, and why - Kurt Voelker, socialmediatoday: "We are excited about the upcoming June 4 event, 'Beyond the Hype: Government 2.0 for Decision Makers,' where we will hear from a great lineup of speakers about innovative ways government agencies are using the web … [including] Darren Krape, State Department: Social Media for Public Diplomacy. Image: 1971 - Happy voyage

Random Thoughts on "Public Diplomacy" [revised] – John Brown, Huffington Post: "I'm a great believer in educational/cultural exchanges and in what I call, for lack of a better term, 'arts diplomacy.' Bravo to all our fellow citizens that engage in people-to-people programs (I do, however, recall a wonderful passage in Kenneth Osgood's book about propaganda during the Eisenhower administration, Total Cold War, when a US P2P group involved in canine matters with overseas interlocutors concluded that dogs were the best ambassadors). But I'm also a realist, and what keeps US propaganda going -- sorry, I meant 'public diplomacy' -- is war (especially a global one)."

Who will speak for Israel?- Forecast Highs, Personal Blog of The Jerusalem Post News Editor: "Many … officials have been worried about the confusing multiplicity of government agencies and offices that manage public diplomacy.

Yet the confusing milieu of official hasbara is slowly coalescing into two distinct roles conducted by two bodies: The Prime Minister’s Office 'coordinates the message,' and the new Information and Diaspora Ministry 'develops the means to express that message,' in the words of one senior Prime Minister’s Office official. The confusion is understandable. There is a veritable hydra of distinct organizations through which official Israel speaks to the world." Image: 1971 - Hold aloft the red lantern.

Tzipi Livni & Bibi Netanyahu ...the saga continues - Elliot Jager, The Jager File: “[Tzipi] Livni has formed a 'shadow team,' not quite akin to the British concept of the 'shadow cabinet' - yet complete with shadow ministers and area experts to basically parallel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's cabinet. … While saying he does not want to rule over the Palestinians, Netanyahu won't commit to the 'two-state solution' until he knows what that entails for Israel's ability to defend itself. Here Livni's public diplomacy style is wiser. By forthrightly espousing the two-state solution, she places the onus for opposing an end to the conflict where it belongs - on the Palestinians. After all, it's their intransigence - on borders, refugees and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state - that's prevented a deal.”

Are the Stars in Proper Alignment for a New Middle East? - Nissim Dahan (Israel/USA): Mideast Youth – Thinking Ahead: "[N]o one person is in a position to orchestrate the future of the Middle East. But even given all that, in the overall scheme of things, one could argue that there is at least a decent chance of better things to come. … [W]e will use a new ideological framework to speak to one another with common sense and with a sense of personal dignity, we will begin to invest in one another to create jobs which grow our economies, protect our environment, and help to neutralize the hold of extremist thinking, we will use an Ideology of Common Sense along with some well placed Investment Dollars to sell one another on a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom, we will sustain the hope by launching a series of public diplomacy programs, including empowering women, which will prop the vision up and carry it forward, and when necessary, and it will be necessary, we will fight against the forces of extremism, and fight hard, but we will also position the fight within a Vision of Hope." Image: 1971 - Imperialism and all reactionary forces are paper tigers.

Art in Morocco’s EmbassyArab Forum: "Morocco’s Embassy [in Berlin] and the man in charge, Ambassador Rachad Bouhlal, have by now gained the reputation of operating an 'open house' and practicing active public diplomacy. A bridge between the Maghreb Kingdom and Germany is being built with art through regular exhibits."

TPLF apologists ambassadors being summoned home - Editor, Abbay Media: "What prompted the latest recall of several ambassadors is not clear, claims gossip. … And gossip foresees a potential need for a bit of movement within the ranks of the foreign office, after some of them have served as directors for sometime now; it may be time to step them up or aside. This may include …Teferi Melese, for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs; and Misganu Arga, who … now oversees a super sized directorate with uncharted territories of political, human rights and public diplomacy affairs." Image: 1971 - Let philosophy be transformed into a sharp weapon in the hands of the masses.

Meet the Hebrew University's student ambassadors - News atHebrewU: "The Hebrew University student ambassadors program brings together some of the University’s brightest and most articulate young talents. These students represent the University both in Israel and abroad, meeting with visitors and group missions to the University, and participating in Friends Associations events around the world. … Joanna Cohen … was born in Venezuela and is a second-year undergraduate in international relations and history. In addition to her studies, she works for the Hebrew University’s Division for Development and Public Relations and is a fellow with the StandWithUs International Fellowship for Public Diplomacy. Joanna speaks fluent Hebrew, English and Spanish."

Free-range blogging (the Canadian edition) - PalomaFriedman, Think About It: "Jakob met us at our hotel this morning, and under a cover of drizzle, we cabbed out to NATO to meet with James Appathurai, the Public Diplomacy spokesman–numero uno' mouthpiece for the world’s most powerful military alliance, and a Canadian!"


What Obama should tell Muslims - Juan C. Zarate and James K. Glassman, Boston Globe: When President Obama delivers his much-anticipated address in Cairo next week,

he should counter the deadly and pervasive narrative that "the West is at war with Islam" and replace it with a more accurate storyline that offers Muslims both responsibility and pride. The Bush administration's attempts to engender this alternative narrative fell flat - in large measure because, as the American presence in Iraq wore on, Muslims were in no mood to listen to President Bush. Image: 1971 - Long live Chairman Mao.

Obama to Speak in Cairo, but Where? - Michael Slackman, New York Times: The official word is that nothing has been decided about where President Obama will give his speech when he visits Cairo next Thursday to address the Muslim world. It is supposed to be a secret.

Book Review [Defeating Political Islam: The New Cold War by Moorthy S. Muthuswamy]: Reversing U.S. policy in AfPak - Diana West, Washington Times: Taking th[e] paradigm of the "non-occupying power" and other lessons from the Cold War, Mr. Muthuswamy urges, for example, a propaganda campaign against political Islam akin to that waged against communist ideology. It would target "educated Muslims" in the West, he writes, who "would benefit from the local media and the government propaganda machinery willing to discredit the theological roots of political Islam." That they would, but here's the rub: how first to deprogram the "local media" and the "government propaganda machinery" of their politically correct outlook on the world, including Islam?

NYT's Pentagon Propaganda: Misleading report on Guantánamo and terrorismFAIR: Fairness & Accuracy in Media Reporting:

While former Vice President Dick Cheney has been front and center in the media debate over the current White House's national security policies, he's not the only one trying to challenge the White House's message. The New York Times published a front-page article (5/21/09) that bolstered the notion that former Guantánamo prisoners "return" to terrorist activity. Image: 1971 - Long live Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought!

Propaganda 2.0Truthdig: Sure, Obama and McCain (well, actually their staffs) joined micro-blogging site Twitter for propaganda purposes. But now the nuke-happy and secretive North Koreans are getting in on the Web 2.0 revolution, offering an interesting state-controlled glimpse into the isolated country. North Korea’s state Twitter feed is available in Korean, English and Spanish.

Kremlin Launches ‘School of Bloggers’ - Nathan Hodge, Wired: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently made a foray into Web 2.0 with the launch of his own blog. Now it looks as if the Kremlin’s embrace of social media is tightening. Evgeny Morozov, who writes Foreign Policy’s fascinating Net.effect blog, stumbled upon the announcement for a series of public lectures on the “Kremlin’s School of Bloggers.” The announcement is on, a sort of DailyKos for the pro-Kremlin set.

Image from