Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 2

"I want to congratulate General Motors' newest CEO, us."

--Talk show host Jimmy Fallon, cited in U.S. News & World Report Bulletin News; image from

“All of a sudden, Graffy‘s public diplomacy 2.0 effort could result in a State Department computer becoming a zombie.”

--Jeff Carr, "Loki's Net: The National Security Risks of Gov 2.0 and the Social Web"; on former State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Colleen Graffy's twittering, see; image from


Checking the Enemy's Ideology: Obama's speech in Cairo must be complemented by a campaign to empower Muslims who do not share the Islamists' vision for humanity - Christian Whiton, Weekly Standard: "When President Obama delivers his speech to the 'Muslim world' in Cairo he will once again differentiate his foreign policy from that of his predecessor. The president is smart to use his own popularity to try to improve America's image in the region. However, to prevail comprehensively over terrorists, we must realize the limits of this strategy. All too often, what is called public diplomacy or strategic communications is believed to consist entirely of decreasing anti-American opinions abroad. … For that reason, we must complement outreach like that which the president plans in Cairo with strategic communications to aid those who have a voice in this battle of ideas. Luckily, this is something that in the past Americans have done better than any people in history." Image from

Obama needs a 'big idea' for Muslims. Up to now, the president's words about Islam might have struck the right tone, but they ring empty - Robert Satloff, Los Angeles Times: "When President Obama speaks to the world's Muslims from Cairo this week, he'll touch, again, on the themes of respect and engagement. But he's delivered that message at least three times already, and this time his audience will expect more. They'll want to know whether Obama has a 'big idea' about U.S policy toward Arabs and Muslims. … Customizing our strategy is essential. We will need different approaches to war zones (Iraq and Afghanistan), fragile countries (Yemen, Nigeria and Pakistan), pivotal regional powers (Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia) and an entire continent -- Europe -- whose problems with Muslim integration pose a long-term strategic challenge all its own. Image from

A Record That Can't Be Ignored - Sarah Leah Whitson, Huffington Post: "All eyes and ears will be on President Obama on June 4, when he delivers his first address from an Arab country. … While the Bush administration's failures

in the region were legion and catastrophic, it did earn credit for its willingness, however briefly, to insist publicly on the need for reforms in Egypt. … But following large gains by the Muslim Brotherhood in parliamentary elections later that year, the Bush administration abandoned this agenda. Egypt returned to its nasty ways, jailing the opposition presidential candidate Ayman Nour, cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood and jailing journalists. But Bush -- and the Egyptian government -- proved that public diplomacy could help achieve practical, important reforms." Image from

How Obama Can Address the Middle East - Sabria Jawhar, Huffington Post: "President Obama's trip to Saudi Arabia this week to meet with King Abdullah has raised the expectations of Arabs so high that Obama might set himself up for failure. Comment by Siberian Rt: Arabs, Americans, and even the Persians must work together through very public diplomacy to change American attitudes and force Israel to abide by international and humanitarian law. If this doesn't happen, then Israel will continue to play the antisemitism card successfully."

Stay True In The Pain - Spencer Ackerman, Attackerman:

"In advance of President Obama's long-awaited address to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday, the administration appears to be seeding the public-diplomacy bed." Image from

Obama's Israeli-Palestinian agenda on track, but danger signs – Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy: Comment by reader Dan Kervick: "It always seems to come down to communications, public diplomacy and PR for you, Mark. Apart from all these marvelous headlines and op-eds trumpeting Obama's supposed 'credibility' on this issue, what tangible steps has the administration taken to back up all this diplomatic gas with any material form of pressure? None at all. It seems like the administration has already backed off on the settlements. Israel says 'no', and it appears that's all there is to it.”

The Challenge to Religious Liberty in Indonesia - Richard G. Kraince, Backgrounder #2279, Heritage Foundation: "President Obama has repeatedly declared his intentions to forge better relations with Muslim-majority nations around the globe. He seeks to reach Muslims directly through public diplomacy and has demonstrated a serious interest in broadening dialogue with Muslim leaders. Regrettably, the President's choice of words in describing his otherwise laudable plans to engage Muslim populations is problematic for Indonesians." Image from

And when his popularity inevitably slips, it will be blamed on a failure of US public diplomacyKim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "Cites New York Times article (May 29, 2009) 'Obama Most Popular Leader, Poll Finds,' that 'President Barack Obama remains by far the most popular world leader among people in major Western nations and is the one political figure on whom people consistently pin their hopes in the economic crisis, according to new polls conducted for the International Herald Tribune.'”

Public Diplomacy: Renewing America’s Engagement With the People of the World - Judith McHale, DipNote:

"I believe passionately that public diplomacy is both integral to our foreign policy and essential for our national security, and I plan to bring that same spirit of respectful engagement to my new role here at the State Department." Image from

21st Century Statecraft: Secretary Clinton asks Americans to be "Citizen Ambassadors"Citizentube: "Fresh on the heels of our launch of the U.S. Government Channel on YouTube last week, Secretary Clinton just posted a video to the State Department's YouTube channel on the topic of '21st Century Statecraft.' Aimed at Americans, the video lives on State's long-running public affairs YouTube channel. The video not only outlines the department's efforts to use online tools to engage in public diplomacy, but it also serves as a call to action for citizens to 'share experiences' and become citizen ambassadors on their own."

Discussing the Theory versus Practice of Public Diplomacy - Matt Armstrong, Global Engagement NetworkA multidisciplinary hub to discuss and share issues related to Global Engagement: "Check out and contribute to a discussion sparked by two posts, one by Pat Kushlis and the other by Craig Hayden, on the theory and practice of public diplomacy." Image from

Media Alerts on GM and Obama's Middle East Adventure & Homage to POA's "Jake" – Steve Clemons, Washington Note: “[E]njoyed an interesting dinner this evening with Ian Hargreaves who works as the head of strategic communications for David Miliband's operations at the British Foreign Ministry. … Hargreaves was reaching out to bloggers and media experts about the likely course of the Obama administration's public diplomacy efforts. The meeting was off the record -- but among those attending were Hillary Clinton's new media wunderkind Alec Ross (who didn't fail to impress), The Washingtonian's Garrett Graff, the departed-from-Brookings and brand new Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security Kristin Lord, the blogudite Henry Farrell (who got more excited than one probably should about a La Chaumiere souffle -- but have to admit that I was privately excited for him); Carnegie Endowment Vice President for Communications Peter Reid; Conor Clarke -- who hangs half a hat at The Atlantic Monthly and the other half at The Guardian; and others." Hargreaves image from

Long War's Failings - F.G. Hoffman, Robert Duncan: "The combination of civilian policymakers and a narrow military conception of its professional jurisdiction set the stage for serial failures in anticipation in the run-ups to both Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in the fall of 2002 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. These include … the effect of its poor strategic communications and public diplomacy resources.”

The Changing Face of Israel - Richard Cincotta, Eric Kaufmann, Foreign Policy: "The face of Israel is changing, and in ways that explain much of what is happening in the Jewish state today. Take Avigdor Lieberman, whose rising political star befuddles much of the Israeli establishment.

Despite being perennially poised on the verge of multiple indictments for financial crimes, tagged as an Arab-loathing ultra nationalist by the Israeli media, and attacked from both sides of the political spectrum as the Jewish state's very own public diplomacy nightmare, the new foreign minister's voter appeal has climbed steadily. And the popularity of his right-wing party, Yisrael Beytenu ('Israel Our Home') has grown as well, even among young, secular Israeli-born Jews." Image from

The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, 27 – 31 July 2009CB3 Blog: "The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy is currently accepting applications for the forthcoming International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy. The Symposium will bring together individuals from across the world for an interdisciplinary program that will consider the importance of soft power in addressing today’s global challenges."

Medio Oriente. "Pace Israelo-Palestinese: Speranza nelle cose che non si vedono" - ICNNews: "[Among the speakers at this confererence] Shibley Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and non-resident senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. … He has served on the US Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World, which was appointed by the Department of State at the request of Congress, and he co-drafted the report of their findings, Changing Minds, Winning Peace. He has also co-drafted several Council on Foreign Relations reports on US public diplomacy.” Telhami image from


U.S. military turns to Twitter for Afghan hard newsReuters: U.S. commanders launched their "social networking strategy" for Afghanistan on Tuesday, using the hugely popular website Twitter to release information about some of their operations (twitter.com/usfora)Among their first postings about insurgents killed and detained, the military tweeted on Tuesday: "Afghan & coalition forces killed six militants in Paktika Province overnight during a (sic) operation to capture a Taliban commander". U.S. forces in Afghanistan have had their own Facebook page (tiny.cc/MJtsf) for about two weeks and have also been using the popular YouTube video sharing site (www.youtube.com/usfora) to post videos about their work and the daily lives of U.S. troops. See also.

U.S. Forces – Afghanistan Announces Social Networking Initiative - U.S. Forces Afghanistan Courtesy Story, posted at Digital Video & Imagery DistributionSystems: KABUL, Afghanistan – The command overseeing U.S. operations in Afghanistan announced June 1 the official launch of its social networking strategy with pages on three online sites, marking the first-ever effort by the military in Afghanistan to engage non-traditional audiences directly with news, videos, pictures and other information from Operation Enduring Freedom.

In the two weeks since beta testing began, social networking has become a major focus of U.S. Forces – Afghanistan's communication efforts -- rapidly delivering an unfiltered view of the war from troops on the ground, and opening a two-way dialogue with people around the world interested in the Afghanistan mission. Image from

Somewhere in Afghanistan, a Man Is Smiling – Carlos Lozada, Washington Post: Approximately a fourth of the respondents of an unusual survey -- published by Carol Graham and Soumya Chattopadhyay of the Brookings Institution, titled "Well-Being and Public Attitudes in Afghanistan: Some Insights from the Economics of Happiness" -- hailed from provinces with relatively higher Taliban presence than the others surveyed, and those respondents generally showed higher levels of happiness -- a finding that any U.S. or NATO effort to sway the Afghan population against the Taliban would have to confront.

Exclusive: US Embassy Is Helping Recruit Pakistan Government SpiesPakistan Daily: The U.S. and Indians have already started spending huge amounts of money to buy Pakistani opinion makers.

The main concern of the Americans and the Indians at this stage is to carry out propaganda against Pakistan and especially against its armed forces. This is a new tactic that has been introduced to get influential Pakistani civilian officials onboard to supplement CIA and RAW psy-ops and disinformation campaign. This is very disturbing. Image from

Free speech the prize in battle of 'blogistan' - Isabel Gorst, Financial Times: Bloggers in Kazakhstan recently staged a mock funeral for the internet to protest about a draft law they claim will smother free speech in the central Asian country's virtual chat rooms. The deceased, a computer mouse, was delivered in a cardboard coffin to Kazakhtelekom, the state telephone company, followed by mourners carrying flowers.

Poll: Most oppose closing Gitmo – Susan Page, USA TODAY:

Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to closing the detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and moving some of the detainees to prisons on U.S. soil, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds. Image from

1 comment:

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