Monday, June 22, 2009

June 21-22

"It is instructive to be reminded that new ideas triumph less by persuading their opponents than outliving them."

--Felipe Fernández-Armesto, review of Patricia Fara, Science: A four thousand year history; Times Literary Supplement, June 12, 2009, p. 12; image from


Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars at Syracuse University


Iran and Obama: Hands That Bind Us - Political Analysis…with style: "The Obama Administration, while a novice on most international disputes, has shown caution and restraint in its public diplomacy. While Republicans on the hill and on the Sunday shows clamor for 'stronger' or more spirited sound bytes, the Obama team is building a case for support amongst the vast number of international 'actors' who can carry our message and hopes without making the United States a target for Mid-East fund raising drives." Image from

Obama In Cairo: Will change follow? - Hoyt Purvsi, The Santiego Times: "In addressing the Muslim world, Obama did not minimize the scope of the challenge and he began by countering some of the extremist propaganda that has permeated much of the Muslim world, sometimes abetted by insensitive and condescending comments and actions by U.S. officials and a tendency to view the Muslim world in generalized, stereotyped terms. In a region where U.S. public diplomacy has often been lacking, the mere fact of Obama's presence and purpose in Cairo was of no small significance. That significance was enhanced by the positive and respectful tone of his remarks. … President Obama has frankly and clearly outlined the problems that must be overcome and his speech was generally well received within the Middle East and the Muslim world. The rhetoric offers promise, but real change will require sustained commitment. ... Ed. Note: The following op. ed. was written by Hoyt Purvis – a journalism and international relations professor at the University of Arkansas who has served as press secretary to Sen. J. William Fulbright, foreign/defense policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, and as chairman of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board."

There is no VOA "Radio Farsi," and, besides, it's still on the air - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "Ms. Dale [Helle C. Dale, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies and deputy director of the Davis Institute for Foreign and Defense Studies of the Heritage Foundation] is another conservative think tank fellow who thinks the United States should spend more liberally on international broadcasting. If there were any fiscal conservatives in Washington (just hypothetically speaking, of course), they might note that Britain spends less than the United States on international broadcasting, but has more audience." Dale image from

The only question remaining is will this VOA film be available via Netflix? - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "'Members [of the House of Representatives] refused, 178-254, to block U.S. distribution of a Voice of America film depicting how Afghan drug commerce aids the Taliban. A yes vote opposed release under a 1948 law intended to keep federal officials from airing Cold War propaganda domestically. (HR 2410)' Sarasota Herald Tribune, 14 June 2009. [Elliott comment:] Actually HR 2410 contains language that supported domestic release of the documentary. It was H. Amdt. 190 to HR 2410 that opposed release. It was sponsored by Rep Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL)..."

Western powers are seeking to undermine Iran by spreading "anarchy and vandalism", the foreign ministry says - BBC News: "'They [the BBC and the VOA] are the mouthpiece

of their government's public diplomacy,' Mr Qashqavi [Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi] said. 'They have two guidelines regarding Iran. One is to intensify ethnical and racial rifts within Iran and secondly to disintegrate the Iranian territories.'" Image from

Filipino film wins Democracy Video Challenge - Pia Lee-Brago, Philippine Star: "The US Embassy in Manila announced Tuesday that the Philippines’ entry won the US State Department-sponsored Democracy Video Challenge. The State Department and its partners said Melissa 'Aissa' Peñafiel and Miguel Ocampo, both from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, were among the six winners of the worldwide online competition that engages people around the world in a global dialogue on democracy."

Smart Power’: A change in U.S. diplomacy strategy - Jessica Dargiel, e-IR: "While Secretary Clinton has not addressed the issue of public diplomacy directly, it is clear from many of the programs she has been supporting since taking office that she is strongly devoted to pursuing public diplomacy goals. For instance in April 2009, a Pakistani girls soccer team was invited to Washington to learn more about nutrition, fitness and team-building, as well as learn about gender equality laws such as Title IX."

State of Play: when governments come out to play - hakawitech: "Here are my notes on this session. Quite interesting… Liz Losh, Jean Miller, Bill May Tory Horton: Public diplomacy: what is it? Information and info overload that redefines public diplomacy that focuses on communication and dialogue, collaboration and group work. With this shift came a change: listening, policy alignment… Opportunities include: VW can fulfill an ideal which is collaboration across cultures and have a place for coordinated action. They can have a new relationship. Geography collapses. Credibility is important in relationships and in public diplomacy are important. Building relationships requires credibility and basing your opinion not on what one looks." Image from

The Al-Jazeera News Network: Opportunity or Challenge for U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East? Summary - The CIA Memory Hole: "This paper provides an overview of Al-Jazeera and explores the debate surrounding its objectivity. This report also analyzes Al-Jazeera's coverage of events in the Middle East, specifically, its coverage of events in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The final section of this report discusses policy options regarding U.S. public diplomacy efforts in the Middle East region."

The Day In Israel: Mon June 22nd, 2009 - Aussie Dave, Israellycool: "5:58AM: David Saranga, Consul for Media and Public Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York On June 17th, addressing the 140 Character Conference about the use of Twitter in Public Diplomacy." [Includes video]. See also.

New tanks, new missiles, new guns - but hunger rules: The ‘military first’ policy of the elite who run North Korea means extreme hardship for those outside the martial classTimes, London:

"Last week a train was seen carrying dozens of brand-new Chinese military lorries from the Jiefang (Liberation) truck factory to Pyongyang – days after Chinese diplomats at the United Nations had pledged support for new sanctions imposed after North Korea’s second nuclear test. … The Chinese have tempered their public diplomacy with quiet warnings to North Korea that may have averted a military provocation last week while the South Korean president was in Washington." Image from

Brand India can learn from Swiss watchmakers - Paul Temporal, Times of India: "A nation's brand equity is to do with the strength of perceptions about its economic prowess, political stability, leadership, democracy, governance, justice, poverty, culture, the environment, and so on. It is heavily influenced by government policies and public diplomacy; not by advertising and promotion. When a brand possesses strong equity, the result is usually higher brand value, which is the monetary value attributed to a brand."

DPP must bolster dialogue with U.S. - Taiwan News: "[I]t is absolutely essential now for the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] to actively engage in party diplomacy, including dialogue with governments, parties, INGOs and global civil society and especially with the United States, for its own future and even for the survival of a democratic Taiwan. Party and public diplomacy remains absolutely essential for Taiwan's future." Image from

fsp lastly - Vahd Mulachela, dearvahd:and so here it is, ladies and gentlemen, a territory where you can find some footnotes of vahd's life. it contains his ideas, interests, stories, pictures and, sometimes, the most important nonsense of his life... haa!: "in less than twelve hours i will be sitting in an examination room in keble college. ... I also have prepared myself with some reading materials related to the topics i plan to answer tomorrow. it is my hope that the questions will correspond to what i have learned and memorised, such as international organisations, us' foreign policy, public diplomacy, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. these are among the topics i try to elaborate tomorrow."


Melrose students to sing for the king - Daniel DeMaina, Melrose Free Press: "King Abdullah II of Jordan

has invited the Boston Children’s Chorus, … to visit Jordan from June 30 through July 11, giving performances and participating in cultural and musical workshops across the country. … The Boston Children’s Chorus has regularly toured over the summer, both in the U.S. and abroad, as a form of cultural diplomacy." Image from
Muslim Voices, Western Ears - Melik Kaylan - Wall Street Journal: "There's no doubt that the 10-day Muslim Voices festival staged around New York City … featured some highly superior expressions of Muslim culture past and present. … Nevertheless, the seemingly unexceptionable nature of the festival's premise -- to enhance mutual understanding between cultures -- had its own problems. For one thing, such painstakingly well-meaning projects often produce achingly dull results, more earnest than entertaining. … Unquestionably, Islam produced great culture -- and if Americans don't know that, they should. But how many Muslims are exposed to this art form today, and therefore why should it change anyone's 'monolithic' view of contemporary Islamic culture? … As a form of cultural diplomacy, 'Journey to Mecca' [the extraordinary new IMAX film 'Journey to Mecca' at the American Museum of Natural History] can hardly be bettered -- it comes closest to plugging some of the holes in the festival's premise: Here is the heart of Muslim culture; this is a glimpse of what all Muslims share, highbrow or low, African, Arab, Asian or European. Yet nothing in the festival could ultimately fulfill the organizers' agenda, because they presented as examples of Muslim-culture artforms that mostly Western or Westernized Muslims consume. "

17-Yr Old Zuhal Sultan Forms National Youth Orchestra of Iraq - All About Jazz: "17-year-old Iraqi piano prodigy Zuhal Sultan has confirmed plans for the first-ever NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF IRAQ. Her ambitious program will debut in August 2009 in the northern Kurdish region, and will feature performances by a 35-piece orchestra comprised of Iraq’s most promising young classical musicians … As their August launch draws near, NYOI is actively seeking financial support via the grassroots fundraising site Any donation, large or small, will make a difference as these young people embark on their brave road of cultural diplomacy." Sultan image from

Encouraging True Democracy in Palestine Brings Security to Israel - Louise Blouin, Huffington Post: "Today, Europe matters in international affairs: a wealthy power with tremendous economic potential. It must choose to engage rather than hang back and rely on the U.S. … Most importantly, Europe would bring a new, more acceptable, voice to the table [regarding the Israel/Palestinian conflict]. The EU's normative approach to foreign policy, its tools of cultural diplomacy, its expertise in post-conflict reconstruction, and even its apparent sympathy to the Palestinians makes it a distinctive and uniquely powerful player within the Middle East. The EU's oft-cited weakness as a "civilian power" is exactly the type of strength required here."

Suburban Action: City Movement brings the ICD's 'Scandinavia Meets Germany' to Berlin's Marzahn-HellersdorfCultural Diplomacy News: "The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy places great academic importance on analyzing the definition of ‘Cultural Diplomacy’,

and aims to give the term meaning by way of example. The Institute’s upcoming ‘Scandinavia Meets Germany Forum’, focusing on linking the civil societies between those two regions, will treat the forum’s participants to perhaps one of Cultural Diplomacy’s most interesting experiments." Image from

Letters: Is cultural diplomacy effective? - Ctenar Z. Prahy, The Jakarta Post: Prague: "The notion of 'cultural diplomacy' is an interesting one. However, I don't think all efforts by an embassy should be focused on culture. Indonesian dances are certainly interesting... but should be accompanied by more varied efforts (economic dimensions of mutual relations are conspicuously missing)."

Foreign affairs need improving substantially - VoV News: "Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem has asked ministries, provinces and cities to fulfil their all-round diplomatic tasks in terms of planning, networking and staff training. Mr Khiem, who is also Foreign Minister, gave the task to provincial and municipal departments and ministerial-level agencies in charge of foreign affairs at their 15th national conference in central Quang Nam province on June 16. He affirmed that these organisations are part and parcel of the country’s diplomatic sector, which play an important role in carrying out the sector’s tasks including political-economic-cultural diplomacy and work relating to overseas Vietnamese, in their localities." Image from


Right-Thinking Realism - Paul J. Saunders, Washington Post: Those who truly want to see political reform in Iran would do well to stay out of the way.

Gauging Obama in Iran - Helene Cooper, New York Times: Could there be something to all the talk of an Obama effect, after all? A stealth effect, perhaps?

Obama's Iran Dilemma - E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: Obama's initial caution served the interests of freedom by making clear that the revolt against Iran's flawed election is homegrown. As the struggle continues, we cannot pretend that we are indifferent to its outcome. Image from

A strong stand for election bromides: Iranians seeking freedom are on their own - Donald Lambro, Washington Times: President Obama, known for his soaring oratory, has been having a hard time finding the right words to respond to the Iranians' struggle for political change and freedom in a repressive society.

In Tehran, a Moment For Obama to Seize - Jim Hoagland, Washington Post: Morality as a factor in foreign policy has taken a beating recently, due in part to George W. Bush's sanctimonious exploitation of it. But ignoring its place altogether is also a mistake. Yes, it is not the American president's prerogative to meddle in Iran's protests. But neither should he prejudge or minimize the sacrifices that Iranian protesters choose to make in hopes of a better life.

Realism on Iran? It's Called Freedom - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: It is in the direct, hardheaded interest of the United States to encourage enough social space in Iran to test how far these protests eventually might go, since they have already gone further than most thought possible.

Obama's Persian Tutorial: The president has to choose between the regime and the people in the streets - Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal: The theocracy was said to be waiting on an American opening, and this new president would put an end to three decades of estrangement between the United States and Iran. But in truth Iran had never wanted an opening to the U.S.

Obama's non-meddling: A stark contrast to Reagan's stirring challenge - Oliver North, Washington Times: After last Sunday's fatally flawed elections in Iran, President Obama responded by saying, "I can't state definitively one way or another what happened with respect to the election." That was hardly a resounding statement of support for freedom.

Obama and the Rogues: North Korea and Iran intrude on his diplomatic hopes - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal:

President Obama took office loudly promising to be the anti-George W. Bush of foreign policy, vowing to "extend a hand" to adversaries "willing to unclench" their fists. What he has received instead is an education in the reality of global rogues, and how he responds has become a major test of his Presidency. Image from

Reading Twitter in Tehran? Why the real revolution is on the streets -- and offline. John Palfrey, Bruce Etling and Robert Faris – Washington Post

Twitter on the Barricades: Six Lessons Learned - Noam Cohen, New York Times: Does the label Twitter Revolution, which has been slapped on the two most recent events, oversell the technology? Skeptics note that only a small number of people used Twitter to organize protests in Iran and that other means -- individual text messaging, old-fashioned word of mouth and Farsi-language Web sites -- were more influential. But Twitter did prove to be a crucial tool in the cat-and-mouse game between the opposition and the government over enlisting world opinion.

I tweet therefore I am (a social activist) - esevin, Reaching the Public: Yes, online media is important, we can get our news online. Even Ahmadinejad is aware of this fact. He is okay with denying the Holocaust, he threatens Israel on daily basis but when he was accused of trying to ban Facebook, he immediately denied it!

Again, I am not an expert on the country, but why do we doubt the official results and then believe in the Twitter results? What socio-economic groups in Iran use Twitter in Iran? Is the majority of the population online and computer savvy? ... Although internet technologies, especially Web 2.0 understanding, are beneficial for civil society and grassroots advocacy attempts on one side; on the other side, they tend to make everything seem ’so easy’. I am sorry but being an activist requires more than posting articles on your Facebook profile or on your blog! Image from

Iran Falling to US PSYOPS? - Paul Craig Roberts, posted at Voice of Reason

Is President Barack Obama The Best Propaganda Tool for Muslim Extremism?News Blaze

A History of CIA AtrocitiesBritannia Radio

Nazi Propaganda Links - Tangaroa College History

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