Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 7

"Words, words, words."

--Shakespeare, Hamlet


In Mideast and Europe, Obama debuts 'global populism': The American president took his case straight to the people on his trip this week, spending limited time with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany, and France - Robert Marquand, Christian Science Monitor: "Some diplomats say Obama's foreign policy tactics, similar to those used in the 2008 election campaign to create an improbable and popular grass-roots movement, are so new that they defy definition at this point. While the Bush administration began a strong emphasis on public diplomacy, Obama's own biography and experience seem to allow him to connect and build bridges that reach hearts and minds among ordinary people in a new fashion. A recent poll conducted in the US and major European countries by Harris International showed that the president was the most popular Western leader, with 70-80 percent seeing him as positive. Two separate polls of Arab public opinion in late May showed him as enjoying less support, but still viewed more favorably than US policy as a whole." See also; image from

Obama’s landmark Cairo speech makes waves across the globe - Niall Stanage, Sunday Business Post:

"The tension between the characteristic ease with which Obama expressed his views and the tortuous work that will be needed to translate them into reality was a point of focus for much of the American media. The liberal-leaning New York Times lauded the speech, but added that 'words are not enough’. The Washington Post similarly commended Obama’s 'skilful use of public diplomacy ', but cautioned that his 'challenge will be to prevent Arab leaders from diverting the broad engagement he proposed into the narrow alley of the Mideast ‘peace process’." Image from

Obama In Cairo – Gregory Djerejian, The Belgravia Dispatch: Barack Obama’s speech today in Cairo was a significant feat of public diplomacy, if not a great speech for the ages, say one where myriad lines will be quoted in depth many score years from now. Nor will it change the course of history, or even perhaps, materially alleviate anytime soon the deep divides and suspicions that have caused such tensions between the Western and Muslim worlds of late. But it was a very honest speech, in the main, and a very serious speech, one that not infrequently flirted with a certain impactful majesty of spirit, with its almost youthful optimism and earnest sincerity. … The core content of the speech however contained no shocking new policy directions."

Abraham Lincoln's Bible and Thomas Jefferson's Quran – Kerim Balci, Today’s Zaman, Turkey: "US President Barack Obama's Cairo speech was another 'best practice' show of public diplomacy genius. Obama is a brilliant 'window dressing' for the ever-deteriorating image of the US in the world."

Obama lays the groundwork to take on Palestinian/Israeli conflict - Sean Foley, The Tennessean: "The fact that George W. Bush left office this year as one of the most unpopular figures in the Arab and Muslim world provides a cautionary tale

of the limitations of public diplomacy and reiterates the importance of U.S. policies in the Middle East, Asia and Africa to America's relationship with Muslims." Image from

Public Affairs Must Inform Foreign Policy - P.J. Crowley, ABC-7 News: “Last week, I began my tenure as the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. I am humbled and exhilarated by the task before me and am grateful for the trust and confidence President Obama and Secretary Clinton have placed in me. … Almost 20 years ago, I was assigned to Germany, one of the highlights of my 26 years serving with the U.S. Air Force. … [T]he people of Eastern Europe rejected Communism and moved swiftly to associate themselves with the rule of law, market economies and responsible and accountable governments. This success was due in no small measure to institutions like the United States Information Agency, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, which helped foreign publics understand that they could have the rights and opportunities of free people. This was public diplomacy at its best, and proved to be a cornerstone of our policy of containment. Now, Secretary Clinton’s focus on using smart power – the full compliment of diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural tools is leading us back to a balanced approach to foreign policy that served us well throughout our history. … Given the expanded nature of the communications environment, Secretary Clinton decided to restructure the Bureau of Public Affairs. I will serve as the Assistant Secretary, but not as the every day spokesman for the department. One of my foremost responsibilities will be to ensure that public affairs informs public policy. This is why you’ll hear me repeatedly coming back to the idea of a strategic communications plan. My task, working with Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and the newly designated spokesman, Ian Kelly, will be to serve as the senior advisor to the Secretary, contribute to the administration’s interagency strategic planning and lead the Bureau of Public Affairs and the dedicated public affairs professionals at the State Department and around the world." Crawley image from article

VOA's Pashto to the border region expands by three hours daily - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Villagers of Hasankeyf embark upon desperate public diplomacy campaign – Ayşe Karabat, Today’s Zaman: "[The] village, Suçeken, will be submerged under water once the $1.7 billion Ilısu Dam project is completed. …

[Members of] the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive were in Ankara last week for a public campaign to be able to continue to live in their villages." Image: Protest against Ilisu Dam

Seib named new director of USC Center on Public Diplomacy - USC Annenberg News: "The USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School for Communication announced journalism professor Philip Seib (pictured) has been appointed the new director of the Center as of July 1."

Changes afoot at CPD - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "The Center on Public Diplomacy announced that it will have a new director, Prof Phil Seib. I don't know Prof Seib, but the reputation that precedes him is good. Prof. Wiseman, probably one of my most favorite professors, is stepping down from the position and returning to academia full time- I'm sorry to see him go. Not to comment one way or another about the move, as I don't know the incoming director or back story behind the moves afoot, but I find it ironic that CPD is keeping up with the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy in musical chairs. This is the center's third director since its inception in 2003, a pace matching State's own shifting Under Sec for Pub D. An upcoming piece in Public Diplomacy Magazine notes the necessity for continuity in the Under Secretary position for Public Diplomacy, and wishes a long tenure for the new director- let's hope for the same at CPD." Seib image from

Journal Article: Metacoverage of Mediated Wars: How the Press Framed the Role of the News Media and of Military News Management in the Iraq Wars of 1991 and 2003 - Esser F. Am Behav Sci 2009; 52(5): 709-734 - Archive Abstracts – Details, SafetyLit: "Metacoverage is understood as a discursive outcome of structural mediatization processes in modern media wars. … A content analysis of press coverage on the last two Gulf Wars shows that journalists used four frames to describe the role of the news media and of military news management; these frames are called conduit, strategy, personalization, and accountability. … Consequences for political communication and public diplomacy are discussed."

Bangkok - Erinkamler’s Blog: "I am in love with my Thai teacher, Khun Supaporn. I love her despite the pain she’s inflicted on me in our five–day language learning marathon . … As it turns out, my beloved kroo (teacher), who I already knew was brilliant, warm and wise, also works part-time for the International Peace Foundation, a Vienna-based NGO that implements educational initiatives in Thailand and Cambodia. Recognizing our parallel interests and passions, we dove into a compelling discussion about public diplomacy, the use and of culture in international dialogue, the role of citizen diplomats and the fundamental importance of education in this process." Bangkok image from


Obama’s Cairo Speech: Forceful Words

and Fateful Realities
- Rod Nordland, New York Times: Barack Obama’s Cairo speech may not succeed in changing the Middle East, but it will at least have persuaded many skeptical Muslims that he cared. Image from

After Cairo, It’s Clinton Time - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: The follow-up to the president’s speech will have to be led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This will be her first big test, and, for me, there is no question as to where she should be putting all her energy: on the peace process -- the one inside Iraq.

Prologue or First Act? Obama's speech to the Muslim world - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: There desperately needs to be a paradigm shift in a range of major US policies towards the greater Islamic world – from the Maghreb to India – and Obama hit all the major issues. … Meanwhile, let’s get this straight: Obama did not, repeat, not sell out Israel.

Woodrow Wilson's Heir - Robert Kagan, Washington Post: Wilson was as beloved around the globe as Obama is today, possibly more beloved, at least for a moment.

His gifts to persuade, however, proved ephemeral, and the results of his efforts were, from his own perspective, an utter failure. We will see whether Barack Obama, the most Wilsonian president in a century, fares better. Image from

A High-Priced Media Campaign That Iraqis Aren't Buying: Many in Baghdad Dismiss Effort as U.S. Propaganda - Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post: In a country where few things work well, where security forces have a checkered reputation and sectarian tension remains high, many Iraqis have grown dismissive of the flood of propaganda they know or assume comes from the U.S.

Arab Propaganda: Slick, Sly and Slimy – Ymedad, My Right Word

Settlements are no threat - Aron U. Raskas, Baltimore Sun: Palestinian propaganda machines have for years purveyed the myth of Israeli settlements choking Palestinian communities the way commerce and residential developments have encroached upon rural America.

Yet, in reality, nothing like this exists in the largely unsettled expanses of the West Bank. When Mark Twain walked this land in 1867, he described in his book, Innocents Abroad, this very same "deserted" and "desolate country" with its "rocky and bare" landscape. Today, despite Palestinian efforts to portray it differently, not all that much has changed outside the few towns and villages that dot the land. Image from

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