Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 20

"It wasn't that the shield was that important, but it's about the way, the way of treating us."

--Lech Wałęsa, the former Polish president and Solidarity leader, regarding the US decision to drop the missile defense shield in Poland; Wałęsa image from


Good Will, but Few Foreign Policy Benefits for Obama -

Peter Baker, New York Times: "As President Obama welcomes world leaders to the United States this week, he has gone a long way toward meeting his goal of restoring the country’s international standing. Foreign counterparts flock to meet with him, and polls show that people in many countries feel much better about the United States. But eight months after his inauguration, all that good will so far has translated into limited tangible policy benefits for Mr. Obama. … James K. Glassman, who served as Mr. Bush’s last under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs and now leads the former president’s new research institute, said popularity only went so far. 'I wouldn’t say it’s not important to be well liked. It is important. But there are other factors involved,' he said. 'What you need to do is find out where you have mutual interests.'” Image from

American Diplomacy Failed Obama in Poland – Ted Lipien, Blogger News Network: "While American and international media blames President Obama for choosing to announce his decision on the removal of the missile defense system from Poland and Czech Republic on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet attack on Poland on September 17, 1939, surprisingly so far no one has called it a failure of American diplomacy. … If only one US diplomat, one foreign service officer at the State Department, did his or her job well, some of the international headlines making fun of President Obama’s lack of appreciation of history would not have been written. Where was the US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale, one of President Obama’s appointees? ... Where was the US Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe? …

At a lower level of US diplomatic corps, where was the PAO (Public Affairs Officer) at the US Embassy in Warsaw and dozens of other foreign service officers, each costing US taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars? Where was the Polish Desk officer at the State Department? Where were all the public diplomacy experts President Obama had promised to bring on board to correct the mistakes of the Bush Administration, whom he accused of dealing harshly with the rest of the world and of not listening to what others were saying?" Image from

US international broadcasting: where duplication knows no frontier. Not even the Pakistan/Afghanistan frontier - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: “[RFE/RL report:] 'RFE/RL will launch a new 6-hour RFE/RL Radio Azadi radio program for Pashto speakers in the dialect of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area.' … Mentioned nowhere in all these reports [RFE/RL’s and others] is that for the past three years,VOA's Deewa Radio has been broadcasting to the same frontier region, in the same Pasto language. And contrary to bogus characterizations that VOA limits itself to news about crop yields in Nebraska, Deewa reports extensively about events in its target region. And, so, in one of the most difficult parts of the world to get news out of, and one of the most difficult to transmit news back into, in one of the most difficult language groups from which to recruit journalists, US international broadcasting will be dividing it resources between two stations whose efforts will largely overlap. No wonder the United States is being 'out communicated.' Make no mistake. The new RFE/RL service, in the tradition of RFE/RL's gutsy journalism, will do a very good job. But VOA's Deewa Radio is also doing a very good job.

Together, they could achieve the excellence required to compete amid the improving domestic media of the Middle East. One might think that USIB has reached its nadir of organizational inefficiency. I'm afraid, however, the downward slope might continue. Don't be surprised if Urdu is RFE/RL's next language service, authorized by members of Congress oblivious to the already formidable efforts of VOA's Radio Aap ki Dunyaa. USIB is subdividing itself into oblivion." Image from

9/19 E-mail to PDPBR compiler from Deirdre Kline, Director of Communications Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.: "John, Hi there, I hope you are doing well. I wanted to touch base because there have been recent reports in the press regarding MBN and the Office of the Inspector General. I wanted to clarify for you that in September 2009, the State Department/BBG Office of the Inspector General informed the BBG that it would be conducting a routine inspection of MBN.

This is one of the various inspections of BBG domestic and overseas offices and functions that are conducted each year. This is not an investigation as reported by some media outlets." Image (Weitz, Mower, Kline, Musa, and Asadova) from Events Detail: Public Diplomacy: Reaching Difficult Audiences (Hudson Institute)

Inter-sectoral approach to Early Childhood Development - nelldd, Tomorrow's Youth Organization: "[N]ot only do early childhood programs have profound and lasting impact on children, but also that they provide access to entire families, and thereby communities. What better public diplomacy instrument could the State Department be looking for?"

We must stay course in Afghanistan - Demetrius Minor, Augusta, letter to the editor, Augusta Chronicle: "Abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban and al-Qaida would be a perfect public diplomacy storm of military failure, sacrificing international goodwill and eroding American credibility."

China on my mind - Saurabh Joshi, StratPost:South Asian Defense & Strategic Affairs: "[I]t has certainly become clear that the Indian government does not speak with one voice on China, even though it may be of the same mind. This has lead to the existing varying views about the approach to China between the Ministry of External Affairs, the intelligence agencies and the armed forces being manifested in leaks to the media, leading to a confused message to the country.

And not only has the Indian government failed to stay on message, it has failed to deliver the message properly by omitting any substantial communication on the issue. The government’s sorry excuse for public diplomacy and advocacy has been epitomized by a statement calling India’s eastern frontiers most peaceful, made by the Indian Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna." Image from

An Interview to G Magazine (Globes – Israel) - David Saranga:This blog is about Public Diplomacy and the implementations of Social Media in this field: "Here is the link to the interview which Uri Leventer from G magazine (the weekend supplement of the Israeli newspaper Globes) did with me, summarizing four years of Public Diplomacy 2.0 activity in New York. Right now it’s only available in Hebrew….soon it will be translated into English. Special thanks to Shahar Azran the photographer who was inspired by our activity with the Afro-American community and the Apollo theater (more about this activity you can read here and here)."


Syracuse University symposium to explore cultural diplomacy - Melinda Johnson, "Syracuse University will host a Cultural Diplomacy Symposium on Sunday and Monday. Writers, a choreographer and academics will discuss the power of culture in the world of politics. Sunday's program will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the singing of the 'Lost Boys' of Sudan. Joseph S. Nye Jr., University Distinguished Service Professor and former dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, will speak on the past, current state and future of cultural diplomacy at 6:30 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium in Schine Student Center.

A panel discussion will follow. On Monday, a panel discussion on 'Transcending Conflict Through Culture,' will be 2 to 5 p.m. in Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse III. Participants include graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi, journalist Paul Salopek, New York Times technology columnist David Pogue and choreographer and dancer Shen Wei of Shen Wei Dance Arts. The panel discussion will be Webcast at 7 p.m. Monday at" See also. Image from

Improving South Korea’s image abroad Park No-ja - The Hankyoreh: "[N]ot only has the Lee Myung-bak administration failed to present policy for building inter-Korean trust to underpin the proposal for joint arms reductions given in the Aug. 15 celebratory address, it has focused its energies solely on destroying whatever trust has been built up over the previous decade. No matter how much money it sinks into cultural diplomacy, an administration that does not know how to implement peace policies amounting to anything more than talk has no chance of successfully promoting the country’s image."

Sergio Rivadeneyra, charge d’affaires of the Mexican embassy in Ha Noi, spoke to Viet Nam News on the occasion of Mexico’s National Day today - Viet Nam News: [Question:] Last year, a series of cultural activities were held in Ha Noi by the Mexican Embassy for Mexico’s Independence Day, creating further friendship between the two nations. So how do you assess the cultural co-operation between our two countries? [Rivadeneyra:] Indeed, as I was mentioning earlier, Mexico deploys a specific and targeted Cultural Diplomacy around the world. Here in Viet Nam, we have tried to cover many areas of Mexican culture: we organised one Mexican Cinema week; one Culinary Week with two Mexican chefs who also performed some music; we had an exhibition of paintings by Mexican painter Teodulo Rimulo; and we hosted a Mexican Pavilion at the HIWC Bazaar. These are an ongoing effort.

This week the Embassy and the Vietnam News Agency are inaugurating a photo exhibition called 'The Colours of Mexico' at No 29 Hang Bai Street, which is open to the public and brings together three collections of photos: one from the Vietnam News Agency, one from the Embassy, and one directly from Mexico based on Tina Modotti’s work during the 1930’s in our country. Next month we’ll organise another Mexican Cinema Week at Cinematheque (22A Hai Ba Trung). In November we’ll organise our Pavilion for the HIWC Bazaar. So, as you can see, on the cultural side we have been rather busy, but we have been extremely grateful for the help and support that we have received from many different public offices, in particular the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam News Agency." Rivadeneyra image from article


A Better Missile Defense for a Safer Europe - Robert M. Gates, New York Times. Below image from

Sources: U.S. spy 'surge' in Afghanistan CIA buildup rivals peaks during Vietnam, Iraq wars - Greg Miller, Chicago Tribune: The CIA is in the midst of a major buildup in Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence "surge" that will make the agency's station there among the largest in CIA history, according to U.S. officials. When complete, the CIA's presence in the country is expected to rival the size of its massive stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars. Precise numbers are classified, but one U.S. official said the CIA already has nearly 700 employees in Afghanistan.

Looking to fool us twice - James G. Zumwalt, Washington Times: While Washington will engage Tehran in talks, only a fool

enters them optimistically. Those talks will fail, leaving the United States to decide if Iran's final run to the nuclear weapons finish line will be an unencumbered one. Image from

The clocks are ticking on Iran: The Obama administration, Israel, the European powers -- all have much at stake in upcoming talks with Tehran - Doyle McManus, The confrontation with Iran is moving into a critical period. To Iran's nuclear technology clock, and Israel's existential threat clock, add a third clock: Obama's promised results clock. The clocks are running.

Settling for Failure in the Middle East - Stephen M. Walt,

Washington Post: To succeed, Obama must use his bully pulpit to explain to the American people that the two-state solution is by far the best outcome for Israel and that time is running out. Image from

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning our efforts in the West Bank!

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