Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 8

"[I]t costs $250,000 to keep a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan for a year."

--Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran

"In 2006, there were approximately 116,011,000 households in the United States. 1.93% of all households had annual incomes exceeding $250,000."

--Wikipedia; image from

Below images from: Countdown to Copenhagen: Posters from the Past that Can Guide Us in the Future – Llyod Alter


State Department Briefing by [State Department Spokesperson] Ian Kelly, October 7, 2009 - "QUESTION: On the Secretary’s visit to Moscow, do you have any details about her schedule? Is she going to meet any civic society leaders or visit Novaya Gazeta or Ekho Moskvy or any other (inaudible)? MR. KELLY: Well, yeah, her schedule is not set. She’ll be there on the 13th and 14th.

The – I think about half the program is devoted to official meetings. There will be bilateral meetings with Minister Lavrov, and they will discuss a number of bilateral issues, and they’ll also talk about the way forward with the bi-national presidential commission. She will have some public diplomacy events, but they haven’t been set. I’m sure she’ll have some interviews as well."

Silk Road Trade and Investment: New Pathways for U.S.-Central Asia Economic Ties: William J. Burns Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks at U.S. Chamber of Commerce Washington, DC October 7, 2009 - U.S. Department of State: "Each year, the U.S. government sends hundreds of students, teachers, journalists, artists, and sportsmen from Central Asia and Afghanistan to America. Over the past year alone, over 290 young leaders from the region participated in U.S. government-sponsored cultural and educational exchange programs. Since 1993, the U.S. government has also sent over 2,300 Peace Corps volunteers to Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Turkmenistan to build understanding and help the development efforts of local communities. And when people can’t physically travel the miles, we also have the advantage today of being able to connect people over a virtual Silk Road with the instant click of a mouse. Our public diplomacy efforts facilitate those ties through the use of blogs, Twitter, pod-casts, and videos, extending the reach of our efforts to connect with people in ways that were unimaginable when I joined the Diplomatic Service more than a quarter century ago."

As Afghan War Enters 9th Year, Rep. Barbara Lee—Lone Lawmaker to Vote Against 2001 Authorization—Seeks to Block New Troop Surge -

Rep. Barbara Lee: “We have to look at a more comprehensive strategy, as it relates to Afghanistan, that requires more public diplomacy.”

Obama's Pakistan problem – Laura Rozen, Politico: "A $7.5 billion assistance bill to Pakistan passed by Congress last week was intended to give the U.S. increased leverage in that more indirect effort to move Pakistan into the U.S. orbit. But U.S. officials have been dismayed by bitter criticism of the bill [Kerry-Lugar-Berman] by Pakistani military and civilian leaders in recent days, who charge the bill imposes conditions that infringe on its sovereignty. … 'Every single proposal in terms of upping assistance on civilian or military side has the potential to turn into a counterproductive event if Pakistanis believe that we are essentially an occupying power,' says the Council on Foreign Relations’ Daniel Markey. 'The massive central underlying rationale of Kerry-Lugar-Berman is that only by demonstrating our commitment to the Pakistanis in a significant way, can we hope to dig out of the public diplomacy and strategic hole we have gotten in over decades.'"

Does PD to Pakistan require the re-creation of USIA? - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy:

"Did the elimination of USIA bring about the end of public diplomacy towards Pakistan? Is a restored, large, top-heavy bureaucracy required for public diplomacy to Pakistan to exist?"

Pakistan at ‘Critical Phase’ Against al-Qaeda: Foreign Minister Says Pakistani Government Securing Broad Support for Anti-Extremist - Spencer Ackerman, Washington Independent: "The [Pakistani] foreign minister [Shah Mahmood Qureshi], who is on a public-diplomacy tour of the U.S. to bolster support for his government, said that Pakistan was at 'a crucial phase in its fight against terrorism.'”

Radio Farsi: Washington's favorite mythical international station - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy:

"The confusing jumble of US international broadcasting brands confuses even US senators."

Better think some more about Alhurra - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "RFE/RL and VOA do not criticize American action, but as part of the news process, they occasionally interview people who do. RFE/RL and VOA may not be 'truly independent' by dint of their government funding, but one would be hard pressed to prove that their journalism is not independent."

'Without Gandhi, there would be no Obama' - Aziz Haniffa, Rediff: "The Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act of 2009, which Lewis introduced on July 24, is currently pending before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

It authorises the secretary of state to develop three international exchange programmes: · Undergraduate and postgraduate student exchange programmes that apply the philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi [Images] and Dr Martin Luther King Jr to current issues like human rights, peaceful conflict resolution, civil rights and democracy. · A professional training initiative for government employees to develop international conflict solutions based on Gandhian principles. · An annual public diplomacy forum to be held alternately in the US and India, which will focus on the philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr in the resolution of global issues."

Public Diplomacy’s Glass Ceiling - jjohnson47’s Weblog: "The new Under Secretary, Judith McHale, has expanded dramatically her staff, which at last count numbers 38 — probably triple that of her predecessors. … A lot of work is going into making PD more strategic: notably, the institution of a PD implementation plan (reviving a USIA practice that was abandoned by State) and an emphasis on reporting and accounting for resources. This is a work in progress that is bound to prompt complaints from field officers, and achieving accountability without killing creativity or slowing the real work will be no mean trick. Many of my co-writers fret about the importance and status of PD within the Department. On the one hand, the assistant secretary positions for the Educational and Cultural Affairs International Information Programs bureaus remain unfilled. … On the other hand, PD leaders are optimistic about major budget increases that will be targeted to critical areas like reestablishing cultural centers and preparing for an influx of new junior Foreign Service officers. The Obama Administration treats public diplomacy as a subset of diplomacy, but they’re doing a lot of it starting with Secretary Clinton herself. There is less evidence that PD has a seat at the policy table."

Public Diplomacy Not Broken … So Can’t be Fixed - John Matel, WorldWide Matel: "Maybe we cannot fix public diplomacy any more than we can fix the need to eat. It is just an endless need. If we eat a big meal today, being hungry again tomorrow does not indicate a failure or eating or the need to reform our consumption methods. … The latest buzzword for public diplomacy is engagement.

I like engagement. It can be fun and you can learn a lot. But it is not a panacea ... . Remember what Aristotle said about anger? It applies to engagement too, so let me paraphrase. Anybody can be engaged - that is easy, but to be engaged with the right people and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy."

An Introduction to Using Network Maps in Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication - Ali Fisher, "This introduction is intended to provide a basic understanding of how to view a network map. The potential uses of network mapping and social network analysis are vast. It can be used to plan, develop and evaluate engagement for, among other purposes, public diplomacy and strategic communication."

The Iranian Election: Following A Conversation - Ali Fisher, Newswire – CPD Blog & Blogroll, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The response by individuals using Twitter to the Iranian election provides important perspectives for the scholarship and practice of Public Diplomacy. …

If Public Diplomacy 2.0 or digital diplomacy is to be truly successful – the ability to understand the actual interactions of social media users will have to become central to the planning and evaluation of programmes and initiatives. See also.

BBC Worldwide expands in the Middle East: "government agenda," or just profit? - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "Welcome to the confusing world of BBC's international television activities. BBC Arabic is part of World Service and is funded by the Foreign Office. The BBC Worldwide channels, including BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle and BBC Entertainment, in theory bring money into the BBC organization through advertising or inclusion in pay TV packages outside the UK. The BBC Worldwide channels are in English; I don't know if Arabic subtitles are available."

To China's delight, India reins in its mediaRediff:

"Good public diplomacy, at home and abroad, indeed can complement official diplomacy and defense preparedness. Indian opacity on Chinese-triggered border incidents only helps bolster China's projection of its 'peaceful rise.' By trying to mask the actual border situation, New Delhi seriously risks playing into Beijing's hands and spurring on greater Chinese belligerence."

Anti-semitism and the Ironies of the Socialism of Fools - Eastern Europe Watch: "With regards [to] Poland …it is the foreign policy alliance that is important: as Israel remains a strategic ally it is not good for 'public diplomacy ['] to have someone tinged with anti-semitism."

UK - MFA - Working with China on sustainable growthIsria: "As China moves from an export-fuelled economy to one that relies on domestic consumption, Wilton Park’s 1000th conference looks at how China’s industrial development can become more sustainable.

The conference, held in the run-up to the Copenhagen Summit, will bring together policy makers, academics and business people from China, the UK, US and Europe to discuss how climate change can be raised on the agenda for China’s political and business leaders. They will analyse how to develop media and public diplomacy strategies and how to set in place mechanisms for continued engagement on these issues that will lead to real progress in the future."

Publications (2004) - share2shine: "Wang, J.& Chang, T. -K.(2004). Strategic public diplomacy and local press: how a high-profile 'head-of-state' visit was covered in America’s heartland. Public Relations Review, 30, 1, 11-24."

Employment Opportunities at USAID - "Legislative & Public Affairs Internship Opportunities in International Development (LPA) LPA directs the Agency's communications strategy and policies; is responsible for positioning, messaging and branding; develops outreach and educational programs; leads the Agency's online marketing strategy and manages the external website; and produces events and promotional products to generate support for USAID's mission. Interns will be working on various projects related to the LPA mission (congressional, strategic communications, multimedia, publications, website, public liaison, public diplomacy, press; and special events and protocol). The internship is full-time with flexible hours."

Head, Communications Technologies Section (CTS) - 93 Studios – Jobs:

"Brussels-Brussels, The Public Diplomacy Division of NATO is recruiting for the NATO's Communications Technology Section a Head, Communications Technologies Section (CTS) The Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) of NATO plays a key role in explaining NATO's policies and activities to the public and, as such, is NATO's main public interface with audiences world-wide."


Below images from 100 + WWII Aliados Propaganda Posters

War of the Worlds: London, 1898; Kabul, 2009 - Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: The United States may now be represented in the Afghan countryside, as it already is in the tribal areas on the Pakistani side of the border, mainly by Predators and their even more powerful cousins, Reapers, unmanned aerial vehicles with names straight out of a sci-fi film about implacable aliens.

Pakistan Fears Dirty American Money – N. Perkins, Central Exit: Top Pakistani military officials are refusing a $1.5 billion dollar influx of United States aid. The criticism is an unusual move for Pakistan, and particularly given recent evidence that U.S. aid has been used illegally by corrupt Pakistani officials.

This is a prime example of confusion stemming from the fused structure of U.S. diplomacy, military force, and aid. On the surface the Pakistani complaints seem strange but looking deeper we can clearly see the need to redefine and reassign the duties of the State Department, U.S.A.I.D., and the Department of Defense.

US to suspend aid to Pakistan if negative propaganda goes on against Kerry Lugar Bill: PM - Online - International News Network: ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani has said US administration can suspend aid to Pakistan if negative propaganda against Kerry Lugar bill continues.

Pakistanis Balk at U.S. Aid Package: Criticism Threatens To Snarl Obama's Efforts in Region - Karen DeYoung and Scott Wilson, Washington Post:

Although President Obama has praised the $7.5 billion, five-year aid program -- approved by Congress last week -- Pakistani officials have objected to provisions that require U.S. monitoring of everything from how they spend the money to the way the military promotes senior officers.

Poll finds skepticism on Afghanistan democracyUSA TODAY - In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Tuesday, most Americans embrace U.S. goals in Afghanistan. Eight in 10 say weakening terrorists' ability to stage attacks on the United States is "an important reason" to stay, but they are less certain that progress is being made, especially in establishing a stable democracy. The USA TODAY survey found a similar partisan divide: three-fourths of Republicans support sending more troops; six in 10 Democrats oppose it. Among all Americans, the divide is almost even, with 48% in favor, 45% opposed. Most of those opposed say Obama should begin to withdraw U.S. troops rather than commit more.

Afghan War Debate Now Leans to Focus on Al Qaeda - Peter Baker and Eric Schmitt, New York Times:

President Obama’s national security team is moving to reframe its war strategy by emphasizing the campaign against Al Qaeda in Pakistan while arguing that the Taliban in Afghanistan do not pose a direct threat to the United States, officials said Wednesday.

Civilian, Military Officials at Odds Over Resources Needed for Afghan Mission - Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post

Testing Obama's Doctrine: Lofty Ideals and Afghan Reality - David Ignatius, Washington Post: The vision of a global rule of law exemplifies what we are coming to understand as Obama's way of thinking -- optimistic, rational, practical. But like the mantra of "change" that got him elected, it is an empty vessel waiting to be filled with the details of real life. It's not a strategy. It's a formula for how to solve problems -- which is not the same as global leadership.

Biden's Afghan Journey: Remembering the Original Goal: Security - Norman J. Kurz, Washington Post:

To the extent that having a strong, credible Afghan partner is necessary for successful counterinsurgency policy, it's easy to understand how Afghan president Karzai has failed the test and lost the support of Biden and a growing number of skeptics.

The president fiddles, Afghanistan burns – Editorial, Washington Times: Yesterday marked the anniversary of American boots on the ground in Afghanistan. Eight years into the war, the U.S. effort is adrift. Those who expected decisive action on Afghanistan from President Obama will have to keep waiting.

Plan B for Afghanistan: It looks a lot like the losing strategies of past years – Editorial, Washington Post:

The White House's Plan B would mainly amount to refusing Gen. McChrystal most of the additional U.S. troops he has requested -- thereby saving the president a decision that would anger his political base. The question that remains is whether Mr. Obama will prefer the risk of defeat that the general outlined to the costs of sending tens of thousands of more American forces. The latter course does not guarantee success by any means, but the former is a proven loser.

After Six Years, 'We're Worthless': Iraqis on U.S.-Created Local Councils Feeling Vulnerable as American Pullout Looms - Ernesto LondoƱo, Washington Post

America’s Limits - Roger Cohen, New York Times: The notion of the United States as an exceptional power, a beacon for mankind, has resided at the core of the heroic American narrative.

From Lincoln through Wilson to Reagan and Bush, the lexicon of American-inspired redemption has been recurrent. American exceptionalism has involved a messianic streak, the belief in a country with a global calling to uplift. Obama represents a departure from this tradition.

The Art of Propaganda: 7 Uzbek performers find their careers on ice if they don’t sing Tashkent’s tune - EurasiaNet: As it struggles to keep a lid on political dissent while trying to keep the wheels from coming off the economy, the government of Uzbekistan is co-opting the country’s entertainment industry. Local show-biz personalities are being forced to conform to the state’s wishes, and those who don’t get with the program are having the plugs pulled on their careers.

Alexander Nevsky: Stalinist propaganda in the 13th century: Eisenstein's 1938 epic has Marxist heroes liberating the proletariat, evil Nazi stand-ins and a massive-scale 'deflowering'. But the battle scenes are spectacular - Alex von Tunzelmann, A few months after Alexander Nevsky's original release the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact affirmed peace between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

The film was pulled from cinemas. When the Germans headed into Soviet-occupied Poland two years later, it was revived to enormous acclaim.


Vampire bite necklace (from Boing Boing)

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