Friday, October 2, 2009

October 1-2

--Oldest human-like fossil found

“General Erections”

--a scene from Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar’s "Pepi, Luci, Bom"; cited in The Times Literary Supplement, September 11, 2009, p. 17

PUBIC DIPLOMACY (no typo intended)

--October issue of Foreign Service Journal

US to triple non-military aid to Pak- Economic Times: "The House of Representatives has passed a legislation seeking to triple non-military aid to Pakistan but with riders on preventing terror attacks against the West or neighbours like India. … Under the bill, the US Congress will not only triple aid

but also give help to Pakistan to support democratic institutions, strengthen public diplomacy to combat militant extremism and promote a better understanding of the United States." See also. Image from

Pakistanis Reject US Partnership: Jane Perlez, New York Times: "In order to improve American standing in Pakistan, the special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, had ordered an overhaul of the public diplomacy programs and was sending several seasoned diplomats to bolster the embassy, a senior American official said. A public affairs strategy centered on the American desire for a strong relationship with Pakistan and focused on describing the common enemy as Al Qaeda and the Taliban was about to begin, the official said. The new effort included spending about $30 million on educational and cultural exchanges between Pakistan and the United States, and providing more Fulbright scholarships for Pakistanis to study at American universities." See also.

Najibullah Zazi Case Illustrates Al Qaida On Its Way Out: Analysis – C.M. Sennott, Huffington Post: "Through public diplomacy, he [Obama] was accomplishing a great deal to advance the ideas that America stands for among Muslims, and his efforts had some proven success as various opinion surveys have shown in the Muslim world. But the recent debate over the proposed surge of troops in Afghanistan suggests a strong current within his administration and the Pentagon that wants to regress back to the conventional

military approach and what is ultimately a doomed strategy against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda movement for which the now toppled Taliban government provided a base in Afghanistan." Image from

Iran Again: Is Everyone Bluffing? - Immanuel Wallerstein, New York Times: "Iran is back in the forefront of public diplomacy. President Obama, jointly with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, held a press conference in which they seemed to give Iran one more ultimatum: Conform to their demands, what they called the demands of the 'international community,' by December of this year or face new sanctions. Mr. Obama said that Iran is 'breaking the rule that all nations must follow.' … So, where does all this leave us? It leaves the world in a stalemate. Lots of words and very little action."

A Preview of Negotiations: Interview with Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state for political affairs and lead Iran negotiator under President George W. Bush; Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Harvard Kennedy School - Middle East Progress: "And how do you interpret their [Iranians’] mixed messages in the lead up to the talks in terms of the softer tone versus the missile test and the different actions in the past few weeks? I think this is classic Iranian negotiating tactics. They are obviously in a belligerent mood, or else why would they have ordered these missile tests that they made so public. Ahmadinejad tried a charm offensive with the press when he was in New York; I think he failed in that mission.

And so, they are trying to send and are sending mixed messages, I think in part because they are not very good at this game of public diplomacy. They come from a dictatorial system, and they are divided at home as well. And that’s why we’re hearing different things from different people in the Iranian political system." Burns image from

October surprise in US-Iran relations - Kaveh L Afrasiabi, Asia Times: "[A] surprise move by the US Department of State to grant a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to visit Washington, ostensibly to inspect Iran's Interest Section. Mottaki's presence in the US has been a major plus for US-Iran diplomacy, by allowing Iran to complement its moves at the negotiation table in Geneva with Mottaki's string of interviews to the US media, meant to bolster Iran's public diplomacy."

Caspian Basin: Pentagon Web Initiative Sparks Debate On Best Methods For Winning Hearts And Minds - Deirdre Tynan, "A US Defense Department Internet initiative is stoking a debate among experts about whether the Pentagon is overreaching. The $10.1 million Trans Regional Web Initiative (TRWI) aims to launch a series of language-specific websites, including Russian, Chinese, Farsi, Georgian, Armenian and Azeri.

The Pentagon in early September awarded the contract to build the new websites to General Dynamics Corp. The websites will feature news and analysis that helps garner support for US policies. Overall, the Defense Department wants to establish 12 websites within the year under TRWI’s auspices. … In the opinion of two legal experts -- Daniel Silverberg, counsel to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Col. Joseph Heimann, the Senior Appellate Judge on the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals -- the Pentagon web initiative has the potential to do damage to American public diplomacy. The TRWI initiative also rests on shaky legal ground, Silverberg and Heimann suggest. In a paper published in the summer of 2009, Silverberg and Heimann said the TRWI plan could blur the line between Department of Defense propaganda and Department of State public affairs initiatives in a way that benefits neither government agency." Image from

The United States can expect a long, difficult conflict -- among its international communication bureaucracies - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "The Pentagon websites [see above article] will probably not feature news, but a news-like content limited to friendly, soft stories (a common public relations technique). As such, the Pentagon sites will complement the US international broadcasting sites, which are real news. On the other hand, the Pentagon sites will duplicate the work of, which also provides news-like content in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Persian, and Chinese. International audiences will be annoyed with the United States for making them figure out which website has the real news versus the ersatz news (though it won't be hard to spot which is which), and then to try to figure out why the United States has two sites providing real news (VOA and Radio Free Whatever) and two sites ( and the new Pentagon effort) providing the soft, news-like content."

More on the September 17 public-diplomacy disaster – John Brown, Notes and Essays: "For days I have been trying to find out why September 17 was chosen as the date for the U.S. government's announcement on the new architecture of anti-missile systems, originally meant to be land-based in Eastern Europe. … The Bush missile system was crazy to begin with, but the Obama timing for announcing its dismantlement was crazy as well. The timing -- on the date of the USSR invasion of Poland in 1939 -- was a major public-diplomacy faux pas; no, not a faux pas (forget the French) -- too soft an expression -- a public-diplomacy disaster, in Poland at least. Another great-power deal, the Russians and Americans 'ganging up' against the Poles -- or so, I would say, many Poles felt. …

But what does the State Department actually say about the choice of this date? … The person who answered my call (let's call him/her 'Off the record' [OTR]) said h/she -- OTR -- had no official or 'background' information as to why this date was chosen. OTR allowed me to cite the following OTR statement during our phone conversation: 'State Department sources could not explain the choice of that date.' The polite, tactful OTR then said that I should check with the White House as to why that date was chosen." Image from

PD Tomorrow: How to Make It Work, if We Want It to Work PD Today Part 5: Patricia H. Kushlis and Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View: "[I]t’s hard to resist the conclusion that public diplomacy and development support should once again be housed in separate agencies, each with appropriate provisions for cooperation and coordination with the State Department, of course."

Cold War Calling - Morgan Roach, Heritage Foundation:

"On September 30, 2009, The Heritage Foundation hosted 'The Year of Miracles: The Fall of the Berlin Wall Twentieth Anniversary.' A reoccurring theme of the event centered on America’s use of government-sponsored broadcasting and its effects on U.S. influence during the Cold War and how it must be used today. While government-sponsored broadcasting was just one of the many successful public diplomacy tools utilized by the United States, former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, James Glassman emphasized that the United States still has much to learn in the way that it conducts its public diplomacy initiatives." Image from

What's happened to anti-Americanism, and to the State Department? The Obama administration and public diplomacy: March to mid-June 2009 - John Brown, Public Diplomacy Media Update: Place Branding and Public Diplomacy (2009) 5, 247–252. [paid subscription] "Abstract: If there has been one theme of the Obama administration and public diplomacy since March, it is that although the President won over overseas audiences (at least for now) through his high-profile foreign visits and tactful speeches in the countries to which he traveled, the public diplomacy apparatus at the State Department is broken and is in need of serious fixing. Anti-Americanism may no longer be as fashionable as it was during the Bush years, but – according to the media and government officials – America's public diplomacy, supposedly in charge of improving the US image, leaves much to be desired."

Two Words on National Security - Aaron, The Guild Review: "I recently came across two interesting bits of national security information on the internet. The first was this interesting website on strategic communication.

'Now what,' you rightly ask, 'is that?' Well, one of the many useful things the website provides is definitions. In the case of this particular term, it refers to: 'The synchronized coordination of statecraft, public affairs, public diplomacy, military information operations, and other activities... to advance US foreign policy objectives.' In other words, strategic communication involves making sure that your messages to foreign governments and populations are clear and consistent." Image from

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - Katharine Keith, World Not Our Own: A Public Diplomacy Blog: "[F]riend and colleague, Paul Rockower opened a beautiful photo exhibit that 'pays homage to 'The Family of Man' exhibition that opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1955. The exhibition’s world tour proved a tremendous public diplomacy success for America.' The stunning compilation of photos from his world wide travels, chronicles the human condition. I was clearly not the only one who appreciated the beautiful works of Rockower."

Hearing aids, supplies help deaf students - Troop Scoop, Canada Free Press - "AR RUMAIYTHA [Iraq]— Various U.S. units recently joined forces here to deliver 80 hearing aids and much needed supplies to girls at the Amal School for the Deaf. This 2-room school house and primary education facility to over 40 girls was identified by the Muthanna PRT in 2008 as a facility greatly in need of support and resources. The school has a dedicated staff of 6 teachers and educates children from elementary school through high school—each with varying degrees of deafness . Albert Hadi, the media advisor for the Muthanna PRT, credits the former Public Diplomacy Officer for the Muthanna PRT, Aaron Snipe,

with identifying the school and initiating the project. 'Aaron thought to reach out to somewhere no one’s ever been before—no Iraqis or other agencies,' Hadi said." Snipe image from

UN Goldstone Gaza Report - Joel Leyden - PR, Internet Marketing, Journalism, Israel: "Also responding to the UN report, Israel Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev said that it would hamper Middle East peace efforts. Speaking to Israel Army Radio, Shalev added that ‘the international atmosphere is very influential. We have already begun a public diplomacy campaign in world capitals in order to explain the extent to which the report is biased, one-sided and political.’”

Combating pro-LTTE separatist professionals’: Distortions about Sri Lanka in the West:

Asian Tribune - “The Asian Tribune took [an] opportunity ... of erasing certain myths, misunderstandings, falsehoods, half truths and diabolical falsehoods that are being propagated by a group of pro-LTTE professionals in the United States who endeavor to complicate Sri Lanka-West/US relations. This Online Daily Newspaper also was targeting to nip in the bud any attempt to ‘revive’ the LTTE separatist/eelam agenda by forwarding issues connected with the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka. This is a public affairs, public diplomacy and strategic communication project the Asian Tribune has undertaken to make the international community knowledgeable about complicated Sri Lankan issues and prevent the Eelam lobby in the West halting the unraveling of these issues.” Image from

Speech by H.E. Ambassador Deng Boqing at the reception marking the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China - Press release, Dominica News Online: "Over the past 60 years, China has played an important part in promoting world peace, development and cooperation. We have worked closely with other countries to address various international disputes in a responsible manner. We have vigorously conducted economic, cultural and public diplomacy and have achieved fruitful results. The number of countries having diplomatic relations with us has increased from 18 in the early days of the People's Republic to 171 today.”

The Center on Public Diplomacy Announces 2009-2011 CPD Research Fellows

- CPD Announcements, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The USC Center on Public Diplomacy is proud to announce the first CPD Research Fellows: Kathy Fitzpatrick, Iskra Kirova, and Cynthia Schneider." Image from


"Next Generation Leaflet Delivery System" [in Afghanistan] - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Nato's deadly propaganda battle Nato is dropping leaflets on the civilian population of Afghanistan to win hearts and minds – but not without fatal consequences - Jon Boone, Guardian. Image from

White House Eyeing Narrower War Effort:Top Officials Challenge General's Assessment - Scott Wilson and Anne E. Korblut, Washington Post: Senior White House officials have begun to make the case for a policy shift in Afghanistan that would send few, if any, new combat troops to the country and instead focus on faster military training of Afghan forces, continued assassinations of al-Qaeda leaders and support for the government of neighboring Pakistan in its fight against the Taliban.

Obama's tough choices: The economy, healthcare, Iran and Afghanistan -- all are problems with no easy answers - Tim Rutten, The president also was right when he called Iraq "a war of choice" and Afghanistan "a war of necessity." But what made the latter struggle necessary was not the presence of the Taliban but the Taliban's creation of sanctuaries from which Al Qaeda struck at the United States. If it were possible to disengage from Afghanistan without allowing Osama bin Laden and his followers to reestablish havens there, it would be a tragic choice for the Afghan people but a wise one for Americans. Image from

Hillary Clinton vs. Afghan reality: Basing U.S. policy on the opposite of intelligence - Editorial, Washington Times: Mrs. Clinton has a dubious record as a judge of counterinsurgencies.

Leaving Israel With No Choice? - Michael Gerson, Washington Post:

Here is a paradox for President Obama to ponder while traversing the Iranian minefield: If the Israelis were confident that America would act decisively against the Iranian nuclear threat in the greatest extremity, they would be far less likely to act themselves. Lacking that confidence, they may conclude, once again, that delaying the threat is good enough. Image from

Defusing Iran There's no simple solution to dealing with Tehran's nuclear plans: But diplomacy is the best bet – Editorial, Los Angeles Times

Germany Unbound - Roger Cohen, New York Times:

“I heard more intellectual excitement over Russia and the broadening German-Russian relationship than over Obama’s America. Germany is Russia’s largest trading partner. Russia is Germany’s 10th largest. A kind of moral complicity — two large nations that made big historical mistakes — binds them. Germans think America made a mistake by humiliating Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They draw a parallel, inevitably, with Weimar. They also think it was not force -- America’s -- that won the Cold War but détente -- Germany’s.” Image from

The power, and threat, of Iran: The nuclear issue may be a distraction from the larger strategic implications of Tehran's growing regional influence Alastair Crooke - the nonaligned majority and most Muslim states support Iranian rights under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. For the U.S. to elevate the nuclear issue to an ultimatum, while ignoring the new strategic reality of a powerful Iran, is, as Ahmadinejad hinted, a course of action that Obama may come to regret.

In a tight race for 2016 Games, art of persuasion is in effect - Vicki Michaelis, USA TODAY

Propaganda for war should be prohibited by law: HRCP - Shahid Husain, The News: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has suggested that propaganda for war should be prohibited by law, and that the injunctions of the Charter of Democracy into legal statutes as these measures enjoy the near consensus of political parties, The News has learnt.

Sixty Years of Propaganda: What 'The Founding of a Republic' says about China today - Leslie Hook, Wall Street Journal:

If you thought historical propaganda films were a thing of the past, think again. Just out in theaters in China is "The Founding of a Republic," a historical documentary produced by the state to commemorate the country's 60th anniversary today. State media have billed it as the blockbuster of the year, a sleek new production featuring every star from Jackie Chan to Zhang Ziyi. Image from article

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