Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 14-15

“The Brothers Karamazov.”

--Book which has made the biggest impact on her, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; also, a favorite book of ex-First Lady Laura Bush; image from

“I just don’t like the idea that the military is in the propaganda business.”

-- Rep. John Murtha, cited in David Rogers, "Administration fights to protect secret propaganda budget," Politico


Piano stairs - - The fun theory: “Fun can obviously change behaviour for the better.” Courtesy WB


iDiplomacy will examine the evolving role of media and entertainment in public diplomacy due to new technologies, social networks and the democratization of communications.

This blog will explore the innovative work being done in the public and private sectors.


Reinventing Diplomacy - World Politics Review (by subscription only): "While the world changes at a rapidly accelerating pace, diplomacy is in many ways rooted in the past. In order to remain both relevant and effective, diplomats must adopt new technologies, new profiles, and new ways of thinking about old methods. WPR examines Reinventing Diplomacy."

Feature articles in this theme:

Cultural Diplomacy: It's the Culture, Stupid - Cynthia P. Schneider - World Politics Review (by subscription only):

"Ironically, it is the country with the most influential culture in the world, the United States of America, that least acknowledges and uses its persuasive powers. … Because in the United States we draw a sharp line between culture and the arts and politics, we make the mistake of assuming that others do the same. Poetry and poets are a prime example. … Arts and culture in the U.S. comprise one of the country's most significant exports, enabling global domination in entertainment. Yet, cultural diplomacy remains a poor stepchild in the State Department, lacking sufficient funds or personnel to realize the potential of the creative arts -- in both the commercial and non-profit sectors -- to positively impact diplomacy." To sign up for a 30-day trial subscription go to. Schneider image from

Guerrilla Diplomacy: The Revolution in Diplomatic Affairs - Daryl Copeland - World Politics Review (by subscription only):

"Refurbishing diplomacy may be job one for U.S. international policy, but it is also only one job among many. An assessment of whether diplomacy should be situated within the discourse of power -- whether soft, hard, or smart -- rather than influence is also needed. Because as soon as diplomacy, and especially public diplomacy (PD), is framed primarily in the context of power, it immediately becomes instrumental, a tool to be used in order to have your way with others, rather than as a platform for political communication, social interaction, and intercultural contact. … Smart power, all told, is not the tool of choice with which to pursue a grand strategy of comprehensive international development as the basis of the new security. … The pursuit of influence through the practice of a highly leveraged, transformational form of public diplomacy -- what I dubbed Guerrilla Diplomacy in a recently published book of the same title -- could be a less costly, more practical alternative." To sign up for a 30-day trial subscription go to. Copeland image from

Social Media, Virtual Worlds and Public Diplomacy - Joshua Fouts, World Politics Review (by subscription only):

"In rushing to adopt new technologies, the State Department appears to be using them primarily, if not exclusively, as a one-to-many medium to reach large audiences, such as on Facebook or blogs. Resistance from public diplomacy officers is therefore understandable: Used in such a way, the medium neither engages the skills nor enhances the function of a public diplomacy officer, despite its potential to do both. While the State Department should be commended for embracing new tools, more needs to be done to make sure they are used to make the public diplomat more effective in his or her job." To sign up for a 30-day trial subscription go to. Fouts image from


As Clinton Continues Russia Tour, Many Ask: Why Kazan?RFE/RL: "Analysts say the visit is a continuation of a new White House strategy of multifaceted public diplomacy that aims to reach beyond the Kremlin.

Steven Pifer, a former State Department official specializing in Russian affairs who is now a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, says the strategy began with President Barack Obama's visit to Moscow this summer when he 'attended the civil society summit.'" Image (from article): President Mintimer Shaimiyev (left) welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Kazan.

Daily Press Briefing - US Department of State: MR. CROWLEY [Philip J. Crowley Assistant Secretary]: "Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke had a meeting this morning with Foreign Minister Qureshi to discuss the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, also known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill. … QUESTION: Pakistan? MR. CROWLEY: Pakistan. QUESTION: Could you tell us a little bit more about the meeting with Ambassador Holbrooke? And is it the Secretary’s position still that the bill as written is – well, as she’s described it when he was here last week, and that it should be supported, and he, in fact, spoke approvingly of it last week. What’s changed since then? MR. CROWLEY: In the bill? Nothing’s changed. (Laughter.) I mean, as far as I know, the bill has passed with significant backing on a bilateral basis, bicameral basis, from the Congress. And I think it awaits signature by the President. It is worth noting that the bill is an authorizing piece of legislation. There will have to be further action on the appropriations side. I mean, from our standpoint, the bill is a very important step forward in terms of balancing the type of assistance that we would provide to the Pakistan Government: supporting consolidation of democratic institutions; expanding the rule of law; building the capacity of government institutions, promoting respect for internationally recognized human rights; promoting economic freedom, sustainable economic development, investment in people; strengthening public diplomacy. I mean, these are – this is the support that we believe that is right for Pakistan and right for much of the world."

How the Pakistan aid bill backfired - Dan Twining, Foreign Policy:

"Setting the matter of conditionalities aside, the Kerry-Lugar civilian assistance package promises to reconstitute relations with the Pakistani people by making sustained investments in educational, judicial, governing, and developmental institutions that provide for their welfare. But the road to a relationship of trust will be long, and American public diplomacy faces extraordinary challenges -- not only in changing Pakistani public attitudes, but in emboldening Pakistani political and military leaders to speak out in defense of partnership with the United States, rather than leveraging it as a weapon against their political adversaries." Image from

US PR fails in Pakistan? - "The bad rollout of the Kerry-Lugar bill, which is aimed at helping Pakistan, is an example of poor public diplomacy, said Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy magazine. 'In the end, the aid probably will go through and the money will probably improve US–Pakistani relations, but the bad rollout is the bad optics,' Rogin said. US lawmakers are seeking to soothe Pakistan's anger over the controversial $7.5 billion aid package, which is seen in Islamabad as a threat to national security. The bill would provide money for economic and social development programs. Now US officials are preparing an explanatory statement for the bill to prove they have no intention of interfering in Pakistan's sovereignty." See also

The Great Silencing: Intolerance and censorship in the Arab world - Cynthia P. Schneider and Nadia Oweidat,

"The administration aims to replace the advocacy of American values with a new focus on empowering local voices. Those policies, taking shape at the State Department under a new Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Judith A. McHale, former CEO of the Discovery Channel, represent a promising departure from the failed 'spoon-fed democracy' approach that Admiral Mike Mullen rightly criticized recently. If the U.S. government learns anything from the failure of the U.S.-funded al-Hurrah television station, it should be that foreign bureaucracies should not manufacture messages of democracy and tolerance to be broadcast at the Arab world. Such impulses need to come from within. They should be organic and authentic and free of government fingerprints." Image from

Presidential Credibility Rests on Showing Progress – So Where’s the Progress? - James Carafano, Family Security Matters: "The Nobel Prize Committee awarded the prize to President Obama on the basis of hope for the future rather than achievements of the past.

There is a real downside to giving the president a prize before he actually does anything. Public diplomacy, nuclear disarmament, working through the UN, and the quest for Palestinian-Israeli peace were all put forward as hallmarks of the Obama way. The problem is that all these instruments rely on cooperation and dependence on them gives enormous power to the people with whom you have to cooperate." Image from

Social Media & Public Diplomacy at Syracuse University –
John Matel, World-Wide-Matel: "I spent more than twenty-five years working in public diplomacy and have been a pioneer in State Department innovative use of the new media; at least they gave me a couple awards that said so. But I have doubts. Electronic distribution & the social/interactive media is not the game changer I hoped.

On reflection, I think we leaned too much about technology and not enough on the social and anthropological aspects of the social media." Matel image (right) from

Senator may hold up State Department funding because of reductions in Radio/TV Martí funding - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

New rebroadcasting outlets for VOA in Pakistan and Somaliland - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Middle Eastern press picks up US diplomat's interview on Alhurra - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "VOA and Alhurra are separate entities, with no benefit of synergy."

Team Broadcast Services to lay off 96 - Tierney Plumb, Washington Business Journal: "The employees were working for Middle East Broadcasting Networks Inc. for the past five years in production and post production jobs. The Springfield-based international multi-media broadcasting company broadcasts news and information to the Middle East, Northern Africa and Europe. The nonprofit is funded through the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an independent federal agency." Via

When RFE was in the air as well as on the air - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "Even in its early days, I think RFE's audience tuned in for news rather than lectures about 'the capitalist way.' VOA was not 'the State Department's' after 1953. Over the years, VOA became less of a 'propaganda effort' and more of a source of reliable news, the latter being the main reason people listened."

British Diplomat Offers Advice on Approaching Public Diplomacy
- Lindsay Hodges Anderson, Harvard Kennedy School of Government: "British Diplomat Nic Hailey explained the current British model of public diplomacy abroad to an audience at Harvard Kennedy School on October 8. Hailey, the counselor of Political, Press and Public Affairs at the British Embassy, Washington, D.C.,

discussed how British public diplomacy has changed to keep up with 21st century demands and how others can apply the theory in practical ways. 'All of diplomacy – public diplomacy included – is about building up the power to influence,' said Hailey, addressing the core of the subject. … 'That may seem self-evident, but I think public diplomacy practice in many nations for a while has been rather siloed bureaucratically all in different bits,' said Hailey. 'You need to think about these as an integrated set of tools and you need to include internal communication in that because any company will tell you that the most important factor in its influence is what its own staff say about it. The same applies for diplomats.' Hailey spoke at the invitation of the Public Diplomacy Collaborative of the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation.” Hailey image from article

Protocols could be a major headache for Turkey: Zaman - Information-Analytic Agency "Armenia-Turkey Protocols will become the matter of the various discussions and forecasts also after being signed in Zurich October 10.

Commenting on the problem, political analyst Emre Uslu draws attention at TV debates of four Turkish politicians, two of them are liberals and the rest nationalists. ... 'I have been hearing such arguments from various segments' nationalists; however, similar arguments that resonate from the two influential neo-nationalist figures give me an impression that diplomats in the Turkish Foreign Ministry, although putting forth superb work on signing protocols, failed to find a way to manage public diplomacy inside Turkey.'" Image from

If Only War Were that Simple - Sarah Posner, American Prospect: "Frequently critics of the military's evangelizing culture, including me, have defined it as a civil liberties issue for American service personnel, as well as a public diplomacy question, to the extent that proselytization of non-Christian civilians takes place."

Financial Assistant NATO – OTAN –
International Jobs: Job offer description: City: Brussels Country: BELGIUM Responsabilities [sic]: "The incumbent provides administrative, accounting and financial support to the budgetary management process (planning, implementation and verification) of the Public Diplomacy Division.Competencies:Have strong knowledge of standard IT systems."


In Moscow, Clinton Urges Russia to Open Its Political System – Mark Landler, New York Times: Clinton even struck an implicit blow for diversity when she cut the ribbon on a statue of the poet Walt Whitman at Moscow State university.

Local gay activists protested because one of the Russian officials on hand to honor Whitman, a gay icon, was Moscow’s mayor, Yuri M. Luzhkov, who has made hostile statements about homosexuals and banned gay pride parades in the city. Image: (Clinton unveils Walt Whitman statue in Moscow by Valeriy Yevseyev)

A good chief for UNESCO -
Richard D. Heideman and Benjamin A. Gilman, Washington Times: The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) promotes education, cultural values and heritage. Institutionally, UNESCO preserves and promotes the many cultures that make up the fabric of our planet and ideally should perform its role without the mar of cultural bias or ethnic partiality. On Sept. 17, UNESCO's Executive Board wisely selected Ambassador Irina Gueorguieva Bokova, a former Bulgarian foreign minister, as the recommended candidate to the post of director-general.

Not So 'Smart Power': Congress sticks a gratuitous thumb in Pakistan's eye –
Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: At the request of President Obama, Congress voted last month to triple American aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over five years. Pakistan's military, media and opposition parties have seized on the House language on the aid bill to attack America's supposed designs on the country.

Smart power can't work if it's wielded by a confederacy of dunces. Image from

Administration fights to protect secret propaganda budget - David Rogers, Politico: Growing by leaps and bounds, the Pentagon’s secretive Information Operations budget keeps tripping over some basic information — like how much it costs. Just months ago, the Defense Department said it needed $988 million to help win hearts and minds in the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. When the House cut this by half in July, top-level officials landed on Capitol Hill, pleading their case but also making a startling admission: Their budget needs for 2010 are actually $626.2 million — more than one-third less than first estimated.

US propaganda with Iran 2009 = US propaganda with Iraq 2002 -
Carl Herman, The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will inspect Iran’s under-construction nuclear energy refinement facility on Sunday, October 25. The US public has been subjected to war-mongering propaganda from both parties’ “leadership” and the media oligarchy over this issue, which has a simple legal basis.

Scrutinizing The American Propaganda Machine: Iran and nuclear weapons of mass destruction? -

Peter Zystra-Moore - “It was very much a moment of high drama. [ . . . ] Barack Obama announce[d . . . ] the existence of a secret, undeclared nuclear facility in Iran which was inconsistent with a peaceful nuclear programme, underscoring the president’s conclusion that 'Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow.'” — Norman Finkelstein, American political scientist and author. Obama’s recent “high drama” is just another piece of foreign policy propaganda. If we are interested in peace and not yet another run-up to war, this time in Iran, we need to regard American presidential announcements (no matter who the president might be) with scrutiny. Image from

A Decadent Nobel A prize for soft moralism – Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal: In the West, only the U.S. president can still make decisions based on hard facts rather than recede into soft moralism. The day that is no longer true, the U.S. will finally deserve a decadent Nobel.

Noble achievements - and deserved: Three American women honored for science - Suzanne Fields, Washington Times: Enough already. Barack Obama got the Nobel Prize for Hope and Hype, and now the rest is up to him.

How to Engage Iran:

A fellow Nobel Peace laureate offers some friendly advice, and a rebuke, to President Obama - Editorial, Washington Post: Shirin Ebadi, a 62-year-old Iranian lawyer who won the Nobel Peace Prize six years ago, said bluntly that the Obama administration has gotten some things backward when it comes to Iran. It's not that engaging with the government is a mistake, she said during a visit to The Post. But paying so much more attention to Iran's nuclear ambitions than to its trampling of democracy and freedom is a mistake both tactical and moral. Image from

Careful to a Fault on Afghanistan - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Obama needs to decide -- soon -- how the United States can best help Kabul in a way that's politically sustainable in Washington.

To Beat the Taliban, Fight From Afar - Robert A. Pape, New York Times: America will best serve its interests in Afghanistan and the region by shifting to a new strategy of off-shore balancing, which relies on air and naval power from a distance, while also working with local security forces on the ground. The priority should be not to send more soldiers but to end the sense of the United States and its allies as foreign occupiers.

Bloggers in the Middle East, and methods to control them - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Italy’s [Benito] Mussolini earned $6,000 a week as WWI agent for Britain - Nick Squires, Image of Mussolini's niece from

Propaganda, really? – slava, "I love old Soviet propaganda posters.. Stylistically & intellectually, I think they were brilliant in combining art & politics. ... Also, one thought comes to mind. When we look back to the WWII, we see 'propaganda' – messages that were 'manipulating the masses' to think a certain way. Why is it that, when we look at the way the media presents the war today, we assume it is the truth?"


Soviet Anti Military Propaganda Postcard
Year: 1956 Condition: Unused; text "Under the Mask of Peace"

1 comment:

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