Friday, October 16, 2009

October 16

"Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.”

--American writer Rita Mae Brown; image from


Second Annual Public Diplomacy Symposium


Public Relations, reputation: Obama Has Rebranded USA – Robert E. Brown, Gathering the Light: "Public diplomacy is alive and well —

Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and other musicians and artists have been gussying up the brand image of the US abroad for decades. But according to a marketing study of Brand USA’s perception abroad, Obama’s election itself (as confirmed by the curious prematurity of his recent Nobel Peace Prize award) has — all by itself — managed to rebrand the USA. … Until the election of the first African-American president who happens to be a citizen of the world — so the world and even Obama’s rightwing enemies agree — and a Wilsonian visionary, the world perception of brand USA was in the dumps. But all that has changed, at least, according to signs such as the Nobel and this new marketing study." Image from

Statement of Michael C. Polt, Ambassador-designate to the Republic of Estonia Senate Committee on Foreign Relations - Eesti elu: Polt: "If confirmed, I intend to work closely with my public diplomacy colleagues in Washington and in the region to further utilize 'new media' resources to better reach out to all Estonians, and especially Estonia’s Russian-speaking youth."

US State Department hosts panel on architecture & cross-cultural collaboration in Second Life on October 18 - NonProfitBlogs,

"I just got word from In Kenzo that this Sunday, October 18, at 1PM EST that the US State Department is sponsoring a global panel on 'how architects utilize virtual technologies for international development partnerships.' Noted virtual architects Keystone Bouchard, JudyArx Scribe, DB Bailey and Archi Vita will be speaking during this hour long panel at Public Diplomacy plaza on Annenberg followed by a tour of key architectural collaborations inworld." Second Life image from article

The Incredible Shrinking State Department must Evolve or Die - "State needs to overhaul its personnel system and FSO culture to embrace the reality that interagency teamwork at the inception of policy planning is the only way the USG will be able to effectively advance its interests and nurture stability. The age of ambassadors or even mano-a-mano superpower summitry is over, even among great powers because State cannot execute policy across the DIME bureaucratic spectrum much less bring in the private sector on its own. It has neither the imagination nor the power to go it alone. For that matter, State is having enough trouble just managing its core functions plus public diplomacy and development aid ( the last two so poorly they should be hived off immediately)."

QDR Sparks New Study On Optimizing Joint Force Io Investments - InsideDefense (subscription):"[D]issolving the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Support to Public Diplomacy has 'left a void.'" (entry from Google; no link).

Private-Sector Diplomacy – Will, leading Creative: "An interview conducted this summer by the folks at McKinsey Quarterly addresses how firms can work to repair their reputations with different stakeholders.

You should consider not only customers and potential hires but also your current employees and your shareholders, if any. The idea is to take some of the concepts governments use in 'public diplomacy' (think of this as the 'winning herats and minds' kind of thing) and apply them to private businesses." Image from

Quick Links for October 15, 2009- The Boursa Exchange: "We always love when articles on the Middle East bemoan the fact that societies here are infiltrated with conspiratorial thinking, as though the US was a paradise of rationality… In our first story, the spawn of some rightwing cranks infiltrated the US Muslim advocacy organization CAIR, then wrote a book about it. The conclusion: CAIR runs a typical DC lobbying/PR operation. But of course that didn’t stop a group of public diplomacy-minded House Republicans from attempting to use the book to gear up a witch-hunt against Muslim hill staffers."

Atlantic Eye: Uniting Europe's democraciesUPI Asia: "Twenty individuals representing fifteen countries, many of whom have, and have had, the ears of presidents and prime-ministers -- MILSEC types, three ambassadors, journalists and specialists -- sat for 24 hours at Radio-Free Europe pondering how to unite diverging modus vivendi. …

This was a group of trans-Atlanticists. All have strong ties to, and interest in, the relationship with the United States and to each other. All have served in distinguished capacities. … It was also the day President Obama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. There was some astonishment. …. The discussion of public diplomacy brought intense and lively discussion. One participant wondered if the promotion of democracy is dead. Another wondered if it might not be better to promote the rule of law and the politics of small steps first. Yet another wondered if the West really knows what it means when it promotes democracy: 'Whose democracy are we promoting, Germany's, Australia's, the United States'?" Image from

Romania - The Foreign Ministry’s contribution to the elaboration process of a New Strategic Concept of NATOISRIA: "[On] 15 October 2009 … a seminar organized, together with the Center for Conflict Prevention and Early Warning and with financial support from NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division … [will discuss] the topic 'Getting Proper Security in NATO’s Wider Neighborhood: Does This Still Matter? The Future of NATO’s Partnership Network. A Special Look at the Balkans and the Wider Black Sea – Caspian Region.' The series of public diplomacy events organized in Bucharest on the new Strategic Concept will continue with a plenary conference on 'NATO and the New Strategic Concept – Romania’s Priorities', to be held on 23 October 2009. The Foreign Ministry will participate in this conference at the highest level, providing also the diplomatic expertise required for the organization of this event."

Romania - Stage of preparations for Presidential Election - ISRIA: “[‘G]iven the Foreign Ministry’s responsibility towards Romanian citizens located abroad, we will run a public information campaign; for it to be successful we would like to appeal to the media,

just like we did in the previous elections, for support in disseminating public-interest information that we will be transmitting during that period,' said Oana Marinescu, Foreign Ministry Director General for Public Diplomacy, in a media briefing on 13 October 2009." Image from

Joining the Foreign Service (US State Department) - salinaenfrance: "When making the decision to go into the Foreign Service one must decide what he/she is interested in before choosing a career track and registering to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT). Within the Foreign Service there are five Career Tracks in which to choose from- Consular Affairs, Economic Affairs, Management, Political Affairs, and Public Diplomacy."

About Me, - Keith Olbermann's Glasses: "'Perception management' - also known as 'public diplomacy' or 'military support to public diplomacy' - is a propaganda strategy for controlling how a target population views political events.

Refined by intelligence services as they tried to manipulate foreign populations, the practice eventually seeped into domestic U.S. politics as a way to manipulate post Vietnam War era public opinion. 'If want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face…FOREVER!' - George Orwell". Image from


Military Limits Publishing Images of U.S. Casualties in Afghanistan- Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post: The U.S. military command in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday imposed a new ban on publication of photographs taken by embedded journalists that identify American war casualties.

Model Veronica Varekova becomes a Goodwill Ambassador for the African Wildlife Foundation - PRNewswire: The African Wildlife Foundation [AWF] announced today that supermodel Veronica Varekova,

who has been featured in campaigns for Sports Illustrated and Victoria's Secret, has been named one of the first AWF Goodwill Ambassadors. Varekova image from article

An Unconstitutional Nobel - Ronald D. Rotunda and J. Peter Pham, Washington Post: Taking President Obama at his word that the Nobel award is "an affirmation of American leadership," Congress should allow him to accept the award. The prize money, which legally belongs to the United States, ought to be applied by Congress to some worthy cause, such as reducing the deficit.

Debacle in Moscow - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post: The Russian leadership, hardly believing its luck, needs no interpreter to understand that when the Obama team clownishly rushes in bearing gifts and "reset" buttons, there is nothing ulterior, diabolical, clever or even serious behind it. It is amateurishness, wrapped in naivete, inside credulity. In short, the very stuff of Nobels. Below image from

A 'reset' is needed here It shouldn't be all about fighting al Qaeda – Editorial, Washington Times: Al Qaeda and its affiliates know full well that they are no match for U.S. forces in conventional military terms. Their only hope is to outflank and outthink the United States in the arenas of politics and ideology. So far, the United States has been allowing them to do just that.

Abracadabra war strategy – Editorial, Washington Times: The worsening circumstances in Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot wait for the White House's anticipated "magic moment" to materialize. Waiting too long to give direction to the coalition effort in Afghanistan is the surest way to make victory disappear.

A Hitch in Iran's Nuclear Plans? - David Ignatius, Washington Post: There may be more time on the Iranian nuclear clock than some analysts had feared.

Iran is ongoing victim of blown-up nuclear weapon propaganda- Khalil Sheikh, Daily 49er

An Ordinary Israel - Roger Cohen, New York Times: There are various civilizations in the Middle East, whose attitudes toward religion and modernism vary, but who all quest for some accommodation between them. One casualty of this view, of course, is Israeli exceptionalism. The Jewish state becomes more like any other nation fighting for influence and treasure. I think President Obama, himself talking down American exceptionalism,

is trying to nudge Israel toward a more prosaic, realistic self-image. Image from

Berlusconi in propaganda push to sway foreign press - Michael Day, Independent: The beleaguered Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has ordered a special propaganda unit to "bombard" the foreign press with good news in an attempt to stem the tide of critical headlines overseas.

Propaganda Analysis Home PageThe Year is 1996: Review (in 1996): Does "propaganda" sound like an out-dated, Cold War concept? Not so, according to Aaron Delwiche, who offers his own analysis on this page, based on the Institute for Propaganda Analysis created in 1937.

Delwiche starts by identifying some familiar "propaganda devices" like Glittering Generalities (charged concepts like "love" and "freedom" used in a vaguely positive way) and the Testimonial (unqualified persons giving judgments, like "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV").Delwiche goes on to illustrate by citing such noteworthy offenders as Newt Gingrich and the John Birch Society, although an annotated list of propagandisms would make these more enjoyable. Image from

Opinion... Bernays' Propaganda holds a message for modern PR – David Wolf, Media Asia: "I have finally managed to read through Edward Bernays’ classic 1928 tome, Propaganda. Written before the word ‘propaganda’ was besmirched by its enduring association with Fascism, Bernays’ book takes us back to the days when it was necessary to explain to senior executives why having access to wise corporate communications counsel was essential to the modern enterprise. For those of us who find ourselves making this very same case to owners and managers of Asian corporations, Bernays offers us a series of elegant talking points to help us patiently explain what is to us blindingly obvious."

Oktyabr – Brantley, I Hate Everything: "To paraphrase the prologue of Eisenstein's film, October, this film seeks to recreate reality as authentically as possible. … Now I am well aware that Eisenstein revolutionized the art of editing, and that the Soviet government commissioned this film for the tenth anniversary of the rebellion that it depicts. I understand that Eisenstein

operated in a time when there was only one genre to operate in (propaganda). I even grasp the historical significance of this film's timing. It was released when people were turning on Stalin. However, ... [I was] bored during the film. Every revolution begins with skillful orators. Watching the performance of a skillful orator, in a silent film, is fucking boring." Eisenstein image from

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