Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 18

--Comma image from


Soft power - Kim Ghattas, BBC News, Washington: "Whether she’s in Russia talking about Iran’s nuclear programme, in South Korea discussing the threat posed by Pyongyang, or in Northern Ireland appealing to rival factions not to return to the bad old days of violence, Mrs Clinton continues to fill her schedule with 'soft' events during which she meets students, women’s activists or human rights advocates. 'Critics say Mrs Clinton’s focus on soft power is a result of her being marginalised.' She talks about the books that have had an impact on her life, raises awareness about rape as a weapon of war, and makes repeated references to people’s God-given potential.

(In fact so often, that some reporters who travel with her and attend her events regularly just use the short-hand 'GGP' when taking notes.) It is difficult to assess what impact this public diplomacy is having on America’s image abroad or on advancing the foreign policy goals of President Barack Obama’s administration. She may be mostly preaching to the converted or adding to the surge of goodwill towards the US after Mr Obama’s election, though this could help appease anti-American feelings in some corners." Image from

Foreign Policy Expert Marc Lynch: Obama Should Blackmail Israel With The Goldstone Report - Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric: "You know, if I was a public diplomacy expert who spent the last decade staking my career on something like the Cairo speech, then I consulted for various principals in the leadup to the Cairo speech, then I watched the Cairo speech explode in Obama's face and send Israeli public opinion of the US President nosediving to levels heretofore unplumbed outside the Muslim world - if I was someone like that, I'd be pretty careful about sullenly blaming Obama's Mideast failures on Israel. … There's a totally separate issue, by the by, about how just how much our vaunted foreign policy or public diplomacy community actually understands about Israeli public opinion."

When Soviet youth smoked, drank, danced, and listened to VOA - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Advertising Industry: Keith Reinhard, Emeritus Chairman of DDB and President of Business for Diplomatic Action Speaks at Syracuse University - Life's Man Zai Er Gui (生活的满载而归): "A key insight was that as more people are able to view the each country’s culture, they get to see a different side of the stories they view in the media. …

Reinhard stressed that everybody has to really open up to the world, whether it be a period of studying abroad or viewing more international news vehicles such as Al-Jazeera and BBC." Image from

Propaganda, Persuasion, and Public Policy - Healthy Influence Blog: communication for a change: "Tools like Strategic Communication, Public Diplomacy, Grand Persuasion, or Soft Power function differently when applied to totalitarian governments."

Nachman Shai calls for Cast Lead inquiry - Staff, Jerusalem Post:

"Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat chose to criticize opposition leader Tzipi Livni. 'I certainly expect that just like [Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu joined the public diplomacy effort around the world during Operation Cast Lead, Livni will also phone world leaders and stand up for the State of Israel. There is no coalition and opposition here,' she said. 'Unfortunately though, she hasn't done this.'" Image from

Public Media Camp – Day 1 - Nina Keim Blog: "The first day of Public Media Camp was full of interesting sessions hosted and attended by even more interesting people. … Starting at 10 AM this morning, all participants were asked to introduce themselves by name, affiliation and three tags that characterize them. It took about 45 minutes to get through all participants, but it is definitely a perfect way of getting to know some interesting details about new people. My tags were: 'public communication' – 'social-issue documentaries' – 'public diplomacy.'”

Crash Course in Kiev: Lessons in Diplomacy - americaninparis42, La Rose à côte de La Vigne: The rose next to the vine…: "I did go to Kiev for a NATO conference last week, and was asked to write a newspaper article for my school. … I met so many interesting, levelheaded and articulate people from all over Europe and North America which I am so gratefully to have shared my experience in Kiev. …

I met the US Public Diplomacy Officer to NATO and discussed how her career has progressed over the last eight years of working in the Foreign Service." Image from


"Just as Pushkin and Whitman reset poetry, we are resetting our relationship for the 21st century."

--Secretary of State Hilllary Clinton, speaking on Russian-American relations at the unveiling of the Walt Whitman statue at Moscow State University on Wednesday; Image: Moscow Whitman statue from "Walt Whitman statue welcomed by anti-gay Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov," Times (London)

Clinton tells Russians she loved 'Brothers Karamazov' - AFP: "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an audience of Moscow students on Wednesday that one of her favourite books was 'The Brothers Karamazov' by classic Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. …

Clinton's efforts at cultural diplomacy with Moscow began clumsily in March when she gave her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov a souvenir button on which the Russian word for 'reset' was misspelled to say 'overload' instead." Image from

Clinton: Some must end Cold War mentalityUPI: "Some in the U.S. and Russian governments must move past a Cold War mentality to address issues of today, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Moscow. … Clinton also engaged in cultural diplomacy, participating in the unveiling of a statue of U.S. poet Walt Whitman with Lavrov and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, the Russian Information Agency Novosti reported. The statue is on the campus of Moscow State University. The Russia Peace Foundation said the statue was a reciprocal gift from the Washington mayor for a monument to Alexander Pushkin presented to the U.S. capital in September 2000 to mark the 200th anniversary of Pushkin's birth."

New York Philharmonic brings musical diplomacy to Vietnam - Ian Timberlake, AFP: "With help from Beethoven and Brahms, the United States and Vietnam will engage in musical diplomacy this weekend when the New York Philharmonic debuts in the communist nation after a historic visit to Stalinist North Korea last year. … 'I cannot see a downside to cultural diplomacy, particularly musical diplomacy of which the New York Philharmonic is the premier representative,' US ambassador Michael Michalak

told reporters. But he said it was not fair to compare the Philharmonic's visit to Vietnam with its trip to Pyongyang in February 2008, when the orchestra was the largest US delegation in years to visit the reclusive and poverty-stricken nation. Fast-modernising Vietnam, in contrast, has a booming market economy and is increasingly courting international exposure." See also. Michalak image from

Landesman outspoken as NEA chairman: Former Jujamcyn topper takes on Washington - Paul Harris, Variety: "The prominence of the arts community in Obama’s election, along with the first couple’s clear appreciation of the arts, would augur well for strong support. But to date, no one of any stature has been appointed to an arts advisory post within the White House. That gap may partly be filled later this year, albeit from the outside, when Broadway producer Margo Lion and writer-producer-director George Stevens Jr. are sworn in as co-chairs of the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. 'One of our jobs is to educate the public, to the degree that we can, that the arts and humanities are not decoration,' explains Lion. 'They’re not luxuries, they’re necessities. The emphasis will be on three pillars: arts education, cultural diplomacy and looking at the arts as an economic driver.'"

HPU Awarded $749862 Renewal Grant from US Department of State - "In June 2009, 26 teachers came to HPU [Hawai'i Pacific University] from 10 countries in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Russian Federation.

The summer institute is an important form of cultural diplomacy as the teachers improve mutual understanding of people of the U.S. with people of the world." Image from

Singing, Dancing in the Desert: Writer Stephen Cole and composer David Krane’s wacky re-telling of their most un-likely commissioning, The Road to Qatar, is an enchanting and hilarious piece of musical theater - Alexandra Bonifield, "[Stephen] Cole and [David] Krane embarked on an international artistic adventure together, fraught with unimaginable madness and excess.They wrote their show in five weeks, under constant scrutiny and duress. It resulted in the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East. …. In Qatar. In English. To everyone’s relief: a triumph. Returning to the US, Cole and Krane felt compelled to write a show about their experience– it was so darn funny, and a prime example of the arts as catalyst for international cultural diplomacy. Result: The Road to Qatar, now in its premiere run at Lyric Stage in Irving."

Image (from article): The camel-riding cast of Lyric Stage's The Road to Qatar, performing through October 24.

Cultural diplomacy will complement China's power - Chen Xuegen, "Diplomacy before reform and opening-up began was largely political, and was then supplemented by economic diplomacy. Now, cultural diplomacy complements them, and will come to play a more and more important role."

Chinese get cold shoulder in Frankfurt -

"Li Pengyi (李朋義) was brimming with cheer as he ticked off the business done so far by Chinese publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s top marketplace for books and book rights. … But when the conversation changed to the cultural diplomacy side of China’s presence in Frankfurt — China is this year’s guest of honor at the Book Fair — his face darkened. 'We don’t feel we’ve been hospitably treated,' he said. 'China sent more than 2,000 people to Frankfurt. And now this barrage of criticism.' The German media, intellectuals and politicians have been pummeling China all week, attacking it for jailing writers, for refusing to include dissident authors in the official party and for trying to paint a false image of Chinese harmony." See also. Image from


Warfare Need Not Be Thankless - Al Kamen, In The Loop, Washington Post: The Montana Army National Guard is looking for trainers to provide cultural and language training to soldiers before they are deployed overseas. The idea is for the soldiers "to arrive on station with the ability to understand and enunciate certain indigenous words and phrases, and a basic understanding of the relevant historical and cultural aspects of the area which may impact the success of the unit's mission." Via TH.

Rebranding America - Bono, New York Times: Barack Obama: “We will support the Millennium Development Goals, and approach next year’s summit with a global plan to make them a reality. And we will set our sights on the eradication of extreme poverty in our time.” (36 words).

The Millennium Development Goals are set of commitments we all made nine years ago whose goal is to halve extreme poverty by 2015. Many have spoken about the need for a rebranding of America. Rebrand, restart, reboot. These 36 words, alongside the administration’s approach to fighting nuclear proliferation and climate change, improving relations in the Middle East and, by the way, creating jobs and providing health care at home, are rebranding in action. Image from

Protecting the image - Oliver North, Washington Times: After months of drifting along in "the winds of change," America's diplomatic credibility is sinking alongside the greenback. Mr. Obama has trotted the globe burnishing his image - and apologizing for America.

American Literature: Words Without Borders - Liesl Schillinger, New York Times: On Nov. 18, only one of the five authors that the National Book Awards selected will get the laurels. Will it be the Dubliner turned New Yorker? The Ugandan-British Yank? The Pakistani-American? The Michigander? The West Virginian? Whoever it is, he or she will be a writer who expands the versatile adjective “American,” enriching the world’s understanding of itself.

Image from

Fury in Frankfurt at Google's global library project - William Ickes, AFP: A literature professor from Germany's Heidelberg University attending the 61st international Frankfurt Book Fair, a major annual literary event, responded sharply to Google Books, a massive project by the US group, a supplier of vast amounts of information on the Internet, to give the world access to books otherwise hard or impossible to obtain.
Describing Google's claims as "just a whole garbage of hysterical propaganda," Professor Roland Reuss warned of a threat to traditional publishing, saying at a forum on the issue: "You revolutionize the market but the cost is that the producers of goods in this market will be demolished."

How Obama can earn his Nobel Peace Prize: If it's too early for President Obama to deserve the award, what can he do to make himself worthy? A variety of experts weighLos Angeles Times: Many people, including the president himself, were surprised this month when the Nobel committee awarded the peace prize to Barack Obama. His critics -- as well as some supporters -- questioned whether he deserved it.

It was too soon, they said; he'd done too little. We posed a question to a variety of experts: What should the president do to earn the prize? Click to jump to: Ariel Dorfman: Focus on Latin America Yossi Klein Halevi: Stop Iran Jonathan Turley: Appoint a prosecutor for war crimes Saree Makdisi: Change our useless Mideast policies Michael Scheuer: Refuse the prize Kennette Benedict: He's already done so much. Image from

Obama, Europe and the Inevitable - Craig Kennedy, While many are celebrating the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama, it has raised questions in the minds of others. Yet, as German Marshall Fund President Craig Kennedy points out, the U.S. public should really be asking how Obama’s popularity in Europe can improve cooperation on some tough issues. Via LB.

Obama's Afghan Squeeze Play - Jim Hoagland, Washington Post: Afghanistan is at the brink, as Obama's review prudently recognizes. Only a focused effort by Washington and Kabul -- and other capitals -- can pull it back. The president is right to give that message time to sink in everywhere, see what results it produces and then act.

Don't Settle for Stalemate in Afghanistan - Ike Skelton and Joe Lieberman, Washington Post:

The president was right to call the war in Afghanistan "a war of necessity." Now it is time to treat it as such and commit the decisive force that will allow Gen. McChrystal to break the Taliban's momentum as quickly as possible. Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Image from

Risking a Rights Disaster - Wazhma Frogh, Washington Post: The people of Afghanistan, and most fervently its women, desire a long-term and consistent relationship with the United States and European democracies. We do not want to become another Vietnam. We want to be an example of the success of global commitment to making the world a better and safer place for everyone, from New York to London to Helmand. The writer is a graduate student at Warwick University in Britain and has been active in human rights work in her country. She is the recipient of the U.S. State Department's 2009 International Women of Courage Award for Afghanistan.

Stanley McChrystal’s Long War - Dexter Filkins, New York Times: Perhaps McChrystal’s most intriguing idea is his belief that he can persuade large numbers of Taliban to change sides.

5 Myths About Iran and the Bomb - Joseph Cirincione, Washington Post: Iran's expanding nuclear program poses one of the Obama administration's most vexing foreign policy challenges.

Fortunately, the conditions for containing Tehran's efforts may be better today than they have been in years. Image from

The Israeli Brand: We judge nations by their deeds rather than by spin - Craig Smith, Adbusters

Report: Russia Today will take over news on Russia's last two independent television stations - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

What is propaganda? - Matt Armstrong, What is “propaganda”? Is it bad, good, or neutral? Who does it? Is it what “the other guy” does but you don’t? Is something “propaganda” because of its content, delivery, audience, intent, effect, all the above or none of the above?

Shepard Fairey’s “HOPE” poster more perfect now than ever… - soulhuntre, Herd Watching:

The iconic image for the Obama campaign was the famous Shepard Fairey “HOPE” poster. They even sold signed prints of his work at fund raising events. Fairey’s medium is the totalitarian state propaganda image. From the beginning this was a good match since Obama is a man of strong socialist sympathies, mentored by communist sympathizers. Image from blog.


--Fascist elves: A controversy has arisen in the German town of Straubing, where an artist has revealed a series of gnome sculptures giving the Nazi salute (Guardian), from Los Angeles Times

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