Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 22

“Music should never be used as torture."

-- Rosanne Cash, the singer-songwriter (and daughter of Johnny Cash), saying she reacted with "absolute disgust" when she heard of songs that were blasted since 2002 at Guantanamo prisoners for hours, even days, on end, to try to coerce cooperation or as a method of punishment; image from


Discussion with Winona State University students on Public Diplomacy (State Department DVD)


Remarks at the United States Institute of Peace Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State Renaissance Mayflower Hotel Washington, DC October 21, 2009U.S. Department of State: "QUESTION: ... I just want your comments on two questions: How to increase the speed of your counter-propaganda in Pakistan, and second is to coordinate across the whole government to ensure continuity and cohesion of approach? Thank you. SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. Well, I’m actually very glad that you raised your questions and made your comment, because I think we have, as a government, not done a very good job in responding to what you rightly call propaganda, misinformation, even in some instances disinformation, about our motivations and our actions in Pakistan.

That became clear to me as we were doing our review, and I saw how often there were stories in the Pakistani media that were totally untrue, but we were not responding as effectively as we need to. We have, under Judith McHale, our Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, undertaken a very thorough analysis of what better we could do, and we are moving very rapidly to try to fill that void. We have a new team going in to Pakistan. A Public Affairs officer may be already there. We have adopted a new approach, which is we do not leave any misstatement or inaccuracy unanswered. It may be that people won’t believe it at first, but we intend to counter a lot of this propaganda with the best weapon we have; namely, the truth. And we’re going to be much more aggressive in interacting with the Pakistani media. It is unfortunate that there is a lot of mistrust that has built up with respect to the United States. And I think we saw that in some of the reaction on the Kerry-Lugar legislation, which we’d been working on and consulting with the Government of Pakistan for many, many months. And the ultimate passage of it we saw as a great milestone in our relationship, and we were very concerned when the reaction was so volatile and negative. I believe we have gone a long way in answering and putting to rest a lot of those misperceptions." Image from

State Department Strategy Review Flawed from Start - Helle C. Dale and James M. Roberts, WebMemo #2659, Heritage Foundation: "If the discussions at the kick-off event are an indicator, the final QDDR product will repeat past mistakes by maintaining a focus on the traditional official government instruments of foreign aid and will fail to achieve the true integration of all the tools of U.S. foreign and security policy. ... Equally striking was the absence of awareness of the need to reform the public diplomacy and strategic communication tools of the U.S. government. Yet both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have spoken about the key role that these aspects of U.S. foreign policy would have in the current Administration. Despite the President's own visibility and his Nobel Peace Prize, he has failed to indicate which direction this reform and change will take, if any. Meanwhile, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale is to chair a subcommittee under the QDDR--an assignment that effectively denies her a strategy-setting role and assigning her a bit-player part."

Itar-Tass: Russian Poet Receives Prestigious US Award - "'A poet in Russia means more than a poet,'said Russian ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak at a reception held at the Russian Embassy in Washington on Tuesday evening in memory of the outstanding poets of the two countries – Walt Whitman and Alexander Pushkin, and in honor of Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who received a prestigious annual award. The award was instituted by the Fund of Russian-US cultural cooperation for an outstanding contribution to the development of bilateral cultural contacts.

The ceremony was held under the patronage of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was represented by Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale. She praised the work of the Fund and the reception given at the embassy as conforming to the strategy of resetting the Russian-US relations proclaimed by the administration of US President Barack Obama." Image from article.

Al-Qaeda and Taliban Status Check: A Resurgent Threat - Chandler, Chandler's Watch: "Since President Obama’s speech in Cairo, al-Qaeda has acknowledged the need for public diplomacy, but it has failed to connect with and inspire its audiences and usual followers. In the age of a 'leaderless jihad,' people will certainly be available as potential recruits, but not as initiators. Leadership is important, and al-Qaeda’s leadership has proven to be out of touch with reality, causing a severe loss of credibility, relevance, and self-justification."

State's Human Rights Guy Needs to Man Up Fast - Jeff Ballinger, Huffington Post: "[T]he public diplomacy gains of being on the side of the little guys (including -- wink, wink -- tens of thousands of Pakistanis sending remittances home) are priceless."

India can count on help in tackling terror: Roemer - K. Venkateshwarlu. The Hindu: "India could look forward to American help in anti-terror measures such as the setting up a national counter-terrorism cell and rapid deployment of forces at the time of terror strikes besides sharing ‘actionable intelligence,’ U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said here [in Hyderabad] on Wednesday. ... He was in Hyderabad on a specific brief from Mr. Obama to reach out to a cross section of people in India through public diplomacy and widen the scope of relations for achieving global peace and prosperity."

Romer to practise what Barack Obama preaches - "HYDERABAD: Adhering to US President Barack Obama’s suggestion, American Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer stated that he was not going to confine himself to the four walls of his diplomatic office but would be seen often in public domain. 'I will try to shake as many hands as possible.

US President Obama has floated the idea of public diplomacy, which I’m going to put into practice,' the US Ambassador said." Image (from article): US Ambassador Timothy J Roemer waters a sapling after planting it at the CII campus on Wednesday. Also seen are US Consul General Cornelis Keur 1hy

Can the word "propaganda" ever be rehabilitated? - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "The negative connotation of 'propaganda' came about because of all the false information disseminated, over the years, by propaganda efforts. The professions of public diplomacy and public relations, while not always considered in the highest regard, have a better reputation than propaganda because they have generally refrained from lying, although they involve the careful selection of truthful information. As such, public diplomacy is not journalism, and government-funded journalism should not be considered part of public diplomacy."

Once again, we're number one... - Starbuck, Wings Over Iraq: "Well, along comes 2009--guess who's number one in the world again, baby? That's right, the US seems to have made amazing steps in repairing its national image in the last year. (This was one of the main goals Colin Powell felt that the US should achieve during an interview during last year's elections). A few public diplomacy experts chime in Simon Anholt ... Nicholas Cull.”

Pentagon used psychological operation on US public, documents show - Brad Jacobson, Raw Story: ‎"Bryan Whitman, the current deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations, was an active senior participant in a Bush administration covert Pentagon program

that used retired military analysts to generate positive wartime news coverage. ... 'Running the military analyst program from a community relations office is both surprising and unwise,' said Nicholas Cull, a professor of public diplomacy at USC’s Annenberg School and an expert on propaganda. ... Cull said the revelations are 'just one more indication that the entire apparatus of the US government’s strategic communications -- civilian and military, at home and abroad -- is in dire need of review and repair.'” Image from

TEA (Teaching Excellence & Achievement Program)ECA international: "TEA also provides follow-on grants to international alumni TEA to the essential materials for their schools to purchase, offer follow-on training for other teachers, activities and practices that will build on the exchange visits. ... TEA international education market, 'Basic Education' Teaching Grants exchange 'secondary Shools', 'professional development' of 'public diplomacy' State ..."

Cold War Memories and the Apologist President – Reflections, Ron Miller’s Blog: "The Germans are ... coordinating a public diplomacy campaign in America to promote awareness of the fall of the Berlin Wall at over 20 U.S. college campuses. Given the nature of instruction on today’s college campuses, such a campaign is sorely needed."

Public Diplomacy 2.0 - Mark Drapeau, The Body Politech, "Thanks to a new 'sister city' marriage of Washington and Helsinki, a program called Invitation to Helsinki

brought some District influencers to meet counterparts and exchange knowledge. With backing from Finland’s U.S. Ambassador, this brainchild of the Finnish Embassy’s cultural counselor Pekka Hako blossomed into a collection of relationships that may last far beyond the week-long trip that people like Government 2.0 Club co-founder Peter Corbett, Georgetown student body president Patrick Dowd, and political communications expert Blake Zeff took." Image from

Conversations in Public Diplomacy: Ambassador Claudia Fritsche: Trust and Transparency in a Changing Global Financial Order: the Role of Liechtenstein - Events Detail, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "On October 20, 2009, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy hosted Claudia Fritsche, Ambassador of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the United States, for a private discussion on the trust and transparency in a changing global financial order and the role of Liechtenstein. The session was attended by graduate students and faculty of the Master of Public Diplomacy program. ... In discussion diplomacy and public diplomacy, Ambassador Fritsche explained her view that diplomatic relations does not merely consist of one country explaining its policies and interests to the other."

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on October 20, 2009 - press release, MFA China: "On October 20, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference and answered questions on the hijacked Chinese cargo ship 'De Xin Hai' and the China-Russia-India Foreign Ministers' Meeting, etc. Ma Zhaoxu: Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. First of all, I'd like to welcome friends from the Nankai District of Tianjin present here today. As you all know, public diplomacy is an important part of China's diplomacy. We hope you can have a better understanding of China's foreign policy and that we can also learn from you valuable experience so as to jointly contribute to China's diplomatic efforts as well as world peace and development."

Do the protocols Bridge any Divides ??? - MAcacho Nalpa. Temas Generales: "[H]ow will we [Armenians] also ensure that the yawning gap between the Armenian Republic and the Armenian Diaspora does not ricochet dangerously beyond control and arrest our collective future hopes? Will we manage to bridge any of the divides through public diplomacy and people-to-people contacts to ensure real reconciliation?Therein lies in my opinion the next existential challenge that confronts us all."

'Radio Free America' - Cal Thomas, Washington Times: "During the Cold War, the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe were among the broadcast entities that effectively penetrated the Iron Curtain to deliver truth to the 'captive nations' that were being fed a steady dose of propaganda by their communist rulers. Those dictators did everything they could to jam the signals so that their people would only hear what their unelected overseers wanted them to hear. Contemporary versions of jamming and other forms of censorship occur today in Venezuela, Cuba and many other places where dictators believe public ignorance is essential to their unchallenged rule. While the Obama administration is the product of an election, its approach to Fox News Channel,

conservative talk radio and possibly the Internet appears similar to dictators who desire control over the flow of information in order to enhance their power." Image from

New Resources SectioniDiplomacy: "Check out our new Resources section. It includes includes information for those unfamiliar with public diplomacy as well as those with a working knowledge who want to learn more about how the social media landscape and culture are changing. It includes links to government resources, cool videos, academia, organizations promoting public diplomacy, other public diplomacy-related events and interesting blogs."

All the Things We Are – Are Not Learnable – Domani Sperao, Diplopundit: "I once knew a public diplomacy officer, before it was called that, who was promoted up to become the chief of a branch post. He was a nice guy with a deep technical background but had no feel for connecting with the public and was under skilled in managing his small crew. He did his best – he gained experience, learned his lessons and he went to trainings. But no amount of experience or training could hide the fact that at most, he was a mediocre representative of the United States government in the field."

A Friendly Chat, with Logan Sachon: Chris Andino, Our Man in Libya - : "THE AWL: So what exactly does a foreign service officer do? ANDINO [Chris Andino, Foreign Service Officer posted in Libya] : There are five tracks, but we can all do any of them. We’re hired to be generalists. There’s a political track,

you do the traditional representational things, talk about bilateral relationships, the other component is that you’re like a reporter, you talk to people, figure out what’s going on and then you write about it. So having some journalistic experience is really helpful. Another track is economic, which is like political but with more emphasis on economic policy. Consulate is visas and passports. Management, one of the hardest jobs, they make sure the embassies are up and running, and then there’s public diplomacy, which does a lot things to make us look good, like coordinating scholarships for people to come study in the US. I could do any one of those jobs, and I could do them anywhere in the world.

But my track is political, though I did two years of consulate in Columbia, and that was totally fascinating." Images (1) from (2) from

But Then Face to Face – Nodoublestandards, Calling a Spade a Spade: Rants of a Foreign Service Officer on The Things That Matter to You -- And Matter to You Not At All: "I always hate the beginning of a tour. This is an 'out-of-cone' tour for me, which means that I'm doing consular work but am actually a Public Diplomacy officer. Last tour was great. I hated to leave, because I really felt like I had a handle on my job. But now I'm starting from zero again. I never enjoy that sense of disequilibrium. In retrospect, maybe it would have been better to do a Washington tour this time. This is our third straight time abroad. But we really had little choice. Life is so expensive in DC, and with our kids so young, my wife can't work. We simply couldn't afford to go back. I get homesick more than I used to. The Phillies finally made the playoffs this year, but I've got to watch them at 3 in the morning. I miss walking down the street and hearing English as a matter of course."


Torture songs spur a protest most vocal: Musicians call for release of records on Guantanamo detainee treatment - Joe Heim, Washington Post

Bullets and Blogs: New Media and the Warfighter - Matt Armstrong, From the US Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership and The SecDev Group comes “Bullets and Blogs: New Media and the Warfighter” (2.7mb PDF).

The report is based on a three-day workshop that took place at Carlisle Barracks in January 2008, one of the best events I have attended. It is required reading for anyone (e.g. more then than the Defense community) involved in the modern information environment. Image from article

RSF [Reporters sans frontières] publishes its Press Freedom Index for 2009 - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: What would hawkishness or doveishness have to do with press freedom within the United States?

Nobody wins in the Afghan runoff election: No matter how the Nov. 7 vote turns out, it likely will impede the goal of creating an effective, independent government in Kabul - Rajan Menon, The spectacle of the 6-foot-tall U.S. senator Kerry standing next to the Afghan president, who everyone knows was arm-twisted into making a concession he had resisted, simply helps the Taliban's PR campaign. And although a runoff election will be hailed as a political victory by the White House, it will not make this enterprise any easier.

Afghan success depends on understanding the enemy – Opinion, USA TODAY: Although U.S. drone strikes have killed militant leaders and need to continue, doing more to avoid civilian casualties and mistreatment of prisoners will deprive the enemy of propaganda bonanzas.

More Troops Are a Bad Bet - Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times: We have been oblivious to the strength of nationalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, particularly among the 40 million Pashtuns who live on both sides of the border there. That’s one reason the additional 21,000 troops that President Obama ordered to Afghanistan earlier this year haven’t helped achieve stability, and it’s difficult to see why 40,000 more would help either. Below image from

There’s No Substitute for Troops on the Ground - Max Boot, New York Times: Only by sending more personnel, military and civilian, can President Obama improve the Afghan government’s performance, reverse the Taliban’s gains and prevent Al Qaeda’s allies from regaining the ground they lost after 9/11.

Afpak Progress: Our allies move, even as Obama wavers – Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal

Obama Goes Wobbly on Afghanistan: The president can sustain bipartisan support for the war if he demonstrates his personal commitment - Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal

Pakistan fights back: At last, it takes the Taliban seriously - David Ignatius, Washington Post: A Pakistan that controls its Afghan border would be a big boost for the United States, but to work, it must be labeled "Made in Pakistan."

Pakistan’s Campaign in South Waziristan: What America Can Do- Patricia Lee Sharpe, Whirled View

The High-Tech Future of Body Language - Carol Kinsey Goman, Washington Post:

The visual technology revolution is making body language more important than ever. Soon you will be interacting face-to-face with even greater frequency, even if those interactions are mediated by a screen. Image from


Is Happiness Still That New Car Smell? - Micheline Maynard, New York Times: For generations, American car buying has been guided by one grand philosophy: which one do I want? But now, another question has begun to percolate: do I need a car at all?


"Radio has lost its mojo"

-- Phil Leigh, president of market research firm Inside Digital Media, noting that "When new releases come out, people do a Google search." Image from

1 comment:

IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board) said...

Thank you for mentioning the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA). I'm not sure the provenance of the blog that you linked to, but more information about the US Teacher reciprocal exchange is available at

The deadline is December 1, 2009 for US teachers to apply to travel in spring or summer of 2011.

The TEA program is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State and administered by IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board). Please direct any questions to

Thank you!