Friday, October 23, 2009

October 23

"What is left, when we reveal everything?"

--Rachel Shteir, author of Gypsy: The Art of the Tease, a propos of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee; cited in Times Literary Supplement (October 2, 2009), p. 34; image from


US to counter propaganda in Pakistan: Hillary - The Nation, Pakistan: "[Clinton:] ‘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 into 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’, she added." See also. Hillary-zombie image from

Clinton vows US support for Pakistan's 'courageous' fight - "As Pakistan pushed its battle against militant stronghold in South Waziristan amid continuing retaliatory terrorist attacks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced US solidarity and support for the nation’s ‘courageous’ anti-terror fight. ... Clinton said the US will try to do a good public diplomacy job in responding to misperceptions about its position on various issues and underlined that the that the ‘United States is hoping to be a good partner for not just the Government of Pakistan, but more importantly, the people of Pakistan.’"

PD Rapid Response Team to Pakistan? – Domani Spero, Diplopundit:

"The USG in recent months supported a young entrepreneurs' 'Incubation Center,' provided bomb disposal equipment , donated ambulances, sent Pakistani students for US exchange visits and more. None of these seemed to have penetrated the very crowded traditional press that is considered among the most outspoken in South Asia. ... We’ll be in the lookout on what changes the new public diplomacy team makes when they get to Islamabad." Image from

Cuban piano tuner: "What am I? A Taliban?" Caught Donors and cronies still get the choice postings Al Kamen - Washington Post - "Radio Free Taliban Good news for international broadcasting folks. This interesting tidbit was in New York Times reporter David Rohde's series this week on his seven months in captivity after he was kidnapped by the Taliban. Rohde escaped in June. 'The tribal areas were more developed and the Taliban more sophisticated than I expected,' he wrote. 'They browsed the Internet and listened to hourly news updates on Azadi Radio, a station run by the American government. But then they dismissed whatever information did not meet their preconceptions.' See? Proof that, despite some problems with transmission facilities, U.S. public diplomacy efforts are working. Even the Taliban crazies are tuning in. But wait a minute. There was some information that did meet their preconceptions?"

Intelligence Vice Chairman Slams White House on Afghanistan - Pay Czar Cuts Financial Salaries - Connie Hair, Human Events: "Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee: 'In a war where winning hearts and minds is critical, delay in Washington is a public diplomacy disaster in Afghanistan and abroad.

It advertises our lack of resolve to our allies and the people of Afghanistan. The Afghan people need to know with certainty that the United States will not abandon them in this fight against terrorism. Our allies, who at this very moment are being urged by the Secretary of Defense to contribute to the Afghan campaign, need to know that we will remain by their sides to defeat this enemy together.'" Bond image from

VOL. V NO. 22, October 9-October 22, 2009 - The Layalina Review on Public Diplomacy and Arab Media

Live from TWTRCON ’09: Craig Newmark on the power of real time communities - Merritt Colaizzi, SmartBlog On Social Media: "Today’s keynote at TWTRCON DC was an interview of Craig Newmark of Craigslist by Alan Murray from The Wall Street Journal. Like Twitter itself and everything at the conference (the TWTRCON 'program' is, literally a bookmark), it was short and sweet. Since that’s SmartBrief’s mission too (we aim to save you time, keep you smart), let me summarize/paraphrase ... . Examples of social media projects you admire/support to make government better? A lot of agencies like the Pentagon are using innovation sites where the rank and file can propose solutions. 17 yrs at IBM taught me the value of this kind of idea sourcing to create change and call management attention to a broad range of voices. The State Dept. under Hil[l]ary Clinton’s leadership is a remarkably good example of effective implementation of public diplomacy and social media. Internally, they’ve renovated their intranet so staffers can reach out to each other through social nets. Externally, they are reaching out to social media platforms when necessary, asking Twitter not to do maintenance while important world events are going on. The State Department is also working on funding social networking in the Arab/Islamic world."

State Dept Project Signals Foreign Policy Shift Spencer Ackerman - The Washington Independent:

“[T]he State Department is facing existential questions about its utility to American foreign policy, and some aren’t so sure that it will be as influential as Slaughter believes. In a provocative article last month for Foreign Policy magazine, public-diplomacy specialist Matt Armstrong called the agency 'broken and paralyzed, unable to respond to the new 21st-Century paradigm' where both state and non-state actors influence the global agenda. 'The QDDR will ultimately be just a document. What it spurs will be the real test,' Armstrong, whose article urged radical departmental restructuring, said in an interview. 'As we know from the struggle for minds and wills around the world today, words only go so far.'” Image from

Selective Urgency - Robert P. Kirchhoefer, American Spectator: "Donald Rumsfeld directed the Defense Science Board Task Force to assess the effects of the Bush administration's policies in the War On Terror, Iraq and Aghanistan .... [from the Defense Science Board Task Force report:] 'Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that 'freedom is the future of the Middle East' is seen as patronizing, suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old Communist World — but Muslims do not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.'"

McChrystal to brief NATO defense ministers - Lara Jakes, The Associated Press: "A document provided to The Associated Press outlines formal NATO approval of plans to eventually give Afghan army and police officials control over a war that is in its ninth year. The plans specifically do not require any withdrawal of the 104,000 U.S. and NATO troops that will be in Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Instead, they officially affirm NATO's intent to shift from being in charge of security and rebuilding in the war-torn nation to taking a backup role to Afghan officials, according to the document. 'This is not associated with any force withdrawal or predetermined decrease in force level requirements,' the document written by NATO's public diplomacy division states. 'It will entail a change in the nature of the security assistance provided to the Afghans and the balance of responsibility.'" Image from

NATO Defence Ministers meet in Bratislava - SK Today: "The Slovak capital Bratislava is for the first time in its history hosting a meeting of the defence ministers of NATO-member states. ... The NCBC ['New Challenges - Better Capabilities'] conference has been organised by the Slovak Atlantic Commission (SAC) with support from the Slovak Defence Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and NATO's Public Diplomacy Division."

Comment: The smoking police are now barging into your home - Marni Soupcoff, Posted Toronto: Comment by by mbakken: "Not to be confused with public diplomacy, Perception Management as a rule uses deception to influence emotions to an end. The difference between real and perception is like a stick of dynamite and the A-bomb. Wars can be created using Perception Management!"


A hesitant White House - Tony Blankley, Washington Times:

On three fronts - South Korean trade, Ukrainian/Russian diplomacy and Afghan war fighting - the Obama administration is being increasingly pressured by unfolding events to shed ideology and rationalizations and come quickly to a realistic analysis of world events and their consequences. In each of these cases, in the absence of very prompt United States policy decisions and actions, we shall incur long-term irreversible economic, geopolitical or national security harm. Image from

Counting Backward - Editorial, New York Times:

After Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship and the recent years of near civil war, it is a relief to see Iraq’s Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities fighting things out in Parliament, not in the streets. But the situation is still highly fragile, and the forces eager to reignite the killing have not given up. The elections and the political reforms must move forward. Image from

Detente on ice: Does an Iran that sentences an innocent American scholar to prison really want 'engagement'? – Editorial, Washington Post

Bosnia and American Exceptionalism: It took U.S. leadership to end the war. It will take new U.S. leadership to prevent the country from dissolving – Bob Dole, Wall Street Journal


What's the next superfruit to be seen with?Los Angeles Times: So it was a thrill to receive news from a public relations firm -- about a fruit called the maqui berry. There's been some buzz about it, but we don't sense the maqui has come into its own quite yet.

Never heard of it? Wonder how it's pronounced? Those things in and of themselves make the maqui berry prime superfruit material. And there's more: According to the press materials, the maqui -- a purple berry from the Patagonia region of South America -- is "traditionally used by the indigenous Mapuche Indians for supporting stamina, increasing strength, and promoting healthy immune response. The only unconquered Native American Indians in all of the Americas, the Mapuche Indians’ legendary strength and stamina are attributed to drinking a fermented Maqui drink several times a day. Research shows Maqui is the highest antioxidant superfruit in the world — two to three times higher than acai, pomegranate, goji berry, or mangosteen." Image from article.

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