Sunday, October 25, 2009

October 25


--a computer application that blocks your Internet access for up to eight hours at a stretch; image from

"Some amount of message control is necessary and inevitable in any war effort, but in accepting this we must be careful not to spin ourselves."

--Brookings Institution scholars Jason Campbell, Michael E. O'Hanlon and Jeremy Shapiro, mapping out the key indicators for a counterinsurgency war in the latest issue of Policy Review.


Lessons from Kerry-Lugar Discourse - Javed Malik, Khaleej Times: "The recent debate over the Kerry-Lugar Bill has once again brought the complexities of Pakistan’s relationship with the United States under the microscope. While it may have thrown up some challenges, it also presents an opportunity to US policy makers to do some soul searching and review some of their strategies. ...

Some clauses seen as clearly 'intrusive' and 'unacceptable' were perceived to have an implicit design to micro-manage Pakistan. This provoked negative reactions from all segments of society including the media, the academics, political parties, and even the armed forces. This is a typical example bad public diplomacy by US policy-makers. If their goal was to ‘win hearts and minds’ of the Pakistani people they are certainly not going about it 
the right way." Kerry-Lugar image from

US State Department War Report on Sri Lanka full of slanders, insinuations ambiguous information and diplomatic terrorism - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale was ... knowledgeable of how U.S. overseas posts function when she declared in September 'We cannot sit behind embassy walls and speak only to the people who agree with us. We have to engage, even when we disagree with others. We have to communicate-two-way communication, not one-way messaging-through both government-to-people dialogue and people-to-people dialogue.'”

The Creepy and Crappy Afghanistan War Lies Obama's People are telling -

"Well, it seems as though the most 'transparent' administration in history operates, at least in its 'public' diplomacy, by deceit." Image from

Terry Anzur Coaching Blog: Public Diplomacy - Terry, Terry Anzur Coaching Blog: "Public Diplomacy. The main point of my visit is trying to enlist a Maldivian partner organization for a Fulbright specialist grant from the US State Department. But it's also a chance to catch up with some of the outstanding professionals I met at TV Maldives on the last two trips."

Air Rescue – Adam LeBor, Monocle: "Twenty years ago, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was a busy place as the Iron Curtain was pulled back. Today, its signals are still focused on Russia as well as Iran and Afghanistan." Via

Message to RFE via pigeon? Or just pigeon droppings? - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "In 1954, a carrier pigeon named Lena was participating in a race between two German towns. While flying from Nuremberg to her home loft in a West German village, Lena got lost and ended up landing in the town of Pilsen in communist Czechoslovakia, where she was discovered by a Czech pigeon enthusiast.

The unnamed man recognized Lena's German leg band and decided to send his own message - to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in Munich: 'We plead with you not to slow down in the fight against Communist aggression, because Communism must be destroyed. We beg for a speedy liberation from the power of the Kremlin and the establishment of a United States of Europe. We always listen to your broadcasts. They present a completely true picture of life behind the Iron Curtain. We would like you to tell us how we can combat Bolshevism and the tyrannical dictatorship existing here. We are taking every opportunity to work against the regime and do everything in our power to sabotage it.' ... Known as 'The Pigeon Who Crashed the Iron Curtain,' or simply 'Leaping Lena," her celebrity status resulted in Lena's selection as the model for the emblem of the 1955 Crusade for Freedom campaign." Alex Mayer, Off Mic blog, RFE/RL, 23 October 2009. [Elliott comment:] I hope this great story is true. However, given that the Crusade for Freedom was a ruse to make people think that Radio Free Europe was funded by donations rather than by the CIA, and given the conveniently perfect phraseology of the message, some good historians should look into this." Image from

Brand Encounters: Anholt’s Secret - On Simon Anholt’s Nation Branding Masterclass in Singapore, 20 October, 2009 -

Continued intransigence of Somali extremists - Walta Information Center - ‎ "Foreign Policy and Public Diplomacy[:] Two weeks ago, looking at foreign policy challenges in the coming year, we emphasized that one of the difficulties facing Ethiopia (and indeed other countries in the region and in Africa) is one of perception, of how we are perceived by others and of how such views are reached. Together this makes up a central element of public diplomacy. In part, of course, the results may be a reflection of our own failures to inform others sufficiently clearly of the aims and objectives of our policy and of our diplomacy, and, equally, important, of our impressive achievements in the democratization of society and in economic and social development which together have completely changed the trajectory of development in Ethiopia.

In the absence of such information, others for political reasons can and will fill the gap with outdated and inaccurate images, portraying Ethiopia as mired in war, conflict, and famine. As we have discovered it is difficult to change these perceptions, even when there is goodwill which is in any case often unfortunately lacking." Image from

Where is Arunachal? Google's contribution to global politics - Dev, "However while New Delhi and Beijing are indulging in their little trysts of Public Diplomacy, Google has been practising a different brand of 'PD' in this whole controversy. In August this year they got into heavy controversy when Google India maps showed parts of Arunachal Pradesh in Chinese language and parts of Arunachal’s southern boundary with Assam and northern boundary with China in broken lines, while the state’s eastern and western boundaries with Bhutan and Myanmar were shown in continuous white lines. Following the uproar from the media over this, Google India made a public apology and clarified its position, but that was 2 months ago. Things have changed from then. In what I can only describe as a desperate bid to keep everyone happy, Google is showing different maps to Indians and Chinese."

Citizenship ceremonies: A Brit of a do - Times Online: ‎"[An] anglophile was Colleen Graffy, a lawyer, academic and former deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy at the US State Department. She had been living in the UK for about 15 years when, in 2003 ... , she decided that she wanted to vote in the country in which she lived, so she applied for citizenship. ... I meet Graffy

in her impressive offices in a mansion-sized former residence in Kensington. This is the UK base for Pepperdine University, an American establishment for which Graffy runs the London programme. She is witty, confident and immaculately turned-out in that way typical of right-wing American female politicos (sleek suit, immovable hair)." On Graffy, see; image from

Useful Resources - share2shine: “Jeff Gardner and friends periodically comment on a range of issues including the American press and its relationship with American politics, public diplomacy, international affairs and the absurdities that come to us in the press."


Two-Day Event Highlights the Future of Storytelling Across a Wide Array of Screens - "AFI PROJECT: 20/20 is an American Film Institute international initiative designed to enhance cultural exchange, understanding and collaboration through filmmakers and their films from the US and abroad.

It is an unprecedented cultural diplomacy effort that is the only international filmmaker exchange supported by all of America's cultural agencies—National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities." Image from

A banana republic police HQ maybe, but not a home for the Elgin marbles – Simon Jenkins, "To me, architectural sculpture belongs on the building to which it was once attached. If it cannot be re-attached then it belongs in its climate, culture and context. The restitution of the marbles to Greece was thus always a noble goal of cultural diplomacy. Whenever I visited Athens, I came away ashamed at Britain's insistence that it would never return them, but this was coupled with sadness that the polluted, un-conserved and undistinguished city of Athens seemed determined to undermine its case."

Five little Australians make diplomacy an open book - Michael Sainsbury, The Australian: "As diplomatic tensions between Australia and China recede, serendipitously timed 'soft' or cultural diplomacy is also easing the heat. This has been headlined with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's triumphant China debut in Beijing on Sunday night, the start of a five-city tour.

Cultural diplomacy with China will step up next year with the twin projects of the Year of Australian Culture in China, beginning next June, and the World Expo at Shanghai." Image from

KSC Centennial Symposium: From Local to Global - Keene State College: "Tina Mai Chen will present 'Film as Friendship: China's Cultural Diplomacy in the Cold War' on Thursday, November 5, at 7 p.m. (Mabel Brown Room, Student Center). Tina Mai Chen is associate professor of history and co-coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Research Circle on Globalization and Cosmopolitanism at the University of Manitoba."

Sant to address Berlin conference - Times of Malta: "Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant has been listed among the speakers at a conference in Germany to mark the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The conference is being held by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy and will group an international group of participants for a four day programme of lectures, panel discussions, and seminars. The conference is entitled 'A World Without Walls: An International Congress on Soft Power, Cultural Diplomacy, and Interdependence'. It will be held between November 6 and 9. Other speakers include Ségolène Royal, the former French socialist leader, David Trimble, Former First Minister of Northern Ireland, László Kovács European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union and Vasile Puşcaş Romanian Minister for European Affairs." Image from


Where Is U.S. Foreign Policy Headed?- Amy Chua, New York Times: A recent outpouring of foreign policy books and essays attempts to forecast and shape the next big movement.

Among these, a handful remain bravely optimistic about America’s continuing global dominance. Far more observers of American foreign policy are pessimistic about Ameri­ca’s trajectory. If any foreign policy camp best captures mainstream American opinion in 2009, it is probably neo-isolationism: a return to the inwardness of the post-World War I years, when the country refused to join the League of Nations. Image from; on quo vadis, see

Eyes on the Prize - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: We cannot let Afghanistan distract U.S. diplomats from Iraq. Remember: Transform Iraq and it will impact the whole Arab-Muslim world. Change Afghanistan and you just change Afghanistan.

Lies, damn lies and counterinsurgency benchmarks - Carlos Lozada, Washington Post: So, how do we measure success in Afghanistan? If Obama opts for a narrow counterterrorism approach, the ultimate benchmark is simple: no terrorist attacks against the American homeland. But if he goes with the full McChrystal -- a long-term, fully resourced counterinsurgency, with lots of new troops -- the indicators of success become murkier.

Not another alibi - Oliver North, Washington Times:

Had the Obama administration decided months - or even weeks ago to provide additional troops, mobility assets and resources for Gen. McChrystal, many Taliban fighters might well have decided to call it quits. The Obama administration has nothing to gain from further delay. Image from

Firmness and no wobbling- Marco Vicenzino, Washington Times: More than ever, President Obama must take a clear and determined stand on Afghanistan. The president must present a vision that promotes and sustains the mission's unity and continuity of purpose.

New German Book to Uncover Western Propaganda about Iran - FNA, Tehran: A new book, written by German journalist Ruediger Elsaesser, is to expose western propaganda lies about Iran. Titled "Iran- Facts Against Western Propaganda", the 105-page book is to be unveiled by Elsaesser in Berlin on Tuesday, the Islamic republic news agency reported.

writing Advice: Jack McDevitt 5: Driving the Narrative, or "Lost in the B Plot" - Guystewart/Discoverchurch, Possibly Irritating Essays: “Comparing my published work: 'Mystery on Space Station Courage', 'Pig Tales', 'Dear Hunter' and the others, I see now that when I wrote them, I had a 'message' -- there was a purpose.

I was trying to 'say something' important. Propaganda is ALSO writing that is trying to 'say something' but it tends to be heavy-handed and not very interesting. (Every good story is well-written propaganda though, putting across the writer's ideals and ideas...)." Image from

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