Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 27

"We are spending ourselves into oblivion."

--a “very talented and intelligent commander” cited in the letter of resignation (in protest over the Afghan war) by Matthew Hoh, former Foreign Service officer; image from

"about 70"

-The average age of American nuns, according to Maureen Dowd


VOA takes over PBC? - Ahmed Quraishi, The Nation, Pakistan: "As of this month, the Pakistani government has quietly allowed the United States to expand its Afghanistan-based media propaganda network to include Pakistan,

in a clandestinely signed deal that is bound to generate more anger when the Pakistani government that is yet to fully recover from accusations of a sellout to intrusive American aid conditions. ... The Voice of America (VOA), which is a US government agency, and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation reached an agreement earlier this month where Pakistan had agreed to expand the Afghanistan-based US propaganda network - the Americans call this ‘public diplomacy’ - to Pakistan. Under the deal, VOA will use PBC equipment and transmitters in Peshawar, Islamabad and Lahore to distribute VOA material in Pashto and Urdu on medium and FM waves." Image from

Zain Hussain Qureshi: Drowning in the sea of pointless pointlessness pointlessly! - Saleha Javaid, Agha Haider Raza: changing the prevalent thought process in Pakistan: "Pakistan needs people who can represent our interests in the policy formulation bodies of America. We lack important insights into the workings of the American system which are required to bolster public diplomacy and are necessary to understand and apprehend foreign perspective. As a nation we need to get out of the ‘gossip groove’ and strive to attain the knowledge we need for tomorrow, to pave the way into a better future. That is the only way we can give back to our community; the only way in which we can build a stable bridge between home and abroad!"

Engaging with the Muslim World Will Require More than a Special Representative - Anne Hagood, Foreign Policy In Focus: "Farah Pandith was appointed in June 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the Special Representative to Muslim Communities. Pandith held a similar post under the Bush administration, and while her five years of experience have been hailed as a testament to her capacity, the state of U.S.-Muslim relations today speaks volumes, contradicting the very idea that this post is either beneficial or could possibly bring forth tangible results under the purview of State Department.

Pandith's work on the 'War of Ideas' under the Bush administration seems to clash with the Obama administration's vision of conducting public diplomacy and cultural engagement. The very term 'War of Ideas' has now become an anathema to this current administration. Could her appointment reflect internal disagreements at State Department between pro-Obama and pro-Clinton factions? ... Bolstering America's credibility among Muslims does not hinge on correcting misinformation, but rather reforming a behavior that is perceived as arrogant, uncaring and insulting, and that provides extremists the tools to propagate their own narrative. If we are to believe that a Special Representative is expected to improve international dialogue at a grassroots level, we should remind ourselves that dialogue, without action, rings hollow across the very target population it seeks to engage." See also John Brown, "Thoughts on the So-Called 'War of Ideas," History News Network. Pandith image from

How Is Hillary Clinton Doing As Secretary Of State? - Patrick B. Pexton, nationaljournal.com: "[Comment by] Joseph J. Collins, Professor, National War College: Secy Hillary Secy Clinton has a strong team and has instilled discipline in Foggy Bottom, no mean feat. Her public diplomacy and public affairs operations have generally been good."

Call in the Civilians: Counterinsurgency is at least 50 percent civilian. So where have all the Foreign Service officers gone?: Ron Capps, Foreign Policy: "Since the September 11 attacks, the United States has suffered from a myopia that sees military expansion as paramount and civilian support as an afterthought. As a result, the State Department's ranks have been depleted and overstretched to the core.

And the civilian half of warfare has suffered. ... U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's two immediate predecessors tried to get funding for more FSOs from Congress. Colin Powell, for example, increased the Foreign Service by about 1,000 people a year. But most of these newbies went to consular and diplomatic security positions, not core and public diplomacy jobs. ... These personnel shortages reduce the United States' ability to project what Clinton calls 'smart power.'" Image from

Foreign Affairs Scholars Decry America`s Failed Public Diplomacy Efforts, Push for Embrace of Web 2.0, in latest Journal of International Security Affairs - Reuters: "The Obama Administration seeks to reboot relations with hostile states andmovements in keeping with its focus on the utilization of 'Smart Power,"' and no initiative will prove more critical to the success of this approach than public diplomacy, according to foreign affairs policy experts and scholars writing inthe fall 2009 issue of Journal of International Security Affairs. The latest issue, which offers six articles tackling this issue head on, can be viewed at www.securityaffairs.org."

I Thought We Were Broke? - fraterslibertas.com: "Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul - not quite there yet. From her latest celebratory press release: 'Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) has introduced H.R. 3701, the More Books for Africa Act of 2009. The bill establishes the More Books for Africa Program to facilitate the donation, processing, shipping, and distribution of text and library books to African schools, libraries, community centers, and other centers of learning in partnership with United States-based entities. 'Ensuring access to and availability of textbooks and library books in countries on the continent of Africa is a critical component of our nation's public diplomacy. The More Books for Africa Program will be a powerful cross cultural initiative to help create a more educated global community,' Congresswoman McCollum said.'"

Web 2.0 Roundup: US Embassy Manila – Domani Spero, diplopundit: "I don’t think we can realistically expect our ambassadors to write about foreign policy issues in their blogs. We certainly can’t expect Ambassador Kenney [US Ambassador to the Philippines, Kristie Kenney, ‘one of the very few US Ambassadors with an official blog’] to write about the RP-US Visiting Agreement in this medium because there are other venues what would lend more effectively to the discussion of such matters.

But as she has shown, a blog can be a great tool in public diplomacy; no, not as a public relations-lobbying tool but in personalizing our government’s top representative in a foreign country, and in showing empathetic engagement. Whoever works online officially as part of the public diplomacy outreach must bear in mind what Edward R. Murrow, former director of the USIA, once said: 'Truth is the best propaganda and lies are the worst. To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful. It is as simple as that.'” Kenney image from

Watchers Council Nominations - The Left Is Coping With The Burdens Of Governing Really Well – Omri Ceren, Mere Rhetoric: "My own post dealt with how influential public diplomacy expert Marc Lynch advised the Obama administration to pick a fight with Israel, saw that strategy backfire as the Palestinians hardened their demands and fractured, and is now accusing Israel of 'intransigence' in every other post he writes. He’s a little bit bitter and it’s getting kind of unseemly, though there’s probably room for sympathy – the foreign policy failed left’s recommendations have been exposed as naivete-soaked delusions, and that can’t be fun."

Sharansky vows not to cut JA budget - Haviv Rettig Gur: Jerusalem Post: "[Jewish Agency chairman Natan] Sharansky ... announced

the mobilization of a major new outreach project to overseas university campuses with large numbers of Jews at the Board of Governors meeting on Monday. The program, which will send some 100 emissaries over the next two years to campuses in North America, where some 80 percent of Diaspora Jews live, reflects the central Jewish Agency mission of 'strengthening the ties between Diaspora Jews and the State of Israel,' he told the agency board's Committee for Combating Anti-Semitism. The emissaries will be trained by senior international experts on issues of activism, international law and hasbara (public diplomacy), including Canadian MP, professor and former justice minister Irwin Cotler and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz." Sharansky image from article.

Losing Israel - Bill Warner, American Thinker: "When America entered the war in Vietnam, Ho Chi Min said that it would be a long war and that the communists would win by using propaganda in the media and the universities. He was correct. It is time to take stock in the war between Israelis and the Palestinians and deal with some forbidden subjects. Israel is losing the propaganda war, hasbarah, and for a very good reason. Israel is not in the hasbarah game, unless one counts belated responses to the Palestinians' propaganda offensives."

It's time for Baku to start lobbying in Europe - Hurriyet Daily News: "The first lobbying effort of Azerbaijan vis-a-vis the Turkish public took place a few days prior to April 24, when it was becoming evident that Turkey and Armenia would issue a statement on a road map detailing the way to normalize relations between the two countries. ...

Yet when it realized that its official contacts were proving unsuccessful to stop Ankara from reaching a deal without taking into account Azerbaijan's reservations, it [the Azerbaijani government] recoursed to public diplomacy. Half a dozen female lawmakers, some looking like fashion models, came to Ankara to visit Turkish lawmakers as well as government officials. But, this is an outdated way of lobbying. ... It is high time for Baku to adopt a professional approach for lobbying." "Baku bikini" image from

Ex-PM Nogaideli in Moscow for 'Public Diplomacy' - Civil Georgia: "Zurab Nogaideli, ex-PM and now leader of opposition Movement for Fair Georgia party, is in Moscow to, as he said, hold meetings with representatives of Georgian, Abkhaz and Ossetian communities in Russia. In an interview with Moscow-based Echo Moskvy radio station on October 26, Nogaideli said the visit was part of his attempt to launch 'public diplomacy' and a priority was confidence-building in order to prevent reoccurrence of the August war."

German FM wants US nukes out - United Press International: "'We will take President Obama at his word and enter talks with our allies so that the last of the nuclear weapons still stationed in Germany, relics of the Cold War, can finally be removed,' Guido Westerwelle,

Germany's next foreign minister, said Sunday at a congress of his Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in the German government. ... He is notorious for his poor English skills and was recently lampooned when he refused to answer a journalist's question in English, snapping at the BBC reporter, 'This is Germany here.' Among Merkel's Conservatives, not everyone is happy about Westerwelle's public diplomacy." Westerwelle image from

Oct 27 Tue 2009 15:53 -[Fu Jen Catholic University Bulletin letter]: "National Security, Public and Cultural Diplomacy, Smart Power:Future Directions for Smart Nations Time: Thursday, 29 October 2009, 9:30~1200 Location: 2nd floor, International Conference Hall, Foreign Service Institute Address: 280 DunHua South Road, Sec.1, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC."

Students in Newhouse School to visit major NYC PR offices - hellocampus.co: "New York City-based public relations professionals will welcome 19 public relations and public diplomacy students from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications during the Fall PR Benchmark Trip Oct. 28-30. The biannual trip
offers students an opportunity to learn about public relations as it is practiced in New York, which many consider the nerve center of the field." Image from

Purgatory - Family Documentary: "Once an applicant [to the Foreign Service] passes Final Suitability Review, they are placed on The Register. The Register is 5 lists of applicants, each organized by their 'cone.' Dave will be in the Political cone. Other cones are Management, Public Diplomacy, Consular and something else. Dave will wait patiently in line, along with other approved applicants in the Political cone."

Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars – John Brown, Notes & Essays: Includes negative reaction to the article from the "Scholars."

Truth, Taste and Talent – Or Lack Thereof - Ida Noa blog: "[F]ew weeks into blogging, and I’ve already committed my first blogosphere faux pas. In my post ‘Truth, Taste and Talent Online’ I managed to come across as untruthful, tasteless and talentless. Kudos to me. ... Note to self: take more public diplomacy classes next semester."

Female Jihadists Part I: Defining the Role of Women in Jihad - strategicsocial.com: "Dhafra [Al-Azzawi] has recently begun writing posts for Strategic Social’s blog, which covers developments related to new media/Web 2.0, international relations, irregular warfare, Information Operations, and Strategic Communications/Public Diplomacy."


Remote-Control Drone Attacks Risk Losing 'Hearts and Minds' of Civilians in Pakistan: The civilian casualties resulting from the use of Predator drones have long been a subject of fierce criticism, particularly from local governments and from the media in Pakistan - FOXNews.com. Above image from article.

U.S. official resigns over Afghan war: Foreign Service officer and former Marine captain says he no longer knows why his nation is fighting- Karen DeYoung, Washington Post: Last month, in a move that has sent ripples all the way to the White House, Matthew Hoh, 36, became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe simply fueled the insurgency. If the United States is to remain in Afghanistan, Hoh said, he would advise a reduction in combat forces. He also would suggest providing more support for Pakistan, better U.S. communication and propaganda skills to match those of al-Qaeda, and more pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to clean up government corruption -- all options being discussed in White House deliberations. Image from

U.S. Ambassador to Poland "Committed a Blunder" – Krakow Post: National Defence Minister Bogdan Klich has denied that Poland will increase its contingent in Afghanistan. His statement comes after Gazeta Wyborcza reported last week that, according to a military source, Poland will send 600 more troops to the Afghani province of Ghazni this spring. Klich denied such claims speaking at a press conference this morning. He said, "The ambassador committed a blunder, since neither the prime minister, nor the minister of foreign affairs, nor the minister of national defence made any declarations to the American side about an increase in the contingent. But, please remember that these are the ambassador's first days at a new post." Via MC

Bring the troops home - Eugene Robinson, Washington Post:

Sometimes a "war president" has to decide to start bringing the troops home. That's what Obama must do.

General fallibility - Richard Cohen, Washington Post: McChrystal's request for 40,000 or so additional troops for Afghanistan ought not to be taken as some sort of holy writ.

Iraq, Afghanistan and the politics of war:In both countries, military advances must be matched by political progress toward peace – Editorial, latimes.com: Military advances must be accompanied by a steady march of political progress. This is true in Iraq and it's true in Afghanistan, where President Obama is weighing deployment of up to 40,000 more troops to battle Taliban insurgents.

Afghanistan could turn into Vietnam. Let's hope so - Joshua Kurlantzick, Washington Post:

Once large-scale fighting ends in Afghanistan, Washington should strive for the kind of reconciliation it has achieved with Vietnam. America did not win the war there, but over time it has won the peace. As unlikely as it seems today, the same outcome is possible in Afghanistan. Image from

Inadequate indecision: An Afghanistan strategy is not enough – Clifford D. May, Washington Times: Don't fault President Obama for reconsidering his strategy in Afghanistan. Fault him for reconsidering his strategy only in Afghanistan. The broader conflict is the "War Against the West," which is the real "war of necessity."

No fix soon on Palestinian question: Portents of a two-state or one-state solution? - Arnaud de Borchgrave, Washington Times: Israel wants to slow down the whole process of negotiations with the Palestinians. Mr. Obama wants both parties to accelerate. But Congress seldom allows any daylight between Israeli and U.S. positions.

Mr. Kim's scam: Will the Obama administration pay to resume disarmament talks with North Korea? – Editorial, Washington Post:

To its credit, the Obama administration has been slow to respond to his demand for bilateral talks, though preliminary contacts between U.S. and North Korean diplomats began last weekend. Image from

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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