Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October 28

A Modest Proposal: Make the Pentagon Our Very Own Ministry of Culture! - John Brown, Huffington Post; Jonathan Swift Tee-Shirt from


Interview With Anwar Iqbal of Pakistan's Dawn TV – Hillary Rodman Clinton - US Department of State - "SECRETARY CLINTON: ...[W]hat I would like to see us do is to reach out more again to people culture-to-culture. I would like artists and academics to come from Pakistan to the United States, and I want more from the United States to go to Pakistan. I also think we should be using the internet. We should be using cell phone technology. Maybe we can’t have the physical presence that we would like in some places as we previously did. We can have the virtual presence. We can do much more through the media to counter some of the myths and the misperception. That’s really our responsibility.

And a few weeks ago, our new public diplomacy under secretary, Judith McHale, was in Pakistan meeting with people, and she heard some of the criticism, like you’re not present, you’re not responsive, you don’t reach out again. And many people would say things like when I was in college or university there was much more free exchange between the United States and Pakistan. That seems to have diminished. We want to rebuild that. ... We want people to see America in its fullness – the generosity of spirit, the fact that we have gone to war to protect Muslim lives many times in the last 15 years. We believe strongly that Islam is an extraordinary religion that deserves the support and the protection that should come with people being able to stand up and say I’m a proud Muslim and I’m a proud Pakistani and I am in favor of peace and coexistence. I mean, we want to see that. And we can’t leave the arena to the extremists who intimidate and oppress people." Image from

Clinton promises new page in Pakistani relations - Andrew Quinn, Reuters: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday, pledging a fresh start in relations with an increasingly embattled and skeptical partner in the struggle against Islamic militancy. ... Clinton's three-day visit, kept secret out of security concerns, comes amid a surge of anti-U.S. feeling in Pakistan, which is increasingly bloodied in a campaign against Islamic fundamentalists that is being closely followed by the United States and other Western powers already embroiled in the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan. ... [M]uch of the trip will center on Clinton's personal outreach through interviews with the Pakistan media and personal appearances in the 'townhall' meetings that have become one of her diplomatic trademarks. ... Clinton's public diplomacy began even before she left Washington. In two Pakistani television interviews conducted before her departure, said she would seek to emphasize the common goals that the American and Pakistani people have in fighting religious extremism." See also.

Hillary Clinton due today on 3-day visit - "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due here on Wednesday on a three-day ‘goodwill visit’ to address popular concerns and suspicions about America in Pakistan. She will meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

and civil society leaders during the visit that will largely focus on public diplomacy." Image: Sec. Of State Clinton Meets With Pakistan's Foreign Minister Qureshi (Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi) from

Hillary Clinton arrives today - Online - International News Network: "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be arriving today (Wednesday) in Pakistan for three days visit to discuss Kerry-Lugar bill and other important issues with Pakistani leadership. ... Sources ... told this agency that after assuming her charge as Secretary of State this is her maiden visit to Pakistan and purpose behind this visit is to further strengthen public diplomacy between two countries."

Hooked on US aid- Shamshad Ahmad, The News International:

"US ambassador Anne W Patterson in her recent public interviews has been expressing surprise over what she calls the 'deepening anti-Americanism' in Pakistan, especially in the middle class. Once addressing the local corporate sector in Karachi last year, she chastised those who opposed American engagement in Pakistan because they, according to her, had a limited understanding of how the US 'economic assistance and financial interactions' had changed the everyday lives of Pakistanis in real and positive ways.' Ambassador Patterson would have best acquitted of herself had she been more specific. She should have at least listed the results of US economic and financial assistance that in her words 'had changed the "everyday lives of the people of Pakistan in real and positive ways.' Public diplomacy is not all about making unreal claims; it is about veritable reality projection. There is something fundamentally wrong with US public diplomacy in this country. It has indeed given a lot of money to our self-serving rulers, but its dividends never reached the people. Ironically, one doesn't see any visible or mentionable people-specific projects in any part of this country that could be attributed to American assistance." Image from

VOA-PBC agreement to see expansion of US propaganda network to Pakistan - ANI: "The Voice of America (VOA), a US government agency, and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) have reportedly reached an agreement, wherein Pakistan has agreed to accept the expansion of the Afghanistan-based US propaganda network to Pakistan. In 2006, the US had set up a transmitter in Afghanistan for the radio broadcast of its political and military propaganda in that occupied country. Now, with the Obama administration focusing on Pakistan as a key player in the fight against extremism, it is also trying to stretch its propaganda arm in the country. According to reports, under the deal, the 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. 'We’re delighted that Pakistan’s cabinet has ratified our agreement with PBC. This arrangement will allow millions of people in all parts of Pakistan to listen to the VOA’s popular news and information programmes,' The Nation quoted a press release from VOA, as saying."

Micromanaging Pakistan - The Nation, Pakistan:

"Already the servile Government of Pakistan, like thieves in the dead of night, have quietly signed a deal between VOA and PBC whereby the US state-controlled radio broadcaster will have full access to all PBC facilities for the purposes for broadcasting US propaganda – euphemistically referred to as 'public diplomacy'. So guilty has the GoP been about this deal, and rightly so, that it put out no press release on it. Unfortunately for it, the VOA did put out the relevant press release welcoming the Pakistani cabinet’s ratification of the VOA-PBC agreement. Of course, the fact that the present head of PBC is an old employee of VOA must have been an added bonus – for such small sell-outs we forget our nation!" Image from

New VOA relays in Pakistan raise at least one eyebrow (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: Elliott comment on article by Ahmed Quraishi, The Nation (Lahore), 27 October 2009: "Dismissing US international broadcasting as 'propaganda' is uncalled for. The writer is correct that VOA is a government agency, unlike, say, RFE/RL Inc, which is a government-funded corporation, with the added autonomy that that status affords. And then there is the mention of 'public diplomacy.' This would be a chicken coming home to roost because US decision makers and experts insist on subsuming US international broadcasting under public diplomacy."

Have Pakistanis Forgotten Their Sufi Traditions? (Part 3) - Google Islamic: "Pre-2003, the US government was reluctant, unable, and unwilling to engage in public diplomacy in the Muslim World albeit this changed with the need for propaganda to support the Iraq war."

Young Saudis, Americans exchange views - Walaa Hawari, Arab News: "Young Saudi and American students exchanged viewpoints and discussed their experiences on Monday in a cross-cultural meeting at the King Abdullah National Dialogue Center (KANDC). The 'Ambassador' project makes every single boy and girl an ambassador of his or her generation, gender and culture to the other. ...

'There are stereotypes on both sides but often the stereotypes are wrong; therefore projects such as KANDC’s ‘Ambassador’ is a wonderful program and fantastic opportunity for students from both countries to get to know one another,' said the American Embassy’s public diplomacy officer, Catherine Schweitzer. It is an amazing first step to bridge the gaps between the two cultures and nations, she believes, indicating that the young are better equipped." Image from article

US Embassy blames diplomatic gaffe on a Polish translator but a problem runs much deeper - Ted Lipien, Blogger News Network: "Contrary to common sense and the often stated desire of the Obama Administration to see more Polish troops in Afghanistan, ... public diplomacy 'experts' are suggesting to their media contacts that Ambassador Feinstein’s words 'prime minister’s and president’s commitment' and 'to enhance its presence' did not mean that he was talking about sending more Polish troops to Afghanistan. In an attempt to rescue the reputation of the new U.S. ambassador, they have painted themselves into a corner by implying that President Obama’s representative in Warsaw does not know what the president and the United States want Poland to do."

Skyful of Lies and Black Swans: the Internet and public diplomacy - - "New media: helping or hindering, fostering accountability or producing vulnerabilities, advancing journalism or simply complicating it?

That’s at the heart of Nik Gowing’s new report for the Reuter’s Institute at Oxford. An extensive study of the interplay between journalism and foreign affairs, Skyful of Lies’and Black Swans paints today’s highly digitized and interconnected world as one that’s rapidly democratizing power. In extreme moments of crises (referring to Nassim Taleb’s black swan theory), the state can no longer hide realities from the world. ... If states can’t control messages, how does this transform diplomacy? If soldiers are producing videos from the battlefields of Afghanistan on their mobiles, does that hamper security? Do states need to form regulations for new media to curb its effects? Does this call for policy prescriptions?" Image from

NATO Secretary General and Permanent Representatives to attend NATO-UAE Public Diplomacy Conference in Abu Dhabi - ISRIA

Romanian creatives invited to take part in a NATO tender for mini-documentary videos - ISRIA:

"The Romanian Foreign Ministry has announced that the NATO Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) has launched an international call for bids (No. 2009/101) for the production and promotion of a new series of mini-documentary videos illustrating, through several themes proposed by PDD, NATO’s impact on the everyday life of citizens." Image from

Artists, resist this propagandist agenda - Spiked: ‎"In 2006, with the enthusiastic embrace of many cultural institutions, the British Council, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport developed an International Cultural Policy. The intention is not simply to collaborate and to share works of art between different countries, which would be a good thing. Instead, the aim is to employ the arts as propaganda and, in the words of Labour peer Lord Carter of Coles, to promote ‘behaviour change’. The Carter Review argues that the arts should not just create positive perceptions, but also change the way people act. As a consequence of this review, a Public Diplomacy Board has been established, comprising representatives of the British Council, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the BBC World Service. The cultural sector has been directed to develop international partnerships in areas of specific cultural and government priority, and to use cultural activity for development, diplomacy and as part of post-conflict resolution."

Russian Deputy FM Meets Ex-PM Nogaideli - Civil Georgia: "Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin met with Zurab Nogaideli, Georgia’s ex-PM and now leader of opposition Movement for Fair Georgia party, in Moscow on October 27, the Russian Foreign Ministry and Nogaideli’s party reported. ... Zurab Nogaideli

arrived in Moscow on October 25, as he said, to hold meetings with representatives of Georgian, Abkhaz and Ossetian communities in Russia as a part of his attempt to launch 'public diplomacy.'” Nogaideli image from

Teamwork - Ren's Micro Diplomacy: "One of the unexpected skills I’ve been learning this semester is how to be a better team member.

In one particular class, we work in groups of seven to produce new public diplomacy initiatives every week, and it’s a challenge to coordinate schedules and take everyone’s thoughts and ideas into consideration." Image from article

Reverse metering calls get louder - Inderia Saunders, Nassau Guardian: "'We've spoken to many developers that want to put renewables in the heart of their design structures right from the beginning, and they can't do that because it's not profitable if they can't sell some of that excess energy back to the power company,' said ... the head of the Policy Economic Commercial Public Diplomacy section."


Afghanistan Doesn't Need More Troops: In 2007-2008, 250 paratroopers secured a Pashtun province - David Adam and Ann Marlowe, Wall Street Journal: Without a consistent strategy of enlisting tribal cooperation, more troops will simply find more trouble in the Pashtun belt

Don’t Build Up - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: It is crunch time on Afghanistan, so here’s my vote: We need to be thinking about how to reduce our footprint and our goals there in a responsible way, not dig in deeper. Below image from

Troop level in Afghanistan is the easy part Obama can find middle ground in how many soldiers to send. How he deals with what happens afterward is the big question - Doyle McManus, The number of troops, as both McChrystal and Obama have said, is not the most important thing. More important are the answers to three questions: Will U.S. goals be limited to make them more achievable? Will Obama make it clear that this troop increase is the last one the Pentagon will get? And can the U.S. succeed in nudging Afghanistan toward a more functional, less corrupt government, without which the whole enterprise will fail?

Keeping our allies on our side in Afghanistan:The U.S. must be willing to listen to those nations that are sharing the risks - Leo Michel and Robert Hunter,

Iraq, Afghanistan and the politics of war:In both countries, military advances must be matched by political progress toward peace – Editorial, 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.

U.S. spurs China-India tensions - Brahma Chellaney, Washington Times: Even as it seeks to tamp down tensions with Beijing, New Delhi cannot rule out the use of force by China at a time when hard-liners there seem to believe that a swift, 1962-style military victory can help fashion a Beijing-oriented Asia.

Having declared that America's "most important bilateral relationship in the world" is with Beijing, the Obama team must caution China against crossing well-defined red lines or going against its self-touted gospel of China's "peaceful rise." Image from

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