Monday, October 5, 2009

October 5

"President Obama has a new slogan. 'Blame it on Rio.'"

--Talk show host Jay Leno, cited in USNewsBulletin (no link); image from


Exchange We Can Believe In - J.P. Schnapper-Casteras, Washington Post: "Speaking at Cairo University in June, President Obama pledged to 'expand exchange programs and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America.' Nowhere is that change more urgently needed than in providing educational opportunities in Iraq.

Studying abroad has been a formative experience for the Iraqi leaders who have done it, and the experience can yield long-term benefits for economic development, public diplomacy, and the struggle for hearts and minds. Despite the enormous time and effort that have been invested in establishing long-term stability and democracy in Iraq, only a few dozen Iraqis are able to study in the United States each year. By comparison, consider that during the Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union exchanged 50,000 citizens over 30 years, producing more educated students and some of the most pro-Western and pro-democracy Soviet scholars and scientists. President Obama and Congress should take three steps to expand educational exchanges with Iraq: -- Prioritize and facilitate visas for Iraqi students. … -- Collaborate with a broader coalition of American universities to reduce tuition for Iraqi students. …-- Support the American University of Iraq, which has received less than $10 million from Washington though the government has spent billions on other projects. Image from

Questions that keep public diplomacy experts awake at night - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "[C]hecking this page from the Bureau of International Information Programs, with links, there seems to be quite a bit going on in support of administration policy goals. One 'program' they should add is an issue advertising department. (Yes, Charlotte Beers was on the right track concerning the conveyance, if maybe not the content.)"

There you go again: Heritage renews call to expand US government by adding Agency for Strategic Communication - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "News that is produced 'coherently'

with 'national doctrine and strategy' becomes state controlled. It won't fool audiences abroad. They will tune to the BBC." Image from

"Edgy, chaotic, and rebellious" social media poor fit for "stiff, officious, and centralized" State Department? - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "State Department public diplomacy personnel, proficient in Arabic, etc., have been participating in blogs and social networks using the conversational phraseology of those media. Their function is to set the record straight when misinformation and disinformation are distributed. Their affiliation with the US State Department is stated, not hidden. This means of international outreach should work well if used only as needed, or in response to questions. Expectations for the impact of these messages should be realistically modest. Public diplomacy personnel can express opinions -- official US government positions -- via social media. US international broadcasting is also becoming more active in social media, but its journalists should not be passing along any sort of opinion. USIB would therefore use the social media to relay their news reports. News and press releases are not really the original purpose of social networking, but some Twitter users do 'follow' such content."

How Twitter is changing the way wars are fought – Cynthia Banham, The Age: "One of Hil[l]ary Clinton’s first acts as Secretary of State was to create a new position in the State Department – that of senior adviser on innovation. This person’s job was to understand the impact of new social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and text messaging on international events, and to figure out how the US Government could harness those technologies in its own public diplomacy efforts.

That move, combined with some telling responses by the State Department to the Iranian pro-democracy protests earlier this year, in which Twitter played a crucial role, show the remarkable way in which social networking is transforming the world of modern diplomacy. … [S]ocial networking technologies are having an impact on global events and the way in which countries are conducting their foreign policy. This issue is the subject of a two-day symposium, which is being hosted by the Australian National University’s International Relations Department this week, on October 7 and 8." Image from

Very advanced public diplomacy: involvement in other people's theology - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy: "During the Cold War years, the United States funded the journal Problems of Communism. Do we now need a Problems of Islam? Except it would need a better title. (So did Problems of Communism.) And there would be First Amendment ramifications with the US government poking its nose into anyone's religion. This, therefore, might be an opportunity for advocates of 'private public diplomacy' to step up, checkbooks in hand."

We’re Building the Juba-Nimule Road in Sudan ... - Diplopundit: "It’s USAID’s OIG recently released its audit of the Juba-Nimule road. This was USAID/Sudan’s major road infrastructure activity in scope, cost, and the priority accorded to it by Government of Southern Sudan. The report says that the road originally built from 1928 to 1932, was upgraded to gravel standards in the early 1970s but was neglected for more than 22 years of civil war. The road connects Juba, the seat of the southern Sudanese government, with Uganda. From there, the road provides access to Kenya and the port of Mombasa. …. Excerpts from the audit: … Effective branding of USAID projects is an important Agency objective. However, none of the people interviewed along the Juba-Nimule road were aware that the project is being funded by the United States. This occurred because community leaders were not disseminating this information to the grassroots level.

[…]The ineffectiveness of the current branding strategy means that people in southern Sudan are generally not aware that the Juba-Nimule road is being funded by the American people. Consequently, opportunities to create positive impressions of the United States are forfeited, hindering public diplomacy efforts in Sudan, an area of immense foreign policy interest to the United States. (italics added)" Image from

US Military Deny Plans for Counter-Terrorist Website in GeorgianGeorgian Times: "A U.S. military officer denied on Friday that the U.S. is planning to create a website designed to garner foreign support for U.S. counter-terrorism operations in the Georgian language. Eurasianet had reported on Wednesday, September 28 that Georgian was one of the languages chosen by the builders of this website. But representatives of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) refuted this report in e-mails to The Georgian Times. … In mid-2007 the U.S. Department of Defense launched its first websites tailored to foreign audiences. Run by the Combatant Command, these sites included interactive two-way communications, such as chats, blogs and internet bulletin boards as well as news sites. This initial programme led to the establishment of the more comprehensive Trans-Regional Web Initiative (TRWI) that now falls under the auspices of USSOCOM and aims at creating a comprehensive network of such websites. TRWI is thus one of the psychological operations (PSYOP) conducted by the Department of Defense. These are classified as part of strategic communication, an umbrella concept which also includes public affairs and public diplomacy initiatives, and constitutes one of the few ways for the Department of Defense to engage the public worldwide."

Denmark DC – Mikael, Cycle Chic from Copenhagen - "When you're head of Public Diplomacy, Culture and Communication for the Danish Embassy in Washington, DC, it certainly doesn't hurt to ride in style around the city.

And on a smashingly elegant Pedersen bicycle. A design by Michael Pedersen dating from 1893 and revived by the designer Jesper Sølling in the 1970's." Image from article

Google Pays Tribute to the Mahatma – Dev, News.Views.Influence: "Google has done it again.This time the global internet giant paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his birth anniversary by changing the logo on its famously sparse home page to resemble the 'bapu'. … A true honour bestowed on a global political icon on his birthday. This is definitely Google at its best in Public Diplomacy."

True Lies – The Cost of Israel to US Taxpayers - Richard H. Curtiss, The Rush Report: "Richard H. Curtiss

served as a career Foreign Service officer with the Department of State and the U.S. Information Agency throughout the world and in Washington D.C. During his U.S. government career he received the U.S. Information Agency’s Superior Honor Award and the Edward R. Murrow award for excellence in Public Diplomacy, U.S.I.A.’s highest professional recognition. Curtiss is currently the Executive Editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs." Image: Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Nizar Obaid Madani (c) visits with Washington Report executive editor Richard H. Curtiss (l) and publisher Andrew I. Killgore (Staff Photo D. Hanley).


Afghanistan’s Doomed Occupation - Mir Adnan Aziz, The Pakistani Spectator: The Pakistani people and army have long had an extremely suspicious view of the United States and its motives in this region. A recent survey by the Washington based Pew Research Center, recorded that 64 percent Pakistanis regard the U.S. “as an enemy.” This mindset strengthened immensely when a $1 billion plan was revealed by McClatchy in May and confirmed by U.S. officials. This was to build a citadel by massively increasing the size of the American embassy in the heart of Islamabad. Embassies of yore were designed to enhance interaction with the people of a country. Diplomats visited local officials, shopped at local market places, socialized with community leaders and interacted with the general public. Diplomacy was seen as an art loath to be done by remote control. What this planned massive fiefdom brought home to all Pakistanis was that, in the present policy context, the United States planned an extremely unwelcome, extensive and long-term presence in the country.

On How Iran is a Military Nothing despite What Propagandists Say; and on How Even Israel Dwarfs Iran Militarily in Every Way that Matters – Juan Cole, Demonizing

and building up as threats to the US small third world countries like Cuba, Granada, Libya, Iraq, Venezuela, and Iran has been a cottage industry since the fall of the Soviet Union and the adoption by the Chinese of the Capitalist Road deprived hawks of any credible great-power rivalry with which to scare Americans into allowing themselves to be fleeced by the military-industrial complex. Image from

McChrystal's Proposed Troop Surge Poses Dilemmas For Obama – USNewsBulletin [no link]: US News Weekly reports, "As President Obama embarks on a review of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan this week, he faces some stark and politically thorny choices. He can send more troops," but "this would risk alienating Obama's core Democratic supporters – including Vice President Joe Biden -- who have argued that such a move might enmesh America in a quagmire." President Obama "could alternately deny the troop request, satisfying its base but risking the ire of critics who are certain to accuse the president of disregarding the advice of his military commanders, at America's peril." Henry Kissinger, in a piece for Newsweek, writes, "The request for additional forces by the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, poses cruel dilemmas for President Obama. ... I favor fulfilling the commander's request and a modification of the strategy. But I also hope that the debate ahead of us avoids the demoralizing trajectory that characterized the previous controversies in wars against adversaries using guerrilla tactics, especially Vietnam and Iraq." Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, in an essay for Time, claims that "hawks on Afghan policy -- those who favor defeating al-Qaeda through a full-blown counterinsurgency strategy involving up to 40,000 more US. troops -- have divined a politically clever line of argument: Win or get out." According to Gelb, "Its a phony choice," since "the true aim of the to discredit the real policy alternative -- the middle ground." Author Peter Bergen, in another essay for Time, argues, "The objections to an increased U.S. military commitment in South Asia rest on a number of flawed assumptions. The first is that Afghans always treat foreign forces as antibodies.

In fact, poll after poll since the fall of the Taliban has found that a majority of Afghans have a favorable view of the international forces in their country." Jonathan Alter, in his column for Newsweek, writes, ""We're told that this month's marathon policy meetings about Afghanistan mark a fateful moment in the Obama presidency," but "that's only true if the president sharply escalates the number of U.S. ground forces. ... If, by contrast, Obama chooses to limit U.S. involvement to fighting Al Qaeda, and stops short of a commitment to protect civilians from the Taliban, he has more options for a midcourse correction." According to US News Weekly's Kenneth T. Walsh, "Perhaps the most troubling sign for Obama is that the left is increasingly distressed over the war in Afghanistan. now pressuring the president to shift course." Image from

No Rush to Escalate - E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: The truth is that Obama has only bad choices in Afghanistan. The last thing he should do is rush into a new set of obligations in Afghanistan that would come to define his presidency more than any victory he wins on health care.

Big, ominous win for Iran: Buying time to continue clandestine work - Kenneth R. Timmerman, Washington Times: Learning to live with a nuclear-armed Iran not only is a dangerous admission of U.S. failure and U.S. weakness, but it also essentially shifts the entire burden of preventing a nuclear Iran onto Israel.

South Korean Propaganda Series: Other 2On My Way to To Korea:

Image (from article): Communist tyranny makes the North Korean people go deaf.

WWII Propaganda Posters - Viewliner Ltd. In the first blush of patriotism, soldiers march off to certain victory. And many of them believe that victory will come soon. Unfortunately, most wars are bloody ordeals that seem never ending. During WWII, propaganda posters often showing Purple Heart heroics, were designed to convince battle weary warriors that victory is just around the bend. This sort of propaganda art worked very well. Below image from article

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