Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 27-28

“[I]t is possible to express life [italics] in art only through ... the lack of a MESSAGE.”

--Polish theater director Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990); cited in Times Literary Supplement (February 19, 2010), p. 23; image from

"It's a great pity that the powers that be don't carry a tin whistle or a songbook in their back pocket. The world would be a happier place."

--Paddy Moloney, a member of the Irish band Chiefstains, noting that he would rather see his brand of cross-cultural diplomacy than the kind more commonly practiced in the world today


Joshua Bell "Stop and Hear the Music" by the Washington Post


Clinton Rides Web 2.0 - Wave TechXav - "Riding on the popularity of Web 2.0, United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is making waves as she redefines stolid diplomacy.

Under Mrs Clinton, the State Department has made headlines over the past year by using social media for promoting new missions and reaching out to a wider audience. Officers josh about who gets the larger Twitter following in the department which hosts perhaps the densest hub of dabblers in the new media in the Obama administration. It was less than three years ago that the State of Department slowly began to shape its Web personality. The DipNote, the department’s official blog which keeps track of its latest activities, was set up under the Bush administration. But the website — which has attracted 12 million page views — has since grown, with new additions such as a YouTube channel, Twitter feed, Facebook page and Flickr photo account. ... The top U.S. diplomat is aided by a team of tech-savvy officers. At the heart is Ms Anne-[M]arie Slaughter, former dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. As the head of policy planning at the State of Department, she is charged with anticipating trends that will impact foreign policy. Mrs Clinton’s senior adviser for innovation Alec Ross also typifies the new diplomat. The post was specially created for Mr Ross, who was the technology policy adviser to Barack Obama during his presidential campaign. He was the founder of, a non-governmental organization using technology to help the poor." Image from

Notes from a Franklin Fellow: China, Blogs and the Meaning of Diplomacy – "The goal of digital outreach is meant to help the United States government carry out the mission of public diplomacy by communicating with audiences from different countries. Social media tools such as blogs give voice to more people than ever before."

McHale In Bangladesh - Editorial, Voice of America: ‎"During her 3 day visit in early February, Under Secretary McHale met with Bangladeshi government and political leaders, academicians, and civil society activists 'to see first how the United States and Bangladesh are working together to further mutual understanding, and ultimately, prosperity for the people of our great countries, the region and the world.' ... Under Secretary McHale said the U.S. is working hard to reach out to the Muslim world and build a new relationship. As a moderate, Muslim-majority country with a strong relationship with the U.S., Bangladesh is an important part of that outreach.

The U.S. plans to strengthen that bond through programs in food security, climate change, women's empowerment, business and trade development and more. The U.S. hopes that Bangladesh will continue to build productive relationships with the United States and with Bangladesh's neighbors to promote global stability and prosperity." Image from

The FY 2011 Homeland Security Budget: Spending Doesn't Match the missions - Jena Baker McNeill, Heritage Foundation, posted at Right Side News: "In terms of promoting tourism to the United States, the budget phases out funding for the US-VISIT biometric exit program. This mandate, put in place by Congress in 2007, required DHS to biometrically track the exit of all foreign visitors from the United States by this past summer. DHS has released pilot results, but has yet to determine a specific solution to the mandate--waiting for Congress to choose the course. This stalemate had a tremendous impact on the growth and expansion of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), a vital public diplomacy and tourism tool, making the need for a decision by Congress all the more imperative. Not only does the budget fail to focus on welcoming immigrants and visitors--it takes an additional swipe at trade."

Wings Over Iraq: Public Diplomacy FAIL - Starbuck:

"This week, the international community mocked the US State Department's plan to build a massive Borg Cube in the middle of downtown London. Not surprisingly, commentators, such as Foreign Policy Online's Stephen Walt and The NY Times' Nicolai Ouroussof have decried the new design. Both claim that the design sends the wrong message to the world, as the embassy looks more like a fortress than anything else. Quoth Stephen Walt, professor of international relations at Harvard University: [']So we have to build embassies that resemble fortresses, and that convey an image of America that is at odds with our interests and our own self-image, and especially with the image that we would like to convey to foreign peoples. We like to think of our country as friendly and welcoming, as open to new ideas, and as a strong, diverse and confident society built on a heritage of pluck and grit. You know, we're supposed to be a society built by generations of immigrants, pioneers, and other determined folk who faced adversity and risk with a smile and a bit of a swagger. Yet the 'Fortress America' approach to embassy design presents a public face that is an odd combination of power and paranoia. ['] Who would have thought we'd be sending a mixed message to the world with the design of fortress-like embassies? Certainly not this particularly snarky captain." Image from

The Only Public Diplomacy Campaign That Matters - Spencer Ackerman, Attackerman, Firedoglake: "There are different conceptions of public diplomacy out there. Many of them concern how the U.S. talks to skeptical publics. I tend to feel that public diplomacy divorced from substantive policy decisions is transparent, condescending, credibility-destroying bullshit. Instead, public diplomacy should be viewed as an offensive capability — to attack an adversary’s credibility, aimed at his weak point, to destroy him, and rapidly. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine praising the man who co-wrote Dow 36,000, but by God, Jim Glassman, Bush’s last undersecretary of State for public diplomacy got that. (I’m sure I’ll go back to my comfortable ideological views about Jim now that he’s in charge of promoting the Bush legacy, but credit where due and all.)"

TV Martí: novelas instead of newscasts? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Don't worry: there are special shampoos that get rid of virally shared widgets - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting:

"Executives of consulting agency Mindgrub attended a seminar in Baltimore 'to discuss Mindgrub’s new social media marketing campaign for the Voice of America. Voice of America is an international multimedia broadcasting service funded by the US government, which Mindgrub is now working with. Todd and Vince discussed the potential benefits involved in the creating of shareable widgets that can be virally shared on Facebook and other social networking sites. In addition, they discussed how to determine the ROI that can be expected from social activities. ... Mindgrub is currently targeting China for this project and are researching the environment of this country’s most popular social networking sites.' Mindgrub press release, 26 February 2010." Image from

The goodness of neighbours - Raja Karthikeya Gundu, Pragati: "Promoting the cause of democracy without being interventionist means that India’s ability to restrain developments such as the post-poll excesses in Sri Lanka can hit the glass ceiling in the short-term. The reversals in the London conference mean that making Afghanistan policy excessively Karzai-centric may not yield dividends.But what might the recent changes mean in the larger sense? The consistent patterns in the neighbourhood indicate that we may be moving towards a new South Asian doctrine in the process—”trust and security co-operation from neighbours would be rewarded by India with economic incentives and support to democracy”. New Delhi should continue this pattern in bilateral ties and complement it with bottom-up public diplomacy in neighbouring countries. But for now, South Block can afford to reflect and smile."

PR for peacekeepers in Somalia - Monocle:

"What, you might wonder, would be at the top of the African Union Mission to Somalia’s (AMISOM) peacekeeping wish list? Helmets, check. Armoured personnel carriers. Roger. A peace process? Hmm. It’s complicated.
 Meanwhile, how about half a million dollars-worth of services every month from a top-flight British PR agency? Thanks to the taxpayers of the UN member states, it’s theirs.
 Since November 2009, heavy hitters Bell Pottinger have led a consortium on a year-long $7.3m (€5.3m) strategic communications contract to, among other things, open a radio station and supervise a major public information 'hearts and minds' campaign to make the mission (AMISOM) more welcome in Somalia.
 Simon Davies, overseer of the project on behalf of the UN’s support office for Somalia, envisions the radio station, above all else, as the foundation of 'a public broadcast system [for Somalia] not dissimilar to [America’s] NPR'. The UN’s idea of investing in this is that it will hugely improve communications around the country – a benefit to ordinary Somalis but also a major asset to AMISOM in improving its own security and operational effectiveness. There are legitimate reasons to use a contractor for public diplomacy. In the four months since the contract was signed, a full complement of staff has been recruited from Kenya and inside Somalia and work is already under way in both places, says Bell Pottinger’s chief of staff in Nairobi, Stephen Harley.
Shootings and kidnappings have made security rules so tight that UN staff can’t travel freely in most of Somalia, but contractors can make their own arrangements. The Bell Pottinger consortium’s international team has actually spent time in the country. The vast majority of UN international staff working on Somalia spend most, if not all, of their time sitting safely in Nairobi."
 Image from

Editor's Notes: Wrong troops, wrong ammunition: Delegitimization is a genuine threat. Urging ordinary Israelis to become PR ‘ambassadors’ is no way to meet it. Could we please get serious? - David Horovitz, Jerusalem Post: "Such a lovely idea: Encourage Israelis to act as ambassadors for our misunderstood and misrepresented little nation. ... The campaign, backed by expensive advertising in the local media, is designed to offset 'the vast sums of money available to Arab countries for propaganda,' our esteemed new Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein has declared, by conscripting ordinary Israelis to fight the PR fight, armed with 'tools and tips to help them deal with the attacks on Israel.' ... But sending good-natured Israelis into the public diplomacy battlefield, to talk about how delicious Jaffa oranges are,

how their nephew just went to work for this amazing new hi-tech start-up or how much the Israel Philharmonic has improved of late, is to use entirely the wrong troops with entirely the wrong ammunition for the fight. ... Israel will fare better when it allocates resources to meet the public diplomacy challenge in an orderly, streamlined, strategic fashion: Israel needs a proper hierarchy to unify the disparate ministerial and army mechanisms – today, in addition to the Foreign Ministry’s personnel, the IDF Spokesman’s Office, the Government Press Office and Edelstein’s new fiefdom, we have the apparatus Ehud Olmert established in the Prime Minister’s Office, not to mention a new grouping being overseen by Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon – adding up to what one despairing insider terms 'a looming bureaucratic train wreck.' And official Israel also needs an adequately equipped unit to monitor how it is being presented; resources to research and convey the enemy’s manipulations and deceits; funds for satellite television; funds to revive state radio’s dying foreign language broadcasts. As things stand, Edelstein’s risible masbirim initiative is only the latest in a long line of haphazard outreach efforts that have made little impact in the familiar forums where Israel is judged, and incidentally are making little impact, either, in new media." Image from

A government without hope - Editorial, Ha'aretz: "It's easy to chuckle at 'Masbirim Yisrael' ('Explaining Israel'), the Information and Diaspora Ministry's campaign to give Israelis 'tired of seeing how we are portrayed in the world' the tools to shape the country's image. The promotion's television spots showing Israelis riding camels and barbecuing, as well as the Web site's irritating lists of trivial achievements resemble repeats of 1960s comedy sketches rather than a 21st-century public relations project. But more than ridiculous, the campaign is disconcerting. 'Explaining Israel' reveals the worldview of Benjamin Netanyahu's government: limitless self-righteousness, eternal hostility toward the Arab and Muslim worlds, a view of Palestinians as invaders and inciters, and commitment to developing the West Bank settlements. This PR drive must not be viewed just as a gimmick, or an attempt to justify the unnecessary existence of the Information Ministry. Instead, it represents how the government wants its citizens to understand their country and represent it to the world."

Israel on the Lake: Ontario MPP's and the Hasbara Agenda - Hannah Kawas, Pacific Free Press - "This has become a trend with the 'Israeli Hasbara' (Israel Public Diplomacy) and the pro-Israel lobby where events and people, including Jewish Canadians, ... New Democratic MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale-High Park) ... claimed that the word apartheid is 'inflammatory' and 'used inappropriately in the case of Israel'. 'Apartheid does not help the discussion', she states.

I would like to note that none of the attacks and slanders against the term 'Israeli Apartheid' were substantiated or backed by any logical argument or reason. This has become a trend with the 'Israeli Hasbara' (Israel Public Diplomacy) and the pro-Israel lobby where events and people, including Jewish Canadians, are arbitrarily slandered simply for exercising their right to free speech." Image from

Cut Israel a Break - Gil Stein, Metro Santa Cruz: "Nazi Propaganda films were made to convince the world that Germany was a peace-loving nation that was forced to attack Poland. With the creation of the web and the access the 24-hour 'news,' it is so much easier to spread lies and half-truths. The Arab propaganda machine has done a terrific job of creating a fictional reality that portrays terrorists as victims and their victims as evil. The small country created by refugees and surrounded by hostile neighbors is the international bully, while terrorists supported by despots are the world's heroes. Muslim leaders deny the historical Jewish ties to Jerusalem even though Jews have lived in the city continuously since before the birth of Islam. They have created the myth that Israel came about because of the European Holocaust. Modern Zionism had its roots in the 19th century and early 20th (Tel Aviv celebrated its centennial last year)."

My Word: A perplexing Purim - Liat Collins, Jerusalem Post:

"Jordan last month petitioned UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, claiming ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I ask myself: How many Jordanians can decipher the Hebrew script on the parchments they suddenly feel so passionately about? And how do you translate 'hutzpa' into Arabic? With friends (or at least peace treaty partners) like this, who needs enemies? Perhaps it would be best to ask the university staff and students around the world who – with no visible sense of either irony or humor – advocate boycotting Israel in the name of academic freedom. No wonder Minister for Public Diplomacy and the Diaspora Yuli Edelstein discerned a need to improve Israel’s image abroad and grant the general public the means of answering Palestinian propaganda with his 'Masbirim' campaign." Image from

Israeli hasbara-propaganda machine swings into action with shoddy journalism – Khalid, Middle East Monitor

Turkey and Public Diplomacy - Efe Sevi, Association for for Place Branding and Public Diplomacy: "MFA announced that Turkish public diplomacy efforts will be seen on the internet. Although Turkey didn't catch the first wave of 'governments going online', Deputy Undersecretary's statements prove that Turkey has understood the importance of public diplomacy and two-way communication in foreign policy."

Heads of Resistance Hold First Summit in Tehran – Persia House, Booz Allen Hamilton:

"The decision to hold a summit of 'Palestinian Combatant Groups' in Tehran represents a public diplomacy effort to demonstrate that the Islamic Republic’s support of the Palestinian resistance remains steadfast despite Iran’s post-election turmoil. Tehran and the Palestinian resistance groups likely will leverage the high-profile summit to issue stern anti-Israeli and US pronouncements, as well as pledge strengthened political and military cooperation." Image: Booz Allen and General Services Administration’s Alliant: A Partnership for Success

'Fascinating Storytelling to Make Seoul Cultural Hot Spot' - Kang Hyun-kyung, Korea Times - "After Korean soap operas and pop idols attracted Asian fans in the 1990s, the nation saw a unique group of visitors -- culture tourists. They are visiting Korea with the hope they get a taste in person of the land of the fascinating stories and iconic vista points. Made-in-Korea cultural goods played a crucial role in shaping these explorers' impression that Korea is worth a visit. ... 'These foreign tourists tend to experience less here than they had thought at home, mainly because few interpretation services that can quench their curiosity were available,' said Park Jung-sook, a professor of the Institute of International Education at Kyung Hee University in Seoul. ... A television journalist-turned-Korean wave expert, Park is seen in numerous positions, both in the public and private sector, because of her extensive involvement in cultural activities and public relations.She works with the Korean International Cooperation Agency as a goodwill ambassador and trains career diplomats on a cultural diplomacy course at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade."

Thailand's “Roving Buakeaw" Project - Madhurjya Kotoky, The Public Diplomacy Blog:

"Thailand initiated an innovative project called the – 'Roving Buakeaw Project' - that allows the government to take account of public opinion when formulating foreign policy. The project is led by the Foreign Minister who along with senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs goes to the people to listen on various issues with potential impact on Thai foreign policy. This is an attempt to engage and include Thai citizens from all walks of life, especially in the border provinces in shaping Thai foreign policy. Town halls, local temples, provincial schools etc serve as meeting sites and 'information collected is taken into consideration in formulating foreign policy if and when appropriate.'" Kotoky image from his blog

RP-Thai Food & Fruit Festival at Villa Escudero - Manila Bulletin: "The Royal Thai Embassy in Manila and Team Thailand in the Philippines in cooperation with Villa Escudero Plantations and Resorts will organize a Thai-Philippine Cultural Show on 27 – 28 February 2010 ... at Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort, San Pablo City, Laguna. ... Indeed, the experience of Thai and Philippine culture promises to be a feast in the senses. ... This event which aims to promote cultural diplomacy is a good opportunity to further enhance closer ties of friendship and people to people contacts between Thailand and the Philippines."

Capitalism, Science and Innovation How the three mix (or don't) - Tudor Vieru, Softpedia:

"So, bottom line, we have the oil industry moving against the concept of global warming. This much we do know for sure, as they have made no secret of it. But now, rather than making efforts to match their so-called studies to real scientific data, they changed the register. These corporations – again, driven by the urge for never-ending profits – realized they cannot win scientifically, and have started setting people against scientists, as if science was the devil. This is being constantly done on TV stations, were people are pitted against their doctors, or other profession categories. So it is done very skillfully, and I can't really blame people for falling for it. Without a background training in what propaganda is and how it works, it's very difficult to realize that it's happening. Now, this is called public diplomacy." Image from

Family Well-being and Poverty Eradication: Economist M. Sophia Aguirre discusses the interaction between family relationships and poverty - James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy Rice University: "M. Sophia Aguirre, Ph.D., is an associate professor of economics at The Catholic University of America. She is a specialist in international finance and economic development in the areas of exchange rates and economic integration, as well as theories of population, resources and family. She has testified on issues related to population, family, women’s education and health before lawmakers in the United States and abroad. A presidential appointee to the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, Aguirre has also held appointments at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, and has visited the Instituto de Altos Estudios Empresariales (I.A.E.E.) at the University of Austral in Argentina."


America, the fragile empire: Here today, gone tomorrow -- could the United States fall that fast? - Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times:

Empires do not in fact appear, rise, reign, decline and fall according to some recurrent and predictable life cycle. It is historians who retrospectively portray the process of imperial dissolution as slow-acting. Rather, empires behave like all complex adaptive systems. They function in apparent equilibrium for some unknowable period. And then, quite abruptly, they collapse. Washington, you have been warned. Image from

The U.S. is at a crucial point in defining its direction - David Ignatius, Washington Post: It's usually a mistake to bet against America, as financier Warren Buffett likes to say, given our flexible economy and adaptive political system.

Mike McConnell on how to win the cyber-war we're losing - Mike McConnell, Washington Post: The United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing. It's that simple.

As the most wired nation on Earth, we offer the most targets of significance, yet our cyber-defenses are woefully lacking. We need to develop an early-warning system to monitor cyberspace, identify intrusions and locate the source of attacks with a trail of evidence that can support diplomatic, military and legal options -- and we must be able to do this in milliseconds. Image from

When American and European Ideas of Privacy Collide - Adam Liptak, New York Times: “Google is digitizing the world and expecting the world to conform to Google’s norms and conduct,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, who teaches media studies and law at the University of Virginia. “That’s a terribly naïve view of privacy and responsibility.”

Battlefields may change but propaganda remains constant - Susan A. Brewer , Nieman Watchdog: On the one hand, in wartime the news media serve the government by passing along its message; on the other hand, the media need to tell people what’s really going on and what wars are about. Author Susan Brewer focuses on that dual role, and offers a line of questioning to help cut through the packaging.

West engaged in propaganda against Islam: Qureshi - The Nation, Pakistan: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Sunday said that the West has been engaged in propaganda against Islam and urged the need of showing real face of the Islam to the world. Addressing the annual Urs gathering of Syed Ismail Shah Bukhari in Okara Qureshi said that western newspapers and think tanks have been engaged in propaganda against Islam. "We have to prove with our action that Islam is is the religion of peace and it teaches equality."

Korean Comics And Grium’N'Gritty? - Rich Johnston, Bleeding Cool: Known as gruim-chaek, the Korean comic books are usually spy thrillers with bad guys are usually loud mouthed Americans and greedy Japanese, causing problems in the country.

The books emphasise the importance of self reliance, a key North Korean philosophy espoused by Kim Il-Sung. And include plots such Americans and North Koreans in an airplane crash in Africa, only for the Americans' selfish actions to see them eaten by alligators. Image from article

Friday, February 26, 2010

February 26

"Each man calls barbarism what is not his own practice for indeed it seems we have no other test of truth and reason than the example and pattern of the opinions and customs of the country we live in."

--Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592); image from


POMED Notes: “Promoting Security through Diplomacy and Development: The Fiscal Year 2011 International Affairs” - Josh, Project on Middle East Democracy: The POMED Wire: "In a hearing on the administration’s recently released budget request, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs invited Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to give testimony on particular budgetary items relating to U.S. diplomatic and development efforts abroad. ... Referencing Obama’s Cairo speech last June, Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO) asked Clinton to 'provide us with some details about what you hope to accomplish' from the Global Engagement Fund,

which will focus on human development issues. Clinton replied that a number of new approaches arose from Cairo: enhancing public diplomacy outreach; using more of America’s tools such as science, technology, and our communication strength; and establishing more English language programs for young people. 'All these programs bring a different message,' she said. But she also urged the committee 'not to forget that there’s a very diverse population throughout the Muslim world,' meaning that what works in one place doesn’t necessarily translate elsewhere." Image from

Oldie But Goodie - "Obama’s apparent diagnosis of Bush’s foreign policy is not that it was wrongheaded — imperialistic and unachievable — but rather that it was implemented incompetently. Now with better public diplomacy and a retooled military, the policy of remaking the world in our own image — at the point of a gun if necessary — can proceed apace."

Indonesia's Potential - Cameron R. Hume, Inside Higher Ed:

"The recently released annual 'Open Doors' report on the number of international students in the United States made headlines. The data showed that a record number of students from abroad -- 671,616 -- were studying on American campuses in the 2008-9 academic year. The report in general was good news for U.S. higher education and the U.S. economy and good news for international education cooperation. Those of us involved with Indonesia viewed the results with special interest. The report showed that only 7,509 Indonesian students are studying on American campuses. A decade or so ago, some 13,000 Indonesians were studying in the U.S. The number of Americans studying in Indonesia is an abysmal 120 or so. ... Our embassy in Jakarta is pursuing two major goals over the next five years: doubling the number of Indonesian students in the U.S. and the number of American students in Indonesia, and increasing university-to-university partnerships. An embassy education working group has been established to mobilize our public diplomacy, consular, economic, commercial services and development assistance in support of more bilateral higher education cooperation. The embassy is also working to expand science and technology collaboration with Indonesian counterparts." Image from

Free Flow of Information: A Great Tool Against Totalitarianism - "Societies such as North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, where information is tightly controlled by repressive governments, do present valuable opportunities for U.S. international broadcasting and public diplomacy. In the case of North Korea, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, and four South Korean broadcasters supported by the National Endowment for Democracy have growing audiences in this most totalitarian of societies. Currently Voice of America and Radio Free Asia each broadcast five hours a day into North Korea. ... As presented at the National Endowment of Democracy, (Thursday Feb. 18 — 'The Voice of Freedom: Improving Programs for the Citizens of North Korea'), featuring prominent South Korean newsman Sangsoo Kim, particularly the black-market cross border trade with China provides North Koreans with greater access to technology. ... The most effective medium into North Korea today remains short-wave radio, a medium that unfortunately has become undervalued by the Broadcasting Board of Governors overseeing U.S. international broadcasting."

Library of Congress opens exhibit of letters to Radio Free Afghanistan - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Awards to RFA and RFE/RL broadcasters for productions about Uyghur, Iranian, and Armenian women - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Social Media Creates Opportunities And Challenges - Henry Kenyon, AFCEA SIGNAL Scape: "The popularity and growth of social media networks and blogs offers federal agencies new tools to get their message to the nation’s citizens. However, the openness of social media platforms also presents a security challenge.

A panel of government and commercial media experts pondered the implications of widespread adoption of social media platforms at AFCEA’s Homeland Security Conference. ... On a larger scale, social media allows a government to present its views to its citizens and the world, said Michael Walsh, project director at Forum One Communications. He cited the example of the U.S. government’s Open Government initiative to provide transparency into federal activities. Walsh said that citizens want government to incorporate their feedback into policy, and social media helps to enable this process. He said that social media is a useful tool for public diplomacy and explained that the United States must become a leader in this context because other nations are actively using social media tools to promote their national agendas. Security remains an issue for social media. However, Walsh contends that the government must strike a balance between risk and openness. 'Cybersecurity can’t trump everything,' he said." Image from

Thing 23: Virtual Worlds – Taiwan lady, Happy Working Lady: "1. On your blog entry for Thing 23, discuss some of the potential uses for using a virtual world for public diplomacy kind of event might be applicable to a virtual world? -- Online game related to American Culture or holiday. -- Story telling program-- English Teaching Program-- Educational Fair. -- Speaker Program-- Book discussion program Can you think of a scenario where a virtual environment might richer experience than a real life environment? Language Learning through virtual world, students could access resource easily to practice speaking and reading, even interactive with English native speakers. How might academic institutions and libraries use virtual worlds in a different way than real life? Academic Institutions and Libraries could use virtual worlds to promote learning, reading and researching/discussion. Virtual worlds are more attractive, young people could hide her real identity, and participate in the virtual worlds programs more than real life programs. 2. How might your Embassy use a virtual world environment for a program? We have virtual American corner, facebook, but we have not tried the virtual world yet. I think that we may use a virtual world environment to do the following programs. --Announcing our programs, -- Conducting a speaker program, the audience could raise questions freely in the virtual world.-- Organizing an Education fair."

NATO pleased with realization of Armenian IPAP- PIMS: Partnership for Peace Information Management Systems: "NATO expertise team arrived in Armenia February 15-19 on a working visit for assessing the 2009 Armenia-NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan Program.

The NATO expertise team consisted of representatives of NATO's Defense Policy Planning, Public diplomacy, International Military staff." Image from

Israel's PR ministry takes swipe at foreign media - Douglas Hamilton, Joseph Nasr, Reuters: "European correspondents reporting from Israel are depicted as stupid and condescending in video spoofs on a new government website created to help improve Israel's image abroad. ... Some members of the sizable foreign press corp here see it as a heavy-handed swipe that could turn public opinion even more against foreign media, who are seen as biased against Israel. ... The website is the work of the revamped Ministry of Hasbara, a Hebrew word meaning explanation or publicity. ... 'Like any other campaign, this is a grotesque satire, and every citizen understands that it's only satire,' said Hasbara Minister Yuli Edelstein." Below Edelstein image from

Yuli Edelstein: the man to save Israel's PR crisis? Someone does. That’s why Israel is embarking on a new PR campaign - Jenni Frazer, Jewish Chronicle - "Israel is suffering its biggest public relations crisis for 20 years, according to its information and diaspora minister. Yuli Edelstein told 400 guests at the Zionist Federation dinner in London this week: 'We are facing the 3Ds- deligitimisation, demonisation, and double standards, pretending to be legitimate criticism of Israeli policies.' ... He was in London leading a campaign to improve the country's image. And, as a former prisoner in the Soviet Union - he reached Israel in 1987 after three years in labour camps - he recalled the ultimate success of the worldwide Soviet Jewry campaign."

Reframing myths and reality - Sydney Levy, Muzzlewatch: ‎"The Israeli Ministry of Hasbara and Diaspora Affairs has started a new project to recruit Israelis traveling abroad to the cause of ‘explaining’ the kinder, gentler side of Israel. The Hebrew website ( is called ‘masbirim,’ which literally means ‘we explain.’ The word comes from the same Hebrew root as Hasbara (explanation). For some reason, Israel translates Hasbara as ‘public diplomacy,’ but there is no diplomacy involved at all. Hasbara (explanation) follows the misguided notion that if Israel could only ‘explain’ itself, people would understand the context for the images they see on TV and the reports they read in the press about the horrors of the attacks on Gaza and the ongoing Israeli occupation. Under this philosophy, Israel need not change its behavior one bit, just spend more resources hoping the world will finally get it."

The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War Cruise - Cruise Guide and Tips: Comment by Ian C. Ruxton: "Roosevelt’s loudly proclaimed admiration for Bushido, jujitsu and other aspects of Japanese culture, not to mention the training and courage of the army and navy, may in and of itself have been genuine, but it surely also had the useful result of helping to massage the egos of his Japanese guests.

(See my translation published recently Baron Kaneko and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05): A Study in the Public Diplomacy of Japan for further details.)" 1905 image of Russo-Japanese War from


An Eye for an Eye - Roger Cohen, New York Times: Terrorists have no rule book, no borders and no compunction. The global war on terror (GWOT) is untidy. Still, the current accountability void for U.S. targeted killing is unacceptable.

Amnesty International and the Taliban - A staffer dissents from celebrating a terror spokesman, and is suspended - Michael Weiss, Wall Street Journal (subscription): Until two weeks ago, Gita Sahgal led Amnesty International's gender-affairs unit and was considered an exemplar of human-rights activism. Now she's suspended from her job and in need of an attorney willing to confront a venerable nongovernmental organization that is celebrated by the likes of Bono and Al Pacino. What happened? Ms. Sahgal tried to get her Amnesty colleagues to cease their partnership with Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who is, as Ms. Sahgal rightly describes him, "Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban."

German WWII Nazi Propaganda Posters..vintage art. – Real Think Tank. Below image from article

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 25

"[T]he past is a map, not a compass."

--Piers Brendon, a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, author of “The Decline and Fall of the British Empire”; image from


Information on "Public Diplomacy" - ISN


Russian Anti-Americanism: A Priority Target for US Public Diplomacy - Ariel Cohen, Helle C. Dale, "Abstract: The Kremlin is using anti-Americanism as a strategic tool for pursuing domestic and foreign policy goals. Through media controlled or owned by the state, the Russian government is deliberately spreading poisonous anti-U.S. propaganda at home and abroad, blaming many of Russia's problems on the West, particularly the United States.

The partial success of this policy exposes a number of serious failures in U.S. public diplomacy, which has been in decline since the end of the Cold War. To counter Russian information warfare and to consolidate democracy and freedom in Eastern and Central Europe, the U.S. needs to reinvigorate its public diplomacy efforts, using both traditional TV and radio broadcasting and new media to reach the peoples of the former Soviet satellites and post-Soviet states." Image from

VIEW: Governing the governors of Pakistan - Syed Talat Hussain, Daily Times: "In the last 62 years, except for the brief spurt of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's public diplomacy, much of the country's relations with the US have remained a complex network of deals and personal understandings the rulers of the day give to the American negotiators dangling short carrots on long knives."

US embassy offered less land at higher rate - Imran Ali, ‎

"The embassy was initially offered 18.5 acres of land by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) at a price of Rs15,000 per square yard. Now the size of land has been reduced to 8.5 acres and the embassy will have to pay about Rs85,000 ($1,000) per sq yd. ... On August 19 last year, US Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale was quoted as saying that the proposed expansion reflected Washington’s desire to improve relations with Pakistan." Image from

VOL. VI NO. 4, February 12-February 25, 2010 - The Layalina Review:

"The Propaganda Battlefront As the war is raging in Afghanistan between the US-NATO coalition and the Taliban, propaganda and dissemination of information have brought forth a new dimension to the conflict many believe is key to the outcome.
Israel’s Re-branding Conundrum Israel has recently announced a new effort to re-brand its image as a militaristic, belligerent country in the wake of a report which found most Israelis feel international opinion of their state is too negative. The campaign will attempt to engage citizens as 'goodwill ambassadors' through leaflets and coaching classes before they travel abroad.
Showdown in Iran Amidst reports of clashes between opposition supporters and police, authorities stifle the media and opposition on the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In the meantime, the US is reassessing its approach to engagement with Iran and how to best encourage greater freedom in the country.
Avatar the Movie: Connections to Public Diplomacy and Theology? Despite Avatar's huge box office success, the controversy surrounding the movie has generated debate regarding its alleged connection to American propaganda and etymological roots to Hebrew words.

Clinton Seeks Gulf Cooperation on the Iranian Question US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocated open dialogue and equal partnership between the US and the Gulf region in recent visits to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Clinton mainly focused on Iran as she called for cooperation from other countries in the Middle East in putting pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Out With the Old, In the With the New: Development in the MENA Region Although little Arabic-language content is available on the internet, Google’s Vinton Cerf has recently discussed expanding services and information in the Middle East and North Africa region. Some experts advocate a shift in social media and marketing tactics, while others remain doubtful, citing the potentially negative effects of technology on society.
A Bleak Future for Al-Hurra? Al-Hurra is still considered a mouthpiece of the US government in the Middle East, and therefore enjoys little to no popularity or credibility in the region.
Obama Still Inspires Hope Despite a decline in popularity across the world, the US president manages to continue to inspire people who still expect him to deliver on his initial promises of engagement." Image from

In Our Own Backyard: Child Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the United States - Prepared Testimony Before Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Washington, DC February 24, 2010 - Luis CdeBaca, US Department of State: CdeBaca, Ambassador-at-Large, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons: “The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the most comprehensive worldwide report on governments’ efforts to combat trafficking in persons in all of its forms –for labor and sex, of children and adults, and of foreign born victims and citizen victims.

It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. Child sex trafficking is an issue addressed by the TIP Report and in our subsequent foreign government engagement. This year, our public diplomacy will be strengthened by incorporating in the TIP Report a self-assessment of the United States’ anti-trafficking efforts. We take very seriously our role as a global leader in the fight against human trafficking and understand that if we are assessing the world that we, too, must be assessed. Moreover, the United States gains a great deal of credibility by acknowledging and being transparent about our own challenges. We are currently working together with our interagency colleagues government-wide to carry out a collaborative self-assessment.” Image from

Obama and Human Rights in the Middle East: Suggestions for Act Two – posted at “Analysis of Joe Stork's article: "Obama and Human Rights in the Middle East" – Hudson New York: "The Obama administration’s promotion of human rights with abusive Middle Eastern governments, however, has been ambiguous and, in some cases, negligent, raising concern that the United States is still operating in a universe of double standards when it comes to confronting serious human rights violations by important allies. Human rights have certainly not been part of the public diplomacy surrounding the president’s meetings with the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan."

Keep Foreign Policy Unholy - Spencer Ackerman, Firedoglake:

"There’s no reason not to engage religious groups, or NGOs with faith components. But it’s just not worth it to suggest to foreign publics that the U.S. is on a religious mission. Are we supposed to use missionaries for development work in Afghanistan [italics], for instance? ... So the solution cannot be to then emphasize religion. Smart statecraft and smart public diplomacy emphasizes respect for religion and respect for diversity of viewpoints, and praises both local customs and the American model of keeping government from telling people what to believe or not to believe." Image from

The Fine Line between Public Diplomacy and Propaganda - Michele Acuto,
Diplomatic Courier: "The most dangerous interpretation of ‘public diplomacy’ is the one that derives from a realist viewpoint: through this understanding, diplomatic activity becomes a form of propaganda, as it is exclusively used to protect and promote national interests. In this sense, the dissemination of information is employed to build images, increase foreign support, and make use of reputation as a force-multiplier. Thus, propaganda becomes nothing more than another capability on the global balance of power chessboard. Consequently, the stronger actors engage in propaganda wars as it happened on the eve of World War II, and during the Cold War years."

The Shortcomings of Tweet-o-Diplomacy - Lena, Global Chaos: "While the US thinks social networking sites and 140-character-long messages can foster freedom and openness, it fails, once again, to capture foreign thinking and understand how things work elsewhere."

L and Q 2/23/10 Newhouse Social Media - Anne McCarthy, Newhouse Social Media: "PRL 530 - Newhouse Social Media // Class blog for PRL 530 Social Media class at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. See our class wiki at
This was the first I have really heard of how social media is being used as a tool in public diplomacy, such as in South Korea where the United States Embassy has a 'cafe,' or online community in which to engage South Koreans and start and maintain a dialogue to address anti-American sentiment.

With social media being used in sovereign state affairs, it made me question whethere, despite China's censorship of social media use among its people, the Chinese government, and other communists regimes, will begin using social media to monitor and control people?" Image from

'Kingdom manages economy well' - Shaheen Nazar, Arab News: "Sharon T. Freeman, an expert in small business enterprises and author of several books on a variety of subjects including export and import, also praised the Saudi economy, saying the Kingdom has done well by building infrastructure and investing heavily in human resource development. ... Sharon T. Freeman, an expert in small business enterprises and author of several books on a variety of subjects including export and import, also praised the Saudi economy, saying the Kingdom has done well by building infrastructure and investing heavily in human resource development."

Consular Corner: February 2010 - Liam Schwartz, - "Ten Questions With: Shaila B. Manyam, Foreign Service Officer U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince. ... Manyam: I'm personally taking a lot of comfort in seeing so many of us 'Haiti alums' return and in seeing the local staff. Nothing has made me happier than being able to run up the stairs of the Embassy and hug

my former public diplomacy team, the drivers and so many of the amazing Haitians who keep this Embassy going." Image from

DC Done, Back to Cali - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I had a crazy, fascinating and fruitful week in DC, and now I am back in Lalaland. ... Monday I was a guest for a cultural diplomacy symposiums held by Prof. John Brown for his Georgetown class. I spoke about the original Family of Man, my exhibit and talked shop about how to travel on the cheap or for free. After my shpeel, Dr. Richard Arndt spoke about the history of Cultural Diplomacy and the First Resort of Kings. The Godfather of Cultural Diplomacy remembered me from the Cultural Diplomacy conference we had and the table we shared. He gave a fascinating lecture, mentioning Grotius' notion of war as the last resort, adopted by Cardinal Richelieu who stamped 'Ultia Rato Regum' (the Last Resort of Kings) on the barrel of French naval cannons. If war is the last resort, Arndt stated, then cultural diplomacy must be considered the first resort. Too fascinating a lecture to sum up here, read his book for the details. After, I had lunch with Herr Doktor Arndt and we talked shop over Lebanese food. Fascinating chat over history, postings to Iran and Lebanon and the past and future of PD."

Public Diplomacy and the Obama Moment - Chatham House: "Wednesday 3 March 2010 17:30 to 18:30 Location Chatham House Participants[:] Philip Seib, Professor of Journalism and Public Diplomacy; Professor of International Relations; Director, Center on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California. The speaker will consider how Barack Obama's election

to the presidency was presumed to herald a new era for American public diplomacy and suggest that remarkably little headway has been made in improving perceptions of the United States throughout the world. He will argue that part of the problem may be the disconnect between public diplomacy efforts and US policy, which is something the US foreign policy establishment has yet to address." Image from

Public Diplomacy - State v. Non-State – Naomi Leight, Public Diplomacy Corps: "So it's my last semester in the Master of Public Diplomacy program at USC. I'm taking two classes this semester and I find it very interesting, one professor argues that only governments can conduct public diplomacy. Interestingly enough, my other professor posits that only nongovernmental actors can conduct public diplomacy. While they both are able to back up their claims I argue for a different path. I believe that both government and non-state actors can conduct public diplomacy."

Malvinas dispute floods cyber-space with curiosities - Buenos Aires Herald: "Everybody remembers US Secretary of State, Collin Powell at national TV trying to explain why the United States were going to war in Iraq.

That was a move that experts call 'public diplomacy'. But things turned drastically within the short term as US citizens started withdrawing their blind support to the Middle East invasion. The reason? Not even good publicity can sell a bad product." Image: February 5, 2003: "Secretary of State Powell, using a mock-up of anthrax during a Security Council presentation, believes weapons will be found." (Photo and caption, CBS News)

Trumpet player Arturo Sandoval remembers Willis Conover (updated: more VOA jazz) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Japanese Manga Diplomacy - Ralph A Stamm, The ISN Blog: "I didn’t take it seriously when in 2007 foreign minister Taro Aso launched the International Manga Award. The media ridiculed Aso for not being able to read Japanese properly, which some said was due to him preferring cartoons to books.

And indeed Aso liked to portray himself as a manga otaku, a freak. I thus saw nothing else in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ initiative to actively use pop culture in public diplomacy than the minister’s personal obsession. Even though it had never interested me much, I knew that many young people were attracted to Japan because of its manga and anime culture. But creating the post of an Anime Ambassador and filling it with Doraemon, the popular comic cat, didn’t seem like serious foreign policy to me. However, recently, a couple of impressions have changed my mind." Image from

British Council Explores if "Europe is Failing Its Muslims" - Joshua S. Fouts, The Imagination Age

Conference aims to strengthen ties with Latin American Jews - Fay Cashman, Jerusalem Post - "The strengthening of the Iranian diplomatic and economic presence in Latin America, coupled with the upsurge of anti-Semitic incidents and a deterioration in relations between Israel and many South American countries, led Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein to convene a three-day meeting in Jerusalem of leaders of Latin American Jewish communities. The Latin American conference was launched Tuesday evening at Beit Hanassi, where Haim Aron, a former ambassador to Colombia and currently the chairman of Edelstein’s Advisory Committee on Latin America, spoke of the Latin American contribution to Israel’s existence . ... He blamed the virulently anti-Israel policy of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

for bringing both the Foreign Ministry and the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry to the conclusion that Latin America was one of Israel’s major strategic challenges." Image: Graffiti found in Caracas in August 2006. (Jewish Agency)

Royalties – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Ok, where do I collect my shekels for offering the Israeli Foreign Ministry their idea for citizen public diplomats?? I published a blog on Jan 1st on 'Deputizing Public Diplomats.' Within days, Yuli Edelstein announced that Israel would do just that. Now there are a plethora of stories about how Israel is turning to its citizens to be citizen diplomats. Yuli, I want some royalties for my idea. Please send 10 agorot to Paul Rockower, c/o the Rockower Institute for Backpacking Diplomacy, located in the heart of sunny Molvania. Pay up Yuli, or I will send a Mossad squad after you. Or perhaps I will have a hit squad sent after me for giving planting that mustard seed that might inevitably lead to mustard gas in the form of a lot of hot air."

Government to add English hasbara site - Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post: "An English-language Web site will soon be added to the government’s new effort to involve average Israelis in the effort to defend the Jewish state abroad, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Wednesday. Edelstein said the Web site would be ready in April, joining the Hebrew site,

which around 150,000 people have entered since it debuted two weeks ago. Training sessions have begun, and a pamphlet about how to defend the country is being distributed at Ben-Gurion Airport." Image from site

Shanghai Expo to play pivotal role in public diplomacy of China: FM Qureshi - Associated Press of Pakistan: "Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said here Wednesday that holding of the mega event of Shanghai Expo is a gigantic effort in public diplomacy of China. The Expo will showcase China’s economic development and its qualitative intellectual growth, Qureshi said addressing at Shanghai Institute of International Studies (SIIS). See also.

Internship: The British Consulate-General, Chicago - Ren’s Micro Diplomacy:"Summer Internship The British Consulate-General, Chicago — the United Kingdom’s diplomatic mission covering thirteen Midwestern states — is currently offering competitive unpaid internships for summer and fall 2010.

Interns are sought to support the work of the Consulate-General’s Policy & Communications and Private Office teams. The teams are responsible for handling communication and public diplomacy on a range of issues including climate change, economy, and best practice policy exchange between the UK and US (poverty, families, economic recovery and employment, and education)." Image from


Like Rome Before the Fall? Not Yet - Piers Brendon, New York Times: Despite its grave problems, there are some relatively simple steps America could take to recover its position. It could bring its military commitments into line with its resources, rely more on the “soft power” of diplomacy and economic engagement and, as George Washington said, take advantage of its geographically detached situation to “defy material injury from external annoyance.” national self-esteem should not stem from global might but from cultural values and achievements. Faced by the prospect of decline, Americans could hardly do better than to cling to the noblest traditions of their own civilization.

Poll: Many see a China century - John Pomfret and Jon Cohen, Washington Post:

Facing high unemployment and a difficult economy, most Americans think the United States will have a smaller role in the world economy in the coming years, and many believe that while the 20th century may have been the "American Century," the 21st century will belong to China. Image from

Dutch Retreat – Editorial, New York Times: After the collapse of its coalition cabinet, the Netherlands is set to withdraw its 2,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. That decision is an embarrassment to the Netherlands, to NATO, and to Washington at a moment when President Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy faces a crucial test.

The Netherlands lands a blow to the Afghanistan coalition: The collapse of the Dutch government and the planned withdrawal of troops should serve as a warning to Obama – Editorial,

Both Left and Right Are Wrong About Drones -David Rittgers, Wall Street Journal (subscription): The Obama administration has significantly expanded the use of unmanned aerial drones to kill al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. This decision has been criticized from both the left and the right, but it fits neatly into a broader strategy of countering terrorists world-wide.

Professors fuel fire of anti-Israel propaganda - Avraham Zuroff, Jewish Tribune: Israeli Jewish academicians that condemn Israel’s right to exist fuel the fire of anti-Israel rhetoric, said Dr. Yitzchak Mansdorf, former director of the pro-Israel campus advocacy David Project, at the recent Jerusalem Conference.

He was referring to the anti-Israel propaganda war on college campuses, saying that the new form of antisemitism challenges Israel’s legitimacy on a political, ideological and academic level. “Last week, [Israeli Ambassador to the US] Michael Oren ‘spoke’ at the University of California at Irvine. I say that he ‘spoke’ because he didn’t get in more than a few sentences at a time before he was heckled,” Mansdorf related. Image from

Fun with Pop Culture Propaganda Posters - The Faster Times: “Strength Through Unity, Unity Through Faith.” This V for Vendetta slogan echoed the dystopia of George Orwell’s 1984 -- and what better way to embrace it than through vintage-inspired propaganda posters that cite pop-culture influences? Why, they’re even sneakier than those Illuminati pop stars. After the jump, peruse some of our favorite propaganda parodies, featuring everyone from Captain America to Kermit the Frog. But before you look, be warned: You might just walk away brainwashed, ready to start a revolution. On Planet Melmac. See More Posters on Flavorwire