Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 11

--Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld; image and quotation from

SITE OF INTEREST

Soviet Propaganda: Posters & Cartoons of the 20th Century

Below images from: "Ten Plants That Put Meat on Their Plates: In addition to the well-known Venus flytrap, many other plant species feed on bugs or crustaceans" by Sarah Zielinski, Smithsonian.com

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

Time for Regime Change in Iran – Helle Dale, Heritage.org: "The Tehran regime is not just antithetical to American values, it is regionally destabilizing. More often than not, the two go hand in hand around the world. This is why the tools of American public diplomacy should be deployed in the service of pro-democracy movements and regime change in Iran.

Iranians desperately need independent, trustworthy information — such as provided by Radio Free Iran, the U.S. government’s surrogate broadcaster. Funding for its programs should be generously increased, particularly focused on radio as the medium as television is vulnerable due to the visibility of satellite dishes. Internet is clearly sensitive to government control and interference, as is cell phone serve, which makes them vulnerable. Yet in the age of new technology, total control remains extremely hard to maintain and the U.S. government should continue to work with Iranians abroad setting up pro-democracy websites. Funding is difficult to funnel to the Iranian opposition and often evokes suspicion if bearing the mark of the U.S. government. Yet, working through third purity organizations will provide opportunities. And most of all, the U.S. government should announce that regime change is official U.S. policy, which will certainly lend moral support to Iranians under sever pressure at home." Image: King sundew

C'mon "good folks," let's "get the word out" to Iran! Anybody? (Cricket chirping in Farsi) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "I'm sure the good folks at Radio Farda will be reporting the news. It's not really their job to 'get the word out.'... I'm not sure how the laws of physics will allow satellite dishes to become smaller, unless a new, more powerful satellite beams directly at Iran. If that satellite does not have the entertainment channels directed to the rest of the Middle East, it won't have many viewers."

Radio Farda more tolerated in Iran than VOA Persian? And other Iran media news - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

U.S. broadcasts to Cuba get stronger - Laura Wides-Munoz, Miami Herald: "The U.S. government's official broadcasts to Cuba and the government-funded Voice of America are for the first time regularly sharing resources - a move officials hope will enhance both services and which could blunt longtime criticism of the Cuban broadcasts. America are for the first time regularly sharing resources - a move officials hope will enhance both services and which could blunt longtime criticism of the Cuban broadcasts. Some also question whether the move signals the beginning of the end for the controversial U.S. Office of Cuban Broadcasting. Last week, the office's TV and Radio Marti services opened their studios to VOA's Spanish division to jointly produce a regular half-hour radio show. 'A Fondo' or 'In Depth' provides news and analysis from around the hemisphere.

It was developed in part to target Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez has cracked down on opposition and independent media and frequently criticizes U.S. foreign policy. 'I am looking into this issue to ensure that this is an effort to maximize resources to expand U.S. coverage in the region and not a back door to reducing U.S. broadcasts to Cuba,' U.S Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, told The Associated Press." Image: Venus flytrap

A Different Perspective on the NATO and Taliban - Hayley Yudelman, The Beaver Reader: "Greeting us [it is not clear from the article where this event is taking place, but at, evidently, Beaver Country Day School] with kind words and open arms, the Afghanistan students were excited to share their opinions about the NATO forces and the Taliban. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affair, Judith McHale, joined us as we virtually– on Skype — discussed with the Afghan students about pressing issues in their country. ... Although the students agreed with us that the Taliban was essentially hurting their homeland, they were apprehensive about NATO troops. They accepted the fact that NATO has the right intentions, but they stated that the troops are not establishing themselves correctly and that they are destroying their culture and killing civilians." Update: "Hello John: I was directed to your web site by ... Anna Mussman, U.S. Department of State Program Officer, who oversees our Global Connection and Exchange Program which is run by the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club Foundation. Through this program we have set up several computer labs with internet connectivity for high school students in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. As part of this program, the Afghan students receive some basic computer training and then use various internet facilitated platforms to communicate with high school students in the U.S. Recently some of the communications have taken place using Skype video/audio internet technology often with a projector and screen on each end so the students can see each other as a group. Time zone differences add to the challenges. The call referred to on your web page took place at Beaver Country Day School on the U.S. side and at a central facility we are using in Jalalabad for one of our sites which happens to be on the Nangarhar University Campus-College of Education. The Afghan participants were high school students as well. Thank you for mentioning this program. Stephen R. Brown President, La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Clubg Foundation 14918 Rancho Nuevo Del Mar, CA 92014 Cell (858) 692-3310 Fax (206) 339-4131 http://www.stevebrownrotary.com/."

United States Breaks Ground for New Embassy Compound in Belgrade, Serbia - US Department of State: "U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Burce Warlick; Minister for the Environment and Spatial Planning, Oliver Dulic; Mayor Dragan Djilas of the City of Belgrade; and Managing Director for Construction, Facility & Security Management of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Rod Evans broke ground for the Belgrade New Embassy Compound (NEC) in Serbia today. ...

The centerpiece of the compound will be the three and a half-story chancery building featuring an interior atrium and multimedia center to enhance outreach and our public diplomacy efforts. Natural light will illuminate the interior of the stone-clad building and the atrium will feature natural wood walls and ceiling finishes as well as a native granite floor." Image: Waterwheel

Radio Free Asia reporter in Cambodia faces trial for "disinformation" (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

North Atlantic Council, Moldova hold consultations in Brussels - Moldpress: "Defence Minister Vitalie Marinuta is participating in multilateral consultations of the North Atlantic Council with Moldova held in the Brussels-based NATO HQ today. ... In Brussels, Marinuta is expected to meet NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and other experts in security, partnership and public diplomacy." See also.

We need to use this crisis to do more for overseas students - Michael Spence, Sydney Morning Herald: "The recent alarming headlines again in India depicting Australia as a hotbed of racism and crime should be a wake-up call. Overseas students are critical to Australia's reputation, as well as providing our third-largest source of overseas, or so-called 'export', income. ... australia has been slower to recognise the importance of building understanding and engagement with India but the University of Melbourne recently established an Australia-India Institute with the University of NSW. Initiatives such as these promise to make a real difference over time. Such centres of knowledge contribute to the national debate through media commentary, fostering cultural exchange and engaging business leaders and others in direct discussions that build our international relationships.

This activity is even more important than ever, given the much reduced cultural and public diplomacy role played these days by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade after many years of budget cuts. One significant exception for which our diplomats should be congratulated is the grand Australian pavilion at World Expo in Shanghai this year. It is a great example of government, business and the education sector - including the University of Sydney - working in partnership to show Australia to an important neighbour." Image: Albany pitcher plant

Shangai Expo EXPO: How we are using Social Networking - Carma Elliot, Digital Engagement Blog: "Shanghai Expo 2010 will run for 6 months, from May to October; and is expected to attract upwards of 70 million visitors over those six months. The UK has a truly exciting pavilion, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, on the Expo site – able to accommodate up to 40,000 visitors a day (5-7 million over 6 months). In addition, there will be an extensive programme of business and public events, showcasing the UK’s sectoral strengths and business expertise, the arts, culture, science, innovation and our low carbon agenda. For the first time in the history of Expos, there will also be an online Expo; and the UK is developing its own ambitious Expo website to maximize contact with the growing web population in China. It is the last of these 3 platforms which offers the UK the greatest potential to extend the reach of its public diplomacy messages in China. China has around 340 million internet users: this number is growing at about 6 million every month."

PD vs. Propaganda – Lena, Global Chaos: "So where does one draw the line?"

"Smart Power," the Military, and Public Diplomacy – Lena, Global Chaos: "Although smart power is a great approach and arguably very reasonable, it should not be undertaken by the military itself, but rather by the country as a whole, i.e. there should be a clear separation between American 'hard' military structure and the 'soft power' activities: American aid workers, teachers, doctors, or volunteers. And, what is even more important, the local population should be involved in the development efforts - at all stages and levels - in order to maintain the trust in the process and the end goal itself, even if they do not trust the Americans.

Otherwise, sustainable results might be unattainable. And no, in this case, taking credit for such work should not be the primary concern, since such public diplomacy should be looked at as a medium-to-long term effort, and taking overall credit for the long-term success will be much more effective and useful for US interests. But since the military culture is not necessarily concerned with that, this very important consideration runs the risk of being effectively forgotten." Image: Yellow pitcher plant

Twitter Is My Window To The Web - Interview With Pramit J Nathan – zazo, Orkut Heroes: Nathan: "My book on Perception Management is an attempt to create a new marketing paradigm. The four P’s of traditional marketing or the 7 P’s of services marketing are not successful in accounting for the critical intangibles that define an entity or determine its fortunes today. These critical intangibles include image, reputation, goodwill, credibility etc. Branding to an extent does touch upon them but more from a top-down approach. My book on Perception management addresses in great detail each of these intangibles predominantly from a bottom-up approach so that the results of any perception management or branding activity can be measured and managed. In other words the book uses the phrase Perception Management as a successor to Marketing Management in the Knowledge Age and emphasizes how perceptions are the most important asset of any entity and how they need to be managed for sustainable benefits and competitive advantage. It also tries to eliminate the restricted view of the Perception Management today which limits it to either ‘public diplomacy’ or ‘public relations’."

Innocents Abroad: Backpacking in the Age of Obama – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "As soon as the Fall semester ended, I was on the road. Within days of my last finals, I hopped a bus south from Los Angeles and worked my way to Panama on public transit on a public health/public diplomacy road show. On a trip sponsored by the USC Institute for Global Health as a means to produce a photography exhibition on the world of public health and its intersection with public diplomacy, I went through Mexico and Central America, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

I have been backpacking for many years, but this time there was a serious difference: President Obama. ... Now, when I say that I am American, I get an 'ah…Obama,' with a smile and thumbs-up. Everyone I encountered knew of the American president; from the street kids in Managua to the seniors in San Salvador, the American president was held in high regard, and it reflected on his flock." Image: Nepenthes eymae

Can Eliot Spitzer mend his political image enough to be elected again? - Glenn Coin] The Post-Standard - Syracuse.com: "Dennis Kinsey ... [is] director of public diplomacy at SU’s Newhouse School of Communications."

"You came to Ireland... to do American Studies?" - Kaylyn, Fordham American Studies Blog: "Two of us from Fordham are participating in this semester abroad program. Alex and I are the only undergraduates in most of our classes, and two of very few Americans. The graduate and doctoral students are studying American Studies or Media and International Conflict. Our classes are: Visualizing Americanization, Journalism: Reporting Conflict, Public Diplomacy and Soft Power, Ireland and the US, and America in the 21stCentury."

RELATED ITEMS

What Became of the 'Freedom Agenda'? President Obama can avoid his predecessor's mistakes without alienating the people of countries like Iran - Francis Fukuyama, Wall Street Journal: Taking a Middle Eastern democracy agenda seriously does not mean that we should return to the loud trumpeting of promises of support for regional democracy that we cannot keep.

Nor does it mean playing the authoritarians' game of affirming fake liberalization as the real article of democracy. It does mean working quietly behind the scenes to push friendly authoritarians towards a genuine broadening of political space in their countries through the repeal of countless exceptional laws, defamation codes, party registration statutes and the like that hinder the emergence of real democratic contestation. Image: Rainbow plant

Iran, Beacon of Liberty? - Reuel Marc Gerecht, New York Times: President Obama has nothing to lose by moving away from engaging Ayatollah Khamenei and toward a vigorous engagement with the Iranian people’s quest for popular sovereignty. Rhetoric, sanctions aimed at cutting off Iran’s gasoline imports and intelligent covert aid to dissidents should be harnessed to the democratic cause.

Showdown in Tehran – Editorial, Washington Post:

The United States has the opportunity to weaken the Iranian regime by doing that which it fears most: providing moral and material aid to the opposition. Image: Mexican butterwort

Where war goes, propaganda follows: Manipulation of news by government is easy when insurgents start targeting journalists - Patrick Cockburn, Independent: American and Afghan forces are poised to attack the town of Marjah, the largest Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan, in the first major US military offensive since the President Barack Obama announced that he was sending 30,000 reinforcements. The US strategy is to expel, kill or capture the Taliban, prevent their return, and then provide aid and services to a grateful populace. Described as a sophisticated attempt "to win the hearts and minds of Afghans", its covert and more realistic aim is to win the hearts and minds of the American media, particularly those back in the US who direct the efforts of reporters on the ground. The message the US military wants to send is that in Afghanistan it is fighting a winnable war and not blundering deeper into a quagmire.

A Real 'Winning' Strategy in Afghanistan - Josef Storm, Lew Rockwell: "I’ve just had the pleasure (or lack of pleasure, to be more precise) to read the recent Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy put out by the State Department.

I found its summary of key initiatives for Afghanistan to be particularly fascinating [among them]: ... Countering al-Qaeda and Taliban propaganda, while also empowering Afghans to challenge the insurgents’ narrative by improving access to mobile phones, radio, and television."

Brilliant Video On Why Israel's Propaganda Efforts Fail - MJ Rosenberg, Huffington Post: In it, David Sable, one of the top marketing and "branding" professionals explains why Israel cannot (and does not) win the hasbara (propaganda) war with the Palestinians. Sable, an Israeli-American, who is emphatically pro-Israel explains that you cannot market a bad product and that Israel's most controversial policies (Gaza, etc) are simply indefensible, no matter how you frame them. His suggestion is that friends of Israel stop shooting the messenger and start adopting policies that are defensible because they are moral.

Zionism Unmasked: A Fairy Tale That's Become a Terrifying Nightmare - Alan Hart, Salem-News.com: One thing nobody can deny is the effectiveness of Zionism’s propaganda machine.

Nigeria: Online Propaganda And Social Media - Yushau A. Shuaib, AllAfrica.com: The real bad news is that the next World War will not be fought with conventional armaments, but through the social media. The social media has uplifted propaganda, another tool of public relations to another level. Even in Nigeria, a country notorious for sectional infighting, parties in conflicts are using online platform to promote themselves and destroyed their opponents with malicious and some libellous campaigns, yet backed with evidences.

Author warns be careful what you wish for in North Korea - Moneycontrol.com North Korean propaganda may seem absurd, but writer B.R. Myers advises the international community to pay the grandiose statements far more attention in dealing with what is perhaps the world's most reclusive state. Q: North Korea is an intensely secretive state and heavily restricts information to its own citizens, let alone outsiders. How do you cope with that wall of secrecy? A: "My main area of focus is North Korean propaganda, which can now be researched very easily at the North Korea Resource Center in Seoul. North Korean newspapers, magazines, even television dramas, all these things are very easy to access even when outside the country. This makes it all the harder for me to understand why the West has so far paid so little attention to it." Q: You discuss the way the state propaganda machine gives a maternal, almost effeminate, element to depictions of the North's leaders. That seems in strong contrast to a leadership which many outside see as bent on war and indifferent to the sufferings of the impoverished population. How do you explain that? A: "North Koreans believe that they are born pure and good, which means that they have no need for a disciplinary or educating father figure like Stalin. Instead, all they need

is the motherly parenting of Kim Jong Il. This does not contradict the general warlike nature of the official culture. Social psychologists tells us that the mother principle is on the side of the instincts, and that states which lack fatherly authority figures are more given to spontaneous, rash behaviour, which is of course what we see in North Korea. As for failing to feed his people - remember that in Korea, it's the children's job to feed their mother and not the other way around." Image: Petunia

Azerbaijani Diaspora in US to educate US media and politicians on facts surrounding tragic events in Sumgait – APA: According to the Azeri Diaspora, “for over two decades, the Armenian lobby and propaganda have been using Sumgait events to lambast Azerbaijan and to justify their actions against the people of Azerbaijan”. The authors are reminding that, "Sumgait Pogroms" refer to tragic events which took place in the era of “perestroika” in the waning days of the Soviet Union, in the economically-depressed and poverty-stricken Azerbaijani industrial town of Sumgait (pop. 300,000). As a result of the unfortunate provocations, according to official data, a total of 32 people were killed (26 ethnic Armenian, 6 ethnic Azerbaijani), many more were wounded, substantial private and public property damage occurred due to vandalism and looting.

Nudes and monumental propaganda - Alexander Anichkin, reading art: In a previous post I showed a beautiful example of nude scupture in bronze, even though it's used for propaganda purposes.

Monumental propaganda was a concept developed in the early days of the Soviet Union by Lenin and other bolsheviks, who suggested knocking down monuments dedicated to tsars and replacing them by sculptures glorifying revolutionary figures and working class heroes. Here is a concise description of this idea. Image from article

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