Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February 16


"I see it everywhere now."

--Zach Cook, 14, an eighth-grade student at Hickory Hills Middle School, who is taking a class on propaganda; cited in Cliff Sain, “Propaganda aims to influence: Information can be presented in varying ways to affect responses,” News-Leader.com, Springfield Missouri; image from

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PUBLIC DIPLOMACY IN THE NEWS

Has Cheney Already Won This Battle? - Rob Asghar, Huffington Post:

"Afghanistan was the 'right' war five years ago, but not today, not after Al Qaeda has for the most part managed to decentralize around the world. His uber-Bush approach to romping into Pakistani territory is a hydra-empowering bungle too. Hammering away in these ways, while demanding the Pakistani government's acquiescence, escalates anti-Americanism among Pakistanis, who tend not to view jihadists as the kind of existential threat that they believe the Indians are. Ordinary Pakistanis may be spectacularly wrong in their estimate of Indian meddling in their nation. But that is great public diplomacy challenge that Obama has neglected. In the meantime, we wage fruitless and costly war in Afghanistan that does not improve our relations with the larger Muslim world." Image from

Czech MP appeals to US regarding working conditions at Radio Free Europe/Liberty - News.Az: "Czech senator Jaromir Stetina has written a letter to his US counterparts in which he complaints about discrimination against some foreign employees of the Prague-seated and US-financed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and demands a remedy of the situation. ... The Jaromir Stetina's letter reads – ‘Honorable John F. Kerry-Chairman, Honorable Richard G. Lugar-Ranking Member U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations ... Actions of Radio Free Europe Damage Czech Republic and the United States Dear American colleague: ... As you undoubtedly know, in 1995, RFE/RL, an institution subordinate to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in Washington, had moved to Prague from Munich, Germany. Presently, RFE/RL broadcasts from Prague in 28 languages to over 20 countries.

It is a powerful tool of American public diplomacy financed by U.S. Congress. ... Practical consequences of RFE/RL self-destructive 'public diplomacy' are evident. ... Then, may I please suggest that you, in the course of forthcoming nomination hearings, advise future BBG members on how counterproductive to the goals of American public diplomacy is present situation of moral hypocrisy created by the BBG-designed employment policies and their practical application in the Czech Republic by RFE/RL administration. This situation, aggravated by the ongoing and virtually endless court battles followed attentively by international media, shall and may be changed ASAP – in the best interests of RFE/RL, United States, and Czech Republic.'” Stetina image from article

Expressing Themselves Through Poetry - Prt Ghazni Blog: "A young man recites a poem during Poetry Day at the Lincoln Center library in Ghazni City, Afghanistan on Feb. 14, 2010.

The Department of State sponsored this event which allowed young Afghans to express their ideas for peace and friendship through poetry. ... Cpt. Aaron Thorson, from Ft. Rucker, Ala., Operations Officer and Mahtab Farid, Dept. of State Public Diplomacy Officer, both assigned to Ghazni Provincial Reconstruction Team speak at Poetry Day at the Lincoln Center library in Ghazni City, Afghanistan on Feb. 14, 2010.

The Department of State sponsored this event which allowed young Afghans to express their ideas for peace and friendship through poetry." Image from article

Forum puts faith in religious leaders - Ramesh Mathew, Gulf Times: "The US-Islamic World Forum which concluded yesterday called on the religious leaders to play a significant role by launching diplomatic initiatives among others to end violence against humanity at different levels. Reading out the policy recommendations at the valedictory session of the three-day conference, Episcopal Anglican Bishop of Washington John Bryson Chane said moral purpose was at the very core of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and it was high time religious heads reaffirmed this reality. Bishop Chane

urged spiritual leaders to confront and end all sorts of religious extremism, including the dominance of one religion over another, or others, and domination of a nation over another. The Washington-based bishop also appealed to leaders to provide humanitarian assistance for all those whose lives are severely affected by war, poverty, illiteracy, violation of human rights, natural disasters and religious extremism. Religious leaders, said Chane, must be seen as equal partners and as positive agents of change in the 21st century public diplomacy." Chane image from

Digital Diplomacy - Attia Nasar, attianasar's posterous: "Digital Diplomacy, also known as Public Diplomacy 2.0, refers to interactive environments though the virtual world. Virtual interactions, while they involve real people, do not involve physical contact and therefore provide a medium for exploring productive ways to channel conflict without the threat of violence and intimidation ... .

Digital Diplomacy can include interactions through a multitude of sites such as, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, blogs and Second Life. ... Attia Nasar is a graduate student in the Public Diplomacy program at Syracuse University. ... She is currently the Web Chair for the Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars and Public Diplomats for Human Rights." Image from

PD and PR: estranged bedfellows. Or so they say... – Lena, Global Chaos: "Integrating Marketing Communication ... calls for active engagement of the target public, since it has an inbuilt feedback mechanism that helps adjust and refocus the strategic approach based on shifts and changing patterns. Yes, it is much more difficult to measure the effect of PD - since it deals with ideas, values, and emotions - and yet, some of the mechanisms suggested at Nation-Branding can be very useful, and perhaps, can be as good as it can ever get given PD's nature. ... Of course, a good ad can never replace a faulty 'product'. But when the 'product' is viable, such international techniques can be coupled with PD as well as traditional diplomacy to provide the US not only with many more friends around the world, but also with an enhanced ease of conducting its foreign policy (referring to core national interests). Perhaps, in that sense, PD does have a lot to learn from PR?"

Words, words, words: In Defense of IC - Laura McGinnis, ManIC:

"As in any graduate program, there are some friendly rivalries and vicious smack talk exchanges between the different concentrations at American's School of International Service, so I wasn't too offended when a fellow student made some disparaging remarks about International Communications at a party this past weekend. ... [T]he exchange made me realize that I've defended public diplomacy in this space before, so today I'd like to focus on IC. ... Communication, according to the formidable Christine Chin, professor of Cross-Cultural Communication, is about nothing less than the construction, maintenance and transformation of reality. It's a process. It's constant. And it matters." Image from

More Meddling - Dave Anderson, Newshoggers: "Two things. First it is now a US public diplomacy tract to wish for the 1978/79 [Iranian] Revolutionaries instead of the current leadership cadre [in Iran] that has a demonstrated history of rationality and self-preservation seeking instincts. Secondly, admitting that political level sanctions are aimed at weakening a relevant and major political faction in Iranian politics is massive and obvious foreign meddling. Foreign meddling in local politics is usually a good way of creating blowback and a rally around the flag effect."

Video: Graham demands Brennan's resignation - Ed Morrissey, Hot Air: "[Comment by ] kagai – ... There are folks for whom the size, influence, and (well, now we have to say) relative prosperity make the US an object of hatred. Not going to change that, and short of some reasonable public diplomacy efforts we shouldn’t try. What we should do (and what even Bush 43 was a bit weak on)

is make clear through our statements and actions that we will respond vigorously, using all necessary force, to threats on American interests, American citizens, and American property." Image from

Public Diplomacy Social Networking – Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Well peeps, have at it. The Public Diplomacy Corps, the public diplomacy consulting group I'm a part of, has just launched out own public diplomacy social network site: http://pdcorps.ning.com/Join up, meet up and pd up."

In the Know: ‎LBJ School welcomes new professors for spring 2010 - University of Texas at Austin News - "The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs is welcoming new visiting and adjunct professors to the classroom for the spring semester. Several members of the LBJ School community are teaching courses at the school for the first time.

Visiting and adjunct professors who will be teaching courses for the spring semester include ... Ambassador Karen Hughes, former under secretary of state for public diplomacy." Hughes image from

Energy (and Other) Events - February 14, 2010 – gmoke, Hubevents: "Green Public Diplomacy: Sustainability as Finland's Message in the U.S. ... In this seminar, Finland's ambassador to the United States, Pekka Lintu, will discuss public diplomacy in U.S. and European relations as well as its role in bringing about comprehensive climate change policies in the United States."

British Post War Diplomacy: The foreign policy problems of the Major government - Barry Vale, suite101.com: "The Maastricht Treaty and British Opt Outs [:] British opt outs were put forward as part of the concept of subisdiarity, that where possible decisions were devolved to the lowest tier of governance . ... Major used Public Diplomacy to convince the British public that he had got he wanted. Although John Major could have been content with his diplomatic achievements at Maastricht, the defiance of Thatcherite backbenchers in opposing its ratification did untold political damage to his government’s credibility." Below image from



Senior Political Officer - British Embassy - Brussels – Belgium Jobs: "Main Role[:] Under the supervision of the Head of Political and Public Diplomacy Section the main responsibility is to: provide high quality, professional political analysis and reporting of Belgian political developments; to lobby, analyse and report on other domestic and foreign policy issues including climate change and EU internal affairs; and to lead the Embassy’s strategic communications. The Senior Political Officer will line manage a Political and Public Diplomacy Officer and a Section Support Officer, and will work alongside and in a team with, a UK-based Second Secretary and a Political and Economic Officer."

RELATED ITEMS

The tide may be turning in Afghanistan: The people are hopeful, two recent polls show. That’s no small thing in war where hearts and minds will likely decide who’s the winner - Michael O'Hanlon and Hassina Sherjan, USA Today

Marines Into Marjah: promising start to the Afghan campaign - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal (subscription):

The skill, courage and discipline of the U.S. military is on display once again, as 15,000 American and allied troops are battling to clear the Taliban from the Afghan city of Marjah in what must be one of most advertised offensives in modern military history. The advertising is part of the new NATO counterinsurgency strategy, whose goal is to win over the population as much as it is to kill terrorists. Image from

Taliban denies top commander arrested, rejects it as mere propaganda - Xinhua

Challenge to Israel's legitimacy - Linda Heard, Arab News: A recently-published report by the Reut Institute — a Tel-Aviv-based policy think tank set up to provide strategic decision-making support to the government of Israel — finds that Israel’s legitimacy is being attacked by a variety of individuals and organizations within North America and Europe, characterized by the report’s authors as “hubs of delegitimization”.

It’s a pity that when coming up with cures — mainly monitoring and propaganda — for this anti-Israel malaise, Reut omitted the obvious. The only way that Israel can hang on to any shred of legitimacy it may still retain is to change its behavior. Image from Reut Institute homepage

Praise, propaganda at Kim Jong Il's birthday party: State media laud North Korea's leader on his 68th birthday. Outsiders question his physical and mental health - John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times

BBC releases Irish Nazi propagandist's broadcasts - Matthew Crow, The New York Irish Emigrant: Image from article: William Joyce, known in Britain during World War II as Lord Haw-Haw The BBC has made available on its website 15 clips from Lord Haw-Haw’s World War II propaganda radio shows broadcast from Nazi Germany. Lord Haw-Haw was the nickname coined by radio critic Jonah Barrington.

While it was uncertain what German broadcaster he was talking about, the name fell on its most listened-to, William Joyce. In the weeks leading up to war, Joyce and his wife fled to Germany and within weeks, he was broadcasting Nazi propaganda daily over the airwaves. At the height of its popularity, his show drew as many listeners as the BBC and was broadcast to England and the United States. Of all the Radio Hamburg broadcasters from Nazi Germany, Joyce became the most famous, which is why the general name used for an English-language Nazi broadcaster, Lord Haw-Haw, settled on him, even though it was coined referring to someone else. Joyce’s broadcasts lasted from 1939 to the end of the war in 1945, when he was captured and brought to Britain for trial. An American-born Irishman who took German citizenship after fleeing England, he was sentenced to death for treason under a technicality. Lord Haw-Haw image from article

IMAGE (via LB)


Carnival in Germany may last five days, but many would argue that the best of those five is Rose Monday, when the irreverent parade floats take to the streets of Cologne, Düsseldorf and elsewhere. Revellers this year complained of the snow and cold, but float creativity was on full display. Here, President Barack Obama as a fallen angel. It reads: Obama, the redeemer. (Spiegel International)

2 comments:

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lev roitman said...

For your attention and possible comment:The Journal of International Security Affairs
Spring 2010 - Number 18
http://www.securityaffairs.org/
Dispatches
Waging a War of Ideas with Russia
Victor J. Yasman
PRAGUE— (...)There are objective reasons why the image of the United States has deteriorated
so drastically there over the past decade (...)At the same time, exploiting his liberal image, Medvedev has begun to
rebrand Russia’s image abroad. In 2009, for example, the 24-hour pro-Kremlin
English-language news channel Russia Today, launched by Putin in 2005, began
expanding its outreach to Spanish- and Arabic-speaking countries. Russia Today
also now boasts special English-language programming aimed at foreigners
who live in Russia. And this is only the beginning (...)Once upon a time, the United States could meet this intellectual challenge.
During the Cold War, U.S. international broadcasting served as one of the primary
tools of U.S. outreach. And Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague
was deservedly considered one of the most important informational outlets in
the Soviet bloc. Not only was RFE/RL the single most potent source of free
information for people behind the Iron Curtain, it was also a persuasive intellectual
weapon against Communist ideology. RFE/RL learned to fight and win
the battle of ideas with Communism.
Today, however, RFE/RL is just a shadow of its former self. It is now behind
the times, poorly equipped ideologically for the new theater of intellectual
combat with Russia: the Internet. Its Russian-language website lags far behind
many pro-Kremlin websites in terms of innovative concepts and content. It
has little video blogging, the format at which Russia’s state-controlled Internet
sites and Moscow-based radios and newspapers excel. And paradoxically, it has
devoted very little space or airtime to address the problems of Russia’s most
sophisticated audience, its youth. Programming for women is similarly lacking.
The result is programming that looks for all the world like a throwback to
the 1990s. This disconnect persists even now, when more and more people in
Russia reject the policies of the present regime.
It does not have to be this way. If it reverses course, U.S. public diplomacy
can win Russian hearts and minds today as it did in the past. To do so, however,
Washington will need to identify effective pro-democratic forces in Russia,
make American values and ideals attractive once again by backing democratic
groups, and help these forces to recapture the political initiative and resume
their country’s movement toward the civilized world. Nobody wants a new Cold
War. But the battle of ideas is something different. It is an intellectual contest
that can be won once again.

Victor J. Yasman is a political consultant and analyst based in Prague. A veteran
of the human rights movement in the Soviet Union, he worked for over two
decades as a senior analyst at RFE/RL in Munich and Prague.