Friday, February 5, 2010

February 5


"Snowmageddon"

--The Washington Post's characterization of the current snow storm in Washington, D.C.



PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

EU No Longer Charmed by Obama - Nicholas Kralev, NewsMax.com:

"‎European leaders are getting a dose of reality about the limits of President Obama's patience with their long-established diplomatic traditions, as his administration seeks to change nearly two decades of U.S.-European Union summit protocol. Mr. Obama's disappointment with European allies during his first year in office, culminating in his decision to skip a long-planned May summit in Madrid, should not come as a surprise, diplomats and analysts said. In spite of unusual enthusiasm on the Continent about his 2008 election, they said, Europeans have delivered much less than the new president expected on Afghanistan, climate change and other items high on Mr. Obama's agenda. ... Helle Dale, senior fellow for public diplomacy at the Heritage Foundation, said Mr. Obama's attitude toward Europe is also a reflection of his lack of a 'European sensitivity and a coherent concept of the West.' She said his decision to skip the Madrid summit reflects his 'feeling that he is the first 'Pacific president,' as he himself has stated.' 'The administration doesn't seem to acknowledge that there is anything special about the U.S. relationship with Europe, and it is driving the Europeans crazy,' Ms. Dale said. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton 'seems to feel the same way, having turned most of her attention to Asia and Africa.'" Image from

Ups, Downs and Ups in Obama's Approach towards India - Chintamani Mahapatra, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses: "After months of a jaded India policy, the Obama Administration sprang a satisfying surprise by sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to India on a five day visit in July 2009. This visit was as important as the five day path breaking tour of India by President Bill Clinton in March 2000. This was the first time ever that a US Secretary of State came to India for such a long duration of time; interacted with a cross-section of civil society and government officials and signed three significant agreements. One of the newest initiatives of Secretary Clinton during her visit was to go beyond traditional meetings with government officials and engage in public diplomacy. Significantly, she chose to land in the nation’s finance capital, Mumbai, and first interacted with the country’s business leaders, such as Mukesh Ambani and Ratan Tata. ... After consistent improvement in India-US relations during the eight years of Bush Administration, the early months of Obama Administration proved disappointing and raised concerns about a possible return to the bad old days of the relationship. But before the end of the first year, President Obama gave enough hints that the new paradigm of Indo-US relations is here to stay."

View Point: English language skills to talented children - Central Chronicle:

"Judith A McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, presented certificates and made brief remarks at a certificate ceremony for English Access Microscholarship graduates from the Urdu-medium all-girls Anjuman-I-Islam's Saif Tyaib Girls' High School. Certificates were presented to 25 secondary school students who just started a two-year course of extra-curricular English language study under the ECA-funded Access Programme. Pratham, an India-wide education NGO, is the partner for this programme. ... The English Access Microscholarship Programme provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 14-to 18-year-olds from disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive summer learning activities. The program gives participants English skills that lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Since its inception in 2004, over 55,000 students in more than 70 countries have participated in the Access Program. Access classes are taught by trained teachers who use current methodologies of task-based, skills-oriented, learner-centered approaches to emphasize active learning. In India, the Access Program started in 2004 in four locations. To date, Access has expanded to 19 locations. India's two-year Access programs consist of at least 180 hours of English language instruction during each academic year and a 30-hour summer intensive program. Students also participate in enhancement activities which provide exposure to U.S. culture and democratic values and community service projects." Image from

Lecture on 'Challenges to Indian Diplomacy in 21st Century' held at GNDU - PunjabNewsline.com: "Navneet Singh Suri, a career diplomat, presently a Joint Secretary, Public Diplomacy in the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India said that diplomats try to influence political & public lobby for their country. Suri, an IFS of 1983 batch and an old student of the Guru Nanak Dev University was delivering a special lecture on the 'Challenges to Indian Diplomacy in 21st Century: Role of a Diplomat', organized by the Political Science Department of the Guru Nanak Dev University here today. Suri also spoke about the importance of developing scholarship in International relations in India, so that we have analysts & specialists in various facets of it tomorrow. He wanted more students and researches to engage in participation in international affairs further. ... He on this occasion also stressed on the new 'public diplomacy interface'- an initiative/step taken by Ministry of External Affairs to explain to Indians in India about the foreign policy."

US under secretary due in city tomorrow - Financial Express Bangladesh: "US Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith A McHale arrives in the city [Dhaka] Saturday on a three-day visit seen as significant in bolstering the bilateral ties and cooperation between Dhaka and Washington.

Ms McHale is the highest-ranking Obama administration's official to visit Bangladesh after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office in January last year, the American Centre announced Thursday, reports UNB. During her visit, she will meet Bangladesh government officials, academics, and business-and civil-society leaders." Image from

Singapore opposition welcomes US envoy's democracy remarks - AFP, posted at East Asian Times: "A Singapore opposition leader on Friday urged the US ambassador-designate to push for reforms that would lead to a 'genuine multi-party democracy' in the affluent city-state. Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam welcomed a vow by David Adelman, President Barack Obama’s pick as Singapore envoy, to encourage the government to allow greater openness. 'The Reform Party welcomes the ambassador’s statement that he will use public diplomacy to work towards a genuine multi-party democracy in Singapore,' Jeyaretnam said in a statement."

America and the Iranian Political Reform Movement: First, Do No Harm - Mehdi Khalaji & J. Scott Carpenter, Washington Institute:

"On February 3, 2010, Institute senior fellow Mehdi Khalaji and Keston Family fellow J. Scott Carpenter, director of the Institute’s Project Fikra, testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia on ways the United States can best support the movement for political reform in Iran. The following are their prepared remarks. ... J. Scott Carpenter: My specific recommendations largely fall into three categories [including] public diplomatic statements and actions ... . A public-diplomacy offensive. Recently, the Obama administration has sought to leaven its outreach policy with references to human rights. Yet it has done so only half-heartedly, and only after reassuring Tehran that it remains open to continued negotiations. ... [F]uture policy actions must be set squarely within the context of the administration’s human rights concerns. ... This message should be conveyed first and foremost by the president, but also by key members of his administration, who should all be made routinely available to the BBC Persian Service and Radio Farda to explain U.S. policy. Additionally, the United States should seek to expropriate the rhetoric of the Islamic Republic that has successfully portrayed itself as a victim of the United States for the past thirty-one years. ... The administration should publicly relaunch a revitalized Iran Democracy Fund and/or bolster the National Endowment for Democracy’s ability to support democrats inside Iran and elsewhere. As you know, the administration has renamed the program the Near East Regional Democracy (NERD) Fund and has de-funded a number of prominent grantees, including the Yale Human Rights Documentation Center. ... Critical in the medium term is to do something dramatic to improve what should be America’s preeminent vehicle for communicating with the Iranian people: the Voice of America’s Persian News Network (PNN). Poorly managed by people who do not know Iran or its politics, PNN’s journalistic professionalism currently meets only minimal standards. ... While the VOA is being fixed, mechanisms should be found to create a communications platform for the opposition so that it can get its message out. Similar, if sensitive, programs exist to support independent terrestrial and satellite radio stations targeting Syria, for instance.” Image from

Hearts, Minds, and the Satellite Dish: America’s televised message in the Arab world is dull and poorly managed - Justin D. Martin, Columbia Journalism Review: "Al-Hurra, Arabic for 'the free one,' is not at all free, costing U.S. taxpayers about $100 million a year, and it isn’t warming the hearts and minds with which policymakers are concerned. It’s an expensive project that isn’t part of the Arab conversation. The United States’s image in the Arab world isn’t unsalvageable. With some necessary foreign policy modifications and a greater presence on Arab airwaves, America can shore up its image in a region sharply vital to national security. While funding its own Arabic TV network and targeting the portals of Hamas and Hizballah won’t earn the United States much affective capital in Arab countries, dispatching more Arabic-speaking U.S. officials to Arab news networks to discuss a number of specific changes in American foreign policy would. ... In order for the United States to significantly improve its image in the Arab world, Arabs need news of necessary foreign policy corrections communicated to them on their own networks and in their own language. ... Obama’s interview on Al-Arabiya, while momentarily uplifting to many Arabs, wasn’t enough. The United States must do a better job of discussing sounder policies on Arab TV in order to minimize anti-American sentiment in this part of the world. Of course, the United States has no obligation to win a global popularity contest, and that’s not what diplomacy is about. But improving Arab public perception of the U.S. is one of our important security concerns, and it is also within the realm of the possible."

The Future of Islam - John L. Esposito, Joanne J. Myers, Carnegie Council: [Esposito:] "In the first term of President Bush, Colin Powell called a meeting at the State Department for American Arab and Muslim leaders. I was invited to it because I run a center that's relevant to the area. I'm neither Arab nor Muslim. It was very interesting because at the last minute Powell's assistant secretary had to chair it because, he said, Powell was on the phone ... communicating ... Arab and Muslim leaders.

Now let me characterize what happened at the meeting. He began the meeting by looking at everybody and saying, 'Now I know that you're probably not going to want to believe this, but this is true,' and then in the middle of it he stopped and said the same thing, and said it again at the end. Now, what was he talking about? He said: 'The Secretary of State recognizes that public diplomacy is not just about public relations, it's about policy, one.' 'Number two, the Secretary of State as we speak,' he said, 'is calling Mr. Sharon and Mr. Arafat and telling each of them that, whatever their perception and however one may believe that the other side is more responsible, that they both have to acknowledge that they're both part of the problem in order for them then both to be part of the solution. And he's doing the same thing with regard to Pakistan and India, et cetera.' At the end of the meeting, he again said to people: 'So what that really means is, on Palestine and Israel, despite the fact that you've heard people say it before, we are going to be bolder in our approach.' Now, when Obama set out his vision in his Cairo talk, for example, the problem is he is repeating that kind of process. That's all okay, as long as, if you're going to do that, you're going to then back it up and deliver. The fact is, whatever the reasons and excuses one might want to give, that hasn't happened." Esposito image from

Foster Cultural Understanding of Real Life in Russia - Carrie Lowenthal Massey, NewsBlaze: "A child of the 1970s and early 1980s, the American filmmaker [Robin Hessman] grew up in the midst of the Cold War. Though she explains that American media of the time encouraged her to see the USSR as the United States' enemy, Hessman could not suppress her curiosity about real life behind the Iron Curtain. Hessman's insights as a child would come to symbolize her future professional life: a documentary film producer and director with a keen interest in fostering an honest cultural exchange between Americans and the people of the former Soviet Union. Hessman sees her medium as a powerful vehicle for cultural diplomacy and understanding. ... Hessman also strives to educate Russians about the nuances of American life and culture. Since 2006, she has been curator of the American Film Festival (Amfest) in Moscow. Sponsored in part by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Amfest brings to Russia American films that do not make it to Moscow's multiplex theaters. These movies have included many documentaries, like Trouble the Water, which tells the story of two people caught in Hurricane Katrina when it devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, and Garbage Warrior, the tale of a New Mexico man who lobbies for legislation that will allow him to build sustainable housing from discarded tires, cans and bottles. Filmmakers attend the festival and hold discussions with the audience."

Thanks to IVLP program – Partners In Public Diplomacy: A Blog from The Participants of the Ivlp Program 2009 Organized By Department Of State:

"As a Lincoln Corner Coordinator, I in capacity with International Visitor Leadership Program IVLP Alumni, Celebrated MLK Service Day by Volunteering my expertise as a Librarian in VM Public School library & mentored library periods of different secondary & higher secondary classes, to provide them an improved approach to access the library & its resources by sharing with them, how children use libraries in the USA. Every day, in each 30 minutes period with every class, I assessed the static library access & studies by the children; then visited each group in the session and questioned them individually what they are doing & how they access the library and inquired the library resources. I also shared some tips on how they can improve their library access by adapting focused studies & assignments and told them how libraries work in an interactive mode in United States. To bring them into an interactive mode, I also assigned them some queries & encouraged them to explore their library for resources to find answers. The purpose of this activity with more than 150 students was to benefit these children with individual level mentoring service and previously static library became more interactive with my firsthand experience of US libraries. I also shared with them some background information on MLK Day & volunteer services in America and encouraged them to develop some group activities to re-organize their school library. THANKS TO IVLP program." Image from

USC scholars recommend domestic dissemination of VOA, RFE/RL - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Elliott comment: "The restriction [on the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act] is on domestic dissemination, not domestic consumption. American shortwave listeners have always been able to hear VOA broadcasts, rendering the Smith Mundt domestic dissemination prohibition meaningless. But now, as VOA phases out shortwave in favor of internet delivery, the ban is becoming feasible. As discussed in a previous post, some broadcasters use IP addresses to restrict the distribution of their content to certain parts of the world. (Savvy internet know how to work around these restrictions, but average users don't.) VOA therefore could, if it chooses to do so, or if it is directed to do so, use this same capability to comply with Smith-Mundt. There are two good reasons for US international broadcasting to be excused from the domestic dissemination prohibition. The first is that immigrant communities in the United States appreciate news about their their home countries in their home languages. VOA, RFE/RL, and RFA provide such news, so this valuable public service should not be restricted via the internet or on local radio stations. (Some radio stations in the United States use VOA programming on a 'don't ask, don't tell' basis. Because VOA content is generally not copyright, they use it without asking the permission that VOA would not be able to grant.) Second, VOA could expand its news coverage by bartering its international reporting for the domestic reporting of US broadcasting organizations. Such an exchange would be possible only by repealing the domestic dissemination ban on VOA content. Legislation that eliminates domestic dissemination restrictions on US international broadcasting should be carefully worded. It must be specified that funds allocated for international broadcasting are to be used for international broadcasting. There could be the temptation for an administration to use those monies for some sort of domestic communication campaign. Senior managers of US international broadcasting might want to cater to politically expeditious US audiences, at the expense of their audiences abroad."

Berkowitz responds, discussing the Smith-Mundt Act - Matt Armstrong, Mountainruner.us: "The following is Part II of a discussion between Jeremy Berkowitz and Matt Armstrong on Jeremy's paper 'Raising the Iron Curtain on Twitter: why the United States must revise the Smith-Mundt Act to improve public diplomacy' (PDF, 415kb). Part I is Matt Armstrong's initial response to Jeremy's paper available here. Part III will be posted next week."

Letters from Afghanistan to RFE/RL's Radio Azadi on display at the Library of Congress - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

The KGB agent at RFE/RL, and other Free Europe history - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

P, S, M, and now R (and a Bonus Career Update) - KG, The Diplodocus: "Yesterday we hosted another high-ranking State Department official in Mumbai, Judith McHale, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Like the Undersecretaries who had visited before her, she took some time to have a town hall in our 'lovely' visa waiting hall, to talk a bit about her vision of Public Diplomacy. ... Since the U/S’s shop has been at the forefront of using new media in our diplomatic efforts, I (naturally) asked about blogging. And more specifically: where she stood on the ongoing debate over personal blogs maintained by members of the Foreign Service community. Her answer was very encouraging, touching on how as representatives of the USG we need to be careful with what we say in public, but how at the same time we should be treated as adults with the intellectual skills to be able to differentiate what we could write from what we should not blog about. I did make a special point to bring up recent stories about A-100 classes being told they should shut their blogs down,

anecdotes she found unfortunate. Considering the paternalistic feeling of that particular message 'shut your blog down!,' her take on the issue was appreciated." Image from

State reviews priorities and policies - Ruben Gomez, FederalNewsRadio.com: "The State Department is gearing up to release a roadmap that will guide its future budgets and priorities. Early this month, perhaps in the next several days, the federal government's diplomatic arm could release a report on its first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). ... We asked the State Department What issues and subject areas will the QDDR cover. Here is part of the e-mail response: 1. BUILDING A GLOBAL ARCHITECTURE OF COOPERATION: This working group is exploring the ability of the U.S. government to strategically shape, mobilize, and leverage international partnerships to address a wide range of global issues and challenges. It is assessing the strategic framework for bilateral and multilateral engagements, and analyzing the opportunities to integrate public diplomacy, non-governmental actors, and new methods of communication to mobilize and lead collective action."

Upcoming Week On The Hill‏ - e-mail from Alan Heil:

"1) House Appropriations State/Foreign Operations Subcommittee meets, Tuesday, February 9, 9:30 a.m. Venue not determined yet. May or may not be open to the public. 2) Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 'The Future of Public Diplomacy,' 419 Dirksen, 10 a.m. Testifying: Undersecretary Judith McHale and her predecessors Evelyn Lieberman, Karen Hughes, James Glassman." Image from

The LBJ School Welcomes New Faces to the Classroom 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: ... Karen Hughes, former under secretary of state for public diplomacy ... . Hughes is teaching a section of Topics in Global Policy Studies titled Transforming Public Diplomacy, which focuses on public diplomacy, discussing its many tools and practices as well as its many challenges. Hughes is global vice chair for the strategic communications firm Burson-Marsteller where she focuses on providing clients with senior-level communications strategy and counsel. Hughes was under secretary of state for public diplomacy from August 2005 to December 2007. During that time, she led the U.S. State Department's effort to communicate America's values abroad. Hughes led several thousand public diplomacy professionals working in almost every country in the world, and oversaw three State Department bureaus: Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs and International Information Programs. Hughes has traveled to more than 50 nations in the past few years as part of her government service and personal humanitarian activities."

Praxis: Psychological Operations -- An Introduction- Sipsey Street Irregulars: From: Psychological Operations: An Introduction by COL Frank L. Goldstein, USAF and COL Daniel W. Jacobowitz, USAF, Retired. “The United States typically distinguishes between PSYOP on a strategic level and PSYOP on a tactical, battlefield level.

Strategic psychological operations are usually considered an aspect of public diplomacy and are normally established and guided by intergovernmental working groups created for a particular short-term situation or regional area of concern.” Image from

Job: Public Diplomacy Coordinator for the Provincial the Provincial Reconstruction- Ren's Micro Diplomacy: "If you’ve been itching to work in Iraq, the Department of State just announced an opening for a Public Diplomacy Coordinator for the Provincial Reconstruction Teams."

RELATED ITEMS

The New World Order: America need not apply - Jane Stillwater, Subversify (blog):


Media propaganda has laid the ground for what may well be Obama’s next war. On 14 December, researchers at the University of West England published first findings of a ten-year study of the BBC’s reporting of Venezuela. Of 304 BBC reports, only three mentioned any of the historic reforms of the Chavez government, while the majority denigrated Chavez’s extraordinary democratic record, at one point comparing him to Hitler. Such distortion and its attendant servitude to western power are rife across the Anglo-American corporate media. People who struggle for a better life, or for life itself, from Venezuela to Honduras to Haiti, deserve our support. Image from

US using anti-Iran disinfo to sell missile shield - Tehran Times: The U.S. has begun stepping up its anti-Iran propaganda to justify its decision to deploy a missile shield in Europe.

N. Korea to Release US Christian Activist - Ethan Cole, Christian Post: North Korea said Friday it will release an American missionary who has been detained since Christmas for illegally entering the country from China.
Through state-run media Korean Central News Agency, North Korea announced that Robert Park will be freed after expressing “sincere repentance” for the transgression and for his “biased” view of the communist country. The government “decided to leniently forgive and release” Park because he admitted his wrongdoing, according to KCNA. In the KCNA interview, which could not be independently verified, Park said he went into North Korea to call attention to rights abuse and mass killings with the mindset of being willing to die for the cause. But he was surprised to have been well-treated while detained and reportedly said he was fed “false propaganda made by the West to tarnish” North Korea’s image.

IMAGE


The most detailed view to date of the entire surface of Pluto, as constructed from multiple NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken from 2002 to 2003. The center disk (180 degrees) has a mysterious bright spot that is unusually rich in carbon monoxide frost. Pluto is so small and distant that the task of resolving the surface is as challenging as trying to see the markings on a soccer ball 40 miles away. (NASA)

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